If We Were On a *Coffee Date…


If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be ordering an iced soy or almond latte, because I can’t seem to get enough of them this summer. If I was feeling particularly indulgent, I might add a shot or two of syrup (the one pictured is maple…YUM!). I MAY even try to convince the both of us to get a cookie or a pastry (how about a chocolate croissant?!) :)

If we were on a coffee date, I’d want to talk about books. I’d ask you what you’re reading lately, and I’d tell you all about the book I just finished — Delicious! — and how I couldn’t put it down. I’d also tell you about loving the fact that the story was partially set in Akron and Cleveland (the two cities closest to my heart). And I might even admit that I have a huge stack of books right now (and that I always do), a combination of purchases and library books, little stacks of colorful possibility all around my home.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about something I read in Hannah Brencher’s book If You Find This Letter that made me nod my head like crazy and shout yes from the heart — something I feel should be a new anthem of sorts in my life…And it is this: I want to learn to live inside a life that says, “Girl, this whole dang thing is your love story.”  Life is a love story, whether you are coupled up or not. Life is a love story filled with daily little love letters that come in things like cups of coffee, smiles shared, sunrises and sunsets. Even if I live out all my days in singleness, I’m still living out a love story. It’s a love story written by God, and it’s a love story I can choose daily.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about how I want to start writing on the inside covers of my books again. About six or seven years ago, I read about a little practice of writing inscriptions in your books…little details like when you read it, where you read it, and how you felt while reading it. I loved the idea, and upon stumbling upon some of those inscriptions this afternoon, I was reminded how much I enjoyed the practice. I’d also tell you I read it on one of the very first blogs I loved (My Messy Thrilling Life).

If we were on a coffee date,  I’d ask you about your morning routine, because I’ve been working on mine. I’d tell you about the P.R.E.S.E.N.T principle, part of another book I’m currently reading called The Better Life. I’d tell you that I’m an aspiring morning person and that right now, my morning routine consists of coffee, scripture, and my Five-Minute Journal. I’d also tell you that I just recently received Lara Casey’s Write the Word journal in the mail, and I’m excited to start using that on a regular basis.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d say I can’t believe it’s August already, and I’d confess that in all the years I’ve professed fall to be my favorite season, summer has been creeping up closer on my favorite season list. I’d ask how you plan to savor the rest of the summer, and I’d tell you that I hope to chase the sunshine as much as possible, dip my toes into water pool blue, and make sure I pay attention to every twinkly, under-the-sky moment.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about my recent adventure visiting my college campus. I’d ask you about your college days and how you’ve changed since then. I’d admit that I miss those days sometimes, miss the sheer possibility and openheartedness they contained.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what God’s been telling and teaching you lately.  I would share that I am smack dab in the middle of a season of letting go, a season of learning how to give up my plans, in exchange for better ones — His. I would tell you that I’m learning to give up control and say yes to all He is and all He has for me. And I would also tell you it isn’t always easy. :)

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you this: right where you are today is right where you’re meant to be. I would be saying it to you, and saying it to me, too.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably ramble too much, smile big, and laugh often. I would try to find out the area you most need encouragement and then offer that to you with joy and with prayer. I would let you know how grateful I am for you and how inspiring I find a good chat over coffee. I’d thank you for being you, and I’d already be looking forward to next time.

*I discovered this fantastic format over at Mr. Thomas and Me, and I couldn’t wait to join in. Expect monthly-ish coffee dates around here from today forward. I hope you’ll share some responses in the comments, so we can kind of pretend we really are out to coffee. (Even better if you enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage while reading…) :)

the entirely imperfect right now

“Let’s not waste our lives searching for perfection tied up with a fairy tale bow. Let’s choose, right now, to grab hold of our real lives, our true selves and embrace every second of this challenging, gritty, beautiful, messy reality that we have instead.”Mary Carver


Sometimes, Saturdays are for finding a sunny corner of a local coffee shop and just being present in our right now, forgetting the stuff that’s weighing us down and choosing to be, as Shauna Niequist wrote, “deeply present in the present, in the mess, in the waiting, in the entirely imperfect right now.”


So, on Saturday, that’s exactly what I chose to do.


I was present in the sunshine, in the laughter, and in the sampling of creamy soy lattes, buttery breakfast sandwiches, and maybe even a fudgy vegan chocolate crinkle cookie (because, really, how can you fully experience a new coffee shop without sampling the pastries?!). ;)


Right now, this is life, my friends, this is the entirely imperfect right now, and I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

Adventures in Homemade Lattes

I have yet to create the perfect homemade latte, but I’ve been trying both hot and iced versions.


I recently purchased a latte wand to froth my almond and coconut milk for coffees, and it’s working fairly well. The creaminess of almond and coconut milk seems to be a good choice for non-dairy coffee drinks, although, I don’t care for the fact that on occasion, there are particles in the milk (I guess from the processed almonds).


I bought this dark chocolate sea salt caramel sauce to use in this iced latte recipe. This sauce is SO GOOD. You’ve got the richness of the dark chocolate and a hint of caramel saltiness. It didn’t melt as well as I had hoped, but it still added a nice flavor to my coffee. I’ll also be using it on frozen yogurt and coconut milk ice cream this summer for sure.


Next up, I’d like to try this iced coffee, flavored with a bit of vanilla and brown sugar.

I also plan to make some homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk to try as a creamy, indulgent (and even semi-healthy!) latte sweetener. ;)

I think the next step of my coffee adventuring will be to find a better coffee pot (possibly a French Press) and try different grounds to settle on my favorite. I think my iced latte above would have been much better with a dark roast coffee (I used a hazelnut light roast).

What’s your favorite coffee recipe? Do you make iced coffees in the summertime?

Peter Pan Collars and Coffee Shops


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.


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

lattesign jenandkatieBW

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


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?

Staying Creative // Natalie From Good Girl Style

 Staying Creative

Hi, friends! After a short break, I’m back with a new Staying Creative feature. Yay! And I’m so excited to introduce you to this week’s guest, Natalie from Good Girl Style. She’s quickly becoming a dear online friend, and I think she’s pretty awesome and inspiring. ;) You know how sometimes you meet someone you just click with, and you know you’re going to be friends? Well, it was just like that when I discovered Natalie’s blog through The Influence Network, and we started e-mailing and chatting.

I shall now turn it over to Natalie, so she can share some of her current inspirations. :)

{Coffee, Magazines, and Jesus Music = Happy Natalie}

Being a happy girl with a poet’s heart, everything inspires me. I actually have inspiration overload sometimes and can’t focus. Which is why I {try to} limit my caffeine intake and why I am a frequent user of the Twitter hashtag #caffeinecrazy (join me, it’s fun!). Anyway, when Katie asked me to share my inspirations, it was tough to narrow it down, but I did some good thinking and some pencil-chewing (what is the computer/typing version of that??) and these three rose to the top:

      1.) Thrifting. I get so inspired by the crazy-wonderful things I find thrifting and the whole experience. It is a treasure-hunt, gold-mine of happy and unique things. Lately, I’ve picked up a small sunshine-yellow pitcher, vintage Nancy Drew books, and  a small picnic-basket-like wicker purse.

      2.) Magazines are some of my favorite things to spend time with (that sounds weird!), and I love to be able to highlight, underline, bookmark, carry around with me, read over and over again in the middle of the night, tear out & stick on my walls with washi tape, etc. I enjoy the texture of the paper, the smell of ink on paper, and the beauty of a glossy, colorful magazine. Some of my favorites are: Darling Magazine, Life:Beautiful, People Style:Watch, Martha Stewart Living, Whole Living, and Natural Health.

      3.) Quotations. I have long been a collector of quotations and have filled notebooks completely with my collection. They offer me endless inspiration for my day, my creative life, and my goals.

{I’m also inspired by pink!}


I’m a writer, baker, dreamer, inspire-r, happy girl who loves Jesus. I write about faith-based fashion and finding beauty in our everyday lives. I strive to gather as much “beautiful” as I can each day and share it with you on my blog, Good Girl Style. Let’s be friends, yeah?

Thanks for sharing your inspirations with us, Natalie!

* * *

How are you staying creative these days? I’d love to hear about your current inspirations. (You can use this hashtag to share them on Twitter: #BeInspiredStayCreative.)

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.

But first, coffee.

I’ve seen a variety of images on Pinterest with this saying, and they always make me smile, so I created a little “but first, coffee” image of my own.

It’s fitting for a Friday, right?

It’s been quite a whirlwind week. I’ve got LOTS of creative to-do lists filling up my brain, but it’s all exciting stuff that I can’t wait to work on.

I’ve been playing around a lot more in Photoshop and with a Wacom tablet, and I’m having fun learning more and refining my design style in preparation for my eBook. I’ve been super inspired lately, and I’m looking forward to beginning the writing process this weekend, as well as continuing to lay out plans for the photography, art, and design that will fill the book’s pages.

I’ve also been reading a bit in Hebrews this week and thinking about this verse: And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

I’ve been thinking about what it looks like to earnestly seek Him. I know I want to keep growing in that area, and with the creative craziness as of late, I haven’t been spending nearly enough time seeking.

Well, I hope you have a fantastic Friday (and that it begins with the coffee beverage of your choice!) ;)

I’ll be back this weekend with some inspiration posts and such (I’m on a moodboard-making kick right now!).

January Loves*

A little look at what’s been inspiring me this month:

An Orla Kiely teal coffee cup dress? Pretty sure this was MADE for me. ;)

(seen via givemebows.blogspot.com)

This Diana+ photo lens from Photojojo (seen via A Beautiful Mess) and the super dreamy photos it creates (images also from A Beautiful Mess)

The gorgeous photos with swoon-worthy hand lettering in one of Modcloth‘s recent style books.

This beautiful paper cut artwork from Stealing Hearts

(I’ve added this to my One Little Word inspiration board at Pinterest.)

What’s been inspiring you this month?

* * *

The sun is shining this morning, and I’m looking forward to coffee + community at my church, worship, and preparing my heart for the week ahead.


Life Lately: In Photos

Lately, life looks like this: icy weather; keeping cozy; brunch dates; art journaling; cocoa + creativity; writing and brainstorming; dreaming of spring; and lots of creative inspiration + refreshment at a local arts gala event.

I’m thankful for these moments.

What have you been up to?