remember me?!

oh hi!  remember me?!?!  i mentioned a little bit about my current wifi situation on instagram, but let me go into a little more detail.  i am currently finishing my master’s degree by teaching on the navajo reservation in arizona. so far it’s going really really well, and the only hiccup is that i don’t have wifi in my room (i’m living in the dorm attached to the high school with other students).  i’ve been able to pick up wifi here and there, and a kind teacher told me i can pop by his place whenever i need to use the internet, so hopefully i will be able to start posting again. i did start another blog to record my journey, mostly for family and school purposes, but feel free to follow me over there as well if you’re interested: leahgoeswest.wordpress.com (though again, it’s been difficult for me to post).IMG_3377  truly this experience has already been pretty incredible, and though not everything has been smooth, nor will it be in its entirety, i’m so excited to be on this adventure that i’ve been planning for a long time.  if anyone has any suggestions of things i need to see/places i need to go while i’m in the southwest, please let me know!! i want to go any and everywhere.  i’m currently spending labor day weekend in durango, colorado and don’t ever want to leave this state so that’s a new development!IMG_3407 i have a very limited selection of “things” with me – makeup, skincare, clothes, accessories – so i thought it might be fun to look at the things that i’m missing the most. nothing like being separated from your belongings for 4 months to show you what you really love.

// s t y l e //

coach duffle bag // i have mentioned this bag before on the blog, but this is my favorite purse of any that i own.  it’s a vintage (i think 70s) black leather coach duffle, which is one of their most iconic shapes.  it’s essentially a big bucket bag with an adjustable strap – so i either wear it close to my underarm or even crossbody if it’s extra heavy.  it’s such a classic shape and style and fits my everyday life. i miss you bb! i’m sorry i couldn’t bring you!

baggy levi’s 501s // i have a bunch of levi’s but i only brought my 501 skinnies.  my baggy ones are perfectly soft, worn in, and ripped, and i love that they’re slightly cropped (i cut them myself naturally) and slightly too big.  i love them for every season, with sneakers, with birks, with army boots.  i actually thought that i packed them, but apparently not!  i have no clue what wash i have, but i linked a similar looking pair.

black skinny strap rainbows // i absolutely live in my black rainbows all summer long (and every pair of rainbows i’ve ever had since 7th grade).  i didn’t bring them in favor of my birks, but i wish i had these just for simplicity’s sake.  i do find myself wearing socks with birkenstocks quite a bit these days, which is probably not a habit i should get into!!!!

cape cod bracelets // i love my two little silver bangles with silver or gold screw balls.  is anyone else familiar with these?  i usually wear them during the summer and then phase them out come fall, but i didn’t do that this year and i don’t have them with me.  i go through phases of wearing a lot of necklaces or a lot of bracelets, and right now i’m forgoing both to be simple and under-the-radar.  no fun!bb feather // b e a u t y //

igk 1995 shampoo // i’m in love with this texturing shampoo.  it just wasn’t feasible for me to bring something so particular and that i don’t use every time i wash my hair, but this is my favorite texturing shampoo of the few i’ve tried.  the r+co cactus shampoo is my second in command, but the 1995 is just a little grittier.

dedcool fragrance 02 // i don’t wear perfume enough to justify bringing it (i just brought my usual sandalwood fragrance oil), but i really miss this scent.  it’s one of those that just melts into your skin and seems like what you actually smell like, a little bit woodsy and masculine, a little bit clean, a little bit warm.  sandalwood is my favorite scent of all time, and that is the base of 02 with something extra.IMG_3349bb dorm. . .

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practicing growth

Screen shot 2018-08-05 at 2.03.16 PM.pngthe mistakes, the anger, the passion, the shards of our love are all around.

doomed from the start, i ignored the signs, promises of kisses cured feelings, words healed wounds inflicted by your broken soul.

you shoot me when you are down, you try to get me to your level, you spout the words you think are true but are just misguided, anything i say you claim i play the victim.

you disgust me and then come crawling back.  i forgive you in the name of mental anguish, darkness, and pain.  today is enough, you pushed me too far.

i am strong. i am beautiful.  i am destined for the whole world.  and i will not be reduced to the partner of an angry, lost man.

. . .

words are my own, image from the goddess rebellion

. . .

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thoughts on: appreciating the past

i knew i wanted to write something today, but wasn’t feeling inspired by anything.  as luck would have it, the text chain with my mom and sisters provided something for me to muse on.bb thoughts on the pastmy mom was sending us baby pictures to see how my niece compares to us, when she sent us one from my sister’s 8th grade graduation.  she had dyed hair (boy was she in trouble) but otherwise looks adorably adorable.  her reaction?  the expected “yikes.”  my response?  enjoy and appreciate the past.

easier said than done, for sure.  but why?  why is it so hard to appreciate all the mistakes we made, all the cringe-y moments that we hate to think back on?  we all have those.  if you don’t, you aren’t a person.  and i truly mean that.  of course we look back and have second hand embarrassment for how we looked or what we said.  we have regrets, maybe small ones if you’re lucky, but regrets all the same.

without the trials and tribulations of life, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  i very firmly believe that.  and i don’t mean that we have to have had the fight of our lives.  the everyday mistakes that we make change us for the better.  we learn and we grow from everything we do, good and bad.  everything we experience, witness, hear, understand, empathize with, sympathize with.  we are ever-evolving organisms that can adapt to any sort of adversity.  especially the adversity within ourselves.

i guess my point here is not to shun the past.  not to be ashamed of silly outfits, weird hair-dos (i use to wear an insanely big bun smack dab on the top of my head – much to the enjoyment of my less than kind peers), stupid comments, tears shed in public places.  all of these factors result in the magical souls that we are today.  the past is there for a reason, to remind us of where we come from and why we are who we are.  and that, i think, is worth cherishing.

. . .

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daily creativity with traveler’s notebook

as you may or may not know, i used to manage a small stationery and custom invitation store.  stationery and school supplies have always been a huge passion of mine, but i never before realized that there is an entire community that exists and thrives with these passions at the center of it.  when i took that job, it was more for management and marketing experience, but it transformed into a greater appreciation for stationery items and paper goods, and the art, dedication, and flair behind them.  though i no longer work at this store, the world of paper will always be very near and dear to my heart and i greatly enjoy finding new brands and interesting products. 

i recently got it into my head that i would like to purchase a traveler’s notebook.  these notebooks are essentially leather covers that you can completely customize inside.  you can have a number of notebooks, agendas, and/or folders inside at one time, and use the notebook for whatever purpose feels right.  the size of the notebook is unique in that it is relatively skinny and long, but this makes it perfect for writing and keeping organized.  i finally purchased my own a few weeks ago, and decided on the dark brown leather cover.  from my research, this looks the best suited to aging and wear and tear.bb tn1.PNG i did a ton of research on these notebooks before i decided to make the investment.  one of the best things that came out of my research was the discovery of an online (and brick and mortar if you live in california) shop called baum-kuchen, and the owner, wakako.  i have become absolutely entranced with this shop and the accompanying blog.  wakako is such a beautifully creative person that shares her love of the analogue life everyday through her shop, blog, and instagram.  i love following her and getting inspiration for my own creative, analogue journey.  she often reminds me that nothing has to be perfect; life is about creating color and connections, and exhibiting your happiness in whatever way you can.  for me, it is definitely on paper – through words, lists, ideas, and inspirations.  i do that here with my blog, but i also do it in my real life.  i take pictures, save things, buy things that feel special and important to me – and now i have a place to keep all of these artifacts in my traveler’s notebook.

i have especially enjoyed learning more about japanese culture through my research into traveler’s notebooks.  paper products are very important and treasured there, and there are a plethora of companies coming out of japan that have caught my eye, including traveler’s company (formerly midori) and the superior labor.bb tn2.PNG i absolutely adored using my traveler’s notebook for the first time on my trip to california.  i always collect so many artifacts while traveling – receipts, business cards, stickers, postcards, etc. – and now i have a place to store and expand on these little items.  i also kept daily logs of what i did and where i went, the best parts of the day, silly quotes and reminders of things that were discussed and experienced, etc… i cannot wait for more adventures with my traveler’s notebook, and to expand on what exactly my style will be.

. . .

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january 2, 2018

sometimes only coming home has the power to heal all our wounds.

when i left my apartment on december 14, 2017, my heart was raw and my eyes swollen from the previous night’s tears.  ending relationships is always hard, but ending one that you weren’t even able to fully begin is harder.

through three weeks with my two sisters, two parents, two brothers-in-law, and one baby niece, my empty heart has healed.  not completely, but enough.  i have laughed until i cried, danced around the kitchen, and escaped to my air mattress for naps and brief moments of peace.  i have come back to life.  i have moved from feeling my emotions so palpably to pushing them to the back of my mind for later contemplation.  they are still there, but more silenced than i was capable of achieving on my own.

coming home for the holidays is never easy once you’ve grown up and moved away, but there are so many reasons to return: being near the people that continue to raise and teach you, silly but timeless traditions, and spending time in your jammies sitting on the living room floor.

i hope your holidays provided you with peace, comfort, and wisdom, in whatever way you needed.

. . .

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a note to my neighbor

i don’t like you.

i don’t like that i have to listen to you have sex at bizarre hours (6 am?!).  i don’t like that i have to listen to your music thumping.  i don’t like that i have to walk by your gross trash and the stains outside your door.  i don’t like that whatever you cook makes my bathroom smell.

i don’t like that i have to listen to you at all moments of the day and night.  i don’t like that you started banging on the wall when i tried to hammer a nail for 1 minute at 8:45 pm.  1 minute at a reasonable hour on a wall that we don’t share.  how do you have the nerve?

i don’t like that you are inconsiderate.  i don’t like that i am patient and never make my annoyance known.  i don’t like that you have no patience of your own.  i don’t like that you live next to me.  i hope you move far, far away.

i don’t like you.

– well that was a good venting session.  have a great weekend, bohemians!

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there’s so much more to say

please come back.  please don’t let this be the end.  please tell me you’re just on another adventure.  you said you would kiss me in august.  won’t you keep that promise?

you beautiful, tortured soul.  don’t let this be the end.  you were happy when i saw you only one month ago.  you were eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chopping wood and teaching kids how to play chess at the atheneum.  you were their hero.  you were happy with your medication, with your situation.  we talked about living on the golf course and being old decrepit teachers.  we were going to go to australia and live in new york.  there were lies and deceptions, but i don’t blame you or myself.  i think deep down we were honest with each other, even if people told us otherwise.

you called me lulu bean and held my hand.  we sat together, worlds apart from anyone else and that was good.  we locked your door and turned on the air conditioning and pretended to sleep.  maybe.

i saw you in a tee shirt only once.  you were at the green and put your arms on the register to reach out to me.  i saw all those horizontal lines, pale white, moving up your arms like the words that you were never able to speak.  i wasn’t surprised.  it made me love you.  more and more.  i got butterflies when i went to see you.  i felt guilty when i left.  i knew it was wrong, that i would get in trouble, but i couldn’t stay away.  not from you.

i miss your khakis and your button downs, the creases in your cheeks.  those blue eyes and that black hair.  it had finally grown back out.  the last words we spoke to each other were “i love you.”  and i love you.  i’ll still kiss you in august.

sunday musings & the role of the artist

“perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.  that all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality – a banality because it is very frequently stated but very rarely, on the evidence, believed.  most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world.  there are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be exploited, children to be fed.  none of these things can be done alone.  but the conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty.  he is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. the precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

james baldwin, the creative process

. . . 

i came across this passage when studying for a recent exam, and it touched my very soul.  now i am not inferring that i am an artist in any way, shape, or form, but baldwin’s words speak to me.  i get what he is saying.  i feel what he is saying.  i am blessed to live in a home virtually surrounded by beautiful art and to have visited famous museums throughout the world.  art is an incredible thing to me.  the idea that so infrequently we are touched by a certain genius, and the physical manifestation of that genius.  and then there is that other side to the genius, the side that is almost always unstable, alone, dark.  this is not true for all artists, of course, but often these incredible individuals struggle with a madness that, in the end, allows them to produce such unspeakable beauties.  and baldwin puts this into words in a way that i could never imagine – in showing that the artist manifests his own darkness and, perhaps unintentionally, brightens the world not for himself, but for others.

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in the moment

IMG_6706.JPGfor a few minutes this morning, i sat outside.  i made my coffee, and when i went to let the dogs out for the eighth time, i went with them.  i felt the cold salt air perking up my senses, i watched a lone seagull make figure eights in the grey sky, and i listened to the icy waves crashing half a mile away.  i took a single picture of the sky.

i tried not to think about work or my bank account or moving.  and i succeeded, for the most part.  i didn’t check instagram or emails or youtube.  i just sat.  i sipped my coffee, i cuddled the dogs, and i just sat there, in the moment, for a little while.

good morning, everyone.