If you were to walk into my apartment right now, you'd likely think I'd been abducted and/or robbed. It's a mess. An actual entire mess.
A flurry of sundresses, sandals and distressed denim.
Piles, varying in height, of hot weather clothes. The kind you wear for hours of sweaty tours, but also the kind you wear for toasty nights of wine and twirling.
I'm going to Italy in a couple of days, and I could not be more excited.
I need to disconnect. I need to see something really historic and beautiful. I need to eat too much pasta and witness the kind of coastal view that snatches my breath away. I need rest. I need a break.
But, before I go, I want to share some things about this season of life.
I've officially been in St. Louis for about four months. It's been a change, a transition and an adjustment.
It's also been sweet, y'all. Like, sweet sweet.
This city is faster, and I love it even more than I did when I was in college and would come for a day trip to shop.
The stories are harder to tell, but they stir up my passion for people more every day.
Being off Tuesday and Wednesday feels different than a Sunday/Monday weekend, but I've found the perks in that too.
I'm starting to use my Maps app less to get around. I'm making friends. I've found amazing things to eat. There are great cocktails here. I really like my job. I even think I've found a church home (I'll need a few more visits to decide).
This space is different, and it's blessed. This space is not always comfortable, but I can tangibly feel that it's good. It's right.
I am at peace, and I am grateful.
I was nervous about my summer, if we're being honest. I was nervous about my ability to really soak in the joy and feel the fullness of longer days and rooftops in a new place. I knew August was coming, but I was secretly concerned about June and July.
I am so grateful to report that there was no need to worry.
As jazzed as I am about this adventure, I think it's really important to have the kind of life that you don't need to escape from. I think it's important to get excited about vacations but to have the kind of consistent joy and adventure that doesn't require them for your sanity.
Don't get me wrong, we all need breaks. We need days of no emails. We need to forget our to-do lists sometimes. But how much more fun would life be if we got excited about our weekends and mornings and lunch breaks too?
I'm getting butterflies right now thinking about the beautiful Italian adventure that's just days away, but I also think it's really cool and important to invest in creating the kind of adventures that don't require an expensive plane ticket or a passport.
This summer, I found so much joy in throwing a duffel bag into my car, filling up my gas tank and Spotify-ing my way four hours east or west to twirl around with a good friend.
One of my best friends lives in Kansas City, and another one of my girls lives in Louisville. I went to see them both in June. They each came to see me in July. Another best friend, from Alabama, flew to spend some days with me last month too. Talk about a full heart.
I've said more than once that my people refuel me. They energize me. They feel like home to me. And I've been blessed with some good ones.
In Louisville, we ate hot chicken, walked the site of the Kentucky Derby and talked about Jesus on my friend's couch.
In Kansas City, I tried (and loved) squid ink spaghetti, bought the most fabulous 15-dollar sunglasses that you just wouldn't believe and listened to live music in an unnecessarily dark speakeasy.
When my friend came to St. Louis, we took a two-hour beer tour, finally got the story behind The Arch and got our over-sized Jenga tower impressively high before it eventually came crashing down (it was real tall, y'all).
Create your own oasis, friend. Go out of your way for the adventure. An adventure is trying a new spot and digging a little deeper into the place you already live. It's allowing yourself to breathe new air, even if it's a couple of hours down the interstate.
Try a new recipe. Get closer to your friends in nearby cities. Invite them over for a weekend. Turn your grill on (I'm still working on this). Summer isn't over, and there is so much adventure to be had and it doesn't take all that much.
I started going to exercise classes this summer. They're super hard. They leave me super sore. I really like them. I'm excited for the day where they aren't as hard.
I've been tagging different recipes to try. I think I'll start dabbling in charcuterie boards this fall. There are some classes and lectures I plan to sign up for centered on topics I'm super passionate about. I'm going to do a Whole30 in September. I used airline miles to buy a plane ticket to New York City to go celebrate a friend becoming an attorney. I got a music festival ticket.
I've also been more intentional about spending some weekend nights on my couch. I love my apartment, y'all. When I'm done decorating, I'll show you. It's so cute. I'm keeping up my promise to make my space a home and treat it with the dignity of my affection and quality time. That feels good too.
Little choices. Strategic budgeting of money and vacation time. Quiet nights in. More books. Tons of water. Lots and lots of prayer.
A decision to live big and happy and full.
If nothing else, I hope you'll remember that you were made for good things. And there is magic in the every day. There is joy in the simple.
The big trips are so nice, and when they come, enjoy them (SO pumped). But your every day life has the potential to fill you up too. Let it.
You will feel hotter, make better relationship decisions, dance more and do stronger work when you like your life. Trust and believe that.
Life gets real sweet when you strategically create the magic for your every day. You deserve that kind of stuff, and I hope you'll let it be your reality.
With Love & Glitter,