a walk with mom

the other day i was headed downtown to the library so i could hook up to the free wifi and get some things done. it was early afternoon, so that means it was early morning on the east coast. just about the time that my mom usually wakes up. i don’t remember who texted whom first, but we somehow ended up in a texting conversation, and to show her what it looked like where i was, as i crossed the snow-covered park just across the street from my apartment, i snapped a photo and sent it to her. while i continued walking, i kept snapping photos here + there and sending them to her. pretty soon, i realized that i was documenting my entire 20 minute walk, and sharing it with my mom as if she was there. and, oh, how wish that she was. i would love for her, and my dad, and my brother, to see sweden. all three of them would absolutely love it here.

it’s hard being so far away, even if it’s beautiful + exciting + filled with adventures + friends and family. that’s all stuff that i love about sweden. but, it’ll never replace the feelings lina and i have about asheville + our family and friends there. in fact, we have little asheville moments all of the time – missing our apartment, drinking local beer with my brother, having the opportunity to see my parents whenever, hanging out with our friends, our car (hehe).

but, so it is, living the life of an expat with two places to call home. you do the best you can to soak up where you are and appreciate every little moment that you can connect with someone who is far away. so, for this day, as i texted with my mom (thank you, apple iPhones!,)we did the best that we could. and, it was almost as good as having her beside me. almost.

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currently, i am back in the library (as i was on the day of this walk), and it’s almost weekend! i’ve been quite productive today. edited photos, had a job interview (!), which i think i may have gotten, and am now settled in a cozy chair to do some updating + communicating. i’ve fallen in love with this library. it’s warm, comfy, and filled with tons of interesting people. anyway, love is in the air and i wish you all a happy weekend, lovelies!

onwards + upwards! xoxo


i’m all into hemingway right now.

my weekend was everything i hoped it would be. it started off with dinner on the balcony as the sun set and the moon rose. i soaked ernest hemingway’s words into my soul, and just let the weekend unfold as it wanted. little did i know, that it would actually be exactly like hemingway wrote. (click here to see his quote & the moon over our balcony dinner!)

take a peek at my instagram and nikon photos from the weekend:

601c025c1c9211e387f422000a1f9afa_7friday afternoon downtown. doing our regular weekend beginning beer date.


the sunset from our balcony during dinner. so peaceful.IMG_3778

saturday morning’s sky. love it. e1863e941d4011e3a46f22000a1de414_7

spent the morning in bed… all of us doing our thing. so lazy & perfect.0795ff701d6e11e3914422000a1f98df_7

bella, jessica, lina & i planned a girl’s adventure afternoon! yay!DSC_1015

up first: a ride on the blue ridge parkway. it was so amazingly beautiful.


we stopped for a picnic at an overlook. it was hooooot. but beautiful and fun!DSC_0003 - Version 2 DSC_1017IMG_3810

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later on in the evening, after a great mexican dinner at our fave mexican restaurant, we made it super cozy at home. and, yes, i brought out the fall-themed candles. it’s time!IMG_3818

we also bought a string of bulbs to hang over our bedroom windows. love them so much.

2442af501e0a11e3890a22000a1fbc9a_7sunday morning: time for coffee and the sunday morning news shows. IMG_3832

for some mid-afternoon coffee, i headed down to our apartment complex’s clubhouse (2 floors below us) for some of the free starbucks coffee that have available for residents. yummy luxury.

well, it’s time for a new week to begin. what  lucky, lucky girl i am. you know, i am fully convinced that it is the simple things and being present in the moment that is what life’s all about. sharing life with others, enjoying all that is around. being aware of the beauty that is everywhere. and embracing the moment as it is. my friends, i certainly hope that you had a lovely weekend too!

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

sending you lots of love and peace.

things i love about these september days.

you know, september is my favorite month because there’s a lot to love about it. it’s got a little bit of everything: summer, fall, the possibility of really chilly weather, green trees, autumn-colored leaves, blue skies, rainy days, the beginning of a new year (my brain still works on an academic year. hehe.), sweaters, boots, warm days, dark nights, and gifts & celebrations (it’s my birthday month!).

it always feels like a transitional month to me, and a month to come home. to begin to nest and get all cozy. this year, it feels even more like that. summer has been beautiful, wonderful, and crazy. i turned my life upside-down once again during the summer months, moving from sweden to the united states, and throwing my arms open to the universe, saying, “take me where you will” as i chase more of my dreams.

well, the first week of september has now come & gone. the weather has been warm, but i can feel a hint of fall. i can tell that things are changing, that the summer days will soon be a sheer memory, and the beauty of autumn will be upon us soon up here in the northern hemisphere. i even have the obligatory change-of-seasons cold right now. so, today i’ve had some time to stay at home and try to rest a little. in the meantime, i’ve also worked on catching up with some things on my blogs.

but it feels like i have not connected with you all very much, at least not here on belovelive. i’ve been totally soaked up by my forty days of fika experience, which is going really well. and i’m loving every minute of it. but, i miss being here.i miss  posting my daily little musings and photos… you know just every day stuff.

so, i thought that today i’d share with you the things i’m loving about september so far:

beautiful weather.

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hanging out at home.

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spending time in downtown asheville.

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learning more about coffee.

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attending a book reading & signing of a favorite author!

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receiving snail mail from sweden and australia!

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i most warmly welcome september this year, and my excitement grows every day as i get ready to celebrate my 39th year! it’s gonna be a great one! happy september, friends. enjoy the transitions and whatever moments come your way.

peace & love.

channeling your inner wild child.

oh. my. gosh. i just finished creating the photo journey list for september and not once did i think of the fact that it is september…. my birthday month! i never even considered which word would fall on my birthday. crazy. i’m usually totally aware of these kinds of things. very weird, but perhaps it’s cool that i didn’t think about it.

so, guess what the word for my birthday ended up being? “survival“. hehe. and it’s my 39th. the last year before i’m in my 40s. wow. perfect. wink wink.

for september, the photo journey’s theme is “go wild!” you see, his month i’m taking part in a challenge called “Rewild Your Life” created by wearewildness.com . Basically, it’s a challenge to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day… to reconnect with nature, with myself, and with the wild, carefree, spiritual self within. i decided to make this month’s photo journey coincide with the wildness journey, so i could photograph some of my experiences on nature as I re-wild myself.

but, before i reveal september’s photo journey list, i thought i’d share with y’all my wrap up of august’s list… video style. it was an amazing month. so much happened. so many beginnings and changes. and the home theme was perfect as lina and i began our new life in our new home. so, click the photo below and get a little peek at my photo journey photos for august.


and now… september’s photo journey is revealed! the instructions and tips are as usual:

save the photo journey list to your desktop or on your smartphone, so you know what the word is for each and every day. each of the word 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.

IMG_0442so, are you in? are you ready to go wild & get back to nature in september? i can’t think of any better way to begin my 39th year on earth. yep. i’m gonna celebrate the earth and go wild!

hopefully you’ll join in the #bllphotoaday journey and take some time each day to create art and reconnect with your #wild, beautiful self! can’t wait to see your photos! as always, use the hashtags #bllphotoaday (and also #rewildyourlife this month). happy september, my friends!

peace, wildness, & love.


what is wild is actually just natural.

you knew that when i said i’d be headed out into the wilderness, i ‘d be taking my camera along with me and snapping away… and then, posting tons of photos for you to see. well, i went. i snapped. and now i’m posting.

for those of you who have never been to north carolina, this is a little taste of some of the things you can see and do in the mountains of north carolina. we weren’t gone very long, but it was plenty of time to have some fun, unexpected adventures. which is just how i like to spend my days. and what lina and i would love to do with y’all!


just so you have a little background information, we rode on the blue ridge parkway (pictured above), a road that winds around, up, down, and through the mountains of tennessee, north carolina, and virginia for 469 miles (755 km). it is a two lane road built over 50 years in the 19th century. much of the road was built as a project of the CCC (civil conservation corps), a public work relief program, started by president franklin d. roosevelt’s New Deal, that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the states for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. today it is the most visited part of the national park system  in the entire US every year since the 1940s. freaking cool, huh?!

the parkway is hailed as one of the best design achievements as a road that lies on the land and blends into the landscape. but, it’s not just a road to drive on… it’s a gateway to much, much more. camping, hiking, waterfalls, and some amazing forests and wilderness.

well, you just have to visit it. it’s so unique. and it lies just 5 minutes from our apartment, as it descends in to the asheville area. once you are on the road, it is only 10-15 minutes and you have left the city far behind and are surround by beautiful vistas and amazing nature.

ok. enough history. ready to check out adventures?!



can you spot the butterfly?! they are everywhere this summer. so lovely.

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do you see it?! that is a BEAR!! a real, live black bear that crossed the road in front of us and headed up the mountain. it was AMAZING!!

54845e3e0cee11e394c222000ab68506_7we had to recover after the bear sighting, so we pulled over at an overlook. lina’s by the car FaceTiming her parents to tell them the crazy story!


the campground where my parents are spending a few days. we gotta do that soon! ok. here’s what we did: my parents were not at their campsite, but their rv was, so we took out our chairs and blanket and plopped ourselves down. yes, we are camping crashers. you should’ve seen their faces when they realized we were there! hehe. fun stuff.


don’t ask. party tricks. practicing our balance. who knows… but, having fun. IMG_3012 DSC_0465 IMG_3038 IMG_3042IMG_3005 DSC_0453

i know you wanna come for a visit now, right?! 

after returning from all those amazing adventures, we had my brother over for dinner and then he took us to an outdoor bar by the french broad river (there’s a river that runs through asheville – and it is in fact the 3rd oldest river in the world, behind the nile in egpyt and the new river in  the states. cool, huh? and another tidbit of trivia: i’ve rafted both the new & the french broad. time for a trip down the nile now! hehe.).

anyway, we had an interesting little discussion with my brother at the bar about the word “wild“. i love that word, it makes me think of wilderness and nature and all the beautiful natural beauty that is in the world. but, i’m thinking about it a little differently right now… and that’s a good thing i think. it’s never wrong to expand your mind. the thing is, when we say wild, we mean that something is not tame. when, actually, the things that are wild are just being natural. so, we define nature, animals, and all that out there in relation to ourselves… we’re civilized. it’s all wild – which has the connotation that we must tame it. as it being wild is wrong. and the truth is, perhaps we should actually learn how to be a little more wild…

wild is beautiful. wild is what’s real. wild is what’s been around longer than we have. just a cool discussion and a cool way to think about wildness, wilderness, and a chance to appreciate it all the more…

hope your weekend was beautiful and restful and wild! peace, wild people.

this is what saturdays are made for.

after enjoying every single moment of being in the urban jungle of asheville, it is time. time to head away from the city and out into the wilderness of the surrounding mountains. time to ditch the school books and job stress, and get real. did you know that the wilderness is literally only about 15 minutes by car from our apartment?! can you imagine how excited that makes me?!


so typical asheville. so urban. so funky. so much to love.


a faaaaabulously funky cafe i visited yesterday. i fell in love.


this secret, hidden garden spot i stumbled upon yesterday inspired me to make today a day in the woods.

so, lina and i are gonna pack our cooler, grab a blanket and chairs, swing our cameras around our necks, and have ourselves an adventure. time to unplug. get away. and commune with the beauty of the natural world.


lina getting some blogging done this morning before we head out. a perfect morning.

time to feel our souls and soak up the mountain air. 

here’s to saturdays all around the world. peace & love.




coastal living.

happy saturday, friends! hope you’re having a beautiful, peaceful, & fun weekend wherever you are. for me, all’s well. still hanging out at the beach (we drive back to asheville tomorrow!) & soaking up the sun. we’ve been able to reconnect with some family, ride the boat, lounge on the dock, sip afternoon beers, eat endless amounts of seafood, sleep, and watch amazing sunrises & sunsets. pretty much perfect.

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balcony blogging at sunset.

 i cannot decide what my favorite space is in our new home. i literally wander from room to room sitting in different chairs. the chaise lounges in the living room. the bar stools. the dining room table. the bed. the desk. there’s all so comfy and special. and each of the spaces makes me feel good.

but, there is one place that i keep going back to. i begin my mornings there. and end my nights there. and in the in-between hours, i find myself there…

a9c818e0f38f11e2980e22000ae90a1f_7our balcony. i. love. it. i am sitting there right now as i type to you. wine glass on the armrest. legs folded & crossed in the chair.  computer on my lap. a breeze blowing. people chatting around the fire pit. the smell of food grilling just below me. the pool flickering in the lights. and the dark blue of twilight above me.


lina and i have been yearning for and drooling over balconies for years now, since we didn’t have one in sweden. and it was really, really tough to not have one. like really. to be able to access the outdoors so easily was a dream of ours. and to just have a place to just be. you see, there are no distractions on balconies. at least not for me. it’s a simple space, with simple furniture. just enough to make do. and because of the simplicity of balconies, they lend themselves to being places of reflection and relaxation. a place to soak up the moment. to gaze at the sky. to watch people. read. listen. write. breathe.


in just 5 short days, our balcony has become just that for me. i love my little corner chair. i love the view… overlooking the pool, the fire pit, the grill, and a few mountains off in the distance. i love that i can see the sky, stars, and the moon. i love that the sun moves across the sky, but never shines directly on the balcony for more than an hour, so it is bearable to sit here all hours of the day. i love that i can breathe here.


yes, this may be my favorite spot in our entire home. and i am so very grateful that i have the opportunity to open my door and sit down in my own little outside space in the world.


what’s your favorite place in your home? do you have a favorite corner? room? chair? outdoor area?

find a little space to just be you today. peace & love, my friends.

full of archipelago love.

oh, how i’ve missed y’all!

but, the time away was absolutely perfect. sweden delivered perfect summer weather the entire week that we were in the archipelago. we were surrounded by friends & family, which made everything that much more fun. there were moments of solitude and silence, crazy moments of high energy and laughter. singing, dancing, walking in the woods, rowing on the sea, soaking up the sun, scratching mosquito bites, smothering our skin with sunscreen, reading in our cozy room… and i even got some work done! all in all, i must say, that this was the perfect way to spend our last full week in sweden. i could not have asked for a better week!

here come a bunch of photos… sending a little archipelago love to you:

skeppsgården i mitt hjärta (skeppsgården in my heart).




path camp

teenagers dock

summer archipelago

sunset archipelago

oar archipelago

lina rowing


green is the new black.

everybody’s into going green these days. and that’s a good thing. our earth is a beautiful place to live, and somehow, we’ve got to get a handle on learning how to take better care of her. so, i’m all for all things green. and i do my part. i walk. i recycle. i turn off the water as i shower. i’m trying to leave light footprints wherever i go. i’m not so good at growing my own things, but i do buy locally & ecologically, when i can. but i am no where near perfect. i could do way much better.

as a part of the simplicity photo journey, i thought i’d take a few days to consider the earth. to focus on the simplicity and beauty found in nature, for she is one of the important things. and whether you believe in god or mother nature or whatever, nature reveals much to us about spirituality & interconnected-ness. simply being in the middle of nature, slowing down enough to observe the intricate beauty, can give us a connection to each other & the rest of creation. i call that spirit. and if that’s not spirituality, i don’t know what is.

in my opinion, living a green life is a way to take back some of the simplicity we are missing in our face-paced, fake, all-too-convenient world. now, don’t get me wrong, i love convenience, quick fixes, and the fast pace of the city energizes me. but, i also know that i i must balance it all. i must get back to nature in order to nurture my soul, and i must work hard to do my part to leave this world a better place…

today i had a staff luncheon… sort of a last hurrah before the summer begins – everything shuts down & slows down in sweden in the summer (speaking of simplicity…). however, we were not gonna just go to a restaurant in town for lunch. nope. we drove about 30 minutes out into the middle of the swedish countryside to visit an ostrich farm. that’s right. i said ostrich farm! i had no idea what an ostrich farm was doing in the middle of sweden, since they are native to africa. but, i soon found out that a man & his family read an article about the big birds and decided they wanted to raise them. soon i realized that they raised them for their meat. gaaaahhh. on the plus side, i guess, they were raised to be organic and free range. so that’s good, i guess.

anyway, aside from the whole poor ostriches thing, it was a fabulous day. the weather was outstanding. the landscape was the typical, eye-popping beautiful swedish landscape, and the company of ladies i was with was fun. on top of that, it was the perfect inspiration to get my head in gear for the next 5 days of the photo journey.

today’s word for the photo journey was grow, and i had tons of opportunities to snap pics of things growing. and here’s what i chose to be the official photo of the day:


and here are a few others from the day. you won’t believe the beauty of sweden. even after living here for almost 3 years now, i still can hardly believe my eyes…




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it was the last time i’d see some of the staff today, so there were moments where i felt overwhelmed at the paradox of the beauty and peace, and the sadness and strangeness of embarking on something new. of course, seeing sweden in all of her natural glory today was both inspiring and difficult, for i will miss this country quite a bit.

but, i’m gonna soak up as much of it as i can over the next month. every single little minute. and for the next 4 days, i’m gonna do it by reminding myself what i have learned about living a simple and green life by living in sweden, a country that is serious about the environment. living here has made me a better person, a much more environmentally conscious person.

well, my friends, if you want to join in the photo journey fun, here are the simple words for the next 4 days:

  • wednesday: solar/sun
  • thursday: fruits & veggies
  • friday: vintage
  • saturday: recycle/reuse

take some pics, and spend the next few things thanking mother nature for being so amazing by going free. just let yourself float back to a time where things were much simpler & much more appreciated. and remember… green is the new black.

now go hug a tree. peace.