My Favorite Lovely Things

Photo by Lesly B. Juarez

This collection of my favorite lovely things was inspired, like many of my reflections, by Bella Grace magazine. Bella Grace is the first of my favorite lovely things. It is a collection of women’s writings on creativity, life, and the magic that can be found in every day.

I first mentally noted my love of sunsets my senior year of high school on the way home from soccer practice. It was in that same moment I wrote a sunset poem and decided to write a series of sunset poems as a final project for my creative writing class.

Five years later, I am still captivated by the entirety of each golden hour – always surprising me as the clearest, most vibrant hue of pure gold, palette of orange, and pink blossoms overtake the western skies. Equally as beautiful in my eyes is the eastern sky as it is illuminated by the sunset into the most beautiful pale lavender and periwinkle blue. Each night when even the air turns golden, the sky turns azure, eastern beaches mirror the beauty with movement, golden-dusted bean fields loll in a breeze, my heart sings. Each and every night.

Combat Boots
I have tried calling these lovely boots everything from lacers to safari boots because I’m not a fan of the name. Labels aside, these boots just fit. In them, I stand up straighter, walk more confidently, and just feel better with each wear.

My husband loathes these shoes, but we all make sacrifices for those we love, so I wear these boots any chance I get because to me, they are the boot form of pure gold.

My long, crazy-curly hair
About a year ago I cut and dyed my hair on a whim. Well, instead of being curlier, it became a weird random blob of frizz. Now it’s back to its crazy-unpredictable-curly self and I couldn’t ask for a more fitting daily accessory. I’ve even learned to enjoy humid North Carolina mornings because they turn up the volume on my golden curls and I feel more myself than ever, even if my hair looked exactly like this just a year ago.

I’m also finding that the longer I keep my hair the same, the more I find new ways to style it. Not like a Pinterest board full of complex ideas, but one attempt at a time and a few months later I have a handful of go-to styles.

Coffee Mugs

There is something so special about the perfect coffee mug for a moment, for a memory, for a personality. My favorite coffee mug is one that I painted in college that looks like time or a universe swirling by. It has designs that were popular at the time, but my favorite part is a message to myself on the inside that reads “Keep on Dreaming.” A message from my college self that I cherish and need often.

Nurturing Houseplants
After spending a year in the city, my heart ached for the country greenery of Ohio. Instead of being homesick I decided to bring the plants to my sun room.

I already had a pretty purple and yellow Orchid and my husband owned a little Bonsai tree. In addition to this lovely bunch, I now have three little Succulents in glass jars occupying my windowsill. I rescued a healthy baby Orchid that finished blooming in hopes of blooms next spring. My original Orchid has even sprouted new chutes for a second bloom! And of course, my husband’s Bonsai tree and our dreamy Arabian Jasmine are our complete collection of plant babies. I secretly hope to start an herb garden soon.

Especially when my Jasmine is in bloom with its tiny Nickel sized stars for flowers. We can smell little wisps of Jasmine across the apartment making it a bit magical. So far it has flowered twice in about three months and my Orchid has a new shoot!

I have grown to love my plants as a part of my family and they make this temporary home more inviting for the moment.

My Escape, aka Ellie.
Ellie the Escape is a Gray SUV and she absolutely lives up to her name. After driving a car that I felt uncomfortable, unsafe, and trapped in, Ellie is a dream come true. I didn’t used to enjoy driving, but I’ve learned to enjoy driving longer distances over the past couple of years thanks to Ellie, who may have had a bit of help from Pandora Radio, and audiobooks.

One particular day about three months after I moved to the coast, my husband was away in training and I was feeling stagnant so I decided to just drive and explore this new city. Would you know, without an inkling of an idea where it was located, I drove directly to the nearest library, exactly what I needed. I left with a shiny new library card, a stack of books, and plans to return for an event. What Big Magic took place that lovely fall afternoon, all thanks to Ellie the Escape and a little trust in fate.

Quality Pens
Through my journey in writing, appreciation of pens has become a joy to me, but my awe for unique pens actually began before my journey with writing. My papaw owned a calligraphy set that he shared with me one summer when I was young. He was always artistically inclined and I like to think that my requests for new drawings inspired him.

I didn’t go on to study calligraphy or even become good at it, but I still love the way the pen can be used to manipulate my natural handwriting, which has been dubbed “chicken scratches.” I was fascinated, and my papaw saw this. As someone who was always encouraging my creativity, he eventually gifted me the set, which I have to this day. I have been pretty pen-crazy ever since and thoroughly enjoy discovering new pens.

Miracle Moments
In the spirit of “Miracle Mornings,” a concept created by Hal Elrod but that I discovered on, I have evolved this into miracle moments. Not an everyday occurrence, but exactly what I need it to be.

A couple of times a week I brew a french press of coffee with cream or a cup of Zen (green) tea with a tablespoon of honey first thing in the morning. Then I pick a pretty spot to savor “The Tao of Now” or my current issue of Bella Grace and spend an hour or so savoring the beauty of this world in the moment. I savor my thoughts and musings as they arise and journal about these. Sometimes it’s about the beauty I have read, while others evolve into a session of cleansing my mind of its worries.

This journaling has saved me over the past few months, surrounding my senses in beauty for a few moments where I would otherwise sense only looming work and sneaky deadlines. This act of savoring my thoughts and readings absolutely nourishes me. It allows me to go deeper where I might have dismissed a thought I didn’t think I had time to explore; allows me to seek beauty as well as the universe’s hidden messages. And they are there for those who seek them.

Lists keep my life together. They prompt inspiration, allow brain dumping of tasks and ideas, and allow me to organize my goals. They are my natural defense against my buzzing mind, and keep me together. I even tend to list when I journal, a way of getting to the point and moving along quickly.



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