There is so much to adore about this city in the heart of Virginia-- from the food, the art, the coffee and beer and cider, the endless festivals, the outdoor options, the tattoos... it's a hipster heaven.
I'm glad it's a "little letters" post day, because I needed the reminder to look back at the good things in life recently and name what I'm grateful for.
There are two people in this Internet world that I just can't get enough of lately...and their names are Holly and Taylor. They're my assistant editors for The Rising (I'll never stop bragging about them) and two of the most talented, genuine, hilarious, and sweet people I know. They host this Five Finds Friday link up every week, and I love it! Join in-- it's fun and easy and great!
My mom sent me this video this week because I am not at ALL a morning person, and I loved it. Who knew otters made that noise and had such personality?!
I have a major crush on this coat. I do not, however, have a crush on its $200 price tag. WHY, MADEWELL, WHY.
"This superwarm parka is perfect for woodsy walks and urban strolls—and has a bold buffalo-check lining that can be found here and only here."
And I swoon.
This post from Emily Freeman is beautiful: "A Prayer for When We Want Answers"
It might be cheating because she's one of the hosts of this little link up...but THIS POST from Taylor just floored me this week. After the latest video of violence against a student from a police officer, I was shocked and sickened and speechless. I didn't know what to say, but I knew I had so many strong feelings in response. Taylor found words to wrap around all of that, and it's everything I needed to hear and wanted to say but didn't know how. Find that post on The Rising here.
If there's somebody who can make you feel all the feels with their writing, it's Ann Voskamp, hands down. This post is heartfelt and raw and so stunning.
What have you found online lately that you're loving? Share it in the comments!
I decided to make the most of all the coffee options in my little city of Richmond, VA, and here's the comprehensive guide to ALL OF MY THOUGHTS.
This last week, so many things I read just resonated with me SO MUCH. And I want you all to read them all now. Here's a roundup of the best things I've read online recently! Enjoy.
"Don’t be the next anybody. Be deeply, weirdly, completely, totally you." // Shauna Niequist drops an awesome bomb with this post.
"I think my generation is venturing into some seriously uncharted waters, because while we’re hesitant to label relationships, we do participate in some deviation of them." // Jordana Narin won this year's Modern Love College Essay Contest from The New York Times, and it's a strikingly true look at what our generation has turned love and relationships into.
"If we were on a coffee date, I'd encourage you to write yourself letters. Buy yourself a journal and just write to you. Dear you and Love, me are powerful things." // Amber Thomas writes these posts as if you were on a coffee date with her, and every single time, I so deeply wish I was.
"For introverts who generate ideas best without the looming presence of others, knowing the topic in advance is key." // This post on the TED Blog is GREAT. Every brainstorm meeting I've been a part of has been stressful for me as an introvert, and this post has fantastic tips for making that NOT the case.
"We desperately need someone to tell us we are going to make it. To simple say, "I'll be there when you make it", and "I'll still be here while you make your way"." // Katherine Henson could have pulled these words from my very core, they struck me so deeply. They're the words I've been feeling and wrestling with but not really knowing how to say. These are the kinds of people I want.
"So here is my suggestion: Read a bit of poetry today." // Sarah Bessey reminded me of what my heart knows to be true: I need to surround myself with beautiful words that slow me down and open my eyes to lovely things. I need to read poetry today and every day.
Yesterday, the sun finally broke through what had been a week of gray skies and ice and (unnecessary) snow days. Since one of my #RAD52in52 goals is to visit 10 new Richmond coffeeshops, I set out to find one where I could spend my morning. I visited good old Yelp and found Black Hand Coffee Company which was near where I would be picking up the kiddos I nanny, so I decided that would be my spot for the day.
It was an unassuming little corner coffeeshop tucked away in the downtown Museum District with just a few tables inside, but I loved it. I ordered a dirty Chai (the Yelp reviews sold me on their Chai!)-- my first "dirty" Chai ever (they add a shot of espresso)...so good. It was such a relaxing morning in a great new little spot. They even had a free little library box outside where I picked up a new book to try (but I'm a few chapters in and not liking it all...so that might be a flop).
I continued my solo morning at my favorite Richmond vegetarian restaurant where I got the BEST vegan "chicken salad" wrap (gluten-free too!) with mustard potato salad...to die for. All in all, it was the perfect Friday morning and everything I needed after a gloomy and draining week. Here are some snapshots from the morning.
The rain is pouring down, the kind of cold, misty, constant rain that reminds me so much of my England days. I've always liked this kind of weather, always adamantly defended cities like London and Seattle with all their gray and rainy days. They're peaceful, cozy, relaxing, I argue. They aren't depressing. They aren't annoying. These days are the best days.
These are the days where it just makes sense to put on your brother's big old flannel and chunky socks under your worn-in, favorite boots. It makes sense to drive in the wild rain to the best corner cafe in Shockoe Bottom, the one with the massive windows more than twice as tall as you are. It makes sense to order the large soy chai latte instead of your usual small...it's just that kind of day. The best kind of day.
The rain won't let you forget it today. It eases up at times and passersby tuck their collapsed umbrellas under their arms and peel the hoods of their rain jackets back. But then it dumps down again with vengeance, slowing every car to a painfully slow crawl and forcing everyone under the cover of awnings and umbrellas again.
This rain will bring winter here to stay. The last leaves are slipping off the trees, having given up hope of holding on much longer. With the Christmas music already taking over the radio and every store's sound system, the holidays seem unavoidable. This rain would be snow if we were just a few states away, and I'm not quite sure how to feel about that.
I have long held onto the belief that all things Christmas should be contained in the month of December. It shouldn't spill over into November, that's Thanksgiving's month to shine.
This year, though, I've surprised myself. I found myself cooking dinner with Frank Sinatra crooning his Christmas classics in the background. I couldn't help but listen to JOHNNYSWIM's new Christmas album when it came out, and Pentatonix's new version of Mary, Did You Know played through my computer more times than I would like to admit. Even now, as I sit here under the warm glow of lights hanging from exposed wooden beams, Michael Buble is singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in my ears.
This rainy day makes it all make sense. This weather is the kind that seems to fit so well with the songs of the holidays. While the scene outside of these windows is still one of falling leaves instead of snow, it seems to be welcoming me to winter. It seems to make sense that I've made an exception to my usually strict rule this year and let Christmas creep in early.
This is the best kind of day. The kind where the words are plenty and the ideas are endless. The kind where every conversation around me is hushed and gentle, like none of us want to spoil the magic of these moments. The kind where big bowls of soup are on every table next to our foam-filled mugs. The kind of day where only couches or coffeeshops seem appropriate and I'm glad I've found them both.
Call the rain depressing, call this day a typical Monday, call me crazy, but I firmly believe this is the very best kind of day.
My favorite season is here and I think I could write a never-ending list of all the things I love about it, but instead, here's a list of much more random things I've been loving lately.
Fun little design projects like this blog header. (I didn't love that goodbye, but that's a different story.)
Pumpkin spice coffee from Trader Joe's.
Stop Singing Oceans. Yes.
HOCKEY IS BACK. Praise. I proudly #rockthered for my Caps!
The final harvest of summer vegetables from our family garden. That final batch of homemade salsa was incredible.
Dried eucalyptus hanging on my wall making everything smell so good.
Baby pumpkins scattered around my apartment.
The writings that inspired CS Lewis? Loving reading this.
Flexing my creative muscles making fox and viking masks for the boys I nanny.
This playlist: Autumn Acoustics.
What have you been loving lately? Comment with your favorites or tweet them to me @racheladawson and you might see them appear in next week's list!