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