sensory overload.

i did a few posts in the past where i reflected on my week/weekend through my six senses… what did i see, touch, feel, hear, taste, smell over the past few days? i really think that this is a good exercise, one that helps me to practice being present and appreciating what is around me. however, i’ve not been very faithful to it. it’s a bit like keeping a gratitude journal, you know, where you write down every day a few things that you are thankful for, teaching you the power of being grateful and recognizing the good, even in the middle of the bad. a very good practice, i believe.

the gratitude journal thing seems to be a pretty popular thing to during during the month of november, if you’re an american, because the season lends itself to giving thanks, what with thanksgiving being the 4th thursday of the month. it’s a great contrast to the commercialized, materialistic, super-charged season that begins the minute that the turkey is eaten up on thanksgiving.

you know, i’ve seen this year that you may not even be able to enjoy your turkey in peace, because the stores and shopping frenzy now begins on thanksgiving day. traditionally, black friday, the day after thanksgiving, is an insane day of deals & steals. but, this year, brown thursday is set to kick off the holiday shopping insanity. pure ridiculous greed and capitalism has now turned the one holiday that has been simple and real (at least in my lifetime & in my family) into a hyped up day of extra stress. now you’ve gotta cook that turkey for 3 hours, sit down with family, eat quickly, clean, up, and head out the door to be the first one in line at the stores.

if you’re that kind of person. but, guess what… i. am. not.

nope. i’ll still be spending my morning helping my mom prepare the meal, while simultaneously watching the macy’s thanksgiving day parade on tv. we’ll eat as slowly as possible, and then stretch out all afternoon, watching cheesy movies or the james bond/indiana jones marathon. then, we’ll pick at the leftovers for the rest of the day while we drink beer and wine. it’ll be cozy and relaxing and quiet. and i am totally going to soak all of it up, since i’ve been in sweden for the past three thanksgivings.

(though, i must admit, i am going to miss like crazy the cozy thanksgiving dinners lina and i have hosted for different people each year.)

but, i digress. like big time. oops. the whole gratitude thing got me off on the world’s biggest tangent.

but, about that, i will not be making daily Facebook status updates with the things for which i am grateful, throughout november, though i support those who do. instead, i am going to be thankful in a different way – through my photos and memories. and i’m going to see if i can do it for a whole year. gaaahh. i suck at these disciplined resolutions.

still, starting right now, right here, i am going to share the moments that have piqued my senses for the past few days… all in an effort to live in the present and to give thanks for this amazing, beautiful, sensory-filled world. there are days, moments, places, people that sometimes make me feel like i am about to explode – in a good way. it’s like it is so beautiful around me, or something so amazing is occurring, that i feel as if i might cry, giggle, or scream from how much it hurts. i think i use the word “hurt” to indicate the overwhelming awe that i experience; something so unbelievable, mysterious, and sacred that i cannot describe what i see, feel, hear, taste, or smell. usually, when those moments happen, i take a photo – in an insane effort to capture that moment. it’s nearly impossibly to express to someone else what that photo represents, but maybe, just maybe, someone will see that photo and feel something. as for me, when i revisit my photos, a memory is re-lived and an emotion is evoked.

so, welcome to me expressing myself and sharing the beauty of this world through my senses… here’s what i experienced over the weekend:

seeing: most of the leaves are now gone from the trees, and yet, everything is still so beautiful. have i never truly noticed the simple beauty of bare, silhouetted, winter trees? i also saw a volkswagen bug in weaverville (a little town just 10 minutes north of asheville) when i was there on friday working on one of my fika stories. the vw bug was for sale. i think i neeeeed it.

touch: after a very successful road trip to IKEA with my love & my bro, it was time to organize and put everything together. being a professional swedish person, my love built the IKEA furniture and i tore down the boxes. that’s fair, isn’t it?

taste: three words – chinese take-out!!

feel: when i made my little trip to weaverville, i decided something. it felt so amazing there: the people, the community, the close proximity to nature, the small-town charm, and the open-minded neighbors. i decided that, if and when, we move into a house, i want it to be here. it’s only 10 minutes to asheville, but it feels a world away – in the best possible sense. i felt at home here. it also feels freaking amazing these days to sit in the sunshine in short sleeves on my balcony in the middle of november. soaking up the rays, feeling calm & peace.

hear: friday night lina and i had dinner with a girl friend of ours and my brother. we ate in west asheville, a little bit of a funky and out-of-your-comfort-zone kinda place for our friend. but, she survived and you could hear us laughing all night long. the sounds of clinking glasses, giggles, conversations, and music filled my ears with happiness.

smell: as it is many days, my nose is blessed with a chance to smell some amazing coffee. but, on friday, it was extra special since i went to weaverville to finish up a story for the paper. i ordered a hazelnut mocha, which tasted amazing, but the whole time i was in the coffeehouse, the smell is what captured me. fresh, roasted, warm coffee brewing. mmm…





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stay tuned for next monday’s sensory overload post. i promise i will do my best to try to keep my discipline in check. pinky swear. how can i not? this world is too freaking amazing. and so are each one of you.

love & peace.

six senses monday.

hello, monday. hello, friends. you know, when mondays are your day off, it doesn’t feel like such a bad day. on the other hand, when you are going to work at 5pm on a friday night and everyone else is getting off, ready to begin their weekend, then it doesn’t feel so good. that’s the trade off, i guess. but, today hasn’t been friday. it’s been monday. so, i’ve been off. and boy do i love that!

i’m not sure i accomplished much today, but we had a pretty good meeting with lina’s doctor. and then later on, my love registered for her classes in the fall! i made some contact with a person launching a new blog on asheville, and it looks like  i may be finding myself some freelance work as a contributor. eeeek! so cool. all in all, i guess there have been some pretty productive moments.

well, it’s been a while since my last six senses post, but i am ready to share with y’all what’s been happening in my world that has peaked my senses. you can share what’s peaked your senses by leaving a comment or on your own blog.

sheets knappingsborg brunch sunday me fish and chips guilty cat mr. rogers me and my love flowers at work sunshine snack wine

taste: fish & chips. one of my favorite meals. especially when eaten at a pub with a cold beer and shared with a good friend. orange juice and a bunch of yummy food at sunday brunch.

touch: the warm sun touching my skin one day last week… in the midst of all of the rainy, gray days. holding on to my love while she is resting.

hear: the cat approaches the sofa. readies her claws. and then…. begins scratching. she’s so busted. a bunch of swedish all around me since i went back to work this week.

see: FLOWERS budding in the ground!! i cannot begin to explain how that elates me. and  outside furniture at restaurants and cafes. yay!

smell: fresh, springy sheets on my bed. a cinnamon bun and coffee during a long thursday night meeting.

feel: sadness and fear last week after the boston/watertown bombings and violence. thankful for the calming words of mr. rogers… which also makes me feel nostalgic (mr. rogers is an amazing children’s television person i grew up with). peace and calm late at night on friday, with a glass of wine, and cozy on my bed- the weekend had finally begun.

my six senses instagram weekend.

i stayed off the computer all weekend. i hadn’t planned on challenging myself to an “off the grid” weekend, but it just happened. and it felt good. i am thankful that i just let life go by, not feeling any pressure, inspiration, or desire to click around on my computer. i didn’t even facebook or read the news or anything on my computer. i did have my smartphone nearby, but it was mostly used for instagram. since i had my attention focused on my daily life, i was able to capture some of my weekend through instagram photos, which i’m gonna share with y’all in a moment.

but first, i wanna explain how i’m gonna do it…

i was inspired about a year ago (yes. i am the queen of procrastination.) by a fellow blogger, whose pictures and whole way of being i adore. we have no blogging “relationship” like i have with some of you, and i don’t know her in my private life, like some more of you. she’s someone i stumbled onto because i clicked on her blog via someone else’s blogroll. i liked the name of her blog: the urban hippie. sounded a little like me, i thought. and i loved her images & photos. click here to check out her blog.

i discovered that, from time to time, not sure if it’s every monday, she does a post called “five senses monday” where she posts photos she’s taken over the weekend, but also writes & describes memories from the past weekend/week which have inspired her senses. i thought that was brilliant. i knew immediately that i wanted to do the same. but, i haven’t.

until now.

so, here is my version of five senses monday. belovelive-style.

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seeing: the beautiful river and blue sky on saturday morning as i walked to the bakery for fresh bread. gotta love eurpoean life. chatting with my parents over the internet – it’s the first time i’ve seen them since we left in january.

hearing: music, music, music on girl’s night! jammin’ with the piano, sining, and me on the electirc keyboard drums. hehe.

smelling: the chinese food when i went to pick it up. freaked me out & reminded me i’d be in china in one week. woo hoo!

tasting: i bought nutella. enough said.

touching: snuggling with my little cutie, zola.

feeling: soooo unbelieveably, thankful for having a weekend off to spend with my love and to get together with friends!

that’s it. my instagram weekend! and my first six senses monday! it was such an amazing relief to be off and to just be me. now, back to work for a week, and then vacation for two weeks! this week’s gonna be crazy and tough, so i’m asking for all your positive vibes , love, and thoughts. and i’m sending them right back to ya.

happy monday. peace.

it’s monday, peeps. and here’s today’s mission.

be bold. be you.

harness all your energy. breathe in all the positive. believe in yourself. and be fiercely you.

y  e  a  h.

peace out.


there’s a new place in town. and it serves good food and good drinks. but, that’s not what makes it special. the things that is different about this place is it’s concept. it’s all about living life. and what they offer at “enjoy” is a cozy, stylish place to meet friends, drink some drinks, munch on some munchies, and just be.

DSC_0052my love & i went to enjoy – bar & mat (mat = swedish for “food”), in the cool area of knäppingsborg,  monday night with a good friend. there were a good amount of people there, but it wasn’t crowded, so we were able to get a table & then enjoy (hehe) each other as we laughed & chatted the night away. i’ve heard that it is quite a different scene on the weekends.packed, full of people, and limited seating. i should check it out then too. oh yeah.


i couldn’t decided what to drink, and i was leaning toward a glass of white wine, when all of the sudden, my love ordered a beer for me. wisby weisse (the “w”‘s pronounced as “v”‘s), to be exact. what i would call a local beer, as it comes from a swedish island a couple of hours from where we live. it arrived. tall, light, and cold. i took my first sip, and i was in love. i mean… really in love. it was so smooth, crisp, and delicious. it reminded me of a beer i had in santa fe, new mexico about 2 summers ago – honey wildflower something. i love  a refreshing beer.


so, we drank & ate, and we were satisfied. we laughed. we talked. we did exactly what we were supposed to do…

we enjoyed.

there’s nothing like finding a new, fun, relaxing, yummy place to go & hang out. if you’re ever in norrköping, sweden, look me up. we’ll grab a beer and enjoy life a little.



gray days.

the sun is shining today. but it most definitely was not yesterday. it was cloudy, cold, dark. on top of that, it was monday. and it just felt heavy. i felt gray, like the day. so, what did i find myself doing in the afternoon? making a playlist. it all started with one fairly depressing song that i heard as i walked to work. and then, i heard another one later on in the day. both of them were a little sad, dark, mysterious.

Här kommer natten/ Here comes the night
kall och underbart lång/ cold and wonderfully long
här kommer mörkret/ here comes the darkness
dape – dape -dape – da – da -da

~ Miss Li

and then i knew. my strategy for getting over my monday blues was to create a playlist of these kinds of songs. songs about the blues. song about cold, rainy, dark days. songs about loss & pain. perfect for curling up by myself. wallowing in my emotions. letting the music wash over me. letting myself feel some of the pain, sadness, and fear that exists – even in my world.

i have to say, this activity most definitely worked all of the gray monday blahs out of me. my spirits lifted as the day came to a close. i ended up going to dinner with my love & our friend, celebrating life, enjoying each other, laughing, and just being.

just goes to show, perhaps a good playlist can help you through your gray days.

dark & gray


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here’s to wishing you the courage to be present in whatever moments you find yourself today. peace & love.

happening now.

monday morning

snowstorm + coffee +christmas music + reading + writing +candles

sending out a cozy, wintry, monday morning greeting from snowy sweden to all of you, all over the world.


coffee + sunshine = happiness.

“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing,” thought Francie, “something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”
― Betty SmithA Tree Grows in Brooklyn

wishing you a cozy mid-november week filled with happy moments.

peace & love.

pitter patter.


the rain is pitter-pattering down, but we’re headed out for a little day road trip (during our weekend road trip to skåne) on this cold, dark monday. i love mini-vacations.

happy monday, all you out there.

peace & love.

the full moon effect.

yep. it’s monday, huh? how’s yours going?

if you live on the east coast of the united states, i hope that you have all you need and are safe as hurricane sandy pushes herself upon you. geez. she is a huge & scary storm, threatening some pretty serious disasters over a large area.

not much is happening here in sweden. it’s just cold & gray. oh, and dark.

well, we did have one of lina’s friend’s come & visit us for lunch, and that was really great. it was a friend i had never met before, so it was cool to finally put a face to the name. she as really sweet, and hopefully we’ll be able to go visit her next year in the northern part of sweden… i am dying to go there!! my love went to a university up north, and i’d love to see where that part of her life took place.

i feel like i almost know the area because she lived there during the time that we were getting to know each other & falling in love. only we didn’t know we were falling in love. hehe. i spent hours & hours talking with her on Skype, every day, when she was living up there. so, i have this nostalgic connection to that place, even though i’ve never been there. know what i mean?

anyway, i have met most of my love’s college friends from that time. in fact, we all get together fairly often. but, this one friend i had not met. my love actually didn’t study with her, but met her because of some mutual activities. anyway, this chick has heard of me, too. so it was really great for us to meet each other face to face, after hearing about each other for the past 5 years.

this afternoon, our restlessness set in again, and lina & i found ourselves feeling bored and tired again. like last night. it’s gotta be the full moon and the changing to winter time that is messing with my head for the past 2 days. i feel so off balance. suddenly, in the midst of all of my confused boredom, lina said she was going to bake an apple pie. that how things roll in sweden. people just up & decide to bake something – from scratch – and then do it. so, i had fresh apple pie for my afternoon snack. mmmmm….

after that, i felt better. i felt calm, and even a bit inspired. so i snapped a few shots in our apartment of our little halloween decorations…

tonight, we had a little halloween movie night with our friend, g. just a little tease before i break out the big guns on wednesday. (my wife doesn’t know it, but we’re gonna have a cozy, freaky, scary halloween night together.) have i ever mentioned how much i loooove scary movies? well, I do.

so, aside from getting into the halloween spirit, obsessively watching the weather in the states, fighting my restless tendencies, and meeting new/old friends, that’s my monday in a nutshell. as for tuesday, I really hope to get some writing done… i gotta post the next part of my story. and then there’ s a photo tips post, and a november post, a post about a girl & her book, some music inspiration, something spooky for halloween, a countdown, a post about siblings, and so much more. i could, in theory, spend all day writing… which topic sounds the best to you?!

we’ll see what happens! gosh i hope all my weirdness & unsettled ness go away soon. i miss feeling like myself. perhaps I should try more yoga, or meditation. i am definitely missing some spiritual connection these days… halloween & all hallow’s eve/all saints day should do the trick. i promise myself to sit in silence for at least 15 minutes when i get up in the morning… i’ll let you know how that goes.


for now, g’night! peace.