Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Is Brave?

I've read some good books lately.  The kind that just really stick with you.  That you keep thinking about days after you read the last page.  My husband knows Shauna, Rebekah, & Annie because I talk about them like they're my friends.  (And I really think we would be friends if I knew them in real life.)

Right now I'm reading Let's All Be Brave.  And it is just one of those books that I'm going to keep thinking about.  That's something I love about a book.  It isn't just a mass of pages or words you read on a kindle screen.  It's more than a physical item.  It's something that becomes a part of you.  It changes who you are & plays a role in your story.

I don't guess I really thought much about bravery.  But now, I'm seeing it everywhere.  And maybe most importantly, I'm seeing it in myself.  I've never thought I was a brave person.  And I still don't really think that.  But I can look at my life now & see little moments of bravery.  Moments I'm proud of.  Moments when I made the right decision even when it was hard.  Even when it was scary.

I see this when I chose a college where none of my friends were going.  When I joined a sorority even though it was really out of character for me.  I see this when, after college, I moved to a city where I knew one person, for a job that was nothing like what I wanted.  But that proved to be just where I needed to be.  When we moved to California, we left all our family, all our friends, everything that was familiar.  And I think that was brave.  Six months after we were married.  When everything was still new.  And that was a good decision.

Most recently, I've seen this with our shop.  Before I talked to Rachel about this big idea (that just keeps on growing), Grayson told me he thought I should do it.  He spoke bravery to me.  When we tell someone else "you can do it," we instill a little bit of bravery in them.  When we hit "publish" on that first item, not knowing if we would even sell a single thing, that was brave.  Every time we advertise by reaching out to a blogger whose name people know, that is brave.  Every time we try something new that we've never done before, that's brave.  And I'm proud of us for that.

I want to keep taking the brave steps.  I want to dream big dreams & follow where those take me.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Few Fall Favorites

one | We have several new prints available in the shop, & more coming soon!  With Christmas around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking ahead & ordering prints (including custom prints...tell us what you want!) for your family & friends!

{Let Me Be Singing}

{Travel the World With Me}

{Psalm 107 | Give Thanks}
two | Fall is my favorite time of year.  Especially living where we do...there are so many great places to hike & explore, & that's much more enjoyable with the cooler temperatures (that we're just now starting to see...come on, cool weather!).

three | This.  The cutest little will-you-be-my-bridesmaid gift ever.  April 18, 2015 will be here before we know it!

{P.S. You can find Rachel's perfect Amazing Grace print here.}

four | Have you listened to the Influence Podcast yet?  They've had 3 episodes, & all 3 were great. I love podcasts, & this is my favorite yet.  Any recommendations of ones you love?

five | And of course, fall nail polish.  I got this & this yesterday & am in love.

Now, if we can just get those cool temperatures here to stay so boots, leggings, & scarves can be regular occurrences, I can fully embrace fall!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dancing Through Life

Well, it finally happened.

I got this guy to a musical.

The truth is, he purchased tickets on his own, without me reminding him too much, & I was really proud.

Grayson doesn't like musicals.  Or didn't.  But he promised me a long time ago that whenever Wicked came close to us, we would go.  So monthssss ago when I saw it was coming to San Jose & San Francisco, I started bugging him about it. 

I'm quite pleased to say that I caught him laughing out loud multiple times during the show, & he was even singing the songs when we left, and asked to watch Wizard of Oz this week.

I'm calling this a great success.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Bread & Wine Project: Peach Crisp

I love the Bread & Wine Project linkup that Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts started over the summer.  

Oh Simple Thoughts

So many of us have read Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist now, but it's a book that lasts much longer than its 200-some pages.  It sticks with you, as any good book does.

I've written about it before, & probably will mention it again & again.  Bread & Wine is more than recipes.  It's about fostering community within our homes.  This wasn't something that I would ever have thought I would have a problem with, but I've come to realize that I do.

I want my home to be the place that people can drop by unannounced.  I want to feel comfortable serving other people, whether it's a well-thought out meal, or frozen pizza at the last minute.  I want the importance of the community formed around the table to far outweigh my insecurities about what is on the table.  Or what is on the walls or how clean the floor is, or anything else, for that matter.

A home is supposed to be a respite, a place of refuge, a shelter from the world.  But it is not supposed to be a cave that you hole yourself up in & don't allow others to be a part of.  It's so easy to shrink back & think that our homes are "just for us."

After reading the book, I started to feel very convicted about this.  We had people over more often before we moved to California, but since being here, only our families had ever been to our house.  We lived in a small apartment that we had had to pick over the internet before we moved cross-country.  I had to park a long way away, & guests would have to park on the streets.  The gate for guests to come in didn't work, so we'd always have to go meet people at the street to let them in.  The reasons excuses could go on & on.

Before I even finished the book, I'd invited some friends over for dinner.  Holing ourselves up, even unintentionally, just wasn't going to work anymore.

This is something I'll continue to struggle with.  As long as we're living in California, we will be in small places because I don't see the cost of living here changing for the better anytime in the near future.  There will always be projects that aren't complete, quirks and imperfections in our home, and decor that is lacking.  Even when we eventually move back to Georgia & buy a house, it will not look like the dream homes I pin on Pinterest.  But that's not what a home is about anyway.

For now, we took the first step.  We invited people in.  And we'll do it again & again.

I need to hang this print that Rachel made up in my kitchen as a reminder.  I have a home & the ability to serve others, & that is more than enough.  

The pictures above are a modified Peach Crisp from the Blueberry Crisp recipe found in Bread & Wine.  I've made it several times now (making it today with peaches & raspberries!) & it's become a new favorite.  It's good as a dessert, but isn't super sweet so I'll eat it for breakfast too!

4 cups of almost any fruit

Crisp topping:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup pecans, halved or chopped
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together crisp ingredients.  Pour the berries into an 8 by 8 pan, and then layer the crisp topping over it.  Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes, or up to 10 minutes longer if topping and fruit are frozen, until fruit is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Catching Up

The last several weeks have been really busy (see #2), so I'm playing catch up!  So three little BIG things that have been going on lately:

O N E  //  My most favorite thing.  Labor Day weekend, my brother finally asked this girl to marry him!  Can't wait to officially have her as part of the family.  Read Rachel's perfect blog post about it here.

T W O // Grayson's parents got to come visit us last week...we made the most of the trip with one weekend in Lake Tahoe & one driving up the northern Cali coast.

T H R E E // Our new fall line is officially out & we're loving shipping new (& old!) prints out to customers!  Check it out here

1 Thessalonians 5:24 | Faithful
Oceans | 3 Print Bundle
Tune My Heart

P.S. If you're interested in any custom orders for Christmas, now would be a good time to talk to us about that!  I know several people have mentioned doing custom orders for gifts for their Bible study groups & I think that's a great idea!  If you're interested, you can send a message through Etsy, or email us!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday's Words // Vol. 1 {Intro}

Today my blog friend Martha Kate is starting a brand new link-up!

Wednesday's Words

Since this is the first of a weekly link-up, the topic today is an introduction & what God is teaching you right now, in this season of life.

I have been blogging off & on for about 6 years now, I think.  I started this blog, Whimsy & Wanderings, a little over a year ago, as my husband & I were getting ready to move from Georgia to California.  I would consider it to be a lifestyle blog; I like to write about our adventures in California, faith, family, marriage, & my Etsy shop.  And maybe an occasional cute cat picture.  Or a little more than occasional...

What is God teaching me right now?  I think He's teaching me to dream bigger.  Several years ago, after I graduated from college but before I had a full-time job, I had another Etsy shop.  I loved it, & it kept me busy during that time, & gave me a sense of purpose.  But once I got a full-time job it was quickly put on the back burner & then ended altogether.  This time that is not my intention.  Rachel &  I began dreaming of a shop together pretty much the day we met.  And then that dream finally became a reality about 3 months ago.  It has really blessed me in so many ways, but one is that I truly believe God is encouraging me through this.  I feel at liberty to try things I've never done before.  I believe He can use this not only to give me something to do while I'm in a season of working part-time.  It's more than something to keep me busy & give me some entertainment & a little extra money.  I believe we are all given platforms where God desires for us to be intentional in sharing our faith, & I believe this is one that He has entrusted to us right now.  I want to always make things that will encourage others & point them to Jesus, & right now I feel like He's blessing our little business & showing us more ways to do just that.

We have our new fall items that come out on Monday, & they are some of my favorite things I've ever done.  I don't usually think of it this way, but recently I've seen any little creativity I have as being a reflection of God.  He is such a creative God...the fact that He can make so many humans, & make us all unique.  He can not only make, but sustain, trees, plants, flowers.  He made the ocean & the waves, the sun & the moon.  So I like to think that my creative side is a reflection of that.  In order to reflect God, I need to embrace that & use it for His glory.

P.S. If you'd like a free little East West lock screen we designed this week, click here & save to your phone!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Friday List

A little bit of what's happening lately...

one. Click over to Martha Kate's blog to see a little shop feature from yesterday.

two. This just came out.  Need I say more?

three. We're working on things for our new fall line that comes out on September 1st.  I have to say, they're some of my favorites so far.  Different from what we currently have listed in the shop, but in a good way that combines what we love about our current products with some new ideas, too!  Want to see sneak peeks?  Follow @eastwestdesignco!

P.S. If you purchase something now, you'll receive a coupon code to use after the launch of the fall products!

four. One thing I love about California: year round farmer's markets.  We went to one a week or two ago & Grayson got a little overexcited about the peaches.  We ended up with so many that I just started eating them in everything.  And cereal is one of my favorite foods, so some fancied up cereal is one of my new favorites.

five. Next week my in-laws are coming + we're going to Tahoe for Labor Day Weekend.  Lake Tahoe is one of my absolute favorite places.  We fell in love with it when we went for our anniversary, so we're always ready for a trip back!  Plus I got this new camera bag I've been wanting...perfect for hikes & walks around the lake!

Happy weekend, friends!

Be sure to check out the shop to get your coupon to use for fall!