I savor slow Sunday mornings full of coffee, breakfast and Church. I wore this outfit last weekend to D.C. for Church and lunch at Monmarte– a tasty French place if you are ever in town. Those black jeans are one of my wardrobe staples-they are technically ‘legging’ jeans, but they have the appearance of nice black pants while being so comfortable. Express also has a distressed version that is a must-have for casual days.
This week is officially Valentine’s Day week on lolo mag- Monday we talked cute greeting cards, Wednesday we talked gifts for your guy, and today is all about the date night outfit. Celebrating love is just so fun. Below are a few pieces that we think are pretty date-night perfect. Whether you are doing dinner at home or going out, we have a feeling you like these picks. Links are below each image to shop! XO
“Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive,”- Author unknown.
Happiness can be somewhat of a taboo subject. We are told to put others’ happiness before our own. We are told that happiness is fleeting, that we should not pursue it. Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.” But, what if we pursue what brings us joy? What if, by learning to love the lives we live, we seek out those times and events where we take pleasure in the beauty of our lives? What if we intentionally choose the things that make us feel happy to be alive?
As we learn to love the lives we live, as we experience love in living a joyful and abundant life, we should carve out time where we enjoy the pleasures of life. For me, this time comes easiest when I am on a hike. I love to explore, I feel invigorated and energized when I reach a hike’s peak, and I love to connect with nature around me. I am completely pleased when I go on a hike. However, when the business of life picks up, when I get lost in duties, responsibilities, errands, and chores, going on a hike falls lower and lower on my list of priorities. Soon, I find myself meandering mindlessly through the monotony of my life. I find myself wondering why I feel drained, emotionless, lifeless. Then, it is only when I find myself in the monotony of life, in the endless cycle of waking up, going to work, coming home, going to sleep only to wake up and repeat the cycle all over again, that I wonder where my fire has gone. If the pursuit of happiness, as evidenced even in the Declaration of Independence, is so crucial to the wellness of life, then why can it be so hard to find?
You see, somewhere along the way, we convince ourselves that our happiness is expendable. In the business of life, in the midst of managing responsibilities, schedules, and priorities, we forget to manage time to enjoy our lives. If we are to truly love our lives, if we are to love all the processes, experiences, and events that amount to making each of our lives so unique and influential, then we must begin to forge opportunities for us to take pleasure in our lives. For some of us, this may mean actually scheduling time for ourselves where we can enjoy a long hike, learn a new language, read that book that has been sitting on a lone shelf for months, take a cooking, painting, or photography class, or visit a museum. When we begin to carve out time for even the little things that bring us pleasure, we may find ourselves venturing to that one, almost unobtainable, place that has always been on our bucket list. For, when we create a habit of prioritizing the act of seeking happiness in the crevices of our daily lives, we will allow happiness to flourish in the dreams we never thought we would achieve.
However, while it is important to seek happiness, it is equally important to give happiness its proper weight in our lives. Denying ourselves the time space to enjoy the things that fill our hearts and please our souls can create a detachment in our lives. But, allotting happiness too much weight in our lives can deter or distract us from the significance and importance of our lives. We must, then, carefully consider the effect of our own happiness and we must trust our instinct to reward it a proper role in our lives. Then, when we seek happiness in the appropriate way, we will allow joy to root itself in our hearts and we will notice the effects of that joy in our lives. When we allow happiness a foothold in our lives, we may notice a difference in the way that we love the lives we live and even the courses that our lives are taking us. Once we see the way that joy affects us, we will trust its inherent value and we will begin to believe that we are worthy of its value in our own lives.
So, take time to enjoy your life this week. How will you find joy and where will you allow happiness to take root in your life?
One of my favorite books is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. In this semi-autobiographical tale, Liz takes her readers on a journey of self-discovery. Throughout her own account of finding happiness and love, Liz ventures to three different countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia. While in Italy, she practices the enjoyment of life’s pleasures- eating, learning, enjoying the culture, and forming deep friendships. By sharp contrast, she visits India to practice devotion. Here, she devotes her intellectual and emotional energy to the practice of meditation and of strengthening her faith. This portion of the book is the most convicting. Through the struggle, trial, and hardship of refining and growing in her practice, she pushes past emotional barriers and exposes a new layer of her understanding of the world and of the longings of her heart. After experiencing the dichotomy of these two worlds, namely enjoying the pleasures of life and finding meaning in life, she travels to Bali to grow in the balance of the two. Throughout her year of travel, Liz embarks on finding the essence of life, the meaning in the every day. More than that, on her journey of self-discovery, Liz finds the love of her life in the process of learning to love life itself. Though, this love of her life may not pertain to any man, any single event, or invigorating experience but, rather, the love of her life is the actual process of loving life.
February is acclaimed as the month of love. Situated just after the beginning of a new year, February exudes the essence of love. So, while love is in the air, we should explore a love that breathes life into our every-day, we should discover the love of life. This month, we will apply Liz’s experiences in Italy, India, and Indonesia in our own personal adventure in uncovering what ignites our love of life. We will reflect on what brings us pleasure, where we find ourselves connected to our love for life, where we enjoy the company of family, friends, and loved ones, and where we feel invigorated and grateful to be alive. Then, we will explore where we find meaning in life- in what circumstances that we challenge the truth of our convictions, in what events that we hold fast to those convictions, and in which areas we may need to foster a space for our dreams to come alive. Finally, we will weigh the ways that we will be able to balance enjoying the pleasures of life and finding meaning in life. In finding a balance that is so unique to each of our individual and vastly different, but wholly beautiful, walks of life, we may find that we have come to love life. We may come to realize that life does not amount to a single event, goal accomplished, dream achieved, desire obtained, award received, recognition gained, or love found. Rather, we may come to grasp that life is comprised of every moment, good or bad, joyful or painful, encouraging or disheartening, that amounts to this unique, beautiful, and valuable life that is given to each of us.
My hope for this month is for each of us to embrace the love that is so evident in our lives- the love found in the process of living, itself. I wish for us to allow ourselves to enjoy the things that bring us pleasure, while probing at ourselves to constantly unearth new meaning and define our unfaltering purpose. I desire that we will explore all the ways in which we love well, live well, and love the way that we live.