15 Thankful Thoughts 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

It has been nearly two years since I had a proper Thanksgiving at home with my parents. The last one I had was in 2013, as last year I had an awesome France-Giving in Caen with my dear friends. While last year's Thanksgiving was one for the books, there's something about being home with my parents, cousins, aunt, and family that makes it feel right.

Despite the rather unsavory history of Thanksgiving, this holiday remains my favorite. To me, it is the last "untainted" holiday - it's all about good food, family, being home, and reflection and gratefulness. And minimal commercialism... but that's a different blog post.

I started a gratitude journal in October, and it has definitely helped me slow down and appreciate the little things in the day. Every day may not be good, but there is definitely good in every day.

To celebrate Thanksgiving 2015, here are 15 things I am thankful for, taken from the pages of my gratitude journal and inspired by this article on the power of being thankful for the little things.

  • Tea.
  • Naps after finishing finals.
  • The way that leaves change colors gradually.
  • Fountain pens with purple ink.
  • A beautiful place to live.
  • Red nail polish.
  • The colors of a Colorado sunset.
  • New friends and people who enrich my life in so many ways.
  • Friends who do artsy things with me.
  • Parents who support my dreams, and who do everything they can to support me.
  • Going to an awesome university where I get to challenge myself every day.
  • Having a platform, however small, to express myself.
  • The way pumpkin pie smells.
  • Growing creatively and trying new things.
  • The chance to go back to France (tomorrow!) to do archival research.

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends! Happy Thursday, non-American friends! What are you thankful for?

Gone Studying

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Alright team, it's crunch time.

Here at the University of Denver, it's the end of week 10, which means that it's time for finals. Which also means that for the next five days, I will get the minimum amount of sleep possible in order to be a historical writing machine! Luckily, I'm in a lot of upper division courses, so there are not any exams to study for. I just have to write papers. A lot of them.

I will see you all next Monday at 12:01 (as my biggest paper is due at 12:00 pm on Monday). Until then, here are some of my favorite blog posts from around the web over the past week. Enjoy!

Paris has been on the mind of a lot of bloggers this week, including French by Design.

Gina Alyse gives some tips on how to be creative (without the internet!), which is a great way to relax during finals.

With 2015 coming to a close in just a few short weeks, it's time to revisit those goals!

I can't wait to see Malala's new movie, He Named Me Malala, but these quotes will suffice until that happens.

Google can tell you your fortune... and give you a great lesson.

Just FYI... for future romances.

If you need some stress relief, guinea pigs do the trick.

Have a great week, friends and readers! What have been some of your favorite blog posts and articles this week?

Je suis le Monde

Monday, November 16, 2015

I try to keep this blog rather light hearted most of the time, as it is my creative release and a place where I can enthuse about stationery and planners, all of the frivolous things that make my heart happy. I don't typically write about the Big Things - politics, religion, society, etc. But today, I would feel remiss if I did not address the horrible events of November 13 that transpired in Paris.

There have been not only attacks in Paris, but in Beirut, Baghdad, and Syria. My heart beats for you, and for all those who suffer needlessly in the face of inhumanity.

France has held a piece of my heart since I first stepped on Paris soil nearly 6 years ago. It is my second home, and a place that I dream about every single day. My heart breaks for the victims, families, and those affected by the horrible loss.

The French have demonstrated their incredible resilience, grace, and unity in the face of unspeakable horror. I admire this quality. Liberté, égalité, fraternité, à chaque instant.

There are no words. There are no solutions, nothing to say, nothing to make it better.

I stand in solidarity with the French people.

Mes prières et mes pensées sont avec vous à ce moment difficile. Mon coeur est avec vous à chaque instant, toujours, et particulièrement pendant ces jours à venir.

#peaceforparis #prayersforparis #prayersforpeace #peacefortheworld

Moustache Stationery October Box: Notes and Doodles

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My heart always does a little backflip when I see a box with the telltale moustache on it arrive at my house, and this month was certainly no exception! Keep reading for an unboxing and my review of October's Moustache Stationery Box!

Every month, the guys at Moustache Stationery come up with a theme. August's box was Made in America, September's box was Palomino, and this month, the theme is Notes and Doodles. All of the items in this box were super fun products to bring life to your notes and doodles.

Word. Notebooks - Blue Mountain Edition Pocket Notebooks

I first stumbled upon Word. Notebooks a few months ago, and I ordered a set of their Adventure Logs for helping me plan out my study abroad journal. I just think their notebooks are so cool! Instead of just being plain lined notebooks, the insides of these notebooks are perfect for list-makers like me.

Livework Colour Block Pen

This is such a fun item, and totally has a vintage-y/retro vibe! Plus, the tip is super fine, which is rare for ballpoint pens.

Iconic Double Tip Colour Pen

At first, I thought these were markers, but they are actually really fine tipped pens in fun colors! They totally remind me of the markers I had when I was a kid, and I have loved using them to add some color to my notes and planner.

Pansydaisy Sticky Notes Duo

A stationery girl can never have too many sticky notes, and these are certainly a welcome addition to my collection. They're fun and interesting, but not overly colorful or decorated.

Pocketo Vintage Camera Greetings Card

Although I do love sending cards to people, or writing "just because" notes, sometimes I find a card that I want to keep and this is one of those cards. I love the kraft paper look of this card, plus the hand drawn cameras.

Overall, I enjoyed the products in this box. I could do without the pens, but that's just because I have certain pens I use regularly and I'm very particular about my pens. But, they are so cute and are definitely a welcome addition to my pencil cup.

My favorite product in this box is the set of Word. Notebooks. I just think they are so beautiful, and I love the system inside. One can never have too many pocket notebooks!

If you like what you see, you can get your very own Moustache Stationery Box every month here.

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Today is the third annual Fountain Pen Day, and the first one I'm celebrating! Today is a day where fountain pen users all over the world celebrate using fountain pens and tell others about the awesomeness of fountain pens. To celebrate this wonderful holiday, I thought I would give you a glimpse of my favorite fountain pens from my collection, and tell you my very own fountain pen story.

Kaweco Sport(s)

Okay, so maybe this is cheating, but I actually have two Kaweco Sports that I use on a daily basis. My gray one has an extra fine nib that I use mostly for taking notes in classes, and the purple one I just got on Tuesday and has a medium nib, so I use it mostly for journaling. They both match my gray Leuchtterm1917 notebooks so well! 

Visconti Van Gogh in Irises

I got this pen for my 22nd birthday in September, and it's probably my favorite out of my collection. I totally baby it, and only use it for "serious" writing in my journal. And taking pictures of it. 

Pilot Vanishing Point

In the fountain pen world, we always talk about our "workhorse" pens, or the pens we just use regularly for all purposes. These pens are put through the ringer. My workhorse pen is my VP. It has the smoothest nib, it is the pen I reach for when I have to jot down a quick note, or if I just want to write for a long time. 

My fountain pen story started about a year ago in a small stationery store in Normandy, France. I was studying abroad, and never thought about buying or using a fountain pen, but my favorite store carried them. One day, kind of on a whim, myself and two of my closest friends decided to each buy a fountain pen, a notebook, and to give them a try. I bought a turquoise Pilot Plumix and some black ink cartridges, plus a blank notebook. I was bit by the fountain pen bug and never got better. 

I picked up a few more fountain pens while in France, and used them mostly for journaling and to write my final exams (so that they would look nice and I would hopefully get an A!). When I got home, I continued to use fountain pens and dive deeper into the world of fountain pens. Arguably, my first "nice" or "upper level" fountain pen that I bought was the Pilot VP pen. I did so much research about the pen, comparable pens, smoothness of the nib, colors, etc. I watched countless youtube videos and read dozens of blog posts before I decided, and when I did it was the VP all the way.

I enjoy writing with fountain pens because I love writing, and I want to enjoy the experience of writing. I have always been a huge pen, notebook, and stationery nerd, and spending time and money using fountain pens has been an extension of a lifelong hobby.

Would you ever use a fountain pen? What is your dream pen?

My Noise Notebook

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I had something of a creative awakening when I studied abroad in France last year. For so long, I had denied being creative, stuck to my guns about not being creative, and generally just pushed any chance or idea of creativity away. Both of my parents are artists and true creatives, and naturally I wanted to be the opposite.

In France, I had this thing that I called a noise notebook. In the stationery store in the city where I lived, they sold these notebooks called "Livres de Brouillon" which translates to "Rough Draft Book" or just a book of scratch paper. For whatever reason, the word "brouillon" reminded me of the word "bruit" which means noise. I used that notebook for whatever I wanted, sometimes drawing, journaling, hand lettering practice, or notes for class or my blog.

My noise notebook was a place for all my ideas and thoughts - the noise in my head - to be put on paper. There was no structure or guidelines for the notebook, just whatever I wanted to do with those blank pages. I filled up three noise notebooks in Caen, and started one that I brought home with me. I love my noise notebooks. They have a proud place on my desk, and I look back through them often for ideas and nostalgia. I have one that I use now, and I love it!

Little did I know that there was an actual name for this type of notebook, and it's actually a tool used by many creatives and creative people. I read this awesome post on the Kardia blog about Commonplace Books, and it was totally describing my Noise Notebook!

Four reasons (and tips!) for having a Noise Notebook, or a Commonplace Book:

1. You have a place to work through the thoughts in your head.
Whenever I get stuck on an idea, I need to work through it on paper - jotting out lists, making notes, outlines, mind maps or webs - I just need to get it out on paper.

2. Disconnect to reconnect to your creative spirit.
Keep your inspiration close and accessible all the time - especially when you don't have technology or are disconnected from the internet (which should happen often!).

3. Memory keeping in an organic, raw way.
I love looking back through my books to see what I was feeling in a completely unedited way. With my journals, scrapbooks, and blog, I definitely refine what I say where I don't edit my Noise Notebook.

4. Tips for choosing a notebook for your Noise Notebook.
I have just a few criteria for selecting a notebook: Paper quality (I like smooth paper), paper color (the brighter white, the better), and then inner pattern (I tend to go for blank notebooks). But the most important part is that you need to love it. This is a book where you'll spend a lot of time, so you need to make sure it's comfortable and a place where you want to put your thoughts and memories.

What do you think? Do you have a place to put all your thoughts and ideas? Would you ever consider having a Noise Notebook or commonplace book?