the goddess in the sky: learning to love yourself


i just so happened to wake up really early the other day. from my bed, i could tell that was very bright in the living room. and i knew that there was no full moon giving off the cool, white glow that i saw from my bed. so, what was it?

i checked the time and saw that it was about 5:30 am. curiosity got the best of me and i crawled out of bed + stumbled over the the window. this is what i saw:sunrise dawn venus morning

a quarter moon (which looks full in this photo, due to my camera phone). and a bright star. a really, really bright star. it was gorgeous. breathtaking. and being the sky geek that i am, i suspected that it was not a star actually, but a planet. venus, i thought.

i gazed a bit longer and then quickly searched an astronomy website to see about early morning happenings in october. my suspicion was confirmed. it was the beautiful venus shining her light in the predawn sky.
sunrise dawn venus moon

venus, as many of us know, is named after the roman goddess by the same name. she’s the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, balance, equality. the planet venus is often known as earth’s twin. she’s the closest planet to earth, which is why she shines so brightly in the autumn sky. so, perhaps, if we dream and ponder a bit, we can feel that connection between the planet venus and ourselves.

what i found myself thinking about on this early dawn morning, as the sky brightened and a new day was beginning, was what venus could teach me.

with the planet venus glowing so very brightly, i felt as if she was reminding me  to do exactly the same thing. to glow. to let my light shine. to not only love those in my life as deeply as i can, but to also remember to love myself, letting my life be as bright and beautiful and inspiring as our sister planet.
dawn sunrise venus

as i often do, i found inspiration up in the heavens on this morning. i spent those dark, quiet moments just before sunrise standing alone at my window. and i felt empowered. empowered to live the life that i am called to. and to share with each of you the beauty of believing in ourselves.

venus, way up there in space, illuminates it all for us. even when we feel the most alone, the most challenged, the most confused, there is still love. there is always love. so, the best thing that we can do is to dig deep + discover that love within ourselves. to embrace our own lives and to love one another. no matter what we face, we have everything that we need. and, if no one understands the path that we are on, or the path that we have chosen, well then, too damn bad for them. our calling in life is to listen to and love ourselves + to embrace our inner goddess (or god). i believe that so very deeply.

and venus reminded me of just that.

morning sky venus quote

if you happen to wake up early over the next few days, look to the east. venus will be there shining brightly for you too.

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


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!

a photography tip: steller – where everybody becomes an artist + a storyteller

like we all need another app on our already maxed out smartphones. right? and like we need one more thing to take our focus away from real life + the present moment. right?

we don’t. our 21st century everyday life is already filled up with obsessively checking texts, Facebook, instagram, emails, news, and tweeting things all from our little phones. we do it constantly. so much so that it just might be a problem for some of us. i often wonder about myself. at least i’m trying to keep myself in check, yeah?

but, even with all of that information, and my unsolicited advice to take it easy with our phones, to put them down + look around instead of down at a screen, to go off the grid on a regular basis… even with all of that said, i am still going to share with you a tip about a fantastic photography app.

and even though this app takes up some more time that we could use to be doing something else, i actually believe that it is something that can inspire us.

perhaps 21st century creativity has just made art + creativity more available to us through apps like instagram… and stellar.

steller is a photography app for sharing photos, but unlike instagram that shares one photo at a time, steller tells stories through images. it’s an app that allows you to upload a series of photos from your camera to create whatever kind of story you wish. it’s a great tool for telling beautiful visual stories. capture that perfect weekend getaway you just had. snap shots of your outfits over a week, or share an entire recipe through photos. take photos of your favorite design ideas. the possibilities are endless.

click –> here to get a little sampling of what some people are posting on steller right now. i’ll wait for you to come back…

now that you’ve seen and explored some of the stories on steller, i’ll bet you’re as blown away as i am at the talent that’s out there. my inspiration soul is pretty much set on fire every time i look at steller stories. and, instead of thinking, “i can never create something that beautiful”, i find myself motivated + knowing that i absolutely can create something that beautiful.

so, here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. choose the theme you wish to use // steller has some fantastic themes already ready for you to simply add your photos to.  just choose whichever you like and begin to build your story.

2. choose + upload your photos (a series of something that will tell whatever story you wish to tell).

3. choose the layout for each photo page // it’s super easy. there are templates for the theme you chose at the bottom of the page. give your story just the look + feel that you want.

4. add a new page to add some text to your story // it’s easy to add a page and then type out an fun introduction explaining what your story is about. but, it doesn’t have to stop there. add a page with quotes, or tel your story with alternating word + photo pages.

5. you can even add videos //  now, i haven’t added any videos yet, but i’ve seen some beautiful examples like –> here and here.

6. don’t forget to add a page for text as your last page // leave your contact info, some hashtags, ask questions. anything to engage others + provide a way to contact with you in other places around the internet

7. rearrange your pages // you can see your pages, move them around and even delete some if you want. then, go back and add more if you want.

8. preview your story, fix whatever needs fixing, and then publish!

9. it’s easy to find inspiration by exploring using the little compass icon at the bottom of the app. click through the collections that pop up, or search for hashtags. the stories are boundless, endless wells of beauty and wonder.

you can find my profile on steller –> here. or just click on the widget right over here ——->

i haven’t created that many stories… i am trying to pace myself. hehe. still, i have already been featured by steller a few times. exciting!!

here is my most popular story on steller. it was so easy to create, and it ended up being in steller’s top 20 for 2 days! click on the photo to see the whole story.

summer in stockholm steller-1

the most recent feature was when steller created a story to inspire others to take photos of the streets around them (steller often gives great tips and ideas, so be sure to follow their profile). the hashtag they asked everyone to use is #stellerstreet.

in their little instruction story, they featured my cover photo for my summer in stockholm story. so freaking cool! (click on the photo to see the story on steller – and my photo in it!).


so, there you go. a new app for you to explore – and download, if you’re into it. you can download it from itunes  here or simply type “steller” in on your smartphone’s app store.

app or no app, we can all use a boost of in our creativity. am i right? and telling stories through images is a perfect way to capture a moment or challenge ourselves to find a series of shots and put them together as a collection. it’s like having a chance to show our art in our own little gallery.

of course, this can be done with any kind of camera. it can be posted on instagram, Facebook, emailed, or even printed out and hung on our walls.

i’m gonna invite each of you to join me in september in creating our own collections of stories  throughout the month of september. i’ll pick a few themes and share the challenges here, and then you can join me in picking up your camera and creating your own art, telling your own stories through photos and text. images and words.

all of us are artists. all of us have our own stories to tell. let’s use september to share that with each each? are you in? *more details to come soon!*

until then, happy snapping!

onwards + upwards! xo

project 30: a guest post on kate’s beautiful blog

my blogging + instagram buddy kate, from 365til30, has a fabulously inspiring blog series called “project 30”. it’s a little q + a with different women in their 30s.

last week i got an unexpected email from kate asking me if i wanted to be a part of the series and do one of her little “interviews”! how fun is that?! i was so happily surprised + completely honored. but, i was a bit worried. i’m not really in my 30s anymore…


so, i emailed kate back and said that i’ve love to be a part of her series, but i warned her that i am over the “age limit”. she totally didn’t care about that, and invited to to share my thoughts anyway, which just touched my soul to the core.

well, friends, here’s the link to kate’s blog, where you can read my interview and all of the “wisdom” and thoughts that i have about life as a 20 something + life as a  30 something, from the perspective of a 40 year old. hehe.


<<  click here (or below) to read my interview  >>


and, a great big thanks again to kate for inviting me to be a part of her project 30 interviews! i am so overwhelmed + honored to be in such great company of some very inspiring women!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// find kate’s blog here //


5 steps to creating a zen work space + making your dreams come true

if there is one thing that i have learned about getting stuff done (other than needing to have a daily routine),  it is that having a designated space to call my own is a must. in order to create things, work, write, and focus, it is a really good idea to have a place to go to. a place that where you know that “this is where i make shit happen”.

to be honest, i’m not the best at-home worker, though i love to be at home. but, since i’m not the most disciplined person in the world, i need a place that i know i my place to get down to business. and i need that place to be nothing else. what i mean, is, i cannot work in bed. i cannot work on the sofa. perhaps i can work at the kitchen table, but it’s not quite as effective or fun as working at my special place.

my love + i have always had a place that we’ve designated as our work space. in our first apartment together, it was a desk that we shared. the desk was in our bedroom. not ideal, but all we could muster in our tiny apartment. in our second place together in asheville, we had a whole entire room dedicated to work and we called it our studio. lina practically lived there since she was studying then. it was a huge space and so inspiring.

our current place, a cozy, loft-feeling apartment in sweden, is quite small, so we have a corner that we share. i was a little skeptical about sharing space with my wife after having a studio with two desks, but, it actually works just fine. besides, it has helped me focus on simplifying, minimizing, and being creative.

you really don’t need that much space to create your own creative work area. and, the less stuff you have, the better.

with that said, i though i’d share with you my tips for a zen, minimalistic, inspiring creative/work station. my ideas work for tiny corners, basement offices, outside studios, and everything in-between, even your office at work. anywhere you need to have to focus and make things happen: art, studying, bill paying, writing, reading, business deals, computer work, photography, making jewelry… you get the idea. even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, this kind of space is perfect for everyone.

1. seek simplicity


i highly recommend clean minimalism. if there is one thing i have learned from the swedes, is that this minimalist look makes you feel calm. when things are decluttered and organized, there is a sense of freedom. yes, it is practical. but that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be fun + personal. so, wherever your space is, keep it clean. every night reorganize and put away the things you’ve been working on. i guarantee that in the morning, or the next time you have to sit down + do something, your space will make you smile.

as for organization + stuff, you really don’t need a ton of things on your desk. a couple of boxes or baskets, your computer, some pens, perhaps a notepad of some sort. that’s it. all of your important papers + things can be stored in other places. closets, bookshelves. use binders + boxes/baskets to put paper, mail, envelops, etc. in. and then place them in different areas of the room. just not on your desk. save that area for doing your work. and, if it is empty + clean + ready for you to use, it’s much easier to get started on what you need to do.

2. be comfortable + cozy


if you’re going to spend lots of time in your work space, then by all means, make it comfy. my love is a graphic designer + i am a writer/blogger, so computers are a big deal in our home. and we sit at the desk very, very often.

make sure that, if you are sitting, your desk and chair are the right height for you. we have a vintage green chair that is not the best desk chair available. but, for us, it was all about style. well, actually, we didn’t choose the chair. it was left in the apartment. and, in order to save money, we decided to go with it. however, we did purchase a cozy, soft (fake) sheep skin cover to throw over the chair. it helps out a lot!

the other thing to be aware of is where you place things on your desk. make sure you can reach things easily, and that everything is streamlined within an arm’s reach. there’s nothing more annoying than having to stand up to reach a pen or bend far over to pic up a notebook off of the floor.

it’s ok if the work space gets messy while you are working. i hope that is happening to you! just remember to re-organize it when you are done.

3. create rituals


rituals are little acts that we engage in to help make us aware. they also alert us that something important is about to take place – something that deserves our attention, something that is important + worthy. really what rituals do is to create atmosphere.

i have a few rituals that i use every time i sit down at my work space. i always, always, always light a candle. that’s first. it helps me slow down and remember that what i am about to do is something that i choose to do from my soul. it’s not some mindless activity, but something sacred. at night, the candle glows along with the lamp in the room. during the day, the candle burns, even as the natural sunlight beams into the space. no matter what time of day i sit down, the candle is lit.

i also open up spotify and listen to music. my music depends on my mood. often i choose my playlist of the month, but not always. some days the music reflects the weather – gray + rainy, or bright sunshine. i don’t listen to it very loudly, but just in the background. it’s like having a comforting friend nearby. plus, it’s inspiring!

and lastly, i have something to drink beside me. if you know me, you know that it is usually coffee. almost always coffee. but, if i write/work at night, then i may have a glass of wine or a beer sitting on the desk. and, if i find myself working for a very long period of time, i grab my water bottle and sip on it. hydration is very, very important. not to mention, it perks you up. but, honestly, it’s like 97% of the time coffee that i enjoy. hehe.

all of these rituals keep me calm. they create an atmosphere of peace and quiet, then i can focus on what is most important. give it a try!

4. surround yourself with inspiration


while i completely support creating a minimalist work space, i am in no way a minimalist person.  i love color, warmth, natural tones, wood, metal, funky stuff, vintage stuff. i’ve got a little gypsy heart. but i do also love the simplicity of monochromatic pallets, cleanliness, and organization. so, my personal style is a little mix of scandinavian simplicity + american hippie-ness. let’s call it urban boho.

and while i completely believe that we should not clutter up our work areas either, we should most definitely surround ourselves with things that inspire us. that may be artsy things, mottos, photos, trinkets, gadgets – anything that makes us smile and can potentially spark creativity. if i want to create something, i cannot have a blank canvas in front of me. when i get stuck writing, i look around. seeing something beautiful, i feel renewed. seeing something that sparks a memory gives me a sense of peace + calm. plus, looking at these little things around me, remind me who i am, what my goal is, and encourage me to keep on working.

this is where we can infuse a little personality into our work area. now, if i am honest, i could really go overboard with this. it is highly likely that i find lots of little mementoes to put out around me, creating a little altar. but then, things can get a bit messy + clutterd. so, i have learned to select just a few very meaningful things at a time. besides, there is no rule that says that i can’t re-arrange my personal/inspirational items every now + then!

desk floor basket

for now, we have a candle (that changes very often), some twinkle lights in a jar from north carolina, a little blue bird that was my grandmothers and has been displayed in every home that i have lived in, a wooden art figurine, cans with pens, a little wooden box from my brother’s home, a painting of the mountains of north carolina, an elvis coaster from our honeymoon road trip across the states, a basket beside the desk with maps + arrows from the cherokee indian reservation, my camera bag, and a simple calendar that my love gave me on the wall above. really the bluebird is mine and the wooden figure is lina’s, the painting of the mountains is actually hers too… i gave it to her for christmas this year. and that’s it. the rest of it is all stuff we’ve chosen together because they are important mementoes to both of us. the only thing that i want to add is a little art on the wall.

so, get creative with your space. keep it simple. but express yourself. pick things that make you feel like you. and let the creativity flow!



ok, friends. at one time multi-tasking seemed to be the thing. but, it’s out. intentional, focused work is now in. that means, do one thing at a time. creating specific times to do specific things.

sometimes i feel like i am all over the place. looking for jobs, writing a blog, taking photos, working on a book. it feels like i am never giving 100% to anything that i do. and i pretty much stink at multi-tasking. i need an extended period of uninterrupted time to be effective + productive. so, i have started trying to give myself permission to do one thing at a time. i may do all of those things in one day, but when i am writing, i am writing. when i am job-hunting, i am job hunting.

being intentional is really about being present. being in the here + now. not letting our minds fly all over the place, wondering if we should have done something else earlier or stressing out about the next task that comes in the day. it’s all about living in the moment. and giving ourselves that permission to be soaked into what we are engaged in.

the best way that i ensure that i am intentional about my work, giving it all the time that it needs, is that i schedule it. my daily routine includes chunks of time that i do certain things. ultimately, right now in my life, mornings are for creating and afternoons are for networking/job-searching. so, all of my writing, blogging/phtography takes part in the morning. and all of my practical things are taken care ofin the afternoon. of course, it’s not like that every day. i have created big chunks of time so i can be flexible. and i allow myself to be just that. life sometimes requires that i change things around or skip something all together.

the main thing is that i try my best (and am definitely not always successful) to make the main thing of the moment my main thing. no apologies. no regrets. hopefully no stress.  if i want to get done what i want to get done in a day, or even in a year, i simply must take care of all of these things. i must intentionally decide to make the things that i love to do and need to do a priority.

how are you feeling now? inspired? tired? overwhelmed? i know, it’s like doing work before you actually sit down to do work. but, i fully and wholeheartedly believe in creating a zen work space. one that expresses who i am. one that inspires me. on that helps to keep me focused + on track. one that makes doing work just a little bit more fun. i can honestly say that i truly look forward to sitting down to my little creative corner. when i am here, i know that i must focus. and, more importantly, i know that i am doing something to help make my dreams come true. this is where the magic happens… where i begin to follow my bliss.

share with me your ideas + thoughts about your work space. what do you need to have around you? what does your space look like? do you want to change anything? i’d love to hear from you!

you can read about my daily routine –> here

onwards + upwards! xoxo


meditation mondays: just start

hello, out there! i’m writing to you from a cozy spot on the sofa in my brother’s back apartment this morning. what that means is that we’re all moved out from our sweet little home + into our temporary asheville digs in the middle of downtown. we’ll be here until sunday – when we pile up in the car + drive to new york to fly out to sweden on monday. so, basically. one. week. left.


today, i feel much better than yesterday. yesterday, we hit our moving and emotional limits i think. lina had it a bit worse, i believe. it wasn’t that there was so much to do, it was that it was the ending of our home there. i suppose though, it all started with waking up + knowing that we had just spent our last night in our home. and then, it just got more + more challenging – emotionally.


but, we powered on through. and even set aside time for a yummy brunch at a favorite place with some good friends.


then, it was back to work. my brother took our bed to my parents’ place. we thought we’d keep the bed in storage… for that mountain cabin that we are going to get just as soon as we can afford it. yep. we dream big. we took a few loads of things to a donation station to give away. cleaned the apartment at my brothers. and then, we took the rest of everything that was left, out piece by piece, and we moved the cat over to this apartment with us.

we settled in last evening, all 3 of us, and just sat. stunned. exhausted. but, somewhat happy. zola explored her new little home, while lina and i sipped on beer, ate chips, and watched some things on our computers. then, we crawled into the bed. all of us. and passed out.


this morning, i woke, feeling freaked out and excited all at the same time. there are still a lot of errands to run, accounts to close, a car to sell, apartment keys to turn in. gaaaah. but, it’ll all work out and be ok. i stumbled across this quote this morning, and thought i’d use it as my meditation for this monday. and, i thought i’d also share it with you. so, whatever you are doing today. whatever you face. whatever you are beginning or ending or dreaming about, this is for you. all of you, out there. my dear readers.


start now. start where you are. start with fear. start with pain. start with doubt. start with hands shaking. start with voice trembling but start. start and don’t stop. start where you are, with what you have. just… start.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

words for the weekend

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”  – Audrey Hepburn

“Music always sounds better on Friday.” – Lou Brutus

“Hands up if you’re ready to do something you’ll regret this weekend. Go forth! You have my blessing.” – Florence Welch

“It’s not that we spend five days looking forward to just two. It’s that most people do what they enjoy most on those two days. Imagine living a life where everyday are your Saturdays and Sundays. Make everyday your weekend. Make everyday a play-day…” – James A. Murphy

happy weekend, lovely ones! i hope yours is filled with exactly what you want and need. and, if it somehow doesn’t live up to your expectations, then join me in the belief that it is up to us to create our own bliss. now… go, live, enjoy, + celebrate what it means to be alive!

love + light xx

balcony meditation

my morning mantra

on wednesdays last spring i did a whole series inspired by the dalai lama’s 18 rules of living. as a result, i became a huge believer in his simple, yet profound, ways of being. his words always rang true with me. this morning i ran across this little quote below and i thought it was the perfect way to start my day – i think it sums up what i am feeling/what i have been feeling about my life for a few years now. do i actually accomplish these things? oh noooo. but, i can damn well try. and, try i will.


light + love xx