two days of the simple.

It has been two days since my family left after a beautiful time of celebrating my graduation/birthday. Which means that it has been a little over a week since I finished my master’s in media arts. Which means that Evan also finished his semester in Missoula and then made the move to Bozeman. Which means we’re finally living in the same place after our two and a half months of being apart and being engaged. Which means we finally get to exhale and look at each other and smile.

It has been two days. And I feel like it’s been two of the most refreshing days I’ve had in three years.

Do not get me wrong: The last three years of my life have been absolutely incredible. I achieved more than I could have ever dreamed. I found terrifying challenges within me that didn’t know existed… and then conquered them. I made relationships with beautiful souls who made my life brighter and constantly deepened my curiosity and love for this world.

But ho-ly shit has it been exhausting. And now it’s been two days. Two days free. Two days with this old self — who has been in the waits — jumping up and down with comfortable excitement. A self I haven’t known in a while is welcoming me back.

I am discovering all kinds of me again. Miranda July is here. Evan is here. Elliot Smith [via some fresher favorites] [via a favorite radio station] is here.

Even these old comfy pants are here. The ones I bought for a dollar at the Bondi market in 2009. They haven’t been here for so long. Have I showed them to you? They’re here again…

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Did you see that? Even taking-photos-of-myself-with-my-computer is here! Just like the old days.

The weird is here:

And affirmation for the weird is here…

“I never knew if the stupider things we did or the more traditional things we did would work. I didn’t know if the stupid stuff would alienate people. I didn’t know if the traditional stuff would be more appealing. And then, when I look back on it now, of course the answer is, you want to do the weird thing.” – David Letterman

Two days of coming home from my wondrously creative job to go for a run on gorgeous trails right out my front door. Two days of running. In a row. [this rarely rarely happened in the last three years.]

Two days of the simple, lovely things. Reading. Being with Evan. Listening to podcasts. Listening to music. Dancing. Making dinner. Making phone calls. Journaling.

And instead of looking at my last journal entry from months ago with disappointment in myself, I find the pages telling me, Hey, welcome back! Isn’t this awesome?? We’re here!

In the last entry [from before I officially accepted this new job, this new life], I found a little message to myself…

“I spent a lot of time in yoga looking at myself. Identifying me. Rachel. Rachel Lauren Marie Stevens. I think I like who I see… but it’s time to get to know her again.”

I hardly remember writing that, but I couldn’t be more on board or more excited.

Here we go.

A new chapter with an old friend.

[let’s do this.]

engagement photos.

Evan and I have spent the two months of our engagement driving back and forth from Missoula, Bozeman, and Jackson. Things have been a little more insane than usual with us both finishing up our semesters (my final!!!!) and moving and new jobs and new communities and whatnot.

But being engaged has been amazing. I really thought nothing would change from knowing I was going to spend the rest of my life with Evan and then it being official by me wearing a beautiful ring… Things are different. Things are brighter. There is an excitement in this comfort of commitment that I did not expect. Being engaged rules. (I know that might sound braggy… not sorry.)

I never thought I’d be the person who wanted engagement photos, but when Danford Photography posted on Facebook how they were looking for newly engaged couples for a portrait session, I thought, Well, I love being engaged… And let’s throw one more thing into the mix for this crazy time!

Karen and Jesse chose us for a session and I was beyond excited! Evan traveled over to Bozeman for the weekend just for the shoot and we. are. so. glad that he did.

It was a blast driving down to the Madison River area and walking around in the wind, having our photos taken. Karen and Jesse are so awesome: totally casual and sweet and encouraging.

And we are in. love. with our photos…

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I cannot speak highly enough of Danford Photography. Karen and Jesse are incredible people. After the short time we spent with them, we consider them friends! If you’re in the Bozeman area and need any photography in your life… hit them up!

And all of my jewelry (in the photos and basically in general forever now) is Laurel Hill Jewelry. She is also incredible. Ahh, such amazing artists in my life!

thank you thank you, all! xxo.