Monday, February 29, 2016

Winter Florals

Hey Friends! 
Life has been pretty hectic for us lately with Heather starting her new job so we haven't had the opportunity to blog plan like we normally do. We were able to squeeze in some shopping, outfit photos and lunch before the craziness ensued.  And, we got super lucky that it happened to snow the day before so we had some beautiful scenery for this shoot. The only downfalls were wind and snow blindness. 

One of my favorite prints in fashion is florals. I probably feel about florals the same way Heather feels about stripes.  I just love them and they are such a throwback to the 80's-90's style that I'm so fond of. The amount of florals in my wardrobe borderlines on shameful. I am a very seasonal dresser. I love that certain prints or fabrics correspond better with certain seasons.  Typically you think florals would work best in the spring and summer, however, I very much think floral is a print that can be pulled off year round.  I think florals paired with black constitute a subcategory that I've designated as "Winter Florals".  I think subconsciously I'm trying to will spring to get here.  I'm so ready to shed some layers!


Excuse my paleness. Again, I'm reallllly ready for spring to get here!







Outfit Details:
Dress (Rue 21) / Socks (Christmas gift) / Boots (Rue 21) / Vest (so old I can't remember)






Outfit Details 
Shirt (Walmart) / Dress (Forever 21) / Boots (Target) / Tights (Forever 21) / Sunglasses (Amazon) 




xoxo

Jen

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentines Day Bestie Style

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

The Bestie and I decided to get together to do a quick Valentine's Day themed outfit photo shoot using an old shoe factory our background.  I really love when we decide to do theme photo shoots.  I think it is really cool to pick a theme and then see how each of us interpret the theme with our own personal styles.  I get especially excited to see what Heather comes up with and how she accessorizes her look.  A lot of times in my head, I think we have such similar styles because our tastes in life are so paralleled but occasions like this help me realize how unique each of our styles truly are. Plus, isn't Heather rocking the shit out of that dress?


Personally, I don't even consider Valentine's Day a holiday.  To me, it is silly to put so many expectations on one day. Show the many loves of your life how much you love them every day, is my philosophy! But if my husband were to present me with some chocolate, I wouldn't throw it in his face or anything because chocolate. With that being said, it was surprisingly easy for me to come up with an Valentine's Day themed outfit.  I feel like cat sweaters are appropriate for all occasions!






Outfit Details:
Cat Sweater (Rue 21) / Skirt (Rue 21) / Tights (Kohls) / Socks (Christmas gift) / Boots (Go Jane) / Purse (American Eagle)





Outfit Details
Dress (Shein) / Belt (Target) / Tights (WalMart) / Booties (Forever 21) / Sunglasses (Amazon


And after we did some twirling, we decided what is a Valentine's Day shoot without a blowing kisses photo? Plus, I love getting all silly with the Bestie!


Friends, I hope you have the best of Valentine's Days.  Just remember: love hard, always.

xoxo
Jen

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heather's 6 Favorite Podcasts


Are you guys as into podcasts as I am? Are you answering, "Umm yes duh because we don't live under rocks and podcasts are super popular?" I'm great at imaginary conversations, obviously. Three years ago I discovered my first podcast and over the past year I've added a lot to the list of ones I listen to. Sadly, I don't get a ton of downtime to listen to them so I find myself with a longer list to listen to than I have time for. I usually listen to them while getting ready for work and when I work out. I do start my new job next week which means I'll have a 2 hour daily commute and I'm mostly excited that I will have all this time to listen to podcasts now. Silver linings and all that. Here are my 6 favorite ones that I manage to keep up with right now.


1. The Flophouse
Three years ago I read saw a podcast The Flophouse mentioned in the Entertainment Weekly Must List. I'd never checked out a podcast before but I love bad movies so I gave it a try and now Stuart, Elliot, and Dan are my #1 Podcast Boos. They are hilarious and I've caught myself laughing until I cried multiple times. Their Facebook page is also always filled with awesome discussions and links. I don't participate much but it seriously makes my day to check out what's going on over there as well. True story: I knew Jarrett would be an awesome boyfriend when I told him about The Flophouse and he loved it. It was the ultimate first date test.

2. Breakfast for Dinner
Breakfast for Dinner is a recent favorite of mine. I love Nicole's blog, Writes Like a Girl. Like seriously, how can someone have such wonderful outfits? I have been listening to this podcast she hosts with her boyfriend and have been really digging it. First of all, breakfast for dinner is my jam, and secondly, their opinions and topics of discussion are always so interesting to listen to. I love their vibe and Nic Explains Sports makes me feel less alone in not knowing about sports when my boyfriend tries to explain it. I've listened to about 10 episodes total but it's seriously fast becoming a favorite and must listen to podcast for me.

3. Gilmore Guys 
Demi and Kevin are two guys watching Gilmore Girls and discussing it one episode at a time, hence the Gilmore Guys. Kevin is a long time fan and Demi is a newbie watching it for the first time. I had never seen Gilmore Girls before and last year when Netflix started streaming all the seasons I thought it would be a good time to start. I got really into listening to this podcast as kind of a companion to my binge watch and it's so funny and cool to listen to two guys be genuinely interested in a show that's mostly viewed as a girl's show. I'm super behind on the podcast currently because I need to catch up on Gilmore Girls episodes but I can't wait to get caught up with the podcast as well!

4. Faculty of Horror
Faculty of Horror is another new find for me, which I originally heard about on The Flophouse Facebook page (Thank you Floppers!). Andrea and Alex discuss different horror movies, often with an awesome feminist perspective. I'm a huge horror buff and it's been really cool finding new movies to check out that I had heard of but never gotten to (hello Fatal Attraction and Sleepaway Camp!). I love the discussions that get started here and this is definitely one to add to my must listen list. If you love horror movies and are interested in a female perspective, add this to your list for sure!

5. The Black Tapes
The Black Tapes is a fictionalized podcast in the vein of Serial. It follows a reporter who is following a story on a paranormal debunker and his collection of unsolved black tapes. It delves into this man and his shady personal life and the creepy stories he investigates. It's such a cool format and I was genuinely creeped out multiple times while listening to this. I just got an alert this week that a new episode was released and I may have squeeled a little. I love this story style of this podcast and can't wait to get into season 2.

6. Judge John Hodgeman
Judge John Hodgeman is a podcast I mostly listen to with my boyfriend but it is one of my hands down favorites. If I could have a podcast where I got to judge people's crazy/silly problems, I would be in heaven. Alas I cannot do this and Hodgeman has the market on lock and does it way better than I ever could anyway. People will call in or write in with problems and it's up to Judge John Hodgeman to lay down the law. One of the first ones I listened to was a couple whose house in Brooklyn is next to a park and balls are constantly being lost in their backyard. The couple couldn't agree on what to do with them so in stepped to help them decide. It's always so fun to listen to and to discuss with Jarrett on how our opinions match or differ.


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Do you also love these podcasts or what's on the top of your list that you think is worth checking out? I've got a ton of space on my phone to fill with new podcasts so recommendations are welcome!

Monday, February 8, 2016

January Rewind {2016}




Read:  I focused on some rereads and finishing up series in January. I finished up the Lunar Chronicles series which I previously blogged about and I finished up The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo.  I started The Grisha series a few years ago and liked it ok so after reading Six of Crows, I really wanted to finish up her previous series.  However, even though I loved the story itself tremendously, I did not love the relationship between Alina and Mal. I found it very annoying in the grand scheme of the story.  I am super glad I conquered a goal of rereading and finishing up a series however, it will never be a favorite of mine. 

Watched:   This is Where I Leave You.  I watched this movie starring Tina Fey.  Although I found the premise pretty funny, forced to sit in Shiva with a crazy family, it definitely wasn't my favorite. 

Listening:  Whitney Cummings had a new HBO special debut in January.  As usual, Whitney did not disappoint.  I think you could put Whitney in anything and she would shine though as the badass bitch she is.  She is one of my favorite comics and I love that she is dabbling in television too. Anyone else watch Undateable? It's a live comedy and Ron & Danny & Chris are hilarious. If you aren't watching it, you should be.

Also this month: 
 
1.  Book Journal.
 
I started a book journal at the beginning of the year.  I've been wanting my own personal space to doodle and write down all my personal thoughts about the stuff I'm reading.  I'm really enjoying keeping the journal and find it comes in useful when having those book discussions with the Bestie.
 
2.  Donut Quilt Stash Bust.
 
New year, new quilt.  It seems like each year, even if I don't intend to, I start the new year out with a new quilt project.  I'm really trying to work on busting up some of my fabric stashes so I can buy some new stuff.  I love the Donut quilt pattern by Johanna Masko so I decided to whip another one up with some various fabrics I had lying around. As you can see above, it is very floraly, which I love. I'm already to the quilting portion and my cats are already using it to sleep on.  I think they enjoy new quilts more than I do.
 
3. Game of Thrones-Rewatch.
 
January was a really slow month at my house.  It was dreary and cold, except the last week, so it was a good month to hunker down and get my hibernation on.  My husband is obsessed with the tv version of Game of Thrones so we spend a couple of weeks rewatching the series in anticipation of the new season in April.  I was a little hesitant to rewatch it again (this is like our 6th rewatch) but it inspired me to finish up the book series.  I'm getting super close to finishing up the 4th book and then I only have 1 more to go.  It feels so good to work towards finishing up a series I started a couple of years ago.  They are just huge commitments!





Read
January was kind of a slow reading month for me. New job anxiety made it hard to focus on reading this month. There was a week straight where I couldn't read one page of a book without feeling restless and having to stop. We talked about it a little in our Truthwitch discussion so I think I only read 4 books this month. The biggest standout for me was Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell. I actually have a solo discussion on this book typed up and ready to share soon.

Watched
Last year, my boyfriend and I had a competition to see who guessed the most correct Oscar winners. I won by ONE guess. So this year I have to defend my title. The Oscar nominees were announced, not without controversy that I won't go into now since it would be a long rant but I have a lot of feelings about it. Anyway, we started watching all the nominees and we are on track to finish by the ceremony and I'm really excited. I ended up liking a lot more of them so far than I did last year. My favorites so far have been Carol, Room, and Amy. All of those are A++ in my book. Also Mad Max was awesome and I made Jarrett watch it again with me since we already saw it in theaters last year.

Listening
I haven't been listening to a lot of new stuff, but I did start the Breakfast for Dinner podcast, which has been such a wonderful addition to my podcast listening rotation. I love Nicole's blog Writes Like a Girl so checking out her podcast she hosts with her boyfriend Dago has been such a treat. It's really funny and thought provoking, even though I'm starting at the beginning of it, I still enjoying hearing their thoughts on 2013 current events. With my new job and commute, I think I'll be caught up in no time.  

Also this month: 

1. My beebs turned 6!
At the beginning of the month my baby loves turned 6, meaning they are no longer babies. Irrationally I was kind of hoping they would stop growing at 5 and I could just keep them as my tiny funny loves forever, but alas, they are getting older, though they are still funny and think I'm awesome still. I come in as their #1 best friend so I will take that for as long as it lasts. For their birthday this year we went to The Magic House in St. Louis and they had a blast. We solved mysteries and climbed on things and even wrote poems. It was really fun and the perfect way to ring in 6. We also had a small party with a few friends and family members. We were eating Frozen ice cream cake for 2 weeks after. 

2. Hello, new job!
This month I accepted an offer for a new job! I'll be working in customer support at Square in St. Louis and I'm just over the moon excited for this new opportunity. I will miss all my wonderful work friends at my current job, it's going to be insanely hard to say goodbye, but honestly, this move feels so right for me and my family and my life. 

3. Warm weather and hikes
January also came with some wonderful warmer weather which means I got to go on a few hikes with my boyfriend. I kind of fell in love with hiking last year in Colorado. We've talked about taking an overnight hiking/camping trip this summer so any chance I get to work on hiking longer distances. I'll take it. It also feels so cleansing for the soul to be out in nature and also to not have to worry about snakes in winter. I'll go back to worrying about snakes this summer. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Book Club {2016}

 
 
Another month, another book club selection! This year we have picked a few newer releases, which has been really fun. I think for the first half of the year we actually have all new releases lined up. March and April will bring books in some of our favorite series to an end so we are feeling pretty pumped for book club 2016. For February I chose Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I've seen this around on a few book blogs and loved the time travel premise, so I'm excited to dig in and see if it lives up to the hype. We'd love for you to join us and then come back at the end of the month to discuss!

 
 

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
 
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Small Goals

 
Happy Monday! Happy February! One month into 2016 and things are looking good over here for The Best Friend Book Club! This month we are going to link up with Writes Like a Girl for our small goals for the month of February. We both have things we'd like to knock off our to-do list and February feels like a month to get shit done.



Jen's Small Goals

1. Continuation of Clothing Freeze.  Ok, so January I was supposed to do a clothing freeze which basically means I buy no new clothing.  Well, I'm a big enough person to admit my failings and the January clothing freeze was a major fail.  I did ok until the first sale of the year (Martin Luther King's Day) but I could not resist those emails because I have limited will power when it comes to fashion.  It just brings me so much joy.  However, I did a lot better on my book spending this month by only buying Winter and Truthwitch, our book club book. Progress is progress.
2. Finish Spooky Halloween Sampler.  I'm going to start this out by saying I am way into counted cross stitch. Looking back, counted cross stitch is a craft I never thought I could learn the patience for, however, I LOVE it. I love the repetitive action and how each "X" you make you are one stitch closer to a finished project.  It is such a stress reliever for me.  My favorite designers are the ladies at The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I've had a few of their patterns stashed away (cross stitch is mad time consuming) and as I was waiting on the yearly sampler to drop (yea, I'm so nerdy I've joined a yearly cross stitch club, where a pattern is released each month for a year to make up one sampler and this is my 4th year!)  I decided to start their Spooky Halloween Sampler from two years ago.  In conjunction with my husband deciding we need to rewatch Game of Thrones for the 50th time, it is already over half way finished.  I'm really hoping I can finish up the stitching portion in February. 
3. Buy supplies for next bestie project.  The Bestie and I are due for another Bestie project.  We've both have fallen in love with this fabric called Tiger Lily by Heather Ross and we plan on making a donut quilt with said fabric choice.  I've almost worn this pattern out already however this will be Heather's first go using this pattern.  I don't mind making a 5th (oh man, almost embarrassed to type that; I'm a bit of a quilt hoarder) quilt for myself because I really do love the pattern. My goal for February is to order enough fabric for each of us to make semi-matching donut quilts.
4. Listen to a bookish podcast.  Listening to a variety of podcasts is something I always have on my revolving list of things I want to do.  My problem is time. I never have enough time to fit in everything I want in life. But I do think I would enjoy to listen to podcasts while I stitch instead of watching the same shows on Netflix over and over.  This month I'm going to try to find a bookish themed podcasts (or two) to try out because I really think that would be my jam.  Stay tuned for some bookish podcast recommendations!
5. Update my crafty to-do list.  Man, I used to update my crafty to-do list on the reg.  However, after making 5 quilts in quick succession last year, I kind of forgot I even had a crafty to-do list.  I got burnt out, to be honest. I lacked inspiration.  I just wanted to read so I let myself go through a pretty intense reading phase.  But slowly, I'm starting to get some of my inspiration and drive back and I'm forcing myself to sew every other weekend just to exercise my sewing skills.  Therefore, I'm going to update my crafty to-do list in hopes of reclaiming more inspiration to create.  I'm happiest in my creation zone so I'm really hoping I can get my inspiration back. After making a skirt last year, I'm pretty sure I'm going to add more clothing items to my crafty list. Maybe learn how to use my button-holer.  I think my biggest goal is to do some stash busting so I can order some fun, new fabrics.  Have you figured out I like to shop yet?



Heather's Small Goals

1. Spend zero money on books Oh hello, I'm addicted to buying books. Big shocker, right? I have a HUGE unread pile on my shelf and a ton of unread books on my kindle. I was supposed to be on spending freeze in January and I bought 8 books. So I'm dedicating myself to not buying any books in February and fingers crossed, making a dent on my unread shelf.
2. Buy knitting supplies I have had "Learn to knit" on my birthday goals for 3 years straight. So I'm deciding that I am going to commit to buying supplies and hopefully learning a new skill this month. I found a class on this website that will sent you the supplies to make a cowl and also give you online lessons on how to knit it, which feels like it might be my best bet.
3. Move houses with minimal stress My lease is up mid-February and I'm moving in with my boyfriend! I'm very excited about this new step, especially since it means I can stop dragging things back and forth between our two houses. Hopefully this move goes pretty pain free and we can combine houses pretty seamlessly!
4. Put all my taxes in savings Right now I have exactly zero dollars in my savings account. One of my huge goals for the year is to set up an emergency fund with 6 months of living expenses. With my taxes I will be 50% there so I'm really excited to put all my money in savings, which might be the surest sign I'm an adult since usually I'm all about buying all the clothes at tax time. Yay adulting!
5. Use my film camera Three years ago I bought a film camera on Ebay in hopes of taking more film photos. I have not used it once. Not even pulled it out of the box until I was purging things this fall. So one of my big goals this month is to take it out of the box and use it. Maybe go on some hikes and get some nice photos. I haven't taken photos just because in so long so this goal feels like one that will really feed my soul.