// week thirty nine // the one where liz turns 41

hello, friends! happy monday! did you get to see the moon last night?! did you feel the magic and gaze at it in awe? i’m always taken aback when i see the night sky – on any given night, it feels like. it just feels like i am part of something so big, so amazing, so important. and i am. and so are you.

but, this post isn’t about the moon (you can read more about my love for last night’s moon here). today’s post is about last week. and last week, i celebrated my 41st birthday! oh, and i mean that i c-e-l-e-brated. i am totally a lover of birthdays. and, in my experience it only gets better + better. sure, it freaks me out how fast life moves, how quickly the years fly by. but, so far, the fact that i am getting older doesn’t mean squat to me. and,so far, 41 feels pretty damn good.

my birthday was on thursday, and i’ve been off from work since then. so, i only worked 3 days last week. my last three days of training. starting this week, i have my very first shift alone! and i’m closing, so that means i have to count money and crazy stuff like that. but, i’ll kick ass. i’ve been trained well, and i feel pretty confident. cuz, i looooove my little job.

work computers

this is me. editing + developing old photos from negatives. so fun.

anyway, since thursday was my birthday, my boss + friend gave me the day off. and the day after (just in case i needed it, you know). turns out i did.

i woke thursday morning to my love getting up to prepare my birthday breakfast. it’s a tradition we have in our family. to prepare coffee + breakfast + presents for the birthday girl. and then deliver it all to her in bed, while singing “happy birthday”. love our tradition!breakfast in bed birthday

photo by lina

photo by lina

photo by lina

photo by lina

it was a slow morning of sipping coffee, opening gifts, relaxing in the living room with my love, doing girly things like painting my nails + coloring my hair (time to go dark again for the autumn + winter), and napping. i also did some face-timing with a friend and my parents.

photo by lina

photo by lina

later in the afternoon, my love told me that we had plans and were going out. but, she didn’t tell me anything else. i love that! so, we got ready and then headed out in the coziest, foggy, chilly autumn weather.
coat me birthday

photo by lina

photo by lina

the first stop was an irish bar for beer and fries. i mean, seriously, does my wife know me or what?! no birthday of mine would be complete without beer + fries. YUM.me beer

after about 2 lazy hours of chatting + just being together at the pub, lina told me that we had to go. so, we walked out and across the street and i realized then that we were headed to a new wine bar that had opened up. we passed it a few weekends ago, and i felt a major connection to it, almost as if it was drawing me in. but, we didn’t go then. so my amazing wife made a reservation for us on my birthday night. woo hoo!

when we walked in, lina’s cousin + her boyfriend were sitting at a table ready to hug me + greet us! and then our dear friend (like a brother to us both)  micke, and my brotherr-in-law + his wife, also all came in! so fun! a cozy family gathering at the new wine bar i’d been dying to visit. perfect.

photo by lina

photo by lina

it was a small, dark, industrial-designed place. the perfect spot that we all decided we should visit after a day of christmas shopping, when there is snow on the ground outside. sooooo cozy. we sat and talked and drank wine and ate little appetizer dishes for about three hours together. and the whole time i was filled with an immense amount of gratitude + joy.

wine bar family birthday wine me birthday

it was a very calm, cozy, simple birthday. and it felt like it as absolutely perfect. a day to just be me. and to be surrounded by love.

it felt like a very intentional, slow living, mindful kind of celebration. and with all of the changes that have been going on in my life and with my little family, this was exactly what i wanted. what i needed. a day to connect and be. i didn’t reflect much. i didn’t ponder the past or think to the future. i just lived, aware + awake,  in the moments of the day.

me 41 birthday

and here i am, ready to step out + forward. ready to see what adventures + opportunities + challenges face me as i begin my 42nd journey around the sun. there is much going on, and some very big are starting right now. this week. today, my love begins her day treatment program. in my gut, i know that this will be good. but, i know that it will be such a huge fight for her. she is taking back control, and the journey back will test her, i know. and i just want to support her as best i can.

as for me, on friday, i leave for my first life coach certification training weekend. this is a huge step for me. and it feels oh so right. but, the timing is crazy, and i will miss being with my love. yet, i know with all of my soul that this is something that i am supposed to do. this is the step that i am supposed to take.

yes, this week, my love and i are both moving forward. separately, on our own journeys. and yet together. because that’s how we roll. and i am so grateful and blessed to call lina my wife, my partner, my best friend.

with all of this love, and the love of family + friends, both near + far, what more could a girl ask for?

wishing you a beautiful week ahead, dear readers!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

autumn: the season filled with the most important things

it’s finally here. yippee!

the cozy season of autumn is upon us. it’s the season of turning inward. of coming inside. of harvesting + giving thanks for what has been. of planting seeds (literally and figuratively) that will burst forth next spring. and all the while, though the darkness grows more and more until the winter solstice, and it feels if all the nature is sleeping, there is much that is happening, though we cannot see it. it is the time of the year to dig down + deep. and to let our souls rest, plan, and feel inspired. working towards that next phase in our lives, whatever it may be.

sunset autumn trees

and today, on this day, we have a moment of perfect balance to inspire our reflections and deams. the amount of light + dark is spread out completely evenly throughout the day. what a magical day to think about the balance in our lives. to observe how we are living. to become aware. to see where we have been + what we have done, and to look forward to what we want to manifest and make happen in our lives.

of course, the opposite is happening in the southern hemisphere, the light is returning and life is beginning to burst forth. nevertheless, the balance is evident and present in the south as well.

it’s just such a perfectly sacred time of the year for everyone to pause for just a moment.

mountains autumn

to celebrate the onset of this favorite time of year of mine, i thought i’d do a little autumn-inspired q + a. my love shared her thoughts about the season on her blog the other day, so i decided i’d steal the idea from her and do a little sharing of my own.

What do you imagine when you think of fall?

i imagine leaves lining the streets + sidewalks: red, gold, orange, brown. crisp blue skies. bright sunshine. the mountains filled with colors. a cozy feeling. the chance to go indoors + inward – perfect for a contemplative like myself.

maxwell street autumn zola coffee blankets

asheville downtown autumn

What’s the worst with fall?

right now the worst with fall is that i am not in north carolina. i know i am supposed to be in the present moment, but that’s just how it is. plus, it is considerably darker and rainier in sweden than in north carolina. so much so that people usually leave town for a week or so, if they’ve saved up any vacation time. i miss my beloved mountains. and while my love + i are determined to create the traditions + moments that we miss, it’s not the same. i miss my family + friends. pity party over now.

the bywater

And what’s the best with fall?

the traditions! the holidays! including my birthday! and halloween, and all saint’s day cemeteries in sweden, and thanksgiving, and the beginning of christmas decorating. there is so much to celebrate! (and see above answer to understand the bittersweet part of all of this).

me lina birthday autumn

carving pumpkins

Your fall outfit?

here are some of my staples: jeans. t-shirt + sweater. boots. scarves. finger gloves. colored tights. black skirt.

pumpkin beer

What do you have on your to do-list?

celebrate all of those awesome holidays. light candles like crazy. drink chai latte. binge on netflix. gather leaves + berries. celebrate turning 41. take walks. start my life coach class. carve a pumpkin. choose a kick ass costume for halloween. host a halloween party. host thanksgiving. read books. take photos. makes videos. have a home retreat. find some pumpkin beer in sweden! (there has to be some somewhere). make soups (and chili). hang more cozy twinkle lights.

vegetables autumn me halloween dark wig river autumn asheville

How to you treat fall “depression”?

see the above answer. hehe.

Best music for rainy days?

i’m a playlist kind of girl, and i’ve been creating one every single month for the past year. here are the ones that i have published already. but, be sure to follow me on spotify + then you will see october + novermber’s playlists when they come out this year.

september 2014

september 2015

october 2014

november 2014

What TV-series are the best to watch?

this is easy! the walking dead. grey’s anatomy. game of thrones (we are just starting that one!).

Your most fall-ish meal?

i’m gonna have to say our thanksgiving meal. it’s just such a classic american thing that has been a part of my life forever. and one of my favorite meals of all! if you’re not american, then you may not quite get this, but… i mean: turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows. green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, corn pudding, cranberry sauce (which i hate, but i still have to have it on my thanksgiving table), bread, stuffing. good lord, my tummy is grumbling. only 2 months left!


the other dish that i love to prepare is homemade chili. i probably make it different every single time, but that’s ok. the best is to have it on a chilly, rainy day. and after it’s been sitting and cooking for hours. serve it with lots of cheese + nacho chips for dipping. or homemade french fries (for dipping as well. is hat weird?).

Any trips planned?

we actually have no trips planned until possibly next spring. at least we don’t think we will go anywhere this fall… but you never know! and while my wanderlust is out of control and i would hop on a plane to anywhere right now, i know that it’s not possible right this very minute. and it really is ok. i’ve got plenty to keep me busy with work, lina’s health, traditions, holidays, and just soaking up autumn in uppsala- i am sure it will be beautiful, and that some of my homesickness will be abated.

mountain road autumn

but, do we ever have trips on the brain! paris in the spring (my cousin just moved there!). berlin sometime next year to visit our f reminds’ new apartment + another american friend who just moved there. dublin to visit our dear friends + their new little dumpling. and THE STATES next summer. good thing we live in europe and get lots of vacation time + can go to 3 of 4 of those places for just a long weekend.

dream trips for as soon as it is possible (after these other trips are taken care of): india. bali. tokyo.

How do you prepare for winter?

stock up on candles! buy + forage decorations for all of the holidays. make christmas lists. peruse pinterest. plan blog posts. begin to plan goals and a word for the coming year. bring out blankets. buy some mulled wine. work on a photography book for 2015. hang even more cozy twinkle lights.

photo album christmas lights

as i’ve been preparing this post, i have had a revelation. i now know exactly why autumn is the best time of year for me. it is the season that highlights  all of the most important things to me:

nature, family, traditions, holidays, balance, darkness, light, home, coziness/contemplative times.

now i get it. this is the season that includes all of those things that touch my soul the most. and no matter where i am, i can carry that feeling with me. i can create three months of autumn coziness exactly as i want them. there is no person or place stopping me. it may not be the same, but it will only be added memories + traditions + moments to my life, making it that much richer.

it is a magical time of the year where anything can happen. the changes inspire us to expand and reset.

so, as the days grow ever shorter, as darkness creeps over the land and fills the sky once again, i know that in my soul autumn teaches me what is most important in life. autumn brings with it the chance to slow down just enough to be grateful for all that is a part of life, and to begin to plant those seeds within my soul that will be the next part of my life.

for now, though, as they are harvested and planted anew, it is just time to wait. and be. and go with the flow. the cycle of life is doing exactly what she should. mother nature is teaching us, once again, as the leaves drift down to the ground that another season is over…. but in its place, in due time, a new season will begin. for now, we simply enjoy the colors and the traditions and the joys that are around us.

happy fall, y’all! go ahead + copy this list for your blog. i’d love to read what you love about autumn (or spring!)
onwards + upwards! xo

all photos are from asheville, north carolina. autumn 2014.

27: something sweet.

today was a a little bit sweet and sour, i’d say. up & down. so, it is with some days, right?

i know i write a lot about living in the present, listening to your soul, and finding peace & joy in the ordinary moments of every day life. i wonder how many people think that i just spit out all of that oozy, gooey sweet stuff.  i wonder how many people think that there is no way in hell that they can do the things i suggest/write about because they are simply trying to survive and don’t see any way out of where they are right now. sometime i wonder if my inspirational words only serve to irritate some people, like i’m too sweet and sugar-y. i’ve heard in the past that i keep my head in the clouds and seem to stay away from things that are difficult… that my life is so perfect and happy, that i would not understand at all those people who are going through real difficult times.

well, if you think that, then you’re wrong. sorry, you’re way wrong. my life is not always sweet. it is sour & bitter as well.

i must say, though, that i practice what i preach. i really do try to live in the present moment and listen to my soul (that’s why i do yoga, read, and sit). and i really do look for peace every day – even if i only notice one, little moment. and these things are not easy for me to do. they do not necessarily come easy to me, which is perhaps why i write about them so much. so, this blog, my pictures, the things i write, they are ways to help me stay focused in life. they are not to preach at you, dear readers.

and, by the way, my life is not perfect. i have had and do have many struggles. many things that try to pull me into the dark & entice me to give up hope. i’m just stubborn, though, i guess. i refuse to let the darkness win. i truly, deeply believe in love.

anyway, on a day that has been filled with sweet & sour moments, bitterness & joy, i want to share some tidbits of sweetness with you (typical me), seeing as that was the photoadayMay challenge for today (sunday). we all know that the sour stuff is there, but why should i focus on it? why should i let it win? it already causes me enough pain. what i need is to focus on the sweet things in life in order to get through all the sour. so, without further a due…

 on my morning walk to work, the suns rays were reaching down from heaven, filling me with hope & peace.

 afternoon fika at home with my love. i bought blueberries & strawberries. and i made some whipped cream/coolwhip stuff. that’s right, you heard me. i made it.

 bought a new camera!! thanks to my love’s great economy skills.

 held my cutie niece (lina’s sister’s daughter).

 had strawberry ice cream with chocolate mousse. tasted like summer.

 saw a gorgeous swedish field on the drive home this evening.

how has your sunday been? any sweet moments? sour ones? talk to me.

sending you hugs, love, & peace.

day 20: something i can’t live without.

well, with today being my love’s birthday, and the fact that she is the most important thing in my life, this post is most definitely inspired by her and our celebration of her throughout the day. for her birthday, lina & i spent the afternoon outside in the archipelago. the east coast of sweden lies a short 30-40 minute drive from the city and it is truly a gorgeous & peaceful place. but, we don’t get out there that much. the thing is, we don’t have a car & the whole bus thing takes waaaay too much planning. so, today, lina’s parents picked us up & drove us to the coast so the 4 of us could celebrate a birthday fika in the beautiful weather today. perfect.

as i looked through my pictures from the day, i realized that there is another thing i can’t live without (though not as important as my wife, of course)… nature. especially trees & water. so, here are a few pics from the day. a day filled with the most important thing in my life… spending time with my love surrounded by water, trees, and a great, big, blue sky.

it was a beautiful day. and i’m a lucky, lucky girl.

peace, dear friends.

week 4: photo a day. april.

here we go. the last installment of april’s photo challenge. i seriously cannot believe that may begins on tuesday! 2012 is flying by. hope that you’ve had a good week (mine’s been full, and i’ve had a cold, still, it’s been good) & that you’re ready to begin a new challenge with me in may. come on, you know you wanna. of course i’ll post the may challenges on monday (along with the last 2 pics for april). for now, here are the ones from this past week. geez i loooove this challenge. oh, and one more thing, just so you know… all the pics are taken with my iPhone 4s, using the instagram app. the collages were made with the pic frame app. so easy & so much fun.ok. time for pics!

day 22: something i bought. we bough a gift for a friend’s new baby. loved the cute dinosaur wrapping paper.

day 23: vegetable. i had a yummy baked potato with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, & cottage cheese for lunch. delish.

day 24: something(s) i’m grateful for. my marriage, my job/work,rainy days, the city where i live, my girls, sunny days.

day 25: looking down. on my way home from work… looking down my street.

day 26: black + white. some things around the apartment.

day 27: where i went. on friday, after a meeting, my love & i went to out favorite pub to get the weekend started off right.

day 28: 1pm. at one o’clock this afternoon i was gathering all the things i needed for my afternoon out with my love.

that’s all, peeps. hope your saturday has been a good one. i’ve still got a ton of blog posts rolling around in my head. and, as for the who methodist church convention thing, it’s still going on. i will for sure have lots to say about that in a few days. off to bed now, a day of work tomorrow, and then a very special swedish spring holiday on monday/tuesday. more to come on that at the beginning of the week. plus more pictures. of course. i can’t stop taking pictures these days. but that’s a good thing, i guess. i feel as if i’m expressing myself, getting a chance to be creative. ok. enough typing. i’m rambling.

goodnight & peace.