empty nesters

wow. this summer has truly kept me busy. i have literally not been able to squeeze in blogging like i normally do. i mean, i suppose i could have blogged in the middle of the night, but i am not a night owl, so that wouldn’t have worked. but, now our visitors are gone, the apartment is quiet (too quiet),  and lina and i are all alone again. i suppose i have plenty of time to blog now. yep. life is returning to normal, which it hasn’t been since the beginning of may! and that’s just craaaaazy. but, so freaking amazing.

yesterday, our niece and lina’s cousin left us to return to sweden after spending 2 weeks here. if you’ll recall, they flew with us to the states when we returned in the end of july. it was an amazing and whirlwind of a two-week visit with them. we did the beach (which you can read about here), and then we spent time at our home in the mountains. there were tons of adventures, tons of laughter, tons of shopping (what do you expect with 2 teenage girls let loose in american malls?! – ok, they weren’t let loose, but you get what i mean) and tons of memories that none of us will soon forget. take a peek at just a few of them…

headed home (to the mountains) from the beachIMG_5827

 

hanging out at homeIMG_5828 IMG_5837 IMG_5880 IMG_5908 IMG_5909 IMG_5842 IMG_6014

 

an overnight trip to pigeon forge, tennessee and dollywood (dolly patron’s amusement park)!
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up high in the mountains (and in the clouds) to ride on the blue ridge parkway & visit my parents who were camping nearby – we had s’mores & everything!IMG_6065 IMG_6057 IMG_6059 IMG_6068 IMG_6070 IMG_6071

fun times in asheville: a baseball game that was almost rained out & a day of catching the downtown vibesIMG_6131 IMG_6082 IMG_6083 IMG_6094 IMG_6139

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our last, long night of coziness togetherIMG_6150

 

hanging out together by the gate at the airport – the airlines let lina and i go through security and be with the girls until they boarded the plane. so cool!

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so, lina and i are empty nesters now. it’s just the two of us again. and life will be returning to the “normal” life that we lead. it feels pretty good. but, it has been an incredible summer – out of this world incredible. i cannot even begin to express how grateful and lucky i am to have seen, done, experienced, and loved throughout the past 3 and a half months. needless to say, i am overwhelmingly amazed.

the girls made it home safely (eventually – plane delays & such), and it was a complete joy having them here. exhausting, in the most wonderful way. and i am super impressed with their english, their adventurous spirit, and how they worked all year last year to make this dream of theirs come true! you go, girls! we love you and miss you!

as for us: well, it’s time to get crazy!

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sensory overload: part 6.

happy monday, dear ones. hope your weekend was great. mine has been pretty calm and relaxing. just perfect, you know?

i’ve decided to start doing all of my sensory overload posts on mondays, so i can highlight all of the things that have happened throughout the last week. kind of like a round-up of the previous seven days in preparation for the next seven days coming up. plus it gives you a little peek into my everyday life – something that i have established as an important part of my blog. you know, that’s just who i am.

i’ve toyed and struggled with whether i should have more planned posts, and i am going to challenge myself to plan out my posts a month in advance, and then write them as they come; but i just can’t let go of the part of my blog that a is simply me sharing the ins and outs of my everyday life. so, all of my sensory overload posts are going to serve that purpose. and that makes me so excited.

this past week has been really, really great. mostly because my dear, blogging friend paige has come back to town. she’s been here since wednesday and will be here until tuesday – unless she get’s snowed in! fingers crossed!

i’ve got a ton of photos to share with you since this week has overloaded my senses to the max. let’s get to it!

super bowl sunday with some old friends. so great.
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monday beer date with my bro

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a productive tuesday. love those kind of days, don’t you?
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wednesday: a little cappuccino for work and a little road trip to south carolina to pick up paige!downtown asheville coffee americano road trip south carolina

thursday: a pitcher of bellini and ice on the blue ridge parkway = fun day with paige!white peach raspberry bellini asheville blue ridge parkway rime mountains ego selfie for the love of wanderlust ice me ice

friday: a little more freelance work, some shopping downtown with my love, and an awesome friday night concerteagle market streets eagle street the fika girl hippie downtown asheville urban outfitters shopping the grey eagle concert the grey eagle david ramirez

saturday snuggles and more downtown adventureszola art gallery wicked weed beer pub cycle street music

happy new week to you! here’s to wishing you lots of sensory overload moments in the next few days! breath it all in. soak it all up. and love the life that you live. 

peace & love. xx

what are you doing new year’s eve?

well, that’s a wrap. the last day of 2013 is upon is, and i don’t know about you, but i am ready for some serious celebrating! this year i wanna get dressed up and be all fancy & girly. i wanna dance and go to a party and ring in the new year with people all around me.

i think i’m in such a celebratory mood because 2013 has been oh so generous to me… well, my love and i have worked for it, but we’ve also expected and envisioned it. so, as we dreamed and believed, we also acted and the universe opened door after door, showering us with amazing moments. and i want to celebrate all of that. i want to shout to the world, and spread extra joy today to everyone i meet… because i am so grateful and blessed. it’s time to try to give back a little of the amazingness that has been given to me in 2013. it’s truly time to celebrate.

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all of the serious, soul-searching, reflection is done. last night i spent a few hours with candles lit, a glass of wine by my side, pens and journals open, and my soul-touching playlist playing. i reflected on the past year and envisioned and planned for the new one. i wrote on the last page of my 2013 journal and then put it away, with all of my other journals. it was a very special and meaningful ritual. but, now, these end of the year rites of passage have been completed, so the only thing left to do is dance & drink champagne!

as you read this, i am either currently on my way or already in atlanta, georgia to celebrate new year’s eve with some friends – lanie (a blogging buddy) and her girl, charlie. my love and i hit the road early, because we’ve got shopping, exploring, eating, drinking, and having fun to do before we meet up with the girls in the afternoon to begin our celebrations. and, boy do we have some celebrations planned! it’s gonna be so great! the perfect cap to one of the most amazing years (with plenty of both ups & downs) of my life.

here’s to 2014! here’s to turning 40 this year! here’s to living life & feeling alive! 

so, my friends, what are you doing for new year’s eve? 

i just had to. they’re so cute.

wishing you the happiest of new years! bring on 2014! 

peace and love. xx

sensory overload.

i did a few posts in the past where i reflected on my week/weekend through my six senses… what did i see, touch, feel, hear, taste, smell over the past few days? i really think that this is a good exercise, one that helps me to practice being present and appreciating what is around me. however, i’ve not been very faithful to it. it’s a bit like keeping a gratitude journal, you know, where you write down every day a few things that you are thankful for, teaching you the power of being grateful and recognizing the good, even in the middle of the bad. a very good practice, i believe.

the gratitude journal thing seems to be a pretty popular thing to during during the month of november, if you’re an american, because the season lends itself to giving thanks, what with thanksgiving being the 4th thursday of the month. it’s a great contrast to the commercialized, materialistic, super-charged season that begins the minute that the turkey is eaten up on thanksgiving.

you know, i’ve seen this year that you may not even be able to enjoy your turkey in peace, because the stores and shopping frenzy now begins on thanksgiving day. traditionally, black friday, the day after thanksgiving, is an insane day of deals & steals. but, this year, brown thursday is set to kick off the holiday shopping insanity. pure ridiculous greed and capitalism has now turned the one holiday that has been simple and real (at least in my lifetime & in my family) into a hyped up day of extra stress. now you’ve gotta cook that turkey for 3 hours, sit down with family, eat quickly, clean, up, and head out the door to be the first one in line at the stores.

if you’re that kind of person. but, guess what… i. am. not.

nope. i’ll still be spending my morning helping my mom prepare the meal, while simultaneously watching the macy’s thanksgiving day parade on tv. we’ll eat as slowly as possible, and then stretch out all afternoon, watching cheesy movies or the james bond/indiana jones marathon. then, we’ll pick at the leftovers for the rest of the day while we drink beer and wine. it’ll be cozy and relaxing and quiet. and i am totally going to soak all of it up, since i’ve been in sweden for the past three thanksgivings.

(though, i must admit, i am going to miss like crazy the cozy thanksgiving dinners lina and i have hosted for different people each year.)

but, i digress. like big time. oops. the whole gratitude thing got me off on the world’s biggest tangent.

but, about that, i will not be making daily Facebook status updates with the things for which i am grateful, throughout november, though i support those who do. instead, i am going to be thankful in a different way – through my photos and memories. and i’m going to see if i can do it for a whole year. gaaahh. i suck at these disciplined resolutions.

still, starting right now, right here, i am going to share the moments that have piqued my senses for the past few days… all in an effort to live in the present and to give thanks for this amazing, beautiful, sensory-filled world. there are days, moments, places, people that sometimes make me feel like i am about to explode – in a good way. it’s like it is so beautiful around me, or something so amazing is occurring, that i feel as if i might cry, giggle, or scream from how much it hurts. i think i use the word “hurt” to indicate the overwhelming awe that i experience; something so unbelievable, mysterious, and sacred that i cannot describe what i see, feel, hear, taste, or smell. usually, when those moments happen, i take a photo – in an insane effort to capture that moment. it’s nearly impossibly to express to someone else what that photo represents, but maybe, just maybe, someone will see that photo and feel something. as for me, when i revisit my photos, a memory is re-lived and an emotion is evoked.

so, welcome to me expressing myself and sharing the beauty of this world through my senses… here’s what i experienced over the weekend:

seeing: most of the leaves are now gone from the trees, and yet, everything is still so beautiful. have i never truly noticed the simple beauty of bare, silhouetted, winter trees? i also saw a volkswagen bug in weaverville (a little town just 10 minutes north of asheville) when i was there on friday working on one of my fika stories. the vw bug was for sale. i think i neeeeed it.

touch: after a very successful road trip to IKEA with my love & my bro, it was time to organize and put everything together. being a professional swedish person, my love built the IKEA furniture and i tore down the boxes. that’s fair, isn’t it?

taste: three words – chinese take-out!!

feel: when i made my little trip to weaverville, i decided something. it felt so amazing there: the people, the community, the close proximity to nature, the small-town charm, and the open-minded neighbors. i decided that, if and when, we move into a house, i want it to be here. it’s only 10 minutes to asheville, but it feels a world away – in the best possible sense. i felt at home here. it also feels freaking amazing these days to sit in the sunshine in short sleeves on my balcony in the middle of november. soaking up the rays, feeling calm & peace.

hear: friday night lina and i had dinner with a girl friend of ours and my brother. we ate in west asheville, a little bit of a funky and out-of-your-comfort-zone kinda place for our friend. but, she survived and you could hear us laughing all night long. the sounds of clinking glasses, giggles, conversations, and music filled my ears with happiness.

smell: as it is many days, my nose is blessed with a chance to smell some amazing coffee. but, on friday, it was extra special since i went to weaverville to finish up a story for the paper. i ordered a hazelnut mocha, which tasted amazing, but the whole time i was in the coffeehouse, the smell is what captured me. fresh, roasted, warm coffee brewing. mmm…

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stay tuned for next monday’s sensory overload post. i promise i will do my best to try to keep my discipline in check. pinky swear. how can i not? this world is too freaking amazing. and so are each one of you.

love & peace.

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have wheels. will travel.

hyundai carwell, we bought a car! after some long, excruciating hours of wheelin’ & dealin’ at the car dealership, we got the car we wanted at a fair price. woo hoo. together, lina & i got the price down to exactly what we said we could be our spending limit. again, who needs a man?! the guys (and sadly, it was all guys) were actually really nice and helpful and funny. seems that we run into fun, kind, friendly people everywhere. love that.

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IMG_0136of course, since we now have wheels, we took them into the downtown area. parked. and did a little shoe shopping. hehe. while we were out & about, i snapped a few pics of the area. downtown asheville, the place we love with all our hearts.

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IMG_0143our apartment is just outside of downtown, so it takes about 5-10 minutes to drive to the center of town. really close. really handy. and exciting!

IMG_0139we ended the day with a family dinner at a local pizza place… asheville brewing company. they brew their own beer, show movies in their theater area (for super cheap), have tons of veggie food, and a great, funky atmosphere. so, i ordered the firehouse beer (with jalepenos!) and some other scrumptious goodies. but, the best was that we were all together for dinner. i am so thankful. xo, family!

IMG_0146now, it’s the weekend, and we’ve got some fun plans. there’s a music festival/street fair in downtown all weekend = equal beer, music, walking, local vendors, crafts, & fun. then, on sunday, we are headed to tennessee for the day (only a hour away) to visit dollywood!! dolly parton’s amusement park! lina is about to freak the freak out.

ok. errands to run now. emails to send. and then, the fun begins. happy friday, my friends! (after photos of the apartment coming soon!)

peace & love.

i know you’re curious…

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thanks for following, dear readers. you truly mean bunches to me. much, much more to come here, including our 2 day crazy journey to asheville… and some other adventure stories & photos too, of course!

today, we are in shopping mode for furniture! so, it’ll be a little road trip to none other than… you know it, ikea. we miss you, sweden! already!

peace & love