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!

// week twenty six // summer has really begun + our beer is ready for tasting!

happy monday! isn’t it crazy how the weeks just fly by? i suppose that keeping a record of my weeks here on the blog makes it even more obvious to me. it feels like monday rolls around so fast every week.

i’ve come to the conclusion that this little show-and-tell time that i have with you all, where i share some snapshots from the week that has just passed, is a way to deal with the monday blues. most weeks, however, i do not usually suffer from the monday blues too badly (which is good, but it most likely due to the disheartening, sad fact that i am still unemployed). but, if i do happen to have a bit of beginning-of-the-week anxiety, creating this post every monday seems to give me a better perspective.

that’s the power of gratitude + living in the present moment.

looking back, i always see that, even in the middle of stress, anxiety, failures, tough times, frustrations, disappointments, and just all around sucky days, there is always something for which to be grateful. there are always moments that are beautiful.

and this is what i cling to. this (and meditation) is what reminds me that things will be ok. that there is always hope. and that with another monday, we have yet another chance to create the life that we want once again. it’s all up to us.

so, with that little self-pep-talk, i am ready to share with you the beauty that i found last week. take a peek!

i got a little obsessed with making BLTS for lunch. my summer go-to sandwich.
BLT-sandwich
my love worked from home for three days. poor thing didn’t feel good at all. but, zola took care of her. (i tried too!)

lina-zola-sofa

taco Tuesdays, baby!
taco-tuesdays
loving the long cozy evenings at home. this photo was taken at 10 PM. uh huh. i said 10 PM. Nordic love!home-evening-cozy
and then the sunsets… still blowing my mindsunset-sunshine
took a short walk around downtown uppsala after lunch on thursday. just because i’m also blown away that i freaking live here.
uppsala-gamla-torget-buildings uppsala-river uppsala-old-buildings uppsala-tunnel-cathedral uppsala-steps-me
stopped in for fika + a little skype date with my awesome friend in atlanta, georgia (lanie).cafe-linne-uppsala
chocolate cake to. die. for.uppsala-fika-cafe
summer reading?! yes, please! (hehe)
summer-reading-amy-poehler
sunset from our friend’s BALCONY. you know, cause we BBQ every chance we get. helloooo, it is summer.sunset-mickes-place
enough said! GAAAAAHHHH!!!IMG_6557
lina’s work had a summer party friday night. she works with awesome, fun people. and i get to hang out too. lucky me.work-summer-party-lina
saturday evening, we needed to change our moods. and it looked amazing outside, so we decided on a 9:30 PM walk in our neighborhood. hand in hand. together. soaking up the simple joys of summer evenings. perfect. neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk-1 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-2 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-3-sun-flares neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-4 moon-summer-walk
we spent all freaking day outside on sunday because… 75 degrees (20 something celsius) + sunshine!
but the highlight was our afternoon soft release of our first two batches of home brewed beer!! so. much. fun.
two-chicks-brewing-beer-saison
secret-garden-beer-soft-release strawberries-summer
so exciting!two-chicks-brewing-beer-tasting
here we go….two-chicks-brewing-beer
cheers! we were so nervous.cheers-two-chicks-brewing-first-batch-beer
success!two-chicks-brewing-soft-release-beer me-two-chicks-brewing-beer me-my-love-two-chacks-brewing-beer two-chicks-brewing-beer-soft-release
and one more sunset…uppsala-sunset

and now… now that i am filled with the images of the past week, the unexpected + created moments, the big + small moments, all of the moments that brought a smile to my face… now i am ready to tackle this week. so, bring it on!

sending lots of love + light to you too! go out there + get yours!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week twenty five // midsummer + other little moments

happy summer (or winter) friends! we have made it through the solstice, and are on a new journey now. some of us enjoying the light and warmth of summer, and some of us snuggling into the coziness of wintertime.

me, i’ve been reveling in nature as much as i can this past week. i’ve been outside some, but mostly enjoying it from the inside, as the weather has not been too summery up here in the nordic lands. still… i  do what i can, whether it’s bringing nature in, taking photos out the window, or baking + cooking with fresh veggies and fruit.

plus, i’ve had some great times with some friends + family. lina and i have decided that we are super lucky to live here, surrounded by good people, beauty, and tons of opportunities for beautiful moments. so, even in the midst of longing and yearning for the mountains of north carolina, we still find ourselves completely blessed and grateful.

so, here’s how last week looked in my little part of the world:

made a trip to IKEA for some much needed kitchen items that we still didn’t have. but, now we do!

uppsala-sky-clouds

and i used them the next day for some pico de gallo. taco tuesdays, baby!taco-tuesday-pico-de-gallo
i’m doing a 21 day mantra meditation which is rocking my world. so powerful. i should have known that meditating with + chanting words would really inspire me (lover of words, i am!).
meditate-mantra-buddha-floor
bringing nature inside. the lilacs are slowly coming to the end of their blooming season.lilac-flowers
coffeeeee in the morningcoffee-arm-me
and white russians at night. recipe from our asheville friend who stayed with us.white-russians-recipe
hellome-solstice
i made some peach cobbler for our midsummer celebration. mmmm!kitchen-peaches-counter
and, yes, we celebrated midsummer. inside, of course, because it was rainy + cold. but, it was still fantastic! dinner. friends. laughter. loved it!midsummer-table
the traditional snaps (shots) time during dinner. it pretty much killed me, people. put me over the edge. but, i still had fun. yep yep.midsummer-cheers-snaps
summer solstice coffee + communing with nature. i’m the girl who hangs outside her window in the mornings ‘cuz i love that hippie sh*t.coffee-nature-window-solstice
soaking up some solstice sunshinesolstice-sunshine-floor
my love + i had a mini-adventure to a little suburb outside of uppsala. we did a little shopping at a mall, then found this country bike path that lead us back into the city. it was freaking fantastic.granby-uppsala-bike-ride-my-love uppsala-granby-fence-field uppsala-granby-field
and sunsets galore! (see many more on yesterday’s post)sunset-uppsala-solsticewishing you a beautiful week filled with energy, love, and tons of moments that take your breath away. remember, the sacred is found in the ordinary. all we have to do is stay open + aware.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week twenty four // the first peek at swedish summer

it’s monday again! and, we’ve got a short week here in sweden. friday is midsummer’s eve, so everyone will be off from work + dancing around maypoles, drinking like fish, and worshipping the sun, celebrating her longest day of the year. it’s definitely a midsummer night’s dream – and the night where the sun never really goes to bed. i’m not sure what our plans are yet (and it looks like it may rain… booooo!), but you can be sure we’ll be outside come rain or shine!

last week, though, summer finally arrived! there were days of bright sunshine, and that meant that we took advantage of every chance we could to soak it all up. i dare say that my love + i even got a little sun coloring on our skin. it felt soooooo good. all of that vitamin d. my energy level was high, my spirit was high, everyone walked around on a great big sunshine high.

so, here’s what my week looked like up here in the land of the midnight sun, where the nordic summer takes your breath away…

a little beer bottling adventure for two chicks brewing (read more about that –> here)

beer bottles two chicks brewing

the cat is sleeping all the time. it got that hot in our apartment. zola-sleeping-sunshine
strolling through our secret gardensecret-garden
lilac-tree
no socks!! green-shoes-flowers
staying grounded + inspired (mercury retrograde…. gaaah!)
meditate-candle-mala-beads
…which is necessary, when everything falls off of your bike + a BBQ sauce jar breaks + explodes everywhere in the middle of a square in the middle of town.bike-disaster
more meditating. this time in the park, on a bench. because it was hooooot + beautiful outside.me-meditate-park-bench
purple pom pom flowers!purple-flower
a skype fika date with my friend in atlanta!skype-fika-date
no jacket + sandals! happy friday to me! me-sandals-walking
beer. fries. sunshine. my love. meeting my love after work.beer-fries-outside-churchill-arms
sunshine makes us silly + giddysunshine-my-love-fun
the first BBQ of the year!bbq-grill-home
grilling out with friends + familybbq-picnic-outside-friends-uppsala
cheers to the perfect summer eveningbeer-outside-foam
mmmmm!grilling-outside-bbq
sunset at 11pm. i love this so freaking much.sunset-11-pm
urban vibes in downtown uppsalaurban-shoes-wire-downtown-uppsala
my favorite block in the whole city: svartbäcksgatanuppsala-svartbacksgatan
the river + the cathedraluppsala-river
everyone’s loving ituppsala-park
river loveuppsala-river-industrial
silos in the industrial part of townsilos-industrial-uppsala

i don’t really have any photos from sunday, but i can share with you what i did: i blogged in the morning and then the rest of the day my love + i completed season three of “orange is the new black”. it rained all day, so it was a pretty near perfect ending to the day + the week.

here’s to sending you lots of love + light as you begin your new week!

onwards + upwards!

ten on ten :: june 2015

another month is gone, and we are practically halfway through 2015. that blows my freaking mind. it’s gonna be great to have this little chronicle of one day of regular life from every month, so i can look back + see how things have (or have not) changed. hopefully, it’s fun for you, too, to see little snippets of my life.

my ten on ten for june just happened to fall on one of the first beautiful spring days we’ve had this year. yes, spring + early summer are just arriving here in sweden, which is not completely normal.

but, yesterday was great. so i was outside quite a bit. but, other than that, it was a really regular kind of day. those are good + exciting as well, you know. how great it is when we start to see the extraordinary even in the ordinary?! something i really, really try to do.

anyway, here’s my day. in 10 shots!

breakfast: swedish yogurt is to die for

breakfast

a little meditation time on the floor: my pillow time
meditate-candle-mala-beads
i didn’t mean to, but suddenly i found myself organizing the clothes in my closet. random burst of cleaning, i guess.closet-organize
time to work! emails, applications, conversations, planning, job-hunting, blogging, etc. and a cat, of course.work-zola-computer
coffee break!coffee-me
time to leave + head downtown to meet my love. and i didn’t need socks!!
toms-shoes-grass
fresh juices with my love in the sun + by the river
juice-river-uppsala
a little window shopping: found a perfume that i want badly. it would be my summer scent. but, i didn’t buy it. maybe later… hehe.
perfume
back home with a beer in the sunshine in our apartment’s little backyardbeer-backyard-sunshine
11 pm and the sun is setting.  so beautiful. so peaceful.sunset-uppsala

i really hope that your week is going well… wishing you lots of extraordinary ordinary moments! it’s almost weekend, lovelies!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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| week twenty one |

i miss doing a weekly photo update. sharing the random little snippets of my life that i capture on my phone. so, i think i’m going to begin that again. then, the rest of the week i can focus on other kinds of posts: beer, travel, tips, spirituality… those things that are the passions of my life.

but, one of the things that i am most passionate about is learning to live in the present moment, or living a mindful life. all of my other passions, come from my desire for peace, to live an authentic life, in the moment, grateful for all that i have and all that i am.

but some of my passions lend themselves to sounds like amazing, crazy adventures. and, sure,  i love amazing, crazy adventures as much as the next person, but the heart of life is found in our every day moments.

so i don’t want to highlight only all of the unusual, special, amazing moments and adventures that i have on this blog. no, i want to share my love for the everyday as well.

when we learn to live every single ordinary day as something extraordinary, knowing that the adventures are found in those mundane, ordinary moments, then we begin to live a life full of gratitude. and we find that we want for nothing, that we already have so much. that life is beautiful, even in the midst of the struggles and chaos and stress. when we tune into those moments that make us smile, if even for a second, then our whole attitude changes. and life becomes one big adventure. every single second of it. a sense of peace falls over us and we stand grounded, like a tree, rooted to the earth, letting the winds and storms and rain blow by. soaking up the sun when it shines.

so, this weekly photo journal is my way of sharing with you those regular moments that have passed by in my life. hopefully you will get a little peek into my expat life in sweden, or find inspiration, or simply enjoy the photos. but, more than a photo journal for you, this is for me. to remind me that my life is amazing. to give thanks for every little thing. not to ignore the not so great things, but to claim the beauty that is life, even in the midst of all of the suffering and confusion and stress and uncertainty.

besides, i/we have but this one life to live. so, why not live it to the absolute fullest, enjoying it?!

happy-camper-mug

my love’s birthday was this past week
birthday-breakfast-lina lina-birthday-morning tapas-lina-birthday me-coffee- cafe-linne-uppsala-coffee

i cycled outside of uppsala + discovered some beautiful placesbiking-sweden- biking-sweden-country

we spent the weekend in stockholm: shopping for my brother-in-law’s wedding, drinking local beer, celebrating europe’s eurovision song contest victory (sweden won!) with some friends, and enjoying the super spring weatherstarbucks-stockholm-shopping shopping-street-stockholm omnipollo-soder-stockholm-microbrewery microbrewery-taps-beer-omnipollo omnipollo-beer me-beer-sodermalm-stockholm omnipollo-taps-sodermalm tacos-friends sweden-eurovision lina-me-melodifestivalen-eurovision late-night-stockholm-sky sodermalm-stockholm- stockholm-spring old-town-stockholm-alley lina-me-ice-cream-stockholm stockholm train-home-uppsala-sweden

happy monday, dear friends + family! wishing you a week filled with exactly what you need.

onwards + upwards! xoxo