all the things.

Calendar-2It happens every year in December. The hustle and bustle. The Christmas cards, the parties, the cookies, the gifts, the menus to plan, the places to go, the people to see. On top of normal December chaos, I am up to my eyeballs in Coffee + Crumbs projects. I started a blog post a few weeks ago about splinters and trust, but never finished it. Then I started a post about a few new brands I love, but never finished it. Then I swapped out my fall capsule and replaced it with a winter capsule, but never got around to photographing it. Then I started a post all about what I learned at a photography workshop in October, but…..shockingly…..never finished it.

This poor blog. 

I have big dreams of finishing all of those posts in the new year, and also writing about my one and only resolution for 2016 (is the suspense killing you?), but in the meantime, may I direct your attention to all of the awesome things that Coffee + Crumbs is doing this month? This is my heartbeat, friends. This is the thing I think about before I fall asleep each night, and the thing I get excited about first thing in the morning. God is opening so many beautiful doors for us, and I have no choice but to step through them with absolute faith. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again because it always bears repeating: this is my dream job, and the magic of that is not lost on me.

1. We made a calendar! And not just any calendar, a calendar for moms. Each print features a gorgeous watercolor illustration and a quote intended to make you smile and remind you that you’re not alone. This is the perfect Christmas gift for yourself, or for your momma friends. If your husband needs a nudge, I am happy to send him the link directly.

2. We are hosting an online fundraiser for Carry The Future, a group committed to serving refugees traveling toward asylum by providing a baby carrier for their youngest ones to safely travel in. When you make a donation, you will receive a beautiful “Be Brave” printable. It takes bravery to be a mother no matter where we are, but right now, we can honor the extraordinary amount of bravery our refugee sisters are displaying for their babies.

3. We are launching an online writing workshop! This is something I have been dreaming about for…..exactly four weeks? You know how I do. The storytellers of Coffee + Crumbs are crafting a six-week course to breathe fresh air into your lungs. We’re prepping lessons on creativity, vulnerability, writing with an X factor, and more. Look out for an announcement soon!

And, well, what do you know? My essay is up today. Click here to read about that one time my three year-old boycotted his bed for an entire year. Good times.

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for the mommas who make stuff.

Coffee + Crumbs Calendar-1

Before I had kids, I wasn’t sure how motherhood would affect my art. The realist side of me wondered if I would still have time for art. The pessimist side of me thought I might have to give up my art altogether. The optimistic side of me thought I would seamlessly integrate motherhood into my art, and my art into motherhood.

3.5 years later, I think we all can agree that nothing about motherhood is seamless.

But the good news is: I am still a mom, and I still make art. The two do not coexist perfectly, but they coexist and that’s enough. There is tension there; sometimes it pulls lightly and sometimes it’s a full blown tug-of-war. I am only one person with two hands and there are only 24 hours in the day. I wear all my hats as best I can, sometimes layering a few on top of each other and sometimes swapping one for another as I run out the door, trading a loose diaper in my purse for a computer charger.

Today is the last day of a long weekend filled with shopping discounts. Maybe you’re on top of things this year and have already finished Christmas shopping. Maybe you’re like me and just getting started. Maybe you haven’t thought about it at all.

Can I ask you something?

Are you buying anything from your fellow mommas this holiday season?

You know the ones I’m talking about. The mommas making coffee mugs and art prints and t-shirts and jewelry. The ones with dining room tables full of shipping supplies. The ones who sit down after the kids are in bed to design and dream and create things with their hands and run full blown shops from their beds.

Just look around. We’re everywhere.

We have this thing in common, us momma makers, because our go-to mode is hustle. We know how to hammer out eight e-mails over breakfast and how to type a blog post into our phones while we nurse our baby to sleep. We know how to brainstorm under pressure and how to dream in the shower. We know how to make the most of every minute, every hour, every second that our hands are free. We know creating is our gift to each other, to our kids, and to the world.

We also know the uneven balance of creating art while caring for our children; it’s a constant see-saw, that tension between honoring our family and honoring our talent and allowing both to coexist and breathe.

We know the perseverance and dedication it requires to open our laptops night after night after the kids are in bed instead of falling on the couch with a Netflix binge. (But damn, it feels so good to do that sometimes, amen?)

We know the guilt, the stress, the tiredness, the overwhelming nature of being moms and wives and makers and shop owners.

Can I ask you again….?

Are you buying anything from your fellow mommas this holiday season?

Maybe this year we could do more of that, and less of Target (and you know I love me some Target). Maybe this year we can cheer each other on and pin each other’s creations. Maybe this year we can support each other with both our words and our dollars.

Join me, won’t you?

***

A few mommas to support this holiday…..

June & January

Chewable Charm

The Caramel Jar

Dear Mushka

Get To Work Book

Brim Papery

Gold Press Paper

Max & Moose

Rainy Day Colors 

Riley + Co

The Bee & The Fox

Bubby & Bean

Bitte

Highsmith Lettering

Lindbergh Candle Co

Oh Sweet Joy!

The Wild Kids Apparel

and of course, yours truly,

Coffee + Crumbs (our calendar launches tomorrow!!)

***

*These are just a few shops I follow on Instagram. If you’d like to recommend any momma makers for this list, leave a comment and I’ll keep this post updated throughout the day.

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taking a leap.

a leap-2Once upon a time, I sat down at my computer and started a blog.

I had no idea what I was doing.

Over the years, writing here became exhilarating, calming, necessary for my mental health. If I felt stressed out, I blogged. If I felt confused, I blogged. If I felt sad/happy/depressed/anxious/torn, I sat down at my computer, poured my heart into the keyboard, and hit publish.

This blog became home for me, in a lot of ways.

It’s been a wild journey, this writing-on-the-Internet thing. I have been exposed in front of strangers and that has been both terrifying and wonderful. At times it has felt brave. At times it has felt stupid.

But make no mistake at all: it has elicited feelings.

I have grown here. I have grown up here. Undoubtedly, I have learned more about myself through this blog than any other professional endeavor I have pursued up until this point.

***

I am writing this post quickly. At the coffee shop, I am sitting at the same table where I always sit, drinking the same coffee that I always order and yet, it is different. Because for the past six months or so, I have forgotten how to do this. I have forgotten how to spill, how to allow myself to be free here, how to dump words and not obsess over them. For the past six months I have been a perfectionist. I have agonized over every comma and every word and it has suffocated me.

***

Two years ago, I had a book idea.

The book was called “Twenty-Something” and it was going to be a collection of essays—things I’ve learned in my twenties, lessons on marriage and motherhood and friendship and faith. I typed a bunch of words and printed a bunch of papers and stuck them in a white binder and put that binder in my closet.

The binder stayed there for two years. It was in the closet when I got pregnant, and it was in the closet when I launched Coffee + Crumbs. It was actually transferred from one closet to another closet when we moved last summer.

Over the past couple of months, I started thinking about that book idea more and more. I blame my 30th birthday around the corner. Turning 30 feels Big. Saying goodbye to my twenties feels Bigger—worthy of a celebration, a tribute, a book perhaps.

So I decided, one day at 3:27am while I nursed the baby in the rocking chair. I am just going to write this book. Why the hell not? Who is stopping me? I decided I would write the book, and I would self-publish it. And I would launch this book on my 30th birthday, to be released into the world as I bid farewell to one decade and welcomed another.

It was going to be a birthday present to myself.

***

A lot of my friends are writing books. They have finished manuscripts and book proposals and sample chapters. They know how to write query letters and have lists of dream agents. They know all the proper steps to take and they know all about the process. It’s impressive. Really impressive.

I never went down that rabbit hole. Self-publishing has always appealed to me, in the same way that starting a blog has always appealed to me. I love indie artists, I love grassroots, I love organic growth. I love the thrill of starting something from nothing. I love being in complete control of the creative process.

Also? At the risk of sounding self-deprecating (which I do not find to be an attractive attribute), I never thought I could write a book through traditional publishing. Because I never thought I was that good of a writer.

Sure, I was pretty good at writing on the Internet. I can admit that. But writing a book—a real book that you hold in your hands, with an actual cover and dedication page and acknowledgments, a book that is sold in bookstores—that was Too Big. Too far-fetched. That was crazy, outrageous, too difficult, too much work, too impossible for someone like me.

I am one of the biggest dreamers I know, but that dream was off the table.

“No, no,” I said, “If I ever write a book, I will self-publish.”

Self-publishing is safe. I can sell my own words on my own blog and probably the only people who would read it would be my husband and my parents and my friends and the loyal blog readers who have been here from the beginning. They would probably like it. They would probably think it was worth something.

I hoped.

***

Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a publisher.

It said, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?”

Huh.

***

A few days ago, a literary agent asked to sign me (and Coffee + Crumbs). We spoke for one hour on the phone and everything just…..clicked. I laid out my entire vision for myself and for Coffee + Crumbs and she said, “I get it.”

And suddenly, that dream that felt Too Big wasn’t too big anymore. Suddenly, it was on the table, right in front of my face. Maybe this isn’t outrageous after all.

Maybe this will happen for me, for us.

Maybe starting this blog was the first leap. And maybe launching Coffee + Crumbs was the second leap. And maybe this? Well. What do they say about the third time being the charm?

Maybe this is the biggest leap of all.

***

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this, thank you for being here. There are a lot of people in my life who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and you might very well be one of those people. If that is you, there are no words to express my truest gratitude.

I should warn you: This is only the beginning. There is a good chance I could fall flat on my face, but I think I’d rather leap and fall than never take the leap.

Here’s to writing, to dreaming, to every leap of faith.

May your biggest dream find its way to your table. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.

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re-use the pan: a simple tip from blue apron.

Blue Apron-1

I am the furthest thing from a professional chef. Really, truly, deeply. I consider spaghetti and chicken tacos to be Very Good Meals. I don’t know how to chop things the “right” way. I stick everything in the food processor and hope for the best.

Don’t tell Shauna Niequist, okay?

One thing I’ve really enjoyed from using Blue Apron is learning new, simple tricks for cooking. The simplest tip I’ve learned to date? Wipe the pan.

Almost every meal I’ve cooked from Blue Apron has required cooking multiple items in the same pan, but instead of telling you to get a new pan, or–even worse–to wash the current pan, these are the instructions: wipe the pan.

Cook the kale, wipe the pan, cook the next thing. Cook the onions and garlic, wipe the pan, cook the next thing.

Did you know that if you need to cook different items at different times you can simply WIPE THE PAN in between uses? So brilliant! So easy!

Truth: it never occurred to me.

Blue Apron-3

Knowledge is power. Go forth, and wipe the pan.

Blue Apron-4

These Southern-Style burgers were delicious, even though we accidentally made them extra crispy on the outside.

Feeling inspired? Check out all of Blue Apron’s recipes online. I’m adding the turkey sloppy joes and quinoa fried rice to my eat & drink board.

Ready to give Blue Apron a try? The first 20 readers to sign up will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Sign up here.

*This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who help pay for the babysitters and coffee it takes to run this blog. 
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happy birthday, Carson!

Carson-1 Carson-4 Carson-5 Carson-6Carson-5Carson-6Carson-7Carson-8Carson-9In keeping with the “second baby” cliche, I am one whole month late on blogging anything for Carson’s birthday. We had a sweet, small party, complete with Chipotle and margaritas and no less than 100 tears shed from the birthday boy. Between major separation anxiety and a tooth cutting through, it was not his finest hour. I staged more photos a few days after his birthday because HELLO CUTE BANNER. Turns out, he was willing to oblige with an audience of one. Naturally.

Here’s a little tribute to the first year…..we love you Carson!

p.s. Everett’s first birthday / Artifact Uprising Square PrintsThat Gold Balloon

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