Friday, November 17, 2017

Have You Heard? // Postmodern Jukebox - "Seven Nation Army"

Happy Friday, Friends! Whew, what a week. What a roller coaster life is in general. Thank you for all of the love via blog and social media lately! It is so appreciated, and I'm very glad to have this community of awesome ladies!! :)


Moving along. This week I stumbled back upon Postmodern Jukebox. Have you heard their music? They basically do covers of popular (current, usually) songs in vintage styles. They do everything from 1910's - 1970's styles.

I have a lot of favorites, and they aren't all the same styles, or even all songs that I liked the original version. hehe This is one of my favorites though, and I do love the original version (The White Stripes) ... as well as 1920's style music. If you're not sure if you know the song, just listen... you probably do. It was really popular in the 00's.



What do you guys think?! Do you enjoy covers? I love them, even ones that aren't changed quite so much. I know I have mentioned before that Ed Sheeran is an amazing cover artist! :)

What are you guys up to this weekend?

Yesterday was my MIL's birthday, so we celebrated a bit then, but we do have dinner tonight with KC's sister and her husband as well. It will be nice to have dinner in our bigger group. :) On Saturday it is my 10,000 day birthday! Woohoo. We decided to do 10 things... I am not sure what they all are, some will likely be small, but we do have tickets to see Waitress the musical. I love the movie, so I am excited to see it live! :) (Thank you Audrey for letting me know it was good! :) ) Otherwise I hope that we have time for reading, my November Daily album, general festiveness, and of course the #lybholidayl prompts! :) 

Other Posts This Week: #lybholidayl Week 2, and October Reads.

On YouTube This Week: 6 Ways To Make Your Own Project Life Cards Vol. II and November Daily/Gratitude Scrapbook Supplies & Organization.

Have a great weekend! 

XO,


Alexandra

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

October Reads // In a Non-Reading Kind of Month!

October was not a reading month for me. I barely felt the desire to pick up a book at all. However, I did finish my goodreads annual challenge in October, so that's good. :) Let's get on to the reviews, friends! :) 

Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber*

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy Christmas rom-coms. :) (I know this is not everyone's genre!)

Merry Knight is working a temp job, (for an awful boss), and taking care of her family (her mother has MS and her younger brother is Autistic) all while saving for her final year in college. Her family has had a hard time making ends meet, and getting daily chores done. Because Merry is so selfless, her mother and brother sign her up for an online Matchmaking site called Mix & Mingle. They don't use her real name, and use a picture of their dog, just in case she's mad. Soon after Merry gets a "wink" from a match who also has a dog as a profile picture. When she finds out that her match is actually her boss, a total jerk, she doesn't know how to proceed. Holiday hi-jinx and shenanigans ensue.

I am a sucker for Christmas rom coms. I can't help it. I'm trash for Hallmark channel in the winter, and I love reading these books. I've been disappointed by the last few that I had read by this author... but finally I felt like this one was back to what I expected. I thought that this was cute, predictable, romantic, and heartwarming. Just the type of book I need when the world is hurting so much. I loved the family aspect of this one. I loved that Merry was so close with her parents and brother. I love that those relationships were featured heavily in the book as well. If you're looking for a happy Holiday read, I definitely recommend this one. :) 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


4 Stars - I recommend if you are looking for a contemporary read with diverse voices and endearing characters. I particularly loved the commentary on the "American Dream" and how the characters found their places within that.

This novel follows Dimple, a Indian girl who has just graduated from high school. She's been accepted to Stanford and cannot wait to start her life in web design. She's shocked that her parents are letting her go to Stanford, and even more so when they agree to let her go to a summer coding camp at SFSU. Rishi is the oldest son in his family, he's traditional, a romantic, a pragmatist, and so ready to meet his "future wife", Dimple. When he shows up at coding camp and tells her as much, she throws iced coffee in his face. When they're paired together for the coding project they'll challenge each other's ideas of tradition and bravery.

I just loved this book! I loved that this book had main characters from a culture different than my own and gave more representation to POC in the YA genre. I loved the balance between Indian family tradition and the American dream. It was so fun to read these characters and watch them learn from one another. I also loved that Dimple was into tech, and Rishi was into art. I feel like this book does a really nice job of challenging traditional cultural, societal, religious, gender, etc. etc. roles in a very thoughtful way. I loved reading Rishi's commentary on beliefs and religion, when asked why he says, "Oh my gods" instead of "Oh my god". (long quote, but I loved it):

"This is how it works in the US: In the spring we are constantly subjected to bunnies and eggs wherever we go, signifying Christ's resurrection. Then right around October we begin to see pine trees and nativity scenes and laughing fat white men everywhere. Christian iconography is all over the place, constantly in our faces, even in casual conversation. This is the bible of comic book artists...He had a come to Jesus moment, all of that stuff. So this is my way of saying, Hey, maybe I believe something a little different. And every time someone asks me why 'gods,' I get to explain Hinduism."

This is the one that really got me though:

"I feel like I need to speak out, because if no one speaks out, if no one says, This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I'm different, and this is why that's okay, then what's the point? What's the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?"

Wow, right?! What a statement, what a truth. I've felt that way so much (in the past year especially), when did America stop being proud that we are a "great melting pot, where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be"? I'm still proud. That's the America I believe in, so to read it put into words so well had my heart beaming. Thank you, Sandhya Menon.

My only complaint was that I wish there was a bit more explanation on the phrases and words that were in Hindi. Sometimes they were translated, sometimes I could get the gist, but I wanted to know what they meant all the way through the book. I'm just like that. I'm the one who always wants to translate everything, and use all the footnotes, etc. I did however, appreciate that she used Hindi. It really made it feel authentic to hear these families and characters speaking in a Hindi-English hybrid. I also appreciated the author's colorful phrasing, "Aberzombie" and "Douche Nozzle" were particularly delightful. LOL

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz*

2.5 - 3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy fluffy Christmas reads, and plots related to high society living.

Darcy Fitzwilliam is going home for the first time in 8 years. Her mother has had a heart attack, and she wants to be there for her even if it means confronting her past. She's not on good terms with her dad or brothers, and she doesn't like going back to her hometown. While at her parents' Christmas party she runs into Luke Bennett. One of the most annoying guys from high school, however she notices that she's no longer so annoyed by him. As things progress between her and Luke, her and her Ex, and her relationships with her family, Darcy finds herself questioning what she wants in life.

I really wanted to love this, but I was pretty disappointed by it. It was a fairly cute idea, but I didn't feel like I really understood the characters very well. Most of what I disliked was related to very surface level emotions, interests, and conversations. I did like it when Darcy had a more fleshed out personality, I felt like I started to understand her more, but I think that mostly happened toward the end of the book. Otherwise I was confused by her motivations. I did enjoy her relationship with her mom and her friend Bingley. The character growth was ok, and I liked the ending. There wasn't much of P&P in this. The characters had similar names and social status, but otherwise it was mostly just a present-day rom com. Overall it was just ok for me though. I've read plenty of De La Cruz's books, and this one was just not as enthralling as any of the others. And I love Christmas rom-coms you guys! Between the two, I much preferred Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber (above).

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson - read in November...

3.5 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy YA fantasy with a bit of romance.

This story follows Isobel, a prodigy painter who is commissioned by The Fair Ones to paint their portraits. Human Craft is valued above all else to The Fair Ones. They pay her in enchantments, and she knows how to avoid their cruel tricks. When the Autumn Prince commissions her to paint his portrait, she is irked by her unusual inability to capture his likeness. She finds that his eyes carry human sorrow, an impossibility for a Fair One. She paints him as such, and in the process may cost him his life. She must rectify the wrong she has done, or face certain death herself.

First of all, can we take a second to bask in the beautiful glory that is this cover? My goodness. Just perfection. It's shimmery too you guys. Alright then, moving along. Overall I think I read this one too fast. A lot of things happened, and it felt jumbled to me. I liked the world that Rogerson built, I loved the bits about human Craft, and the enchantments, I liked the different lands that she travels through, etc. It did remind me a bit of ACoTaR: season courts (spring court, autumn court, etc.), and a human girl taken prisoner by a fae lord. However, I also liked the differences. There was some interesting elemental sorts of magic in this story, the enchantments were also very neat, I liked that humans had the magic of their Craft as well. I would have enjoyed a bit more world building upon those things. I had trouble understanding some of the characters. I felt that Isobel was sometimes very type A, and other times oddly laid back (in the face of danger). Sometimes I felt that she wasn't taking things seriously. The romance felt insta-love-y sometimes, and other times not at all. It shifted from 0 to 100 throughout the book without a lot of internal struggle... to the point where I didn't feel on pins and needles waiting for them to get together. I felt that some of it was predictable, but other parts surprised me, and were left a bit unexplained. Again, these things could have been as a result of reading this all in one day... I've got to stop doing that. I really enjoyed some of the characters that she created though. For example, Isobel's sisters were very cute and mischievous. I also appreciated that Isobel was very adamant about consent. Very adamant. Which I feel was really good... and doesn't come up very often, especially in YA fiction. Overall I enjoyed this story, and would be interested to read more of Rogerson's books in the future. Preferably with equally gorgeous covers. :) 

Currently Reading:


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I haven't been great at predicting my reading mood.. .so I'm not going to list any "on deck" books this month... lol. Who could say!
Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this month?! 

Let's be friends on Goodreads!

XO,

Alexandra

* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

Monday, November 13, 2017

LYB(Holiday)L Week 3 // Seeking Holiday Calm

Happy Monday, guys! I hope that you had a great weekend! Ours was really stressful, unfortunately. I've been feeling a lot of weight to fix things related to the divorce, or that if I don't do a thing.. no one else will/can. And that really sucks, and it is hard to shake. Making headway on the Christmas gift game though.. I do feel like being more intentional with the weeks ahead of the stress helped me to cope with it better though, so thank you all for participating, and cheering each other and me on!

On to week 3 of LYBHolidayL! :) 



New here? The What & Why


Shea from Shea Lennon and I are super psyched to be kicking off LYB(Holiday)L this month! Starting November 1st we have one prompt per day to help us live a calmer, more organized, and peaceful holiday season! Each week we'll share the week's prompts, and our own ideas for how we'll do them. We'll give brief re-caps on the previous week as we go. The full list of daily prompts is on IG, and will be linked at the bottom of each of my posts. If you're a plan ahead type person, tape it into your planner or write it out to start thinking ahead. We hope that you'll join us! Use #LYBHolidayL to let us know when you tag along on social media! :) (see the full intro post and details, here).

Week 2 Recap:

My first full week of #LYBHolidayL week went really well! I haven't had a week this nice in quite a while! In addition to the things below, I felt super creative and productive. It was also a good week for KC and I to be on the same page! :)  


Here are some things we did:

  • chatted with KC about how we want to give back this month
  • read an entire book... and started another (over achieving lol)
  • spent a very hygge evening at home with KC and our kitter cats
  • let go of some frequent plans, cutting back on social things helps with my anxiety!
  • ordered a citrus+spruce candle as an "add on" to my Honest Bundle! Super excited to light it!
  • we gave Olivia a box of fun crafty things on Saturday! 
We did not get our fridge cleaned out, because things got crazy, but it needs done, so I'll tack it on to this week. :) 

ALSO: I'm loving looking at my gratitude log so far. So fun! :) 

If you joined in in any way during week 1 or 2, thank you so much!! It means a lot to us, and it is nice to feel like there is a community of people trying to focus on the season, and who are rooting for you to succeed as you do the same! :) :)



Week 3:

November 13 - For today, clear your to-do list of all the non-fun things unless they are absolutely essential!

Ok then! :)

November 14 - Start making a holiday gift list (if you haven't already). Use Evernote to sync between devices.


We actually started this at the end of LYB(Holiday)L week 1. We were so organized and motivated that we knocked out determining our ideas, our budget, and even a few purchases. Today I'll plan to focus on getting a few more items purchased instead. :)

November 15 - Get started on an Advent calendar, or a similar project for another holiday celebration! If you celebrate Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, Milad un Nabi, etc. think about fun daily traditions you might want to try! Or any other special holiday project that has been on your mind! Getting an early start will help you achieve this goal!


We're not actively religious, but I have wanted to try some type of an Advent calendar. This year will be the year. I have a few ideas, but this prompt will the the kick in the pants I need to get going on it! :) 

November 16 - Set a bedtime alarm to prioritize sleep.


Needed for this night owl... alright. I will try it.


November 17 - Share a gratitude quote on Instagram that speaks to you, inspire others!


I am so excited about this one, I love quotes! Make sure to use #LYBHolidayL so we'll see it! :)

November 18 - Take a load of items you no longer use to Goodwill, or another thrift store!


These have only been packed up and sitting by our door for...8 months? And in our car on and off all year. LOL. IT IS TIME! Hallelujah for this prompt!


November 19 - Go for a fall walk


This will be good. KC and I are accustomed to taking our daily walks at work, but don't often do that on weekends. I'll be glad to get another day's worth of easy exercise in, and a chance to take in the pretty trees in our neighborhood.


What about you guys?! Are you planning to tag along?


Do you do any Advent or similar multi-day traditions for the winter holidays?!


How are you doing on your gift list?!

I'll be posting about the prompts using #LYBHolidayL on Instagram! Make sure to check in with Shea on her IG too! :) @simplyalexandra12 & @shealennon


XO,


Alexandra

Friday, November 10, 2017

Have You Heard? // Bastille - "World Gone Mad"

Happy Friday Friends! I hope that you had a great week. Ours was super laid back. We enjoyed ourselves so much. I felt lighter, more creative, and generally happier than I have in a long time! Crediting at least some of that to #lybholidayl , and additional bits of that to my boss and our housemates (aka my inlaws) being out of town this week. It just made it a bit easier to relax. I don't know if that makes sense, but I'll take it.



Bastille has come out with a new song, it is for a Netflix show called "Bright". Have you heard of this? I guess it has Will Smith and is urban fantasy taking place in an alternate present day. Alternate in the sense that orcs, elves, etc. also inhabit Earth. I'm intrigued, and surprised that my hubby hasn't mentioned it to me. Seems right up his alley.

Anyhow, I like that Bastille can put into words what it's like when the world is crazy...and you can't really do anything about it. Plus I will probably just love their music forever. So that's a thing.



What do you think? Have you heard of this show?

What are you up to this weekend?

We are planning to get quite a few things done, and also spend a bit of time with my sister Olivia. :) 

Other Posts This Week: LYBHolidayL Week 2 & 2016 Project Life album pt. III.

On YouTube This Week: October Daily Days 26-28, Days 29-31, and Full Album Flip Through. - had so much fun with October Daily, but glad to be done with it, and have all the videos up by the 10th of November! Not too shabby! :) 

XO,

Alexandra

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2016 Project Life Album (Part III) // Documenting

Happy Wednesday Friends! I hope that you are having a great week! I'm excited because tonight's #lybholidayl prompt is to "get your hygge on". Yes, please!

In December... I decided to do a 2016 Monthly Project Life Album. Maybe it's because I got a lot of documenting gifts, or because I also bought myself a lot of things...? Either way, I had a blast going back through my year and documenting it. I just finished the full album in May, so I'm excited to share the photos and (much shorter!) videos with you!

Check out Part I, here. Check out Part II, here.

Part II - July - September







I love how these pages turned out, I loved looking back on fun times, and I loved taking the time to document a quiet month. After a busy summer we really needed some time for self-care. Another reminder that you don't have to have "big" things to document. Even the smallest stories or moments are worth preserving.

I played around with some fun stamps, and just went with the flow. I made another pocket to put some extra photos in when I (again) printed too many! :P


Check out the videos to see all the pages and hear some of the details on the products/events that happened in September 2016. :)

Videos

July



August



September



I had so much fun making this album (well.. 2 because... too many pages! LOL), I can't wait to show you guys the rest as the year goes on. :)

See Part I of this album, hereSee Part II of this album, here.

To see the videos as they publish, consider following me on Youtube! :) 

How do you guys hang on to tiny special memories? 


Have you ever started a project WAY after the fact?


XO,



Alexandra


a

Monday, November 6, 2017

LYB(Holiday)L Week 2 // Seeking Holiday Calm

Happy Monday, guys! I hope that you had a great weekend! We really enjoyed ourselves and felt very productive! Making headway on the Christmas gift game! :) On to week 2 of LYBHolidayL! :) 



New here? The What & Why

Shea from Shea Lennon and I are super psyched to be kicking off LYB(Holiday)L this month! Starting November 1st (Wednesday!) we have one prompt per day to help us live a calmer, more organized, and peaceful holiday season! Each week we'll share the week's prompts, and our own ideas for how we'll do them. We'll give brief re-caps on the previous week as we go. The full list of daily prompts is on IG, and will be linked at the bottom of each of my posts. If you're a plan ahead type person, tape it into your planner or write it out to start thinking ahead. We hope that you'll join us! Use #LYBHolidayL to let us know when you tag along on social media! :) (see the full intro post and details, here).

Week 1 Recap:

My first partial #LYBHolidayL week went really well! I felt like I was able to do that mix of quick vs. longer tasks on the list, and feel productive! I also felt like I was working on taking care of myself. I really enjoyed the link that Shea shared related to "opening and closing ceremonies" for a holiday or season. The entire Lazy Genius podcast seems great. I have listened to all of the holiday ones, KC and I each filled out the "game plan" work sheet and feel super on the same page about the upcoming holidays now. :) We even sent it to family members in case it helped them as well/made it easier to plan in units. Thanks for sharing, Shea! The waffles were perfect, because I've been wanting to start a weekend breakfast ritual. AND my closet is a bit more cleaned up with some outfits ready to wear hanging in it. Score. :) Topping it off with a short list of daily gratitude to look back on just makes me smile. I might have to keep that up in my bullet journal in coming months! :)

If you joined in in any way during week 1, thank you so much! It means a lot to us, and it is nice to feel like there is a community of people trying to focus on the season, and who are rooting for you as you do! :) :)

Week 2:

November 6 - Give back this month: decide as a family how to "give back" to your community. (It could be a family volunteer day, or a monetary donation.) However small or large, give someone else something to be grateful for!

KC and I did something last year that worked well for us, we decided to give back in one way each week during November. It could be something big or small. Something monetary or time-based. I'm excited to give that another go this year. I think this would be a great family project, sit down as a group and ask for ideas on how you could give back this month. I bet it would be heart-warming to hear their ideas. :)

November 7 - Schedule in 30 minutes to curl up with a good book.


This is so needed for me. I haven't felt like reading at all in the past few weeks. Cuddling up with a good book is something I've been missing. I plan to pick up some non-fiction that I have sitting around, and we'll see how that goes. My brain is already heavy into the goals at the end of the year! :)


November 8 - Take a Break: get your hygge on


Oh Hygge, the Danes are my homepeople. Have you heard of Hygge (HOOGA?) It's all about coziness and taking it slow. I read THIS BOOK earlier this year, and it was so perfect. I plan to practice hygge tonight by taking it easy. Putting on some cozy socks, drinking hot chocolate, and relaxing with a book or magazine. We'll see how it goes. That's part of it, right? Going with the flow and doing what sounds best. :) 


November 9 - Let go of one thing you feel obligated to do, attend, or complete this month.


Whew, it is tough for me to say no. I am grateful for this one on the list. I plan to let go of making frequent week-night plans. Keeping my schedule lighter is going to help me spend more time on self-care and battling the to-do list this month.


November 10 - Treat yourself to a new, yummy-smelling candle.


We don't do fragrance at our house, BUT I do have a lavender candle from Honest Co. that I've been too lazy to light. Excited to finally give it a try! I also put the citrus spruce one in my bundle this month! I can't wait to light it! :) Nothing smells better to me than citrus or fresh trees.


November 11 - Clean out your fridge - get it holiday food influx ready!


This one is self explanatory! But I do plan to look through the pantry and freezer shelves too! #muchneeded *extra* My horoscope tells me that 11/11 is believed (by some) to be a "symbol that calls us to be lightworkers on the planet." So if you're still considering ideas about "giving back" from the 6th, maybe make decisions/put them into action today? (it's ok if you're rolling your eyes at me! :P)


November 12 - Give someone an unexpected gift (it could be mail, a quarter in their parking meter, a treat for your kiddo, a coffee for your cube neighbor, or something bigger)


I have a few sneaky ideas... but I can't share them here just yet. :)



What about you guys?! Are you planning to tag along?


Anyone else obsessed with hygge?


Are you good at saying "no"?

I'll be posting about the prompts using #LYBHolidayL on Instagram! Make sure to check in with Shea on her IG too! :) @simplyalexandra12 & @shealennon


XO,


Alexandra

Friday, November 3, 2017

Have You Heard? // Vance Joy - "Like Gold"

Squeeeee! Vance Joy put up his new song, "Like Gold". When he played this at his show last month, I loved it so much! I am so glad that it is out now, and that his next album is coming in February!!


Apologies to anyone who is REALLY REALLY tired of me posting Vance Joy songs once a month (at least..)... but I am super jazzed.



What do you guys think?!

What are you guys up to this weekend?!

We are finishing out the LOTR series tonight with KC's parents, making waffles for #lybholidayl Saturday morning, and seeing my mom and sister for lunch on Sunday. Sunday's #lybholidayl prompt is to "shop my closet" so I'm going to give that a serious effort, and get out some of our fall/winter things..., and hopefully finish up my October Daily album, so I can start my November gratitude one! :) Also, it's been cold here... so KC and I have both been really craving holiday shopping at the mall. I'm not even sure what we'd buy... but it just feels like Christmas shopping weather! Also, soft pretzels for life. In our city there is nowhere to get a soft pretzel like that. A few places have the super gourmet ones as appetizers, and we have super fake ones that are just bread in the shape of a pretzel.. no legit pretzels though. LOL.

Other Posts This Week: LYB(Holiday)L Week 1, Snapshots of Halloween 2017, and Ten Months In // 2017 Goal Progress.

On YouTube This Week: October Daily - Days 17-19, Day 20, Days 21-25.

Don't forget to join us when you can for #lybholidayl! We're having such a blast with it, and I love seeing who is tagging along! I am feeling more centered already! Shea shared this great link to a podcast where they are de-mistifying the holidays and all the stress. LOVING working on the worksheet to figure out our "game plan". Thanks for sharing that, Shea!

Does anyone else listen to this podcast?

Do you have a lot of opinions about soft pretzels...? LOL

XO,

Alexandra

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ten Months In // 2017 Goal Progress

It is my favorite part of the year, the festive months, the cozy months, the chilly months! YAY! I finally feel "right". 

In order to keep up with my goals for 2017 a little better, I have been trying to do monthly mini goals. :) See my 2017 goals here.

I don't have a lot of goal-related photos this month, but I do have some photos of what we've been up to at the bottom. :) 

Goals for October:

1) Read/start 1 non-fiction book.

Yay, I started reading another book on Hygge! I am enjoying it... but also... a little annoyed with the author. It's kind of like a memoir.. Too soon to say.

2) Read 2 or more Netgalley books!

I read two Netgalley books, yay! Both Christmas ones, but that's ok! :) Check out SUYB next week for details! :) 

3) Get some of my favorite albums on vinyl!

Crickets. They are still just hanging out in my cart on Amazon...

4) Read 5 total books 

Just three so far.

5) Clean up / use second room (dust shelves, purge magazines, put away packed items, hang up bulletin board, make reading nook...)

We actually did pretty well at this. At the very end of the month. While cleaning for our Halloween party, we got everything quite a bit cleaner and more organized! I still need to do a magazine purging session, but we'll count this as a pass!

6) Finish planning our Halloween Costumes/party details!  (eeee!!!)



We did this! We changed our minds a few times the week of Halloween... but... I love how things turned out! :) Check out yesterday's post for details! :) 

7) Go through 3 boxes (or the like) that we are storing. Purge, purge, purge!

Ummm... We definitely sorted through some trouble spots, but no official boxes/bags. Fail.

8) Learn how to use another program for editing my videos!

I figured out how to use my phone to do all of my editing, or when there's not enough space on my phone... to use my FIL's Mac. :) 

9) Check some items off my fall bucket list

Yes, we are making progress on this one! We've checked 9 of 27 off, and have plans to do more as the weeks go on! :) 

10) Work on new cleaning schedule

I did make a new draft of this. Our schedule is kind of weird compared to the cleaning schedule we used to use and love.. so I'm not sure, it might need more tweaking. But hey, progress. :) 

11) Read books from under-loved genres (2017 goal)

I am in the middle of a non-fiction, a historical fiction (partly, it has flashbacks, that counts right?!), a book of poetry, and a classic. I think that's close enough to call it good. :) 

12) Read/start 1 classic novel

I'm still in the middle of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and In Cold Blood. :) I didn't feel the need to start a THIRD classic. LOL.

13) Learn more/implement ideas related to hygge

Still reading my second book on the topic. I've been turning on lamps at home more, as well as trying to cozy up with the cats, watch movies that are comfort movies for us *cough* The Hobbit *cough*... and generally spend evenings at home when we can. We've also been making some cozy meals like a new stew recipe. :) Feeling good about the cozy. Definitely room to increase it though! :) 

Total: 10/13 - feeling really good about this. It's a big weight off of my shoulders to have a new way to edit videos. Even though I haven't read a lot, I was glad to check off some Netgalley books. Excited to be living fall 2017 to the fullest. :)

Other Things That Happened:

A lot of family stress. I spent a lot of nights very anxious, very worried, I think that's probably why I got sick. Ready for the divorce to be "over" or at least resolved soon. Our family is not in a good place. The trial is next month.. so hopefully that will at least make a few things official. :( And generally when I try to offer help or suggestions, or create conflict to avoid passive aggression it hasn't been going well. And I'm often left feeling worse.

... but... 



We got to see Olivia do some junior cheerleading at a high school football game! She had a blast! 


We went to see Hanson!



We went to see Vance Joy!



We went to the renaissance festival and had a lot of fun. 




We went to the pumpkin patch.



We had a super fun Halloween party with our friends & got to see Olivia on Halloween! :) Check out the details, here.


Goals for November:

1) Keep participating in the November Live Your Best (Holiday) Life with Shea!
2) Get Advent Calendar Together (this will be my first year making one!)
3) Get "little gifts" ready for December
4) Build in two extra de-stressing times per week (ideas: turn on music at work, color each night?, long bath, mani/pedi, reading, hallmark movies (media diet), 3pm music alarm, yoga on tuesdays, ) 
5) Make pie crusts in advance of Thanksgiving!
6) Work on a November Daily gratitude album!
7) Go through 3 boxes (or the like) that we are storing. Purge, purge, purge!
8) Unsubscribe from pesky email lists!
9) Check more items off my fall bucket list
10) Read books from under-loved genres (2017 goal)
11) Spend time on non-paper crafts
12) Learn more/implement ideas related to hygge

How was October for you?

What did you accomplish?

What are your goals for November? 

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for, What's New With You tomorrow.

What's New With You

XO,

Alexandra

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Snapshots of Halloween // 2017

Happy Wednesday, Friends! I hope that you had a lovely Halloween/Halloween weekend! Today is the very first day of LYB(Holiday)L! I hope that you will join us! Check out the first week's prompts & details, here. We'll be using #LYBHolidayL on Instagram all month long. :)

We had our fourth annual Halloween party on Sunday. This year we decided to copy Audrey and choose a theme ahead of the party. We put a poll on Facebook and the theme "magic" was chosen. You know, anything magical.

KC and I went back and forth on several costume ideas. Many of which would have cost quite a bit to make... and I don't have the sewing skills just yet... so those will stay on the back burner. We decided to be Professor Snape and Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. What's more magical than that?!




he cracks me up! :P


Snape was super easy. KC just had to wear black on black on black, put his hair down, and get out his DIYd wand. Those were super fun and easy to make! He used his dad's Masters robe as his Snape robe. He kept a grumpy look on his face, and he was good to go!




For Trelawney, I just have two words. Sage. Green. LOL, but seriously, Trelawney is all about the thick layers, hippie fabrics, and frumpiness. I already had this green cardigan, the scarf was in my closet, and I just layered on some of the funkier jewelry that I own. We got these glasses at the Cursed Child release party, and I let my hair be wild. All I needed to purchase was this dress. Which I found at Goodwill for $7! Score! :)

7 "slayer" dip - KC's idea, not mine!






For the food, KC suggested we reign it in a bit... as I definitely have a tendency to over-achieve and over-commit. LOL. So we decided to make just 3 things. We made "shrunken head punch", 7 "slayer" dip (KC's idea!), ghost pretzels, and "snitches". The snitches don't "count" as you didn't have to cook anything. :P







the saddest Thor. :P 


We had a great time celebrating with our friends. We had the fullest house yet with 16 people and a baby! :P I didn't get a photo of everyone, but I was so glad to see them. We hadn't had very many times when we have had people over this year. It was nice. And almost everyone dressed up. :) :)

Olivia was the Cheshire Cat!
it was verrry cold


How cool is that that my mom made OE's string backpack a treat bag + a belly for her costume?! #clever


On actual Halloween it snowed here, and was SO COLD. My sister Olivia wanted to trunk or treat at their church, so KC and I joined them. So did Jess and Darrick. We met up for about 20-30 minutes and then left the Cheshire Cat and mom to their mission to find candy! :P We finished the night off by watching Hocus Pocus. :)

What did you guys do for Halloween?

Did you dress up?!

XO,

Alexandra

Monday, October 30, 2017

LYB(Holiday)L Week 1 // Seeking Holiday Calm

Happy Monday, guys! I hope that you had a great weekend! I can't wait to show you guys our Halloween party details on Wednesday! Until then, let's get started with week one of LYB(Holiday)L!



New Here? The What & Why


Shea from Shea Lennon and I are super psyched to be kicking off LYB(Holiday)L this month! Starting November 1st (Wednesday!) we have one prompt per day to help us live a calmer, more organized, and peaceful holiday season! Each week we'll share the week's prompts, and our own ideas for how we'll do them. We'll give brief re-caps on the previous week as we go. The full list of daily prompts is on IG, and will be linked at the bottom of each of my posts. If you're a plan ahead type person, tape it into your planner or write it out to start thinking ahead. We hope that you'll join us! Use #LYBHolidayL to let us know when you tag along on social media! :) (see the full intro post and details, here).

We are starting our challenge off with a partial week, which will be great for easing into the challenge!


Week 1:


November 1 - Make an effort to write down one thing you are grateful for every day or week (this could be in your phone, your planner, or in a specific journal of your choosing)

I think I am going to do this in another traveler's notebook! I am enjoying my October Daily SO MUCH, that I want to make a gratitude one for November!! I can't wait to use all the pretty fall things in my stash! I'll keep my list in my phone as I go and document in chunks while I can. Stay tuned on YouTube for the videos! :)

November 2 - Read this article about raising Thankful kids 

I don't have kiddos, but I thought this article was really interesting and helpful. I was raised (I bet a lot of us were!) by a lot of the "what gratitude is not" items in this article. Reading this is giving me some ideas for possible future kiddos of my own, but also for interacting with my youngest sister Olivia (10), and my nephew Darrick as he grows up.

November 3 - Do something to welcome the Thanksgiving season (share something you’re thankful for at family dinners, buy a fall wreath, etc.)

*update 11/2* - Shea shared this fabulous podcast episode about "opening and closing cermonies" for holidays or seasons. I found it a fantastic resource! 

We are big on Thanksgiving episodes of our favorite shows. Top runners are always: New Girl (the "Camping" one is our favorite), Gilmore Girls (probably my favorite GG episode of all time, which is saying something), and Everwood. I think I will start with Everwood, and save the others for Thanksgiving week.. that way I can get some ideas straight from Delia Brown for my November Daily Album!

November 4 - Make pumpkin waffles for breakfast/brunch/breakfast for dinner

Yum, yes. We didn't get around to this in October, so I can't wait to eat my favorite fall weekend brunch. So easy, so festive. Mimosas optional... and no, I won't judge you if you eat it Leslie Knope style. #allthewhippedcream

November 5 - Shop your closet and try to come up with a couple of new outfits from old pieces.

Shea does this so often, and I am always amazed! I'm so glad to be trying my hand at it at the beginning of the month to get more "new to me" outfits ... and less purchasing in this month! Plus it will get me finding my warmer clothes sooner, and starting to think about outfits for holiday functions! :) 

My Shop My Closet Goals:

mix and match velvet
wear more dresses
enjoy normal boots before it's too cold.. (and all I want to do is wear Uggs)



What about you guys?! Are you planning to tag along?

Do you like holiday episodes of TV shows? What's your favorite?

I'll be posting about the prompts using #LYBHolidayL on Instagram! Make sure to check in with Shea on her IG too! :) @simplyalexandra12 & @shealennon

XO,

Alexandra