A California Adventure (& Learning to Live a More Vibrant Life)

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I just got back from an amazing trip to California.

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When I get back from seeing other cities and states, my heart is always full of gratitude and inspiration. We are so blessed when we step outside of our comfort zones, aren’t we — when we leave the areas and places we find most familiar and comforting? I’m learning how to do this more — not just when it comes to traveling, but also just living life. He’s constantly calling us to experience MORE.

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I fell in love with California’s sea-salt bay breezes, corner coffee shops, vibrant colors, history, and creative culture.

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I sampled chocolates at Ghiradelli Square, stood in the sparkly sand at Whiskeytown Lake (yes, it had flecks of gold sparkles in it!!), had my first Pinkberry experience (the chocolate and almond slivers do not disappoint!), and enjoyed lots of sweet moments with my sister and one of my dearest friends.

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I was inspired by clear blue skies, found fonts, vintage architecture, quirky shops and boutiques, and lots of delicious food. I left feeling thankful for the people God’s placed in my life — the family members who feel like friends and the friends who feel like family. I left knowing that His Hand is truly at work in this season, adding color, meaning, and beauty. I left knowing that He’s given me a story to live and share as vibrantly and faithfully as I can.

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Peter Pan Collars and Coffee Shops

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Today didn’t feel much like spring at all — with its angry raindrops, dreary skies, and cold, blustery winds.

But I ignored the uncooperative weather and donned my new Stitch Fix peter pan collar top, a cozy gray cardigan, and my favorite red ballet flats and headed out for a brunching date with some dear friends.

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I love coffee shops — especially when they’re tucked away in cozy historic buildings with pine floors and tin ceilings.

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After brunch and coffee and catching up, we headed out to explore a little cluster of shops and boutiques.

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It may have been a day filled with rain and cold and gray, but it was also a day filled with sweet friends and hot coffee and unexpected adventures.

And aren’t those the best kind?

Inspiration Date

Do you ever schedule inspiration dates with friends?

They are one of my FAVORITE ways to spend an afternoon. If you’re not familiar with them, they usually involve good food, laughter, lots of inspiration-gathering (and often an impromptu photo shoot or two).. ;)

And after a particularly tough and discouraging week, an inspiration date was exactly what my heart needed, and so, that’s exactly how I spent my Saturday.

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I met up with my sweet friend GinaMarie who happens to have one of the most creative, inspiring spirits I know and whose heart is a beautiful reflection of The Creator. She is such a joy to be around.

We talked art, design, branding, and life and heart stuff. It was so, so good. She fixed us an amazing brunch, too: quinoa pancakes with a blueberry lemon lavender compote. (I will definitely be snagging that recipe from her soon!)

Later, we may have sampled some amaretto pie, too… ;)

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Despite the temperature, the sun was out, so I couldn’t resist wearing my new mint jeans and pairing them with a pair of bright pink ballet flats (yes, my feet were COLD, COLD, COLD!).

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P.S. Isn’t this textured brick wall the perfect photo backdrop?! We thought so. :)

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If your heart is in need of some renewal, I highly recommend scheduling an inspiration date with a sweet friend or loved one. Talk about your dreams, passions, and sweetest hopes over brunch, coffee, and your favorite treats. You’ll be blessed and refreshed.

THANKFUL FOR: Creative Collaborations

It’s Thanksgiving week! So many things to be thankful for lately…

My first THANKFUL FOR post this week is about creative collaborations.

As I’ve been working on my eBook project, I’ve been so blessed by creative friends who share their passion, energy, time, and talent. Recently, I’ve been working with my friends Nate and Maria to put together a little video promo about my book. Our first shoot was Saturday. :-)

I brought Maria on as the video’s stylist, because not only do I love her personal style, she’s got an amazing style blog called The Style Letters AND, she has a background in styling!

Maria and I spent a few months talking about ideas and collecting pins that matched the “mood” we were going for in the video. You can see we collected lots of bright, happy, sparkly, inspiring pins on our video inspiration board Be Bright, Sparkle, + Shine.

(And Nate was pretty patient with all the girly-ness. What a good guy! Haha)

Maria also helped me coordinate plenty of fun props and accessories (I’ll give you a few peeks below).

You might spot a few fun brooches like this one in the video…

We also made sure to include lots of colorful props (like my favorite polka-dotted notebooks).

And, of course, coffee had to be a prop, too.

Side note: Angel Falls makes their dairy-free lattes with almond or rice milk. I’ve never tried one with the almond milk, but I love the way the lattes taste with rice milk, as opposed to soy. They seem lighter or something. Just love them.

For the video locations, I wanted to shoot at inspiring local places with plenty of personality (since my book is all about living an inspired life!).

I found The Civil Wars on vinyl during our shoot in this cute record shop. (Now I just need a record player!) ;) P.S. What do you think of my red statement coat? My mom found it for me at a boutique last winter. I love the large black buttons and the romantic, vintage details.

I hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes peek at movie making. Nate did an awesome job behind the camera, and I’m looking forward to sharing the finished piece with you!

I’ll share more about the video and eBook in upcoming posts, as well.

Happy Monday!

Inspired City // Autumn Adventure

Last weekend, I went on a little autumn adventure with some friends. Despite the rainy, dreary weather, we spent the afternoon at Mapleside Farms, wandering around with our hot apple ciders and then lunching in the dining room that overlooks the orchard.

And, because of the weather, the dining room was pretty empty, so it was relaxing and quiet and so perfectly cozy. They had a fire going and good music playing, and there was something really beautiful about the bright fall tree line against the misty, gray sky.

Have you been on any autumn adventures this season?

Inspired City: Birthday Antiquing

I spent yesterday afternoon with my mom and sister, as a little belated-birthday celebration. We did some antiquing (one of my favorite things!) and walked around a flea market and farmers’ market. I’m always so inspired after little outings like that. I love all of the vibrant colors at the farmers’ market, the vintage treasures waiting to be discovered in dusty corners at antique shops, and all of the unique and quirky odds and ends at the flea market.

We also visited my favorite local antique shop (housed in a 200-year-old schoolhouse). There are a few treasures I left behind that I’m thinking I might have to go back for (including a black globe just like this one and a set of vintage drinking glasses with colored feathers etched on them just like these). Finding the photos on Etsy makes me want to go back for both of these items all the more! haha ;)

I did come home with some lovely finds, including this sweet book from the thirties called Songs for Courage, a handful of vintage photos for collage and art journal projects, and two sparkly brooches. I also left with a large sweet potato and a butternut squash. Planning to make this soup and also this one. :)

I love some of the lines in this book like Faith is the dreams that all hearts know, the evidence of things that are not seen.

It was a beautiful and inspiring day. I love getting out and appreciating what my city has to offer! :) What are some of your favorite local spots in your city?

Well, I’m off to finish laundry and make some fall-flavored soup.

Hope you’re having the perfect autumn Sunday!

 

29 Things

{ photo credits from left to right, top to bottom: 1. mosaic by Designlovefest 2. Elizabeth Kartchner 3. A Beautiful Mess; photo collage design by me }

I’m about to begin the last year of my twenties (eeek!). And I have a pretty ambitious 29 Things list! ;) But I really want to embrace this year. I feel like I’m at such a good place right now…confident in the direction I’m heading, in the prayers I’m praying, and the growth I’m seeing.

I want to keep being brave and bold in my pursuit of the Lord and in my pursuit of becoming even more of the woman He created me to be.

Now…on to the list! ;)

  1. Write, design, and publish my eBook.
  2. Be an active participant of She Reads Truth.
  3. Begin each day in prayer (on my knees). Pray for increased faith every day.
  4. Continue to pray boldly. Commit to another 40 days of prayer.
  5. Read Kate Morton’s new book, The Secret Keeper.
  6. Visit a dear friend in California.
  7. Eat brunch at a local French cafe.
  8. Take my artwork to the local coffee shop who said they’d be interested in displaying/selling it.
  9. Start doing more hand lettering.
  10. Attend a creative conference like Luminous or Alt Summit. Take a Blogshop class.
  11. Purchase vintage-inspired specs.
  12. Read Blog, Inc.
  13. Further develop my brand: Create a media kit for my blog, and pursue some new partnerships/opportunities/collaborations.
  14. Pitch my writing/artwork to a few publications I’ve been dreaming to work with.
  15. Start using the manual settings on my camera.
  16. Learn how to shoot and edit video for my blog.
  17. Save for and invest in a new laptop.
  18. Be more involved in the local art/design/writing community.
  19. Attend Weapons of Mass Creation again. Go to more sessions. Hear more music.
  20. Participate in a 5K like this one.
  21. Wear polka-dotted pants.
  22. Serve the local community with my church through art/creativity.
  23. Learn how to create in Illustrator.
  24. Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh in-season foods.
  25. Try at least one new recipe every month.
  26. Watch the first season of Mad Men—AND finally host that Mad-Men-inspired soiree?
  27. Explore my city more — visit one new place (restaurant/shop/area) every season—and take plenty of pictures/videos of my adventures for the blog! ;)
  28. Go on a fall picnic (with hot apple cider, of course!).
  29. See more live music shows! (Fingers crossed The Civil Wars will come back to the area!)

Lots of creating to come in this next year (and lots of travel, too!). :)

I’m excited to see all God has in store, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing even stronger in my walk with Him.

I want to live this life as fully and creatively as I can, giving thanks for each and every beautiful blessing. 

Inspired City: Fall Library Date

I love library dates.

I love wandering around, row after row, searching for new books to read. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a slow, relaxing Saturday. I think I might be happiest when I’m surrounded by books. ;)

I don’t know about you, but even though it’s only Wednesday, I’m already thinking ahead to this weekend. If you have the time, I encourage you to treat yourself to a fall library date. Pick up your favorite fall-inspired drink, and head to your local library. Take your time. Look at all the books on display for reading inspirations, wander up and down the rows, and see what you discover. You never know, you might just find your new favorite author or book!

Happy searching! :)

P.S. 

I’ve already been compiling my fall reading list.

Here’s what’s on it so far:

Love Does by Bob Goff (currently reading!)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Blog, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

What about you? What’s on your list?

{photos by LuSarah SEAS}

28 Things Recap

This is probably THE MOST unflattering picture of me ever, and I can’t believe I’m actually posting it here, but it’s kind of funny, and I guess it’s appropriate for an enthusiastic 28 Things Recap.

So, let’s get started, shall we? ;)

When I look back over this list and all I’ve done and learned in this past year, I feel incredibly thankful. There were challenging moments and set-backs along the way for sure, but the growth that was achieved and the memories that were made truly outshine those more difficult moments.

1. Start a new art journal. 

I spent many happy afternoons/evenings making pretty collages in my art journal. I also posted  5 Ideas for Journal Keeping, where I shared some of my favorite ways to journal and art journal.

2. Memorize more scripture. 

3. Invest in a new camera and additional photo software.

So happy with my Canon and my photo software from Rad Lab!

4. Continue to pray boldly.

I even dedicated 40 days to praying boldly, and I’m about to embark on another 40-day prayer journey.

5. Try my hand at songwriting.

6. Wear cat-eye glasses.

7. Make a larger-scale collage.

Made this for a dear, dear friend before she moved. It’s probably the largest collage I’ve made to date, and I definitely want to try to make an even larger one at some point! I’m so used to working on small canvases and wood panels, that’s it’s a good creative challenge for me.

8. Host a dinner party.

9. Attempt to make my own homemade pasta.

10. Make a new pumpkin dish (perhaps a pumpkin lasagna or stuffed shells).

I made Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells (from a recipe in Country Living magazine).

11. Actively pursue a few of the big creative dreams on my heart. Explore the possibilities. Take risks. 

One of the biggest of those dreams is my eBook! So excited to keep you all posted on its progress. Look for a progress update soon! And MAYBE a title reveal, too… ;)

13. Find a Godly mentor. 

I feel so blessed to have connected with an amazing woman at my church who has agreed to be my mentor! We’ll be beginning our mentorship meetings this fall! I can’t wait! She’s an incredible friend and an inspiring, Godly woman, and I know she’ll have much wisdom to share with me! :)

12. Find a favorite local coffee shop (besides Starbucks). 

This should probably be only half crossed out. ;) I visited some local shops, but I wouldn’t say I found a new favorite. (I have, however, rediscovered Starbuck’s caramel apple cider, and I’m fairly certain that’s my new fall addiction.) Ooops!  ;)

14. Continue to learn and do all I can to prepare myself to be the kind of Godly wife a Godly man deserves.

This is certainly on-going, but I will say that I’ve learned a ton this past year. 

15. Live with an open heart and open hands to receive all God has to give.

This has been my motto this year, and it’s really been something I’ve tried to live by. I can say that at times, it wasn’t easy, but it was always worth it.

16. Fall in love with a new-to-me band.  

Discovered some great new artists (Of Monsters and Men, Andrew Belle, re-discovered Katie Herzig; it’s been a great year for music!).

17. Visit a local pumpkin farm. Carve/paint/decorate purchased pumpkins.

Festive fall weekends are my favorite.

19. Tackle a few organizing projects I’ve been putting off.

18. Find ways to encourage others to use the creative gifts they’ve been blessed with.  

I think my new blog focus is going to be very much about doing this, and I’m looking forward to joining an arts-focused missional community at my church this fall.

20. Make it a daily practice to quiet my heart and mind, so I can actively listen to God. 

I started  doing this during Lent and continued this summer with She Reads Truth. In the last few months, I have learned a lot about prayer and listening to God. It’s been a pretty incredible journey, and I want to keep growing and learning.

21. Revamp my blog design.

Not only did I revamp the design, I also revamped my focus!

22. Go to an art museum.

Went to the art museum AND the history museum! ;)

23. Take an art or writing class (or both!)

24. Start an actual weekly workout routine.

I’ve started regular walks/runs! I’m not always perfectly consistent, but I’m doing fairly well!

25. Go to more craft fairs. 

I participated in a spring craft show and attended Weapons of Mass Creation.

26. Go to the beach!

27. Start a new tradition each season.

28. Begin every day by asking myself, What can I do today that brings more beauty, more energy, more hope? (Inspired by Shauna Niequist) 

It’s hard to say I did this EVERY day, but it was definitely on my heart often.

So, there you have it! Stay tuned for my 29 Things list! :)

P.S. Want to read past lists? Read my 27 Things list, here and my recap, here.

Farewell, Summertime

{photography by LuSarah Seas; typography/design by me}

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which I suppose signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall.

For some reason, this summer seemed to fly by much more quickly than last, but perhaps we say things like that every year?

Looking back, it was a good summer. I felt challenged and stretched in many ways. I took some pretty major steps forward toward a few dreams on my heart (hello, eBook!), and I learned how to better trust my own unique creative voice. I sought inspiration at local events and through little adventures shared with friends. I learned how to pray bigger, bolder prayers and how to trust Him more and worry less.

I delighted in happy summer things like cold Izze sodas, good tunes, blue skies, and bright flowers. I ate plenty of sorbet from my favorite local place (always piled with lots of fresh fruit, sprinkles and chocolate bits, of course!) and read good books (like The Circle Maker and One Thousand Gifts).

I sought to live with an open heart, with open hands, and with gratitude always.

And perhaps most importantly, discovered even more of who I am and who He created me to be.