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People Places Things

A list of things I’ve enjoyed lately. Some more than others.

BOOKS 

hunger: a memoir (of) my body by roxane gay 
A brutal memoir from Roxane Gay where she gives us such a naked insight to her life with abuse, trauma, pain and surviving. Gay, as a fat woman, thinks of her fatness as a shield towards the world. She discusses her very personal journey to where she is today. Some passages feels too raw; are we supposed to take part in such private information? The answer is yes; yes we are. We need stories from diverse people, to listen to their pain. To try to understand, to comprehend, that people are so much more than what meets the eye. This is not a “body positivity book”. The fact is, living in a fat body is not only happy bikini pictures on Instagram. There were chapters where I could relate so deeply with Gay, growing up as a fat woman myself and having really bad body dysphoria and a complicated relationship with food. The chapter where she discusses how chairs can be so incredibly important and devastating to fat people absolutely broke my heart.

our stop by laura jane williams 
What’s a good, modern word for ‘chick-lit’? A ‘summer read’, ‘pool read’, ‘commute read’ etc. It feels like all these words minimize the actual work of Williams. But! Our Stop is a lighthearted romance novel where Williams basically created the dream guy Daniel, who falls in love with a stranger on the train, Nadia. It’s a modern romance story, which is not usually my cup of tea, but I’m a big supporter of Laura on all social media platforms so it was time for me to invest in her work as an author as well. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, how she explored the different characters and set up the impossible meeting. The initial flirting and the suspense build up. However, around 70% in I was a bit tired of the pace and skim-read to the end (the end which in itself was a bit too romantic and “good-to-be-true”). Sometimes Williams written language mimics the language she uses herself when she talks in videos on Instagram stories for example, so much that it unfortunately takes me outside of the book; I’m constantly thinking of her writing the book instead of being in the book; in the narrative. 

TV SHOWS 

the big family cooking showdown on netflix 
Cooking shows are a godsend. Nothing is being discussed on cooking shows except personality traits and stories about the contestants and the food they’re cooking. That’s it. Cooking shows are therefore the perfect way to shut out the entire world for a little while. No politics, no scary future outcomes. This British family show has the perfect tempo for me and Andrew in the evenings when we just want to relax together. Entertaining and warm.

nanette by hannah gadsby on netflix 
I have no words to explain this genius and magnificent “comedy” special on Netflix where Hannah Gadsby is spilling her heart out; with passion, anger, laughter, softness and fierceness. Watch it. Just watch it, your life will be changed. 

FILMS

farewell by lulu wang 
Billi returns to China due to her grandma, the matriarch of the whole extended family, has been diagnosed with cancer and only has a couple of months left to live. As if that wasn’t complex enough, the family has decided not to let Nai Nai (grandma) know she 1) has cancer 2) only has a couple of months to live 3) the family are all there to say goodbye to her, not to celebrate Billi’s cousin’s wedding (which is a made up story fabricated so that Nai Nai won’t suspect anything). Billi opposes not telling her, but it’s not up to her so she is forced to play along with it. It’s such a beautiful told story about identity and family. Awkwafina as brilliant as Billi, but my heart goes out to Zhao Shuzhen who plays Nai Nai. She embodies so many grandmas we know and love, and her warmth and love to her family is just so heartbreaking. The film is also so incredibly funny. And beautiful. Did I say beautiful? Please watch this film. Major plus: it was written by a woman. It was directed by a woman. It was shot by a woman.

MUSIC

bon iver - i,i (album)
Ignore the very hipster title on this album. I’ve known Bon Iver would have a show here in Vancouver in September, but I don’t really listen to them anymore. And I’ve already seen them a couple of times, so I didn’t think it was worth the money. But then they released their new album, and I immediately - after one listen - ordered tickets for myself. My favorite song which I can’t stop listening to is Hey Ma. Recommend.

women of folk (playlist)
I love Spotify’s ready-made playlists. For the whole summer (and spring, and the winter before that) me and Andrew listened pretty much exclusively to Essential Folk and 70s Road Trip. I started to memorize the order of the songs on Essential Folk, so I knew I had to move on. Welcome to the stage, Women of Folk. Wow. I’m so versatile. But I know what I like so why bother trying to be cool for the sake of being cool. Again, recommend! Listen especially to Heart Like A Wheel by Kate & Anna McGarrigie.

chants d’auvergne: 2. bailero (song)
Obsessed with this masterpiece of a song that manages to encapsulate every single feeling in the world in six and a half minutes. Listen and weep.

Nine Types of Rest

Your suspicion was right; I am definitely a person who falls for "“online therapy” / self help gurus / digital coaches. In need of therapy but without the money or time (what an excuse) I genuinely find a lot of the stuff I read and save helpful.

Like this list of different types of rest for example from nine types.

  1. time away

  2. permission to not be helpful

  3. something '“unproductive”

  4. connection to art and nature

  5. solitude to recharge

  6. a break from responsibility

  7. stillness to decompress

  8. safe space

  9. alone time at home

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How I practice:

time away.

I’m pretty strict in planning even small trips to various places; both familiar ones and places I’ve never been before. Key word here is strict, nobody else will schedule time away for me.

permission to not be helpful

This hits home? I am actually not “super helpful”, but that’s because I’ve practiced. I’ve practiced saying no, and I’ve practiced not feeling guilty over peoples immediate reaction to me setting boundaries. I’ve practiced accepting that I can’t fix everyone’s problems, and that’s okay. As a woman, I believe this counts as rest more than it does for men. Saying “I would love to help you, but unfortunately I can’t help today / with this thing” is SO powerful.

something 'unproductive’

Things I love giving myself permission to do: watch movies instead of tv-shows (anyone else feel like watching certain tv-show is being “productive”; you’re being topical and it’s on your “to do list”? Whereas nobody cares if you watch a certain movie), having those half hours where you just scroll on Instagram to relax (we are on social media for so many different reasons, but when it’s purely to de-stress / get inspired it’s so joyful. Key is to know when to stop scrolling), read a book, going for a coffee / drink without doing anything at ALL; just sitting there, going grocery shopping without a list and browsing everything slowly.

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connection to art and nature

Going to the cinema. Going for walks. Or my favorite: going for walks and take close up pictures of pretty things just like 50 year olds do. The photographing doesn’t have to mean anything, I don’t have to “become” better at it. I can just do it and appreciate the art form for what it is. Also just laying down in a park. And do absolutely nothing.

solitude to recharge

When you’re with the right partner, having them around sometimes is just as good as solitude. So for me recharge can take place without being completely alone. I’m proud of myself anytime I can foresee when I need to recharge. I ask friends to meet on this day instead of that day, just so I can recharge in between. I very rarely feel guilty when asking for time nowadays.

a break from responsibility

Doing things just because they are fun and brings you joy is so, so important. Something that’s been so lost on our generation as “hustlers”. Having fun, resting. Not thinking about any to do list. Not thinking that you’re “procrastinating” from something you should be doing.

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stillness to decompress

At work when I have nothing else to do, I try to be still and listen to music while reading/writing (preferably by hand) to decompress. It helps me to not over stimulate my nervous system. Music in general. I get really affected by noise, so to cut everything out and just focus on one source is heaven for my brain.

safe space

My apartment is my safe space. Our car is also my safe space. The forest is my safe space. Being with Andrew is my safe space.

alone time at home

I would love to have more alone time at home, but as I mentioned I feel alone when I’m with Andrew. We can leave each other alone if needed. I do miss cleaning, cooking and listening to music on my own though! Something I should prioritize more.

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Ways I'm Like My Mom
Not an actual picture of my mom, but a picture of Marilyn Monroe

Not an actual picture of my mom, but a picture of Marilyn Monroe

Ways I’m like my mom:

  • achy body

  • sad soul

  • extremely needy inner child who will never leave

  • social and friendly, but find it difficult to make long lasting close friends due to having ridiculous standards

  • lucky when it comes to finding really nice men we don’t really deserve

  • don’t really like to drink or party, but will show up for a bit and will enjoy a drink together with close friends or family

  • love driving cars

  • animals is everything

  • high energy spurts

  • flare ups

  • think we’re better at having difficult conversations than we are

  • pretty excellent at cooking hearty meals

  • we try to play cool a lot, like it’s not bothering us but it is

  • need lots and lots of rest

  • addicted to numbing by being on our phones

  • love bathrobes

  • prefer to dress very simple

  • prefer silver over gold

  • bushy eyebrows

  • love and need to be physical but only with a selected few

  • really good huggers

  • we’re always thinking about grandma

The Lark In The Clear Air
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A list of things that have happened recently that I don’t have any pictures of:

  • Andrew left for Ireland and left me all alone! The day before we finally went to that burger place in the River District and it was the best burger I’ve had in Canada.

  • Game of Thrones finished, the tv show that is. I also finished reading the first book in the series and have officially fallen in love with the Kindle again.

  • I had a “girls night” with Keith and Seona at my place a couple of days ago. We had cans, I made curry, there were nachos and just lots of chats while listening to Mariah Carey.

  • We bought a new bed, a very firm one from IKEA. All from “extra” money we got through our jobs, even better.

  • Oh, a couple of weeks ago I went to Rocky Horror Picture Show with some friends of mine. It was fun! But more so because it was a thing we did together and not so much the show itself.

  • I’m in love with the smell of summer. Vancouver really smells of plants and flowers and it’s amazing.

  • We got our tax back! I paid off my debt to my brother and it felt a m a z i n g.

  • I read Call Me By Your Name. Here’s my review: Part 1 is out-of-this-world, but then I kinda lost interest. I prefer the storyline/tempo that’s in the film?

  • I finally watched Fleabag and now I’m in mourning. I want Phoebe Waller-Bridge to be my best friend and I want Andrew Scott to marry me.

Dream Nineteen Q2

There’s a popular blog post format doing the rounds in Sweden at the moment. By “at the moment”, I mean it did do the rounds a couple of weeks ago. Since then I thought I’d try to write up my own version of it. Basically, a blog post that describes how 2019 would look like if it was completely up to me. A dream scenario, yet have it be realistic enough that it doesn’t seem out of reach.

I tried writing up my dreams for the full year, but I only got till June. For me it was tough and stressful to dream up plans. I wanted to make them real! I wanted to schedule them in! “At what time exactly are we having that dreamy coffee?” It’s the virgo in me.

The dream-plans ended up being too realistic I think. I couldn’t dream of a better world, because I prefer to make plans in the world we have.

Anyway. I thought I shared my visions/plans/dreams for Q2 of 2019. This is what I came up with:

April:

There are cherry blossoms everywhere. After work, I take trips to document all the glorious streets where the pink trees are taking over. We visit The Big Picnic, Cherry Jam Downtown, Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival and Spring Lights Festival. I go to Tangram for coffee and Sakura ice cream. I swing by my old job at the pet store to say hi to dogs and familiar faces. During Easter, I invite some people over for an Easter dinner. I enjoy Swedish candy that dad sent over in an Easter egg (dad, if you’re reading this, send an egg!).

Oh, and we’ll spend time with Andrew’s cousin and auntie who are both here visiting his other cousin who already lives here - maybe we’ll have brunch at the french cafe down on Fraser. We get our tax refund and it turns out to be way more than we ever could’ve imagined! We spend it all on eating out.

All of a sudden, after a tough winter, I have so much energy. I walk everywhere and clean the house thoroughly every single day. I go to the doctor for beta-blockers and I don’t have a single migraine. Oh, and for some mysterious reasons all my spring-allergies are gone! I breathe in the smell of new cut grass and green leaf trees waking up to bask in the sunshine. I sleep 9 hours a day, I eat prepared lunches almost every day and I manage to repay all my debts.

Oh, and I finally cut a fringe. Imagine that?!

May:

Pre-summer at its finest. We buy a small portable barbeque, which will be our most precious possession during summer 2019. We not only bbq at home, we have our first bbq at the beach! Everyone’s at the beach nowadays. We go there after work some days just to watch dogs run. We read, plan, film. We have margarita and nachos at Sal y Limón. Maybe we’ll dare to try Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina too. We take walks down by the water around Yale Town. We have picnics in parks watching people play sports.

We visit Abbotsford Tulip Festival. At the end of the month Andrew leaves for Ireland for almost two weeks. I cry, and cry, and cry, and cry. I spend those days reading loads of books, trying not to miss him too much. Trying not to miss my own home country too much.

This month we celebrate our five year anniversary as well! We find the perfect place to have dinner. We dress up in our very best clothes. We take a picture of us down by the ocean.

june:

Andrew’s gone for the first week of june. We all know how I feel about it. I’m a needy girlfriend, what can I say?! When he’s back though, we enjoy Main Street Car Free Day and farmers markets and beach days and park days and Midsummer celebration. We drive up to Squamish to find small lakes to swim in. The water’s cold. We finally go to Richmond Night Market and maybe even the Shipyard Night Market.

Andrew turns 30 at the end of the month; he’ll be gone for work in Victoria. We celebrate both before and after. I’ll join him on Vancouver Island in the beginning of July, and we have some dreamy days on the Island just shooting footage of waves and tall trees. We pretend it’s Hawaii, because that’s really where he wanted to go. I hope and pray he’s happy with this, here, with me, our life. He tells me he is, that this is everything he ever wants from life.

Mercury in Retrograde

Previously on Blue Lakes Deep Forest:

Emma got her visa approved. Emma and Andrew are making plans for 2019 (spoiler: lots of the same stuff as last year but also trips down south). Emma has a new job, it’s an office job. It’s extremely mundane but it’ll do for now.

Oh yeah, I didn’t write about my job yet. One of our dearest friends here in Vancouver went back to Ireland, so I took over his job. I sit in a cubicle, trying to avoid headaches and fatigue. It’s a good job, it pays good and the hours are great. It’s not exciting, but it is what it is and it works for now.

Let’s go through some updates!

3 things I do a lot of right now:

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. // Source

This is new because I’m not a podcast-stan like most people. It started during my unemployment; I just got tired of hanging out with my own voices all day. It also gave me a reason to get out of the apartment, to take a walk and have it being the length of the podcast episode. Now that I’m at my new job, I’ve been using podcasts as a way to cope with the stress that comes along with being new at a place, sitting alone in lunchrooms (out of choice, don’t worry!), walking to and from work etc. I’ve been catching up with everything I’ve been missing these last… years? Some of my favorites include The High Low and Love Stories, as well as loads of Swedish ones (Daddy Issues, Alex & Sigge, En Varg Söker Sin Pod).  

CLEAN

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. //    Source

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. // Source

Yes, cleaning. Jessica from The Little Chapters podcast talked about Mrs. Hinch; an Instagram profile from Essex who is obsessed (perhaps too obsessed?) with cleaning and updates her stories frequently with her just cleaning around the house, doing the same tasks over and over again. There’s something so extremely satisfying and calming watching her do the job with the enthusiasm she has. She’s also incredibly kind and loving; she’s just a super nice person so I LOVE watching her stories now. It’s common knowledge now that having a clean space and being organised is part of self care and the activity of cleaning can have a anxiety-reducing effect. Hence, why I love cleaning. A messy home means something’s wrong. It’s the Virgo in me.

Anyway, Mrs. Hinch has made me take my already existing obsession to the e x t r e m e. A couple of weeks ago I went to the dollar store and bought 5 bottles of spray-cleaners, cloths, sponges and a freaking BUCKET to keep all my cleaning supplies in. I love it. It’s not realistically for me to have a spot-clean home all day every day, but if I can do 15 minutes here and there - I’ll take it. And I’ll thank myself for it afterwards.

TRACK EVERYTHING WITH SPREADSHEETS

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. // Source

Same as with cleaning, this is not necessarily a new thing. But me and Andrew have been tracking e v e r y t h i n g lately into our Google Sheet. This helps with so much. It’s not for everyone, but it definitely works for us and we find it to be more important during stressful / anxious times. My memory is awful, and Andrew has dyslexia so for us to have an accessible system where we have to write down e v e r y t h i n g really, really helps. I don’t want to show anyone our spreadsheets, because I know people will think we’re bonkers.


Ok, seems like the common ground here is anxiety and how to deal with it. But it’s been February / March, literally the darkest months of the year. We’re all trying to deal, right?

Traditional Cappuccino $4.25
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What follows is a list of things I sincerely enjoy and should do more often:

a) shower
b) use deodorant
c) cut nails
d) brush hair
e) moisturize face
f) moisturise upper arms and lower legs
g) put on foundation
h) powder
i) blush
j) brow gel
k) mascara
l) pink lipstick
m) brush teeth (preferably before applying the pink lipstick)
n) use perfume
o) drink a glass of water
p) take necessary pills (allergy, headache, sinus, fever, vitamins (sometimes) - whatever it is that that day requires)
q) put on fresh underwear
r) black jeans
s) soft sweaters
t) same old shoes (the ones with holes in them)
u) huge fluffy jacket
v) huge fluffy scarf
x) pack a bag with notebook, computer, wallet, pens, book
y) leave the house
z) listen to music without vocals (on your walk to a coffee spot or a park or just around the neighborhood or wherever) because sometimes your own voice in your head is enough to overwhelm almost anybody


A List Of Noise
  • Cars
  • Netflix
  • Whatsapp group messages
  • Instagram stories
  • Vanlife youtube videos full of skinny white rich vegans
  • My boyfriend going Emma talk to me 
  • My landlord's heavy feet over my head letting me know who owns this place
  • Girls at work whispering about other girls at work 
  • Phone calls I'm not getting but if I did I would let it ring 
list, aboutEmma Carlsson
A List Of Things I Want
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  • Silence
  • Goats
  • Cucumbers from my own garden
  • Lake swims
  • Driving a car on an empty road
  • Puppies
  • Outside showers
  • Local honey
  • A good speaker and open doors, with the music blasting out to the forest
  • A hill to climb every day so my legs burn and my mind clears
  • To be a different version of myself every single day 
about, listEmma Carlsson