Posts in daily
Beauty Cleans The Mind

Sunday before Andrew arrived back home. I cut my own hair in front of the bathroom mirror over the sink. Exhilarating, why haven’t I done this before? One side turned out shorter than the other, but it’s just hair. I fixed it on the monday anyway.

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I walked down to the Kingsway crossing, had lunch on my own at Sal y Limón. Slushie margarita with grilled chicken huaraches (first time, wasn’t a huge fan of the deep fried corn tortilla itself but the toppings were amazing?).

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After lunch, I walked over to Robson Park to sit down with my kindle, silently weeping as I finished reading Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

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At home I roasted a huge tray of vegetables which I ate in front of of Black Earth Rising on Netflix, celebrating my last day at home all alone. But also celebrating life, I guess, because Matt Haig’s book had left such a mark in me.

Here’s his list of 40 Ways to Live Better:

1. Appreciate happiness when it is there.
2. Sip, don’t gulp.
3. Be gentle with yourself. Work less. Sleep more.
4. There is absolutely nothing in the past you can change. That’s basic physics.
5. Beware of Tuesdays. And Octobers.
6. Kurt Vonnegut was right. ‘Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found.’
7. Listen more than you talk.
8. Don’t feel guilty about being idle. More harm is probably done to the world through work than idleness. But perfect your idleness. Make it mindful.
9. Be aware that you are breathing.
10. Wherever you are, at any moment, try to find something beautiful. a face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.

11. Hate is a pointless emotion to have inside you. It is like eating a scorpion to punish it for stinging you.
12. Go for a run. Then do some yoga.
13. Shower before noon.
14. Look at the sky. Remind yourself of the cosmos. Seek out vastness at every opportunity, in order to see the smallness of yourself.
15. Be kind.
16. Understand that thoughts are just thoughts. If they are unreasonable, reason with them, even if you have no reason left. You are the observer of your mind, not its victim.
17. Do not watch TV aimlessly. Do not go on social media aimlessly. Always be aware of what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Don’t value TV less. Value it more. Then you will watch it less. Unchecked distractions will lead you to distraction.
18. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it. Let it go, like the Snow Queen in Frozen.
19. Don’t worry about things that probably won’t happen.
20. Look at trees. Be near trees. Plant trees. (Trees are great.)


21. Listen to that yoga instructor on Youtube, and ‘walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet’.
22. Live. Love. Let go. The three Ls.
23. Alcohol maths. Wine multiplies itself by itself. The more you have, the more you are likely to have. And if it’s hard to stop at one glass, it will be impossible at three. Addition is multiplication.
24. Beware of the gap. The gap between where you are and where you want to be. Simply thinking of the gap widens it. And you end up falling through.
25. Read a book without thinking about finishing it. Just read it. Enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph. Don’t wish for it to end, or for it to never end.
26. No drug in the universe will make you feel better, at the deepest level, than being kind to other people.
27. Listen to what Hamlet - literature’s most famous depressive - told Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. "‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
28. If someone loves you, let them. Believe in that love. Live for them, even when you feel there is no point.
29. You don’t need the world to understand you. It’s fine. Some people will never really understand things they haven’t experiences. Some will. Be grateful.

30. Jules Verne wrote of the "‘Living Infinite’. This is the world of love and emotion that is like a ‘sea’. If we can submerge ourselves in it, we find infinity in ourselves and the space we need to survive.

31. Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life.
32. Remember that there is nothing weird about you. You are just a human, and everything you do and feel is a natural thing, because we are natural animals. You are nature. you are a hominid ape. You are in the world and the world is in you. Everything connects.
33. Don’t believe in good or bad, or winning and losing, or victory and defeat, or up and down. At your lowest and at your highest, whether you are happy or despairing or calm or angry, there is a kernel of you that stays the same. That is the you that matters.
34. Don’t worry about the time you lose to despair. the time you will have afterwards has just doubled its value.
35. Be transparent to yourself. Make a greenhouse for your mind. Observe.
36. Read Emily Dickinson. Read Graham Greene. Read Italo Calvino. Read Maya Angelou. Read anything you want. Just read. Books are possibilities. They are escape routes. They give you options when you have none. Each one can be a home for an uprooted mind.
37. If the sun is shining, and you can be outside, be outside.
38. Remember that they key thing about life on earth is change. Cars rust. Paper yellows. Technology dates. Caterpillars become butterflies. Nights morph into days. Depression lifts.
39. Just when you feel you have no time to relax, know that this is the moment you most need to make time to relax.
40. Be brave. be strong. Breathe, and keep going. You will thank yourself later.


daily, summerEmma Carlsson
Bits And Bobs

One day:

Both tired from work, we take a walk to the closest park. Just cause the weather’s amazing and it’s too early to go to bed, that kind of thing. We met this precious little creature. The privilege of being born a cat.

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The park was filled with kids at soccer/baseball practice and their parents cheering them on.

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Another day:

We visited the same park, with our trustworthy blanket we bought last year at Canadian Superstore. We spent an hour or two underneath a willow tree next to a pond watching duck-politics and discussing human-politics.

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Afterwards Andrew FINALLY got his hair cut and honestly, he has never looked better. While I look more like a hag by each day, he as a man just keeps on getting more handsome? Is this a fact or an idea I believe in due to the patriarchy?

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Another day:

Andrew’s favourite activity on days when he doesn’t feel like driving anywhere is to just stroll down Main Street. So that’s what we did. Look at this very extra sign outside a new, hipster cannabis shop.

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We had lunch at El Camino, a really cool mexican place. The food looks amazing, and Mexican Fanta is my favourite. However I wished the food tasted more? Had more flavour, spices? In classic Canadian (sorry!) fashion it was quite bland.

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I had good company though so didn’t really matter that much!

And so are the days of our lives (wow).

Not All Days Are Sunny

I’m pretty good at looking up places to go, around Vancouver. I wanna make sure we’re not just visiting the same places over and over again, even though sometimes the familiar is all you want. A mix of both is nice. We have a car, Misty, and she can take us pretty much wherever! So we try to venture outside the home -> work routes on the weekends.

Most of the times I look at Instagram for inspiration, then I save the location on Google Maps. I saw a picture of the Centennial Beach with Mt Baker in the background, it was a beautiful purple and yellow sunset. It looked glorious. So we decided to go there as well. But not all days are sunny.

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Mt Baker is somewhere there, hiding. It wasn’t as beautiful as the picture maybe, but it was something else just as worthy and perfect. Kite surfers and grey skies. If you romanticize regular moments in your day to day life just becomes better, it really does.

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It helps that Andrew usually is around. It honestly doesn’t matter where we are. Yes, I’m throwing a bag of cheese directly at you reader BUT I love him and I love exploring with him.

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I’m trying to be better with allowing pictures of myself to take up space. I don’t want to be like so many women with body dysmorphia before me that have refused to having their pictures taken and shared and therefore erases herself from her own history.

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That’s it. That’s all from this beach day. We’ll be back, the weather might be better, or worse. It really doesn’t matter.

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.

The Battle of Land and Sea

I’ve been having extreme knee and leg ache lately, and in my mind walking on pebbles and rocks helps. The beach helps. So we went to the beach!

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During this precious walk, Andrew proclaimed that he didn’t believe in soul mates; that we, as an example, just met by pure luck. From there on, we tolerated/liked each other enough to stick together for a while. How romantic. He said I’m just as compatible, probably, to random people in India and Norway as I am to him. While that might be true, I refuse to adopt that type of mindset! I’d like to think he’s a soul mate of mine. Even though it was pure chance that I moved to Ireland in 2013, I’d like to think it wasn’t random at all. I’d like to think the universe provides. And maybe he’ll change his cynical mindset too, eventually. Or maybe I’ll agree with him later on, who knows.

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I ended up complaining about billionaires and people’s naivety when it comes to the environment. Lately I’ve been so angry. And I’ve got a complex relationship with anger, so does Andrew. So when either of us are angry, it’s just not ideal. When he’s angry at someone in traffic, or when he drops a glass of water, I cannot relate to the anger at all. For me, it’s completely unnecessary to be angry at those things, things you can’t control. I’d say he feels the exact same way when I get on a mad-rant about politics and injustices. I guess I need to be better at how I’m expressing my anger, because I don’t believe that anger in itself is harmful. It means things move me, it means I’m emotionally connected to my surroundings. But perhaps there are other ways to funnel that anger. Less shouting, and saying words like “I hate” for example.

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Kanga & Roo

In December last year we had the Privilege and Pleasure of dog sitting Kanga and Roo, two adorable “sisters” for a full day! I don’t think people understand just how much me and Andrew L-O-N-G for a dog! Before I got my visa, it was all we talked about. “As soon as it’s approved, we’ll look for a dog!” It helped, to think that something positive was going to happen.

Now I’m not so sure. We still really, really, really want a dog. But reality is tougher than the dream. We don’t want to leave our apartment, we love our little cave. We also, realistically, won’t be able to afford it. I would want to feed the most premium food out there, and then there’s the potential vet bills. BECAUSE of our love for dogs, we wouldn’t want to commit unless we’re absolutely certain we would be able to care for the pup.

Anyway. I managed to take some photos of Roo & Kanga, despite the two of them being in constant motion.

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How I Know You're My Person: A Saturday in February
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A saturday in February. We spent the morning watching The Office. Because even though we’ve already watched all the seasons within the last year, we decided to re-watch them all. And this is why I love you. This is how I know you’re my person. We took the bridge over to North Vancouver, then past West Vancouver, all the way to Horseshoe Bay. We just wanted a coffee. You told me to put the phone away, just like I had asked you to tell me a couple of days before. A weekend without the phone, please.

We looked for a place to eat. The sun was shining, it felt like April. We went to a place called Trolls, which is just a regular diner. Known for their chips. I had a shrimp sandwich - it was extremely mediocre. You had chips and chicken fingers so there were no complaints on your part. I sighed and sulked; we always go to your kind of places for food, never to my kind of places. I’m so tired of diners and fries and boring Canadian food. Boring Irish food too, for that matter. I let it go though. There’s nothing I like better than to eat out with you and talk about nonsense. It doesn’t really matter where it is.

We got a coffee in Starbucks, and headed out to the pier. I had a long speech about creativity and vulnerability. That people who are really talented at what they do often lack vulnerability and therefore they stop evolving. They get millions of people to look at their stuff, but no one will remember their actual name because they didn’t really put themselves out there. I spoke about the importance of being personal, of getting people to remember who you are. Of not being afraid of criticism. Surely it’s better to have a few people know about you, I mean really know about you, than having a million people getting your attention for a couple of seconds and then they go back to not knowing where you came from or where you want to go. I used other people as examples, but we both knew I was expressing my own fears.

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We left and went to Lighthouse Park after strolling around for a while, but more on that later. For now let’s just admire this picture of a you looking like the glorious angel that you are.

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
The Day That Kacey Musgraves Conquered The Grammy Awards

The snow arrived yesterday. Me and Andrew walked down to Olympic Village, it was our only plan for the day (I love sundays). When we left our apartment there were only tiny, tiny flakes floating around. As we walked through the residential areas of Mount Pleasant, house spotting, the wind caught up and heavy flakes started dancing around in every direction.

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If I ever, for some reason, had to get a truck, this would be the one.

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We went to Craft Beer Market for lunch. We’ve been there a couple of times before, being one of the first restaurants we visited last year when we arrived. There’s definitely sentimental value to the place. We always get the exact same thing. Andrew gets the hot wings, I get the fish tacos. We sat there for hours drinking beer, talking and watching the snow outside the window.

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While eating, I couldn’t resist taking these photos of the cutest little girl eating her chicken wings. I die! I DIE!

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Heading outside a couple of hours later the snow had properly turned Olympic Village into a winter wonderland!

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Outside in the Olympic Village Square, they have these amazing big statues of birds that we had never seen before. The snowy weather made them fit in perfectly.

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This diary-entry-thing is very photo heavy but it’ll have to do. Sometimes visuals are way better than text - sometimes it’s the complete opposite. I loved spending the day with Andrew just walking around, people watching, dog spotting and exploring familiar and unfamiliar areas of Vancouver.

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We took the bus home. Traffic was a bit crazy, and I don’t blame people going a bit crazy when so much snow came in the space of just a couple of hours.

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Andrew arriving home to find his second girlfriend Misty the Mazda completely covered. It continued showing all that night. It was the brightest evening in a long time all thanks to the snow lightning up the streets! We thought about going out in the evening to take some more pictures, but with the heater on inside and tired from the pints of beer and the wet shoes, we decided against it. Plus the Grammys were on, so.

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daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
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 Saturday in January

Hey listen. If you told me to read the previous post out loud to you, I’d refuse because it probably doesn’t make sense, and I’d be too embarrassed. I was writing it with an extremely cloudy mind due to hormones and migraines and stress, oh my. But I’m going to keep it there as a reminder of my imperfection. Or something.

I need to recap some saturdays here. Ever since I stopped working, I’ve been off on saturdays which has completely c h a n g e d my life. Who knew you could have two days off together with your loved one instead of just one? Is this how normal people live? Also, how sad is it that I’m AMAZED at the opportunity of spending 2 full days with doing exactly what I want. Is that really the type of life we should be striving for? I want more. I demand more than just 2 days.

Anyway. We spent a saturday in January, the first one we had off together, at the Riley Park’s Farmers Market. It’s one of two farmers markets here in Vancouver that are open year around.

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Loads of food trucks, but also local businesses showcasing honey, cheese, deli meats and exotic teas. You name it. You can do your weekly shopping here, if so inclined. Eggs, vegetables, bread - you know. We bought maple bacon that was To. Die. For. Apart from that, we were mostly just dog spotting.

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Andrew wanted a plain crêpe. Just sugar, no butter, no lemon, no nothing. This dog, a regular, obviously wanted one too. He was confident that his charm would eventually break a kind customer into submission. He was right.

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Dogs deserve anything they want and more. I didn’t end up getting a crêpe; instead I absolutely devoured these Cochinita YVR empanadas from Marimba. They were honestly one of my favourite dishes I’ve ever had here in Vancouver. Just thinking about them makes me hungry - and I just had lunch.

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After lunch and a nice stroll around all the stalls, we decided we weren’t done with the day quite yet. We went to Main Street which is my favourite part of Vancouver (which is lucky considering we live just next to it). First stop was The Fish Counter because Andrew was still hungry! While he doesn’t eat fish, he does enjoy a good chipper.

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A big portion of fries for $4, who can resist? It’s all in the batter. After The Fish Counter we headed to Liberty - a bakery / coffee shop that reminds me very much of a European fika place. I’ve already showed you a picture of Liberty in my recent post, but I’ll just add that they have the best cinnamon + cardamom buns in Vancouver! As Swedish as you can get.

Oh, and this is how I looked like. In case future me is wondering.

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eat, daily, winter, vancouverEmma Carlsson
The Art of Doing Nothing
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Getting closer to 30 is just as exhilarating as I assumed it would be. For as long as I can remember I’ve been longing for 30. For me, 30 always meant being able to live the “boring” lifestyle everyone claimed I lived anyway, without feeling any guilt about things I should be doing. It’s almost like how babies become a grand excuse to get out of things. “I can’t go to that thing with you tonight, you see I’m 30 now.”

I’ve always enjoyed doing nothing. I played on my own a lot as a child (I know, major surprise there). I enjoyed going on trips or staying over with my grandparents. Their slower pace suited me; there was so much space for all that daydreaming I was occupied with. Anyway. As you grow up, you start realising that doing nothing is not valued by our society. On public transportation you see people working, to save time. Instead of just enjoying the train ride, you could do some work on your laptop, or at least read a book. As technology progressed, this became even more prominent. There are now more and more tools for us to use in order to secure productivity at all times.

I could never be productive all of the time. I get spurts, and if I miss one of those spurts it’s g o n e. On buses and trains I prefer to do nothing at all. At cafes, my favourite pastime is to do absolutely nothing at all. Maybe browse on the internet, maybe listening to music, maybe read or write down some words in my journal. But for me, those activities is just an extension of a daydream. Not something that will actually lead to something. It’s doing an activity with an end goal in mind that I have a problem with, not the act of doing itself.

One of the perks of almost being 30, especially as a woman, is knowing how your body works in seasons, too. You become aware of when you have energy to produce, invent, organise, analyse or when you should simply do nothing other than just rest. Let things simmer. Otherwise the flavours won’t come out etc. My body has worked the same for many years now; there are a couple of hours a day where I can be creative - but not every day. I cannot study or write an essay after 5pm. My brain shuts down.

I remember days in college where me and my friends would all go to Starbucks for an intense study-session, and all I did was just stare at pictures of dogs (probably). I called it procrastination. I thought it was me trying actively NOT to work. We look at procrastination as something negative, and maybe it is. But maybe we don’t always procrastinate just cause we choose not to do something? Maybe we just need that time to be spent doing absolutely nothing at all.

None of those days where I rested instead of working did me any harm. I still graduated. With good grades, mind you. I went to bed early. I avoided all-nighters like the plague. I knew that wasn’t my style, I couldn’t handle it. And this I hold very dear: the knowledge of exactly what my body needs.

Right now I’m not working. I’m in between jobs. I’m taking some time to do absolutely nothing at all. It helps that the first weeks of my unemployment is being spent pre-menstruating and menstruating. Yes I said it. It helps slow things down, it allows me to not rush into things and then feeling like shit because it wasn’t the right type of thing. I know there will be a time when I won’t like resting, where I thrive on being creative and productive. But I know that that time is not right now. And acknowledging your seasons gives you all the power.

Some inspiring articles:

“In a world that has glorified hustling and exhaustion in pursuit of creative production for far too long, my cycle has shown me sustainable creativity is not only possible, but wildly effective.” - Claire Baker
https://wepresent.wetransfer.com/story/claire-baker-periods-and-creativity/

“We don’t have to glorify work. … There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ll be damned if I will work more of them than I have to.” - Laura Jane Williams
https://www.redonline.co.uk/red-women/blogs/a25829735/laura-jane-williams-death-to-the-hustle/


Less Showreel More Scrapbook

The title is a quote by Lucy Sheridan from her text regarding the worry we feel over Instagram/Blog posts; the hesitation to showcase our life due to our "content" not meeting imaginary expectations. Bottom line: let go of comparison and focus on showing a scrap-booked version of your life and not the highlight reel. 

Yesterday was filled with so many of my favourite activities. Me and Andrew left home early to drive south, a block away from the border. Misty, our very charming car, doesn't have a working AC so we were boiling in no time. We stopped at a gas station to get breakfast; medium roasted brewed coffee and a blueberry muffin. Andrew had a kinder egg. We parked up at an RV park close by, to look at a dog show. Growing up I always went around with mom to different dog shows. I love the feeling of a dog show, so even though we don't own a dog ourselves we love to visit "dog events" and just stare. Due to the heat people were spraying their dogs with water bottles and many of them wore cold dog show capes. We decided to opt out of the dog show hot dogs that were served, and went to White Rock instead. White Rock is a beach town named after a - you guessed it - white rock. We had fish and chips on the beach. Reapplied sun lotion. Even though I brought my swim suit, I was too lazy to get it from the car but I desperately wanted to swim in the water so I went in with my under garments. Due to the low tide the water was shallow and so, so warm. I couldn't stop smiling; I was so happy. During the summer months all I want is to be in the water, and this was the first dip I had this year. Tired from the sun, the beach and the food but still not ready to go home we decided to book tickets for the cinema that evening, the new Mission Impossible film. Honestly, I was so amazingly surprised. I had no expectations because action films are not usually my thing, but I loved, loved this movie. You have to see it. On the big screen, with good speakers. I couldn't stop smiling throughout the film, it was so incredibly well made. It was also such a perfect ending of a perfect day here in Vancouver. I didn't take a single photo. Or I did, but they're not worth showing to anyone since they can't possibly convey what was actually going on. Here instead follows three pictures not taken by me but would fit well into this page of my scrap-book-life: 

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Pictures are all taken from Tumblr, credit sources here: mvisional

dailyEmma Carlsson