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a beautiful day

After cold weather for much too long, yesterday, with temperatures in the 70s, gave me hope. There was no deep introspection, just sheer joy. I shortened my lunch break so that I could sneak in short walks in the morning and afternoon, just reveling in how the sun felt on my face. And at night, we went all out and ordered barbeque and Mexican takeout (crazy night, I know), opened a bottle of sauvignon blanc because the weather finally called for a chilled wine, and ate outside. Heaven.

I hope you're making the most of your sunny days too.

{image via}

(In addition... Several hours after writing that post, I have resigned myself to another cold day. I am more relieved than ever that I enjoyed yesterday the way I did!)



One thing I love about getting older is an increased appreciation in the little things in life. I can recall so many times in my childhood driving to the beach or through the mountains and hearing my parents comment on the scenery, and I just didn't get it. But now, a walk along the shore, like I did over the holidays with Michael's parents, or a good sunset are enough to render me silent.

Something I consider to be a treat, particularly during these icy cold days, is waking up in the morning and taking my time to turn the blinds on each and every one of my windows. There's something about seeing light filter into the room and warm its surroundings, about seeing how my home (our home!) changes, that makes me feel peaceful and content. How ironic that even two years ago, when we lived in an apartment, I didn't bother drawing open either of only two windows and preferred to lazily live in a cave instead!

Such a little thing that costs little time and no money that feels like such a gift. Isn't that lovely?

{image via}



This Saturday, my husband and I dragged our under-the-weather selves to the Keith Urban (and Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch) concert. We told ourselves we'd only stay for a few songs because we were beat but ended up hanging around till the end of Keith Urban's two and a half hour long set.

I left feeling soooo good. And since my husband patiently listened while I tried to articulate and piece my feelings apart, I can now share why with all of you:

He enjoyed what he does. "Yeah, I'm sure I'd be happy too if I were a world-famous musician with a legion of fans," you may think. But then consider all of the musicians (and other famous folks) who succumb to drug and/or alcohol addictions, depression, etc. (He was even one of them at one point.) Clearly, there are challenges in enjoying what you do for a living regardless of what it is, but we can try to focus on the things about it that make us happy.

He appreciated the people who support him. Keith (yup, on a first-name basis now!) took the time to read all of the signs people had made him, even the ones from the cheap seats. If you're lucky enough to have people who support you and believe in you, make sure to show them that you appreciate that.

He wasn't afraid to talk about love. Throughout the concert, there were comments about his wife (Nicole Kidman, in case you've been hiding under a rock and didn't know) and kids. These were simple, matter-of-fact statements that nevertheless warmed the heart. It reminded me to express my love for others--my family and friends--because finding love, in its many forms, is a gift. It also reminded me to be a better listener when others talk about love--sometimes people need to verbalize how they feel, and it's just as important to be on the supporting end just as much as it is to be on the receiving end.

It was amazing to see someone so obviously thankful for what he has, and now, when I listen to his music, that's what I'll remember.



how did you do?

I love when things finish nice and tidy, in this case, the end of the month stopping on a Friday. And it's made me consider how well I've done on my fresh start. Not too shabby, I think; however, for those of you who need a quick little re-start, it's not too late because you can turn over your new leaf on Chinese New Year!

Kung Hei Fat Choy, and welcome to the Year of the Horse!

{image via}


dear diary

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been enamored with the idea of a diary. Tallulah Bankhead's infamous quote, "Only good girls keep diaries; bad girls don't have time," did make me pause and reconsider when I was in high school (honestly, whose goal in high school is to be a good girl? I wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw!), but that wasn't enough to stop me from several more attempts to stay loyal to a journal. Ultimately, Tallulah isn't to blame for my failure to finish an actual diary, rather, an odd combination of laziness and either too much or too little to write about is the culprit.

Thankfully, I've found something that solves my diary-writing dilemma. Chronicle Books has created One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book, where each page, dedicated to a single day, has five empty spots where you can fill in the year and write a few brief sentences. The latter is key for those who don't have paragraphs to write about their lives.

I've had mine since 2011 and I write in it off and on. But that's part of its charm too, because when I pick it up again, it's so easy to see what I'd been doing the years prior and makes me more likely to continue the habit, at least for a while. And because it's so small, keeping it is easy--another appealing factor for would-be minimalists.

More than anything, I think it's worth the effort to try, because these working-girl days, when there are fewer milestones and more settling down, it's easy to blink and have another year fly by with seemingly nothing of note ever happening. Sitting down and thinking about what was good about each and every day reminds us that we can always find something special even in the mundane.

{image via}



everything's better with candlelight

As you may already know, I have a mild obsession with candles. While I love my Diptyque and Jo Malone for special occasions and quiet evenings with a book (which is totally worth celebrating as far as I'm concerned), Anthropologie is my typical stop for my "everyday" candles, the ones I burn throughout work to cheer me up.

With weather like this, I like heavier floral scents, anything to make me feel more luxurious and feminine while wrapped in scarves and lap blankets and men's socks (my husband is dismayed to find that, after returning from a long trip, all of his "good" crazy-pattern socks are in the hamper having been used by yours truly). Royal Apothic, a line carried by Anthro, is my go-to for hand creme, and now, thanks to their new Conservatories Botanical Fragrances line, my must-have for candles as well.

I spent a good amount of time (I'm embarrassed to say just how long) going back and forth among these four because they all smell wonderful, but I took the noble carnation home with me this weekend because it's my birth flower. The poor thing has been working (and making me happy!) ever since.

I didn't know this then, but the line draws inspiration from gilded aristocracy and English heirlooms, the drawing rooms of Downton Abbey, and the gardens of Blenheim palace--no wonder it was love at first scent. (And sight! Aside from the scent, the jar design and decorative lids make these keepers, don't you think? I love finishing a candle, wiping the glass clean, and then using it to hold little bath things (cotton balls, hair ties, make-up brushes). Makes me feel just a little bit better about how many of them I go through.)

PS In case you love them as much as I do, you'll be pleased to know that there are three additional scents to the collection that Anthropologie currently doesn't carry: velvet dahlia, muguet woods, and field poppy.



oh t-swiz

I'm a Taylor Swift fan and proud of it. I get the criticism, I wince at the surprised face, and I did not agree when she said there was a special place in hell for Tina and Amy. At the same time, I give her credit for her business savvy, her polite handling of the media, her style, and, of course, her songwriting. (I love a good lyric, and she is a clever, clever girl with a line, that Taylor.) She rarely has a fashion miss and absolutely nailed it at the Grammys last night.

I was pleased as punch when I saw the outfit change for her performance (gorgeous again!) and heard the song choice ("All Too Well" is one of my favorites on Red) but had to cringe at the--not one, not two, but--at least four neck snaps in succession during her performance. And then I had to laugh when my good friend and co-fan texted me to Twitter-search "Taylor Swift neck." Oh well, that, and her amazing ability to go from standing to down on her knees to back on the floor in one second flat (see video for "I Knew You Were Trouble"), is just another reason to love her.

{images via huffington post}


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