Saturday, December 10, 2016

31 Before 31

Hey girl hey! Last Friday I turned 30 and it was maybe the best day. I got to celebrate with my friends at my favorite restaurant Lulu's Local Eatery and even got a surprise cake that my boyfriend arranged with Genuinely Baked, a really kick ass vegan dessert queen. Then we got drinks at a local brewery, 4 Hands. It was awesome and fun and I fell asleep with a huge smile on my face, feeling so loved. 

Literally the next day I came down with a sickness like nothing that's ever happened to me before. This intense, constant pain in my stomach and back. It's still happening but I ended up going to the doctor yesterday who diagnosed me with a intestinal infection. Super fun right? The worst part is there is no antibiotics that you can take for it, you just kind of have to wait for it to pass. It's miserable. I'm on a bland diet and water only right now, so I've been holed up on my couch all week. 30 is not starting out super great. 

After sharing all that fun stuff, I wanted to share my birthday goals for this next year. I've been working on this list for the past few months, jotting down things that I thought would be fun to accomplish in the next year. I also took awhile looking over from last year. I didn't accomplish even half the things I set out to do so I wanted to me more intentional with this list. I want to stretch myself but also be realistic. I feel like I have a good mix of those things and I'm excited to see what 30 has in store for me! 

31 Before 31

1. Send one piece of snail mail a week
2. Go somewhere I've never been
3. Pay off all debt
4. Go camping
5. Take the beebs on vacation
6. Listen to one new album a week
7. Sew 5 different items of clothing
8. Book a trip out of the country
9. Reread the Sword of Truth series
10. Have a booth at a craft fair
11. Get a tattoo for mom
12. Knit a sweater and/or shawl
13. Throw a surprise party
14. Get family photos taken
15. Write a book
16. Become a top performer at my job
17. Take the girls to see a musical
18. Start a personal blog
19. Move
20. Upgrade furniture (bed frame, coffee table, tv stand, bookshelves)
21. Get a skincare routine
22. Make my health a priority (exercise & healthy eating)
23. Go on a solo day trip
24. Make a large weaving
25. Redecorate the girls room
26. Read one personal development book a month
27. Figure out a few go to hairstyles
28. Donate to causes I care about monthly
29. Get involved in politics and causes locally
30. Start an IRL Book Club
31. Host a wine club

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

3 Reasons You Should Read The Female of the Species

Hey friends! We are back for another book discussion.  This month, I picked The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. This book has been all over the blogsphere recently so obviously we were both dying to read it.  It's a little darker of a read and the summary is as follows:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Sounds pretty interesting, doesn't it? Here are our 3 reasons you should read The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis:

1. Females are Strong as Hell. 
Jen  Says:
Unfortunately, sometimes women are viewed as meek, submissive creatures.  This book pretty much blows away that gender stereotype.  When women, or someone they closely care about, are in danger women are at their primal strongest. They are capable of the same things as all humans when that fight or flight instinct is tapped into. Their loyalty is unchallenged. They can be vengeful. Females are strong as hell.

Heather Says:
Jen nailed it. It was kind of amazing to read a book that had female characters that weren't just strong as hell, but also fully formed, three dimensional people. Flaws and all, it was empowering to read about strong ladies who also felt real.

2. Accurate Portrayal of Teenage Life
Jen Says:
Man, did I find this book relatable when it comes to the portrayal of teenage life.  This book is gritty and it doesn't sugarcoat life in general. Teen's lives can be a messy place.  Teens are trying to navigate this new world where they aren't exactly children but aren't quite adults yet.  It was very refreshing for them to be experimenting with drugs and alcohol, being bullied and having to face some real life shit, including sexual assault. Life isn't a fairy tale and I love it when an author can keep it so real.

Heather Says:
Being a teenager is such a weird time. You have this looming responsibility of adulthood but you're technically still a child. You make mistakes and are really kind of self involved and weird. This book felt like a very real portrayal of teen life. Teens who have sex and drink and party, but also take care of school business and aren't always nice or perfect.

3.  Rape Culture
Jen Says:
Despite what some white men might say, the rape culture is still very much alive and kicking. I don't know one lady who hasn't had to deal with some sort of unwanted sexual advance in their life.  It sucks and it was great this book went into how prevalent sexual assaults happen.  Slut-shaming is also addressed in such a healthy way and it can make you reevaluate how women relate to other women. It was super though provoking.

Heather Says:
Rape culture is everywhere. It feels like we literally cannot escape it (especially as women). This book took a topic that is so prevalent in our lives and culture and addressed it head on. I loved that it wasn't afraid to call out the sexism and double standards of some characters. It also took a situation at a party that feels like it literally could happen (has happened, happens all the time) and kind of had a character kick ass and shut that shit down.

I went into thinking this book was going to be a bit Dexter-esque, and parts of it really was, but it was so much more than a good serial killer ridding the world from evil. It was a very dark, yet a beautiful read that had some ironic humor.  What did you guys think? Let's discuss it in the comments!

Monday, December 5, 2016

December Small Goals

Last month of 2016 say whaaaaat? My November wasn't the best month I've ever had, I was sick 3 different times and it was a major bummer. I'm ready to enjoy December and all the holiday things that come with it. I already got to kick off the month with my 30th birthday and that was a blast. Jen basically knocked my present out of the park. Now I'm ready to kick ass for the last month of 2016. As always, we are linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl. Go check out all the small goals there as well!

Jen's Small Goals: November 
1. Make a Christmas Tree Skirt.  By the time this is posted, by skirt will be complete so it counts. I seriously can't wait to debut it and use it!
2.  House projects. Major fail. There were just too many events this month and I didn't feel like I had solid time to squeeze anything in. I did do better with house keeping. Does that count?
3.  Nightly Routine.  This one is still a work in progress and I'm not certain we can call it a routine yet.
4.  Vote on November 8th.  Voted and was highly disappointed. That is all.
5. Mix up the Podcasts. Yea, if by mix up the podcasts I really meant just listen to the Best of Friends Podcast than this would be complete, but it's not so it isn't. Another fail.

2/5 Goals Finished.  I really could have done better.
December Small Goals
1. Buy NOTHING! Basically if it isn't a Christmas present for someone, I'm not buying it. I said it, so it's happening.
2.  Crafty Ornaments.  Last year I made a whole bunch of soft ornaments for my tree and called them "kitty safe" ornaments because if they pulled them down they couldn't eat or choke on anything. They were mostly crocheted or felt ornaments. I plan on crafting some new ones to add to my collection.
3. Christmas Cookies/Treats.  It's always fun to try new holiday inspired recipes.  I have plenty of celebrations and I'm planning on trying out some new treats to take to houses. I did this during Thanksgiving and I was highly successful.
4. Find Yoga focused workout.  I've kind of fallen off the wagon workout wise in the last month.  I usually use Blogilates calendars which is more an overall workout but I'm just feeling zero motivation towards it lately.  I think I'm going to try to find a more yoga focused workout to fill December with.
5. Clean up my Personal Email.  My personal email is atrocious. It has over 5,000 emails in it which are probably mostly junk. I need to sort my downloadable patterns for the last few months and then purge the rest.  I might wait until most of my Christmas orders are here but this needs to happen and needs to stay cleaned out. I swear, my work email is super tidy and I don't understand this personal laziness. Digital clutter is still clutter and it needs to go.

Heather's Small Goals: November 
1. Make 3 seasonal things (desserts, cocktails, food)   I feel like I cheated a little with this one because I ended up making mostly all seasonal things for Friendsgiving (Bourbon Apple Cider, Cranberry and Apple Stuffing, Bourbon Apple Pie. They were all hits!) 
2. Check out the new cat cafe in STL  Done and done! The best friends gang totally made our way to the cat cafe in STL and it was amazing 
3. Take my beebs shopping for fall/winter  We actually did this on the same day as the cat cafe trip. They crushed it and basically knew exactly what they wanted. It was such a blast. 
4. Blog 3x a week  Fail. I was sick for the majority of November and didn't plan ahead. Same old story, different month. 
5. Host Sister Thanksgiving We changed this to Friendsgiving and it was a hit! I was so pumped that this went off and was such a blast. It's totally a yearly tradition now. 

4/5 Goals Finished 

December Small Goals 
1. Send out holiday cards  I haven't sent out holiday cards in years but I'm really feeling sending out some Christmas cheer this year. I'm also a part of a lady pen pal group so I have a huge list of cool ladies to send things to! 
2. Don't spend any money on myself  My birthday is so close to Christmas and right before Black Friday and I did a little splurging on myself. Hey, I'm turning 30, I think it's deserved. But I'd really like to go on a freeze on personal spending until at least after the holidays. 
3. Get back into my workout routine  I had a really good workout routine over the summer and have let it fall to the side as the weather got colder. Now I'm feeling this urge to kickstart working out again. I've joined an accountability group and I'm following my T25 workout calendar. 
4. Celebrate turning 30 with my friends  Turning 30 feels like a big deal so I want to celebrate with all my friends and just have the best time ringing in the next decade of my life. 
5. Handmade holiday gifts  I've already purchased a lot of holiday gifts but I'd like to add some handmade things to my pile of presents. My sisters usually love cozy scarves and my kids have been asking for new hats so I think those will all go on the list. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Book Club

Hey there book lovers! Who else is kind of shocked it's already December (raises hand a million times)? It's the last book club of 2016 and that just feels crazy to me. Guess we better start prepping all those end of the year lists that bloggers love to make. Jen and I actually decided on this months book during Friendsgiving. I was scrolling through my Kindle library and throwing out ideas to find something we both owned  but hadn't read yet. We both got pretty excited when this one popped up so our choice for December is The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Braken

We tried another book by Alexandra Braken this year (Passenger in February) and both didn't love it. However we saw her on a panel at BookCon in May and she was so awesome and cool and wonderful, we both felt kind of awful that we didn't love Passenger. We've talked about giving her other series a chance and it looks like December is when that happens. 

So, what's it about? 

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Ok sounds pretty legit right? I'm really excited to give Ms. Braken another chance and to dive into a cool fantasy type read while we deck the halls this month. Check back at the end of the month so we can all discuss it. Happy reading friends! 

Cool Girls in Front of Brick Walls

Friends!! It's been a hot minute since we posted anything outfit related and we felt like we were dying a little on the inside about that situation.  Therefore, last weekend we were able to hang out and rectify that situation. Yes, we even took a break from Gilmore Girls to accomplish this!

I feel like we spend a lot of time complaining about the weather, so this post will be no exception. Missouri didn't have the typical fall this year. We had days that reached into the 80s up until a couple of weeks ago. And them BAM, highs in the 50s. It has thrown our outfit planning game into a confusing spiral but we are powering through in hopes of continuously looking cute as hell.

Since this was a spur of the moment shoot, we decided to completely free style our outfits and didn't discuss them prior to meeting up.  I'm really in love with the results and I think it showcases our styles perfectly.

In the winter, I absolutely live in jeggings. They are my go to and probably mostly for warmth. Florals are obviously my other go to and definitely work for all seasons, in my opinion. I find vests tricky to style in the winter because who wants to put a coat on over a bulky vest but I think it balances out with the addition of the hat. (And luckily it wasn't unbearable for this shoot!) This vest was one of my best purchases this fall. Basically anything I can add pins too, I'm into.

I am seriously in love with this outfit. The blush pink jeggings are my jam and this will be a go to outfit in the future on days I'm too lazy to outfit plan. It's also got a great 90's feel to it which I'm all about.  This outfit seriously makes me feel like the coolest version of myself.

Outfit Details
Floral Shirt (Rue 21-old) / Vest (AE thrifted on Mercari) / Jeggings (AE-similar) / Booties (Gojane they've sold out but you can find them on Amazon) / Choker (Amazon) / Catmas pin (thepinksamurai) / Hat (Rue 21-old)

We both become the silliest versions of our selves when we are together. We were on a mission to search out the best brick wall that we totally almost missed this gorgeous ivy display that we were literally parked right next too. So we obviously had to snap a couple of extras. Those colors, tho!

Missouri is such a finicky state. It's hot, then it's cold. I've just taken to wearing a coat everyday since I usually tend to be on the cold side anyway. Outfit photos with Jen are like my favorite thing about having a blog. We were a little bummed that we didn't get to take many fall outfit photos but I think both our outfits capture that kind of in between weather where it's getting cold but you can still not wear a coat for like 20 minutes and you're fine. I feel like we finally have some go to poses but without fail we always end up looking at each other and kind of going, "uhhh any new ideas? What do we do now?" So we are a total work in progress but I always end up loving each outfit photo sesh more and more. 

Outfit photos are also an excellent lesson in ignoring all the people driving by or walking their dog while staring at us like we are crazy. I don't care though. Maybe it's turning 30 or maybe it's just that I'm having fun with my friend and looking fly, I'm not really bothered by your stares (probs stares of jealousy, amirite?!). The moral of the story is to just do you and let everyone stare. Who cares? 

Outfit Details 
Sweater (Target) / Dress (Rue21-old) / Tights (old) / Booties (Target) / Necklace (Forever 21-old) / Lipstick (Notion by ColourPop

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Rewind


This month was full of great reads! The book club pick The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis blew me away. I literally read it in one day. I also finally got around to One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and it was such a thought provoking read. Something I haven't felt since her other book Maybe in Another Life. Other goodness includes It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmont and the comic Wytches by Scott Snyder.  November was a really solid reading month for me friends. 


I finally was able to catch up on Supernatural on Netflix. Man oh man do I love those Winchester boys. I'm actually a little sad my epic binge watch is over. I've moved on to hard core binging Gilmore Girls so maybe I can watch the revival before any spoilers hit my ears.  On another note, my boyfriend and I finished up our Battlestar Galactica watch, so now I'm excited to see what he's going to pick next, 


I've added some new podcasts into my rotation this month. Podcasts literally save my commute from being the worst thing ever. First up is Shailey and Katie: DIY, Design, Photo & Video, Parenting, & Laughter. Shailey and Katie are hilarious and give a nice glimpse into being work from home moms with creative jobs. They have really cool perspectives on things and have guest from other blogs, like Emma Chapman from A Beautiful Mess. I also added Kill by Kill to my subscriptions and it's been a real treat. If you are a horror fan, you're going to love Patrick and Gena taking on Friday the 13th and all the silly and awesome details. 

Also this month:
Sickness 24/7
I wish this was a joke, but I was literally sick for almost 3 weeks straight. Two of those times was with strep throat. One of the times with strep throat also included a horrific head cold. So I spent a lot of time feeling miserable and working from home. For the first time maybe ever, I'm excited to go back to work and kind of kick ass instead of barely keeping it together. 

Cat Cafe Goodness
The best thing to happen to The Best Friend Gang was the opening of Mauhaus in St. Louis. Mauhaus has been on my radar for the past year, obviously being the crazy cat lazy I am. So as soon as I saw they were taking reservations on Instagram, I signed us up! Jen and I took the girls and we all got delicious coffee drinks and spent over an hour petting cats and having the best time. We are totally going back asap! Bonus: all the cats at the cafe are up for adoption and I've seen that 4 of them have already found forever homes! 

The First Annual Friendsgiving
In my small goals for this month I mentioned a sister Thanksgiving was in the works. This turned into a Friendsgiving that was maybe the best! Jarrett and I hosted and cooked a lot of delicious food (some was more of hit than others) and had fun laughing with the people who are most important to me. It was a hit and I think it's a tradition that we will keep up next year as well. Though this time we are thinking of doing a little something different food wise. 

Knitting Profesh
We usually only do 3 things here, but I wanted to brag a little that I took a knitting class and have fulfilled something I've been wanting to learn for years. I took a beginners knitting class and it was such a good investment. I have learned so much and actually finished my first project today. I'm already moving on to my second scarf so I'm basically a pro now you guys. 

I made some progress book wise this month with a total of 5 finishes. I read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and I really loved it. It was in an email/instant message/journal entry format which I'm always a fan of. I'm dying to read book Gemina. I read a cult inspired book called The Family by Marissa Kennerson. It was a little scary, really sad, yet fascinating all at the same time. I ready Drew Barrymore's memoir (even though she isn't calling it a memoir--who need's labels?) Wildflower and I really enjoyed it. I'm always into reading about someone's life and what shaped the person they are.  I randomly picked up All the Rage by Courtney Summers over the past month and was also able to squeeze that in. It's about rape and was a pretty heavy topic. I didn't love it, but I got it. Oh, and let's not forget about our book club pick, The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis.  I won't say too much now, but I pretty much loved it.
Gilmore Girls Revival! I'll obviously keep this spoiler free since the bestie and I'm sure many others didn't get to binge it this past weekend. I really enjoyed it and I think I'm destined to rewatch the entire series because those Gilmore Girls give me alllll the feels. Maybe I was just going through Gilmore Girl withdrawal. Either way, I dug it.  I also watched Good Girls Revolt on Amazon. It was set in 1969-1970 during women's liberation and it was great. Great music, great fashion and great women kicking ass and realizing their potential. It's a great feminist watch for sure!
The husband and I listened/watched Dana Carvey on Netflix.  I can't see Dana without thinking of Wayne's World and him making fun of his 20 something sons was seriously one of the most hilarious things I've ever heard. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
Also this month:

Life at the Cat Café
I think this deserves to be on both of our rewind's this month. I would like to think I have a different perspective on the subject, but I think we are all pretty much in agreement--it was fantastic. We got some yummy drinks and sat down amongst the kitties and the fun began. Pretty quickly one made a bee line for my lap and took up camp there for a few minutes.  I thought my heart was going to explode in happiness. Not only do my 5 fur babies at home love me, but so do ALL THE KITTIES of the world. It was great sharing this experience with the members of The Best Friend Gang and I can't wait to plan another trip there.  Also, shout out to the best hot chocolate I've ever had and I've been chasing that high ever since.

Thanksgivings Traditions
I celebrated thanksgiving multiple times and they were all great. It was super fun attending Heather's Friendsgiving and I'm super pumped to hear it's going to be an annual thing! Josh and I also prepared a huge ass meal the weekend before.  We made a mess, giggled and used all my fancy pyrex dishes.  However, I learned that in all the amount of junk I own, that I do not own a gravy boat. I have 2 soup tureens, a butter holder and even 2 sets of vinegar and oil cuvettes but nope, no gravy boat. I found this highly complexing while I was finding a dish for gravy.

Cross Stitch Catch Up
When it comes to starting crafts, sometimes I'm like that kid who's eyes are too big for their stomach when it comes to meal time. I get so excited starting ALLLLL the projects that sometimes I have 3 going at once and I feel overwhelmed and like I'm not making any progress. This month I spent a lot of time working on catching up on some outstanding projects.  I finished one, caught up on one and am reallllly trying to catch up on my yearly sampler before the end of the year and the new one is released.  Anyway, I guess I'm in a perpetual state of playing catch up.

Monday, November 28, 2016

30 Before 30 {The Recap}

Well here we are. I'm turning 30 this week and closing out my 20s. It's been a rollercoaster of decade, and I'm more than ready to put 2016 especially behind me. Every year since I was 25 I've put together a list of things I want to accomplish by my next birthday. I try to mix the list with practical things I need to do and things I want to do that stretch me as a person. There is kind of a weird disconnect when making these goals. What you think you want to do doesn't always turn out to be possible, or maybe your goals shift and something you thought you wanted to do ends up not being as big of a priority as you thought it would be (going to a casino *ahem*). I think I crossed off maybe half the things on my list, but looking back, a lot of things I wanted to do just didn't fit with my life. I'm ok with that. I did accomplish a lot and this list pushed me to make some things a priority so I could make sure I got to do them. I'm perfecting my list for 31 now but before I post that, I wanted to do a small check in of what I got to cross of my 30 Before 30 list. 

30 Before 30 {Recap} 

1 Go to City Museum    Done! I went with Jarrett for our two year anniversary in October 
2 Organize photos (on computer…possibly putting them into photo books?) 
3 Keep a daily or weekly journal   For the past like 6 months, I've kept a weekly journal type thing. I think I'll keep it up! 
4 Weekly portraits of E & M  
5 Buy a new swimsuit Guess what? I bought THREE new swimsuits this year 
6 Go on an overnight camping trip 
7 Decorate our place So this is like a work in progress but I made some serious strides. It counts.
8 Buy a bike  So I bought a bike for Jarrett for his birthday and I'm counting that 
9 Take more everyday photographs 
10 Write 3 short stories/essays Done and done. I've kept them all private for now, but I did it! 
11 Reread one book (or more!) a month  Yup. I have a list but I'll spare you for now. It was really nice to revisit some favorites this year. 
12 Sew a dress (possibly with pockets!) 
13 Get a tattoo
14 Make some art for the walls  
15 Run a 5K  I actually ran/walked TWO 6Ks
16 Get some houseplants (succulents)  They have all died but I still got them. I have a cactus (for now) 
17 Go to a casino
18 Learn to make 3 fancy-ish cocktails  I made a Dark & Stormy, Bourbon Spiked Cider, and Wine Spritzers. Fancy enough for me! 
19 Make two quilts 
20 Get a passport 
21 Learn to knit (FOR REAL THIS TIME)  Took a knitting class and completed my 1st project this week! Got it done right before the cut off 
22 Take a solo day trip 
23 Cook one new recipe a month 
24 Go on a birthday trip with my sister 
25 Host a wine club 
26 Plan a best friend trip with Jen  BookCon in Chicago was a DREAM! 
27 Make some jewelry 
28 Try waterskiing 
29 Go to a festival 
30 Throw a surprise party 

14/30 birthday goals accomplished

So I didn't accomplish even half the things on my list, but I'm ok with that. Looking over the list I feel like I put things on there that just didn't fit with me anymore. Like I would have loved to try waterskiing but I didn't get the chance to go to the lake to do so. I also thought about getting a passport but with no trips out of the country on my radar any time soon, it seemed like money that could be better spent elsewhere for now. Same with a birthday trip with my sister. Timing and finances did not align, so we are going to try to fit this in sometime in 2017. Also "take more everyday photographs" is really super vague and hard to judge on if that was accomplished or not. Like I took a lot of great selfies but I don't think that counts. I think the most disappointing ones that I wish I had made more of an effort on would be organizing photos on my computer and taking weekly portraits of my beebs. This year for my 31 list, I'm trying to really examine who I am and what I think will work for me this year. I want to grow and challenge myself so I'm putting the finishing touches on that list now. If you do similar birthday lists, I'd love to hear any tips or tricks you have. What works for you? 

I'm really looking forward to 30, mostly because I strong armed my boyfriend and sister into throwing me a party. I'm scrappy when I need to be. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

3 Reasons You Need to Read Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Hey book loving friends! It's been a hot minute since we've had any book discussions here on the ol' blog. Book discussions are Jen and my favorite thing, hell it's why we started this whole blog! A cool place to talk books with your BFF! However, book discussions aren't our most read posts. They were kind of long and clunky and could be a little alienating if you hadn't read the book yet. So we took a break for a few months to think of a new way to make book discussions exciting again and here we are. A short list of a few reasons you need to read this book! This being of course whatever our book club pick was. So here, we go! Let's discuss in the comments, feedback appreciated.
So we read Three Dark Crowns in October for book club so let's refresh on what it was about shall we? 

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown. 

Ok now that we are all caught up, here's 3 reasons you need to read Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

1. Magical Sisters  
Heather Says: 
So three triplets all with different powers. On their 16th birthday, there's a huge festival where one walks away with the crown. Each chapter alternates points of view with the sisters so you get to know each of them individually. I don't know if I could pick a favorite sister, but it was so cool to see them struggle with the fact that they would have to fight each other, while two of them are keeping secrets on how powerful they actually are. 

Jen Says: 
The different powers were so cool and Heather is right, it is way too hard to pick a favorite sister or even a favorite power. The idea of being able to control the weather or things within nature or being able to withstand the strongest of poisons. I was way into watching them develop their individual gifts.

2. So many schemes
Heather Says: 
Everybody has an agenda in this book and you literally cannot trust any body. One sister learns that a little harder than the others. Sure, there are plenty of great solid friendships (see reason 3) but there is so much going on behind the sister's backs that it's kind of insane. Each sister was raised in a different part of the island among others with their gift. Some people see keeping certain gifts in power as the most important thing and aren't afraid to manipulate their way to the crown. 

Jen Says: 
I agree! Everyone had a different opinion who should win out in the end. Watching the schemes unfold and the odds stack up really made my heart race!

3. Friendship to the max 
Heather Says: 
The friendships in this book are so real and vital. Each sister has her own sets of friends, along with people who she maybe shouldn't trust all that much. There's so much behind the scenes scheming by both the princesses and the people surrounding them. Friendship in YA novels is one of my hands down favorite things and it was really well developed in this novel. There's a little bit of romance in here too but it's totally overshadowed by the sister's relationships and friendships. 

Jen Says: 
Strong woman helping each other while kicking ass is seriously my jam and this book was full of that. 

So 3 pretty great reasons to read Three Dark Crowns, like yesterday. Totally let us know if you add this to your list! It was maybe one of my favorite reads this year and I'm basically dying until the next one comes out. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What We Can Do

Hey friends

It's been a week hasn't it? I feel confident speaking for both Jen and I when we say we definitely did not expect the outcome of our Presidential Election on Tuesday. Even growing up in a small, conservative town, it was easy to roll our eyes that of course the people in our town and some that we grew up with were awful but most of America was like us. Committed to progress and staunchly against hate of any kind. Boy were we wrong. 

It sucks to wake up in a world that feels scary and unfamiliar. We can relate as women, but we do accept the white privilege that we've had for our lives, so while we are scared, we know other groups out there are even more terrified. People of color, members of the LGBTQ community, Muslims, and of course our fellow women. We are all scared and worried and kind of in a daze this week. 

Jen has been a huge fan of Samantha Bee for awhile now, but I totally feel like her day after recap hit the nail on the head. If you haven't seen if yet, check it out below: 

White women, we have got a lot of work to do. Yes, take time to grieve, all the time you need. I'm still reeling from this today and probably will be for awhile. After that, we've got to get to work.

Jen signed up to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I donated money to them. There are so many more things you can do. Here's a list of some actionable things we can do and good articles to check out if you are one of the people who doesn't "get" why we are all so upset.

-A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support

-A really good look at the ways white women failed, and what we need to do next 

-Get you one of these awesome Nasty Woman t-shirts from Google Ghost. 50% of profits go to Planned Parenthood <3

-Volunteer! Find an organization close to your heart and volunteer your time. Planned Parenthood is a solid choice, I also really love the Moms Demand Action organization, find a local chapter and see what you can do to help!  

-Read this reflection by Roxanne Gay, one of my feminist heroes. 

-This blog by Stephanie Drenka made me cry like a baby 

-Sevi's short stories are always a weekly must read for me, but this week even more so. 

It's a short list but it's a start. Above all, be there for each other. Acknowledge the pain and anger of your friends and family. We are all heartbroken right now, but we will rise up and work our asses off to make things better. Get in formation ladies. We've got work to do. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Go To Outfits

Hey blog friends! I would love to start this off by saying "Happy Fall" but honestly, Missouri sucks and temperatures are still hitting 80's most days. We are a little worried that we aren't really going to have a fall and we are going to dive head first into frigid winter. This totally bums us both out because its fall in our hearts.

This outfit post we are going to focus on our more casual looks, or "go to" outfits that we love to where when outfit planning becomes too much.  These outfits happen multiple times a week because sleepy accurately describes us most mornings.  At this point, we both have legit graphic tee obsessions and we both can't seem to stop buying them.  When our favorite independent graphic tee shop has a sale we get super pumped and talk about our upcoming orders for weeks as we anticipate their arrivals (everything is made to order so it takes a while, but it is 100% worth the wait!). It gets a bit silly.

I absolutely love the evolution of our casual styles.  I think we both had a few graphic tees toward the beginning of the summer and then we just went a little crazy.  But I love that people can tell what we are all about just by looking at what tee we are sporting that day. It seems like my favorite tees are centered around cats, Harry Potter or books in general, quilting, favorite TV shows and feminism. Pretty much the best things.

Outfit Details
Tank {Wicked Clothes} / Jeggings {American Eagle} / Plaid Shirt {Vintage Forever 21} / kicks {Toms-very similar} / Pin {Heartificial}

Something about graphic tees speak to me. Lately it seems like you can find really cool and unique ones that can represent all your nerdy interests. When I saw this tee from Passive Juice Motel, I knew I had to make it mine. Coffee and contemplation are kind of my jam. Also one of my favorite quotes from Stranger Things, so yep. I had to have it! 

This outfit is basically what you can find me in lately. My office is cold year round, like most offices, so I always have a cardigan with me. I just picked up two of these extra cozy ones that I'm looking forward to wearing them non stop this winter. 

Side note: this coffee was so gross! I was really disappointed. Jen cracked up when I spit this out after the photo was taken, but I just could not. I live in a small town with limited coffee options, so I am pretty excited that it was just announced that we are getting a Starbucks. No more driving 30 minutes to get that Sbux fix y'all! 

Outfit Details 
Cardigan (Charlotte Russe-sold out) / Tee (Passive Juice Motel) / Jeggings (American Eagle) / Booties (Forever 21)