school supplies + coffee + nesting at home + breweries

breakfast asheville style

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

jelly fish nc aquarium

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

DSC_0074

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.

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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.