Friday, December 30

my december favorites.

my december favorites.

1. Star Wars holiday sweater - "tacky" sweaters that are actually cute are all the rage right now, and I couldn't resist this one from Target. It was perfect for our holiday Spirit Week at school, and my students loved it.

2. The Hamilton Mixtape - My mom got me this album for Christmas and I am obsessed. If I didn't love the songs from Hamilton enough already, now we get new versions from The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Aloe Blacc, Usher, Sia, Regina Spektor,  Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Andra Day, John Legend, Chance The Rapper, and more.

3. Keep Collective time key - I love Keep Collective jewelry, which consists of leather bands and interchangeable charms. I recently treated myself to a rose gold "time key," which transforms any of my bands into a watch.

4. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum - I got a sample of this magic Vitamin C potion with my Clarisonic Mia cleansing brush and I can tell that it makes a big difference to my usually-dull winter skin.

5. Samsonite hardshell luggage - My big Christmas gift from Mr. Q this year; now we are ready for business travel! I got the indigo (for UVa) and he got burnt orange (for Virginia Tech).

Thursday, December 29

year in review: most popular posts of 2016!

One of the most interesting parts of blogging for me is looking back on the year's post to see which were hits with readers and which were misses. I use Google Analytics, Blogger, and Pinterest to see what posts were popular each year and where visitors to Beyond the Aisle come from. I wasn't as diligent about blogging this year, and my visitor count and page views for 2016 definitely reflect that, but I never started doing this to enter a popularity contest!

Visitor stats from 2016:

Visitors - 13,571
Pageviews - 18,471
32% of Beyond the Aisle readers are ages 35-54, 31% are 25-34 years old, and 21% are 55-64. 90.3% are female.

Visitors from these countries visited Beyond the Aisle in 2016:

1. United States
2. Germany 
3. United Kingdom
4. Canada
5. Russia
6. Austria
7. Brazil
8. Netherlands
9. France
10. Australia

These cities are home to the most Beyond the Aisle readers:

1. Boston
2. London
3. New York
4. Darmstadt
5. Stuttgart
6. Charlottesville
7. South Boston
8. Malsfeld
9. Colorado Springs 
10. Cologne

Most popular posts this year:

10. January Literary Junkies
9. 5 Fandom Friday: Favorite Fictional Foods
8. Winter TV Preview
7. Potter Month: House Pride!
6. November 21 Clicks
5. Winter in Entertainment
4. July 18 Clicks
3. Building a Business Trip Capsule Wardrobe with Stitch Fix (#7)
2. My March Stitch Fix #5
1. My May Stitch Fix #6

Wednesday, December 28

drowned in moonlight.

I've written quite a bit on this blog about how much Star Wars means to me. It's a link to my dad in that it's something he loved and shared with me. It's one of my inspirations as a writer and creator. I don't think I can even put into words why it was so important for me at the age of ten to see a princess with a blaster taking charge and not taking any crap, but also being vulnerable and loving her friends fiercely. As an adult, learning that Carrie had bipolar disorder and was very open about it was so important to me in a world where mental illness still carries a stigma. As a woman, I loved how blunt she was about the fact that she had aged like a real human being and didn't give two hoots what anyone thought about how she looked. Finding out that the world lost Carrie Fisher yesterday was crushing. I'm thankful that we have her body of work as an actress and a writer. I wish I could have been wherever the people who loved her were yesterday, hearing the stories that the rest of us were never privy to. I'm thankful that she got to share so much of hers with the world.

Tuesday, December 27

pinspiration: millennial pink new year's eve

Well, darlings, we're wrapping up another year here at Beyond the Aisle, and my thoughts this week are on 2017, and, of course, New Year's Eve. While the experts at Pantone have named Greenery the new Color of the Year, I'm honestly not over 2016's Rose Quartz and it's many permutations - fall's Dusty Cedar with its decadent 70's vibe, and of course the ubiquitous shade journalists have dubbed "millennial pink." My ideal New Year's Eve party would be laid-back with a bohemian vibe, plenty of champagne, a plethora of pink, the potential for a Nerf gun war, and, okay, some actual greenery thrown in as a nod to the New Year to come and all of its possibilities.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

Monday, December 26

this week's clicks: happy boxing day!

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • I hope that you're all having a wonderful holiday week with your families. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to actually rest and relax with a good book (currently, The Queen of the Tearling) - that stack of papers to grade can wait until 2017, right?

  • Hat tip to my hip mom for telling me about this amazing year-end Carpool Karaoke from James Corden and friends! How did he keep this a secret???




Monday, December 19

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste has a new holiday album out this year - love this track with Aloe Blacc.




Sunday, December 18

sunday simplicity.

Katie Osbourne Photography via Style Me Pretty

There's another horizon out there, one more horizon that 
you have to make for yourself and let other people discover
 it, and someone else will take it further on, you know.
- Gordon Parks

Monday, December 12

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • I've had this tune stuck in my head for weeks now and it was driving me crazy because I didn't know what it was called, what the words actually were other than "In the silence of the night..." or who sang it - thank goodness The Santa Clause was on TV last night and I realized it was from the scene where the characters visit the North Pole for the first time. The song is "The Bells of Christmas" by Loreena McKennitt. It's a shame it's so hard to find, because it's absolutely magical.




Sunday, December 11

sunday simplicity

“How we need that security. How we need another soul 
to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and 
trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this. 
I need someone to pour myself into.” ― Sylvia Plath

Monday, December 5

this week's clicks.

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • Of all the holiday songs I can think of, the one I probably would've said least needed to be covered was the novelty song "Mele Kalikimaka," made famous by  Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1950 and featured prominently on the soundtrack of everyone's dad's favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Until I found out that Kacey Musgraves has a new Christmas album. This song is cheesy, retro perfection with a Texas twist thanks to the Quebe Sisters.


Wednesday, November 30

Farmhouse Christmas Inspiration

Farmhouse Christmas Inspiration

Last week, I shared my vision for a calm and cozy farmhouse-inspired Christmas. Here are a few items currently on my wish list to help bring the look home. What are your inspirations this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 29

Style: My November Stitch Fix (#8)

After ordering my business trip capsule wardrobe this summer, I'd taken a bit of a hiatus from Stitch Fix in a quest to save money (we're still in the process of house hunting), but as fall temperatures started to get chillier and the holidays started to loom around the corner, I gave into temptation. My stylist, who also happens to be named Heather, did a great job with my November fix, which came just in time for Thanksgiving! Please excuse the indoor cellphone pictures - I had to mail my returns back to StitchFix the same weekend we were putting up our Christmas decorations and things were a little chaotic.

As always, it was obvious that my stylist Heather's really took the time to read my note and check out the changes I'd made to my Pinterest board. The puffer vest and plaid sweater looked very similar to things I'd pinned, and I'd specifically requested cozy sweaters and a new pair of dark wash skinny jeans.

#1: Mak Doreen V-Neck Pullover

This sweater is definitely going to be a StitchFix favorite for me - it's a classic piece in a great color (which happens to be one of the four that are flattering on everyone). The v-neck wasn't too low for my modest taste and the length was perfect. The sleeves were a little long, but I actually like that in sweaters! It's also super soft and really high quality. If you receive this one in your Fix, be sure to hand wash, ladies - the dye does run.

#2: Kut From The Kloth Dayna Skinny Jean

I've read rave reviews of KFTK jeans but hadn't had the chance to try on a pair. When I did, I could not believe how well they fit - especially the length. I usually have a really hard time finding jeans as a petite size 12 that aren't either too tight in the waist or too long. The denim is super soft and Mr. Q commented on how flattering they are, so they were definitely a keeper. Styled with the Mak sweater, some basic ballet flats, and a favorite rose gold necklace, they made for a perfect everyday outfit.

#3: Loveappella Keli Pullover Knit Top

I really wanted to like this sweater, since my stylist was obviously trying to answer my plaid-sweater wishes, but I just couldn't. I'm not sure if it's the colors (burgundy and blue) or the actual pattern itself (I think the placement of the stripes on me). I'm sure this sweater would look fabulous on someone, but I ended up returning it.

 #4: French Grey Peter Textured Knit Dress

My favorite piece from this Fix! This dress is wonderful - it's as comfortable as a t-shirt, but the textured design and swingy skirt make it really special. My stylist recommended pairing it with black leggings, and I knew it was a keeper when I added my favorite LuLaRoe pair. I ended up wearing this outfit with a navy cardigan for a big presentation at work the next week! I also knew as soon as I saw it that it would be perfect for Mr. Q's work Christmas party, and I look forward to sharing that outfit with y'all. If you're looking for specific pieces for holiday events, StitchFix stylists can definitely make that happen.

#5: Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest

Y'all, this black and white polka dot vest is adorable, and I loved how it dressed up the Mak sweater and dressed down the French Grey dress - what a versatile piece. The only reason I didn't keep it was because I already have a black and white patterned vest in my wardrobe.

Curious about Stitch Fix? 

I love StitchFix because it's helped me define my personal style and spend money on quality pieces rather than wasting my paychecks on trendy pieces I won't wear for more than one season. 

When you sign up for Stitch Fix's personal styling service, you pay a $20 styling fee and fill out a profile with your detailed size, style, and price preferences (that last option is especially important to me right now - I have my profile set to "the cheaper, the better"). Whether your closet leans toward classic, glam, preppy, or bohemian pieces, or you're looking to add more of a particular style to your wardrobe, the Style Profile is one place to give your personal stylist insights on what you're looking for. You also have the opportunity to write a personal note to your stylist with any specific requests, and link your Pinterest board to give your stylist even more inspiration so that they can pick five items just for you. When your Fix arrives, the $20 styling fee is applied toward the cost of any items you decide to keep from your shipment. If you decide to keep everything, you'll receive a 25% discount! If not, simply send anything you don't keep back to Stitch Fix in a prepaid Priority Mail envelope. 

I definitely recommend giving this service a chance if you're trying to find your personal style, simplify your life, or get on board with new trends. One of my favorite things about Stitch Fix is that unlike many subscription services, you can schedule as many or as few Fixes as often as you want - there's no obligation to keep paying the styling fee every single month! That's one way that I'm able to use a styling service while staying on a budget.

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the holiday season is officially here, and it’s time to start making your gift list! If you have some hard-to-shop for people on your list, a Stitch Fix gift card might be the perfect present - from your busy mom, to your stylish BFF, and even to the men in your life, a StitchFix gift card would let them have a fun, stress-free shopping experience.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I signed up for Stitch Fix and purchase each of my Fixes myself. My opinions on this blog are always honest. This post does contain affiliate links - for each new sign-up I will receive a credit towards my next Stitch Fix.

Monday, November 28

this week's clicks: 5 years of Beyond the Aisle!

get your week off to a colorful start...



Sunday, November 27

sunday simplicity

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.” 
― Clyde Watson