// week thirty three // how to end your staycation with a bang

well, folks, that’s it. summer vacation/staycation has now come to an end. it’s the first monday back to ritual + routine. and, i have to admit, while i am mourning the loss of the last days of adventure + no plans, i am welcoming the joys of returning to regular life. mostly, i am excited about experiencing this indian summer that has taken hold of sweden now, and the anticipation of autumn + all of the coziness it brings.

my last week of vacation was spent on the road adventuring yet again. spontaneous, unplanned days filled with sunshine + fabulous people.

after our weekend in stockholm a week ago, we settled in at home for a few days. two to be exact. just enough time to sneak in some friends + family, and a few zola snuggles. then, we took the train down to norrköping – again! we spent a little time with family, lina and i both got to meet with dear friends of ours (together + separately), did a teeny tiny bit of shopping, enjoyed the august festival, and stayed busy from morning till night.

home again on saturday, but still filled up with activities. and then, on sunday, we made yet another spontaneous trip to stockholm for a free royal philharmonic symphony orchestra concert in a park featuring lina’s favorite singer/performer in the whole world. it was heaven!

so, here are my snapshots from last week! celebrating the end of summer vacation with a bang!

there’s nothing like taking a bottle of wine to a good friend’s home a block away for taco tuesday. am i right?


7 freaking AM train to  norrköping. and a big of coffee.train
hello, beautiful norrköping (fun fact: i once lived here for 3 years)norrkoping
free concert! symphony orchestra plays ABBA!norrkoping-concert
i loved seeing my soul mate, midas
lounged in chairs to watch the meteor shower – and saw some!meteor-shower-august
i got a new (old) bike as an early birthday present! it’s really old, vintage, so retro + lina’s grandmother used it for years. i’m so excited + it’s such an honor to get it.me-bike-retro
simplicity + lovehydrangea-flower
deeee-licious burgers + fries. and good service too… in sweden! burgers-and-bangers
this never happens: an outfit shot. but i just lovelilove my new t-shirt dress.dress-me
sunshine. parks. norrköping. ba-dump ba-dump (goes my heart)norrkoping-park
american friends + bubbles! woo hoo!americans-norrkoping
sunset over downtown norrköpingsunset-norrkoping
country roads take me home – back to uppsalacountryside-sweden-fields
and a stop on the side of the road for some goodies, of coursecountryside-roadside-sweden
home!!! celebrated with some summer drinks made by my lovesummer-drinks-cocktailsspontaneous trip to stockholm! // we waited for the bus with about 100 other people. a bus that never came. so we hailed a cab, jumped in, and two other random women jumped in with us. we split the fee 4 ways + all got to the concert in a flash. loved it!
so many people. so much sunshine. such amazing music.concert-park-stockholm-screen concert-park-stockholm
can you dig it?leisure-suit-man-park-concert
no more travels, zola. we are home now. xoxozola
settling in + resting before the new “year” starts. it’s the autumn semester and even though we are not in school, my mind just automatically resets. ready for new beginnings + new opportunities…sunset-uppsala
B o o m!!fireworks

it feels really great to get back into my routines. my trusty meditation rituals (which were completely non-existent in their regular form during vacation) and new habits (to be blogged about later!). i’ve got lots to share with you all, and i feel so very inspired + motivated right now. a break really does you some good, and thankfully i live in sweden, where a break from the everyday is something that is deemed important to a good life.

stay tuned for new rituals + routines on the blog, including photography, music, travel, and spirituality. plus, i’ve got some very exciting professional adventures waiting in the wings as well. and, then, of course, there are all of the cozy life moments of autumn right around the corner.

wishing you a beautiful week, lovelies. hope that it begins with a bang + ends with satisfaction, love, and peace.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week thirty // nick’s in town + vacation has begun!

i don’t have any time, friends! we’re hopping a train to stockholm in less than an hour and i’ve gotta get dressed. but, i definitely wanted to share some photos from last week with you all.

my love and i went down to norrköping on tuesday. she worked from home and i kept in contact with my brother as he made his way to europe. then, on wednesday, he arrived in norrköping!

basically, my heart feels like it’s going to explode constantly. we’ve been touring, eating, drinking, chatting, and meeting up with friends. and there’s more to come, as he will be with us until friday!

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have a great week!! 

onwards + upwards! xoxo

week twenty seven // music + laughter + lots of summer sun

hello everyone! it’s a new week again, and this week i am away on vacation with my wife + our extended swedish family + friends.

we’ve gone off the grid and gotten wild. it’s that time of year when we head out to the archipelago in southern sweden (southish of västervik, fellow swedes). all we do is relax, enjoy each other, eat, have fika, sleep, rest, laugh, sunbathe. pretty much soak up the magical swedish nature and each other.

so, since i’m doing that right now and not actually writing this blog post when you read it, i’m just gonna get right to the photos from a super summery, beautiful last week. enjoy!

monday working coffee fika zola taco working coffee

elton john in concert! we picnicked outside the stage area with a few other people… hehe.picnic uppsala castle elton john picnic uppsala elton john me picnic beer river uppsala uppsala sunset uppsala
an 18 hour stop in norrkōping (our old hometown) on our way to the archipelago

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onwards + upwards! xoxo

the photos are only through friday night because… no phone serve or internet service out in the archipelago. you’ll get those all of  photos when i get back to civilization. hehe. in the meantime, i’ve got a few other posts scheduled for while i’m gone, so check back here on wednesday + friday! happy week, loves!

norrköping moments

well, my friends, my month long visit to sweden has now come to an end. it’s so hard to believe. it seems as if time has flown by, and yet, it seems like forever ago i was in asheville. the past 4 weeks have been incredible. however, the two words that keep sticking out in my mind are beautiful and magical.

it has been the perfect swedish summer – never have i experienced a summer like this: sunny, hot, blue skies. the whole freaking time. so, the weather has been beautiful, but more than that, the moments and the people and the sights have been beautiful. and all of that combined with the swedish way of life – a way of life that is a bit slower, a bit more intentional, and a bit more communal – has made all of the beauty also magical. i feel a bit like i’ve had moment after moment of traditional, old-timey, the way things should be, swedish life. a very classic svensk sommar (swedish summer) – with strawberries, sunshine, eating outdoors, lake swims, picnics, walks around town, and gatherings with friends and family.

so, as i am flying back to the states today, i wanted to share with you some moments from norrköping – the city in sweden that i call home, since i lived here for three years. norrköping was our base through the 4 weeks we were here, so we had lots of days of just being, exploring, and meeting friends.

and, though i say goodbye to the city and my family/friends who are live here, i will cherish all of the memories and moments that i have shared with my love, with paige, and with all of the beautiful swedish (and dutch!) people in my life.

it has been an amazing summer. an unbelievable journey. and moment after moment that has taken my breath away.

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happy tuesday, dear ones. the next post, from the states, will be my 1000th post! stay tuned – it’ll be a great big celebration!

peace & love. xx

**all photos that have me in it (except for the last one) are taken by paige.

how to conquer jet lag: fun!

woo hoo! the fun has already begun! in fact, i was telling lina this morning that i’m gonna need a vacation from all of the excitement and fun that’s been going on since the beginning of may – it’s been so intense and so much amazingness. hehe. but, seriously, it takes my breath away when i think of all that i’ve done and all of the people i’ve been able to spend time with. so incredible.

well, i’d say that my jet lag is almost over – maybe. but, i haven’t had time for any jet lag anyway, we’ve been going almost non-stop since getting here. ok. we did take a two hour nap after we arrived. but, we went right into exploring downtown the next day and even a bachelorette party! lina’s sister is getting married while we are here, so we kidnapped her and took her out for an evening of drinks, hot tubbing, dinner, and more drinks. it was so much fun to be a part of a new swedish tradition, as i’ve never been part of a bachelorette party before.

for the 4th of july and we headed over to our super fun american friend’s home to celebrate with a bbq. my dear, amazing friends from the netherlands (who also live here) were also there, so i am still overwhelmed with excitement and joy from seeing them! it was unbelievably amazing to hug all of their necks after a year.

so, you see, with all of the fun and craziness, i’ve just had to push right through my exhaustion from the time difference. jet lag? psha! i defeat you jet lag!

charlotte airport greenland eleven pm tram stop me ego knappingsborg fika pastries fika fika corner lina and her sister ulrika bride to be bachelorette party cheers IMG_4513 IMG_4523 IMG_4524 IMG_4532 IMG_4542

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now, we’re off to our annual family camp in the swedish archipelago! it’l be a week totally off the grid. completely immersed in nature – with nothing to do but enjoy the scenery, eat food, catch up with friends and family, and literally just be. so, dear friends, i wish you a good week ahead – and i’ll post again next weekend! be safe and soak up every little moment wherever you are.

lots of love and peace to you. xx


the first cozy evening

it’s wednesday evening and we have landed safe and sound in sweden. we’re all settled in at lina’s parents’ home, ready for our vacation to begin – receiving so many greeting on Facebook and instagram from people who are welcoming us back and making plans to see us sometime in the next 4 weeks. so, now, it’s time for tons of adventures, lots of time with friends and family, fikas galore, a week totally off the grid in nature, road trips and who knows what else we can get into! but, before we get into anything, this girl’s gotta sleep. so, with the sun not even close to setting now at 9:15 pm, i’m closing the blinds, drawing the curtains, stretching out and snuggling under the covers.  you know, it feels quite good to be here in norrköping again. everything’s beautiful, cozy, and familiar – just as i remember it.


photo by lina with my iPhone

night night, friends. peace & love. xx

july collage

a month like no other. (and august’s photo journey is revealed!)

july’s theme for belovelive’s photo journey was adventure… and what an adventure july has been! wow. i new it’d be crazy and amazing, and i knew what lay in front of me as the days passed; but i had no idea exactly what it would look like, feel like, and be like. i knew i was ready for it, and july has not disappointed. one special moment after another has made this month an unforgettable one. a month that i am certain will go down in my little history book as a huge turning point, a great transition, and a crazy chance to keep following my bliss.


july 1-6: spending special “goodbye” moments with friends/family in sweden.

3548c1eee31e11e2b5f422000a9e5ad5_7july 7 – 13: a week in the swedish archipelago


july 14-20: the big move! flying with 8 bags, two people, a cat, and a guitar.


july 21 – 27: settling into our apartment & soaking up asheville.


july 28 – 31: finally. a week’s vacation on the coast of north carolina at my parent’s home. a perfect place to end an overwhelming month.


so, now that july has passed, it’s time to move on to august… for me, it’s the end of the summer season. the days where we transition from the carefree, long days of summer back into routine and reality. a time to come home, from all of our travels & vacations. soon, it will be the season of home and hearth, of harvest, and of cozy, colorful, cool days.but, before i get ahead of myself, we still have some time left of warm, golden days. there are still days of summer hear, summer storms, and bbq’s. still, it is a month when we begin to turn inward. we return… to our homes.

so, this month, in celebration of the month of august & the return to routine, and in celebration of setting up my new home in asheville with my love, i decided that august’s theme would simply be… home.

a month for us to open our homes to one another, to share our favorite spots and little secrets, if we dare. a month to remember that the home is actually where the heart is, and fhat those of us who are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and a bed to lay down on every night, are truly blessed. for there are many who do not have a place they call home, or they have a home filled with violence, fear, and/or poverty.

this month we celebrate all things that make us feel at home. and we give thanks for the homes that we have had. so, i invite you to join in and play along! here’s how:

save the photo journey list to your desktop or on your smartphone, so you know what the word is for each and every day. as i was thinking about the idea of “home”, i realized that there are so many ways we can feel at home, so i organized the month into different mini-themes that are centered on different things we think about when we think of homes. each of the words under each mini-theme gives you something to focus on for those days. remember that it’s all about how you interpret the word. be creative and express yourself however you want!

here’s a link to instagram so you can sign up & get started! click here to join in.

and if you want to become part of the bllphotoaday community, just follow me at @lizslens on instagram.

if you don’t have or don’t want instagram (which is totally fine!), then simply post your pics on facebook or on your blog. but, let me know, so i can follow along. i’ll do my best to spread the word that you are participating. however, the best way to create a photo journey community is actually on instagram. buuuuut, there is one more option… you can post your photos every day to belovelive’s facebook page! perhaps we can get that community growing as well! invite your FB friends to “like” belovelive’s page and then our community will spread even further & wider! think of all the inspiration! click here to go to belovelive’s page.

so, there ya go! we’re all ready for august now!


i am really looking forward to seeing your homes, your feelings, your thoughts, and your interpretations! thank you for playing along and, as always, thank you for reading belovelive. your presence is such an inspiration!

love & peace.


living in limbo.

7e62768ade8311e28aa422000a1fbcf5_7    what a weird time in my life right now. it’s friday already, and i don’t know what i’ve done this week. i can hardly remember what has happened each day. at the same time, it feels like forever since last weekend. yeah… things are strange in liz-land right now. not bad, just topsy-turvy.

let’ see, first we move here last weekend. zola has adjusted just fine because she’s been here before when we’ve been on vacation. so, all’s calm on the zola front. except for the fact that she has at least double the space she had in our apartment to run & play – all of which she does in the middle of the night. of course.

beginning this past monday, the bus & tram workers went on strike. perrrrrfect timing. we don’t live downtown anymore, so we rely on the public transportation to get us there. otherwise, we walk. or ride bikes. but, our bikes were already downtown. so, walking it has been. confession: we took a taxi one day. how sad are we? on top of the extra exercise, it has rained. a bunch. so, i don’t feel too bad for finding rides downtown instead of walking 30-40 minutes. let’s just say, the whole thing has been a bit of a hassle, though i have been trying to be positive and soak in the fact that i can walk places and enjoy sweden all the more before i hit america’s environmentally un-friendly way of life. and yes, i know, i can choose to walk some places even in the states. but everything is not quite as accessible.


i do have good news, though. the strike was over as of last night! so, when we went to turn in our apartment keys a few hours ago, we took the tram. happy dance.


during this week, i have combined some family stuff, some work, and some errands. a cookout at lina’s sister’s place and  a visit to lina’s grandma were the highlights of family time. i worked from home quite a bit (due to the weather & the strike), and did a few last minute things in town – like meet up with the chick who’s replacing my at my job (weird, but good!). in the meantime, i watched all the supreme court stuff, celebrated with my love,  and tried to relax & chill a little in a space that is not our own. but, it’s all in the name of transition.

i am sorry friends, but it seems like not that much is happening in my life & tons of stuff is happening all at the same time. like i said, it’s so weird. i am longing to get on that flight in less than 3 weeks, and yet, i feel sad about leaving some things behind. but, mostly it’s this waiting mode which is driving me crazy…


however, we have a little weekend trip planned from today until sunday! we’re headed to gothenburg (on the west coast) for lina’s cousin’s confirmation celebration. so, we will take a car with my in-laws (road trip!) and arrive late tonight. then, it’s a hotel room for my love & i for the next 2 nights. we looove hotel rooms. so cozy & fun! tomorrow we’ll hang out in the city and then sunday it’s a family celebration before heading “home” in the afternoon. i’m totally gonna enjoy every last bit of this road trip and little weekend getaway.


the view from our bedroom window. not so shabby, eh?

there you have it. a brief and strange update from me… the girl living in limbo. one thing is certain, though, my love and i talk constantly about how lucky we are to be in the state of limbo and transition. the mere fact that we have the opportunity to end one chapter of our life, and begin again, all the while chasing our dreams, is more than we can understand sometimes. the feelings are overwhelming. and i guarantee that every step we make, every moment we look up into the beautiful blue swedish sky, every time i hear my mom say “it’s not that long now!”, every time we hug someone’s neck and begin to plan our new home, we are fully & completely aware of the blessings in our life. we consciously do not take any moment, person, or opportunity for granted.

wishing you a weekend full of moments that fill your soul and lift your spirits.

peace & love.

one last post from downtown.


well. that’s it. it’s empty. clean. and ready for it’s next tenants. it feels a bit weird, but it feels oh so good. there are a lot of memories in these walls from the first 3 years of our marriage & living together. i know, though, that it’s time to move on. and i am ready. i just had to do one more little post from our little downtown apartment before i shut the door behind me. one more afternoon, alone with these walls & floor. one more chance to soak up the views of the rooftops & sky up above and feel the heartbeat of the city down below.

goodbye, little home. thank you for giving me a place to lay my head, a place to create & write, and a place to just be. thank you for being my first home in sweden.

i’m ready now.

peace and love from the home we called “two chicks & a cat”.


call it karma. call it luck. call it whatever. i’m blown away.

hi dear readers! well, here i sit. in our stripped down, almost bare apartment with no tv. no living room furniture. and only a little bit of our stuff left over from the weekend, which we’re planning to give away beginning tomorrow. it’s pretty silent and simple here now. but, we do have internet. so, i’ll survive. no need to worry. hehe. though i must admit, it’s a little weird right now.

just to update you, and in an attempt to help me keep trying to process all that has happened this weekend, by all accounts, the two chicks & a cat flea market was a huge success! i suppose you could say that we’re in some sort of flow right now. the stars are all lined up right or karma is giving us a huge dose of happiness or we’ve got the luck of the irish with us or god is showering down blessings or something. all i know is, i still don’t understand exactly how amazing this weekend was!


i believe this may have been our last cozy weekend breakfast in this apartment. wow.

here’s the lo-down:

friday morning, as we sat down for breakfast, both lina & i began getting text messages, Facebook messages, and phone calls from people asking if they could come early to shop (we set our begin time for 3 in the afternoon) and if they could book things ahead of time. so, lina was running back & forth, all over the apartment sticking little hearts saying “booked” on items from shoes to cups to rugs to lamps. it was crazy. then, we had a few early visitors come at 10:30 (which was planned) and at about 1:00 (also planned). those were successful visits. off to a good start!


she looks all chilled out. but, she’s really confused. wandering from room to room, with nothing to sit on. but, she’s a trooper. and she’s done this once before.

as we sat on the floor and relaxing a bit before the big grand opening (hehe), someone walked in the door. lina had just put out a sign that said “welcome! just come on in”, and this man did. surprise surprise! it was our landlord, who i hadn’t seen since we moved in about 3 years ago. he asked about our flea market, and to make a long story short, was interested in buying some of the furniture we had… for the 2 guys who are moving in after us. they are from norway & don’t have much. needless to say, we said, “hell yeah!”. ok. not really those words, but we sure were thinking it.

but, then, get this! not only do we NOT have to try to sell or move out the furniture that is left over, he said he’d also buy everything in our kitchen cabinets = NO WRAPPING & PACKING DISHES!! aaaaand, we do not have to order & pay for cleaning from a cleaning company or do major cleaning ourselves. so, thank goodness lina put up the poster on the door so the landlord could come in! we totally racked up! and when we move out, we can just pack our bags that we’re taking with us to the states (4 suitcases & 2 carry-ons in total. plus a cat! and lina’s guitar! ) and walk out. now, the pressure was off to get rid of the heavy stuff, and we could just sell all of our other things… hopefully.


at the beginning of our flea market. filled with stuff!! crossing our fingers!

i wasn’t sure how many people would show up for our little flea market shin dig, but we had been taking pictures all week and putting them up on facebook every day for about 5-6 days. little sneak peeks. and people began booking a week in advance. still, how many people would actually come?


when i left for work, i went to the graduation of one of my youth members. gotta love some swedish traditions. so much fun!

of course, i had to go to work for about an hour & a half right before we opened our sale – yeah. great timing. but, my love was here to take care of it all. when i got home, i walked in and this place was hopping. there were at least 8 people (friends & family) crammed into our tiny space, and they were all just shopping away! one of them is even gonna buy lina’s computer – she needs a new one once we move. people bought toys, clothes, picture frames, tons of kitchen stuff, cds, jewelry, candles. some of everything. it was crazy awesome. we stayed open until about 8pm, and you now what? there was at least one person here during the whole time until about 7:30. amazing!


day 15 of the june photo journey | recycle/reuse. these are some old vacuum bags lina’s granddad bought about 30-40 years ago. somehow we inherited them, and this weekend we used them to give to customers to wrap breakable items. yep. we’re earth-friendly.

we were dead tired afterwards, but 2 friends of mine were gonna swing by after 9. when they arrived, we drank a bottle of bubbly together, sat on the floor, and just enjoyed good conversation & laughs together. i am gonna miss these 2 dutch friends of mine so very much… but we’ve planned a day together, all 4 of us, before lina & i hop on the plane, so it wasn’t goodbye the other night.


saturday came, and we were open from 10-6. and again… there were people here the whole time except maybe one hour in the middle of the afternoon! needless to say, we sold a lot. and made some money while we were at it! cha-ching!

after we closed the flea market, we headed to our neighborhood pub for food and beer. and we had a great evening with a friend who came to stay with us. yes. she slept on the hardwood floor on a blanket. she’s hard core.



now, it’s sunday night, and we’re exhausted chicks. but my love is busting right on through. she is a workhorse, an organizing queen, and a shrewd businesswoman. i’ve seen a side of her this weekend that i’ve never seen before, and she blows me away. i think i fell in love even more!

well, we begin our last week in this apartment tomorrow. only a few days left in this cozy downtown space we’ve called our first home together. *sigh* i’m having tons of little nostalgic moments all the time right now. but, it’s already underway. the transition has already begun. there’s no denying it when you look around and see blank walls, no furniture, and empty countertops. we still have a month left in sweden, mind you. so, there’s time to enjoy a little swedish summer. we’ll be staying at lina’s parents for 2 weeks and at a camp for 1 week, all that after this last week here… our swedish home. our first home toegther. sniff sniff. wipe away a tear…


back to basics: no microwave = my new way of heating/defrosting food. on the windowsill in the sun. again, earth-friendly. hehe.

no need to cry for too long, though. it’s on to new & exciting adventures!


an 11:30pm sunset at the end of a long, tiring, and amazing weekend.

but tonight… tonight i am still sitting trying to process all that has been happening during the past year (and the past weekend!). and i am humbled by the life that i live. the experiences i have had. the opportunities & possibilities which have come my way. the joy that i have. the happiness and peace that i have found. and from the bottom of my soul, i wish all the same to you. slow down, listen, enjoy the little things, and stay true to yourself, my friends. and you will find peace. i promise.

always sending you peace & love.