Sponsored Post: Blake Brody Flats

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Ballet Flats

A lovely lady named Christine recently saw my Bustle piece on ethical shoe options and reached out to me to tell me about Blake Brody‘s line of ballet flats. According to Christine, Blake developed these shoes in consulation with Dr. Louis Gally, the podiatrist to the Rockettes and an expert in dance health.

The resulting product line is a “luxe version of a wellness shoe.”

As a vegetraian, Blake has chosen to use only environmentally conscious and humane (vegan) materials that do not include any animal products or toxic chemicals. These cute little kicks are both good for your feet and eco-friendly! The anti-microbial, moisture-wicking ultrasuede lining is made from 100% recycled post-industrial matter, the fully padded footbed is composed of soy-based recycled Poron, and the recyclable rubber for the soles is specially prepared for re-use in secondary compounds.

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Flats

Christine and Blake were kind enough to send me over a pair of my choosing to try out. I opted for the “Kate” flat in the “Nude Lizard” option.

For the outfit above, I paired these high-end shoes with an almost completely second-hand outfit (save for my undergarments!). The top and skirt are from my latest trip to Goodwill, courtesy of a gift card from my sister-in-law (she knows me well). The belt came with a vintage dress I bought many moons ago, perhaps from the Goodwill outlet store in St. Louis, where you pay by the pound (!), but I can’t remember for sure. On my wrist is a collection of slinky bracelets, handmade and gifted by a couple of friends (Dotter Studio and AHC), as well as a vintage watch from my grandmother.

Westervin Sponsor: Blake Brody Ballet Flat in Nude Faux Lizard Skin

When my chosen flats arrived, I noticed that the color wasn’t quite the bright, creamy ivory pictured. They turned out to be a bit of a darker, grayer shade, which I like better anyway.

But how comfortable are they? One word: wowee. They are truly 100% comfortable—so soft, smooth, and cushiony on the inside. Slipping them on for the first time felt like a gentle hug on my feet. The first day I wore them out was a scorcher, terribly muggy and hot, so my feet got a little sweaty after a while. But I’ve since worn them around, indoors and out, and haven’t experienced that problem again. I even wore them out for a long walk in the park down by the Arkansas river, which featured some mixed terrain and which usually makes my feet a little sore if I’m not wearing my athletic shoes. These felt great the entire walk, and my feet weren’t sore afterward!

I’d say these would be perfect for a vacation where you’d be doing a lot of sightseeing, shopping, and generally walking around all day. If, that is, you can afford the splurge. At $275, these aren’t your average throw-away flats.

Westervin Blog: Faux Lizard Skin Flats from Blake Brody

Blake’s in-studio footwear is considerably more affordable, though. Seems like these soft, elasticized ballerina flats would be perfect for regular yoga practice! Please check out Blake Brody’s ethical wellness flats, and let me know if you get a pair for yourself!

Shopping Sherpa

Red, White & Denim

Westervin: Red, White & Denim


Top Row:  { Caddie Sandal from Sole Society } { Annabelle Bracelet by Jaclyn Mayer } { Chambray Shirt Dress from Rue La La }

Center: { Cynthia Zamaria’s House Tour on Apartment Therapy }

Bottom Row: { Retro Headband from C’est bon pour c’ que t’as } { Pana Clutch by Proud Mary } { Sea Fan Print from Alga Net }

Blog News

Sarah’s Writing for Bustle

Hey guys and gals! Just popping in to share a bit of news. You can now find me over on Bustle.com! I’ve written a few articles for the women’s interest site, sharing my take on red carpet fashion, affordable art, and handmade goods.

Having another opportunity to connect with like-minded women and share my interests these past few weeks has re-invigorated me and challenged my creative skills in new ways. I hope you take a peek at what I’ve created over there and find other diverting entertainment and news from the TONS of talented, smart, witty, and stylish women who write for Bustle.

Sarah West Ervin writes for Bustle

{ screenshot of my profile page on Bustle }

Who Are You Pairing? Kiernan Shipka paired with Tali Yalonetzki

 { from my Who Are You Pairing? article with Kiernan Shipka }

Spring Showers Ethical Shopping Roundup

 { from my spring-inspired ethical product roundup }


 { from my Who Are You Pairing? article with Kerry Washington }



Artist I Heart

Bryton Beasley

Now for something a little different, I’m sharing some work from a very young artist that I love: my little brother Bryton. He was so excited to show me his drawings, knowing that I too loved to draw and color when I was his age. He was also adamant that I put his work on my blog. How could I refuse? Just look at all that color! I hope this piece brightens your day.

Colorful Crayon Artwork

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Faire Play

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013

You’re not going to believe this. I just realized that I never shared my pictures from last year’s Renegade Craft Fair! For shame! As per usual, Brian and I had a great time perusing the impressive wares this past September at Chicago’s premier craft fair, and the booths certainly weren’t short on creative inspiration for me. I made sure to check out nearly every booth (a feat, let me tell you), and I snapped some pics of my favorites. After editing the pictures and putting this blog post together the following week, I promptly forgot to publish it. Gimme a break, though—it was a really busy time for me. But better late than never, right? I still wanna share all this great handmade work!

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Elizabeth Suzann dyed shirts

{ beautifully hand-painted silk shirts from Elizabeth Suzann }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Elizabeth Suzann dyed scraves

{ Elizabeth Suzann }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Dolan Geiman portraits

{ impressively large-scale, collage portraits and mixed media sculptures by Dolan Geiman }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Dolan Geiman art

{ Dolan Geiman }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Humperdinck Haberdashery hats

{ hats, hats, hats! from Humperdinck Haberdashery }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Naked Goat Farm jams

{ We got some DELISH bourbon peach jam from Naked Goat Farm after enjoying their free samples. }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Manymade wall art

 { I liked this cool booth filled with geometric animal portraits on wood. The business card I got said manymade.com, but sadly, the site doesn’t seem to exist anymore… }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Manymade art

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Adrienne Vita illustrated cards

{ colorful animal illustrations and printed gifts by Adrienne Vita }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Adrienne Vita pillows and prints

Adrienne Vita }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Caroline Borucki clothing

{ darling dresses made from unique fabrics by Caroline Borucki }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Susan Eastman textiles

{ Susan Eastman‘s display of hand-dyed scarves was perfect! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Lisa Swerling glass cathedrals

{ Lisa Swerling’s Glass Cathedrals, delightful shadowbox sculptures }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Milled Home Goods Co

{ beautifully simple (and simply beautiful) wooden housewares and furniture from Milled }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Milled handmade furniture

{ Milled }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions glass vases

{ The highlight? Finally meeting the charming, talented Arlie Trowbridge of Urban Revisions and seeing her gorgeous glass jewelry and vases in person. Joyous! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions glass jewelry

{ Urban Revisions }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Urban Revisions handmade clothing

{ Urban Revisions }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Moss for Meditation

{ serene moss sculptures from Moss for Meditation }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Moss for Meditation

{ Moss for Meditation }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Peg and Awl

{ special rustic treasures from Peg and Awl }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Michelle Starbuck tent decorations

{ Of course we stopped by Michelle Starbuck’s festive booth and admired her classy jewels! }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Michelle Starbuck Designs

{ Michelle Starbuck }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Janelle Gramling necklaces

{ And I got a crazy/cool necklace from Janelle Gramling. }

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2013: Janelle Gramling

{ Janelle Gramling }

Fine Fixin's

Chilaquiles Verdes

Chilaquiles in Bowl

Sarah has recently fallen in love with chilaquiles. Here’s a Chilaquiles Verdes recipe that is our current favorite to make at home. The tang from the limes and tomatillos really makes this dish. As an added bonus, it’s just as good for leftovers (and makes plenty)!

Roasted Tomatillos


Chilaquiles Verdes


  • 3 pounds tomatillos in the husk
  • 1 large red onion cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 1 heaping spoonful of crema or sour cream
  • 1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (or more if you like) queso fresco in large crumbles (1/2- to 1-inch pieces), or shredded monterrey jack
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Salt and olive oil, as needed
  1. Lay tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and garlic on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Place the baking sheet under the broiler, until the veggies are wilted and blistered, about 10 minutes (time will vary based on the heat of your broiler). Remove the veggies and let them cool until you are able to handle them.
  3. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, squeeze the garlic from the cloves, and remove the stem from the jalapeños. Throw the roasted veggies into a blender, along with any juices that accumulated on the baking tray. Add the cilantro leaves, the juice of the lime, and the crema. Purée until the mixture is very smooth. Taste and make any needed adjustments (more salt, acid, etc).
  4. While the veggies are still in the oven, bring the chicken broth to a gentle simmer in a dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts and allow them to simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Move the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Return the chicken and any juices to the pot.
  5. Add the tomatillo purée to the chicken broth, taste for seasoning (note the sauce should be tangy, almost sour, so add another squeeze of lime if necessary), and bring to a simmer. Cover and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the tortillas into quarters. If your tortillas are fresh, dry them out in the oven or toaster oven. If they’re stale and dried out, add them right to the pot. Stir the mixture and let simmer for another 10 minutes. The tortillas will cause the sauce to thicken.
  7. Uncover and stir in the queso fresco or sprinkle with the monterrey jack. Cover the pot again, allowing the cheese to melt. Uncover, sprinkle with cotija and cilantro, and serve.
  8. Note: The chilaquiles are just as good — maybe better — the next day. A fried egg on top wouldn’t hurt either!

from Food 52

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A Westervin Wedding, Blog News

Put a Ring on It, Part 2

handmade wedding ring set

You may recall that way back in September we celebrated our second anniversary. However, we forgot to tell you about our rings! Each year we get a new set of rings to celebrate the ever changing married life we lead…and for fun. If you haven’t been following along, be sure to check out our original rings as well as our first anniversary rings.

oxidized silver wedding rings

For our second anniversary Sarah picked out three different rings that go together as a set, two of which are oxidized silver. I have a simple oxidized silver ring that goes along with hers. It’s one big happy ring family!

set of handmade silver wedding bands

Clockwise from Top Left: {Epherielle } { Patrick Irla Jewelry }  { Lady Faye Jewelry }  { ANDYSHOUSE }


Who Are You Pairing?

Who Are You Pairing: 2014 Oscars

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Cate Blanchett and Amber Alexander

{ Cate Blanchett }  { Amber Alexander }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Portia de Rossi and Emma Leonard

{ Portia de Rossi }  { Emma Leonard }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Lupita Nyong'o and Erika Podlovics

{ Erika Podlovics }  { Lupita Nyong’o }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Catherine Martin and Sophie Lécuyer

{ Catherine Martin }  { Sophie Lécuyer }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Anna Kendrick and Maria Aparicio Puentes

Anna Kendrick }  { Maria Aparicio Puentes }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Olga Kurylenko and Clare Elsaesser

Olga Kurylenko }  { Clare Elsaesser }

Who Are You Pairing? 2014 Oscars: Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari, and Holger Kalberg

Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari }  { Holger Kalberg }

Craft Contexts

Gramma’s Quilt

I’ve got a crafty project in the works—a quilting project! Now, it’s extra exciting because this project has quite a bit of history. It’s older than my mom! In fact, it’s as old as my great-grandmother!

My grandmother started piecing together this quilt when she was pregnant with my aunt, my mom’s older sister, in 1960. Dang, y’all. That’s over 50 years.

The fabric Gramma collected for the project is at least as old as she is, possibly older in some cases, and belonged to my great-grandmother, who died when my grandmother was just a teenager. Gramma saved some of her mother’s dresses, and rather than recycling them into clothing for her two younger sisters, who she helped raise after their mother passed away, she eventually cut them into the little boy shapes for this quilt project.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #1

Like, wow. Just look at that beautiful fabric! I absolutely love the vintage patterns, and it’s amazing that the colors are still so vibrant. But, what I love most about these pieces of material is that they were once beautiful dresses that belonged to my beautiful great-grandmother, a woman who had a far different and much harder life than me, and the fabric traveled through four generations of women to finally rest in my crafty hands. That’s a pretty rich history, if you ask me.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #1

When Gramma started the project, she intended to make a quilt for her daughter-to-be, but, as you can see, she never quite finished. As her family grew, the project shifted to incorporate a quilted gift for each new child and, eventually, each new grandchild. When Gramma last worked on it, she had arranged for each of her three children (my aunt, mom, and uncle) to have a baby blanket and for each of her three grandchildren (my older brother, myself, and younger cousin) to receive a small pillow. However, the last time she worked on this project, my younger brother (now nine years old) hadn’t been born yet!

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #2

So, when Gramma handed this project over to me this past Christmas, we decided to rework it so that each of her three children and each of her four grandchildren would receive a 6-piece panel. Fair and square. We also decided that most of the little “boys” she’d created would need to be sewn onto new backing fabric. Some of the white cotton was so old it had yellowed quite dramatically, as you can see from the photos.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #3

After Brian and I got home from Christmas, I immediately got to work reorganizing the panels, cutting some pieces apart and matching the various colors and patterns as best I could. I ended up with what I think are some pretty lovely, complimentary panels. I also bought some new white cotton material for the pieces, which you’ll see later as I document my progress.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #3

I am so excited about and grateful for being able to complete these quilted gifts for Gramma. I get to be part of a creative project that spans four generations of women in my family, and it gives me a real and immediate reason to get back into sewing AND learn to quilt, something I’ve wanted to do for YEARS. Also, this project is imbued with even more meaning because the finished projects will be special gifts for my family.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #3

I am also extra super grateful for the new sewing machine I got this year for Christmas, which was purchased with help from a very generous gift from Brian’s grandmother—thanks a million, Grandma Jane! Without this fancy new machine, I definitely wouldn’t be able to finish this project. My old sewing machine—my little Brother, which was a gift from my mom and grandmother over a decade ago (!)—sewed his last stitch a few years ago and has been resting in peace in our garage. Poor little brother. He has been missed.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #5

But, despite all of the awesomeness of this project and my fantastic new little Brother, I still haven’t found the courage to jump right in. Hard to admit, but true.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #6

Now, why haven’t I already whipped this project into shape, you ask? Maybe it’s cursed! Maybe it will never be finished, destined to grow and change as the women in my family grow and change, being passed down from generation to generation until the end of time!

Ok, no, that’s not it. The truth is I’m pretty intimidated.

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #7

It’s been so long since I’ve used a sewing machine, let alone finished a sewing project, that my fingers have forgotten a thing or two about the craft. Then, put learning to use a new sewing machine—a computerized one, no less!—into the mix, and the task sometimes seems a bit daunting. Additionally, juggling my various school/housework/craft business responsibilities has been another barrier, giving me too many excuses why I shouldn’t start this project and, instead, finish the million other projects I have floating around… What’s a girl to do?!

Westervin: Gramma's Quilt Panel #7

Okay, I’m done whining about it. I’m actually hopeful this post and the process of documenting my progress will help motivate me to keep chugging along. Please stick around to see how it turns out!

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