Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hard to Style Pieces

Hey yahhhhh, friends! I'm pleased and a little saddened to bring you our last summer outfit post.  I always feel a little sad when summer is coming to a close, but I'm very quick to embrace everything fall.  Heather had a fun idea of picking out a piece that is hard to style and really focusing to style the hell out of it.  I hate when you love an article of clothing, but just can't find a way to style it that brings you confidence.  This was a serious challenge and I loved the results.  Plus, we didn't discuss our pieces before the shoot which ended up being a lot of fun since we weren't able to influence the other in any way.

For my hard to style piece, I chose this eyelet crop top.  Or should I say, extreme crop top.  I'm super into the crop top trend but this is probably the most cropped one I own. It hits several inches above the belly button.  I prefer my crops to graze the top of my bottoms, with just a sliver of skin showing.  For reals, I own  A LOT of high-waisted bottoms and these shorts are literally the only pair that doesn't make this crop top look obscene.

Personally, I love how this look turned out.  It's a very All-American, classic summer outfit.  It looks like I'm off to attend a BBQ or maybe going to the local ice cream parlor.  I'm a little sad this was and probably will be the only wear this outfit gets this summer.

Outfit Details:
Crop Top (wetseal) / Shorts (Modcloth) / Kicks (Toms) / Jelly Purse (sunjellies) /
Kelso & Jackie Pins (Heartificial) / Jelly Bracelets (Etsy)

Public Service Announcement: That 70's Show is the best show ever. Watch it. Live It. It's on Netflix if you have been deprived.  Now back to our regularly scheduled outfit post.

Hey-o! Once we decided on the theme of hard to style pieces, I knew I needed to pull out this jacket/cardigan thing that I bought last year. I’ve worn it exactly once and find it really hard to pull off. I’m not one to hang on to items that I don’t wear often or that I have a hard time making work. I am just not into outfits that aren’t comfy or easy to pull off. I recently did a huge clothing purge and just could not bring myself to part with this jacket. It’s suede and fringe and just freaking cool. So I’m resolving to wear it more. My boyfriend insisted it needed something colorful so I threw on this skirt and called it an outfit. It feels like this outfit is made up of pieces that shouldn’t work together, but I’m in love with this whole look. I’m going to have to throw it into my regular outfit rotation going forward. 

Outfit Details
Shirt {Passive Juice Motel} / Skirt {Modcloth} / Jacket {Rue 21} / Shoes {Forever 21} / Sunglasses {Rack and Clutch

Do you have any hard to style pieces? What do you do when this happens? I'll admit, sometimes I'm quick to throw it in the donation pile. But man, it feels so good to be able to work it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September Small Goals

Hey-o! After everything with my mom we took a huge break from blogging and regular features in August, but I love making lists so we are back with some goals for September! I want to try to cross some of my 30 before 30 goals off this month. September is one of my favorite months, since it signals the beginning of fall. I'm so ready for the cooler temps and all the pumpkin spice everything I can get my hands on. I also think September is a really motivating time. Maybe because school is starting and our routine is changing that it feels like the perfect time to get some things accomplished. As always, we are linking up with Nicole over at Writes Like a Girl, so go check out every one else's small goals as well! 

Jen's Small Goals

1. Seasonal Pinterest Projects.  For the past several years, I've aimlessly pinned crafty projects I would love to complete but rarely follow through on.  I get so wrapped up in starting the next quilt project.  I think I do this because lining up a big project takes up several months of my time where I don't have to be in the planning stage.  But I literally have over 20 quilts now and I LOVE to craft. I think I just need to redirect my crafty energy.  Plus, holidays are approaching and SEASONAL projects! Watch me tackle my crafty pinterest board!
2. Outfit Prep.  Yea, I can be really bad about picking my outfits out last minute, being overwhelmed with choices and then having a morning meltdown. Not really, but I hate the extra stress I put myself through.  This goal is simply thinking about my next day's outfit before bed.  If I would go even further and gather it, that would be great, but the idea is really what I need.
3. Bake some shit. Not only did we just purchase a new range, I used to really enjoy baking.  With all the holidays coming up and all the fun seasonal foodie tutorials I making this a legit goal. I'm hoping it sticks around longer than a month.
4. Read 1 physical book.  I'm a kindle lover. That is where my library is. But, I've borrowed a ton of books from Heather so I need to actively remind myself to take a break from the kindle and pick up a book. There are a few new releases that are must reads this month which is why I'm only committing to one.
5. Make cat toys.  Cat toys are something I've been wanting to make forever. Cat toys can be kind of pricey plus my cats enjoy destroying them. Some of ours are getting in pretty sad shape.  I think I'll work up a few and fill them with their drug of choice, nippers (yah know, cat nip for sane people) and enjoy their happiness.

Heather's Small Goals

1. No outfit repeats   One project I tackled with my recent time off was cleaning out my closet. I don't know how it got so full after a major clean out a few months ago, but here we are. I rearranged my closet into sections. The left side is my most worn items, the middle is things I love but don't get worn a ton, and the right side is cardigans and seasonal items. I'm going to try to not wear the same outfit for the month of September and see how that goes. 
2. Try yoga  I've been walking a ton and feeling great, but I'd love to try yoga this month. I've always wanted to give it a try and I have a new friend that mentioned wanting to go to a yoga class so maybe we can schedule that for September. 
3. Send some snail mail   I recently scored a deal on two Happy Mail Boxes for the price of one, so I think I'm going to try out this subscription. My grandma is my only pen pal right now but who doesn't love getting mail? I'm going to try to send a few cards out this month to friends and family all over. 
4. Make 2 embroidery hoop crafts  I have so many embroidery quotes I'd love to check off my to do list so I'm going to make an effort to get a few done this month. 
5. Solo dates with my beebs  My kids are some of my legit favorite people but I don't really spend a ton of time one on one with them. I'd like to plan out a date with each of them this month to get some quality solo time with them. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

August Rewind

Man, August I was completely immersed in the Harry Potter re-read. I was able to squeeze in The Diviner's by Libby Bray, a book I had on my summer reading list.  It was great! It has a great cult vibe and I loved the 1920's flapper timeline. I'd recommend it to any fantasy/mystery lover!

STRANGER THINGS! I don't think it was possible to get through this month and not.  There was Stranger Thing stuff everywhere and I had to binge it before I was spoiled. I got a serious Stephen King/80's horror vibe from it. It was so good! Drop everything and watch it now! I've already ordered a pin to represent!

I'm a fan of all religious nonsense and cult like activity.  Heather recommended "Oh No Ross And Carrie" to me.  I've only listened to a couple of the episodes, but I'm pretty into it.  Basically this two some dive into a religion, explore it from the inside and then report.  I started the Scientology segment and man, they have a knack of really pointing out some of the oddities within the religion. I can't wait to dive further in! 

Also this month:

1. Sasquatch Quilt
I've almost crossed this summer goal off my list. I used the Legendary pattern by Elizabeth Hartman and I'm absolutely loving how it is turning out. The sasquatch was probably the most pieces I've ever had to piece together to finish one block. Plus, I loved the flying geese variation that was used for the trees.  Basically, it's a cool as quilt and I'm pretty proud of it because it really took some skill to get it right.  It is currently waiting on my crafting table for the binding step.  It's so close to being finished!

2. Sick Momma
This month was a little on the heavy side for me.  Getting a call that one of your parents, or children, or spouse or close friend is in the hospital and in dire condition is one of the scariest things ever. Basically your heart falls out your butt. For me, it was my momma. For privacy, I won't get too into it, but she was a very sick momma and it was pretty scary there for a bit.  Luckily, she is pulling through, recovering and adapting to her new phase in life. 

3.  Pokémon Go
I don't know if I've needed extra me time lately or what, but I've been really into taking walks and playing Pokémon Go. I'm not a hardcore gaming fan, but I'm into it. I'm only on level 14--don't make fun of me! I've even started playing it during my lunch breaks. Sometimes it is super nice to get away from the office a bit and walks are good for so many different reasons. 

Besides finishing up the Harry Potter reread this month, I also was able to squeeze in two library books. First up was The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, which was a really interesting take on the zombie genre. It's a movie that is coming out this fall so I'm really interested to see it translated from page to screen. I also read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which is one of the best books I've read in my entire life. It was so rich and full, the way the story unfolds had me struggling to put it down. I stayed up until midnight and then read until noon the next day to finish it in a day. I will recommend this to everybody I know who loves to read, please check it out if you get a chance! 

Like everybody else, I binge watched Stranger Things and am now trying to patiently wait for season 2. I might need to rewatch it a few more times before then! It's basically a mix of sci-fi and horror that is right up my alley. 

I've also been watching Supernatural. I'm a few seasons behind, so I started with season 6 and now have barely left my couch all week. It's going to be rough transitioning back into the working world next week. I've always loved Supernatural so it's been really fun rewatching this while reading blogs and writing. 

Thanks to a recommendation on Sevi's blog, I've been listening to My Favorite Murder and loving it! I'm a huge true crime buff so I'm really digging this podcast and also the banter between the hosts. I feel like I would enjoy talking murder with them if we ever hung out. 

Also this month:

1. Celebration of Life 
At the beginning of the month we had a celebration of life for my mother. We rented a pavilion at the state park, everyone brought so much food, and we drank and talked to so many people who loved my mom. It was amazing to see how many people showed up and wanted to share memories they had of my mom. She had a big heart and it shows. She was so loved. My favorite part was when everyone let balloons go while we thought of memories. My daughters loved it and it was so nice to have a celebration instead of something sad. I know it's what my mom would have wanted. She would have loved it. 

2. Casino Night 
Jarrett won tickets to a casino night at a local winery a few weekends ago. Obviously I was 100% into this because one of my favorite episodes of The Office is the Casino Night episode (that Jim and Pam kiss is maybe my favorite moment. All the heart eye emojis!!). The weather was perfect, the wine was decent, the food was ok, and gambling with free chips was a blast. I had never gambled before but I did ok when playing Roulette. It was also just really nice to have a date night with my favorite guy. We spend a lot of time together and always have a blast, but that was the first real date night we've had in awhile. 

3. Crafting and First Grade 
With my time off this month, I finished a quilt that I had sewn the top for like 3 years ago. It's been sitting in my craft supplies box ever since so I finally got some supplies and got it all sewn up within a few days. Now it's Luna's favorite place to lay and I'm glad the vintage sheets I cut up for it didn't go to waste. 

Emily and Morgan also started first grade. I know this is kind of like a 4th thing, but it's so cool to see how excited they were to get back to school and learn math (like, what?). They're growing up and while I love it, I also wish time would slow down just a little bit. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Harry Potter Summer Reread {Discussion}

And just like that, summer is over and so is our epic Harry Potter reread. Friends, this summer was a little heavy for both Jen and I. I lost my mom at the end of July and Jen's mom ran into some health issues of her own. Parental health issues are so scary and so heavy. I'm forever grateful I have a friend like Jen in my life who can help me through the rough things. All this to say that this reread came at a perfect time. I enjoyed getting lost in the Harry Potter universe and discussing it with Jen as we went along. I read Harry Potter in the hospital while I sat with my mom and after she died I found solace in the books once again. It was truly a magical summer, even if it was filled with loss, it was also filled with love and friendship. 

The last time I read Harry Potter was probably 8-9 years ago. It was so cool reading it again as an adult and then getting to discuss everything with my best friend. I hope you joined us, or that you will consider rereading the books! We might make this reread a bi-yearly tradition. Let's jump into it and discuss all things Harry Potter together! 

Discussion Time! 

Hey bestie! 


I'm so excited to discuss our summer Harry Potter reread, which was basically amazing and I never wanted it to end. It kind of made me fall in love with the whole Harry Potter universe all over again. 

Yeeeesssssss! I was basically heart eye emogis all summer! I absolutely loved living and breathing Potter for the last couple of months.  And I'm seriously already feeling withdrawals from it. I'm lost without Potter!

Same! As soon as I finished I wanted to start reading it all over again. It's definitely cemented as my favorite series of all time. I did kind of find it interesting reading it again as an adult. Did you notice any kind of changes in your reading experience this time around? 

Yes, favorite all time ever series! And yea, reading it through the eyes of a 30 year old opposed to a teenager was a bit different.  I found myself getting annoyed with Harry way more for his temper and his attitude, especially in The Half Blood Prince.  It didn't really take away from the magical-ness and I'm sure it was strictly a teenage thing! You know how teenagers can be. What about you?

I had a similar experience. I found him most annoying in Order of the Phoenix actually. He kept getting detention from Umbridge, which could have easily been avoided if he just kept his mouth shut! It definitely didn't take away from the magicalness of the series, but it was harder to relate to a teenager as an almost 30 year old. What was your favorite book during the reread? Did it change from what you thought it was before? 

Oh man, I think I misspoke, it was definitely The Order of the Phoenix where I felt super annoyed about his stubbornness.  Gah. When I was younger I would have definitely said The Prisoner of Azkaban.  That is the last book before shit really gets real for the kids.  They have to grow up and deal with so much more tragedy as the books progress.  But this time through, I really enjoyed The Goblet of Fire, which would have probably been my least favorite as a teen. I sobbed at the end because you could just see what a great support group Harry had around him.  Between Molly's mothering & Sirius's guidance and understanding, I lost it and sobbed through the last few chapters. How about you?

It's honestly so hard to choose, I love so many things about each book, and I love that JK Rowling did an amazing job at having them gradually grow up and deal with more shit. I think when I was younger Goblet of Fire was my favorite, because I loved the Triwizard Tournament but I also loved that the end of it shifted to Voldemort actually being back. It was the shift from childhood to adulthood for me. This time around I really enjoyed Half Blood Prince the best. I loved that Dumbledore was such a huge part of it and the fact that we got to see memories of Voldemort from before he came to power. I think the whole thing was mysterious and also I think I related a little more with him dealing with grief over Siruis since my mom died right before I started reading it. This reread, especially at the end, was a really cathartic experience for me. 
What about favorite characters? 

Man, I agree with your summary so hard. It was so hard to choose because each book really is amazing on its own. And I really did love learning more about Voldy's past and Dumbedore and really getting to the nitty gritty of how to possibly destroy Voldy. And I agree, this series has super healing powers.

Gahhhhh! So hard! All the characters are seriously so well developed and each of the purposes is so meaningful to the story, even those background characters! Butttttt, if I have to narrow it down, my favorites would be: Hermione, Luna, Hagrid & Dobby. Hermione is just such a bad ass witch, always. I really feel like I can relate to Luna with her quirkiness and the different way she views the world.  Hagrid is such a gentle giant and I just love how affinity towards dangerous creatures. And Dobby has the biggest heart of them all and I loved his knack of helping Harry in dire situations without wanting anything in return. AAAANNNDDDD I almost forgot about Neville! I love how hard he tries, no matter what! Who are your faves?

It is totally hard to choose a favorite character, like you said they are all so well developed and are vital to the story.I think I would say my favorites are Luna, Sirius, Mrs. Weasley and Neville. I love how Luna is so weird and quirky but never feels ashamed for being who she is. I love how Neville isn't the best wizard in some subjects but he's so brave and willing to be there for Harry when he needs friends the most. Sirius is just so cool and I love that Harry got family, even for a short time, who loved him and supported him, even if he was sometimes reckless. I think I relate to Mrs. Weasley the most as a badass momma witch who would do anything for her children. I also would say that Snape has maybe one of the best character arcs and his memories that we get to see in the last book and see how he was in love with Lily and dedicated to protecting Harry the whole time was so perfect and gut wrenching. See, too many characters to choose from!  
Anything else we didn't cover about the reread? Or just last minute thoughts that you wanted to throw out? 

Gahhh! I agree! So hard to choose! The story wouldn't be the same without ALL the characters. Even Malfoy! But I totes agree with your assessment of Snape. He definitely had the best character arc, of probably any character ever. You go from hating him, to starting to trust him, to REALLY hating him, then to totally understanding him and really appreciating his sacrifices.  Such a complex guy you really grow to love or at least, appreciate like hell.
Um, obviously Harry Potter is the best series ever and if you haven't read it you are seriously missing out on one of the best universes EVER created.  I could fangirl over Harry forever, and I probably will if we are being honest. #HarryPotterforLife

Just talking about it makes me want to read it all over again! It's just so perfect and even rereading is as an adult I still found it just as magical! Maybe we should start planning a trip to one of the Harry Potter theme parks for 2017?
I think I'm also really excited to share the books with my kids soon! We already watch the movies together but reading the books is just so special, I can't wait to do that together. 
Fangirls for life! 

Me too! I think it should be read every other summer at least, since it is such a huge commitment. This summer, even with our mutual heartaches, has been such a magical summer! Yes to HP Theme Park road trip! Of course we need to plan that! And I can't wait to hear how your girls fall in love with it. Such a great mutual bonding experience! And I might have read a few chapters to my cats over the summer.....

I totes agree about an every other summer reread. It was one of my favorite things we did this summer! Listen, kids or cats, Harry Potter is enjoyable for all! Next up we need to talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but let's take a break before we dive into that one! 

September Book Club: The Wrath and The Dawn

Hey friends!

How ready are you for fall? I love summer, but I'm ready for some cooler temps and less mosquitos tbh. I've already been indulging in pumpkin spice lattes from my local coffee stop while I've been off work so all I need now is some boots and scarves and I'm ready to go. 

 It feels so weird to be writing a book club selection post after the summer reread. As amazing as the reread was, I'm excited to jump back into some new book club picks! After spending the summer at Hogwarts, we've decided to check out The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Andieh in September. 
This book was recommended to me by my friend Austin who reads a lot of the same YA I do and we had a ton of fun this summer gushing over all the books we've loved recently. Jen also happened to own this book and I've been wanting to crack it open since I bought it a few months ago. 

Description from Goodreads 
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Join us for book club this September and we will meet up to discuss all things book related at the end of the month!