Welcome, Grateful November

For whatever reason, I am bursting with heightened emotions today, my senses feeling highly piqued and everything feeling especially vibrant & intense (touch wood, in a good way). I don’t know whether I’m riding a post-trip high or a post-concert high or a pre-OTHER-trip (yes, another one!) high, but I know full well that this ain’t gonna stick around forever (heck, it could have flitted away by the time I press “publish”)… So I’m gonna go ahead and ride it out while I can, acutely thankful when periods like this decide to pass on through.

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I love this month leading up to the holidays (with so much talk of “November gratitude” and much-anticipated reunions on the horizon), and I’m currently finding the early-evening, wintry-hued skies cozy and contemplative versus dark and depressing. (Again, we’ll see how long this lasts, so just bear with me please:))

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I’ve started about a bajillion other mini-posts about amazing adventures and epiphanies and assorted thoughts I’ve had over recent months (I can’t keep up!), but for tonight, I’m just gonna post this photo love and soak up some ambient KEXP tunes, as I plug away on several more deadlines that are quickly approaching (a peril of self-employment and my recent self-granted vacation).

I mention this not to complain—it was 1,000% worth it—but rather to say that are often periods of hard work and long hours, and my life is far from an endless session of carefree gallivanting and fun. (I don’t know who I’m justifying this to, and who knew this would sneak out right now, but I admit I’ve bristled the few times I’ve heard comments like, “Your life is one big vacation!”)  Like everything, it’s a balance, and one I’m recently—finally—feeling pretty darn good about.

Happy November, friends. Let’s make it a great one.

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La luz!

In between these kinda-cool-kinda-eerie-getting-old-now bouts of fog (I live in a cloud, apparently!), we’ve had glimpses of amazing, amazing LIGHT:

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How’s fall goin’ out yer way?

Falling into a new season

This year, I really resisted the transition away from such a glorious summer. Thankfully, though, I finally came around. I’m now fully embracing the new season and all the goodies it brings in tow. I had a super nice time in sunny, palm-treed San Diego last week (pics to come!), but man would I miss these gorgeous colors of cozy autumn.

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Monday Mix

Seattle has been putting on a good show as of late. I’m reveling in it.

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Recent scenes like these have been making me really happy–my cousin’s son bounding off to the first day of school and my parents helping my grandpa celebrate his 85th birthday!

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There is something very hopeful lingering in the crisp fall air that’s already started to blow in. Although I’m not quite ready to let go of summer, I’m feeling optimistic about the new season ahead. Happy Monday, friends!

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Summer, don’t go!

While some of you are wrapping up that second season of the year, having filled recent months with beaches, pools, BBQs, mozzie bites, sweat and ice cream, my summer is only just beginning. Autumn, I do love you so, but frankly, I just ain’t ready… Kindly hold off for a good long while now, would you? Cheers!

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Weekend GJ

Thanks to Oprah, Gratitude Journals have been all the rage over the past few years, and I’m someone who’s happily jumped on that bandwagon. I find that when I’m feeling particularly anxious or overly sensitive, unnecessarily negative or embarrassingly self-absorbed, there’s such a shift that occurs when I simply make a grateful list. It shoves into the light “little” things that bring me joy plus the “bigger” things that seriously make me a lucky, lucky lass. Even when I’m in a space where coming up with this list feels like a DUMB ole’ chore (“I don’t wannnnnna!”), I find that once I get going, it’s often hard to stop.

Inspired by the quote I posted here on Sunday, here’s a GJ from this past weekend.

*and yes, I know that I still owe a Twilight tour full recap. It’s coming. Promise:)

~Family (near and far). Thankfully technology is amazing at minimizing the miles.

~Friends who basically are family.

~Sinking into a slower rhythm. Making time for lazy lie-ins (with no alarms set!), long lakeside strolls and DIY yoga, carry-out meals, “Storage Wars” marathons, couch surfing and music listening in company that just feels like home.

~Belly-laughing.

~Whimsy. (Awesome newspaper print nails done by KL!)

~Channeling youthful creativity.

~Apple cider vinegar that is maybe (I pray?) helping to alleviate some of my pesky sinus headaches.

~Unexpected SUN that makes me want to bolt outside every time I spy its sneaky presence.

~”Things are happening”-type situations. Whenever one opportunity falls through, another seems to present itself. It keeps me hopeful.

~Beautiful, vibrant autumn.

~Halloween candy. Kit Kats mmmmmm.

~Spontaneity! A last-minute viewing of the new “Footloose” remake last night. Aside from questionable dialogue and the huge Kevin Bacon void, I actually rather enjoyed it! I love the cinema, and it’s such a rare treat these days.

~Exploring new places and new spaces.

What’s in your GJ this week? Hopefully, heaps of good things.

Contentment is…

…this cutie (one of several cuties taking up my Chicago days)

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… being in this cozy house–my Windy City oasis–with these wonderful members of my family, in this awesome city. I love being here, always. They are too good to me.

Catching up with old friends is a sweet bonus too (now there are even more crucial reasons to return often!). This feels like my second home, and I am grateful.

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…delicious autumn skies and evening strolls down these familiar Americana blocks.

…nights of takeout and wine and ‘X-factor’ and ‘Project Runway’ (after Richard Scarry story-time with the cuddly, squirmy wee ones).

…moments here to pause and process before carrying on farther west. (Not to mention the plush bed and real banos that I will soon NOT find on l’Amtrak!)

I have much to say and will write more soon. I am missing people, but I am truly loving these Chicago days. I’m so glad I listened to my strong urge to add this pit stop to my cross-country voyage.

What means contentment for you these days? 🙂