Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Just four months ago I had no idea what a blog even was. One afternoon I was doing an online search for the "10 most popular decorating sites" when Holly Becker's blog "decor8" popped up. I spent the next few hours (yes, hours) perusing her beautiful, inspirational site and became hooked. Shortly after that, I registered for Holly's e-course "Blogging Your Way" and discovered what a dedicated teacher and caring person she is.
This interview will give you a candid look into Holly's life and heart. I asked her some fairly personal questions and she was so honest and genuine.....the only way I think Holly Becker knows how to be. Here goes!
Vicki: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and Decor8.
Holly: Oh wow, now that's a loaded question! Have a few years? I love to talk, as you have already experienced full force in my podcasts over at Blogging Your Way. So! I guess I can start by saying that I grew up in South Carolina on the beach, relocated to Boston as a teenager where I lived until I got married in 2001. I met my husband, Thorsten, on the internet. He read something online that I wrote back in 1998 and responded to it and an email conversation turned into a phone call and then into a flight to Germany where we met in person for the first time after a full year of talking daily on the phone and through emails. My gut told me he was the one from the first conversation we had on the phone. After meeting, we got engaged quickly and continued to fly back and forth, him to Boston, me to Germany, until May of 2001 when the INS finally issued him a fiance visa allowing him to relocate to America under one condition, we needed to get married within 90 days in America.
We quickly pulled together a beautiful handmade wedding which took place in the backyard of my aunt's gorgeous (and massive) home on a hill overlooking the Boston skyline, and she has a fabulous English garden that was in full bloom. We had about 75 guests and I did all of the flowers alongside of my mother, made the favors, handmade the invitations, I decoupaged the vases for the centerpieces on each table, made a book of 'us' that we passed around to all of our guests so they could get to know Thorsten better since most of my friends didn't know him that well, and I made my headpiece and veil and also helped design my wedding gown which I had made by this little old Italian lady who insisted on feeding me whenever I went to her studio for a fitting!
The wedding was held outdoors and was perfect. The colors were cantaloupe and watermelon and a hint of sky blue and pale green. It was lovely. We flew to San Francisco the morning after our wedding for two weeks and spent time in Sonoma too. It was heaven. We nearly skipped a honeymoon but I'm so glad we didn't, it was absolutely the best trip I've ever taken. I can't imagine getting married without a honeymoon, I think those who skip one are truly missing out. It's better to save your money on shoes or invitations and use it instead for a lovely getaway.
After we married we moved to New Hampshire and started to go back and forth to Germany each year for a few months staying in a hotel for that time. Over the years it became too expensive to keep doing that so we decided to take a second apartment there which we have had a little over a year already. I love it. :) It's only 600 square feet but directly in the city but 3 minutes by foot to a huge forest so it's the best of both worlds - city life and nature combined.
After 10 years in the corporate world, I left in 2005 and launched my blog in January of 2006 and now I'm writing and blogging full-time and we spend 5-6 months each year in Germany and the rest of the time here in the states. It's a fun life and my husband is amazing. I married my best friend. We're planning to have a baby next year so a new chapter is about to open. I can't wait!
Vicki: How do you define success?
Holly: My life. I feel like my life is a success story for many reasons far too personal to reveal. But in my heart, I know what I've had to overcome and so I view myself as a success story. I'm very proud of my life and that I am who I am. I have no regrets.
Vicki: What do you consider your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
Holly: My greatest strength is that I genuinely care about people and this is often my greatest weakness, because I care so much I can also feel really hurt when someone turns on me or uses me to get something that they want. But as I get older and mature, I am starting to see these 'types' early on and I've learned to say no before the hurting part can start. :) That's the beauty of blossoming and growing up.
Vicki: What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Holly: That I often feel like those I've met online do not really appreciate me -- that it's more about my popular blog than about me as a person. I know my family loves me, and my close friends are wonderful, but those online -- well sometimes I feel like I'm not really as important as my blog is. The internet moves very quickly and because of this, some forget common courtesy. I was raised down south, I'm a southern girl and we were raised to help everyone and to be friendly and polite and yes, even a little charming. I was raised not to swear or be anything less than a lady. It's the southern way. Online, all of these cultures get thrown in together and we all start to sound the same and fly through the day often overlooking the little joys, those who helped us, being polite. For instance, I sometimes spend hours writing emails to those in need of help and often those same people never bother to write back to thank me for the time I took to assist them. I'm not a drive thru window at Wendy's! You can't drive up to Holly's, order help, I give it to you and you just fly off and I never see you again.
I want something a bit more meaningful sometimes than these drive by friendships. I am a sit down and relax at my table and let's talk for hours kind of girl. I appreciate deep meaningful connections and often online others aren't willing to have them due to time constraints or they just don't feel like bothering since they have what they need and quickly move on to the next person. As a popular blogger, I frequently have to remind myself that I am making a difference and that some just aren't as expressive about this than others are. I try not to dwell on this feeling and instead, I focus on the many lovely friends I HAVE made online that are genuine. For every loss there are more wins for me, so that alone keeps me moving full speed ahead.
Vicki: What's your favorite way to spend a "lazy day"?
Holly: I have a hard time being lazy. This is seriously a problem. I have a very high energy level, I inherited this from my mother who is always moving around and working on projects. I have to force myself to sit down and read but then once I'm into a novel it's fine -- but getting myself to commit to being inactive is quite hard. I clean a lot and organize often. I'm moving furniture and art around frequently, and when there's time I make things, though not much recently. I like to keep going. When I must be lazy, usually per the order of my husband who wants to cuddle on the sofa, I prepare a cheese tray with olives and fresh fruits, make some tea, or bring in a bottle of Riesling and we eat and cuddle and watch DVDs. We love our movies!
Vicki: What do you treasure most in life?
Holly: My husband -- he is very deep, passionate, compassionate, loving, full of wisdom and hope, positive, understanding, hard working, disciplined, artistic, and he is very balanced in all things. He's a great role model and best friend. Plus he loves to travel and really loves to connect with others, help and teach them, and be a true friend. He's great with children and animals, I love how tender he can be with small, fragile things. The fact that he kisses great and loves to cook, well that's nice too!
Thanks so much for letting us into your world, Holly. :)