The Swede took some much-needed, much-deserved lone wolf time at the football stadium tonight, leaving me and ol' Jamie boy at home to make up for lost time. He was in a much better mood than yesterday, when he was cranky about the sheriff arriving back in town with her uncool rules, cramping the bachelor lifestyle to which they had apparently become accustomed. Yes, today he sat at the table with me and ate his dinner without any cajoling, danced and sang with me, rode around on mamma pony, and just melted my heart in general. It was exactly what I'd been missing.
I'm back home in Sweden and unbelievably happy to be with Jambo and The Swede. I'm also excited to go back to work tomorrow with some new knowledge under my belt, and I'm satisfied with the series finale of Dexter, which I finally got to see tonight. So things are looking good! See you here tomorrow!
Today, before Mom and I spent many, many hours at Target, we spent a few at Grandma and Grandpa's. Unfortunately Grandpa was on a hike most of the time, but that did mean that we could maximize the girl talk. We started about a thousand conversations, finished maybe two, and covered just about every topic imaginable. It went too quickly, though, and before we knew it we were saying good-bye again. The thing is, after all these years and all these visits, I think we're finally starting to understand that it's always going to feel like we were never apart.
The conference wrapped up this morning and directly afterward I was picked up outside the hotel by this fine lady. Mom, that is. We went out to lunch and she schlepped me around on a shopping trip before heading back to Mom and Ray's. It was hot like summer, but their autumnal yard decor looked so stunning I had to take a picture. We took our time fixing dinner, then enjoyed it with Grandma and Grandpa. It was cozy and fun and we all pretended it was okay that The Swede and Jamie weren't there. But if I'm not in Sweden with them, there's nowhere I'd rather be than this home-away-from-home.
I've been waking up sometime between four and five in the morning since I arrived here in Cleveland. Jet lag is a beast, y'all. This morning I watched the local news with the newscasters who were once so familiar until it got light enough that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get mugged out on the street in front of the hotel. I jest. Sort of. Anyway, I walked across the street to Starbucks to pick up some lattes for my colleague and I, and for the first time since I've been here I missed America. The sunrise, the traffic, the smells, the steam floating up from the manholes. There was nothing in that moment that I have ever thought to miss in the four years since I moved to Sweden, and missing them then didn't make me sad, it just made me grateful that I had woken up so early and been given the gift of that lovely moment, just my old home and me.
The HR/Marketing and Communications Conference I'm attending this week started officially today with the requisite ice-breaker. Balancing a marshmallow atop a pillar of spaghetti taped to a measuring tape was a fun beginning, but nothing could have prepared me for how incredible the rest of the day was. There was one external speaker in particular whose presentation I suspect will prove to not only be a career game-changer, but life changing. I know that sounds extreme, but Connie Dieken really was that good. My wheels are turning and, while I can't say it's worth missing my guys quite yet, it's a promising start.
The agenda for this week's conference is packed solid, but the stars aligned to allow me some time this weekend to visit with some friends. The little time I did get to spend with Selah and Zeynep and Dilara was well spent, and we all only barely stopped talking long enough to breathe and stuff our faces with great food.
I'd been looking for a polka-dot sweater for awhile (where do I get these ideas, really?) and the first time I wore it I knew it was a success because I couldn't decide between three pairs of shoes that could have been base accessories to create three totally different, fabulous looks. The Swede ended up picking these Zara Kids ballerinas and I went with the orange theme. This time. I can't wait to wear this sweater again another way. And also, here comes one of my best shopping tips: Zara Kids shoes go up to a European size 38 (which is a US size 7.5 regardless of what Zara's erroneous size charts says), they are as cute if not cuter than their women's shoes (though they don't have heels), and cost WAY less. I also have a Zara Kids trench coat that cost half the price of the exact same grown-up version. And I will prance around in kids clothes and shoes without a second thought if it saves a couple bucks. You'll see.
I needed this outfit. The day before had been a colossal failure and my hair had been a disaster, so I was especially pleased that this all came together for me. Thank you, H&M!
Remember that thing about me wearing kids' clothes? Feast your eyes upon the most spectacular sweater I've ever seen, curtesy of H&M Girls. I would tattoo this sweater onto my body if I thought I could maintain any kind of reasonable life with a half-body-horse-sweater tattoo. I think it's that cool. Jamie agrees.
This isn't particularly special, but the sweater has been around for awhile now and is one of my cool weather staples. It has a short row of buttons down the back of the collar that makes it feel a little bit special. And these jeans are treating me well. Grey skinnies are a purchase I would definitely recommend.
Here is where I totally disregard "seasons" and my well-meaning girlfriends and carry this military-inspired sweatshirt/blazer into fall. This trend-laden photo is going to make me squirm in approximately eight months by my best estimate and will likely full-on haunt me in a couple of years.
Saturday night was the first time we've left Jamie with anyone who wasn't a relative, so all involved were a bit nervous. Except Jamie, that is, as he became super pumped the minute I told him he'd get to hang with his BFF Ossian. When we got to Erin and Svante's, Jamie waltzed in like he owned the place and started asking for Ossian, who was unfortunately napping. We stayed for a bit and had a yummy fika thinking that Jamie might need some time to adjust, but he seemed to feel right at home. We left when Ossian woke up and it was no problem. Jamie was excited to play with his bud and didn't mind saying good-bye at all.
Erin was so sweet and sent me updates with pictures a couple of times during the evening and The Swede and I were so relieved to know that everyone was having a good time. Jamie stayed up past ten, though, and Svante was, like, Super Sitter and stayed up with him even though he wanted to pass out with Erin and Ossian hours earlier. And Jamie must have felt comfortable there because he apparently stuck with his policy of waking up at six-thirty regardless of how late he was up the night before. We asked Erin and Svante what their plans were for their Sunday when we picked Jambo up and they were like, "SLEEP." Sleep deprivation aside, it seemed like it went really well and we can't wait to return the favor.
Please look at the cheeks on these two!!! They kill me!
Last night The Swede and I dropped Jamie off with Erin, Svante, and Ossian for the night and hit the town. I had planned and saved up for a fancy date since several weeks ago, but kept the agenda a surprise from The Swede. He knows me well, or at least knows that I know him well, and totally guessed what I had planned. I had booked a table and a room in the swanky neighborhood of Stureplan.
Dinner was outstanding. We had mussels, calamari, oysters, and lobster soup. If you're being super fancy like we were, you order the cheese plate for dessert. If you ever go to Sturehof, don't eat cheese number four. It is not good. I put an X over it as a reminder not to take a second bite.
The evening was incredible. The Swede is just always surprising me with how awesome he continues to be. I never expected marriage to be this much fun. We're having an Indian summer here and this morning was downright hot. We opened the window of our hotel room when we got up and the streets were silent, a stark contrast to the partying we heard the night before. When we walked out onto Birger Jarlsgatan we felt like we owned Stockholm and I fell in love with it all over again, just like I did with my husband. Just like I always do.
I am totally useless at cooking, this we know. In fact, the first time Jamie belly laughed when he was about four months old was in response to The Swede's gagging after I showed him what we were having for dinner one evening. And sure, this is Sweden, year 2013, and my husband could make dinner instead, but I'm pretty sure I still prefer my gag-inducing cooking to frozen pot-pies seven nights a week. I'm only slightly better at baking, but I enjoy the process and its results much more. Probably because they're carbs. Last week I made cinnamon rolls, pretzels, and meringues and this week I tried biscuits. I thought it was my first time making them, but as soon as I plopped the dough out into a sticky mess on the counter it all felt just a little too familiar. Oh, yeah, I'd done this before. Probably with the exact same recipe, as they were similarly mediocre. But nobody gagged! Nobody gagged.
I feel like there's so much great music out right now. Every day when I come in to work I'm almost overwhelmed trying to decide what to play at my desk and on my drive to and from Söderköping last weekend I didn't hear one song on the radio that I didn't like, which is basically unheard of. Among my current favorites is Safe and Sound by Capital Cities, a group I know precisely nothing about, but whom I am officially a fan of after watching this video.
Erin had found them at her local grocer, but she lives an hour away. She gave Jamie a package for his birthday, but it didn't last long, and while her offer to buy them for us whenever she could was sweet, I just don't see her enough to cash in on it. Then I went grocery shopping in a new store today and it occurred to me to check their American section. I'm pretty sure I audibly gasped when I saw them, but as luck would have it, the American aisle is not particularly popular so no one was there to experience my joy at the discovery. Sure, they cost six bucks a pop, but I think we can all agree that was six dollars well spent. I know Jamie can.
On Saturday I drove down to Söderköping for Sarianne's much-anticipated dinner party. She had invited her nearest and dearest: me, obvs, a couple of old friends from back home in Stockholm, and some newer ones from Söderköping. All were fabulous, it goes without saying, as Sarianne has excellent taste in basically everything, girlfriends included. Their house is really coming together and they've made a lot of progress over the summer so it looked fantastic, decorated to the smallest lovely detail. But the most impressive part of the evening was the food. Sarianne had prepared no fewer than seven hors d'oeuvres. Seven. And those were the ones that required preparation. There were also salamis, cheeses, fruit, bread, shrimp, olives, and marinated garlic. It was a feast. We sat around the kitchen table and laughed and ate ourselves silly for hours. I so appreciate the company of great women and am very grateful to have been part of Sarianne's party, surrounded by lovely ladies. And, you know, LOTS of delicious hors d'oeuvres.
Well, hi there! As you can see, I've updated to look of the blog a bit today. I don't like a lot of clutter in general so I tried to clean it up a bit. Scandinavian design, if you will. Also, I increased the picture and text sizes because everything was looking teeny tiny, and I added a gadget with my latest Instagrams to put the focus more on images in general. They're always the most interesting part of any blog anyway, right? Just ask my husband, who I'm convinced never reads what I write. Holla if you're reading this, babe! Yeah, just as I thought. Anyway, I'm quite happy with the new design and I hope you are as well. Thanks for reading. Or just looking. Either way, I appreciate you!
Don't even bother looking at anything except the shoes. Nothing else in this outfit, or LIFE, for that matter, is more important than these golden glitter booties.
I got this bright fuschia lipstick on a lunch break last week. I saw it on the sales lady at The Body Shop and it looked so fabulous on her I had to get it. A few days later, my colleague Emelie commented on how nice it looked and I told her that I had planned every outfit around that lipstick since I bought it. Some other coworkers overheard and laughed, maybe because they thought I was joking, maybe because they think I'm ridiculous. Whatever. I wasn't joking. Neutrals until the novelty wears off.
Hot pink belt to go with my hot pink lipstick, natch. It's a shame you can't see it in the picture, but this top has a really cute Peter Pan collar, something I quite enjoy on a top but don't dare to wear too often since I think with the short, blond 'do I'd be bordering too much on a pixieish "look". I'm a very complicated woman.
I got this blouse on the same shopping trip as my blue, six-year-old dress and it's still going strong, rather unexpectedly for a cheap Forever 21 top. The slightly puffed sleeves with little bow ties make it feel very girly, which I tried to balance with these masculine loafers that were so uncomfortable I was forced to buy replacement ballerinas at lunch.
By now, you probably understand that most of my wardrobe is made up of items that don't exceed my arbitrary twenty-eight dollar limit (which is more like sixteen dollars if I'm shopping in the States), but earlier this year I decided I wanted to invest in a couple of classic, quality items that I could hopefully use year after year. A handbag, a couple pairs of leather shoes and this J.Crew sweater. It's not cashmere or anything, but it feels luxurious and I love the color.