Wednesday, September 30

literary junkies - september

Pink Heels Pink Truck

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.

I just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I've seen it on so many lists of must-read books for science fiction fans, feminists, and just readers in general, and Banned Books Week seemed like a great time to finally read it since it's #88 on the ALA's list of most frequently challenged and banned books in the last decade. For those of you who haven't read it, The Handmaid's Tale takes place in an alternative present in which, following several nuclear disasters and a drop in fertility, our government has been assassinated and replaced by an extremist Christian group called the Sons of Jacob. In the new Republic of Gilead, women are treated as property and divided into the ranks of Wives (the most coveted position, reserved for women who have never been divorced or otherwise sullied), Marthas (basically maids), and Handmaids (whose only role is to bear powerful men's children). I've never read a dystopian novel that wasn't YA, so it was interesting to consider how an oppressive, conservative regime would monitor and control the parts of life that aren't always appropriate for YA to address! I kept thinking about a memoir I read earlier this year, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which was about the Cultural Revolution in Iran. Though The Handmaid's Tale is fiction, I think Atwood's gift is in writing about something that is plausible - particularly with some of the conversations about marriage, religious freedom, and women's reproductive rights that are currently taking place in our country.

2. If you were a writer, what kind of books would you write?

Definitely YA! I think that even if I wasn't a middle school English teacher, I would still read young adult literature. I am a big believer in the mantra that "children learn what they live" and I think that our characters are defined by what happens to us during adolescence and how we react to it. I do enjoy writing fiction in my free time, and my writing tends to fall into the fantasy category - I love introducing an element of magic into an otherwise realistic setting. Unfortunately, I'm way better at making playlists, inspirational Pinterest boards, and elaborate family trees than I am actually finishing the stories in my head.

3. Are there any favorite books you like to go back to when the weather starts cooling down?

The Harry Potter series definitely feel like fall and winter books to me, even though they cover the span of a whole school year. I also like to read a little Gothic literature around Halloween - Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray, or something by Edgar Allan Poe. It's the best time of year to start teaching a short story unit, too!

4. If you could have a chat with any author, past or present, who would it be and why?

I'm going to be the stereotypical English major here and say Shakespeare - after all, he was responsible for many of the words and phrases we use in English today, and his plays and sonnets are still captivating. I'd love to be able to actually get answers to all of the questions scholars have about his life.

5. What book are you looking forward to reading this fall?

I'm getting ready to start reading Jen Hatmaker's For the Love for Booklook Bloggers. My September Scholastic order arrived today, so I've got The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Unlikely Warrior: a Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army, Seraphina, and Out from Boneville to read before I add them to my classroom shelves (hooray for bonus points!) I can't wait for the next book in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, Winter, which comes out November 10th. And I'm sure I'll be diving into my next book in the Outlander series, Drums of Autumn, before too long - I mean, autumn is right there in the name.

What have you been reading lately? Come link up with us at 
Pink Heels Pink Truck and Life with a Side of Coffee!

My September [Fab] Favorites

My September [Fab] Favorites

My September [Fab] Favorites

1. The Mindy Project - I got Hulu. For Mindy Kaling. And I have no regrets. So far there are only two episodes in the new season, but they've been amazing - the first episode flipped between Danny's trip to meet Mindy's parents in India and Mindy's It's a Wonderful Life style vision of her life without Danny as her boyfriend. In the second episode, Leo Castellano had the most New York City birth of any TV baby ever. 

2. Salted Caramel Frappucino - It's not quite cold enough for the PSL around these parts, so this has been my go-to fancy drink. I'm also just going through a general salted caramel craving phase - gelato, candy, what have you, it's probably actually a sodium deficiency or something but I can't get enough.

3. Fall sweaters - Sweaters are my favorite - I'm so ready for cool temperatures just so I can wear my new ones! I ordered this striped Flamingo Urban cardigan from Groopdealz - I've seen it on some other daily deal sites, too, and decided I needed to snap it up. My other favorite is this Old Navy marled dolman - hallelujah for being able to order petite sizes online.

4. Wine Country collection at Bath and Body Works - I like subtle scents and most of the ones in this collection fit the bill. Black Cherry Merlot and Champagne Vineyard Kiss are my favorite soaps, and the Sundrenched Vineyard candle smells amazing.

5. Gold foil tech wallpapers - Y'all, it's the little things in life that truly bring us joy, and one of my favorite little things is changing the wallpaper on my computers and phone every month. I finally had the genius revelation that I can have different patterns on my phone's lock screen and wallpaper - so of course I went with gold foil designs for both.

6. All things Star Wars, including my new earrings from Zulily - I'm not sure how I feel about Star Wars being a cool thing to like now (my 11-year-old self who was scared to read Young Jedi Knights on the school bus is definitely jealous of the girls who get to wear whole Star Wars outfits in public now), but I'm definitely reaping the benefits. And yes, I bought two pairs of earrings for the sole purpose of wearing one of each so that C3-PO and R2-D2 can be together forever.

Monday, September 28

clicks of note: i won't only love you when you're winning...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Matt Nathanson's new album comes out this Friday, and it includes a song called "Bill Murray" that is surprisingly lovely. Wait, it's Matt Nathanson, why am I surprised? Linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.




Thursday, September 24

who to follow on instagram: september 2015

I'm going to let y'all in on a little secret - my autumn is even more exciting than usual this year because Mr. Q and I are house hunting. I find myself following a lot of home bloggers on Instagram for inspiration these days, and clicking the heart on all kinds of cozy fall images! Here are a few accounts you need to be following right now.

anacvitanovic - the blogger behind Flavor of Fashion uses Instagram to give readers a peek behind the scenes.

lifeonvirginiastreet - Sarah Stewart shares shots of her own lovely home, projects she's working on for her blog, and recommendations for the sweetest home decor Instagram feeds to follow!

fresh_exchange - Megan and Mike Gilger's IG feed is all about their daily life - blog projects, travel, and their favorite places around Raleigh. Like their blog, their photography style is simple and laid-back.

taylorsterling - The Glitter Guide's founder shares sneak peeks of home tours, slices of daily life, and snaps of her cute kiddo.

lizlovegrowswild - Home decor blogger Liz Fourez shares styling inspiration, DIY decor and food projects.

roomsforrent - Bre Doucette's IG feed is full of beautiful shots of her farmhouse-style home - my favorite interior decorating style!

Are you on Instagram?  I'd love to follow you - 
maybe your feed will end up featured in a future post!
Leave your username in a comment to this post -
(you can follow me here). 

Wednesday, September 23

wedding wednesday: vineyard inspired

Happy first day of autumn, everyone! I'm enjoying watching the first signs of fall color appear here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and looking forward to my community's wine festival this weekend - which has my imagination turning today toward the perfect vineyard wedding - a plum color palette, dahlias, roses, and other fall flowers, and classic nods to a winery setting.

I love the sweet ruffle on this plum bridesmaids' dress.

de la Barra Photography via Design Sponge | Vitalic Photo via The Every Last Detail

How fun (and easy) is this cork monogram?

An apple basket makes the perfect vessel for an autumn dahlia centerpiece.

Have you ever been to a vineyard wedding? How does your community welcome fall?

Monday, September 21

Style: 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards

It's become something of a tradition for me to completely geek out about award show fashion here on the blog, so I couldn't let this past Sunday's Emmys go unnoticed, despite the fact that I found this year's red carpet looks a bit strange and lackluster. Despite kooky chain mail, appliques, add-ons, and rufflesunflattering bodices, a few dresses that were just boringly predictable on the stars who wore them, and way too many tummy cutouts, a few ladies stood out to me as being perfectly on point.

Please note: If you are planning on adding any of these images to your Pinterest boards, please click on the link below the picture and pin from the source. Thank you!

First of all, can we just talk about how Ariel Winter plays the nerdy daughter on Modern Family yet consistently slays on the red carpet. If you're one of the stars of one of television's most successful shows, you have every right to dress like a straight-up classic Hollywood star for the Emmy's, and I absolutely loved Winter's bright red Romona Keveza gown with its asymmetrical neckline and train, especially paired with vintage-style waves. Then she changed into another perfect dress for an afterparty. Ariel wins the Emmys in my book.

Two blonde actresses, two vintage-inspired looks. Zoe Kazan's peppermint-striped halter gown might have seemed a little strange to some, but the Emmys are a place to have fun with fashion and I loved the red clutch and lipstick she paired with the dress. Emma Roberts looked absolutely gorgeous in a vintage-inspired champagne gown with a plunging neckline and hair styled in sideswept waves.

Maggie Gyllenhaal's dress probably would have been my favorite of the night if the wrinkles hadn't been so visible on the television screen and in photos. I love the colorblock, but never wear that fabric again - what is that, taffeta? Meanwhile, The Daily Show's Kristin Schaal looked adorable in her shimmery navy blue dress and hair styled in a long bob.

Finally, the ladies of Orange is the New Black totally brought it on the red carpet. Laverne Cox's dress is one of Pantone's color picks for fall, Biscay Blue, and the cutouts weren't overpowering on her athletic frame - the shape reminded me of the Calvin Klein dress Jennifer Lawrence wore to the 2011 Oscars. While I didn't love the neckline of Taylor Schilling's dress, I thought the color was fun and her hair and makeup was probably my favorite beauty of the night - the wavy bob is really flattering on her, her makeup looks fresh but not overdone, and that lipstick is amazing (Glamour has tracked it down - it's from Charlotte Tilbury).

Who had your favorite style at this year's Emmy Awards?

clicks of note.

get your week off to a colorful start...



Sunday, September 20

sunday simplicity.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple...”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Friday, September 18

#5FandomFriday: 5 Favorite Things About Autumn

5 Fandom Friday is a weekly prompt challenge hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. In honor of Autumn beginning next week on September 23rd, today's topic is 5 Favorite Things About Autumn... the hard part, of course, is choosing just 5. Fall is my favorite season! You can see the upcoming prompts here at the Female Geek Bloggers community.

1. Halloween - My favorite holiday since childhood! As a lifelong fantasy and sci-fi reader, I can't resist a holiday that's all about magic, imagination, and disguise. This year I'm going to be Peggy Carter if I can get Mr. Q to be Captain America, OR wear one of the two witch costumes I bought when I had a Halloween panic attack last October. I always teach some Edgar Allan Poe short stories and poems right around Halloween, which is fun for me and my students. I'm also planning on watching the Halloween episodes of my favorite old TV shows (Roseanne, Home Improvement, and Boy Meets World always had the best ones!) and my favorite movie, Hocus Pocus, every time it comes on ABC Family and a few more times on Blu-Ray. Light the black flame candle!

2. Fall festivals - Virginia is so beautiful in the fall, and I love going to as many outdoor festivals as possible before it gets too cold to be outside for more than five minutes. In September, we have the Apple Festival and the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, and in October there are fall festivals at pretty much every pumpkin patch in town. I love the live music, especially bluegrass, the pretty fall decorations, and the festival food!

3. Thanksgiving - Mr. Q and I have claimed Thanksgiving as our family holiday - everyone  who's in town is welcome to come to our house for dinner. 

4. Fall food - Bring on apple cider and desserts and pumpkin flavored everything! My BFF Breeze and I started a soup swap last year - each week, we make something in the crock pot on the weekend, put half in a container, and Mr. Q makes the switch at work on Monday so both families have yummy dinners for the whole week.

5. Fall fashion - Sweaters! Pants! Tights! Jackets! Scarves! Layers! Boots! YES PLEASE!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

Thursday, September 17

fall tv preview!

fall 2015 tv premieres i'm looking forward to

It's back... fall television, the best television of the year. I love a good story, no matter the medium, and this year's new stories have definitely caught my attention. I can't wait to be curled up on the couch in a warm blanket with a hot beverage, enjoying my free time with my favorite characters. Today, I'm rounding up the shows I'm most looking forward to, along with their airtimes, networks, and premiere dates.


Once Upon a Time (8:00/7:00c, ABC, Sept. 27) - My absolute favorite show right now. I can't wait to see what happens now that Emma Swan is the Dark One and it's up to Hook, Snow White, Prince Charming, Regina, Robin Hood, and Henry to save her. This show is ridiculous - I know that - yet I can't stop watching it because it is so much fun. This season's going to take place in Camelot and feature Merida from Brave as a character, and on-set photos show Emma in a long white dress... with Hook... on a horse.

The Walking Dead (9/8c, AMC, Oct. 11) - The last season of The Walking Dead basically killed my heart, but of course I'll be back for more. I knew the peace and quiet in Alexandria wouldn't last.

Quantico (10/9c, ABC, Sept. 27) - Last time ABC had a show about a bunch of good-looking new recruits in a highly specialized field, it became one of my favorite shows of all time (Grey's, y'all!), and the commercials make this new series about FBI agents in training look very good.


The Big Bang Theory (8/7c, CBS, Sept. 21) - I got back into Big Bang last season, and last time we saw our gang, Leonard and Penny were eloping and Sheldon and Amy had broken up. Mainly I just watch for Bernadette screaming at everyone.

Blindspot (NBC, 10/9c, Sept. 21) - Primarily interested in this one because it stars Jaime Alexander (Lady Sif from Thor). The premise - a woman with amnesia is found, covered with strange tattoos that end up being clues to some sort of conspiracy - seems really creative, but I don't know if I'll have the brainpower to follow something like that at 10 p.m. on a Monday night.


The Muppets (8/7c, ABC, Sept. 22) - Rather than returning to the old variety show format, this modern take on The Muppets is going to be a parody of fake documentaries like The Office and Parks and Rec. This time, the cameras are following the cast and crew of Miss Piggy's late-night show. From everything I've read, it sounds like Jim Henson would approve.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9/8c, ABC, Sept. 29) - I'll definitely be watching, since my girl Gemma Simmons got eaten by some type of black ooze right after agreeing to go on a date with the BFF who has always loved her.

Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (10/9c, NBC, Sept. 15) -  If there was an award for most likable celebrity, it would probably go to Neil Patrick Harris, so he's an ideal candidate for resurrecting the variety show format with guest stars, weird stunts, comedy sketches, mini game shows, and hidden camera pranks.


The Middle (8/7c, ABC, Sept. 23) - Sue Heck's going to college, Brick's going into eighth grade, and Axl and Devin Levin are still in love (for now). I love this family.

Nashville (10/9c, ABC, Sept. 23) - Last season left us on a HUGE cliffhanger - just who was flatlining during the transplant surgery?

You're the Worst (10:30/9:30c, FXX, Sept. 9) - This show is so inappropriate, yet somehow sweet at its core. Who actually is the worst? This season, it's looking like it might be Kether Donohue's character Lindsay.


Heroes Reborn (8/7c, NBC, Sept. 24) - I was a fan of the original Heroes, so I feel like I must give the reboot a chance. Micah is all grown up! Hiro is back! Plus, Zachary Levi! Robbie Kay, who was so good as Peter Pan on Once Upon a Time, is also in the new lineup. And Greg Grunberg, who I'd kind of forgotten existed, is back as Matt Parkman. Sorry I forgot about you, Greg Grunberg.


Saturday Night Live (11:30, NBC, Oct. 3) - Why is SNL coming back so late this year? I need to laugh again... we do know that the first three hosts of the season will be Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer, and Tracy Morgan.


The Mindy Project (Hulu, Sept. 15) - Getting Hulu specifically for Mindy Kaling.

Master of None (Netflix, Nov. 6) - Aziz Ansari will play a young New York actor in this sitcom, each episode of which will focus on a single topic - kind of like Seinfeld for our generation?

Jessica Jones (Netflix, Nov. 20) - Netflix's Daredevil showed that Marvel's partnership with the streaming service is off to a great start, and I can't wait for a kick-butt female superhero, played by Krysten Ritter, to have her own show.

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

Sources:  TV GuideBustleEntertainment Weekly, the New York Times

Tuesday, September 15

Fall Trend: Windowpane Plaids

Every year, September is full of magazine articles and blog posts hailing the newest must-haves for fall. The one trend that I'm absolutely obsessed with in a get-in-my-closet-now way this September is windowpane plaid. Traditional plaid has been making a triumphant return as part of the 90's nostalgia trend, but depending on styling, this graphic black-and-white take on the traditional pattern can make me feel like anyone from a cool uptown girl to an astronaut wife.

Disclaimer: Modcloth links contain an affiliate code. Thanks for supporting the blog!

Fall Trend: Windowpane Plaids

1. Modcloth 3/4 sleeve blouse 2. Old Navy pocket tee 3. J. Crew wool-linen scarf 4. Old Navy faux leather backpack purse 5. Vince silk trousers (Similar from Express) 6. Great Plains dropped-waist dress from House of Fraser UK (Similar from ASOS)

What's your favorite fall trend?

Monday, September 14

clicks of note: i always have to guess...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Cutie Brett Eldredge's sense of humor comes through in his video for "Lose My Mind"... I have to say I was a little concerned about the girl's naughty nurse costume the first time I saw it until I realized that she was also the janitor, fellow patient, and psychiatrist... poor dude is seeing things. I'm linking up today at Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos... what could be more appropriate on a Monday than a song about padded rooms and straitjackets?