Friday, May 26, 2017

Have You Heard? // Bishop Briggs - "River"

Happy Friday Friends! It's been a BUSY week here with Olivia's 4th grade recognition ceremony and wedding festivities beginning, but I know it will be a weekend to remember because one of my besties is getting married!! YAY! :)


This song, I've meant to post about for ages and ages. I think it came out here about a year ago, and I really liked how different it was. I was really excited when I heard that she was one of Coldplay's openers when we saw them in Tulsa. She put on the best show. So. Much. Energy!

Anyhow, thought I would share it here for anyone looking to spice up their playlists.



KC and I like to occasionally use that snapchat filter with the big round sunglasses and snap each other lyrics hahahha. But seriously, this girl can sing. I love the album.

What are you guys up to this weekend?!?!

As I mentioned above, this weekend is super busy! Last night was bachelorette festivities in KCMO, tonight is rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and tomorrow is Juliet's wedding! Sunday my SIL has another bridal shower. I will do my best to be there. Monday is a holiday and I don't work on Tuesdays! Hallelujah. It will be MUCH. NEEDED. recoop time!

Other Posts This Week: #allthegraduations // Playing Catch Up and 101 in 1,001 Days // Final Tally.

XO,

Alexandra

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

101 Things in 1,001 Days // Finally Tally

Wow, my 101 things in 1,001 days is over! It totally snuck up on me, whoops! Here's how I did! 





101 things in 1,001 days!

Personal -14

-move to a bigger place
-work for myself at least part-time (rotating work schedule)
-do yoga twice a week for at least one month
-enrich our home environment for the cat(s) (see evidence that it is working)
-King sized bed - we got a new mattress instead!
-move to a new city/state (or decide that we don't want to)
-have a full emergency fund
-pay double my student loan payment 3 times
-research vitamins, take some assortment of them (for at least 6 months)
-get a credit card
-buy an espresso machine
-design a new address stamp

Professional -15

-make blog business cards, put them in a cute case, carry them around
-open etsy store & sell things
-meet 3 of my blogger friends in person - 2, I met Gina and Kira, so close! 
-work on writing prompts once per month
-get a DSLR / lenses
-meet other Midwestern bloggers
-go to a blog conference
-have a booth at a flea market / show / sale
-join blogger groups
-have sponsored posts
-make money with ad space on my blog
-be published as a freelancer / on an web magazine etc.
-use my twitter once a day for a month
-participate in an A Beautiful Mess type photo challenge
-register my own domain name

Family/Friends -12

-write 50 letters to friends and family far away (1268 - 4/20/16 - and I stopped counting!)
-have a monthly meal with my family and KC's family (at least 6 months in a year) - too late for my family
-be a bridesmaid again - this weekend, it counts.
-host a clue party 
-host 10 game nights 
-host 3 pinterest parties
-host 3 girls nights/brunches
-host 3 clothing swaps
-send 20 'just because' pieces of gifts / mail - only 9, so close!!
-write down family stories (recorded dad telling stories 6/15)

Travel (regional) -7

-explore KC restaurant scene (find 5 new places I like) - only 1
-finish exploring the Saint Louis Art Museum
-go to Shakespeare in the park
-take the train to Chicago
-visit 10 new-to-me local restaurants
-go to a concert in Lawrence (downtown)
-try 10 new-to-me Lawrence coffee shops - only 6

Travel (larger scale)-14

-visit Brittany & Tyler in Boston
-travel abroad
-check out Corvalis, OR
-Tennessee / Kentucky road trip (two! 2015 and 2016!)
-take another winter trip (to a winter-y place)

Adventure -7

-go kayaking
-go horseback riding
-go camping
-do 12 things I never expected to do
-go hiking 6 times - only 2

Holidays -10

-DIY over-the-top couple's Halloween costumes - don't feel satisfied with these... but we've had pretty great costumes for the last 4 years... so I'm calling this an OK! (these were good: one and two)
-send holiday cards to friends and family - 2 years in a row!
-give all thrifted Christmas gifts one year
-have 'Friendsmas' again, preferably minus the snowstorm
-do a gratitude project at Thanksgiving
-be somewhere exciting on NYE
-have a St. Patrick's Day party
-start our own cinco de mayo tradition
-go somewhere or to an event for a holiday

Marriage - 8

-have 4 official dates every month - I think we basically did this unless it was December, counting as a pass.
-write down our favorite moments in marriage and look back on them on anniversaries
-take KC shopping for snazzy threads
-catch up on the 'yearly' anniversary gifts
-go to a football game together
-dance, we never get to dance (Jess & Kalor's Wedding, making up a hipster song, Kayla and Carl's Wedding)

Just for Fun - 14

-finish Jane Austen's novels (Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion,)
-finish F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels (The Great Gatsby,)
-put $10 into savings for each goal accomplished
-pull off 12 new upcycling projects - 8 SO CLOSE!
-paint tiny pictures of Lawrence favorites / KC favorites
-go to at least one Sporting KC game
-take a class (cooking, arts center, online class...)
-learn about Dolly Parton, because she's amazing
-see 3 musicals, live
-see a pop icon in concert (JT, Christina, Shakira, Taylor Swift...?)
-see 10 classic or cult classic movies at Liberty Hall (or the like) 
-make colored macarons 

Total: 101
Finished: 49 (Finished Last Year: 35)
In Progress: 9 (In Progress Last Year: 15)
Not Started: 43 (Not Started Last Year: 51)

Verdict? I got about half way done, which isn't GREAT, but it's pretty good considering how long the list is, and how many of them I made, "try 6," "send 12", etc.! That was a bit over enthusiastic in hindsight. 

Have you started any long term goals? What are they?


Have you ever done a 101 goals in 1,001 days challenge? 


What about a 30 X 30 list, or the like?


I would love to hear about your goals! 


Thank you for reading!


Alexandra

For past goal lists and goal setting tips visit the 'achieve' tab above. Or click here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

#allthegraduations // Playing Catch Up

There has been so much going on that I am behind on posting about events. May is so stinkin' busy.

Anyhow, on the 13th my sister Jess, my SIL Kels, and her fiance Jacob all graduated from college! Woot woot! Unfortunately they all graduated at the SAME time, in two different cities (which are not close together). Because of that, and other factors we had to do some picking and choosing. We ended up driving to Hays, KS (3.5 hours west) to see my sister graduate. School for her has been tough off and on, and she finished online while working full time. Not to mention getting married, buying a house, and oh yeah, having a baby. I knew that this graduation would be a huge deal for her, and since it was far away we wanted to make sure to attend. We knew our whole extended family wouldn't be able to drive out for it.


We drove most of the way there on Friday night so we wouldn't have to wake up so early. We stayed at this super cute old hotel. It was featured in the movie Paper Moon if you've seen it. Anyhow, it was affordable and just 45 minutes from Hays, so it worked out great. It also had a lot more personality than a chain hotel, and it benefited a local Kansas business.



They were swamped, but very very nice. My only complaint would be that our room was right next to the elevator which kept me up all night. KC was very excited about the kolaches that they have at breakfast, sadly, they didn't have them that morning though. : /


It should be mentioned that Wilson, KS is also the home of the world's largest Czech egg. It's very large.


The graduation was already off to a rocky start as recent rains had left the university without 800 parking spots. nbd guys. So... yeah. We ended up eating breakfast at 6 am and then heading out to Hays super early to allow for traffic, parking, shuttles, etc. All in all it worked out ok and we actually had plenty of time. We got there, found seats with my BIL. I took pictures of my sister by the backdrops, etc.


The graduation was long as expected, but it was not hot in there (YAY!), and (most importantly) we got to see my sister walk across the stage! Which was super cool! She was very excited!

What a ham! :P


After the graduation, we headed to my BIL's family's house who were hosting a party for Jess. How sweet is that?! It was so nice to be there with family and celebrate my sister again! :) We got a lot of good photos of bits of our family.

My MIL made this card for us for Jess. She made tons for various folks who graduated. Each tassel was tailored to match the university or high school! 


I was glad that it was a beautiful day and that Jess was so happy! :)


That afternoon we drove back home, and collapsed in a heap and chilled for the rest of the night. We then finished wrapping up graduation gifts, and went to celebrate with our friend Matt who was also graduating. He had a small gathering of mostly family, and we were pretty tired, so we just popped in for a little bit. ;) You know when you go to a party and you can tell everyone there really wants to be there? Yeah, that's how this was. It was super nice. + ice cream cake!


The next day we went to Kels and Jacob's combo grad party at his family's church. It was really fun to see so many friends and family there for them. They did a slide show and lots of decorations and photos. We enjoyed chatting with family and friends and wishing them well. :) We were bummed that we could not make it to all of the graduations, but it was good that I could steal pictures from Facebook. A huge shout out to Kels who also won a big award!!



That night we pretty much stayed at home. We were so exhausted!

Anyhow, congratulations to all of our people! :)

XO,

Alexandra

Friday, May 19, 2017

Have You Heard? // Coin - "Talk Too Much"

My Wednesday post/commenting wasn't really working. I don't know what's going on... but oh well!

Ahhh, with almost half of our events over for the month I'm feeling much less anxious. YAY! I have been trying to keep our weeknight plans light. Our dinners easy (even if that's a bit boring!), etc. so that's helping my stress levels for sure!


I've been getting out of my reading rut, and that makes me SO happy! This week I particularly enjoyed We Are Okay and Seven Days of You! :)

This is a song that I keep meaning to post about and have not. It's fun and upbeat, perfect for summer.



Anyhow, I hope that this song made you smile, and I hope you are looking forward to a fun-filled but relaxed weekend!

What are you guys up to this weekend?!?!

This weekend for us is calm! Rejoice! We have a graduation game night on Sunday, which should be fun, but other than that we are free! & I'm hoping to keep it that way. We *might* go see Colossal (since we never did) if we feel up to it!

Other Posts This Week: Fourth Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival and Six Things You Don't Think About Recycling.

XO,

Alexandra

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Six Things You Don't Think About Recycling // Green Goals

Happy Wednesday Everyone! :)

I only blog about eco topics sometimes, but it's so important! So today, I'm hoping to inspire just one person to make a teeny tiny change!

Many of us recycle (YAY!), many of us want to start (great!!!), if you are looking for a get started guide, check out this post! It's got some easy and varied extensive ideas on how to be greener!

Here we go!

1) Post It Notes

I use these at work, and you can definitely recycle them! One step better? Use both sides before recycling!

2) Clothing Tags

Most clothing comes with at least one chipboard price tag or branding tag. Others come with several. Those tags (not the plastic piece) can go straight into your recycling bin!

3) Lids From Fast Food Cups

Some cups (like Starbucks) are entirely  plastic, which means you can recycle the cup and the lid. Other places have paper cups with plastic lids, or styrofoam with plastic lids. You can definitely recycle those plastic lids! :)

4) Toilet Paper Rolls

We've all got toilet paper in our house. Some brands have gone roll-less which is really cool, but most of us still have that cardboard tube when we're done. Put that sucker in the recycling bin! You can also donate them to animal shelters where they make them into toys!

5) Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Cleaner Containers

Most of the time your empty shampoo bottles, moisturizers, make up receptacles, and cleaning bottles can be recycled. Just look for the arrow triangle (recycling) symbol! Usually my shampoo/soap/face wash containers just take a quick rinse or soak before recycling! Especially large containers like laundry detergent are great to keep out of the landfill!!

6) Packaging Galore!

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but almost everything comes in more packaging than it needs to! Lip balm comes in a cardboard box. Thank you notes come in a cardboard box, in another plastic box. Tide to go pens come in plastic mounted on cardboard. There's a lot of waste there! Moral of the story, you can recycle most if not all of those things! Anything made from paper/chipboard/cardboard can be recycled. Even if you can't recycle the random plastic on tide to go pens, you can recycle the cardboard backing. (though check for the symbol, some brands make sure that the plastic piece can be recycled too!)

Most of these things come down to: think about what you're holding in your hand as you go to the trash can. Often times whatever it is, CAN be recycled! :)

Other Recent Eco Posts: 12 Ways to Go Green in 2016 (still works for 2017!), and Eco Beauty Review, Vol. I.

What about you guys? Do you recycle?

If not, do you plan to start in 2017?

Did any of these items surprise you, or make you think, "hey I could start recycling that!"?

XO,

Alexandra

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Fourth Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival // Hometown Happenings

Whew, this actually happened last weekend, but it's Show Us Your Books and Mother's Day, so I wanted to get those posts out first!

The first weekend in May was the fourth annual Kansas Food Truck Festival! It is put on by a local food pantry to get some extra funds pre-summer season. Did you know that food pantries have the most need for donations during the summer?! And it is the time of least donations. So, get out there and donate to your local food pantries this summer! :) We have gone to the festival all four years! See year one, year two, and year three.

This year KC and I ended up with a huge group of people who wanted to go too! We had 6 other people there, and it was awesome, though a little hard to stay together.

We usually get to try a ton of good food at the festival, but KC and I decided that this year we should try to split more things, so we could try more things. That makes sense... right? Well, even though we did that, I think we tried about the same amount as usual. ha, but it was all very good, so I guess I'm ok with it! :)

When we got there, we knew that a new(ish) restaurant called Bon, Bon! had a cocktail club inside of one of the galleries down there. So we stopped there first to get cocktails. If you've read any of the other posts, you'll know that I had been missing the great cocktails from the Artillery Bar the first year, so it was great to finally have some back, even if it is from a different vendor! My friend Lauren and I each had a Frose (frozen rose with something..., strawberry powder, edible flowers, and a pretty rose gold straw), Michael and Kyle opted for the Honey Bae Bee (Whiskey, honey, etc.). They were both really good and we definitely went back later in the evening for another round!



The first truck we tried was Bochi, we tried their stuffed wings last year, and knew we wanted to get one again this year. It was still super good, a lot faster than the year before! We shared a wing with the slaw on the side.

The second truck that we tried, JB's Tacos, had the longest line ever, and it took such a long time to order, and then we waited again to get the food. It was worth the wait, and luckily we were not hungry because we had wings before that! KC tried the street taco (steak), and I tried the veggie. The veggie was AWESOME! I've been missing the veggie since a local place closed that had the BEST EVER purple potato tacos. It definitely gave me a flashback, so good! :)

The third truck KC and Michael went to alone, while I hung out with Juliet - who was eating her veggie tacos and veggie nachos from La Parilla. (I didn't try anything from La Parilla, but I love their restaurant in town, and Juliet, Matt, and Lauren said it was good!). We also met up with Will and Cara at that point. They had just gotten a wing from Bochi, and then headed off to the waffle truck! Busy, busy! Eventually KC and Michael came back with Beaver Tails. A Canadian thing I believe, or at least we tried one first in Canada, on this trip. This time we tried some type of cheesecake flavor that had toffee/heath bar bits on it. Michael had banana nutella. A little more fried than I love, but fun to try again none-the-less.

After that we made it to the Jamaican truck. The line was quite long, so we went in for more cocktails while KC held our place! When we made it up to the front we ordered our jerk chicken with beans and rice, and it came pretty quickly! It was really really really good. Not gorgeous by any means, but it was so tasty! :)

Lastly, while friends got some cocktails, we tried another tiny s'mores crèmes brûlées from the Torched Goodness truck before we called it a night at the festival.


We ended the evening at Matt and Lauren's playing King of Tokyo. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle. :)

I guess my goal of trying more things didn't quite work out, but I feel good about what we had. The cocktails were great, and all of the food was really good. Next year I hope to try some more new trucks! We'll see how it goes! :)

Have you ever been to a food truck festival?

What did you do this weekend?

XO,


Alexandra

Friday, May 12, 2017

Have You Heard? // Vance Joy - "Great Summer"

Happy Friday Friends! This week was a bit of a shit show here... divorce drama is real y'all.

But, it's the weekend, so I am going to keep trying to be positive. In pleasant news, I read To All The Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You this week and they were adorable. I'm #4 in line for the new one! :) They were both adorable and gave me something happy to focus on!


This song came out a few years ago now I guess, but it was a single from the Paper Towns soundtrack so I almost missed it. I really like that it's upbeat and talks about summer. While it's not officially summer, it feels good to think about and channel summer anyhow! :)



I haven't read Paper Towns... is it good? I really don't care for Cara Delevingne, so I haven't made an effort to read/watch it.

What are you guys up to this weekend?!?!

This weekend is packed, packed, packed *anxiety*... I have three graduations at the same time on the same day in two different cities (4+ hours apart). So we have driving, graduation, and lots of parties. I'm not even sure that we'll be able to celebrate Mother's Day at all. I'm hoping there is some downtime and a makeup date for Mother's Day.

Other Posts This Week: April Reads // Small But Mighty, and 5 Gifts for New Moms (or Any Mom!) // Mother's Day.

XO,

Alexandra

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

5 Gift Ideas for New Moms (or Any Mom!) // Mother's Day


Moms are the best! With Mother's Day just around the corner, I wanted to share a few gift ideas for new moms, or any mom!

These ideas are prefect for Mother's Day, when the baby's born, or for any holiday there after.

Because these moms work so hard, devote tons of time to their kiddos, it's important to show how thankful we are, and to remember that they are still their own people, and need time for themselves! Give them the gift of self care and a bit of indulgence! :)



1) At Home Pampering 

My sister asked for a home foot spa for her birthday, so KC and I got it for her and added in a few new colors of nail polish. If you saw this post, you'll know that I like to get my Essie and OPI at TJMaxx at cheaper prices. Overall this gift is fun but practical, and a great way for moms to make time for themselves, even when they are not able to leave the house! Overall this gift is pretty inexpensive! The foot spa we got at Target was just over $25 after tax, etc. Our store didn't have it in stock, but I was able to order it online and pick it up in-store less than a week later!

2) Out and About Pampering

It's great to help moms pamper themselves outside of the home too! When my sister was pregnant she started getting regular massages, which is what gave me this idea. Many women don't make the time (or money available) to take care of themselves via services. Whether it's getting manicures, massages, facials, or purchasing a gym membership, etc. This is one time that a gift card makes a great and thoughtful gift!

3) Subscription Service for Something They Love (or Need)

You guys know that I am a big fan of my Honest Bundles, I also do the A Beautiful Mess Messy Box every month. Crates, boxes, etc. are becoming so popular and so handy for things that we need and love. If the mom in your life has an interest or need that could be filled nicely with a subscription box, why not gift her a trial month, several months, or a whole year?! Talk to her husband, etc. to get a good idea of something even more practical. Maybe they want to start a diaper subscription, grocery, or something similar! There is literally a box for everything, just check out this site.

4) Personalized Family Portrait

I love personalized family portraits! They are so cute and unique! I have made a few for friends, but there are a ton online to choose from! :) This is something that the mom in your life may not purchase for herself, but would enjoy! The personalization adds a nice, thoughtful touch to your gift!

5) Mama Necklace

I'm planning to post about my wardrobe essentials and what I like to call #lazygirlfashion soon, but this bar necklace is a staple for me! I love it, and I wear it nearly every day. I have since ordered a different one (same site) for my mom, and one that says "Mama Bear" for my sister when she had Darrick. :) I won't lie, I will buy these for pretty much any occasion because they are so fun, and easy to wear with everything! Arlyne does beautiful work, and I always get my orders super quickly! She has a ton of great pre-made options, but you can also customize either gold or silver jewelry! If you are looking for something a little different, I also like this one from 31 Bits.

Don't Forget!

Of course, there is always the gift of your quality time and service! Don't forget that spending time with your mom or new parents can be the greatest gift of all! Whether it's inviting them out to a low key dinner so they can get out of the house, offering to watch the baby or their kiddos so they can get out alone, making them meals, or helping them around the house - it's always appreciated! :)

Books, Books, Books 

Ok, this is certainly more than 5 gift ideas... but this post I did a few years ago has some great book suggestions for moms! :)

Be creative with your material and immaterial gifts throughout the year! :) 

What are your plans for Mother's Day?

What type of gift do you like to give? Material? Immaterial? 


XO,

Alexandra

These options are all my own and based on gifts that I have given/would like to give. I am not being compensated for this post. Even if I was, I always share all of my thoughts with you all!

Monday, May 8, 2017

April Reads // Small but Mighty

Happy Monday friends! It was another super social weekend here. I'll talk more about that on Wednesday, because today I am sharing my April reads. They were few... because I put most of them in my March post... but I enjoyed both of them!




Mermaids Singing by Lisa Carey

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy generational family stories, complicated mother-daughter dynamics, and coming of age themes.

This book follows the complicated history of three women; a mother, daughter, and grandmother. Cliona left Ireland for Boston in the 1960's. She raised her daughter Grace in the states, and she grew into a rebellious girl. When Grace is taken back to the island where her mother lived, her rebellion grows. She finds the island as cold as her mother's heart. Grainne, Grace's daughter is being raised in Boston, far away from the Irish Island that Grace hates, their life is unconventional, but they are close like friends. When Grace dies of her cancer, Cliona meets her granddaughter and the two return to Ireland to heal their broken relationship and dig up secrets from the past.

I have a lot of thoughts about this book. Overall, I really enjoyed it. The writing was really vivid, and the characters were extremely complex. I like the way it was told, each chapter from one of the women's perspective. The timeline isn't linear, so it skips back and forth in time filling in the blanks and secrets of the women's lives. By the end I found myself pretty wrapped up in the pain that they felt, the secrets that were left untold, and the acceptance they were all looking for. A lot of this book has to do with sex. At first it felt a little odd, but I actually it's pretty representative of what it's like to grow up and not know who you are or what you want. I think it explains stigma on young women related to sex, and also how it complicates mother-daughter relationships. The contrasts between the mother daughter pairs reminded me a lot of Gilmore Girls, but much more stark. This book is not funny. I think mostly the book made me think about how important communication is. If you can't tell those you love what you need, how you feel, etc. it complicates everything. Sometimes causing huge issues. It's absolutely tragic to read about people who want and need love, but can't accept it, because they feel like it compromises their freedom and individuality. It's like none of these women could ever tell anyone how they actually felt. Never fully confide in anyone. That's not how love works, and it makes me sad to read it. As a side note, this book is not *about* mermaids, but the island in Ireland is named after mermaids, and folklore, etc. is woven through the novel.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

4.5 - 5 Stars - I recommend if you like vivid characters and coming of age themes. Or if you're human, this one seems like required reading you guys!

This book follows serial prep school failure Holden Caulfield as he leaves his Pennsylvania prep school early for winter break, heading to escape reality for a few days underground in New York City. This book captures (what I imagine) it's like to be a teenage boy, who's stuck between boy and man. Filled with extremely colorful characters, settings, situations, and dialogue - this book is hard to put down. An eloquent and classic coming of age story.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I was really hesitant to start it... I haven't been reading (or doing well, with) classic novels lately... but I found this book really compelling, and therefore quick to read. I enjoyed the way that it was written (like Holden is telling you his story, very informal). I loved how clear of a character he was for being SO complex. I loved his observations about the world, his innocent heart despite questionable circumstances that he gets himself into, and his conversations with others. I have read one other Salinger book (Franny and Zooey - which I also loved), and I have to say... Salinger's writing is just phenomenal. I felt like everything I was reading was incredibly vivid and interesting. (Despite the fact that male coming of age stories, and classics haven't been my jam in the past few years). The only part that was harder for me to understand or get into was near the very end. Things are moving pretty quickly and because it's from his perspective (and written in the 1950's) it's unclear what actually is going on... it would have been interesting to know... but it didn't really change my opinion of the book. I highly recommend to anyone and everyone.

Currently Reading:



A Fork in the Road edited by James Oseland
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


Books on Deck:


Since I've been reading genres that are tougher for me and also slower for me, I am feeling like I'm in a slump. I expect to read a bunch of fun, fluffy, compelling, etc. to get out of it!


Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 


Life According to Steph



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


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!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Arts Funding PSA + Have You Heard? // Celtic Woman - "For the Love of a Princess"

Hello everyone! I hope that you all had a great week and are excited that it's almost the weekend! :)



This week we saw Celtic Woman. If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that I love their music and have seen them live quite a few times! We've been lucky enough to go to (now) 8 shows in the past 6 years!

As a kid who grew up loving music, and doing choir... every once and a while I get the craving for classical music. These ladies do it so well, and I have loved going to their shows over the years. The girls may change, but it's always so lovely.

While their newest album is not my favorite of all time, seeing them this time was no exception. The show was a little less flashy, but still gave me chills and occasional tears. The audience, of admittedly mostly (adorable) elderly folks, were brought to tears, cheers, and standing ovations throughout the performance. It was so heart warming to see. *warm fuzzies*

This is my favorite song from the new album, it gives me chills and it's officially "my jam".



Anyone recognize it as the theme from Braveheart? I don't... because let's be real... in 1995, I was 5. That's not a good movie for 5 year olds. LOL

Anyhow, I love the song!

Now a quick PSA about supporting the arts:

Regardless of you political persuasion, and thoughts on our current president... funding for the arts is already lacking. It's clear that Trump is not going to support the arts more (if not continue defunding them....) .... again, whether or not you like him, there's a big need in funding here!

Tuesday night we saw Celtic Woman in the capital city of Kansas. The performing arts center is small, in need of a major update, and the events (from what I saw) are very under-attended. The director (who everyone seemed to know and appreciate as we exited) made a plea on stage: arts funding is being cut in Kansas, again, and places like TPAC rely on our patronage and donations to stay afloat. I want my (someday) kiddos to have access to arts programs and performances, so I plan to continue supporting these venues and programs! These places are also wonderful for school groups, seniors, the entire community really!

So here's my plea to you: consider attending 1-2 performances of (anything!) at a local arts venue near you this year. Even more would be great! These types of places need our business to survive now more than ever! Look up local performing arts, civic, university, etc. theaters and arts centers and attend a concert, a ballet, a comedy show, a musical or play, even a kids program...! (Tip: I keep up-to-date by following their Facebook RSS feeds!)

We all talk about how valuable experiences are over material items, let's try to remember that as the year goes on! A great next step might be convincing a friend, relative, couple, or group to attend the performance with you! Or gifting tickets to a loved one for a holiday! Be creative!

I realize that sometimes these events can be expensive, and I can definitely identify with that! My budget is not boundless! Take a look around the internet and you will see that your community (most likely) has several price packages at different locations for attending these events! Civic theater tickets may cost less than larger performing arts venues, for example. A smaller nearby city may have cheaper tickets than a large metro! Also remember: many of these venues offer student, military, senior, children, staff, and group discounts! Many places near me also offer free events throughout the year!

Lastly, consider taking your kids with you to these things. Obviously, if they are very young you may not want to take them to something super formal, for example. But giving the gift of arts appreciation to your kids is so important! It will help them grow, think, and learn. It will give them new experience and perspectives as they grow! They just might grow up to support the arts like their parents. :)

Alright, I digress, can you tell that this is important to me?! :P

Anyhow, tell me, what are the arts programs like where you live?

Do you make a point to see live events of any type within your community?! Or do you plan to try to now after my challenge?

What are you guys up to this weekend?!

KC and I are headed to a Guardians of the Galaxy "Cereal Party" at Alamo Drafthouse in KCMO with a friend. I can't wait to see the movie! Then later that afternoon/evening it's the 4th Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival! This year we have 5(!) friends joining us!! I can't wait! :) (see year 1, year 2, and year 3) On Sunday we are celebrating my sister Jess's 24th bday! I can't wait to see her and my family and celebrate with them! :) Hoping to keep the rest of the weekend free! Busy busy!

Other Posts This Week: Juliet's Lingerie Shower + Sangria Recipe, 7 Non Fiction Books I Want to Read, and Four Months In // 2017 Goal Progress.

XO,

Alexandra 

PS - if you made it through my whole PSA, or post one of your own... I'll give you a prize.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Four Months In // 2017 Goal Progress

Hello everyone! I hope that you have been having a great week! 

This time of year is busy busy busy with graduations, weddings, and showers! I'm grateful for lazy week nights at home with KC in between! :)

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.


Goals for April:



1) Prep for NOLA! *yayyy!*

We did it, sort of, we didn't do a lot of prep! But we did go, and had a good time, see the post, here.

2) Read 5 books!


I did this! :) I posted about The Bone Witch, Just Ella, and Palace of Mirrors in my March Post. I'll talk about The Mermaids Singing and The Catcher and The Rye next week. And anything else that I can read in between now and then. I sadly did not finish Erin's 6.0, but I really enjoyed the books I did read for her challenge!

3) Get back on the Yoga train


I think that I did yoga once....? But I did take a ton of walks, and I started doing arm weights! How about a picture of Duchess in a box instead?!

4) Read at least 2 Netgalley books


Just 1, The Bone Witch. Hopefully now that I'm not doing a reading challenge, I can read a ton of netgalley and fun fluffy books! :)

5) Bridal Shower plans for Juliet


I worked with two other girls on this, we had lots of fun at the party! We had yummy food, drinks, and fun games! :) See the recap and details, here.

6) Try some new healthy recipes (3?)


I tried 2 healthy-ish recipes. One healthier than the other. They were both easy and fast though! I wasn't blown away by either though.... 


When we did eat out, I tried to have tons of yummy salads and veggie meals, which made me feel good healthy-eating-wise! :)

7) Find and start a photo challenge


I found a fun photo idea list from a documenting magazine, there is a general list of photo ideas for each month of the year. I printed them out, and put them into my planner. I am starting with May this week! :) I also made a board on Pinterest of other photo challenges and idea lists. If you're looking for one, check this out! :) 

8) Read one book from an under-loved genre (2017 goal list)


I read one classic, and one sad contemporary novel. I don't usually read either, though those are not specifically on my category list. Close enough!

9) Think of some spring traditions for me and KC


Hmmm this is a tough one. We definitely had some new St. Patrick's Day fun this year, but since then it's mostly been travel and down time. We have been eating outside more though, which is lovely. I made a list in my planner, but we haven't implemented much, or made any decisions.

10) Take at least 10 walks, enjoy the weather before it gets too hot!


I took 17 walks (only counting each day in NOLA as 1... which it's tons more!). I feel great about this! :) We also took the cats out on their harnesses again. Duchess wanted to catch a squirrel, Scali moved around a little bit more!

Total: 7/10 - not bad!

Other Accomplishments:

I got round 1 of dental work done. It went as well as it possibly could have! My root canal was just a crown, and he went ahead and did nearby fillings while he was in there. 1 quadrant down! I used the nitrous and it really helped. My mouth hurt SO much afterward. I woke up every night for about a week around 2 AM with aching teeth... but it's worth it now. :) I am dreading going back though. :( 

We did the library book sale, see hauls here.




We saw Sleeping Beauty at the KC ballet's gorgeous Kauffman Center.



We celebrated my sweet Olivia's bday. She's TEN. TEN! Oh my gosh. She's the coolest kid I've ever met, and it was a blast to spend the whole day with her. We watched her play volleyball, had lunch, opened gifts, went to the park and played, went bowling, had dinner, and then went for ice cream! Wow, it was a fun day! :) 



We started watching izombie with my inlaws, they are enjoying it. I am enjoying the second watch-through. We're now caught up on the current episodes too. Woots! I will implore you AGAIN to just watch it. I promise it's super punny, clever, and pretty dark sometimes. Rose McIver acts her ass off in every episode. She is so convincing with each new brain. And I thought this before I knew she was from New Zealand. I can NEVER hear her accent popping out.



We had a successful bridal shower for my SIL Kels. I was glad to see so many friends and family members come out to celebrate with her! :) 



I also did a lot of design work for Simply Alexandra Stationery (I would love a "like" on Facebook!)! I did shower invites for Kels and Juliet, as well as a custom recipe book for Kels. I did wedding invitations for Juliet, her mom (Ruth), and Kels. Even some rehearsal dinner invitations for Juliet! It's been so fun! 

Goals for May:


1) Get grad gifts and plans ready! (Need ideas? Check here & here!)
2) Read 5 books! (all the fun/fluffy books now that Erin's 6.0 is over!)
3) Work on some surprise gifts / snail mail! 
4) Get 2nd round of dental work done 
5) Start planning a summer road trip
6) Finish up my SIL's wedding invites, etc.
7) Upcycle something
8) Film shorter scrapbook videos for Youtube!
9) Try a craft (non-paper) (even from a tiny kit) 
10) Walk, Yoga, Weights, NO SODA, healthy meals as much as possible pre-wedding!

11) Try getting our groceries at Aldi, see the savings! :)
12) Plan a game night

How was April for you?

What did you accomplish?


What are your goals for May? Sheesh it's May...!



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

What's New With You

XO,


Alexandra