week twenty seven // music + laughter + lots of summer sun

hello everyone! it’s a new week again, and this week i am away on vacation with my wife + our extended swedish family + friends.

we’ve gone off the grid and gotten wild. it’s that time of year when we head out to the archipelago in southern sweden (southish of västervik, fellow swedes). all we do is relax, enjoy each other, eat, have fika, sleep, rest, laugh, sunbathe. pretty much soak up the magical swedish nature and each other.

so, since i’m doing that right now and not actually writing this blog post when you read it, i’m just gonna get right to the photos from a super summery, beautiful last week. enjoy!

monday working coffee fika zola taco working coffee

elton john in concert! we picnicked outside the stage area with a few other people… hehe.picnic uppsala castle elton john picnic uppsala elton john me picnic beer river uppsala uppsala sunset uppsala
an 18 hour stop in norrkōping (our old hometown) on our way to the archipelago

IMG_6859 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6871 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6888 IMG_6892 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the photos are only through friday night because… no phone serve or internet service out in the archipelago. you’ll get those all of  photos when i get back to civilization. hehe. in the meantime, i’ve got a few other posts scheduled for while i’m gone, so check back here on wednesday + friday! happy week, loves!

// week twenty six // summer has really begun + our beer is ready for tasting!

happy monday! isn’t it crazy how the weeks just fly by? i suppose that keeping a record of my weeks here on the blog makes it even more obvious to me. it feels like monday rolls around so fast every week.

i’ve come to the conclusion that this little show-and-tell time that i have with you all, where i share some snapshots from the week that has just passed, is a way to deal with the monday blues. most weeks, however, i do not usually suffer from the monday blues too badly (which is good, but it most likely due to the disheartening, sad fact that i am still unemployed). but, if i do happen to have a bit of beginning-of-the-week anxiety, creating this post every monday seems to give me a better perspective.

that’s the power of gratitude + living in the present moment.

looking back, i always see that, even in the middle of stress, anxiety, failures, tough times, frustrations, disappointments, and just all around sucky days, there is always something for which to be grateful. there are always moments that are beautiful.

and this is what i cling to. this (and meditation) is what reminds me that things will be ok. that there is always hope. and that with another monday, we have yet another chance to create the life that we want once again. it’s all up to us.

so, with that little self-pep-talk, i am ready to share with you the beauty that i found last week. take a peek!

i got a little obsessed with making BLTS for lunch. my summer go-to sandwich.
my love worked from home for three days. poor thing didn’t feel good at all. but, zola took care of her. (i tried too!)


taco Tuesdays, baby!
loving the long cozy evenings at home. this photo was taken at 10 PM. uh huh. i said 10 PM. Nordic love!home-evening-cozy
and then the sunsets… still blowing my mindsunset-sunshine
took a short walk around downtown uppsala after lunch on thursday. just because i’m also blown away that i freaking live here.
uppsala-gamla-torget-buildings uppsala-river uppsala-old-buildings uppsala-tunnel-cathedral uppsala-steps-me
stopped in for fika + a little skype date with my awesome friend in atlanta, georgia (lanie).cafe-linne-uppsala
chocolate cake to. die. for.uppsala-fika-cafe
summer reading?! yes, please! (hehe)
sunset from our friend’s BALCONY. you know, cause we BBQ every chance we get. helloooo, it is summer.sunset-mickes-place
enough said! GAAAAAHHHH!!!IMG_6557
lina’s work had a summer party friday night. she works with awesome, fun people. and i get to hang out too. lucky me.work-summer-party-lina
saturday evening, we needed to change our moods. and it looked amazing outside, so we decided on a 9:30 PM walk in our neighborhood. hand in hand. together. soaking up the simple joys of summer evenings. perfect. neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk-1 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-2 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-3-sun-flares neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-4 moon-summer-walk
we spent all freaking day outside on sunday because… 75 degrees (20 something celsius) + sunshine!
but the highlight was our afternoon soft release of our first two batches of home brewed beer!! so. much. fun.
secret-garden-beer-soft-release strawberries-summer
so exciting!two-chicks-brewing-beer-tasting
here we go….two-chicks-brewing-beer
cheers! we were so nervous.cheers-two-chicks-brewing-first-batch-beer
success!two-chicks-brewing-soft-release-beer me-two-chicks-brewing-beer me-my-love-two-chacks-brewing-beer two-chicks-brewing-beer-soft-release
and one more sunset…uppsala-sunset

and now… now that i am filled with the images of the past week, the unexpected + created moments, the big + small moments, all of the moments that brought a smile to my face… now i am ready to tackle this week. so, bring it on!

sending lots of love + light to you too! go out there + get yours!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week twenty five // midsummer + other little moments

happy summer (or winter) friends! we have made it through the solstice, and are on a new journey now. some of us enjoying the light and warmth of summer, and some of us snuggling into the coziness of wintertime.

me, i’ve been reveling in nature as much as i can this past week. i’ve been outside some, but mostly enjoying it from the inside, as the weather has not been too summery up here in the nordic lands. still… i  do what i can, whether it’s bringing nature in, taking photos out the window, or baking + cooking with fresh veggies and fruit.

plus, i’ve had some great times with some friends + family. lina and i have decided that we are super lucky to live here, surrounded by good people, beauty, and tons of opportunities for beautiful moments. so, even in the midst of longing and yearning for the mountains of north carolina, we still find ourselves completely blessed and grateful.

so, here’s how last week looked in my little part of the world:

made a trip to IKEA for some much needed kitchen items that we still didn’t have. but, now we do!


and i used them the next day for some pico de gallo. taco tuesdays, baby!taco-tuesday-pico-de-gallo
i’m doing a 21 day mantra meditation which is rocking my world. so powerful. i should have known that meditating with + chanting words would really inspire me (lover of words, i am!).
bringing nature inside. the lilacs are slowly coming to the end of their blooming season.lilac-flowers
coffeeeee in the morningcoffee-arm-me
and white russians at night. recipe from our asheville friend who stayed with us.white-russians-recipe
i made some peach cobbler for our midsummer celebration. mmmm!kitchen-peaches-counter
and, yes, we celebrated midsummer. inside, of course, because it was rainy + cold. but, it was still fantastic! dinner. friends. laughter. loved it!midsummer-table
the traditional snaps (shots) time during dinner. it pretty much killed me, people. put me over the edge. but, i still had fun. yep yep.midsummer-cheers-snaps
summer solstice coffee + communing with nature. i’m the girl who hangs outside her window in the mornings ‘cuz i love that hippie sh*t.coffee-nature-window-solstice
soaking up some solstice sunshinesolstice-sunshine-floor
my love + i had a mini-adventure to a little suburb outside of uppsala. we did a little shopping at a mall, then found this country bike path that lead us back into the city. it was freaking fantastic.granby-uppsala-bike-ride-my-love uppsala-granby-fence-field uppsala-granby-field
and sunsets galore! (see many more on yesterday’s post)sunset-uppsala-solsticewishing you a beautiful week filled with energy, love, and tons of moments that take your breath away. remember, the sacred is found in the ordinary. all we have to do is stay open + aware.

onwards + upwards! xoxo


ten on ten | march 2015

hi guys!! it’s ten on ten day again (woo hoo!) – yesterday was the 10th of march, and that means that i snapped 10ish different shots throughout my day, chronicling the beauty of the everyday. this ten on ten was pretty damn special, as lina and i have now moved into our new apartment!! yep. we moved a whole week early, and that’s why it’s been so silent here on the blog for the past 4-5 days. we’ve been super busy traveling to pick up all of our things, moving them up to uppsala, getting them in the apartment, doing some shopping, and unpacking + organizing everything.

oh, we’re not completely finished yet, but we’ve done a whole lot. and it feels so freaking amazing to have our stuff around us. and everything survived the journey across the atlantic. and, now we have brought some asheville vibes into our swedish apartment. it’s truly beginning to feel like home.

so, we’ve gone from the ten on ten in january, the day where we completely emptied our asheville apartment; to the ten on ten in february, where we made the best of our time in our empty, cold, weird, temporary apartment; to yesterday’s ten on ten, as we begin to create our new home in uppsala. it all just blows my mind. and i am so unbelievably grateful.

here’s a peek at what i was up to yesterday. lina was back at work in her office, and i spent most of the day unpacking and taking care of the apartment. basically, i had a great day! then, we enjoyed our first real cozy evening at home together. i have a feeling it’s going to be fantastic living here. more on the apartment + this past weekend in a few other posts. so, stay tuned + check back!

breakfast-kitchen-home decoration-home 3-sunshine-cat-zola 4-shower-europe 4-books-window 5-basement-apartment 6-me-ego 8-errands-shopping 9-tv 10-bedroom

happy hump day, friends! hope you are having a great week! sending you lots of love + light.

onwards + upwards! xoxo


ten on ten | february 2015

seriously. last month when i did my ten on ten post (10 photos of my day on the 10th of every month), i was in asheville. in my apartment. hanging with some of the best people i know. one little month later, i am waking in a sparsely-filled student apartment in uppsala, drinking instant coffee for breakfast, walking through snow, riding a train, and spending the day in stockholm doing a photo shoot for a masseuse. in between these two days, i have lived at my brother’s house. driven to new york. flown to sweden. lived at lina’s parents’ house for two weeks. moved to uppsala. learned to walk on snow + ice again. watched my love begin working at her dream job. and started writing on my book as much as possible, in-between job searching + networking + putting me + my dreams  out there, hoping that the universe and i will make shit happen.

yep. my head is spinning.

but, oh, life is so freaking good.

here’s how a regular ole tuesday in sweden looks like  – according to my life. (ok, so it wasn’t so ordinary – i had that photo gig in stockholm, so i took the 30 minute train ride there in the morning and back in the evening, and in between, took photos of a masseur and her client – both of whom ended up being super inspiring, amazing people! however, i hope that this will totally become a regular, ordinary day in my life… cause it was amazing.

sunrise-uppsala 3-uppsala-train-station- 4-buddha 5-photo-shoot-

train-ride 6-train-station-uppsala 7-sunset-uppsaa 8-cathedral 9-dinner 10-bedtime

hope your week is going good, and that you are finding joy in your regular days too. lots of love + hugs to you. xx

onwards + upwards!


TEN on TEN | january 2015

yesterday i introduced a little photo challenge that i’ve committed myself to for the year. you can read all about it { here }. simply put, it’s a challenge that only occurs on the 10th of every month, and the challenge is to take 10 photos throughout the day, highlighting those everyday moments. an opportunity to seek + find the beauty in the ordinary, to slow down + appreciate regular life, and all things simple + real. at the end of the day, the photos can then be shared wherever to whomever.

my intention was, of course, to share my TEN on TEN at the end of the day on the 10th. however, it was not such a regular, ordinary day for me, so i am doing it as early on the 11th as i can. hehe. but, one day off isn’t that bad, right?! i mean, all of the photos are from yesterday.

and what a day it was. i had to make a run for coffee because… no coffee pot. i blogged a bit in bed. prepared the balcony furniture (and other stuff) to be picked up by a well-deserving friend. attempted to organize my suitcase in the bedroom. ate mexican for lunch. got ready for our moving out party. and then loved every single minute of our friends gathering in our home, including a having two of them perform a live concert from the corner of the living room. my heart was completely filled with joy and gratitude. it was pure magic.

so, here are my TEN on TEN from th 10th of january. it was an incredible day.

morning morning-coffee empty-living-room-asheville sunshine-balcony me-balcony-january mexican-food-asheville asheville-home- moving-out-party-asheville me-party-january the-wilhelm-brothers-concert-home

we’re moving out of our apartment today. like totally out. so, it’s a crazy day. but, I feel ready. i’ve done all of my little goodbye moments in places around our home, so it’s time to move on and move in to my brother’s back apartment for a week. then, it’s all about hanging out and enjoying asheville. happy sunday, folks!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

cataloochee-mountain 1

a photo challenge for 2015 | ten on ten

i have decided to do a monthly photo challenge for 2015. yep the whole entire year. (it’s not as dangerous or time-consuming as it sounds. hehe). i absolutely love photography, and i have a goal to grow even more as a photographer in the upcoming year. i’m thinking about being more creative + setting up photo shoots + improving my composition + photo editing skills. for christmas, i even got an amazing little lens for my iPhone, so i want to really work with iphoneography as well. in any case, this challenge will be just one more way that i can keep freshening up my skills and becoming a better photographer. plus, it’s just pure fun taking photos, right?

the challenge is called ten on ten. and it’s super easy. so, if you want to join in, here’s how it goes:

on the 10th of each month, just grab your camera or iPhone and take 10 photos throughout the day. then, share them on your blog, or flickr, or facefbook, or instagram. wherever you wish. the idea is to pay attention to the beauty and simplicity and joy of the everyday. that’s it! see how easy it is? it’s just committing to photographing 10 moments one day out of every month. this is a challenge than any of us can handle.

so, grab your camera and get to snapping! today’s the 10th!! i’ll post my photos from today tonight before i go to bed. happy saturday! happy ten on ten!

onwards + upwards!

the way of the heart.

for the month of may, i decided that it would be fun to reflect a little on myself. who i am. what my personality is like. what i use the most in my life… my mind? my heart? my body? or my soul? do i engage all four of these parts of being human in my life, or do i neglect one of the areas? if so, why do i neglect it? well… i decided to do this little reflection and exploration in the form of a photo journey. and i invited y’all to join me.

and join me, you have! i have met new bloggers, new instagrammers, new artists in just one week and my inspiration cup is overflowing. you people are amazing! whether you are posting on twitter, your blog, or instagram, you are growing the belovelive photo journey into something even bigger this month… bigger than it’s ever been! we’ve all got so many more people to connect with. and i am so excited and humbled. what a gift this journey has already become.

by the way, if you have not yet joined in, there is still plenty of time left in may. so, just download and save the may photo a day challenge and begin snapping away. you can go back & do the heart words from days 1-8, or just pick up with the mind words beginning tomorrow. no biggie. you choose! it’s you’re journey, make it whatever you want.

week one of may’s journey of self discovery has been all about the heart. what touches your heart? what’s heavy on your heart? are you a heart person? do you live from your heart?

heart people are the lovers. obviously. if you live life from your heart, then you crave freedom, spontaneity, and emotions. you live in the moment. you laugh and enjoy life. you care about others and are most likely a people person – that doesn’t mean that you are an extrovert in my opinion. only that people, humans, are important to you. you’re passionate and independent. you’re moved by music and beauty. and you can be quite impulsive. how much of a heart person are you? how much am i?

the words for this week were all what i’d like to call “heart words”. they reflect the values and desires and passions of a person who lives life from their heart. it was my intention to use the heart words as a way to let my heart be active this week. to interpret the word prompts and be creative, and to see what touches my heart on a daily basis. i’ve come to the conclusion that i engage my heart quite often. i am quite an emotional person, and while my photos may not stir emotions for you, i guarantee that when i look back on these photos at a later date, i will remember exactly what emotions i felt when i snapped the shot. for me, being a heart person has now come to embody living a life where i feel what i feel. and there are so many things that happen within a day, within a week, that affect my emotions. but, i think that’s a good thing.

here’s a little snippet of what my heart felt every day during the first week of may.

1. selfie: we had to begin here. while a photo does not define or capture the essence of a person, it is a snapshot of who i am. and this photo reminds me exactly who i was, how i felt on this particular 1st day of may 2013.


2. feeling: when i took this picture i was feeling all kinds of emotions. someone had just come by the apartment to photograph it for the next renter…. i felt sadness, excitement, joy, fear, everything! it’s so crazy the adventures that await us!


3. spontaneity: an unplanned day at home with my love. we were both sick… like all week. ugh. but, it was cozy.


4. independent: i stared at this bird building her nest for at least an hour, watching her every move. delicate. strong. determined. living her purpose. i wrote a blog post on my little birdie friend the other day. you can read it here.


5. bliss: pink. blue. may. warm. need i say more?!


6. music: it was another beautiful, warm day, which means only one thing… it was a michael buble kinda day.


7. creative:  i spent some time browsing around one of my fave fair trade stores that sells unexpected, recycled goods made into new & funky designs. so smart. so caring. it’s important for us to love the earth… are ya with me?


8. friends: just 2 american friends having a mexican lunch in sweden. a little crazy fun in the middle of the day.


by the way, here are some of the fabulous bloggers who are participating this month:

pennies in the jetstream

the musings of a lesbian writer

a year of rejoicing

and here are some of the beautiful selfies from all over the world on instagram:

1fdaaf86b7e311e2a55d22000a1fbcd5_7 2f6dde3cb7e311e2aacd22000a1f932c_7

if you would like to “meet” fellow bloggers or instagrammers, just leave me a comment and i will be sure to feature you in my next may photo a day post in a week! and make sure when you post to use the hashtag #bllphotoaday!

it was really good to get in touch with my heart this past week. to feel things. to find something to be passionate about and grateful for every single day. but, now, it’s on to part 2/week 2 of my self discovery…

my mind. hmm…

peace on your journey, my friends.

“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.