Walking in Venice.

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Sometimes, when the days seem to all mesh together and you know doing something totally different is in order… you drive over to Venice in the morning for a long walk.

You walk with the dog, walk with the baby, walk with your sunglasses on. You walk with your hair blowing in the ocean’s breeze, as it’s soaking up the scent of sunshine and coconut oil and salt.

You walk by shop owners setting up their tee shirts and sunglasses stands, and henna artists are sitting in what’s left of the morning shade, ready for a full day of work.

You walk men passing out CD’s (uhhh, no thanks) and hear the sound of skateboarders grinding up ahead. You walk past the smell hot dogs cooking and whooooooooo, a biker speeds by.

Oh, and hello little blue lifeguard stand.

I can always tell the locals from the tourists. The locals are bundled up during the morning hours (or anytime it’s below 68*), chilled by the breeze that whips around them. (Kinda makes me giggle. They don’t know what cold really feels like.) The tourists look quite the opposite, wearing flip flops and short shorts and tanks, trying to soak up the warmth as if they can bottle it and bring it back home.

One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles is how many different places there are to walk, but no matter where I go I can usually always see the ocean, the mountains, or the cityscape. And always the gorgeous flowers. Growing up in Michigan we didn’t have these kinds of views, so walking in Venice is a real treat.

I need to drive over there more often. Venice is just a few miles from where we live, but walking their beach front is so refreshing…

My life is enough.

lemon maggie whitley

beesential hand soap maggie whitley

painted daisies maggie whitley

special cards maggie whitley

bible verse maggie whitley

crayons maggie whitley

These may not look like very special photos to you, but they are so, so special to me. Just over a year ago I became a mama to the biggest, sweetest, cuddliest baby boy, Maxwell. And over the last 12 months my life has been slowly changing and evolving and shaping me into the woman I am today, right this moment as I type this post. My days are no longer filled with endless sewing and product dreaming — although that was an incredibly fun season (almost 6 years long!).

Now, my days are more often filled with cooking healthier foods and washing hands practically every hour. When we’re out on our daily walks my eyes catch the beauty, there’s so much beauty around us, for all of us to experience. I enjoy praying for my family more (Psalms 119:105 is very encouraging). I am encouraged and warmed by every piece of mail we receive from family & friends, and display it proudly in our home. Who cares that there are cards connecting Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Zack’s birthday to Maxwell’s birthday? I don’t care, and in fact — the wall in our kitchen where the cards are taped makes me smile every day. Seriously. And crayons, I can’t forget about the crayons. Maxwell is just starting to get the hang of how to hold them. Although many are broken and have little bite marks (Bauer? Maxwell? don’t make me check your teeth). And just the other day I saw a little streak of crayon color on our couch. Such is life… marked by the people in our lives who mean so much to us.

I’m so inspired by our firstborn. How he laughs so easily and giggles & shrieks when I walk in his room after naptime. I’m challenged every day to be the best mama, and not just the best… but the best …for Maggie. I have my imperfections and moments where I feel like I’m unraveling. But I have more moments where being a mom is so incredibly easy. Ahhh. My heart is just so full.

I may not have those same long days of stitching with my Kenmore, but I’m no less blessed. I’m being stitched together in brand new ways, every single day. What a huge heart change this has been for me to accept this new phase of life with such open hands.

My life looks different than it was a year ago — it’s filled with the shaping of many lives, and that is enough.

PRE-BOOK | Summer Gift Guide: mama, baby & vacation edition

Our seasonal gift guides are quite possibly my favorite semi-annual blog events, and it’s because the handmade community is spectacular, talented (so talented!), full of great energy, and I love being a part of it. If you’re like me then you love learning about new shops, getting to know the owners, and peeking into their work spaces. Another bonus is all of the cheering on that takes places. Yeow!

So with great anticipation it’s finally time dish all the details on our…

summer gift guide 2014

Summer is going to be here so soon. Actually, this week in Los Angeles it’s supposed to be in the mid-80′s — so don’t hate me, but I already feel like it’s begun. Next month the nation will be preparing for Memorial Day weekend, which is the official kickoff to summer (at least in Michigan). I think I heard all the lakes and beaches cheer aloud… wink. There are exciting times head of us, that’s for sure.

In preparation of the warmer months it’s time to start chatting about our 2014 Summer Gift Guide.

If you’re a shop owner this post will have all of the details on how to sign up (click here for a direct link to the form).

If you’re a handmade buyer, you’ll want to bookmark this page.

This time we’re changing things up a tiny bit with our gift guide, and the main difference is we are now offering a super large ad (700 x 200 pixels; see below) with each gift guide listing. (You can view our 2013 Summer Gift Guide here.)

summer gift guide 2014

We are accepting a limited number of shops into each gift guide, and we’d love to hear from YOU! All shops will be accepted on a first-come/first-serve basis, and we encourage all shops that represent a similar vision as the Maggie Whitley Designs blog to apply.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE FOLLOWING HANDMADE CATEGORIES:
– jewelry + keepsakes
– creative art [paintings, illustrations, prints]
– clothing + accessories for mamas/kiddos/babies
– diaper bags/camera bags
– newborn essentials: feeding, playing, teething, bedtime, travel
– home decor + accessories [indoor/outdoor, home + cottage]
– vintage pretties [art, home decor, clothing + accessories]

YOUR 75-DAY GIFT GUIDE AD INCLUDES:
* your shop name
* a short description of  your shop
* your location [city, state]
* a list of the 3 favorite items from your shop
* a price range [ie: $10 to $90 USD]
* a 700×200 pixel ad/logo
* a link your shop
* a “pin” via Pinterest to our dedicated 2014 Summer Gift Guide board
* a group Facebook mention + a link to the guide
* placement in our Gift Guide sponsor blog post + the MWD blog sidebar

summer gift guide 2014

GIFT GUIDE DETAILS:
–Duration: the guide will run for 75 days, from May 15th – July 31st
– Ad size: 700×200 pixels
– Price: our PRE-BOOK rate is $90 USD, paid via PayPal. After April 15th the cost is $100 USD
– Feature: Each participating shop will be spotlighted in a group Facebook post [one time during the duration of the guide], a pin to a dedicated Pinterest board + an introductory blog post on Monday, May 19th, as well as frequent tweets and IG photos promoting the SGG

To create a successful gift guide we are accepting a limited number of shops. Please be sure to fill out the signup form if you’re interested in securing a space in the guide.

 

THE SUMMER GIFT GUIDE WILL BE PROMOTED TO:
Facebook: 28,000+ likes | Twitter: 11,800+ followers | Blog: 115,00+ monthly page views | Pinterest: 8,900+ followers | Instagram: 13,800+ followers

BONUS: If you sign up for both a sidebar ad and a Summer Gift Guide ad, you’ll receive a 15% discount off any sidebar ad booked during the SGG term [the deadline to sign up for the SGG is Wednesday, April 30th]. Please send Jenn an email for sidebar sponsorship rates: jenn at maggiewhitley dot com

summer gift guide 2014

Pre-book now through April 15th for just $90. The final deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 30th. Click here to sign up for the Maggie Whitley Designs 2014 Summer Gift Guide, I’m so excited to work with you.