Monday, March 31

clicks of note: i'll be every knot you need...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • Courrier's "Inch of Rope" was a Pandora discovery for me.  I like it's epic, sweeping sound - I think fans of U2 and Imagine Dragons will enjoy this one.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.





Sunday, March 30

sunday social: ideals...

1. What is your ideal way to relax?

A good book, good music, and a big mug of hot tea or coffee.  I created a Pandora station at the beginning of the month for Bastille's song "Pompeii," and gave everything upbeat that played a thumbs-up, and it has resulted in the most cheerful station ever.

2. Where is your favorite place to be?

The Outer Banks of North Carolina - in my opinion, the most peaceful place in the world.  I love to go there and just let life slow down, and somehow I always feel more centered at the ocean.

3. Who do you consider your biggest role model?

My mother!  She is smart, calm, emotionally strong, honest, spiritual, funny, considerate - all of the things I want to be.  She's my best friend and my biggest cheerleader.

4. What does your life look like in 3 years?

In three years I will be 31 years old.  I think that Mr. Q and I will be homeowners by then and hopefully be starting a family.

5. If you could go back and change one decision, what would it be?

I would have gone through my first year of college without having a boyfriend.  I dated the first guy who showed an interest in me at school; he liked me more than I liked him, and I ended up hurting him because of that.  Becoming a manipulative, selfish person wasn't fun and I knew my friends were judging me (and rightly so).  I think we'd be really good friends today if we hadn't dated; we still have several mutual friends and do keep in touch with life updates but it's awkward being around each other in person.

6. What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?

Earning my Master's degree and becoming a teacher - my goal since first grade.  I considered putting my classroom as my answer for question #2, since I worked so hard for so long to have a classroom.

sunday simplicity

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Friday, March 28

my february and march in entertainment

my february and march in entertainment

books i read

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - This book is the sequel to The Raven Boys, which I ended up loving so much I've now read it twice!  The Dream Thieves picks up where the first book left off, with Blue and her boys still on the hunt for a Welsh king supposedly buried in the Virginia mountains.  The Dream Thieves sheds more light on the friendship between Gansey, the group's unofficial leader, and Ronan, the dark, brooding and broken tough guy.  It also elaborates on Ronan's inherited ability to pull objects from his dream into the physical world - an ability that turns out to be very dangerous.  The characters in this series are so well developed, and Stiefvater continues to reign as the queen of descriptive writing in my book.

Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu - I really wish this YA dystopian series that began with Legend was more well known, because it has a much happier, more satisfying ending than more popular series like The Hunger Games and Divergent.  I also love the dual points of view - it's refreshing to read a YA series with strong male and female main characters and to be able to recommend it to more of my students.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi - This book concludes the series that started with Under the Never Sky and continued with Through the Ever Night.  Peregrine and Aria are one of the most romantic couples in current YA literature, and the fierce way they protect each other and fight for their relationship is one of the most enjoyable parts of reading these books.  In the last book, Perry realizes that he has no choice but to work with a bitter enemy to save his tribe, the Tides, and Aria helps build a bond between the Tides and the Dwellers who have been displaced from the safety of the pod she grew up in.  To get to the Still Blue, the only safe place left on Earth, the main characters have to be willing to sacrifice themselves and their loved ones, and the difficult choices made it very difficult to put the book down!

Half Bad by Sally Green - I capped off a season of reading series books by starting a new one!  I read Charlie Jane Anders' review of this book on iO9 and it sounded right up my alley.  The book begins with the main character's disorientation, explained in second-person point of view, and I started to wonder if I'd made the right choice, but that section was followed by a flashback and change to third person and I quickly became addicted to the story.  Half Bad's main character is Nathan, the son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and the only known "half code" known to the Council of White Witches.  His grandmother, who has raised Nathan and his half-siblings on her own since his mother's death, constantly assures Nathan that he is good, and a pretty White Witch named Annalise falls in love with him, but most other White Witches don't give him a chance.  Eventually, Nathan learns that his father is the most evil Black Witch in the world, and that the Council has been keeping even closer tabs on him than he and his family suspected.

movies i saw

Admission - I was looking forward to this movie, since it stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  Tina plays a pretty standard Tina character - Portia, an uptight, busy professional (in this case, a college admissions officer at Princeton) who has neglected her personal life.  Her college classmate John contacts her about visiting the experimental school he founded, but he has an alterior motive - his school's most promising student may be the son Portia gave up for adoption when she was a college student herself.  Portia is torn between her commitment to her career and the chance to make a unique boy's dream come true.  Unfortunately, the plot of the movie dragged a bit and Tina Fey and Paul Rudd did not have any romantic chemistry.  The most entertaining thing about the film was probably Lily Tomlin as Portia's free spirit mom.

The Lego Movie - The theme song of this movie is called "Everything is Awesome!" and that pretty much sums up the film itself.  The target audience might be in grade school, but I absolutely loved The Lego Movie.  It stars a cast of extremely lovable voice actors (including Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, and Liam Neeson), features loving nods to pretty much every action movie ever (the plot is basically The Matrix but with Legos!), and includes awesome cameos (Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern but also kind of as their 21 Jump Street characters? Gandalf and Dumbledore?  William Shakespeare doing the worm?  Lando Calrissian and C3-PO riding in on the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars?).  The movie was so creative and so much fun, and the theme - think for yourself instead of blindly following directions - is perfect for young people today.

The Secret of Kells - I decided I needed a little Irish movie in my life on St. Patrick's Day, and this animated feature set in medieval Ireland has been on my to-watch list for a while now.  Brendan, an apprentice in the Abbey of Kells, helps Brother Aidan find ingredients to make ink to complete a beautiful illuminated Bible. In his adventures helping Aidan, Brendan befriends woodland spirit Aisling, battles a Celtic deity, and escapes the Vikings when they attack the abbey.  Having seen the Book of Kells in Dublin, I thought this movie was really beautifully drawn, with lots of references to medieval Celtic liturgical artwork.

White House Down - Since I'm taking kids on a field trip to Washington, D.C. soon, I had to watch a movie about Channing Tatum saving the President, right?  Anyway, I enjoyed this one so much more than I expected to.  The script was really witty, the plot was exciting, and I found that I was really invested in what happened to the characters, including Channing as a Secret Service job applicant, his political vlogger daughter, the President (Jamie Foxx), Secret Service agent Carol (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and field trip tour guide Donnie.

television favorites

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - So, I've been binge-watching Buffy on Netflix under the pretense that I will be a better YA writer after studying the work of the master of witty dialogue, Joss Whedon.  By Season 3, I could predict what the characters would say and do, even in the episodes I didn't remember watching in high school.  Maybe it's working?  Buffy is basically television comfort food for me.

Thursday, March 27

my february + march in instagram

my february + march in instagram


Participating in the #busygirlnails challenge helped get me into the
habit of painting my nails every week.  It really does make me feel
more put together, and I think Pinterest and Instagram have made
me a lot more creative with my manicures!  Here are two using
Zoya polishes, which I love because they are free of free of toluene, 
formaldehyde, DBP and camphor - the fewer chemicals, the better, I say.

Celebrations:  a 50th birthday and Valentine's Day

The polar vortex hit Virginia while we were dog-siting; when the roads
were cleared we busted cabin fever by visiting my friend Jessica's shop.

A pop of green for St. Patrick's Day - 
the lia sophia Glacial necklace is basically my
new favorite thing.

A Shamrock Shake and soda bread for St. Pat's - one of these things
is way, way less Irish than the other.

Visiting my mean cat Scout at my mom's house.

What are you up to this month?

Wednesday, March 26

paper chase: the best watercolor wedding stationery

One of my favorite design trends this spring is watercolor details - in fashion, home decor, and of course, wedding stationery!  Here are a few of the prettiest watercolor paper goods from around the web - stylish, elegant, and whimsical.

Watercolor Frame by Laura Condouris for Minted

How pretty would this watercolor petal invitation be for a spring
garden wedding?  I love when invitations give guests a sneak
peek of what the style and mood of the wedding will be like.

Free Printable Tags from Swooned

I love these DIY tags from Swooned, which would be great as
escort cards or as tags for spring gifts!

Free Printable Save-the-Date from The Lovely Dept.

Watercolor Wedding invitation by To and From with Love on Etsy

Escort Cards by Prim and Pixie via Style Me Pretty

Splash of Paradise Wedding Invitation by Cadence Paige for Minted

Ocean Splash invitation by The Best Day Paper Co. on Etsy

Watercolor Roses invitation from Invitations by Dawn

Blue Ocean invitation from That Noise Gallery on Etsy

Watercolor invitation from Ruby May Design on Etsy

Watercolor Script Invitations from Crafty Pie Press

Orchid invitations from Mooseberry Print Shop on Etsy

Confetti invitation from Encre Studio Design and Print on Etsy

Which of these watercolor invitations is your favorite?

Tuesday, March 25

Style: Time to Get Away...

Virginia's indecisive weather, standardized tests and general having to be a grown-up have me daydreaming about spring break... which is less than a month away now.  Shades of seafoam teal and chambray blue are calming, the perfect complement to a springtime escape, no matter what the forecast or appointment calendar may hold.

Time to Get Away...

View this set on Polyvore

1. Wallis sweater (similar here, here)  2. GAP plaid scarf  
3. Voluspa jar candle from Anthropologie  4. Old Navy graphic tee (similar here, here)  
5. Banana Republic statement necklace (similar here and here)
6. Merona cowl-neck hoodie from Target  7. Essie nail polish in Rock the Boat  
8. Zoya nail polish in Nyx  9. Kellin Silver mint clover ring  
10. J. Crew drawstring travel bag set

And here's my take on this color scheme...

Necklace: lia sophia "Lily Pad"  Sweater: Merona from Target  
Purse: Rosetti from TJ Maxx  Jeans: Curvy straight legs from LOFT  
Boots: Merona from Target

I love this outfit - it feels very "me" and very comfortable.

Linking Up:
Style Sessions at Style Elixir
Casual Friday at Two Thirty-Five Designs
Favorite Fashion Friday at Penniless Socialite
Passion 4 Fashion at Rachel the Hat
Three-Fer Thursday at Perfectly Coutured
Be.You.Tiful Link Party at Maybe I Will
Weekend Block Party at Can't Google Everything

Monday, March 24

clicks of note: if you feel like that's what you wanna do...

get your week off to a colorful start...
Isn't it amazing what a truly nice weekend can do for the psyche?  This weekend, Mr. Q and I spent a lot of time together.  On Friday night we went out for Mexican food and visited Astrid and her dad to watch some March Madness.  On Saturday Mr. Q took me out for coffee, we went for a nice drive in the countryside around our town, I went to a work friend's cooking party and then visited my mama, and Mr. Q and I had a movie night. Yesterday, we were super lazy all morning and had another date night with more basketball viewing.  My 'Hoos are in the Sweet Sixteen!  It was all just what I needed before what will probably be a stressful week - we have a meeting with our chaperones for the upcoming field trip, parent conference night, and my students are taking their state standardized writing test.


  • What's better than Pharrell's "Happy"?  The Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences choir's "Happy."  If that's not enough, here's a link to the Glee version featuring Gwyneth Paltrow.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.




Saturday, March 22

if my blog was an outfit...

When I saw the "If My Blog Was an Outfit" link up at Hairspray and High Heels and A Dose of Paige, I knew I had to join in.  I love using Polyvore to get creative with fashion ideas, and I just gave Beyond the Aisle a little makeover, so I liked the challenge of creating outfits that express the style of my blog as well as its heart.

I couldn't stop at one outfit, so I wanted to show off all the sides of Beyond the Aisle.  My motto is "add color and style to every day" - I don't believe in spending life waiting for special occasions!

The first outfit I designed is an everyday outfit - very similar to what I might wear while putting together a Monday Clicks of Note post, heading to work on Friday, or going to brunch with Breeze and Coordinator C on the weekend.  I wanted to have some little shout-outs to the blog's new swirly design (I doodle swirls all the time so it was love at first sight) and calming blue, gray, and white color palette.  I actually own the scalloped LOFT sweater and lia sophia jewelry in this set, so it's definitely my style!  Throw in some Essie nail polishes for a special manicure, a Fossil wallet (my favorite brand), broken-in blue jeans and a cute pair of Tom's (lace is a must for a wedding-obsessed blogger like me).  I always like to feature brands I really wear and stores I really shop at in my fashion posts - and always try to keep things affordable.

Classic Blue

Classic Blue

Everyday look: LOFT pointelle sweater, J Brand jeans (similar), lia sophia necklace, earrings, and ring, Fossil wallet from Amazon, Essie nail polishes in "Truth or Flare" and "Avenue Maintain," crochet TOMS

Work look: Merona cardigan (similar), Merona woven shell, Merona pencil skirt, LOFT chandelier earrings (similar), John Lewis heels, Kate Spade clutch

The second look I put together started out as a work outfit and turned into more of a fancy party outfit.  I do own the white Merona sweater from last spring's collection at Target - the lace shoulders are my favorite detail.  I swear by colorful shells for my work wardrobe, and pencil skirts are my favorite.  The accessories are all dream pieces- I love feminine pieces with bows, chunky jewelry, and all things Kate Spade, particularly the collection of clutches inspired by vintage book covers.

Cerulean Blue Spring Wedding
Spring Wedding

Wedding outfit:  WToo dress by Watters, lia sophia earrings, J. Crew metallic heels

I would be remiss to put together a post like this and not create a wedding outfit!  I still think of weddings as the ultimate inspiration, even as I transition into more of a lifestyle blog. Cerulean blue has been one of my favorite colors since I got my first jumbo box of Crayola crayons, and when I was playing around with my blog design it just felt right.  I love flowy bridesmaid dresses, and I'm currently crushing on long dresses - they are so elegant!  I'm also in love with these lia sophia earrings and strappy J. Crew kitten heels.  Hydrangeas will always be my favorite flower and the one I associate with my wedding and other happy occasions throughout my life.  My favorite weddings and parties to feature on the blog have the perfect combination of rustic, bohemian, and vintage style, and I think that this outfit would fit right in.

So, how did I do?  Do these outfits match up with your mental picture of Beyond the Aisle style?