Hi friends! My name is Cat: the cooker, crafter and blogger over here at The Rustic Willow.

I’m a twenty-something-year old living in Colorado. I’m a huge believer in traveling to the unknown, exploring new places, and dreaming big. I’ve been a bit of a nomad the past few years and have moved from New jersey to Virginia to Louisiana and now I’m settled in Colorado.

1798625_10152980808753223_348175016293646390_nI grew up in New Jersey and have a passionate love for New Jersey, however after going to college at James Madison University I fell in love with traveling and volunteering. After I graduated, I moved down south to help the homeless population of New Orleans as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

3(There I am with my alligator friend.)

I started this blog after I had some success with my Etsy shop where I sell hand-painted signs. After I began the shop I was taking over the house and kitchen table with wood, paints and crafts–shortly after, my sweet, sweet boyfriend devoted a room in his house to my crafts. A whole room! Since then, I haven’t wanted to stop crafting.

And when I’m not crafting, I’m cooking. When I was in college my diet consisted of two major food groups: pasta and pizza (and the occasional Chinese food). I know what you’re thinking… “really healthy.” Luckily, when I moved to New Orleans I fell in love with cooking and the concept of combining flavors to make new flavors and mixing foods to see what tasted delicious (and occasionally what didn’t turn out to be so delicious). After moving in with my boyfriend and his daughter, Aurora, I now have two taste testers on hand at all times–a job that I’m pretty sure they don’t mind doing.

steve_aurora_catSpeaking of that sweet, sweet boyfriend of mine–it’s about time you learned a little about him, since I’m sure he’ll pop up on this blog in my weekly rambles. His name is Stephen and I met him my first week in New Orleans, which just so happens was his first week there as well (fate?!). Stephen was stationed there for the Marine Corps and I ended up kicking his butt in beer pong at a mutual friend’s party. And the rest, they say, is history.

We’ve been dating for almost three years now and have since moved to Colorado together to be closer to our families, and for better job opportunities.

1He is a wonderful supporter of my dreams, listener of my occasional venting sessions, and helper when the manly handyman portions of my projects come up. He provides the smiles in my days and the comforts in my life. Also, sometimes we wear matching Fourth of July shirts:

stephen_about_meI was a bit apprehensive about moving to Colorado, since I was entirely in love with New Orleans. But I have to say, the beauty of Colorado is insanely breathtaking, and the amount of adventure is right up my alley. Exhibit A, dog sledding:

2Now that’s enough about me, let’s hear about you! Without you dropping by to learn about my projects or to read my recipes, there wouldn’t be much more to this whole blogging thing than me sitting in front of a computer talking to myself. So leave me a comment on a project/recipe you love, or email me to chat at cat(at)therusticwillow.com.