Tuesday, September 30

Style: Bold Black and White for Fall

First, I fell in love with this daring dalmation-spotted hand painted wall by Gaby at The Vault Files...

Then, I saw this scaled-down wall art version of graphic black and white spots in Michelle Adams' bedroom...

The next thing I knew I wanted black and white everything... clothes, accessories, and home decor.  This fall, I'm feeling high-contrast, graphic prints and typefaces.

A Few Bold Updates
View this set on Polyvore

1. Old Navy graphic t-shirt  2. J. Crew Factory linen t-shirt 
 3. H&M storage basket  4. Nate Berkus storage baskets from Target  
5. Merona wedge sandals from Target (similar) 6. Monki clutch from ASOS

Which of these graphic pieces is your favorite?

Monday, September 29

clicks of note: fear is a friend that's misunderstood...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • I've probably posted "The Heart of Life" in this spot before, because it's one of my all-time favorite John Mayer songs, but when this live version popped up on my Pandora I was automatically transported to fall college weekends driving through the Blue Ridge mountains.  I love that he mixes in a little of "In Repair" at the end, too.  I'm linking up, as usual, with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.




Sunday, September 28

sunday social: all around.

Social Sunday

1. What is your favorite magazine to read?

Nerdy answer: the NEA Today magazine that I get for being a member of the National Education Association.  I always pick up some practical teaching tips that I can use in my classroom.

Less nerdy answer:  Rolling Stone - it covers so much more about entertainment than just rock music, the interviewers ask celebrities truly deep questions, and I've even learned a lot about politics from Matt Taibbi's reports.

2. What is the best thing you’ve seen online lately?

Probably a tie between John Green's response to Riverside, California's decision to ban The Fault in Our Stars from middle school libraries, and Ellen Page and Kate Mara's Tiny Detectives sketch.  Oh, and this baby who loves Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" always cheers me up.

3. What is your favorite celebrity to follow on Instagram or Twitter?

Anna Kendrick's Twitter and Instagram are both very funny.  I also love YA author Maureen Johnson for gems like this one:

4. Is there one article of clothing no matter what the season you can’t help but love?

I believe every woman should own yoga pants and a terry cloth hoodie.

5. Do you prefer email or snail mail?

Super selfish, true answer:  I prefer to send e-mail and receive snail mail.  I'm usually too lazy to write actual letters but I love getting them from other people.

sunday simplicity: fall

“Life starts all over again 
when it gets crisp in the fall.” 

― from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, September 26

oh hey friday: my 5 recent blog loves.

Every season here at Beyond the Aisle, I like to share a handful of my "blog-mances" with my readers - charming blogs that cover all of my favorite subjects - lifestyle, fashion, cooking, organization - and that I think you should add to your reading list ASAP!

Nine-Thirty to Five - Sure, I love the fashion blogs that feature Chanel this and Coach that, tulle skirts with sweatshirts, and other creative takes on what fashion actually is, but what I really want to read are fashion blogs that show me outfits I can actually replicate on an everyday basis.  As cute as those tulle skirts might be, I can't wear them in the hallways of my school.  Paloma and Karen deliver with real-life, work-appropriate outfits that include budget-friendly options (think The Limited, LOFT, J. Crew Factory, and Forever21).  I'm constantly going, "Oh my gosh, I have a leopard print top/striped dress/green pencil skirt/whatever, but I've never thought of wearing it like that!"  I really love that these ladies aren't afraid to repeat items to show how they can be worn in different ways.

{Ella Claire} - Kristen shares her lovingly decorated home, fun craft ideas like her signature vintage-inspired fall signs, and yummy seasonal recipes - the freezable breakfast bites are truly a thing of genius, people!  She's also one of the hostesses of the Inspiration Exchange link-up, which is always worth checking out.

The Lettered Cottage - Layla and Kevin's blog is very well known due to their DIY skills and work with HGTV.  Their modern take on cottage style is right up my alley - the little reading nook/guest room in their old house is still so inspiring to me.  My favorite features on the blog are Pick My Presto, in which Layla uses her mad Photoshop skills to show people the potential in rooms they want to makeover, and their Blog Threads project, which uses the proceeds from cool t-shirts to help families fund adoptions.

Dinner, A Love Story - Reading Jenny Rosenstrach's blog is like having a conversation with your cool older sister who's got her act together.  There are so many tried-and-true recipes on this site, like the 10 fall favorites Jenny posted this week.  The what to cook tonight page is genius.

Which blogs always put a smile on your face?  Do you have any recommendations this month?

Wednesday, September 24

paper chase: movie and theater-inspired save the dates

Previously while chasing the best paper goods from around the web, I've featured save-the-dates inspired by sports and music.  Today, I've rounded up chick save-the-dates inspired by the movies and theater - perfect for the union of two cinemaphiles, actors, or fans of Old Hollywood.  Save-the-dates are the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with wedding planning.

This save the date suite by Miranda Olive featured text that could only be read with the enclosed 3-D glasses... it's an idea that's a little geeky, definitely fun, and way cool.

Letterbox Ink || Old Hollywood Movie Ticket by NoblestHeart on Etsy

Love these ticket-inspired save-the-dates, which can be fully customized with your names, date, and wedding location.  These designs would be so perfect for a black-tie wedding with vintage flair.

"Popcorn" by Deeply Impressed

"Art Deco" by Origami Prints on Zazzle

"Marquee Date" by Jill Means on Minted

This marquee-inspired design is modern and fun.

Love this idea!  With a little help from a local independent theater, classic marquee signs present a perfect engagement photo opportunity that can double as the perfect save-the-date.

This movie-poster inspired save the date is completely unique, and makes an adorable keepsake.

Theater save-the-date from SouthCityPress on Etsy

Finally, for future newlyweds whose tastes run a little more toward the stage than the screen, these red curtain-inspired invitations with an art deco font are the perfect way to set the tone.

Which of these save-the-date ideas is your favorite?

Monday, September 22

clicks of note: one thing that you should know...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • I fell in love with British singer-songwriter Alex Clare back when "Too Close" was in those Internet Explorer commercials.  His new song "Never Let You Go" is very different than most of his previous work musically and really lets his voice shine.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.


Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.

—Nora Ephron

Sunday, September 21

sunday social: all about fall!

Social Sunday

1. What is your favorite part of fall?  I love getting dressed in fall!  Like I said in last week's Sunday Social post, a cozy sweater, a colorful scarf, a t-shirt of some sort, skinny jeans, and boots feels like a perfect outfit to me.  I love mixing colors and patterns and I think being part of this online community of bloggers has made me more adventurous with my personal style.  This is my weekend style formula, give or take a safari jacket, leopard-print ballet flats, and a statement necklace.

I also really enjoy seeing pictures of my friends' cute kiddos going on field trips to apple orchards and pumpkin patches now that so many of the little ones are approaching Pre-K and kindergarten age.  I also get very, very excited for Halloween - watching Hocus Pocus and planning costumes are two of my greatest pleasures in life.

2. Do you have anything special planned for fall?  My college roommate is getting married in October!  I can't wait for her wedding - I know it will be gorgeous because she's so creative and detail-oriented.

3. What is fall like in your area?  Since Virginia has such a temperate climate, outdoor fall activities are really popular in the area - hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing and such.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is known as one of the most beautiful fall drives in the U.S., so we see a spike in the number of tourists visiting the area this time of year.  We have a lot of festivals that take place in fall as well - an apple festival hosted by the Lions, the Chamber of Commerce's wine festival, the GO Outside festival in Roanoke, and the Thomas Jefferson wine festival at Poplar Forest just to name a few.  Since our area is fairly rural,  fall traditions like trick-or-treating look a little different - since houses are miles apart, trunk or treat has become really popular here instead, and I remember my mom taking me to my school's fall festival every Halloween so that I could collect my share of candy.

4. What is your favorite football team to cheer for (college or professional)?  I love cheering on my alma mater, the University of Virginia.  The 'Hoos put up a pretty good fight against BYU yesterday - I was proud.  I also cheer for Mr. Q's school Virginia Tech - all except for the last weekend in November when our schools face each other for the Commonwealth Cup.  My favorite NFL team is Green Bay but I don't watch religiously.

5. Do you decorate for fall? Show us pics!  I love fall d├ęcor, but it's been so warm here that I haven't been motivated to do a lot of updating for the new season yet.  Here are some pictures from previous fall seasons:


2012 and 2011

sunday simplicity.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. 
I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” 

― from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Thursday, September 18

letting my geek flag fly! [geek girl tag]

While I'm not a YouTuber (can you imagine finding out your eighth grade English teacher vlogs?  I'd never live it down), I am subscribed to a ton of channels and couldn't resist the Geek Girl tag after watching this video by Kristin from My Life As a Teacup.  I was definitely a nerdy kid, but I don't think I really started to see myself as a geek until eighth grade when I finally found some friends who thought it was cool that I was a girl who liked Star Wars and Redwall, and also started to find friends online who had similarly geeky interests.  In college, I found friends I could geek out about Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with. And now I have a wonderfully geeky husband who goes to all the Marvel movies with me.  I had to take the Geek Girl survey, and I really want to start sharing more of my geeky side here on the blog.

1. What is your must-have tech gadget?

My phone - ironically, because texting pretty much makes my teenage dream a reality: being able to communicate my ideas to my friends and family members in the way I am most skilled, via writing, rather than verbally.  AIM was my savior in high school.

2. Which house do you belong to in Hogwarts?

Hufflepuff.  Not only did my best HP-loving friend sort me into Hogwarts in college, pretty much every quiz I've ever taken, including the Pottermore quiz, had the same result.  As the Sorting Hat says, Hufflepuffs are fair, loyal, patient, and hard working.  I'm pretty sure those are all the qualities that make me a successful middle school teacher.  I'm not a super competitive person, I don't really get high on adrenaline, and I do feel like most of my success is the result of me working hard rather than being super intelligent.

3. Who (!) was your favorite Doctor?

I guess this makes me a bad geek, but I have never invested the time to really get into Doctor Who.  The only episodes I've seen had David Tennant and all I can think of when I see him is "Barty Crouch... JUNIOR!"  The show just seems cheesy to me, but my college friends and a lot of my students absolutely love the Doctor in all his incarnations.

4. If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be?

I feel like Albus Dumbledore would be the most amazing conversationalist ever.  He could impart some amazing wisdom, tell some great jokes, and also make some off-the-wall nonsense comments, and I would love all of it.  Plus he's been alive for more than a century, so I could ask him questions about historical events and famous people he probably encountered.

5. What is your gaming system of choice?

I am not very talented at traditional video games.  When I was little, my friends made fun of me because I couldn't play Mario Bros. without actually moving my body the way the character would be moving.  Fast-forward to today, and I get to do that all the time - my gaming system of choice is my Wii!  I love dance games - Michael Jackson Experience helped me lose weight for my wedding and I collect the Just Dance series.

6. If you had a super power, what would it be?

In college, my answer to this question was being able to understand and speak all languages, and I still think that would be really cool!  However, now that I have had a few more difficult life experiences, I dream of being able to time travel and make situations better or just revisit certain people or moments again.

7. What is your favorite fantasy world?

Oh my goodness, this question is difficult, because all of the fantasy worlds I love also have some kind of horrible villain or evil force hanging over them and causing trouble, or scary monsters that I wouldn't want to mess with.  I have to say the Wizarding World created by J.K. Rowling, though, because I think she's such a genius.  I mean, I can tell you what the denziens of this world eat, how they travel, what they wear, what kind of music they listen to, what amazing animals they work with, what spells they use to do magic - and it all came from one woman's imagination coupled with an impressive amount of research and knowledge of folklore.  I'm also so blown away by the amount of creativity the Wizarding World has inspired - there is just a whole world of stuff inspired by Harry Potter's universe. It's definitely in the ranks with Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings in terms of how passionate fans are and how much a part of popular culture it has become.

8. If you could be any fictional race, what would you be?

Can I be an Ewok?  Who wouldn't want to be a little bear-shaped person who runs around being adorable and singing and dancing around a campfire, but can also go Swiss Family Robinson on enemies when needed?

9. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars!  I resisted it for a long, long time and would roll my eyes at my dad when he tried to get me to watch his VHS copies of the original trilogy.  Finally, in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, it was like all of a sudden all my guy friends were into Star Wars, and I was like fine, dad, let's do this thing.  For the next two weekends, my Friday night plans were set - watching the original trilogy with my parents and loving every minute of it.  I love Star Wars because it describes a hero's journey, because it's a love story, and because it's a story about a group of stubborn, determined people coming together to form their own family.  I love the Force.  I love the idea of having a Droid.  I love the Jim Henson-ness of the original trilogy's practical effects.  I don't like the prequels, but I am excited to see what J.J. Abrams does with that rich universe now that he has the opportunity to put his own spin on George Lucas' creation.

10. List your top 5 geektastic movies or TV series.
  • Harry Potter
  • Star Wars
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The MCU (Avengers, Thor, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. etc.)
  • Firefly/Serenity
Honorable mentions:  X-MenThe Fifth Element, Final Fantasy VII, The Chronicles of Narnia, Syfy Alice, Inception, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies, The Hunger Games, John Carter, City of Bones, Sherlock, Pacific Rim.

What are your favorite "geeky" interests?  Do you consider yourself a geek girl?

Linking Up:

Let Your Light Shine

Tuesday, September 16

television shows I'm looking forward to this season.

fall tv premieres i'm looking forward to

Fall has been in the air for a few weeks now, with little signs like the pumpkin spice latte's return to Starbucks' menu, our Pinterest boards being taken over by apple everything, and of course, school starting.  However, I never really feel like I'm back in my fall routine until fall TV shows start coming back to the airwaves.  Today, I'm rounding up the shows I'm most looking forward to, along with their airtimes, networks, and premiere dates.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30/7:30c, FOX, Sept. 28) - I was skeptical about this show at first - I'd tried watching it when it first came on because I love Andy Samberg, and it just didn't work for me.  Then it won a ton of awards, I tried it again, and now that I've gotten to know the quirky, goofy characters, I love it.  The same thing happened to me with The Office- I think I am just really picky about comedies at first.  The second season should be interesting with Samberg's character going on an undercover mission and Kyra Sedgwick and Jenny Slate coming on as guest stars.

The Walking Dead (9/8c, AMC, Oct. 23) - Horror is so not my thing, but if I didn't watch The Walking Dead I wouldn't understand half the conversations my coworkers or students have, so I don't have much of a choice.  I don't watch or listen to most of the zombie scenes, but the characters keep me coming back.  I just hope the group can get out of their current situation and find Beth this season!

Mulaney (9:30/8:30c, FOX, Oct. 5) - One of my favorite comedians (his stand-up show New In Town is hilarious, and he wrote Bill Hader's "Stefon" skits on SNL's Weekend Update) finally gets his own show, which kind of looks like an updated Seinfeld.


The Voice (8/7c, NBC, Sept. 22) - I've missed my weekly dose of Blake and Adam's bromance, and this season Stevie Nicks will be advising Team Adam.

Sleepy Hollow (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 22) - I can still remember how dumb I thought this show looked when it premiered last year... and yet I still had to watch since it came from the minds of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.  This show is what would happen if Fringe and the National Treasure movies had a baby, and it's become one of Mr. Q's and my favorites. Being a Sleepy Hollow fan means forgetting everything about Washington Irving's version of the story except that there was a guy named Ichabod Crane and a lady named Katrina is it, and occasionally being willing to play fast and loose with American history and even the English language.  Do it.  Suspend your disbelief and let yourself have fun for an hour every Monday night.  Tom Mison's Ichabod and Nichole Beharie's Abbie Mills are the weirdest, greatest supernatural buddy-cop team since Mulder and Scully.

State of Affairs (10/9c, NBC, Nov. 17) - I haven't heard much buzz about this one, but it stars Katherine Heigl as a CIA analyst to LADY PRESIDENT ALFRE WOODARD so I feel that I must give it a chance.


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9/8c, Sept. 23) - The first season of this show took a while to find its stride, but after the Captain America movie hit theaters and "hail Hydra" became the most infamous slogan in the world of superheroes, it was on.  Season 1 ended with an insane cliffhanger and I can't wait to see what happens next.

New Girl (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 16) - Hoping this season will be less Nick-and-Jess centric and let the other characters have storylines as well - that's when the show really shines.

The Mindy Project (9:30/8:30c, FOX, Sept. 16) - I will be looking forward to 9:30 all day today.  In my opinion, Mindy Kaling is writing the funniest material on television right now.  The Season 3 premiere is called, "We're a Couple Now, Bitches."  What more do you need?


The Middle (8/7c, ABC, Sept. 24) - First things first, the Heck family is the realest family on T.V.  Their furniture doesn't match, their living room is a mess, and their dinner usually comes in a bag and/or bucket.  They're basically the Connors from Roseanne, updated for a new era.

Red Band Society (9/8c, FOX, Sept. 17) - There is SO MUCH HYPE around this show. When I saw the first commercials, I instantly thought, oh, they're trying to cash in on The Fault in Our Stars.  But since my favorite hospital drama, The Night Shift, is on hiatus right now, I need a medical show in my schedule, right?  And Octavia Spencer!

Nashville (10/9c, ABC, Sept. 24) - Will Rayna and Deacon be together?  Will Juliette be pregnant with Jeff's baby?  Nashville is totally a soap opera, and I love it.


Parenthood (10:30/9:30c, NBC, Sept. 25) - Bravermans, you are my TV family.  This is the last season, so I expect to be crying by 11:30 every Thursday night.


Constantine (10/9c, NBC, Oct. 24) - As a casual comics geek, and having been told over and over by true comics geeks that the Keanu Reeves film was pretty much nothing like the actual storyline of DC Comics' Hellblazer, I think that I have to check this one out.


Saturday Night Live (11:30, NBC, Sept. 27) - I've been watching SNL since middle school.  I'll watch it through good seasons and bad seasons because it's the show that brought us Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg, and Bill Hader.  I'm always ready to see the next big comedy stars do their thing.  Chris Pratt will be hosting this year's premiere, which should be awesome since he's now extremely hot in addition to being hilarious.  Sarah Silverman and Adam Levine will also be hosting this fall.

What shows are you looking forward to the most this year?

Sources:  TV GuideBustle, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times