// week thirty nine // the one where liz turns 41

hello, friends! happy monday! did you get to see the moon last night?! did you feel the magic and gaze at it in awe? i’m always taken aback when i see the night sky – on any given night, it feels like. it just feels like i am part of something so big, so amazing, so important. and i am. and so are you.

but, this post isn’t about the moon (you can read more about my love for last night’s moon here). today’s post is about last week. and last week, i celebrated my 41st birthday! oh, and i mean that i c-e-l-e-brated. i am totally a lover of birthdays. and, in my experience it only gets better + better. sure, it freaks me out how fast life moves, how quickly the years fly by. but, so far, the fact that i am getting older doesn’t mean squat to me. and,so far, 41 feels pretty damn good.

my birthday was on thursday, and i’ve been off from work since then. so, i only worked 3 days last week. my last three days of training. starting this week, i have my very first shift alone! and i’m closing, so that means i have to count money and crazy stuff like that. but, i’ll kick ass. i’ve been trained well, and i feel pretty confident. cuz, i looooove my little job.

work computers

this is me. editing + developing old photos from negatives. so fun.

anyway, since thursday was my birthday, my boss + friend gave me the day off. and the day after (just in case i needed it, you know). turns out i did.

i woke thursday morning to my love getting up to prepare my birthday breakfast. it’s a tradition we have in our family. to prepare coffee + breakfast + presents for the birthday girl. and then deliver it all to her in bed, while singing “happy birthday”. love our tradition!breakfast in bed birthday

photo by lina

photo by lina

photo by lina

photo by lina

it was a slow morning of sipping coffee, opening gifts, relaxing in the living room with my love, doing girly things like painting my nails + coloring my hair (time to go dark again for the autumn + winter), and napping. i also did some face-timing with a friend and my parents.

photo by lina

photo by lina

later in the afternoon, my love told me that we had plans and were going out. but, she didn’t tell me anything else. i love that! so, we got ready and then headed out in the coziest, foggy, chilly autumn weather.
coat me birthday

photo by lina

photo by lina

the first stop was an irish bar for beer and fries. i mean, seriously, does my wife know me or what?! no birthday of mine would be complete without beer + fries. YUM.me beer

after about 2 lazy hours of chatting + just being together at the pub, lina told me that we had to go. so, we walked out and across the street and i realized then that we were headed to a new wine bar that had opened up. we passed it a few weekends ago, and i felt a major connection to it, almost as if it was drawing me in. but, we didn’t go then. so my amazing wife made a reservation for us on my birthday night. woo hoo!

when we walked in, lina’s cousin + her boyfriend were sitting at a table ready to hug me + greet us! and then our dear friend (like a brother to us both)  micke, and my brotherr-in-law + his wife, also all came in! so fun! a cozy family gathering at the new wine bar i’d been dying to visit. perfect.

photo by lina

photo by lina

it was a small, dark, industrial-designed place. the perfect spot that we all decided we should visit after a day of christmas shopping, when there is snow on the ground outside. sooooo cozy. we sat and talked and drank wine and ate little appetizer dishes for about three hours together. and the whole time i was filled with an immense amount of gratitude + joy.

wine bar family birthday wine me birthday

it was a very calm, cozy, simple birthday. and it felt like it as absolutely perfect. a day to just be me. and to be surrounded by love.

it felt like a very intentional, slow living, mindful kind of celebration. and with all of the changes that have been going on in my life and with my little family, this was exactly what i wanted. what i needed. a day to connect and be. i didn’t reflect much. i didn’t ponder the past or think to the future. i just lived, aware + awake,  in the moments of the day.

me 41 birthday

and here i am, ready to step out + forward. ready to see what adventures + opportunities + challenges face me as i begin my 42nd journey around the sun. there is much going on, and some very big are starting right now. this week. today, my love begins her day treatment program. in my gut, i know that this will be good. but, i know that it will be such a huge fight for her. she is taking back control, and the journey back will test her, i know. and i just want to support her as best i can.

as for me, on friday, i leave for my first life coach certification training weekend. this is a huge step for me. and it feels oh so right. but, the timing is crazy, and i will miss being with my love. yet, i know with all of my soul that this is something that i am supposed to do. this is the step that i am supposed to take.

yes, this week, my love and i are both moving forward. separately, on our own journeys. and yet together. because that’s how we roll. and i am so grateful and blessed to call lina my wife, my partner, my best friend.

with all of this love, and the love of family + friends, both near + far, what more could a girl ask for?

wishing you a beautiful week ahead, dear readers!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

sensory overload. part 12.

ok. i confess. this past week was a lot of fun because all i did, it seems, is eat and drink with people i love. and that makes for a happy girl. there is nothing like good food, good drinks, and breaking bread together with some of the important people in your life. to me, besides traveling and writing, enjoying a meal with people is the most amazing thing, the best way to live life to the fullest. so, this past week, i just about maxed out on living life!

st. patty’s day celebrations with my love! gaelic beer and irish dancers!


tuesday afternoon: i went to class with lina! physics is crazy. and i’m glad i’m not in college.


tuesday night: ok. this is a crazy story… i was planning on eating dinner with my brother. lina stayed home because she had to study. i parked my car in the restaurant’s parking lot, and got out. this gorgeous tree that was just beginning to bloom was right there, so, of course, i decided to take a picture of it, just as i was snapping it, a female voice from behind me said, “what are you taking a picture of?” i thought, “how nice that someone random is speaking to me.” and then i turned around…IMG_0276

it was freaking paige!! (my dear, amazing friend from for the love of wanderlust!!). i was so shocked, that i APPARENTLY looked angry and confused. i almost had a heart attack. she was planning on coming back to asheville for her third trip since january, but she told me she was coming on thursday! and this was tuesday! well, needless to say, i was very happily surprised that she tricked us and arrived early.

we immediately called lina via facetime and she just yelled, “what?!” no more studying for her. hehe. we piled in the cars and headed home to pick her up. so much fun! now paige was going to be with us for practically a whole week! IMG_0279

wednesday: fika group day!! paige and i met with my fika group at izzy’s coffee den downtown for a few hours of great conversation and a yummy soy chai latte. IMG_0305

wednesday afternoon: the three of us girls piled on the couch, pulled out our macs, and blogged & studied. super cozy afternoon.IMG_0314

wednesday night: dinner at the yummy avenue m in north asheville. and lucky us, it was half-price wine bottle night. and yes, we did partake!IMG_0332

thursday: spent almost 5 hours at a cozy cafe with paige, and we blogged and chatted the whole time. the rest of the day was a cozy AFTERNOON and evening at home.


friday: another blogging/writing date with paige. this time at world coffee cafe (i’m trying to show her as much of asheville as possible. and since i’m the coffee/cafe queen…. ). we had delicious snacks and tried to focus. hehe.

IMG_0411 IMG_0425

friday afternoon: after picking up lina from UNCA, we decided it was time to celebrate the weekend. so, it was a girls afternoon at wicked weed with some crazy, amazing beer. i had mango jalepeno and it was sooooo good.IMG_0433

girls afternoon turned into a fun walk through downtown, a quick stop at urban outfitters, and then cocktails at a fabulous third floor/rooftop bar. IMG_0441

saturday morning: i had my first morning coffee of 2014 out on the balcony. love it!IMG_0465

saturday afternoon: slipped on my converse and headed out to do some work on an article i’m working on for the newspaper. an interview and a photo shoot in downtown & west asheville. so much fun!IMG_0471 IMG_0487

saturday night: dinner out again with lina, paige, & nick (my bro). and after dinner, we headed to the bywater – a bar besdie the french broad river – for beer & bluegrass. a super relaxing & fun night.IMG_0518

sunday: it turned cold out & rained almost all day. so i snuggled under a blanket and read. perfection.IMG_0533

i told you that we ate and drank and enjoyed each others’ company all week. it was so great and i am vrey thankful for the past few days. what a gift!


 now, a new week is upon us and it’s time to get down to business. my love has got some major tests this week. i’ve got a few deadlines, a book club meeting, my fika group, and a job interview. plus, my parents are coming for a few days. so, i’ve gotta get my productive hat on and focus, focus, focus!

wishing you a fantastic last week of march! 

love & peace. xx

six senses sunday.

it’s sunday night and before i tuck myself in, i thought i’d reflect on the past week with a little six senses sunday. it’s where i take some photos from the week and share how those moments awakened my senses. i suppose it’s a way for me to try to appreciate the present moment and a creative way to do an “i’m grateful for…” list. there is a lot for which i am thankful. and every day presents at least one moment that touches me.

when i think about it, there is actually a lot of stuff going on in my life right now. both good and not so good, or rather, challenging. and when i stop and think back on the past, oh i don’t know, 5 months, i realize that much of it’s not been easy. and the past 2 months have been really weird and tough in some ways. and yet, i have so much hope. i am still so thankful for where i/we am right now, for the life that i have. i realize and accept that everything that is swirling about me is all part of the process. it’s all part of my life. because it is life. and it is beautiful. and light comes from the darkness. i know that even as i walk through the dark times, hands in front of me, groping for anything that will help guide me. there is always a little sliver of light off in the distance. and that makes all the difference.

there are some amazing things going on too, right now. for one, i keep falling in love with my wife over and over again. every day. that woman is amazing. she is my inspiration. a fighter, a lover, and a chaser of life. i cannot even begin to express the respect and admiration i have for her. she is my world. and even though we’re not together all the time right now, the moments and times that we have, i cherish.

and also this: back in january, when we were visiting my family and asheville, we visited an apartment complex and took a tour of an apartment. we loved it. like, totally, man. so, i emailed them as soon as we were back in sweden to tell them we were interested. weeeellll, last week we got a phone call from them that one of the apartments we are interested in will be available in july (and we’re moving in july!). did we want it?! oh yeah. so, we began the process of emailing, scanning papers, printing out papers, filling in applications, copying financial info, etc. it has been crazy trying to complete everything, but we qualify for the apartment & are now waiting for the screening process to be done (background checks, etc.). hopefully we will hear something this coming week and the apartment will be officially ours!! soooo exciting! needless to say, we are now obessed with gathering inspiration and such on pinterest. please wish us luck!

anyway, on with my six senses sunday!

industrial landscape fair trade bling trees mocha frappe daydreaming blueberry french toast pink tree zola reading river wine!taste: blueberry french toast on saturday morning. a most delicious mocha frappe i grabbed on my way home from work one afternoon.

touch: the warm sun on my face. the bare pavement as i go shoeless! the freezing cold frappe in my hands.

feel: peace & relaxation as i read the wisdom lao tzu. happiness during a glass of afternoon wine while i prepare dinner.

see: my part of the world bursting with my favorite shade of green everywhere. the threes, the sun, the river, the sky. norrköping is lovely right now.

hear: the sweet meows and conversation with our adorable kitty, zola. the hustle and bustle of people coming out of hibernation & sitting in cafes & parks.

smell: the blooms on the pink tree. so fragrant and fresh.

so, my friends, what has perked up your sense lately? anything? do tell!

peace & love.

celebrating life… the nordic spring way.

there are only two more days in april (craaaaazy!), and i’m working on a photo journey for may as i write this. yep. i am multi-tasking. i don’t think i’ll finish may’s challenge tonight, so you’ll have to wait until tuesday for the big reveal! anyway, as we come to a close on our month of celebrating life, here’s a peek at what i’ve been celebrating this past week…

22. mother nature

mother nature

23. soil


24. jump


25. play


26. twirl


27. walk


28. heartbeat


how have you celebrated life? have you had any moments that reminded you how amazing life can be?!

a few bonus photos. yay!

cappachino birdie tulips blt tree wine spring concert

spring is finally, s l o o o o w l y making it’s appearance here in sweden and all swedes are getting a little spring crazy now. no matter where you go, people are talking about the weather. if the sun is shining, then it’s a spring day, nevermind that the temperature is just above freezing or the wind is blowing like crazy. nope. it’s all about the sun, which is already warming up a bunch. though the air is still chilly.

and the daylight!!! oh, the beautiful daylight! it is not completely dark until 9:30 now, and we’ve got so much more daylight coming to us. yay!!

this coming week is a big one for us up here in the nordic country. it’s time to celebrate the coming of spring with bonfires, spring songs, sunshine, picnics, grilling, and bonfires. my love & i may be heading to uppsala to visit lina’s brother for a huge traditional, whole city, crazy celebration. but, no matter where i am, it will not go unnoticed that april 30th is the super crazy celebration of the coming of spring! it is the official welcome of the season! and then, we all have the next day (may 1st) off to recover from the celebration. yep. that’s how we roll up here.

here’s to wishing you a great end of april and beginning of may. i hope the sun shines some wherever you are! peace.

six senses monday.

hello, monday. hello, friends. you know, when mondays are your day off, it doesn’t feel like such a bad day. on the other hand, when you are going to work at 5pm on a friday night and everyone else is getting off, ready to begin their weekend, then it doesn’t feel so good. that’s the trade off, i guess. but, today hasn’t been friday. it’s been monday. so, i’ve been off. and boy do i love that!

i’m not sure i accomplished much today, but we had a pretty good meeting with lina’s doctor. and then later on, my love registered for her classes in the fall! i made some contact with a person launching a new blog on asheville, and it looks like  i may be finding myself some freelance work as a contributor. eeeek! so cool. all in all, i guess there have been some pretty productive moments.

well, it’s been a while since my last six senses post, but i am ready to share with y’all what’s been happening in my world that has peaked my senses. you can share what’s peaked your senses by leaving a comment or on your own blog.

sheets knappingsborg brunch sunday me fish and chips guilty cat mr. rogers me and my love flowers at work sunshine snack wine

taste: fish & chips. one of my favorite meals. especially when eaten at a pub with a cold beer and shared with a good friend. orange juice and a bunch of yummy food at sunday brunch.

touch: the warm sun touching my skin one day last week… in the midst of all of the rainy, gray days. holding on to my love while she is resting.

hear: the cat approaches the sofa. readies her claws. and then…. begins scratching. she’s so busted. a bunch of swedish all around me since i went back to work this week.

see: FLOWERS budding in the ground!! i cannot begin to explain how that elates me. and  outside furniture at restaurants and cafes. yay!

smell: fresh, springy sheets on my bed. a cinnamon bun and coffee during a long thursday night meeting.

feel: sadness and fear last week after the boston/watertown bombings and violence. thankful for the calming words of mr. rogers… which also makes me feel nostalgic (mr. rogers is an amazing children’s television person i grew up with). peace and calm late at night on friday, with a glass of wine, and cozy on my bed- the weekend had finally begun.


a restaurant that feeds your soul.


i love spontaneity. and the best is when you have people around you who are also spontaneous. on wednesday, i put spontaneity to the test.

i had coffee in the afternoon with a friend that i’ve known for almost 3 years now. he’s from the netherlands, and we were in a swedish for immigrants class together. so, both of us were new to sweden. both of us were trying to understand how we were going to make a life here, but were also excited about the possibilities, and certain that things would work out for each of us. we were pretty much the only two “western” people in our swedish class and we’re basically the same age, so it was natural to be drawn to each other in conversation and such. though he is european and i’m american, we had way more in common with each other than with the others.

in addition to the obvious third-world similarities, we connected at a soul level as well. i found, in my new friend, someone with whom i could talk about philosophy, the meaning of life, spirituality, dreams, and goals. we are something of kindred spirits, i believe. and it felt amazing to have met someone that i considered my first friend.

while i was figuring out my place in swedish society, and having good luck with that thanks to my amazing wife, my friend was also having good luck. a man who’s been part of the restaurant business in the past, my dutch friend found himself working at a local italian restaurant. pretty soon he moved up to a management level and moved on in life. we kept in touch here & there, but not as often as i would have liked.

still, we have been able to squeeze in time for coffee, drinks. or perhaps i might just pop by the restaurant whenever there is time.

after our planned coffee meeting – an inspirational conversation, as always, i decided to ask my love if she’d like to invite one of our american friends in town to meet us at my dutch friend’s restaurant for drinks later on in the evening (did you follow all of that? hehe.). of course she wanted to! so, a quick text and a message on Facebook, and we spontaneously decided to meet at pappa grappa for drinks at 9 pm. not only were we meeting our american friend, but my dutch friend’s dutch wife (who i also count as a friend) was coming too. perfect!

as the city hall clock struck the ninth tone, my love & i opened the door to the italian restaurant where my friend is in management. his wife was waiting for us, and our american friend was waiting in the casual pizzeria area, adjacent to the cozy, dimly-lit trendy restaurant and bar. we took our seats in the bar area, on cushy burgundy sofas and ottomans. a chandelier hung over our head, and the background music was jazzy and smooth, like the place itself. it may feel upscale at pappa grappa, and it is sort of, but it’s relaxed. one knows that there is a high standard for food and service. in other words, you’re gonna be taken care of and you’re gonna feel like a vip while you’re there. still, it is a place for real people, any day or night. it’s a place for a good time, for good drinks, and a place meant to break bread with each other and engage in conversation. it’s a place meant to enjoy something good in life…. the simple things. food, wine, friends.

my friend is working hard to create a specific atmosphere at pappa grappa, and i think he is well on his way. his vision, as i understand it, is a place of elegant relaxation, where good food, good drinks, and relationships are important – for those who are patrons of the restaurant and for those who work there. and he is determined for it to have an international feeling, which is manifested through music, food, and art. he desires to grow the restaurant into a place dripping with culture and finesse. and he hopes that it is not only a place where people buy and consume food, but where people connect with each other, with the community, and with the world.

in other words, a place with soul. those are his words: “a place with soul.”

as someone who seeks peace and meaning in regular everyday life, i must admit that pappa grappa is a place that not only feeds my cravings, but also feeds my soul – through the atmosphere, the friendly and caring personnel, and the yummy, elegant, top-notch food & drinks.

if i sound as if i’m a gushing food critic, then i guess that’s how i sound. i’m not writing this post to be a critic, but i am writing to get the word out. and to support my friend. because anyone who seeks to have soul be the driving force behind what they do, deserves a little attention.

so, if you live in norrköping, head on over to pappa grappa for drinks, or dinner, or pizza. do it on a random wednesday night like i did, and find a reason to celebrate life, for no other reason except for the fact that you are alive and you want beautiful, soulful things around you.

and if you don’t live in norrköping, then go to a restaurant or cafe or bar in your city that touches your soul. sip on something and enjoy a few moments of the good life.

let your soul be nourished.


cheers, my friends! peace.

click here to visit papa grappa’s website or here to visit their Facebook page.

* all photos copyright of belovelive.

on today’s agenda.



celebration is my theme for today. woo hoo!! got my sermon all done last night. based it on jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. wrote about learning to celebrate in every moment, because there is always, always something worth celebrating. it’s always the right time for a party. it’s alway the right time to take something ordinary & make it something extraordinary – like jesus making water into wine. and now, i’m gonna work really hard to practice what i preach. hehe. because, i mean, seriously, things may not be perfect; but perhaps i would celebrate more if i looked at what i had, instead of what i don’t have (and i’m not talking material things). life is too short to go around feeling sorry for ourselves. little slivers of beauty & joy exist even in the darkest places & moments. celebrating does not mean being dreamy, unrealistic, and naive. not. at. all. it means embracing all that is wrong, difficult, scary, and horrible in the world & in our lives, and still finding a reason to dance & laugh & sing.

so, instead of wasting my life away, i’m gonna celebrate all that there is to celebrate. and what better time than now. if not now, then when?!

there y’all have gotten the gist of what i’m talking about today at work. wanna join me in celebrating later on?!

happy sunday! throw a party! (even if it’s for yourself…. you’re worth it!). peace & laughter.

you thought i’d forgotten? no way.

some time may have passed since my last photo a day post, but i’m still going strong. oh yeah. it’s just that september started & i was in ireland… and then, i did all those ireland posts. and time has just gotten away from me. majorly. but, if you’ve followed me on instagram, the you’ve seen that i’m on top of things. and now, even though it’s almost the middle of september, i’m back on track.

 if you haven’t been a part of photo a day, and are curious about it, just grab your phone or a camera, follow the prompts, and join in. piece of cake.

so, here we go. the first pics from my birthday month!

1. you, now. (that’s me, in ireland. all dressed for a wedding!)

2. father: the father of methodism once preached in this methodist church turned bar. cool.

3. far away. i loooove to hop on a plane & fly far, far away. (pic from dublin airport)

4. in my mailbox: just bills. sad face. but i love that my mail is delivered through my door.

5. bright: the sun greeting me after arriving home from ireland.

6. happy thursday! this day is not just like every other day… it’s the present moment. so live it up! enjoy!

7. natural: it’s perfectly natural to dance in your living room on a friday night.

8. at night: a glass of wine. always good.

9. something i do most weekends: walk to work

10: black & white

11: hero: my love, my everything.

12. together: apple pie & coffee. perfect together.

and now, here comes a little video my love made. just so you can see what i’ve been up to. just for kicks & fun. enjoy!

sending you tons of creativity, laughter, & peace.

ending july on a good note.

it’s the end of july and another month of photos are done! and yes, i’m up for another challenge tomorrow. but first, here are the last three pics for this month:




hope your tuesday night is beautiful! mine’s been filled with tacos, a girl’s night of music, and now a showing of “rent”!!

see ya in august! peace.

june’s last pic.


spent a cozy saturday night with my love & our friend… eating pizza, sipping sparkling wine, telling stories. just lovely.

who’s ready for july?! peace out.