wedding-fist-bump

| week twenty three | a spectacular wedding, an international visitor + keeping the balance

hello, friends! i do believe that i have returned to the land of the (regular) living after an intense, wonderful, super busy two and a half weeks. whew. it has ben so much fun. but, i must say, that it feels good to get back to writing my book, nesting, enjoying the long, long days as we approach midsummer, and just being with my wife. shhh… don’t tell her, but i plan on spoiling her in one way or another in the next few days. she’s crazy busy at work + deserves some time to do whatever the hell she wants. plus, we need a little reconnection, lovey dovey time together too.

but, this post is all about what’s been happening for the past week. and, even though we had said goodbye to our first two visitors at the beginning of last week, it was only 2 days before our next international visitor made her way to uppsala to stay with us for 5 days + attend the upcoming wedding over the weekend.

first, i focused on a few moments of just being  – making sure that i had a few minutes each day to just check in with my soul. coffee. meditation. reading. i’ve got to prioritize time for these things every single day – at least 30 minutes, if nothing else. so, i did.

the weather was (and has been) crappy for a while. chilly, rainy. just yucky. and my emotions have been a little flat lately, though inside my soul has been calm. i’m not sure what that is all about, but perhaps it’s the weather and/or the mercury retrograde happening up in our universe these days. in any case, trying to balance grounding myself + running around doing errands for visitors + the wedding was my focus at the beginning of the week.
coffee-morning meditation-four-elements books-rain black-and-white-me-ego uppsala-errands

nicole, our third visitor, arrived on wednesday with a bottle of irish whiskey. woooooo! it had been 2 years since we’d all three been together, and it was so great. it’s amazing to have those friendships that stand the test of time + distance. but, now that we are back on the same side of the atlantic, it’ll be much easier to get together.

irish-whisky- nicole-lina-me

we did plenty of shopping, eating out, enjoying the sun whenever it was shining, chatting, relaxing, and preparing for the wedding. lunch-stationen-sunshine my-love-spring wine-strawberries-picnic

leaf-secret-garden picnic-me-sunshine-wine sunset-eleven-uppsala-sweden

the wedding day had arrived! my brother in law and his fiancee had planned a fantastic wedding, and invited lina and me to be toastmadams, which means that we are in charge of entertaining/running/organizing the reception time. it was such an honor! so, after some morning planning with my love to finalize the reception, and some quick dress altering by nicole, we headed to the reception place to decorate! wedding-preparations wedding-nicole-sewing

as you can see, the reception venue was ahhhh-mazing. wedding-reception-norrlands wedding-reception-hall wedding-reception-tables wedding-me

and then, it was time for the wedding to begin!!

gamla-uppsala-burial-moundswedding-vows wedding-kiss wedding-fist-bump wedding-recession-running wedding-recession wedding-church-outside wedding-kiss-outside

back to the reception venue for dinner, entertainment, partying, and dancing. what a super fun, fantastic time it was! we enjoyed every single second of it. and i think lina and i did a pretty good job being toastmadams – it was unbelievably fun for us in any case! i didn’t take any photos, didn’t even have my phone/camera anywhere around me because we were so busy. but, trust me… it was a beautiful, wonderful, super fun evening.wedding-me-and-my-love-lina wedding-dance wedding-dancing wedding-couples-me-lina

so fun that we danced until the sun came up (mind you, the sun was rising at 2 am)!wedding-sunrise-uppsala

and there you have it… my jam-packed, memorable, amazing, busy, wonderful week. and yes, i believe that i truly am ready to get back to normal life again now.

so, back to writing my book and job hunting! and here’s to wishing you a great week – whether you find yourself doing unusual + extraordinary things, or whether you find ways to make your everyday life unusual + extraordinary!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

it’s a great day for a wedding

Today is a special day in my Swedish family… my brother-in-law is getting married!

Also, our dear friend from Ireland is in town for the wedding, and has been staying with us this week. So we’ve gotten to play host to our third visitor in two weeks with her here! And, we love that!

Today just happens to be her birthday, Sweden’s national day, and the wedding all rolled into one. So much to celebrate!

In just a minute, in gonna roll out of bed (or off the sofa is more like it), put on a pot of coffee, prepare a special birthday breakfast, and then spend a girlie morning with my love + our friend primping for the wedding.

Then, my love and I have the pure honor of being the toastmadames of the wedding reception/party. It’s a Swedish tradition to have a toastmaster/madam who is the go-to person for the reception. We will be the emcees of the reception, like someone who hosts the Oscars. We have organized and planned everything that will be happening during the reception time. Kind of like social directors on a cruise ship. Sounds fun, huh? It’s our job to introduce any speeches or other things that people want to do for the bridal couple, we give out all pertinent information about the reception, and we entertain. We’re the hosts, it’s as simple as that! And so much freaking fun. And we couldn’t be more honored to have been given this role!

So, that’s gonna be my Saturday: family, love, food, celebration. Perfect!

Here’s to the happy couple, Jonas + Magdalena! Wishing them a lifetime of joy and laughter and happiness!

Happy Saturday, friends!!

Onwards + upwards! xoxo

week twenty two | asheville vibes, pubs, and friends

happy monday, friends! i hope your last week of may was a good one. if i am honest with you, mine was very mixed. there were a few things that were super tough and challenging, and then there were some moments that were just completely beautiful and life-fullfing.

but, i suppose that that’s exactly how life is, isn’t it?

i mean, we all have our own struggles and battles and issues. we all have those things that keep us awake at night or stress us out or frighten us tremendously.

but, that’s why i want to do these monday wrap-up posts on mondays: i want to remind myself that not ever moment is a tough moment. it is so important to live with gratitude, to live in the present moment, and to  tap into the power that we have within us. for, if we simply dwell in the uncertainty + pain, then our lives will be eaten up by our worries and fears. life will flash by us and before we know it, we will realize that we have missed out.

so, in an effort to live a mindful, authentic life, i choose to let myself feel the joy and happiness and peace that pops up unexpectedly every single day. i truly believe that in in the midst of those bad days, there are moments that bring a smile to our face or give us a sense of calm. i choose to live in the present moment so that i don’t miss those moments, and so that i don’t get caught up only in the struggles of the past or the worries of the future.

life is here + now. and those tough times feel so much more bearable when we slow down enough to simply breathe + observe + be aware.

lilac-nordic-spring

last week, my love + i had the joy of having some visitors come to stay with us. and we loooove hosting people in our home.

our first guest was a “friend”… from asheville! i put the word friend in ” ” because we had never actually met her before, but had mutual acquaintances. and, since we are americans, we think it’s totally normal to meet up + stay with each other, even if we’ve never met before.

cynbone arrived on wednesday with the train – she is visiting sweden for 3 months (and maybe longer, who knows?!)) and wanted to stop by to visit for a few days on her way up north to explore more of the country. she stayed with us until saturday and we had the best time! we did a tiny bit of touring uppsala, visited pubs, drank beer, explored the grocery store (she loves to cook!), made dinners together, had long + deep conversations, watched netflix, sang abba songs… and became real friends.

plus she spilled all of her asheville vibes all over our apartment, so that feels amazing. it really did feel so cool to have an american, a fellow north carolina girl, here with us.

 

guests-home-bed train-station-uppsala asheville-friends late-nights-sunset-sweden cynthia-hugos-cafe-uppsala favorite-things-book-candle cathedral-uppsala cathedral-uppsala-inside food-truck-uppsala market-food singing-my-love-me-abba tacos me-cynthia-asheville-uppsala uppsala-sunset-late

 

and then, on saturday when cybone left, another friend came! this friend, from the city where we used to live in sweden, is someone who has become very important in my life + even more so in my love’s life. she’s just got an amazing energy and vibe, and we always laugh constantly.

she was only in town for 24 hours, and it rained pretty much the whole time, so we had lots of cozy moments at home. though, we did brave the wind and rain and cold by hailing a cab to take us to dinner at what lina and i have now decided is our favorite pub, churchill arms.

it was a quick little visit together, but oh so powerful.

belgian-saison-beer cozy-dinner-friends-uppsala-pub beer-churchill-arms-saison irish-coffee moon

 

so, today, we begin a new week + a new month! this week is going to be super exciting in our world. we are continuing our hospitality on wednesday when our dear, dear friend from ireland (who’s swiss) arrives to stay with us through the weekend! we haven’t seen each other in a little over 2 years, which is way too long. it is going to be amazing to catch up with each other, and have some quality time together. unfortunately her husband couldn’t make it, so i guess that means that lina and i need to plan a trip to ireland pretty soon. wink wink.

she’s here not only to visit with us, but the main reason is because lina’s brother is getting married on saturday!!

so, we’ve got tons of wedding stuff happening this week in preparation for the big day on saturday. lina and i have the wonderful honor of being the toast madams for the reception/dinner/party, which means that we are basically the program leaders/emcees/hosts… we organize the program, entertain a little, and are the general knowers of all that’s going on, so jonas and magda can just sit back and enjoy their day.

it’s gonna be epic!

here’s to wishing you a beautiful first week of june, lovelies! and whenever you feel overwhelmed + confused, just remember to breathe deep. ground yourself, and seek out the beauty of the present moment.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

sunset-asheville

40 | june 2015 : a playlist for long days of love + laughter

for me, this june is going to be filled with people and love and long days. friends from all around the world are visiting us, we are celebrating a wedding in the family, and it just feels like it’s the perfect time to celebrate and have a month long love fest. so, i wanted to create a playlist that reflects just that. great times, with great people, celebrating great love.

in addition to that, in sweden, we come to the high point of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. it’s the time of year when the days just seem to last forever, the sun barely sets, and it makes for the perfect setting to celebrate late into the day.

it is the time of year when the sun is the center of our existence in the northern hemisphere. these are days meant to be spent outside, soaking up the light that fills the sky, letting the sun fill our souls with warmth and magic and power. it’s a month to celebrate life. to feel alive. to let the magic of the sun inspire and empower us.

and, while i will be celebrating and loving and living with my swedish family as summer begins, i will be missing the beginnings of summer with my family in the states. but, that’s how it rolls in this crazy, international life that i live.  so, my photo for the playlist is one i captured last june at the beach in north carolina with my family. celebrating the tradition of setting off our own fireworks, late at night, right on the beach. a tradition that spans over 25 years.

since i’ll be missing that tradition in my life this year, which hurts my heart, i will look to the present day and all of the love + laughter + joy that surround me in the present moment. i will create new traditions and follow some of the old, ancient swedish summer traditions as well. even in the midst of uncertainty and regular life, i will celebrate that life is filled  love and peace. and, there is no better month to celebrate all of the love and people and life that exists than the month of june.

june-playlist

whether it is picnics, bonfires, late night walks, bbqs, days by the water, dances around a midsummer pole, lazy days on blankets in the grass, or fireworks at night,  june is a month to share with others. to let the sunshine inspire and enliven our souls. it’s a time to celebrate love + life.

i hope that this playlist brings you feelings warmth + bliss. i hope it makes you feel like dancing one minute + laying in the sun the next.i hope it inspires you to remember the ones you love + brings you laughter + joy. more than anything, though, i hope that your june days are filled with peace and music and a simple love for everyday life, for just being alive.

so, go ahead. click on the photo above and follow the link to the playlist on spotify. and celebrate your life!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

and so summer begins!

i think it’s been a few years since i’ve been as excited about summer as i am this summer. the past 2 summers have been crazy, strange, different, and somewhat difficult – well, not so much last summer. the summer of 2012 was very hard, with lina in the hospital practically the whole time; and last summer (2013) was crazy & amazing. but, it was really intense with more hospital stuff, moving out of our swedish apartment, and then our move back to the states to begin a whole new life. big stuff, ya know.

this summer began with all of our swedish visitors coming and going, and a week-long trip to new york city in-between – a pretty awesome start to the warm, sunny months, i’d say. and now, we have had a tiny bit of down time. a chance to just be at home and enjoy the quirky beauty that is asheville. and, oh, have we soaked it up.

you know, usually i do (create) a monthly photo challenge. in fact, i have been creating and participating in photo challenges for 2 years now. however, june rolled around and i thought and thought about creating something for this month. but, something inside of me was nudging me to just be. to just enjoy this month and the next – without the pressure or challenge (which are good things!) of taking a photo every day, and without having to come up with a theme to create a new list. now that it’s two weeks into june, in the midst of just enjoying the days & the moments as they pass, i am finding that, while it was weird in the beginning to not be inspired by a daily focus/prompt, it feels good to be free from a photo challenge. i think i needed a break.

all that to say, i have been more present in the moment, more aware of what is going on, and more focused on people, than on photos. of course i’ve snapped tons of photos anyway – that’s just how i roll, since i love photography. but, it’s been without planning. and without thinking. and that feels freeing. and right.

so far this june i have read a lot, written a lot of articles for the paper, worked on my fika book, enjoyed a lot of coffee and beer, dined outside every single chance i get, and – most importantly – spent tons of time with my love and our friends. from making new friends, and opening our lives & home to some lovely, lovely ladies… to celebrating with pure excitement and joy that our amazing friend paige has now moved to asheville, making it her official home, i have felt so blessed and grateful for the life that i lead.

the rest of my summer seems to only bring more excitement and fun – tomorrow, i’ve got a little road trip planned to see first aid kit in concert, some more articles to write for the paper next week, my reynolds family annual beach week in one week, and then a month-long trip to sweden for all of july. then, there’s still august!

so, no, there will not be any photo challenges for me throughout the summer. instead, i will take photos of whatever inspires me, whatever moment i want to capture and remember, whatever little moment that i want to hold dear in my heart, hoping that when i look back at the photo later on, i will look back with fondness and stir the old feelings that i once had.

now, let me share with you some of those moments from the first 12 days of june – moments that warm my soul and make me smile.
reading smores frappe

black mountain fika group me little saturday

lina and me wedge swedish flag me and lina

it was sweden’s national day on june 6th – so we flew our little swedish flag & wore sweden’s colors!

summer food

my love farm burger asheville french broad river friends

photo by lina lina and paige
photo by linathe by water katherine and me friends by the river french broad paige and me
photo by linafika double d's lina and me

i wish you all of the happiness, relaxation, joy, & adventures that you want and need. you deserve it!

peace & love. xx

 

helloooo, july.

happy first of july to all you wonderful people out there. in sweden, the sun is shining, the air is warm, and the birdies are chirping. however, i’m still stuck in my bed… blogging, reading, and watching a mini ally mcbeal marathon. re-living the first season and laughing my ass off at ally’s quirkiness. lazy multitasking at its best.

don’t worry, i will make it outside pretty soon. gonna meet a friend for a walk and perhaps some fika. who am i kidding? i live in sweden, the land of perpetual fikas and it just happens to be something i love to do as well… share a cafe visit with a friend. of course i’m gonna have fika somewhere.

i’ve been working all morning on creating a compilation of my june instagram pictures… last month i had prinstagram make one for me, and i just saved it to my computer & posted it here. but, they have updated their website and now there is no way to preview your “poster” before you pay for it. ugh. so, i had to create one on my on. it took a while, but… success!

and here’s a little sneak peak for you of what’s coming in july… but not everyday. you’ll have to check back on sundays. i’m only posting once a week, but i’m working on making my pictures a little different. of course, if you want to see my pictures daily, you can follow me on instagram. i’m @lizslens. and check out my post from yesterday if you want the july photo challenges so you can join in the photo fun!

hope you have a fantastic sunday & that the sun is shining wherever you are!

peace out from sweden.