Tuesday, February 9

PINspiration: An 80's inspired Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner... and for some reason I'm feeling an '80s vibe! Bring on the sparkles, hearts, and NEON! Whether you're watching John Hughes movies with your girlfriends or roller skating with your boo, I hope you're all getting pumped for a totally radical Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 8

this week's clicks: wherever is your heart, i call home.

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Brandi Carlile has come so far since I saw her perform in a crowded little club in Charlottesville in the early 2000's. Her new stuff is simply amazing.




Sunday, February 7

sunday simplicity.

"When I was down, when I was hurt
You came to lift me up
Life is a drink, and love's a drug
Oh, now I think I must be miles up
When I was a river, dried up
You came to rain a flood" - Coldplay

Tuesday, February 2

reading challenge ideas and recommendations for 2016.

Reading challenges have gotten more and more popular over the past few years, it seems. I started tracking my reading progress on Goodreads in 2013 and checked out the challenges from Modern Mrs. Darcy and Popsugar for the first time last year. This year, I have four reading challenges on my TBR pinterest board! I'm also trying to work my way through the previous Newbery Medal Winners and the AP novel list. I don't try to check every single box - I never want reading to feel like a chore - but these lists are a great source of inspiration when I'm stuck in a reading rut or wandering aimlessly around the public library. Here are a few books I'd like to read in 2016 and my recommendations for you (titles link to Goodreads), inspired by these challenges.

From The Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading ChallengeA book you can finish in a day

  • My pick: The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips (180 pages) - this one was on so many recommendation lists last year and Helen Phillip's writing has been compared to Margaret Atwood's.
  • My recommendation: If you've never read The Outsiders, what are you waiting for? S.E. Hinton basically invented the YA genre when she was 17 years old in this modern classic about a group of teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks whose rivalry with the rich kids goes too far, and the sensitive loner who gets swept up in it all. At 192 pages, you can certainly handle this one in a day.

From Popsugar's 2016 Ultimate Reading ChallengeA book based on a fairy tale
  • My pick: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman - it's been over a year since I read anything by Neil Gaiman, which is completely unacceptable and must be remedied immediately. This story blends elements of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and has been controversial because of a female-female kiss; it sounds awesome because this time around it's a young queen who sets out to save an enchanted princess.
  • My recommendation: Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I've written several posts about my love of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, which takes on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White in a science fiction setting.


From Stxrybooks' 2016 Reading ChallengeA non-fiction book about something you've always wanted to know more about
  • My pick: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland - One of the first biographies I can remember reading growing up was about Anna Pavlova, and as a young dancer it was so fascinating to read about the history of professional ballet. Even though my own days en pointe are behind me, I'd love to learn more about what it's like to work as a dancer and especially Misty Copeland's challenging road to fame.
  • My recommendation: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kernan - You probably don't think of minimum sentencing laws, the prison system and its treatment of women as something you actually want to learn about, but I highly recommend Kernan's book - it was interesting to read about the real people the television show's colorful characters are based on, but the book also made me think about personal strength, survival, and the relationships between women.

From Worthington Ave.'s 2016 Reading ListA book from Rory Gilmore's reading list
  • My pick: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - This one's been on my radar since Seth Cohen was reading it on The O.C., and now that I've gotten more into superheroes myself I think I'll appreciate this story set during the golden age of comics.
  • My recommendation: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - An autistic young man sets out to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog and his investigation helps him make sense of the world around him. This was one of my favorites in college.

Monday, February 1

this week's clicks: there's a chance we can make it now...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • I'm obsessed with covers that put a song into a completely different genre, so I fell in love with Branches' version of "I Believe In a Thing Called Love" when I heard it on Spotify. What could be better to kick off February?




Sunday, January 31

sunday simplicity.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” 
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Friday, January 29

#5FandomFriay - January 29th - Favorite Late To The Game TV Discoveries

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space ChickThis week's #5FandomFriday topic is Late to the Game TV Discoveries, and I had way more than 5, so I had to narrow it down to my faves.

The Simpsons - As a kid, I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons because, according to my mom, "the kids in that show are disrespectful to their parents" and they didn't want me picking up on Bart Simpson's bad habits or "Don't have a cow, man"s. I think it probably just came on at the same time as something else they wanted to watch. It happened to be on in syndication during my high school "eat ramen noodles and watch whatever's on FOX before dance classes start" hour, and I was actually surprised when I realized that The Simpsons is for smart people.

X-Files - Yet another thing my parents wouldn't let me watch, this time because "it looks like it will give you nightmares." Which, yes, totally valid point considering we had to stop watching Unsolved Mysteries because I dreamed about someone setting our house on fire with gasoline. I started watching the show when I was in college and fell in love, and even dragged my mom to see the movie in the theater with me. Of course, I'm pumped about the new episodes.

That 70's Show - I wasn't into That 70's Show when it first started airing, probably because I was still a delicate and pure little flower and spent all my time going to ballet class and reading Redwall. During 11th and 12th grade, it became one of my favorite shows after I'd caught up on all the reruns in syndication, and to this day it's probably my all time fave.

Firefly - I blame not liking Firefly the first time around because FOX aired the original episodes out of order and my high school self went to "OMG new scifi series from the creator of Buffy!" to "Why are they on a train?" in about 5 seconds. Mr. Q and I started watching a marathon on Syfy, ended up watching every episode, and we now own the whole series on Blu-Ray along with Serenity. I finally understood why nerds love Nathan Fillion so much, what a Browncoat was, and why Jayne's knit hat was so funny.

Broad City - a newer discovery, I'd seen the ads for Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer's show on Comedy Central but never checked it out until Hulu kept recommending it to me whenever I watched The Mindy Project and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Even though a lot of the show's humor is stoner humor (or maybe because of it), it's become a go-to for me when I have some down time and need a laugh. Abbi and Ilana are probably the realest BFF's I've ever seen on TV.

What TV shows have you fallen in love with...
after everyone else already did?

Thursday, January 28

please take my 2016 reader survey!

I can't believe that I've been blogging on Beyond the Aisle for five years now. What started as my wedding planning blog has become a place for me to share my love of practical fashion,  document my travels, round up ideas for bringing a spirit of celebration to everyday life, and geek out about my favorite TV shows, movies, and books. 

As I think about the direction I want the blog to take in 2016, one thing I know for sure is that I don't want to stop now, but that the content of the blog is going to gradually shift in focus - where weddings used to be front and center in my heart and on the blog, that phase of my life is now a fond memory. 

As Beyond the Aisle has become a lifestyle blog, I think about you, my readers, what your own lifestyles entail, and how I might be able to help you live those lives colorfully. I love those moments when I check my e-mail and see that you're checking out a book or seeing a movie I've recommended, see one of your beautiful faces on my Instagram feed, or when I read your blogs and realize that I've found a kindred spirit who loves the same things I do. To help facilitate those moments in 2016, I’ve created my first Beyond the Aisle Reader Survey. This survey is 100% anonymous, is only ten questions long, and will help me create content that will keep you coming back to Beyond the Aisle. Will you please take a few minutes to help me get to know you better? All you have to do is fill out the Typeform below and hit submit. In a month, I'll review and compile the results and start working on an action plan to make BTA better than ever, and relevant to our real lives right now.
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