the night that the sunset + i met on a hill

the other night when i left work, as i stepped out into the fresh air, i noticed that the building was glowing from the setting sun. it was bright and orange and shiny.  and i knew that signaled that my ride home was going to be perfect. the timing was going to be just right.

as i rode my bike, i steadied my left hand on the handle bars + gripped my phone tightly in my right hand and began snapping away. riding up + down, and around the curves.

some might say that i “missed it” because i was cycling and snapping photos all at the same time, instead of stopping to enjoy the beauty.  but, i tell you, i was totally in the moment. i felt the cool breeze whipping through my hair. i felt the last bit of warmth from the sun. i saw the glow, and the dust dancing in the sun’s rays. i noticed the colors of the clouds. i experienced it all.

and it was just perfect.

sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala sunset cycling uppsala

wishing you a beautiful + happy saturday, lovely people!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

// week thirty eight // it’s the little things that mean the most

hello lovelies! welcome to our new week!

well, last week was a little like a broken record. work work work work. i have been so busy with work lately. and it’s been really, really great. but i am totally exhausted. so much new photography stuff has been crammed into my brain. and swedish all the live long day. whew. my brain is fried. but, it’s great to get to speak so much swedish since we only speak english at home (totally fine with me, by the way). speaking of home, i pretty much crash on the couch for a couple of hours in the evening and then sleep and then do it all over again.

however, don’t feel sorry for me one little bit. i have been learning the art of living in the present moment and how to fill those moments with gratitude and mindful awareness over the past few years when i’ve not had a “regular” work schedule. so, every day when i bike to and from work, i let that fresh air fill my lungs (sometimes i can hardly breath, though, given the hill i must tackle on my way there). but, still. it’s fresh and cool. and i pass trees and fields. and, of course, i begin my days with my meditation practice, so that keeps me focused and grounded.

plus, at work, i get to talk with so many sweet, cute, kind people. and i have the privilege of creating the photos that will be their memories. to stand there and help them, listening to their stories, and seeing their faces light up ss they flip through photos or watching them as they plan how they will perserve themes memories is such an honor. it truly is.

i did have the weekend off though – from friday until sunday, so i’ve had a good breather. and i’ve spent the time soaking up just being with my love. we’ve done a little shopping. blogging. and just being at home.

as for my love’s health and our life situation right now, we could not be more grateful + overwhelmed + moved by all of your words of inspiration, motivation, and love. just knowing that we have so many people out there that are thinking of us and sending us lots of energies from all corners of the world warms our hearts immensely. we’re doing ok. pushing through. taking it one day at a time. frustrated at this limbo time. but feeling, as i said, so blessed.

so, with that said, lemme share with you a few photos from the week. i seemed to have captured a little snap of nature every single morning on my way to work – and that definitely was not my plan. i realize again how very dependent i am on nature to inspire me, connect me, and prepare me for my day ahead.


coffee at work

tuesdaymorning nature work
wednesdaywindowsill berries
thursday (headed home + ready for 3 days off!)sunset
weekend! relax sofa home autumn computer sofa

the wild truth book sunset

 i sure do hope that your week was a good one, and i am sending you all of my best wishes and lots of love as a new week begins.

i, for one, am super pumped because… it’s my birthday week!!!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

venus retrograde: six weeks to figure out what you love

night sky

something big is happening in the stars again.

back in the beginning of july i eluded to the fact that this month was lining up to be an intense, powerful, inspiring month. i like to call it the summer of love. (read what i said about it –> here).

we’ve made it through one full moon, one new moon, and we have another full moon ( a blue moon actually) waiting in the wings.

but, first, we have what an encounter with venus… you know the goddess of love, the planet closest to us, and boy will this encounter give us an interesting ride.

beginning today, 40 days of venus retrograde begins. (july 25 – september 6)

if you remember, retrograde is when, if you look up in the night sky, it appears that something is moving backwards across the sky. of course, it actually isn’t, but the illusion of it seems to stir up lots of crazy things + powerful opportunities.

back in the late spring, we experienced mercury retrograde, which made things feel all topsy turvy. well, venus retrograde isn’t going to make us feel so scattered + out of control as we were back in the spring, but it will give us an amazing, emotional, intense opportunity to reassess our life.

especially when it comes to love. (makes sense, huh? being the name of the goddess of love?)

when venus turns retrograde today, we are being asked to look at exactly what love means for each of us. i am talking about love of others in our life, self-love, and what we have prioritized in our life.

as kate says: over the next 40 days, “we will have two options: to hide in the shadows and miss the opportunity of a lifetime, or to go after what is inside of our hearts.  it’s not a question of if we will make a big jump—but a matter of when. and there is a push to literally look around and see what truly makes us happy.”


venus is giving us a chance to realign our awareness on love, relationships, what we value and what we’re worth. it’s a mystical, magical and important period that doesn’t come around all that often. it’s a time to reflect on the inner value of your experiences rather than outer display.

it’s all up to us whether we want to take advantage of this time to reflect and realign and take stock on what + who is really important to us. those things that we are most passionate about, that we really truly love, and are advantageous to our lives by helping us to live our truth.

the venus retrograde period turns out to be the perfect time to focus on the quality of life over the desire for financial gain, in other words, we get to decide for oversells what’s more important. money, power, success, security… or an authentic life, love, peace, etc. it’s ok whatever we choose. the point is to slow down just long enough to really think about what we are giving our time + attention to, what we say we love, and see if those two things line up. we are given a chance to reassess our priorities, in our work and in the people that we invite into our lives,  focusing on our inner need for contentment and fulfillment and what/who really makes us happy.

either way, this retrograde period is tempting us to reconsider our approach to relationships of all kinds: what’s important to us? what (and who) do we want in our lives, and why? and more importantly, what we have to offer?

sunset sweden

venus retrograde is a time when we may be forced to re-examine what we consider “worth it.” if we use the next 6 weeks wisely, we will think about the activities, people and things in which we have invested our time, energy, commitment and money… and if what they are giving us are the rewards we thought we had bargained for. not monetarily, of course, but in relation being true to ourselves + following our bliss.

it’s all about continuing to realign ourselves to that path in life where we feel that we are living our truth, living the life that we were called to live. 

again, kate says this: “we have to trust all the lessons in letting go of what was no longer serving us. and we have to believe that we have learned a lot about how we want to authentically live our lives.

venus will be in retrograde until september 6th… so take a deep breath, because this retrograde will be anything but casual. it’s all about how deep we can go”

lots of love to you all… and happy venus retrograde!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

week twenty seven // music + laughter + lots of summer sun

hello everyone! it’s a new week again, and this week i am away on vacation with my wife + our extended swedish family + friends.

we’ve gone off the grid and gotten wild. it’s that time of year when we head out to the archipelago in southern sweden (southish of västervik, fellow swedes). all we do is relax, enjoy each other, eat, have fika, sleep, rest, laugh, sunbathe. pretty much soak up the magical swedish nature and each other.

so, since i’m doing that right now and not actually writing this blog post when you read it, i’m just gonna get right to the photos from a super summery, beautiful last week. enjoy!

monday working coffee fika zola taco working coffee

elton john in concert! we picnicked outside the stage area with a few other people… hehe.picnic uppsala castle elton john picnic uppsala elton john me picnic beer river uppsala uppsala sunset uppsala
an 18 hour stop in norrkōping (our old hometown) on our way to the archipelago

IMG_6859 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6871 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_6888 IMG_6892 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the photos are only through friday night because… no phone serve or internet service out in the archipelago. you’ll get those all of  photos when i get back to civilization. hehe. in the meantime, i’ve got a few other posts scheduled for while i’m gone, so check back here on wednesday + friday! happy week, loves!

the summer solstice: magic + light + energy = time to follow your bliss

it’s nine in the evening as i write this, and the solstice is upon us.


monday’s sunset

today, in the northern hemisphere, we are celebrating the longest day of the year. the day that is the culmination of all of the light-gathering that has been occurring since the winter solstice back  in december. every day since then, we have been marching forward to this very moment. this moment when light and warmth and heat are the most powerful + abundant.

we celebrate being alive. being aware. and where we have come from since our last solstice.


tuesday’s sunset

what did you imagine for your life back in december? whether you were celebrating the solstice back then or not, it was the end of 2014, and with that ending, i am certain that we all said a few prayers or had a few dreams and wishes for the new year that was upon us. what were yours? do you remember?

if you were reading my blog back then, then you might have even joined me in picking a word for 2015 – a word to light your way, to inspire you + to guide you. what was your word? have you thought about it? have you used it? is it still relevant?

 if you didn’t pick a word, then what would your word be now – for the last 6 months of 2015 that lie ahead of us? what do you want or need to focus on?


wednesday’s sunset

as part of my summer solstice celebration today, i have gone back to my journal and my blog posts at the end of 2014. i have reread the things that i wrote, and brought up the old feelings and hopes that i had locked deep inside me as i wondered what 2015 would bring me as i chose my word for 2015: empowered.

here’s some of what i wrote last december about choosing the word empowered.

“for 2015 i am focusing on the power that is within me to push me to follow through with many things that i need + want in my life. the word feels just perfect to me. ultimately it is simply a kick in the ass. a movement from being to doing. and yet, all of my action comes from a deeply grounded place within me. it feels like a balanced word. a balance from the power that i can draw from the well of my soul, that thrusts me forward. it’s a word that reminds me that there are things to do and a life to live and it’s time to make shit happen. no holding back. i am fearless. powerful. ready. disciplined. that right… i’m empowered.”

in many ways, i have been embracing + living out my word. but, in many ways, i also have much, much more to do.

however, when i slow down just enough to really think about it… though i may not have burst on the scene of 2015 with guns blazing, like i thought i would. and, even if it has taken me some time to “find myself” again, now that i am back in sweden. i realize that it needed to take me a while to settle in.

but, here’s the critical part: in all of those processes over the past 6 months, i have found myself now at a crossroads, a jumping off point. it’s as if i can just now see that the first 6 months were the groundwork i needed to do in order to launch into my active cycle of empowerment for the second part of the year. i’ve been building the power within, and now it’s time for it all to burst out and push me forward.


thursday’s sunset

it’s time to fly, baby!

and you know what? it really is time for us to fly. that’s what the summer solstice is all about. what we’ve been holding close to our hearts for the past six months is aching to be released into the here and now. the energy has been building, and today, when the sun is high + the day is long + the light is oh so bright, today, is the culmination and gathering of all of that energy.


friday’s sunset: midsummer’s eve in sweden (not take at my apartment. we are at a party)

the word solstice means the standing of the sun and it is also time for us to stop, be still, listen to our inner voice, remember past promises to ourselves and make preparations for the road ahead. on the solstice we have the luxury of being still and gathering all of that energy. at the winter solstice, we cast our dreams out into the universe, inspired by the magic of the winter darkness. since then everything has been on its journey outward towards manifestation, the journey towards light. with the summer solstice the process of everything turning inward begins once more. now is when our intentions are set to propel us towards our dreams.

today, during the summer solstice, we are at our brightest, most filled with magic and light and energy. as i read somewhere else, “the soil of our soul is ripe for manifesting”. now is the time, friends to live with our true purpose. to embrace fully our own true path.

we are filled with energy, excitement, expectation, and positivity. if we don’t quite feel that way today, the feeling will come. everything in the universe is conspiring with us to help us follow our bliss. right now, as if the light + power of midsummer were not enough, the moon is becoming is increasing in size, towards its next full moon.


saturday’s sunset

the bottom line, friends, it’s time for some freaking awesome action.

have you had a change on your mind lately? has your soul been whispering to you of your dreams? this is it. this is the time to begin to act on it all. have courage. believe. trust. and leap into the great, unbelievable unknown.

we are all bursting at the seams in one way or another… it’s all of that energy that’s been building up since the winter solstice. it is ready to be released. you are ready. i am ready. today is the day that we start marching forward into making our dreams into a reality. we really can start to live our bliss. it’s time to break free from all of our fears and struggles and embrace that freedom that is calling our name. nothing is impossible. anything is possible. the life that we have been created to live is right there in front of us…

summer-solstice-sunset-sweden-2sunday’s sunset: the summer solstice!

so, accept + celebrate the journey that you are on. take some time today to reflect now where you have been since the winter’s solstice. and set your intentions for where you want to go.

by all means get outside if you can. bask in the sunlight, enjoy the long day. let that energy rush through you, preparing you for the next part of your journey.

i, personally, just went outside to take the above photo, and sat on a bench for about 10 minutes, just breathing in the air. a stranger walked by me and went into my building, greeting me with an infection, joyful “hello!” – not a super common thing, for swedes to just randomly stalk to strangers. but, with the sunset + his hello + all of this energy, i just felt as if i was overwhelmed with joy + excitement in the simplicity of the beauty of the moment.

go and celebrate this solstice, my friends, knowing that who you are + where you are, are perfectly aligned, with the universe. everything is set. we’ve been journeying to this moment since december (and since our whole lives). the light has filled us and we are bursting with anticipation. it’s time to claim the life that we want to live. to claim our own unique purpose in life.

and to shine like the sun.

a blessed solstice to you all!

onwards + upwards! xo

all of the sunset photos are taken by me this week as we journeyed toward the summer solstice today. i wanted to record the late sunsets that we enjoy here in sweden, where the sun does not set until about 11pm. the light has most definitely affected me and energized me. magic + love! woo hoo!

A Prayer to the Sun

The sun is high above us
shining down upon the land and sea,
making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun,
we honor you this day
and thank you for your gifts.
Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,
you are known by many names.
You are the light over the crops,
the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal,
the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and we honor you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
into the darkness.

prayer from here.

ten on ten :: june 2015

another month is gone, and we are practically halfway through 2015. that blows my freaking mind. it’s gonna be great to have this little chronicle of one day of regular life from every month, so i can look back + see how things have (or have not) changed. hopefully, it’s fun for you, too, to see little snippets of my life.

my ten on ten for june just happened to fall on one of the first beautiful spring days we’ve had this year. yes, spring + early summer are just arriving here in sweden, which is not completely normal.

but, yesterday was great. so i was outside quite a bit. but, other than that, it was a really regular kind of day. those are good + exciting as well, you know. how great it is when we start to see the extraordinary even in the ordinary?! something i really, really try to do.

anyway, here’s my day. in 10 shots!

breakfast: swedish yogurt is to die for


a little meditation time on the floor: my pillow time
i didn’t mean to, but suddenly i found myself organizing the clothes in my closet. random burst of cleaning, i guess.closet-organize
time to work! emails, applications, conversations, planning, job-hunting, blogging, etc. and a cat, of
coffee break!coffee-me
time to leave + head downtown to meet my love. and i didn’t need socks!!
fresh juices with my love in the sun + by the river
a little window shopping: found a perfume that i want badly. it would be my summer scent. but, i didn’t buy it. maybe later… hehe.
back home with a beer in the sunshine in our apartment’s little backyardbeer-backyard-sunshine
11 pm and the sun is setting.  so beautiful. so peaceful.sunset-uppsala

i really hope that your week is going well… wishing you lots of extraordinary ordinary moments! it’s almost weekend, lovelies!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

week twenty two | asheville vibes, pubs, and friends

happy monday, friends! i hope your last week of may was a good one. if i am honest with you, mine was very mixed. there were a few things that were super tough and challenging, and then there were some moments that were just completely beautiful and life-fullfing.

but, i suppose that that’s exactly how life is, isn’t it?

i mean, we all have our own struggles and battles and issues. we all have those things that keep us awake at night or stress us out or frighten us tremendously.

but, that’s why i want to do these monday wrap-up posts on mondays: i want to remind myself that not ever moment is a tough moment. it is so important to live with gratitude, to live in the present moment, and to  tap into the power that we have within us. for, if we simply dwell in the uncertainty + pain, then our lives will be eaten up by our worries and fears. life will flash by us and before we know it, we will realize that we have missed out.

so, in an effort to live a mindful, authentic life, i choose to let myself feel the joy and happiness and peace that pops up unexpectedly every single day. i truly believe that in in the midst of those bad days, there are moments that bring a smile to our face or give us a sense of calm. i choose to live in the present moment so that i don’t miss those moments, and so that i don’t get caught up only in the struggles of the past or the worries of the future.

life is here + now. and those tough times feel so much more bearable when we slow down enough to simply breathe + observe + be aware.


last week, my love + i had the joy of having some visitors come to stay with us. and we loooove hosting people in our home.

our first guest was a “friend”… from asheville! i put the word friend in ” ” because we had never actually met her before, but had mutual acquaintances. and, since we are americans, we think it’s totally normal to meet up + stay with each other, even if we’ve never met before.

cynbone arrived on wednesday with the train – she is visiting sweden for 3 months (and maybe longer, who knows?!)) and wanted to stop by to visit for a few days on her way up north to explore more of the country. she stayed with us until saturday and we had the best time! we did a tiny bit of touring uppsala, visited pubs, drank beer, explored the grocery store (she loves to cook!), made dinners together, had long + deep conversations, watched netflix, sang abba songs… and became real friends.

plus she spilled all of her asheville vibes all over our apartment, so that feels amazing. it really did feel so cool to have an american, a fellow north carolina girl, here with us.


guests-home-bed train-station-uppsala asheville-friends late-nights-sunset-sweden cynthia-hugos-cafe-uppsala favorite-things-book-candle cathedral-uppsala cathedral-uppsala-inside food-truck-uppsala market-food singing-my-love-me-abba tacos me-cynthia-asheville-uppsala uppsala-sunset-late


and then, on saturday when cybone left, another friend came! this friend, from the city where we used to live in sweden, is someone who has become very important in my life + even more so in my love’s life. she’s just got an amazing energy and vibe, and we always laugh constantly.

she was only in town for 24 hours, and it rained pretty much the whole time, so we had lots of cozy moments at home. though, we did brave the wind and rain and cold by hailing a cab to take us to dinner at what lina and i have now decided is our favorite pub, churchill arms.

it was a quick little visit together, but oh so powerful.

belgian-saison-beer cozy-dinner-friends-uppsala-pub beer-churchill-arms-saison irish-coffee moon


so, today, we begin a new week + a new month! this week is going to be super exciting in our world. we are continuing our hospitality on wednesday when our dear, dear friend from ireland (who’s swiss) arrives to stay with us through the weekend! we haven’t seen each other in a little over 2 years, which is way too long. it is going to be amazing to catch up with each other, and have some quality time together. unfortunately her husband couldn’t make it, so i guess that means that lina and i need to plan a trip to ireland pretty soon. wink wink.

she’s here not only to visit with us, but the main reason is because lina’s brother is getting married on saturday!!

so, we’ve got tons of wedding stuff happening this week in preparation for the big day on saturday. lina and i have the wonderful honor of being the toast madams for the reception/dinner/party, which means that we are basically the program leaders/emcees/hosts… we organize the program, entertain a little, and are the general knowers of all that’s going on, so jonas and magda can just sit back and enjoy their day.

it’s gonna be epic!

here’s to wishing you a beautiful first week of june, lovelies! and whenever you feel overwhelmed + confused, just remember to breathe deep. ground yourself, and seek out the beauty of the present moment.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

let the holiday season begin!

it’s official. the turkey has been eaten. the food coma has been cured. and the official holiday season has begun. the happy girl christmas dance has commenced! as i type this, christmas music is finally filling my ears and i’m snacking on leftover turkey biscuits. aaaand i think we are considering getting ourselves out in the middle of all of the shopping craziness – not necessarily to shop, but to just experience it. lina has never done the  black friday thing before, so it’s only right that we do it up a little. hehe.

but, before we get into all the craziness, i thought i’d share with you a few snapshots from our thanksgiving yesterday. i am sooooo thankful to have been here in the states this year, though serving thanksgiving in sweden to different swedes for the past 3 years was an amazing experience. still, it was good to get a little traditional american turkey day stuff on.  in fact, i got all overwhelmed and emotional at one point, actually. if you are american and celebrated thanksgiving, i hope that you had a beautiful day, wherever you are! and to all of you… happy holidays. the time has arrived!

this is how i roll when i’m preparing thanksgiving dinner… wine & messiness.


it’s thanksgiving morning!!


A beautiful thanksgiving sunrise! (the storms have all passed. whew.)


perusing the black friday ads while drinking morning coffee…


the table is all set. so hard to wait for the food…. I’m hungry!


lina’s first time putting the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. and it was perfect!


f i n a l l y!  mmm…


and the day is done… a beautiful sunset after an absolutely wonderful thanksgiving day full of food & fun.


i’m so unbelievably thankful for so very much. xx

wishing you peace & love.

the makings of a perfect weekend.


“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” – Ernst Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.

thanks to melly for posting this quote on instagram today. i totally stole it from her.

enjoy your weekend, friends! peace & love.