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!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Community Brew | Community Around the Table

Like everyone else did about a year ago, I'm finally reading Shauna Niequist's Bread & Wine.   It's definitely different than any other book I've ever read & I wasn't really sure how I was going to like it.  But I've found myself underlining parts, & reading other parts out loud to Grayson.  Last night I followed Grayson around Home Depot & found boxes to sit on to read while he was getting what we needed.  

This book has been everywhere with me the last week or so.  I've found myself always making sure it's in my purse when I go to work, though that makes no sense.  Never once have I found a reason to read at work.  (Okay, at my old job when the power went out or the fire alarm went off, which seemed to happen frequently, I would read.  But never at my current job.)

I'm still only about halfway through (probably because of all the stopping to underline or read out loud...) but I've already made one of the recipes (more on that later this week) & have plans for many more.  

But it's about so much more than the recipe.  Shauna isn't even a "recipe girl," so clearly it's about more than the food.  She starts off by noting how many stories in the Bible are set around a table.  Jesus was very much a part of the community He lived in.  He shared meals with people.  He was a part of nourishing not just their bodies, but their souls.  There's something intimate about sitting around the table with a group of people, and Shauna captures that so well in the book.  

As I started reading this book, I started to think about the meals that stand out the most to me & why. The first that came to mind was our rehearsal dinner.  At that long table of family that night, I was very aware that there will probably never be another time when all of our family & closest friends are in the same room together.  There will never be another time when everyone we love most shares a meal together.

I'd dreamed about this food since we first tasted it months ago.  And my mother-in-law did such a beautiful job with the decorations.  Everything was perfect.  But it wasn't about the great food or gorgeous setting; it was about the people gathered around the table.

Another "meal" that stands out to me is from college.  When I lived in a townhouse we affectionately called "Ruby Holler," we always had people over.  Especially Thursday nights.  Thursdays were about friends, pajamas, Grey's Anatomy, The Office (which we recorded upstairs on a VCR while we watched Grey's downstairs...), Betty Crocker Cookie Brownies, hot chocolate, & coffee.  There's nothing at all fancy about that, but those are some of my favorite college memories.  I loved living there because our living room was pretty big so there was always room, & friends were always welcome.

When I was a kid, blackberries would grow in the woods at my grandparents' house.  Every summer, my Papa would take us to pick blackberries.  We would sit at barstools at the counter & snack on them while he made blackberry cobbler.  There is never ever a time when I put a blackberry in my mouth that I don't immediately think of him.

I love how taste is a sense that so easily reminds of times we've shared with the people we love.  These are just a few of the stories of meals that come to mind.  There are many more, & many more waiting to be made

P.S. Linking up today at Community Brew [Wetherills Say I Do + Oh Simple Thoughts]

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Reading List

Actually, this is a little more of a January-now list because I don't think I've written about anything I've read this year...

The Mark of the Lion series [A Voice in the Wind + An Echo in the Darkness + As Sure As the Dawn] by Francine Rivers | I finished up 2013/started 2014 with these, but I have to group them all together because when you read them, you can't pause between books.  As soon as you close one, you'll be dying to open the next.  I love Francine & some of my favorite books are ones that she has written, but these stand above the rest.  The story begins with the destruction of Jerusalem in 79 AD & throughout all three books you fall in love with the main characters & see how it might have been for some believers in the early church.

Love Does by Bob Goff | I picked this one up at work when it was on sale for $5, mostly because it has a pretty cover, & sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover.  It was a quick, easy read, & I loved that each chapter was its own story.  Lots of it I read out loud to Grayson, or to my mom over the phone.  Bob is hysterically funny & manages to see God's love in every one of these stories.  When you read his explanation of how God's love was shown through each one, it completely makes sense, but many of them I never would have seen myself.  He really teaches that God's love is so evident in every part of our lives, but we have to have our eyes open to it.

Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle | Always an easy read.  I love Melanie's podcast, skim her blog on occasion, & can't ever not read her books.  I read her first one, Sparkly Green Earrings last year.  I actually liked it better than Antelope, which surprised me since it's on motherhood, & Antelope is on marriage, which I know a little more about.  She's a natural storyteller, & many of her stories are easy to relate to.

Dwelling Place by Elizabeth Musser | I had never heard of Elizabeth Musser, but came across the prequel to this book, Swan House, on Amazon last summer for less than $1 & it sounded good (this was really the book that got me back into reading.  More on that in a minute).  Several of her books are set in Atlanta, which is what originally drew me to them.  I love that I have been to many of the places where the main characters go.  This one was just as good as the first, & I loved seeing the characters that I fell in love with in Swan House all-grown-up in this book.  (Also, you should read her book, The Sweetest of my all-time favorites.)

Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons | Rachel gifted this book to me on the day of our shop opening, & I couldn't wait to start it.  I've just realized over the past few years that I really like a good memoir.  Rebekah does an excellent job of telling her story about finding meaning in every part of life.  At the end, I felt changed.  I felt better for it.  I don't really know a good way to describe this book, but just know that you should read it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry | An old favorite from middle school, I decided to re-read before the movie comes out (though from the looks of the trailer, the movie hardly resembles the book).  I loved this one when we had to read it in school, & probably loved it more now because I understood more of it that I probably didn't really pick up on as a kid.  It's a short book, easily read in a few days, but is one that sticks with you.  Set in the future in a society that longs to protect its people.  They see no color, feel no pain, make no choices...& find out whether a life without pain is really a life at all.

Currently: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

On deck: Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs

Last summer with Swan House, I really started voraciously reading like I did as a kid.  Through high school & college, there just wasn't time for that & I hadn't really gotten back to it since then.  But I'm glad to be back to the always-have-to-have-a-book-with-me lifestyle.  I bought a Kindle last summer & have read 22 books since then (not all Kindle, but most).  This is how I like to picture myself.


What are you reading?  Any books I should add to my list?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Liebster Award

One of my favorite new blog friends, Martha Kate, nominated me for a Liebster Award!  I didn't know blog awards were still a thing that people did, so this was a surprise!  And this one is fun, because it comes with some questions.

Every nominee tells 11 things about herself, & answers 11 questions from the blogger that nominated her, then leaves 11 questions for the next nominees to answer.  So, here goes.

Eleven Facts About Me:

1 | I love the beach but I don't really like having sand on me & I don't like getting in the ocean.  I like it mostly for photographing :)

2 | I prefer binging on TV shows over watching movies.  I usually can't stay awake for a whole movie, but watching episode after episode of a show I love, I feel like I "reset" every hour.

3 | I like to write & type.  Sometimes I write lists just for the fun of writing them.  And I'm frequently complimented on my speedy typing.

4 | Over the last year, I've developed a slight addiction to Spider Solitaire.  I don't usually get into games on my phone, but I usually have to play at least one game of Spider Solitaire a day.

5 | I called myself a recreational coffee drinker until Grayson & I got married.  When coffee was made for me every morning, I might as well drink it!

6 | I love decorating.  I wouldn't really say I have a style necessarily, I just do what I like.  Grayson says his style is "rustic modern, aka Crate & Barrel, aka more than we can currently afford."  I'd agree with that one.

7 | I love Rifle Paper Co.  She is my design hero.

8 | I'm from the South but I hate sweet tea & Coke.

9 | My all-time favorite TV show is Friends, & I try to watch the whole series through once a year.  Most anything reminds me of something from Friends, & I can quote more of it than is really called for.  Before we got married, I made Grayson start watching them.  We got through almost the whole series pre-wedding, & finished the rest afterwards.

10 | When I was a kid, I had a Fonzie poster in my room, & recently got excited when I saw there are 25 episodes of Happy Days on Hulu.

11 | I prefer fruit over chocolate any day.

Questions from Martha Kate:

1 | What is in your coffee cup?  Coffee, with a new creamer I'm in love with: brown sugar cinnamon.

2 | What is your favorite book you've ever read?  My answer to this changes, & I could never pick just one.  Some favorites: Christy by Catherine Marshall, And the Shofar Blew & the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser. 

3 | Are you a dog or cat person?  I wouldn't say I'm really much of an animal person.  I like my cat.  And I like to look at other animals, & I like to pet them on my terms, but I do not like being licked & jumped on.

4 | Where do you find blog inspiration?  Other bloggers, books, etc.

5 | What is your go-to recipe?  Usually some kind of pasta with some veggies thrown in, & I think tomatoes are always a good idea.

6 | What is your favorite TV show?  See #9 above.

7 | Do you prefer a date night at home or going out on a date?  A little bit of both.  I like to go out for dinner, but then I'd rather just come home & watch a movie than go to the theater.  If the after-dinner plans involve something other than the theater, I'd usually pick that.  Grayson just loves going to movies & I don't love it so much because it's always cold, I don't like not being able to talk, & I fall asleep.

8 | What is your love story?  Grayson & I met at our church where there was a great Young Singles department.  We were acquaintances for about 9 months, then Grayson sneakily asked me on a date (I didn't know it was a date).  At dinner that night I couldn't believe I'd never known this guy really.  From then on, it was kind of a whirlwind.  We were engaged 3 months later, & married 4 months after that.

9 | What is your favorite restaurant?  Blueline Pizza or Sushi Confidential

10 | Instagram or Twitter?  Instagram.  I have both, but hardly ever look at Twitter, but I love Instagram.

11 | Are you a night owl or morning person?  I was always a night owl.  Even as a baby/kid, as long as no one tried to make me go to sleep, I was happy. 

Questions for Nominees

1 | What is your current song/album on repeat?
2 | What is your favorite spare time activity?
3 | What is your breakfast food of choice?
4 | What movie could you watch over & over?
5 | Where is your favorite place you've traveled to?
6 | If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
7 | If you could have coffee with any author, who would it be?
8 | What is your favorite dessert?
9 | Describe your perfect weekend plans.
10 | What is your favorite outfit?
11 | What is your most-used app?


Thursday, July 31, 2014

All In All

A couple weeks ago, my friend Chloe e-mailed me about doing a custom order for her, & I loved her vision for it.  She wanted a print for her kitchen with the words "child of weakness, watch & pray // find in Me thine all in all," from "Jesus Paid It All."

Custom orders are usually some of my favorites, but especially this one.  a) I love that song, & b) Chloe is one of my dearest friends from eight (wow, that long?) summers ago when we did children's ministry in San Antonio.

Here's a little flashback for your viewing pleasure.

So, this is her order in process.  Now is done, shipped, complete, the end.

Then today, she posted this photo on Instagram of the print in her house.  Next to the Willow Tree Angel of the mom & dad with a baby.  I was in my car by myself right after I'd seen this picture & just started thinking about that image.

A newborn baby is completely dependent on her parents.  She doesn't know any other way of life.  She relies on them for nourishment, love, care, comfort...literally everything.  But what about grown ups?  No matter what age I get to, I will still need my parents.  I don't need them for food, shelter, or clothing.  But I need the relationships that I have with them, & always will.

I've never really thought before about how amazing it is that God is both of those.  He is a parent to us as if we were still newborns.  We can fully depend on Him for our every need.  And He wants us to!  But He's not just that.  He's also the Father seeking relationship.  He longs to know His children, & to be known by them.  He wants us to delight in His presence, to enjoy spending time with Him, & to talk to Him because we want to, not just because we need to.  He fills every need we have, & is the only one that can be all.  What a beautiful picture.

Friday, July 25, 2014


One year ago we packed up & left on our cross-country move to California!  I was dreading that drive, but it was actually pretty fun!  By the time we got in the car, there was nothing else to worry about.  Everything was going to be packed by movers.  We had an apartment lined up.  After months of planning & a very stressful last week in Georgia, we finally just had to get in the car & drive.  

I really can't believe it's been a whole year of adventures already.  It feels like it's just been a few months really.

California Observations:
  • Central AC is not just something everyone has like in Georgia, land of humidity.
  • Grits are a luxury that California has yet to embrace.  I've only found one store that carries them & a box is about $5!
  • I always loved rain.  But when it rains here, I am borderline giddy because I can count the number of times that has happened this year on one hand.
  • Most fruits & veggies are in season pretty much year-round!
  • Unfortunately, it's pretty typical to get behind someone on the highway who is going at least 10 under the speed limit.  
  • Chick-fil-A, also a luxury.  We are lucky to live in the area where there actually are 3.  There are a couple in southern California, but other than that, I think they're just in the Bay Area.  However, not 1 of those 3 is anywhere convenient.  We only go to that area if we're going to Chick.  I'd like to be consulted before the next one is built.
  • Good reusable bags are always appreciated, because you pay for bags at any store here.  I get compliments on my big monogrammed chevron one almost every time I shop!
  • Laundry rooms, also a luxury.  When we were apartment shopping before we moved, I think we found ONE complex with a washer/dryer in unit.  So at the old apartment we had a shared laundry facility that was 68 steps from my door.  Yes, I counted.  Lugging heavy baskets of laundry up & down stairs & down the sidewalk was not my favorite.  At the new townhouse we also have a shared room, but it's close & only shared between a few people, so it's not bad.
  • You can pretty much wear all your favorite clothes year-round.  It's always cool in the morning & at night, but warm during the day.  Seasonal wardrobes are no more!  (However, this also means a lot more clothes to wash in aforementioned shared laundry room.)
  • People love Costco.  I mean, really love it.  Every time we go it's like a circus.  Parking spaces are hard to come by & I feel like I enter panic mode just walking through the doors.  We weren't thinking & went on July 3rd...big mistake.  I thought I was going to die.
  • Almost every restaurant has outdoor seating (complete with heaters & sometimes blankets!) because the weather is so nice year-round.
  • People bring their animals everywhere.  To the point where most downtown stores have water bowls for them out on the sidewalk.  I love my cat.  But I can certainly go to the grocery store without her.  I even saw a woman with her parrot at Target once.  #separationanxiety?
  • People say In-N-Out is the Chick-fil-A of the west coast.  I would not go quite that far, but it is really good...definitely not typical fast food.  The first time we went, our conclusion was this: "it's really good, but I wouldn't crave it or anything."  That has proved to be false.  Sometimes I just want an In-N-Out burger & fries.
  • Silicon Valley is first in free trials of services.  We love Google Shopping!

  • Blueline Pizza - Campbell, CA | Hands down, best pizza I've ever had.  Get the deep dish & put honey on the crust when you get there.
  • Sushi Confidential - Campbell, CA | This made me a believer in sushi.
  • Boudin SF | Sort of like a Panera or Atlanta Bread Company.  I love their butternut squash soup in a bread bowl.
  • Peet's Coffee | I was skeptical at first, but now I love their iced vanilla latte or iced coconut latte.
  • Penny Ice Creamery - Santa Cruz, CA | Best ice cream ever.  My favorites: brown butter spiced pecan, strawberry pink peppercorn, peaches & cream.
  • Big Basin Cafe - Saratoga, CA | Great homemade pies!  My favorite is strawberry rhubarb.
  • Vella Creamery - Sonoma, CA | They let you try any cheese you want & what you buy really isn't any more than you'd pay at the grocery store.  Our favorite is the dry jack.
  • Noah's Bagels | Best breakfast bagel sandwiches!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Always Different, Never Changing

I can vividly remember driving down the road when we first moved to California & wondering if I would ever get used to seeing the mountains all around us.  And I remember thinking then that I hoped I wouldn't.

A year later, I'm not.  I am still in awe of the fact that I can drive down the road just to go do normal errands, & I see mountains on every side.

Last week Grayson's dad apologized to us that we are tour guides for all our family that comes out here.  That we see the same things over & over.  But we can't get enough.  I can't spend too many hours on the Pacific Coast Highway, or walking through the redwoods.  If I get to a point where I've had enough, then something is wrong.

We just had to pull off the road driving home one night last week.

How can you grow tired of that?  Even the views from the same places over & over look different each time.  I tell Grayson all the time that one of my favorite things about living here is how the mountains change colors.  They look different in the morning than in the evening, in the fog or the sunshine, in the winter or in the summer.  The mountains don't change, but when the conditions around them do, we view them differently.

This is how I feel about Jesus.  The Gospel doesn't change.  It's been the same, & will remain the same, for all eternity.  But even though it's the same every time, it never grows old because we view it differently at every age, in every season of life.  I want the Gospel to be like the mountains.  I don't want to get over it.  I don't want to get too used to it.  I want to always appreciate how it looks in every season of my life.  I want to be aware that it is new each day.  I want to be awe of it every day.

The Gospel, the Gospel
She's good & She's true
She costs quite a fortune
to make all things new.
So breathe in with faith,
& out with His peace.
May the Gospel of Jesus
wash over me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend Update

1. THIS sky on the way home from the grocery store the other night.  It's seriously rained maybe 5 times in the last year.  And most of those you couldn't even consider a rain, but more of a sprinkle.  We got about a 3-drop sprinkle Saturday night & then still got this beautiful rainbow!

2. I can get tired of cooking every night, but when our stuff has all been scattered between 2 places without the ability to cook, I started missing it.  So Saturday we finally moved over enough cookware to feel like we could make dinner.  Grayson made this great pasta that we love for dinner & I made blackberry cobbler for dessert.

3. I've had this idea in my mind for months now & we finally have a patio with a table & chairs & I just need these to be out there.  I haven't bought any yet, but I'm on the search for the best succulents.

4. Seeley is loving the new house.  She races up the stairs like she's on a mission, & then strolls down them.  She lays completely flat on the cold tile or hardwood floors.  And she likes to peek through the stairs when she thinks we can't see her.

Now off to pack more from the old apartment.  These little trips with just a carload are nice...but I'm ready to have all my stuff in one place.  I feel like we're just living in a mess & that stresses me out.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Community Brew | Marriage

I've discovered so many great new blogs lately, & their link-ups not only help when I'm in a blogging rut, but they're also just really good topics. I love seeing the online community that's created through blogging & social media.

That being said, I'm joining in on Community Brew with Rachel & Madison.

community brew link up

This month's topic is marriage.  One of my favorite topics.

Grayson's dad & stepmom visited with us for a few days last week.  Since we've always lived in a different state, & now on the other side of the country, this is only the second time we've gotten to see them since we got married a little over a year & a half ago, so we ended up talking several times about our marriage, & how that first year & a half has been.

[Side note: Grayson looks a lot like his dad anyway, but this picture...just alike.]

So we were talking at dinner one night about what had been the hardest/easiest things about being married.  I've said before, marriage has been a lot easier than I expected.  And it always scares me a little to even utter those words.  There are definitely hard days, & bad days, & fights, & arguments over nothing...but those are pretty rare.  For the most part, we just have fun together.

Looking back, I think one of the main things that has helped us grow as husband & wife is learning how to show a mutual respect for one another.  I don't quite know how this started, but every.single.night, Grayson tells me thank you for making dinner.  Honestly, I think he started that & I liked that he recognized something that I did, so I tried to do the same!

I try to always tell him thank you when we go out to dinner.  He tells me thank you for doing the laundry, making the bed, cleaning the house, etc.  I tell him thank you when he fixes something I've broken, cleans up the kitchen after dinner, vacuums the house, or brings me coffee.  Sometimes to the point that it seems a little ridiculous.   

But just that simple gesture, that literally takes no effort, can be a game changer.  I could be bitter about any little task, & then he says "thank you for dinner" & I don't even mind anymore.  We should be servants whether it is noticed or not, but it does make it easier when you feel appreciated.

When Grayson thanks me for dinner, it's not just for cooking a meal.  It's for planning a menu that I think he will like, going to the grocery store, making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen after that (though many nights I fall asleep & he does that!).  It's just an attitude of thankfulness that makes so much of a difference.  So I plan to continue to wear out the words "thank you," because I never want him to go a day when he doesn't feel loved, respected, & appreciated.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's In My Bag?

I can't resist a good link-up.  Especially if it involves a list.  Joining in on this fun one with In Its Time & Rivers and Roads: What's in My Bag?

This is tame & freshly cleaned-out.  Normally there would be at least 2 or 3 bottles of nail polish, a cardigan, several more pens, a notebook or 2, & probably a travel mug that got left in there from the coffee I took to work any given morning.  Plus last week, a tape measure (for trying to decide where to put all our furniture in the new house), an extra shirt or pair of shoes (because California weather can be totally different in the morning/night than in the middle of the day & we were driving up & down the coast), an array of chargers (phone, camera, kindle), & all the trash my husband doesn't have anything to do with & feels a need to store there.

1. My favorite Fossil purse.  I love Fossil, & this is usually my go-to because I love the colors & it's the perfect size to fit everything I want.

2. Fossil Wallet.  Because apparently, things are not free.

3. Kindle.  Because you never know when you might have a few extra minutes to read!

4. iPhone.  Because I feel a little lost without it.  Sometimes literally.

5. Sunglasses.  Because California is a) almost always sunny, & b) does not have tree-lined highways like Georgia, so the sun is always in my eyes.

6. Keys.  The best thing about moving is that I can have all my keys on one keychain & not have to have separate ones for the gate & laundry.  This seems dumb but I feel like my life is simplified already!

7. Chapstick & lip gloss.  My favorite Stila lipsticks.

8. Gum.  I don't think this really needs an explanation.

9. Post-its & pens.  I'm a ideas, menu for the week, grocery list, etc.  I do more list-making than checking off...

10. An impressive collection of rubber bands & bobby pins.  Don't know why I think I'd ever need this many at once but, you really can't be too prepared.

In Its Time

P.S. Did I mention we moved?!?!  We weren't really expecting to be moved already, but thanks to in-laws who offered to help until Grayson couldn't say no anymore, all our big stuff is here & we've spent 2 nights in the new house.  Everything else is still scattered but...we're getting there!  Little home tour coming as soon as it's all done!