lovely things | valentine’s day

calligraphy kit  |  teardrop earrings  |  scratched circle studs  |  watch bands  | lip balm  |  hex studs  |  ring  |  mug

james & I don’t make a big fuss about valentine’s day these days. if we do go out for dinner, it’s never the day of & we’ll likely choose a low-key place where we’re regulars. if we do choose to eat at a fancier dig, it’s a place we’ve gone to before for some other special occasion & loved. as for gifts, we keep things simple there, too. I usually pick him up some book he’s been eyeing or if needed, a refill of his favorite cologne, plus a card. a card is a must, because really, it’s the thought behind the gift that makes the whole thing.

since we’re apart this valentine’s and he won’t be coming to visit until the weekend after, james asked me to put together a little collage of little things I’d want as a gift. I would love to receive any (or all some, ha!) of these items, but honestly, having him back for a couple of days is the best gift in itself. mushy, but true.

the new normal

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

james left for boston on sunday and I’m adjusting to the new normal. it’s been easier than I thought it would be – being busy with school, work, & this blog really helps the hours/days fly by, so I’m thankful for the distraction. it’s only in the little, random moments that I find myself lonely: doing errands on the weekend, just before I fall asleep at night, when I wake in the morning to find the side next to me empty, and on the commute in to and from work. I walk around feeling as though something’s missing, and then I realize, oh, james is missing.

all things considered, we’re holding up as well as can be expected, so I’m grateful for that. I’m also immensely grateful for cellphones & skype & facetime & all the other ways we can communicate with far-away loved ones these days.

have you been in a long-distance relationship? any tips? :)

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old school

agenda

today is the first day of the new semester. I’ve spent the better part of this morning getting my agenda ready to go & planned out through mid-march. I love my iPhone, but I will forever be a paper agenda person. there’s something about actually putting something to paper that makes it seem more concrete than any digital version ever could. when I’m done putting in all deadlines and various other important events, I feel this odd sense of satisfaction at seeing everything laid out. I guess I’m just old school like that.

besides, there are so many lovely agendas out there. this year is my first year using this agenda and I’m telling you: it’s love. it’s incredibly versatile in its simplicity: because everything is so pared down & simple, I find that I can find/make space for everything I need. I love that I can fold the covers unto each other completely for a perfectly flat writing surface. and last but not least, it’s also really pretty. I opted for the “happy stripe” version and it really does make me happy just looking at it.

p.s. it looks like the agendas are all sold out as of now, but the academic year version  should be coming out later this year, if you’re interested. :)

force of nature

we had a hell of a commute today – 2 1/2 hrs. to go 50 miles – but I’m just glad we made it in to work safe & in one piece. there were plenty of accidents on the road ahead of us on our way in, and we took a scary little spin in the middle of the road, but we miraculously got to work without hitting or getting hit by anything. my boss wasn’t as lucky: his car did a 360 on the stevenson, hitting the concrete divider with both of his fenders. luckily, he wasn’t hurt and the car, though seriously damaged, was still safe to drive in, but he said that it sure was a wake-up call & that he had to pull over to take a few deep breaths before continuing on.

the weather wasn’t even anything too terrible – just cold with last night’s snow loose on the ground – but it was still a beast. today was a good reminder that nature is a force to be reckoned with & anytime you walk away with no or slight bruising is a victory to be thankful for.

stay safe & warm out there, wherever you are!

a may wedding

marriage

happy monday! hope your week is off to a great start. I’m taking things a little bit easier today as our weekend was busy with wedding planning. I bought my wedding dress on saturday morning, then we had dinner with our friend jesse that evening, during which we informed him that in addition to being one of the groomsmen, he would also be the unofficial MC. we spent the night in his apartment then the following morning, we did some light grocery shopping before heading over to one of my closest college friends’ apartment to ask her if she’d be a bridesmaid (she said yes, phew). after that, we sort of decided to pick out wedding bands on the spot in between the two playoff football games, so we did just that. james’ band came home with us the day of but mine had to be sent off to be resized. I’ll have pictures up once I get them in. james opted for a tungsten ring and I opted for a thin 3/4 diamond band with a prong setting.

it’s been a little surreal & exhausting getting all these plans made and/or checked off in the past couple of weeks, but we’re having a blast doing it at our own pace & as stress and drama-free as possible. we want to enjoy these few months before our marriage & really take the time to appreciate this moment in our lives.

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hay fever

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

to say that I’m obsessed with stationery is an understatement. I could conceivably go a whole year without buying any new clothes, bags, shoes, etc. (more on that later) but I stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to say the same with stationery. james will tell you that I own far too many pieces, and he’d be right, but I can’t help it. I enjoy the act of writing in general and having good paper & good pens/pencils are a must for me. at the risk of sounding insane, I really hate that feeling when the pen drags across the page…it’s akin to nails on a chalkboard for me. aaaand with that revelation, are we still friends? :).

but I digress.

the whole point of this post wast to share just how excited I am that hay, the wonderfully dreamy danish design brand, is this month’s nordstrom pop-in feature. since the only other place you can shop hay that easily this side of the atlantic is at the moma mini market, I’m beyond stoked. I’ve rounded up my baker’s dozen of top picks, but I’m telling you right now that that is by no means an exhaustive collage of all the things that caught my eye. if you’re a stationery geek like me with an appreciation for sleek, scandinavian design, go here & do your happy dance.

have a lovely weekend!

a room of one’s own

james sent me a link to a listing for the studio pictured above yesterday, as he’s wont to do, and it was a lovely reminder of what is in store for us in the near future. I immediately saved the picture to my desktop as something to hold onto for the next 18 months when we’re both chasing our own respective dreams in two different cities.

our first apartment together was a studio smaller than this one, albeit it had a separate kitchen that was way bigger than the one above. the one thing we didn’t like about it was that in order to use the bathroom, you had to walk through our closet. it was awkward & it annoyed us to no end at the time, but looking back, I realize just how lovely that space was. sure, it had a mishmash of furniture we bought off of craigslist, friends, & ikea, it had dubious heating & cooling, and bringing groceries up four flights of stairs was a witch, but it was probably the best apartment we’ve had in terms of coziness & how happy we were.

we moved out to an awful one-bedroom when our lease was up the next summer, and then we moved to a nicer, modern one-bedroom, and then ultimately into a two-bedroom unit before moving back in with my parents last august. maybe it’s the delusion of hindsight, but I feel now that those later apartments had more features & more space, and we had more money & more stuff, but we had less simplicity & really, less enjoyment. I’m amazed at how good we had it & that we didn’t realize it.

a year and a half on from moving back home, I’m itching for a place of our own again, and it’s been a lovely process to realize that the next place I’m looking for as our very first home as a married couple is very much like the first place we had. some place simple & easy & just enough for two people starting a new chapter in their lives.

p.s. if you’re looking for a room to call your own in the boston area, here’s the exact listing (& image source) that got me dreaming.

on the (reading) list

16.1.7.1when it comes to the great loves of my life, reading was the first. when I was little, my parents used to despair about the fact that in social gatherings, I would more often than not be found in a corner, my nose buried in a book than mingling in the crowd. if we’re being completely honest, I’m often tempted to do like my 5-year-old self when I find myself in big social gatherings. I’m very much of the small, intimate get-togethers camp.

going back to yesterday’s post, I think part of simplifying involves going back to the basics, which include taking up the things you used to love to do before life/work/being an adult got in the way, the things you did just for the simple joy of it.

I do plenty of reading nowadays, but the required, academic kind. and while the nerd that I am enjoys that, too, I need to work on reading more books just because. I want to read about things that intrigue me on different levels, from the beautifully serious to the wonderfully frivolous & everything in between.

the three books above are on my reading list. simple matters & when breath becomes air come out on tuesday, so I’m starting off with styled by emily henderson, whose blog is a daily read. I’m an avid reader of simple matters author erin boyle’s blog, as well. I’m in the process of editing & simplifying that list, as well, but those two will definitely make the cut, as will a cup of jo, whose author, joanna goddard, is paul kalanithi’s sister-in-law. that’s one of the coolest things about being part of the blogging community – being able to become aware of some of the really amazing things out there in this great big world.

I’ll let you guys know how I get on with the books as I finish them. in the meantime, I’m off to a little corner to read…

p.s. this essay by paul kalanithi before he died is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever read.

new year’s intentions

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did/do you do new year’s resolutions? there have been some years when I have & some years when I haven’t. this year falls somewhere in the middle – I don’t have hard & fast goals, but I do have some general intentions for the year that all center around the concept of simplicity.

one of the best life lessons that being in nursing school has taught me is that life, when it’s being lived to its fullest, naturally streamlines everything to the essentials. anything superfluous or unnecessary gets relegated to some other day or some other time in order to give priority to what is important here & now. my life kept getting pared down & pared down as the semester ramped up, and while I was most certainly running at full speed, life felt simpler & more clear. the work was hard but I was enjoying it, and when I did have rest, I found myself  craving simple pleasures: more sleep, more coffee, more time with the people I loved. other things & other things to do fell to the wayside, and I discovered that I mostly didn’t mind.

when the semester was over, my life got a little bit less busy, but in a weird way, it got more complicated. it was as if all the extra time came at the expense of losing some of that focus & clarity. funnily enough, extra time made me antsy and instead of lingering in bed or over a cup of coffee, alone or with a friend, it made me restless & wanting to fill the space with things or activities that I really didn’t need or want, deep down.

so that’s what I want to be intentional about this year: keeping my life simple & focused as much as possible, uncluttered by things, unhelpful thoughts, & meaningless activities. I’ve been ruminating just how to do that in my personal life, my professional life, my presence here on the blog, and my life as a student. as the thoughts brew & (hopefully) revelations come, I’d love to share them here.

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news & newness

palms

and just like that, it’s 2016. can you believe it?! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season & a wonderful start to the new year.

to say that the past couple of months have been a whirlwind is an understatement. I finished my first semester of nursing school – I could write heaps of posts on that alone (maybe later?) but I feel like I’ve run through the gamut of emotions in my short time as a nursing student. I’m happy to say that I love the work. I thought I would, but you never know until you’ve had some experience under your belt. it’s hard work, but I’ve never felt more motivated to learn & do well. I cannot wait to start my next rotation.

and on further life changes, james found his dream job in boston. he starts at the end of this month. I’m so incredibly happy for him while at the same time I’m saddened by the fact that for the next 18 months, he & I will be in a long-distance relationship. I’m focusing on the fact that this opportunity has been something we’ve both prayed for for years. we’ve been through some hoops these last couple of years, but we’ve grown up & grown closer because of them, so I’m grateful, especially for him as he’s a good guy whose fair share of good fortune is long overdue. I’m so proud of him for keeping on keeping on. thank God for skype & southwest airlines rewards.

one last newsflash: we finally have a date…we’re getting married in may, just as I finish my 1st year of nursing school. it’s a little surreal how quickly everything moved since we’ve been engaged for awhile. in the past 2 weeks, we’ve picked a date, bought my dress, picked his shirt & tie, & bought and/or planned all the decorations. it’ll be a low-key affair with our nearest & dearest.

and that’s it. have you kept up? ;).

I want to take this moment to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who stop by & visit this virtual corner of mine. it means a lot to be part of this community. there have been plenty of times since I’ve started blogging when this space & your presence have made a difference, even though we’ve never met in real life. I’m hoping to get back into the groove of things & post more. I’ll be just as swamped as I was this past fall/winter, but I feel like I have so much more to say & share now that I’ve stepped back for a little bit and in light of everything that’s happening. thank you for following along!

p.s. I gave the site a mini makeover. I’m loving how clean & fresh it looks (at least to me). what do you think?

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