Author Archive

A Wedding in Cartagena

This week, one of my former co-workers is traveling to Colombia for her wedding.

A few months ago, she and her fiance contacted me about designing their wedding materials. Victoria is a unique individual – so it follows that her wedding materials would be too. As an avid traveler and humanitarian, she wanted to capture the the beautiful color and architecture of Old Town Cartagena, while also capturing the rich culture of the country. Not the typical wedding invitation requests – but such a fun challenge!

Wishing you all the best, Victoria and Mike!

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

It’s a…

Well, I’ve made no secret out of the fact that I want a little girl. I want bows and sequins in my future, and not just for me.

From the second I found out I was pregnant, though, I was positive that it was a boy. From the moment that the second line appeared on that test, I immediately – almost spontaneously – started praying for this little baby. That HE would grow into a strong and courageous man for God.

Well, the doctor confirmed what I knew all along – it’s a boy. And my dreams of bows and sequins are turning into bow ties and camo and footballs.

And so it begins… like father like son!

Baby WIlliamsBaby Williams
(Thanks to The Pear Tree for the super cute clothes – they made finding out it’s a boy that much better!)

The Happiest Anniversary

For 1,829 wonderful days, I’ve been Russell’s wife.

In that time, we’ve celebrated 5 anniversaries, birthdays, new businesses. We acquired a zoo. We traveled and adventured – a lot. Moved (a few times…) – and made a home, new lives, and dear new friends. We’ve grown in love and in our relationship. For that 1,829 days, we have been unapologetically and unequivocally happy together.

But among all of those wonderful memories from the last five years of marriage, this anniversary stands out as the best. Although we didn’t go any place exciting, no presents were exchanged, and no champagne toast – we got to see our baby move and its little heart flutter. It was pretty dang amazing.

Andrus Williams Creative

Yes, at long last, I get to write these words: I’m pregnant.

So, to my love – thank you for five amazing years of marriage and for the happiest anniversary. I am so blessed to have you by my side in this new adventure and am so excited for what’s to come.


The cornerstone of this blog is my 30 Before 30 list. Yesterday, I celebrated birthday 29. Giving me just one year to complete this list.

For quite a while, I’ve known that I’m not going to complete it. Not even close.

There were so many things that naive-23-year-old-Julia assumed about her life and her future that didn’t exactly come to be. It didn’t even cross her mind that she might be living in Dalhart; she hadn’t even heard of Dalhart. She didn’t think that both she and her husband would ever work non-traditional, non-office jobs. She didn’t think she’d get tired of her old hobbies, want new ones, or change her interests. She didn’t think it would be so dang hard to get pregnant. She didn’t think that sleeping in and laying on the couch at night would sound so much better than doing something active. I’m not even sure if she thought she would age.

Well, life showed her.

As I look over my list now, there are so many of the goals that are still important to me. And so many that just aren’t. With my last year, there are several goals that I’m excited to keep working on – and a few I’m excited to let go of the pressure to do. Here’s a little update on my progress… and lack there of.

Go on a safari. 23-year-old-Julia didn’t think it would be so hard to get her husband to go to Africa with her. One of these days, I’m going to get him to come around.

Give regularly and substantially to charity. Done. Having always worked in the non-profit sphere, it was easy to throw my support behind whatever organization I was working for at the time. But, it has been so fun and fulfilling to step away from working in that world and be able to give where my heart actually and fully is.

Learn to eat more vegetables. Done. This is one of the goals that I put a lot of time and effort into. I’ve so enjoyed finding new vegetables and new recipes that I can not only tolerate, but actually enjoy. The biggest hurdle – realizing that you don’t have to boil a vegetable to mush (something my dear grandmother never learned).

Learn Latin dancing. Didn’t happen. Probably not going to happen.

Learn a new language. This is the goal that I have the most regret about. I have Rosetta Stone and live with a fluent Spanish speaker. Why is the only thing I can say in Spanish “Yo quiero Taco Bell” ?!? And I don’t even like Taco Bell.

Go to all the continents (well, besides Antarctica. It’s just cold there.) I only have Australia to go! Crossing my fingers to cross this one off the list soon. Maybe for my 30th!

Learn to play tennis. Russell and I totally played tennis several times in DC. Then we moved to the part of the world where it blows 40 mph wind on a normal day, with dirt and cow poo in the air. And that was the end of our tennis playing.

Stop being so dang forgetful. I plead the fifth on this one.

Start and maintain my own garden. We started a garden, and moved, and started a new one, and moved, and so on… And it’s in my plans for my backyard makeover. I’m feeling confident that I’ll have this one checked off by next year!

Become a better cook. Check.

Improve photography skills. Check.

Start scrapbooking again. I haven’t been able to get back into paper scrapbooking, but I have done digital scrapbooking. That counts…?

Learn HTML and Flash and create a website. I didn’t learn too much HTML or Flash, but I have created a website or two.

Find ways to manage my stress besides having a short temper, crying, and grinding my teeth. Unfortunately, my dentist can tell you this didn’t come to be.

Have active savings accounts for each kids’ college and our retirement. Let’s get real… after four years as a farmwife, I still don’t understand farm finances. So, I have no idea if we are planning for retirement. Do farmers retire??

Be able to do pushups and pull-ups. Haha.

Go on a cruise. Completed!

Make a cookbook of family recipes. This is another goal that I regret not happening yet. One year left to get it done…

Do a wine tour of Napa Valley. No tour of Napa yet, but I did tour Temecula, CA

Completely forgive anyone I hold grudges against. True, total, Biblical forgiveness is so hard. You think that pain and resentment is gone – and then one day it rears its ugly head. This is something I am constantly working on and praying about. I know it’s a soul thing, not a head thing – and those just seem to be harder to change.

Move back to Texas! Check. Y’all.

Learn to drive a stick shift. I still have no idea what a clutch is or what it does.

Learn to ski or snowboard. It turns out, I still don’t like the cold. So, I haven’t spent so much time (read: any time) working on this one. And, unless I can find a place to ski or snowboard in Hawaii, I’m probably not going to.

Maintain relationships with my relatives. So happy to say yes to this one. Not only do I still have a wonderful relationship with my family, I’ve gotten to know Russell’s family so much better since starting this list. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful, loving, supportive families in our lives.

Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry. Check!

Stay fit. Ugh. This goal hangs over me every morning when I sleep in instead of getting up and going to the gym. Right now, this one is a fail.

Be a better reader. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes it’s not.

Become more aware of current events and politics. I’m a total political cynic since leaving DC and so disillusioned by our government, its leaders, and our society in general. And I avoid the news as a result. So much so, that my recent Google searches include “What is ISIS?” I wouldn’t say I’m too aware.

Enjoy life with Russell. So much, yes. Life with him is a ball.

Be genuinely at peace when I turn 30. Life has thrown a lot of curve balls and tough times over the last few years. I could have never pictured this life that I’m living – and I sure wish there were some things that I’d done differently along the way. But today, at 29, I have the most amazing husband, a wonderful and entertaining zoo of pets, a lovely home, and Purpose for my life. And I’m at peace with that.


Hello Fresh Review

When I worked from home, I was such an adventurous cook. I constantly sought out new ingredients, new recipes, and new cooking methods. My blog was full of new and old recipes and the occasional successful experiment. “Become a better cook” is one of the 30 before 30 goals that I’ve really gone above and beyond to try to accomplish! I guess that’s what cooking three meals a day does to you…

When I transitioned back to working outside of the home, my adventurous culinary spirit took an extended vacation. Now, dinner is all about what is the easiest, fastest, or requires the least thought to make. And, as a result, I’m kinda bored with my cooking.

I’ve had friends who sing praises about Plated… but they don’t deliver here. Recently, another friend recommended Blue Apron, but they had a long wait time. So I googled around for other similar services and found Hello Fresh. I’ve gotten two boxes so far – and I think it’s pretty great!

Here’s how it works. Russell and I are signed up for the couples box – but there’s an option for families too. I go online and pick 3 meals from a menu of 5 options for the week. Then, the following Thursday, I get a box delivered with all of the ingredients for 2 servings of the 3 meals I picked. It comes packed on ice, with the meat separate from the rest of the ingredients. And, a booklet is included with the recipes and information about each meal!

Hello Fresh Review :: Andrus Williams CreativeHello Fresh ReviewSo far, we’ve had Smoky Adobo Chicken Tacos with Mango Slaw (yum), Brioche Shrimp Rolls, a Charred Scallion and Corn Flatbread (SO good!), and Thai Pork Laarb Burgers (can’t wait to make again!). And I have the ingredients for Steak with Summer Vegetables and Crushed Beet Spaghetti waiting in my refrigerator.

When I signed up for the service, I read some iffy reviews online. So I was skeptical at first. But here are my honest thoughts… The ingredients all came totally fresh and packaged well – as good or better than what I can get locally. The recipes have been delicious and easy to make. But, my favorite part – the meals are pretty different than anything I would make normally. Considering how limited my culinary options are here in the middle of no where, this kind of service makes such a huge impact on our meals and my cooking.

Hello Fresh is doing a promotion right now, and I can give away FREE meals to 3 people! The first ones to contact me get it. So leave a message or get in touch on social media if you want to try it! Or, you can use my referral code to sign up – G5TGQH – and get $40 off your first box!


Farmer’s Market Baby Shower

There isn’t much I enjoy more than planning a party or helping host a shower. So much so that a friend and I talked about starting an event planning business – and then our husbands told us we were a liiiittle crazy…

Last weekend, I helped host a baby shower – and it might just be my favorite one yet. (Although, I think I say that after every party!) On one of my late night Pinterest sessions, I came across a farmer’s market themed wedding and fell in love. It was so different and fresh.

We decided to use that as the theme for this baby shower, as well. I’ll speak for the other hostesses and say – it was so much fun to plan and think creatively within the off-beat theme. The shower is full of all kinds of vintage and DIY goodness. Sources listed at the bottom of the blog!

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeFlowers :: Selene Schumacher of In A Bind Cooking
Cupcakes :: The Ruffled Cup, Amarillo, Texas
All Other Food :: Homemade!
Advice Cards :: Designed by Angela Lusk
Invites, banners, and signs :: Andrus Williams Creative
Photography :: Andrus Williams Creative
Frames, Candles, Trays, Book Boxes :: B. Whimsy, Dalhart, Texas
Cutlery :: Smarty Had A Party
Flea Market Decor :: Hobby Lobby
Everything else was borrowed from the hostesses

Backyard Makeover :: Day 1

After – um, 3 years – of talking about expanding our backyard, the project is finally underway! A bit ago, we bought the lot next to us so that we can have more room for our zoo and better outdoor living. Russell and I both grew up in the country, and we’re craving a little more space and a few more trees.

If you know me at all, you know I think big. So, this backyard makeover is really a 3 phase project. And, at the rate we tend to move, the three phases will probably take place over the next 10 years. But, at least we’re finally making progress!

In this first phase, we’re fencing in the new lot next to us, landscaping, and planting trees. And I can’t stay away from home renovations… so we are turning our existing patio into a sun room. I’m so excited to have better access to outdoor living space! I’m dreaming of trees, and sunset views, and evening breezes. (And, yes, I know, flies and dirt and 40 mph winds.)

I can’t wait to see the area transform…  I hope it turns out at least half as awesome as it looks in my head.

Here are a few pictures from Day 1. Stay tuned for more as the project progresses!Andrus WilliamsAndrus WilliamsAndrus WilliamsAndrus WilliamsAndrus Williams


Family Session :: Dalhart, TX

After a photo session, I feel like I get to know people on a different level than I would through just normal conversation. I know what their genuine smiles and laughs look and sound like, when they are comfortable and when they aren’t, and how they interact with each other.

That’s one of my favorite things about photography. Not only the challenge of trying to capture that – but also really getting to know new people and families who I might not have otherwise met. I recently photographed these sweet kids – whose parents I first met when they booked a photo session shortly after I moved to Dalhart. Today, they are among my closest friends.

When I do photo sessions, I generally like to be outside, with green backgrounds and lots of beautiful sunlight near sunset. Since we have done a few photo sessions before, I decided to try a different style. We did the photo session at their home, for a more relaxed lifestyle shoot.

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

Catching Up

Well, it’s my 5 year blogging anniversary! I reserved my domain name five years ago and posted my first blog a couple of days later.

When I go through all of my old blog posts, I realize it’s been a full five years! Too often, it’s all too easy for me to focus on my failures and shortcomings. But in reality, I’ve been so lucky and blessed to see and experience and accomplish a lot in those years. It has been harder and better in ways I wouldn’t have thought – but the last five years have profoundly shaped me. And, it has definitely taken me on a completely different path than I could have possibly imagined.

In that five years of blogging, I’ve documented my engagement and wedding; major moves and transitions as we moved from DC to Farwell to Dalhart; lots of cooking and baking; about a billion photos of the sunset, flowers, my little zoo, and our everyday adventures; some pretty amazing and life changing trips around the world; the creation of new businesses; my 30 before 30 goals; and the list goes on…

And, throughout those five years, I’ve struggled with how to use this website as both a personal and professional space. And, really, how appropriate considering my real life issues with work-personal life balance. The equilibrium is constantly changing – and I’m doing my best to keep up!

But, on this five year anniversary, I’m excited to try a new format for my website to attempt to bring better balance. I’ve launched a separate area for work related posts and information; while maintaining the space for my personal blog and online journal. Hopefully with this new direction, I’ll be able to update a little more often!

So, with that said, it’s time for a little catch up. Here are some photos from the recent work that I haven’t been blogging about…

Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams PhotographyGraphic Design by Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams PhotographyAndrus Williams CreativeMET_0554Graphic Design by Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams CreativeGraphic Design by Andrus Williams CreativeAndrus Williams Creative

On Happiness

My five year blogging anniversary is coming up soon. Which means, five years ago, I woke up and realized I had everything I wanted but I wasn’t happy. Not in a something is wrong, UNhappy kind of way – just in a restless, unfulfilled, purpose-less way.

And so I started this blog around the concept of never letting life pass you by, living intentionally, and constantly pursuing happiness. I hoped that blogging would keep me accountable to this pursuit. And, I guess it was successful, as I dedicated an alarmingly selfish amount of my life these last five years to pursing my happiness – to learning, to adventuring, to loving, to eating, to creating, to helping.

Andrus Williams Photography

During my blogging journey, I’ve talked to so many of my peers who face this similar restless feeling. Growing up, my generation was taught that we could do anything, be anyone, change the world. We went to college with ambitious dreams of how we could leave our mark on humanity.

In many ways, we’ve accomplished what we thought we wanted. We’ve entered the career we want. Or we’ve found the spouse and the kids we dreamed of. We’re emerging as the active figures and leaders in our communities and churches. And yet, it doesn’t feel the way we thought it would. So, we desperately cry out to figure out what God’s plan is for our life; what our purpose on this Earth is. Surely, it must be bigger than this.


I’m currently reading a book – Restless by Jennie Allen – about realizing your purpose, contentment, and happiness, specifically in the context of fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.

As I’ve read it, I’m realizing that for once I actually feel purposeful, settled, and content in this little life I have. I always thought it would be some big finish line I crossed; some big accomplishment. But, it seems it crept up on me without my awareness. (And, how ironic that the most content time in life comes at a time that it is also full of pain and frustration. Never have I better understood the lyrics It is well with my soul.)

It finally hit me that my sense of purpose and happiness came about when I stopped searching so fiercely for it. Instead, it came when I started pursing God before myself. When I stopped worrying about me and my contribution and my legacy and how it all makes me feel.

I used to think of Christianity as hard – so many dos and don’ts, too many rules, and too many things to fail at. As I’ve matured in my relationship with Christ, I so plainly see now how simple his life, death, resurrection made it for us. Love God, love others, go into all the world.

Andrus Williams Photography

That’s it. That’s our purpose on this Earth.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not complicated. And there are a million different ways to fulfill this purpose. It’s going to Ethiopia to feed the hungry; it’s taking dinner to your neighbor. It’s starting a non-profit for at-risk youth; it’s volunteering in your church’s nursery. It’s entering full-time ministry; it’s praying for your community. It’s helping start an orphanage; it’s adopting; it’s raising your kids the best you can. It’s doing – using your time, talents, energy, resources – for God.

Instead of getting tangled up in the details, worrying whether it’s enough, and trying to overcomplicate our purpose – thus losing the purpose and contentment altogether – focus on loving God fervently, loving others always, and going into this world and doing for the Kingdom. However we can, wherever we can, whenever we can.

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