field notes // vol. i

Saturday, February 27, 2021


If I'm being honest, half of the reason that I love blogging so much is because it's one of my favorite ways of remembering - what life was like in a certain season, what I was thinking, what mattered at the time. Last year, amidst the chaos of it all, I had a series called The Quarantine Diaries, and now, almost a year later, I'm so glad that I have those to look back on. 

Stepping into the new year, I want to keep those kind of posts alive on here, albeit with a new name, courtesy of my creative lifeboat, Keira. I don't have any sort of timetable for them - I suppose they'll just come whenever I have enough "new" to share to warrant popping into your inboxes. :-)

If I'm also being honest, I should disclaimer this post with the fact that this has been sitting in my drafts folder for a month now. I kept adding to it and editing to it, forgetting and then coming back and forgetting again. I feel like I always have *one task* that slips through the cracks at any given point, and for the past month, this post has been that task. So, I apologize if anything seems off, timeline-wise - it's been written at many different points. :-)

It's been a while since I've truly caught you all up on here as to what life's like as of late - which, if you follow me on social media, you hear much more about the day-to-day, anyways, so it doesn't truly matter - but either way, today's just about playing a bit of catch-up. 


We made it to 2021, and I think that we all breathed a collective sigh of relief, if even just to no longer have to say "2020" anymore. The holidays were quiet around here in the best way possible, for which I was immensely grateful. We quarantined in order to be able to spend the Christmas season with my grandparents, and it was so, so nice to be able to cook and bake and celebrate with them. We rang in the new year at home, with Taylor Swift music and cookie cake and a giant jigsaw puzzle, and it was the best way to say goodbye to a crazy, crazy year. 

I first began writing these words for you all on January 30th - one month down. I've never in my life had a January this quiet, but I wouldn't say that's entirely a bad thing. I'm wearing a million different hats this semester, but the world feels still all the same. I think that in some ways it's a comparative thing - last semester was without a doubt the most brutal academic semester I've ever had, so the calm of the semester feels a little extra striking. I made the mistake last semester of taking all of my heaviest classes at once, but it was a bit of a blessing in that this semester is shocking in its lack of academic projects, despite taking 18.5 credits. I finally feel like I can breathe, which I don't entirely know what to do with, if I'm being honest. 


I'm still doing school completely online, which, again, I'm incredibly grateful for. It's such a better fit for me than in-person was; I'm so much happier. I'm working a lot - still working for the bookstore and doing some choreography work, in addition to a new job that I've taken on with my university, and a web design internship. Some days feel like a major juggling act, but I feel like I've landed in a routine with it all. 

Whereas January felt long and slow, February has flown by. I can't believe that we're three weeks in, that we're nearly at The Month That Must Not Be Named (lol). It hasn't been unduly hectic or chaotic, but it's felt busier. My kids had their first show this past weekend, so that was a big project that got checked off the list. Other than that, nothing too out of the ordinary has taken place. The highlight of the month so far was definitely getting to go to a White Christmas museum exhibit - they had all of these costumes and set pieces and momentos from the movie, and let me tell you - I was in heaven. White Christmas is one of the pieces of art that I hold closest to my heart, so to see so much of it in person was incredible.


I could have CRIED I tell you


For as long as I can remember, I've always said that my goal is to have a sign just like this as a part of my own Christmas decorations one day. I cannot even deal with how happy I was.

For the first time in what feels like forever, I've found myself wanting to write again. It's something that I've always tried to keep up - half of the reason that I started The Tuesday Letters initially was as a form of discipline for myself, and I've hopped on a couple of poetry challenges on Instagram over the past year. But mid-January, late on a Monday night, I found myself curled up on the couch writing the longest poem that I've ever written. And then a few days later, I started writing a novel. A completely new novel, one I dreamed up in November but had yet to put to the page. Writing again feels weird and scary and wonderful all at once, and I really don't know what else to say on the topic except that I'm giving it a shot, and that in a small way, it feels like coming home. 

In general these days, I just keep finding myself feeling creative in a way that I haven't in a long, long time. Typically, I like to have a project or two that I'm super honed in on, and work like a madwoman on those specific things. But lately, I feel like I just have idea after idea, and I don't quite know how to condense it and rein it all in and actually make something come of it. It feels so out of character for me, but it's not a bad thing, I suppose. Here's hoping that the next few weeks of life brings a bit of creative clarity with it, eh? 

So, that's life these days. It's a little quieter. I'm reading more, and writing letters more often. I never made a great list of new year's resolutions, which is still bugging me a bit. I need to do some goal setting to make myself feel a little more sane, I think. I'm trying new things, and my brain is still a mess more often than not, and I still probably don't drink enough water. But we're here, and we're okay. I'm not where I was a year ago, and even though I find myself desperately wishing I were more often than not, maybe here is okay, too. 

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d o i n g:

- I've wanted to learn how to macrame forever, and I finally taught myself some basics over Christmas break. I'm still trying to get the hang of it and there have been a couple of disasters along the way, but I made my sister a plant hanger that didn't turn out half bad, so I'm calling that progress. :-)

- not enough design work - I haven't touched any graphic projects since finishing up with December's commissions, and I miss it. 

- lots of knitting! I love knitting, especially in the wintertime, but it's one of those things that I always forget about or don't let myself take the time to do. Lately I've been letting myself tackle a few small projects, and it's been my favorite thing to look forward to at the end of the day. 

- I've been writing so much snail mail over the past few months, and it's been one of my favorite parts of the year so far. I spent days making Valentine's, and even if some of them got out a bit late (oops), it was a lot of fun. 

- I got some organizational cubbies that I'd been wanting for ages, and it was SO SATISFYING to do some organizing. 

- If you follow me on socials, you know that I've been having way too much fun obsessing over Taylor Swift conspiracy theories with Hanne. Listen, we can't help it that every single thing she does is somehow laced with meaning, okay? It's like playing detectives, and enneagram sixes love a good mystery. :-)


w a t c h i n g:

- we finally finished Frasier in January, after working through it for heaven only knows how long. I definitely should not get as nostalgic about finishing shows as I do, but here we are.

- we also started watching Frasier's predecessor, Cheers, a while back, and it's been a fun show to watch when we just want something light and funny.

- speaking of finishing things, I also finished Madam Secretary this fall! It feels like a while ago now, but since it made many an appearance in my Quarantine Diaries posts, I feel like it should receive the proper closure. :-) Definitely one of the best pieces of art that I became acquainted with in 2020- forever in your debt, Keira!

- Runaway Bride was an impulse watch, but a good one. If there's anything that you can count on in life, it's Garry Marshall movies.

- we tried watching Dawson's Creek, and while I don't think it's one we'll be revisiting, it made for an absolutely hilarious girl's night in.

- I'm very, very tempted to get into Bridgerton, which may or may not be mainly due to the musical that Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow are creating. Thoughts? (Edit: As we all know, this post has been in the works for a WHILE, and I have since given in and started Bridgerton. I haven't finished it, and I cannot possibly recommend it because the content is A Lot, but I adore the aesthetic and the drama of it all.)


r e a d i n g:

I'm going to toss in some of what I've read since my last Quarantine Diaries post, but I'm still planning to get a 2020 Bookshelf post up soon! I'll try to remember to link it here when I do. :-) (read it here!)

- A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. I'd wanted to read this for ages, so I was thrilled when my dear friend Hanne gave me a copy for my birthday! It was heartbreaking and beautiful all at once, and I'm excited to dive into Cait's next book sometime soon! (I gave my sister a copy for her birthday, but let's be honest...it was a gift for me, too :-) )

- Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon. Ariel Lawhon is, without a doubt, my favorite author that I discovered in 2020. Her work floors me - the way that she structures her stories is brilliant, and she really makes you fall in love with the characters. I couldn't get enough of this book, and it was made even better by the fact that it's a true story! 10/10 recommend - read this book!

- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. My first read of 2021, a Keira recommendation. You know how much I love my WWII fiction, and this one didn't disappoint. The character work was breathtaking. 

- Fighting Forward by Hannah Brencher. I was SO excited when Hannah announced her new book, and its release was definitely a highlight of my month. Hannah's words are filled with so much truth + hope, and I couldn't love her writing more. 

Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma was a work read that I enjoyed. It actually doesn't release until this July, but my boss sends dance-related ARCs my way, and I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I learned a lot about Indian dance culture, and the characters are so sweet. The book itself is well-written, and I was glad that I gave it a try!

- In The Event This Doesn't Fall Apart by Shannon Lee Barry. I've been following Shannon's writing on Instagram for ages now, so when she gave ebooks of her new poetry book away for free on Valentine's Day, there was no possible way I was going to miss out. Shannon writes about people so beautifully - she sees their nuances and quirks and paints them in your mind's eye with so much love. Her writing is whimsical and magical and filled with hope, and I love it dearly.

- As far as Bible reading goes, I've really just been skipping around lately...lots of Psalms/Proverbs, as well as Isaiah. I'm in desperate need of an actual plan! Here's to hopefully getting more disciplined with that.

- On Instagram, I've been loving @resurrectionpoetry and @gracewritesthings_ 's work!

- "You Will Have Time For All These Things" from with risa. Joanne is one of my favorite bloggers, and this post was filled with so much that I needed to hear. 

- This and this - in all honesty, I would tell you to read every word that Amanda Beguerie ever writes. But these are a good starting point. :-)


l i s t e n i n g:

- If you follow me on social media (shameless plug: insta and twitter), you already know that Evermore was the album of my December. Merry Christmas to us all, indeed. :-)

- Also, the era of Taylor re-releases has begun, and I am so incredibly here for it.

- lots of dodie, once again thanks to Hanne

- Lizzy McAlpine + Jon Bellion + John Mayer forever

- now that I'm doing school online and spending SO MUCH LESS time in my car, I've kind of gotten out of the routine of listening to podcasts, but a friend of mine recommended the Crime Junkie podcast to me, and I'm slowly getting hooked. If you're a true crime fan, it's so good. 

- One of my goals for myself for this year is to become better at organizing my music into playlists. My Spotify is still a bit of a disaster (or, as I like to call it, a work in progress), but I made this playlist to step into 2021, and I kind of love it. I asked you all on Instagram to send me your favorite songs that reminded you of hope, added a few favorites of my own, and the final product has definitely been on repeat. We all need a little extra hope stepping into the new year, I think, and what better way to remind yourself?

other notable songs from the past month and a half:

- all of Bridgerton the Musical by Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear. (When I tell you that these girls are BRILLIANT oh my goodness)

- Place We Were Made // Maisie Peters (Hailey, are you proud??)

- Come Back Home // Lauren Daigle (A rec from one of my sweet elementary girls!!)

- Praying for Sunshine // Cody Fry

- Friday I'm In Love // Phoebe Bridgers

- U Suck // Emily Bear (When she released this on Valentine's Day, I literally just left it on repeat for ages. Such a fun song!)


m o m e n t s:

- a girl that I've been teaching since I was fifteen painted the most beautiful box for me as a Christmas gift, and when I tell you I was a PUDDLE oh my goodness. 

- reading by the Christmas tree well into January

- car jams with Mama J

- golden sunlight through my windows in the afternoons

- dancing with my kiddos

- getting the absolute most PRECIOUS Valentine I have ever received in the mail from Hailey

- having fresh flowers in the house

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How's life treating you these days, friends? I've missed this space. Hoping that your weekend is a lovely one. xx


10 comments:

  1. I’m so glad online school is a better fit for you and so happy that you have a little space to breathe and be creative! What a good feeling. Knitting and snail mail sound like the perfect things to look forward to! And I’ve been contemplating starting Bridgerton — I don’t really watch TV shows, but the trailer looked really good. Code Name Helene and The Nightingale have been on my to-read list for a while. And I’m SO PROUD to see the Maisie Peters song XD !!! Ugh, that’s one of my FAVORITES of hers (it’s stuck in my head now and I’m not even mad). Also so glad you loved your Valentine — the one you made me is on my fridge <3 I loved this post and am so excited for more!

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    1. Your comments always make me smile, Hailey!! You should know that I have totally been choreographing a song to the Maisie Peters song ever since I heard it. :-) I love you so much, sweet friend!

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  2. Grace Anne oh my goodness. you and your words are always a bright spot. if I could one writer to your list of MUST READ EVERYTHING BY THEM, i would add you.

    so much love,
    L

    (ps, not me over here looking up all your recs haha :) )

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    1. Lydia, you make me cry!!!! You are the best, m'dear. xx

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  3. This was so beautiful :) I just feel so happy every time a Tuesday Letter comes into my inbox, and this one was lovely.

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    1. You are so incredibly kind, Maya! Thank you. xx

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  4. I told you already that I was *hoping* you'd post soon, and this post. . .well, it is happy news. I love it. So yes, I will be bookmarking everything I need to explore further, from this: most specifically, “Code Name Helene” and “Bridgerton”.

    xoxo.
    k.

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    1. You, my friend, are the kindest. :-) I cannot wait to hear what you think of Code Name Helene!!

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  5. "it feels like coming home." That's what it feels like for e when I start posting on my blog again, and when I read your blog <3 How I miss the writing-part of myself. How I miss the creativity and the community.

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    1. Oh, I've missed you so much, Elizabeth!!! I'm so thrilled to have you around again. :-)

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