September

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“May I a small house and large garden have;

And a few friends,

And many books, both true.”

- Abraham Cowley

September is here, and any other year I would have already had my Halloween decor strewn throughout the house. But, I’ll be holding off for a couple more weeks this year. We go to Paris at the end of the month, and I plan to do all of my decorating right before we leave - since we won’t be back until October.

On another note, I love my new job. I love the people that I work with, the culture, and the company as a whole. I am grateful beyond measure. Everything is different now, and different is so, unbelievably good.

In between life and work and gardening and everything else - I’ve been reading again. In the last three or four months, I’ve read eleven books. And, since I’m off work today - I’m about to begin the Little House series. First up: Little House in the Big Woods. I can’t think of many things better than welcoming the autumn months with books that paint the prettiest, coziest mental pictures.

SW x Blackbolt

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It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Eden and Ben of Blackbolt brought my dream to life and I just want to squeeze them both. I’ve always wanted this space of mine to have a handmade element and more personal touches added here and there. These two listened to my vision, and put something together that feels so uniquely me.

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One of the core elements of my brand is the image of a maternal figure holding a flower, and the other is a seasonal image that I can change throughout the year. It’s no news to anyone that I celebrate the seasons and what each of them bring - and these two created beautiful imagery that shows just that. And, as the cherry on top, they created my dream stationary that I absolutely cannot wait to use. They’re a dream team and I couldn’t sing their praises more.

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Stream of Consciousness

Recently, I read a friend’s blogpost that has stuck with me for weeks. She wrote about the things that she had learned and relearned about herself last year. She shared a side of herself that I really had never seen before, and it made me feel heard and seen. I used to use this place to let the feelings flow - but as more and more people started reading it (hi, dad), I stopped sharing more and more of myself. Well… not today. Letting the thoughts and feelings flow. Maybe you (whoever you are) will feel heard and seen. I’m titling this season or chapter of my life “Survival Mode”.

Where I’m At Currently:

Adulthood is a struggle. This is something that everyone knows, and I’m not at all under the impression that this is as hard as it will ever get. I’m well aware that I’m on the early side of adulthood and that there are many more mountains to summit. However, that doesn’t mean that this still can’t be really damn hard. Scratching the surface… My work doesn’t fulfill me anymore. I live farther away from my family than I would like, and phone calls are exhausting and triggering when my energy levels seem to live beneath rock bottom at the moment. The relationships that I have with family are the ones that I prize the most, and nurturing them is hard when you’re far away and “in your feelings” as the kids say these days.

There’s a pressure to be present on social media so that people “know who you are”. I don’t love this, and it just reminds me of Andy Warhol’s famous quote, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” It turns out that he was right and that social media made that possible.

I need sunshine and warmth to be a pleasant person. I don’t know where my cold-loving, sweater maven self went - but she is gone and her hands are cold and she is sick of soup and longs to run and play and swing and watch birds and get her hands dirty. Maybe I need a sun lamp for lizards…but for myself.

Yacht Rock has been the sound of my soul for the last year, and I find that it can always bring me back to a solid place - even just temporarily. If you don’t know what Yacht Rock is, think Robbie Dupree, Ambrosia, Eagles, Toto, Hall & Oates, Little River Band.

Thinking back on that post that I mentioned previously and quoting it directly here because she said it better than I ever could: “…we must not sit in anger. Anger has to be moved through. It is never meant to be a permanent state, but a catalyst for some sort of change that works itself out and into a state of compassion, or resolve, or determination. If you are angry, do not stop there. That emotion is a signal of a recognized injustice of some kind: identify it, lean into it, and transform it.” Words to live by.

I’ve felt creatively stifled for quite some time. I have a studio space now, and it’s pretty much complete and ready for me to get to work. But, nothing. I haven’t sketched. My embroidery floss has dust on it. I feel choked and tamped down and stalled.

The thought of being unreachable sounds like a dream vacation.

I need to understand that not everyone wants their problems fixed - and even if they do, they may not want me to try to fix them. They may not want a solution. They may not want insight. They may just want a sounding board.

I’ve felt less and less like myself over the last year and I’m the only one that can fix this. I know the cause of it, but it’s scary to realize that it’s not just a funk or an off day… it’s real. Knowing the cause doesn’t make it easier to shake. It was a gradual shift in thinking that took place over a long span of time, making it to where negativity is always on my tongue, ready to be shared with anyone that will listen. It’s not going to be a quick and easy fix to undo. But, I’m working on it. It’s devastating to see a change happen in yourself for the worse.

One time, someone asked me how I can possibly be filled with so much joy and light and still have some extra to give away. This was maybe one of the nicest things that I had ever heard, and the skeptic in me wonders if they really meant it. I’d like to get back to that place.

Christmas/Winter Bucket List 2018

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Originally, this list held things like “go Christmas shopping FOR REAL”, and “spend the evening wrapping Christmas presents by the Christmas tree”, “go ice skating”, and so much more. BUT, some things had to be omitted because of $$ and house buying and time. This is surely going to be a Christmas to remember, and it’s going to be a very creative Christmas. We don’t have much time off from work, and the time that we do have falls after Christmas - meaning that we don’t know our Christmas plans, or if there will be Christmas plans. We are working so, so hard to buy a house by the end of the year - meaning that we may be skipping out on store-bought presents this year and going a different route. We’ll also be packing and sorting and prepping for a move between the Christmas merriment and work. HOW did all of this end up happening at Christmastime? Let it be known that if my Christmas is a little miniature this year…next year is going to be %$@#*%$ jolly as hell. So, watch out because I am coming for you, Christmas 2019.

Go:

  • Take a drive to look at Christmas lights.

  • Dress up and have a date night downtown.

Cook/Bake:

  • Bake gingerbread cookies.

  • Bake treats for work.

  • Make homemade hot chocolate.

  • Bake at least three kinds of Christmas cookies.

  • Make mom’s beef stew.

  • Make Trey’s cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.

  • Make Trey's orange cake for Christmas.

    Watch:

  • Elf

  • The Santa Claus

  • The Grinch

  • The Nutcracker

  • White Christmas

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  • It’s a Wonderful Life

  • Christmas with the Kranks

  • You’ve Got Mail

  • The Polar Express

  • Sleepless in Seattle

  • When Harry Met Sally

  • The Holiday

  • A Christmas Story

  • Home Alone

  • Love Actually

  • The Family Stone

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Christmas Vacation

  • Harry Potter (any that give major Christmas feels)

  • Christmas episodes of The Office

  • Christmas classic cartoons

Do:

  • Make pomanders with Abbey.

  • Make Christmas cards.

  • Send Christmas cards.

  • Paint nails Christmas Red.

  • Dry out oranges for the Christmas tree.

  • Hang mistletoe and kiss under it.

  • Celebrate our third anniversary.

  • Bake pizzelles with Trey’s grandmother.

  • Buy an ornament to represent the year.

  • Buy a new Christmas children’s book.

  • Curl up by a fireplace.

  • Buy a house.

Giving Thanks

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On our way home from our third Thanksgiving meal, Trey and I talked about how different this Thanksgiving was from ones in the past. It’s shocking to see how things change over the years - and it’s funny to see the things that never change (like having four or five different pans of dressing at a single dinner). I felt that in all of the hustle and bustle, I didn’t slow down and let gratitude sink in until I was on my way home from all of the festivities. So, I thought that I should settle in and give thanks.

I’m thankful for the family that I have. I’ve got one big, loud, zesty family…and somehow “zesty” really is the best word to describe them. I’ve got a step-family, where the get togethers are well-organized and put together. And I’ve got a big bunch of in-laws that are almost always seemingly carefree and ready for a good time. They’re all so different, and I love them all.

I’m thankful for my marriage and the person that I’m married to. I’m thankful that he is patient and generous and willing to do anything for anyone, and is always ready to swoop in and save the day. I’m thankful that he is so, so, so loving, and so, so, so kind.

I’m thankful for the way that things are going at the moment. We are working hard, and it seems like it’s going to pay off soon.

I’m thankful for friends that feel like family. Trey goes to DND every Sunday night, and I know that those people that he plays with are some of his favorite people, and they’ve become some of mine as well. I’m also thankful for the friends that live nearby, and the friends that don’t, and the new friends, and the old friends.

I’m thankful that tonight, I got to sit next to my husband while I held one of my nieces, and while he held another one. I’m thankful that I got to go to THREE Thanksgivings, while some people can’t even afford groceries. I’m thankful for my furry little family, and the way that George gets along with my mom’s dog - and the way that James parades loudly around the apartment demanding to be fed. I’m thankful for all of it. The good things, and the not-so-good things.

Next year, when even more things have changed - I hope that I remember to look back on this post and find all of the joy that this year held. Now - go watch You’ve Got Mail, tell someone “Happy Thanksgiving back”, and pull out your twinkle lights because it’s truly officially the Christmas season.

5 Things.

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  1. It’s November and I haven't written in weeks. I’ve been checking things off of that autumn bucket list (three posts back), and I’ve almost knocked it out completely! Trey and I are leaving for vacation tomorrow, and I think that by the time we come back, it will be as complete as its going to be for the 2018 autumn season.

  2. We’ve had a pretty fantastic autumn so far, and while I’m ready to deck the halls for Christmas, I’m choosing to let autumn have its own moment away from the Halloween and Christmas decor. We’ve been exhausted and busy and we’ve accomplished far beyond what’s shown on the list. We saw my step sister get married, which was a fun and tasty weekend event. We went house-hunting and fell in love with one house - only to not end up getting it. Trey and Jon spent the day together while my mom and I went shopping around Birmingham. I planned an elaborate birthday party for my mom, and wow I feel like this list could go on and on. Upcoming events: our vacation (that I don’t want to come back from), My Favorite Murder in Atlanta with Abbey, and continuing on with our search for a house.

  3. I mentioned in past posts that I’d been going to a ceramics class with Abbey on Tuesday nights last month, and I can’t stress enough what this did for my mental state. It was life-giving to HAVE TO spend two hours doing something with my hands at the end of a hectic day. It became something that I looked forward to for the rest of the week, and I’m grateful that she and I got to have this. A MASSIVE THANK YOU to her husband who gifted such a thoughtful gift for two, and a massive thank you to Abbey for taking me.

  4. I haven’t had time to finalize my Christmas playlists this year, but that’s my number one project for my time off. I’ve noticed that more and more people are starting their Christmas decorating earlier than normal this year - and I’m so glad about it.

  5. My mom came to Birmingham for the day so that she and I could go to Christmas Village, and we had so much fun. We bought some small wooden toy cars and trains for future (way way future) bebe, and we just got to catch up on everything. We’ve always loved the movie Chocolat, so I made sure to take her to the new chocolatier in town called Chocolata. We picked out some luxurious looking pieces and sat, shared, and savored them.

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