Yes, oh yes, I did.
For several months Daniel and I have discussed investing in a camera upgrade for me. Granted, I actually haven't even had a nice camera (just the Sony a5000 I bought two years ago for my YouTube channel). Luckily for my job, I've been able to use and learn (and boy oh boy, did I learn) a Canon Rebel that belongs to the company. Many of you readers may not know what it is I do for work. I'll save you all the many things I actually do at my job and instead talk about the one thing that pertains to this post. For the past two-ish years, I've photographed and created video content for our social media, shopping events, online shop and blog. Sigh. Y'all. I'm not crazy proud of that work. I wish I was! But after years of manipulating the gear I had to create ~good enough~ content, I grew really frustrated. Especially over the past 5-6 months.
I truly love photography - and to be specific - lifestyle photography. And y'all already know, I love creating video content. But I became so disenchanted with making anything digital after feeling so set back from my gear. I'll pause right here tho - I also believe that ANYone can create content they love with the gear they have - even if it is "so-so" in their personal opinion. And to shed a light on this, I have been! I just felt sooooo ready to take a step toward learning more in the photography realm and in my personal opinion and experience, that meant upgrading gear.
SO - this weekend I did just that. I had been a hawk checking on a local photography seller here in Dallas for weeks and weeks. Daniel and I both knew our best bet would be to look into buying used gear. I had an idea of which cameras I was interested in (and of course, my dream camera) but I was being patient and I was asking all the questions and researching a ton. I'll spare you the details and just fast forward.
Last week I saw that the local camera store had a used (and in mint plus condition, btw) Canon 5D Mark III for sale. My thought process? "Wowza. This would be v cool to own. And I could start with a 50mm lens! Wow. AND it takes video?! Wait, wait... I can create slow motion footage?? Imagine what content I could create with this..."
To make a semi-long (but not really - it was a wonderfully easy and friendly process) short - I walked myself right out of that local camera shop with not only the camera of my ~current~ dreams - but a 50mm f/1.4 lens to boot! And y'all. I've not been able to put it down.
While I google how to use this thing to its max capacity AND watch a million and one YouTube how-to videos - enjoy these simple snaps I took around our house this weekend.
I'm so excited to learn how to use this beauty and I am feeling so grateful that we are even able to take these next steps and invest in such a thing as this. I can't wait to see what happens.
If you're in the DFW area and would love some free images, shoot me an email! I really need some practice and would love to snap some images of you, your family or fun stuff for your blog! I'll hopefully share more details soon but for now, AHHHHHH I AM JUST SO HAPPY.
WOW - it's been a looooooong time since I've been on YouTube - especially with a thrift haul! It feels good to be back. Thank you guys so much for your patience. I have had quite a rough year and I really needed to take a step back to take care of myself. Days are still really difficult, but I have missed sharing on this channel very much and it feels so good to edit and post a new video all about the frivolous joy of thrift shopping.
I AM SO EXCITED to share this fall inspired thrift haul. Let's be real, it's the best time of the year! And if you read that in your head like Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle then LET'S BE BEST FRIENDS.
You're going to see upcycled denim jeans, boho blouses, fall dresses and even a few surprising accessories. Be sure to watch the video to see all the rad things I got for such a good deal - I'm talking like less than $5 for each item!
Because I can't link the thrifted items in this video (hello 90's dresses and old UO) I thought it would be fun to find a few similar pieces that I consider great alternatives (unless you go thrifting for similar pieces of course *wink wink*). Check out the staple pieces I've added to my wardrobe for this fall below!
HIGH WAIST DENIM JEANS
I'm loving this ethical brand and just ordered this pair of pants for myself! I'll report back on the fit but I've heard they fit true to size and have a nice stretch to them.
BLOUSY SHEER TOPS
If I'm not thrifting, I love to browse Old Navy's clearance racks for blouses! My secret to an effortless boho blouse is to purchase a few sizes up so it hangs blousy and flowy on my frame.
This is a staple print for all seasons, tbh. But it's such a fun and natural color scheme to add to your fall colors! Looks great paired with every shade. I love this and this.
FALL COLORED DRESSES
Again, if I'm not scoping out the racks at my local thrift store, I love to check out Urban Outfitters or Asos for inspiration. I think something like this or this would be great for the fall.
A BOLD HEAD WRAP
Luckily the head wrap in my video was NOT thrifted (shhhh, don't tell)! This is good news because I can share with you exactly where I got it and who made it.
Check out their selection here.
I hope this has given you inspiration for your fall wardrobe! If you are on a budget or just like to hunt for one of a kind goodies, then definitely try thrift shopping! The links above are a mixture of vintage, ethical brands, big box stores and even handmade pieces. Who knows, before you get to shopping you might just take a quick glance at your closet. You might even have these pieces already!
This thrift haul is long overdue, y'all. Again, thank you for your patience, support and outpouring of love here on this blog, my channel and my Instagram. Many of you I am proud to call friends now and I'm so, so grateful for you. Thank you. I love y'all and I can't wait to make more videos and get to know you all! Let's be friends!!! No, seriously. Let's be friends.
HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL! Let's bust out the pumpkins. My body is ready.
Antique Batavia NY Flag Pennant
There is something super special about an old pennant flag. I love to imagine what its first life was like - on the wall of a teenager or an office. This one is from the 20s. How cool is that?!
I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm v into jungle animals for decor! I don't have ~many~ however, I've been on the hunt for a porcelain tiger for quite a while now. If you see any vintage ones, let a sistah know! I was ~thiiiiiis~ close to buying a porcelain black panther but I knew what my heart wanted in the long run. And that is a tiger.
Cheetah Wall Art
This is such a fun piece! And it's from TJ Maxx?! I love the simplicity and normalcy of it. He's just sitting there looking in the mirror in all his glory. I don't know why I'm assuming this is a dude cat and not a dudette but you get the gist. I'd love a piece like this in our home!
Black & White Ceramic Vase
Another really cute piece from TJ Maxx. Aside from strolling through thrift stores, I do love a good stroll through Home Goods and TJ Maxx. I will say it's more difficult for me to find fun pieces that I actually want to purchase while at these stores - but I do walk away with inspo!
Again, another easy staple from a big box store. However, stores like these tend to turnover product rather quickly so it's always fun to swing by and see what's new every few weeks. I always have major luck in their shoe section - BUT - their home and fashion sections are sooooo perfect for quick, inexpensive and beautiful gifts.
Your House or Mine Plate
First thing's first - this gal behind this company name is SUCH a gem. Truly a beautiful human. And she HANDmakes beautiful things! Y'all need to go check out everything she is about. I own three of her pieces and my dream is to have all of our dinner plates completely made by her. This place is no exception. So gorgeous!
Needle Point Tigress Pillow by Justina Blakeney
The LITERAL first time I saw this on Instagram (heyyyyy @mandimakes!) I was like ~I NEED THIS ASAP. Bonus?? It's SO affordable. I am OBSESSED! Definitely on this season's wishlist.
Black and White Vintage Art Print
Part of me wants to DIY this... Part of me just thinks it's worth the purchase. Depends on your lifestyle and time! But I am very inspired by the entire set up. So unique and cute! I think it would be so meaningful if the black and white portion of this art piece was something from your very own history and life.
Still on the hunt for a super cute mat - such as this! I see them all the time but none of them have spoken to me. I love the color and pattern of this one. But don't purchase any staple piece unless you are in love! I'm inspired but still on the hunt.
What are you recently inspired by? This season of my life is such a weird one. It's refreshing to just go back to what I know. Finding unique and cool things! To be honest, I can't wait to get back to my favorite thrift store and breeze through the aisles, letting my mind wander.
If you're experiencing a weird season, trust me when I say, I'm right there with you. And it will be okay. I don't know how, but I believe in the promises that Jesus can only give. His grace is enough. I want to rejoice in that - even when I am in the dark.
Love you bb's. I'll be back with more fun blog posts soon! Thanks so much for your patience during this time in my life. Y'all the real MVP's.
A little recap from our vacation! Last month Daniel and I set off to Riviera Maya, Mexico for an entire week. Here's a little recap! If you click each image, you can read a little bit about it!
It's been a while since I got on here - it's weird how fast time moves. How can it be the middle of June already? Crazy town.
I'm going to be super honest - when I try to sit down and write anything regarding how or what I feel, I totally freeze. Brain shut down. Thoughts *poof*. Bye, bye words. See ya never? This has made me feel so paralyzed. I've not created content in so long that the feeling of this frozenness is turning into a feeling of helplessness. For a while I didn't mind - to think about anything more than what was in front of me was such a weight in itself. So I coasted my thoughts and honestly, continue to do so quite often. However, I'm seven months into this and I'm beginning to realize that maybe I am coming to this place in my life in which something is stirring inside of me? Stuff happens to your entire person when tragedy happens. For me - it was wanting to make my mom proud. She always encouraged me to sing, to make YouTube videos (hell, she and my dad told me to put myself on there when I was in high school and I never listened!), make clothes, pursue acting, design jewelry – literally you name it, my mom encouraged me to do it. But when I let my mind flourish and think “I can do this! I can create! Mom would be so proud!” I have this faint little reminder that if I took myself back to reality, I could easily be found sobbing on the couch at the drop of a hat. P.S. I'm not a completely unstable human being, lol, so don't totally freak out! Just being v honest. I like honesty and I hope you are kewl with this.
Anyway - seeing as I've felt especially paralyzed at the keyboard, but have felt a stirring to share or scream or sing or do something - anything, I decided to just share something simple that caught my attention today. It was an instagram graphic shared by Bethel music - which is a worship band in California - and it stopped me in my tracks.
If you know me, you know I have been singing my entire life - in fact, it makes up so much of who I am, I would say it qualifies as one of the first descriptions of me. Daughter, sister, wife, friend, singer, etc. Not because ~woah look at me I sing~ (I know PLENTY of extremely talented and passionate singers and muscians that I would tout in a hot second) but more so it's just a thing that is engrained in my being. I remember when I was in pre-k 4 (or maybe kindergarten?) and all of us Broun kids went to a Christisan school where my mother taught... the church attached to the school was having a drama special (or something) and they needed a little kid's voice recording of "Jesus Loves Me". My mom believed I was a little singer so she volunteered me for the role. I remember singing in the library with the old orange speckled carpet as they recorded it on an old cassette player and I remember sitting in the church balcony the moment my voice came on the speakers. From that moment on (or my mom would most definitely say from the moment I found my voice) I was singing any time I could.
I fell away from all forms of song for several years while I was trying to figure out who I was. You could say I was a little bitter in college - I didn't have the best experience and I was trying to be a rebel (OR SOMETHING??? still not sure what my problem was). Once I began singing again a little over three years ago, I remembered an intricate part of who I am. It was one of those like “ah-ha” moments that feels so, soooooo right.
Fast forward to now: since February, I've sang (aside from around the house, in my car, etc.) approximately once a month at our church (that’s the way they run things there so no one is expected to serve all month, all year long... and I think that was v cool of them) and I've felt God move in me each time. Like never before. NEVER. Yes, I have always been engaged in worship at some level - but never like this. This was fa sho the holy spirit moving through me. FA SHO. And it has brought me to tears each time. To sing the words “You are good to me” after such great sorrow?How is that even possible? What am I even saying?? You took something that was most, most precious to me and here I praise You??? That shouldn’t add up. But He is good. He is faithful. He does love me. He holds me in my grief. He holds me in my daily struggles that separate me from Him. He loves me. Jesus loves me.
Yes – I did go off on a tangent there for a minute but I’ll finish my blog post now. Lol.
If it isn’t evident from my words on this page that I feel something stirring and I feel like I am on the tip of unexplainable, then I am telling you now. Yes, I hurt. Yes, I am broken. Yes, I grieve. Yes, I miss her more than I could ever express in my entire lifetime. No, I don’t know what tomorrow faces. It could be complete brokenness followed be a puddle of tears and a scratchy voice from sobbing… but I have this insanely real hold on me from God. He has brought me joy. Amidst the sorrow and pain and hate and anger and disgust, He has managed to bring me joy. Is it fleeting? Probably. I believe in seasons of life so yes, I believe I will read back on this post one day and be like “HAHA. You were in denial.” But right now, I feel peace and comfort and joy.
With all of that – I want to leave you with the Instagram post that made me want to jump on top of a table and yell “YES!”
Life is really, really hard sometimes. If only I could share with you the struggles I have and continue to face in my daily and hourly life. It’s not easy, it’s not simple, it’s not “creating your own happiness” like I used to believe. It’s resting in the comfort that Jesus loves you, He ONLY wants to be your friend and He loves you more than anything you could imagine. If He created the stars and the moon and the sun and the trees and the birds to solely glorify Him all the days of their life, why not us? That’s where I am right now. Yes, I am for sure doing a shitty job (I do cuss a little people, I’m a human) but knowing He is there brings me peace.
I'm Alyssa, thanks for stopping by! A few things: I enjoy laughing, making youtube videos and thrift shopping. Currently listening to "Everything Now" by Arcade Fire. I like my coffee black and my preferred method of maxin' & relaxin' is with my husband and pup.