// week thirty four // for the love of routines + rituals

not that i don’t love vacations to the max, because i do. but, i also most definitely enjoy that time of year when the last days of summer seem to be creeping up on us and it’s time to get down to business again.

if you have the luck to live in europe (and maybe australia. just not the united states, i know), then you have hopefully had a long enough vacation that you feel rested and reenergized. ready to tackle all that will be thrown at you.

not only do i feel rested, but i feel re-inspired and so ready to get back to my routines + rituals, the things that keep me and my little world running. i also feel ready to tackle lots of new and exciting projects, possibilities, and opportunities.

yes, for me, life begins again, like a kind of rebirth, with the coming of every autumn. and i am always anticipating that fresh start, clean slate feeling.

of course, here in sweden, summer has had a firm grip on us for  the past few weeks, so there’s more light to soak up before the dark, cold days are again upon us. in addition to beginning to get back into the groove, my love + i have also tried to live it up, having our last little summer flings of warm days and late nights.

here’s a little taste of the rituals + routines that i have welcomed back into my life.

morning rituals: coffee (with milk!). meditation. long weekend breakfasts.milk coffee meditate pancakes home
afternoon routines: bike rides. exercise. walks in the sun. errands downtown.
bikeuppsala hippie van trees workout
evening fun: gazing at the sky, hanging with friends, sunsetsbirds beer sky sunset
weekend freedom: a dear friend visiting from berlin, picnics, bbqs, sunshine, s’mores.

lina me gesine Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset me gesine bbq picnic uppsala

it was a good week of easing back into things. hope you have had a great weekend, and here’s to wishing you a wonderful week ahead filled with lots of good energy + inspired moments.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week thirty three // how to end your staycation with a bang

well, folks, that’s it. summer vacation/staycation has now come to an end. it’s the first monday back to ritual + routine. and, i have to admit, while i am mourning the loss of the last days of adventure + no plans, i am welcoming the joys of returning to regular life. mostly, i am excited about experiencing this indian summer that has taken hold of sweden now, and the anticipation of autumn + all of the coziness it brings.

my last week of vacation was spent on the road adventuring yet again. spontaneous, unplanned days filled with sunshine + fabulous people.

after our weekend in stockholm a week ago, we settled in at home for a few days. two to be exact. just enough time to sneak in some friends + family, and a few zola snuggles. then, we took the train down to norrköping – again! we spent a little time with family, lina and i both got to meet with dear friends of ours (together + separately), did a teeny tiny bit of shopping, enjoyed the august festival, and stayed busy from morning till night.

home again on saturday, but still filled up with activities. and then, on sunday, we made yet another spontaneous trip to stockholm for a free royal philharmonic symphony orchestra concert in a park featuring lina’s favorite singer/performer in the whole world. it was heaven!

so, here are my snapshots from last week! celebrating the end of summer vacation with a bang!

there’s nothing like taking a bottle of wine to a good friend’s home a block away for taco tuesday. am i right?

taco-tuesday

7 freaking AM train to  norrköping. and a big of coffee.train
hello, beautiful norrköping (fun fact: i once lived here for 3 years)norrkoping
free concert! symphony orchestra plays ABBA!norrkoping-concert
i loved seeing my soul mate, midas
wine-me
lounged in chairs to watch the meteor shower – and saw some!meteor-shower-august
i got a new (old) bike as an early birthday present! it’s really old, vintage, so retro + lina’s grandmother used it for years. i’m so excited + it’s such an honor to get it.me-bike-retro
simplicity + lovehydrangea-flower
deeee-licious burgers + fries. and good service too… in sweden! burgers-and-bangers
this never happens: an outfit shot. but i just lovelilove my new t-shirt dress.dress-me
sunshine. parks. norrköping. ba-dump ba-dump (goes my heart)norrkoping-park
american friends + bubbles! woo hoo!americans-norrkoping
sunset over downtown norrköpingsunset-norrkoping
country roads take me home – back to uppsalacountryside-sweden-fields
and a stop on the side of the road for some goodies, of coursecountryside-roadside-sweden
home!!! celebrated with some summer drinks made by my lovesummer-drinks-cocktailsspontaneous trip to stockholm! // we waited for the bus with about 100 other people. a bus that never came. so we hailed a cab, jumped in, and two other random women jumped in with us. we split the fee 4 ways + all got to the concert in a flash. loved it!
me-lina-taxi-stockholm
chillin’concert-park-stockholm-fika
so many people. so much sunshine. such amazing music.concert-park-stockholm-screen concert-park-stockholm
can you dig it?leisure-suit-man-park-concert
no more travels, zola. we are home now. xoxozola
settling in + resting before the new “year” starts. it’s the autumn semester and even though we are not in school, my mind just automatically resets. ready for new beginnings + new opportunities…sunset-uppsala
B o o m!!fireworks

it feels really great to get back into my routines. my trusty meditation rituals (which were completely non-existent in their regular form during vacation) and new habits (to be blogged about later!). i’ve got lots to share with you all, and i feel so very inspired + motivated right now. a break really does you some good, and thankfully i live in sweden, where a break from the everyday is something that is deemed important to a good life.

stay tuned for new rituals + routines on the blog, including photography, music, travel, and spirituality. plus, i’ve got some very exciting professional adventures waiting in the wings as well. and, then, of course, there are all of the cozy life moments of autumn right around the corner.

wishing you a beautiful week, lovelies. hope that it begins with a bang + ends with satisfaction, love, and peace.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the art of traveling spontaneously

the older i get, the less i want to plan.

i think that feeling comes from the understanding that aging gives you that life almost never turns out as one plans it. there are unknown paths, unplanned paths, frightening paths, and soul-touching paths all along the road of life.

yes, it’s good to have an idea, a goal, and a dream. but, it is also very important to heed the lesson of the road: the unexpected is a huge part of the journey. and the journey is the whole point (not the destination).

learning to go with the flow, to be flexible, to simply align one’s life with the cycle of energy and movement of the journey of life is a gift. one that aids in teaching us to  slow down, to trust, and to embrace the present moment.

with all of that said, learning to follow the way of life, learning to go with the flow, to relax, and to live in the present moment, accepting things as they come and staying grounded + rooted in the depths of who we authentically are, allows us to live a spontaneous life. a life that becomes full of adventure (even without going on great adventures) and deep meaning. a spontaneous life helps us to stay alert, open, and energized, helping us live life on a higher plane, and in a deeper way, than simply existing. and, seriously, who wants to merely exist?

spontaneity soaks the best out of every single moment. it inspires us to get out of our little boring boxes and try new things. it gives us experiences that we’d never imagine we could or would have.

the older i get, the more spontaneous i become. and the more i reject rigid, planned ways of living. and that goes for my traveling as well.

my love and i woke up last friday morning knowing that we wanted to have an adventure. the sun was shining and it was warm. it was a glorious summer day in sweden. as we had done the day before, we knew that we’d like to take a little trip somewhere close to uppsala. a day trip, we thought.

so, we began brainstorming. discussing. and trying to decide. in the end, we said, “let’s go to stockholm again! and stay for the weekend!”.

so, even though this would be our third little trip to stockholm in 2 weeks, i hopped online and looked for an available airbnb for friday night until sunday. yep. last minute to the max. i found a funky apartment in södermalm (our favorite neighborhood) and sent a request to book. then we waited. and waited. and waited. no response from the host.

we packed our bags, hopped the train, and headed off to stockholm for the weekend anyway. without any place to stay. no worries. it would all work out.

soder-me-and-my-love soder-summer soder-beach soder-waterfront-feet

of course, by 2pm, as we sat by the water in södermalm, just enjoying the view and the weather, we still didn’t have anywhere to stay. and we were both totally calm about it. i finally cancelled the previous request and sent out another. this time i got a response back pretty quickly. “sorry, i am out of town and don’t think i can work it out.”

at this point we still did not panic, but we decided to begin thinking about other options. just about 5 minutes later, i got another response from the host who said that she’d spoken too soon. that, if we could meet her in the evening, she could accommodate us. perfect! airbnb booked!

getting hungry, we strolled around for a while, ate some lunch, ducked into some funky vintage shops, drank some coffee, wandered streets we’d never seen before, spied around peoples’ homes… sneaking peeks at their backyard gardens, and set a date with two friends for later that evening. all the while, taking it minute by minute, the only thing planned was meeting our host at 7pm and then drinks at 7:15.

soder-city-street

we made our way to our södermalm neighborhood, hornstull, and walked around a bit before meeting our host. turns out, hornstull was known as the sketchy part of söder just a while back. if, söder is greenwich village, then hornstull is alphabet city/the lower east side. of course gentrification had already found its way to hornstull a few years back, so its edginess wasn’t quite so edgy. still, it did feel a bit different than other parts of södermalm. which was exactly what we wanted: to discover new little gems + uncover quirky places.

we quickly got a tour of our airbnb apartment, got the keys, and then said goodbye to our host. she had done a fabulous job preparing the place for us at the last minute, and we were ever so grateful.

here’s a little peek at her vintage, funky apartment… with a balcony! (that was our goal with this airbnb visit).

soder-airbnb-kitchen soder-airbnb-living-room soder-airbnb-living-room-2 soder-airbnb-balcony-open soder-airbnb-balcony-1

as i mentioned before, we had a date with two friends for drinks, so we quickly sprayed a little perfume – we’d been walking for hours. and headed out the door for a few beers just around the corner. then we walked a bit more, getting the feel of the area and, looking up at the sky, realized that we needed to walk out on a nearby bridge to catch a view of the gorgeous sunset.

soder-harbor-sunset soder-sunset

saturday morning came and we both were practically giggly due to the fact that we had slept with the doors to the balcony open! what a luxury! we laid in bed for a while, discussing our day. making no plans whatsoever except to go get breakfast. it’s like we were completely drawn into the spontaneous, living in the moment world. what a gift it was.

soder-airbnb-bedroom soder-breakfast

the rest of the day we literally took it as it came. we made decisions to turn on this street or stop in that café as we felt the urge to. there was no agenda. no time frame. it was pure vacation mode all the way. and we remarked how blessed we were.

soder-street soder-lina-fika soder-second-hand-building soder-sticker-street

after wandering the streets and we decided that we did have one mission: to find some shoes that we were both dying to have (different shoes, mind you. we don’t match our shoes! hehe!). no luck in the shoe hunt, but we did manage to cover pretty much all of södermalm. like for realz.

on our way back towards the hornstull area, where we were staying, i decided to take us on the outskirts of the west side of the island, by the water. we walked and walked and walked. so much so, that it seemed that our legs were just on autopilot after a while. yes, our feet were so tired.

but, the views were so totally worth it. and to discover that there were food trucks all along the way… priceless. and serious asheville vibes too!

soder-harbor soder-food-truck soder-water-good-truck soder-food-trucks

tired and hungry, yet completely relaxed and satisfied, we made our way to a place to eat beside the water… brooklyn bar. we were 2 of the first 4 people there. but, soon after we arrived, people started filling the colorful, outdoor booths on the waterfront. we ate burgers + drank beer + acted silly.

soder-beer soder-dinner-lina-me soder-brooklyn-bar

lina me beer

dreading the short walk back to our apartment because of our tired little legs and feet, we wound our way through a couple of blocks and found this fantastic little cut through bridge that got us back to the apartment faster. plus, it was more scenic. and i saw tons of places to explore the next time i visit this area.

soder-hornstull-sunset-street

back at the airbnb apartment, we had some beer chilled in the fridge, popped open the bottle and plopped down on the balcony. we sat there from about 7:30 through sunset and until the stars came out. we listened to music, mostly the soundtrack to the musical rent. and chatted with each other. pure simplicity with my love.

soder-airbnb-balcony soder-balcony-sunset-2 soder-sunset-balcony-1 soder-balcony-sunset-3 soder-balcony-sunset-4 soder-balcony-sunset-5

sunday morning after we tidied the apartment and left the keys, we made our way back to mariatorget (where our previous airbnb experience was). we headed to blooms, a cozy little cafe with fun outdoor benches for people watching + breakfast eating.

soder-cafe

all full of fresh-baked bread and coffee, we hit the streets again. this time with the mission to complete our shoe hunt, which ended up taking us all over stockholm, only to find ourselves back where we started earlier in the weekend. oh well. no worries. we just went with the flow, you know?

stockholm-nk-shopping

satisfied with our shoe purchases (yay!), it was time for a beer at our favorite little microbrewery, omnipollos hatt. we drank some local beer, perikles (a rustic pilsner) + leon (a belgian style pale ale with champagne) and then decided that, since the sun was shining + we were hungry, we’d order 2 more and a pizza. yep.

soder-lina-omnipollo soder-pizza-omnipollo

soder-monks soder-me-omnipollo
finally we decided to return home and to our little zola the cat. so, we made the 40 minutes train ride and were home in time to do some netflixing and snuggling with the kitty cat. and, of course, to document yet one more beautiful uppsala summer sunset.

sunset uppsala summer

you know, i’ve always had a spontaneous soul thanks to my parents giving us so many opportunities to spontaneously have a bbq, travel somewhere, or rearrange the furniture in our entire home. but, i do believe that my spontaneous soul grew even more after this amazing, beautiful, fun weekend with my love. it really just doesn’t get much better, friends.

and, when you’re spontaneous, you never know  just how good it might be!

onwards + upwards! xoxo