Nathalie Söderqvist / actress
Me and Birgitta celebrating Sweden's National Day at the Swedish church.

Me and Birgitta celebrating Sweden's National Day at the Swedish church.

  Idag firades Sveriges Nationaldag (en dag för tidigt) i Svenska kyrkan i San Pedro och jag var där tillsammans med Birgitta och ett hundratal andra svenskar. Först hölls en familjegudstjänst inne i kyrkan och sen fortsatte själva firande ute på gården med körsång av Svenska kyrkans kör, diktläsning, nationaldagstal av SACC-LA:s ordförande Gudrun Giddings och hissaning av den svenska flaggan till tonerna av nationalsången. Därefter vankades det lunch, gjord av SWEA LA, och lotteri med många fina priser. Vi hade tur med vädret också. De senaste dagarna har det varit värmebölja, men idag i San Pedro fläktade vindarna svalkande. Helt perfekt!

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Today Sweden's National Day was celebrated (one day early) at the Swedish Church in San Pedro. I was there with Birgitta and about a hundred othere Swedes. First there was a church service and thereafter the celebration continued outside with the church choir singing, a poem about the National Day, a National Day Speech held by the president of SACC-LA Gudrun Giddings and the hoisting of the Swedish flag to the tunes of Sweden's national anthem. Then we had lunch, provided by SWEA LA, and the winners of the raffle were presented. And the weather was perfect. The past days there has been a heat wave in LA, but today in San Pedro there was a refreshing breeze to keep us all cool.  
The Swedish (and Norwegian) church in San Pedro, CA.

The Swedish (and Norwegian) church in San Pedro, CA.

 
Gudrun Giddings is holding this year's National Day Speech. Behind her is the Swedish Church Choir.

Gudrun Giddings is holding this year's National Day Speech. Behind her is the Swedish Church Choir.

 
The poem was performed by this beautiful woman in a traditional Swedish folk costume.

The poem was performed by this beautiful woman wearing a traditional Swedish folk costume.

 
The Swedish flag was hoist to the tunes of the national anthem.

The Swedish flag was hoist to the tunes of the national anthem.

 
The raffle prizes.

The raffle prizes.

 
Me, Birgitta, Cecilia and Gudrun enjoying the celebration in the windy, but refreshing, weather.

Me, Birgitta, Cecilia and Gudrun enjoying the celebration in the windy, but refreshing, weather.

     
The whole film team of the day: writers and producers Sue and Greg, and actor Sean.

The whole film team of the day: writers and producers Sue and Greg, and actor Sean.

  I förra veckan hade jag min första inspelningsdag på kortfilmen Spin Cycle. Vi filmade på några olika platser i Los Feliz, bland annat i Barnsdall Art Park. Där finns arkitekten Frank Lloyd Wrights första Los Angeles-byggnad, Hollyhock House, som stod färdig 1921. Huset är döpt efter Aline Barnsdalls favoritblomma, stockrosen, och temat går igen på väggar, vid taklinjen och på pelare. Förutom Hollyhock House gillade jag också tallparken väldigt mycket och utsikten mot Griffith Park och resten av LA.

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Last week I had my first day on the short film Spin Cycle. We filmed on several locations around Los Feliz, among others at Barnsall Art Park. I hadn't heard of the park before, but I was thrilled to visit it. Mainly because architect Frank Lloyd Wright's first Los Angeles project was built here in 1921. It's called Hollyhock House, named after Aline Barndall's favorite flower. The flower is incorporated in the building on walls, the roofline and column planters. In addition to Hollyhock House, I also liked the pine tree garden very much as well as the view towards Griffith Park and the rest of LA.  
Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. with the hollyhock represented on the wall.

Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. with the hollyhock represented on the wall.

 
Me and my co-star Sean, who plays my boyfriend, in the pine tree garden.

Me and my co-star Sean, who plays my boyfriend, in the pine tree garden.

     
Looking out over Los Angeles from the top of Runyon Canyon.

Looking out over Los Angeles from the top of Runyon Canyon.

  Minst tre morgnar i veckan "hajkar" jag i Runyon Canyon som min workout, men imorgon stängs området i fyra månader för att de ska byta ut vattenledningarna. Förutom att flåset och rumpan får sig en rejäl omgång uppför är det så avkopplande att börja dagen med att vara ute i naturen, höra fågelkvitter och se skalbaggar, ödlor och bin när man går nedför. Och att blicka ut över LA när man nått toppen - det ger mig energi. Men nu kommer jag inte få se den vyn på fyra månader, så det var lite vemodigt imorse. Och inte bara för mig. Många, kanske främst hundägare, har sina "Runyon-vänner" som de träffar på på sina rundor och som de nu inte kommer att se förrän i augusti. Folk önskade varandra trevlig sommar och drog ut lite extra på det sista varvet.

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At least three mornings a week I hike in Runyon Canyon as my daily workout, but tomorrow the park will close for four months due to a water project. Apart from the workout hiking uphill it is so relaxing to start the day being in the nature, hearing birds chirping and see beetles, geckos and bees hiking downhill. And to look out over L.A. when you've reached the top - that gives me energy. But now I won't get to see that view for four months, so I felt a little bit sad this last morning. And not only I. A lot of people, perhaps mainly dog owners, have their "Runyon friends" that they meet on their hikes and that they now won't see again until August. They wished each other a happy summer and walked a little slower to keep this last hike last a bit longer.  
Sunrise over Downtown and Hollywood Hills.

Sunrise over Downtown and Hollywood Hills.

 
You can see the Hollywood sign from the top.

You can see the Hollywood sign from the top.

 
View towards Century City and Santa Monica.

View towards Beverly Hills, Century City and Santa Monica.

 
They're closing the trails to replace the water pipes.

They're closing the trails to replace the water pipes.

 
Two of the trails with West Hollywood in the background.

Two of the trails leading up to the top, with West Hollywood in the background.

 
Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

 
The road will be repaired during the closure.

The road will be repaired during the closure.

 
They'll be replacing the pipes under the tennis court as well.

They'll be replacing the pipes under the tennis court as well.

       

Long time no see…

Me and Katina at The Grove.

Me and Katina at The Grove.

Tiden bara rusar iväg. Lägg till det att alla jämt har fullt upp, att avstånden är stora och bilköerna oändliga. Vips så kan det ha gått ett halvår, ett år eller till och med två utan att man lyckats hitta en tid som funkar att ses. Helt sjukt! Men häromveckan fick vi äntligen till det, jag och Katina. Vi har känt varandra sen jag flyttade till LA; vi gick samma veckolånga workshop med show cases och sen flyttade hon till LA ungefär ett halvår efter mig. Men sedan dess har vi inte lyckats ses mer än en handfull gånger. Vi sågs på The Grove. Jag gillar verkligen det stället; blir glad varje gång jag kommer dit. Det känns som ett litet Disneyland. Förra gången vi sågs träffades vi där också och vi gick dessutom till samma ställe nu för att prata om allt som hänt sen sist. Och nu ska det förhoppningsvis inte dröja lika länge till nästa gång vi ses. Peppar peppar.

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Time do fly. Add to that that everybody is constantly busy, LA is a big city and the traffic jams endless. All of a sudden six months, a year or even two years have past and you haven't been able to find a time that works for both of you. Insane! But the other week it finally happened! I met up with Katina, whom I've known since I moved to LA. We took the same industry intensive workshop and then she moved to LA about six months after me. But since then we've only been able to meet up a handful of times. We met up at The Grove. I really like that place; it makes me happy. It feels like a tiny Disneyland. Last time we also met there and we even went to the same restaurant as last time to catch up. And hopefully it won't take us that long to make it happen again. Fingers crossed.  
View from The Grove's parking structure with The Grove in the foreground and Century City at the far end.

View from The Grove's parking structure with The Grove in the foreground and Century City at the far end.

 
View from The Grove's parking structure towards Hollywood Hills.

View from The Grove's parking structure towards Hollywood Hills and the Hollywood sign.

 
View from The Grove's parking structure towards Downtown.

View from The Grove's parking structure towards Downtown.

     

GOD JUL!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Jag önskar er alla en riktigt God Jul!

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I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Visiting Santa with my friends Marc and Jani.

Visiting Santa with my friends Marc and Jani.

Swedish Lucia celebration in Los Angeles.

Swedish Lucia celebration in Los Angeles.

Det kanske mest populära eventet för svenskar och svenskättlingar i Los Angeles är SWEA:s årliga julmarknad. I år hölls den i Torrance, just på Luciadagen den 13 december. Förutom luciatåg med kröning av årets Lucia finns det glögg, köttbullar och annan svensk julmat, lotterier och stånd med försäljning av bland annat julpynt och godis. När jag kom dit vid 11.30 ringlade sig kön flera hundra meter utanför lokalen - alla ville in och se dagens första luciatåg kl 12 - och 2500-3000 personer lär ha kommit totalt i år. De första timmarna där hjälpte jag till som volontär i entrén och i SWEA:s lotteri, där man bland annat kunde vinna en resa till Sverige, en välfylld korg från IKEA, kläder från Odd Molly och Scandinavian Kollektiv samt dunsockor från Hästens. Stora event som julmarknaden och midsommarfirandet behöver många volontärer för att kunna bli av och eftersom jag uppskattar att de arrangeras varje år ställer jag mer än gärna upp och hjälper till för att traditionen ska kunna fortsätta. Lagom till dagens andra luciatåg blev jag avlöst så att jag hann gå runt och titta lite och sen se luciatåget. I vimlet sprang jag bland annat på Per Hallberg, som jag förra året hade den stora äran att kröna det årets Lucia tillsammans med, och Gunilla Persson från Svenska Hollywoodfruar. Luciatåget blev så klart en succé. Stämningsfulla svenska julsånger som nästan fick en att gråta blandades med ett potpurri av amerikanska julsånger och dagens största jubel för den Los Angeles-inspirerade nya versen till Jingle Bells. Jag ser redan framemot nästa år!

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The perhaps most popular event for Swedes and Swedish descendants in Los Angeles is SWEA's yearly Swedish Christmas Fair. This year it was held in Torrance on the Lucia day, December 13th. Except for the Lucia celebration with the crowning of Lucia there are a lot of things going on all day. They serve glögg (mulled wine), meatballs and other Swedish Christmas food, they have raffles and stalls selling Christmas decorations, candy and other Swedish things. When I arrived at 11.30 am the line of people wanting to get in were several hundreds of meters long - everybody wanted to see the first Lucia procession of the day at 12 pm - and I heard that about 2500-3000 people in total visited the Christmas Fair this year. The first hours I volunteered at the entrance and SWEA's raffle, in which you could win a trip to Sweden, a big basket with things from IKEA, clothes from Odd Molly and Scandinavian Kollektiv and down socks from Hästens. Big events like the Christmas Fair and the midsummer celebration need volunteers to come true, and since I really appreciate that events like these are being organized every year I'm happy to help out so that the tradition will continue. In time for the second Lucia procession I got released from my duties so that I had time to get a quick look around and then see the procession. In the crowd I ran into Per Hallberg, with whom I had the honor to crown the Lucia last year, and Gunilla Persson of Swedish Hollywood Wives. The Lucia celebration was of course a huge success. Beautiful Swedish Christmas songs, that made you almost cry, were mixed with a medley of American carols and the greatest cheer of the day for the new Los Angeles inspired verse of Jingle Bells. I'm already looking forward to next year's Christmas Fair!  
In the crowd I ran into Gunilla Persson of Swedish Hollywood Wives and her daughter Erika.

I enjoyed the Lucia procession with, among others, Gunilla Persson of Swedish Hollywood Wives and her daughter Erika.

 
The beautiful Lucia procession.

The beautiful Lucia procession.

 
There's no Swedish Christmas Fair without glögg.

There's no Swedish Christmas Fair without glögg.

 
Academy Award winning sound editor Paul Ottosson is crowning the Lucia of 2015, Julia Hansson.

Academy Award winning sound editor Paul Ottosson is crowning the Lucia of 2015, Julia Hansson.

 
Academy Award winning sound editor Paul Ottosson.

Academy Award winning sound editor Paul Ottosson and the Lucia procession.

 
Lucia 2014

Lucia 2014

 
Holding my speach after crowning the Lucia of 2014.

I had the honor of crowning the Lucia of 2014, Mathilda Tennysdotter.

 
With my co-Lucia crowner of 2014, Academy Award winning sound designer Per Hallberg.

With my co-Lucia crowner of 2014, Academy Award winning sound editor Per Hallberg.

 
  Se fler bilder från julmarknaden på SWEA:s hemsida. See more pictures from the Christmas Fair at SWEA's website.    

Jul i Beverly Hills

Christmas decorations at Rodeo Drive.

Christmas decorations at Rodeo Drive.

 

Beverly Hills kan verkligen det här med juldekorationer och att få dig i jul- och shoppingstämning.

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The city of Beverly Hills knows how to decorate to get you into the holiday (and Christmas shopping) mood.

 
Beverly Hills is wishing you Happy Holidays!

Beverly Hills is wishing you Happy Holidays!

 
The Spanish Steps à Beverly Hills in the Xmas mood.

The Spanish Steps à Beverly Hills in the Xmas mood.

 
Getting into the Christmas mood in front of the big Christmas tree at Via Rodeo Drive with director Mikael Berg and personal trainer Birgitta Lauren.

Getting into the Christmas mood in front of the big beautiful Christmas tree at Via Rodeo Drive with director Mikael Berg and personal trainer Birgitta Lauren.

   

Tredje Advent

Feeling the Christmas spirit at the Farmers Market.

Getting into the Christmas spirit at Farmers Market.

Det är alltid lite konstigt att vara i Los Angeles när det närmar sig jul. På radion spelas julmusik från morgon till kväll, husen pyntas med ljusdekorationer och affärerna har tomtar i skyltfönstren. Väldigt juligt. Men så tittar man sig omkring och ser en klarblå himmel, sol och palmer. Det går liksom inte ihop. I ett försök att hitta julstämningen begav jag mig till Farmers Market och The Grove. Förutom en av Californiens största granar har de även ett pepparkakshus och till och med "snö" som faller klockan 19 varje dag för att man ska få den rätta känslan.

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It's always a bit weird to be in Los Angeles in December. The radio plays Christmas songs 24 hours a day, the houses are decorated with Christmas lights and the shops have Santas in their display windows. Very Christmasy. But then you look around and see a clear blue sky, sun and palm trees. It doesn't match. To find the Christmas spirit I went to Farmers Market and The Grove. Except for one of California's highest Christmas trees they also have a gingerbread house and even "snow" that falls every evening at 7 p.m. to give you the right feeling.  
The gingerbread house at The Grove's main street.

The gingerbread house at The Grove's main street.

 
Santa is visiting The Grove.

Santa is visiting The Grove.

 
The Grove at sunset.

The Grove at sunset.

   

Pep talk

peptalk (4)   Lagom till Thanksgiving och Black Friday slog den till, så klart. Förkylningen. Fyra dagars ledighet blev till fyra dagars hostande och snörvlande, huvudvärk och feber. Kände av den redan veckan innan, efter att ha jobbat en vecka i svinkalla studios, men höll den nog på avstånd genom att fortsätta hålla ett högt tempo. Och sen när man slappnar av passar den på. Men inget ont som inte har något gott med sig: istället för att gå på fest, shoppa och bruncha jag fick en massa tid till att skriva på mitt långfilmsmanus. Och ett annat lite glädjeämne var halstabletterna, vars omslagspapper var fyllda med små pep talks. Nu är arbetsveckan igång igen. Jag är inte helt frisk, men som det står på ett av halstablettspapprena: "The show must go on. Or work."

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Just in time for Thanksgiving and Black Friday I got it, of course. A cold. Four days of holiday became four days of coughing and sniveling, head ache and fever. I felt it already the week before, when I'd worked in freezing studios for a week, but I guess I kind of stopped it from breaking out by keeping a high pace. And then when you relax it takes its chance. But every cloud has a silver lining: instead of going to parties, shopping and having brunch I got plenty of time for writing the feature film I'm working on. And another thing that made me smile was the cough drops, whose wrapping papers were filled with small pep talks. Now the workweek has started again. I'm not fully recovered, but as it says on one of the cough drops' wrapping papers:  "The show must go on. Or work."  
peptalk (2)

Some pep talk to keep your spirits up when you're sick.

 
peptalk (1)

More pep talk.

 
IKEA Burbank

IKEA Burbank

  Häromdagen fick jag tid över till att åka till IKEA i Burbank för att handla. Förutom alla möbler, heminredning och husgeråd har de även svenska matvaror, så saknar man Sverige när man är här i LA kan man alltid åka dit. Och förutom IKEA finns även Olson's Scandinavian Deli, godisaffären Sockerbit och några svenska restauranger. Dessutom ordnar organisationer som SWEA, Svenska Kyrkan och SACC-LA julmarknad med luciatåg, midsommarfest och påskfirande. Min inköpslista den här dagen var inte så lång (kaffe, herrgårdsost, knäckebröd, batterier, handdukar och kanske en kudde), men som vanligt kommer man ut med mer än man tänkt sig... De hade också satt upp sitt "holiday tent" fullt med fina julsaker, men där köpte jag inget (även fast jag ville) eftersom jag kommer att fira jul i Sverige i år. Jag gick bara in för att titta och få lite julstämning. Sen åkte jag hem och gjorde mig en välförtjänt svensk frukost med knäckebröd och herrgårdsost. Och tände lite värmeljus i sann IKEA-anda.

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The other day I got some spare time, so I had time to go to IKEA Burbank to do some shopping. Except for all the furniture, home interior and houseware, they also have Swedish food. So if you, as a Swede, miss Sweden when you're in LA you can always go to IKEA. And if IKEA's not enough there is also Olson's Scandinavian Deli, the candy store Sockerbit and a couple of Swedish restaurants. Furthermore, organizations like SWEA, The Swedish Church and SACC-LA arrange events at Swedish traditional holidays such as a Christmas Fair and Midsummer celebration. My shopping list this day was not very long (coffee, herrgård's cheese, hard bread, batteries, towels and perhaps a pillow), but as usual you end up getting more things than you planned for... They had also put up their "holiday tent", filled with pretty Christmas decorations. But I didn't buy anything (even though I wanted to) since I'm going to Sweden for Christmas, just went in there to have a look and get into the Christmas spirit. Then I went home and made me a well deserved Swedish breakfast with hard bread and herrgård's cheese.  
The holiday tent at IKEA.

The holiday tent at IKEA filled with cute Christmas decorations.

 
This is what I ended up with. Much more than I was going for...

You always end up getting more than you planned...

 
Swedish breakfast.

Swedish breakfast by IKEA.

       
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