Saturday, June 30

independence day craft: 4th of july rag wreath

Patriotic Rag Wreath for the 4th of July - Beyond the Aisle

I usually don't post on Saturdays, but I was so excited about this craft that I had to share it with y'all!  It's totally a lazy-person craft, too - my favorite kind - that I completed while watching an episode of Dirty Jobs where Mike Rowe worked on a farm.  What could be more all-American than that?

Friday, June 29

inspiration for independence day entertaining: decorating your 4th of july picnic

Today I've rounded up a few simple, inexpensive ways to add pops of color and style to an Independence Day picnic.

1. crepe paper streamers

Isn't this picture from Bellafotografica gorgeous?  While you may not have a setting this perfect for your Fourth of July picnic, you probably have a tree, or at least an awning, from which to hang some simple crepe paper streamers (pick up a roll at your local party store or order from Amazon)

Thursday, June 28

inspiration for independence day: what to wear

I've written a few times about how much I love small town life, 
and Independence Day is always a reminder of how lucky I 
am to live where I do - our town hosts fireworks show on 
the high school football field and folks that live in the 
neighborhood close to the school have a huge block party 
and invite all their friends - i.e. me.  Whether you're 
hosting a 4th of July soiree or attending a celebration 
as a guest, I'll be sharing some inspiration in the next few 
days to make every part of the fourth picture perfect.

1. Gap crewneck dress 2. Delia's chambray dress with belt 3. Target v-neck dress
4. Modcloth chevron ring 5. Target chambray skirt 6. Quicksilver striped racer tank 
7. Modcloth beach bag 8. Modcloth flats 9. Old Navy flip-flops 10. Old Navy shorts

I'm not the only blogger who thought this week would be a great time for some July 4th wardrobe inspiration!  Check out Jen Loves Kev for an outfit that looks funky and comfortable and Oh Joy for Bri's outfit which includes an outfit for a lady and for a gentleman and an animated sparkler, and therefore blows my mind.  Bonnie at Inspiring Pretty did a round-up post with some great inspiration including sweet striped nails.

wedding memories: the coolest kid i know...

Our Flower Girl
Family photo - please do not steal.

My favorite little girl in the world, my best friend's daughter, celebrates her fourth birthday this week!  FOUR.  It shouldn't come as a surprise to me, since she was born the summer before I started teaching and I just finished my fourth year, but it seems like just yesterday we were sticking socks over her little hands to keep her infant self from scratching her own face.  She's important to me partially because her birth was the if you leave Virginia, you'll miss a lot wake-up call I needed to keep me in this valley for the forseeable future.  Now she's wearing a child-size flapper dress and Audrey Hepburn glasses and eating cake and a lollipop at the same time.  If the above picture does not demonstrate the utter coolness of this kid, I don't know what does.

Significantly to this blog, she was our flower girl a little over a year ago!  Was it a great idea to have a three year old flower girl?  Probably not - three-year-olds are kind of notoriously terrible and she didn't have a concept of how she should behave because she'd never been to a wedding before.  I could tell at our rehearsal that she was going to either be a hot little mess going down the aisle or have a meltdown and not make it at all.  I could also tell that Mr. Q didn't care, and neither did I - we'd have a little girl in a pretty dress at our wedding, and she'd be our favorite little girl in the world whether she made it to the end of the aisle or not.  

Wednesday, June 27

the essentials: pool date

Pool Party - Beyond the Aisle
The essential summer friend can be elusive:  the friend with a pool.  For me,
Miss J is that friend, and I'll be hanging poolside with her for as much of
today as humanly possible.  If only I had these retro-inspired pool date essentials...

1. Old Navy crepe blouse 2. Target cloche 3. Old Navy sunglasses
4. Old Navy shorts 5. Modcloth bathing suit 6. Sugar Rush U.K. tote
7. Aerosoles wedges from Piperlime 8. Essie nail polish in Tart Deco

If you use Polyvore, I'd love to follow you!  Share your username in the comments.

Tuesday, June 26

home inspiration: summer in the country is...

A vintage sign found at the flea market...

Artfully arranged treasures...

Flowers displayed with casual elegance...

A horseshoe over the door for luck...

More of those treasures...

And dreams of the places you've been and those you've yet to visit.

Monday, June 25

clicks of note.

It's really feeling like summer here in Virginia - evening thunderstorms are a regular occurrance and the temperature may even get up to 100 degrees this week.

  • This song's getting some airplay on commercials - "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers.  Fans of Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers, or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will probably like this one.

  • My new favorite summer show is... Bunheads (Monday nights, ABC Family). It's from Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls, and has a similar too-cute-to-be-real small town setting (Paradise has just as many strings of fairy lights as Stars Hollow) and witty banter (the main character, Michelle, played by Sutton Foster, is just as quick with a comeback as Lorelai Gilmore and her mother-in-law is played by Kelly Bishop a.k.a. Emily Gilmore herself!).  Gilmore Girls meets a small town ballet studio= perfection.  The first episode is available for free download on iTunes.  



  • If you need a summer time-killer and it's too hot to go outside, I suggest Slaughterhouse 90210, which pairs quotes from classic literature with surprisingly appropriate sitcom screencaps (Snookie and Salman Rushdie, for example) in trendy tumblr format.


Friday, June 22

Traditional Scottish Wedding Ideas Inspired by Brave!

Disney is one of my oldest loves, and I am very excited about the newest Disney princess, Merida.  A princess with wild red hair who rocks a bow and arrow like Katniss?  How can she not be great? Since Brave arrives in theaters today, I wanted to round up some beautiful images of Scottish and Scottish heritage inspired weddings.  I have been lucky enough to attend a Scottish heritage inpired Catholic wedding, and got to see one of the most beautiful ceremonies and enjoy one of the most FUN receptions I've attended - the traditional highland dancing being the highlight of the night.

While modern Scottish brides wear white or ivory dresses, tartan sashes, wraps, and even trains are popular in Scottish heritage inspired weddings.  Grooms and groomsmen wear highland dress including a kilt in the tartan of the groom's clan, jacket, dirk (dagger), and sporran (the pouch that hangs in front of the kilt).  Bridesmaid dresses and floral arrangements that pick up the colors of the groom's tartan look great! (Scottish Wedding Traditions)

Brides planning a Scottish heritage inspired wedding may want to incorporate the Victorian language of flowers; daisies or white lilac for innocence, forget-me-nots for true love and remembrance, ivy or violets for faithfulness, or lily of the valley for happiness, for example. (Scottish Wedding Flowers)

Nothing makes a Scottish wedding seem more authentic than a bagpiper playing in the beginning of the ceremony, at the completion of the service, as the bridal party leaves the church, or during the reception.  Fiddle or clarsach (small harp) music would also be a great way to incorporate Scottish heritage (Scottish Wedding Music).

While haggis is the traditional dish of Scotland, a bride planning a Scottish heritage inspired wedding shouldn't feel bound to serve sheep offal!  Seafood would be appropriate, as would Angus beef or even game like the venison on this menu (Scottish Wedding Menus).

If you would like to add any of the images in this post to your Pinterest or blog please visit the original source by clicking on the link below the image and pin/save from there so the creators get the credit.  Thank you!

Happy Planning!

Thursday, June 21

happy summer!

"Summer afternoon- summer afternoon; to 
me those have always been the two most 
beautiful words in the English language." 
- Henry James

Wednesday, June 20

Cue the ominous music...

Thanks to Matchbook magazine, I now know that Steven Spielberg's Jaws was released on this day in 1975.  That seemed like as good an excuse as any to share the greatest Parade magazine cover in years, which my mother saved for me because she knows I love Nathan Fillion in Castle and Firefly:

Here's the Parade article and extras with Nathan Fillion (and p.s., "Invitation to one of Joss Whedon's Shakespeare brunches" is now #4 on the list of things I hope to receive in life).

What's your favorite summertime book?

Tuesday, June 19

inspiration for a book themed wedding

Are you familiar with The Plaid Barn?  It's kind of like Groupon in that it offers daily deals but it's specifically for crafty folks.  Today's deal is one I thought would be perfect for brides planning a book themed wedding or library themed wedding: a set of 18 old-fashioned library checkout cards in salmon, goldenrod, and blue for .97 (plus shipping)!

Post edited on 6/21 to add:  Thanks so much to The Plaid Barn for featuring Beyond the Aisle on their Facebook page!  Welcome new visitors; if you would like to add any of the images in this post to your Pinterest or blog please visit the original source by clicking on the link below the image and pin/save from there so the creators get the credit.  Enjoy!

In case you're wondering, "what do library checkout cards have to do with weddings?" here is some inspiration for you:

This would also make a great placecard idea - especially if there was 
a heartfelt note from the bride or groom tucked into that pocket!
Similar pockets can be found on Etsy.

Card catalogs can be found on Etsy as well; they're a little
pricey but would make such interesting home decor after the wedding
that I think it would be worth the investment.

The same pockets and cards would make a very unique guestbook.

These checkout cards would also be great for a book-themed baby shower (those are a "thing" now, and I love it!), for a super-organized classroom library (as an English teacher, there's no way my brain wasn't going there!), or even for your home library if you're a little obsessive about your books.

The Plaid Barn did not compensate me for this post in any way - I just spotted the deal in my e-mail this morning and had to share it with y'all!

Again:  If you'd like to add any of the images in this post to your Pinterest boards, please click the link below the image and pin from the source so the creator gets the credit they deserve.  Thank you.

Happy Planning!

simple kind of life.

I am thoroughly loving small town life.  Going to the polls and 
having a co-worker running for town council give you a hug?
That's the kind of thing that makes me happy.  Seeing former
students when we're shopping for groceries; seeing friends out
for a walk when we go out to dinner at a favorite restaurant.
Jubal EarlyBeyond the Aisle
A craving for the simple kind of life I'm starting to achieve has
been with me for a long time.  Being able to drive a few miles
and find pretty much whatever I need (though not necessarily
whatever I want) is such a nice luxury, and the country townhouse
is plenty of space for two people in the beginning of their life.
AutumnTarget bird necklace
We've got our little tribe now, too, people who I know love us,
trust us, and can always be counted on to attend a very nerdy
movie like The Raven, The Avengers... as long as there's food.
Old Navy madras and Aeropostale necklaceLilly cookies from Kroger
Sometimes you have to wear/buy something just because it's fun.
We're on a tight budget right now since school is out for the
summer, but becoming smarter shoppers is really starting to
be rewarding - although we get strange looks from the checkout
boy when we buy in bulk - is he not aware of his store's sales?
Sweet FrogBeyond the Aisle
Frozen yogurt and campfire s'mores are mandatory for hot weather.

Monday, June 18

clicks of note.

Do you hear that?  It's me, breathing a sigh of relief and breathing in the summer air.  It's really here.  And that means more time to blog- although I've been doing some deep thinking about how I can use my online identity to impact the education world, I don't think this little space where I muse about things I think are pretty/helpful/inspiring is going anywhere anytime soon.


  • My darling sister-in-law got me Florence + The Machine's new album Ceremonials for my birthday and I love it almost as much as Lungs.  This song is "Lover to Lover."  Definitely crank-it-up-and-sing-it-loud music.
  • It's probably a good thing I didn't know about while planning my wedding because that is where I would have spent ALL MY TIME.  It's kind of like Google images for event planning.
  • I got very excited about Glitter Guide's Style at Home feature with Kate Arends of Wit and Delight- she consistantly inspires me via her blog, Pinterest, and Tumblr (which, I warn you, is a rabbit hole of awesome- I'll look at the clock and be shocked by how much time has passed!).  I believe she has an amazing eye for pure, classy, unique style.
  • As a newlywed (can I still say that when it's been almost a year?) I try not to dwell too much on other people's marriage advice, but when multiple ladies offer the same advice, I listen (still working on that going to bed at the same time thing).  Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo gives some interesting advice for vacationing couples:  taking some solo time to explore.  I am intrigued.  Hopefully we'll get some time, even if just a weekend, to take an adventure together this summer.

  • Healthier General Tso's Chicken from Everyday with Rachael Ray was on our menu this week, and it is so delicious!  Be very careful of the hot oil if you try this one - the recipe calls for medium-high heat, but I found that relatively low heat and a slightly longer cooking time got the job done just as well with less fear of oil popping on my arms.

Sunday, June 17

father's day.

As long time readers of this blog know, my father passed away on Christmas Day right in the middle of my fourth year of college.  What I haven't written enough about is how my husband's family was absolutely there for me every step of the way when I lost my dad, even though they hadn't known me for a very long time at that point.  I absolutely love my in-laws, and I know how lucky I am to be able to say that.

The Q fam.

So this Father's Day, I am thinking of my dad, of course, but also about how cool it is that God created marriage to join families together, and that by becoming a wife I also got a mom, dad, and sister to adore.

JQ and his dad - who was his best man on our big day

Mr. Q's dad is a model of awesome faith and support for his family, and for me, too.

Tuesday, June 12

my goal for 27: be more considerate

I turned 27 last month.  I got to spend the Saturday before my birthday with some of the people I love most in the world.  It all started with something small I said to my husband: "I want to make s'mores for my birthday."

The ball started rolling from there- the next thing I knew, Heather's S'mores & More Birthday Party was a Thing.  A Facebook event, actually.  Did we have a location?  No way.  Did I have a panic attack when I realized Mr. Q had invited all of those people with no plan for feeding and entertaining them?  I did, and I am not proud of it at all, because he had faith in the tribe of people who love us and I did not.

My mother said it would be fine for us to have a little party at her house.  Our dear friend Scotty said he'd be happy to bring his gas grill, and, by the way, he had three pounds of chicken he'd bought in bulk and wanted to get rid of.

Something I learned?  A good friend RSVPs without even knowing when the party will be or where it will take place.  A good Southern friend does all of the above AND asks what kind of dish she can bring.

At the beginning of 2012, a lot of bloggers were posting one word that they wanted to live by for the year.  I never made a blog post, but I did start a GRACE board on Pinterest, inspired by this bit of loveliness from Emily Ley:

Back in January, my mind was really opened by the idea of allowing myself grace: allowing myself to be flawed, imperfect, and real.  I think it's helped me survive the huge continuing transition from being a single girl living at home with my mom to being a married woman with all the added pressures and responsibilities that entails.

Then I saw this quote from Plato on Decor to Adore.  It especially rang true to my middle school teacher heart, and it got added to my concept of GRACE:

I've had a few instances recently where I've realized that I am, so often, so inadequate as a friend, a wife, and a daughter.  I fall so short of the love I am surrounded by.  I can be very, very selfish- wrapped up in my own stress and not realizing that those folks who support me have their own battles to fight.

My birthday gifts - the presence of my friends, and the physical objects in (of course) cute bags that I did not anticipate receiving- humbled me.  They reminded me how blessed I am to have these people.  Friends who knew me in sixth grade and still love me today.  Friends who buy me ridiculously appropriate gifts like a DVD of both Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman movies; the teal peacock journal I wanted to buy myself but couldn't justify the splurge; a cheesy mug with a line about girlfriends on it that made me tear up - gifts that remind me that I am known, that I am cared for, that I am valuable outside of my own mind.

So here's my goal for myself as a 27-year-old: to be more considerate.  To stop being the sun and start being a planet.

Sunday, June 10

Monday, June 4

clicks of note.

It's the last week of the 2011-2012 school year for me.  Field day, talent show (my pet project), BOGO book fair, yearbook party, eighth grade completion ceremony, and probably collapsing when it's all said and done.  Let's do this!

  • The band is Fitz and the Tantrums.  The song is "We Don't Gotta Work It Out."  I can't stop listening to it!  This version was recorded live in Amsterdam and I love that it's just a shade more quirky and more beginning-of-summer than the studio version (which you can hear in the official video).  I would love to see this band perform live - I get the impression that it would be a blast.

  • One of the all-time most popular posts on this little ol' blog is my Letters to Juliet inspiration board... clearly, people want to know what Sophie and Charlie's dream wedding would look like.  Which makes me wonder... what other fictional couples' weddings would you like to see me virtually plan?  Harry and Ginny?  Hawkeye and Black Widow?  Wait, is my inner nerd showing too much?

  • Now that my summer is beginning, I'm all about the frozen desserts.  Design Crush featured an amazing round-up of ice cream, sorbet, gelato, and fro-yo recipes last week.
  • I want an ice pop mold (like this one from Target).  My ice cream maker is delightful, but sometimes I want the frozen-solid juicy goodness that only ice pops can provide.  First on my list would be these nectarine-strawberry pops from Martha Stewart.
  • I've gotten really lazy about cooking lately - I blame the stress of grading final projects, state standardized testing, and keeping up with parent communication - what food/recipe blogs and websites are you addicted to right now?
Have a great week, darlings!