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Washington, DC + snow!! Another little photo sneak peek!

Yesterday I woke up, looked out my hotel window, and saw lots of snow! It was absolutely beautiful and I just knew that it would be a magical day of touring the city. And… it totally was. From the Air + Space museum to the Washington Mall to the National Cathedral and Georgetown, everything was so lovely and perfect. Have I said that I love this city?!

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Not to worry… there are so many more photos from my Nikon to come in a few days. Until then, Happy Hump Day my friends!

Onwards + Upwards! xoxo

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together for christmas: an american xmas day

when you have two countries represented in your marriage, then you have the joy of living with two cultures. lina + i absolutely love having the opportunity to celebrate holidays by combining our two traditions: american + swedish. this year, as many of your know, we are celebrating the christmas holidays with a little extra excitement because we have all four of our parents gathered in the same place, and actually even under the same roof for christmas eve + christmas day!

yesterday i shared with you our swedish celebrations of christmas eve (you can read that post –> here). today, we continue our christmas day celebration, complete with the american tradition of waking to presents + a cozy, lazy christmas morning + more yummy food.

our american christmas day

good morning from the mountains!

christmas-sunrisesanta came!!

christmas-morning-giftslet the fun unwrapping + gift-giving begin!!
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and now… time to explore the gifts, play with the gifts, and make some breakfast (thanks, mom!)christmas-linachristmas-guys

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dressed + ready to prepare lunch: my mom, brother, and me worked together to get everything ready!christmas-me

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the american christmas day meal is set (it’s a lot like thanksgiving food in my family – because we love it so much. hehe. | sweet potatoes with marshmallows, corn pudding, green bean casserole, two kinds of stuffing, turkey, ham, rolls, two kinds of cranberry sauce. | a super souther meal, i’d say. christmas-dinner-2

after stuffing ourselves full, we pulled out computers (yep. we are that family) and looked at houses for sale in ohio (where my brother is moving to in february) and uppsala, sweden (where we are moving to in january). we are weird, but we had fun!christmas-familychristmas-my-love-and-meas the sun began to set we said goodbye to my brother (who left just before us) and my parents, thanking them for such a cozy and wonderful christmas day celebration. christmas-evening

christmas-night

 after a 30 minute drive back home, we were nestled in our apartment. lina and her parents in the living room, chatting and relaxing. me, snuggled under the covers in the bedroom. then it hit me. christmas is over and it’s now time to look forward. a great sadness fell over me, knowing that i am moving from these mountains and my family. the close of the day found me focusing on the goodbyes that loom in my near future. and yet, at the same time, snuggled in my bed, i also felt such great, wonderful gratitude for this holiday season. and it is only because of this great gratitude and love that i feel such pain in my heart as well.

it has truly been an incredible, amazing, time. my heart is full. my cup is overflowing with abundance + love. the beauty of this season has shone bright. and i am counting my blessings over + over again… as i fall asleep feeling loved and grateful. i could not have wished for anything more.

my wish is that your holiday time has been exactly what you have wanted + needed, that you have felt moments of peace + joy in the midst of this season.

gone too soon, now it’s over
the season’s down to a smolder
i hold to the warmth of december
till next year’s flame
till christmas, christmas,
christmas day.
- johnnyswim

light + love to you all. xoxo

gatherings

the best thing about thanksgiving (besides the food – nothing can care to the food!) is gathering together. it’s such a simple concept. just get together and enjoy. but, i love the word, gather. it sounds so cozy. and it sounds so much more gratitude-filled that simply getting together. to gather takes time and intention and awareness. so, a holiday that has gathering at the heart of its purpose (and nothing else involving consumerism and competition and money) is most definitely a holiday for me.

this is exactly how i see thanksgiving. a chance to intentionally gather and simply be with people. it’s about stopping for one little day to really give thanks for the simple things that make life so sweet: food, shelter, family, friends, conversation, laughter. and, for me, i have so blessed as to have each one of these simple things in my life.

my fika group gathering the day before thanksgiving. what an amazing set of eclectic, unique people.

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gathering at home with my love + our friend… i cooked and baked thanksgiving food, and they roasted marshmallows. hehe.thanksgiving prep

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thanksgiving day was spent at my parents’ house at lake junaluska. it was a snowy, cozy, lovely day. ♥tg11

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i am so thankful for the life that i live. for the people + places + gatherings that i have the opportunity to experience. now, it’s time to turn our sights to the holiday season – and all that comes with it. i wish each of you a peaceful, meaningful, and beautiful holiday. and, i invite you to join me on mediation mondays each week from now until the new year… as we gather together to celebrate, to say goodbye to 2014, and to set our dreams + intentions for 2015.

light + love xx

 

hank bought a bus

now that i’m living in the usa again, i’m all about road trips. and camping. and the wild west. you know, embracing life by living it simply. i’ve been lucky enough to visit the western part of the states a few times, so i already know what’s out there… to a degree. i’ve sampled the west, you could say. i’ve actually driven to california twice – my honeymoon with lina was a cross-country trip!- and once to wyoming. of course, we stopped every place we could all along the way. i was yearning to see it all. and i still am. i want to see more.

don’t get me wrong, i truly love being an east coast girl. i love north carolina and the south, and i love the northeast too. but, the west, with those prairies and deserts and rugged mountains… oh, they take my breath away and make me feel like i am connected with something very wild and ancient and powerful.

so, i’m dreaming about when i get to head that way again. lina and I both are. we don’t have any plans yet, but we will at some point. however, more than just a quick trip out west, we’d love to take an extended trip one day and travel around the entire country for a year. that has always been a dream of ours, and who knows? one day it just may be something that lina and i do. get an rv. and live the simple life. meeting people all along the way for a whole year. writing and photographing and chronicling the entire journey. what a dream!

the other day, i ran across a guy who has done just that – well sort of. he wanted to take his master’s project for architecture school to a more practical level. so, he decided to find an old school bus and turn it into his home on wheels, a place that was comfortable, functional, and flexible. the finished product is amazing! and, then, it was time to travel!

so he and a friend headed out on a month long journey to live on the bus that he turned into a home, inspired by tiny house movement.

to read more about hank’s bus and his trip out west, check out his blog here. in the meantime, look at these amazing photos that he took (from his blog). they will inspire you, i promise.

900x313x130804_064242_JE_28102.jpg.pagespeed.ic.UrLlbUyMXk A view of the bus from near the back. bustour03.gif.pagespeed.ce.FAzPELYl8W Justin doing some photo editing on the road. Watching the kids play on the bus. 130731_202046_je_2650 Relaxing on the roof. Hank and Vince taking in the stunning coast of California. 130816_153554_je_3483 Hank and Ethan marvel at the sunset heading into Yosemite. 130823_165301_je_4124 The bus resting for the night in the Eastern Sierra Mountains. Ethan, Hank and Sam on top of the bus at dusk.

now, let me ask you this: do we really need so much space in which to live? can’t we simplify? and wouldn’t it be amazing to spend time traveling and exploring and adventuring and growing and learning and taking in all that is around us? wouldn’t it be amazing to live the life that we dream of living?

so why don’t we just do it?! why not? we’ve only got one life, you know. let’s fill our days, even our present days, with the things (and i don’t mean material things) and people and moments that we love.

peace & love. xx

disney world: incredible, imaginative epcot!

day two of our week-long disney world party continued at the amazing world of epcot – a place of imagination, science, techology, and international flair. and let me tell you, we soaked it all in. every single stink in’ bit. it was a beautiful day to explore, ride rides, and visit all the countries, but when the sun went down it turned windy & cooooold, so we enjoyed a three course dinner in paris (hee hee) at a fabulous french restaurant and watched the fireworks from there. well, just check it all out!

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did you know that there is a ride in the big epcot ball? yep. it’s called spaceship earth & it’s freaking awesome.

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we grabbed breakfast after a few rides and some starbucks coffee to warm us up. like i said, it was beautiful, but it was cold.IMG_7733

after some space and dinosaur stuff, it was time for the land area… and an amazing ride called soarin’ and then some more sun worship.
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time for the countries!! they are all situated around a lake, so we planned to start on the left and walk all the way around. each country had authentic architecture and natives working in their stores/restaurants. it’s like taking a mini trip around the world. sooooo cool.DSC_0477 DSC_0482

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BEGINNING WITH MEXICO…

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norway ( a little scandinavian treat for us!)DSC_0499

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our amazing dinner at the french restaurant ended with creme brulee, chocolate mousse, & fireworks.
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what a great, amazing experience!DSC_0532

as much as i have loved epcot and magic kingdom, i cannot choose a favorite between the two… and there are two more parks to go! all of them are so individually fantastic and inspiring. stay tuned till tomorrow, when i explore hollywood studios!

peace and love. xx