Wednesday, May 13, 2015

THE MAKERS | Wish You Were Northwest


Larry the kids and I have lived here in the PNW for a total of almost five years now. It's really hard for me to believe that we've been here that long.

Being from the South, I never really knew what to expect when we first moved here. I knew I loved the landscape, all of the beautiful trees and greenery and yes, even the rain. There's just something so beautiful about this place that keeps us on our toes and seeking more and more adventure in life.

Insert, Wish You Were Northwest,  a apparel and accessory design company focusing on exploring all the Great Pacific Northwest has to offer in nature and style. I'm absolutely in love with these girls and love what they stand for-living life with no limitations and always on the lookout for adventure!


NAME | Wish You Were Northwest
OWNER | Tory and Tahnee
LENGTH OF OPERATION | 1 year
WEBSITE | http://www.wishyouwerenorthwest.com







Can you tell us more about your business and the story behind how you started it?

Our names are Tahnee and Tory and we own Wish You Were Northwest, an apparel company inspired by the Pacific Northwest. 

We are sisters who grew up just outside of Seattle. We were raised in a music-filled, free thinking family, in a log home amidst more well-loved animals than we could count! Our parents took us on day trips almost every Sunday, usually with no particular destination.  This is where our love for the PNW was rooted.  Although the two of us are different in many ways, we are alike in many as well. We both love long aimless drives, chocolate chip cookies, music, dancing, laughing at YouTube videos, campfires, BBQs, the visual arts and of course, fashion. 

Starting this business was natural in that we combined many of our interests into one thing. Since we have a special place in our hearts for the area we get to call home, we had this desire to created clothing that invited people into our wold.  We like the messages we come up with to convey a sense of adventure and belonging, on clothes that we would reach into our closet and wear day in and day out.  It's been so exciting and rewarding to be doing something we both truly love to do. 

IMAGE @mattiekrall


Were you or have you ever been afraid while starting or running your business? 

Our dad has owned businesses our whole lives, so we grew up seeing challenges come his way but his overcoming them always made a bigger impression on us. I don't think fear has been too much of a struggle for us, I think working together really helps in this as we balance each other out.  Putting our ideas and creations out there in the beginning and not knowing if we hit the mark or were way off made us nervous though! Letting people in on your creativity can be a very vulnerable experience, but one of the most rewarding too.  

If we ever face fear along the way, we quickly go back to gratitude for having this business, which realigns us and puts it all into perspective.  We know we have Jesus to thank for our success and we want Him to be the guide in all of this.  
IMAGE @rachelbarkman


What advice, if any, would you offer anyone who dreams of starting their own creative business? 

Once you can narrow down what you love to do, you have half of the work done! The other half has to do with having a really clear vision for your business and staying on that course.  However, within this you have to have the ability to change and be molded by the process, so it's always striving for that just right balance I think. 


IMAGE @lyssmoore

Do you have any favorite quotes, scriptures or mantras that you have chosen to help lead you through life or decision making processes in business?  Why is this your favorite?

Lots of bible verses come to mind, but the general overriding approach we find most important on a daily basis (and want to never forget) is to always be generous and put others first.  We try our best to run every response and decision through that filter.  We also like to remember to go with our gut instincts on things because we've learned that it's pretty trustworthy, especially since we almost always have the same gut instinct. 


What is your favorite part of running your own business?

I absolutely love the creative process with my sister.  There is nothing more satisfying than we have completed a new design, photographed it and put it up in the shop.  We also both love the people we have gotten to connect with on Instagram.  That continues to be an exciting adventure and a great source of our inspiration every day. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Furniture DIY{ish} Sneak Peek and a Giveaway Winner

Hey ya'll! What a great weekend with family celebrating Mother's Day! I sure hope you all had a great weekend with family and friends as well! 

I just wanted to hop over and give you a sneak peek of a fun project I've been working on with Nia Sayers of Summerland Style





I trekked up North to fabric shop with her and finally settled on a pattern that I loved. Here we are almost two months down the road and I'm finally getting this fun project finished up! 

I'm only able to show a few peeks as we are still putting the finishing touches on my new love but I'm hoping to have it all wrapped up by next Monday for a final reveal! Can't wait to show off Nia's work and how we worked together to make this happen. 

Any guesses as to what it is? I know, that's probably a silly question but things aren't always what they seem! 



Also, if you remember, last Monday I hosted a giveaway to one lucky reader/follower! I am SO excited to announce that the winner is: MISS SHANNON EDWARDS (@Shannon Edwards) and because I just can't help it I'm picking one more blog reader for a second book (no tee). The blog winner is: LORI BOWERS! 

Shannon, you will hear from Lindsay shortly and Lori, please message me your home mailing address at menmyhouse@gmail.com! Thanks ladies! 

Thanks so much to each and every one of you who entered to win! 

I'll surely be having more giveaways so stay tuned! Hugs to each and every one of you! 


XO,


Thursday, May 7, 2015

SUPER SIMPLE CRUCIFEROUS KALE + CHICKEN SALAD WITH SWEET HONEY LEMON DRESSING



Okay, ya'll. So I am surely no foodie but I do love a good, quick and easy recipe and since summer is just around the corner, salads are all the rave in our house.

Who's with me? Is summer not made for salads. As a matter of fact, in my mind, those two words are quite synonymous. No one wants to slave away for hours in the kitchen when there's so much sunshine to be enjoyed and in Seattle, there's even more truth to that.

So, insert this simple salad recipe made from Trader Joe's Cruciferous Crunch mix.




Again, this is a simple salad. So, there was no chopping of the kale or broccoli or cabbage. Just open the bag and you're ready to go. I also had a  chicken from dinner the other night that I purchased so I added a bit of that to the salad for a little more protein and so other unnamed persons in our household would enjoy it just a little more. Here's how I did it after that:

TOPPINGS
To the premade mixture I added:
Organic Raw Cranberries
Raw Sunflower Seeds (Add any nut you like. Almonds  or cashews would be great as well.)
Radishes
Chicken

FOR THE DRESSING:
1/4 c Olive oil
2-3 tbs Fresh lemon juice
1 tbs Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsb Honey
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper or to taste

Place in a jar (I just use a Mason jar) with lid on and shake to combine. Done.

Combine all ingredients and add toppings.

That is it, folks. It's just that easy. Some nights just call for that and lately it's just the kind of mood I've been in and what I've needed. Sometimes it's so hard to do quick meals but ensure they are still healthy for the family. I think this one fits the bill.





Enjoy, 



Wednesday, May 6, 2015

THE MAKERS | Mary Jang + 3 Sons Clothing

Hey friends!

Welcome to the kickoff of our The Makers Series. I can't wait to share some amazing women in business who have taken their dreams and, with support, have turned those dreams into a reality. 

Many, but not all, of the businesses you'll see featured here will be near and dear either to the South which is where I am from or from where my heart currently resides, The Great Pacific Northwest. 

My hope is that in reading their stories of failure and victory, vision and dreams, you will be inspired to take the next step in your life to fulfill the passions and dreams and answer the call of your heart in your own life!

This week we are highlighting creative business owner, Mary Jang. She happens to be a friend of ours and over the short time that I've known her, I've watched her and her family live a life filled with adventure in sometimes the most scary way. You'll see just what I mean when you read just a snippet of her story below.


BUSINESS NAME | ThreeSons Clothing LLC
OWNER | Mary Jang
LENGTH OF OPERATION | 7 months




Can you tell us more about this business and the story behind how you started it?

ThreeSons is a boys clothing line for ages 6-18. The clothing line will be a mix of urban street style and a twist to simplicity. More than a clothing line, I want to build a community giving boys confidence in who they are and celebrating their differences.  I believe everyone has a story to share, and no story is better or worse than another. My family has so many dynamics that makes us, us...I love it! Taking it back to how I got started and a little bit about my story, I've been a stay-at-home mom for nine years to my three boys.  I have a 10,12 and 17 year old. I believe everyone has their different seasons and no one does it the same, nor should they.  I decided to put things on hold on and off while staying at home with the ids. Two years ago I started to feel it's time. I did not know exactly for what yet, but I felt a desire growing inside of me.  I started to go through everything I have showed interest for in the past until something clicked. I love my family, fashion and have a heart for the youth. I know how important it is, especially in this day and time, for young people to have great leaders.  They need the type of leaders that will help them discover the leader in themselves. 






Were you or have you ever been afraid while starting or running your business? Why?

I definitely have been afraid at times while starting this adventure, but I don't ever want to look back and wonder "what if?". Honestly, I keep talking another step without giving myself a chance to think of fear. I stop where I am and wonder how did that just happen? Ha! I know I have God, my husband and my boys on my side so why not? One of the bigger things that keeps me going is that I know my heart and it's not looking for success but if I can help that one [person]. I feel if ThreeSons keeps that as their core we can only look forward.  





What advice, if any, would you offer to anyone who dreams of starting their own creative business? 

My advice for anyone that is dreaming of starting their own creative business would be, GO for it! Obviously not every situation is the same, and yes I believe in wisdom and discernment, but I believe in not letting fear take over your decision making. Love what you do! Inspire yourself and others!



Do you have any favorite quotes, scriptures or mantras that you have chosen to help lead you through life or decision making processes in business? Why are they/is this your fave?

I don't have any quotes memorized, but I always love a good inspiring quote! As for verses I always have a different favorite for my different seasons! But on of my favorites always is James 1:4-6.  It reminds me to not rush, not panic in my current situation, and ask the Father for wisdom.  He's always going to give you time and wisdom.  He loves us so much.



What is your favorite part of running your own business? Why?

I haven't owned my own business for a long time, but I love being able to do something I am passionate about. It's not your typical answer about being in control because that's not what I think makes a company strong. I think it's about having a solid foundation and building on top of that. Always willing to learn, grow, and remember the heart of what started this company is what will keep me taking the next step.



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

GIVEAWAY | The Fearless Experiment by Lindsay McPhail


You guys. I am SO excited to offer one of you an opportunity to win a book that has pretty much changed my life and my perspective on the way I live it. I think I should give you a little bit of a background peek into why this woman and this book have impacted me in such a powerful way. 


 


I was introduced to Lindsay three years ago in a rather 'round about way. I was in need of a graphic designer and a local friend who used her for some branding recommended her. We began the design process and right smack dab in the middle of it she informed me that she could not continue the process. Her reason? She felt as though in her acceptance of my project, she'd blatantly disobeyed God and could not continue doing so. 

This moment marked our relationship for me, honestly. I thought to myself that if she was willing to be that honest about where she was and if she was that committed to following the heart of God and His call on her life, I needed to know her. 

Fast forward three years and even without meeting in person (even though she is only a state away-it's coming Lindsay) she has been one of the most influential, encouraging, uplifting, empowering women in my life. I've shed tears over the phone with her, she has spoken truth when all I could hear were lies, and has taught me how to even more so, relentlessly pursue the heart of God in my own life-fearlessly. 

Her book, The Fearless Experiment, is nothing short of a miracle but you'll have to read the book to find out why. I don't mean to tease you but there's not nearly enough space here even on this blog to even begin to articulate just how powerful Lindsday's story is. 

You can read more of Lindsay's story here
For more information about the book and how you can start living a life more fearless go here

For one super luck person, you will receive a signed copy of Lindsay's new book as well as a surprise treat along with it that you'll have to hop over to my Instagram feed to see! Just leave a comment here for your chance to win. Leave a comment and share via Instagram will afford you double entry! Who doesn't like to up their chances, eh? 

Winner will be announced on Friday! Hugs, love and cheers to a life full of the most amazing adventures filled with FEARLESSness! 




XO,

Monday, April 27, 2015

INSPIRE ME DIY | New Shelving and some Styling



Thanks for hopping over and checking out our Spring edition of Inspire Me DIY where I and some pretty amazing bloggers inspire you to DIY and love the home you are in!

I guess by now [if you follow me on IG] you've probably figured out what my IMDIY project is? That's right...new shelving for that pesky, dull and boring wall of ours in the dining area of our home. 

I've wanted to do SOMETHING to this little spot for almost a year now since our move into the cottage in July but just haven't been able to get around to it. This is really what the Inspire Me DIY Challenge is all about. We want to challenge not only ourselves but each and every one of you to knock a project or two off of your TO-DO list and learn to love the home you have with a little encouragement and help from each of us! 

Anyhow, this post may be a little heavy on the image side as I won't be posting how-to's or a tutorial today. 

I will, however, give a general explanation of the process and how it took me FOREVER [well, maybe more like a 10 hours that certainly felt like forever] to decide on how I wanted to have these sweet little things styled for the space. Oh, decisions, decisions. 

Here is where we started with it all:




This is obviously the work in progress shot. I am sure we all think so but I have the best hubby in the world. He dedicated a lot of his time to the technical side of this project. Measuring, leveling and exercising his mad math skills to execute my vision. Best DIY partner, ever. 


I picked up some wooden brackets from IKEA. Eh, hm. The wrong amount actually which is why this window framing may look a bit lopsided to you. Well, I didn't realize it until it was a bit too late that I'd only picked up a 3 sets instead of four of these lovelies and when I attempted to go back and pick up the additionals, well yep, you guessed it...they are out of stock until Mid-May. Thank you, IKEA. 

In the world of DIY, "two brackets don't stop no show" and so it went on. We made the most out of it and decided to "complete" the project without the last set and that we'd add the those next month when the stock was replenished. 


These boards are salvaged wood pieces I picked up from my sweet friend Melaine over at My Sweet Savannah. [pun totally not intended cause she really IS sweet]. I've had them sitting around here at our place for a while with the intentions of putting them to good use...for months. 

They have such a great natural patina so I didn't need to do much to them except brush them off and sand a bit and place them on the brackets. 


After all of the brackets had been leveled and hung, I began to dig through all of my goodies and spread out all over our dining table. These sites always make me a bit anxious for some reason but it really is an amazing process and a truly beautiful mess, isn't it? Yummy. 



I think I pulled everything out to try and figure out what kind of look I wanted to go for on these shelves. It wasn't easy and I ended up sleeping on it. I woke up the next morning ready to style and snap some shots of our hard work. 

I decided I wanted a bit of a VINTAGE COLLECTED look with a bit nature sprinkled in for texture and movement. 

As many of you know, I'm not exactly one for following styling rules in my place. I like what I like and I go for the looks I love. I fiddle around with things until I love it. I know I've broken the "rule of odds" here but I'm not sure that I care too much. 

I started out with more of a minimalist look but just couldn't do it. I ended up adding layers until it was just right and this is what I ended up with. 







I'm admittedly not always the best at this but my third born came downstairs and started watching me make decisions through the process. I decided I'd get him involved by letting him pick three things that he thought the shelves needed. I was reluctant but promised to try them all. Well, the paint by number lighthouse piece stuck. I do love the subtle hint of color and personality it adds and think I may play off of that as we begin to add more accessories to the other side of the room. Good job, Logan! 







If I had my way these walls would get a slap of dark grey or maybe even a deep navy but no such luck in this space of ours. Not even wall treatments of any sort are allowed...yet. For now, I'll just keep DIYing it in any way I can to make it more cozy and give it more of a "homey" feeling. 








As I began the styling of the shelves I really wanted to tell a story [I'm a thinker, what can I say?] that encompassed our family's life and my personal style but I also wanted to make them functional of course,  so I used this lower shelf to store some of my current favorites in dishware as well. A few pops of life in greenery and voila. Done. 



And here's the other side of the window. 
Unfortunately, I somehow missed taking a full view shot of the area so I will have to share that later on. 

Now, to get to work on a plan for this pesky blinds. 
The list never ends. 


I sure hope you all are feeling inspired to add some sass to your own space and maybe to knock a few or a dozen things off of your lists as well. 

The coolest thing about just DOING IT is that, for me, it just gets me more motivated to start the next project. 

I really enjoyed this process and cannot wait to see how you all are being inspired to DIY as well! Now hop on over to see what some of the other IMDIY girls are up to and continue the inspiration! 
"I'm too inspired.", said no one ever. Ha! 

Happy IMDIY Monday, loves! 


Follow our DIY journey on Instagram by searching the hashtag #inspiremediy or add your own projects and tag the same. 

Get more inspiration for #inspiremediy from these lovely gals: 







Jennifer | City Farmhouse

        Collette | Through the Front Door




Continue the inspiration all year long by SUBSCRIBING to this blog! Just type in your email address in that little box over there on the right and you're in! It's that easy! Inspiration for your home and for life! 





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Sunday, April 26, 2015

SATURDAY NIGHT INSPIRATION | Pardon the Interruption





I sure hope you all have had an amazing week and are looking forward to an even more amazing one tomorrow! 

I feel like my head has just been spinning since we returned from our trip over spring break to the Midwest to visit family and friends. 

I feel as though I am finally getting back into the full swing of things here and back into somewhat of a normal routine of doing things and even generating content for the blog! It's a never ending process but I am SO thankful for each and every one of you who continue to go along on this amazing journey with me. Thanks, also, for your patience as I live life to the fullest as a mama and wife which sometimes means I am not hanging out here as much as I'd like! 

Anyhow, I wanted to get back on the SNI train and have wanted to share this story with you for a couple of weeks now. I'm not sure if I have fully processed it all but, as it goes most times around here for SNI, I am sure it will develop and unfold more as I type. 

When we returned from our trip [ALL SIX OF US, ON A PLANE, FOR HOURS] we of course landed and ventured down to the Seattle Airport baggage claim to well, claim our baggage. 

The hubby was the first to be announced on the speaker, he needed to go to Alaskan Airlines luggage desk to claim his bag. As I sat and waited for him with the kiddos, another announcement came. This one was a little different. 

Normally when someone has a message, you can hear the person relaying the message ask the person of contact to pick up a public phone for their message. This time, however, every detail of this person's message was relayed over the loud speaker. 

It was a message from a mother who needed to change her flight and connect last minute due to an emergency. And when I say every detail was shared, every detail was shared. 

Not sure why, but at that time, this whole exchange struck me as strange and as I began to think about it more, I realized that the mother was willing to do anything to get the message to her daughter. She didn't really care too much about the embarrassment it may cause her daughter or that it may interrupt plans. She just knew that she had information that she needed to have so it was no holds barred on the airport's or the mother's end. 

As I began to process this even more I began to liken it to our relationship with God. There is nothing He won't do to shift our focus, change our minds and perceptions and help build our faith in Him; even if it involves a complete interruption of our plans for the day or of our lives. 

These past two weeks I've been asking myself , "What are you willing to let God shift? To interrupt, in your life?"

I don't think I want to hold on to anything that I think I need or that is best for me but because He sees my future and my life from beginning to end, I want THAT. I want more of His richness, His fullness, His plan for me and for my family.

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG

Praying this week is full of just that and that when faced with lives interruptions, that we'll all choose to trust Him in it all.

Love you all immensely...



Thursday, April 23, 2015

FAVORITE PINTEREST RECIPES + SOME CONFESSIONS

Usually around here I like to share my favorite recipe for the week on Thursdays but our lives have been so full here the past two weeks I've barely had time to think about meals let alone blogging. Oh my! Hence, the long break from posts. Oops! (Confession #1)

Anyhow, I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest recipes today with you all and thought it would perhaps inspire you for your weekend gathering with family or friends! 


SOME PRETTY AMAZING PINTEREST RECIPES

First up are these ridiculously amazing sliders. These are what I like to call "Weekenders" but you can make them any day of the week and they would taste just as good. For me, you can put goat cheese on anything and I'd eat it up! Who's with me? (Confession #2)

THE MAIN DISH


STEAK SLIDERS with BRIE AND CRANBERRIES | Half Baked Harvest


THE APPETIZER

This isn't an appetizer, this is a meal. Half Baked Harvest does it again with these mouthwatering toasts. Um. Amazing. I told you guys, I am a goat cheese addict. I need rehab. (Confession #3)


PESTO + GOAT CHEESE SOURDOUGH TOAST | Half Baked Harvest






THE DRINK

What meal wold be complete without the perfect drink to wash it all down and how much more refreshing does it get than rosemary and lemon together. This one from Cookie and Kate just does it for me. 


ROSEMARY + GIN FIZZ |  Cookie and Kate 



THE SALAD

For many of us these days salads ARE the main attraction for dinner. Since kale seems to be so popular on so many menus these days it's no surprise that this salad made it to my list of favorites. I could totally eat it alone but we are a meat eating family so adding salmon or some other meat is always an option.


TUSCAN KALE SALAD with CRANBERRIES | Dagmar's Kitchen




  THE DESSERT

We all know no dinner would be complete without dessert. So, here you have it folks. America's favorite comfort food, Southernified. Ha! I love cast iron skillets and when I saw this recipe with brownies baked it them, it was a must-Pin. Thank you. Have a nice day. And I eat more sugar than I should. I could also eat just these for dinner and have many times in my 36 years of living. I don't care if you judge me. It was worth it. (Confession #4) 



SKILLET BROWNIES | My Baking Addiction


I am not sure how much of this I will try THIS weekend BUT these brownies are surely at the top of my list! 





Stay tuned this coming Monday, BTW for #inspiremediy. 
Are you following along on Instagram? Me and a few of my blogger friends are inspiring you to DIY and knock some of those unfinished projects off of your lists! 


Kennesha | RESTORATION HOUSE INTERIORS
Jennifer | CITY FARMHOUSE



xo,







YOU MAY ALSO LIKE :

Wilted Kale, Beet + Quinoa Salad 

Monday, April 6, 2015

MOTIVATED | My Design and Styling Process

Happy Monday, Loves!

How was your Easter weekend? Ours was pretty laid back. Yesterday we spent some time with friends during the earlier parts of the day and had an amazing church service later in the evening. I always miss being with family during holidays like this but I am so thankful for the people in our lives that act as amazing surrogates! 

Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to take you through the way I come up many times with a lot of the inspirational table settings and other decor and DIY here on the blog. 

I know some of you probably think I plan for things weeks or even months in advance, and while I am definitely attempting to be a little more organized in my planning when it comes to the blog, that couldn't be any further from the truth. 

Sometimes, just like the rest of my life, inspiration hits me out of and I get it all over the place. It happens when I'm just sitting on the sofa, grocery shopping, in the kitchen washing dishes or cooking...it's kind of a curse sometimes. Why? Well, because no matter what I am doing, I always feel the urge to stop what I am doing and start creating. 

Last week was one of those where there were lots of those days. There are times when I am completely sapped out creatively and then there are those times when I am in absolute overload in the brain. Last week was one of those weeks. I kept a pen and paper near for the madness that would surely ensue. 



As most of you know, I have kind of a thing for flowers and will shop our local grocery store and floral markets to make all of the pretty arrangements I have floating around in my head. 

This one didn't necessarily start out or end the way I expected it to but I've learned that's never really a bad thing at all. Sometimes the most unexpected beauty comes out of what seems to be an absolute mess. This is the case for me most of the time when it comes to putting a table or a space together. I'm not really sure how it works but I've learned not to stress about it too much and just let the plates fall where they may. Literally. Gently and without breaking, of course. 




Sippy cups and all, I spread out some butcher paper and went at it. I knew I wanted neutral tones with some dark flowers filling in spaces here and there but I had no idea that this is what I would end up with. Usually when I go to the market, I just know what I like and I pick it up. 

Now, I am by no means a professional floral designer. We all know that. If I were planning for an event, however, I would have been more thoughtful about my selection BUT the fun part about just playing around in your own home for the purpose of blogging and giving inspiration is that you have the freedom to just flow. That's what I like to do the most. More than anything... 



Poppy pods, ranunculus, ferns...I added them all and played around a lot with the placement of everything. I really thought that I would just leave it at that...just a fun arrangement to add some personality to the table but then I just couldn't stop there. 




I couldn't really figure out what type of vessel I wanted to use so I just pulled out whatever from my closet and started the process. It doesn't really match anything or even complement the style of the setting I was thinking of putting together but I decided not to care. I think the number one rule for me right now in my creative process is, THERE ARE NO RULES. Just have fun and be free in expressing your gift. That is all. 



I went from arranging the flowers to a full blown setting for our table and ultimately for no other reason than to release those creative juices that had been bound up for so long. I needed to create something! How many of you out there can relate to that?  



Over the next couple of days, our table stayed this way. I had all sorts of spoons, plates, and flowers on the table until I could figure out what I wanted to do and I was determined not to spend a ton of money doing it. I decided I have more than enough just lying around to get the job done. Quite the challenge for me. 

I didn't love the layers going on above so then I decided to add those sweet and inexpensive bowls that I bought at Daiso Japan about a week or so ago and fell in love. 

This process span over a few days. So, what you see here isn't always a quick "oh I just threw this together" type of deal. Sometimes the creative process takes time. I'm happy these days to let it. 

Here's a sneak peek of the table. I'll be sharing more tomorrow and a special surprise just for YOU. 




xo,


Sunday, April 5, 2015

SUNDAY NIGHT INSPIRATION | GLORY IN THE GIFT

I've been thinking about today all week. It's Easter Sunday and along with most Christians in America, today is the day that we set aside to remember the sacrifice of Jesus, the reason we walk this walk and live the rich, free, meaningful lives we live. This day symbolizes so much and I thought for a few days that today I would surely write about well, Easter. 

It's only natural, right? You know, me being a Christian and writing on Easter Sunday about the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ. Well, I won't. I would, however, like to share how that amazing sacrifice has, over 2,000 years later, brought me to a place I never thought I'd be. Ever. In a million years. Then, add a million more. And the amazing part of it all is that He had me in mind. You and me. He thought about you. He thought about me. He saw it all from beginning to end because He loves me. He loves you. That sacrifice represents freedom for us all. Each and every one of us...

I talk about it a lot around here. Freedom. I've especially shared more on this topic the past few months as I've walked out so much of what God has called me into this past year and the gifts so long ago imparted, that have been used and some that I've yet to discover. 

I've gone my entire life searching for something for so long. Not knowing what I was searching for, I found it temporarily in so many other things in my life. Friends, superficial relationships, alcohol...you name it. 

Much like many of you, I am sure, I searched. Even within my relationship with God and sometimes even using the salvation Christ had gifted me as a means of making myself look better or as something to hide behind to excuse away fear, pain, or past hurts, I still searched. 

And, if I am honest, I admittedly used many of my gifts as a selfish way of attracting attention to MYSELF. I know, it's human nature, right? We want to be liked and we want to be followed. We want to be accepted. We want to be loved. We want people to relate to us. Know us. Gah. The struggle is seriously real. But, what happens when the focus is on us and not on the ONE who ignites that passion, stirs up those gifts, breathes lives into those dreams? Well, ultimately, the fire fizzles, the passions lose their luster and those dreams shrivel and lose life. 

If you search scripture, you will see repeatedly that wherever Jesus went, others followed:
Matthew 19:2  Large crowds followed Him there and He healed them
John 6:2 And a great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the signs
Mark 5:24 So Jesus went with him. And a large crowd followed and pressed around Him...

Looking more closely at John 6:2 "because they saw the signs". Truth is, if we're really honest with ourselves at the end of the day, we really don't want people to follow us, do we? ( I mean, I love my privacy)  We want them to follow the passion. Or, the dream. Or, an idea but not US. 

There is freedom that comes in NOT striving or working to make YOUR gifts work but, instead, allowing God to work in hearts and lives through your gifts. There is FREEDOM in embracing the imperfectness, admitting that you don't fit into our culture's boxes and that you're just uniquely walking out the ever-evolving journey and path that God has called you to walk confidently, with Him. 

Your gifts, those are the signs. His gifts. Each and every gift is an opportunity for God to unfold another layer not just in your life but in others, ultimately pointing them to HIMSELF and His kingdom, for His glory. The lie that we've believed for far too long is that there is a box. We've believed for far too long that ours should look like theirs. The lie that we've believe is that ours needs to look like someone else's. Honestly, where's the fun in that? 

The truth is that He is waiting. Patiently but with certainty that you will hear His voice. Believing that you will  answer the call to express the FREEDOM that you received many years ago on that cross in the way that He created you to express those gifts and bring His glory to each and every one of them. 

This, my friends, is the beautiful dance. It's the loving relationship that we have with our Creator to be free to live the lives that He has called us to live. Full and free. Humbly and boldly. Courageously without apology for who we are. 

You are chosen. You are loved. You are FREE. Free to be who you have been called to be. I'll say it over and over again. Then, again. Christ's sacrifice truly opened up the Heavens for us. Not only did his sacrifice allow for salvation for each and every one of us but it also gave us the amazing ability to trust Him with what He planted in us. It really is an amazing gift, the best of all, I think is that we get to partner with God in amazing ways as we are willing to admit that we really want the crowds to follow Him. In all of His perfectness, in all of His glory, His wonder, his splendor. Every gift points to Him. 


PRAYER OF PRAISE for CREATIVES (and pretty much anyone who lives and breathes) 
Lord, thank you for creating in me the amazing ability to glorify You with the gifts You have placed in me. It's an amazing reciprocation. As I trust You, I experience life as never before. I can be free to express who You have created me to be without anxiety or fear of judgement. I can be FREE to create and to live a big life. All that I do is for You, on Your behalf, for Your glory. 

Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy these gifts, to have fun engaging with others and relating to You; pointing whether intentionally or indirectly, back to You with each and every post, conversation, project. This is all Yours. 

All of this, it really isn't about me at all. Thank You for reminding me when I am too full of myself or when I focus too much on what others are doing or what they have been called to do, that I have been made uniquely to express YOUR character in a way that no one else can. 

You've created an amazing network of women who are meant to build, encourage, empower through each of our gifts, to bring glory to YOU. Thank You for building us up, healing us and empowering us to do just this. Thank You for an ease that comes with this. It's not a burden but a delight. What an honor it is to do this WITH You. 

Amen. 

Deep breath, it's gonna be an amazing week. We're walking with Him, friends. 

xo


Monday, March 30, 2015

MOTIVATED | Embracing the Uniqueness of Your Creative Gifts






I think I've talked enough between here and my various social media outlets about embracing "the true you" and how much that can shift not only our thinking but our everyday lives so tremendously. 

As creatives, we willingly inundate ourselves for the sake of the creative process with images, ideas and conversations that in many ways help us build, grow and become the people we are today and run all of the amazing businesses we have. Conversely, we also run the risk of damaging our own creative souls when we lean too much on others and choose not to trust ourselves and our own creative gifts that we've been given in the process.  

In an Instagram-, Facebook-, and Twitter-filled culture I've found it hard sometimes to embrace my own gifts and really answer the questions, " Who am I?"  and "Does my business truly represent WHO I am?". In the past I feel my "voice" has been lost in the shuffle of competition, trends and fear of rejection from readers or peers. 

Truth is, I don't really know how to be anyone else and I'm sure most of you out there would agree. What I know is that it's really hard to think of what you want to do when you're thinking of how someone else would do it. 

I just think there's something to honing in on your gifts and what you're passionate about and following that with your whole heart. When we can truly embrace what we have and how we express it-uniquely, we will arrive at a place like no other. This place is a space between fear and perfection. It's a space where God can and wants to take the gifts that He has placed in you and use them to reach the hearts of people all over in whatever way you are meant to do that. 

If you're wondering where all of this is coming from,well, if you have followed along here for a while then you know it's really just a sincere passion of mine to empower each of you to confidently walk out your life and calling alongside others. This is a journey I've been on my entire life but more in the past two years since I lost my mother. I am absolutely passionate about many things, one of them is you and all the amazing things you have to offer this world. 

Anyhow, I thought I'd offer a few realizations I've had as I'm learning to walk out this new life of discovering my own gifts and wholeheartedly embracing them: 

1. My life is my own. My gifts, they are mine too. No one can do me the way I can. I've said this here before but no matter how many artists there are in this world, no one is going to express THEIR art they way YOU do. It's a message worth rehearsing over and over until we all get it.  

2. There can be power or death in the creative community. You choose. You can use your time to compare and tear down your own process by comparing your talents to others or you can collaborate encourage and challenge others to reach higher and achieve more. Build on one another's gifts as though you were building a puzzle. In some way, we all fit together to make a beautiful picture of creativity as a means of opening up new worlds and possibilities to those outside "our" own. That, in and of itself, just may be THE gift. 

3. When we compare, we stifle the process of creativity. We've all heard it time and time again, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I'd go even further to say that not only is it the thief of joy but also the thief of all things creative and good. We really do ourselves no favors at all when we make the decision to look at the processes, work and gifts of others in comparison to our own. 

I honestly started thinking more about this when I was inspired to sit down and work on some upcoming things for the blog. One of those things was an inspirational spring table setting. I was literally stopped in my tracks by the fear that I wasn't good enough or that my table wouldn't look as good as someone else's. Later on the blog this week, I will be sharing my process of how I pulled myself up and reminded myself of why I do this in the first place. What a journey, friends. 

I am so glad that this is a space where I can be honest with each of you and pour out my heart in this way while hopefully inspiring and encouraging you to walk more boldly and confidently in your heart and home. 

Happy Monday! xo 





Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wilted Kale, Beet & Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese + Citrus Dressing



Hey guys! I sure hope you are enjoying this Thursday and some of you are enjoying the benefits of all the Spring has to offer. While we've been getting unseasonable whether here lately in the Seattle area, the past few days have been just what you would expect from this gem of a city. Yep, rain. 

So, while this recipe may seem like more of a fall or winter favorite, over in these parts we get the benefits of cooler temps and a winter-like chill much longer than most so soups and salad are on a lot more often than most. 

Keeping that in mind, I've had a hankering for beets lately. To me, this is quite funny seeing as how I remember thinking when I was younger that only old people eat beets. Well, here I am every bit of 36 years old (which is not old at all) and loving this little root veggies all of a sudden. Am I late to the bandwagon? Perhaps. But remember, I pretty much vowed I would never like them and commitments like that take some time to wear off, right? 

So, we all know that as we move into Spring and Summer that salads, at least in my house, are all the rave. They are super easy and quick meals that offer sneaky ways sometimes getting veggies in to the "littles" when you add dressings like the one I'm sharing today. Sweet and tangy, with the beets, this salad offers the refreshing tastes we all love in this season and for a protein punch you could even add salmon or chicken or any other meat of your choice. 



So, let's get to it, shall we? 

Here's what you'll need: 

SALAD INGREDIENTS
Fresh Kale (I used TJ's bagged since I was out of fresh kale)
1 c white quinoa 
3-4 medium to large sized beets
Goat cheese (crumbled)
1 tbs water
Avocado or olive oil 
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse beets, lay them out in foil, tuck tightly, and place on a oven safe pan/tray. 
Place beets in oven and roast for 30-45 until tender. 
Place to the side. 

Cook quinoa according to package directions. 

While your quinoa is cooking, rinse kale and heat a saute' pan to medium heat and toss in kale. 
Toss 1 tsb of water into the pan while the kale is cooking and place a lid on for about 30 secs. 
Kale should just begin to turn a bright green when you remove from pan and still have some crunch.
Remove kale from pan and set aside. 

Once these three ingredients are cool, grab a large bowl and place quinoa and wilted kale inside and toss gently. 

Next, for the beets. I like to use a paper towel or even gloves to hold the beets for this step but you can totally just use your hands, unprotected. The juice from the beets will stain so be sure to wear an apron or crummy clothes. You definitely don't want to wear your favorite white shirt for this job. 

Peel the beets and cut into small cubes. 

Toss beets onto top of salad. If you're preparing this dish for later, you may want to wait until later to toss beets onto the top of the salad as they will also stain the quinoa and the cheese.

Take your goat cheese and a fork and use the fork to crumble the cheese over the top. 


Voila! Salad. 

Now for the dressing...


CITRUS DRESSING

2 tsb avocado or olive oil
1 tsb Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 large orange, juiced 
(You can also substitute 1/2 c fresh squeezed OJ purchased from your local grocer. Trader Joe's has a great selection of fresh squeezed juices)

I like to use Mason jars to make my dressings as you can top it off and shake it up. You can totally use a bowl for this as well. 

Combine above ingredients in jar and shake vigorously until well combined. 

Pour over salad but don't saturate. You may or may not use all of the dressing for the salad. 

Now, it's time to enjoy! 

If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear if you enjoyed it or if you changed it to fit your own personal taste. Either way, I hope you'll give beets a chance like me and try it soon! 

Happiest of Thursdays, friends! xo


 

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