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MY BFF IS A BEEKEEPER

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MY BFF IS A BEEKEEPER

elisa nordman

MY BFF IS A BEEKEEPER

Meet Elisa Nordman, a long time friend of mine who is an avid hobby beekeeper from Helsinki with a passion for sustainability, green thinking and a deep appreciation for nature and our planet. She keeps her two hives at a farm outside of the city and produces artisan honey under the brand name Hunter House Honey. I sat down with Elisa and picked her brain about her super hipster, yet actually amazingly impressive side hustle that she’s been doing for a while as I felt the urge to to introduce this insanely cool save the bees- gal with my fellow internet scrolling audience. Here goes.

Q: Who are you?

A: I am Elisa. I currently work as a graphic designer and in my free time I love to get outdoors and spend time in nature, read a lot, do sports and then of course beekeeping.

Q: What made you take up beekeeping and become a bee-person?

A: In all honesty, it was actually half a coincidence as I stumbled across an ad in beekeeping at a Christmas fair in Helsinki (Tuomaan markkinat). It immediately caught my attention and I took a photo of the ad and then the next day I thought to myself, what the heck, why not. I signed up for the course online, without truly knowing if I would follow through or not. Fast forward 5 months and I found myself in a beekeepers farm shopping for the gear. Once I had all the necessary items, I knew I would have to buy the bees as well. Even though there initially was some slight hesitation, I’ve always been aware of the role the bees play in our eco system and how they are struggling and declining in numbers due to the pollution, harsh pesticides and changing weather patterns. Since a very young age I’ve always loved the flavour of honey, so that worked as one motive as well.

Q: How did you get your hives, did you buy them?

Learn the difference: 1. Honey bee 2. Bumble bee 3. Wasp 4. European Hornet

Learn the difference: 1. Honey bee 2. Bumble bee 3. Wasp 4. European Hornet

A: Yes, I bought my hives from a beekeeping shop and the bee colonies I bought straight from a beekeeper I was referenced to through the beekeeping course. The beekeeping community is a quite small and there are forums online where you can exchange knowledge and buy equipment from people within the industry. So basically all the bee colonies are bought from another beekeeper, you can not buy them from a shop, or at least not that I know of.

Q: How do you get started in beekeeping?

A: Well, in my opinion the only way to start is to participate in a course and learn the basics. The other option might be to have a mentor who walks you through the step by step process of starting your own colony. I still highly recommend participating in a course as it’s quiet complicated and you’ll get into the community easier and learn to know other people within the community.

Q: Most people do not react well to the sight of swarming bees, were you afraid of the bees when you first started out as a beekeeper?

A: No, I wasn’t afraid of bees. Bees are actually really calm and they don’t mind us people if we let them be(e) in peace. I’ve noticed that people can not distinguish the difference between bees and wasps and most people easily mistake wasps for bees or vice versa. To clarify and in case you were unsure, bees and wasps serve different purposes in nature. Bees pollinate our food, our plants and produce honey, whereas wasps eat pests from flowers and plants, but their pollination value is lesser than their hairy cousins. I think it’s only relevant to be afraid if you know that you’re very allergic to the stings.

Q: Do beekeepers get stung by bees?

A: Yes of course, however not very often. I’ve only been stung while beekeeping less than 10 times through my gloves and suite. The stinger has not been able to penetrate my skin properly as I am always wearing my protective suite.

Q: As a beekeeper, do you become more sensitive or more in tuned to nature?

A: For sure. I’ve always been a nature lover, but now after beekeeping you have to pay more attention to the weather, to the seasons and to the flora around you as it all affects the bees and their behaviour. This is actually the part that I’ve enjoyed the most and it’s been very fulfilling to become more aware of my surroundings.

Q: What's the most fulfilling part of a beekeeper's job?

A: I’d have to say that the most fulfilling part of this job is to actually get to know your bees and to learn how to work with them as honey bees are not wild bees, even though they are free to fly, come and go as they wish. Honey bees need our help and I try my best to read their signals and their behaviour to my best ability and make the right decisions in being their caretaker. As an example, I need to prevent mites from invading the hives and when the season has ended it’s my job to feed the bees and prepare the hive for the winter.

Q: How long does a bee live?

A: On average a worker bee lives 40-50 days. A queen bee usually has a lifespan of 4-8 years.

Q: How much time does it take to take care of your hives?

A: Holy moly, it takes quite a lot of time. The general rule is to visit your hive every nine days, but usually I go there once a week. You never know what to expect, so it’s hard to know in advance wether you’ll end up spending an hour or five tending to your hive with each visit. In July I take a little more free time to myself as this time is usually the time the bees are collecting honey and you can actually let them be. That being said, this is not set in stone as it also depends on the weather. Many professional beekeepers are so good at reading the signs of nature that they can visit their hives according to weather (meaning less times), but I am not there yet personally.

Q: What has been the most surprising aspect about beekeeping?

A: The complexity of a bee colony. The system is totally astonishing and I am continuously learning more by each visit. For example, did you know that the queen is not the ruler in the hive, but the worker bees are. The worker bees make all the decisions collectively so if they see that the queen is not laying enough eggs, they will start to make a new queen bee by starting to feed an egg with royal gel.

Q: What do you have to say to anyone who is interested in starting beekeeping?

A: Find a course in beekeeping and you will get a good start. After my first course I was still completely and utterly lost because at that time I didn’t have my own hive yet as all the information was only theoretical. Slowly and after my first summer in beekeeping I took another advanced course in and finally things started making more sense to me. Just like with any new skill or hobby, learning takes time, so be patient! In Finland there are great courses in Työväenopisto, so make sure to check in with them.

Q: How much honey do you get per season and is it difficult to collect the honey?

A: Last summer I got around 30 kg of honey from only one hive. This season I am not sure what to expect yet, since one of the hives is very weak after the winter and the other is strong, but there has been some issues with the queen. Honey collecting is hard work. Firstly, the hive boxes are extremely heavy and it’s quite challenging to pick them up from the hive tower and your body positions while doing the labor can end up being super uncomfortable. In addition to the hard physical work, the bees usually get pretty upset with me fiddling with their home (understandable) , which adds an extra challenge to the whole process. That being said, last summer was my very first time collecting the honey, so I am hoping for it to run a little smoother this year. Fingers crossed. The bees do not hibernate during the winter, instead they curl up keeping warm and eat sugar water that we feed them in the autumn.

Q: Where can we find out more information about beekeeping and your bee endeavours?

A: I have an instagram account @beetvsuomi , where I share videos and posts about my beekeeping. I sell the honey after the summer and I have my small artisan label called Hunter House Honey.

Q: Any further plans for Hunter House Honey?

beekeeping

A: Not currently, my aim is to keep beekeeping and learning more as I go. I wish to spread awareness about bees and their importance to us humans.

Q: Tell us something weird about yourself?

A: I am extremely organised and well prepared when it comes to packing and my friends always make fun of me when we go on trips together, but I always have something they end up needing. I have issues with jello-like food textures and can not eat anything wobbly, slimy nor spongy, such as eggs, tofu or creme brûlée. Wherever I go I always make sure to check out the nearest exit route and I am passionate about whales. I have a degree in prosthetics & orthotics (prostatic legs.) I’ll just leave it at the list could go on for a while…

Q: Favorite quote?

A: I am bad with quotes but I guess you can’t go wrong with ”Always smile more than you cry, give more than you take and love more than you hate”.




Below an episode of BeeTv. Enjoy!

Thanks Elisa!

So long honey,

Evita

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SUMMER UPDATE: What I've been up to lately + how to listen to your body

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SUMMER UPDATE: What I've been up to lately + how to listen to your body

Dear reader, thanks for circling back to my blog even after this mini break that I’ve taken. The reason for the little pause is very simple: I’ve needed time to recharge, reset and relax. I definitely still believe in the practice of commitment and consistency with blogging, but what’s even more important than that (or more valuable than SEO optimising), is to truly learn to wind down when you need to. And I feel like this is something many of us can relate to. People (we) need to stop glorifying being busy and make room for, well, nothingness. Can’t we just please start a new trend where doing nothing is the coolest thing on planet earth 😅!? No but, jokes aside I feel that especially as a yoga teacher and someone who teaches people to unwind and tune in with themselves, I also need to practice it, not just preach it. And that’s exactly what I am doing right now, sitting in my summer cabin overlooking the Baltic Sea and simply taking it super chill without any schedule nor plans. Thanks to taking this time for myself I’ve now finally felt inspired and energized again to start writing and I started to reflect over how much I’ve actually needed this, to just be still without the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time here at our summer cabin, which is just an hour outside of Helsinki. We are in the midst of remodelling a small cute summer cabin (the sauna house) and making it into a space for me and my boyfriend. It’s been a bigger project than we first anticipated but I won’t go too much into detail right now as I am dedicating a full blog post to it very soon (with before and after pics, so stay tuned!!). In addition to spending time here, I’ve also been to a friends summer cabin celebrating midsummer and then enjoyed a fun and wild weekend in Hankoo (the most southern city in Finland) with an amazing group of friends. I’ve also taught a few yoga classes, gone to an amusement park (Linnanmäki), but other than that it’s been down time and laying low. And lemme tell ya, it’s been very needed. I feel like I am still digesting my new life of living back in Finland and trying to rejuvenate from the heavy winter and the busyness of it all (my day job as an event planner can be pretty hectic). Luckily, I am planning to escape this winter for at least parts of it.

public.jpeg

So how do we make sure to stay energized, healthy and balanced without burning out or over exhausting ourselves? What it all comes down to is learning to listen to your body and knowing when to slow down. I wanted to share some practical tips I’ve found to be useful as I’ve learned that my body is often way smarter than my head let alone my silly ego. The thing with your body versus your mind is that the body is continuously giving you cues and subtle messages on what is good for you and what isn’t, the problem is just that we a) ignore them or b) don’t see these messages in the first place. The mind loves to come up with excuses, distractions and falsities. Listening to your body or yourself is applicable to not just your health, but any other area of your life as well. If you just learn to tune into your intuition and gut feeling more than staying in your head, you’ll start noticing how things unfold in a very different way.

But what if you don’t know how to listen or you don’t know what actually works for your body, then a phrase like “listen to your body” can feel like nagging or plain useless. The truth is we are all different. Not only through our unique lives, patterns, relationships, circumstances, jobs, living situations, rhythms, eating & sleeping habits, we also differ in what our idea of health is. So where does one start? I made a few key notes that I feel that can be helpful on this journey towards becoming more self aware.

  1. Every day make sure to have a quiet moment just for yourself where you ask yourself these three questions: What am I feeling, physically? What am I feeling, emotionally? What am I thinking? Pay attention to what comes up. Just like with any new skill, this will be a process and some days you’ll get answers right away when at times you’ll think about your neighbours dead cat. Lol.

  2. Journal first thing in the morning for 30 days straight. Commit to this practice and write two pages each morning before anything else. You’ll be astonished at how much will come up.

  3. If you feel like you need to learn to listen to your body more think about the why’s. Why do you want to listen to your body. What is it, that is not working for you? Do you perhaps already have some physical symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, bloating, insomnia, lack of energy, a disoriented body image, relationship issues, lack of drive or direction. Or anything else that does not sit right with you. Think about your goals. What are you hoping to achieve? Is there a specific goal you want to reach, such as a more balanced relationship with food or better stress-reduction habits? Why is this important to you? Any goal is most successful when grounded in purpose.

  4. Meditation, yoga or any other practice, exercise or hobby that helps you connect with yourself.

  5. SLOW DOWN. Your health is your greatest wealth and priority. If you don’t know where to start or everything else sounds like gibberish, this one is pretty simply. Just clear your calendar, baby steps.

Towards a healthier, happier mind body connection y’all.

Happy trails and summer smiles!

Con amor,

Evita

PS. I will be posting more often from now on now that I am feeling energized again, pinky swear!

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Why did I move back to Finland?

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Why did I move back to Finland?

Why did I move back to Finland?

Yes, why!? I guess it’s a fair question and a question I have received a lot. I mean, why would someone trade the tropical breeze, warm weather and an easy lazy lifestyle for slush, darkness and the 9- 5 grind? Why oh why would one leave a life of sipping margaritas on the beach and dem delish tacos for a society where the norm is not to say hi to their neighbors.. And lemme tell ya, dem tacos sooo good. So yes, I get it, it’s a legitimate question to ask and I understand that it might seem odd, and rightly so. But before spearheading into the why’s, I just want to acknowledge that it’s kind of impossible to write this post without spilling the beans on some sensitive and personal stuff. I will do my best to not dive into the details of things, partially to protect the people I have crossed paths with and also to protect myself as I don’t see it necessary to vomit my private life all over the interwebs. That being said, my aim has always been to be honest and to express my truth, so there obviously will be some personal sharing along the way. I also want to emphasize that life isn’t always what it looks like and this needs to be addressed more and more and more. The images we see on social media or in blog posts are merely little, snippets of framed perfect moments, so next time you see a chick posing with a coconut on the beach, don’t be fooled, she might actually be lost.

I mean, look at that beauty.  By Jess Leigh.

I mean, look at that beauty. By Jess Leigh.

Perhaps the first step towards answering this question is revealing why I originally moved to Mexico. Well, I moved there right after having graduated to help run my exe’s (important notice, he obviously was not my ex back then) family businesses in a small little beach town, called Sayulita, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. I had been to Sayulita twice before moving there and I had also spent one semester in Bali, Indonesia, so living in a tropical climate was not new to me. Even so, moving somewhere with the possibility of never returning can be a little intimidating. And that it was indeed. Initially, I felt a little anxious, ungrounded and lonely without my tight group of friends and my only support at that time was my partner. I’m a Capricorn and my people are my everything (you might know this if you’re into astrology, however if you think it’s complete woo-woo, well, let’s just say my friends and fam mean a lot to me), so the start was not just smooth sailing. I was surrounded by a new culture and a language that I did’t speak nor understand. I sometimes felt like a sore thumb as I stood out with my light blonde hair, even though Sayulita has a fair share of blonde expats and even more so nowadays. So, what I’m trying to say is, I was faced with some challenges in the beginning. But slowly, just like with anything else in life, I started settling in and making friends and gradually I learned to understand Spanish and then finally later to speak it. Life became easier, things started flowing and all of a sudden I was living the dream in a beautiful, vibrant, boho beach town of Sayulandia (a nickname for Sayulita). My life felt good and things were looking up.

My days consisted of co-leading my exes family businesses (hotels, surf school and shops), practicing yoga, surfing and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, not too bad, huh? So it’s only fair to say that I had a few truly magical years. I was also running my co-owned yoga & surf company, hosting retreats and working for a handful of interesting businesses in a completely new environment. Boy, did I learn a lot and this time definitely shaped me. But as some of us might already have learned in life, life is not always a walk in the park, nor is it always a bed of roses and sometimes it can throw you curve balls. And as you might have guessed, a curve ball was thrown at me. Hard. Eventually it led to me and my ex parting ways.

Okay dokay, so there I was all alone on the other side of the world in a small Mexican beach town. Life hack: do not live in a small town with your ex. Ha, no, but seriously, you can imagine it might just be a little challenging. Also, rumours travel very quickly in small communities and I with all do respect, there’s definitely some cultural differences in how men view women and wether or not it is appropriate to move on (or even be seen out) after a break up (stay tuned for our next podcast on Machismo!!). In the grand scheme of things, I was was alone in Mexico living on the other side of the world far away from my fam going thru a break up in a place that felt like the Big Brother house and everyone was watching the show. As I had worked with my ex (we had a company together) and also with his family biz, it didn’t feel appropriate to continue working with them, so besides to dealing with a break up, I also had to figure out what to do business-wise. Luckily, I quickly found myself on my feet, working with new projects and clients and running my own mini one person company. I also started working within wedding production and for a big luxury hotel along with my private yoga clients. Life was okay…ish, but in all honesty my heart was broken and I felt lost. Fortunately I had a group of amazing friends to share my days with and the distraction of living in a party town. In lack of better phrasing, I had a semi-good time for a while, but as I didn’t fully have a direction in life and was kind of floating in this in-between state of not knowing what to do, I eventually started drifting just a little too much. Unless you have the discipline of a true christian, Sayulita will suck you into the mañana mañana lifestyle. Even tho the easy tropical party paradise lifestyle can sound like all fun and games, it kinda gets old after a while. Not to mention the non existing dating scene in Sayulita that is, well, extremely limited. Slim pickings y’all. Another coping mechanism I had was traveling, which I did to distract myself from the reality of things, and the truth was that I was completely lost. Being lost and ungrounded led me to a couple of very interesting picks on the dating scene (🙈). But they did serve a purpose as they also pushed me towards the direction I needed to go. Which was, back home.

Easy living in Mex.  By Jess Leigh.

Easy living in Mex. By Jess Leigh.

Slowly but surely I started playing more with the idea of moving back home to the motherland. I even flew to Finland in January just “to see” if I could cope with the darkness and cold weather after having lived in the tropics for so long. My conclusion and field research prove me that it was doable, however not ideal, so I needed to think some more, I reasoned. After my trip to Finland in the winter, I returned back to Mex to now in hindsight, seal the deal and confirm my exit. Another few negative challenges took place of which I can name these few; my house was broken into, my safety emptied (yes they use a lot of cash in Mex and the nearest bank was a 35 min drive away) and I got stung by a venomous scorpion. The latter one was pretty gnarly and almost felt like I was being kicked out of Sayulita. Or as my friends like to put it, I graduated from Sayulita. So being the intuitive spiritual tree hugger that I am, I finally listened to that little whisper inside of me that actually at this point was more like a scream than a whisper, saying “buy a one way ticket to Finland” and so I did. And after that, things just aligned.

Okay, if you spent any time in Finland last summer you probs know that last summer was pretty darn stellar. Some people might call it false marketing, but it surely lured me in. People were happy and smiling, the sun was shining and the weather was almost well, tropical….. but most importantly, it felt right. When you are aligned with your direction, things have a tendency of falling into the right places and sure enough I met an amazing person that summer as well. He might have helped with the whole marketing campaign of Finland being pretty cool 🤩.

So here I am, now 7 months later after having relocated back to Finland (I had to go back to Mex after the summer in Finland), feeling grounded for the first time in a very long time. And, yes, of course the winter sucked, and yes of course I miss Mexico and yes of course I miss my friends and yes Mexico holds a place in my heart forever, but YES, this is where I am supposed to be right now. And it feels freaking fantastic to FINALLY feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be. Because I haven’t felt that in a very long time. And at the end of the day, Finland is such a great place to live in (and we also just won the world championships in ice hockey!!), regardless of the grumpy, non saluting neighbours. And luckily I am privileged enough to be able to travel (yes, I know climate change, but there’s a blog post about this) and visit Mex, which I am planning to do in November (the suckiest month in Finland, come with?).

So if there’s only one thing you take away from reading this whole long story, it’s listen to your gut. Because it knows. Sometimes it’s hard to hear, but the whisper is always there. So pay attention.




Con amor,

Evita

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Get to know the girl behind the screen // 15 random facts you (probably) didn't know about me

Get to know the girl behind the screen // 15 random facts you (probably) didn't know about me

15 facts you (probably) didn’t know about me

and didn’t care about in the first place…

Or maybe you do or did. Either way, I recently saw a post on my insta feed of my good friend and talented photographer, Jessica, where she posted a list of funny things about herself as an introduction. This inspired me to do the same, so without further ado, I decided to give it a whirl.

Proof of me juggling, well kind of. Pic: Jess Leigh

Proof of me juggling, well kind of. Pic: Jess Leigh

  1. I’m Finnish Swedish

    I am from Helsinki, Finland and a part of the 6 % minority of Swedish speaking Finns – I speak Swedish with my dad, Finnish with my mom. In addition to these two native tongues, as I lived in Sayulita, Mexico for nearly 7 years; I learned Spanish, I also understand French semi-fluently and well, English is a given. Another randomness for good measure: I lived in Bali, Indonesia, during my studies and during that time I could understand Bahasa Indonesia pretty decently (today, not so much, I only remember Terimakasahi).

  2. In addition to yoga… I also like the gym, cute surfable waves, swimming, short runs (not marathons), long walks on the beach and berry picking (does that count as a sport?).

  3. My favorite TV shows include…

    Game of Thrones (duh) and The Office. Actually, if you’re in a dark place in your life or need any anti depressant, try watching a couple seasons of The Office and I can assure you, you’ll be in a better place.

  4. I am highly sensitive and perceptive and have razor sharp intuition. I usually get a pretty good feel on wether people and situations can be trusted. That being said, there’s definitely also been some misjudgment and I’ve been burnt a handful of times.

  5. I know how to juggle.

    Only with three balls tho. Still pretty cool if I may say so myself.

  6. I love to paint and draw!

    I usually paint naked women and eyes. Why? Go figure.

  7. I have a Master’s degree in Science (Economics)

    Yup, I graduated from the Swedish School of Economics (Hanken) in Helsinki and I studied Marketing as my major, my minor was Spanish and Business Mgmt & Organization. I wrote my thesis about wellness tourism (no surprise there).

  8. I’m currently working on or working with…

    Event production (day job), various collaboration projects including the podcast I co-host, a yoga retreat in Mexico, corporate yoga classes, revamping our summer cabin by the sea and a secret super cool project that will be launched later this year (stay tuned, will ya).

  9. I’m not allergic to anything (as far as I know)….

    And my plan is to keep it this way. I’ve never been tested tho (well I don’t remember at least).

  10. A lion once wanted to eat me as a snack.

    True story. We were in Zimbabwe on a safari, luckily my mom’s friend pulled my down a cliff and there was a feeble fence in between.

  11. I’ve been stung by a scorpion

    And it hurt like a mother*** Seriously, worst pain I’ve ever felt. Imagine neuro toxin running through your body in waves and not being able to breath simultaneously. Ouch.

  12. I am a cat and a dog person and my cat got eaten by a python.

    And yes, you can be both a cat and a dog person. And yes, my cat got eaten by a python in Mexico. I know. It’s pretty dark.

  13. My favorite color is…

    purple, lavender, lilac, magneta, violet, plum. You get it.

  14. My favorite flower is…

    THE SUNFLOWER. GIMME. I love the Spanish name “Girasol” the one who turns towards the sun.

  15. I love warm water.

    The ocean or a hot tub, I’m there.

Warm water, yes please. Pic: Jenn Farmer

Warm water, yes please. Pic: Jenn Farmer



K, that’s all for now.



Love,

Evita