Oslo

 
 
    
 



RECOMMENDATIONS


  • Mathallen Food Hall Gluten-free beer at Hopyard and zero-waste organic groceries / gluten-free bakery at Holisten www.mathallenoslo.no
  • Astrup Fearnley Museet Modern art museum designed by Renzo Piano | www.afmuseet.no
  • Ekebergparken | Beautiful forested parkland with art and views of the city | www.ekebergparken.com
  • Den Norske Opera Opera house in the fjord with rooftop views | www.operaen.no
  • Akershus Fortress | Medieval castle next to 1000 year old village | www.forsvarsbygg.no
  • Bon Lio  | Spanish gastro bar | www.bonlio.no
  • Chez Colin | Colorful new French restaurant | www.chezcolin.no
  • Revolver | Rock bar for tacos, tequila, and guac | www.revolveroslo.no
  • Nedre Foss | Restaurant and microbrewery |  www.nedrefossgaard.no 
  • Kontrast |  Gastronomic Scandinavian |  www.restaurant-kontrast.no
  • Torggata Botaniske |  Lush craft cocktail bar specializing in absinthe |  Torggata 17b
  • 38 Mollergata | Hair salon 
  • Grand Hotel Oslo | Site of Nobel ceremonies | www.grand.no
  • Illegal Burger | Dubbed the best burger in Oslo with veggie patties and gluten-free buns Mollergata 23
  • Lille Saigon | Simple, cheap and delicious Vietnamese food | www.lillesaigon1.com
  • Kolonihagen |  Cozy sustainability-driven restaurant |  www.kolonihagen.no
  • Fuglen | Vintage bar and coffee shop | facebook.com/Fuglen.Oslo
  • Fretex and UFF | Thrift stores | Various locations
  • Apartment | Gallery (one of the first to show Vivian Maier| https://www.facebook.com/The-Apartment-163527170348786/
  • Peppe's Pizza | Delicious gluten-free pizza with vegan options | Various locations

We stayed in this amazing minimalist Airbnb while visiting beautiful Oslo. The traditions, culture, and spirit of Norway strike me as exotic, wholly different from Iceland or Finland. It was easy to eat vegan and gluten-free, since all allergens are clearly labeled, and knowledgeable staff were happy to accommodate my intolerances.

Norwegians are as kind as they are tall. At Mathallen, the epic food hall with upcycled pallet furniture, my husband joked that even the babies were bigger than us :) Everyone drives electric cars, the air is fresh and clean, and microbreweries have gluten-free beer on tap, making it the perfect destination for intrepid zero-wasters. I've never seen so many Teslas in my life! I was also impressed by the City Tree initiative, benches on either side of a vertical green wall that captures pollutants from passing cars.

Not surprisingly, my parka and cream-colored outfit were inappropriate for both the weather and sea of sleek, black-and-grey woolen outfits. Older women wore long dress coats with pretty fur hats; others sported short jackets or Canada Goose, Helly Hansen, and Fjallraven. Pretty much everyone we saw had on a pair of heeled boots, even in Tromso! At night, the dress code reverts to all black, so leave your blue jeans at home. To see how I packed for the Arctic and read about my winter capsule wardrobe, click here.

Paris to Go

Cold Weather Dressing


 
To see how I wore these outfits in Oslo, click here

I feel like this post is unnecessary, because flowers are in bloom and it's 11°C, yet here we are. This winter I don't really have a capsule, since I'm wearing all my clothes, but pictured above is everything I brought to Norway. I haven't felt wind or cold once since we arrived.

Inspiration for my outfits this season comes from penguins and Hufsa. I packed only this parka, which, while perfect for chasing the Northern Lights or crossing fjords, is too hot for rushing around Paris. My basic formula there is:
50°F and higher- T-shirt or short sleeves. 
40-50°F- Trench coat over short sleeves, or a t-shirt and sweater. Remove the outermost layer when overheated 
20-40°F- Céline coat with short sleeves; still baring legs at this point 
-40-20°F- Céline coat with layers; merino wool and tights / leggings under dresses. Sweaters over dresses when temperatures dip under 10° degrees. 
To me, synthetics aren't warm enough for extended exposure to cold. Pure wool is preferable, and wool, silk, or synthetic underwear is warmer than cotton. If you live in a place where it's dark for days at a time, reflective outerwear is a must, but it's my experience that you don't need a lot of special equipment for a cozy winter outdoors. All most people need are good thermals, waterproof boots (tall enough so snow doesn't get in them), and strategic layers. The most important thing is keeping your chest and head warm!

  

COLD

I. Base layer: Merino wool sweater and tights, wool socks
II. Midlayer: Wool sweater, wool leggings, chunky handknit wool socks

COLDER

II. Top layer: Black leggings, handknitted scarf and hat- suitable as an outfit on its own, with boots or sneakers
IV. Wool-lined gloves under mittens, add a coat if necessary

COLDEST

V. Coat- I find that wool coats are the warmest and most comfortable, and that synthetics are sweaty and gross. Normally I wear long wool or trench coat, but for the Arctic, a parka is more practical
VI. Pants over leggings layers. I'm wearing jeans here, which most people find too cold. Instead, you could wear wool or leather trousers; these are naturally somewhat waterproof and insulating. You need to wear something underneath leather though. For instance, all leather gloves should be lined with wool, and thermals should be worn under pants.


WINTER WARDROBE


Red handknitted sweater (Wool and the Gang yarn)
Cream Alisa Design sweater (handknitted)
Handknitted hat, mittens, socks, and scarf (Drops Design alpaca by Lomaki and Wool and the Gang yarn)
Four t-shirts (secondhand merino wool And Other Stories, secondhand Isabel Marant, DIY, and thrifted Gap Pure Body)
Two pairs leggings (black and DIY)
100% wool tights and nude stockings (originally my mom's... not sure if she gave them to me or if I just stole them from her drawer!)
J Brand jeans (secondhand)
Grey Dior wool dress (secondhand)
Navy Dior wool dress (secondhand)
Red Dior dress (secondhand, in grey here)
Dior parka
Céline cashgora coat (secondhand)
Louis Vuitton trench coat (secondhand)
Louis Vuitton wool skirt (secondhand, similar here)
Prada cotton shirtdress (secondhand, pictured here)
Pink LK Bennett dress (in brown here)
Louboutin secondhand Simple pumps
Salvatore Ferragamo Vara pumps
Geox waterproof leather boots (with rubber lug sole)
Nike Sky High sneakers
Two pairs 100% wool socks (originally my grandfather's)
Longchamp Pliage bag, size small in khaki

You absolutely can wear dresses, skirts, shorts, etc. in the wintertime. Try wearing sweaters over dresses- it's like getting a brand new skirt. Be sure to double up on wool tights, under ankle or boot socks, if the shoe allows for it. Otherwise, layer two pairs silk or nylon stockings. It's hard to buy tights secondhand, but Swedish Stockings and Pact make recycled nylon versions, and you can upcycle (tawashi!) or mail old pairs to No Nonsense's recycling program. I'm ok walking around with stockings and ankle socks in heels, but I'm from Cleveland, so I'm basically a Viking. 

Paris to Go

Zero Waste Laundry



Sometimes when people talk about laundry in the context of "minimalist" or capsule wardrobes, it sounds awfully nihilistic. There is a fear of imaginary situations like- what if you get something dirty and need it the next day? Won't you be stuck doing laundry all the time? Don't worry, that doesn't happen. I always own enough so there's something else to wear. I do laundry once a week at most, and only for things that really need it, like underwear, sheets, and towels. Most clothes stay fresh enough for multiple wears before laundering. Less stuff = less time and money spent on maintenance.


Paris Laundry vs. America 


Our front-loading machine is much smaller than an American one (max capacity 7 kg), and a single cycle takes hours. Like everyone I know in Paris, I wash everything on the "quick" setting, which takes forever. French washers spin clothes vigorously, but the dryer itself doesn't do anything- it sort of just cooks the clothes. There's no lint trap, either, necessitating yearly maintenance. My only option is to hang dry. This is better for the garments, the environment, and cuts down on ironing. Many neighbors have drying racks and clotheslines; I use every radiator, doorknob, chair, and hook in our apartment (I clean them so often anyway). Seasonally, I wash big stuff, like comforters and pillows, at the laundromat, using my own soap. This is the first place I've lived in with laundry, but my routine hasn't changed much from when I didn't have space for a washer / dryer. I still only do full loads. Back then, I handwashed what I could and air-dried everything to save money.


Laundry science


Washing clothes in cold water will, to some degree, sanitize kinetically. Most machines don't heat water hot enough to kill all germs and pathogens anyway. Further, many French machines won't let you change water temperature. Store-bought detergents merely inactivate microorganisms, not remove them. Judicious use of a hot iron, steamer, sunlight, and vinegar (in the rinse cycle) is germicidal and eliminates dust mites. Vinegar has the added benefit of reducing dye loss, softening water, and maintaining garment shape. Whereas traditional detergents leave residue behind, a mild antiseptic soap like Alep rinses cleanly without irritating additives. Baking soda is an effective water softener and brightener that hasn't left buildup in our washing machine. Experts often recommend soaking items such as handkerchiefs in salty water or lemon juice for a better clean. 


My routine 


Every week I do four loads, in order of what takes the most time to dry. I sort so as to keep germy materials separate:

  1. Sheets and handkerchiefs
  2. Bath towels, hand towels, and bathmats
  3. Clothes, socks, stockings, underwear 
  4. Flour sack towels, cloth napkins, and dishcloths

Our clothes can generally be combined in one load, partly because of the soap we use, partly because of the quality, fabric, and palette we choose. From what I've seen, a mild antiseptic soap is high efficiency washer-compatible (control study of one) and will not fade or bleed colors, provided the material is dyed properly. I never dry clean, and wash coats at the beginning and end of every season. I'm not sure how often I wash my dresses; a few times a season, but the t-shirts and leggings I wear underneath get washed once a week or biweekly, depending on my spot-clean vigilance. I brush and air things often, so rest assured, they stay fresh. Thus far, my wooly sweaters have been hand-washed once, when I got them.

I try to hand-wash my underwear every night- you're supposed to wash immediately after use- but realistically sometimes just throw them in with the regular load weekly. According to housekeeping manuals, if you loosely group underwear, socks, and clothes together, they come cleaner because articles of dissimilar sizes produce the best washing results. Of course, if you have kids, diapers need to be washed separately from everything else.

You can grate soap directly into the machine, or dissolve in hot water first. I use lemon juice and sunshine instead of bleach. Our whites are sparkling, and when the Darty man came to look at our three year old machine, he complimented how clean and well-maintained it was. In Paris, irons need monthly vinegar baths to prevent them from breaking down or spewing brown water and mineral deposits everywhere. 


Reducing laundry and ironing


  1. Hang towels to dry instead of using a fresh one every day. Korean grandmothers are big on this one
  2. Skip the dryer. Shake and smooth the wrinkles out of cloth while damp, folding handkerchiefs and cloth napkins before hanging to dry.
  3. Choose fibers carefully. I no longer iron any of my stuff. Quality fabrics, I've found, generally wrinkle less and can be steamed during the shower if necessary. Wools are particularly low-wrinkling.
  4. Change out of street clothes as soon as you get home. Protect garments by wearing t-shirts, camis, dress shields, slips, and stockings underneath, or tying an apron on while cooking and cleaning. 
  5. Don't eat in bed, and wash face and feet before getting under the covers.
  6. Air, brush, and spot clean clothing instead of throwing barely worn items in the laundry (depends on the fiber). If they're not smelly or gross, avoid overwashing.
  7. Fold items as soon as possible. Leaving them in a basket causes wrinkling, and cats find clean laundry irresistible.
  8. Allow for space between garments in closets and drawers. Clothes stored too close together wrinkle terribly. 

I know a lot of people prefer doing laundry less frequently. Practically speaking, that might be all they can manage, and I'm not one to judge, since I never wash my hair. Scientifically speaking, everyone needs to do some laundry once a week. Dust, dirt, and sweat weaken fabrics and mildew, odor, and pathogens can permanently damage fibers when left too long. Contrary to popular opinion, weekly washings won't wear stuff out faster, but can help preserve and extend life span, depending on the garment. If you need to dryclean, most places in Paris let you use your own garment bag and hanger- Sequoia is perchloroethylene free. The harsh chemicals and plasticizers used in drycleaning cause much faster wearing, discoloration, and fading. Plus they use the same fluids over and over again, on everybody's garments...





So, I hope this makes sense and answers everybody's questions. I only do laundry once a week, I never dryclean, iron, or use the dryer. Everything smells good, stays colorfast and, provided they are quality garments, lasts despite repeated use. Only common sense and personal preference can determine how often you wash garments, how you sort them, and what you use to clean them, but this works for me.  It's been my experience that owning less and keeping up with laundry makes it less of a burden. For zero-waste stain removal, click here. For tips on extending the life of your wardrobe, click here. For linen questions, click here.  Finally, zero-waste cleaning, natural soap, and everything I own.


Plastic-free laundry tools

Natural soap, soap nuts (if you can grow and not import them), or DIY detergent (such as homemade washing soda), according to local availability
Baking soda, lemons, and vinegar
Lingerie bag to keep delicates from snagging
Skip dryer sheets, or, if you must, use DIY wool dryer balls

Paris to Go

Volez, Voguez, Voyagez - Louis Vuitton - Grand Palais

           

Cop21 is the worst- it's like The Jerry Springer Show of sustainability- and I didn't want to eat there so I headed to Square Jean Perrin for the new Louis Vuitton exhibition Volez, Voguez, Voyagez. Amidst Callot Soeurs dresses, Stradivarius violins, and purchase orders from Matisse and Dior, there are Louis Vuitton automobile parts, picnic sets, and hairbrushes- stuff I didn't even know they made, all non-disposable and perfectly useable today. Knit bonnets by Sonia Delaunay and Robert Piguet gingham gowns still look timeless next to coats by Marc Jacobs and dresses by Nicolas Ghesquière. Best of all, the exhibition features a glittering replica train car and Wes Anderson's famous luggage from The Darjeeling Limited, in all their hand-painted palm tree and giraffe-festooned glory.

The visit begins with classic Louis Vuitton designs from 1854 onward, followed by several travel sections and a collection of lithographs, fine papers, and books. One section features walls padded in monogram plush, not unlike Daria Morgendorffer's bedroom. Vintage luggage tags, ledgers, and leather bound wooden trunks are exhibited beautifully with period-appropriate loans from Palais Galliera. I would wear most of the vintage clothing displayed, which comes as no surprise, since I have the fashion sense of a 107-year-old woman. 

By the way, Louis Vuitton was a stone cold fox, judging from his portrait by Yan Pei-ming. Born in the Franche-Comté forest, he traveled from Jura to Paris on foot at age 14. There he parlayed woodworking skills into box-making, assembling sweetly scented, ergonomically designed trunks for European royalty. An early proponent of minimalism, he focused on creating increasingly lightweight, ingenious containers to protect and store his clients' entire wardrobes. Fun fact: Vuitton's grandsons, twins Jean and Pierre, invented helicopter prototypes.

"Volez, Voguez, Voyagez" runs until February 21, 2016. General tour tickets are sold out, but you can still reserve an entree simple or go without, which means you just enter through a separate line. I also highly recommend visiting the Vuitton family home, workshop, and gallery in Asnières-sur-Seine. Vuitton himself built the home in 1859 because Paris was dirty, smelly, and overrun with slums, and he wanted his family out of there. The gardens are beautiful and the house is full of richly handcrafted furniture. The backyard accommodates a workshop with over 200 artisans. Today you can take a tour and visit the small museum there, by appointment only.
Paris to Go

Foucade Paris

   

Yesterday we tried newly opened Foucade, Paris' first "pâtisserie positive." Steps away from Madeleine, behind a pretty violet storefront and matching Vespa, Foucade Paris offers gluten-and-lactose-free, reduced sugar and reduced fat patisserie sans pork or fish-based gelatins. It's the kind of place you'd read about in Goop.  

Foucade Paris is part of a new class of tea rooms that take the stuffing out of traditional French patisserie, along with Acide Macaron, Gâté, and Lily of the Valley, among others. Philippe Starck ghost chairs sit opposite plush recliners resembling those in Nick Grimshaw's X-Factor house. The founder, Marjorie Foucade, eats wheat-and-lactose-free and said, "I was eating a lot of refined sugars. It wasn't healthy, because I was doing a lot of sport." Two years of research with dietitians, nutritionists, and noted pastry chefs (the in-house chef's resumé includes Angelina and Fauçhon) culminated in "six recipes, so I hope you like them," she laughed. 

I ordered fresh juice with citronette, a yuzu-tinged tart topped with basil. To get a better idea of Foucade's offerings, I also got an eclair: choux pastry filled with light, lactose-free clove chantilly over spicy apples, chia seeds, and praline. Finally I polished off an operette, rich chocolate mousse on a bed of buckwheat and chia seeds. The other customers gave me major side-eye, as if I'd missed the point of positive patisserie. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented and the service was very nice though. We walked to Bio'c'Bon after and found purple sweet potatoes, so all the mental blog post composition I did up until that point fell apart under a torrent of transgenic dicotyledonous delight. I feel like I'm the girl writing that Sassy article about Tiffani-Amber Thiessen saying this, but it is quite expensive as far as gluten-free goes: 39.50 euro for two juices and three pastries. I understand that it's a high-quality, creative product and for a special occasion treat, it's warranted.

Foucade Paris

17 Rue Duphot
Metro: Madeleine

Paris to Go