sensory overload. part 10.

hi folks! i don’t have much time to write today, so i’ll be brief. the past week was quite fantastic with lent beginning and our first european visitors coming to town! they’re still here now = why i don’t have much time to write. i’m spending all my time having too much fun. so, i’ll just give you a post of lots of photos of moments that overwhelmed me and made my soul sing. hope you enjoy!

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wishing you a beautiful week!

peace & love. xx

disney world: animal kingdom!

it’s safari time! and finally the weather was not chilly or cold. in fact, we even took off our jackets a few times (yay!)… only to have to put on ponchos later in the afternoon. but you know what? that did not stop our fun one bit. we were silly, happy girls even in the rain. i mean, doesn’t rain make everything more adventurous? i always say that i want to soak up the moments… and this day, i did just that. literally.

we noticed that it had rained during the night, but we remained optimistic! after entering the park and being overwhelmed by the beauty of the natural surroundings (that had been planted, mind you) and greenery everywhere, we made our way to have some breakfast. it was a big, stick to your ribs kinda breakfast, perfect for this day. then, we got right to it.

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first up, the finding nemo musical performance! but, we had a little time to kill, so we wandered around dino-land and took in the sights. then, it was time for the show! as we waited, there was a kid sitting directly behind us. he was kicking my seat continuously and was too smart for his own good. he talked, chattered, and made a comment on everything constantly without ever taking a breath. it was exhausting just sitting behind him. and i found myself worrying that i’d never make it. if this continued through the show, i was gonna have to say something to the parents. luckily, as soon as the show – the amaaaaazing show – began, he quieted right down. i even forgot he was there. whew.DSC_0227 DSC_0651 DSC_0654 IMG_7897 IMG_7903 IMG_7912

after the show, we did some rides (i won’t say i freaked out, but i did a little. when did i become so wussy?), which turned out to be so much fun and then headed over to the asia part of the park to explore the animals and the sights…DSC_0667 IMG_7920

we walked through a jungle area and one thing became very, very clear to me. i have to go to india, indonesia, and asia. i mean, i’ve know that my wanderlust tendencies extend to that continent, but i felt so connected – even in a disney world created asia. the prayer flags, the trees and thick vegetation. it was all so peaceful. so spiritual. i truly have to go.

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then, it was off to africa and our safari! first, a quick bite for lunch, though. some african, curry something under a thatched roof, where birds and rain were still enjoying our meal with us. though, the food was not great (the one & only time we had not so great food), we entertained each other (and everyone else probably) tremendously as we caught a case of the giggles and could not settle down. when we decided to move on, it was raining properly, so i had to buy a poncho with a big ass mickey on it. lina had hers with her. mine was in the hotel room. typical me.DSC_0693

but, it was time for the safari! rain or no rain. we did not care. bring it on! you know, if i’m honest, sometimes it’s fun to have a day when you just get wet and don’t care. you just let the rain pour down on you, step in all the puddles, and know that the water will not kill you. and then, then it becomes fun!IMG_7934 DSC_0697 DSC_0716 DSC_0726 DSC_0734 DSC_0744IMG_7956

that’s it folks! our hotel, all four disney world parks, downtown disney, a luau, and lots and lots of laughs. memories and fun that we won’t soon forget. thanks for traveling with us through my blog posts. of course, i highly recommend disney world – for anyone who likes magic, laughter, surprises, imagination, and time with family.

now, let’s see… where to next? hmmm… perhaps a trip to new orleans is in the very beginning stages of planning. mouahhahaha.

peace and love. and wanderlust! xx

sensory overload. part 2.

friends, we are only about one week out from thanksgiving!! woo hoo! i know that there are quiet a few of you who are not american, so you’re not really counting the days, but, i sure am! i cannot wait! a little mini-vacay back at my parents’  place at the beach sounds just perfect. and then, it’s full swing into christmas! exciting and cozy times are ahead.

this past week, it felt as if autumn sort of fell away into very late autumn/early winter. i was all cozy in boots and sweaters all week long. and loving it to pieces. there were lots of fabulous little moments, every day kinds of things, i suppose. but, i am working so hard on being present, so i am more aware of the little things lately. i seem to be appreciating the tiniest things these days.

here are a few of the things that made my senses go into overdrive and left me feeling inspired and overwhelmed with gratitude. that’s right. i kept my promise this week and here’s my sensory overload, part 2! go me.


  • i had another article in the paper last week!! it was my second fika article and you can read it here, if you want. i cannot believe that i have the opportunity to do this!!
  • also, i noticed that most of the leaves were suddenly gone from the trees. it’s like it happened overnight. wow. but, you know what? the bare branches are just as beautiful.


  • i enjoyed a steaming hot bowl of corn chowder at home on a very windy and cold day. the perfect warm-me-up and autumn moment.
  • and, oh the joys of a saturday morning brunch complete with eggs, biscuits and gravy, bacon, potatoes, coffee, and… mimosas. perfection.


  • the leaves on the sidewalk as the crunched beneath my feet.
  • the feel of the leather chair i sat in for a few hours at the book exchange/champagne bar.
  • my new annual pass card to the biltmore estate in my hands – oh the fun!


  • the rain pattering down on my windshield as a drove around the city doing errands. while i always prefer to be home under a blanket when it’s raining, it is also quite cozy to drive and hear the rain beating down on the car. at least that’s how i felt that day.
  • i also heard the voices and laughter of strangers becoming acquaintances over coffee during my first fika gathering – that completely warmed my heart and made me giddy with glee.


  • the first night of crawling in bed and pulling the covers up around my head, when the sheets have just been cleaned. need i say more?


  • the chilly, crisp, early winter air as the wind whipped through the trees.
  • the joy of going to a movie & the pain of watching a true story on the big screen about a man who was a slave for 12 years.
  • sharing these moments with my wife and my brother = pure happiness.
  • other feelings: excitement, pride, peace, sadness, silliness, hope, mystery,  love.

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IMG_5927 IMG_5936 IMG_5940 IMG_5941 IMG_5893what has make your senses come alive in the past few days? what has overloaded and overwhelmed you? i’ll bet you can think of at least a few things for which you are grateful, right?

just letting you know, once again, that the fact that you click on my blog and read the things i write and post, overwhelms me too. so. very. much. i am so thankful for the fact that you care to check in and share your thoughts, or just read my words. it makes all the difference.

happy week before thanksgiving, loves!


ode to autumn.

is there anything better in autumn than a cozy, chilly, rainy day at home? outside the leaves are all golden, orange, red, and brown. the clouds hang thick and low. it’s as if you can see the hibernation process happening, even if you don’t see any movement. everything feels sleepy. life seems to move in slow motion on these kinds of days. and home is where the heart is. there is no desire to go out and tackle anything.

the only thing that you want to do is light a candle or make some soup. get a blanket and read a book. begin to make christmas lists and thanksgiving preparations. yeah, inside is the place to be. and you’re thankful to not have to be outside in the messiness. or, if you’re out in it all, you’re dreaming of the moment when you come home and shed your layers, slip on your slippers, and pad about your abode finding the perfect place to settle.

but you’re also thankful that the cold, gray days exist. these are the days that water the earth. that prepare all of nature for winter. yes, they are the days that remind us that death is inevitable, but with that remembrance, comes also an awareness of the promise of new life again one day in the distant future.






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then again, there’s nothing like a brilliant, blue sky, bright sunshine, autumn day. the kind of day that energizes you and draws you outside like a magnet. the air is chilly in the shade. and the breeze makes it downright cold. but the sunshine, oh the sunshine, it warms your skin and brightens your mood. and the colors! those glorious autumn colors are so vivid and bright on these sunny days. you simply have to take a walk or a drive because it’s a sacrilege to stay indoors. these are the days that make you feel alive and hopeful. who cares that winter is around the corner because all that matters is the present moment. yes, autumn days filled with sunshine and color teach us the power of the present and remind us that to live in the present is to truly live.

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no matter the weather, though, autumn is beautiful. and the only way to truly soak up the season is to pay attention to it. inside or outside, this season passes along its wisdom about life and death. so, we simply must find a way to slow down. to observe. to listen. and to just be.758f97203b2d11e39ae722000aaa08f3_8

what’s your favorite thing about autumn? 

breathe in the colors of love and peace.

orange is the new black.

have you heard of that netflix series yet? that’s the name of it: orange is the new black. and  it is abso-freakin-lutely awesome. my love and i got seriously stuck and watched the first season in a fairly short amount of time. we have now moved onto other series while we wait for season 2 to be finished. i hope you have netflix. and i hope that you have OITNB on it. it’s a series made exclusively for netflix. anyway, if you can, check it out. so amazing.

this post isn’t actually about the series, but the title worked well for what i’m going to share with y”all – a bunch of photos that i had flagged to do in this post which i soon realized, as i looked at them in their folder in iPhoto, all had an orange, warm glow to them. so, there ya go. the story behind the title. plus a tip for an awesome tv series. you’re welcome.

now, in celebration of the fist week of fall, my birthday, and just life in general, here are some photos from the past week. they make me happy. and they are quite meaningful captures of fabulous, cozy, fun, super moments from an incredible week…


i spent last sunday morning wrapped up in a blanket, reading a magazine, sipping coffee. near perfection.IMG_4121
then, i headed out for a birthday brunch with my parents & bro & wifey. deliciousness + family = happy liz.IMG_4186
the trees are turning! the trees are turning!IMG_4215
my pal ash, challenged me to show my day in nine shots last monday… so here it is. it was a good day. really good. and birthday eve!IMG_4228
basking in my birthday morning, all natural glow. and soooo excited about the mala meditation beads my love got me. i was speechless and filled with joy!IMG_4230
zola got in on some empty box action. cutiepatootie.IMG_4279
dinner with my brother and my love was out of this world. the food was good, but more than that was the company and conversation. it was a pretty damn near perfect evening that left my heart filled with laugher and love. IMG_4289
wednesday lunch was with my parents, and even though it was a rainy, dreary day, it was cozy and good to just sit with them and enjoy a little bit of time together. and eat tomato soup. comfort and coziness.IMG_4294
i drove around in the rainy, misty beautifulness of the mountains for a little while. ahhh…IMG_4297
a few halloween decorations for our door. the holiday craziness begins now. yes!IMG_4300
pumpkins at the grocery store. gotta get some more!IMG_4328
i saw this amazingness in a parking lot on thursday. all i could think was: road. trip. out. west. now. IMG_4334
dinner silliness with my bro again. we love us some eatin’ out.IMG_4336
and it continued… with my two most favorite people in the whole world. i am a lucky girl.IMG_4346
autumn colors on a sunny, warm, gorgeous friday.IMG_4355
this amazing woman, the love of my life, my wife did something… on friday evening, while i was in my pj’s sipping on a beer on the balcony with my brother, there was a knock on the door. lina told me to go get it… i opened it and it was my awesome friend (former youth member), julia. she doesn’t live in asheville, so i was so freaking confused! a few minutes later, there was another knock… still in my pj’s (i’d been planning or assuming we were having a quiet night at home) and jessica was there! she came in and then 5 more people came in after her. surprise to me!! everyone was in on it, and we were going out to eat to celebrate my birthday! AMAZING! IMG_4374
here we are… minus a couple, enjoying mexican. and yes, they did sing to me some spanish song and put a sombrero on my head and put ice cream all over my face. it was super fun!IMG_4357
julia, lina, and i then headed downtown for some nightlife. we ended up at a new bar, a speakeasy actually, that literally just opened that night. we had cocktails and little bites of food to eat. the food we got out of an old post office bix. they gave us a key and we went on our own to get the food. crazy. IMG_4362
it was dark, cozy, relaxing, and so much fun.IMG_4363
i had the hemingway martini. and i loved it.
IMG_4366the rest of the weekend i have not left the apartment. it has been cozy, relaxing, and really great. i think i’ve needed to soak up all the amazingness of the past week. i’ve also slept some, written some, listened to my fall playlist, and gotten myself addicted to breaking bad – and yes, i am behind the rest of the world with that series since it ends tonight. but, i’ll just get to enjoy it longer.

ok. now i’m ready for a new week… a week were i actually have some work to do! i’ve got to write an article, plan the belovelive photo journey for october, meet some new blogging contacts, and of course, fika! then, it’s off tothe beach for about 5 days next weekend since it’s lina’s fall break. feels like it’s gonna be another good week.

i don’t even know what to saw about how awesome september has been.

peace and love and warmth to each of you.

nesting day.


i’ve got nothing special planned today – which is always a good thing in my world. it’s really gray outside. drizzly and chilly. and the hard rain, with possible thunderstorms, is on it’s way. so, i’m gonna hunker down on my sofa and read some new magazines. of course i’ll sip on coffee. and perhaps do some writing. but, we’ll see about that. in a little bit, i’ll light my autumn candle and fill the apartment with the sweet smell of spices and cinnamon. there will also be blankets involved, and definitely some comfort food, like a grilled cheese sandwich or swedish pancakes. oh, and some netflix time too. can’t forget that.

life is moving at warp speed. my days are filled with activities, meeting people, driving around town, exploring new places, spending time with my brother, and writing. and i get to share this life with the woman that i love, my inspiration and my everything. i couldn’t ask for anything more. truly. i have never, ever felt so content and at peace.

so, today, i am going to slow down and simply bask in that peace. it is international peace day, you know, and this is how i am going to celebrate.


you see, i believe that to be peacemakers, we have to live as peacemakers ourselves. that does not mean that we have to board a plane and go work for the peace corps, though we can do that – and that would be awesome. what i believe about living as a peacemaker is more simply than trying to be like a saint or a guru that has achieved enlightenment. it means to live a life of peace in our every day lives, to  get to know ourselves from deep within, to work on ourselves, and to try to be true to who we are deep within our core – and that includes following our dreams and having the courage to acknowledge who we are, what we want, and how we have been created to use our own unique gifts. we were not made to follow a crowd, but to simply be who we are – and each of us is magnificent, beautiful, and amazing. each of us is already a powerful peacemaker in the making.

inner peace, enlightenment, contentment, happiness, whatever you call it, is already within us. nurturing our inner life will only lead us to live lives filled with deep peace. if we turn inward, if we explore our inner light, our inner soul, our inner truth, and then have the courage to follow it, we will exude peace in our daily, outer lives. others will see it and feel it. and that, my friends, i how we teach peace.

we teach peace by being peace.

i must admit to y’all, there is nothing like some good ole raw, honest, genuine bluegrass/folk rock for a rainy day to bring me to a place of deep peace. right now the darkness is closing in, the rain is  pouring down, and i have this video on repeat. these guys always touch my soul with their music & their lyrics. i cannot describe it, but i feel whole. grounded. well, simply peaceful. so, curl up somewhere for a few minutes and take a listen:

“we came to leave behind the world a better way” ~ the avett brothers

today, i am not going to march in any peace parade. or go to any protest. or take part in any community peace anything. i could, this is asheville, you know. hehe. instead, i’m staying home. i am going to let all the peace that is within me settle and soak deep into me today. i am going to nest. and i am going to nurture this peace that i feel, and listen to that still, small, quiet voice that whispers to me to simply be.

for me, today, peace begins at home.

“His ambition was not to become wealthy or to be well known, an image which society for some reason dictates each individual should prescribe to, instead his only ambition was to be at peace with himself, if he could achieve that than anything else he might need would follow. From now on he would question all things in life, but especially the rules and regulations of all authority institutions; he would take nothing on face value and only would accept what he personally knew to undeniably be true.” ― Andrew James PritchardCharnel House

sending you wishes for a calm, restful, peaceful weekend.

tiny moments to celebrate.

april keeps moving right along. and as each day passes, i am confronted with the challenge of finding a way to capture a glimpse of life in a photo. i’m challenged to find something to celebrate and to share that tiny little moment with you all. overall, this past week has been not so great. still… true to the way that life is, there is always something i can find to celebrate, even if it is miniscule some days. even the hardest, worst day has something worth celebrating hidden within it. and you know what? the more you seek to celebrate, the more you find to celebrate. this i discover more and more as the days of april pass by.

here’s a peek at the moments i celebrated this past week:

15. passion

wanderlust: a strong desire to travel, to understand one's very existence.

wanderlust: a strong desire to travel, to understand one’s very existence.

16. favorite moment of the day

off to visit my love!

off to visit my love!

17. fresh

loving my new organic face products!

loving my new organic face products!

18. morning

rain on my window this morning. still, it's a new day. a new start.

rain on my window this morning. still, it’s a new day. a new start.

19. grow

trying to be patient and wait for my hair to grow. missing my long hair big time.

trying to be patient and wait for my hair to grow. missing my long hair big time.

20. sun

having a little mocha frappe while i sit in the sun. yum!

having a little mocha frappe while i sit in the sun. yum!

21. bud

every day i am desperately looking for a tree or bush that has just one, little #bud on it. today, i found it!

every day i am desperately looking for a tree or bush that has just one, little #bud on it. today, i found it!

did you have any moments worth celebrating this past week? share with me! i’d love to know!

here’s to finding even more reasons celebrate next week! peace.

november rain.


a cold november rain falls endlessly outside my window tonight. but, i’m safe & warm inside. the candlelight flickers and glows. my family is close by. is there anyone luckier than me? 

“Now and then sprays of rain flew over and misted our faces. Every time I refused to wipe away the wetness. It made the world seem so alive to me. I couldn’t help but envy the way a good storm got everyone’s attention.”
― Sue Monk KiddThe Secret Life of Bees

“I want to believe that I’m not wrong. I want to believe that life isn’t full of darkness. Even if storms come to pass, the sun will shine again. No matter how painful and hard the rain may beat down on me.”
― Natsuki Takaya

“Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.”
― Robert Frost

“Why the Egyptian, Arabic, Abyssinian, Choctaw? Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder goe when it dies?”
― Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes

“The unwelcome November rain had perversely stolen the day’s last hour and pawned it with that ancient fence, the night.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThis Side of Paradise

“Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud; near a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.”
― Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

“That was the way it was that beautiful evening of cold November rain and muddy country roads and crazy windshield wipers. That was the moment of my greatest security and confidence; it was the time when I realized that love makes one a better person, a kinder gentler one.”
― Irene HuntUp a Road Slowly

peace while the rain patters down.

top ten tuesday.

introducing… liz’s top ten things she should be doing:

1. writing my next blog post (or 2 or 3) for from death to peace (my memoir)

2. writing a proposal for work

3. creating my own december photo a day challenge

4. completing & email my christmas wish list to santa (my mom told me that he asked me to send one. really.)

5. making a plan of strategy for how to cook/bake all of my thanksgiving goodies in our one tiny oven (thanksgiving is saturday!)

6. taking pictures & do another photo tip blog post

7. using those little 30 minutes that are filled with waiting/down time in between projects more effectively

8. meditating

9. writing. writing. writing.

10. challenging myself to set up a routine, a schedule every day, to make my writing my other (unpaid) job

here are the top ten things she’s been doing instead:

1. drinking glögg

2. decorating

3. listening to christmas music

4. staring out the window at the rain

5. arranging my playlists

6. planning and/or packing (for the trip to the states in a little under 3 weeks. sick, isn’t it?)

7. drinking coffee

8. meeting friends

9. making lists

10. updating the weather app on my phone every hour to see if there is snow in the forecast

i feel like i have about a million little projects to do, and i can’t seem to get them done. i want to do them. none of them are difficult or annoying. all of them are things that i enjoy. but, i can’t seem to get myself into gear. am i that disorganized? am i that sucked into the holiday season already? is it the perpetual darkness and constant rain? geez. i gotta get a grip and focus on today. but, the christmas spirit has taken over. i’m daydreaming my moments away…

ok. i would say that it’s time to get down to business, but i need to first call my mom, and then there will be only a few minutes left before i head to work. truly not enough time to cross anything off of my list…

but, i have a plan! tonight i will be at the church for meditation (see #8 on my should do list). every tuesday night i am in the sanctuary, with candles lit and soft music, available for anyone to come and sit with me. in silence. or to chat. usually there are very few people there, so i have a good hour & a half in a quiet, spiritual room to just be. tonight. i will meditate. i will write. i will feed my soul.

i hope your tuesday is a productive one, but one in which you find some moments to feed & nurture your soul too.

peace i send to you.

pitter patter.


the rain is pitter-pattering down, but we’re headed out for a little day road trip (during our weekend road trip to skåne) on this cold, dark monday. i love mini-vacations.

happy monday, all you out there.

peace & love.