2-espresso-house-stockholm

stockholm is for lovers

for valentine’s day, my love and i took the 30 minute train ride from uppsala to stockholm. how amazing is it that we live so close to stockholm! it blows my mind, and i even had a chance to visit the capital city two times this past week.

1-stockholm

well, my lovely wife is a huge fan of musicals, as i am – but i think she may be a little bit crazier than me. so, last fall, after we decided/found out we’d be moving back to sweden from asheville, she suggested that we go and see a musical that starred her most favorite singer ever, helene sjöholm. co-starring with her would be peter jöback… a singer/broadway star that i am just in love with. like, i really want to be his best friend. truly. for some reason, i think we’d get along just splendidly. he and his husband live outside of stockholm, and i can just imagine lina + i hanging out with them. hehe. but, seriously.

so, we bought tickets last november for their valentine’s day matinee, feeling like it was forever until we’d get to see the play. but, time passes quickly + life changes + yesterday we spent the day in stockholm, with the highlight being seeing the musical “livet är en schlager” – no idea how to translate that phrase into english. it’s the story of a housewife who lives in a regular old neighborhood, where no one famous comes from or nothing worthy of talking about ever happens. well, she sends in a song that her friend/client wrote to a swedish/european musical competition, and suddenly finds herself a star. however, it is just assumed that she has written the song and she doesn’t really say anything against that. peter jöback plays her brother, a transgender drag queen, simply doing the best he/she can to be true to him/herself. the stories all intertwine, making it a beautiful story of dreams, acceptance, and being true to who you are.

however, the play was just part of our day in stockholm. we decided to hop the train in the morning and were in stockholm by 11 am. our first stop was a cozy, newly remodeled coffeehouse that we love. it was very important to begin our day with a fika, to warm us up + give us energy. of course.

3-coffee-fika then, we headed out onto the streets of the city, shopping, wandering, soaking up the sunshine. it was a beautiful day. chilly, but i wasn’t cold at all.

6-stockholm

we ducked into a popular restaurant at just the right time. it was packed, and we had to wait quite a while for our lunch. but, it was so worth it… and it was perfect timing as we were done just in time to take a long, refreshing walk to the theatre. i mean, it was a loooong walk, but it was beautiful – and i was stuffed after all of the pizza i ate and the beer i drank. hehe. 7-vapiano 8-pizza-vapiano

9stockholm-harbor

we finally reached the theatre, called cirkus, and found our seats. they were amazing. first row in the second level up – hard to explain. just know that this short girl had no problem seeing. the musical began, and we were both in joyous tears as the cast sang the first number.

now, for the not-so-great news. lina’s favorite singer, the star of the play, was sick. that’s right. her understudy filled in for her. it was such a disappointment to my love (and to me). my heart was breaking, though, for lina – who had waited so long to see her role model perform again. however, the chick who was the understudy had clearly literally studied helene sjöholm because her mannerisms and even the way that she sang seemed to mimic the certain traits that make helene sjöholm, helene sjöholm. so, that was super good.

10-musical-cirkus-stockholm

11-musical

the musical as a whole took our breath away. we laughed. we cried. we clapped. we sang. i loved it. and i saw peter jöback perform! geez he’s so talented.

12-musical

afterwards, we walked forever back towards the train station a bit, stopping to have dinner at an american restaurant – which is not so famous in america anymore, but really popular here. we ate + drank + discussed the day’s events, but mostly the musical.

then, it was time to make our way to the train station and head home.

10-stockholm-night

it was a beautiful, fun day. only the first half of this wonderful valentine’s day weekend. an perfect balance between a day of being active and touristy and doing something special together, and a day spent at home cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and sipping on coffee. no matter where we are or what we do, i am filled with love + gratitude that i get to share this life with my love.

5-me-and-lina-valentines-day

hope you all had a wonderful valentine’s day – no matter if you were with someone, or spending the day loving yourself. in the end… it’s all really about beginning with loving ourselves + then spreading that love with any + everyone we meet.

 

onwards + upwards!

fika-reading

when life is like the movies

there is a scene in one of my favorite movies, ‘you”ve got mail’, that, when i see it, i think to myself, “i want that to be part of my life”. i’ve looked all over the internet for a photo of that exact moment in the scene to share with you, but i can’t find it anywhere. so, bear with me as i share a photo of just after my favorite little moment + describe this short snippet…

Youve-Got-Mail-Coffee-Shop

meg ryan plays a free-spirited, live from her heart, children’s bookshop owner named kathleen kelly whose business is closed down by the money-hungry, big business tycoon joe fox, played by tom hanks. seriously. a tom hanks/meg ryan movie. sooooo good. they are just magic together. anyway, in this scene near the end of the movie, kathleen has lost her store and is faced with reinventing her life. she is spending some of the newly acquired free time sitting at a window counter, sipping coffee, reading a book. all alone. just enjoying a quiet moment in busy new york city. soon, joe fox (spoiler!: they are now friends) appears outside the window, waving, and goes in to join her. that’s it. just a short, non-important scene in the movie. but, one that has stuck with me.

it’s such a typical nyc city scene, i think. and ever since i first saw that scene, crazy as it may sound, i found myself wanting to be her in that moment. alone. with my book + a cup of coffee. in the middle of the city. reading in the middle of whatever day it was. with a friend suddenly popping up to join me.

nelins-fika-sweden

today, i found myself doing just that. and, it wasn’t until i was in the middle of the moment myself, that i realized that i was living out that silly little scene from one of my favorite movies.

now, is this something that is petty + tiny +and really unimportant in the grand scheme of things? why, of course it is. i mean, c’mon, it’s me dreaming of living out something that happens in hollywood. something that wasn’t even real to begin with. it’s, as i’ve said… silly.

or is it? there is a part of me that thinks it’s not unimportant. of course, there are more important things than me finding the time to recreate a scene from a favorite movie. but, at the same time, this moment that i lived out in reality reminded me that movies make us dream + wish, and that’s a good thing. as long as we don’t go too far or get obsessed or forget to be grateful for what we have in our lives already. but, this was such a simple snippet of a movie, and i haven’t spent my life thinking about it, pining away for the moment i could be like meg ryan in ‘you’ve got mail’. this moment just happened. and it made me chuckle to myself and then give thanks for the crazy life that i live.

nelins-fika-piano

nelins-fika

here’s how it happened: today, when my love went off to fika with a friend, i decided to have my own little fika, but i had no idea where i would go. suddenly i saw a little cafe that was new – it wasn’t here when we lived here before, and i decided to go in. as i passed by its windows, i noticed a little window counter with some stools and decided i’d grab my coffee and plop myself down there to read and watch people. so, i ordered a blueberry muffin and a french coffee press, and made my way to this cozy space. it was not until i had cracked open the book, eaten my muffin, and drank half of my coffee, that i realized that i was leaning over, devouring the words on the page, resting my head on my hand, and completely enjoying this simple solitary moment in the middle of the day. however, i still had not even thought about the movie. just then, i looked up and saw a dear friend/family member appear outside the window, waving at me. he came in, walked over to me, we embraced, and then he joined me for a bit.

fika-window-seat-cozy

fika-window-seat

when he had gone, i turned back to my book and my mind drifted to the the movie… i’d just lived out that favorite scene of mine! which, in itself is no big deal, but in the scheme of dreaming dreams about life and creating the kind of life that you want, it is a damn big deal.

so, with a quirky little grin on my face, i gazed out the window at the people passing by, took another sip of coffee, and turned back to the words on the page on the counter. here i was, an expat living in sweden, once again. creating the life that i had dreamed of, and giving thanks for all of the simple little things that make my life what it is.

me-fika-reading me-fika

onwards + upwards! xo

the reynolds family goes camping: a short video by lier.se

about a month ago, lina + i did something that i loooove to do: we went camping. my brother, nick, announced to us sometime in august that he thought we should go camping as a family during the autumn – since we were all in the same place now… and not spread out across the state or across the ocean. so, the 3 of us decided that a camping trip to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday was the perfect reason to make this family outing happen.

we left on a friday afternoon for hot springs, nc, and set up camp until midday. while we were there, we basically made delicious camp food, sat by the fire, read some books, wandered a bit, drank beer, cooked + ate more food, and sat by the campfire some more. it was a magical weekend – one that i will never forget. one that i have stashed away in the recesses of my memory, knowing that i will draw upon those cozy late night, dark moments around the fire or those chilly mornings of preparing camp breakfasts together, for the rest of my life. everything was so simple + slow + real + intentional. we were off the grid + unplugged. just enjoying the surroundings + each other.

well, my amazing wife did her amazing thing and created a video of the weekend – so now i have a some live action memories of what happened that weekend; and i cannot express with words what this little video means to me. i cry every single time i watch it.

if you’d like, take a little look, and see how we spent our family weekend together. i’m gonna watch it again + again + again. hehe.

thank you, my love. you have ,melted my heart + touched me so deeply with this. i will cherish it always.

love xx

Se+första+bilderna+ur+%22Känn+ingen+sorg%22

känn ingen sorg (shed no tears)

sunday night i watched a movie. you know, a cozy sunday night movie with popcorn and people you love. there’s no better way to end a weekend i think – nice and slow, and hopefully inspirational. though, i didn’t really know much about the movie we were going to watch, so i didn’t know if it would be inspirational or not. i knew that it has been well received and loved by people here in sweden (it’s a swedish film) and that it is based on the lyrics and music of a very popular singer/songwriter/musician named håkan hellström. lina’s been in love with his music the whole past year, so i’ve heard it a lot. and i like it, but i think i’ve been caught up in my american, living in the mountains again, bluegrass/folk stuff lately, so i haven’t paid it that much attention. until now…

anyway, the movie’s title is känn ingen sorg (shed no tears), and the film is based on the breakout hit of håkan hellström in 2000 with the same title. it is a beautiful film – from the music to the scenery to the characters (who i loved and hated at the same time) to the colors…. just so lovely and special.

92cb949bac7e8eb3a2d0f0599f885ee1

it’s the story of a guy who feels music in his soul, sees it around him, hears it in every part of life, and yet cannot express it. well, he expresses it when he is alone. but, in front of people he chokes. gets insane stage fright, and truly makes a fool of himself because he cannot control his fear. he’s an awkward guy anyway, but trying to sing or play in front of someone makes it a thousand times worse. yet, the music is in his soul and he aches to let it out.

in the movie, pål (pronounced sort of like “paul”) tries to overcome his fear, so that he can let his soul sing. influenced, supported, inspired, and sometimes completely frustrated with and disappointed by his friends and a girl who becomes his muse, pål fights, struggles, and fails in his quest to be a musician time and time again.

sounds depressing, right? well, it was stressful to watch him fail and freak out. but, it was also so inspiring for me to see someone fight for what’s in their soul with such passion. it reminded me that, when we find that thing that we love to do, or when we discover exactly who we are meant to be, that we ought never give up – even when we make fools of ourselves, or no one understands us, or we feel completely alone in our quest.

in the end, it is always just about learning to love and accept who we are – and to never, ever let that go. no, my friends, it is our destiny, our fate, and our calling to live the life that we are called to live. to be exactly who we are called to be – without any apologies. because who we are – right now. today. is just fine.

kann-ingen-sorg-08-700x392 K-nn_ingen_sorg-2 K-nn_ingen_sorg K-nn_ingen_sorg-1 K-nn_ingen_sorg-3 Se+första+bilderna+ur+%22Känn+ingen+sorg%22 photo_l_51f7b9ea9606ee40f428c5d6

03Noje-film-inforb_1113595a tumblr_mrt0r4nZoR1sqcvb4o3_r1_1280 hak4

hellstrom_0

so, let’s make a promise, together, to be like pål. to discover our own voices and then never give up on ourselves and to always fight to let our voices be heard. because we each have so much to give and share with the world – in our own special and unique ways.

sending you lots of love and peace. xx

a video of our road trip: starring paige, lina, me & first aid kit!

there are perks to being married to a graphic design student. and one of the new ones is homemade videos. that’s right, my love has gotten into the groove of making videos  – and she is goooood. so, during our road trip to see first aid kit in concert this past weekend, she did a whole bunch of filming using her iPhone throughout our entire trip. and then she spent last night & this morning creating, editing, and finalizing an amazing and fun video of our trip! what a great way to preserve memories and laugh at how silly we are. i’m so excited and can’t wait to see what other videos she creates after this crazy, amazing, event-filled summer.

but, for now, check out this awesome 6 minute video of our weekend road trip!

peace and love. xx

m4s0n501

what are you doing new year’s eve?

well, that’s a wrap. the last day of 2013 is upon is, and i don’t know about you, but i am ready for some serious celebrating! this year i wanna get dressed up and be all fancy & girly. i wanna dance and go to a party and ring in the new year with people all around me.

i think i’m in such a celebratory mood because 2013 has been oh so generous to me… well, my love and i have worked for it, but we’ve also expected and envisioned it. so, as we dreamed and believed, we also acted and the universe opened door after door, showering us with amazing moments. and i want to celebrate all of that. i want to shout to the world, and spread extra joy today to everyone i meet… because i am so grateful and blessed. it’s time to try to give back a little of the amazingness that has been given to me in 2013. it’s truly time to celebrate.

01330d2a71d411e38a6b12bdb3c39e5b_8

all of the serious, soul-searching, reflection is done. last night i spent a few hours with candles lit, a glass of wine by my side, pens and journals open, and my soul-touching playlist playing. i reflected on the past year and envisioned and planned for the new one. i wrote on the last page of my 2013 journal and then put it away, with all of my other journals. it was a very special and meaningful ritual. but, now, these end of the year rites of passage have been completed, so the only thing left to do is dance & drink champagne!

as you read this, i am either currently on my way or already in atlanta, georgia to celebrate new year’s eve with some friends – lanie (a blogging buddy) and her girl, charlie. my love and i hit the road early, because we’ve got shopping, exploring, eating, drinking, and having fun to do before we meet up with the girls in the afternoon to begin our celebrations. and, boy do we have some celebrations planned! it’s gonna be so great! the perfect cap to one of the most amazing years (with plenty of both ups & downs) of my life.

here’s to 2014! here’s to turning 40 this year! here’s to living life & feeling alive! 

so, my friends, what are you doing for new year’s eve? 

i just had to. they’re so cute.

wishing you the happiest of new years! bring on 2014! 

peace and love. xx