making things happen monday : bedroom makeover

My apartment is pretty tiny. I mean, if you are living in a dorm room or in a third world country (some might say the two aren’t entirely unrelated) then it’s practically a mansion. But if you are a 26 year old living in a city in America, it’s tiny.

My bedroom has always been the most neglected space in my apartment because I spend the least amount of time there. I basically just sleep there because there isn’t room to do anything else.

But not anymore!

While I was at Making Things Happen I realized that a big stumbling block in my nightly productivity was my workspace: the couch. Usually once I’m in for the night I settle in on the couch with my laptop and a disc of Gilmore Girls and/or Friends and/or Friday Night Lights with the intent of going gangbusters on my email/blog/big to-do list. I’m productive for about 5 minutes. After that, it’s distraction central. Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Oh, I love this part! Hey, I’ve been meaning to Google that. What’s new on Pinterest? What’s new on I haven’t refreshed Twitter in awhile. Wait…what was I working on?

And so it goes.

But one of the most valuable things I took away from The Challenge was how to kill distractions.

I had a few ideas in mind for killing distractions, which I’ll be sharing on future MTHM posts, but the biggest game-changer was creating a new space.

New Space #1 : The breakfast/prayer window seat

I really wanted to create a space that would just be for mornings – time spent with the Lord in prayer and reading and time spent with my beloved breakfast. My former routine was to wake up, roll out of bed, put as much of myself into my daily devotions as possible while sitting on my comfy couch in the half-dark, then charge into getting ready for the day. Once I sat down at the computer with my breakfast I’d turn on ESPN and power through as much work as I could get through before running out the door at the last possible minute.

Not exactly a tranquil start to the day.

My college roommate and I bought that little blue couch during our junior year and it’s been a staple ever since. But it wasn’t really being utilized in my bedroom before (here is where before pictures would have been ideal…but when I get an idea for a project, it’s all systems go…no time to document!); it was basically an extra laundry basket since it’s where my workout clothes would usually land.

So, after playing a LOT of Tetris with my bedroom furniture, I finally came up with an arrangement that would give me the space I needed to actually have a bedroom and also include a side space for mornings.

People…I LOVE this space!!! It’s literally the best thing I’ve done since I’ve moved in. Even better than the chalkboards! It’s convenient to start every day here because I can literally roll right out of bed and into the window seat = no excuses. I love opening the windows and starting the day with fresh air and bird songs while I start the day off on the right foot with God. Then after getting ready and making breakfast, I come back to the window seat to eat and flip through my long-neglected magazines. I’ve imposed a no email/blogs/screens rule – I even pack my laptop away in my bag for the day the night before so I don’t have the option! Because ESPN is a critical component to my DNA I do still listen to Mike & Mike on the radio or watch it on my phone, but luckily my iPhone is wise and will only let me watch ESPN if that’s the only app I’m using. I don’t even have the option to multitask while getting my daily sports fix. It’s wonderful.

I can’t even tell you how much better I feel leaving my apartment every morning. Such a good change.

New Space #2 : A colorful new workspace!

As I mentioned above…the couch just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore as a workspace. I knew as soon as I sat down every night it would be a downward spiral into distractions. I also knew that my white walls were driving me crazy (renting = no paint allowed). So I killed two birds with one stone and created a space that will make me happy and keep me focused.

I used a block of scrapbook paper from Michael’s and went to town on the walls. I wanted a sweeping wave of color and I think that’s just what I got! The paper is attached by sticky tack and it’s held really well so far (about 2 weeks later). This paper project literally took me no more than 45 minutes and cost less than $10…and the result is a brand new room that I LOVE to be in.

This is my new place to sit at the end of every day (I’m sitting here right now as I type this post!). I try to block out at least one power hour a night in here so that I can have one focused hour of blogging/photo editing/emailing/job searching/whatever is on the to-do list for the day. And then whatever time I have left before heading to bed can be used to catch up on my favorite distractions – namely, blogs – guilt-free!

Environmental distractions? Conquered! It was such an easy change, but it’s made such a difference!

Now…how about YOU??? What changes could you make to your environment to make your life a better place?

And when are you going to start The Challenge??? Make it today!

beka stay creative : pinterest easter inspiration

People…how is Easter here already?! I don’t feel like I’ve even begun to adequately celebrate and it’s only a week away!

Which means it’s time to bring in the big guns. Pinterest, I’m looking at you.

What better solution to this problem (and really, all problems) than a quick trip around Pinterest to round up some Easter inspiration? These were a few of my favorites; stay tuned for a second installment tomorrow!

Easter egg banner from Creations by Kara. So sweet!

pinned here via here

mason jar easter baskets

(Mason Jar Easter Baskets?!?! Be still my heart!)

pinned here via here


pinned here via here

Jordan Almond bluebirds!

pinned here via here


pinned here via here

Easter place settings

pinned here via here

Bunny Wreath

pinned here via here

Origami Flower Easter Eggs

pinned here via here

Easter Candy Bark

(fantastic idea for using up loads of Easter candy – make Easter bark!)

pinned here via here

beautiful. soft. colors.

pinned here via here

Fun party favor for Easter Brunch :-)

pinned here via here

Easter Place Setting...He Is Not Here. For He Is Risen!

(This one’s my favorite idea! LOVE everything about this place setting!)

pinned here via here

Also (sugar coma) inspiring: this oldie but goodie, an ode to Easter candy.

(And really, isn’t Easter candy one of the best things about life? Thank you, egg-shaped treats of all kinds, for being so wonderful.)

beka stays athletic : it runs in the family

This just in:

The woman who brought you lessons in geography, politics, and coffee keeping is now taking on a new endeavor:

Running a 5k.


Let’s talk about this.

For as long as I can remember my mom and I have gone on walks together. It’s a tradition that was passed down by my mom’s mom, who I also remember going on lots of long walks with (when she was in her 80’s!). The assumption is that after dinner on a nice night the question “want to go for a walk?” will be raised and answered affirmatively.

(Now that I live 3 hours away and no longer go home for the summer, going on walks with my mom (and then going out for soft serve with my dad) is by far the thing I miss most about home.)

But in all of that walking there has never been any running. Until the past year or so, when my mom would run short stretches whenever she felt so inclined – during a walk, on her way to and from her car in the parking lot, etc. And when she did feel so inclined, she always reported back with positive feelings about the experience.

So the last time I was home, I floated an idea.

“You know, I think I’m going to come home to do a 5k in June. We could do it together!”

The idea did not float. It sank like a boulder.

“Pshhhh. Yeah, right!” was the response I received.

Then there was some coaxing, some trial running around the block, some training plans, some more coaxing – all covered by the assurance that we could always walk it if running didn’t pan out.

I came back to Rochester and left her in possession of an easy walk/run plan (walk a minute, run a minute, adding one run minute per week) and the power to do with it as she wished – no pressure either way.

A week later, she had ditched my plan.

She was already running for 30 minutes straight.

And had only fallen off the treadmill once!

Now, the 65 year old woman who had never run a mile in her life, who laughed at the idea of ever being able to run a 5k, is taunting me with threats that she’s out to beat my time. Walking isn’t even a consideration anymore. She’s going to run this and run it well.

I couldn’t be prouder. I couldn’t be more grateful that I’m cut from that cloth.

(See you at the finish line, Mom. You’ll probably beat me to it!)

beka stays real : march chalkboards


[ bedroom : RELENTLESS : belief in God (1), gratitude in each moment (2), pursuit of dreams (3). (be transformed by the renewing of your mind – Romans 12:2) ]


[ living room 1 : “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.” – Matthew 6 ]

[ living room 2 : be an exclamation point, not a question mark. ]

and here’s the march magazine line too:

good things : easy DIY lighting

I missed my Christmas tree.

So I made these.

Top photo: old vase (which I was looking for last weekend…), old tissue paper I found under my bed, old string of lights I found in my closet.

Bottom photo: two extra glass mixing bowls turned upside down, old tissue paper I found under my bed, old string of lights I found in my closet.

(Apparently I store old things in odd places.)

It’s just the right amount of light to replace the little tree/flash that could. It doesn’t necessarily emit the same amount of yuletide joy, but it makes me happy to look in it’s general direction nonetheless.

I love impromptu projects.

beka stays real : february chalkboards


[bedroom: positive minds live positive lives.]


[living room 1: “it’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. you never stop trying. i’m still trying.” – coach wooden]


[living room 2: commitment: doing the right thing when you don’t want to. character: doing the right thing when it’d be easier not to. integrity: doing the right thing when no one’s watching you.]

beka stays creative : unconventionally inspired

So this is the spot where a new inspired post would usually live…but due to circumstances that are completely under my control…I’m just choosing not to post a new list today! Mainly, because it’s slim pickings on the inspiration front this week. Not because it was a bad week, because it wasn’t, it was just a tad on the busier side of busy, which left little room for browsing the interwebs. I mean, I’m inordinately inspired by shoo fly pie (for those of you with roots outside of Pennsylvania, definition and recipe here) since my mom made one for me and brought it out during their visit this weekend, but that doesn’t really seem like the beginning of a valid list. Other invalid things I am inspired by: my new desk, which means my laptop has a home that is not the floor and my living room is actually starting to look lived-in; the Packers having a bye week so I can have a game-stress-free Sunday supplemented by lots of other great games (way to go, Buffalo!); outrageously beautiful leaves which I strung together with a needle and thread and hung across my bedroom window; and did I mention shoo fly pie? That too.

That’s all she wrote, folks.

(But I’m sure I’ll also be inspired by CrossFit in the morning since I now have 10 lbs of pie to work off.)