love letters to life

A blogger I read and really enjoy does this thing called "Friday Favorites," where she celebrates the highlights of each week in picture form with a few quick words on why those events/things are highlights for her. I love that concept - the whole reason I started writing this blog in the first place was to remember the quotidian little things that make my series of days so special. So, here we go: I'm going to try to write little Friday love letters to the world, and see if it sticks...part of my overall effort to practice gratitude and positivity as frequently and intentionally as possible.

Today, I'm feeling really good about life in general. Fresh off a totally soul-affirming weekend home full of my favorite people and places, I kind of want to kick ass and celebrate how awesome things have been for me in the last few months. There are a lot of thoughts and more articulate, carefully-considered words on that subject percolating in the back of my mind currently, but for now, here are a few things that I think totally deserve all the heart-eyes emojis: 

- In the name of a responsible California budget (or, more realistically, more room in the "wine clubs" line on the budget!), I've stopped getting manicures. Instead, I'm a new devotee of Essie's Gel Couture at-home kits, which are actually really great and last close to a week on me. That's really saying something, given my brutal habit of picking my cuticles, biting my nails, and generally treating my hands terribly. I'm coupling the polish with Sally Hansen's miracle cuticle remover and a lot of stolen hotel lotion (currently really into Essentiel Elements Fresh Neroli, from the Palmer House!). 

- Talking, as always, about books: I have a Redwood City library card! I haven't had a library card that I actually used since high school, and I'm bound and determined to stop impulse-buying books on sale and start checking them out like a good little girl (once the empty bookshelf is refilled, that is). Dave is also a reader, in his "ample" free time (HA!), and he happened to be reading a book that I found for a steal on Amazon. So I read it concurrently with him, and we discussed it a little bit on and off, along with our ideas of what makes literature great. It was a fantastically satisfying experience...sharing my love of literature with people I love is one of my favorite activities.

- Before I went home last week, I was surprised by the sweetest "just because" card from my mama bear. She does things like this all the time - little notes and Hershey kisses in our school lunchboxes, care packages during college finals, and of course the requisite "feel better gifts" on the worst of days - and I have always loved how cared-for and cherished it makes me feel, even to this day!

- The day before my beloved mama bear left California after our epic June road trip, she bought me a darling going-away gift from Anthropologie's Terrain store...a trio of pretty potted succulents that I promptly, and appropriately, named Mark Succerberg. LAUGH WITH ME AT MY RIDICULOUS PUNS, please. Anyway, Mark bloomed last week! And I didn't even know that was something a succulent could do! But I love looking at how much he's grown since his tiny baby days of my first weeks in Cali. I get really weirdly attached to plants that can survive me for longer than a season...before I moved, I had a baby Norfolk Island Pine that I bought in 2014, and it was actually really sad to leave it behind (Jodes adopted him!). Having little Mark, who is virtually indestructible, is the cutest reminder of my mama. 

- And finally, check out this sunset, from a reading/journaling session on our deck last week. I don't think that palm tree view is ever going to get old for me. 

Happy Friday, campers! Enjoy the long weekend!