Happy 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Thursday and happy last day of 2015! Yesterday I took some time to pause and reflect on 2015, and what a wonderful and stressful year it was. Every year I like to create goals and things I would like to accomplish, and 2016 is no different. I really took my time in creating these goals, because I really wanted to be intentional about my goals, instead of lofty ideals that I usually strive for. So, here are my goals for 2016! I love setting goals and encouraging others' goals, so let me know in the comments what your 2016 goals are!
  • Read 12 books for fun (not for class!). I do a lot of reading for class, but I am absolutely determined to read a bunch of books that have lived on my "to read" list for too long.
  • Keep a gratitude log/journal with three entries per day. I started using a gratitude journal this year, and I think it really helps me reflect on my day in a productive and positive way.
  • Join a yoga studio and prioritize health. I was part of a yoga studio that I loved, and I have been wanting to join it again!
  • Decrease attachment to material objects (collect moments not things). This is one of those lofty goals, but I have a problem of too much stuff. I have been really inspired by the KonMari method of only keeping things that bring joy, and would LOVE to declutter and de-stuff my life.
  • Graduate with Distinction in History in June. I have been working so hard for this exact moment, and I'm going to keep working to make this dream a reality. Thesis, prepare to be conquered.
  • Line up an After-Graduation-Plan. I have some things in the works, but I know I will feel much better when I have a more concrete plan.
  • Keep up with reading and homework. Always something I aim to do, just to reduce stress and be prepared for class. 
  • Take a calligraphy class. I have discovered a love for calligraphy and hand-lettering this year, and would love to develop this skill further in the coming year!
  • Take a photography class. I think I take decent photos, but I need some serious polishing and basic photography knowledge and skills. 
  • Practice calligraphy and lettering every day. Since I am so passionate about calligraphy, I need to make it a habit to do at least one practice every day.  
  • Share calligraphy and lettering more. I have shared a little bit of my lettering on instagram, but I want to share it more and get feedback so I can improve!
  • Focus the blog on a more specific niche. In 2014, I feel like my blog focused a lot on my love of France and my adventures abroad. In 2015, since I was no longer studying abroad, I felt like I was floundering a bit to find a place for this blog and came really close to just calling it quits. However, I think that if I were to focus my blog on three key areas and make sure my content focuses on these things, I will feel better about my blog. 
    • Stationery, paper, and paper accessories.
    • Small moments of beauty in the everyday.
    • Love of France + all things French.
  • Post consistently and keep an editorial calendar. Something I struggle with is keeping up with my blog when I get really busy with school. Keeping an editorial calendar will hopefully keep me honest and consistent. 
  • Write what I want to read. I feel like it's so easy as a blogger to feel like you have to write a certain type of post if you want to be read... but I hate reading the same thing over and over. I love reading about bloggers' lives, what they are working on, their planners, adventures, recommendations, lessons, etc. Returning to writing what I want to read is a good way to recenter and refocus my blog. 

2015 In Review

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 has come and gone, and one of my absolute favorite parts of this season is looking back at the year, and just having a little reset. Of course, you can reset at any point, but having the fresh start of a new year is some kind of magical. A quote I've been holding on to for a while comes from Zora Neale Hurston (who I admire so much), who said, "there are years that ask questions, and years that answer." 2015 asked a lot of questions, and 2016 is going to (hopefully) have the answers, or at least a direction toward an answer.

2015's Big Questions:

  • What do I want to do in my future? I am the kind of person who has had a plan for my life since I was in middle school. It was always going to be college, grad school, dream job, family, happy. Now, I don't want to go to grad school (at least not right now), I don't know what would be my dream job, and I don't know what I'm going to be doing in a year. 

  • Where do I want to live? I have created a nice life in Denver, but I really want to fly the nest. After studying abroad, I have been bitten by the wanderlust bug and want to live internationally for a while. 
  • Who do I want to become? I am so bad at adulting. I have no idea who I will be in my life, and I feel like I'm in the process of becoming who I am, which is exciting and terrifying.

2015 Lessons:

  • Start planning financially... early. Before getting a job, I lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck, but now I'm making more (ish) money, I am learning a lot about savings and financial planning. 
  • Say no to things that do not make you better, stronger, or happier. I said goodbye to one of the things that had occupied a large amount of my time and energy throughout the first three years of college, and while it was one of the hardest decisions I've made, it was for the best. I am so much happier now, and I love where my life is and where it is going.
  • Creativity is a worthwhile and fulfilling goal to pursue. For the longest time, I rejected the notion that I was in any way, shape, or form creative. But, I have been more comfortable with my creativity over the past year, and have found ways to express that creativity! 
2015 Favorites:

  • Moustache Stationery. This is the only "thing" I have on my favorites list, but it is one of the coolest things I discovered this year! 
  • France! I went to France after receiving a grant to do historical research in Caen. It was absolutely amazing to see the place where I spent the best four months of my life, and see the people I loved along the way. 
  • Getting a job (my first big girl job). I got a job! It's my first real big-girl job, where I have a boss and sales goals and a regular paycheck. It has been an adjustment, but I love my co-workers, the environment, and my job.
  • Starting my last year of college! I'm so overwhelmed, scared, excited, and grateful to have had such a wonderful college experience, and I'm finally graduating! Come June, I will officially have a college degree. 

2015 On the Blog:

How was your 2015? What were some questions asked, or lessons learned? 

Merry Christmas | Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Historically, Christmas has not been my favorite holiday. I'm usually a Thanksgiving type of girl, but I'm starting to feel the Christmas magic right about now!

Here are my favorite things about Christmas:

1. The way the Christmas tree looks at night, all sparkly and glowing.

2. Non-traditional decorations. I found these tulips at Whole Foods and they look great with our nutcrackers!

3. Pentatonix's version of Little Drummer Boy.
4. Looking back at 2015, and looking ahead to 2016.

5. My adorable and minimalistic approach to wrapping presents this year. Kraft paper + white gel lettering = perfection.
6. Having a day off to relax with my family.
7. Great food. Like, seriously great food. Think brunch but better.

8. When Denver weather cooperates and gives us a nice snowy Christmas.

9. Cozy vibes.

What are your favorite things about Christmas?

Merry Christmas, my friends. Thank you for your continued readership, support, and encouragement. Enjoy your day, and I can't wait to see you all next week. Peace and love.

Favorite Feelings

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A while ago, I watched two videos from Hank Green (of Vlogbrothers fame and general awesomeness) and Estée Lalonde, where they listed 15 of their favorite feelings. I have been keeping a list of my favorite feelings in my Bullet Journal, and decided to round up 15 of my favorite feelings to share.
  • Writing with a freshly inked fountain pen.
  • Walking on the beach and letting the water flow over my feet and ankles.
  • Being so comfortable with someone that you can be with them and not feel the need to constantly be talking or doing something. You can just be with them.
  • Unexpectedly finishing a book // when you are reading a book and you just keep flipping the page and before you know it you're at the end and you just want more... that's my favorite.
  • The warmth of the first sip of wine at dinner.
  • Waking up with the sun naturally... without alarms, without anyone else awake, just the sun and your internal clock.
  • When you feel so comfortable in a place where you didn't grow up, but it's like home so that when you go back to that place, it's like you never left.
  • When it's bright and sunny outside, but a little bit chilly so you can still wear a scarf.
  • Finding someone who you click with immediately, and it's like you've been friends forever because you can be so unapologetically yourself and be loved for it.
  • When you find a really comfortable position when trying to sleep.
  • When your favorite song comes on and you dance in your car (and other people join in).  
  • Having a notebook that has been used and loved so much that it's a little bit worn in, and you can see the bent pages, page flags, smeared ink, and coffee stains. You can see how you've changed and grown throughout the use of the notebook, which is actually really cool. 
  • When you're writing a paper and you just kind of write and flounder for a while, and then it all comes together and then you write the paper with gusto!
  • Being genuinely happy for someone else's success and happiness. 
  • When you find an old favorite, like a pen you used to use all the time because you thought it was your favorite pen, and the only pen you would ever use but then you got a new pen, but you find the old favorite pen and you wonder why you ever stopped using it in the first place.
    What are your favorite feelings? 

    Last Minute Christmas Gifts

    Monday, December 21, 2015

    If you are anything like me, you push back buying Christmas presents until the very last minute to avoid the mall and mass consumerism that drives this holiday. Read on for some of my favorite quick, easy, and immediate Christmas gifts you can get without leaving your house!

    1. Subscriptions

    This is a gift that you can give for the whole year (or even a few months!). I love using subscription music services like Spotify or Apple Music.

    2. Museum Memberships

    Museum memberships make great gifts because you are giving someone an experience that lasts for a whole year. Most museums offer individual level memberships from $45-$55. These are great gifts to consider for people who value experiences more than things.

    3. E-Gift Cards

    There are SO many stores that offer e-gift cards that you can print out at home or send to a recipient on a given day. My personal favorites are Staples, Erin Condren, and Amazon (of course).

    4. A Personal Gift

    Get your creativity on! One of my favorite things to give and receive are personal gifts that I have created, or that someone has created for me. I love watercolor painting and calligraphy, and for some of my gifts this year I have written a quote on nice paper. If you're not sure where to start, Pinterest always has great, easy, and quick ideas for DIY-presents.

    What are your favorite gifts to give and receive? What do you like to buy when you are out of time?

    France Stationery Haul 2015

    Friday, December 18, 2015

    This post combines two of my most favorite things: France, and Stationery. I recently returned from a trip to France, where I studied abroad last year, and while my primary purpose was doing research for my thesis, I also found some time to do some stationery shopping at some of my favorite places!

    Plein Ciel + Livres de Brouillon

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about my favorite creativity tool: My Noise Notebook. I love these notebooks, so I picked some up when I was in France! I even picked up a little baby one to carry with me when I don't take a tote bag.

    BHV Marais + Filofax

    I found these wonderful Filofax products at this AMAZING department store in Paris called the BHV Marais (it's right off the Hotel de Ville metro station). I love the blue personal slim Filofax, as it's not too bulky, and the A5 clipbook will be perfect for class notes!

    This is a Filofax Flex, which I cannot for the life of me find here in the US, so I bought a beautiful purple one there. It's going to house my bullet journal for the coming year.

    Also, things I did not need: Ladurée macaron washi tape. Things I could not live without: Ladurée macaron washi tape.


    Would you believe that I had to travel to another country before going to a Muji? AND IT'S A WONDERLAND.


    I tried so hard to just walk by. But I couldn't resist... this shop is in the Carousel du Louvre, underneath the Louvre museum. I am absolutely in love with this folder, it is such a great way to look at knowledge, creativity, and work.


    This store was probably my favorite stationery store, and the truest "papeterie" that I visited when I was in France. I probably spent a solid half hour wandering around this store, and it is tiny! It's very close to the Notre Dame cathedral, and a nice walk from the BHV Marais. I got the notebooks, letter set, and mini cards for my Christmas gifts. There were so many colors to choose from, but I stuck with the gray and the purple, as they are my favorites.

    What are your favorite paper stores?

    A French Homecoming 2015

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    In my Thanksgiving post, I mentioned a little tidbit about a trip to France. For the past two weeks, that's where I was: Spending time in the city where I studied abroad, doing research and spending time with loved ones I have not seen in over a year.

    Throughout the entire fall quarter, I spent a lot of time applying for various research grants from my University and the History department in order to travel to Caen to spend time doing research about the reconstruction of the city after WWII. It's a project I have been working on for the better part of a year, and I'm so grateful to have had the chance to fulfill a dream of mine to do historical research in another country.

    While the majority of my time was spent in an archive sifting through boxes and hundreds of historical documents, I did have some time to play as well. Here were my highlights from my most recent trip to France!

    Seeing the people I love in the city I have come to consider a second home.

    (as well as some quality Memoranda time...)

    My favorite view, and my favorite foods.

    My first time seeing the Musee de l'Orangerie, and Monet's Nympheas.

    I've been absolutely swooning over them on instagram.

    Being asked for directions (more than once!).

    Finding the magic in the city of lights.

    Would you ever go to France? What are your must-see sights?