celebrating summer

atlantic-beach

this weekend is the first day of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere. *doing a little happy dance* the longest day of the year is upon us – a day filled with light (and hopefully sunshine!). a day where we celebrate the joy of the warmth, glow, and life that the sun brings us. it’s the kick-off of the season of relaxation, joy, free-spiritedness, laziness, and slowing down. i love this season, and everything that goes with it – especially the chance to be outside and enjoy moment after moment with friends and family. we throw caution to the wind, act just a little bit crazier and bolder, and remember the importance to balance our lives. for just a little while, we may set aside our schedules and routines to participate in the act of just being and living.

almost all of the past 4 or 5 years i have spent in sweden during the summer soltise, otherwise known as midsummer. i’ve spent the day celebrating a traditional midsummer celebration with traditional midsummer activities filling our day, such as gathering flowers, making crowns from those flowers, dancing and singing around the midsummer pole, eating strawberries, and staying up as late as the sun = practically all night because the sun doesn’t really set before it begins to rise again.

i’m going to miss those celebrations this year. but, we will be celebrating in the best american way that i know possible – for this first weekend of summer, my family (most of us) will gather at atlantic beach for our annual reynolds family beach week! it’s a crazy, hilarious, relaxing week filled with sun, sand, and surf. all we do is eat, drink, swim, chat, sit, sip, and laugh – a lot. so, if i can’t be in sweden celebrating midsummer, then arriving at the beach to celebrate and begin our 30th year of the reynolds family beach week is exactly how i want to spend the weekend.

in honor of the sun, at some point in the next few days, i will turn my face toward the big, golden ball in the sky and offer up my own prayers of praise and thanksgiving. i will soak up all of that energy and light, and harness it, using it to continue to work to make my dreams come true. on the first day of summer i will pause to reflect on the beauty and amazingness that the light brings to our life. and i will laugh, and dance, and love.

my summer gift to you is this little collection of photos from my american & swedish summers past, and a few favorite summer quotes to go along. slow down, read them, and receive these summer vibes – from me to you!

lina ocean

singing

my love on a bike

“I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl,
From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl,
I’d love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl,
But I’m never warm enough for my lovely summer girl,
It’s summer when she smiles, I’m laughing like a child,
It’s the summer of our lives; we’ll contain it for a while
She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand
I’d be happy with this summer if it’s all we ever had.”
― Maggie StiefvaterShiver

archipelago

sunbathingview

ego me tree hugger

“summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. for those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. you can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out.”
― Deb CalettiHoney, Baby, Sweetheart

relaxing washington square park

breakfast

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life

stuga

“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

flowers summer

ocean

“Sweet, sweet burn of sun and summer wind, and you my friend, my new fun thing, my summer fling.”
― k.d. lang

wedge beer outside summer

chairs

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
― John KeatsBright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

midsummer pole dance

beach family

“Summer afternoon – to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

rooftop empire NYC

central park nyc

“New York is strange in the summer. Life goes on as usual but it’s not, it’s like everyone is just pretending, as if everyone has been cast as the star in a movie about their life, so they’re one step removed from it. And then in September it all gets normal again.”
― Peter CameronSomeday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

happy summer! soak it up! xx

goodbye, weekly sensory overload.

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well, folks. i think it’s time to retire the ole sensory overload title. i’m not retiring the category, though. so, you can always click on the tab at the top of the page that says “sensory overload” and be taken to all posts where i share how life makes my senses go crazy.

you see, i feel that i have gotten into some kind of a rut with my blog by having specific things to post on specific days. that’s not what this blog is all about – and to try to fit a circle into a square hole just doesn’t work. this blog is a spontaneous, whatever inspires me in the moment, daily life blog. like a journal. so, i am not setting any specific days for anything – expect for wednesdays, but wednesdays of wisdom will continue throughout my dalai lama series. at the end of that series in june, i will reevaluate that as well.

so, to sum up, i’m going back to posting whenever and wherever i feel like it! and that feels amazing. i know that people say that bloggers should have a blogging editorial calendar with stuff all planned out for about 3 months. that sounds great. i even kinda tried it. but it just does not cut it for this blog. that is for my fika blog – something that is a bit more professional and not a daily life kinda place.

anyway, i have a lot of stuff to share with you this week from the past week, so this will look like all of my previous sensory overload posts. but, after this, it’ll be all about just posting from day to day, whatever inspires me. it’ll be more like sensory overload as it happens – which, if i think about it, is even more awesome. so, posts will be more frequent, more focused, and more exciting!

here we go!

clouds pink tree green tree blue sky purple flowers feet road and spring trees green and blue gunni and spooky fika group zola cozy balcony bella and me ego sunshine legs beer morning coffee car snack balcony reading coffee sermon balcony video sermon parkway lina video us video parkway

as you can see, it was a week filled with some stunning nature, beautiful moments with people and pets, cozy and quiet moments of peace, and an opportunity for lina and i to have some contact with the church i worked at in sweden – they asked me to say a few words on their theme for sunday. so, lina prepared the camera and i drove us up on the blue ridge parkway, and we video-taped me talking (in swedish) to the congregation. they played it yesterday morning in church. it was so much fun to send it to them – though the sending part was an insane, long process! hehe.

over here in our little home, this week is gonna be a bit crazy. my love has a test today, then two days for study, then 4 finals between thursday & next tuesday. so, she’ll be out of commission for a week and a half. i’ve got some writing, job applying, my book club, and some planning to do for our NYC trip in a few weeks!

happy monday, dear readers! xx

sensory overload: easter celebrations!

orange tulip

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in our little home, we had a quiet and beautiful easter sunday. after dreary, cold rain on friday & saturday… accompanied with a bit of pensive, contemplative moments (read about it here), easter sunday truly lived up to it’s name. just like the symbolism of death and waiting that was saturday’s companion, sunday’s celebration of life, renewal, and  beauty was made even more real by amazing sunshine and warm weather. it was absolutely perfect here in asheville!

saturday night, in an effort to take part in some easter traditions, we decided to dye easter eggs – but, with a twist. i didn’t want to go and buy the typical little packaged dyes, so i decided to make my own natural, organic dyes from fruits, vegetables, and spices (thanks to pinterest). it took a little work, but it was quite easy. and it felt so good to go organic.

eggs

To prepare the dye I used the following:

  • 1 chopped beet
  • 2 C red onion skins
  • 2 C yellow onions skins
  • 2 Tbsp of paprika
  • 2 Tbsp of tumeric
  • 1 C blackberries
  1. Place each of these things into 2 C of water along with 1 tsp salt and boil for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Strain the water and place in a jar or bowl and add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to each dye.
  3. Allow them to cool before using.
  4. Of course I also needed hard boiled eggs.  I used 12, so Lina and I would each have 6 to dye.
  5. I placed all the dyes into plastic cups and we used plastic spoons to place the eggs in and out of the cups.

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It takes a while for the natural dyes to work, so be ready to be patient. I think we left ours in the dyes for about 30 minutes to an hour. It all depends on how dark you want your colors to be. And, when you take them out, they will not be perfectly evenly dyed, but splotchy and uneven – a little tie-dyed looking. But, I loved that. And I especially loved the muted, earthy colors. I left them alone overnight to dry, and was completely in love when I saw them on Easter morning!

easter eggs

easter sunday started off with a misty, mysterious mountain fog , which soon burned off and revealed a glorious day of warmth and abundant sunshine.

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speaking of easter sunday morning, we had so much fun! lina has never received an american easter basket, so, the easter bunny made an extra special stop at our home to surprise her.

i was sleeping hard, when suddenly, i heard, “i see something!” and there, on the dining room table, was an easter basket for lina! she jumped out of bed and ran over to her basket. there was complete and unadulterated joy coming from her squeals and excitement – an amazing and beautiful thing to see. she sat down and went through her basket, loving every minute of it. and i was filled with such joy just watching her. then, it was time for lina to find the eggs, which had been hidden around the apartment by the easter bunny. so. much. fun.

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after all the early morning festivities, it was time for coffee on the balcony… and a little later on, a french toast breakfast in the sun.

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even though my love has a lot to study right now (she only has 2 weeks left and then her summer vacation starts!), we decided to head over to biltmore estate to check out the flowers. there is a huge garden there that is filled with tulips, and it is a favorite spring destination for people from all over. actually, it’s a pretty huge deal, and very magical – biltmore estate in the spring.

so, we drove the 5 minutes over there and discovered that the line to get in was waaaaay long. it’s a 3 mile drive up to the house & gardens, through the biltmore land/grounds, and it was bumper to bumper the whole way. but, it was so beautiful that we just rolled down the windows, turned on bluegrass music, and then enjoyed the ride.

biltmore estate entrance spring

we passed right by the house and headed for the gardens, parked the car, and then soaked up the beauty.

biltmore estate biltmore gardens biltmore gardens mountains biltmore dogwood greenhouse conservatory my love me photography tulips red flower orange field of flowers tulip garden lina tulips liz tulips sit liz me ego flowers feet biltmore swannanoa river biltmore yellow flowers spring lone tree biltmore mountains

after the biltmore visit, we came home for the rest of the day – except i went to see my bro for an hour. and later on, finished off the day with a glass of bubbles and a sunset chat with my love.

i truly hope that your easter, your weekend, was beautiful and filled with lots of moments that took your breath away.

love & peace. 

credit to lina for some of the biltmore photos.