Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Swedish summer music playlist

I mayyyy have mentioned that I would be changing up my blog a bit to reflect the lifestyle I'm starting to adopt, and I am so excited to get to share all of my favorite new things with you! Over the past six months, I've been learning about many great Swedish artists that I basically listen to non-stop. Abba is a group that I've been obsessed with since I was in my teens, and when I was in high school, I was a big fan of many Swedish bands including the Division of Laura Lee, The Hives and The Sounds. But these other five artists are new to me, and I'm loving all of their music (especially Zara Larsson, who we almost saw in Stockholm while I was there). Check out the playlist below and feel free to leave a comment with a Swedish or other international artist you're loving at the moment!

1. Veronica Maggio - Jag Kommer

2. Zara Larsson - Lush Life

3. Abba - One Of Us

4. Thomas Stenström -

5. The Dahmers -

6.  Håkan Hellström -

Monday, June 26, 2017

Real talk: a life + love update

For anyone who's ever been in a long distance relationship before, you will understand how hard it can be. I never thought that I would end up falling in love with someone who lives 5,000+ miles away, but seeing as how my life has always thrown me interesting curve balls, this actually came as no surprise (in some funny way). Since that very first day that we matched on Tinder in January (yep, that is how it happened), we have been talking, face-timing and texting non-stop every day (sometimes all day on the weekends if we're lucky!), and have been lucky enough to visit each other a few times since he was here in January. Leaving each other each time we have to go home is the hardest part of this whole process. I'm not going to lie, I've had days where I've just cried in bed because of missing him so much, and longing to be where he is. It feels so wrong to not get to be together in person except when we make big trips to visit each other. I'll admit, I get jealous sometimes when I see girls with their boyfriends and husbands at home, doing boyfriend/girlfriend/live-in partner activities (cooking, having movie nights, even doing boring chores together). But then I brush it off and try to remember that someday, that will get to be us, too. We have already begun the process of applying for my residency visa so that we can live together, and we are SO excited about it. The moment that we pulled into Strömstad after he picked me up from the airport, I felt right at home. The town itself was beautiful, the people were friendly and kind, the air was clean, there was no traffic (hooray!), the food was delicious (hi i like meatballs + kebab rolls and ate them every single day i was there, no shame) but what I loved most of all was being in his apartment because it felt like mine, too. Whenever we would visit other towns and bigger cities, my heart ached to be back in Strömstad, and I knew when I had that feeling, that it was time to start the moving process, which began literally the day after I arrived back home.

The paperwork itself was fairly easy. We just had to answer questions about our family and relationship, and submit some documents. The hard part is really just the waiting time. It's now been almost three weeks and... nothing. But I'm not surprised. The waiting time for an interview could be anywhere between 2-6 months, and then once you get the interview, it could be another long while until you finally get approved, but I keep crossing my fingers that we'll be lucky and that any day now, I'll receive that e-mail asking me to book my interview at the nearest embassy. In the meantime, we continue to talk as much as possible and plan for his next visit which we're hoping will be in August. I've also started a scrapbook containing literally every receipt from our shopping excursions together, to print-outs of our first conversations on all the apps, photos of us together, candy wrappers from the candy he sent me back in February, and even our boarding passes from our travels to each other. I'm glad to be a pack rat in some way because our relationship is so unique and I love having these memories to look back on forever. I can't wait to keep filling it up as we continue on our journey! I'll share more of it on Instagram soon.

Many people have asked me what I plan on doing when I get over there. For allllll who know me, this should come as no shocker: I really, really want to work at a candy store. Desserts are something I am truly passionate about, and the candy in Sweden is no joke. There is a teeny tiny candy store in his town that I fell in love with when I visited, and I would be thrilled to get to work there (also just a quick walk from his place!) - not just because of how yummy it is, but I really love that it has a real sense of community. You can tell that this is the kind of place everyone goes to, and I want to be fully immersed in this culture as much as possible. There's also the really, really big candy store located at the biggest mall in town. I made a few stops in there to pick up gifts for friends, and snacks for our movie nights. So I do have a few leads so far. Aside from those two shops, I plan on continuing to work on my social media and would LOVE to help build a brand's social media in Sweden, and maybe write for the local paper, and in my dream scenario, would love to take over the social media for my boyfriend's recording studio (someday soon, hopefully!) I'm also actively learning Swedish and am hoping I'll be pretty close to fluent once I'm living there! Vi ska se hur det går. ;)

People have also asked if I'm nervous or scared about making such a big decision. The answer is... nope! I'm lucky - beyond lucky - to get to call Max the love of my life. He has changed my life for the better, and is essentially the male version of me in so many ways. I'd always dreamed of finding my soulmate, and now it's finally happened. So, going for it is easy for me. Totally easy.

So how am I feeling about my hometown, then? I've lived in Los Angeles almost my entire life, and I am so grateful for all of the memories I've had here,  for all of the friends I've made along the way, and for my family who I'm lucky enough to get to see pretty much whenever I want to. It will be an interesting transition moving to a completely different part of the world, but I'm ready. I feel like I've been ready for much longer than I even knew, which is crazy but true. Lately I've been doing a little pre planning by getting rid of clothes, cleaning out my fridge, organizing, and whatever else will make things easier for when I actually do have to start getting rid of things. I also will have to get Ringo his own little passport and all of that. If anyone has any advice about moving a pet across the world, please let me know! I do plan on doing all of my favorite LA/CA things before I leave, including hitting up Disneyland, making one last day-trip to Palm Springs, and definitely having some tacos + In N Out. But seeing as how my family and friends live here, it won't be long until I'm back to visit.

If you're still reading this, you're amazing and have a lot of patience (truly, ha ha). If you have any similar experiences about dating long distance or even moving to another country, please leave them below in the comments! I'll continue to share updates on the blog + Instagram as things progress with our application. Thanks for reading! <3

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Well hello again! + Stockholm Guide

 Well, it has certainly been too long, hasn't it? Hi! I have been gone for a while (so sorry!), doing just about a million things, but I'm back now and I'm so excited to get back into this blog! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently visited Sweden, where my boyfriend lives. I stayed with him in Strömstad, a town located on the West Coast, for almost three weeks! It was amazing, to say the least. Right when I landed in Oslo, I felt a sense of comfort, and when we arrived two hours later in Strömstad, I felt right at home. It is a boat town, where many people come to vacation in the summer time, and it is simply lovely. There are delicious cafes on almost every street, very friendly people, and pretty scenery (I mean, does it get any better than getting to look at the ocean any time of the day?). With all of that said, I am looking forward to sharing more of my experiences here on the blog, as well as a deeper look into the Swedish culture that I have fallen in love with so much. For now, here's a look at some of my favorite places that I visited when we drove to Stockholm for a few days! Enjoy! If you've been to Sweden, I'd love to hear about your favorite places in the city, or where you'd love to go someday!

Stockholm is a city that I could not get enough of. It's a big, bustling city, and a big walking city, though there are a lot of cars, too. I loved the colorful, old buildings, cute cafés, and I especially loved all of the spots I was able to visit. I am dying to go back already, and next time plan on staying for an extra night. There is still so much that I want to see + do! Also, side note: We totally forgot to bring the dsl-r camera with us, but we still managed to get some great shots. That proves how cool and photogenic this city really is!

If there's one thing I did a lot of while in Stockholm, it was eating! I got to have my daily fix of cinnamon buns at the local 7-11, and our hotel supplied breakfast every morning, which was lovely, but there were a few restaurants that really stood out on this trip!

Located in the hip part of Stockholm called Södermalm, this meatball dish-only shop is tiny with really cute vintage tables, and their meatballs are all organic! We both ordered the special of the week, which was meatballs with creamy macaroni. The other offering was classic meatballs + mashed potatoes, which also looked tempting.

This restaurant is also located in the neighborhood of Södermalm, and every dish comes packed wirth garlic. You can also order garlic shots (if you dare). Apparently there is a really cool bar downstairs which we didn't get to visit but hopefully I'll get to see it next time. I ordered meatballs (duh), and they were amazing! Creamy garlic mashed potatoes + lingonberries came on the side, and it was delicious. The restaurant had a rock'n'roll/punk feel, and was playing great music.

An organic gelato shop with locations all over Stockholm. I wanted all the flavors but decided on a raspberry + peach combo.

One of the highlights of our trip was going to the ABBA Museum. The museum itself was an explosion of disco balls + colorful costumes, and I couldn't get enough! Each room was themed and followed their careers from the beginning. Oh, and you can do karaoke to their songs, take advantage of the many photo-ops where you can pretend to be sitting with them, or answer a phone that they speak into if you're lucky enough to be standing there when it rings, and take quizzes along the way! I can't wait to go back again. The museum is located next to Gröna Lund, a giant theme park where many music artists perform (including Zara Larsson, whom we ended up being way too tired to see, so sad!), as well as the zoo and many other museums. It's on a cute island that you can drive into from the rest of the city.

A cool record shop also located in the neighborhood of Södermalm. They have a great collection of records, cute branded t-shirts, and of course, a great name.

An adorable boutique located just down the street from Pet Sounds Records. When I walked in, I noticed the cutest pastel colored clogs and 1950s inspired dresses, as well as basics such as striped 3/4 length sleeved tees and more. I wanted to buy everything in sight!

 We stayed in the neighborhood of Riddargatan, at a cute boutique hotel called Story Hotel. It is teeny tiny, with no actual reception area, but instead a small desk and check-in computers. We found the location to be perfect as we could walk to literally everything we wanted to go to (or take a quick subway ride). Our room was cute and spacious, and the bar and restaurant were both super yummy. Highly recommend!

Haymarket by Scandic
We didn't get a chance to stay here, but I insisted on stopping in ever since I first saw it while searching for hotels, and it was BEYOND words. The moment you step into the grand lobby, you feel like you've stepped back in time to the golden age of Greta Garbo, but you also feel like you've been transported into a Wes Anderson movie. On the right you find a bar with plush, velvet jewel toned chairs, and to your left is the restaurant Greta, with pink and white striped ceilings and beautiful tiled floors. We sat by the window and had a few beers while I indulged in a pretty dessert and took about a THOUSAND photos.

We went into Old Town, aka Gamla Stan, a few times, which is located near Södermalm, and houses some of the oldest and most posh buildings in all of Stockholm. I loved the cobblestone streets, tiny alleyways and cute cafes adorning each street. I managed to take a few shots in my Unique Vintage dress and Sandgren clogs, and totally matched my surroundings! Gamla Stan is also where the Stockholm's palace is (if you wanna take a tour). You can find info on that HERE.

Hope you enjoyed my journey through Stockholm! There were many more places we checked out that I was unable to mention, but these were for sure the highlights! Until next time, xoxo.