Tuesday, August 16

Welcome Back, Part II

J's mom, J, & I finally made it to Denver! We had rented the apartment without seeing the exact unit we were getting, so it was such a relief to get here & realize it was beautiful! // Unpacking the living room the night we got in // Pizza on the floor with J & his mom // Since we didn't have anything unpacked for the cats to lay on yet, I put this blanket next to our bed - James clearly didn't mind

Sleepy bubs in our new apartment! // Saying hello to J while we unpack the uBox // Our apartment from the outside // We went to IKEA & I put together this tv stand - I've been wanting a real tv stand forever, & I just love the way it looks!

I joined a yoga/barre studio in town, & after my first class, they gave out donuts for National Donut Day! // I also managed to put together this IKEA shelf (we had the same one in NH). For context, J would love to help with these things, but he doesn't have the patience to deal with the IKEA instuctions, & while I would not describe myself as a patient person, I tend to think of IKEA furniture as a puzzle game which weirdly motivates me // We really wanted a desk chair or armchair for the living room, & we found the perfect one at a consignment store in town! It's a vintage, mid-century desk chair that we got a killer price on (& the cats love) // I go 6AM yoga/barre classes every day, so sometimes I am a VERY tired girl

J & I went to Snooze for breakfast one day // I went to Des Moines for my bestie Liz's bachelorette party! Our friend, Ciera, did a killer job decorating (I helped a tiny bit) // Lauren & I, mid-bachelorette party // The next morning, post-party. I felt surprisingly good, if a little dehydrated

The morning after the bachelorette party, my grandparents picked me up & we went to lunch at A Dong's, my favorite vietnamese restaurant ever! // As much as I loved Des Moines & getting to see my friends, it felt so nice to come back home to J & the kitties // James was a great study buddy while I prepped for the bar exam // I got a clerking job at a local law firm!

All I do is study, study, study no matter what! // I got these new Korean face masks & while I look like a serial killer when I wear them, they're also hella awesome // I found a manx in the laundry room, who was thankfully wearing a collar with identification & I was able to find his owners in the apartment! // I'm not a huge flower person, but these were too beautiful!

Pre-Snooze, while we waited for our table to get ready, J & I headed to Starbucks for some coffee & green tea // Snooze never disappoints! // I started reading again for my 12x12 project (I'm SO behind) // I think I reorganized my desk about six times this summer, but no matter what I put on top, James insists on sitting there

Studying again - which was honestly 90% of my summer, despite these pictures, haha // I love sunrises, & the sunrises here & Denver are just spectacular // After one of my morning workouts, this squirrel couldn't decide if he wanted to stay on the stairs or not - He was scared of me, but also really liked where he was I guess. I won in the end. // I love making (& seeing) progress with my fitness goals!

I took the evening off from studying to go to dinner with J for our 5 1/2 year anniversary! // I also finally made time to go to Washington Park, which is really near our place. J & I mostly just walk around the park, talking, for about an hour. It reminds me so much of Hyde Park in London, with the flower gardens, lake, & wide, open areas! // I also started using this app to meet ladies who want to be friends in your area, so I've gone on about three lady-dates so far. // Post-lady-date - I think this was the first time I was ever out in Denver at night, which is both sad but understandable, given the bar exam.

After one of my morning workouts! I did really, really well with my goals this summer. :) // This is pretty self-explainatory. #pizzasquirrel // Sometimes the cats are ridiculously cute. // I had a really cool experience in class a few weeks ago, where I got to the studio, & only then realized that my shirt smelled like cat piss (thanks, James). I wanted to take it off, but felt awkward because I wasn't comfortable working out without a shirt in front of other people. About halfway through class, I decided to just bite the bullet. The world didn't end. No one thought I was weird or gross or embarassing. We all just worked out, & it made me feel so good about myself!

To celebrate J getting a job in Denver, he & I went out to our favorite pho restaurant! // J clearly didn't understand the either-or question, haha. // While J went record-shopping next door, I headed to Tattered Cover, which is an incredible Denver bookstore!

Afternoon study session with some cider? I'll take it. // J & I took an evening walk around Wash Park & the views were just incredible. // When your workouts make you feel like you're dying but also a viking queen! // Also, when you "discover" that you can make iced coffee at home!!!

J wanted to go to Urban Outfitters to buy some much-needed shorts (long pants this summer has been a no-no), so I joined him with the intention of being super stingy with my wallet - super hard to do, since I LOVE UO. I ended up buying this dress - it was on sale for $13, along with some rose lip balm. This dress in particular has proved to be invaluable - it's perfect for those afternoons/evenings you want to be cute & semi-casual, but it's still knee-length & flowy! // Leif's laying on his toy rat & I don't really know what to say besides sobbing uncontrollably. // Mini watermelons have been the soundtrack to my summer - I can't get enough! // More workouts, more beautiful mornings!

I don't know how James got this cute, but I'm not complaining. // My hunky date at a Mexican restaurant the week before the bar. He was craving nachos really badly, & this place was supposed to have some of the best nachos in the city! The nachos ended up being good, but the queso dip was out of this world!! // I finally fit into these shorts I bought this spring! // My cutie pie during a study break.

Another early morning, another great workout! // James & I, being twins. // I met my mentor/friend, Carol, at a coffee shop in Denver! She's from NH, but has family in Denver. It was so lovely to see her! // Sometimes I think I'm going to die from the cuteness.

Honestly though, Chris Christie's speech at the RNC was terrifying. // Another day, another workout! // This Spongebob scene was me, except instead of fine dining, my head was filled to the brim with legal knowledge for the bar exam. It was exhausting! // I bought more of the Korean face masks & haven't regretted it once!

As the bar exam got closer, I switched up my study spots more out of necessity - I was getting so burnt out, so I started going to the Starbucks near our house to eliminate some distractions (like, "wanting" to do dishes - not like, hearing people talk, which actually doesn't bother me while I study). // This is maybe the best tweet I've ever written, & is still 100% accurate. // I made rice krispies one afternoon - SO yummy! // More studying, more coffee, more highlighters.

Kicking ass & taking names! // The day before the bar exam, I was supposed to take off in order to "rest & recharge." I compromised by studying during the morning & relaxing with J & some wine in the afternoon! // Another gratuitous cat & desk picture. // An actual graph of my heart rate right after we got to Denver & ending the day before the bar exam. It literally went up 10 beats per minute. Eek! 

The days after the bar exam, I was flooded with love!! My bestie, Kendra, sent me cupcakes (RIDICULOUSLY GOOD) with a super sweet message (no pun intended), while J's dad & grandma sent us chocolate-covered strawberries & flowers!! // The night before the second part of the exam, I got to watch Hillary Clinton accepting the Democratic nomination! It was such a cool & moving experience. // Earlier that same day, I felt really good about how the writing & case file portion of the bar went. // The day after the bar exam, I had signed up for a class the CO bar exam required on professionalism, so I spent the day taking notes & learning about what I shouldn't do in CO (steal money from clients, have sex with clients, etc.)

Obviously more has happened to us before, during, & after what all of this describes. The move from NH to CO was definitely stressful, wedding planning has been surprisingly stressful, studying for the bar exam has been incredibly stressful (weirdly, mostly after the bar exam in my case), & searching for jobs for the two of us has been stressful. But in between all the stress, we've gotten to see family, friends, make new friends, pet our kitties (who have adjusted beautifully), & explore Denver. 

Really, the second greatest love story of this particular story is between us & Denver - we've both fallen completely in love with this city & the state. It has everything we were looking for in a place to live, & now that we're here, I can't imagine being anywhere else. It feels like we fit in here, which is something I didn't feel in NH even though I loved the people I met. No one necessarily thinks of me as a "free spirit" here, or that I'm not conservative enough. In fact, it's usually the opposite, which is a weird feeling for me.

Today in yoga class, our instructor opened by telling a story about how her friend recently asked her if she was balancing "flying" with being grounded. That was the theme of our practice today & it couldn't have come at a better time for me. I feel like I've been "flying" from one thing to the other since January - trying to get my life in order, trying to help J with his big changes, trying to quash one mini crisis after the other, while at the same time, J & I are trying to put down roots in this new city. I've been so anxious for the past few months in particular, knowing that we were in the right place but hoping & praying that I was doing what I needed to do to protect my little family. I needed to be grounded today, & I needed to trust that the earth is big enough to hold me. It's something I will continue to work on, but I'm proud of the progress I made today.

Here's to balancing flying & being grounded.

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