Thing I’m doing: Going to Sweden!

doorsixteen_marcuseriksson_swedishthings
Poster designed by Marcus Eriksson

I’m not usually a fan of being surprised, but sometimes crazy, unexpected GOOD things happen. This is one of those times, and even though part of me is sure there’s been a mistake, I’m letting myself be CRAZY excited.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email totally out of the blue from the Consulate General of Sweden. That in and of itself was pretty exciting (I figured it was maybe an invitation to an event in NYC), but then I read the whole email…and IT WAS AN INVITATION TO SWEDEN. Specifically, it was an invitation to attend the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February! YAY!!

And, like, everything is paid for. The flight, the hotel, the food…seriously? For me? Yeah, seriously. What is this craziness?! I guess this is a totally normal thing for other people, but not in my world. You might as well have told me I’d won the lottery. (OK, maybe not Mega Millions, but a really good scratch-off.) How did this happen? I have NO idea, but it did, am I’m going. To Stockholm! My motherland! To look at tons of innovative and beautiful new furniture and lighting! And take pictures and talk to people! In Sweden! Me! Anna!

Once I convinced myself the email was real, I started thinking about how remarkable it is that the Swedish Consulate has a program in place to promote Swedish culture in the United States, and that part of that program includes covering the cost of transporting New Yorkers to Stockholm to learn about Swedish design. I guess I don’t know for sure, but something tells me there aren’t US Consulates bringing people from Europe to the US to cover American design. Are there?

The Stockholm Furniture Fair has been on my radar for as long as I’ve been reading Emmas Designblogg and admiring all of the photos she takes when she attends every year, but I never imagined I’d get to go. I am really looking forward to seeing as many booths as I can (the list of exhibitors is bananas, so I need to strategize…and get comfortable using Evan’s old iPad), taking loads of photos, writing up a ton of notes, and meeting lots of people. I’ll blog about the entire experience and all of my favorite discoveries, of course!!

I’m only going to be in Stockholm for a few days, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a little time to visit with my aunt and uncle while I’m there. I haven’t seen them since they were in New York several years ago—the last (and only) time I visited Sweden was when I was 10 years old! Even though that was 28 years ago, I still remember so much about the trip and about Stockholm. The only thing that could make this better would be if my mother were able to come along, but maybe next time.

What a great opportunity this is! I feel very, very lucky.

79 comments
  1. Daniel @ Manhattan NestJan 24, 20149:56 pm

    I’m still just so excited for you that this happened!! You’re going to have an AMAZING time. Enjoy every minute. Sweden is magic.

    Also, I want that poster.

    Also, my offer stands to come along in your suitcase.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    OK, you can come, but you have to hold the zipper closed. xx

    (I’ll try to get three posters! You, me, and Mommy.)

  2. EllenJan 24, 201410:03 pm

    That is SO COOL! What a neat excuse for an adventure (and this is coming from a fellow not-so-keen on-travel traveller)

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  3. Victoria SmithJan 24, 201410:09 pm

    this is magical. and you are the perfect ambassador to report back to us on stockholm. you’ve got to go see lotta! and we ate at a wonderful vegetarian place when there – it was so charming, with an amazing view:

    http://www.hermans.se/

    check out bri’s stockholm guide, too:

    http://www.designlovefest.com/2013/10/dlf-stockholm-guide/

    this is so amazing!! xo

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks, K1!! I have no idea what I’m going to eat in the land of meat and dairy, so I’m trying to make a list of possible options (plus packing some Luna bars so I don’t starve to death).

    xoxox

    Martha /

    I was just thinking about how vegan eating might be tough, but you will definitely figure it out! Shopping and COFFEE on the other hand, will be easy.

    Some links:
    Jon and Juli at Mjölk have loads of good tips for the city:
    http://kitka.ca/?p=13288
    http://kitka.ca/?p=13240
    (there are more but that’s a start!)

    I think it was they who led me to this shop, but I can’t seem to find it on their blog:
    http://ki-ki.se/info/butiken-i-stockholm/

    and in case you didn’t already have it handy…
    http://www.chezlarsson.com/myblog/2011/12/stockholm-shopping.html

  4. patriciaJan 24, 201410:18 pm

    Super cool (hee hee)!

    [Reply]

  5. MuoiJan 24, 201410:19 pm

    Oh my goodness, SO exciting! I can’t wait to hear and see all of it. Hope you have an amazing time!

    [Reply]

  6. JoannaJan 24, 201410:52 pm

    Wow — so fabulous and such a perfect fit! Please do take a million photos and guilt all the Swedes into opening up shop in NY.

    You may want to rethink your stance on hats, though. If only for this trip.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    What’s this? I have a stance on hats?

    joanna /

    I thought you had mentioned that you hate wearing hats/just wrap your head in scarves? Am I mistaken? Seems like it might be a bit chilly for that, is all :P

    Anna @ D16 /

    It’s actually colder in New York right now, believe or not! I’m definitely not anti-hat, but it’s certainly possible I said that. I say all kinds of dumb stuff. :P

  7. ChrisJan 24, 201410:59 pm

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. Congrats! <3

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks, Chris! In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little bit excited. :D

  8. KathleenJan 24, 201411:17 pm

    Wow! Congratulations. Reading your good news just brightened my evening.

    [Reply]

  9. mEGANJan 24, 201411:27 pm

    That is so awesome Anna!!!! And yes, please reconsider your stance on hats (I have no idea what that’s about but couldn’t resist). :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I don’t know either, Megan, but I hope Joanna comes back so I can find out!

  10. mommyJan 25, 201412:34 am

    Your excitement is so contagious. I’m so happy for you!

    [Reply]

  11. BrittaJan 25, 20141:06 am

    I’m so please for you Anna! All the congratulations to you! I look forward to a vicarious trip to Sweden while reading all about it

    [Reply]

  12. jenn houserJan 25, 20141:38 am

    Well deserved. I hope you have an amazing time.

    [Reply]

  13. enannanhelenaJan 25, 20141:49 am

    Hi Anna! And welcome to Sweden!

    Couldn’t resist a little comment when I understood that you are coming over here! But I’m afraid I live to far down south in Sweden to be able to say hi in person when you’ll be visiting Stockholm. So, I’ll just say a little hi now instead.

    I’m really looking forward to read what you think – your unique point of view of Stockholm. And lots of pics of course!

    And I can promise you that there won’t be any problem – at all – finding whatever food you’d prefer. You know – we actually eat green stuff here too. Believe it or not. ;)

    Btw, I really enjoy your blog since several years now and I hope you’ll find time to keep on. And up!
    /helena

    PS. Could someone, please!, replace “Ace of Base” in the otherwise truly cute and funny S-poster with anything else. Something. Whatever else will do… Why not one of actor Stellan Skarsgårds actor-sons? Gustaf or Bill or maybe hunk-Alexander (Eric from True Blood). Or just make the semla bigger. You must try at least one semla when you come over, Anna!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hi Helena! If I can find a vegan semla, I promise I will have one. ;) I was only teasing a little about the vegetable thing. I know I’m probably going to be eating from a very limited menu much of the time, and I think it’s hard to find vegan food under those circumstances in any country.

    As long as I can get coffee with soymilk and fruit easily, I’ll be just fine. :)

  14. TinaJan 25, 20141:49 am

    Yay for travel, have the best time (just started reading your blog and loving it)
    from Tina in NZ

    [Reply]

  15. JackJan 25, 20142:07 am

    sweDANG that is exciting! Congratulations, have a great time!

    [Reply]

  16. RoseJan 25, 20143:05 am

    This is so awesome! You deserve free pre-paid trips across the planet.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hahahaha. When you put it that way….

  17. koryJan 25, 20145:30 am

    yayy! happy for you :) it’s like you opened your travel-chakra :)))

    [Reply]

  18. niolezhJan 25, 20145:32 am

    So happy for you-you deserve that trip!
    Swedes are really big in coffee, by the way, so this is among all other reasons the place for you! Try to squeeze in Acne Studios, their fashion is amazing!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    We have an Acne store in NYC, so if I have any time for shopping, I’ll try to make it for stuff I can’t get here. I’m dying to go to Granit!

  19. LizJan 25, 20147:43 am

    Yay! This is such fantastic news. (I remember reading a post about how you don’t travel and since then I’ve loved reading about Anna’s travels.)

    I spent some time in Stockholm last year and had a great time. I want to go back to see more of Sweden. Enjoy your few days (would they let you extend your stay if you paid the extra costs?) and don’t worry about food. I didn’t have any problems and everyone was so nice when I checked what was and wasn’t included.

    Have a wonderful time. In an entirely selfish way I can’t wait for you to get back to New York so I can read the posts and admire the photos.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Liz, yes, they did offer to extend my stay if I wanted, but I really can’t afford to do that—in time or money. It’s already a stretch for me to take three days off work right now. The timing is terrible, but how could I say no?!

  20. JulieJan 25, 20148:28 am

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can’t wait to see/hear about the furniture!

    [Reply]

  21. KellyJan 25, 20148:36 am

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  22. JudiJan 25, 20148:38 am

    Hurray for Anna! Of course they want you to go…you’re a “trendsetter” (yeah, I think that appellation is a little weird, too). I predict you come back with a desire to have a little pied-à-terre in another city…hmm. Am I perhaps projecting just a tad? Yes I am, but hey, don’t we all. Again, a big YAY and ENJOY.

    [Reply]

    Judi /

    P.S. I have discovered the perfect way to teach yourself a little more Swedish (I’ve been doing this): Read Livet Hemma every day. Since I know pretty much all the products, it’s just a matter of figuring out the context and then…you’ve got the word! OK, I know this is very weird, but I’m just putting it out there.

  23. KristaJan 25, 20149:45 am

    Can’t wait to live vicariously through your posts! Congrats!

    [Reply]

  24. TommyJan 25, 20149:49 am

    Wow!

    I think I need to start blogging. RIGHT. NOW.

    [Reply]

  25. BridgetJan 25, 201410:43 am

    Say hello to Gamlastan for me!

    [Reply]

  26. elisabetta @italianbarkJan 25, 201411:26 am

    I’ve never been to Stockolm Furniture fair but I imagine it as the best one in Europe in this times…they told me there should be also a part with Italian design called Tempo Italiano, maybe I’m going to talk about this soon in my blog :)

    [Reply]

  27. Tiffanie TurnerJan 25, 201411:48 am

    That is incredible! What an opportunity. I am so glad we’ll be able to hear all about it from you. I’m so jealous!

    [Reply]

  28. Karen (@inateapot)Jan 25, 201411:48 am

    Add me to the list of people SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I can’t wait to see your pictures & hear about the furniture. Sweden really nailed it with you & your readership for promoting their style!!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I really hope so! I’ve never done anything like this even inside the US (never been to ICFF, etc.), so I hope I can strategize well and see everything I want to see.

  29. JeanetteJan 25, 201412:36 pm

    wow..congrats! what an amazing opportunity! yes I’m jealous but also so glad I can go along on your adventure and live it through you! Can’t wait for posts from Sweden!

    [Reply]

  30. Heather P.Jan 25, 201412:53 pm

    Congratulations! That sounds like an amazing opportunity! Have fun!

    [Reply]

    Trish /

    That is so exciting and inspiring. I can’t wait to see all the photos!

  31. RebaJan 25, 20143:15 pm

    How exciting! And, from where I sit, well-deserved! I can’t wait to hear your take on this adventure.

    [Reply]

  32. KishaJan 25, 20145:16 pm

    so very exciting!! have an amazing time!

    [Reply]

  33. WendyJan 25, 20147:45 pm

    I’m so happy for you! You’ve spent years building your reputation and your blog and now it’s all coming home to roost, so to speak. It’s very exciting. I’m half danish and someday I will visit there but I will think of you in chilly February in the home of your ancestors, and I will smile, happily to myself. It would be cool for your mom to go with you…but I get it’s expensive and last-minute…

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Yeah, it’s just not great timing. It all happened so quickly and I had absolutely no idea about it until the email arrived. As much as I’d love to take a trip to Sweden with my mother, it’s better to wait until we can have more free time and not have any obligations.

  34. CatbirdfarmJan 26, 201412:43 am

    Cracked me up that you said you were dying to go to Granit. My good friend went to Stockholm last summer (I was dead jealous – never been and unlikely to be going anytime soon) and she asked if I wanted anything. Um, yes, to stow in her suitcase? Ok, get real. What I said was, Go to Granit for me and report back! She not only went and took great pics AND texted them to me live, but she picked up their (gorgeous) catalogue and a beautiful white organic cotton tee for me. When the parcel arrived at my house and I unwrapped goods direct from Granit, by the whooping and grinning, you would have thought I’d won some kind of lottery too! Hooray for Scandophiles! (is that a word?)

    [Reply]

  35. JosefineJan 26, 20145:47 am

    Welcome to Sweden! Hope you’ll enjoy your stay! :)

    [Reply]

  36. cassieJan 26, 20147:50 am

    Hey Anna!

    What an amazing opportunity to get to come here! I moved to Sweden about a year ago from D.C. to study/work in the design world, and thankfully I am going to the fair too! so so excited.

    There are plenty of vegan restaurants in Stockholm, also cafes with all vegan (traditional Swedish) treats (especially in Södermalm) but if you are only in Stockholm for a few days, I recommend a dinner at Hermans Vegetariska Restaurang & Trädgårdscafé. It sits at one of the highest points in the city at the edge of the rock so you can look out at the whole of Stockholm while you eat the amazing food! Very cozy.

    Anyways have an awesome time, and make sure you get some fika’s in :)

    [Reply]

  37. kikiJan 26, 201410:31 am

    Now is the time to ask the question I’ve pondered for awhile!

    I was reading an interview of Isabella Rosselini, whose mother, Ingrid Bergman was Swedish, and the interviewer asked Rossellini if she spoke or understood Swedish and I have always been astounded and touched by the answer: she said something along the lines of “When my mother speaks Swedish in films, I understand what she’s saying.” I have always wondered if you also understand your mother when she speak Swedish?

    (Also, I am sure there are legion of us who are thinking this>>>you are supposed to be an international traveling jubilata and design queen-and-king maker. I am sure you already know that there is a world in which at this point you get an agent already, pre-sell a coffee table book, quit your job and spend a month in Sweden. Just saying.)

    [Reply]

  38. FritzJan 26, 201411:14 am

    I’d like to live Like a Swede

    if I could

    [Reply]

  39. SimoneJan 26, 201411:58 am

    In random order:
    1. David design
    2. Svensk ten
    3. Bring your mom along (if only that were possible)
    4. So cool, enjoy yourself, congratulations, what a surprise.
    5. No hat needed the weather in Europe is pretty mild this year (until now) given the season.
    6. Maybe meet up with Elizabeth (Fine little day)?

    [Reply]

  40. BatyaJan 26, 201412:25 pm

    That’s SO awesome! Have a wonderful time! I had a blast when I went to Sweden way back when…and though I’m vegetarian and not vegan, there were lots of really good places to eat and people watch. That poster is awesome. I like how Stellan Skarsgard makes the cut! ENJOY! ENJOY!

    [Reply]

  41. CliodhnaJan 26, 20143:15 pm

    Congratulations! All good things come to those who wait. I’m very excited too, can’t wait to see your posts!

    [Reply]

  42. Jade Sheldon-BurnsedJan 26, 20145:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, I am so happy for you!! Gosh, I can’t wait to live vicariously through you…

    [Reply]

  43. AshleeJan 26, 20145:20 pm

    This is so amazing and special! I’m wishing you well as you prepare and embark on your trip!

    xoxo

    [Reply]

  44. mariaJan 26, 20146:35 pm

    Yay you! Congratulations! You definitely deserve it. Excited for you & to read about it when you get back. Safe travels.

    [Reply]

  45. oh HollandJan 26, 20149:20 pm

    What a fabulous thing for you, and in turn, D16 followers!

    Anna, here’s a Swedish co that makes stupendous upgrades for Ikea furniture and cabinets: http://www.superfront.com/global/

    Not sold here … if you have any contact with Superfront, please try to entice their wares to our continent!

    [Reply]

  46. sarahfiebsJan 27, 20149:52 am

    That. Is. Awesome.

    [Reply]

  47. MiriamJan 27, 201410:28 am

    Wow, how exciting! My husband and I spent a few days in Stockholm this past summer, and I loved the city.

    Hermans, a vegetarian restaurant in Soder near the Fotografiska Museum, always has several vegan options, and I think they do an all-vegan lunch on Wednesdays. They also have a fantastic view, though I can’t imagine you’ll want to eat alfresco in February!

    Enjoy your trip!

    [Reply]

  48. CindyJan 27, 201410:33 am

    Yay! I’m so excited for you! Can’t wait to read about your experience. :-)

    [Reply]

  49. MarissaJan 27, 20141:58 pm

    Congrats! What a great opportunity!
    BTW, the U.S. State Dept does have a similar program that brings thousands of professionals each year from all over the world (who are invited by our U.S. embassies and consulates) to the U.S. to promote a variety of U.S. interests- business, entrepreneurship, education, science, technology, etc… it’s called the IVLP program (International Visitors Leadership Program). It’s usually a 2-3 week, all expenses paid trip where the visitors get to visit at least a few states and get to experience a home stay (where they stay with an American family for a night). I worked on the program at one of our embassies in the Middle East, and most of the visitors came back with completely transformed ideas of America. It was pretty amazing to witness.
    Have a great trip!

    [Reply]

  50. KateJan 27, 201410:33 pm

    That’s amazing!!!

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  51. TeresaJan 28, 201411:56 am

    This is my first thought upon reading your post: I am ecstatically happy for you! Moreover, I’m glad that this trip is offered to someone who will appreciate it on all levels, even the vegan-eating-challenge.

    Second thought/curiosity: How do people not like/love surprises??? My husband doesn’t like, even dislikes surprises. He is the most easy-going person on earth yet I can actually see him tensing up when I tell him I have a surprise for him. I guess it’s an equal curiosity that after 40 years together, I keep trying to surprise him. I LOVE SURPRISES!!!

    Have a wonderful time. I know you will absorb it all.

    [Reply]

  52. KeyseJan 28, 201412:03 pm

    So cool, so cool! Very excited for you

    [Reply]

  53. DanielleJan 28, 201411:06 pm

    Wowie! So awesome! Hope you have a fabulous trip!

    Alexander Skarsgard…mmmm.

    [Reply]

  54. sofiaJan 28, 201411:18 pm

    anna, over the moon for you about this + your recent successes! may 2014 be the most marvelous yet! x

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Honey! Thank you xxx

  55. JudyHJan 29, 201412:20 pm

    I am a long term lurker finally inspired to comment. Congratulations! How wonderful for you! So exciting! Have a great time!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks, Judy! Glad you decided to comment. :) :)

  56. CindyEJan 29, 20143:45 pm

    Very happy for you,Anna!

    [Reply]

  57. ShelbyJan 29, 20144:52 pm

    Congrats Anna!!! This is so exciting! I absolutely love your blog and have been reading it from the start! You totally deserve this! Congrats again!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  58. jbhatJan 29, 201410:51 pm

    How do you say Congratulations in Swedish? Or in IKEA-ish,, maybe? COGRADLANAT! (?) : ) I must confess that I am very ignorant about Sweden excepting IKEA (duh), the Christmas album you shared for download, and my childhood favorite game, Husker Du! So I cannot wait to learn more about it via your trip. Maybe it will inspire a someday trip of my own.

    jbhat

    [Reply]

    jbhat /

    But how could I have forgotten to mention ABBA? Of COURSE I know about ABBA. Hearing Dancing Queen always takes me back to third grade!

    jbhat

    Anna A /

    It’s simple: Grattis!

  59. Anna AFeb 1, 20145:00 am

    Lunch: Restaurang Voltaire – a no meat, raw food restaurant who just won a Gulddraken award (ta Swedish gastro award) for being an oasis for green food without pointers.
    -PUB-huset, Slöjdgatan 9, plan -1, Stockholm

    Lunch/dinner: Gro – focus on veggies and locally produced food.
    – Sankt Eriksgatan 67, Stockholm

    Fika: Kafé Esaias – Great coffee and tea options and a committed and lovely staff. Just won a Gulddraken inte the café category (the staff is bursting of pride, it makes you really happy).
    -Drottninggatan 102, Stockholm

    Have a lovely time in Stockholm, it’s a pretty pretty city!

    [Reply]

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