how to plan a retreat filled with all of your favorite things

the arrival of autumn in just a few days has got me thinking about going on a retreat.

(geek alert now) the word retreat comes from the latin word retrehere, meaning to pull back. exactly what i think of now when i hear the word.

when i worked with teenagers + their spiritual growth, i often used short retreats as times to really dig deep and connect – with each other + with their souls. contrary to what we usually assume about teens, they actually crave ancient practices, quiet reflection, and a chance to just be. and i never would have learned that, had i not pushed them + invited them to spend 24 hours together, creating a sacred, intentional space.

these memories are some of the best ones that i have from working with teenagers in a spiritual setting. i enjoyed planning the retreats as much as i loved hosting them. in fact, i remember wondering if having/hosting retreats was something that i could do full-time. i still wonder that, and i hope to actually incorporate that into my business as i grow it.

you would come + have a retreat with me, wouldn’t you?

retreats are powerful. they are very intentional times set aside for soul work. for connecting with ourselves and whatever divine, sacred, beautiful connection we have with the universe. they give us a chance to slow down, to listen, to learn, to  unplug, and to dive inward.


retreats are like climbing a mountain and standing there, on top, gazing out in awe of everything that lays out before you. they are filled inspiring, soul-filling moments. chances to refuel, realign, reassess. they get us out of our everyday life and our everyday routines.

of course, when we think of a retreat, we think of jaunting off to some cabin in the woods or a monastery in ireland or scotland, or taking a pilgrimage to a little hut somewhere near the holy land, or sitting in a temple in some eastern country, or some cottage by the sea, or even a hotel room in the middle of new york city.

the point is, we often think of going somewhere. somewhere a bit exotic and extremely inspiring.

however, that is not always possible. or even necessary. my retreats with my teenagers that were the most amazing, were ones that we spent in our local church building. we simply gathered in a room and stayed there. we visited the sanctuary some, but other than that, we keep ourselves confined to one room and the kitchen. we didn’t even go outside.

with autumn arriving here in the northern hemisphere, we are all retreating to our homes to nest and snuggle and hunker down before the winter. so, it’s the perfect time for a little retreat i believe. a home retreat.

there is no reason that we cannot celebrate a solitary retreat at home. creating our own schedule, rituals, and routines. it is an opportunity to have a day filled with all of the things that touch our soul, that inspire us, that teach us and keep us in check with who we really are. not to mention, they just give us a time to slow down and really relax. a day of sabbath. of holy rest.


so, how we do a home retreat?

well, first we adhere to some common elements that make up a retreat: aloneness and routine

aloneness: it may be hard to find a way to be alone. for example, in my little apartment, we have a kitchen, a living room, and a hall with a little alcove at one end where we sleep. and there are no doors. the most obvious place for me to be is in our alcove. our bed is large enough that i can study, read, nap, write, meditate and even eat there. it would also be easy to create a little temporary altar beside the bed. of course, i can leave the alcove to prepare tea or use the bathroom. but, the point is that i need to communicate to my wife that i will be spending my day there. in functional silence (meaning that i only speak if there is fire or flood).

i also believe that a retreat day is one that is to be unplugged. no social media. no facebooking or instagramming. for me, writing + photography are ok. but, there is no need to be on the internet. this is a time to be with ourselves.

routine: this retreat is our own to create. therefore, there are no rules at all. it can be a withdrawal from the regular stresses of life, or a day filled with study and reading. it can be a day of mediation or even sleep. it can be a combination of all of these things. or whatever we want. the point is, it is our day to create the space and feeling that our soul most craves. so, it is just to decide what our priority would be. what do we want to focus on?

we decide for ourselves the elements of retreat that are important for us.

for me, there are many things that i could use a retreat for. like reading and learning and taking notes. really soaking up a book. working on editing and choosing photographs for a book i would like to put together. and, while these things sound like working, they are not during the retreat. instead, within the framework of a retreat, they become spiritual practices. everything would be done with a higher level of awareness and mindfulness and intention.

and leaving my little alcove is something that i would also enjoy doing. leaving for a long walk outside, or a bike ride. something done in silence. a chance to photograph + just be in nature.

other than aloneness + routine, though, the retreat becomes whatever we want and need it to be. thus creating a very intimate retreat experience.

so, here’s a little example of what i am thinking about right now:

6:30a – 7:30a    Meditation
730a – 8a          Breakfast
8a -11a              Reading session
11a – 1:30p      Photography walk + lunch break
1:30p – 2:30p  Nap
2:30p – 3:30p  Photography book planning
3:30p – 4p        Fika break (coffee/tea)
4p – 5p             Meditation
5p -7p               Read, study, write
7p-8p                Dinner
8p – 930p        More study
930p – 10p     Closing practice

while it seems that there is a lot packed in and i am not just being, actually this is me spending time doing exactly what i want. fulfilling those things that fill my soul. it’s not about feeling the need to do something that i should do in order to have a proper retreat in the eyes of anyone else. instead this is all about listening to what i need and crave in my life at this moment in time.

meditate mexican blanket

and, there is always a desire + a place for retreats that we pay for, that take us way out of our regular days and place us in the midst of other pilgrims or in exotic, beautiful places.

 i know that a home retreat, even though it doesn’t require travel or money, is not a completely easy thing to make happen. we have families, jobs, small spaces. but, with some creative planning, i believe that we can find a way to make it happen. just one day from morning to night. if you’re lucky, you may even plan a whole weekend or a week. a weekend is most definitely something that i would like to plan to do within the next 12 months. but, no matter how long or short, planning a retreat is planning a special time for just you and your spirit.

here are a few tips to help you plan your home retreat:

1. limit your communication with your family/partner/children/people you may come in contact with. If you cannot go completely silent because of responsibilities (not because you don’t want to. hehe.), then only talk in the morning and in the evening. try to only let your soul speak to you.

2. unplug. you have got to unplug. do not answer your phone. do not text. turn off your notifications. better yet, just leave your phone somewhere else. if you will be writing on your computer, turn off notifications and limit your use to a document app. no surfing. promise me.

3. make your space yours. clean. neat. separate. gather all of the things that you will need throughout the day: journals, pens, camera, books, candles, headphones, blankets, sweaters…

4. decide on your retreat priorities. what do you want your day to look like? what are the things you need, that speak to your soul? what are you missing in your life? keep it simple. Don’t try to do everything. focus, and know that you can plan another retreat soon.

5. prepare for your meals in advance. be basic. be light. be healthy. but, don’t start something new. just go with things you love. and keep it simple and relaxing. and of course, if you take medications, keep taking them while on retreat.

6. step away if you want. you can leave your retreat space, especially if your retreat is longer than few days. take a walk, go to the grocery store or gym.  if you do leave, try to stay as quiet and as mindful as possible. listen only to the natural sounds around you. keep your responses brief. parties and dates are not meant to be part of this day, of course. this day is all about you.

7. this is the most important part: create a schedule + stick to it. it may sound boring and confining, but it will set your free. and if you want free time, schedule it in. but, make sure you stick to your schedule, other wise you will wander off track, lose focus, and miss the magic of the retreat.

8. lastly, there is no need for guilt. you and i deserve this. this is all about learning how to become better us’es. there is so much within us  – so much power, inspiration, love, peace. and choosing to create a home retreat is simply us taking care of ourselves, our souls. it’s a day that gives us freedom, that reminds us who we really are + what we really want, that inspires us and prepares us to be used out in the world. so, really, you think it’s all about you. but, it’s not. it’s all about loving and living and making a difference.

challenge yourself. do this. i am. my retreat day is scheduled for saturday, the 14th of november. it’ll be good + dark in sweden then. most likely rainy. and a perfect day to be inside – literally + figuratively. care to join me in your own retreat in your own home?

leave me a comment below if you’d like to join in and create your own retreat. and, of course, let me know if you have any questions/need any guidance. (a few ideas + suggestions inspired by this post.)

onwards + upwards xoxo

“let me embrace my life”

sometimes life is just not fun. many times it’s not what we expected it to be. change comes when we don’t want it. disappointment, challenges, and suffering seem to be the norm instead of the exception.

how do we deal with that? how do we keep moving on? how can anything good come from chaos + confusion?

well, i don’t have the answers for you. not really. i mean, i have ways that i deal with this and i’ll share a few with you, but what i really want to do is to share with you people that find ways to get through it all. people that, though they face tough moments + incredibly difficult situations, still find the strength to move on.

this morning i watched a swedish tv show called ginas värld (gina’s world) about the genocide in rwanda in 1994. gina, the host, travels around the world meeting people and simply learning about their lives, their struggles, their dreams. it’s a tv show that is powerful, inspiring, and educational. i pretty much would love to do what she is doing.


gina from gina’s world

in this 30 minute episode she visited rwanda, as i said before. she met up with a woman who now works for world vision to help bring about peace and reconciliation. they toured a church where people were killed during the genocide, and it was indescribable to see and hear about it all. but, the most powerful message of this episode was another woman’s story. a woman who sought shelter in the church during the attacks, and just happened to survive. she made it out, but was attacked and her child was killed right in front of her.

as if that isn’t enough, her attacker + child’s murderer found her years later and asked for forgiveness.

she fainted upon hearing his asking for forgiveness, but a week later, found in it her heart to offer him what he was asking for. this, she said, was to not only set him free, but more importantly to set herself free.


the pain is not gone. and it is definitely not forgotten. but, she lives with a sense of freedom now that she could have never had, had she not offered this man forgiveness. today, they work side by side in the village. both completely changed people by what has happened.

incredible, i believe.

at one point, the woman who works for peace + reconciliation in rwanda stated that the only way that she could move on from the genocide was to embrace her life. to accept + allow + let her life be worth something. even in the midst of all of the pain that she carried with her. she had to move past that and live the life that she had. and then, create the life that she wanted.


click on the photo above to watch the episode (much of it is in english, so you’ll understand most of it. it’s only 30 min. long).

things don’t always go our way, do they? we try to create the life that we want, but shit happens. tough times find us again and again. and it sometimes just seems so much easier to give up than to bear the unfair, unjust parts of life.

but, i’m thinking, if this woman who was tortured and had her baby chopped in half in front of her very eyes could forgive her child’s murderer and attacker, then i can surely keep on keeping on a s well. if she has the strength to move onward and to keep creating the life that she wants to have, a life of freedom and peace, then i can surely push on and create the life that i want as well.


my love on the top.

i’ve written in a few blog posts about all of the changes happening in my life lately: meditation class, life coaching class (coming up), my new job, new routines, etc. very exciting things. i have also eluded to some other changes,  but have not mentioned them.

well, now’s the time to let you know…

many of you now that my wife has suffered from an eating disorder in one way or another for the past 10ish years. there have been ok times, where things have been stable (like while we lived in asheville) and horrible times, which led her to be hospitalized for months on end.

i’ll let her speak for herself, and you can read her words on her blog –> here), but i can quickly share with you that she has now taken a break from work for now in order to receive some intense treatment.

i think that it’s fair to say that neither one of us expected this to happen. in no way did we imagine finding ourselves in this place again. but, it is what it is. and it is for the best – that is for sure. even if it is tough.

i tell you this because, in my opinion, my wife is amazingly embracing her own life.

she is strong and she is fighting for her health. she inspires me, in how she embraces the life that is hers, even though she is scared and even though it sucks and even though times are tough. somehow, she keeps digging deep and finding something that pushes her forward, and i am so inspired.

so, in light of that, i embrace the life that i have too. for all of the beauty and peace that i have found. and for all of the fear, uncertainty, and insecurities that i have right now as well. i embrace the demons that i have as i seek to balance my life.

me lina stockholm

the only thing i know right now is that suffering, pain, and changes happen. they are a part of life. all of our lives. and the only way that i know how to deal with them are to stay grounded. to anchor myself when i feel out of control. to find rituals + routines that speak to my soul and remind me that, no matter what, all will be well. in one way or another. i must continue to learn to bend and flow and release, knowing that i will continue moving forward. choosing to continue moving forward.

and, how amazing is it, that, there are so many inspiring, incredible people out there showing us how it is done? guiding, teaching, and setting examples for us? leading the way and teaching us how to move on.

yes, there is power to be found in learning to embrace our lives. and it is that power that carries us…

onwards + upwards. xoxo

f*ck it + other mantras

i’ve discovered a few phrases that i am going to incorporate into my life. let’s call them mantras.

of course, i have a few that i already use quite often. must notably, follow your bliss. the famous quote by joseph campbell about discovering who you are and living a beautiful, authentic life. in that quote i find my inspiration to live life truly as i am, to live life to the fullest, and to let my life be used to make a difference in the world. yes, i’d say that it just may be the defining phrase that sums up my life over the past few years.

i am a major lover of words, you know, so mantras mean a lot to me. quotes too. somehow, letters and phrases and sentences strung together penetrate deep into my soul. connecting with something that is deep + wise, making my heart beat a little bit faster, giving me courage, reminding me of the grounding truths of life, and inspiring me to keep on keeping on.

and the beauty of mantras is that they are short, concise phrases that we can carry with us throughout the day. giving us that extra push or reminding us of our own power. mantras are always close by, ready to help us just in that moment that we need them. we can draw on them constantly, and use them like our breath. yep. there’s nothing like a good mantra to get you back on your feet.


so, here are a few new kick ass mantras that i’ve discovered by mailynn stormon-trinh. i’m absolutely incorporating them into my own little mantra collection. enjoy!

1. Accelerate through the chaos.

I learned this mantra while studying theatre in college. From an acting point of view, it is about being able to stay focused on the moment as it unfolds, despite a gawking audience and a co-star who’s screwed up their lines. A good actor is able to forget the moronic fight she had with her equally moronic boyfriend just hours before the show. She is able to move gracefully through the chaos of the outside world in order to connect totally to the character she is embodying.

My acting days are long behind me but this mantra echoes through my life all the time. After all, as the grand William Shakespeare proclaimed, “All the world’s a stage” and we constantly face the challenge of staying with ourselves as mania unfolds around us.

When life presents me stress, anxiety and pressures, this phrase helps remind me that there are things in this world I cannot control, should not ignore and will never be able to change.

I must accept these truths in order not to lose myself in the madness.

2. I am a fucking unicorn.

The first elephant journal article I ever read just happened to be one of the few pieces of online writing that has irrevocably changed my life. I won’t explain too much about it, since Bryonie Wise says it best herself in “I’m a F*cking Unicorn. (Or 10 Things to do when you get fired for the first time).”

I stumbled upon Bryonie’s words during a time in my life when I felt an overwhelming sense that I was repressing things within myself for the sake of fitting in. This, my friends, is a painful, painful way of living.

These thoughts might always be a struggle for me. I still sometimes feel alienated by my surroundings or like I don’t belong, but it is immensely helpful to consider that perhaps the reason why I don’t quite fit in is because I am a magical, mystical unicorn and everyone else is horse, mule or a common ass (pun intended).

This saying does more than help me remember to stay true to myself. It makes me feel pride in who I am. I am a fucking unicorn.

3. Deep inside me, there is an inner reservoir of vitality.

I have one of my long time yoga teachers to thank for this gem of a mantra. My teacher introduced this saying into my life during the middle of a difficult asana flow sequence that had many of us sweating, gasping for breath and feeling like we were going to crumble into the earth below us. Her words kept me going.

There are moments when I feel like things are just too damn hard. That I am stuck. That I have too little energy to pull myself up and out of the rut I’ve been holed up in. And then I remember: I am here. I am alive because deep inside of me, I have this reserved pool of strength that will always be available for me to drink from, no matter how parched and tired I get.

Here is my advice to those who suffer from depression and don’t know this already: inside of us is an ocean of health, trust me. The moment before things become too much to bear, our little toe, or the smallest part of ourselves, will find the waters of this shoreline.

Knowing that there is this innate strength inside myself has been immensely helpful for me during my darkest hours.

4. I want to live a big, new, happy, free, unusual life.

In my early adolescence, I found a book entitled: A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life sitting on my mother’s bookshelf. The cover of the book illustrated a woman walking down a road, kicking up her heels in a fit of joy. I remember thinking to myself that,  “Yes, this is what I want for my life.”

I’ve never met anyone who actively seeks a boring, small, average life. However, so many of us are brought up in a society that only teaches us to live a life that is just this.

I have to actively push myself to go against the grain, take risks and to spread my wings as much as I can. It’s not always easy, in fact it is never easy, but by god, I don’t want to look back on things and realize I said “no” to life. The way to prevent this is to never settle too long with boredom.

Try pretty much anything. Be open. Be bold.

5. Fuck it.

Crass, yes, but I’ve found this phrase to be possibly the most profound two words ever strung together.

I cultivated “fuck it” as my life’s motto during a particularly free-spirited but challenging time in my life.

It’s sort of like the non-corporate, vulgar version of Nike’s “Just Do It,” or the mellower, “Why not?” phrase that we often take and give as words of encouragement to be brave, take chances and follow our passions.

There is something in this phrase that is incredibly liberating. These words somehow belittle the monstrosity of a challenge. Saying it also makes me feel so damn cool, calm and collected even when taking the biggest of risks.

“Fuck it” is behind all of my great travels and adventures. It has been there for me when I resolved to quit jobs that weren’t good for me. It resides in me every time I sit down to write, something I find utterly fulfilling, but also utterly difficult and scary. “Fuck it” has opened my world up to love and relationships. It makes me feel like even life’s toughest decisions are never final (which, mostly, they aren’t).

Next time when feeling afraid of making a leap, go on, try whispering these two small words.

Those who are anything like me, might often forget how infinitely powerful they are. It may take a few encouraging words before it resonates how brave and beautiful they really are. So I urge everybody to find their own mantras.

Accelerate through the mess in this world.

Wear the unicorn horn with pride.

Prove that dancing is always possible, even with a heart ache.

Live the big, bold, crazy life of your dreams. 

Because fuck it, why not?

homework: let’s all create 5 mantras on our own and then share them on our blogs. what do you say? are you in? plan to share them next tuesday, the 22 of september. i can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

onwards + upwards! xoxo


// week thirty seven // the answer is blowin in the wind

happy monday to you! here we are again, at the start of a new week. i still feel as if i am spinning. like life has picked up some crazy, ridiculous speed. and yet, i also still feel quite calm. i am sorry if i sound like a broken record right now. but, it’s just a crazy time for me. so much is happening. so much is changing. life is really taking hold here in uppsala, which is good. at the same time, i have extreme homesickness for the mountains of north carolina.

with everything flying around about me, changing, transitioning, moving forward, i just pray that i stay grounded. that i remain true to myself. that i slow down each and every day.

technically, i don’t feel like that will be a problem, but i am just trying to stay aware. i am trying to really, truly focus on the present moment, even as the present moment is filled with so much that i never imagined.

field blowing

there truly has been a sudden shift in my life int he past two-three weeks. since summer vacation ended. of course, things have changed drastically throughout 2015, as at the beginning of the year my love and i found ourselves moving back to sweden.

yes, so very much has shifted and is still shifting. and it is just taking me a while to adjust. there is much that i don’t recognize, and much that is familiar. ultimately, i’ve spent so long dreaming, planning, wishing, hoping and suddenly stuff is happening. suddenly there is no need to sit + wish. now it’s time to go with the flow that’s quickly flowing, and at the same time stay consciously connected + grounded + aware.

i feel a bit like this photo above. completely secure and yet whipping + blowing in the breeze of a swift wind. i’m safe and being true to myself. yet i am being blown around. but, the reeds, the grass, they inspire me. they remind me that, once again, the ultimate job that i have is to simply stay attached. to keep my heart + head and soul aligned. to listen. to bend. to just be me.

last week, i didn’t take as many photos as i usually do because i worked so many hours. many of the photos i did take i have already shared with you in my blog posts from last week. so, if you’d like to see some of how my week was you can check here, here, and here. today, i just felt like this one photo and these reflections were exactly what i needed.

now, it’s time to get this week underway +  we shall see what other changes come into our life as the days pass. in the meantime, my soul knows that i must meditate. i must sleep. write. eat. enjoy. and stay connected. the energy that i feel is strong. it is a bit foreign to me. but, it is pushing + guiding me into a whole new phase in life.

i admit that, at first, the wind + craziness have felt scary. but, as i remain in the essence of who i am, it all settles down and i become at one with the flow. the answer really is, my friend, blowing in the wind.

video created on saturday on the grounds of the castle in uppsala

onwards + upwards! xoxo

finding our way in the dark: a solar eclipse + a new moon

it’s dark outside right now.

not literally, of course, because i am typing this on saturday morning and, though it’s cloudy, the sun is up and my apartment is filled with a soft, gray light. but, it is a dark weekend. dark because we have a new moon and a solar eclipse happening throughout these 2 days.

and even though sometimes the dark can be scary, this time it promises big changes. uncertainty + confusion, yes. but, big changes that can help us find our true path. 


during a new moon, there is no moon to see in the night sky. it seems as if it doesn’t even exist, but it is there. the hidden moon is often seen a symbol of new beginnings. which makes sense. after this weekend, the moon begins to reappear slowly in the dark night sky, one little sliver at a time until it grows into our next full moon in two weeks. the dark new moon sky is just the beginning of the journey toward the full moon. out of the darkness comes light.

a solar eclipse is that crazy cosmic experience that occurs when the moon moves in between the earth + the sun, making it seem like that sun disappears completely for a few minutes. this solar eclipse happened in the early morning on sunday, and most of us will not likely see it. it’s only visible from south africa, antarctica and locations in indian and atlantic oceans this time.

but that doesn’t mean that we won’t feel the affects of it.

so with the combination of the new moon (which means no moon is visible at night) + the solar eclipse (which means the sun is hidden), we will have magical energies swirling about us. new beginnings are happening. powerful, supercharged, and life affirming.


photo from here

and if we slow down just enough, we may see that things are actually changing in our lives. we may feel the shift. feel the power. it may feel amazing and scary all at the same time. but, if we can just find the courage to surrender to it… if we can just let go and let god, if we can just trust the universe + ourselves, if we can let ourselves patiently feel about in the darkness, then we will soon see that a whole new way of living is opening up to us.It’s been two weeks

i, for one, am experiencing just this.

since the last full moon two weeks ago, my life has had some major changes. some that i have shared (my new photography job and my meditation training class)) + some that will be shared in the next week or so. let me just reassure you, life is not the same for me at all. the past two weeks have been ridiculously eventful. and honestly, it is wonderful and scary – because i never imagined any of these things happening in the ways that they did. and yet, i’ve been planning and praying and hoping for them all in one way or another.  i am overwhelmed and grounded. and a part of me feels as if i am groping around in the dark right now. not knowing what comes next, but also knowing that everything is exactly as it should be. there is a quiet calm in my soul, even in the midst of all of the uncertainty + changes.


i was just talking with a friends last night about how often times in life, things rarely turn out how we imagine that they will. or even hope that they will. and that can be frightening and nerve-racking. but, trusting in the flow of the universe and aligning our lives with who we know we are called to be, will ensure that we are on the right path – even if at times it seems off course,  completely dark, or a totally different journey than we had planned.

looking back, i can always see that life has made some crazy turns, all leading me to the place + the moment where i find myself right now. and with that knowledge, i can let go. i can surrender. and i can trust that the energy that i feel swirling around me right now, though it is both uncomfortable + exciting, is precisely the energy that i need to take me to the next level, the next phase of my life.


while the darkness may symbolize stumbling + fumbling around, it is often in the midst of this darkness that we find ourselves.

why is that? perhaps it’s because it is here that we are the most vulnerable. it is here that we have no other choice than to keep on keeping on. we have nothing else to rely on but ourselves, and there is nothing else to do but forge ahead. somehow, in the dark, in order to survive, we find the courage and confidence to move forward. and that is the only way to go actually. we begin to trust in the present moment, because that is all we can see. and we find our way as we travel along, surrendering and trusting only the present moment. not worrying about the future because finding our way right now in the darkness is all we can do.

but, focusing on the present moment is exactly all that we need to do. one step at a time. one moment at a time. one day at a time.

the darkness shows us who we are right now. we can leave behind who we were. we can kiss goodbye all of the old ways of living and being, and look to our future. it is time to look towards the new beginnings that are waiting for us. the adventures of the journey that lie ahead. and, because of where we have been, because of the darkness of right now, we can courageously forge onwards and upwards.


life is changing fast. i’ll bet that if you look back on the past 3-4 months, you’ll see that you are not the same person at all. and while, what lies ahead is totally uncertain, there is something that is deep within that makes us feel grounded, secure, and excited about what is to come. somewhere along the way, we have learned to trust the darkness. we have learned to balance both the fear + the thrill of life.

this weekend of cosmic darkness just may be exactly what we needed to help us realize that we are embarking on a brand new phase of our lives. new beginnings are all around us. there is no time for pausing and reflecting, we are now moving into a season of action that has already begun, a path of truth and adventure that we are already on. we already know where we want to go, how we want life to be. now, it’s time to let it manifest. it won’t happen immediately, because all of life is that journey to becoming who we are truly meant to be. but, right now, for the next little bit of our lives, perhaps we have the opportunity to make a huge step in our journey, in our quest to live an authentic life.

hold on, my friends, it will not be dark forever. anything is possible and life is ready to take us for a ride. to give us a whole new perspective and truer way of living. out of the darkness + into the light.

 onwards + upwards!! xoxo

ten on ten :: september 2015

hello + happy friday!

it’s september 11th, as you all know. and it’s a day that will always be a somber one for americans and many others around the world. i always, always pause for a moment to reflect on that horrible morning in 2001 when our world was changed. a day when a new level of hate  + fear were introduced to us all.

september 11 memorial nyc panorama

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

i remember that i was teaching my students in a middle school in north carolina, when a fellow teacher walked into my room just before nine and told me to turn on our tv. we watched, spellbound + horrified at the confusion and chaos that ensued after the first plane hit the first tower. then, on live tv, we watched the second plane fly directly into the second tower.  stunned. unable to actually process what we had just seen. we watched the buildings disintegrate before our eyes. we watched as two more planes crashed in washington and in pennsylvania. and our fear + confusion grew. who had done this? and why?

i called my [now] ex-husband because i needed to hear his voice. i was suddenly terrified that everyone i loved would just be taken from me. by the time i finally made it home after work that day, i collapsed on the sofa, emotionally exhausted and glued to the tv, worrying about what might come next. soon, i became even more worried about how we, as americans, were going to respond to what had happened. i knew it was not going to be pretty.

as individuals + organizations, all i saw and heard and experienced was heartfelt love and support. a coming together, a community spirit, in the darkest of moments. from our government, however, i experienced something totally different. before the day was over, revenge was the word. america would “hunt down” the people responsible for this terror attack. it became vengeful. the fighting gloves were up. the answer to the violence brought on the united states was going to be more violence. (not that there doesn’t need to be accountability and justice. but, i firmly believe that violence only begets more violence).

freedom tower niece

the freedom tower. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

in any case, today, i can’t help but spend a few moments remembering + feeling all of those emotions again. and, looking at the world today, 14 years later, i am both saddened and hopeful.

but, more than that, i am determined. determined to do whatever i can to let even more peace and love, acceptance and openness, inclusion and compassion be the rules that i live by. 

september 11 memorial nyc 2

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

what a crazy world we live in, right? what a f*cked up world filled with hurt and need and violence and suffering. but, what a hopeful, caring, beautiful world we also live in. my heart truly aches because of all of the inequalities and injustices that exist today. and yet, my heart is also filled by all of the warm, generous, positive people that i see and hear about.

so, let’s tap into that positivity, that light, that exists in the world, because it is there, and spread that. let’s leave behind all of the negativity and fear. let’s focus on all that is good, that is working, and build upon that… transforming all of the suffering and pain and heartache into hope and empowerment and love.

now, it’s not about ignoring or turning away from all that is messed up with the world. but, it is learning to tap into the good that is around, and to build upon that. to let love override hate. to be determined to make sure that love and hope and justice and peace win by living lives the emit only love and justice and hope and peace.

it’s actually simply learning to be the change we want to see. 

let’s be global citizens, aware and open, reaching out our hands instead of building up walls. and let’s do this around the world and even in our own backyards. let’s learn to live in the present moment, remembering the past, hoping for the future, but truly embracing where we are and seeking out the beauty that exists even in the darkness.

yesterday was the ten on ten challenge for september. 10 photos throughout the 10th day of the month. and while it may seem petty to you for me to share 10 photos from my day yesterday, given all that i have just written above, but i think it’s important.

we all feel so overwhelmed and stuck and helpless, but i am here to witness to the fact that simply living our own lives to the fullest, by simply finding the good that exists in our everyday, ordinary moments, we are making the world a better place. who we are, wherever we are,  makes all the difference in the world.

and no, i cannot change everything in the world, and neither can you. but if we each live our lives authentically and with gratitude + love, then together we all will change the world one little moment at a time – from exactly where we are, by simply being who we are. 

here’s how i lived life to the fullest (+ hopefully made some what of a difference) yesterday:

meditation + coffee + breakfast with my love


cooked a little pasta for my love + i to take to work
blogging + writingcomputer blogging
snuggles with zola the cat in the sunshinecat zola sunshine
time to head to work!bikes
editing, resizing, and printing photoswork editing photos
watched this beautiful exchange between a begger + a woman during my break. the woman asked if she could bring the other lady some food, something to drink, or if she needed anything else. it was so beautiful to witness this moment of love.mall begger love
found some beautiful plants during my lunch break. i heart succulents.succulents
developing film + printing photos on mugs: i have learned sooooo much.negative photography work
sunset bike ride homesunset cycling uppsala
late night winding down: watched some friends + drank some wine wine computer

you know, it truly is all about pur perspective. it’s about being seeking out all that is good and soaking that up. because whatever we soak up, is what we put out there. and whatever we put out there, we receive in return.

yes, we still have problems. yes things are messed up and tough and confusing and scary – both in our individual lives and in our global family. but, when we stay focused + present on right here, right now. when we slow down and breathe in the sunshine, or open our eyes and look around us; when we meet + greet people with open hearts, a genuine smile, and look into their eyes or really listen to what they are saying; when we find something to be grateful for, even when things seem to be falling apart; then we create a space of safety, peace, and love around us. and everything about who we are becomes a little bit lighter + brighter. and we all move that much closer to creating that world that we truly believe is possible.

so, happy september 11th to you all. and happy weekend. may the love of god surround you. may peace go with you today and throughout all of the days of your life. namaste.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

shifting energies: time to reorganize + redecorate

when life brings about lots of changes (and life has certainly done that to me lately, with more to come), sometimes it feels good to do something physical to outwardly express all of it. a kind of symbolic way of cleaning out, readjusting, and shifting energies around. a chance to create a new beginning. or sometimes, i just know that i need some new inspiration.

one of the easiest, most concrete ways for me to bring about a fresh, new feeling of positivity and motivation is to makes some changes in my home. 

growing up, my mom and i would get a little restless every now + then. we’d ease that restlessness and desire for change by rearranging the furniture. sometimes in the living room/den only. sometimes we would switch whole rooms and change things all over the house. and, mind you, when we had this urge, we needed to do it immediately. so we did. it was a tad bit spontaneous, but it always felt inspiring. it was like moving (which we have done a lot of), but not so extreme of course. still, we got that fresh, new perspective and revitalized energy that we were craving. like beginning again.

today, i still get the rearranging bug. and my love gets the reorganizing bug. we both have times that we feel that it would be good to “start over”. luckily, rearranging + reorganizing go well together. though, i must admit that my love has way more motivation for the reorganizing, cleaning out mode. i’d just move things around. lina really opens up, cleans out, and straightens up. she’s way more thorough than i am.

with the changing of the seasons upon us, this past weekend, she decided that it was time to move our summer stuff down to the basement and bring our autumn stuff up. clothes, shoes, jackets, etc.

and i soon realized that this was also the perfect timing for us to do this – as things in our life are shifting and changing. new routines, new responsibilities, new challenges. it was time to express all of that energy in our home. time to give us a new perspective, to clear out old energies, and invite some new energy in. so, thanks to my love’s motivation + organizational skills, we now have a freshened up apartment. spiffed up. organized. with lots of new, powerful, positive energy flowing through it.

take a peek at some of what we did:

lights around the window – the dark, cozy season is on its way


vintage maps hung in our little sleeping alcove
maps alcove home
new art hung on the wall above/beside our sofasofa-art-uppsala-home
the rug turned upside down to give a clean, simple look + warmer blankets/pillows out for cozy nightsliving-room-uppsala-home
a new calendar on the wall

calendar home kitchen

so, how do you deal with change? do you enjoy rearranging things in your home?

you know, it doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy anything. most of the changes that we make are always just shifting things around that we already have. it totally gives a new vibe and a new feel to old stuff.  in fact, the only thing that we bought for this little apartment energy shift was the calendar (from here) and the lights (from here).

now, my love + i feel all cozy and inspired in our home. the energy has moved around + we are ready to tackle whatever life throws at us. and we are so very grateful for having this safe place, this sanctuary, that we call home.

onwards + upwards!

my routine upgrade: how to keep making sh*t happen

time to create a new routine.

last march, when i moved into the apartment where i currently live, i created a routine to help me get sh*t done.  i have done a fair job of following through with that routine i’d say. but, times are a-changin’ and that means that it is time to edit + revise my old routine. i need to keep the things that work for me, get rid of the things that don’t, and adjust my routine to work for my new goals/responsibilities.

basically it’s just time for a “how to make shit happen” upgrade. 

i’ve been living in a blissfully free world for a while now (the latest asheville years + these first 9 months in sweden). and have been so very blessed to have that opportunity. filled with responsibilities, but free to explore + discover + be who i am. on my own time for the most part. and that has been incredible. however, mind you, just because i  have been “free”, i have not been lazy. there has been much work taking place, work that has been on the inside. like building the foundation of a house. the fruits of which may not seen by others, but are so necessary in order to have a completed house.

but, now, that foundation is built. and it’s time to begin putting up walls. it’s time to move on. i want to move on. i am so freaking ready to move on.

so, in an effort to move past the discovering, grounding, transforming, being phase, i am ready to create a routine that reflects life as it is now: picking up speed. filled with responsibilities + places to be. and a chance to bring to light all that i have been working on in the background for the past 2 years. the two years that i have used to transform myself.

but, i need discipline + structure in order to continue to create the freedom that i crave. i need discipline + structure in order to remain balanced. 

as crazy as it sounds, a routine actually creates more freedom. within the disciplined frame of a routine, focus becomes clearer, and it is easier to live in the moment. this, in turn, allows creativity to flow. and being more effective allows me to do more, without the stress of freaking out about what i need to do next. mostly because i don’t need to worry about the next moment, as i am focusing on staying present.

so, here’s how my new daily routine looks:

desk uppsala home

autumn 2015: early work day

6:15-6:30 wake up: stretch for a few minutes. breathe. wash my face. drink water. slowly get in touch with myself.

6:30-7:00 sat nam rasayan meditation: 30 minutes of meditation + opening my sensitive space. my homework for my training. i also have partner form my class who meditates with me, in her home, at this same time.

7:00-7:30 breakfast: make coffee + wash dishes/straighten kitchen. prepare breakfast. a little time with my wife before the day gets started.

7:30-8:00: check in with the world: social media, news, my wife.

8:00-9:00 shower/freshen up + dress:. i only shower every other day, so some days it takes me 15 minutes to get ready. then, i can steal some time for blogging, writing, etc.

9:00-6:30 work: i work at a photography boutique. developing photoing, working with digital + film, taking id/passport photos, selling photo-related items.

6:30-7:30 work time is done. housework. grocery shopping. dinner preparations + dinner with my love. of course, some days, i will meet my love in town for dinner and errands. who knows?! spontaneity is my friend.

7:30-11:00 friends + family time. for now, the computer is off. we may be out and about, at home cozy on the couch, or spending time with others. hopefully, i will find a little time to read. and then, it’s off to bed. i realize that there may be some days that i do some blogging, photo editing, writing, etc during this time. but, the idea is to keep it reserved for family most of the time. and yet, if i want to publish a book/blog full-time, i gotta write!

nikon camera

AUTUMN 2015: late WORK DAY

6:15-6:30 wake up: stretch for a few minutes. breathe. wash my face. drink water. slowly get in touch with myself.

6:30-7:00 sat nam rasayan meditation: 30 minutes of meditation + opening my sensitive space. my homework for my training.

7:00-7:30 breakfast: make coffee, + wash dishes/straighten kitchen. prepare breakfast. a little time with my wife before the day gets started.

7:30-8:00: check in with the world: social media, news, my wife

8:00-9:00 shower/freshen up + dress:. i only shower every other day, so some days it takes me 15 minutes to get ready. then, i can get started with writing/blogging/photography earlier. woo hoo.

9:00-10:30 blogging/writing/photography: on these days, i have a chance to do some updating + planning for my blog, book, or other photography things, such as editing + organizing. it’s  great time to check in and get some posts completed + scheduled.

10:30 – 8:30 work

8:30-11:00 friends + family time + dinner. first things first, food! then, relax + unwind. the idea is to keep it reserved for family most of the time, with perhaps a tiny bit of checking out my computer. these are late nights. and i’m not a late night person. so, it’ll be reserved for rest + being mostly.

meditate mexican blanket

AUTUMN 2015:  home work DAY

6:15-6:30 wake up: stretch for a few minutes. breathe. wash my face. drink water. slowly get in touch with myself.

6:30-7:00 sat nam rasayan meditation: 30 minutes of meditation + opening my sensitive space. my homework for my training.

7:00-7:30 breakfast: make coffee, + wash dishes/straighten kitchen. prepare breakfast. a little time with my wife before the day gets started.

7:30-8:00: check in with the world: social media, news, my wife

8:00-9:00 shower/freshen up + dress:. i only shower every other day, so some days it takes me 15 minutes to get ready. i’m no drill sergeant with myself. as long as i stick with my routine, i’m good. i don’t need to have timers set to “make” me do things at precise times. one has to be flexible, you know.

8:30/9:00-9:30 meditate. the ground of my being. nothing, absolutely nothing happens without this time to just be. only days off i soak up this opportunity to just practice some yoga and/or do some spiritual reading.

9:30-12:30 writing + photography. this is the big chuck of time that i do what i love. blogging, photography, and working on my book. some say that you should do the thing that you dislike the most first, but i am not following that rule. mostly because i am more inspired and alert in the mornings, and these are my passions, so i want to be at my best when i work on them.

12:30-1:00 lunch. i also take a social media break, check in online, and perhaps read some.

1:00-5:00 freelance work . this is the part of the day that i give to things that i need to do at this point in my life: top priority right now is finding a job and networking/making connections. so, sometimes i am home and other times i am out and about. it’s all about research, phone calls, meetings, emails, etc.  if i am lucky, then i have some freelance work (writing + photography) to take care of too! oh, and a fika (coffee break) will most deftly be part of my afternoon!

5:00-7:00 work time is done. perhaps a little more blogging. housework. grocery shopping. dinner preparations + dinner with my love. of course, some days, i will meet my love (and others!) in town for dinner and errands. who knows?! spontaneity is my friend.

8:00-11:00 friends + family time. on these days, the computer is off at night. we may be out and about, at home cozy on the couch, or spending time with others. hopefully, i will find a little time to read. and then, it’s off to bed. i realize that there may be some days that i do some blogging, photo editing, writing, etc during this time. but, the idea is to keep it reserved for family most of the time.

so, let’s see how this works for me from now until the end of the year. i am sure that i’ll have to revisit it soon, but that’s fine. it’s all about going with the flow + maintaining my balance.

do you have a routine? do you need one? have you given yourself the time to think about what the things are that you want to accomplish?! go ahead and give it a whirl, if you need to or want to. this is the perfect time of the year to create some structure + freedom. especially if you are a creative-type or do not have a set schedule. i’ll be here cheering you on!

// week thirty six // a whirlwind of a week

i feel like i’m spinning. but, yet, not spinning out of control.

this past week was cray cray. in pretty amazing ways. but, now that i have had the weekend to kind of let everything settle inside of me, i realize that i’m at a crossroads.

the question is, will i stay grounded + true to myself, or will i get caught up in the craziness of the fast-paced life that lays out in front of me?

i think i tend to be “all or nothing” in some ways. all in just being contemplative, intentional, slow, and at peace. or all in at doing, going, working, focusing, losing a bit of my music soul all along the way.

for someone who craves balance, i am not sure that i do that so well.

so, here’s what happened that rocked my world this past week. (if you follow me on instagram – belovelivephotography – then you already know a little bit).

sat nam rasayan healing training


last monday i started a sat nam rasayan training. it’s a meditation technique out of kundnalini yoga that focuses on healing by being fully present. something that i know i can use in my life/spiritual coaching.

i hopped on the train to stockholm at 7am on monday morning and made my way to södermalm via the metro. i was really early, so i wandered around the streets of my favorite part of the city for a while, just breathing + feeling the anticipation of this big step into my future.

mariaberget stockholm stockholm

i found my way to the loft apartment that served as our yoga classroom and suddenly was overwhelmed. people kept coming in and they all looked like real yogis. turbans, white clothes, like they’d all been immersed deeply into yoga culture for years.

and there i was. dressed in all black. seriously. black tank. black indian pants. and my mala beads wrapped around my arm. i looked like some evil spirit amongst a bunch of peaceful, healing angels. but, whatever. i embraced my difference. (though i still felt a bit self-conscious).

sat nam rasayan room sat nam rasayan black

and then, suddenly, we began. we toned in and got right to meditating. something like 30 minutes of chanting and one hand in the air, the other over my heart. i went back + forth between moments of bliss and moments of freaking out that i literally could not feel my legs, so i wondered if they had just disappeared from my body.

sat nam rasayan floor södermalm view

after a brief introduction to sat nam rasayan, we began some training. with partners. one lays down + relaxes. one sites directly beside + meditates. this is actually what we did the entire two days that we were there. it was learning to open up our sensitive space. to focusing on feeling all of our senses and being fully present.

typically, when you think of healing, you think of emptying yourself so that you can focus on the other person. you remove who you are so you can give energy (love, peace, etc.) to someone else. this is not that at all. this form of kundalini healing is all about being so present within yourself that you create a space around you that is stable, open, and fully aware. everything is a part of everything.

it’s an incredible experience to experience everything at once, knowing that my sleeping foot, my itching nose, the garbage truck outside, the gravity holding me down, the touch of my skin on another’s, the smell of coffee all belong in that moment.

i have totally just started this training, and there is so much for me to learn. how to hold that sacred, peaceful space open. but, that’s what my homework is for until we meet again in october. it’s crazy that this whole new way of living + being has just suddenly been opened to me. i am humbled + excited to say the least, feeling that this is just the beginning of a powerful, magical journey.

sat nam rasayan group

yes. i caved a little bit the second day + wore a white shirt with my black pants. it was just too weird to be in all black.

so that was monday + tuesday. amazing.

i got a freaking job!

then, wednesday came + this chick had a job interview! my mother-in-law saw an update from someone we know on Facebook announcing that she needed to hire some extra people for her photo boutique in uppsala. so, my mother-in-law sent me a text, and i promptly sent a message to the owner of the boutique. we already knew each other, and have traveled in the same circle/started becoming friends since i moved to uppsala. so, this was no random person, but a connection. a friend.

job interview uppsala

we planned a meeting for wednesday, and suddenly it was wednesday! so, in the rainy, windy, cold storm i cycled about 15 minutes to the store. i looked around a bit, we sat down for coffee, and chatted for about an hour and a half. so. much. fun. even though i looked like a drowned rat.

by the time i cycled home again in the storm, i had received a message offering me the job + asking if i could begin on monday. oh…hell yeah.

so, today, right now, i’m at work! (a work where i get paid!). no worries, i wrote this over the weekend + scheduled it. i am not blogging from work on my first day. hehe. i’m working for at least 3 days this week, and then we will plan more as the week goes on.

it’s all just so crazy. and perfect timing. and, i get to learn + do stuff related to photography, which you know i love. it also feels good to have something that allows me time to keep doing those things that i continue to do + be in an effort to follow my bliss. actually, this job is just a part of that, which is way better than just getting a job anywhere.

homesickness hits

mountains north carolina

in the meantime, i am also nesting. rearranging some stuff at home. preparing for the autumn. and feeling very emotional. missing asheville and the mountains an insane amount right now. i had no idea that the change of seasons would make me so sensitive + homesick. so, to counteract that, i continue to focus on the present. knowing that i have so much good stuff swirling around me right now.

time to push through + manifest some sh*t


there is much happening, and even more behind the scenes a bit. but, i knew that this was coming. i knew that autumn would bring me to a place of making shit happen. of making everything really real. life doesn’t feel quite so carefree right now. summer is over. but, it feels oh so right.

so, here’s where the shit hits the fan for me. i am really really good at visioning, planning, dreaming, setting up, creating, contemplating. but, when it comes time that all of that hard inner, groundwork has taken hold + is ready to take flight, that’s when i fall apart.

but, this is it. i feel it in my bones. this is the time in my life where i push past that inability to focus and follow through. this is the time when i not only manifest my dreams, but i stay motivated and push forward. i keep on keeping on. this is the time that i stay committed and actually make it through.

sunset uppsala

it’s as if i’ve gathered all of this energy throughout my whole life, and learned every little thing that i have learned for this moment right now. this moment that takes me through to the next phase of my life. no more running away. no more starting over with dreams. i’m in it to win it. my bliss, that is. it’s time to fight those demons that always pop up and to begin to really let go + surrender.

i just know in my soul that i am on the cusp of something great.

and through it all, i must stay balanced. i must not run back to dreaming again. and i must not forget to dream. i must hold on to that intentional life that i have created.

yes, it’s the perfect time to begin to perfect my ability to stay grounded, focused, motivated, and balanced. life is moving forward. dreams are being fulfilled. tough times are ahead. and moments of peace are too. deep inside me my roots are grounded and i am settling into a new phase. scared + apprehensive? yes. but, more than that, i  am empowered + motivated.

happy new week to you! may it be a challenging and beautiful!week

onwards + upwards! xoxo

31 questions + answers

since i posted the other day that we are supposed to focus on ourselves, that life is all about me (and your life is all about you), i thought i’d keep the same self-centered theme going today. wink wink.

i’m also thinking that since it’s the weekend, i should have a little fun with this blog post today.

so, i’ve copied a list of 31 questions from lina’s blog, who copied it from another blog, and so on. it’s nothing heavy. just light + breezy + silly. a chance to let you get to know me a bit more. think of it as a random interview about random little things.

and should you be interested + have a blog of your own + would like to spend a few minutes making it all about you, feel free to copy the questions and do your own little fun post for the weekend. i’d love to read about you! here we go!


1. Where’s your cellphone? It’s stuffed under the pillow beside me on the sofa. It often is beside me, then somehow magically slides away + under the pillow. But, all of my notifications are turned off + it’s on silent, so I often forget it’s there. I’m in the midst of a self-imposed challenge of learning to step back/away from having my phone available constantly.

2. Where’s your second half? She’s sitting beside me on the sofa. We’re both geeking out on blogging stuff. It’s Saturday morning + we’re doing what we love.

3. Your hair? Down, messy, flat, slept on.

4. Your mood? My overall mood is relaxed + and peaceful. I mean, it’s Saturday! I feel so grateful + blessed by so much. I feel so strong + secure in myself right now. So empowered.  I do have a lot on my mind, knowing that things are changing in our life right now, speeding up. But in good ways, I believe. Still, things are going to be different. Life is changing, moving on. Exciting + scary + meant to be.

5. Your plan for today? I have no plans at all for today + tomorrow. We’ve discussed going down to the basement + making the summer/autumn clothing switch. We’ve also discussed making our next vlog. It’s been way too long. But, nothing at all is planned. And that feels amazing!


6. What’s the best you know? The best I know… this is so hard. There are many things that take my breath away. Standing on the top of a mountain in NC. Riding the waves in a boat in the open sea. Holiday dinners. Christmas morning. Drinking a beer at a local pub. Walking the streets of a new city, snapping photos everywhere. Reynolds beach week. Trees. Snow days. Driving with the windows down. Sunday mornings in bed with coffee, computers, + my love. Balconies. Cathedrals. Camping. Mexican food. I could go on…

7. Your dream last night? I can’t remember one thing. I woke up late (8 am is late for me) and felt completely rested. Soooooo nice.

8. Your goal in life? To inspire others through images + words. To travel the world, meet people, teach people, and create peace. To live in both Sweden and the States equally. To share it all with my Lina.

9. The room you’re in? I’m comfy on the sofa in our living room in Uppsala, Sweden. I just looooove our sofa. The warm morning sun is streaming in, so much so that my love just pulled the blinds down + cracked the window.



10. Your hobby? Is photography my hobby or my work? It used to be my hobby, but I am making a transition. So, for now, brewing beer/tasting beer and all things coffee. These are my current hobbies. Mmmm!

11. Your fear? Not living life to the fullest. Settling. Not being authentic.


12. Where would you like to be in six years? Literally, six year from today it’ll September 2021 and I’ll be 46. I’d love to be in NC. I’d love to be tucked away in our own little tiny house cabin in the woods until Thanksgiving. Writing, photographing, coaching, working online, visiting friends + family, planning our next trip, which of course would be my next assignment for my next book.

13. Where were you yesterday evening? Home on the couch the whole evening, finishing up a Back to the Future marathon. Hehe.

14. What are you not? I am not a sporty girl.

15. Something you wish? I wish that we could be in Asheville this autumn.

asheville-north-carolina-downtown atlantic beach northcarolina

16. Where did you grow up? North Carolina, USA

17. What was the last thing you did? Woke up, washed the dishes, and brewed a pot of coffee.

18. Your clothes? A blue t-shirt from an old college job (I was a summer camp counselor) and cozy pants = pjs.

19. Your TV? We bought the tv we have from the chick who’s apartment we are renting. It was already on the wall, so that made it easy. But, it’s not very big. Ok for now. However, we are movie/series lovers, so one day we will get a big ass tv.


20. Your pet? Sweet little social Zola who loves to sleep in the sun, on a pillow, or under tents that we build for her.

21. Your computer? Macbook Air. And I love it. Though the new MacBooks look amazing. Just sayin’.

22. The best thing you own? My iPhone, camera, moleskin journals, and computer.

birthday friends


23. Do you miss anyone? Do I ever?! I miss my family in the States like crazy. I miss American friends + soul mates from all over the world that I don’t see that often.

24. Your car? We have no car now. It’s nice to walk + cycle everywhere. And I totally love taking trains. But, I’m a heavy-footed, car lovin’ girl. Driving is so much fun to me. Always has been. And it symbolizes a sense of freedom that I miss when I don’t have a car. I’m so gonna have a Jeep Wrangler again one day. Yep.

25. Something you’re not wearing? Makeup

26. Favorite store? Weekday (a Swedish clothing store). Target. Greenlife. Vintage/hippie stores. Any independent little funky place. I try not to be a huge fan of chains, but I’m not perfect.

airbnb-windowsill-coffee sigtuna-me-view soder-me-and-my-love lina me beer

27. Your summer? We stayed in Sweden all summer, but we still acted like tourists. We had 3 visitors at different times, including my brother, so we showed them all the best of Uppsala, Norrköping, and Stockholm. But, when we were on our own, during our vacation weeks, Lina and I did our own adventuring, with a week in the archipelago, a few day trips, and a few Airbnb weekends in Stockholm. Plus an amazing Pride parade experience and just enjoying Uppsala. It was a fantastic summer.

28. Do you love anyone? My amazing wife, Lina. (see the photos above. hehe.)

unsplash sunset west

photo from unsplash

29. Favorite color? Oooo… it changes with the day. I once drove about 12 teenagers out to Wyoming to an Indian reservation to do volunteer work for a week. One night, as we drove back from a local pow wow (Indian ceremony), the sunset over the plains and mountains was incredible. I pointed it out to all of my kids, telling them to just take a moment and soak in the beauty of the wild, open west. One of the kids said,”That is my favorite color today.”” What color?”, I asked. And he pointed outside to the reds, oranges, pinks, purples, blues, and yellows. He pointed to the sunset. To everything that we could see stretched out before us. I have never thought about my favorite color in the same way… everyday since that evening in Wyoming about 10 years ago, I now discover my favorite color of the day. Every day. Though I always love green.

30. When did you laugh last? Yesterday.

31. When did you cry last? Tuesday during my meditation training class. No idea why. Just got emotional.

ok. ok. copy + paste this to your blog. share some of who you are with me! happy weekend, lovelies!

liz xoxo