2013 is Going to be Awesome

12.29.2012

2013 is going to be awesome! Quite possibly the best year ever. Ryan and I have so many hopes and dreams for the coming year, and we've already started to proactively pursue these interests. Last year was so task oriented, and we hit so many road blocks that our successes were overshadowed by disappoints more often than not. Not in 2013 though, I'm feeling good about this year. Instead of making a long list of a thousand goals like I did last year (see yesterday's post) I'm going to instead focus more on a life mission instead.

Our biggest goal this year is downsizing our belongings. Right now Ryan and I are trying to get rid of about half of our apartment so we can move into a smaller space by the time our lease is up in July. We've already made some progress, and I'm looking forward to achieving much more in the coming months. It feels good to clean out the clutter, ya know? Even if we don't get rid of truly half our belongings (because that's a lot of stuff), this is a good exercise in self control and discipline that we could both use.

I want to look back on my life in ten or twenty years and see travel, passion, and adventure. I'd love to have a magazine worthy home, but that's not the priority right now. I think that the "stuff" we've filled our life with is keeping us from realizing bigger dreams. And that's all I'm going to say about that today.

This year isn't about checking off boxes, or tackling massive projects. This year is about loving where we're at right now. Here it is, the 2013 Browning Family Mantra:
Bokeh image source
What are you big goals, plans, missions, or mantra for the coming year? I'd genuinely love to hear them. big kiss, bekuh

My Greatest Achievement of 2012

12.28.2012

It would be easy for me to look at my list of 2012 goals, and get disheartened by all the ones left untouched. I left a lot undone this year, and in the coming weeks I'll be reading posts about all the amazing things that other people have achieved, and I'm sure I'll start doubting myself thanks to them. But, I'm here today to clear the air (and to leave myself a little reminder): I look at those untouched goals as my greatest achievement this year. You might be questioning my mental state when I say such things, but let me dig in a little before you write me off.

I am a list maker, and a chronic overachiever. I rarely sit still, juggle dozens of projects daily, and feel the need to compete with my personal best at all times. This can be a really healthy attitude for some people, but for me it just creates a lot of anxiety. At the end of 2011 I was in a weird place with my job, financially we were really unstable, and I was kind of an emotional wreck. To compensate for my out of control feelings I decided to create a ton of goals for the new year to "help" get my life back on track. Sounds normal right (sarcasm)? I ended up with four categories, and around 90 goals to complete in 12 months!

I did really great for the first 4-6 months; painting rooms, buying rugs, making plans for trips, and opening the vintage store online. It looked like 2012 was on the up and up. Somewhere around June I lost steam, I felt burnt out and tired of all this striving. I had just changed jobs, summer travel plans were being delayed, and then Ryan lost his job. We were still in a pretty big rut, and I was so bitter about it. The goals weren't helping. So I stopped.

For the first time in my life I stopped making lists, and crossing off to-dos, and I just let things be for a little while. By removing the pressure to perform I was actually able to take a step back, and identify real issues that needed to be addressed. Like the perfectionism. I looked around and realized the problem wasn't the lack of rugs in our house, or the fact that our vintage shop wasn't an instant success; the problem was my way of dealing with the little set backs, and dare I say it, failures. You can't compensate for the failures in your life, you can only leave them behind and move on.

I look at those goals left untouched, and see them as a turning point for me. Life is so unpredictable, and I want to embrace the changes (that will inevitably come) with grace, and understanding. Those unfinished projects have taught me it's okay to fail, or find a new road to travel down. I'm an okay person without a long list of accomplishments to carry around with me. I'm still ambitious, I'm still a dreamer, and I'm still busy. Some things will never change, and that's okay too.

Tomorrow I'll be talking about 2013, but what I have to say is going to be WAY different from last year. 2013 is going to be awesome. big kiss, bekuh

Fox & Arrow Blog Design Giveaway!

12.27.2012

The end of the year, and the start of another, always heralds in big changes. People start identifying areas of their life they'd like to improve, bloggers look forward to a fresh calendar to fill with posts, and everyone is is in uplifted spirits. Today I have a very special giveaway for you bloggers out there, a new design for you and a friend! The perfect way to start 2013 off with a bang. First a little about Maria and the Fox & Arrow shop.
"I've been an artsy person my entire life. I taught myself everything that you can possibly imagine from web design, paper cut design to acrylic painting and graffiti art back in the day. I went to school for photography and design and that's when I started doing web design for local bands, photographers and bloggers over 5 years ago. That's how long I've been doing custom work for people!


I recently decided to open an Etsy shop to spread the word about my custom web design with the support of my amazing sister who opened a small vintage shop there too and it's been great! We've been an amazing support to each other, helping our businesses grow side by side. 

Now, after meeting so many lovely people from around the globe, nothing would make me happier than to be able to keep spreading my love for design. I definitely prefer to measure my success as a designer by the amount of Thank yous and smiles that I get from happy customers instead of focusing on numbers. I've never been good at numbers anyways! ;) " -Maria

Here's an example of a recent design by Maria:
Today's giveaway includes:
A full custom blog design for one lucky reader, and a free pre-made template for a friend from the Fox & Arrow shop! The custom design includes: Header, sidebar titles, social media, post signature, post division, custom blog button... Anything you want! You pick the colors, the style, the overall feel, and she'll do the rest. Maria is ready and excited to get started.

Giveaway deets:
The giveaway will run from now (12/27/2) through January 3rd, 2013 (1/3/12). At that point the winner will be contacted by both me, and Maria letting them know they've won the prize. From there it is up to you and Fox & Arrow designs to work out an agreement on services, and the time frame for implementation of services. There are several ways to enter the giveaway, which is being hosted through Rafflecopter. See below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to the giveaway Maria is also offering a special discount for any custom order placed through her Etsy shop, contact her about a custom design project and receive 25% off the regular price! foxarrowdesign[at]gmail[dot]com

Visit Maria's blog and shop soon. What an amazing gift for you and a friend this New Years! Good luck. big kiss, bekuh

Christmas Snapshots

12.26.2012

Another Christmas has come and passed. It always seems to go by so quickly, and it's bittersweet looking back on these photos already. We spent Christmas with Ryan's family this year, instead of making the venture up to Ohio. We had a Christmas Eve feast, opened presents, and spent time catching up with his Aunt's, Uncle and Grandpa. It was a real family affair.
I caught a bit of the flu last weekend so taking it easy sounded perfect to me. They have a tradition that each person gets to open all of their gifts before the next one goes, so that everyone watches as you open their gift. It's a kind of sweet idea, and I loved seeing each person's face as they opened our gifts to them. Ryan and his brother both got a glow-in-the-dark racetracks from "Santa." They were so cute playing with their little cars, haha.





















On Christmas day we woke early to open our gifts to each other, and spend a little time with Nellie. She got gifts from us, Ryan's Aunts, and my sister; so she's feeling a little spoiled right now. After opening our gifts we headed over to Ryan's parents for breakfast, and my Mom's later in the day for dinner. My stepdad has 7 grandkids so the evening's festivities were a little different from those the night before. There was music, drawing, ipad playing, present opening, tickle fighting, escapades going on around every corner. Sweet 7 year old Lilly took the picture of Ryan and I you see above. The only picture of the two of us all Christmas. It was a wonderful Christmas. Now I'm recooperating on the couch as it sleets outside. How was your Christmas?big kiss, bekuh

Warm and Fuzzy Thoughts on Christmas

12.25.2012

Merry Christmas friends! As many of you are opening gifts, and let's be honest I am too, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful year of readership, kinship, and growth. I've learned so much from you this year, and I've made friendships I hope will last through all the years. You are a part of my story, you are a part of the Christmas story.

As I enjoy time with those closest to me this week, and the next, I hope that you get to do the same. And if for whatever reason you are far from your family during this time know that there's a blogger out there thinking of you, and praying blessings on you today. big kiss, bekuh

The 12 Dates of Christmas: The Recap

12.24.2012

follow me @bekuhdoo

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! We have lots of family gatherings in the next couple of days but I wanted to share a recap of the 12 dates of Christmas, which we finished just in the knick of time. It's been such a fun month carving out special time to spend with Ryan, and really getting the chance to enjoy each other during this hectic season. I didn't want to lug around the camera to every outing, so I just snapped a single picture and posted it to instagram at the start of each date instead. These are all twelve dates in order...

Date 1: Picking out our tree
Date 2: Starbucks lattes for two
Date 3: Flea Market Diving
Date 4: A brunch with all the fixings
Dare 5: Rigging up the lights with a cocktail in hand
Date 6: A walk in a Winter Wonderland to look at all the neighbor's lights.
Date 7: Ice cream date for two
Date 8: Christmas cookie baking
Date 9: Shopping for all our friends and family
Date 10: A Christmas movie marathon
Date 11: Grocery store samples date
Date 12: Squash soup made by Ryan for a sick me

I can't believe the 12 dates of Christmas are over! It makes me even more appreciative of my husband looking back over these memories, and thinking how sweet he is to indulge me on such things. big kiss, bekuh

Advertise on Secondhand Sundays in January!

12.23.2012


Advertising on Secondhand Sundays is an excellent way to promote your blog or business. With low cost ads, and over 1000 views each day you can grow your reading/viewing audience without breaking the bank. I still have 3 large ad spaces for January available for purchase, and your ad will go live on January 4th. Currently my swap ads are booked through March, but the feature ad is open in February, and large spaces are consistently available each month.

Start the new year off with a bang, and grow! For more information see my advertising page.
big kiss, bekuh


Note: Thanks to Dot&Army for sending me the sweet napkins you see above, a real holiday treat!

Mamaw's Gingersnap Cookies

12.19.2012


Spice cookies are some of my favorites. I love dunking them in milk, eating a few with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or gobbling them up with spiked egg nog. Growing up my mamaw would always have some gingersnaps in the icebox waiting for us to visit. These days I make them as a holiday treat for friends and family, and I'm happy to be carrying this tradition on in my own home. Along with our mounds bars from yesterday, we made these crispy delights to eat as we watched Christmas movies all Sunday evening. 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup crisco or margarine
1c sugar
1 egg
1/4c molasses
1/4 tsp salt
2c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground clove

Directions:
1. Cream the crisco and sugar.
2. Mix in the egg and molasses, until fully combined.
3. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients. Then, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until combined.
4. Chill overnight*
5. Preheat oven to 325F
6. Pinch off a portion of the gingersnap dough and form a 1" round ball.
7. Press to form a disk, and sprinkle with sugar. 
8. Place on a greased cookie sheet, to bake. Cook for 10-2 minutes, do not let brown.
9. Cool and serve with your beverage of choice.
*Note: We made the dough on Saturday and baked them on Sunday.

It means so much to me to share these recipes and traditions with you; as you have become a part of my life story. As the Holidays approach I'm reminded of all the blessings in my life, and I count this blog as one of them. Without it I wouldn't have connected with so many amazing people, and felt like I'd found a place to share in all the things I'm passionate about. Thank you for your readership. big kiss, bekuh

Homemade Mounds Bars

12.18.2012

It's a long standing tradition in my family to make these homemade mounds bars every Christmas. Even my Dad and Ryan who aren't coconut fans drool at the mention of these cookies. They're simple, delicious, and can feed an army (if you don't eat them all yourself). As one of our 12 dates of Christmas Ryan, and I spent an afternoon baking, and these beauties were on the top of the list. Today I thought I'd share this family favorite with you too.

Ingredients:
1 box graham crackers  (you'll only use 2 of the inner packages)
1/4c sugar
1/2c melted margarine
2c chocolate chips
1 tbsp peanut butter (or peanut butter substitute)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
7 oz shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F
2. In a large ziplock bag dump the 2 packages of graham crackers inside, and using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin crumble the graham crackers into tiny pieces.
3. Put the graham crackers in a mixing bowl, and mix in the melted butter and sugar.
4. Grab a 9"x13" baking dish and grease it. Press the graham cracker mixture into the pan, forming a crust on the bottom. Cook for 10 minutes, and let cool for a couple minutes.
4. In a separate bowl mix the sweetened condensed milk, and shredded coconut. Spread over the graham cracker crust. Place back in the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the coconut topping starts to brown. Let cool completely.
5. Melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, mixing until all is smooth and combined. Pour the chocolate over the coconut, and graham cracker crust. Carefully spread the chocolate out, covering everything.
6. Chill in the fridge, or a cool place and serve after the chocolate is completely set.

A rich treat for sure. I pretty much save up all my baking until Christmas time, so these are a real treat. What are some of your family recipe traditions? I'm always game for learning a new recipe. big kiss, bekuh

PS- Don't forget to enter the Dot & Army giveaway going on now!

Weekend Plans and Holiday Prep

12.14.2012

Happy Friday everybody!! I can't believe another week in December is already coming to a close, can you? We're narrowing in on our last gifts to buy, and I plan on knocking out a good chunk of that this weekend. Ryan's gift buying duties may stretch out just a little longer, he's a boy after all. I've been wrapping, and decorating like crazy, and our house smells like the holidays at last. I love seeing gifts all packaged up and ready to be delivered. This weekend will be filled with little dates, lots of love, and careful planning for the days and weeks ahead. I'd love to squirrel away an hour or two to paint or sketch if the days allow. I'm in winter nesting mode for sure.

Next week I'll be sharing a couple of holiday baking recipes, and a wreath DIY. Neither of which really have anything to do with the pictures above. I hope it's not too late to share such things. In other news, here are few links for you to enjoy: 

1. Prettiest wrapping paper I've seen this year
2. This furry hat may be sneaking its way into my closet after the holidays
3. My favorite gift guide from around the web
4. Two great articles for decluttering; here and here (I'm on a mission!)
5. Tammy's new design is gorgeous, have you seen it?
6. If we lived closer I'd pay Bridget to take all of my photos, even her outtakes amaze me.
7. My chin length bangs could use a set of these.
8. The Button Factory has new large and extra-large dresses in the shop!

What are your plans this weekend? big kiss, bekuh

PS- Don't forget to enter the Dot & Army giveaway going on now!

The 12 Dates of Christmas: We're Half Way There!

12.13.2012

Ryan and I are on a roll with these Christmas dates guys! It's so much fun being really purposeful with our time, and getting to really make some amazing memories together along the way. We're half way through the 12 dates, and I'm going to really hate it when they're done. I think the most valuable lesson we're learning from this experience is that dates don't have to be expensive, or involve dressing up. Most of our dates are outings we go on regularly, it's just we're making them more about together time, and elevating them into something special. It's pretty awesome.
For date two we went to Starbucks and sipped lattes slowly. Date three involved flea market diving. Date four was a special brunch, on date five we hung our Christmas lights with cocktails in hand, and date six we walked around our neighborhood checking out all the lights. I'm snapping pics along the way and posting them to twitter and instagram (both @bekuhdoo) if you'd like to follow along. I'll be doing a full roundup after all twelve dates on the blog too! Today just a couple of images from dates three, five, and six.
With only 11 days to go until Christmas, Ryan and I will be making a lot more memories very soon. I'm thinking tonight might be a date night. Are any on you doing anything special with your honey this holiday season? big kiss, bekuh

One Magic Day

12.10.2012

Does anybody remember October? I know, I know it was forever ago; but Ryan and I did something really cool way back then, and today I want to share it with you. For our first anniversary we decided to get professional photos taken of the two of us. It was a no brainer that we chose a local photographer, Kent Moore, to do the shooting. You see Ryan and I got engaged and married in a pretty short (4 months) time frame, meaning there was no time for engagement photos, something I kind of regretted after the big day. We love our wedding photos, but I wanted more than just pictures of us on that day to showcase in our home. We traipsed all over Roanoke for the shoot, and I'm thrilled with the way the photos turned out! It certainly was a magic day.
The weather couldn't have been more agreeable, and the lighting was perfect. The sun set behind us; making the photos feel so warm, and intimate. Kent 
did a great job guiding us to the right locations, and really capturing the feel we were looking for without me having to say a word. Knowing our 
photographer really helped Ryan and I relax a little, and just enjoy the process.We ordered about a bazillion prints for our families, and quite a few for ourselves too. I was especially fond of the vintage feeling photos (as if you couldn't tell). I will treasure these photos forever. 

If you're in the Roanoke region, and you're looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Kent's work. He is really reasonably priced, professional, and gets things done in a super timely manner. As a bonus to my readers Kent is offering 20% off your package price, just mention Secondhand Sundays when you contact him to set-up your shoot. Expires January 31, 2013 

On a totally separate note, I have to mention that my skirt is from Dalena Vintage, one of my favorite online vintage shops! I won a gift card to her site awhile back, and I've been dying to wear this skirt in a post. I chose to pair it with a vintage inspired blouse, but it came with a matching top so you can wear it as a dress too, swoon. She has the best eye for pretty vintage pieces
. Which photo was your favorite? Ryan and I are looking to blow one of them up as an engineering print (similar to this) and I'd love your input! big kiss, bekuh


Note: We did not receive any compensation, or any special discounts for this post. Everything I have said comes directly from my heart and how I truly feel about the companies mentioned in this post. 

Happiness Is...Unexpected Beauty

12.07.2012

I'll be the first to admit that winter is my least favorite season. Unless it's snowing, because snow is perfection. My disdain with winter is rooted in the lack of light. I'm a sunny day person, and the fact the sun sets at 5pm makes me a little depressed come January and February. Instead of hiding myself away like I've done in the past however, this year I want to use this season as a time to explore photography in lower light settings. These are my first experiments, taken after work this week.
I like the idea of trying something new this winter, and hopefully learning something in the process as well. What do you do when the winter blues get you down? big kiss, bekuh

Getting real about fashion on my blog

12.05.2012

(Outfit Details: Dress- GAP via Ebay//Belt- Target (off a skirt)//Blazer- Thrifted)
When I started Secondhand Sundays almost two years ago I never imagined that I'd start taking photos of the strange get-ups I wear, and share them with the gazillion people floating around on the web everyday. Why? Well, because I'm not that fashionable. I hate spending money, I don't buy a lot of trendy things, and I purge my closet every couple months or so hoping to make a little green at Plato's Closet so my husband and I can go on a date. Yep, we're that broke.

I started blogging as a way to share my creative endeavors with the world and somewhere down the line that mission got lost in the sea of fashion. Don't get me wrong, I like clothes, and I love shopping. I have an average sized wardrobe for an American woman, which is still way more than the average sized wardrobe across the globe. Taking photos of my outfits has forced me to really stretch my style, experiment with new ways of layering, and examine what works on my petite body. These are all the positive outcomes of outfit posting.

The problem is that I've started to measure my closet against the bloggers out there who are paid to wear clothes from various brands. I do not have a bottomless pit of clothes and accessories to choose from when I wake up in the morning. And if I'm being honest...I don't want one. The comparison living needs to stop here. Sure, I've received an item or two from brands, and I'm happy to share clothes I really love in this space. I don't think there is anything wrong with getting paid to wear clothes, especially if that's what you want to blog about. I read fashion blogs daily and they've saved me so much money on glossy mags the past couple of years because of it. I think they're AWESOME.
Outfit Details: tights- HUE //shoes- Dolce Zita (gift from Ryan)
I am not a fashion blogger though, and I'm not really sure that's a direction I want to go deeper into on the blog. I like boring things like wearing one brand of jeans over and over, wearing stripes ALWAYS, buying all of my cardigans from JCrew, and wearing thrifted shoes. Not the makings of the next fashion blogger all-star folks. The beginnings of this space are rooted in my passion for creative living, roots I'd like to get back to. Which leads me to this...

My Closet posts are going to be a little more sparse in these parts for awhile. I'm taking a step back from the pressure to post outfits weekly, so I can focus on more personal content instead. You may have already noticed the lull. Mostly, I want time to post more daily life, more adventure, more art, more me. That doesn't mean that I won't ever do another outfit post, if the timing is right one may slip through the cracks and appear from time to time. It's mostly just self imposed pressure anyway. That also doesn't mean that I won't post outfit details if asked, or mention what I'm wearing in our married life adventures. This is just a minor change, and I like to keep my readers in the loop about what's going on in my discombobulated brain. December is going to be a fun month, and there are sure to be lots of posts to fill the days with! big kiss, bekuh

PS- This is all just personal mumbo-jumbo and should be taken with a grain of salt. Like I said I love fashion blogs; and I admire the women behind them.

Christmas Tree Trimming

12.03.2012

Yesterday night after a long day of tree shopping, and car fixing, Ryan and I managed to carve out a couple of hours to decorate the Christmas tree together. We put on some Christmas music, sipped on hot cider, and danced with little Nellie as we hung lights, and ornaments on all the branches. This is our first Christmas with our precious pup, so everything feels extra sweet.
I'm a huge fan of "toy" ornaments as Ryan calls them, and my Mom was gracious enough to give me a box filled with all my baby baubles and trinkets for our tree last year. It's so special having some childhood memories hanging on your "adult" Christmas tree. I also love making new traditions, and memories with Ryan; like buying a new kitschy ornament for the tree together each year. We haven't found our 2012 ornament yet. Oh, and I made those yummy looking cinnamon ornaments! So much to say about our little 6 ft Christmas tree. I say little, because last year's tree was a monster!

Homemade, and goofy are my favorite adjectives when describing my Christmas decorating scheme. Happy Holidays! big kiss, bekuh