February 28, 2014

Awesome Things in LA

(circa 2012)
When Tyler and I first moved to the LA area I didn't like it at all. Seriously, it was my least favorite place. I was overwhelmed all the time. The amount of traffic and people made me anxious and I was confused all the time. Culture Shock. I decided it was important to focus on the good things about LA and do my best to find things about it that I liked. It actually took my a long to be open to liking things because a majority of my time was spent processing the experiences. The longer we live here the more I am able to appreciate some great things about LA.

The LA Zoo: The LA Zoo is only 3 miles away from our house and it only takes 10 minutes to get there. The first time I went to the Zoo was during my first year living here. I had been here for 6 months and was still struggling. My mom was visiting and we decided to head to the Zoo. It sits at the base of Griffith Park and is absolutely beautiful. It's full of amazing exhibits and I love that you feel like your nestled against the mountain. 
Studio Tours: My first studio tour was at Warner Brothers. We had heard lots of great things about it so when my mom visited we decided to go. It was, for reals, so cool! The Warner lot has tons of history. So many movies and shows have been filmed on this lot. The tours are amazing. You go in a group of no more then about 12 and our tour guide was phenomenal. She was welled versed in Warner history. One of the great things about the Warner tour is that they are very individualized. You can see different sets based on the shows you like. My favorite part was seeing where Gilmore Girls was filmed.
The Food: Living in the city really does mean you can experience numerous food options. I hadn't ever really thought about it until we lived here. There are tons and tons of mom and pop restaurants, there are food trucks, there super fancy places, and more. There are some chain restaurants, but I never really see them because we never think to go to them. We're always looking for something fun and new, and we always find it.
The Parks: It took me a while to be open to venturing out to new places. So finding different parks took us a while, but last week I shared one of my favorite places in LA, Griffith Park. We have been to other great parks, but currently Griffith Park takes the cake. It's amazing that we can drive 10 minutes and hike through a beautiful mini-mountain and over look the city.
There are more great things about LA. While I struggle with the amount of people and traffic, there are so many things to do and experience. What are some of you favorite local places where you live?

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February 24, 2014

When The Husband Is Away

Tyler was out of town last week. He left early Wednesday morning and returned Saturday afternoon. This wasn't our first time apart, but it was my first time staying alone in our apartment. My biggest concern was that I would spend the evenings freaking myself out thinking that I was hearing noises of someone trying to get into our apartment. The likely hood of that actually happening is slim-to-none.

While Tyler was at work on Tuesday he called and asked if I wanted him to bring anything home. My answer is always the same. Dark chocolate! With almonds! Or any other fancy thing inside. My husband is a good husband. He read off the name of a handful of different dark chocolate choices and I said yes to all of them. The dark chocolate would be my reward for hanging out without him.
That evening Tyler also brought home some pepper spray. He had been wanting to get me some and his leaving prompted him to make it happen. Again, we live in a safe neighborhood, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Plus, I feel super cool know and can take my pepper spray on runs and walks. I was thoroughly amused when I began to read the description of my pepper spray; military tear gas, red pepper spray and UV dye. Not only will the assailant not be able to see or breath, but he'll be marked too. Victory!
My concerns about freaking myself out at night didn't happen to bad. I know it's something I struggle with so when I got ready for bed I listened to the Rend Collective and talked to Jesus. We also have a ton of pillows so sleeping was a breeze. What do you do when you freak yourself out or are staying home alone?

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February 19, 2014

Live Hope: Jenny Highsmith

I'm not sure if I could express how excited I am about today. I was over the moon when I asked Jenny of Maiedae if she would like to be a part of Live Hope. Jenny is one of those amazingly talented humble ladies that share their heart and encourage you through it. Jenny is a lifestyle blogger, a business owner and she also has a calligraphy shop. What's that, if not inspiring. If you haven't ever hung out with Jenny over at her virtual home, then you're missing out. She has such a lovely heart which comes across in the words she shares. Hang-out for a bit a learn about Jenny's inspiration shaped by Jesus.


How has your relationship with Jesus shaped the way you run your business and blog?
One of the deepest desires of my heart is for women to know their worth in Christ and to pursue their dreams after discovering their strengths and passions. I want to help other women accomplish their dreams and believe in themselves and I know that God made me with this desire in my heart. My relationship with Jesus is the sole purpose of me having my own business and running a blog. I've known from early on in my life that I wanted to 1) create beautiful things that other people could enjoy and 2) encourage and uplift other women towards developing a deeper relationship with Christ. When I met my best friend, Savannah, in college it didn't take long for us to realize we had similar passions for entrepreneurship, encouraging women towards their dreams, and creating beautiful things. So naturally, we decided to start a business together, right? Haha. As a graphic designer and blogger, I get to do those things every day! Savannah and I don't try to preach the gospel every day on our blogs, however, we also do not go back and edit God out of our thoughts, feelings, and business. We say what's on our heart. And as far as our business goes, we are constantly trying to treat our customers with the utmost respect, value, hospitality, and professionalism. Sometimes we don't get that in return, but we never speak poorly about any of our customers no matter how they treat us. We want them to feel that working with us was different and maybe that will lead to asking why.

How do you maintain your authenticity in an industry that is so saturated?
Part of our goal in running Maiedae is to take the vision and dreams that someone has jumbled up in their head and put it together for them in a beautiful and artistic way. This means helping them narrow down their vision as well as encouraging them to take risks or try something they hadn't thought of yet. Usually, when working with a client, I can automatically see what they're trying to describe to me and how I can make that happen for them. I think how we try to set ourselves apart is the way in which we execute those visions through creative thinking and problem solving and through our customer service experience. We try to take really good care of our clients and many times even end up becoming friends with them. We love what we do! We also try to be "on trend" while still being completely original. Sure, sometimes it's easy to get into a rut as a designer and those are the times where you need to step back, take a break, and go out to gather new thoughts and inspiration. Most of the time I've noticed that I have to find a balance between looking at what other designers are putting out there and forgetting all of it exists entirely. I know that sounds weird, but honestly it helps to know in the back of your mind what's current and trendy, but to also be able to think outside the box without any influencing factors. I  think when we come back to our "roots" of what we naturally are drawn to, it always ends up being the best.

How do you fuel your creativity? How has Jesus shaped that creativity? 
For me, fueling my creativity usually means getting dressed, listening to  music, getting out of my house, and going to a coffee shop. This is where I love to journal, think through ideas, brainstorm, and just be free with God. I've always had the best memories at coffee shops - usually long, intentional conversations with good friends - so I find a lot of comfort and peace going there by myself. I do a lot of journaling which helps me think through ideas that I have going on in my head and I end up walking away with a clearer vision of where I'm going. There's also something about just getting dressed and putting on makeup that inspires me creatively. I've always loved playing with hair and makeup as a way of expressing my more artistic side, so doing that in the morning helps inspire me to stay motivated and also reminds me that I'm worth taking care of. I think as women we often put ourselves last and, I know for me, I have a hard time being creative when I'm not treating myself with kindness and compassion.

I think Jesus has shaped my creativity by reminding me constantly to "let go." I tend to seek out control when I'm anxious or stressed and I think for me part of being creative everyday is reminding myself that I am not in control of anything - that God is in control - and to find peace and trust in that truth. Once I let go of my anxiety, fears, and frustrations that's when I feel like I am truly filled with creativity and passion. It's as if I'm not quite myself before I allow Jesus to take away the barriers that are holding me back. And once He does, I feel like I'm who He meant me to be.

What verse of scripture do you feel represents the ethos behind your blog and business? 
This is a hard one, but if I had to choose one verse that I felt represents the ethos behind my blog and business I would choose Romans 15:13 - "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." I think this verse represents what I desire for my blog and business to be - an overflow of the hope I have in Jesus. A reflection of my heart for Him. And a source of joy, peace, and encouragement to others because they see that coming through as well.

What encouraging words would you like to share with today's readers about Jesus? 
Jesus is with you and for you! You don't face anything alone! When you're feeling anxious or fearful, know that you are focusing on the visible world without Christ in it. Don't be afraid to dream big dreams with Him. Believe in yourself and, more importantly, believe that God can accomplish it if it's a dream He has placed in your heart. When I started dreaming about owning my own business, I held myself back at first because I was afraid to disappoint others and myself. I didn't want to fail, so I scared myself out of doing it. Every dream or desire is an invitation towards risk as well as an invitation for more intimacy with Jesus. Don't allow Satan to discourage you! You deserve to dream! Yes, there will be failures. Yes, you won't do everything perfectly. Yes, it will take a lot more out of you than you ever think possible. But Jesus will fill you up and meet you in a way that is sweet and beautiful. He will draw you closer to Himself. God-sized dreams usually require sacrifice, look messy, and often times are painful. But the moment that changes everything is when we decide to fear God more than we fear what may happen. Doing nothing is not the safest or most godly option. God never rebukes anyone in Scripture for making a mistake when their sincerest desire is to please Him. He has called you towards action, not apathy.

I was inspired and encouraged in so many ways by Jenny's words today. What did you find inspiring?  Don't forget to stop by and see Jenny, and stop by her shop too.

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February 18, 2014

A Walk in Old Town Clovis

Remember this great vintage find? We picked up that vintage scale in Old Town Clovis, where we also snapped some fun style photos. Old Town Clovis is lined with antique shop after antique shop. Sidewalks filled with cobblestone, historic buildings, shop awnings, benches and outdoor eating.

This photo shoot was actually a little harder for me. Usually we're at a park or some where where we don't run into a lot of people, but this particular shoot there were plenty of people around. There was even someone who asked if we were off setting the back light.  These moments usually require an assuring word from Tyler, "you doing fine, just be yourself."
These outtakes include a picture of me looking like I'm picking my nose. Boy, am I one classy gal.
Where are your favorite places to take style photos? How do you stay focused when you feel like everyone is staring at you?
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February 17, 2014

Hiking In Griffith Park

Tyler and I have recently started hiking in Griffith Park. Most of last year we hiked in Brand Park, which we appreciated because it was a crazy good work-out. A few weeks ago some friends invited us to hike in Griffith Park. It's a more leisurely hike, but a great opportunity to stretch our legs and spend some time outdoors.

The hike begins at the base of the park where there is a play ground and an old zoo. We haven't adventured through the old zoo, but we're hoping to sometime. It's a nice walk up and through the mountain. There are numerous places to look out over the city and if you plan for it you can hike all the way to the Griffith Observatory. You can hike into Griffith Park from numerous places within the city. We enter from the Glendale/Burbank side, but there are places to hike up the mountain from the LA side too. We encounter hikers, bikers, families, and lots and lots of dogs. The times we have been hiking in Griffith Park we go so we can see the sun set. It's beautiful to see the sun kissed sky and then watch the city light up.
Something that Tyler and I have heard is that people have a tendency to get lost while hiking the different mountain ranges. While we've never been lost before we do always take certain things with us when hiking.

1.) Water. Tyler and I both take our own Camelbak stainless steal bottles. We're kind big camelbak fans and the stainless steal bottles are great. We've even closed the car door on one of them twice.

2.) Snacks. I can't go anywhere without snacks. We always take protein bars and occasionally cuties.

3.) Tissue. No matter what I always need a tissue.

4.) Flashlight. The first time we hiked Griffith Park it was dark by the time we were hiking down. We keep a flashlight with us for saftey.

5.) Camelbak day pack. Everything that we take on our hike goes into our camelbak, water bottles, snacks, tissue, flashlight, phones, and anything else we can think of. 
Hiking in Griffith Park is one of my favorite things to do in LA. It's one place we can go and feel like we're really out of the city without leaving the city. What are some things you always take on your hike? Where is your favorite place to hike?
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February 12, 2014

Goode Ol' Days Antiques & 3 Cent Postage Rate

Tyler and I love antiquing. Before we moved to California my friend Caitlin and I would go antiquing all the time. I miss it. A LOT. Last weekend while Tyler and I were in Clovis (aka Fresno) we hit up some great antique shops. Downtown Clovis is lined with antique shops and they are full of the most amazing items.

Every time we're in an antique shop we always find some amazing piece of furniture that we want. But, hello, expensive. We try to stick to much smaller purchases, fun, but inexpensive. This particular shopping experience we came away with something I'm crazy excited about. A 1953 postal scale. I recently purchased an electronic scale. It works just fine, BUT this postal scale is my favorite and absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite things about the scale is that it tells you the postage cost... its starts at 3 cents. Amazing, right? I was so excited to share this that I haven't even taken the booth sticker off yet. Classy, right?
Other fantastic items we came away with; vintage postcards, vintage maps, and we picked up one vintage book. I can't wait to do some projects with these items! 
Do you like antiquing? What has been one of your favorite finds?
 P.S. The Artist Guild link-up is tomorrow. Join the creative journey and share a poem with us. 
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February 11, 2014

Gold Inspired Valentine Cards

Last week I shared some gold bottle book-ends and I confessed my obsession with spray painting everything. Before Christmas I was riffling through some plain stationary cards and it hit me. I can spray paint these! I really do want to spray paint everything. I thought these would be perfect for some last minute Valentine cards. Agreed? These are crazy easy and take less then 10 minutes.
Supplies needed
Stationary of choice, spray paint of choice, painter's tape, cardboard.

Tape cards onto cardboard using painter's tape. Design the tape to your hearts content. Spray  paint over cards, let dry, remove tape. Easy peasy!

Taking it further
If you're feeling ambitions you could even add spray paint to the inside of the card. I was thinking it might be fun to spray paint a box on the inside and write your message there.
What do you think? Do you have an plain stationary cards that could use some paint?
P.S. The Artist Guild link-up is Thursday. Join the creative journey and share a poem with us. 
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February 10, 2014

A Two Party Weekend

Last weekend we headed to Fresno for lots of celebrating. Tyler's birthday was on Monday so we planned on some birthday celebrating, the ladies partied Saturday evening, and then we partied for the Superbowl.

Alyssa had planned a ladies only evening full of soup tasting. For the evening everyone brought a different soup for everyone to try. There were 6 different soups and one pasta dish. Everything was so good. I tried every single dish and did my best to eat rather quickly so that my stomach wouldn't figure out what was happening and tell my brain it was full. It was an evening full of good food, drinks, and friends.
Sunday we spent the afternoon watching the Superbowl. Let's not talk about the game... it's was weird. That's all I'll say. After the game we had these crazy amazing sliders and birthday cake for Tyler's birthday. And Tyler wore the best hat ever. Am I, right?
Tyler and I drove back on Monday. We came home to more birthday packages and we spent the evening watching Cloudy With a Chance of Meat Balls II and eating pizza. A great weekend to start off the birthday month.
What is your favorite way to spend your weekends? 

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February 5, 2014

A Unique Gift for Your Guy

Tyler's birthday was on Monday. We love birthday's at our house. They are an all month event. I'll be sharing more of his birthday events next week. Today I want to talk about a super unique gift idea for men. Tyler received a Van Der Hagen Safety Razor and Shaving set for his birthday. Tyler loves this gift, for real. I think this is an amazing gift to give too. My mom sent Tyler this gift and I hid it under our bed until it was birthday time.

I love this gift because even though men aren't really about the concept of "pampering" this man gift is all about "man time" and it echoes a time of quality and appreciation once lost. Shaving with a safety razor and shaving set isn't about getting a quick shave, it's about getting a quality shave. After Tyler opened this gift I thought it would be perfect to share with everyone out there looking for the perfect Valentines gift for the man in their life.
Quick tip: If you decide on a safety razor and shaving set, make sure to check out The Art of Manliness. They provide great videos and tips.
Did you add this to your Valentines shopping list? What other gifts ideas are you thinking of?

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February 4, 2014

Mix of Reds & Black

Have I ever told you that Tyler takes all my photos? It kind of makes sense, right? What other human being would allow me to randomly ask them to take my photo all the time. It's a good thing that Tyler takes my photo because he gets the best faces out of me and always has great suggestions. What's great is that I will make some kind of face or turn my head and then I'll hear him say, "do that again." I always have to ask him what he's talking about because I always do nutty things.

For weeks and weeks the weather was hanging out in the 70º and 80º, weird right? This past weekend we finally got some cooler weather, which means low 60º, but I'll take it.
How has your weather been treating you?
P.S. Catch me over at Tailored Tuesday for more style. Stop by and say hi!  

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