40 | a playlist + photo challenge for september

september playlist

happy september, all you lovelies out there! i love this month. i love how it is a transition month, moving us from the last long days of summer, to the colorful, cozy days of autumn (or vice-verse, if you live in the southern hemisphere. you know what i mean… winter to spring). this september is extra special to me. and here is your warning: you may be annoyed by me by the end of the month.

you see, i am turning 40 this month! and i am super excited. not scared, not upset, not anything, but joyful and grateful – and in the mood to celebrate all 30 days (and 10 more days into october. hehe.). it feels like this is a high milestone, bigger than the ones of the past. 16, 18, 21, 25, 30. they were all big, of course. rites of passage and such. but, this seems monumental. like a huge shift. and, while that may be scary for some, it feels exciting and overwhelming (in an amazing way). 

therefore, i want to celebrate. all. month. long. poor lina. poor you, too, dear readers.

i want to celebrate that feeling of coming into my own. and the knowledge that it just just better (even if it gets worse or difficult). it’s always a journey of transformation and growth. ever-moving forward. never backward. always up higher and much deeper. and i welcome that. i cherish that. 

september playlist

click on the photo above to be redirected to the playlist on spotify.

so, here’s what i’ve done. i’ve decided to make a playlist on spotify. yay! something that incorporates lots of new songs, but with a definite “liz” feel to them all. i found them mostly all on the radio – listening to a local, independent, channel that plays things that are as far away from top 40 music as possible. then, i just put them all together. all 40 of them (40 on purpose, you know. wink, wink.). i also decided that for the next year, until my next birthday, i will create a playlist every month – and i am super duper looking forward to capturing my 40th year in music!

click on the title or the photo above to go to spotify and follow the playlist (40 | september.14).

i’d love to share music with you for the month. if you have any suggestions for october’s playlist, i’m already beginning to assemble songs and ideas. just leave a comment and let me know!


i also did something else. i created a photo challenge for the month! i haven’t created a challenge since may (i think). it was so great to have a break, after about 3 years of photo challenges. and i ended up taking three months off. but, belovelive photo journeys are back starting today! 

now, i’ve been racking my brain trying to some up with some kind of theme for weeks. knowing that i wanted to do this. but, nothing came to mind. at. all. until yesterday. 

since i had this playlist, and it was something that i was going to use to set the tone/vibe for my september, i decided not to spread myself too thin, but to make my photo challenge based no the playlist. so, this month, we’ve got a music-inspired photo journey – and i am so excited!

i looked at my playlist and hit the “time” button to arrange the songs by time (that way they are also shuffled around a bit). and i went from there creating my photo challenge. so, all 40 songs are there. arranged from the shortest to the longest. and it just so happened that “setting forth” by eddie vedder is the first song! how crazy is that. talk about the universe lining up. hehe.

so, i simply used the titles as the word prompts for the day. now, this may be challenging, or irrelevant, or confusing for all of us. but, i thought, that if we are confused, we can simply listen to (or google!) the lyrics and see if the lyrics or music inspire us in anyway. that should help us decide how to photo something in our every day. this means that we all have bunches of creative freedom with our photos. so, just let the song of the day speak to you, and see what you want to snap for your photo. no pressure. just enjoy. and maybe, you’ll find a new song or two that you love. (remember, most of the songs are new for me too).

so, let’s get out there and take some photos! remember, to use the has tags #bllphotoaday and #mymonthofmusic if you are sharing your photos on instagram or Facebook or twitter. i would loooove to see what you come up with!! 

september photo journey

| i have also included a list here of all of the artists and their songs, so you can search for them online, if you would like. just in case you don’t have spotify. they are arranged in the same order as the photo challenge. here, i’ve listed the artist first and then the title of the song. here you go! |

Eddie Vedder – Setting Forth
Leftover Salmon – Liza
Fred Perry – Our Day Will Come – Mashup Remix
Jason Isbell – Stockholm
Lucero – A Dangerous Thing
Tracy Grammer – Gentle Arms Of Eden
Pina – I Loved The Way
Mandolin Orange – Birds of a Feather
The Milk Carton Kids – Hope Of A Lifetime
The Wailin’ Jennys – One Voice
Leftover Salmon – Stop All Your Worrying
Chris Knight – House and 90 Acres
Frazey Ford – September Fields
Of Monsters And Men – Mountain Sound
Gregory Alan Isakov – That Moon Song
First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining
Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones
Holly Williams – Drinkin’
Eddie Vedder – Society
Agnes Obel – Brother Sparrow
Keira Knightley – Lost Stars
Shovels & Rope – The Devil Is All Around
Shovels & Rope – Lay Low
The Gabe Dixon Band – All Will Be Well
Leftover Salmon – Mountian Top
Mandolin Orange – There Was A Time
Holy Ghost Tent Revival – Right State of Mind
Trampled By Turtles – Alone
The Milk Carton Kids – Years Gone By
Passenger – Life’s for the Living
The Honeycutters – Fancy Car
Ben Fields – Extraordinary Light
Lou Reed – Beginning Of A Great Adventure
The Head And The Heart – Down in the Valley
Pierce Edens – Montana
Pierce Edens – Wayfaring Stranger
Ben Howard – Old Pine
Lera Lynn – Out to Sea
Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals
Gregory Alan Isakov – The Stable Song

peace, love, & music. xoxo


känn ingen sorg (shed no tears)


sunday night i watched a movie. you know, a cozy sunday night movie with popcorn and people you love. there’s no better way to end a weekend i think – nice and slow, and hopefully inspirational. though, i didn’t really know much about the movie we were going to watch, so i didn’t know if it would be inspirational or not. i knew that it has been well received and loved by people here in sweden (it’s a swedish film) and that it is based on the lyrics and music of a very popular singer/songwriter/musician named håkan hellström. lina’s been in love with his music the whole past year, so i’ve heard it a lot. and i like it, but i think i’ve been caught up in my american, living in the mountains again, bluegrass/folk stuff lately, so i haven’t paid it that much attention. until now…

anyway, the movie’s title is känn ingen sorg (shed no tears), and the film is based on the breakout hit of håkan hellström in 2000 with the same title. it is a beautiful film – from the music to the scenery to the characters (who i loved and hated at the same time) to the colors…. just so lovely and special.


it’s the story of a guy who feels music in his soul, sees it around him, hears it in every part of life, and yet cannot express it. well, he expresses it when he is alone. but, in front of people he chokes. gets insane stage fright, and truly makes a fool of himself because he cannot control his fear. he’s an awkward guy anyway, but trying to sing or play in front of someone makes it a thousand times worse. yet, the music is in his soul and he aches to let it out.

in the movie, pål (pronounced sort of like “paul”) tries to overcome his fear, so that he can let his soul sing. influenced, supported, inspired, and sometimes completely frustrated with and disappointed by his friends and a girl who becomes his muse, pål fights, struggles, and fails in his quest to be a musician time and time again.

sounds depressing, right? well, it was stressful to watch him fail and freak out. but, it was also so inspiring for me to see someone fight for what’s in their soul with such passion. it reminded me that, when we find that thing that we love to do, or when we discover exactly who we are meant to be, that we ought never give up – even when we make fools of ourselves, or no one understands us, or we feel completely alone in our quest.

in the end, it is always just about learning to love and accept who we are – and to never, ever let that go. no, my friends, it is our destiny, our fate, and our calling to live the life that we are called to live. to be exactly who we are called to be – without any apologies. because who we are – right now. today. is just fine.

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so, let’s make a promise, together, to be like pål. to discover our own voices and then never give up on ourselves and to always fight to let our voices be heard. because we each have so much to give and share with the world – in our own special and unique ways.

sending you lots of love and peace. xx

take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter

road trip

this weekend i went on a road trip that was exactly what a road trip should be – a journey filled with music and laughter: my love, lina (lier.se), and our super friend, paige (fortheloveofwanderlust + my asheville life blogger) had tickets to see first aid kit in concert in carrboro, nc, so we booked at room at a hotel on thursday night at the last minute and got ready to embark on our first road trip together!

then we packed our bags, met up on friday morning, and headed down the mountain to the middle part of the state (north carolina, that is). we had no plans, and nothing but excitement between the 3 of us. the rubber hit the road, and we were off, prepared to stop and explore and enjoy every single minute of our little getaway.


the first unplanned stop was about 3 hours down the road. after listening to music and singing, eating pringles and sipping on coffee (part of the official roadtrip diet), we decided to take a little detour in greensboro.

i grew up in greensboro and this was paige’s first time driving through the state with a chance to see some things, so lina suggested that we be creepers and drive by the house where i grew up. as i drove down the streets i used to use every day of my life for 13 years, i was flooded with old memories, feelings, and emotions creeping up from within me. my old house. the roads i drove (read: broken the speed limit on) when i was a mere 16 years old. the shopping center which has become a legitimate mall now. neighborhoods that i used to race through with my best friend. the college from where i graduated. so. many. memories. even as i type this, i’m filled with thoughts of my old boyfriend, my church activities, late night college diner visits, how i loathed my high school, piano lessons, mcdonald’s trips with my grandmother, halloween decorations in our front yard, and so very much more… all of them giving me a sense of who i was, and who i still am. i felt a sense of grounding as i drove through the city.

i decided that our first road trip destination would be a tiny little hole-in-the-wall diner called yum yum. that’s right – yum yum. they sell hot dogs and ice cream. and that’s it. how freaking amazing american is that?! the best hot dog there is the carolina dog – a hot dog with chili, onions, mustard, and slaw. mmm… so good. however, since i’m mostly vegetarian now, i only got ice cream. sad, i know. paige did get a dog, and downed it in about 5 seconds, after she stopped freaking out about its bright pink color. hehe.

yum yum has been in business, serving hot dogs and ice cream, for over 50 years in greensboro. it’s a place that is one of my parents’ favorite places, and i remember visiting there as a kid, or my dad bringing home hot dogs for dinner. today, it is just as packed as ever. and just as simple and good as i remember. it’s so nice how some things never change…IMG_3669


about an hour after chowing down hot dogs and ice cream, we made it to carrboro, a little town which basically runs right into chapel hill. the university of north carolina (aka: unc, carolina, or the tarheels) is in chapel hill, so we were pretty much in a college town, but not. anyway, carrboro is the funky little alternative neighbor of chapel hill, and i hadn’t ever spent much time in the tiny, one street town ever, so it was gonna be fun to discover things together.

we arrived at our hotel about 30 minutes before official check-in time, but we assumed that 30 minutes wouldn’t be that big of a deal. wrong! they totally turned us away, so we decided to walk in the parking lot – we had heard that the concert venue was within walking distance. yep. it was. it was basically at the other end of the parking lot! and there just so happened to be a big bus in front unloading big music equipment… could it be first aid kit?!

we walked right up to the bus and the front of the venue, cat’s cradle, a popular place for alternative bands to play, and someone asked us what we wanted. before we knew it, she was sending us on our way, telling us that the way in is around back now. so, no luck hanging out with the band. instead, we curiously wandered around the back to see what it all looked like to kill some more time. hmmm… sketchy and interesting…IMG_3672

well, we still had time to wait, so we walked across the street and went into a dive bar called mill town. we ordered 3 pints of highland’s gaelic and sat outside in the sweltering, humid, middle of north carolina sun. lina began melting away, so we quickly moved inside. haha. IMG_3675 IMG_3676

soon, check-in was all complete and we figured we should eat something substantial before the night’s activities began. after changing clothes and getting ready for the night, we wandered down main street until we found the spotted dog, a fun place nestled on a strip of land between 2 streets. IMG_3677 IMG_3679

after some yummy food and beer, it was time for the concert!!! first aid kit is a swedish band made up of two sisters from stockholm, sweden – so we totally thought we had every right to become their best friends. their music is folk-y, indie, country, rock. it’s just completely unique and beautiful. and their voices… oh so amazing. paige has seen them before in concert, but this would be our first! so exciting!

we stood in line outside, at that sketchy, warehouse-like place for just a little bit, got our hands stamped, and went in to find some seats. or not. it was a standing venue. however, we walked around to the right side of the stage, and there we found 3 stools and a long, skinny counter in front of them. sure, there would be people standing between us and the stage, but we had cushioned stools, a little counter to put our beer on, and a great view of the stage! the only thing we had to do was make sure that we kept our legs crossed with our feet sticking out, so no one would come stand directly infront of us. did it work? why, yes it did. our stools were perfect. :) IMG_3682 IMG_3686 IMG_3691

the concert was amazing – new songs, old songs, acapella songs. moving, intimate, & fun! everything a concert should be.IMG_3692 IMG_3697 IMG_3704 IMG_3707 IMG_3716 IMG_3729


exhausted and happy, we went to grab one more drink and then headed to our room for some sleep. day one of our road trip was complete – and it was so much freaking fun.

we slept in on saturday, just being lazy. so lazy, in fact, that we rushed around like crazy girls trying to get ready in 30 minutes to make it down for breakfast. hair wet and a bit sleepy-eyed, we made it just in time to grab eggs, coffee, juice, and muffins. then, we checked out and headed over to chapel hill to explore the university campus.

unc chapel hill is a gorgeous campus with lots of southern charm. big trees, old buildings (from the 1700s even – old for the states!), and lots of history. we wandered, took photos, and just soaked up the late morning atmosphere… all of us reminiscing and remembering our own college days, whether they were 6 months ago, 4 years ago, or 18 years ago (yep. i’m old.).IMG_3736 IMG_3739 IMG_3745

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because i am a big college basketball fan – and so is lina now! – and since i really dislike unc’s basketball team (like loathe them) and love duke’s, lina suggested that we go 8 miles down the road to durham, north carolina, where duke university is. she’d never been there, and of course, paige had never been there. so, we decided that i’d show them duke chapel – the place where my granddad went to school and where he and my grandmother were married.

now, i’ve never been a student at duke university myself, but i’ve come close a few times in life. and, as i said, my granddad was. but, it is also a university founded by the methodist church, and so much of the school has been connected to me in one way or another. so, it feels like home to me, though i never lived or attended – yet. look out, PhD!

it was an amazing time there, and lina and paige loved the campus. the chapel was as gorgeous as always. luckily we made it just in time, it closed 10 minutes after we arrived. whew.

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again, i felt my past and present, and even my future, connecting as i paused to soak up the atmosphere. i thought of my granddad, of my own study of theology and following in his footsteps, of my present happiness and joy, of the possibilities of the future. i felt my history – and the generations of ancestors who are part of my life. i felt that cloud of witnesses that surrounds each of us, the living and the dead. i felt a spirit – moving around me and within me. for a moment, it was just me and this place. it was a moment of solitude and connection – and it was if time in a linear fashion ceased to exist. instead, time was circular and happening all at once. simply put, it was just a beautiful moment of grounding. and i have to admit… i think i felt god. i connected with that deep, inner, divine part of me that lives in each of us.


and then, suddenly, we were headed west on the open road again, rounding a curve on the interstate, where the mountains we call home appeared before us. it had been an amazing road trip. full of laughter. fun. explorations. adventure. silliness. love. music. food & beer. tears. quiet moments. boisterous moments. it had been two days of living life to the fullest and soaking up everything good. and, what a gift it was to share all of the moments with my amazing love and our dear friend, paige. IMG_3801

i think i’ll leave you with a song from first aid kit’s new album, stay gold. this song, to me, sounds like a road trip in itself, with it’s call to “keep on keeping on” and to search for the “silver lining”. listen, and let yourself be swept away – feeling the wind in your hair and knowing that the road always leads you to exactly where you are supposed to be.

peace and love. xx