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.

me-2015-ego

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).

highland-beer-nick

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.

january-playlist

 

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

nyc-roof-me

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:

empowerment1
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

empowered-text

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:

 empowered2

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

me-haircut

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

motopony-grey-eagle-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

oyster-house-beer

west-asheville-haywood-road

pour-west-asheville

pour-beer-me

soaking up amazing december sunrises + sunsetssunrise-home-asheville

december-sunset

celebrated the swedish st. lucia daylucia-light-candle

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

baking-stacy

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

balcony-solstice-preparation

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.

sunshine

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?

wild

  • 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.

DSC_0957

spiritual

  • 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).

IMG_1073

magical

  • 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

simple

  • 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…

IMG_1805

healthy

  • 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

wandering

  • 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

passionate

  • 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