me mountains

mountain girl

mountain girl

there is no place on earth like the mountains of north carolina.  i will always yearn for the beauty + power of these great, ancient hills. and i will always carry their mystery + magic with me. they are a part of me.


onwards + upwards! xoxo



empowered :: find your word for 2015|part 2.

yesterday i shared with you all my word for 2015: empowered! and, i also invited you to take part in choosing your own for for the upcoming year. if you haven’t seen yesterday’s post, or haven’t had a chance to begin think about your word for 2015, then click {here} to get started with yesterday’s post.

the beauty of choosing a word for the year is how it helps to bring a sense of focus + purpose to everything, if we let it. for me, throughout the past years that i’ve had a special for the year, i have just let it sit in the back of my mind or pop up when + wherever it may. but, this year i plan to do a bit more with my word. i want to have it in front of my face often, so that i don’t forget about it. this is especially important to me because i believe 2015 to be a year that calls for a lot of action, a lot of taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. and, i’m all ready for that. but, in order to make sure that i stay focused + active + motivated, i need that word of mine slapping me in the face day in and day out.

so, i started off by making a pinterest board. now, i’m not a pinterest freak, but i do love it for finding quotes + inspiration. so, i have created a board called empowered : 2015. in it i plan to gather all quotes + images that make me feel empowered, that remind me to be fearless and make shit happen. it’s gonna be my little pep talk place. cause we all need a little pep talk now + then, don’t we?

here are a few of the things that i have included in my pinterest board so far:

empowerment 2

i also plan to keep a list of quotes in my moleskin notebook for the year. perhaps, i’ll even have a whole notebook set aside just for empowered inspiration – a place where i can write quotes, thoughts, post photos, make a collage, and document little anecdotes. you know, an old school way of keeping a journal/scrapbook. hmm… now that i’ve written this, i think i will actually do this. my love got me a moleskin notebook for christmas, and it’ll be perfect for that! 

so, if you decide to join me in choosing a word, i’ve got a few suggestions for you to consider to help you keep your word in the front of your mind:

  • create a pinterest board: you can find mine {here} or in the sidebar to the left of this page.
  • dedicate a journal to your word: include quotes, photos, images, stories, anything that reminds you of your word
  • make your word your phone background image or desktop wallpaper
  • leave post-it notes with your word written on it in different places
  • set a schedule to check in with yourself at the beginning of each month, checking on your progress + setting intentions for the upcoming month
  • any other ideas? share them in the comments below!


finding your word: part two

now, let’s finish up finding your word for 2015 – if you haven’t settled on one yet.

if you read yesterday’s post, you may have had a word bubble up and just come to you. it’s totally possible that you already discovered your word just by thinking about it a bit. however, you may also no know exactly what word to settle on or need a bit more time to figure it out. no worries. we’ll deal with that today.

  1. ponder this again for just a second: what would the perfect day in 2015 look like to you? what would you do? who and what would you see? where would you be? what are your intentions + dreams for the upcoming year?
  2. if you followed yesterday’s activities, then you should have about 3-5  possible words written somewhere. hopefully you were able to write them down + set them aside until now.  go ahead and pull out those words and look over the list again.
  3. think about them and notice if they are passive or active words. have you chosen which type of word you feel that you need for 2015? do you need to focus more inwardly, on your self and your spirit/soul? or do you need to get things done and focus on things that are outside of you?
  4. using the 3-5 words that you wrote down… think about the meaning of each one. how would you define each word? how does the dictionary define each word? what are other words (synonyms or related words) that come to mind for each word?
  5. now that you’ve gathered your list of words + thought about their meanings, see how they feel. which one seems to make you feel warm? which one inspires you or energizes you? which one brings you a sense of calm and peace? which one feels like a gift that you have received that you’d been longing for?
  6. you’re looking for that word that you have fallen in love with. perhaps one just seems to fit. trust that, and go with it. let that be your word. however, perhaps you are stuck between 2 words. well, flip a coin, assigning one word to “heads” and one word to “tails”. flip the coin and see what your immediate reaction is when you see which word the coin lands on. were you disappointed? or excited?
  7. there is no absolute perfect word. but, it should make you giggle and feel excited, at least more than your other words. so, which word is it? which word feels just right to you? no explanation, it just feels… well, right.
  8. but, remember this: your word may even change in the middle of the year. let it grow and move and be fluid. give yourself permission to change you mind, if you need or want to. this is for you. there is no right or wrong.
  9. write your word down. look at it. feel it. runnier fingers over the letter. trust that your soul has given you exactly what you need.
  10. take a deep breath and soak it in. le the word become part of you.
  11. over the next few days, explore ways to use your word + to make it part of your life. (don’t forget the tips i gave you above!)

congratulations, friend! you have listened to your life + to your soul. now, if you’d like, share your word with me. send me an email (use the contact button at the top of the page) or leave me a comment below. i am so excited to have shared this process with you. and i’d love to stay up to date with you on how your year + our word unfolds. i’ll most definitely keep you updated on how my empowered 2015 goes.

for now, it’s time to embark on the last day of 2014. i wish you peace + calm + a centered being as you bid farewell to this year and welcome a new year filled with new opportunities + adventures, just waiting for you. enjoy your new year’s eve!


light + love xoxo

liz & lina’s tips for a cozy balcony makeover in a day.

sometime last week i mention to my love that i thought we should “redo” our balcony. what i meant was that, now that it is april, it’s time to get our balcony all ready for the outdoor season. we are in love with our apartment and where we live, and that fact that we have a balcony is even more amazing. we’ve used it quite a bit, even during the winter. and we most definitely had it decorated for the the holiday seasons. but, now it’s time to turn it into an outdoor living space, as i know we will be using it more than almost any other room.

so, since the weather was incredibly warm and sunny this past week, and we found ourselves out there as much as possible, we decided that this weekend would be our balcony makeover weekend – as cheaply as possible, of course.

here’s how the balcony has looked in the past:


breakfast on the balcony

totally comfy and cozy. but, our design idea was to make it even more comfy and cozy. so here’s what the plan was:

  1. buy some plants – nothing difficult to take care of, because neither one of us have a green thumb.
  2. make a more cozy sitting area in the corner – perhaps with some stools in an l-shape, with some cushions to sit on and pillows against the wall to lean on.
  3. more seating space – but we’d have our two chairs left over, so the idea was to have place for about 5 people
  4. but the main goal, was to decorate and make more comfy seating!
  5. and we wanted all of this by spending as little money as possible.

liz & lina’s tips for a small, cozy, comfy balcony makeover in a day:

1. dream away and find inspiration!

i talked with lina about my ideas, and she shared hers. we agreed on the above list, and then we spent some time looking through pinterest, getting some inspiration.

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2. clear out and clean up

first up: clean the balcony. meh. i did not want to do that at all, but my love cleaned the chairs and the railing and the windows. i ended up skipping some of the cleaning because i made french toast for breakfast. hehe. after that, we pulled the rug inside for lina to vacuum. and i swept the entire balcony. then, a quick little time taking measurements of the balcony & our current chairs, and we were ready to go!


3. start with second-hand

 we visited a few different places around asheville, beginning with the habitat for humanity re-store, a place where you can find cheap items which have been donated, and all of the money you spend goes to support habitat for humanity, helping other people get low-income house. a win-win situation. the only thing was, they did not have any outdoor furniture available. they didn’t even have any cute decorative things we could use. but, if we wanted sinks, toilets, tiles, or sofas, we were in luck.

4. be ready to be surprised and disappointed all at the same time

on to the next store: a local home improvement store. we parked near the garden center and were bursting with excitement about being surrounded by all of the plants and flowers! everything was so gorgeous and springy. and everyone else in asheville seemed to have the same idea that we did. we walked through the greenhouse area and toward to outdoor furniture, hoping to find some stools and cushions. but, no luck.

we did, however, stumble upon a great bistro table and two chairs. i mean, it was really  great. we loved it and immediately could imagine using it on the balcony. so, since we had done some measuring, we pulled out our notes & compared them to the the table set. it seemed like it would be the perfect fit. yes! only buying a table and chairs was not at all on our list of ideas. so, what to do?


5. be spontaneous, but not too impulsive

we decided to leave the table behind and head to target to see what they had in the way of stools and cushions. they didn’t have anything either. gaaah.

we did know, however, that ikea (in charlotte or atlanta) had exactly what we wanted, for pretty cheap. but, we didn’t want to drive to ikea and now we also had this amazing table set we loved. spending money on the ikea furniture and the table set was not at all what we had in mind! but, we considered it – we even called my mom to get her advice.

6. if an opportunity presents itself, take it! (= live in the present moment)

we decided to table (haha!) the idea of the furniture at ikea – we could go tomorrow, if we wanted and go back to the home improvement store and buy the table set. we knew that we would get a lot of use out of the table – certain that we would eat many, if not every, meal out there, weather permitting. plus, it would be a great space to work at as well. so, we bought it! come to find out, the comfy cushions were included in the set, so yay! it turned out to be quite affordable.

7. always return to look over the original plan

on our way home, we stopped off to buy a couple of green plants. we knew we wanted ferns. they are so big, beautiful, and easy to keep alive. so, two big ferns and two planter pots were also added to our purchases.


8. a good team makes all the difference

we got home, lugged everything upstairs, and began the process of putting it all together. ok – again, lina did the hard work. i was busy buying us tickets to see les miserables on broadway for lina’s birthday trip to new york city. see? i was doing something important too!

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9. live in the moment. enjoy!

then, it was time for our premiere meal at our new table. we did a little staging and decorating, first though. the ferns were in place, the two chairs that we had before were still there, and we put a candle on our bistro table. time for dinner together! it was perfect, just absolutely perfect.


10. keep an open mind – you never know how things will turn out

then, lina suggested that we skip the furniture at ikea = no cozy stools & pillows in the corner. we should just keep our chairs and perhaps buy a little puffy footrest/ottoman, which could also double as a seat, if needed. i was not convinced, but willing to try it. we decided to see how things felt after a week.

but, i wanted things to be settled, so we headed back to target to find a footrest/ottoman and perhaps some cushions for our chairs. in the outdoor section, we found the perfect footrest! it was funky and the colors were perfect. we both loved it. then, i happened to look up and saw two dar gray seat cushions, we decided to get them, knowing that if they didn’t work, we could return them. they were also on super duper sale – like 75% off and only $5.00 a piece. score us!

back home again, before dark, and we added the cushions and footrest to the balcony. i was overwhelmed… it was absolutely perfect. better than i had ever imagined. and we both agreed that there was no need to even think about the ikea furniture again.

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now, how did we do with our original goals?

  1. plants. check! ferns – cheap and easy to take care of.
  2. cozy corner space. yes and no. completely cozy, though not a corner of stools, as we thought. instead, it turned out to be a bistro table and chairs – a good buy which will be used every single day, i am certain.
  3. more seating. check! we now have space for 5 people, which was our original goal.
  4. cozy & comfy. yes! times a thousand!
  5. budget-friendly. check! we spent the same amount of money on the table set as we would have on the ikea furniture. we searched for second-hand things, but nothing was there. the plants were simple and cheap. and our little decorations were things we already owned, we just moved things around. a very easy way to get a new look without spending any money

all in all, we ended up creating a cozy and comfy balcony, but not at all how we had originally imagined it. of course, i am know that it is even better than we had planned. and, i am so thankful and grateful for an amazingly fun day spent with my love.

the final result:

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so, come on over for a glass of lemonade or a glass of wine. we’ve got beer and sweet tea, too, if you’d prefer that. and when, the sun sets, our cozy twinkling lights will light up the space, so we can talk until the wee hours of the morning.

love and peace. xx


wednesday wisdom: rules of living # 5

ok. i’m a day late. but, you know. it happens. no biggie. and i know that you all will forgive me as lina and i were hanging out with our german friends who came for a visit. but, now we’ve said goodbye for a while and the rest of the week will be back to normal. sort of. lina’s on spring break, so we’ve got 4 days of no plans together – and that feels amazing.  well, friends, we’ve made it to week five of the 18 rules of living series already! thirteen weeks of wisdom to go. but let’s get right to this week’s tidbit of how to live according to the dalai lama:

18. judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

so, perhaps success is not measured by how much we acquire, but by how much we give up. and by giving up, i think that it is referring to sacrifices, losses, and passion. how much are we willing to lose in order to gain? you know, the good old belief that nothing comes without some hard work and dedication. and a successful person is someone who has fought for their dreams and never given up.

in my opinion, success has nothing to do with how much money i make or how many things i have. it is not about power, or even respect or authority or recognition. in fact, success isn’t about getting things at all… it is about how much we give away. and, don’t you agree that in giving we actually receive?

the more successful we are, the more we have learned, struggled, fought, and shared. so, in an effort to inspire each of us, i have found some great quotes on pinterest that remind us to chase our dreams, to make those dreams come true by working our asses off, and, ultimately, giving back to the world a little of what we have received.

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how do you define success? what makes up a successful life in your opinion?

love & peace. namaste.

a wanderlust-filled home

in my dreams, my love and i travel all the time. we take off, with our computers in tow, for parts unknown. exploring the whole world, country after country. spending enough time in each place in order to get to know it on a little more personal level than your regular tourist. we spend some days exploring and experiencing the culture and country. we spend other days in our hut, or cottage, or rv with our computer open and keyboards clicking. my love, working as a freelance graphic designer, and me, writing away – on my blog, which makes me enough money to break even every month.

of course, i’m quite the homebody too. so, we come home for a few weeks or a few months in-between trips. but, since i’m a wanderlust, gypsy at heart, i want to have my home reflect my love of carefree, global travel.

in reality, i have no major trips planned for the near future (sweden in summer), so i am filling up my wanderlust soul by taking little day trips and exploring my own city, finding little gems and secret places hidden away. it is completely possible to be a tourist in your own city.

but, i also am perusing pinterest for ideas of how to bring my travel spirit into our home. there are so many ways to evoke a love of travel and different cultures. so many symbols and ways to capture that gypsy feeling. so, today, for travel thursdays, i’m gonna share with you my favorite ways to bring that global feel inside.

maps. maps. maps.

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this is my bedroom.

this is my bedroom.

vacation photo displays

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things for your walls:

posters. destination boards. inspirational quotes. animal heads.Rhodes

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vintage stuff: suitcases. globes. cameras.b6121609b72a1a346eedf14138c2fdb0 7bdfbff773e64b340837e5fa2b23f1d0 0c92f55d9c9d792be3e08e2f275b82e2.jpg

writer’s stuff: anything fitzgerald. travel books. a typewriter.7fe5bcf514623690841bd9fb2207032a



bohemian/indian-inspired lighting511ffc7866c72f25ac283a7899269f7e

buddhas, pillows, and rooms with lots of color0a59ec62a1ad26e771bb9730c80533ac 0f60708d01b1dc830c057bac62ba8472 506b0997fb04d60a470012c7._w.540_h.805_s.fit_


this is my living room. :)

do you have any travel decoration tips? what do you like to bring into your home that makes you feel like you’re on vacation? do you have travel decor style? clearly mine is bohemian. hehe. what’s yours?

namaste. xx

all photos are from pinterest – except for two, which are from my apartment. (oh, how i love pinterest).

sunday wanderlust.


happy sunday, friends! i am feeling a little wanderlust-y today, but i’m not really going anywhere. and i don’t have any plans for any road trips any time soon, which is perhaps why i am feeling wanderlust-y. still, the desire to travel and my dreamy, contemplative nature, keep life interesting. it keeps me learning. and growing. and hoping. and planning. so, go ahead. dream away. make wishes. write a bucket list. wonder. contemplate, ponder. wander. slow down. go new places & explore new things – even if it’s just around the corner. an even on a regular sunday. because, isn’t that what life is really all about?!

peace & love & adventures.

*image from pinterest

when you just know what you know.

image from pinterest.

image from pinterest.

sitting at a coffee shop right now, feeling completely blessed and inspired. i’ve got all these connections, vibes, and amazing things going on today. wow. i’m excited. overwhelmed…

i’m just breathing it all in. soaking it all in. and preparing to give it all back.

happy wednesday, lovely people. peace & love.

word of the day for the simplicity photo journey: fruits & veggies. yum!

it’s the little things. like fruit & veggies.


yesterday i had a perfect expat moment that took my breath away. it was one of those moments where i stopped doing what i was doing and practically pinched myself. i was in my downtown office working (ahem….), with my old-fashioned windows flung wide open. i heard church bells off in the distance. and people down below laughing, chatting, and buying fresh vegetables at the market just two stories down from my window. i was sipping some very strong, very good swedish coffee. and i realized… this is my life. as i thought about it all, it felt like i was in a movie. this is what i have been doing for almost 3 years now. living this crazy, unpredictable, take-a-risk-&-trust-everything-will-be-ok life.

and it’s these little moments which i dreamt of as a young girl. it’s the dreams of a young 20-something who wanted to have her go at living in europe. it’s the dream of walking amongst old buildings, drinking coffee outside in cafes, learning a new language & customs, hanging out in pubs, meeting new people, buying fresh baked bread from the bakery just below my apartment, living in the middle of downtown, visiting other places in europe. it’s the dreams that, after some time, came true for me. and it’s all these little moments which have defined my years living as an expat. it’s the little ways of european life put together over the past few years that have touched me and given me a new perspective. and in that perfect little expat moment yesterday, i realized just how much i have been absorbed into this society. i have become a part of it, and it has become a part of me. i have changed. i didn’t the feel the change happening, but it has. it did. it does. so, i return to the states in a month a little bit different, and a lot more wise than when i left three years ago. i am most definitely american. but, i am also most definitely part swedish too.

word of the day for the simplicity photo journey: fruits & veggies. yum!

word of the day for the simplicity photo journey: fruits & veggies. yum!

my wish for all of you? that you will chase your dreams to the farthest corners of the earth if you have to. and that when you find them, you realize that the most beautiful dreams are made up of the tiniest, simplest, most ordinary things. you just have to pay attention and be present and most importantly, be true to your soul. and all those moments, and all those dreams, make up the amazing, extraordinary life that is waiting for you.

peace & love from a little american expat living her dream & following her bliss.


i can get a little design crazy.

for the second part of my photo journey, i thought about focusing on simplicity at home. we all want a peaceful, cozy, friendly, welcoming home. and, if you’re like me, you want your home to be a sanctuary as well. a place that reflects creativity and inspires. a place where everything has a meaning and everything has it’s purpose and place.

i must admit, i’m a sucker for interior design blogs/websites and photos. there are a few blogs that i follow purely because they share amazing photos of inspiring homes. like this one. and i also pin photos of rooms and designs to pinterest. click here to see what inspires me. i’m a mess of contradictions. i love clean, simple, white, black, & gray. at the same time, i love funky, quirky, second-hand, vintage, and warm. my love is exactly the same… lucky for us, huh? somehow, though, we always seem to work out a good balance, even thought our tastes may seem all over the place.

as we prepare to move into our new dream apartment in asheville, we have begun planning what we want our home to feel like. how we want it to look, yes. but also what we want the vibe to be. we want it to be all the things i mentioned above: clean, simple, warm, and a bit funky. so, as we look at websites for new furniture, and pack up very important things that we want to take with us, we realize over & over again, that it isn’t at all about the stuff. sure we love the stuff. we love cool & clean & funky design. but, the meaning behind it, the purpose of it all, whether it is old or new, is what’s most important. so, i’m working hard to keep all in mind.

i’m working hard to remember to make my new home, a simple, loving environment. where moments are filled with laughter and coziness. where we rejoice and enjoy the simple things… quiet mornings on the balcony. dinners around the table with friends. game nights. nights reading in bed. cooking & baking together. rooms filled with music & art.

ultimately my only dream is to make my house a home. it’s that simple.

here are some of the last photos of my home here in sweden… we’ll be moving out of this apartment in about a week or 2. mixed feelings. yeah. it’s been a great, great, great home. take a look at my simplicity journey for the past 5 days:

day 6: corner – my favorite spot to hang out by myself in the mornings. sipping coffee. reading. writing.


7: bowl – my favorite bowl. lovingly made by my creative sister-in-law potter, who i’m gonna live near very soon!


day 8: family – in the midst of some chaos at home this weekend, we found ourselves in the hall at one point & decided it was time for a silly, crazy family portrait. my family is everything to me.


9. table – with the apartment in disarray, i sat down for a moment with my mac on the only empty table to catch up on some blogs and find some inspiration.


10: DIY – check out my love DIY-ing it like a boss. yeah.


wishing you a peaceful morning or night, wherever you are. may you steal away a few moments of silence and peace somewhere in your home.