Friday, November 28

happy, happy thanksgiving.

Just a quick post today - I wanted to share three little vignettes that were the complete extent of my Thanksgiving decorating.  This year, I took a very low maintenance approach to decorating the country townhouse for the holiday - I guess I realized that the less time I spent fussing about tablecloths and flowers, the more time I could spend actually enjoying time with my family.

First up are the two ends of our console table, which I decorate for the seasons since we don't have a mantel.  On the left, I went for a really organic display with two plants purchased at a fundraiser for our Environmental Science teacher, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident this summer.  Eighth grade students have been cleaning and maintaining the greenhouse in her absence.  The jar holds mini pinecones left over from Breeze's wedding decor.  On the right, the little cornucopia I couldn't resist from Target and some faux sunflowers - easy peasy.

On the countertop I created a small fall vignette on my favorite cakestand - the little bouquet is one of Breeze's wedding centerpieces; the other jar holds wine corks we've collected over time.

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving!  Today we are putting our Christmas tree up, watching Home Alone, going to our town's official Christmas tree lighting, and watching my alma mater's football team take on Mr. Q's (I think the 'Hoos actually have a shot this year!).

Linking Up:
Be.You.Ti.Ful at Maybe I Will

Tuesday, November 25

Fall 2014: Aurora Red and Sienna

One of my favorite color trends this season is the rust-red Pantone calls Aurora Red.  Call it rust, call it sienna, shades inspired by honeycrisp apples, juicy persimmons, ripe pomegranates, and autumn leaves are perfect for celebrating Thanksgiving.

Fall 2014: Aurora Red and Sienna
Disclaimer:  ModCloth and Amazon item links include affiliate codes. Thank you for supporting Beyond the Aisle!

Items:  1. Zoya nail polish in "Chanelle" via Amazon  2. Anthropologie quilted dress in Rust  3. Francesca's knit scarf  4. ModCloth dress in Auburn  5. West Elm filled owl candle  6. Face Stockholm lipstick from Anthropologie  7. O.P.I. nail polish in "Schnapps Out of It" via Amazon 8. Ruche elastic belt  9. H+M UK saddle bag purse (similar from Sole Society)  10. Ruche sweater dress in Camel

Inspiration: 1. Autumn leaves from Coffee in Cottage  2. Tablescape from Green Wedding Shoes  3. Wedding party from Elizabeth Anne Designs

Linking Up:
Manic Monday at More Pieces of Me and The Daily Express

Monday, November 24

clicks of note: bring your secrets, bring your scars...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Thanksgiving week is upon us, friends!  My students have been  so excited about our canned food drive at school, and the final count is today - wish us luck.  There's also potential "plowable snow" in our forecast for Wednesday... I'm not ready!


  • Can we all agree that Phillip Phillips is our generation's king when it comes to writing romantic, uplifting songs?  Love this one.  I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.



Saturday, November 22

My November Essentials

My November Favorites
What I'm loving this month...  (Disclaimer:  Amazon items contain an affiliate code)

Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis
Mr.Q and I sometimes joke about creating a "seasonal food blog" for all the weird treats that pop up around various holidays.  When I spotted these Caramel Apple miniature Milky Ways (my favorite candy bar), I knew we had to try it.  These things are delicious and not overly sweet or apple-y.

When I was coming down with a sinus infection earlier this fall, my chiropractor (who is my go-to guy for all things medical) recommended that I get a cool mist humidier and some Emergen-C.  I didn't get sick, regained my energy, and didn't have to miss a single day of work!

Sarah Hearts calendar wallpaper
As a very forgetful person I need all the help I can get even just to remember what day it is, so I keep a calendar wallpaper on my work and home laptops.  I love this month's calendar wallpaper from Sarah Hearts - the navy and orange is autumnal and preppy.

Lia Sophia "Diary" earrings
Drop earrings are really on trend right now, and I love the filigree pattern and matte silver finish of these - they go with everything and are perfect for everyday or with dressier outfits.

Zoya "Odette" nail polish
I originally purchased this muted lilac polish for spring, but I love it for fall - it looks awesome with other jewel tones and with gold jewelry.

Payless "Copper" mocassins
Minnetonka moccasins are adorable but out of my budget right now, so when I saw these while shopping Payless for shoes to wear to a wedding, I had to try them on - and didn't want to take them off. These flats are so comfortable, and they were BOGO when I picked them up so I got my wedding shoes as well :)

Linking Up:
Friday's Fab Favorites at Style Elixir
The Circle at In Its Time

Friday, November 21

my fall in entertainment

books i read

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - As an English teacher, I try to keep up with the books that receive the Newbery Medal, but had picked up When You Reach Me at the bookstore a few times to return it to the shelf, even knowing that it included references to A Wrinkle In Time and is in itself a science fiction mystery.  I don't know what finally got me to keep reading the book, but I'm glad I finally did.  When You Reach me is set in New York in the late 1970's, basically the same New York that books like From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, So You Want to Be a Wizard, and The Other Shephards - a city where middle-schoolers can walk to school and around the neighborhood and back to their apartments without fear of being mugged or kidnapped.  In fact, pretty much the only fear the main character, Miranda, has, is of the crazy, laughing homeless man on her street who spends most of his time lying under a mailbox.  The book follows the course of a sixth-grade school year in which Miranda loses one best friend, gains a new one, gets a job making sandwiches, helps her mother prepare for a game show appearance, and receives several mysterious notes from a stranger who seems to know more about her life than anyone should.

The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein - I picked this one up at the public library after seeing various recommendations, and I definitely wasn't disappointed - I was hooked from page one, when I realized that the narrator is a dog and became curious to find out how an author would sustain a dog's voice for an entire adult novel.  Garth Stein, I tip my hat to you.  Our narrator, Enzo, like most dogs, is loyal almost to a fault, and loves his owner, Formula One race car driver Denny, with all of his canine heart.  The book details Enzo's life with Denny, which is really Denny's maturation into manhood - falling in love, starting a family, and dealing with very real challenges.  It's a book with a dog on the cover, so have the tissues handy, but know that all will be well in the end.

movies i saw

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I - I have a trusty co-worker with whom I have seen each of the Hunger Games movies on opening night, usually in a theater packed with teenagers.  The theater crowd was not as large as I expected this time, but the film had me from beginning to end.  We pick up with Katniss already living in District Thirteen with her mother, Prim, and Gale.  Plutarch is there, convincing the rebel District's President (Julianne Moore being ABSOLUTELY AMAZING) to use the Mockingjay to overthrow the Capitol and President Snow once and for all.  At first, Katniss isn't ready to be used again - until she sees that Snow has made a puppet out of Peeta, and is hurting him to punish her.

Mockingjay Part I has none of the glamour of the first two movies and all of the ominous dystopian themes.  The two things I was reminded of while watching were the sinking of the Titanic and the Holocaust, if that tells you anything about the tempo of this one.  I have trouble imagining destruction and abuse while reading, and seeing the wreckage of District Twelve and poor Peeta's bruised and battered face onscreen probably affected me more than it did when I read the novel.  Effie Trinket's role is expanded from the book (probably because Elizabeth Banks has brought her to life so wonderfully) and she and Haymitch provide enough humor to break the tension and keep viewing the movie from being a completely stressful experience.  As President Snow exercises his grip on Panem and his residents go from cheering on child death matches on huge screens to witnessing it firsthand, it's obvious that the stakes have changed.  The point of view seems to change in this addition to the series - instead of watching and admiring Katniss, we are following her, looking right over her shoulder at the heartbreaks and horrors she witnesses.

A few things distracted me from completely loving the movie: I was distracted by the fact that the nameless residents of the various Districts are characterized using today's stereotypes in what is supposedly the future (i.e. flannel shirts = Lumberjack district!).  I also found it distracting that the propaganda videos starring Katniss use the same sound effects and even fonts as the Hunger Games franchise itself, so I got the feeling I was watching a Scholastic book fair trailer instead of a film-within-a-film.

television favorites

The Walking Dead - I'm digging what the show's producers have done this season: split up the core group of survivors, and spend each week following the smaller factions.  Not that much time has actually passed, but so much has happened.  Since I'm not a huge Rick Grimes fan, I'm perfectly happy spending an hour with Beth and new character Noah, Daryl and Carol, Tyreese and Judith, or Maggie and Glenn instead.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The television piece of the Marvel universe is finally giving viewers a bigger glimpse of how the superhero Avengers films, space opera Guardians of the Galaxy, and a Tuesday night show about spies are really connected.  One of the biggest complaints I saw about the show last season was the Skye was a Mary Sue character, and the writers clearly took that to heart because this season features a wiser Skye who wants to be a real S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and not just Hacker Barbie.

Red Band Society - For the first few episodes, I wasn't quite sure if I fit into the target demographic for this show - it definitely seemed aimed toward teenagers - but I think it's finally found a nice balance of teen hijinks and adult drama.  The characters are becoming more distinct and realistic, and I like the clever references to other shows and movies - the Breakfast Club inspired episode was cute, and Leo and Jordi's room being called "The Swamp" is a nice hat tip to M*A*S*H.

Nashville - I think this is the show I look forward to most every week right now.  So much drama.  So soap opera-y.  So, so much fun to watch.

So, what's been keeping you entertained lately?  Do 
you have any new recommendations for me to check out?

Linking Up:
Let Your Light Shine at I'm Perfectly Human

Wednesday, November 19

inspiration: cozy layered looks for grooms, groomsmen, and fall wedding guests

Is it just me, or do a growing majority of the grooms and groomsmen on our favorite wedding websites look like they're getting ready to audition for a Mumford and Sons cover band?  I'm not complaining - I love these stylish and festive fall looks for men.  More and more grooms are breaking away from the traditional tuxedo, and autumn's cooler temperatures mean plenty of ways to experiment with layers of gingham, tartan, tweed, and corduroy.

Both of these dapper gents are rocking plaid dress shirts with their suits.  I'm a sucker for a three-piece-suit, personally, and a bow tie gets me every time.

This group of groomsmen is rocking a pretty delightful mix of plaid, chambray, and tweed with both bowties and neckties.  Ladies, how do we feel about facial hair on the wedding day?  I kind of like it for a rustic wedding.

Not only are these gentlemen looking dapper in tweed, they are both sporting some seriously beautiful boutonnieres.

Ryan Ray via Project Wedding

In this party, the groom sports a stylish take on the three-piece-suit, swapping out suit pants for corduroys, and his groomsmen are wearing dress shirts, suspenders, and sweaters in an array of fall colors.  I am pretty sure I love everything about it.

Paula O'Hara via Ruffled | Gene Pease of Geneoh Photography via Ruffled

Serious gray jacket action going on over here, with some gorgeous natural boutonnieres.

This guy is rocking a plaid dress shirt, a tweed jacket, and a velvet bowtie.
Let him be an inspiration to us all.

I love the dashes of color and pattern paired with tweed, and these amazingly artistic fall boutonnieres.  I can hear "Wagon Wheel" in my head when I look at these guys.

Velvet bow tie.  Velvet.  Bow tie.  I bet this guy has elbow patches, too.

You know a man is well-dressed when you can call him ruggedly handsome without even looking at his face.

Okay, readers, time to weigh in - how do you feel about the mix and match trend for grooms and groomsmen?  Guys, would you sport this style as a wedding guest?  And let's not forget the facial hair question.

Monday, November 17

clicks of note: and tell you everything i'm thinking...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • For some reason, my summer country phase has stretched well into fall this year. Thomas Rhett is one of my favorite newcomers on the country scene, and I could listen to "Make Me Wanna" on repeat. I'll be linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos... come join us!




Sunday, November 16

sunday simplicity: the binding...

“We are all a volume on a shelf of a library, a story unto ourselves, never possibly described with one word or even very accurately with thousands. A person is never as quiet or unrestrained as they seem, or as bad or good, as vulnerable or as strong, as sweet or as fiesty; we are thickly layered, page upon lying page, behind simple covers. And love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.” ― Deb Caletti

Wednesday, November 12

Fall 2014: Mauve Mist

One of my favorite trends this fall is a shift towards soft, pastel shades used in unexpected ways - a moto jacket looks totally fresh in blush pink, stud earrings are edgy in gray and rose gold, and a quilted leather bag is perfect in taupe.

Fall 2014: Mauve Mist
1. Forever 21 faux leather moto jacket  2. Francesca's jeweled drop earrings  3.  Fossil stud earrings  4. GAP colorblock scarf  5. J. Crew Factory statement sweater  6. Ruche cable knit sweater  7. Vera Bradley quilted backpack purse  8. GAP colorblock socks  9. Butter London nail lacquer in "Teddy Girl" and "Fairy Lights"  from Sephora 10. Coach loafers (similar, similar)

Linking Up:
Manic Monday at More Pieces of Me and The Daily Express

Monday, November 10

clicks of note: i'm fearless with my heart...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Better known for co-writing "Bubbly", "Realize" and "I Never Told You" with Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves is a talented performer in his own right.  I'm currently loving "Save My Heart" thanks to Pandora.  I'll be linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.


"I was singing about, 'Where do the children play?' Guess what? I started a school with a big, big playground, so there you go. It's kind of like walking the talk. That's what I tried to do, and I think that it's not because other people are watching me. It's because I'm looking at myself, and I'd like to make sure I conform to my ideal as much as possible. That's all."


Sunday, November 9

I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home. - The Vow

Wednesday, November 5

the circle: book themed!

I've noticed several of my blogger friends participating in a new link-up called The Circle.  I think I missed the actual link-up, but I couldn't resist this list of book-themed questions!


Wild by Cheryl Stayed- it was so empowering to read about a woman who had hit the lowest point in her life and decided that a radical change of scenery and lifestyle was what she needed to climb back up - by hiking the Pacific Coast Trail alone, Cheryl found herself and healed her soul.


Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, the sequel to Outlander.  I can't wait to read about more of Claire's crazy time traveling adventures and her steamy romance with Jamie.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  It was so unique - written for adults but narrated primarily from the viewpoint of a seven-year-old child whose idyllic life in Sussex is interrupted when the opal miner who boards in his house is found dead in a car at the end of the lane.  Also at the end of the lane are the Hempstead women, Lettie and her mother and grandmother, and a pond Lettie swears is her ocean.  Not quite witches, but definitely not ordinary women, Lettie takes the little boy under her wing and promises to keep him safe from the mysterious, otherworldly dangers that begin to surround him and his family. Reading like a dream infused with a dark fairytale,  The Ocean at the End of the Lane has more in common with The Graveyard Book than American Gods, and the imagery Gaiman creates will stay with me for a while.


Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler - my sister-in-law and I have been so excited for this one.  I've read that it's a bit more blunt than Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling's books were.


I grew into an English teacher, so obviously as a child I was a bookworm.  The very first books I can remember loving were the Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant.  I loved Paul Goble's magical picture book The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.  In third grade, we read The Family Under the Bridge, which seemed to have it all - Paris! Gypsies! Christmas!  Like any good 90's girl, I also loved The Baby-Sitter's Club and The Secret Garden pretty much equally.  I was obsessed with Island of the Blue Dolphins in fifth grade and cried when I finished the Chronicles of Narnia series because I wasn't ready for that adventure to be over.  In middle school, I discovered The Egypt Game, Anne of Green Gables, the Redwall series and Frances Temple's The Ramsay Scallop.


Honestly, probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, for the reminders that words are our most inexhaustible source of magic and that all will be well.

In Its Time

Tuesday, November 4

Fall Trend: Graphic Sweatshirts

For most teachers, Election Day means a workday, and workdays are the perfect day for something comfortable and full of personality - like this season's fun statement sweatshirts.  The trusty cold-weather wardrobe staple has come a long way!

Disclaimer: ModCloth links contain an affiliate code.

Fall Trend: Graphic Sweatshirts
1. Forever 21 France  2. Hello Merch Champ  3. Madewell Buffalo plaid (similar)  4. Sundry Clothing from Piperlime  5. J. Crew Gold heart  
6.  Kin Ship from ModCloth (as seen on The Mindy Project)

Which of these fun sweatshirts is your favorite?

Monday, November 3

clicks of note: the world's just spinning...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Seattle band The Head and the Heart released their second album last year.  The title track, "Let's Be Still," is calm, soothing, and a perfect cure for a case of the Mondays. I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.