reynolds shenanigans: xmas traditions.

christmas eve.

christmas eve morning sunrise.

christmas eve morning sunrise.

a quick stop at ikea on the way home after dropping fam off at the airport. we needed glögg!

a quick stop at ikea on the way home after dropping fam off at the airport. we needed glögg!

christmas eve dinner with extended family. fun!

christmas eve dinner with extended family. fun!

we had to bring a little swedish tradition to the states... glögg!

we had to bring a little swedish tradition to the states… glögg!

stockings hung. cookies & milk for santa. time for bed!

stockings hung. cookies & milk for santa. time for bed!

christmas day is here!

it's christmas morning!!!

it’s christmas morning!!!

waiting to come out & see if santa came (a reynolds tradition. hehe.) and yes, i am 38 years old.

waiting to come out & see if santa came (a reynolds tradition. hehe.) and yes, i am 38 years old.

santa came & brought us bags!! and tons of other amazing stuff, too!

santa came & brought us bags!! and tons of other amazing stuff, too!

santa even brought gifts from sweden for mom & dad.

santa even brought gifts from sweden for mom & dad.

morning relaxation with coffee.

morning relaxation with coffee.

opening presents!

opening presents!

i got an awesome lens for my camera. sooo excited.

i got an awesome lens for my camera. sooo excited.

christmas dinner for six. such a fabulous time.

christmas dinner for six. such a fabulous time.

i am spoiled. thanks, family!

i am spoiled. thanks, family!

dad got a macbook pro!

dad got a macbook pro!

merry christmas!

merry christmas!

one more shenanigans post to go! peace.

“it’s a long way to tipperary”. 2.0

hello! it’s road trip day! last friday (day 2 of our extended irish weekend), we woke up in dublin, and then headed down south to the county of tipperary to meet up with the soon-to-be newlyweds and other guests. we had the great luck of riding in a car with a friend of the cute couple, so it was more of a personal road trip than just hopping on a bus. fun. we left around lunchtime & were in the middle of the irish countryside on an amazing estate by mid-afternoon. check out our friday adventures!

starbucks was just around the corner from our hotel, so it was imperative that we stop by there before our road trip.

 we sipped on some yummy peppermint mocha & surfed the ‘net. we’re apple nerds.

dragging our luggage through rainy dublin. the cobblestones were super duper slippery. hehe.

hanging out on the street corner, waiting for our ride… wondering who it will be.

typical downtown street/apartments.

on our way! a glimpse of the irish countryside from the left side of the road. feels crazy to ride on the “wrong” side of the road. hehe.

backseat girls.

we’ve arrived! a gorgeous gated estate will be our home for the next 2 days. can’t wait!

welcome to lovely, amazing kilshane house. an estate, a mansion. tons of land, rolling hills, horses, gardens, a conservatory, walking trails, and an incredible, old manor with cozy, beautiful suites. (more pics tomorrow too!)

we immediately compared kilshane house with downton abbey. we felt like we were living there, complete with “servants” and everything. felt like royalty. i was overwhelmed, amazed, and so so so thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

come on in to the classy, formal entrance hall. kilshane house awaits…

after arriving, we were whisked away with the bridal couple to the rehearsal at the church. my love was asked to sing during the wedding, so she had a chance to tickle the ivories before the ceremony the next day. plus, we got to stroll around the cute village of cashel.

with the rehearsal all done, we went back to our cozy room to get dressed for dinner. yes. get dressed for dinner. perhaps we’d meet carson or some of the other downton abbey characters. hehe.

the view from our window. my eyes could hardly take in everything i was seeing. so beautiful.

our old-fashioned, updated bathroom. compete with a rainfall showerhead. luxury, baby.

when we went downstairs, we discovered that the restaurant/bar was a billiard room with tons of great big leather chairs & sofas. asheville people, i couldn’t stop thinking of biltmore estate.

gnocci (deeeelish) and cosmopolitans (double delish) for dinner. good food, good people, good times.

we ended the day with games & mingling… hanging out with the couples’ friends & family. it was a great night!

after such a fabulous day, i couldn’t even begin to imagine how the wedding day would be… and it did not disappoint. but, you’ll have to check back tomorrow to see all the pictures from the big day. think perfect weather, gorgeous people, and party, party, party!

happy wednesday, readers. peace & love.

time is flying by.

yep. it’s been a big week in the eriksson-mcguire household. luckily i have the photo a day challenge to make sure i have a memory from each day. hehe. enough chit-chat.

drumroll, please….

relaxing at home on a sunday afternoon. finding some time to rest is so important.

this is not day 24. i didn’t skip day 23, i just got a head of myself & screwed up some numbers for a few days. hehe. here’s my monday- morning-at-the-breakfast-table reflection in the mirror.

and this is not day 25, but day 24. i passed a random person on my way to the market who seems to be as attached to his phone as i am to mine.

now, here we go. the real day 25. my materialistic heart beats for all my apple products.

the sun streaming in my bedroom windows thursday morning. it turned out to be a true summer day.

on the road and out & about in norrköping friday afternoon. i think my city is beautiful.

some new cups that i’m totally in love with. the first is one that lina & i have been wanting for a while, thinking they only existed in the states. but, we found some here! mason jars as drinking glasses. a funky & different style for sweden. the second cup is a mug that i got from lina’s parents as a congratulations for being a permanent resident of sweden this week. so cool & unique. perfect for coffee, of course.

well, friends, there are only 3 days left in july. and then, we get into the dog days of summer of august: for some of you, the heat builds. for those of us up north, we wait to see how it will be. but, for all of us it is a bit of a transition month. school starts again. work begins again. and the days creep toward the changing of the season. but before i get ahead of myself, august still brings us some lazy days, some more time to enjoy the sunshine & the warmth. and of course, the august photo challenge.

if you want to follow me on instagram and see my pics on a daily basis, i’m lizslens. otherwise, check back here in a few days to see the last 3 pics of july and to get the august challenges. perhaps you’ll want to join in?!

happy saturday! enjoy some olympic moments, if that’s your thing. me, i’m gonna have a little cookout, check out some olympics, and then cozy up with my love tonight with a movie in bed.

peace around the world.

23: technology.

my first apple. still using the way, check the time. now look how bright it is outside. crazy sweden.

with technology, we always think about moving forward. progressing. everything getting better. faster. thinner. sleeker. cooler. smarter. and to be honest, that is what happens with technology. it gets “better” with time. it improves. i mean, when i was in college/university blah-blah years ago, we only had 1 computer lab. we had to sign up for a time to use one of the schools 10 computers if we wanted to have our papers typed, not hand-written. true story. i had a word processor in my dorm room. do some of you even know what that is? it’s a fancy typewriter that had a 3 inch screen that showed what i was typing on the paper that came out the back as i typed it. yep. and then, my cell phone. it was in a bag, and it sat on the floor between the 2 front seats. i plugged it into the cigarette lighter and it was only possible to use when riding in the car. it was a car phone. there were no real cell phones. i listened to cassette tapes & eventually had a crapload of cds in my car, all over the floor. in order to change the cd, i needed to stop at a stoplight or pull over, since it required so much effort to find a cd, take it out of it’s case, & insert it into the cd player. oh, and don’t even get me started on the internet. it was just being introduced to the public. i remember some conversation with an old boyfriend about email accounts. he had set up one (he was always on the cutting edge. still is.) and i had not idea what the hell he was talking about. why would i need an email? couldn’t i just call people? or visit them? (i had the same battle with texting some years later. hehe.)

so, in a rather short amount of time things have changed drastically. for the better? well, yes, i think. although, i could name a few negatives too. but, i’m not gonna do that in this post. in this post i’m admitting that i’m a techie junkie. there i said it. lina & i want the newest things. these things are fun & exciting, but smart & practical in many ways also. they make things work better, make life easier, allow us to communicate & keep in touch better. yes, yes, they’re expensive too. generally. but, we save our money & decide to spend it on these kinds of fun things, instead of buying new & expensive clothes, shoes, bags, etc. all the time. it’s our choice. and we choose to invest in cool, new, up-to-date technical things. yep. we’re  little bit nerdy in this way. and perhaps a little materialistic too?

however, today as i’ve been thinking about technology & all the great things it has done, i thought in general about moving forward. is it always good to be pushy & move forward? always anxiously waiting for the next great thing. is it good to always be so eager to progress? perhaps the desire to progress and move forward at warp speed is a symptom of desiring to be in control. at least it is for me, in some ways, i think. i want things to move on, to what i want them to be. and i always associate moving forward with being better. i want things done in my way, in my time. therefore, i want control over the situation. i suck at backing off & letting things be. but, perhaps i need to slow down. to accept & take things as they come. things will progress. that’s natural. but, perhaps sometimes i need to back off and stop trying to control the progression. just let it be. let things take the time they need to take. and while it’s taking it’s time, try to be aware of what’s actually happening now, how i’m feeling now, instead of always missing the now because of wishing/hoping for what comes next. besides i can’t get to “then” without experiencing “now”. i need today. and won’t i be a better person for living for today instead of always looking toward tomorrow?

in other words, wait. trust. hope. live.

it’s a fine balance, being proactive with our dreams, hopes, and futures… and waiting, letting things take their own sweet time, letting life unfold, trusting the process. life moves so fast anyway. why would i want to be in a hurry? i’d be missing out on so much.

here’s to all of us finding the courage & strength to back off a little bit. to slow down. to let time do it’s thing. here’s to trusting that, in time, we will all feel peace.

passing on the love.

the blogging world is amazing.

i know there are some people who think that the whole internet/social media thing is out of control, and it definitely can become something that takes over your life, causing you to lose contact with everyday life. it is a fine art, balancing life online & life in reality. but, i think i am doing a pretty good job at it. at least i’m trying to. and, right now in my life, both my online time & my time in the middle of everyday society are precious to me. i feel as if my world is expanding. i am meeting people face to face and blog to blog. my work seems to span across real life & internet life. in both worlds i write, take pictures, and share my thoughts on subjects from theology to self-confidence to love to equality to just enjoying life, and everything in between. but more importantly, i get a chance to listen to the lives of people with whom i am connected. i have the privilege, within my work (online or in life), of meeting people exactly where they are and hearing their struggles, their joys, their fears, their dreams… and i am so inspired.  inspired by who i meet, what i read, who i talk with – whether it be face to face or blog to blog, whether i agree or believe the same as them, or not. the privilege is the chance to get to know people, to create community. for, that is what life is all about. we may be different because we are from different places, live different lives, and have different experiences, but inside, we are one in the same. we are one.

within this ever-growing blogging community of people who simply stumble onto each other’s little corner in the blogosphere, i have met so many interesting people. and i feel that we have connected over many different topics or interests. the thing is, we always find some meeting point. there is always connection, and instead of focusing on the differences in our lives, we seek each other out based on what is similar. it’s a beautiful thing.

this past weekend, i received notification that i had been nominated for the inspiring blog award by a fellow blogger, natalie – who i have recently “met”. and i am truly humbled and excited. you see, i am pretty up front about my beliefs, but i never want them to deter me from meeting new people (= people see my blog, read my words, and are turned off because i’m too “preachy”). at the same time, i have made an oath with my self to let my voice be heard, to be true to who i am.

the thing is, my faith is wide. christian, muslim, atheist, jewish, hindu, agnostic, pagan, buddhist, noncommittal, whatever… i am open to everyone. and i want everyone to feel comfortable reading my blog… i want to convey respect, equality, hope, love. yes, i believe in certain things & i work in a church, but my biggest belief is love. i am honored and humbled every time i receive a message from someone, who connects with me because of our mutual desire to seek love, to listen to our souls, and to search for the inspiration to live our lives authentically. as i said before, we are truly all one. why focus on the little details that are different instead of building on that which brings us together? and if my blog inspires just one person, then i feel overwhelmed and overjoyed. so, i am honored to accept this award, which means so much to me.

now, down to business. with this award come a few responsibilities.

1. thank the blogger who nominated you for the award

natalie, thank you for your nomination. i have truly enjoyed being in contact with you, having little conversations through comments. you inspire me to think, to be open, to remember my voice & who i am,  and at the same time, listen carefully to the words of people around me. i love reading your reflections and thoughts on life. thank you for thinking of me, but more importantly, thank you for sharing your voice as you seek to live life to the fullest.

2. share 7 things about yourself

  • i am the world’s biggest procrastinator. to the point that the one who lives with me might go crazy. love you, lina.
  • i have always secretly wanted to be an actor. not to be famous, but to stand on stage & perform night after night.
  • i think i’ll explore the possibility of going to china within the next 15 months – thanks to a friend who will live there for a year.
  • i’m an apple product junkie.
  • music evokes such strong emotions & memories in me. all kinds of music. all kinds of memories & emotions.
  • bliss is my word of the year.
  • i love travel sooooo much (not a new revelation for most of you), but when home, i am a homebody… a lover intimate, quiet evenings with a few friends or with just my family. i’m a lover of coziness, candles, wine, calm music or movies.

3. nominate 7 bloggers for the award.

  • moments of mezz : mezz shares her life through her writing & her amazing photos. whenever i need to remember that life is good, i surf on over to her. she will lift your spirits!
  • the lesbian next door  : i am inspired by this blogger’s short stories and stories of life. she is fun to read and reminds me how ordinary life can be (and is) extraordinary. it’s just fun connecting with her! i feel a kindred spirit – a 30 something woman married to a woman. :)
  • something swedish : this chick is a fellow american living in sweden. she inspires me to remember the joy of my life  in sweden, as she writes about her experiences discovering her place in a new (and sometimes strange & different, but amazing & beautiful) country.
  • fat mum slim : to being with, this australian blogger has a visually inspiring blog. she is very “successful” in her blogging work, but she is also so down-to-earth, sharing stories from her life & inspiring others to let their creative sides flow.
  • nicibici : my dear friend who has just started her blog. seriously, just started it. but, she is an inspiring person in my life, so i am anticipating with excitement her presence in the blogging world. plus, i can keep up with her. she’s a fellow chick who fell in love, left her home country, and moved to a new one to live together with her love.

now, off to balance my life a little & meet some co-workers & my love for lunch! have a fabulous tuesday!

inspiration & peace.

march photo a day: week 1

as i mentioned in a previous blog post, i’ve taken up the challenge to post a photo a day using my instagram app – the challenge is to not only post a photo a day, but to follow the suggested theme/word for the day. the photos are also to be original photos taken on the day that they are posted (come on, no cheating by uploading an old pic from some file on your computer or saved on your phone.). since many of you don’t have instagram, and i’m not linking all my social media all over the internet, i thought i’d share my photos once a week with you. the first week in march has now passed (seriously? already?) and here is my installment of my original, taken on the given day, following the theme, instagram photos from this week. *smiley face*

day 1: up

zola’s fav morning activity:  looking up at the birdies.

day 2: fruit

riding on the train to stockholm/uppsala last friday, i snapped this shot of an apple. most swedish families are well-prepared with (healthy) snacks when they travel. i am not one of them. well, i’m not swedish either, so that’s my excuse. hehe.

day 3: your neighborhood

 24 hours later, after a day in uppsala, a trip to airport, & a day in stockholm we made it back home. this is my neighborhood at night.

day 4: bedside

hanging out bedside. cozy & warm early sunday morning.

day 5: smile

 my love is all smiles after buying a new keyboard. and i’m all smiles because i get to listen to her play & sing. ♥

day 6: 5pm

 as the moon was beginning to rise at 5pm, we walked home after a day of touring & shopping.

day 7: something i wore

 showing off my new, little, turquoise earrings.

so far, so good. it was fun finding things to photograph. now. wish me luck with following through for next week. and check back next wednesday for week 2’s update! in the meantime, take some time to slow down & notice little moments & glimpses of beauty all around you – take a picture in your mind or snap a photo with your phone/camera. then, share them! i’d love to see what you see from your perspective!

happy wednesday! peace out, peeps.