off the grid + with the family

yesterday (sunday) was my dad’s 70th birthday, so my brother, lina + i decided that to celebrate his big day we’d head out to the woods to do a little family camping. of course, everyone else + their mother decided that it would be the perfect weekend for camping as well. why, you ask? this little thing called “leaf season”. up here, in the north carolina mountains, the leaves are just beginning to hit their peak beauty. needless to say, the campground we chose to visit was paaaa-acked! but, it was also beautiful.

on friday afternoon, lina + i packed up our car with food, a tent, sleeping bags, blankets, and cozy clothes. we headed just northwest of asheville, about 45 minutes, to the fabulous little town called hot springs – more on hot springs another day. my parents had already beaten us to the campground and had pulled their rv into their site by the time we arrived, so we went to our space and scouted out the best spot for our tent. we were not within sight distance of my parents’ site, but it was an easy 2 minute walk we went over to say hi to them and invited them over to our site (which is where we all hung out the entire weekend actually). then, we got to work setting up camp. let the coziness commence!

the weekend consisted of pure, quality family time. and food. yummy camp food. of course we sat by the fire practically the whole time (thanks to my brother’s mad fire-making skills + lina’s mad maintaining-the-fire skills). i read some + did a little walking. i took lots and lots of photos. and we all chatted and generally just spent time together. we were totally off the grid, so the only thing we focused on was each other. sadly, my brother had to travel back + forth to asheville a few times, but he slept in his tent at our campsite as well.

the whole weekend was just amazing. something that i will not soon forget, and will cherish in my heart for the rest of my life i am sure. it was an extremely special weekend for me – just the opportunity to be in the middle of nature, outside the whole entire weekend, living simply, being wild, and focusing on the things that are really important. the things that are the most important to me in my life.

day one:

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all packed up!

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entering into hot springs campground. woo hoo!

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a few campsites were right on the river (lucky dogs). however, ours ended up being just across from it, and it was pretty much perfect.

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scouting out the best spot for the tent.

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our tent!! soooo cozy + perfect – a birthday present to me from my love last year. 

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a celebratory pbr (beer) ‘cuts we got the tent all set up!

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the fire is lit! and it stayed lit literally the entire weekend. soon awesome.

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darkness fell, and it was time to make some traditional campfire food – both swedish + american, of course. here, lina is baking bread on a stick over the fire. i devoured some s’mores.

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dad warmed his hands by the fire for hours. clearly something silly was happening at this point too. 

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the family is all gathered. xoxo

day two:hot springs camping morning tent

laying in my tent, early in the morning. just gazing the trees + listening to the silence. so peaceful.

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ready for the day!

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mornin’!

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first things first: hot camp coffee from a percolator. (that’s my brother!)

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the morning fire is all lit.

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a little morning dog walking. these two are just the cutest. 

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breakfast preparations are underway. can’t wait!

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passing time by doing a little reading after a little walk into town. (those photos coming up tomorrow!)

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the sun is setting…

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evening arrives again. this one will be a special one.

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happy birthday to my dad! 

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my last little peek out from the tent as i tucked myself in.

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when i woke in the morning and unzipped my tent, this is what i saw. sooooo cozy.

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i climbed out of my tent early and walked over to the river for a few moments of solitude. amazing.

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camp liz!

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more camp coffee to get the morning started!

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hot springs camping campfire me nick cooking

brother-sister breakfast cooking team. eggs + bacon… coming up!

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our cozy home for the weekend.

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family time ♥

hope you had a good weekend, too, dear friends. check back over the next few days and i’ll share with you some photos of hot springs, the french broad river, + a little walking on the appalachian trail!

love + light. xx

OKTOBERFEST, BABY!

one day last week, my love and i were driving home, discussing whether we should or should not head over to a local brewery for some beer. just because. well, the weather was pretty damn near perfect – deep blue skies, a chill in the air, warm sun. i mean, peeeerfect. we decided to save money and drink a bottle of gaelic (highland brewing) each at home on our balcony – smart girls, huh? truth: we were a little dejected and disappointed. but, we felt responsible.

as soon as we got home, though, i got a text from my brother that basically said: “this is by water weather”. the bywater is my favorite outdoor watering hole (it’s where we held out 70th birthday party a few weeks ago). lina and i looked at each other, pondered what to do for a minute, then i texted my brother: “we are leaving in 5!”

at the bywater, sitting around a campfire, watching the sun dip down behind the mountain on the other side of the river, we began talking about the upcoming weekend. nick was going over to help my parents hang some beadboard on their walls. (they are settling in nicely!). lina and i decided that we’d get tickets to oktoberfest in downtown asheville, happening on saturday!! FUN.

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so, the rest of the week came and went. we stayed home thursday + friday nights = good, responsible girls. but, saturday, we celebrated oktoberfest the asheville way. with local breweries. woooo.

a street in the south slope part of downtown (the new, up + coming hip area of asheville) was blocked off and we stood in line to get out tickets – luckily we had bought tickets early, because the event was sold freaking out. paige was even able to snap a ticket a the last minute line.

at 1:00 pm, the gates opened, we received out little souvenir stein, and we were ready for beer – along with tons of other people. a german polka band was playing music on an outdoor stage and tents & tents of breweries lined the street. all we had to do was stand in line for a minute, hand them out stein, and they filled it with beer. amazing!

the event was from 1-6, and i did not anticipate staying the whole time, but time flew by and we were there the entire 5 hours. filling our steins. talking. people watching. laughing. dancing. drinking. and having super fun. of course, we had a method to our madness… when we walked through the gate, we went straight down to the end of the road (the farthest tent away, walking past everything), so we could start at the end and work our way back up, thereby missing the crowds at the beginning who were all crowded at the first few tents. and, we would also be at the entrance/exit at the end of the day. perfect planning.

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celebrating our first taste + our free pretzel/beef stick necklaces given to us by highland brewing!IMG_8738

a guy sitting under a beer tent, writing poetry on the spot. just name a topic and off he went! IMG_8759

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weird photo, i know. but we are smelling the most wonderful smelling/tasting pumpkin ale in the area – courtesy of catawba brewingIMG_8776

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there was even a place near the entrance/exit that we visited at the very end of our day: a breathalyzer tent. so, now, after drinking beer for 5 hours, we could test and see how drunk we were. i won’t revel that other girls’ scores, but let’s just say that they were not legal to drive. one was just over not legal. and one was waaaay over legal. i’ll never tell which was which. hehe.

me? i blew a 0.067, which is totally legal and quite below the legal limit of 0.08. i’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that i can drink so much and still not be drunk. at the same time, i’m always the designated driver, so at least we are safe. ha!

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we left this year’s oktoberfest behind, taking with us lots of memories and a yearning to try oktoberfest in munich, germany best year. stay tuned to see if that happens!

now, it’s time to be responsible liz again. it is monday, you know. hope your weekend was a good one!

love + light.

the day that love came to north carolina

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here we are. in 2010. at a rally for marriage equality in raleigh, north carolina. 

yesterday was day one in north carolina.

what does that mean? it means that it was the first day, ever, that same sex couples were finally treated as equals. the first day that same-sex couples received the right to file for marriage licenses and get married. and the first day that my love and i were legally, officially, recognized as a married couple in my home state.

it’s been a long time coming, and for a while, i wondered how long we would have to wait to be able to have the right to marry and build a life with the one that we love. but, tonight i saw same sex couples getting married in asheville, north carolina. like legally married. not a commitment ceremony, but a real live, legal marriage. with paperwork from the government and all. in north carolina!

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it’s a long legal story, that sped up in intensity this past monday after a ruling in virginia struck down the law that defined marriage as only between a man and a women. in other words, it was unconstitutional (illegal). that ruling opened the door for other states to also strike down their own bans on same-sex marriage. north carolina has had a ban on gay marriage for a while now, but i didn’t really believe that the law would be stuck down anytime soon.

so, after a lot of drama and a lot of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, and last ditch political and horrific stalling tactics by republican, and almost giving up, at the last minute on friday night, a judge in north carolina ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (because of what happened in virginia on monday). and then, within minutes, same- sex marriages were allowed to begin. I couldn’t believe it when i saw it in my twitter feed.

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when i saw the news on twitter… i ran to lina. we stood in amazement. just looking at each other. suddenly, within a flash, our marriage was recognized in our state. suddenly we were a married couple in north carolina – with rights and privileges. not just two girls living together. but, legitimately married. it felt amazing. and i could hardly breathe.

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here we are, literally minutes after same sex marriage became legal in north carolina last night. we had to celebrate with a photo of a real, live, legally recognized married couple!

the government offices where you get marriage licenses stayed open late all across the state after the ruling in favor of same sex marriages. and couples poured in to get their licenses, and then immediately get married. there were ministers and clergy available everywhere to marry people right on the spot.

we decided to hop in the car and head down to the government building to be a part of this historic moment, and when we arrived, we saw that there were people milling about everywhere. couples were scattered in groups on the stairs in front of the building, getting married right there. other couples cheered them on. lina and i joined in. it is unbelievable how this truly affects the lives of so many people and so many families. it is so amazing that this has happened. that it is real.

to be clear, lina and i do not have to get married again. we were married in sweden almost 5 years ago, and as of last night, that marriage is now legal in north carolina! so, no ceremonies for us. only celebrations that our love and our marriage is something that is real and valid and recognized now. *deep breath* amazing.

here are photos of the wedding ceremonies and celebrations happening just after the ruling. it was so emotional and powerful and unbelievable…

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the rest of the photos are not mine. i pulled them off of different places on twitter. but, it shows you just some of the couples in asheville that got marriage licenses and got married. what a huge, mind-blowing, heart-exploding day! look at how cute these couples are – and they (along with lina and i) get to celebrate their love – and be recognized as full, legitimate spouses!

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yep. yesterday was day one. the day that love came to north carolina. the day that equality and justice won. i am so proud. so excited. and so overjoyed. and you know what else? it really did feel different walking around today, holding my love’s, my wife’s, hand – knowing that we are not just two women who live together. but, in the eyes of the law of north carolina and the united states, we are legally married. it is a binding contract, affording us the same rights and privileges as opposite gender couples. and i cannot adequately describe to you how incredible this feels.

yesterday, love won.

light + love