the summer of love + freedom begins with tonight’s full moon

happy july, friends!

don’t you just love gazing at the moon? it’s like it’s this powerful, beautiful reminder that we are so small, and yet so important. and full moons are even more magical + beautiful, aren’t they? with all of their bright light, casting shadows even in the dark night. giving a cool, calm glow to everything.

lucky for us moon lovers, we’ve got 2 full moons in july. two!! that’s right, the month is book-ended with a full moon on july 1/2 and once again on july 31. and in-between the two moons we have lots to experience, lots to do, lots of opportunities.

it’s summer for us in the northern hemisphere. and we all want to relax some. we want to enjoy life, especially outdoors as much as possible. we want adventure. we want to just live life and feel free. (for a fun july playlist with lots of music about freedom click –> here).

even as we celebrate the carefree spirit of the summer season that is upon us, we have also begun to perhaps tap into where we want our life to go. and we know that, once this month is over, it’s time to get back to work. time to get down to business. to manifest our dreams. so, in the meantime during this month, as we enjoy life as much as we possibly can, relaxing + celebrating even the little things in life, seeking some freedom, we also have a month to begin to make some shifts to create that life that we have always dreamed of. think of it as preparation, but in a letting go, free-spirited, non-stressed kind of way.

and it all begins today, with this beautiful full moon which ushers in a summer of love – love of life, love of ourselves, and the love of living a life that is true to our truth and our souls.

you know, anything is possible in a summer of love. 

full moon rising

i came across a full moon blog post on elephant journal the other day, and it spoke very deeply to me. it was as if the writer had reached into my soul and connected with everything that is happening in my life right now. so, instead of trying to share my own thoughts (because i would just be copying hers), i have shared her article here for you to read for yourself.

here are some thoughts on tonight’s full moon + what it just might mean for our lives. enjoy!

On Wednesday July 1st, the moon will be full in Capricorn, and our emotions and desires will be running high—and hot!

Romantic love has been and will continue to be a big theme this year astrologically. So many of the movements and conjunctions of the planets have been about giving us the confidence to pursue what is in our hearts.

This month Jupiter and Venus (the goddess of love) have been dancing together in the skies and will cumulate on June 30th with an immense event—this passionate energy lends itself to the full moon in a big way.

Each moon, whether it is new or full is about asking ourselves a question. Lunar cycles are about initiating change, and giving our souls a check-up, to see where we are and where we want to be. After all the recent changes we’ve experienced this full moon in Capricorn is asking us, “Why wait?”

Emotionally, we’ve been doing a lot of purging from our lives, and in turn have also done a lot of self-exploration. More than likely, many of us have come into our own hearts the past month, and are very confident in what we need and want from our lives.

It’s has been like a light of truth shinning into our darkest places and letting us slowly illuminate whatever feelings have been hiding inside of us.

We have been taking our time and initiating change slowly in our lives—but all that is about to change.

We are going to wake up and realize with a shrug of our shoulders that there is no time like now to go after what we want. This moon isn’t about taking crazy chances, or big risks, but instead it’s going to feel like a light suddenly turns on, and we can’t deny ourselves what we want any longer.

Sometimes the only option we have is to jump right in.

full-moon-capricornimage from — > here

The wonderful thing about this moon in Capricorn is that although we are going to want to dive head first into our future, we are doing so grounded in practicality and the knowledge about our choices. This isn’t a leap of blind faith. Capricorn is an earth sign, and is known for its traits of confidence and practicality. Capricorn usually is slow to react, but because of its ruling planet Saturn being in retrograde through Leo until August, it’s all about initiating passionate change now.

There is no more waiting for what we know we want.

While this moon and the conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter are all about romantic love, for some of us that energy may translate into other areas as well. Under these conditions we may have completed the journey back to ourselves and our heart center—we may have discovered what our true passion is in life and possibly what career direction better suits us now.

It has been all about the journey to find our own individual truth and then making a life out of that.

This year is the finale in a series of years, since 2012, that are meant to rearrange our lives and bring us back to ourselves. A lot is going to change this year, and while some change happens slowly under the radar, there will be other times like this summer that things are going to move faster than we ever thought possible.

The energy is antsy right now, but the most important thing is to breathe into whatever we are feeling around this time. Acting out of fear will not help us on this particular journey, and while experiencing fear over change or the new is normal—it’s not where we want to make our decisions from.

Living life big takes courage, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Lucky for us—starting with the energy on the Solstice and leading up to July 1st—whatever fears we had are going to fall to the side, because the desire and passion inside of our hearts is going to be pushing us forward.

This is the summer of love—and this is just the beginning.

July is going to be a hot and heavy month for us. Not only are we tired of waiting to manifest what is inside of our hearts, but this month is pushing us to take risks—because everything that has happened over the course of the past couple years all comes down to this moment.

“Once in a blue moon” is a phrase that we are all familiar with—it’s a phrase to represent special chances, or moments. In July we have not only one full moon, but two, and it is this second full moon that is dubbed the blue moon. Soon I will be releasing my special Full Moon in Aquarius: Once in a Blue Moon forecast, but for now, it’s important to be aware that this first full moon in July is setting the tone for the entire month.

Between the first full moon on July 1st and the second full moon on July 31st we are going to feel the pull of desire on our hearts in a breathless and very passionate way. We are going to be drawn to those that excite our soul and make us feel alive. We are going to crave only those relationships which honor our authentic truth, and we will find ourselves seeking out those opportunities that pull the strongest on our heart strings.

This moon is going to light the fire in our sacral chakra and move us towards passionate endeavors. Whether it’s investing time in a worthwhile project, or spending hot nights under the moon with our lover—we are going to be filled with passion for our lives.

We need to get ready for fireworks in all aspects of our lives, but most especially in our hearts—and bedrooms. We are passionate creatures, and like the tree, some seasons we lay dormant and others we bloom into possibility.

The planetary alignments and this full moon are throwing kerosene on what has already been smoldering…

And it’s all about to finally explode and light up our life in a big way—now all we need to do is enjoy the show.

full moon

what do you think? can you relate? as i said above, this is summarizing and explaining my current life situation in ways that i can hardly believe.

but no matter whether you feel any vibes from this article or not, the fact is that we do have a full moon tonight. and it is a time that is filled with energy and power and magic and beauty. so, if even for just a minute, look out your window or go outside and look upwards to the moon. make a wish, send your dreams up into the great beyond, and let the light and hope that this moon shines down on you fill your soul. let it ground you + inspire you.

we are so ready to get a move on things, ready to act. i know i am. but, what if we just let all of that beautiful energy just simmer in us throughout this month? to simply live in the present moment, letting it continue to mold + shape us + prepare us.

tonight,  we could use the energy from this full moon to help us state exactly what our soul is telling us, put into words the direction in which we are headed. it’s time to feel our passions leading us. to stay open to possibilities. and let ourselves  bask in the glow of feeling alive and knowing exactly what we need. think of this as the last few weeks to just let everything sit within in, growing and gathering momentum + power.

and then, remember, there is another full moon on the last day of the month. that one will propel us forward, to begin to manifest our dreams and to make sh*t happen. the universe will be waiting for us to grab on and take flight.

in the meantime, lets revel in the love + freedom that this summer month offers us. many blessings of light + love i send to you.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

full moon article written by kate rose. you can find her blog –> here

// week twenty six // summer has really begun + our beer is ready for tasting!

happy monday! isn’t it crazy how the weeks just fly by? i suppose that keeping a record of my weeks here on the blog makes it even more obvious to me. it feels like monday rolls around so fast every week.

i’ve come to the conclusion that this little show-and-tell time that i have with you all, where i share some snapshots from the week that has just passed, is a way to deal with the monday blues. most weeks, however, i do not usually suffer from the monday blues too badly (which is good, but it most likely due to the disheartening, sad fact that i am still unemployed). but, if i do happen to have a bit of beginning-of-the-week anxiety, creating this post every monday seems to give me a better perspective.

that’s the power of gratitude + living in the present moment.

looking back, i always see that, even in the middle of stress, anxiety, failures, tough times, frustrations, disappointments, and just all around sucky days, there is always something for which to be grateful. there are always moments that are beautiful.

and this is what i cling to. this (and meditation) is what reminds me that things will be ok. that there is always hope. and that with another monday, we have yet another chance to create the life that we want once again. it’s all up to us.

so, with that little self-pep-talk, i am ready to share with you the beauty that i found last week. take a peek!

i got a little obsessed with making BLTS for lunch. my summer go-to sandwich.
BLT-sandwich
my love worked from home for three days. poor thing didn’t feel good at all. but, zola took care of her. (i tried too!)

lina-zola-sofa

taco Tuesdays, baby!
taco-tuesdays
loving the long cozy evenings at home. this photo was taken at 10 PM. uh huh. i said 10 PM. Nordic love!home-evening-cozy
and then the sunsets… still blowing my mindsunset-sunshine
took a short walk around downtown uppsala after lunch on thursday. just because i’m also blown away that i freaking live here.
uppsala-gamla-torget-buildings uppsala-river uppsala-old-buildings uppsala-tunnel-cathedral uppsala-steps-me
stopped in for fika + a little skype date with my awesome friend in atlanta, georgia (lanie).cafe-linne-uppsala
chocolate cake to. die. for.uppsala-fika-cafe
summer reading?! yes, please! (hehe)
summer-reading-amy-poehler
sunset from our friend’s BALCONY. you know, cause we BBQ every chance we get. helloooo, it is summer.sunset-mickes-place
enough said! GAAAAAHHHH!!!IMG_6557
lina’s work had a summer party friday night. she works with awesome, fun people. and i get to hang out too. lucky me.work-summer-party-lina
saturday evening, we needed to change our moods. and it looked amazing outside, so we decided on a 9:30 PM walk in our neighborhood. hand in hand. together. soaking up the simple joys of summer evenings. perfect. neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk-1 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-2 neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-3-sun-flares neighborhood-uppsala-sunset-walk.-4 moon-summer-walk
we spent all freaking day outside on sunday because… 75 degrees (20 something celsius) + sunshine!
but the highlight was our afternoon soft release of our first two batches of home brewed beer!! so. much. fun.
two-chicks-brewing-beer-saison
secret-garden-beer-soft-release strawberries-summer
so exciting!two-chicks-brewing-beer-tasting
here we go….two-chicks-brewing-beer
cheers! we were so nervous.cheers-two-chicks-brewing-first-batch-beer
success!two-chicks-brewing-soft-release-beer me-two-chicks-brewing-beer me-my-love-two-chacks-brewing-beer two-chicks-brewing-beer-soft-release
and one more sunset…uppsala-sunset

and now… now that i am filled with the images of the past week, the unexpected + created moments, the big + small moments, all of the moments that brought a smile to my face… now i am ready to tackle this week. so, bring it on!

sending lots of love + light to you too! go out there + get yours!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week twenty four // the first peek at swedish summer

it’s monday again! and, we’ve got a short week here in sweden. friday is midsummer’s eve, so everyone will be off from work + dancing around maypoles, drinking like fish, and worshipping the sun, celebrating her longest day of the year. it’s definitely a midsummer night’s dream – and the night where the sun never really goes to bed. i’m not sure what our plans are yet (and it looks like it may rain… booooo!), but you can be sure we’ll be outside come rain or shine!

last week, though, summer finally arrived! there were days of bright sunshine, and that meant that we took advantage of every chance we could to soak it all up. i dare say that my love + i even got a little sun coloring on our skin. it felt soooooo good. all of that vitamin d. my energy level was high, my spirit was high, everyone walked around on a great big sunshine high.

so, here’s what my week looked like up here in the land of the midnight sun, where the nordic summer takes your breath away…

a little beer bottling adventure for two chicks brewing (read more about that –> here)

beer bottles two chicks brewing

the cat is sleeping all the time. it got that hot in our apartment. zola-sleeping-sunshine
strolling through our secret gardensecret-garden
lilac-tree
no socks!! green-shoes-flowers
staying grounded + inspired (mercury retrograde…. gaaah!)
meditate-candle-mala-beads
…which is necessary, when everything falls off of your bike + a BBQ sauce jar breaks + explodes everywhere in the middle of a square in the middle of town.bike-disaster
more meditating. this time in the park, on a bench. because it was hooooot + beautiful outside.me-meditate-park-bench
purple pom pom flowers!purple-flower
a skype fika date with my friend in atlanta!skype-fika-date
no jacket + sandals! happy friday to me! me-sandals-walking
beer. fries. sunshine. my love. meeting my love after work.beer-fries-outside-churchill-arms
sunshine makes us silly + giddysunshine-my-love-fun
the first BBQ of the year!bbq-grill-home
grilling out with friends + familybbq-picnic-outside-friends-uppsala
cheers to the perfect summer eveningbeer-outside-foam
mmmmm!grilling-outside-bbq
sunset at 11pm. i love this so freaking much.sunset-11-pm
urban vibes in downtown uppsalaurban-shoes-wire-downtown-uppsala
my favorite block in the whole city: svartbäcksgatanuppsala-svartbacksgatan
the river + the cathedraluppsala-river
everyone’s loving ituppsala-park
river loveuppsala-river-industrial
silos in the industrial part of townsilos-industrial-uppsala

i don’t really have any photos from sunday, but i can share with you what i did: i blogged in the morning and then the rest of the day my love + i completed season three of “orange is the new black”. it rained all day, so it was a pretty near perfect ending to the day + the week.

here’s to sending you lots of love + light as you begin your new week!

onwards + upwards!

school supplies + coffee + nesting at home + breweries

hi blogging friends! well, it’s happening. summer is winding down in the northern hemisphere, and autumn is not far behind. and yesterday marked the beginning of regular, everyday life again for me (and many others in different places). college students, including my love, headed back for another semester of fun, stress, and inspiration. younger students began sucking every last drop of summer fun out of the last 2 days of vacation up here in the mountain cities and towns. my swedish friends and families have now begun the unofficial season of autumn = the long, beautiful summer holidays are over and autumn’s shorter, rainier, chillier days have begun to creep up.

lina at unca

and me… well, i am settling into the beautiful asheville life that i created with lina in the past year. yes, for me, the beginning of these regular, everyday life days are a welcome change. a chance to begin again – but not by completely starting over, by building on all that we have already built here in asheville. i feel totally ready to refocus and use the energy and vibes that i’ve soaked up this summer to push me forward in my writing, photography, and the next step on my journey in life. i feel grounded and ready to fly all at the same time.

studio at home

mostly, it just feels good to be me. to be where i am and to be focused on each day as it comes, following the dreams and hopes that my soul feels.

but, i also feel something a bit different right now. i feel determined. practical. ready to get down to business. in a word, disciplined. in no way do i feel that i’ve lost any spontaneity, i just feel like working my ass off for the things that i love. and i feel like making my life much more streamlined, with a defined purpose to each and every day. not rigid and controlled, but inspired. know what i mean?

meditation

here’s a prime example: i decided to embark on another mediation series that began on august 11. a series on happiness – which seemed cool timing since i just read the book “the geography of bliss” during the summer. to be honest with you all, as much as i enjoy meditating and quiet time alone, i am really really bad at sticking to it. i mean, in a disciplined way. i spend time alone every day, but i just don’t see a meditation series through to the end.

until now… i hope. you see, so far, i have done 9 days of focused meditation in a row. it may be a new record. and, while i have not set a specific time to meditate or made some sort of routine, i have made it a priority. like truly. no computer, phone, or other technological stuff until i have done it. and i have no specific time for all of this – i just know that it is my priority for how to begin my days right now.

fika meetup

asheville brewing company beer

all of this tells me that i am focused right now. that everyday life is not boring, but is exactly what i (we) decide to make it. we only have this one life, and there is no reason to waste time when we have dreams and goals and a purpose. so, it’s time to soak up every single day – whether filled with “regular” moments or “adventurous” moments. if we are living our life for our next vacation or our next big trip or our next wild adventure, we miss the wild, carefree beauty that is also found in the every day. and we end up living our life for whatever comes next, instead of what is. we miss the present moment.

studio at home create

and so, again, i welcome these last few days of summer… when we all settle back into some sort of routine. when the little things that happen in our everyday lives become the building blocks to making our dreams come true. you know, the amazing moments are fabulous and inspiring, but it is the little steps taken day-in and day-out that make us who we are, that make our life what it is.

zola the cat

beer at the laundromat bar and soap

it’s all about the journey – the everyday journey – that’s what makes the memories that become our life.

peace and love xx

back to the beach

from the 1st of july until the 29th of july, i was in sweden – visiting family and friends. celebrating love. experiencing a crazy summer heatwave. seeing and feeling the best that sweden has to offer in the summer – blue skies, hot sun, and gorgeous land & water. i was a tourist, a photographer, and a translator. i spoke swedish with an unexpected ease (after one year of not really speaking swedish). i loved every single solitary second in sweden… but one week ago today, my time in sweden was up.

last tuesday, lina, paige, and i took a 5am train up to stockholm in order to catch a plane back to the states. but, we didn’t travel alone. we brought along two family members with us! our niece (lina’s sister’s daughter) and lina’s cousin, aged 14 and 16 respectively, joined us for their own summer adventure. so. much. fun. they worked and cleaned for a year to save money so they could go. they received birthday and christmas money, and earned their spending money for the trip – and, oh, what an exciting trip for two teenage girls! and what fun to get to see them experience the states for the first time!

since they were going to be with us for 2 weeks, we decided that we’d begin our arrival to the states by hopping in our car and driving directly to the beach in north carolina (where my parents live). my parents were amazing and drove my car to meet us at the airport in charlotte, where we packed ourselves in and started out on a long 6 hour drive on the evening of our arrival.

needless to say i was exhausted, but i pushed through, and we made it to atlantic beach – our final destination – at about midnight or something. after 27 hours of travel. a good night’s sleep, and then we were raring to go… ready for sun and sand and surf.

it was indescribably amazing to see the two girls and paige experience beach life for a few days – especially boat rides and playing in the ocean. the pure joy on their faces was priceless and absolutely beautiful. their giggles were music to my ears.

it was a great 5 days at the beach, but unfortunately, it rained the last 2 days. still… we found ways to relax, have fun, and entertain ourselves. but, soon, our time at the beach was over and it was time to head up to the mountains – time to go home – after 32 days of traveling! and to be honest with you, i couldn’t wait!

sweden sunset arlanda airport airplane silly airplane sweden cozy airplane nyc airplane vogue sound atlantic beach boat atlantic beach boat atlantic beach boat atlantic beach

woo hoo boat my love and me atlantic beach atlantic beach boat atlantic beach atlantic beach atlantic beach shark shack atlantic beach sunset atlantic beach dad atlantic beach sunset atlantic beach sunset atlantic beach cape lookout cape lookout dad cape lookout cape lookout cape lookout corn atlantic beach

rainy day at the beach

nc aquarium nc aquarium pine knoll shores nc aquarium pine knoll shores

jelly fish nc aquarium sweden atlantic beach

 now, we’re all cozy up here in the north carolina mountains, in asheville. doing some shopping, some swimming, and just some being together. we’ve got a week left and tons of adventures planned for the girls, including a trip to tennessee and an amusement park, some time hiking in the mountains, a baseball game, and some fun & cool restaurants. oh, and of course some more shopping!

you know, traveling is amazing, and i am ready to begin to plan my next trip! but, it is also so very nice to be home… in my own cozy bed, living the life that i love. and what’s even better is that i get to share it with some completely amazing people.

love and peace. xx

the perfect summer day in sweden

there are no words to really describe today. so, i’m gonna let my photos do most of the talking. i will tell you that we drove way out into the swedish countryside, to see a very dear friend – my ex-collegue/minister (from the church where i worked when i lived here). her husband passed away earlier this year, and she is adjusting to living life on her own – on their farm. we arrived at her amazing place at noon, where we immediately were welcomed with hugs and a little tour of the farm – i had never made it out there to see her when i lived here, so it was my first time. we met her cows, admired her late husband’s amazing wood workshop – where he passionately loved to work, walked through the grass, and ate a delicious vegetarian lunch outside made with veggies from the neighbors farms.

we sat and talked around the table outside in the shade for hours, listening to the amazing adventures of our friend’s mother back in the mid-1900s, as a swedish woman who refused to settle into the expected, traditional roles of wife and mother until she was good and ready. she was born in the states to parents who moved there looking for a better start, but moved back to sweden when she was 2. however, that american adventurous spirit seeped into her blood anyway.

after lots of stories, some watermelon and chocolate, and just as we were almost ready to take a little trip over to a little lake through the woods, another friend – who is close to my colleague and was such a great support for lina and me when we lived here – surprised us by showing up to join us for the rest of the afternoon.

we donned our swimsuits, prepared a fika, grabbed chairs and towels, and headed to the lake – 5 women – to enjoy this perfectly perfect swedish summer day. we sat, talked, swam, laughed, and just soaked up every little second, completely unaware of time. it was hot out, the sun was glorious, the water was crystal clear, and the trees were deep green. there were even lotus flowers blooming on lily pads. i felt as if i was enveloped in mother nature’s arms the whole time we were there – at peace, connected, grounded, and completely content. and i felt the power of the connection of women, both with these 4 women that i was with, and other women all throughout my life, including my mother and grandmothers. it was a day of celebrating feminine power, i think.

IMG_5243 IMG_5195 DSC_0051 DSC_0050 DSC_0058 DSC_0062 DSC_0065 DSC_0067 IMG_5209 IMG_5200 DSC_0075 DSC_0079 IMG_5220 IMG_5222 IMG_5224 IMG_5227 DSC_0101 DSC_0108 DSC_0113 DSC_0116 IMG_5232 DSC_0119 DSC_0103 DSC_0092 IMG_5250 DSC_0123

because this day was so special, and because i will cherish all of the stories, laughter, beauty, and the women that i shared this day with for the rest of my life, i decided to mark a sacred spot with some rocks from the bottom of the lake that paige dug up with her feet. i placed my little sacred monument on the rock that led down to the water – and i left it there – as a sign of the memories and moments that were shared on this perfect swedish summer day – with four totally different, yet completely amazing in the own ways, women who have each made a significant difference in my life.

love and peace.