Monthly archive February, 2016

THOUGHTS ABOUT MEDITATION

Untitled-1

Some of you may never have tried meditating, which is not unusual in the western world. This is really a shame, because I find that we need it more than anyone. It doesn’t have to be religious, it doesn’t have to be sitting down in one position for several hours. You don’t have to be under a tree on a mountaintop in India or in a forest far from civilization to be able to meditate.
 
The main thing I find important with meditation or ‘mindfulness’ is the ability to just turn off all thoughts that run through your mind. To have a moment of complete stillness and quietness in the midst of our hectic lives.
I find that the constant flow of thoughts in my mind is a big part of what makes me stressed and miserable. It’s like being in a big messy room, and meditation is what cleans everything up a bit and puts everything in to order. Some might not think it’s enjoyable to clean up a messy room, but it’s still highly necessary for your well being.
 
Meditating might seem like something distant. Like something that only certain people do. “Peace comes from within, do not seek without. Becoming one with the universe. Rule your mind or it will rule you”. But what does that actually mean?
The thing is, you won’t find out.
Not until you’re sitting there, looking inside and experiencing it yourself. You will never know completely what chocolate tastes like when someone else describes what it tastes like to them. In the same way, no one can tell you what meditation will be like for you.
 
However, it doesn’t hurt to do some research about the basics and to listen to other people talk about the general idea and purpose of meditation. I’m always discovering new things and talks that inspire me, like David Lynch changing lives with help of trancendental meditation (link here) or S.N Goenka about Vipassana (link here), or listening to the ever so brilliant Alan Watts on youtube (link here)
 
Some time during my teenage years I started trying out the technique of mindfulness. You could probably say that mindfulness is like a simplified version of mediation, where the main focus is on the breath.
 
“Attention is put on the movement of the stomach when breathing in and out, or on the awareness of the breath as it goes in and out the nostrils. If one becomes distracted from the breath, one passively notices one’s mind has wandered, but in an accepting, non-judgmental way and one returns to focusing on breathing.”
 
I started using this technique, only a little bit here and there in random situations, and it had such an effect. I noticed how I calmed down in an instant, how it relieved some of my anxiety, and how my mind collected itself from being totally chaotic.
 
meditate-2

Sometimes after meditation, I get this incredible sensation of being completely aware. It’s like nothing exists except for this very moment. I open my eyes and I see everything around me so much more clearly, as if I’ve suddenly woken up from a hazy dream. This is of course especially intensified when I meditate in the nature, where everything is just as still and harmonious as my mind in that moment.
 
But what you need to accept is that meditation can be very hard. There are times when you can’t do it properly and it just makes you more frustrated and stressed than before. That’s just how it is. It takes patient and practice, but it’s worth it in the long run. I’ve had times where I’ve been able to meditate twice a day without difficulties, and times where I struggle and just stop doing it completely.
 
Lately I haven’t been very disciplined with my practice at all, but the thing is, it’s still there. I still have those moments when I know I need to sit down for at least ten minutes and just focus on my breathing.
And I keep getting surprised every time. Surprised at how it just collects my thoughts a little bit, slows down my heartbeat and brings me back to the now.
 
Being the type of person who’s head is almost constantly up in the clouds, I’m really amazed that there is a way for me to reach another level of awareness. Sometimes I feel like my life is just passing me by, without the time to reflect on who I am or what I’m experiencing at this very moment. But somehow, meditation gives me that time.
 
And the great thing is, meditation and mindfulness comes in so many different shapes depending on who we are as individuals. Of course, the proper ways and teachings of meditation are probably the most effective and can bring you to something beyond just quieting the mind. But I still believe that to become open to go further in your awareness, you have to take baby steps.
 
Untitled-2

I started by asking myself if I ever felt the need to still my own thoughts or to get a relief from stress. The answer was obviously yes. Then I thought about what I already do in my life to get that effect. I knew that things like cooking, spending time in the nature or listening to certain music has a calming effect on me. This in itself made me very open to the idea that there are ways for us humans to disconnect with the outer world and reconnect with ourselves.
 
After realizing that, I thought about the fact that I can actually make a habit of this, but it needs to be something that I always have with me, in any place or any type of situation. What can I do when I don’t have my earphones with me, when I’m not in a kitchen, or close to nature?
 
The fact is – As long as I’m living, no matter what I’m doing or where I am, I will always have my breath. It will always be there with me. If it stops, then so do I.
That’s what I find so beautiful about meditation and mindfulness.
 
You allow yourself to fully focus on the most underestimated part of yourself. The breath is one of the keys to life, and by paying attention to it properly, you can become completely aware of yourself, both your body and soul.
 
Meditation is not about doing, which can be really hard for most of us since we are taught that the more you do, the better you are. We build our days around what we do, and therefore it a bit tricky to suddenly sit down and “do nothing”. This “nothing” is actually to look inwards, which in itself is one of the hardest things you can do. It takes focus, determination and patience.
 
Untitled-4

I myself don’t like when other people think they know what’s best for me, or claim that they have found ‘the only right way’. I find it very hard to trust, even when it comes to spirituality. I won’t believe that there is one way to the so called ‘enlightenment’, since it could be just another concept that someone is trying to sell to me.
 
I will only trust what feels right in me, because only I know what truly makes me happy in life. No one else should ever tell me what I’m supposed to do or who I should be, in the same way that I can’t tell any of you that by practicing yoga and meditation you will reach happiness. It’s just not as simple as that.
The most important thing for me is that I have a space where I can collect my thoughts, clear my mind and connect with myself. As corny as it sounds, if you truly understand the meaning of those words, it can be such a big help.
 
In the same way as you would get to know another person properly when you focus beyond the superficial aspects, that’s the moment when you really get to know yourself.

 
 
LOU

LOU’S VEGAN: TOFU QUINOA BOWL

S0065386 S0095389 S0105390I’ve been a vegetarian for almost three years now, and nowadays I’m on the verge of being vegan. Since I’m quite passionate about vegan food, I thought I would start sharing some ideas of what I usually make at home. Easy, vegan, healthy, yummy and awesome recipes. The type of food that’s not expensive, and that includes all the things you would normally get from meat.

This dish for example, is completely packed with proteins.
 
Quinoa veggie bowl ‘Asian style’ with kale, beans, cashew nuts, coriander and sesame fried tofu.
 
Holy moly. This is one of those moments where I make something out of all the things I love. And there’s just nothing wrong with that.
 
What you need:
 
1 dl Quinoa
 
Kale (any type, here I’ve used green and white kale)
 
Zucchini
 
Leeks
 
1/4 can of coconut milk
 
1 can of mixed beans
 
3 slices of Tofu
 
Sesame seeds
 
Cashew nuts
 
Coriander
 
Fresh sprouts
 
What you do:
 
Chop up kale, zucchini and leaks and fry up in a pan with some salt and oil (coconut or other type of oil). Mix in the beans and the coconut milk, and put it aside in a bowl.
 
Put quinoa in a pot with 2 dl water and bring to a boil. Then let it simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Slice up the tofu, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and then fry up the patties for just a few minutes.
 
Top it with coriander, roasted cashews and fresh sprouts.
 
 
LOU

PALM HOUSE

DSCF5523
 
Untitled-2
 
IMG_7558-2
 
IMG_7525-2
Coat Weekday
 
Trousers SET
 
Shoes Vagabond
 
Bag Mango
 
 
Shot by Elsa Johansson
 
 
LOU

QUESTION & ANSWER

Hi everyone! Here are my answers to some of your latest questions. If I’ve missed something or if there’s something else you’re wondering about, just comment below and I’ll make sure to answer properly.
 
Do you ever feel homesick when traveling around?
 
Yes of course, but not always. When I’ve been traveling and I’m occupied with all of these exciting things or discovering new places, meeting new people, or just trying to figure our where the hell I am, it’s pretty easy not to be homesick.
But as soon as I’ve felt alone, or I’ve been in a tricky situation, or I’ve found myself in a place that I don’t like, I’ve really been missing my home and my friends and family. Which is natural I guess, and I think it’s a very necessary experience since it makes you appreciate things so much more.
 
What’s the most beautiful place you have visited?
 
There I would probably have to say when me and my family traveled to India and stayed on Palolem beach in Goa. It really looked like a postcard.
 
Alternatively, when I went road tripping up the coast of Croatia last summer.
 
That was just incredibly beautiful.
 
Untitled-5

How old are you? Do you ever plan on making youtube videos? Because I would LOVE them.
 
I’m 21 years old, turning 22 in September. And no I’ve never really planned to make videos before, but I’m actually starting to realize that it could be quite fun. Let’s just say that I like a good challenge. So keep a lookout here on the blog, a video or two might just be turning up soon.
 
Are you studying and if yes, what are you studying?
 
The answer is no, I’m not studying and I haven’t studied anything since I fished highschool. I’ve basically just been working and traveling. Last summer I thought about applying to a graphic design school, but then I freaked out a little and decided to go and live at a yoga retreat instead.
 
How tall are you?
 
I’m 176 cm. I’m not sure what that is in inches or feet or whatever other measurements there are. But it means that I’m quite tall and I feel a bit awkward when wearing heels.
 
Is your hair color natural?
 
Nope. I’ve literally been bleaching and coloring my hair since I was eleven years old. My natural color is a dark blonde or as we call it in Sweden, ‘Råttfärgat’ which basically means the color of a rat, which I think is a bit more accurate. Now I’m just highlighting my roots instead of bleaching it, in the hope of making my hair a bit more health and natural.
 
What lip color are you usually wearing?
 
So basically it seems like this is the most asked question of all, and I’ll finally let you know that I use the lipstick ‘Vegas Volt’ from MAC. You’re welcome 🙂
 
I try to keep my make up as natural as possible, but now during the winter I just think it’s nice to have some form of color on my face.
 
Photo 23-10-15 13 08 47

How do you make your photos so white?
 
First of all, this makes me think about this <3 (link).
Okay so to begin with, some of my photos are actually white because I’ve taken a photo of something white. So for example if I take a photo of myself, it’s usually by a white wall, and my face is pretty white, and I’m usually wearing something white, and my hair is really blonde, so in that way it’s not very hard.
 
And then there’s the lighting of course. Very important to take photos in broad daylight, so preferably between let’s say 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Or, if you live in Sweden during the winter like I am right now, there will probably only be good light between around 12-2 pm. But anyway, the third thing would be the editing part. Which leads me to the next question –
 
How do you edit your photos and what effects do you use?
 
Now I find this question really hard to answer since it really depends on what qualities the photo already has. But to begin with, I use the app VSCO cam for all of my editing, which is I guess the main editing app and probably the most popular? And there I just play around with it a bit, brighten them up, adding contrast, sharpness, sometimes lowering the saturation a bit.
 
I usually try not to edit too much and instead make the original photo as good as possible from the start.
 
Some of the filters I use: A6, A7, A8, A9, HB1, HB2, S2, and sometimes in black and white B3, B5.
 
Untitled-4

What camera do you use?
 
I’ve used many different cameras throughout the years, but I’ve managed to loose or destroy all of them. But right now I’m using a really nice and small fuji X10. You would probably call this on retro by now since there are so many newer versions out there, but i really like this one. It’s simple to work with and easy to bring with you.
 
Besides that, I mostly just use my iphone 5s for taking photos, at least for my instagram, which has been working really well.
 
 
LOU

NO EFFORT HAIR

S0205401Since I rarely use straightener or curling iron, I naturally have quite frizzy and messy hair. According to me at least, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I like my hair healthy of course, but not perfected.
 
I think it should be okay not to spend lots of money on products, tools, extensions and what not, but to still feel like a million dollars (everyone has bad hair-days of course, but that’s besides the point). Here are a few of my usual hairstyles that literally take 0 – 30 seconds to do.
 
The first one shows some type of ‘natural waves’. When I’ve had a shower and my hair is almost dry, i just make a tight twisted bun and leave it like that for about an hour. When I let it out, it’s a bit wavy.
 
S0235409

Sometimes I do a lazy low or high bun like this. No magic needed here.
Here you can also notice a smudgy part of my secret neck-tattoo.
 
S0265415

If you feel a bit more (but not very) creative, a loose braid can be nice to wear. Especially when you go to bed and you want to keep your hair in one place.
 
S0315430

Here’s my fancier version of a low bun. Twist the sides, tie it up, make a twisted bun and then tie it again. Easy.
 
S0325432

Last but not least, the simplest of all. If you just want to wake up in the morning and do nothing to your hair, that’s okay. Let it be. Maybe brush it a bit, just to get rid of some knots.
 
I guess what I’m trying to get to, is that it can be great and fun and whatever to fix and perfect, but it really doesn’t need to look like this (link) every day. We all have very different hair-qualities, so try to find something that works best for you. At least for me, messy’s the way to go.
 
 
LOU

FLASHBACK: AUSTRALIA ROAD TRIP

IMG_0011

After I finished high school, I spontaneously decided to move to Australia in the autumn of 2013. I arrived in Melbourne without knowing one single person, and on top of that I barely had any money.
 
During that half year in Australia I had so many ups and downs, so many funny, crazy and weird experiences and most importantly, I met so many incredible people. But Melbourne is another story.
Right now I would like to share one of the best parts of my half year in Oz; our three week road trip up the East Coast.
 
IMG_0012

It started with me going to visit Essie in her home outside of Sydney, to celebrate Christmas with her family. This is her house. Right next to a massive forest. Up on a hill. Right by the sea. Not kidding.
 
This was an interesting contrast, since I’m usually used to celebrating Christmas in minus degrees and sometimes even snow at home in Sweden (Not sure what I prefer?).
 
IMG_0014

IMG_0010

This was just minutes away from her house. Such an idyllic environment to live in.
 
10177319_10202695297937843_123921065634101985_n

Here’s where Essie stayed, in her own van in the garden.
 
Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Best hang out spot.
 
IMG_0013

Me and Essie had talked about going on a road trip over New Years, but neither of us had a car or even a driving license, so we dropped that idea.
However just in time, Essie’s friend Mikaila was about to drive up the east coast together with Simmo and Warwick, and wondered if they could make a stop at Essie’s house.
Obviously they could, and it so happened that they had two free seats in the car! So me and Ess invited ourselves to join them.
 
1458566_10202695298097847_4214768680863386107_n

Mikaila and Simmo when they arrived.
 
10004064_10202695298457856_5499817510927060600_n

And Warwick of course.
 
IMG_0011

And the road trip was on! This photo almost makes me tear up a little. I grew to love these souls so much during a very short amount of time.
 
1601391_10202195613806052_315384995_n

We were five people literally squeezed into Mikaila’s small (but lovely) car. Sitting on piles of stuff with our legs tangled and pushed against the seats, some food stuffed in the back trunk and some banging roadtrip-hits playing through the speakers on the highest volume. We headed towards the East coast without really knowing at all where to stop or stay for the night.
 

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

While on the road, we stopped at some of the many stunning coastal beaches…


 
1620686_10202195651807002_602810790_n

1782066_10202195625406342_1590909292_n

Wandered around in the most beautiful nature and forests…
 

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

And ended up at countless random places out in ‘nowhere’. Not knowing where we were, or even where we were going was one of the highlights of this trip.


 
1546311_10202195578445168_1905134317_n

At some point we drove past Newcastle and couldn’t find anywhere to stay for the night. We made a random stop and went through some bushes, and suddenly we had this perfect little sleeping spot right under our feet.
It was summer, so we just put down our sleeping bags and slept right under the stars. Waking up to this view the morning after was unreal, to say the least.
 
1526511_10202095469942518_379482015_n

1622654_10202195651767001_1222980625_n

<3 Just as unreal as these beautiful ladies.
 
1797360_10202695292177699_1544417691183732842_n

<3
 
1499632_10202195656087109_357386148_n

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

(Favorite photo ever)
 
1959334_10202695298857866_6245476357839106038_n

10006636_10202695299977894_198814337948570693_n

Not sure exactly what was going on here, but I think it shows quite nicely how we just made things work (or it actually just shows that Simmo is a good friend and I’m a lazy bum).
 
10173600_10202695283137473_2265957937256682225_nBy the time it was New Years, we finally got to Byron Bay. Once again, we weren’t sure where to stay. But an acquaintance of Mikaila invited us to crash on the couch in her very own jewelry-making shop. Thank god for kind and hospitable people.
 
10259881_10202695295217775_4976836183465945356_n

1544305_10202695301137923_370383663004111713_n

Byron Bay was actually somewhat of a shitty place to be during New Years, mostly due to the amount douche bags that took over the town. We ended up at this really strange house party and celebrated the start of 2014, surrounded by all kinds of quirky high people and loud grungy music.
 
1534430_10202695302457956_1776580749231343649_n

We still had some fun in Byron though and spent most of the time by the beach.
 
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

10262212_10202695304778014_6392990700081487520_n

Besides what is captured on camera, there were so many more crazy and amazing things that happened during these three weeks.
 
When we danced to drums a whole night at a street party outside of Nimbin, when me and Mikaila got yelled at for bathing top-less by the waterfalls, when I fell in love with the hot waiter in Byron Bay who turned out to be gay, when we couldn’t find a sleeping spot and broke the gate of an abandoned house and then got chased away by a guard the next morning.
When I freaked out on New Years eve because no one was counting down and Warwick freaked out with me just to make me feel safe, when we stayed with all the hippies at the Rainbow Temple, or even just when we all got cranky from the heat, dehydration and hunger and wanted to kill each other a little.
 
To me, it was almost as if there was a magic spell over these three weeks. We didn’t plan anything at all, everything was completely spontaneous, and we didn’t even know each other from the start. But even so, everything just happened to work out along the way. All of these things perfectly showed up just in the right moment when we needed them.
 
All the times Warwick and Mikaila played the guitar, all of our talks that got us deep into the very questions of life, all the silly songs we sang loudly in the car, all of this is still quite clear in my head even though it’s been two whole years since we went on this trip together.
 
To me, these moments are exactly what makes traveling worth it.
 
 
LOU

 

SPRING SEASON

jdfhj

I can’t believe it, there’s actually some color on my inspiration board! That’s just what spring does to you I guess. Not very surprisingly, my longing for this season came already in January.
 
Currently listening to Falcons by Amanda Bergman and getting excited to create a brand new spring-list on Spotify. I’ll let you all know when it’s up!
 
Besides that, there’s a lot going on right now which is why there’s somewhat of an echo here on the blog. As the restless soul that I am, I’m actually leaving Malmö tomorrow to live at home in Gothenburg for a while (Yes, there’s a big part of me that has no sense of patience and likes going from one thing to another, from one place to another. But I have my reasons this time, I promise!).
 
Hopefully this space will soon be filled with blue skies, natural sun, nudes, some warm tones and lots of greens.
 
 

LOU