embrace your dark side: a playlist for october

“when i die, i’m alive. when i lose, i find my identity.” – the middle east

the american in me loves october because of halloween. i mean, what’s not to love? costumes. candy. parties. trick-or-treating. scary movies. ghost stories. witches + goblins. haunted places. and that ever-so-awesome feeling of adrenaline rushing through your body because you just got so freaked out you don’t know what to do.

for my entire life, halloween has been a holiday to look forward to. my parents did it up right when my brother + i were kids. they dressed up. we played scary, spooky music from a big jam box sitting in an open windowsill in our home. we hosted halloween parties. i mean, we went all out. and i loved every single minute of it.

me dark hair

as i’ve grown older, i may not have been able to enjoy the thrills + chills of halloween in quite the same way – no one else on earth is so crazy as americans are about their halloween. but… this year… hold on to your broomsticks, folks! lina + i are hosting a costume halloween party in our apartment on halloween!

just the other day, we got a package from my parents stuffed with all sorts of kooky and tacky and fun halloween decorations. our little place is gonna be maxed out! and, we’ve heard that some of our guests are going all out as they design + create their costumes. it’s gonna be freaking epic!

so, we’ve got all of october to look forward to  our celebration. and prepare as much spooky goodness as we can. perhaps i’ll even do a little research on some haunted places here in uppsala, like i did last year in asheville. there have got to be tons here! i mean this place is as old and ancient and dark as the vikings and middle ages can get.

cathedral washington

but, you know, this whole obsession with the halloween thing. i don’t really know what it is with americans. do we just love candy and playing dress up that much? or is it because it’s a chance to embrace our darkness? a chance to finally not pretend that everything is all great and beautiful and wonderful?

i am sure most of us never really take the time to think about why we love halloween. who really cares actually? it’s just fun. and why can’t we just let it be that? pure, crazy, silly fun.

well, we can. and i will always keep it fun. but, indulge me for just a moment. i want to dig a little deeper + unearth some of the things that i also think about during the month of october.

 i also love october (and halloween) because we actually do get to embrace that dark side. and not just in silly halloween-y ways. we get to walk on the edge of darkness. we get to come face to face with it, culminating in the celebration of the dead on halloween + all saint’s day. all around us, it is literally getting darker and darker as each day passes. and i love the cozy feeling of being wrapped up and safe. of peering out into the darkness and accepting that this, too, is  a part of life.

death. fear. mystery.

we may not like it. it may make us uncomfortable. but, nonetheless, it is important for us to admit that the darkness abides within + around us. 

the darkness is there to wake us. the mystery is there to remind us that we don’t have to understand it all. and if we can embrace both of those things, then we are empowered. because of the darkness and because of the mystery we see the light. we understand what is true and real and important. it may not all make sense. and, the fact that it doesn’t make sense frightens us, but we forge ahead anyway. knowing that because of the dark, because of death, because of chaos, because of mystery… we have life.

out of all of the crap, we create and are born and are transformed. the darkness changes us, but not for the worse. for the better. it teaches us how to live. how to embrace our emotions and fears, and then how to move forward. it is only because of the darkness that we know how blissful it is in the light.


so, i’ve created a playlist that’s dark and mysterious. it’s perfect for when you want to light a candle and feel cozy. or for when you are in awe of something that you don’t understand. or for when you feel confused and angry and defeated. it’s perfect for when you want to go deep. when you want to face your demons and then kick them to the curb.

yes, my friends, we are darkness and light. we are bones and blood. we are life and death.

during october, let’s embrace it all. let’s trust our journey in life, knowing that we are whole only when we are able to reconcile our dark side with our light side. and only when we embrace and accept our darkness + our light can we be aware + awake + truly present.

only when we see who we really are can we really become who we are meant to be.

here’s some music to accompany on your journey. blessings of peace in the midst of the dark. just click on the photo to be taken to the playlist link in spotify. or you can also click –> here.
october playlist 2015

onwards + upwards! xoxo

Owl and Raven – Jason Molina
Troubles – Anna & Elizabeth
Devil’s Backbone – The Civil Wars
Gone Forever – Mick Flannery
Devil’s Got My Woman – Andrew Combs
Wicked Dreams – Pale Seas
In The Dark – Rosie Catalano
Ghosts – Laura Marling
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground – Chris Thile
Murder in the City – The Avett Brothers
Blood on Your Bootheels – Caroline Rose
Hawk and Crow – Emily Smith
Bottom Of The River – Delta Rae
That Old Black Hole – Dr. Dog
Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still
Deep Dark Below – Amanda Shires
Hollow – Trampled By Turtles
Jealous Love – Noah Gundersen
Shady Grove – Trent Wagler and The Steel Wheels
Carving Pumpkins – Snuzz
Dark Autumn Hour – Frontier Ruckus
Dearly Departed (feat. Esmé Patterson) – Shakey Graves
Share the Moon – Indigo Girls
Demon Host – Timber Timbre
Devil’s Spoke – Laura Marling
Wolf – First Aid Kit
Shadows Passed – Elephant Revival
Ghosts – Trampled By Turtles
Some Die Young – Laleh
Into The Fog – Jens Carelius
Even The Darkness Has Arms – The Barr Brothers
Skin And Bones – The Avett Brothers
Mystic – Joshua James
Blood & Bone – Vaudeville Etiquette
Gethsemane – Dry the River
Monsters Calling Home – Run River North
Meet Me in the Woods – Lord Huron
Same Same Stars – Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
You or the Mystery – Samantha Crain
Bad Blood – Spotify Sessions / Curated By Jim Eno – Bear’s Den
Ghost – Jeremy Messersmith
Wolves – Down Like Silver
Ashes – Lindi Ortega
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Dead Deer – Evening Hymns
Waiting Around to Die – Quiet Life, Jim James
Rattling Bone – Iron & Wine
Tuck the Darkness In – Bowerbirds
Half Crazy – The Barr Brothers
Dark Bird Is Home – The Tallest Man On Earth
The Darkest Side – The Middle East
Funeral Beds – The Districts
Evil – Shovels & Rope
The Ghost of Tom Joad/Do-Re-Mi – Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons
Haunted House – Treetop Flyers

create + collaborate // celebrating a year’s worth of music with one, final playlist for september

it’s music time, friends!

if you’ll recall, i put a little call out to everyone to collaborate with me on this year’s september playlist.

well, many of you here + on Facebook responded with fun, fresh suggestions,  and since there is only 1.5 days left in august, and since i am so excited,  i thought it’d be great to release the completed playlist right now.

we’ve got songs from my playlists throughout the past year and new songs from you – some of your favorites that mean something special to you. so it’s a perfect blend of closing out my year-long playlist project and beginning something new.

a little background info

this time last year, i sat down with my computer, opened spotify, and began searching + discovering new music. some of it came from artists that i knew and loved, but most of it was new. i hadn’t really decided on a theme, but just went with the feel and the sound. well, i suppose you could say that my theme was “turning 40”.

since i was turning the big 4-0 last september, and super excited about that actually (because my 30s were so much greater than my 20s, i am only assuming that my 40s will kick my 30s ass!), i decided that i’d mark that milestone by creating + sharing a playlist of music that inspired me to reflect on who i had become and where i was headed.

it was the perfect excuse to take some time out to really dig deep + think about my life – and to do that through the gift of music, often a place where i find i can express how i feel better than with written words, or even images. yes, it was going to be a spiritual  discipline for me – to find and soak up music, to let it teach me, encourage me, guide me, and remind me of who i am + where i am going.

i searched though bluegrass, indie folk, folk, americana music, starting with titles from the avett brothers, first aid kit, joni mitchell, and nickel creek (all long-time favorites of mine). by exploring similar music, discovering new artists, and focusing on titles that spoke to me, i stumbled upon music that touched my soul, lyrics that felt as if they were written for me at that specific time in my life, and inspiration that left me feeling blessed and motivated.

i knew right then that this would not simply be a playlist to celebrate the month that i turned 40, but that it would become a year-long project. one of creating + uncovering so much music that i could barely contain myself. so started sharing it all with you.

fast forward to today

here we are a year later. i am about to turn 41, and the year is complete. it has been one crazy year for me. and so far, 40 has not disappointed me one little bit. the thing is, i know, i feel, that i am just on the cusp of much, much more. and you know what else? i believe that all of the music that i have gathered + shared throughout this past year has helped to give me to voice and the courage to embrace the life that i truly feel called to. 

as i close out this most amazing, breathtaking, ridiculously busy and challenging year, i am so happy to do it through music, with you.

so, here we go. the playlist that we created together. eeeeeeek! (click on the photo below to be taken to the playlist on spotify!) or just click –> here.

sept playlist 2015

happy happy september to you all – it’s my favorite month of the year. thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this journey with me over the past year. here’s to more music, more inspiration, and more of living life to the fullest!

onwards + upwards!! xoxo
Here are ALL OF THE PLAYLISTS from the past year + LINKS TO each of THEM:
MARCH 2015
APRIL 2015
MAY 2015
JUNE 2015
JULY 2015

let’s make sweet music together: starting september’s playlist right now!

you thought i was done with my year-long spotify playlist project, didn’t you? well, with this post i am here to say that “i am not yet done!”.

think of this an an encore. 

for my birthday month (september), to completely close out this playlist journey, i want to make one more playlist. but, i want to make it with you! together we are going to connect + create + collaborate.

spotify has this nifty little thing that allows you to choose to make a playlist collaborative, meaning that anyone can add any song to a specific playlist. fun, huh?

well, i have already created september’s playlist called 41 | september // connect + create. but, i have only added 5 songs. the rest of the playlist will be made by YOU.

now, i know that none of us have tons of time to go through tons of music and re-listen to all of the playlists that i made over the past year. but, i was thinking that, if you have a song that has touched you or has stuck in your head or has become your favorite, from one of my previous playlists, then you could simply add it to this new playlist. that way, we gather together all of our favorites from the past year and we’ve made a community playlist.

i simply love this idea – and i truly, deeply hope that you can add a song or two. you even have the creative license to add a song that is not in any of my playlists, but that is one that moves + excites + touches you.

don’t have spotify? no worries!

if you do not have spotify and still want to join in on the collaboration, then simply leave me a comment below with the title and artist of your contribution. i’d love to add it!

(re)release on september 1st!

and, just so you know, after the list is complete and september begins, i will (re)release the playlist (which you will already have access to since it is already available now) in a blog post with a big celebration. of course, i will also provide you with all of the title + artist names in the blog post too.

and you all will have given me the most amazing birthday gift – the gift of community + music.

in the photo below you will find all that you need to know. so, just click on it to be directed to my profile on spotify. there you can find the newest playlist, the one that we are creating together (41 | september 15 // connect + create), and all of the other 12 playlists from the past year. it’s as easy as adding one, two, five songs. whatever you feel like! i cannot wait to see what your favorites were and what songs touched your soul.

september 2015 playlist

later on, overtime, as i listen to this playlist, i will literally sit and think of each of you… and that just gives me warm fuzzier all over. this is so exciting to me because, not only is music important to me, but the interactions that i have had with many of you throughout the year, as you have sent me messages and subscribed to my playlists, has touched me more than you can ever know.

you all are so unique and beautiful and inspiring, i didn’t just want to keep you and this community all to myself. i wanted us to become a big, creative community together. and let then that be the jumping off point to take us into the next 12 months of music together!

ready? set? you’ve got 2 weeks… go! happy music hunting! 

onwards + upwards! xoxo

40 | july 2015: a playlist to celebrate freedom

do you have a place that you consider your own little paradise? or do you have more than one place? it could be that you have been there, or that you dream of going there.

it is a place that gives you sense of freedom. a feeling of bliss and perfect happiness. technically, it may not even be a physical place, but a state of being. a feeling of complete contentment.

i have a few places that seem like heaven on earth to me. they are places that i feel connected to myself, both present + past. they are places that have risen from traditions that i have experienced in my life, because they are places that i usually return to again and again. they are little sanctuaries.

of course, there are a few little paradise places that i have only visited once. but, their memories are burned into my soul. 

what all of these places have in common is that they are sacred, holy, important, spiritual places in my life. places like the mountains of north carolina or the beaches of the crystal coast in north carolina. places like the greek island of mykonos and the mystical ruins of the goddess isis outside of corinth, greece.

i even have a new paradise, one that i found thanks to my love. it is in the swedish archipelago in the southern part of sweden, on the east coast. this most likely is my love’s most important place on earth. and, because of being married to her, i have spent about 5 summers here with her. soaking up nature. getting back to the simple things in life. and over time, it has become a paradise to me too.

luckily, we are headed out there next week for a little vacation.

as i thought about july’s playlist, i just could’t let go of the word freedom. it just keep popping up everywhere and has stayed close to my heart throughout the past few weeks. 

so, i decided that i would use the word freedom as my muse for july’s playlist. there’s no better time to think about feeling free than the summer or holiday/vacation season. and july is prime time for that in the northern hemisphere as we break free from our homes + our routines to enjoy  being outside, finding time to take it easy, and slowing down a bit to renew our souls.


of course, as an american, it is easy to think about freedom in july, since we celebrate independence day on the 4th of july. and that sense of freedom is important, but i’ve been thinking much deeper that that as well.

so, with this playlist, i’ve chosen music that is upbeat and playful, highlighting the free-spirited feelings of summer + vacations. but, i’ve also included some music that makes social commentaries on what it means for all people to be free. while we enjoy our freedoms, there are others who do not have the same opportunities. and, as we have heard asked before, are any of us free when some of us are not free?

finally, i chose some music that reminds us that true freedom is not found in a government or in a few days off from work. real, true freedom is found within. it is actually felt with we are willing to let go, to go with the flow, to trust + surrender that all will be well. that doesn’t mean that we don’t act to create freedom, but the deepest sense of freedom is not something that can be taken away – no matter where we are or what is happening around us.

are we being held captive by the conditioned habits of our own mind? why, of course we are. so, it’s high time that we rebel against that which holds us captive, that which does not allow us to be free to be who we are. we are on a quest for liberation… this is our spiritual calling.

it’s time to break free. to reach a deeper deep. a higher high. to leave behind our old ways of living and let a new way of living usher its way in, letting ourselves be set free. for what? we most likely do not know. but, we can shift. we can live life. we can embrace freedom of our soul – and, when we have done that, and when we have helped others embrace their souls and worked to make life a little more just + equal for everyone, then… then we will be free.


i went back into history to pull out my title for the july playlist. the word elysium come from latin + greek. it is used in greek mythology and it means “a state or perfect place of bliss”.

in other words, a place of true freedom.

so, for july, we are focusing on our physical places of bliss and our spiritual states of feeling bliss + peace. the places where we feel free. like everything is finally as it should be. where we feel at one with the world. where we remember that we are called to fight for each others’ freedom, even as we seek our own.

as you listen to this month’s playlist, i wish you lots of moments of celebration, joy, bliss, inspiration and freedom. below is a list of the songs + artists. you can click on the photo above (or –> here) to  get to the playlist on spotify. be sure to follow the playlist too! enjoy!

onwards + upwards! oo

The Wanderer – Shawn James
Down to the River – Brown Bird
Forever Young – Fast Version – Bob Dylan
I Will Rise – Cattle & Cane
Left for America – Ciaran Lavery
I Feel Free – Cream
On Trees And Birds And Fire – I Am Oak
Waiting For The Sun – Simon Erics
Old Ties and Companions – Mandolin Orange
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
Juli – Björn Olsson
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
Don’t Let It Get You Down – Johnnyswim
All I Need Is You – John Newman
Elysium – Bear’s Den
Just One Day – Mighty Oaks
Release – Elephant Revival
Fireflies – Hearts & Colors
Walking In the Sun – PANG!
Wide World – Blessed Feathers
My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit
See the Light – Matrimony
Gold In The Summertime – Matt Nathanson
House By The Sea – Moddi
A Change is Gonna Come – Ben Sollee
Violently Wild – Horse Feathers
Redemption Song – Bob Marley & The Wailers
I Followed Fires – Matthew And The Atlas
Woodland – The Paper Kites
Victory – Trampled By Turtles
On My Way – The Melodic
Break the Cycle – The Vespers
My Oh My – Punch Brothers
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
Glory (From the Motion Picture Selma) – Common, John Legend
Freedom – Richie Havens
We Shall Overcome – Pete Seeger
Om Nashi Me – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd


40 | june 2015 : a playlist for long days of love + laughter

for me, this june is going to be filled with people and love and long days. friends from all around the world are visiting us, we are celebrating a wedding in the family, and it just feels like it’s the perfect time to celebrate and have a month long love fest. so, i wanted to create a playlist that reflects just that. great times, with great people, celebrating great love.

in addition to that, in sweden, we come to the high point of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. it’s the time of year when the days just seem to last forever, the sun barely sets, and it makes for the perfect setting to celebrate late into the day.

it is the time of year when the sun is the center of our existence in the northern hemisphere. these are days meant to be spent outside, soaking up the light that fills the sky, letting the sun fill our souls with warmth and magic and power. it’s a month to celebrate life. to feel alive. to let the magic of the sun inspire and empower us.

and, while i will be celebrating and loving and living with my swedish family as summer begins, i will be missing the beginnings of summer with my family in the states. but, that’s how it rolls in this crazy, international life that i live.  so, my photo for the playlist is one i captured last june at the beach in north carolina with my family. celebrating the tradition of setting off our own fireworks, late at night, right on the beach. a tradition that spans over 25 years.

since i’ll be missing that tradition in my life this year, which hurts my heart, i will look to the present day and all of the love + laughter + joy that surround me in the present moment. i will create new traditions and follow some of the old, ancient swedish summer traditions as well. even in the midst of uncertainty and regular life, i will celebrate that life is filled  love and peace. and, there is no better month to celebrate all of the love and people and life that exists than the month of june.


whether it is picnics, bonfires, late night walks, bbqs, days by the water, dances around a midsummer pole, lazy days on blankets in the grass, or fireworks at night,  june is a month to share with others. to let the sunshine inspire and enliven our souls. it’s a time to celebrate love + life.

i hope that this playlist brings you feelings warmth + bliss. i hope it makes you feel like dancing one minute + laying in the sun the next.i hope it inspires you to remember the ones you love + brings you laughter + joy. more than anything, though, i hope that your june days are filled with peace and music and a simple love for everyday life, for just being alive.

so, go ahead. click on the photo above and follow the link to the playlist on spotify. and celebrate your life!

onwards + upwards! xoxo


40 | april 2015: a playlist for free spirits

it’s playlist time, folks!! another month has come + gone, and i don’t know about you, but i am ready to welcome april with open arms.

i just have to say, i am so humbled + excited that many of you have started exploring the playlists that i have created as part of my turning 40 playlist project. each month, as i create the lists, i feel so energized + inspired. i think of a theme, or usually it seems to be something obvious somehow, and then i just let the songs come to me. sometimes i search around, sometimes i’m inspired by something i hear out + about, but one thing is for sure, i truly, truly look forward to putting the list together. then, when it is complete, i’m like a child on christmas eve, waiting to reveal it to you all – and to begin listening to it myself.

what i am really trying  to say is THANK YOU! thanks for listening + following + inspiring me. next month, i am looking to do a collaborative list, though i don’t know the theme yet. so, be on the lookout for me asking for your help and advice. i think it’ll be fun to create a list together.

in the meantime, let’s focus on april’s playlist! i knew that i wanted it to be nature-centered. so, it is very earthy + celebratory. it’s all about nature, outdoors, being free, and feeling alive. we have weathered the winter, those of us in the northern atmosphere, and life is slowly returning to earth. i personally, have been stuck in my head and wrapped up with myself a lot, and i know that it is time to just live life a bit. to get back to basics and channel my inner flower child. so, i’ve mixed in some upbeat, fun songs and some peaceful, thoughtful songs. all of them make me want to get outside, take my shoes off, lay/run in the grass.

yes, this month is all about channeling our inner bohemian self, our inner nature-lover. it calls to mind cool, magical nights under fairy lights + stars, warm, sunny afternoons reading under a tree, long walks in the late setting sun, rainy sunday afternoons and bursts of color painting us a beautiful world. i’m thinking that freeing my inner bohemian nature is exactly what i need in april. join me!

click below for the playlist:

link: 40 | april 2015: a playlist for free spirits

Wherever Is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
See It For Yourself – Sugar & The Hi Lows
Come Away – Handsome and Gretyl
Open Your Eyes – Handsome and Gretyl
She’s Like the Swallow – Cara Dillon
Fuel The Fire – Sarah Jarosz
King of the World – First Aid Kit
In Our Talons – Bowerbirds
Overcome With Light – Bowerbirds
Vines – Lost In The Trees
The Foothills – Sara Watkins
Apple Blossoms – Blessed Feathers
Wild & You – My Bubba
Rise – Eddie Vedder
Ducks On The Pond – Rising Appalachia
Sun It Rises – Fleet Foxes
Don’t Let It Get You Down – Johnnyswim
You and Me – Sara Watkins
Land of Opportunity – A Great Big World
Pull Down The Moon – Cattle & Cane
Bloom – Bonus Track – The Paper Kites
Ring Them Bells – Sarah Jarosz
Mountain Sound – Of Monsters And Men
Wide World – Blessed Feathers
Wide Eyed Immigrant – The Greencards
The Morning Bird – Carolina Story
Flower – Amos Lee
into the wild – Lewis Watson
Follow You Anywhere – Monica Heldal
Woodland – The Paper Kites
Here Today – Aloe Blacc
Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
Map Of The World – Monsters Of Folk
Don’t Let the Sun Steal You Away – Bear’s Den
Live And Die – The Avett Brothers
Core of Nature – Midlake
Rivers And Roads – The Head And The Heart
Silver Moon – Roo Panes
Leaf Off / The Cave – Jose Gonzalez
Down To The River – The Duhks

la vie boheme! xoxo

march playlist

40 | march 2015 // a playlist created for wanderers + dedicated to angela

as i sit at the kitchen table, blogging this morning, sipping on coffee brewed from our brand new, very own coffee maker (more on that in another post!), the wind is whipping like a madman outside. typical march weather. because, yes, guys, it’s march. al-freaking-ready! that means that spring is on its way for those of us in the northern hemisphere. wooooo! of course, it’ll be about 2 more months before any warm weather settles in, but in the meantime, birds will be chirping, flowers will begin blooming, and vivid colors will be returning, taking the place of the cold, but beautiful, nordic shades of blues, whites, and grays.

now that it’s a new month, it’s also time for a new playlist – part of my year-long celebration of turning 40 last septemeber. since then, i’ve made a playlist for every single month. turns out, it has been an amazing little project, which has brought tons of new music into my life. (you can find all of the links to the playlists at the end of this post).

for march, i knew that i wanted to do something about wandering. not because i feel like i am wandering so much. in fact, for me, it is the exact opposite, i am in the process of beginning to settle somewhat. still, i knew that having songs that bring about a sense of calm + peace, in the midst of wandering – which is what we are all doing in some ways as we journey through life – would be exactly the perfect theme. i am sure that it also has to do with my own personal celebration of lent (to read more about my take on lent this year, click –> here).

in any case, i wanted to capture a sense of wandering calmly, with a sense of trust + peace. a low anxiety, low stress, playlist that reminds us that we are all ok, or that we will be ok,  even without knowing the exact destinations of our journeys. a reminder that is reflected in nature’s journey at this time of year, the journey from winter to spring.

march playlist

i was already at work on this playlist when i received a message from an IG friend – a follower who i have never met. she said that she loved my playlists, and asked me if i could make one for her because she is facing surgery tomorrow (march 2). she went on to tell me that she wanted something calming + peaceful. i told her about my work on march’s playlist, and then said that i would keep her in mind as i completed it. in the end, her request was the perfect (and completely humbling) thing to spark my creativity – she became my muse.

but, as i thought about her, i also thought about many others as well. i thought about all of us. i reflected on the fact that we all need a little space, a little peace and calm to remind us to keep on going. to keep on wandering, even though the desert seems scary and the path is unknown. even though the mountains are high, the valleys are low, and everything in between seems confusing, empty, or overwhelming.

so, for march, as the winds blow, bringing about the change of the seasons, i hope that this playlist blows through you, reminding you that even in the midst of the storm, even in the middle of the desert, and even when our wandering seems pointless or we fear that we are lost… there is peace. there is hope. and life continues to renew itself.

soak up the music. let it fill your soul. if you’d like, choose one song a day (i usually shuffle the playlist, so i have no idea what the song of the day might be), and close your eyes + let that song inspire you all day long. of course, listen to the entire playlist all day, every day if you wish. but, if you’d like to have something to focus on, let the first song of the day that you listen to be your muse for that day. and if you want to take it a step further, use the title and the song as inspiration for a photo of the day. snap it + share it on instagram or Facebook. let the march playlist help you chronicle your journey through the art of music + photos.


ok. here’s a summary of my suggestions for how you might want to use march’s playlist (use them all or only one) to let your creativity flow.

// click on the photo or the link (both above) to be taken to spotify, where you can then follow the playlist.

// start each day by hitting shuffle on the playlist or follow the playlist in the order that it is listed below (song # 1 for march 1st, for example). let the first song you hear (whether shuffling or following the numbered order) be your “song of the day” to inspire you + be your focus for the day.

// follow the playlist in the order that is is listed below (or use the shuffle idea from above) and take a photo of the day. post it on instagram and/or Facebook.

| artists first, song titles second |

1. Trampled By Turtles – Alone
2. Laleh – Better Life
3. Uzo Aduba, Godspell Ensemble – By My Side
4. Bifrost Arts – Come O Spirit! (feat. Aimee Wilson)
5. Matthew And The Atlas – Come Out Of The Woods
6. Sarah Jarosz – Dark Road
7. Butterfly Boucher – Drift On
8. The Civil Wars – Dust to Dust
9. Bearfoot – Feel Free
10. Joshua Meltzer – Gypsy Moon
11. Joan Osborne – Holy Waters
12. Bifrost Arts – Kyrie (feat. Shara Worden, Sarah Fullen and Megan Rederick)
13. Dixie Chicks – Landslide
14. Shovels & Rope – Lay Low
15. Aoife O’Donovan – Lay My Burden Down
16. Wilhelm Brothers – Lay Your Burden Down
17. The Head And The Heart – Let’s Be Still
18. Sarah Jarosz – Long Journey
19. Snatam Kaur – Long Time Sun
20. Tina and Her Pony – Medicine
21. Horse Feathers – Middle Testament
22. The Lumineers – Morning Song
23. Sarah Jarosz – Peace
24. Iona – Prayer on the Mountain
25. The Milk Carton Kids – Promised Land
26. Nickel Creek – Reasons Why
27. Gregory Alan Isakov – Second Chances
28. Pierre Bensusan – Silent Passenger
29. The Avett Brothers – Souls Like The Wheels
30. Joy Kills Sorrow – Spring
31. The Head And The Heart – Springtime
32. The Farewell Drifters – Starting Over
33. Sara Watkins – Take Up Your Spade
34. Gregory Alan Isakov – The Universe
35. The Milk Carton Kids – There By Your Side
36. Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring
37. The Secret Sisters – Tomorrow Will Be Kinder – from The Hunger Games Soundtrack
38. The Greencards – Traveler’s Song
39. Laleh – Vårens första dag (Spring’s First Day)
40. Horse Feathers – What We Become


happy listening, lovely people. and happy march!! onwards + upwards! xoxo


previous playlists: february 2015 | january 2015 | december 2014 | november 2014 | october 2014 | september 2014


february playlist

40 | february: a playlist for meditation mondays

happy monday, lovely people – and happy february 2nd! january has been a blur and it seems to have taken forever all at the same time. and here we are, at the beginning of a new month. hopefully you are feeling empowered + inspired. i know i certainly am. so much, so fast, so crazy. that’s how i feel right now – but in the best possible way actually. like i’m about to burst with excitement, creativity, and possibility. and yet, there is something that is telling me to slow it down. don’t get me wrong, i am not saying that i want to be quiet + still. no, i want to be active + in motion. what i mean with slowing down is intentional, thoughtful, aware. so, while it’s full speed ahead, i want to make sure that my head is on straight. that i’m thinking + feeling. doing + being. and not rushing into anything… that’s the key.

i know that the changes that are occurring in my life are all happening at lightning fast speed, and with such excitement + craziness. i just want to be smart in all of the decisions i make, in the opportunities i take, and in the collaborations i begin. so far, everything feels fan-freaking-tastic. and i feel that this month will only deepen and widen what the universe is opening up to me. so, instead of just being completely spontaneous (never fear, i’m still spontaneous!), i am taking it all in at the same time. i am letting this month be the one where i dig really deep into the changes i make and the dreams that i hope to fulfill. for some reason, the timing (for what, i have no idea) just feels right.

in the meantime, i’m also gonna focus on… l o v e. it is february, you know. and while i am no huge fan of valentine’s day, i do cherish a month where i think just a little bit more about love. with that said, i want to share with y’all my february playlist, which i called “come fly with me”, after the swooning frank sinatra tune. it’s a song all about exotic love – and everything about my life feel exotic right now. and as for being in love, well i am most definitely that! lina and i are extremely excited about enjoying the beginning of a new chapter of our story together. so, the playlist is a compilations of love songs… but not your regular, ordinary love songs… honoring the love + excitement of sharing life with my soulmate.

head on over to spotify now + subscribe to the playlist, then you can listen anytime! you can find the playlist {here} or by clicking on the photo below.

40-february-playlist-2015i hope you enjoy the music! and i hope it inspires you to spread a little love to others – and to yourself.

onwards + upwards! xx

here’s the playlist, for those of you who don’t have/want spotify. (artist first, song title second)

Sheila Kay Adams – Awake, Awake!
My Bubba – Wild & You
Sufjan Stevens – To Be Alone With You
Eilen Jewell – Home To Me (feat. Big Sandy)
Dawn Landes – Try to Make a Fire Burn Again
Mandolin Orange – Birds of a Feather
Kings Of Convenience – Homesick
Tegan And Sara – Don’t Find Another Love
James Taylor – Fire And Rain
Sara Watkins – You and Me
Anna Ternheim – Come Fly With Me
The Tallest Man On Earth – Leading Me Now
Brandi Carlile – Heart’s Content
Brandi Carlile – Heart’s Content
Foy Vance – At Least My Heart Was Open
Bob Dylan – Girl from the North Country
Steve Martin – You
Mariee Sioux – Love Song
Anna Ternheim – The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss)
The Barr Brothers – Even The Darkness Has Arms
Monica Heldal – Follow You Anywhere
American Aquarium – Coffee & Cigarettes
Of Monsters And Men – Love Love Love
The Milk Carton Kids – Whisper In Her Ear
Dawn Landes – Love Song
A.A. Bondy – American Hearts
The Tallest Man On Earth – Love is All
Wilhelm Brothers – Dare to Dream
Joni Mitchell – A Case Of You
Bear’s Den – Agape
Nickel Creek – Love of Mine
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
First Aid Kit – Cedar Lane
Monica Heldal – Boy From The North
Kelley Mickwee – River Girl
Roo Panes – Silver Moon
Bob Dylan – Forever Young
The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You
Beta Radio – A Place for Me
Monica Heldal – The Road Not Taken



playlist january 2015

sometimes all over the place is exactly where you are supposed to be

hi there, friends! it’s early saturday morning and i’m up enjoying a few quiet hours blogging + sipping coffee. i’ve needed this down time all alone. i can’t seem to stay awake at night to get it, so when i wake up early, i suppose it’s best to go ahead + get up + take advantage of these quiet, before dawn moments.

so, are you easing into 2015, or has it started off with a bang like mine? true to my word of the year (empowered), this year has started off with me doing fist bumps in the air to myself – both to pump me up + to remind me to kick ass, and also to simply celebrate. i continue to find myself swinging from extreme excitement and giddiness to sadness and heartache (all related to my upcoming move to sweden this month – freak out moment). but, it is what it is, folks. and, this is life. and i freaking love the ups, down, and craziness that is my life. and, by the way, so far, after two days, i believe that simply saying that you have the power (empowered, is what i’m talking about here), means that you do have the power.


anyway… i thought i’d share with you a few photos from my first 2 days of 2015. unfortunately, i ended 2014 with a cold + it reared it’s worst ugly head guess when? yep. new year’s eve and new year’s day. i did push right on through with our celebrations on new year’s eve… hacking + coughing + being generally a disgusting person to be around. and, on new year’s day, i was utterly useless. super bad timing, because the dawning of the new year meant time to kick things into gear for packing + moving (our movers come next week to pack the stuff we are shipping!). needless to say, i rolled around in bed most of the day, while lina slaved away going through things and packing (i am soooo sorry, baby.). i did manage to squeeze out a few hours of work in the afternoon though. but, my love? she’s amazing.  really freaking bad timing for my worst cold of the past 12 months.

busy-lina-moving-asheville home

yesterday, i woke up feeling better. perhaps that was due to the fact that i may have overmedicated myself at 3am in order to put myself to sleep. it’s good that i felt better because i hit the ground running yesterday. i did some cleaning at my brother’s airbnb apartment (the last guests he will have! and then lina and i move in next weekend for our last week in asheville!), talked with the movers, drove home to get my passport, drove to the movers to let them get a copy of my passport, filled up the car with gas, went to the bank, and finally stopped by the pharmacy to get more drugs for my cold. a quick shower at home, then a trip to my favorite brewery in asheville for a half a pint of beer + to show it off to lina’s parents, then a short drive to my parents’ house for one last family dinner together (with lina’s parent’s, i mean).


in the midst of all of the above stuff, i have gathered together some music and created my playlist for this month. as you may or may not know, i started this little monthly project back in september, when i turned 40. i created a playlist for that month – just because it felt right. 40 songs, many of them were new to me, that just felt like me. since then, i’ve decided that until my 41st birthday next september, i am going to create a playlist a month. so, i’ve done just that. this playlist for january makes my 5th one, out of 12.

i am really excited about this one because it’s all over the place. hehe. well, somewhat. you see, i love to have themes for my playlists, but i couldn’t decide on one theme for january. there was too much rich, great stuff from which to draw upon. so, i’ve smashed together different genres of music in addition to the different themes. so, you’ll hear all kinds of music about beginnings and endings, saying goodbye, getting out there and giving it your all, mountain songs, starting over, road trip/travel songs, songs about home, songs that make you dance, winter songs, songs about the wild. it may seem like a mess to you, but to me, they all remind me of all of the crazy, various experiences and newness that this month brings. it’s music that makes me feel and think. it inspires me, moves me, and excites me. it feels like home + it feels like far away at the same time. i’d say that it’s the prefect wacky combination to reflect my wacky, all over the place feelings this month.

here’s how to listen:

  1. click on the photo below to be directed to the playlist on spotify. if you don’t have spotify (get it, it’s free!), then i’ve listed all of the artists + song titles below as well.
  2. subscribe to (follow) the list in spotify + feel free to add songs to the playlist! yep. this month i’m making it collaborative, so it’ll be our playlist. if you want to add a song that inspires you as this new year begins, then please do!
  3. you can also click { here } to find the link to the playlist.
  4. and you can click { here } to sign up for spotify. if you are not in the US, then simply change the country in the bottom right corner of the page.



i sincerely hope that your 2015 has started off well, and that you are feeling hopeful + excited + inspired. we have a whole year of unknown adventures and tons of possibilities right before our eyes, so let’s make the best of it together. grab a cup of coffee, turn on the january playlist, and begin to let 2015 sink into your soul. what kind of year do you wish it to be? what are your hopes + dreams? where are you headed? if you have a word for the year, reflect on that word… does it still seem to fit? if you’d like to chat with me, send me an email. i’m here to listen.

until tomorrow, dear friends, enjoy the music + keep on creating the life that you want!


onwards + upwards! xoxo

| as promised: the artists + song titles |

Sufjan Stevens – Auld Lang Syne
Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound
The Head And The Heart – Winter Song
The Detroit Cobras – You’ll Never Change
Regina Spektor – My Dear Acquaintance [A Happy New Year] – iTunes Live Session Performance
Willie Nelson – Bring It On
Nina Simone – Feeling Good
Carolina Story – Almost over Now
Dark Dark Dark – Winter Coat
Blessed Feathers – Winter Sister
Simon & Garfunkel – El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
Patrick Park – Here We Are
Patrick Park – Let’s Go
Imagine Dragons – On Top Of The World
My First Tooth – Sleet and Snow
Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic
Ben Sollee – Letting Go
Beck – Say Goodbye
Johnnyswim – Home
Steve Martin – Remember Me This Way
Sarah Jarosz – Fuel The Fire
Mindy Gledhill – Winter Moon
Levon Helm – The Mountain
Ben Sollee – A Change is Gonna Come
Patrick Park – Time For Moving On
Patrick Park – Come What Will
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Hold On
The Barr Brothers – Even The Darkness Has Arms
Chris Thile – On Ice
Elephant Revival – Remembering a Beginning
Carole King – New Year’s Day – Acoustic
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Breaking Through
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
Camera Obscura – The Blizzard
The Wailin’ Jennys – Glory Bound
ABBA – Happy New Year
The Gospel Whiskey Runners – Shake It Off
Nickel Creek – Jealous Of The Moon
Delta Spirit – Into The Wide
Elton John – Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long Long Time)
The Avett Brothers – Open Ended Life
Joni Mitchell – Urge For Going
First Aid Kit – Walk Unafraid
Dark Water Rising – Love Me
The Cave Singers – Northern Lights
Damien Rice – Eskimo

nickel creek

my year in music

it’s no big secret that i love music. and i listen to it – a lot. especially on spotify – a music app for your computer and/or mobile device. it’s a streaming service, which is either free (with commercials) or paid for monthly (think netflix, but for music). since becoming a spotify user, i have used it probably 95% of the time i wish to listen to music, and i take it with me wherever i go. what i love most about it is the ability to create playlists, gathering together my own personal collections of music into one list – and boy, have i done that! hehe. it’s like making mixed-tapes for the 21st century.

for the end of the year, spotify has provided users with a chance to find out what their listening habits of 2014 have been. i had a sneaking suspicion as to what mine would be, and i was pretty correct. so, here comes a little summary of what i listened to most, what i loved, and the music that rocked my soul in 2014. it’s been a great year of music for me!

i obviously have a favorite genre:

spotify year in music 2014

and i would agree… these have most definitely been my favorites:

spotify year in music 2014

clearly i’m streaming on my phone a lot: an indication that i am driving + listening to music. one of the things i love most to do:

spotify year in music 2014

this little statistic of my favorite artists/songs throughout the seasons is spot on! and it is exactly how i would describe my favorite music for each time of the year. i love this!

spotify year in music 2014one final summary of everything:

spotify year in music 2014

if you want to find my profile on spotify just click {here}. and if you are looking for some good music to listen to, then i can highly recommend:


first aid kit | the avett brothers | sarah jarosz | trampled by turtles

playlists i made in 2014 (click on the title to be linked to the playlist):


get your own year in music –> {here}


keep on groovin’. light + love. xx