playlist january 2015

sometimes all over the place is exactly where you are supposed to be

hi there, friends! it’s early saturday morning and i’m up enjoying a few quiet hours blogging + sipping coffee. i’ve needed this down time all alone. i can’t seem to stay awake at night to get it, so when i wake up early, i suppose it’s best to go ahead + get up + take advantage of these quiet, before dawn moments.

so, are you easing into 2015, or has it started off with a bang like mine? true to my word of the year (empowered), this year has started off with me doing fist bumps in the air to myself – both to pump me up + to remind me to kick ass, and also to simply celebrate. i continue to find myself swinging from extreme excitement and giddiness to sadness and heartache (all related to my upcoming move to sweden this month – freak out moment). but, it is what it is, folks. and, this is life. and i freaking love the ups, down, and craziness that is my life. and, by the way, so far, after two days, i believe that simply saying that you have the power (empowered, is what i’m talking about here), means that you do have the power.


anyway… i thought i’d share with you a few photos from my first 2 days of 2015. unfortunately, i ended 2014 with a cold + it reared it’s worst ugly head guess when? yep. new year’s eve and new year’s day. i did push right on through with our celebrations on new year’s eve… hacking + coughing + being generally a disgusting person to be around. and, on new year’s day, i was utterly useless. super bad timing, because the dawning of the new year meant time to kick things into gear for packing + moving (our movers come next week to pack the stuff we are shipping!). needless to say, i rolled around in bed most of the day, while lina slaved away going through things and packing (i am soooo sorry, baby.). i did manage to squeeze out a few hours of work in the afternoon though. but, my love? she’s amazing.  really freaking bad timing for my worst cold of the past 12 months.

busy-lina-moving-asheville home

yesterday, i woke up feeling better. perhaps that was due to the fact that i may have overmedicated myself at 3am in order to put myself to sleep. it’s good that i felt better because i hit the ground running yesterday. i did some cleaning at my brother’s airbnb apartment (the last guests he will have! and then lina and i move in next weekend for our last week in asheville!), talked with the movers, drove home to get my passport, drove to the movers to let them get a copy of my passport, filled up the car with gas, went to the bank, and finally stopped by the pharmacy to get more drugs for my cold. a quick shower at home, then a trip to my favorite brewery in asheville for a half a pint of beer + to show it off to lina’s parents, then a short drive to my parents’ house for one last family dinner together (with lina’s parent’s, i mean).


in the midst of all of the above stuff, i have gathered together some music and created my playlist for this month. as you may or may not know, i started this little monthly project back in september, when i turned 40. i created a playlist for that month – just because it felt right. 40 songs, many of them were new to me, that just felt like me. since then, i’ve decided that until my 41st birthday next september, i am going to create a playlist a month. so, i’ve done just that. this playlist for january makes my 5th one, out of 12.

i am really excited about this one because it’s all over the place. hehe. well, somewhat. you see, i love to have themes for my playlists, but i couldn’t decide on one theme for january. there was too much rich, great stuff from which to draw upon. so, i’ve smashed together different genres of music in addition to the different themes. so, you’ll hear all kinds of music about beginnings and endings, saying goodbye, getting out there and giving it your all, mountain songs, starting over, road trip/travel songs, songs about home, songs that make you dance, winter songs, songs about the wild. it may seem like a mess to you, but to me, they all remind me of all of the crazy, various experiences and newness that this month brings. it’s music that makes me feel and think. it inspires me, moves me, and excites me. it feels like home + it feels like far away at the same time. i’d say that it’s the prefect wacky combination to reflect my wacky, all over the place feelings this month.

here’s how to listen:

  1. click on the photo below to be directed to the playlist on spotify. if you don’t have spotify (get it, it’s free!), then i’ve listed all of the artists + song titles below as well.
  2. subscribe to (follow) the list in spotify + feel free to add songs to the playlist! yep. this month i’m making it collaborative, so it’ll be our playlist. if you want to add a song that inspires you as this new year begins, then please do!
  3. you can also click { here } to find the link to the playlist.
  4. and you can click { here } to sign up for spotify. if you are not in the US, then simply change the country in the bottom right corner of the page.



i sincerely hope that your 2015 has started off well, and that you are feeling hopeful + excited + inspired. we have a whole year of unknown adventures and tons of possibilities right before our eyes, so let’s make the best of it together. grab a cup of coffee, turn on the january playlist, and begin to let 2015 sink into your soul. what kind of year do you wish it to be? what are your hopes + dreams? where are you headed? if you have a word for the year, reflect on that word… does it still seem to fit? if you’d like to chat with me, send me an email. i’m here to listen.

until tomorrow, dear friends, enjoy the music + keep on creating the life that you want!


onwards + upwards! xoxo

| as promised: the artists + song titles |

Sufjan Stevens – Auld Lang Syne
Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound
The Head And The Heart – Winter Song
The Detroit Cobras – You’ll Never Change
Regina Spektor – My Dear Acquaintance [A Happy New Year] – iTunes Live Session Performance
Willie Nelson – Bring It On
Nina Simone – Feeling Good
Carolina Story – Almost over Now
Dark Dark Dark – Winter Coat
Blessed Feathers – Winter Sister
Simon & Garfunkel – El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
Patrick Park – Here We Are
Patrick Park – Let’s Go
Imagine Dragons – On Top Of The World
My First Tooth – Sleet and Snow
Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic
Ben Sollee – Letting Go
Beck – Say Goodbye
Johnnyswim – Home
Steve Martin – Remember Me This Way
Sarah Jarosz – Fuel The Fire
Mindy Gledhill – Winter Moon
Levon Helm – The Mountain
Ben Sollee – A Change is Gonna Come
Patrick Park – Time For Moving On
Patrick Park – Come What Will
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Hold On
The Barr Brothers – Even The Darkness Has Arms
Chris Thile – On Ice
Elephant Revival – Remembering a Beginning
Carole King – New Year’s Day – Acoustic
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Breaking Through
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
Camera Obscura – The Blizzard
The Wailin’ Jennys – Glory Bound
ABBA – Happy New Year
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Shake It Off
Nickel Creek – Jealous Of The Moon
Delta Spirit – Into The Wide
Elton John – Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long Long Time)
The Avett Brothers – Open Ended Life
Joni Mitchell – Urge For Going
First Aid Kit – Walk Unafraid
Dark Water Rising – Love Me
The Cave Singers – Northern Lights
Damien Rice – Eskimo


happy new year from us!

sending out lots of new year blessings for you as we start 2015. here’s to making dreams come true!


onwards + upwards! xoxo


empowered :: find your word for 2015|part 2.

yesterday i shared with you all my word for 2015: empowered! and, i also invited you to take part in choosing your own for for the upcoming year. if you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, or haven’t had a chance to begin think about your word for 2015, then click {here} to get started with yesterday’s post.

the beauty of choosing a word for the year is how it helps to bring a sense of focus + purpose to everything, if we let it. for me, throughout the past years that i’ve had a special for the year, i have just let it sit in the back of my mind or pop up when + wherever it may. but, this year i plan to do a bit more with my word. i want to have it in front of my face often, so that i don’t forget about it. this is especially important to me because i believe 2015 to be a year that calls for a lot of action, a lot of taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. and, i’m all ready for that. but, in order to make sure that i stay focused + active + motivated, i need that word of mine slapping me in the face day in and day out.

so, i started off by making a pinterest board. now, i’m not a pinterest freak, but i do love it for finding quotes + inspiration. so, i have created a board called empowered : 2015. in it i plan to gather all quotes + images that make me feel empowered, that remind me to be fearless and make shit happen. it’s gonna be my little pep talk place. cause we all need a little pep talk now + then, don’t we?

here are a few of the things that i have included in my pinterest board so far:

empowerment 2

i also plan to keep a list of quotes in my moleskin notebook for the year. perhaps, i’ll even have a whole notebook set aside just for empowered inspiration – a place where i can write quotes, thoughts, post photos, make a collage, and document little anecdotes. you know, an old school way of keeping a journal/scrapbook. hmm… now that i’ve written this, i think i will actually do this. my love got me a moleskin notebook for christmas, and it’ll be perfect for that! 

so, if you decide to join me in choosing a word, i’ve got a few suggestions for you to consider to help you keep your word in the front of your mind:

  • create a pinterest board: you can find mine {here} or in the sidebar to the left of this page.
  • dedicate a journal to your word: include quotes, photos, images, stories, anything that reminds you of your word
  • make your word your phone background image or desktop wallpaper
  • leave post-it notes with your word written on it in different places
  • set a schedule to check in with yourself at the beginning of each month, checking on your progress + setting intentions for the upcoming month
  • any other ideas? share them in the comments below!


finding your word: part two

now, let’s finish up finding your word for 2015 – if you haven’t settled on one yet.

if you read yesterday’s post, you may have had a word bubble up and just come to you. it’s totally possible that you already discovered your word just by thinking about it a bit. however, you may also no know exactly what word to settle on or need a bit more time to figure it out. no worries. we’ll deal with that today.

  1. ponder this again for just a second: what would the perfect day in 2015 look like to you? what would you do? who and what would you see? where would you be? what are your intentions + dreams for the upcoming year?
  2. if you followed yesterday’s activities, then you should have about 3-5  possible words written somewhere. hopefully you were able to write them down + set them aside until now.  go ahead and pull out those words and look over the list again.
  3. think about them and notice if they are passive or active words. have you chosen which type of word you feel that you need for 2015? do you need to focus more inwardly, on your self and your spirit/soul? or do you need to get things done and focus on things that are outside of you?
  4. using the 3-5 words that you wrote down… think about the meaning of each one. how would you define each word? how does the dictionary define each word? what are other words (synonyms or related words) that come to mind for each word?
  5. now that you’ve gathered your list of words + thought about their meanings, see how they feel. which one seems to make you feel warm? which one inspires you or energizes you? which one brings you a sense of calm and peace? which one feels like a gift that you have received that you’d been longing for?
  6. you’re looking for that word that you have fallen in love with. perhaps one just seems to fit. trust that, and go with it. let that be your word. however, perhaps you are stuck between 2 words. well, flip a coin, assigning one word to “heads” and one word to “tails”. flip the coin and see what your immediate reaction is when you see which word the coin lands on. were you disappointed? or excited?
  7. there is no absolute perfect word. but, it should make you giggle and feel excited, at least more than your other words. so, which word is it? which word feels just right to you? no explanation, it just feels… well, right.
  8. but, remember this: your word may even change in the middle of the year. let it grow and move and be fluid. give yourself permission to change you mind, if you need or want to. this is for you. there is no right or wrong.
  9. write your word down. look at it. feel it. runnier fingers over the letter. trust that your soul has given you exactly what you need.
  10. take a deep breath and soak it in. le the word become part of you.
  11. over the next few days, explore ways to use your word + to make it part of your life. (don’t forget the tips i gave you above!)

congratulations, friend! you have listened to your life + to your soul. now, if you’d like, share your word with me. send me an email (use the contact button at the top of the page) or leave me a comment below. i am so excited to have shared this process with you. and i’d love to stay up to date with you on how your year + our word unfolds. i’ll most definitely keep you updated on how my empowered 2015 goes.

for now, it’s time to embark on the last day of 2014. i wish you peace + calm + a centered being as you bid farewell to this year and welcome a new year filled with new opportunities + adventures, just waiting for you. enjoy your new year’s eve!


light + love xoxo


meditation mondays: find your word for 2015

for the past few years, i’ve chosen a word as a guide to inspire me throughout the year. something to help me focus + keep meaning in my everyday life. a word that helps me reach for my dreams + reminds me of all of my wishes + hopes + desires for the upcoming year.

this past year, 2014, has been a bit of a failure in the sense of what my word was, and how the year turned out. my word was paradise. and i had one vision of what paradise would look like to me. but, the reality of 2014 has turned out to be something completely different. part of that is simply life happening as it happens, and part of it is because i didn’t do my part in making that paradise that i envisioned a reality.

but, enough about the past. i’ve come to terms with my 2014 word, and have learned a lot from it. i have turned that page in my journal, and i’m ready to begin anew. but, let me stress this first:

just because i feel like my word was a “failure”, does not mean that i do not think that i am exactly where i am supposed to be. even in the midst of my failed visions of paradise, i am certain that things have unfolded in the precise way that they needed to. that is to say, i can learn from my misguided ideas of what paradise was to me and reflect on where i am + where i want to go just the same. when, in life, do our visions + dreams turn out exactly as we planned them anyway? never, for me. but, there is always meaning and purpose and blessing behind each experience, each moment, each lesson.

of course, throughout the year i had tons of moments of paradise. so, it’s not like 2014 was a waste… far from it. i’ll share with you my 2014 summary in the next day or two. this reflection on 2014 today is much more of an internal one. of knowing where i missed the mark + how i can improve on things as i grow to become a better person.

so, with all of that said, i’m ready to reveal my word for 2015:


yep. for 2015 i am focusing on the power that is within me to push me to follow through with many things that i need + want in my life. the word feels just perfect to me. ultimately it is simply a kick in the ass. a movement from being to doing. and yet, all of my action comes from a deeply grounded place within me. it feels like a balanced word. a balance from the power that i can draw from the well of my soul, that thrusts me forward. it’s a word that reminds me that there are things to do and a life to live and it’s time to make shit happen. no holding back. i am fearless. powerful. ready. disciplined.

that right… i’m empowered.

so, my friends, do you ever choose a word for a year? have you done it before? and would you consider doing for the first time, or doing it again? i tell you, it is truly an inspiring and grounding thing to do. i most highly encourage you to seek that word that seems to just well up from within you. if you slow down and listen just a bit, you will feel it + hear it. it’s usually the first word that comes to you.

it can be a passive word or an active word. something that helps you to slow down + focus inward or something that forces you outward + gives you energy. if you’re intrigued, then take a peek at the list of words below, and see if anything strikes you or speaks to you. go with your gut. ponder it for a few days and see how it feels. i mulled over three words for about a week, but always keep coming back to “empowered”.

find your word: part one

so, here’s your chance to discover your word for 2015, if you want. you’ve got 2 days before the new year begins.

  1. find a quiet space alone for about 30 minutes. light a candle + grab a glass of your favorite drink. get ready to open your heart and set some intentions. be open. listen. breathe deep.
  2. envision how you want 2015 to look, what you want to be + do. think about your dreams and goals and wishes for the new year. write it all down, if you want. or make a collage. doodle. create. brainstorm and dream away…
  3. based on your thoughts from above, decide if you feel that 2015 is a year to focus on slowing down and looking inward or if it is a year to be more active and social and putting yourself out there.
  4. then, look over the lists of words below and notice 2 or 3 that seem to stand out at you. use them as a starting point to kind of get in the groove. don’t think about it or analyze it. go with your gut. remember, these are only a few words that are suggestions to get you thinking. use them, or pay attention to others that seem to pop up. just let them come to you.
  5. write down 3-5  possible words and let them sit there on the page. then, close your journal or put way the piece of paper. leave it alone and come back to it tomorrow.

passive words:

nurture, be, rest, peace, spirit, heart, soul, magic, truth, light, calm

active words:

motivate, energy, focus, radiate, soar, grow, strength, change, flow, direction, create, travel

tomorrow, i will lead you to make your final choices for your word for 2015. try not to stress about it. trust that your soul already knows exactly what you need. there can be no “wrong” word. think back to my story about paradise above. it didn’t turn out the way that i wanted/hoped/envisioned it, but that’s not to say that it was the wrong word. it led me to this point and to my new word, and i am so very certain that empowered is exactly the word for me for 2015.

now, go and let the words just roll around in your head. give them over to your heart. and move on to something else. tomorrow we will narrow it down and the perfect word (which may not even be one of the ones you chose to write down) will emerge. trust yourself. everything you need is already within you.

light + love + inspiration, my friends. xoxo


everyday life update: preparing to be an expat again + holiday cheer

hi friends! i just realized that i haven’t done a regular little everyday life kind of post in a while. so, i thought it was time to share what’s been going on in my  preparations-for-moving, christmas-holiday insanity right now. even in the midst of all of that craziness, i have found time to squeeze in some regular things that i love to do – you know, those soaking up the moments kinds of things.

of course, it’s all getting really real now, and i feel panicked about moving and excited about moving all at the same time. so, it feels like my emotions are right up in my face all of the time. and i am aware of every single beautiful second that i have here. basically, it’s like trying to live completely in the present moment + plan for the future at the same time. a bit of a challenge, to say the least.

in any case, here are some of the moments  i’ve been enjoying during the past week or so…

concerts + local music


my last fika group meeting: such an amazing year it has been leading this group!fika-group-asheville

did a little scavenger hunt around asheville. it’s fun to be a tourist here!me-lina-paige-downtown-asheville

visiting breweries + drinking beeraltamont-brewing-beer





soaking up amazing december sunrises + sunsetssunrise-home-asheville


celebrated the swedish st. lucia daylucia-light-candle

baked goodies + drank spiked cider with stacy + linabaking-stacy-lina


cozy dinner with family at a super funky + yummy restaurantninemile

soul searching + preparing for the upcoming solstice and new year: lots of changes in the wings, and it feels amazingwrite-blog-coffee-work


hope all is well with you during this time of the year. so much is happening for us all. so much energy, so many emotions, so much busy-ness. sometimes it’s super hard + sometimes it feels wonderful. i’m wishing you lots of peaceful and beautiful moments in the midst of your everyday life. and i’m sending out lots of love and light, as always, dear readers.

namaste. xx

manifesting your dreams: my summer solstice celebration

as you may have figured out, if you have been reading my blog for a while, i love certain times of the year that lend themselves to reflection and renewal: times like the new calendar year, anniversaries, birthdays, certain religious/spiritual holidays (lent) and changes of the season.

with the changes of the seasons, there is often a celebration of the solstice – especially during the winter & summer solstice. there is so much symbolism within these seasons and the cycles of life that they represent. in the winter, we are surrounded by darkness, but it is a cold and a darkness that down not overcome us – as the holiday evergreen trees remind us. and, in the summer, as the days become lighter and brighter, and we soak up the rays of the sun on the longest day of the year, we celebrate life once again – and use the light to reenergize us and motivate us to keep on keeping on.

so, since we are celebrating the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and since we’re all filled with the joy and energy of the sun today, i figured it’d be a great time, a halfway mark, to revisit my goals for 2014 and gather all of the energy and inspiration i can from this beautiful, life-filled season that i need to push myself forward to keep working on making my dreams come true in the second half of 2014.


my word for 2014 is paradise: i decided that throughout this year, I wanted to focus on  learning how to create my own paradise – to live the life that i feel called to live. to follow my heart, my soul, and my dreams – and to make things happen.

what follows below is a list of the words that i identified and i dreamed up at the beginning of 2014 words that, i believed, would help me create my paradise – the life that i wish to lead. so, let’s see how i’m doing so far. have i been creating my own paradise? is paradise still even a relevant word for me for 2014?


  • what i’ve done: on random days, i have found myself just heading up some mountain road nearby; not for some extended period of nature activities, but for little drives and stops close to where i live. it’s so easy to access the high mountains here, and just going for a 20 minute drive with a moment to stop and breathe and look out, renews my soul a bit. i’ve also visited some parks to walk or just spend some time, and walked around in the urban places of asheville as well. i suppose it’s been about fitting in little increments of time in nature within my daily life – still, i crave more.
  • what i want to do: camping. enough said. so, for the last half of 2014, i will find some time to go camping and spend some extended time in nature – off the grid. period.



  • what i’ve done: i participated in a mediation series, which i did at home on my gorgeous meditation pillow (a favorite gift from my love last year). i’ve also worn my jape mala beads, which actually have served as a reminder – every time i look down at them or feel them – to breathe, focus, and be present in the moment. i’ve also let go of a lot of guilt i have had about not being connected to any christian church at the moment – that’s just not where i am right now, and my love and i have talked about that a lot. she’s been such a great support as i continue to seek freedom and connection in my spiritual life. i have found a lot of freedom in making personal time important and rediscovering spiritual rituals and disciplines that i have always loved. as for community, my fika group that meets every wednesday, has been an endless sours of inspiration, challenging me, offering me different opinions, and giving me a chance to use my spiritual gifts.
  • what i want to do: yoga. like on a regular basis. a class. i will create that time and make it a priority. the end. (or the beginning… hehe).



  • what i have done: well, i did this with my love. we created the perfect balcony setting. it is a magical place – morning, noon, and night. but, especially at night. with candles flickering, cozy lights hung around, friends that gather to sit and chat, comfy seating, some green plants. it’s just been the perfect spot. in fact, i’m enjoying its magic right now as i type this.
  • what i want to do: more of the same. more lights. more candles. more native american influences. more buddhas. more fireflies. amen.

spring balcony magic


  • what i’ve done: i’ve read a lot. simply cozied up somewhere, and read. and i’ve taken photos – a lot of photos – of random, ordinary things. i’ve also experimented with making my photos more minimalist. we changed our bedroom around, stripped it down and made it very simple – the best place to have a lie in, or a cozy evening watching netflix with twinkling lights over our head. i’ve listened and loved the hear people jump in the pool – the *splash* sounds like life. and no tv. i’ve cut way back on turning on the tube just to have sound. i’ve let silence flow into my life – and it has been so sweet.
  • what i want to do: i’m canceling my cable subscription and going all netflix. no more tv in this home. there’s too much other amazing stuff to experience in life. also, i want to cook more – but, that goes with the next word…



  • what i’ve done: i’ve worked out… some. not much, and definitely not enough. i have also cut out most drinks (minus coffee, beer, and wine – as i am sure you can tell) from my life that are not water or juice. yes, i still have the occasional coca cola, but, if you new me before, you’d know that i practically had an iv of coca cola in my arm. i don’t even miss it much now. woo hoo!
  • what i want to do: cook more and eat better – much. much more fresh food. i want to make the farmer’s market a weekly destination to stock up on local fruits and veggies, and eat what’s in season, in that season. of course, i want to work out and move around more – i need to. plus, that will boost my energy level even more. so, exercise and yoga. boooyah.

tacos food


  • what i’ve done: we’ve had tons of visitors in asheville during the first half of the year, and it has been amazing. i’ve wandered in these mountains, showing off the best that the asheville area has to offer, visiting old favorite places and a few new. i’ve also been to new york city for a week – which was incredible! and all i did there was wander. it was like an urban heaven.
  • what i want to do: i’ve got more travel planned – much more! the beach with my family next week – an old, familiar, nostalgic trip i love. then, sweden in a week!! for a whole month! later on the year, we may be headed back to nyc to do some photos/videoing for some of our friends who are getting married – on my birthday! and, maybe new orleans sometime in october. oh yeah.

financial district nyc


  • what i’ve done: i have made significant progress on getting things together to write my fika book – i have a basic manuscript, which needs lots of editing! but, i’m on my way. i relaunched my fika blog (the fika girl) and it feels so right. as far as it goes with my love and i, what can i say? i fall in love more and more every single day. she is amazing – and simply sharing everyday moments with her just takes my breath away.
  • what i want to do: publish that fika book! i will get at least an e-book out by the end of the year. i will! and i want to be well on my way with the print version. i also want to keep balancing my passion for my love and our crazy life always making sure that she knows that the is the most important thing in my life. she makes everything possible, and all of life more beautiful.

journal moleskin

so far in 2014, i have been creating an atmosphere, visioning and manifesting a life that is beautiful and calm and meaningful – one that i truly love. a life where i have learned to soak up the moments.

now, that i have created this sacred space in my everyday, ordinary life, it’s time to work. the inspiration is all there. the beauty and love and magic are all there. it’s time to put it all to use. in other words, it’s time to make shit happen.

here’s to celebrating the energy of the sun today, to the moments of closing our eyes and letting that energy fill us, so that it sustains us throughout the rest of the year – a year filled with love and happiness – a year that includes reaching for the stars and making dreams come true. a year of creating our paradise.

happy solstice! peace & love. xx

paradise! (2014’s word of the year).

it’s word of the year time! and, as you can tell by the title, my word for 2014 is paradise. it came to me one day in december during one of my fika meet ups. it was something i read, a message to me in a random horoscope i picked up. when i saw the word, “paradise” laying on the page, in black and white, i knew that creating my own paradise – as the text suggested – was perfect. it stated exactly where i am in life as this new year begins. then, a few days after christmas i received my “message from the universe” email in my inbox which said this:

“I want you to know, Liz, that I’ve ordered up another year for you. Think I’ll call it 2014. I’m going to put most of the same people from 2013 in it, since you all think so much alike. But there’ll also be a few new, very cool cats coming to play – give them some time to grow up though. And I’m going to have things start off pretty much exactly where they left off in 2013, for continuity’s sake. Flips folks out too much when I don’t. All in all, 365 more days in paradise… and only one request of you: DREAM BIGGER.”

unbelievable, i thought. seriously. the word paradise showed up again, screaming at me that this was my word for 2014. but, i sat with it, not claiming it as my word of the year until the day before new year’s eve…

in order to hammer down and commit to my word for the year, i needed a little self-retreat evening – ‘cuz that’s how i roll. so, on the 30th of december i did just that. thanks to a link from an instagram buddy, i found the perfect material on susannah conway’s blog to help guide me through this process of claiming my word for 2014.

i went into our studio, lit a bunch of candles, got my journal and some pens, and a glass of wine and some music, and sat down for about 2 hours. what happened during that time was a literal letting go of and saying farewell to 2013, and preparing my vision for 2014. and, in the end, it came to be that paradise was exactly the word that fit my vision for the upcoming year.

so much has happened in the past year. so many amazing things have begun, that i felt my soul telling me to grab onto the things that have begun, and dig in. work hard. bring those dreams, which have only begun to peek out of the ground like little seeds sprouting, to fruition – this is the heart of me creating my own paradise.

so, it’s not a new year of chasing new dreams. instead, it’s a new year of working on the dreams which have already begun to come true. it’s a new year of creating that paradise, that way of life that i yearn for and crave. things that only just started in 2013… now’s the time to really make things happen. no more searching and seeking. no more trying to discover who i am (though every day is a learning process and reveals more & more of who we are throughout all of life). no more just being and asking for my soul to reveal its hidden secrets to me. no, now is the time for living. and i mean living life to the fullest. now, is the time to grow and build and become. now is the time to do things.

with a blank slate before me, i have been thinking about what paradise would look like for me this year. i went to handy dandy pinterest and my journal to gather images, words, and symbols that speak to my soul. i suppose it has been my version of vision-boarding. anyway, here are some of the things that i hope to make part of my paradise in 2014:

a wild year.

path camp

a spiritual year.

balcony meditation

a magical year.


a simple year.

birthday friends

a healthy year.


a wandering year.

walk washington bridge new york city

a passionate year.


one more thing about paradise: yes, the word inspires and challenges me to make my life exactly how i want it to be… to live the life i want to live and to actively make that happen. but, it is also all about understanding, realizing, and be aware that paradise is already right here, right now. it is within. it is only a matter of opening my eyes, slowing down to breathe and recognize the beauty in the present moment – and celebrating every single day.

so, ultimately 2014 is about creating balance – and that creates paradise. it is a balanced life of staying connected and grounded (and for me that is through mediation, etc.) and staying active (using the inspiration i receive through meditation, etc.) to create the paradise i dream of.

what about you? have you chosen a word or a phrase for 2014? what is it? share with me… let’s inspire each other! wishing you the happiest, most adventurous, and beautiful 2014!

peace & love. xx

2 0 1 4.

It’s January 1st! A brand new year! I rang in the new year in style and filled with lots of fun celebrations – so. much. freaking. fun. This year was definitely not a quiet New Year’s Eve. It was loud, crazy, fun, and filled with fabulous people, dancing, champagne, and lots of laughs. Like I said, celebratory! A little glimpse of what is to come in 2014… at least those are my intentions. More about my vision and intentions for 2014 in a few days, as I begin to get a feel for this year’s vibe and how it connects with my word of the year. Of course, tomorrow I’ll post lots of photos from our New Year’s Eve celebration shenanigans. How was your night? Hopefully, it was as you had hoped. Right now, I’m about to close the 1st day of 2014. I’m cozy in my bed, with my love & my cat beside me. I’m beat after not much sleep last night and a 3 hour drive home from Atlanta this afternoon. But first I wanted to stop by and leave a heartfelt Happy New Year greeting from my love and me to all of you! So, my friends, goodnight. Sleep tight. Sending you warm wishes for a blessed, peaceful, blissful, and adventurous 2014 filled with celebrations and loving life to the fullest!

peace and love. xx

what are you doing new year’s eve?

well, that’s a wrap. the last day of 2013 is upon is, and i don’t know about you, but i am ready for some serious celebrating! this year i wanna get dressed up and be all fancy & girly. i wanna dance and go to a party and ring in the new year with people all around me.

i think i’m in such a celebratory mood because 2013 has been oh so generous to me… well, my love and i have worked for it, but we’ve also expected and envisioned it. so, as we dreamed and believed, we also acted and the universe opened door after door, showering us with amazing moments. and i want to celebrate all of that. i want to shout to the world, and spread extra joy today to everyone i meet… because i am so grateful and blessed. it’s time to try to give back a little of the amazingness that has been given to me in 2013. it’s truly time to celebrate.


all of the serious, soul-searching, reflection is done. last night i spent a few hours with candles lit, a glass of wine by my side, pens and journals open, and my soul-touching playlist playing. i reflected on the past year and envisioned and planned for the new one. i wrote on the last page of my 2013 journal and then put it away, with all of my other journals. it was a very special and meaningful ritual. but, now, these end of the year rites of passage have been completed, so the only thing left to do is dance & drink champagne!

as you read this, i am either currently on my way or already in atlanta, georgia to celebrate new year’s eve with some friends – lanie (a blogging buddy) and her girl, charlie. my love and i hit the road early, because we’ve got shopping, exploring, eating, drinking, and having fun to do before we meet up with the girls in the afternoon to begin our celebrations. and, boy do we have some celebrations planned! it’s gonna be so great! the perfect cap to one of the most amazing years (with plenty of both ups & downs) of my life.

here’s to 2014! here’s to turning 40 this year! here’s to living life & feeling alive! 

so, my friends, what are you doing for new year’s eve? 

i just had to. they’re so cute.

wishing you the happiest of new years! bring on 2014! 

peace and love. xx

the top 10 lessons i learned in 2013.

1. set a goal and make it happen.


for the past 2 years, i have chosen a word to focus on for the entire year (see the upper right corner of this page). that word or phrase has served as my inspiration. i tend to let the word come to me, but of course i am impatient and i want to know what it is on january 1st. however, sometimes the word has to seep into my consciousness. in 2013, the word (free-spirited) did not appear until sometime during the first week of the year. nevertheless, it did appear and i based everything i did throughout the year on seeking to be faithful to my word – my vision for 2013. this year has been all about nurturing that free-spirited nature within me through risk, adventure, and living life to the fullest. and wow, what a ride it has been!

2. music feeds the soul.


oh, how i love music. all kinds of music. and i make playlists like crazy – based on certain moods or times of the year, all because they speak to my soul. but, there is one song, one song in particular, which touched me in ways that i haven’t felt in a few years.

in february, on the 7th to be exact, i was sitting at my desk in our downtown apartment in norrköping, sweden… writing. and listening to music. it was the avett brothers newest album (at that time) – they are my pick for artist of the year in my world. anyway, i heard some of the lyrics and suddenly it was one of those moments… a moment when the universe connects things and i receive a message and my soul feels like it just might burst.

I went on the search for something real.
Traded what I know for how I feel.
But the ceiling and the walls collapsed
Upon the darkness I was trapped
And as the last of breath was drawn from me
The light broke in and brought me to my feet.

There’s no fortune at the end of the road that has no end.
There’s no returning to the spoils
Once you’ve spoiled the thought of them.
There’s no falling back asleep
Once you’ve wakened from the dream.
Now I’m rested and I’m ready
I’m rested and I’m ready
Yeah I’m rested and I’m ready

as listened to this song, named february seven, on february 7th, and as the light broke in, i knew. i knew that writing was what i needed to focus on. that it was time, i was completely ready to focus on this passion of mine. that once i have wakened from this dream, once it had become part of me, it was time to chase it… and chase it i did.

3. explore. set sail. discover. drive. walk. fly. just go!


it’s no secret that traveling is my favorite thing to do – and when i travel, i am with my love, i write, and i take photos = so traveling is pretty much perfection for me. i considered not including it on this top 10 list because it is so obvious. but, then, i decided that it is such a part of me, that i need to remind myself over & over again to nurture this part of me. this is where my inspiration comes from. this is how i get my education. this is how i learn and grow and laugh and feel alive. and whether i am traveling on my own town, an hour away, or an ocean away, this no matter what year it is, this will always be a top ten in my world.

4. drink champagne & celebrate everything.


live life! celebrate! find something every single day to celebrate  (you don’t have to drink champagne every day). some days it’s little things and some days it’s really big things. this past year i drank champagne on a regular friday when i met a friend at a bookstore (that sells bubbly all day!). just because. lina & i drank champagne on our flight from sweden to the states to celebrate our huge move. i drank champagne and danced on random weekend nights when we had music jams at our friend’s home in sweden. i drank champagne for my 39th birthday brunch.

of course, the point is not to drink champagne (though it’s yummy)… the point is to nurture at attitude of celebration, of gratefulness, and of joy. because, even though there is much that is difficult and painful, there is something beautiful and worth celebrating every single day. i promise. how about just celebrating that you are alive?! woo hoo!

5. live with less.


in june, before leaving our apartment in sweden. my love and i had a moving sale. we turned our entire apartment into a flea market for a weekend and invited friends and family to come. what happened was that so many people came and bought so much of our stuff (for super duper cheap), that now our stuff is spread out over sweden, which feels so amazing to us. the rest of the stuff we gave to charity.

this entire process reminded me first, what is really important to me. and second, how much i do not need in order to be happy. material things do not matter – oh, they are fun. but, simplicity is much more fulfilling. and not having so much extra stuff, but only stuff that i will use is how i want to live for the rest of my life.

i’ve gotten rid of stuff before a big move 3 times now. all that i own is in our apartment – and we are renting that. it feels much more freeing and light to not hoard stuff, and to go through my things regularly, giving things away as i see that i am not using something. i think that trying to live simply is psychologically and spiritually good for the soul.

6. connect with nature.


this is another absolute must in my life: i need the trees. i need the sky. i need the wide open sea. i need, and appreciate, all types of landscapes. and, i’m lucky enough that i have had the joy of visiting and seeing so many different types of land and sea on earth. but, more than just soaking in the beauty of nature, when i wander in nature or just sit and stare, i can breathe. i am grounded (no pun intended. hehe.). i feel organically connected to all living things in the cosmos. i remember how small and great we are at the same time. i am inspired. and i need to feel all of these things to help me keep life in perspective.

7. fika is a spiritual  experience.


ok. i’ll admit it. i have loved coffee for as long as i can remember – even before i drank it, when i watched my grandparent’s sip a cup after meals. but, it became even more important to me this year. in sweden, i loved having fika and being a part of the fika culture so much that i brought it with me to asheville – and began to share it and spread it.

and while it’s still about good coffee, it’s become so much more than that now. it’s about spirituality. about being alone, or in the company with others, and truly connecting on a deep level. it’s about slowing down and focusing on relationships – my own with the divine, or seeing the divine between me and another. fika was how i lived out my faith in 2013. and i am certain that it will continue to be that in the new year.

8. spur of the moment decisions are best.

DSC_0996 - Version 2

and boy, did i have some doozies this year. one of the most influential ones was my decision to rent out a little office space in a historical building in downtown asheville. my reasoning? it would be a place where i could focus on writing, plus it would be a great opportunity to meet new people, seeing as i was downtown in the middle of everything. it was a huge risk because, though it was cheap, i still had not secured a job and was, in a sense, saying that my job was going to be a writer = make no money.

i rented that little space for only a month before i told the landlord that i wasn’t going to keep it. but, it wasn’t really a sad decision to let it go. and i had not failed at anything. in fact, it was quite the opposite. that little space, just having it for a month and a half, was the turning point for me accepting and understanding that i am a writer. and i went after my dreams full speed ahead after that. and you know what happened? i became a freelance writer for a local newspaper! amazing!

i took a risk. i followed my soul. and the universe co-conspired with me. but it did it all from my gut, my intuition. there were no pros and cons lists. no long sleepless nights. i just did it, and trusted that it would be exactly as it should… come what may.

9. surround yourself with positive people.





i cannot stress this enough. everyone has energy that they put out into the world. positive and negative. life is too short and there is too much to deal with and celebrate at the same time, so i choose to surround myself with those people who are positive, those who inspire me, make me think, challenge, me, and touch my soul. i want people around me who will celebrate with me when i’m excited and inspire me when i am feeling down.

i honor and respect the humanity in people that are a bit more negative, but i will not let their negativity affect my life, my goals, and the fact that we need as much love, hope, and inspiration in this world as possible. the end.

10. seeds are growing underneath the snow.


be patient. trust the universe. you and i may not see what is happening, what is being prepared for us. we may not believe it at times. we may lose hope when times get tough or when we don’t get the answers we want, or any answers at all… but trust me. i have experienced time and time again, that all is working for good. we may not understand the process. we may even hate the process, but we are growing and learning and being transformed. and one day, when we look back, we will understand.

as i look back over 2013, it all makes sense to me now… the fear and pain of my love being sick, the stress over moving, the impulse to leave my dream behind just to ensure financial security, the need to work and do something that i did not feel called to do anymore, the changes and transitions and goodbyes. the hidden meanings. the hidden messages. the misunderstood moments and times of waiting.

of course, i still don’t understand it all, because life continues into 2014 and my journey continues. but, as time passes, i understand more and more. but, more importantly, i trust more and more. and i slow down. i try to read the signs and be aware of the present moment, leaving the past behind as a beautiful memory and something from which to learn, and leaving the future in it’s mysterious, unknown place.

for now, i give thanks for today. i trust that i am exactly where i am supposed to be. and i relax and enjoy whatever comes my way, knowing that today i am more true to my authentic self than i was in the beginning of 2013. i have changed. i have grown. and i have learned and experienced so much. for all of you out there, for my family and friends, for the mere fact that i live and breathe, i am grateful.


here’s to an amazing 2013! i believe that i did fulfill my vision to begin to authentically live up to the spirit that is within me. i began to claim my life, my story, and i began to tell it. but, oh, this is only the beginning… now, what amazing lessons and adventures lay head for us in the coming year?!

peace and love. xx