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?