Tuesday, April 30

spring style trend: mixed prints

One of the things I love most about reading fashion blogs is the way bloggers tend to reject traditional "fashion rules."  Case in point, mixed prints, which are even more popular than ever this spring.  Mixing prints can be scary the first time you try it - let's face it, none of us wants to look tacky.  There are a few patterns that always look great together, and with just a little attention to detail you may realize that you already have the formula for a perfect outfit in your closet!

polka dots + florals.

Maha Khan from Vogue Affair puts together a three-piece outfit with what might be the most fun mixed print combo for spring:  polka dots and florals.  It works because everything shares a common element: with the floral pattern: her blazer picks up on the yellow bits from her blouse, and her skirt picks up on the dashes of black.  Similarly, Veronica Slater's blouse, belt, and skirt share an overall navy and white color scheme.  The polka dot pieces work almost like neutrals because the floral patterns offer more visual variety.

Monday, April 29

clicks of note: i don't want easy, i want crazy...

  • Hunter Hayes is all the rage right now, drawing comparisons to Bryan White and Rascal Flatts, and I'm digging "I Want Crazy."



    "So let us love others regardless of what they do with that love.  Let us move inside and through grace as if we are made from it. Let us let this grace-love shine from the corners of even our broken hearts as we help heal others of their brokenness."


    Sunday, April 28

    sunday simplicity #118: rain falling on the sunshine

    “Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
    "It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” 
    ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

    Saturday, April 27

    my spring in instagram.

    Ready for spring planting - I'm taking my container garden to a new
    level this year!  Had to have a Shamrock Shake for St. Patrick's Day.

    And just when it had started to feel like spring had finally sprung...

    Southwest Virginia got snow, right in the middle of Spring Break.

    Red Robin's St. Patrick's Day milkshake was pretty amazing.
    Check out my new kicks - purchased with the Komen 5K in mind.

    I am not even kidding when I tell you that my best work friend and
    I, along with both of our moms, attended a CAT CIRCUS in Roanoke.
    The proceeds went to a local animal rescue charity - and it was
    totally entertaining.

    Friday, April 26

    april in entertainment

    my life in entertainment - april 2013

    movies i saw

    This Means War - Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are both pretty dreamy in this movie about two CIA spies who are as close as brothers until they realize that they are actually dating the same woman, Lauren, played by Reese Witherspoon (pre crazy arrest).  Lauren is a busy career woman who hasn't been lucky in finding love and signs up for an online dating service at the urging of her BFF Trish (CHELSEA HANDLER, yall!).  She matches up with Hardy's character, single dad Tuck, and they hit it off, but she ends up flirting with Pine's character, FDR, when she ducks into a video store on her way home.  When the guys find out that their amazing new love interests are the same woman, it's on, and they employ everything from infrared cameras to tranquilizer darts.  Meanwhile, Lauren is having trouble deciding which of the sweet, handsome guys she likes more.  And on top of all that, there is still actual CIA work to be done.  About 3/4 of the way through, Mr. Q asked me if I would pick FDR or Tuck, and I couldn't say - so I guess the writers did a good job of making Lauren's choice a truly difficult one!

    books i read

    Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz - I stumbled across this book in the middle school library and was intrigued by the cover, which is covered in labeled diagrams of faces showing different moods.  Colin Fischer, a high school freshman with Asperger's Syndrome, relies on a similar "cheat sheet" to understand the emotions of his family members, teachers, and classmates.  He can't stand the color blue, won't eat mushy food, and hates to be touched.  His heroes include Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Spock.  When a gun fires in the school cafeteria during a classmate's birthday celebration, Colin, with his intense attention to detail, is uniquely equipped to investigate.  Having taught several children with Asperger's Syndrome, I thought the authors did a great job of portraying a young man like Colin in a realistic way, and when I found out that they wrote the screenplays for X-Men: First Class and Thor, I really geeked out.  This book will inevitably draw comparisons to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but the California setting and quirky characters make Colin's story unique and I plan on adding a copy to my classroom bookshelf.

    Reached by Ally Condie - Reached is the conclusion to the trilogy that starts with Matched, one of my favorite recommendations for girls who loved The Hunger Games and are looking for something to read next.  I have read the books as they are published, so it took me a few pages to remember what exactly had happened in the first two books.  In this series, the main character, Cassia, lives in a Society that reminds me a lot of Jonas' community in Lois Lowry's The Giver - people's lives are tightly controlled and there is little choice; people are even "matched" to their future spouse by the government.  Cassia and her two matches Ky and Xander are all working for the revolution in the third book, and when it finally happens, it's similar to the resolution of the Hunger Games series - does anything really change?  I enjoyed getting some closure on the series, but Reached was fairly slow moving and I missed the more active Cassia from the second book.

    Four to Score, High Five and Hot Six by Janet Evanovich - Why yes, I am still obsessed with Stephanie Plum.  Thanks for asking.

    television favorites

    At the risk of sounding 63 years old, I'm going to go with NCIS as my favorite this month.  This week's cliffhanger ending was INSANE.

    The season finale episodes of Suburgatory reminded me why it's become one of my favorites.  While it's clearly based on a place like West Chester, New York, I like to think of Chatswin as the town where I did my student teaching on steroids.  I love the cast so much - Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines, Alan Tudyk, Ana Gasteyer, and Chris Parnell seem like they're having so much fun playing the adult characters in teenage Tessa's life.

    What are you loving this month?

    Monday, April 22

    clicks of note: keep your head up, my love.

    get your week off to a colorful start...


    • Last week was a rough one.  In my neck of the woods, mid-April is a reminder of those we lost in the Virginia Tech shootings, and along come the attack at the Boston Marathon and the explosion in Waco.  I didn't feel much like posting last week - fashion and event planning ideas just don't come to me when lives have been cut short.  Here's one of my favorite songs by the Lumineers - "it's better to feel pain than nothing at all" is a verse that I feel like I've got to cling to right now.  Keep your heads up this week, okay?  And know that it's always okay to talk about the real stuff here.
    • Some links to show your support for Boston: donate to the One Fund, wear the Stay Strong Boston t-shirt from Teespring or the Tough. Proud. Brave. Free. t-shirt from Rue La La.

    The question is at what expense are we being drawn to bigger, louder, larger, best-selling, more famous? Are we losing anything in the pursuit? Are we measuring our faithfulness to Christ by “likes” or by lives?

    Sunday, April 21

    sunday simplicity #117: come what may

    "We said we'd walk together baby come what may, that come the twilight should we lose our way, if as we're walking a hand should slip free, I'll wait for you, and should I fall behind, wait for me." - Bruce Springsteen

    Friday, April 19

    Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure Recap

    I've been writing about my health goals on this blog for a while, and recently I've added a new component to my exercise: walking... and I'm talking long-distance walking!  My best friend's mother, Sonja, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and a bunch of her friends and family members signed up to do the Susan G. Komen 5K Walk for the Cure, including Mr. Q and me.  I have done 5K walks before; I walked for the American Heart Association in college and for St. Jude's last year.  However, as out of shape as I am I was worried that I wasn't ready for a 5K walk.

    Photo from WDBJ7

    Mr. Q has been helping me "train" for the Susan G. Komen 5K by walking around our hometown.  We've designed a few different routes with longer and longer distances until I could walk a 5K without whining too much!

    Photo from WDBJ7

    Our team made it into the local news station's photo gallery!  There's Sonja, who had her lumpectomy the THURSDAY BEFORE THE RACE and participated with us on the far left.  She is amazing - no pain meds at all, sixteen stitches, and she was in a great mood!  The guy in front of me throwing up the "rock on" signs is of course my amazing husband and that's my BFF Breeze throwing up a fist-pump.  We scored those sweet bandanas from Ford's "Warriors in Pink" booth.

    Coordinator C and I crossing the finish line...

    And our survivor, Sonja, with her flower for finishing the race!

    I have actually enjoyed getting into a walking regimen a lot more than I thought I would, although it hasn't been without complaints about sore feet and hips.  I had a great time at the 5K walking with my husband and friends, especially when the course overlapped with the beautiful Roanoke River Greenway.  I've already picked out my next 5K walk in May and I hope to add some running into my practice routine!

    Linking up with Kelly's Korner!

    Wednesday, April 17

    steeper or cheaper TV style: citrus prints

    Citrus colors are everywhere this spring, so it was probably only a matter of time until citrus prints followed.  I noticed some cute citrus-print items in two of my favorite television shows this week, and I was really shocked to see the HUGE difference in price between the two items!  Here are two ways to work cheerful citrus prints into your wardrobe this spring.

    Apparently the stylists on the set of The Carrie Diaries (my favorite guilty pleasure show right now - I know it's geared toward high schoolers, but I can't resist the 80's style and references to Sex and the City) cannot get enough of the retro-inspired styles at ModCloth, because the show features items from the shop in almost every episode! Carrie Bradshaw's citrus print top is the Cool With Me Top from ModCloth featuring cap sleeves, a defined waist, and a fruity, retro print in Episode 113: "Kiss Yesterday Goodbye".  Apparently some ModCloth fans collect this top in every color, but I especially love the way this print reminds me of vintage children's book illustrations.

    I don't think I have to consider The Mindy Project a guilty pleasure, since the target audience for Mindy Kaling's show actually is young professional women, but I'm similarly obsessed with Mindy's wardrobe on the show, and when I saw the lemon-print dress she wore in last week's episode I sort of freaked out because it was so cute!  Mindy's lemon print dress is Alice + Olivia's "Candice" dress - available online for $572 from MyTheresa.  Sorry, but I'm not a television star - or even a doctor like Mindy's character on the show - so I don't have that kind of money to spend on a dress.  Alice + Olivia offers a tee in the same print for $88 if photoreal lemon print is a must-have for you.

    How would you style citrus prints for spring?

    Monday, April 15

    clicks of note: like the ceiling can't hold us...

    get your week off to a colorful start...


    • I'm loving Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us" right now - the perfect party anthem!
    "the fact that I found someone that I love, married him, and now get to eat breakfast with him every morning is not just exciting, it is incredible. Sipping coffee with your soulmate may not land you on magazine covers, but it is something to be valued."

    Sunday, April 14

    sunday social: all about Twitter...

    Sunday Social

    1. When did you join Twitter?

    January 2011, so that I could enter blog contests while wedding planning... it has taken me a while to figure out how to really make Twitter work for me though.  Originally, all of my tweets were about weddings and wedding planning.  Post-wedding, after realizing that I was probably NOT going to become a professional wedding planner, my tweets were a crazy mishmash of real life stuff, teaching stuff, and entertainment stuff, and so were the people I followed.  Last semester I took a class called Social Media for Educators and learned about TweetDeck - life changing, I tell ya.  I created a new Twitter for education stuff so now my personal/blogger and education/work lives are separate.

    2. Who is your favorite non-celeb to follow?

    @RawDoreen is a raw foods life coach whose tweets are always really inspiring and upbeat.

    3. Who is your favorite celeb to follow?

    Mindy Kaling - her tweets are hilarious!

    4. Have you ever had a celeb respond to a tweet?

    Rainn Wilson (best known as Dwight from "The Office" responded when I commented on how much Il oved his O Network show "Soul Pancake."  The mother of YA literature, S.E. Hinton, and I had a pretty boring conversation about carry-on luggage.  YA fantasy author Maggie Stiefvater replied when I said I wanted to finish writing my own story about a psychic teen before reading The Raven Boys - she told me not to worry.  I've been retweeted by Scholastic on my teacher account.  That's about it!

    5. What is your favorite store/brand to follow?

    The Honest Company - they don't just self-promote but link to articles and ideas that support their philosophy of creating 100% natural, eco-friendly products that are high quality.

    6. Give us three tweeps we should be following.

    1. Kristen Howerton from Rage Against the Minivan
    2. Author Maureen Johnson
    3. Actress and women's rights activist Martha Plimpton

    Come follow me on Twitter, and if you leave your username in a comment I'll be happy to follow you back!

    sunday simplicity #116: and be my love

    Come live with me and be my love,  
    And we will all the pleasures prove  
    That hills and valleys, dale and field,  
    And all the craggy mountains yield.

    - from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
    by Christopher Marlowe

    Thursday, April 11

    love and marriage series: challenges...

    This week's theme for the Love and Marriage Series hosted by Lindsey at A Dollop of Life and a bunch of other cool bloggers is CHALLENGES.  I thought I knew exactly what this post would be about, but it took a completely different turn than I expected.  This post is very personal, and was extremely difficult to write.  I considered not publishing it because it reveals so many of my flaws, and I don't know if I'm comfortable being this real online!  What I do feel confident about is that reading the other bloggers' posts in this Love and Marriage Series continues to be a blessing to me, and I hope that someone out there can read my stories and find something meaningful, too.


    For me, the biggest challenge in my relationship with Mr. Q has been my depression.  I haven't talked about my mental health very much on this blog because it didn't seem appropriate, but here we go.  I experienced an episode of major depression during my third year of college, right around the time that my dad's kidneys failed and he had to start dialysis treatments - the stress of being away from my family and childhood friends, living farther from Grounds, and taking the max number of credits the dean would allow in order to get my dual degree was getting to me.

    Wednesday, April 10

    style: ready for a spring fling...

    I'm kind of obsessed with all things girly right now and that means pastels.
    Here are my three favorites for this spring: mint, coral, and orchid.

    1. Old Navy sweater (similar)  2. Baublebar necklace  3. Target tank
    4. Modcloth earrings  5. GAP leather flip-flops  6. Butter London nail lacquer  
    7. J. Crew chino shorts  8. Ruche colorblocked midi dress

    FYI, the polka dot sweater was still available at my local Old Navy, so check your store and you might get lucky!  It's my new favorite and makes me feel quirky like Jess from New Girl.  Who, now that I think about it, is probably the reason for this girly fashion phase I'm going through.

    What color combinations are you loving right now?

    Modcloth links are affiliate links.

    Monday, April 8

    clicks of note: holding on to grace.

    get your week off to a colorful start...


    "What do you want to occupy the most space in your life? Artist, friend, mother, breadwinner, athlete, advocate, leader? You can keep your life simple, she suggested, by keeping those primary roles top of mind in the choices you make each day."


    Sunday, April 7

    sunday social: all about Pinterest!

    This week's Sunday Social questions from Ashley and Neely are all about Pinterest, so naturally I couldn't resist!  Except then I couldn't figure out how to add the images from Pinterest to this post so that they'd have the source information underneath the way Neely did in her post - FAIL.  I clicked "share," I clicked "embed," and then I got confused, so I just included the original sources instead.

    Sunday Social

    1. What is your favorite outfit pin?

    Source: qtpiekelso on Polyvore

    I love how colorful this outfit is, and brown leather accessories are pretty much my go-to choice on the weekends.

    2. What is your favorite food pin?

    Source: Taco Pizza from SparkRecipes

    Taco pizza made with crescent rolls!  One of my coworkers brought this in for lunch one day, and we were all like "What IS that?!" because it looked so cool and smelled yummy.  Her answer was, "Go to my Pinterest."  I love my coworkers.

    3. What is your favorite wedding pin?

    I know this may seem strange coming from me, but I do not pin a large amount of wedding-related content!  I am very happy with the wedding I had, so I don't have one of those "if I could do it all again" boards.  I love this image from Style Me Pretty, though, and I think it's inspirational for any kind of outdoor celebration.

    4. What is your favorite DIY/craft pin?

    Source: U-Create

    This is such a cool idea.  I want to make a t-shirt like this for summer music festivals with song lyrics.  I also think this would be a neat technique to use with a scarf instead of a t-shirt.

    5. What is your favorite quote/verse/lyric pin?

    This is from a fitness blog, but I printed it out and hung it up in my middle school English classroom when I was teaching editing and revising.  Teenagers fear mistakes and losing face, and I wanted to remind them that it's important to experiment and try new things as a writer without worrying about whether they're doing them the grammar-book way.

    6. Share one more random pin you love.
    Source: TheCarbonCrusader on Etsy

    I need these Mean Girls pencils.  But definitely not for school.

    sunday simplicity #115: if thou must love me...

    If thou must love me, let it be for nought   
    Except for love's sake only. Do not say,   
    "I love her for her smile—her look—her way   
    Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought   
    That falls in well with mine, and certes brought 
    A sense of pleasant ease on such a day"—   

    For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, may   
    Be changed, or change for thee—and love, so wrought,   
    May be unwrought so. Neither love me for   
    Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry: 
    A creature might forget to weep, who bore   
    Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!  

    But love me for love's sake, that evermore   
    Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.
    - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Saturday, April 6

    our story (love and marriage series)

    I stumbled across the Love and Marriage Series at Lindsey's blog A Dollop of My Life.  Lindsey is teaming up with five other bloggers for a month-long series of posts and linkups about relationships.  Hmm... seems relevant to this blog.  Let's do this thing!  Who's ready for a love story?

    I've mentioned many, many times on this blog what a big part of my life my involvement with 4-H is.  I bleed green and white.  Well, in a roundabout way, I might not have ever met Mr. Q if not for 4-H!  I worked at the 4-H camp I'd attended as a kid when I was in college.  My second summer working there was a crazy summer - one of my coworkers dubbed it "the summer of love" because so many couples were forming.  For me, it was like a weird switch had flipped and all of a sudden boys liked me.  I wish I knew what it was, but I had three guys flirting with me at the beginning of the summer.  Totally unprecedented.  

    Anyway, it was also the summer of one of my best friends' weddings.  After all the wedding craziness, my BFF B and I needed a night out on the town, and our hair and makeup were already done, so off we went.  While we were downtown, we ran into one of my coworkers from camp.  Who introduced us to her best friends, one of whom was Mr. Q!  We hit it off pretty much instantly, grabbed a booth and spent most of the night talking about everything from music to faith to football.  Except for football teams, we were on the same page!  From that moment on, I pretty much forgot about those other guys - Mr. Q and I went on dates around the lake area on my nights off from camp, and at the end of that July he asked me to be his girlfriend.

    Mr. Q got sucked back into college life!  Even though he attended our rival, Virginia Tech, he sure did fit in at UVa.  I was a resident adviser that year and also very involved in a Christian fellowship on grounds; Mr. Q became beloved by my fellow RAs, brothers and sisters in the fellowship, and even by my church family.  Mr. Q spent many a weekend at Mr. Jefferson's University with me.  He was constantly pushing me to do things that were outside of my comfort zone, like sing karaoke in front of all of his friends.  Since we had very similar musical tastes, one of our favorite things to do was go to concerts together.

    Our relationship progressed at a faster pace than most because I was also dealing with the most serious thing that had ever happened to me: my father was terminally ill.  I'd gone into counseling when my dad's kidneys failed, because I knew what was coming eventually.  When it came, it wasn't what I expected - my father's death was caused by a brain tumor that my parents didn't tell me much about because my dad wanted me to stay in school.  Going back to school in January to finish my senior year was difficult, and I don't know how I would have survived that year without Mr. Q.  We'd only been together for about six months at that point but it was clear that he was in it for better or worse.  He was there for moral support and was my rock through my year of graduate school as well.

    Friday, April 5

    plaid barn initial stamps!

    Hi again y'all!  You know that I rarely post twice in one day, and if I do, it's usually because I've spotted a deal I want to share with you.  I am a Plaid Barn affiliate and I know that many of you also subscribe to their e-mails.  Plaid Barn offers crafting items and supplies at up to 75% off.  Today's deal is one I know some of you could put to a creative use: personalized stamps!

    These little babies are 60% off and would be perfect on invitation and thank-you note 
    envelopes, or used as letterhead.  Love it.  See why I couldn't resist sharing?