ten on ten :: june 2015

another month is gone, and we are practically halfway through 2015. that blows my freaking mind. it’s gonna be great to have this little chronicle of one day of regular life from every month, so i can look back + see how things have (or have not) changed. hopefully, it’s fun for you, too, to see little snippets of my life.

my ten on ten for june just happened to fall on one of the first beautiful spring days we’ve had this year. yes, spring + early summer are just arriving here in sweden, which is not completely normal.

but, yesterday was great. so i was outside quite a bit. but, other than that, it was a really regular kind of day. those are good + exciting as well, you know. how great it is when we start to see the extraordinary even in the ordinary?! something i really, really try to do.

anyway, here’s my day. in 10 shots!

breakfast: swedish yogurt is to die for

breakfast

a little meditation time on the floor: my pillow time
meditate-candle-mala-beads
i didn’t mean to, but suddenly i found myself organizing the clothes in my closet. random burst of cleaning, i guess.closet-organize
time to work! emails, applications, conversations, planning, job-hunting, blogging, etc. and a cat, of course.work-zola-computer
coffee break!coffee-me
time to leave + head downtown to meet my love. and i didn’t need socks!!
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fresh juices with my love in the sun + by the river
juice-river-uppsala
a little window shopping: found a perfume that i want badly. it would be my summer scent. but, i didn’t buy it. maybe later… hehe.
perfume
back home with a beer in the sunshine in our apartment’s little backyardbeer-backyard-sunshine
11 pm and the sun is setting.  so beautiful. so peaceful.sunset-uppsala

i really hope that your week is going well… wishing you lots of extraordinary ordinary moments! it’s almost weekend, lovelies!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

hugos-kaffe-uppsala

hugos kaffe: a funky café in uppsala with an asheville vibe (a throwback to my “fika girl” days)

back in my asheville days, i was known as “the fika girl“.

this is all because i decided to do a little blog project, which then turned into a little freelance gig with a local, independent newspaper. pretty much a dream come true. i began by deciding to visit 40 different cafés in asheville in 40 days. yes, there are that many cafés in asheville – even more, actually. i started a blog about it, and i wrote a post after each daily visit. my goal was three-fold: 1) to get to know asheville again + to find my new, favorite coffehouses. 2) to bring the swedish concept of fika (an experience of drinking coffee, usually with something sweet to eat. a time to enjoy an intentional cup of coffee with friends, family, or colleagues. an important social part of everyday swedish culture) to asheville. 3) to see how spending 40 days in coffeehouses sipping coffee might change me.

well, 40 days in 40 coffeehouses led to some amazing insights and opportunities. not only did i meet my three goals mentioned above, but i got that freelance job out of it – a chance to write a column called “the fika files” in the mountain xpress, i met tons of amazing people, and i became an official coffee snob. i got to interview café owners, coffee roasters, and write articles about coffee events. i was the go-to person about coffee for a while in asheville, even snagging the nickname “the fika girl”.

cappuchino

i also started a meetup group called “asheville fika“. as people began to read my fika blog, they began to question me if they could meet with me. so, i decided to start publicising an open meeting that would meet at a different café every week from 11:30-1:30, during the lunch hour. my group met every single wednesday, all over asheville, from november 2013 until i left in janauary 2015. actually, they are still meeting! i passed it on to another leader. during these meetings, we simply sat and talked and drank coffee. no agenda. no pressure. no commitments. pure, simple, open community. and we grew from about 4-5 people every week to having over 20 every week. now, mind you, there are actually over 200 people who are now part of this group. not everyone comes every single week, of course, so there are always some regulars and some new people at every single fika meeting.

this was an amazing experience, and i have made some very good friends thanks to the fika group. i cannot wait to meet up with them again the next time i am back in asheville!

in a nutshell, coffee was a huge, huge part of my life in asheville. and my passion for coffee blossomed as i wrote about it, researched it, and met people in the coffee business, or simply chatted with other coffee lovers. it became a spiritual practice for me – sitting down and enjoying coffee with someone. opening doors and possibilities and listening stories of people following their dreams, discovering who they are, and living their passion. everything coffee-related became a chance to connect with others by taking the time to intentionally slow down and, well, connect.

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svartbãcksgatan: a street in uppsala | photo taken in february

now that i am back in sweden, the motherland of fika, i feel very differently about coffee. i realize that, in asheville, i made the transition from simply being a coffee lover to being someone who truly wishes to learn + share more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into coffee. i find myself wanting to teach people about coffee beans, roasting, making good cups of coffee. and, of course, i want to fill my home with all of the coffee gadgets i can. coffee has truly become a craft, like the craft beer industry in the states, and i think that it is amazing that the coffee culture is growing into a mindful, earth-friendly art form.

speaking of craft coffee, i have also acquired a passion for supporting local, independent coffeehouses and cafés – those seeking to not only provide customers with a good cup of coffee, but those who serve their customers with a purpose. there is nothing like discovering a small, local business, with an owner who absolutely loves what he or she does. and in the coffee business, it is usually not only a love of coffee for them, but also a love for connecting with people as well.

now that i live in uppsala, sweden, i want to seek out these places here. i want to find the people who burn for their unique, independent place in the business world. those people who not only want to turn a profit, but who want to make a difference in the community as well. because, in my opinion, the best businesses are those that have a mission or a vision to not only make their business successful, but to make their community successful as well. it’s all about working together. that’s the asheville, north carolina way. and i believe that there are plenty of places in uppsala that have the same philosophy.

hugos-kaffe

and guess what? i found one of those places.

i have decided not to do a 40 days of fika: uppsala edition right now. but, i have been searching and trying out difference cafés + coffeehouses, looking for the ones with soul. and, boy have i found one.

hugos kaffe (hugo’s coffee) is a tiny, funky, vintage-inspired coffeeshop on what i have dubbed my favorite street/block in uppsala: svartbäcksgatan. the café called to me the very first time i walked by it. i knew it was not uptight, not fancy, not pretentious, not a like-everything-else kind of place (and swedish cafés can be all of those things). this place had its own soul. it’s own character. it was friendly + relaxed. charming + funky. interested in local, organic, and making a difference. and i got all of that just by passing it.

needless to say, i have been in multiple times now. and i every time i enter, i feel as if i am transported back to asheville. the vibe is incredible. and the owner, well, all of those descriptions above ring true for him as well. this place feels like home to me. and, not home in some nostalgic way (ok, a little bit of nostalgia), but home (asheville) in a unique, independent, local-loving, fair-trade dealing, community-supporting, artsy, eclectic kind of way. hugos kaffe possess all of the things that are good about the coffee community of asheville and other like-minded cities around the world.

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coffee-machine-hugos

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poster-hugos-kaffe

this poster says that if you bring you own mug, you get your coffee for half price, and that it’s all about thinking green. 

for these kinds of coffeehouses, it’s all about creating a better community, making a difference in the world, and serving good coffee in their own unique way. and, after visiting cafés like that, i do not want to go into places that are stale, similar to each other, and do not think so much about what they are doing. i always seek out a place that creates a coffee culture.

so, coffee lovers, if you live in uppsala or visit uppsala, then by all means visit hugos kaffe! i promise you that you will feel welcomed + cared for, and you can sip on your coffee with the knowledge that your cup is making a difference in the lives of the coffee farmers whose beans fill your cup, the lives of the coffee roasters down in malmö + in your own community.

and, who knows, perhaps i will start a new meetup group here in uppsala?! perhaps we will meet at hugos once a week?! stay tuned. in the meantime, contact me and let’s fika!

onwards + upwards! xox

Hugos Kaffe | Svartbäcksgatan 21 | 753 32 Uppsala, Sweden |

map hugos kaffe* this post is not sponsored

pour-coffee

wilfa: saving my life one coffee pot at a time

ok. i  am being a bit melodramatic. but, wilfa has made my life feel much more like my life. you know i love coffee, right? and, if you have followed my little journey of moving to uppsala, you also know that in our temporary apartment where we live now there is no coffeemaker. gaaaaaaaah. the first week i tried tea. i mean i really, really tried. but, by the end of the week, with a pounding no-caffeine headache, i made my way to a café to get a cup of coffee. then, i settled and bought instant coffee. yuck. though, after 4 weeks of instant coffee, i grew to think it was ok. it definitely saved me – a little.

but, last saturday, three days ago, everything changed.

my love + i had a day full of adventure ahead of us. first, we walked a few miles to a man who was selling a bike. lina needed a bike desperately. i pushed mine beside us as we walked. after the exchange went down, we hopped on our bikes on one end of the city (well, the suburbs, actually) and rode them across the city to another suburb area completely across town. think southwest to northeast. it was a long way. and i hadn’t ridden a bike in a long time.

this second stop was because we were going to order the sofa that we want in our new apartment. and we ordered it and it will be delivered the day after we move in! wooooo. we are so excited because it is a sofa we have been drooling over for about 5 years now – we wished we could have had it before when we lived in sweden. but, all good things, in their own time. right?

after that purchase/order, we rode to another store to look at coffeemakers. we already had in mind which one we wanted, but we wanted to check it out. good thing we did, because as we were looking at the one we thought we were going to buy, our eyes caught hold of another one nearby. something that looked completely different. it was crazy. weird. and beautiful.

in the end, we decided to go for it. the new, crazy, weird, beautiful one. it’s made by a norweigian company, and it very very nordic in it design. all form and function and clean and minimalist. we love it!

so we strapped it on the back on lina’s new bike and rode the forever ride back to the apartment just before sunset – this is how we do things in sweden. hehe. i don’t know how she managed to ride and hold on the coffeemaker with one hand, while steering with the other. it was all i could do to just ride. geez. i’m not a biking girl – but i’m gonna be!

on sunday morning, bright + early, we tested her out. our new beautiful nordic addition. we brewed our own coffee! for the first time in over a month! and then we celebrated by making french toast to go along with the freshly brewed coffee. needless to say, i am spoiled. and this is a first-world problem/post. but, i am so very grateful. and i love love love the new coffeemaker. she’s great!
uppsala-walking-biking wilfa-coffee-parts wilfa-coffeemaker-home coffee-morning-wilfa wilfa-coffeemaker first-pot-coffee pour-first-cup french-toast-coffee-breakfast

happy tuesday! xoxo

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 comes full-circle

today is my love’s last day of school at her university. ever. i dropped her off this afternoon, and will pick her up tonight after 8:30 – this is her long day. in the meantime, i have my book club meeting and we are discussing the geography of bliss – woo hoo! i totally choose that book because i read it this summer, and i knew i’d go crazy trying to get another new book read. plus, i loved it and i think it is a perfect book to lead a discussion on. what’s not to like? travel + the search for bliss. sounds like something i could have written. hehe.

however, that doesn’t begin until 6:30, so i’ve got some time on my hands…

world-coffee-cafe

back when lina started studying right after we moved to asheville, i also found myself with some extra time on my hands. actually, all i had was time since i had no job. basically, the world was wide open. so, how did i decide to use my time? well, i went to cafés and coffeehouses. i decided that, in order to reacquaint myself with this city that i adore and in order to take care of missing the swedish tradition of fika, i’d drink coffee all over the city and begin writing. i would hunker down in a corner, trying to figure out my next step in life. and before i knew it, i had dreamed up a crazy project – my 40 days of fika project  – yep. i visited 40 cafés in 40 days, and i blogged about it. you can find that blog {here}.

computer-fika-asheville

so, for most of the fall semester last year, i was busy drinking coffee, meeting people and writing + blogging. it was during these months that i finally began to call myself a writer. i claimed it and it empowered me. this crazy project of mine even led to me freelance for a local, independent arts + cultural newspaper. and, after my 40 days of fika were over, i created a fika group – because people (who i didn’t even know!) were wanting to meet and fika. to this day, we have 171 members of that group that visits cafés + coffeehouses once a week, meeting to sip on coffee and enjoy conversation. soon, my time while lina was in class was taken up by meeting people, facilitating my fika group, writing, and doing other life-errands. but the 40 days of fika was over – and it was a very special time for me.

window-table-world-coffee-cafe

kindres-spirit-writer

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a year and a half has passed now, and everything is winding down with our move to sweden just around the corner. and, as i said in the beginning, today is lina’s last day of classes at her university. she worked so very hard to make this dream happen – and now, she’s gotten her absolute dream job , and it’s time to look to the future.

so, when i dropped her off today, i knew exactly what i was going to do until my book club meeting: i was going to visit a café and fika – like i used to do.

fika-computer-coffee

here i am now, in my happy place. doing what i do. in the midst of people, ready to interact, if the opportunity to arises. but, otherwise sipping on my coffee and typing away. as i reflect on the time that has passed while we have been in asheville, what I have come to understand is that i am a storyteller. and this is the life that i seek to live: coffee. people. places. words. images. so, here I sit. feeling like things have come full circle. that this part of my journey is coming to a close… and I am ready to move on, continuing to tell my stories and to live life to the fullest.

light + love xx