good things : june chalkboards

living room :

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)


Romans 8


Be YOU tiful.

june magazine line:

beka stays creative : inspiration board

We all know that Pinterest fulfills my every inspiration board need. But sometimes…I still get the itch to actually make an inspiration board – tear things out of magazines, position and reposition and re-reposition on a poster board, glue/cut/decoupage. All of that old fashioned art stuff.

When I set out to thrive at the end of February I felt like I needed a visual. I also felt like I needed to make something tactile. (Does anyone else get that feeling? The one where you are compelled to create something immediately if not sooner?) So I plopped down with a stack of magazines, a Top Chef marathon, and some glue…

…and this is what happened!

I love it.

What have you guys been creating lately?

good things : southern weddings magazine

Has there been any change in my life so seismic as the shift from wedding-hater to wedding-lover?

Other than my new fondness for oatmeal…nope, I don’t think there has been any alteration quite as drastic.

For reasons vast and wide, I used to cringe at the thought of weddings – whether attending, photographing, planning – the whole shebang. I could think of 8,000 things I’d rather do. Possibly 80,000.

Whether it was my heart changing substantially over the past few years or attending/being in/photographing/assisting on more weddings than I can count (literally…I only know it’s more than 50), something got to me.

I am officially that girl who wants to talk about the diversity and usefulness of burlap as it pertains to reception decor.

Stranger things have not happened.

The apex of this affection for wedded bliss? Southern Weddings Magazine.

OH, Southern Weddings Magazine!

I stumbled upon last year when I was entrenched in the search for a photography internship. I was looking for a list of photographers in the south (because every year around this time I decide I want to move to the south) and found that information and SO MUCH MORE on the Southern Weddings blog. Luckily this happened on a day with a free schedule. I literally sat at my computer for the next few hours and poured over pages and pages of blog archives, profiles of Southern Weddings employees, Lara Casey’s website, and the Making Things Happen website.

I would wholeheartedly recommend that you do the same.

Here’s a brief history of this amazing publication (from Lara Casey’s Sit a Spell With Me section):

“I always wanted a place to showcase what fired me up. This all started when we launched the Southern Weddings daily blog in 2007. It was a place for me to share what I loved in weddings, what was inspiring me and to show Southern brides that there was more to telling their unique love story than tulle and stuffed chicken. The blog caught on like wildfire, and people got so excited about a modern look at weddings in the South. The print magazine was born out of the incredible feedback from the blog. I am so grateful for the work we do because our job is to tell these authentic love stories. I love my “work.”  We’re not corporate or owned by some big publishing house.  We do the layout, write the editorial, organize the advertising – and everything else – ourselves.  We are self-published, which is a rarity nowadays.  We’re really, really small.  We never want to grow to the point where we can’t give personal attention to what matters most.  We are really grateful for that.”

It took me about 5 seconds to decide that I wanted to support this endeavor and needed to order both of the back issues that were currently available – those being Volume II and Volume III since sadly (and not surprisingly), Volume I had completely sold out (Volume III has since acquired the same status).

When it arrived at my doorstep I couldn’t believe my eyes.

There, tucked inside the front cover of the most beautiful magazine I had ever seen (seriously – no exaggeration – and you all know how deep and wide my magazine obsession runs) was a postcard. A thank you postcard. A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU POSTCARD!!!


I was too overjoyed to take pictures that day…and too busy savoring each and every page…but I had the presence of mind to photograph a few of the contents of Volume IV when it arrived. Let’s chat about it, shall we?

This is what makes Southern Weddings Magazine my favorite magazine of all time (corresponding to the pictures above):

  1. The aforementioned hand-written postcard. Can you even believe it?
  2. The sheer beauty – and heft – of the perfectly packaged magazine
  3. The design quality of the layout. Each page is packed with unique details and eye-catching colors.
  4. The southern sayings randomly dispersed throughout the magazine (!!!!!!)
  5. The personal factor of having the editors comments displayed by different features; the fact that the magazine is so BEAUTIFUL, so professional, and yet so personal is by far my favorite aspect.
  6. The attention to detail. From the first page to the back cover, every inch of the magazine is soaked in Southern charm.
  7. The fact that this 250+ page magazine, filled to the brim with more breathtaking imagery, ideas, and love than I can describe in a blog post, is only $5.95. ($5.95!!!)

As for the Volume pictured above, these were my favorite selections:


beautiful biscuits

paper, cotton, flour

the mason jar

mini southern desserts

real weddings (but you’ll have to buy V4 to see them all!):

katie + max (color!)

ginny + todd (elegant and understated!)

annie + jimmy (beautifully country!)

paige + adam (rustic!)

And…as if all of this weren’t enough…you can also view free digital editions of Volumes I, II, and III online. That means you get to peruse the sold out Volumes! For FREE!

Clear your schedules.

Southern Weddings, thanks for being so wonderful. You’re not just a good thing, you are an amazingly wonderful thing that makes me over-the-top giddy. Keep up the phenomenal work!

good things : the magazine line


Tearing pages out of magazines used to be sacrilege…but this year, I’m making a point to actually use the magazines I love so dearly. What better way than to put them on display? This simple living room project cost me $0 – just some twine, clothespins, old clips leftover from an Ikea purchase – but it makes me inordinately happy every time I look up.

It’s the little things, people.

beka stays healthy : roasted stuffed delicata squash

Foreword: I started writing this post and had a good 2 – 3 paragraphs done…when I realized it seemed awfully familiar and checked my drafts. Good call. Already written and waiting to be published. Sanity: 1, Beka: 0.

I wasn’t always so in love with fall/winter vegetables.

Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, parsnips, PUMPKIN…these are all recent discoveries in my world. And how bleak life must have been without them! I can’t image how I got through even a single week sans root vegetables and gourds! They now compile my favorite genre of foods. (Excluding desserts. Which probably went without saying.)

I usually get my weekly stash of vegetables from the Brighton Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, I bolt out of church (which is extra-holy, I know) and speed to the Market so that I can shop for 10-15 minutes and still get home in time for the FOX NFL Pregame Show (it’s my favorite one! I can’t bear to miss it!). It’s an unconventional process, but it works for me.

A few weeks ago I invested 5 minutes of my 15 minute allotment to talking with one of the squash vendors. I was looking for something new to add to my repertoire aside from the usual tried and true varieties. The vendor recommended delicata squash.

The vendor is now one of my favorite people.

The idea for this meal was actually born from a feature in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. The recipe was for turning a baked sweet potato into a meal by stuffing it. Since I had this squash burning a hole in my pantry, I decided to give it a go with a few different ingredients!

Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squash:

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

  • 1  Delicata Squash
  • 12  Brussels Sprouts
  • ¼  Red Onion
  • 1  Large Chopped Kale Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Cherries
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 ounce Goat Cheese
  • ½ Tablespoons Raw Pumpkin Seeds

To get started, wash and dry the delicata squash. It’s usually still carrying some old baggage, namely dirt from the field. Once he’s clean and shiny, cut in half (perk: delicatas are easier to chop through than most of the gourd family) and scoop out seeds.

If you like your vegetables steamed, you can just combine the stuffing ingredients and add them to the squash before baking. But if you like things a little crispier, I’d recommend roasting the stuffing on a separate pan. Either way, combine Brussels sprouts, red onion, kale, and cherries. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add the mixture, either divided between the two halves or spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes. If you’ve been roasting the stuffing separately, add it to the squash now. At this point you also want to add the goat cheese and pumpkin seeds, both sprinkled on top. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

This meal is the ultimate fall comfort food. I was on the fence about the goat cheese, but I’m so glad it made the cut! It really added something special to the mix. But this is totally customizable – you can add or subtract anything you want! Shallots, pecans, wild rice, cranberries, carrots…you name it. Have fun experimenting and finding your favorite flavor combination!

(You can also find this recipe here, at Tasty Kitchen!)

beka stays authentic : stuffing one day into one hour

This morning I’m actively avoiding the fact that in about an hour, I’ll be working for the next 14 hours. The work is a good thing – I’m sure it will be a beautiful wedding and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and have a great time and eat more cake than necessary – but in the meantime I’m trying to squeeze a full Saturday into one tiny morning. In the mix:

Extra large cup of coffee (Moose Crossing from Leaf & Bean)

Gilmore Girls Season 3

Pinterest, Pinterest, and more Pinterest

Google Reader (particularly enjoyed this post and this post)

Looking at a stack of magazines and wondering which to start with and why I subscribe to so many…and which others to add to the list

Looking at a stack of books and wondering which to read this morning and why I have so many…and which others to check out from the library

Playing with the new Flickr app for Android

And that’s the long and (very) short of it. Now…it’s time to get ready to go!