sensory overload. part 12.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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 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

paradise! (2014′s word of the year).

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it’s word of the year time! and, as you can tell by the title, my word for 2014 is paradise. it came to me one day in december during one of my fika meet ups. it was something i read, a message to me in a random horoscope i picked up. when i saw the word, “paradise” laying on the page, in black and white, i knew that creating my own paradise – as the text suggested – was perfect. it stated exactly where i am in life as this new year begins. then, a few days after christmas i received my “message from the universe” email in my inbox which said this:

“I want you to know, Liz, that I’ve ordered up another year for you. Think I’ll call it 2014. 

I’m going to put most of the same people from 2013 in it, since you all think so much alike. But there’ll also be a few new, very cool cats coming to play – give them some time to grow up though. 

And I’m going to have things start off pretty much exactly where they left off in 2013, for continuity’s sake. Flips folks out too much when I don’t. 

All in all, 365 more days in paradise… and only one request of you: DREAM BIGGER.”

unbelievable, i thought. seriously. the word paradise showed up again, screaming at me that this was my word for 2014. but, i sat with it, not claiming it as my word of the year until the day before new year’s eve…

in order to hammer down and commit to my word for the year, i needed a little self-retreat evening – ‘cuz that’s how i roll. so, on the 30th of december i did just that. thanks to a link from an instagram buddy, i found the perfect material on susannah conway’s blog to help guide me through this process of claiming my word for 2014.

i went into our studio, lit a bunch of candles, got my journal and some pens, and a glass of wine and some music, and sat down for about 2 hours. what happened during that time was a literal letting go of and saying farewell to 2013, and preparing my vision for 2014. and, in the end, it came to be that paradise was exactly the word that fit my vision for the upcoming year.

so much has happened in the past year. so many amazing things have begun, that i felt my soul telling me to grab onto the things that have begun, and dig in. work hard. bring those dreams, which have only begun to peek out of the ground like little seeds sprouting, to fruition – this is the heart of me creating my own paradise.

so, it’s not a new year of chasing new dreams. instead, it’s a new year of working on the dreams which have already begun to come true. it’s a new year of creating that paradise, that way of life that i yearn for and crave. things that only just started in 2013… now’s the time to really make things happen. no more searching and seeking. no more trying to discover who i am (though every day is a learning process and reveals more & more of who we are throughout all of life). no more just being and asking for my soul to reveal its hidden secrets to me. no, now is the time for living. and i mean living life to the fullest. now, is the time to grow and build and become. now is the time to do things.

with a blank slate before me, i have been thinking about what paradise would look like for me this year. i went to handy dandy pinterest and my journal to gather images, words, and symbols that speak to my soul. i suppose it has been my version of vision-boarding. anyway, here are some of the things that i hope to make part of my paradise in 2014:

a wild year.

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a spiritual year.  tumblr_mytb84NEhf1t0zh2ao1_500

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a magical year.tumblr_myt99tcIBS1rp1pulo1_500

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a simple year.tumblr_myk7twl9a31rp1pulo1_500tumblr_m7ru0mxtuZ1qlkvz1o1_500

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a healthy year.

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a wandering year.

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81333fb503c2ab74329829eb27dc94dba passionate year.

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one more thing about paradise: yes, the word inspires and challenges me to make my life exactly how i want it to be… to live the life i want to live and to actively make that happen. but, it is also all about understanding, realizing, and be aware that paradise is already right here, right now. it is within. it is only a matter of opening my eyes, slowing down to breathe and recognize the beauty in the present moment – and celebrating every single day.

so, ultimately 2014 is about creating balance – and that creates paradise. it is a balanced life of staying connected and grounded (and for me that is through mediation, etc.) and staying active (using the inspiration i receive through meditation, etc.) to create the paradise i dream of.

what about you? have you chosen a word or a phrase for 2014? what is it? share with me… let’s inspire each other! wishing you the happiest, most adventurous, and beautiful 2014!

peace & love. xx

six senses sunday.

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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.