my magical clearing in the woods

i am still reeling from that crazy cosmic event on sunday/monday. did any of you see the blood moon and eclipse? i’ve heard from a few of you – so excited that you got to experience the magic. what about the rest of you? do tell!

i, of course, did not see anything. grrrr.

i set my alarm, got up, looked out the window… and saw clouds. i went out into the hall, thinking that perhaps there were only clouds on one side of my building. stupid, i know. but it was 3:45 am. and i was holding onto hope. nevertheless, there were clouds on the other side as well. and that was the side where the moon would be.

i climbed the round apartment building stairs up to the top floor, thinking that somehow i’d get above the clouds. not really. i did’t really think that. but, i was desperate. and still, nothing.

so, my love and i crawled back into bed. i searched the internet for some live streaming events and finally came upon something. just in time for the darkest time, the height of the eclipse. and it was awesome.

i intermittently got up out of bed and went to stand and the window, not seeing anything, but understanding that i could feel it all just the same. the moon was out there, whether i could see it or not. and perhaps there was some deeper meaning in all of that for me actually.

something about believing without seeing. knowing without understanding. feeling instead of watching.

i was awake for about 2 hours, through much of the entire eclipse. and, while, i didn’t get to capture any amazing photos or see the blood red moon myself, the energy still made its way all the way to me. just as it made it’s way to every single one of us.


after sleeping for a while in the morning, i rose to greet the new day. a new week. and many new things awaiting both my love + me.

i had the day off, so after going through some of my morning rituals, i decided to take advantage of the blue, sunshiny skies and take a bike ride. i may not have been outside enjoying the super moon the evening before, so i was going to get my nature fix during the day, while the moon was still full (even though it was daytime and i couldn’t see it).

i rode and rode and explored and wandered. i was gone only about an hour, but it was exactly what i needed. especially because i found a magical little clearing in the woods between two fields. i don’t know how long i stayed there. but, it must have been a while.

the birds were singing. the wind rustled the leaves. the colors were golden + warm. the sunshine, peeked in and out from behind the clouds. and i stood in this little circular opening and i felt completely alive.

autumn-path- golden-fields autumn-path-leaves bike-trees leaves-fall sunshine-trees-autumn

leaf-hand-trees tree-field field-uppsala path-field-uppsala nature-hombre-trees bike-trail-sunshine-autumn

it was the perfect celebration of autumn. of changes + traditions. of allowing + surrendering to all of the changes and traditions. of embracing a slow way of living. standing there, surrounded by mother nature, aware of the cosmic events that had taken place, i remembered to just be. that, come what may, whatever happens, life continues on. and i have all that i need.

does nature do this to you? where do you find peace and calm and reassurance and inspiration?

onwards + upwards! xoxo


the night that the sunset + i met on a hill

the other night when i left work, as i stepped out into the fresh air, i noticed that the building was glowing from the setting sun. it was bright and orange and shiny.  and i knew that signaled that my ride home was going to be perfect. the timing was going to be just right.

as i rode my bike, i steadied my left hand on the handle bars + gripped my phone tightly in my right hand and began snapping away. riding up + down, and around the curves.

some might say that i “missed it” because i was cycling and snapping photos all at the same time, instead of stopping to enjoy the beauty.  but, i tell you, i was totally in the moment. i felt the cool breeze whipping through my hair. i felt the last bit of warmth from the sun. i saw the glow, and the dust dancing in the sun’s rays. i noticed the colors of the clouds. i experienced it all.

and it was just perfect.

sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala

wishing you a beautiful + happy saturday, lovely people!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

ten on ten :: september 2015

hello + happy friday!

it’s september 11th, as you all know. and it’s a day that will always be a somber one for americans and many others around the world. i always, always pause for a moment to reflect on that horrible morning in 2001 when our world was changed. a day when a new level of hate  + fear were introduced to us all.

september 11 memorial nyc panorama

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

i remember that i was teaching my students in a middle school in north carolina, when a fellow teacher walked into my room just before nine and told me to turn on our tv. we watched, spellbound + horrified at the confusion and chaos that ensued after the first plane hit the first tower. then, on live tv, we watched the second plane fly directly into the second tower.  stunned. unable to actually process what we had just seen. we watched the buildings disintegrate before our eyes. we watched as two more planes crashed in washington and in pennsylvania. and our fear + confusion grew. who had done this? and why?

i called my [now] ex-husband because i needed to hear his voice. i was suddenly terrified that everyone i loved would just be taken from me. by the time i finally made it home after work that day, i collapsed on the sofa, emotionally exhausted and glued to the tv, worrying about what might come next. soon, i became even more worried about how we, as americans, were going to respond to what had happened. i knew it was not going to be pretty.

as individuals + organizations, all i saw and heard and experienced was heartfelt love and support. a coming together, a community spirit, in the darkest of moments. from our government, however, i experienced something totally different. before the day was over, revenge was the word. america would “hunt down” the people responsible for this terror attack. it became vengeful. the fighting gloves were up. the answer to the violence brought on the united states was going to be more violence. (not that there doesn’t need to be accountability and justice. but, i firmly believe that violence only begets more violence).

freedom tower niece

the freedom tower. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

in any case, today, i can’t help but spend a few moments remembering + feeling all of those emotions again. and, looking at the world today, 14 years later, i am both saddened and hopeful.

but, more than that, i am determined. determined to do whatever i can to let even more peace and love, acceptance and openness, inclusion and compassion be the rules that i live by. 

september 11 memorial nyc 2

ground zero memorial. photo taken in 2014 when i was in nyc.

what a crazy world we live in, right? what a f*cked up world filled with hurt and need and violence and suffering. but, what a hopeful, caring, beautiful world we also live in. my heart truly aches because of all of the inequalities and injustices that exist today. and yet, my heart is also filled by all of the warm, generous, positive people that i see and hear about.

so, let’s tap into that positivity, that light, that exists in the world, because it is there, and spread that. let’s leave behind all of the negativity and fear. let’s focus on all that is good, that is working, and build upon that… transforming all of the suffering and pain and heartache into hope and empowerment and love.

now, it’s not about ignoring or turning away from all that is messed up with the world. but, it is learning to tap into the good that is around, and to build upon that. to let love override hate. to be determined to make sure that love and hope and justice and peace win by living lives the emit only love and justice and hope and peace.

it’s actually simply learning to be the change we want to see. 

let’s be global citizens, aware and open, reaching out our hands instead of building up walls. and let’s do this around the world and even in our own backyards. let’s learn to live in the present moment, remembering the past, hoping for the future, but truly embracing where we are and seeking out the beauty that exists even in the darkness.

yesterday was the ten on ten challenge for september. 10 photos throughout the 10th day of the month. and while it may seem petty to you for me to share 10 photos from my day yesterday, given all that i have just written above, but i think it’s important.

we all feel so overwhelmed and stuck and helpless, but i am here to witness to the fact that simply living our own lives to the fullest, by simply finding the good that exists in our everyday, ordinary moments, we are making the world a better place. who we are, wherever we are,  makes all the difference in the world.

and no, i cannot change everything in the world, and neither can you. but if we each live our lives authentically and with gratitude + love, then together we all will change the world one little moment at a time – from exactly where we are, by simply being who we are. 

here’s how i lived life to the fullest (+ hopefully made some what of a difference) yesterday:

meditation + coffee + breakfast with my love


cooked a little pasta for my love + i to take to work
blogging + writingcomputer blogging
snuggles with zola the cat in the sunshinecat zola sunshine
time to head to work!bikes
editing, resizing, and printing photoswork editing photos
watched this beautiful exchange between a begger + a woman during my break. the woman asked if she could bring the other lady some food, something to drink, or if she needed anything else. it was so beautiful to witness this moment of love.mall begger love
found some beautiful plants during my lunch break. i heart succulents.succulents
developing film + printing photos on mugs: i have learned sooooo much.negative photography work
sunset bike ride homesunset cycling uppsala
late night winding down: watched some friends + drank some wine wine computer

you know, it truly is all about pur perspective. it’s about being seeking out all that is good and soaking that up. because whatever we soak up, is what we put out there. and whatever we put out there, we receive in return.

yes, we still have problems. yes things are messed up and tough and confusing and scary – both in our individual lives and in our global family. but, when we stay focused + present on right here, right now. when we slow down and breathe in the sunshine, or open our eyes and look around us; when we meet + greet people with open hearts, a genuine smile, and look into their eyes or really listen to what they are saying; when we find something to be grateful for, even when things seem to be falling apart; then we create a space of safety, peace, and love around us. and everything about who we are becomes a little bit lighter + brighter. and we all move that much closer to creating that world that we truly believe is possible.

so, happy september 11th to you all. and happy weekend. may the love of god surround you. may peace go with you today and throughout all of the days of your life. namaste.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week thirty six // a whirlwind of a week

i feel like i’m spinning. but, yet, not spinning out of control.

this past week was cray cray. in pretty amazing ways. but, now that i have had the weekend to kind of let everything settle inside of me, i realize that i’m at a crossroads.

the question is, will i stay grounded + true to myself, or will i get caught up in the craziness of the fast-paced life that lays out in front of me?

i think i tend to be “all or nothing” in some ways. all in just being contemplative, intentional, slow, and at peace. or all in at doing, going, working, focusing, losing a bit of my music soul all along the way.

for someone who craves balance, i am not sure that i do that so well.

so, here’s what happened that rocked my world this past week. (if you follow me on instagram – belovelivephotography – then you already know a little bit).

sat nam rasayan healing training


last monday i started a sat nam rasayan training. it’s a meditation technique out of kundnalini yoga that focuses on healing by being fully present. something that i know i can use in my life/spiritual coaching.

i hopped on the train to stockholm at 7am on monday morning and made my way to södermalm via the metro. i was really early, so i wandered around the streets of my favorite part of the city for a while, just breathing + feeling the anticipation of this big step into my future.

mariaberget stockholm stockholm

i found my way to the loft apartment that served as our yoga classroom and suddenly was overwhelmed. people kept coming in and they all looked like real yogis. turbans, white clothes, like they’d all been immersed deeply into yoga culture for years.

and there i was. dressed in all black. seriously. black tank. black indian pants. and my mala beads wrapped around my arm. i looked like some evil spirit amongst a bunch of peaceful, healing angels. but, whatever. i embraced my difference. (though i still felt a bit self-conscious).

sat nam rasayan room sat nam rasayan black

and then, suddenly, we began. we toned in and got right to meditating. something like 30 minutes of chanting and one hand in the air, the other over my heart. i went back + forth between moments of bliss and moments of freaking out that i literally could not feel my legs, so i wondered if they had just disappeared from my body.

sat nam rasayan floor södermalm view

after a brief introduction to sat nam rasayan, we began some training. with partners. one lays down + relaxes. one sites directly beside + meditates. this is actually what we did the entire two days that we were there. it was learning to open up our sensitive space. to focusing on feeling all of our senses and being fully present.

typically, when you think of healing, you think of emptying yourself so that you can focus on the other person. you remove who you are so you can give energy (love, peace, etc.) to someone else. this is not that at all. this form of kundalini healing is all about being so present within yourself that you create a space around you that is stable, open, and fully aware. everything is a part of everything.

it’s an incredible experience to experience everything at once, knowing that my sleeping foot, my itching nose, the garbage truck outside, the gravity holding me down, the touch of my skin on another’s, the smell of coffee all belong in that moment.

i have totally just started this training, and there is so much for me to learn. how to hold that sacred, peaceful space open. but, that’s what my homework is for until we meet again in october. it’s crazy that this whole new way of living + being has just suddenly been opened to me. i am humbled + excited to say the least, feeling that this is just the beginning of a powerful, magical journey.

sat nam rasayan group

yes. i caved a little bit the second day + wore a white shirt with my black pants. it was just too weird to be in all black.

so that was monday + tuesday. amazing.

i got a freaking job!

then, wednesday came + this chick had a job interview! my mother-in-law saw an update from someone we know on Facebook announcing that she needed to hire some extra people for her photo boutique in uppsala. so, my mother-in-law sent me a text, and i promptly sent a message to the owner of the boutique. we already knew each other, and have traveled in the same circle/started becoming friends since i moved to uppsala. so, this was no random person, but a connection. a friend.

job interview uppsala

we planned a meeting for wednesday, and suddenly it was wednesday! so, in the rainy, windy, cold storm i cycled about 15 minutes to the store. i looked around a bit, we sat down for coffee, and chatted for about an hour and a half. so. much. fun. even though i looked like a drowned rat.

by the time i cycled home again in the storm, i had received a message offering me the job + asking if i could begin on monday. oh…hell yeah.

so, today, right now, i’m at work! (a work where i get paid!). no worries, i wrote this over the weekend + scheduled it. i am not blogging from work on my first day. hehe. i’m working for at least 3 days this week, and then we will plan more as the week goes on.

it’s all just so crazy. and perfect timing. and, i get to learn + do stuff related to photography, which you know i love. it also feels good to have something that allows me time to keep doing those things that i continue to do + be in an effort to follow my bliss. actually, this job is just a part of that, which is way better than just getting a job anywhere.

homesickness hits

mountains north carolina

in the meantime, i am also nesting. rearranging some stuff at home. preparing for the autumn. and feeling very emotional. missing asheville and the mountains an insane amount right now. i had no idea that the change of seasons would make me so sensitive + homesick. so, to counteract that, i continue to focus on the present. knowing that i have so much good stuff swirling around me right now.

time to push through + manifest some sh*t


there is much happening, and even more behind the scenes a bit. but, i knew that this was coming. i knew that autumn would bring me to a place of making shit happen. of making everything really real. life doesn’t feel quite so carefree right now. summer is over. but, it feels oh so right.

so, here’s where the shit hits the fan for me. i am really really good at visioning, planning, dreaming, setting up, creating, contemplating. but, when it comes time that all of that hard inner, groundwork has taken hold + is ready to take flight, that’s when i fall apart.

but, this is it. i feel it in my bones. this is the time in my life where i push past that inability to focus and follow through. this is the time when i not only manifest my dreams, but i stay motivated and push forward. i keep on keeping on. this is the time that i stay committed and actually make it through.

sunset uppsala

it’s as if i’ve gathered all of this energy throughout my whole life, and learned every little thing that i have learned for this moment right now. this moment that takes me through to the next phase of my life. no more running away. no more starting over with dreams. i’m in it to win it. my bliss, that is. it’s time to fight those demons that always pop up and to begin to really let go + surrender.

i just know in my soul that i am on the cusp of something great.

and through it all, i must stay balanced. i must not run back to dreaming again. and i must not forget to dream. i must hold on to that intentional life that i have created.

yes, it’s the perfect time to begin to perfect my ability to stay grounded, focused, motivated, and balanced. life is moving forward. dreams are being fulfilled. tough times are ahead. and moments of peace are too. deep inside me my roots are grounded and i am settling into a new phase. scared + apprehensive? yes. but, more than that, i  am empowered + motivated.

happy new week to you! may it be a challenging and beautiful!week

onwards + upwards! xoxo

a photography tip: steller – where everybody becomes an artist + a storyteller

like we all need another app on our already maxed out smartphones. right? and like we need one more thing to take our focus away from real life + the present moment. right?

we don’t. our 21st century everyday life is already filled up with obsessively checking texts, Facebook, instagram, emails, news, and tweeting things all from our little phones. we do it constantly. so much so that it just might be a problem for some of us. i often wonder about myself. at least i’m trying to keep myself in check, yeah?

but, even with all of that information, and my unsolicited advice to take it easy with our phones, to put them down + look around instead of down at a screen, to go off the grid on a regular basis… even with all of that said, i am still going to share with you a tip about a fantastic photography app.

and even though this app takes up some more time that we could use to be doing something else, i actually believe that it is something that can inspire us.

perhaps 21st century creativity has just made art + creativity more available to us through apps like instagram… and stellar.

steller is a photography app for sharing photos, but unlike instagram that shares one photo at a time, steller tells stories through images. it’s an app that allows you to upload a series of photos from your camera to create whatever kind of story you wish. it’s a great tool for telling beautiful visual stories. capture that perfect weekend getaway you just had. snap shots of your outfits over a week, or share an entire recipe through photos. take photos of your favorite design ideas. the possibilities are endless.

click –> here to get a little sampling of what some people are posting on steller right now. i’ll wait for you to come back…

now that you’ve seen and explored some of the stories on steller, i’ll bet you’re as blown away as i am at the talent that’s out there. my inspiration soul is pretty much set on fire every time i look at steller stories. and, instead of thinking, “i can never create something that beautiful”, i find myself motivated + knowing that i absolutely can create something that beautiful.

so, here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. choose the theme you wish to use // steller has some fantastic themes already ready for you to simply add your photos to.  just choose whichever you like and begin to build your story.

2. choose + upload your photos (a series of something that will tell whatever story you wish to tell).

3. choose the layout for each photo page // it’s super easy. there are templates for the theme you chose at the bottom of the page. give your story just the look + feel that you want.

4. add a new page to add some text to your story // it’s easy to add a page and then type out an fun introduction explaining what your story is about. but, it doesn’t have to stop there. add a page with quotes, or tel your story with alternating word + photo pages.

5. you can even add videos //  now, i haven’t added any videos yet, but i’ve seen some beautiful examples like –> here and here.

6. don’t forget to add a page for text as your last page // leave your contact info, some hashtags, ask questions. anything to engage others + provide a way to contact with you in other places around the internet

7. rearrange your pages // you can see your pages, move them around and even delete some if you want. then, go back and add more if you want.

8. preview your story, fix whatever needs fixing, and then publish!

9. it’s easy to find inspiration by exploring using the little compass icon at the bottom of the app. click through the collections that pop up, or search for hashtags. the stories are boundless, endless wells of beauty and wonder.

you can find my profile on steller –> here. or just click on the widget right over here ——->

i haven’t created that many stories… i am trying to pace myself. hehe. still, i have already been featured by steller a few times. exciting!!

here is my most popular story on steller. it was so easy to create, and it ended up being in steller’s top 20 for 2 days! click on the photo to see the whole story.

summer in stockholm steller-1

the most recent feature was when steller created a story to inspire others to take photos of the streets around them (steller often gives great tips and ideas, so be sure to follow their profile). the hashtag they asked everyone to use is #stellerstreet.

in their little instruction story, they featured my cover photo for my summer in stockholm story. so freaking cool! (click on the photo to see the story on steller – and my photo in it!).


so, there you go. a new app for you to explore – and download, if you’re into it. you can download it from itunes  here or simply type “steller” in on your smartphone’s app store.

app or no app, we can all use a boost of in our creativity. am i right? and telling stories through images is a perfect way to capture a moment or challenge ourselves to find a series of shots and put them together as a collection. it’s like having a chance to show our art in our own little gallery.

of course, this can be done with any kind of camera. it can be posted on instagram, Facebook, emailed, or even printed out and hung on our walls.

i’m gonna invite each of you to join me in september in creating our own collections of stories  throughout the month of september. i’ll pick a few themes and share the challenges here, and then you can join me in picking up your camera and creating your own art, telling your own stories through photos and text. images and words.

all of us are artists. all of us have our own stories to tell. let’s use september to share that with each each? are you in? *more details to come soon!*

until then, happy snapping!

onwards + upwards! xo

// 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
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

ten on ten :: august 2015

it just so happens that this month’s ten on ten post fell on a regular ole day in the middle of my staycation vacation. my love + i have been traveling in sweden a tiny bit, having fun day adventures, my brother’s visited sweden, and it feels as if the past few weeks have been exciting + busy – a calm busy, if that makes sense.

in any case, this month’s ten on ten post is filled not with all of the crazy adventures that we’ve been having, but the regular moments found in a landing day. a day after a trip and just before another little trip. just an ordinary day.

but, as i always say, there is so much beauty + joy to be found in the ordinary. simplicity really is what life is all about.

my wake up view first thing in the morning

view from bed uppsala

every morning, even before coffee (!!), i hydrate. it’s become a ritual that refreshes + focuses me.namaste water kitchen
so many photos. so little time. i edited about 200 photos in the morning. whew!
blogging home
while zola the cat soaked up the warm sunzola
then, we were both hot. so hot that she slept + i just sat there. melting. but, thank you summer, for coming to sweden!summer me hot sofa
to deal with the heat, my love + i went out for an iced coffee. and, you know, it’s no biggie that there is a castle in the background of this café photo. no biggie at all. yes, i live in a fairy tale.

iced latte coffee

a long, slow fika. the way it’s meant to be.summer me coffee
a walk through town to do some errands. and the river was crisp + gorgeous.
uppsala river
a long, relaxing, spontaneous dinner outside with family + friends at the old train station in uppsala.stationen uppsala

there is nothing like walking home on those long, warm swedish summer nights
vaderkvarnsgntan home uppsala sunset
bonus photo: i woke up to the cat meow-ing at 4:00 am. she just wanted attention. after 30 minutes of trying to get back to sleep, i noticed the living room wall glowing. i got up to see, and this is the sunrise that was happening outside my window. breathtakingly amazing.sunrise

“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”  ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

oh, and,  by the way, it’s treat yo’self tuesday! so do something today that refills + refuels your soul. something just for you! have a magical, beautiful, regular day, lovelies.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

ten on ten :: july 2015

i’m late with my post! but, i have a very good reason!

my ten on ten photos for july were taken on friday (the 10th), like a good girl; and lucky me, i was still on vacation in the swedish archipelago! so, it was a great change from the always fun, but still only “everyday life” snaps, like i usually have. of course, since i was away on the 10th, i didn’t have any internet to share them with you until today. but, here they all are! all 10 (+ almost 10 extras too!). enjoy!

up early for breakfast duty: at camp we share duties + each have different meals to make. i had breakfast on friday!


back in my room after breakfast to prepare for the morning’s meditation time. my old COLLEAGUE was at the camp so, and she asked me if i could help lead our closing gathering. sometimes you just can’t fight the things that you were born to do.

the quote in the book says: “the miracle is not to fly in the air or walk on the water, but it is to wander around right here on earth.” // a chinese saying

blowing bubbles. saying prayers. how we roll.skeppsgarden-bubbles
candles lit in remembrance of/for others.
we had to say goodbye to many people, as they left the camp after lunch to head back home. i consider this cutie my little neice. and i just didn’t want to let her go.livia-skeppsgarden
a walk in the woods. all alone. heaven.skeppsgarden-forest-woods
some reading (and napping)skeppsgarden-reading
i looked out my window + noticed people gathering for fika: time for our mid-afternoon coffee!skeppsgarden-fika
dinner on the grill a few hours laterskeppsgarden-bbq-grill
my love + i finishing up the leftover dessert. baked cinnamon apples + vanilla sauce. mmmmm!_skeppsgarden-dinner
gathered around the tableskeppsgarden-dinnertime
a few minutes alone down by the waterskeppsgarden-meskeppsgarden-swimming-ladderskeppsgarden-sunsetskeppsgarden-panorama
and then, sharing the veiw with my love + a few more who gathered down by the dock. cause the sunset was killer…skeppsgarden-my-love-me-lina
so we decided to blow bubbles. i thought of it as a celebration of the end of the week. of sending all of our memories and traditions and love out to the sea… preparing ourselves to return to regular life, and wait until we return next year.skeppsgarden-bubbles-seaoh my friends, this is just a tiny little skimming of the surface of some photos from my vacation that have to share with you. so, check back this week as i pile on more photos on the blog, filling up my media library, and giving you some oh so beautiful swedish nature to gaze at. sending you love + light!

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

IMG_6859 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6871 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6888 IMG_6892 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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.
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!)


taco Tuesdays, baby!
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)
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
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.
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