Blog News

2012: The Highlights

Yesterday was Brian’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Brian! As a result, I reflected, as one so often does on such occasions, on how quickly the past year seemed to fly by. He’s 27 years old? Already? Didn’t he just turn 26…? I guess the year flew by because it really was chock full of fun and fantastic-ness. We just hopped from one milestone to the next.

Brian turned 26

Please join me, if you will, on a look back at the past year with the Westervins, starting with Brian’s 26th birthday on January 31st, 2012. That joyous celebration saw a cookie cake—Brian’s favorite kind of cake, obviously—as well as a few choice presents and a relaxing break with the Wests outside of the city. We were all so happy that this sweet man was born just 26 years prior.

Grace Steinel Jones started guest blogging

Soon after, we welcomed one of our dearest and most talented besties, one Mrs. Grace Steinel Jones, as a guest blogger for Westervin. Cooking away in her hot Austin kitchen, Grace whipped up such delicioso creations as the above carrot cake with honey-ginger figs, homemade granola, and some super tacos!

Sarah West Ervin started working with Lillstreet

Later in February, I started working with the Lillstreet Art Center. For class credit, I offered my newly acquired marketing skills to Lillstreet to help spread the word about their many amazing services and products for the creatively inclined and curious. In exchange, I got some professional experience, an invitation to a screenprinting workshop, and an opportunity to work with them again on another fun marketing project.

Westervin got a makeover

In March, Brian exercised his creative muscles and unveiled a new look for He’s so talented. Note to self: keep him around.

Newby Treasury GIveaway

We celebrated the redesign with a very special giveaway from Newby Treasury. This giveaway had been in the works for a few months, since around the first time I met Sarah Newby. I latched on to that cool lady like white on rice, determined to make her my friend. BTW, it worked.

Brian West got a new Job

In April, Brian started working at Columbia College Chicago…one floor above my office! Now, we get to go to work together and get coffee together and eat lunch together and go on walks together and go home together and BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!!!!!

Debbie Carlos starts guest blogging

In other tremendously exciting April news, Debbie Carlos started guest blogging for Westervin with her series A Sunday Ritual. I don’t think I need to say much about this, other than: apricot pie, coconut corn fritters, ratatouille, sesame pea-shoot salad, cochinita pibil, and savory bread pudding, and 60-second gooey chocolate mug cake. Oh, and I should probably also say, “OMG! Thank you so much, Debbie! You are sooooooo awesome!!!!”

Celebrated World Party Day

Also that month, we were invited by BIG THINGS, Kitiya Palaskas, and The Adventure School to participate in the fun DIY-ness of World Party Day. We made some margarita jello shots for the festivities. I think they were appreciated…

Columbia College Chicago Manifest: Please Generate Art

As I wrapped up my first year of graduate school last May, we rounded out the semester with our interactive art installation, Sound Collective, which was part of PGA: Please Generate Art, the graduate Manifest project at Columbia. It was a disgusting amount of work coupled with some poor timing (damn you, finals!), but I think it was all worth it for the delirious giggles and slaphappy bonding among the Sound Collective team: Caitlin O’Meara, Laura Bock, me, and (unofficially) Brian.

Westervin Honeymoon

Brian and I soon recuperated on our Dollymoon. That is, we took our belated honeymoon at Dollywood! Best. Trip. Ever.

Sarah West Ervin made some videos for Lillstreet Art Center

When we returned, I began working with Lillstreet again on the Make It video series. I’m a producer, y’all! I’ve shared a few of the completed videos, and there’s a few more still to come…

Westervin gets juiced

In June, Brian and I started juicing! The good kind, guys. In an attempt to circumvent my general disinterest in most foods of the vegetable variety, Brian got us a juicer and started sneaking nutrient-rich vegetables into my diet, disguised by the sweet nectar of fruit juices. Let’s face it: everyone knows that vegetables are gross. Also fact: fruit is nature’s candy. So, if you mix fresh fruit juice with a little vegetable juice, like carrot, celery, spinach, etc., you can barely taste it! Since our juicing ways began, I’ve increased my vegetable tolerance and we’ve been drinking several servings of fresh juice every day. As a result, we generally have more energy, my hair and skin feel healthier, and I barely drink soda anymore. I’m serious. The power of juice has broken the hold that sweet, sweet soda had over me. Get juiced!

Sarah West Ervin learns to screenprint at Lillstreet Art Center

In other self-improvement news, I built up my crafting repertoire by learning how to screenprint! Laura Bock and I went to a screenprinting party at Lillstreet, wherein we sipped wine, ate fancy snacks, and got our crafty on with the help of instructor and textile artist Nora Renick-Rinehart. If only every month could include such craft parties…

Westervin was Published in Design: Paper

Perhaps the most exciting development in June, however, was being published! Our handmade save-the-dates were featured in the beautiful book Design: Paper. We loved making those little postcards, so we were overjoyed to see them in a book!

Sarah West Ervin blows up on Pinterest

In July, I got a lot of Pinterest followers, and we’ve had a lot of fun together since then…

Sarah West Ervin turns 26

And, in August, I finally caught up to Brian and turned 26 myself. I doubled the fun by joining forces with our local bestie Laura, who turned 24 a few days after my birthday. The fantastic festivities included a potluck brunch party and a trip to Six Flags. Brian also fulfilled one of my lifelong wishes by getting me an edible arrangement, delivered to me at work. All together, it was a dream of a birthday.

First Anniversary

That milestone was followed by an even better one in September: our first wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a delicious dinner, a nice walk, and a new set of handmade wedding rings! I gotta say, this marriage stuff is great.

Renegade Craft Fair Chicago

Later than month, we hit up the Renegade Craft Fair. As the highlight of my craftventures for the year, much fun and shopping was had by all in our party, both new friends and old.

Sarah West Ervin went back to school

And, to balance out the fun of September, my second year of graduate school began. Fitzgerald and I felt the same way about it: Meh.

Brian West is Famous

But soon, things were looking up again! In October, Brian was commissioned to create the signature cocktail for Poetry‘s centennial celebration. He expertly crafted the bubbly and well-balanced Hippocrene, inspired by a Keats poem. It was written about in the New York Times, guys. Note to self: seriously, keep this fella around.

Sarah West Ervin is Famous

Soon after, I saw my five minutes of fame as a guest pinner for Etsy, my other love.  Ok, famous is a strong word here…  but I’ll use it just the same! LOOK AT ME! I’M AN INTERNET CELEBRITY! Would you like my autograph?

Sarah West Ervin went crochet crazy

In November, to combat the stress of sudden stardom (but mostly that of homework and impending finals), I got into crocheting. REALLY into crocheting. I went a little crazy with hats there….

Going to Louisiana

For Thanksgiving, Brian and I took a roadtrip to Louisiana to visit my family. Highlights included: gramma’s twice-baked potatoes, playing with my little brother, cracking pecans, and stopping in Little Rock along the way for a quick catch-up with my forever-valentine, Megan.

Westervin turned 3

And then it snuck up on us—-Westervin turned three. We’re pretty proud.

Goodbye to Sarah Newby and Ryan Glenn

Then, in December, we were forced to say a tearful goodbye to our sweet, interesting friends, Ryan Glenn and Sarah Newby. We shared a brunch with these two, gave them a little going away gift, and shooed them on their way to L.A. Expect a visit this summer, guys. Sunshine, here we come!

We got a new kitchen

When we were away for Christmas break, our landlord updated our kitchen. I really feel like the beauty of our new wood floors and clean, white cabinets has changed my life. I actually enjoy being in the kitchen now! And, I’ve even been helping Brian out a little in there with this thing they call “cooking.” It’s not as terrible as it seems! We’ll share some photos soon—-of both the renovation and my delectable (not really) creations.

Rang in the New Year

And finally, Brian and I rang in 2013 with our sassy frands, Laura Bock and Jonathan Thomason. Never underestimate the enjoyableness of pie, boardgames, and an all-night slumber party.

If you twisted my arm, I’d have to say that the last year was a pretty good one. Here’s to the next!

A Westervin Wedding, Shopping Sherpa

New Wedding Bands for Our First Anniversary

handmade geometric gold and silver wedding bands

{ 1. Stardust Wedding Band } { 2. Gold Bubbles Ring }  { 3. Metropolitan Wedding Band }

{ 4. Gold Branch Ring }  { 5. Banner Ring }  { 6. Grid Ring }

{ 7. Starlight Wedding Band }  { 8. Gold Slant Ring }  { 9. Titanium & Yellow Gold Ring }

Brian and I are getting new wedding bands for our 1-year anniversary next month. Why, you ask? Well, we’ve come up with a few reasons to get a new set:

1. It’s fun! Finding new rings together to reflect our personal styles has been pretty enjoyable.

2. It takes the stress out of finding the perfect anniversary gift and trying to keep it a secret. (I’m very skilled in ruing surprises.)

3. We LOVE our current wedding rings, but I’d like to have the option of having a different style and color to wear.

4. I get that a wedding band is a symbol of your union to one person, so it makes sense for that ring to stay constant. But a marriage doesn’t stay the same from year to year. You grow and change together. Therefore, I want a new set of rings to reflect on and celebrate that we’ve made it, happily, through a full year of marriage together.

5. We’re keeping it affordable by purchasing handmade rings and avoiding solid gold or other high-priced metals. And I love supporting individual craftspeople and jewelry-makers!

6. It’s non-traditional. This might be a reason against getting new wedding bands, but we’re counting this in the “for” column.

The only problem? With so many awesome options out there, it’s been hard choosing the right one for each of us! Of the nine rings above, I think we’ve narrowed it down to the two we want. (The options for Brian are in the four corners.) But I kinda want your opinion! Which rings do you like best? What do you think about getting a new set of affordable, handmade wedding bands each year? Don’t hold back.

A Westervin Wedding

A Westervin Wedding: At Last!

First dance at the wedding of Sarah Ervin and Brian West

We’re back, little dowggies, and boy howdy are you a sight for sore eyes. The big day came and went, and I realized, perhaps for the first time, why we did it all in the first place. Not so we could dress up and be super pretty for a day, although that part was mighty nice. Not so we could try to impress everyone with our wedding planning skillz, though I’m pretty sure we knocked the pants off a few. Not so we could have a Texas ton of presents lavished upon us, though our apartment is now looking pretty snazzy. And not even so we could be self-centered attention whores, though we all know how much Brian LOVES that. Nope. Turns out this whole wedding business helped us celebrate the love we share with each other AND with our dear, sweet, amazing, crazy, weird, foreign, cute, little, creative, beautiful, supportive, giving friends and family. Did I use too many adjectives there? I think I might have missed funny. Man did we have some laughs! And MAN, did we really luck out in the family/friends department. I can honestly say that I had the most amazing week of my whole young life, because I got to spend time with all the people that make my life wonderful.

But before I make myself cry, and before we get started with our recap–for which you can expect several little posts over the next few weeks–I wanted to share a poem with you. Written by one of the colorful friends, Matt Sharos, this poem was inspired by our wedding. It’s sweeter than strawberry jam.

after a mason jar of beer
or a paper straw of bourbon
you must pay attention
hear that banjo?
set down your kazoo
a sublime moment is before you
a vintage veil of flowers
with blue velvet leaves
and little white freckles
and patterned brown sleeves
there is a boy and a girl
both gorgeous and good
they left love
everywhere they stood
on branches and suns
and on skies and on trees
these two lovebirds
were meant to be

You can read Matt’s other wedding-week inspired poems on his poetry blog, PushUp Poetry.

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Shopping Sherpa

The Shopping Sherpa: Hitting Home

handmade "homes" from Etsy

All our travels (past & pending), along with all the holiday hullabaloo, have stirred up a bit of home pride in this southern transplant. The longer I’m away from Arkansas, the stronger my southern roots seem to grow. But with my ties to other states, from Louisiana to Illinois and from Virginia to California, I feel at home wherever we seem to wander.

Clockwise from top left: { Homestead Print from Beauchamping }  { i heart Missouri Necklace from Truche }  { Home Canvas Papercut from The Time is Now }  { Illinois State Pillow from love,california }

A Westervin Wedding

WE Thank You

Design by Victor Huckabee

{ insert dreamy, romantic or heartbroken text here. by Victor Huckabee }

Well, my darlings, the contest is over, and although I never stopped wishing on fallen eyelashes and shooting stars or quit nagging people for votes, I knew we wouldn’t make it to the top 50.  While we definitely won’t be winning a fatty wedding, I don’t regret all the effort we put into trying.  The long and frenzied road to 87th place has been nothing but fun and fulfilling.  From the bottom of our happy hearts, Brian and I want to thank every one of the 550+ people who voted for us.  Big hugs and kisses and cupcake sprinkles especially for everyone who wished us well, left a heartfelt comment of congratulations and cheer or entered our giveaways and helped us spread the word.  I wish we all could have won!  And I can’t give enough cupcake sprinkles and hugs to Lorena and Lisa who donated their crazy-beautiful necklaces for those giveaways.  You muh gurls!!!  Now, cue the exit music.  I think my 2 minutes is up.


Giveaway! Embroidered Necklace from Marañón

EDIT: This giveaway has ended.  Enter our current giveaway here!

blog giveaway embroidered necklace from marañón

We’re having our fifth and final giveaway, folks, and this one’s very special.  As many of our faithful readers already know, Brian and I are engaged and we’ve entered the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest.  If you’ve already heard about this 10 times, don’t stop reading!  For those of you who are new to the Westervin blog, lemme esplain!  In order to get to the next round in the contest, we need to be amongst the top 50 vote-getters.  We’re barely hanging on — somewhere around 200th place — but we’re not giving up hope.  Should we win, our wedding will be unique and sassy, like us!  We plan to purchase goods and services that are eco-friendly and that support small, local businesses and independent craftspeople.  Craftspeople like the shockingly sweet Lorena of Marañón.  I plan on wearing one of her refreshingly cool embroidered necklaces on the big day.  To help us win, Lorena has kindly donated one of her necklaces for a giveaway.  This giveaway!  We ask that you vote for us in the contest, and in return, you will be entered to win the hand-embroidered and -sewn Peacock Fan Necklace above.  If you’ve already voted for us, you’re half way there!

young indie couple in love

How to enter:

  1. Follow this link to our Ultimate Wedding Contest entry page.
  2. Click “Vote for this Entry”
  3. Enter your email address (you will NOT receive spam, this is just to verify that you are an actual person)
  4. Leave a comment on this post with your vote number (e.g. I’m vote #170).  To get your vote number, just check the vote count on our entry page after you’ve received your confirmation email.*  In your comment, be sure to include your name in the “Name” field and your email address in the “Email” field.
  5. Tell others to vote for us.  Why?  Because you’ll get additional entries and increase your chances of winning the necklace!  So tweet about it, blog about it, post a link on your Facebook wall or email it to your friends.  Just ask them to leave your name in their comment (e.g. I’m vote #170 and Kelly Jones told me to vote!)
  6. Give yourself a pat on the back!

*If you’ve already voted for us chances are I know about it.  Don’t worry about the vote number unless you remember it.

This giveaway ends Sunday, March 14th at 11:59pm CST

Daily Pretties

Daily Pretties: Love & Bedbugs

I would like to point out that, as I began scouring my collection of favorite images for my next Daily Pretties post, this Daily Pretties post, I did not intend to include cliche representations of Valentine’s Day, which, unless you’re living under a rock or, let’s say, a tent (because I’m sure there’s more room under one of those) away from our consumerism soaked culture, I’m sure you’re aware is just around the corner.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a generally optimistic person who values social relationships and the deep fulfillment they bring above most things.  (In this case, I am also considering my love affair with chocolate milk a “social relationship”.  You can judge me if you wish.)  I love “love” and celebrating it.  But people, if I see another jewelry commercial saying that buying me a diamond something-or-other is the most sincere and romantic way my significant other (who must be a man, obv) can show he loves me, I WILL puke.  Yet, despite my newly developed aversion to stereotyped images of love and romance, the beautiful collection of rich reds, soft pinks and dainty florals you see before you just… happened.  Perhaps it was non-conscious (as in subconscious, but less Freudian) — I’ve seen too many Valentine’s Day ads — but I just found these photographs too compelling to say no.

Photography by Mick Alister and *Nishe

{ Fade Away Show by Mick Alister }  { Untitled (another lovely) by *Nishe }

Shopping Sherpa

The Shopping Sherpa: T-H-E-R-M-O-S Spells Love

What’s the sincerest way to show someone you love them?  With a thermos, of course!  Just ask Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin’s character from The Jerk).  He’ll sing you a little song to explain:

Oh I’m picking out a thermos for you.
Not an ordinary thermos for you,
but the extra best thermos you can buy
with vinyl and stripes and a cup built right in.

I’m picking out a thermos for you,
and maybe a barometer too,
and what else can I buy
so on me you’ll rely?
A rear-end thermometer too.

If you asked my Mom, she’d tell you the same thing. She even sent me a vintage thermos for my birthday, just to show how much she missed me!  If you’re missing your mother or another loved one, let ’em know with one of these beautiful thermoses, handpicked by the Shopping Sherpa.  He also paired each one with some original artwork for extra flair!  That Sherpa… he loves his flair.

Clockwise from top left: White Lace Thermos from Paper Source; Yellow Birds on Gray Tiles from Lucky Bluebird Art; Vintage Orange Thermos from Tigerluxe; Untitled Print from Yael Frankel.

Clockwise from top left: Wild and Wolf Kennet Thermos from Amazon; To Swap from Yael Frankel; Earthlust Feather Thermos from The Green Life; Jetaime from Kat Hannah.

Clockwise from top left: Love Birds from Linda Solovic; Boston Traveler Thermos from Amazon; Leash the One You Love from Life with Tigers; Aladdin Hy Lo Plaid Thermos from Vintage Butterfly 94;

Clockwise from top left: Take My Hand from Paola Zakimi; Alfi Spider Thermoses from Linens-N-Things; Valentine Be Mine from The Frantic Meerkat; SIGG Thermos from

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Shopping Sherpa

The Shopping Sherpa: Engagement rings, cont.

For those of you waiting for the second installment of today’s shopping guide, the Shopping Sherpa is here to reward you!  He’s brought us 15 more killer rings to ooh and ahh over.

These wooden rings add a bit of warmth to the usual stone and metal ring.

1.  Cinco Zafiro from Naturaleza

2.  The Kendal Ring from Lotus Jewelry Studio

3.  This Sunshine Ring with yellow heartwood and citrine setting is bright and cheery.  { from Wood by Alex }

You don’t need a stone setting with these simple sculpted rings.

1.  Ratiba Ring from Sara

2.  Mod Pointy Stacking Ring from Nina Dinoff

3.  This Moebius Ring from Mynta could be a lovely symbol of your unending love.

To counter the mushiness of that last sentence, here are some sleek and dark ring options.

1.  Ebony and Sterling Silver ring from Arosha

2.  Halftone Ring from DMD Metalsmith

3.  Dark arts anyone?  Prague ring from Ach Ach Liebling

1.  Fire Opal Ring from Midwest Alchemy

2.  Apophilite ring from MSO Joies

3.  Lighthouse Ring from Dollybird

These last three are so sweet I wanna lick ’em!

1.  Silver Lace Rings from All Those 3hrees

2.  Forget Me Knot ring from Pauper’s Bounty

3.  Cute alert!  Bird Ring from Sian Bostwick

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