K A T | small business gift guide

There are so many things I’m thankful for this holiday season. (So many that I honestly can’t list them all!) My friends and family certainly top the list. It’s like God knew exactly who and what kind of relationships I needed and gave them to me. (Gosh, I should really trust Him more!) The support they show me in my personal life as well as the support they show me with When it Rains Paper definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Sometimes, I STILL have mini panic attacks that I don’t have a secure 9-5 job with a guaranteed income every month. But at the end of the day, I’m so thankful that I get to be my own boss, set my own schedule, and run a creative (and oh so cute, if I do say so myself) business with my best friend. And that totally outweighs all the mini panic attacks. Going full-time has really taught me the importance of supporting small businesses. I speak from experience when I say, it takes a special “hustle” attitude to keep a small business running and those are the types of people I want to be supporting! I come from a family of people who have started their own businesses. Whether it was my dad who started his own dental practice or my cousin running an interior design business in NYC, I’ve seen firsthand how hard these people work. Not to mention when you shop small or shop local you’re putting food on their table, paying their light bill, and putting gas in their car. Do I sound like a crazy small business activist? Because I think I might be when it comes to this topic. Without further ado, I bring you the first YCSWU gift guide of the season. No shocker here…every item on the list is supporting a small business! (Bonus: you’ll also be supporting local businesses as most of these are Atlanta based.)


1. French Silver // tea towels //  $12
2. Local Produce Design // pillows // $50
3. East Creak Candle Co. // soy candles  // $12
4. Melting Sun Apparel // leather clutch // prices vary
5. Blackrabbet Framing Studio // natural wood frame // $28
6. When it Rains Paper Co. // acrylic tray // $45
7. Neva Opet // rose gold tassel keychain // $18
8. By Jodi // pave bangle bracelet // $220
9. Britt Bass // 2016 calendar // $55
10. With Wonder Paper // floral print // $12
11. My Friend Court // coffee mug // $20
12. Bricks and Baubles // agate necklace // $44

Yeah, I’m also asking for new riding boots, a J.Crew puffer vest, and the white Keurig. I know it’s not realistic to do all your shopping with small businesses but try to reserve a tiny portion of your budget for the little guys. You’ll be making a bigger difference than you think. Hope y’all have a great Thanksgiving celebrating with friends and family!


J O A N N A | flashback: strawberry pretzel salad recipe


Are you guys ready to get stuffed? Yeah, me too. At this point you’re probably prepping for Thanksgiving, most likely searching the interwebs high and low for the perfect recipe that will be sure to impress your family. Well, the gals at YCSWU are here to help you out. Just go to our handy-dandy Food tab and select Recipes… you’ll have SO many options to pick from and I’m confident you’ll find something the whole family will love! Easy as pie. I’ll leave you with one of my faves to get you started. Hello Strawberry Salad, GOODBYE yucky cranberry sauce that no one eats! Enjoy! flashbackfriday_edited-1image (1)Its day 3 of Thanksgiving recipe takeover week! Even though I am not the greatest cook, I loooooove to eat! So, Thanksgiving Day is obviously one of my favorite days of the year! For most families there are certain things you only get during the holidays. For my husband’s family, it’s his grandmother’s famous punch that they only get at Christmas. For my family, it’s my Aunt Patti’s strawberry pretzel salad. Why do we do this to ourselves? Where is it written down that we must withhold these amazing items from our tables all year-long? Who makes these rules anyway? Whoever you are… I loathe you!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad is always a big hit. Don’t let the “salad” part keep you from trying this dish… it’s not really a salad… it’s more like heaven on your plate. The idea of this dish is to give you a better alternative for cranberries (Let’s be honest, anything would be better). My family eats it with our Thanksgiving dinner… Brett’s family took awhile to get used to that idea so they usually eat it for dessert. I don’t care when, where, or how you eat this… just do it. You’ll thank me, I promise.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Crust |

:: 2 ½ cups crushed pretzels

:: 1 cup melted butter

:: 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Cream center |

:: 1 oz. package cream cheese

:: 1 8 oz. package cool whip

:: 1 cup sugar

Jell-O topping |

:: 1 large pack strawberry Jell-O

:: 1 ½ cup boiling water

:: 2 10 oz. frozen strawberriesDSC_0079

Step 1 | Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix pretzels, butter and brown sugar in processor. Press into bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes then let cool completely.

Step 2 | Mix cream cheese, sugar, and cool whip together and spread over pretzel layer. Refrigerate to let layer set.

Step 3 | Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water, stir in frozen strawberries. Cool until partially set and then spoon over cheese mixture.

Step 4 | Refrigerate overnight.DSC_4944Thanks to my Aunt Patti who supplied me with her PERFECT recipe and all the wonderful memories that come with it! Have you guys checked out Cason’s broccoli and rice casserole recipe or Kat’s macaroni and cheese recipe? If not, get on it now! We’ll keep the recipe party going tomorrow, so be sure to check in!joanna_crop

C A S O N | wallpaper wednesday

wallpaper-wednesdayAround this time of year I feel like I have Buddy the elf whispering in one ear and the Grinch whispering in the other. “Pull out your tree!” “People will judge you.” “Watch Christmas movies!” “Get a life.” If you’re like me, your DYING to deck the halls and decorate every mantle, nook, and surface you can get your hands on. While we wait for the official post-Thanksgiving safe zone, why not at least give your personal tech devices a festive makeover? Nobody even has to know. I created 3 new wallpaper designs to help get you into the holiday spirit!

grateful-showcase_edited-1 Desktop iPhone 5 iPhone 6

mistletoe-showcase_edited-1 Desktop   iPhone 5   iPhone 6

winter-showcase Desktop iPhone 5 iPhone 6

Happy wallpaper Wednesday and happy (ALMOST) holidays!


J O A N N A | magdalene’s birth story

BabyMagdalene_002Photos: Audra Starr Photography 

Magdalene Day was 17 days past her “due date” and really made a grand entrance. I am just now getting to the place where I can recall my labor and delivery without feeling nauseous. I wrote this down for Magdalene to read later but decided to share with our YCSWU readers because so many people have asked for all of the gory details. So here they are… well, most of them.

I was expecting to be at least a week “late” (based on family history), so the emotional rollercoaster of waiting for the baby to get here didn’t really kick in till I hit day 7. I’m glad I didn’t know that I still had 10 days left of pregnancy or I may have actually lost it. All of my friends and family were so anxious…calling or texting everyday, asking “what is your doctor saying?!” Well, my doctor said that everything was great with our little one and the only risk of continuing to wait was my emotional state… and boy was he right. At some point I will share the MANY things I tried to help get Magz moving along, but this post would be way too long if I included it now. Trust me.

BabyMagdalene_011BabyMagdalene_021I’m not sure if any of the home remedies I tried actually worked, BUT on Wednesday October 7th (day 17), I finally started having consistent contractions. By 10pm that night they were killer, I was getting to the point where I HAD to have Brett near me at all times so that I could lean on him, or more literally, hang on him, during every contraction. (Brett and/or my doula held me up during almost every contraction until the baby came… it probably looked weird, but it totally worked for me.) Around midnight my contractions were around 4-6 minutes apart were lasting at least a full minute so we headed to the hospital. We were delivering at DeKalb Medical which was about a 30 minute drive, so needless to say, that wasn’t the easiest car ride I’ve ever had. When we arrived I was measuring at 5 centimeters and they immediately checked us into a room. Not knowing if I would want to use it, I had requested a birthing tub so they immediately started setting it up. The tub ended up being a huge blessing and I spent quite a bit of time in there. For the next 10-ish hours I labored in the tub, in the shower, and walked around the room. I don’t know why, but I found it impossible to get in the bed. I was in and out of the tub numerous times each time the nurses would check the water temperature and re-heat it for me. (DeKalb Medical is wonderful) The warm, relaxing feeling the water provided was glorious and one of the few moments I was able to feel any relief. Also there to help me through the whole event was my incredible support team, my doula (Kathleen) and Brett. They were constantly moving with me, giving me water, giving me pep talks, rubbing my back, etc… I seriously could NOT have done it without their support. Around 8am on the 8th of October I saw the sun starting to come up and I STILL didn’t have a baby… I couldn’t believe it. I was starting to seriously think this baby was never EVER going to come out. At this point I was measuring around 7cm and was so completely exhausted my midwife was concerned that I wouldn’t have any energy left to push when the time came. She gave me some medication to help me sleep between contractions, which turned out to be an excellent call.

Before I go on let me say this… I had an emergency c-section with our son, William. While I believe the procedure was totally necessary and needed, it was a very traumatic experience. Our doctors and midwives at the time were truly awful and made a hard situation even harder. I also got a really bad infection afterwards and the recovery was miserable. Having said all that, I was adamant about trying for a natural, vaginal birth this go around. I set out to learn as much as I could about labor and delivery, I wanted to have all the answers before I had any questions. I also knew that I needed to find a OBGYN that supported me 100%, so when I found Dr. Bootstaylor and the team at SeeBaby Midwifery I knew I had hit the jackpot. Anyone that knows me knows my passion for birth AND my passion for SeeBaby. Brett and I trusted them completely; if Dr. B. had told us that I needed to have a caesarean birth I would have trusted his judgement and gone into it knowing that I would be handled with care and still have the birth I wanted. That is a feeling that money can’t buy. We were truly blessed.

The medication wore of after a couple of hours and when I woke up around 10am, I was measure just over 9cm. After about 16 hours of labor I was finally ready to push… so I pushed for 4 more hours. Yep. For the first 2 hours of pushing I was in the shower, in the tub, standing up, and finally, my legs were done. I didn’t want to, but everyone encouraged me to try pushing on my side, in the bed. I finally got in a position that I could handle and pushed for two more hours there. It was THE hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I have to say that I pushed through it (pun intended).

Finally, in the 20th hour of my NATURAL labor, the time had arrived. The baby was COMING! I heard Dr. Bootstaylor say to Brett, “alright daddy, get ready to deliver your baby”… Brett responded, “that’s ok”. But, the doctor didn’t give him a choice. He said, “you HAVE to delivery your baby” and before I knew it, Brett caught our baby girl and handed her to me himself!

BabyMagdalene_025I was able to immediately enjoy 2 hours of skin to skin time with my brand new daughter, where she nursed and held my gaze almost the whole time. I finally let daddy hold her… and after that we finally let the nurses check her out. Those first moments are wrapped up in so many emotions that I have a hard time articulating it. Just know, it was beautiful and everything I hoped for.

BabyMagdalene_045BabyMagdalene_048There were so many things that helped set us up for a positive experience; choosing a healthcare provider that I trusted and was on the same page as us, having a support team that was with me the whole way, and taking a birthing class… these are just a few of the things I would recommend to anyone having a baby. I had a lot of ups and downs during my pregnancy AND delivery and I do plan to share them with the YCSWU readers at some point. I learned so much and was so encouraged from reading fellow bloggers birth stories that I feel like I need to share my own experiences as well. This stuff is obviously a passion of mine; I feel called to help educate as many women as I can to make their own, informed decisions for themselves, their baby’s, and their families. So bear with me as I tackle one issue at a time and please share this post with anyone you think may benefit from it.

**If you have any questions please comment or feel free to shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

BabyMagdalene_016The road to get to where we are has been long… I have failed, I have been broken, I have been weak. But God is faithful. He has been my comforter, my strength and my guide every step of the way. I still can’t believe He chose me to be Magdalene’s mommy.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Thanks for reading,joanna_crop

KAT | flashback friday: diy glitter pinecones

Do you need the perfect tablescape for Thanksgiving? Look no further! I’m sharing Cason’s glitter pinecone DIY that’s sure to make your table look great. Get to glittering my friends!




In case you haven’t gotten the memo, glitter pinecones are like…all the rage! I’ve seen them popping up everywhere from Pinterest to Target to West Elm. The best thing about glitter pinecones is that they make a great transition decoration. These little guys would look great on your coffee table October through January! I may not be the queen of DIY, but I will say that I made these for a Thanksgiving centerpiece YEARS ago! Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery so if Target and West Elm want to take a page from my DIY book, who am I to deny?! (Maybe there is a little DIY-er in me after all! Maybe.)

This one is practically in the “DIY for Dummies” book. All you need is pinecones, a sponge brush, newspaper, paint color of choice, and glitter color of choice. Easy-peasy!


1 | This step is optional but if you’re worried about bugs, just put your pinecones in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Be sure to line your baking sheet with foil! I may or may not have ruined one of my mother’s cookie sheets because of the sap that also cooks out of them. Sorry Mom!

2 | Once your pinecones have cooled, simply paint as much or as little as you want of the pine cone. I loved the look of just the edges being white so that’s all I did. I’ve seen them dipped in paint so you can really be as crazy as you want!

3 | Before the paint dries, sprinkle glitter on the pine cone. Shake off any excess and let dry. That’s it!


Need some ideas for your newest sparkly fall addition? Check out these ideas I found on Pinterest!

DIY with the Sweetest Occasion

 [ Pine cone garland courtesy of The Sweetest Occasion ]


[ Pine cone place card holders courtesy of The Better Half ]


[ Thanksgiving tablescape courtesy of A Pumpkin & A Princess ]

Happy Tuesday and happy pine cone crafting!


C A S O N | spinach & artichoke dip recipe


One of my absolute favorite appetizers is Houston’s spinach and artichoke dip. I have tried for YEARS to find a recipe that comes close to theirs and have basically failed every single time. I made this version for a tailgate earlier this fall and it was a major hit – definitely the closest I’ve come!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

1 (6.25 ounce) jar marinated artichokes (drained)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained very well)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup freshly grated romano cheese
1/4 cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
3/4 cup sour cream

1 | In a food processor, blend artichokes, Romano cheese, garlic and Parmesan cheese for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Artichokes and cheeses should be minced, but should not be pasty.

2 | In a mixing bowl add drained spinach, half and half, sour cream, mozzarella, stir well. Add artichoke and cheese mixture. Blend all ingredients.

3 | Spray an oven proof shallow serving dish. Pour artichoke mixture into baking dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350 degrees. I have also just allowed the dip to heat up in a Crock-Pot for a couple of hours and it was just as good. Artichoke dip should be a little bubbly and cheese melted through.

4 | Remove from oven and serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Happy Thursday!


A U D G E | filling the capsule gaps

Over the summer I started doing a capsule wardrobe, and honestly I’m still totally digging it. I’ve learned a lot, and still am! So I don’t claim to have mastered the art by any means, and I miiiiight’ve had a couple of cheat days mixed in here and there… but so far I’m loving the place we’re at right now. It’s really helped me adjust my mindset on the things that I wear and how I shop/get rid of things. It’s majorly simplified my life too when it comes time to get ready each day… and not only that, it forces me to get out of my workout pants (because that was essentially what I lived in on mom island) and to feel like a real person again! Even if it is only just for a quick run to Publix or just shooting the breeze with my kids… it’s amazing how much difference a good pair of pants can make. ;)

Piecing together my summer capsule wardrobe was a breeze, mostly because I had a ton of items already that I was in love with that went well in the mix. Fall proved to be a bit more challenging, and for a couple of different reasons. 1) We don’t really have a true seasonal transition here in Georgia. I feel like we’re juuuuuust now getting to those temperatures where we can get away with calling it “fall” – but for awhile there I thought it was going to be endless summer!! The temperatures went back and forth so much and for so long that it made it kind of hard to fully transition the wardrobe from season to season. I was essentially operating out of two separate capsules for awhile there and just mixing them together, but it just didn’t feel right. Now we’re in a more regular groove, so I think we’ve overcome that part of it! My other obstacle? 2) Turns out I didn’t have as many fall/winter items stashed in my wardrobe that I was in love with… which made it way less fun.

This past weekend I was able to get away for a mom’s retreat and we were able to sneak in a little shopping without kids… (*insert alleluia chorus here*) so now my closet rack is much more joyful! I really had to consider a few things with each purchase though. I realized that part of the reason I didn’t like much from my fall wardrobe from previous years is that I mostly just bought whatever was cheap at the time, even if it wasn’t necessarily my favorite. Put a bunch of not-so-favorite pieces together and that’s a whole lot of BLAH. So this go round I was really intentional about seeking out the brands and the quality that I liked and wanted to invest in for long term, and also items that can transition into warmer seasons too if I need them to! And more importantly, I already had a list of things I was hunting for to prevent me from aimlessly shopping and coming home with things I already had or didn’t really need. This was HUGE for me! A little task that went a long way for me… and I’ll probably keep doing it whenever I need to. If we’re going to meal plan, it’s not so crazy to wardrobe plan after all… right?!

So here are a few things I’m either currently eyeing, or that you might be seeing on me over the next few weeks – hot mom check-in, what whaaaat! ;)


If you haven’t been following along with this little journey so far, don’t worry! #youcanCAPSULEwithuS – so come on!! Plus, I’ve been a total slacker at posting things anyway so you haven’t missed out on much yet. I’ll try my best to keep putting ideas and inspirations out there for you guys… and let me know if you’re going at it too! Maybe that will help me help you… or something like that. :)

Here’s to living a little more simply! And loving the things and people around us a little more fully, because they are preeeetty great after all. There’s so much to be thankful for!

Until next time…


J O A N N A | thanksgiving prep

The holiday’s are right around the corner… like it or not. Unfortunately, life with a newborn doesn’t really allow time for crafting or decorating, but I’ve got all the time in the world for Pinterest! (My favorite nursing pastime!) Please enjoy my finds to help ya prep and make the most of Thanksgiving! Side note: If you DO have a baby and still manage to go all out for the holidays, please tell me everything you know!

D E C O R A T I N G ::

DSC_0946_thumb1The Frugal Homemaker

1-draw4_1024x1024Caravan digital downloads

Kraft-Paper-Table-Runner-Thanksgiving-Tablescape-MainDawn Nicole Designs

thanksgiving-center-piece-10_thumbThe Idea Room

G I V I N G  T H A N K S ::

5213117410_789aba8b48_oSimple Vintage Girl 

thanksgiving1Carina Gardner

D R I N K! :: (To celebrate making it to the actual event! This one has the most chance of actually happening at my house.)

Honeycrisp-Apple-Sangria-Recipe-a-great-cocktail-for-the-fall-seasonSally’s Baking Addiction

A little over two weeks till Thanksgiving people, you got this!joanna_crop

C A S O N | flashback: easy homemade apple pie

How is it already November?! Right before the holidays is my favorite time of year. I just want to press pause and savor it for as long as I can. This apple pie is a tried and true Rainwater favorite made at least once or twice this time of year. If you’ve made a trip to north Georgia this year for apples, then you MUST try this recipe. I made this apple pie for a group of friends last weekend in the mountains and all I’m saying is that there were no leftovers. Have a great fall weekend filled with football, warm drinks, family, and a slice of apple pie!


It’s that time of year again! It’s not officially fall until you’ve (A) Taken a picture at a pumpkin patch, (B) Worn scarves and/or boots pretending it’s cooler than it really is, (C) Stopped on the side of the road for boiled peanuts, (D) Ordered a pumpkin spice latte, and (E) Made a homemade apple pie! Apples are in season and your pies will never taste better than they do right now. Kat, Mom, and I have already made a trip to Ellijay (apple capital of GA!) to purchase our bushel and a peck of north Georgia apples.

My mom got this apple pie recipe from a great family friend. It’s definitely not your traditional lattice crust pie. It’s more like apple pie meets apple cobbler but it’s the only pie recipe I swear by!

Easy Apple Pie

For filling:
:: 6 large apples
:: 1 tsp. cinnamon
:: 1/2 cup white sugar
:: 1 unbaked pie shell (deep dish)

For crumble topping:
:: 1/2 cup white sugar
:: 1/4 cup brown sugar
:: 3/4 cup flour
:: 1/3 cup softened butter

1 | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your pie dish with nonstick cooking spray and spread your pie shell out in the dish.

2 | Peel apples and then cut them to desired size. You can just throw them in your pie dish – no need for a bowl!

3 | Evenly sprinkle in your sugar and cinnamon for the filling.


4 | Mix all ingredients for the topping until crumbly and evenly place on top of apples. (Sometimes I make extra crumble topping because I love it so much!)

5 | Bake at 350* for 1 hour. (Tip: Pie will slice better if you let it cool for about half an hour.)

apple-crisp-recipeapple-cobbler-recipeServe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect fall treat! What other fall sweets do you look forward to? I’d love to try it out and blog about it!


A U D G E | the good life

000017720006Things don’t always turn out the way I think they will.

Sometimes it’s WAY better, and sometimes it’s painfully worse. And sometimes I can’t really tell if it’s better or worse… it’s just nothing like I envisioned it.

While living life with little kids in tow, I try to plan and prepare as much as I can, anticipating needs and jumping hurdles to keep everyone happy… which sometimes pans out and sometimes leaves me completely defeated before I even leave the driveway. While making plans and dreaming about what we want our lives to look like, or our communities to look like, or even our relationships with friends and family to look like – you build all of these things up in your mind and start striving towards this end goal… but what if that’s not it at all?

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” – Corrie ten Boom

This seems to have become a theme in my life lately. Whenever something starts becoming all-consuming to me, I feel this nudge to take a step back. To remove myself  and to look at it for exactly what it is… and be okay with whatever direction it takes. And to be okay with how little control I have over making that actually happen. And you know what? It’s SO freeing.

You know what else I’m realizing? 99% of the time I’m the one putting all of this pressure on myself and these dreams. So what if it doesn’t look like what I thought it would? Maybe it’s not supposed to.

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

That’s a short list of things that are required from me. Meaty and bold tasks, yes. But I’ll take that over the never-ending list I made any day.

““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

I think we make things so much more complicated than they need to be. Thank God for grace, for his patience with me when I get all in a tizzy, and for his jealous love that will never let me hold anything else tighter than Him.

Now loosen that grip and follow His lead, wherever it takes you. His adventure is probably nothing like you thought it would be.

Love you friends!! Until next time,