Sunday, June 30

sunday social: at the movies!

I loved Neely and Ashley's Sunday Social questions this week because they're all about MOVIES!

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?

My all-time favorite is Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which makes me a true geek, I suppose - but a girly, romantic geek.  I love the whole classic trilogy, but Empire is my favorite because that's where the Han and Leia story grows while Luke is off in the jungle learning how to be a Jedi, and the "I love you..." "... I know" exchange.  The John Williams score in that scene is particularly beautiful.  It also has Lando Calrissian swooping around in a cape.

2. What is your favorite movie quote?

If we're going for inspiration, it would have to be "Little beat big if little smart, first with the head, then with the heart" from The Power of One (which is based on the novel of the same title by Bryce Courtenay).

3. What is the best movie to watch for a girls night in?

Depending on what mood we're in, Mean GirlsPitch Perfect or The Notebook.

4. What is the best breakup movie?

I'm not sure if I understand the concept of "breakup movie" - would that be a movie to watch after a breakup, or a movie with a breakup in it?  Iris does a fabulous job of ending things with Jasper in The Holiday, AND one of the movie's themes is that someone whose heart has been broken can move on and find awesome new people to love - so I suppose it would meet both criteria.

5. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

My favorites are Zooey Deschanel and Reese Witherspoon, but if they really wanted the actress to look like me, people have been telling me I look like Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years) since I was about eight years old.  Sally Field could play my mom.  Josh Lucas (Jake from Sweet Home Alabama) could play Mr. Q since he's got the blue eyes and Southern accent.

6. Which movie star’s closet would you want to raid?

Let's go classic - Audrey Hepburn's!  I'm obsessed with vintage and Audrey is basically my style icon when it comes to keeping things simple and classic.  When I'm debating over whether or not to buy a piece of clothing my ultimate test is, "would Audrey wear this?"  If we're going modern, Jessica Alba always looks awesome whether she's on the street or on the red carpet - my sister-in-law and I both have a girl crush on her.

sunday simplicity #126: let the world slip...

“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne'er be younger.” 
― William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Saturday, June 29

Independence Day recipes: side dishes for 4th of july cookouts

Here's the scenario:  you've received an invite to a potluck Independence Day celebration and decide to bring a side dish - just like you do every year.  Here are some suggestions for how to break out of your usual rut and spice up this summer's cookouts!

last year, you brought tomato and cucumber salad...

this year, bring chicken salad stuffed tomatoes from Eating Well!

last year, you brought broccoli salad...

this year, bring grape salad from Love of Family and Home!

last year, you brought deviled eggs...

this year, bring crab meat deviled eggs from Country Living!

last year, you brought classic potato salad...

this year, bring potato salad with bacon and sun-dried tomatoes from Country Living!

last year, you brought classic pasta salad...

this year, bring fiesta chicken pasta salad from Life as a Lofthouse!

last year, you brought zucchini fries...

this year, bring zucchini tots from Skinny Taste!

last year, you brought sweet potato fries...

this year, bring roasted red pepper and garlic hummus from A Farmgirl's Dabbles!

Friday, June 28

my early summer in instagram.

Americana: my cousin's 100-year-old cabin in the country and my
own red, white, and blue rag wreath on the door for Flag Day.

The perfect summer weekend: biking along the Roanoke River and a 
visit to Black Dog Salvage (the folks from the TV show Salvage Dawgs)
with Mr. Q - what do you think of the antique fedora?

Gifts - Mr. Q got me my first real emeralds (birthday earrings) and
my debate club students gifted me this cute stuffed husky pup.

Patio goodness - breaking out the fire bowl to make s'mores and
celebrating our new patio furniture with an al fresco dinner.

Local fun - the Strings and Spirits festival combined bluegrass and
roots music with local breweries and wineries, and it's not really
summer until the first sunset boat ride on Smith Mountain Lake.

Busy - Father's Day brunch at the Homeplace restaurant in Craig
County and crafting Breeze's bridal shower invitations (100% DIY).

I'm ready for summer!  I love short hair for summer and these gladiator
sandals are my new obsession - the cork footbeds make them so comfy!

What activities, experiences, or places make it really start to feel like summer to you?

Thursday, June 27

what happens at the Color Run?

I've been trying to get more active lately and one way that I stay motivated is by signing up for 5Ks!  Since I know that even walking a 5K will result in pain when I'm out of shape, I get movin' when I know one is coming up.  While walking and running are not Mr. Q's favorite form of exercise (the bicycle is his passion), he has supported me by signing up with me for every 5K I've done so far!  Two weeks ago I participated in my favorite 5K yet - the Color Run!  What other event can get my husband to show up in a pink tutu?  What other event sells amazing fanny packs?  What other event turns its participants into human tie-dye?  The Color Run is where it's at!

I loved the Color Run for several reasons.  First, it's very low-pressure.  Unlike the last 5K I did, which used electronic chips in the participants' numbers to track who was winning, this 5K was not really about winning at all.  There were so many Color Runners that it was actually impossible for everyone to start at once - instead, groups of participants gather at the starting line in shifts beginning at 9 A.M.  Second, I liked that the color stations were spread out on the course so that there was always something to look forward to - that kept me from tiring out like I did in some of the other 5Ks I've done.  Finally, I love supporting great causes that are close to my heart and a portion of the Roanoke Color Run proceeds went to help the American Cancer Society and the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center.

Our team captain, our good friend Becky, came down from DC to participate - this was not her first Color Run and she convinced us all to join in the fun when she heard it was coming to Roanoke.  We lucked out with perfect weather on race day - lots of sunshine, but very little humidity.

Mr. Q and one of his bicycle club friends dressed to match - it was definitely an "I'll wear it if he will" thing!  They got a LOT of attention and compliments on their neon tutus.  There were a lot of Color Runners in costumes - everything from angel and fairy wings to cowboy hats to a wedding dress and veil.

The fun started even before we got to the race.  At packet pick-up we all received t-shirts, headbands, wristbands and race numbers, temporary tattoos and a color pack (I got purple).  We also got instructions to save our color packs for the end of the 5K.  As the starting line, there were guys on scaffolds with water guns full of colored water ready to give us our first shot of color (bright pink and blue) and even one guy with a bucket who seemed to be choosing his targets very deliberately.  There were also water gun snipers perched on top of every bridge we went under on the course and at the water station!  They were also throwing prizes into the crowd - one of my friends got a Stuff Cuff!

As you go through the 5K, there are color zones along the way where Color Run volunteers do their best to coat participants with colored powder in condiment bottles (it's dyed cornstarch).  Here's a map of the Roanoke course.  Each color zone also features really fun music - lots of 80's songs and dance music.  We learned after the first station that it's best to run through or you inhale a lot of color!  Some participants wear bandanas over their noses and mouths - it makes them look like bandits but it is a great idea, especially for those with allergies or respiratory problems.  Here's a picture of my team after going through all of the color stations.

The Runicorn is the rainbow-colored unicorn mascot of The Color Run.  Like us, he started the day clean.

After completing the 5K, participants gather at the stage for the color throw!  The announcer counts down and then everyone opens their color pouch - everyone gets covered and it's such an amazing, fun moment!  The afterparty is a lot of fun - a lot of Color Runners stay for all of the color throws and end up a very deep shade of purple.  My friends and I did two color throws and got covered in purple and teal.

Post color throw (photobombed by Becky's husband Matt)

So much fun!  I hope the Color Run can come back to Roanoke next summer because I would sign up again in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, June 26

summer entertaining: must-haves for an Independence Day celebration

1. Subway art tutorial by A Diamond in the Stuff  2. FEED kitchen towels (set of three) from Target  
3. FEED USA stoneware pie plates from Target 4. Cobalt rim wine glass from Pier1
5. Small FEED USA stoneware pan from Target  6. Large FEED USA stoneware pan from Target  
7. Stars wine charms from Pier1  8. Pottery Barn rope bowl  9. Shop Sweet Lulu cupcake liners

Tuesday, June 25

songs i want to see on sytycd this season...

If you've been reading Beyond the Aisle for a while, you may have picked up on the fact that So You Think You Can Dance is my summer entertainment obsession.  I started watching Season 3, which was the summer after my senior year of college, so I feel kind of old when very young contestants say, "I've been watching this show since I was a little kid!"  I was a dancer throughout my childhood and participated in my studio's competition teams for ballet, lyrical, modern, liturgical, and clogging, so I really get into the competitive aspect of the show!  Season 10 is off to a good start so far - I'm especially excited that there are three tap dancers in the Top 20.  In my last few years of dance, I was much more interested in choreography than performance - I am just not as technically gifted as a lot of dancers, but I really enjoy designing dances and still imagine dance steps in my head when I hear new songs on the radio.  Here are a few songs (some are in this summer's Top 40, some are in my iPod's regular rotation) that I think would be perfect for So You Think You Can Dance!
  • "Just Give Me a Reason," Pink feat. Nate Ruess - this song is one of my favorites to belt out in the car, and it would be lovely for a contemporary dance piece for a pair.  I'd love to see what Travis Wall could choreograph for this one, but it also could be one of those songs that Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo come up with some really brilliant "lyrical hip-hop" for - like "No Air" from Season 4.
  • "Young and Beautiful," Lana Del Rey - I will admit that I kind of liked making fun of Lana Del Rey, until I kind of actually liked "National Anthem" and then really liked "Young and Beautiful" on the Great Gatsby soundtrack.  I would not mind one bit if costuming went full-on 1920's with headbands and a drop-waist gown for this one.  For choreography this one would have to go to Sonya Tayeh, who created my all-time favorite SYTYCD pair routine, "The Garden," also from Season 4.
  • "Wherever You Will Go," Charlene Soraia - This is a cover of a song by The Calling, but so much more wistful.  Mia Michaels could choreograph something absolutely beautiful like she did with "Dreaming With a Broken Heart."
  • "Clarity," Zedd feat. Foxes - Time to mix it up a little!  While the first three songs were pretty much made for contemporary dancers, this one makes me think of the "animators" who have made it into the Top 20 this summer.  Christopher Scott has been really on it choreography-wise recently, and I think he could come up with an awesome group number for this song that would let all of the dancers' different strengths stand out.  Watch his piece "Sand" from last week, and you'll see what I mean:
  • "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke feat. TI and Pharrell - Let me state for the record that there is a lot I don't like about this song - the use of the b-word, the music video that's NSFW and objectifies women on a ridiculous level, etc.  It is so stinking catchy, though, and the beat is just right for a dance featuring this season's tappers.  Here's their introductory performance:
  • "Mirrors," Justin Timberlake - This is such a narrative song already, so for a dance I envision something dramatic like Stacey Tookey's "Turning Tables" from Season 8.
  • "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons - Such a cool song I can't imagine it not being on the show this season, and I definitely see it as a Sonya Tayeh piece.

Do you watch SYTYCD?  What are your favorite summer shows? (BTW, So You Think You Can Dance is on TONIGHT at 8!)

summer style: Independence Day fashion

1. GAP striped tee  2. J. Crew chambray shirt  3. Infinity scarf from GoJane
4. J. Crew shorts  5.  Delia's nail polish in Bright Sapphire  6. FEED USA bracelets from Target
7. GoJane sneakers  8. Old Navy flip-flops  9. Merona tote from Target 10. SheInside dress

Since our family vacation overlaps with Independence Day this year, I'm planning on packing red white and blue items like the ones shown above for easy mixing and matching.  Have y'all heard about FEED USA's collection at Target yet?  For each purchase of the stacking bracelet set shown above, 12 meals will be donated to hungry children through Feed America, our nation's largest hunger-relief charity.  Other items in the collection, which will be in stores on June 30th, range from notepads to bicycles.  You can see Target's FEED USA lookbook here.

Monday, June 24

clicks of note: the direction of love...

get your week summer off to a colorful start...


  • "Tomorrow's a new day for everyone; brand new moon, brand new sun."  Let this song, "Follow the Sun," sink in.  I love how calm and uplifting it is, and I'm looking forward to possibly seeing Xavier Rudd perform live at Floydfest next month.  This week I'm linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.



  • Next week, we're going on a family trip to Nashville!  Last year when I was out of town, I featured Beyond the Aisle's first guest post (from Micah of Unabashedly Me) and would love to be able to spotlight some fellow bloggers' work again this summer!
I would love to feature your:
  • Wedding/party DIY tutorials
  • Wedding/party planning advice (especially what you learned or things you wish you had done differently!)
  • Inspiration for a particular wedding or party theme
  • Favorite memory from the day of your wedding or other event
  • Home/holiday decor DIY or home improvement tutorials
  • Home tours (especially apartments, condos, townhouses and other small spaces!)
  • Favorite thing in or about your home
If you're interested in guest blogging for me, please send a message to heatherbird at gmail dot com explaining what you'd like to post about and including a link to your own blog if you have one.  I would prefer that guest posts be NEW, ORIGINAL content, not a re-post of something that has already appeared on your blog or another website, but if you've got a favorite post that needs a wider audience that would work too!

Sunday, June 23

sunday simplicity #125: i like you.

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, “Remember when you told me something special?”
And both of us remember.

- from “I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

Friday, June 21

welcome summer!

"We're entering into razzle-dazzle time, when the scope of our lives broadens to meet the longer, brighter days and summer's endless offerings.  So much comes tumbling in at this time of year, so much is tugging at our attention:  ripening fruit, sprouting vegetables, garden weeds and needs." - Dana Velden

Tuesday, June 18

Please follow Beyond the Aisle on Bloglovin'!

Most of you probably already know that Google Reader is being shut down on July 1st, a victim of Google's "spring cleaning," and that without it, Google Friend Connect is probably not long for this world.  Like many of my friends in the blog world, I've switched to Bloglovin' as my reader of choice.  

When I have unlimited time for reading blogs, I just click the links on my sidebar, but when all I've got time for is a quick check-in (like before work in the morning), Bloglovin' is perfect.  It puts all of the newest posts from the blogs I follow in column form, and even lets me group them by category, so if, say, I'm putting together a Clicks of Note posts and need one more wedding link, I can click on my "weddings" group and have the newest, freshest wedding sweetness all in one place.

I put off the transition for a while, thinking it would be too much of a hassle to go back to all the blogs I've ever followed and click the Bloglovin' button.  Silly me - you do NOT have to do that if you're already subscribed via Google Friend Connect!  If you visit Bloglovin's Import from Google Reader page it will instantly add those blogs to your Bloglovin' feed.  If you have multiple Google accounts, make sure you choose the one you've subscribed to blogs with.

If you're a blogger, setting up a Bloglovin' page isn't that complicated.  Miss Drifted Snow White has posted a great tutorial on how to claim your blog.  Bloglovin' has some true advantages over GFC from a blogger standpoint - when readers view Beyond the Aisle on Bloglovin', I still get to see the pageviews in my stats, which was not the case with Google Reader.  It's also possible to comment on posts without leaving the Bloglovin' interface, and we all know comments are what make the blogging world go 'round.

If you haven't yet, you can follow me at  And no, I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.

Monday, June 17

clicks of note: more than just a dream...

get your week off to a colorful start...


  • Fitz and the Tantrums' new song, "Out of My League," is 80's-inspired summer fun.  LOVE this band.




Sunday, June 16

sunday simplicity #124: love is a thing only to become...

“Love is not a thing to understand.
Love is not a thing to feel.
Love is not a thing to give and receive.
Love is a thing only to become
And eternally be. ”

- Sri Chinmoy

Tuesday, June 11

clicks of note: can i come home for the summer... [call for guest bloggers!]

get your week off to a colorful start...

Today is one of the most exciting days of the school year for me - I am the eighth grade talent show sponsor and today is the day!  Please keep your fingers crossed that we can keep the stage curtains open, the spotlights bright, and the music loud - and that all of my young performers feel like the stars they are inside.  A few of my performers have been victims of bullying this year, and participating in the talent show is a brave, scary thing for them especially.  This is my fifth talent show and working with the performers is by far one of the most rewarding things I do as a middle school teacher.

  • Ray LaMontagne created a piece of genius with "For the Summer," one of my favorite tracks of his that really does feel like summer in the country, rolling hills and dusty roads.  

  • Next month, we're going on a family trip to Nashville!  Last year when I was out of town, I featured Beyond the Aisle's first guest post (from Micah of Unabashedly Me) and would love to be able to spotlight some fellow bloggers' work again this summer!
I would love to feature your:
  • Wedding/party DIY tutorials
  • Wedding/party planning advice (especially what you learned or things you wish you had done differently!)
  • Inspiration for a particular wedding or party theme
  • Favorite memory from the day of your wedding or other event
  • Home/holiday decor DIY or home improvement tutorials
  • Home tours (especially apartments, condos, townhouses and other small spaces!)
  • Favorite thing in or about your home
If you're interested in guest blogging for me, please send a message to heatherbird at gmail dot com explaining what you'd like to post about and including a link to your own blog if you have one.  I would prefer that guest posts be NEW, ORIGINAL content, not a re-post of something that has already appeared on your blog or another website.

Sunday, June 9

sunday social: back to basics

Sunday Social

How did you come up with your blog name?

The original name of this blog, like the URL, was Not Just Brides, because I was a bridesmaid when I started this thing and wanted to feature ideas that just about everyone involved with planning a wedding could appreciate.  As I was planning our wedding, I changed the title to Spin Through the Stars because I was pretty sure our wedding song would be "You & Me" by Dave Matthews Band and that's my favorite phrase from the song.

Thanks, Wayback Machine!

Turns out Mr. Q was feeling angry/bitter toward Dave Matthews as we got closer to our wedding date (his uncle works for Dave and couldn't get the day off to attend) and we used "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne instead (Dave is now back in our good graces).  Post-wedding, I decided that I needed a title that would encompass newlywed life and whatever else comes along.  Hopefully Beyond the Aisle is the last name change I'll have to make for this little piece of the Internet, and I'd like to have my own domain name someday.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

My high school Diaryland page... sometimes I read it and laugh because I was a very witty teenager, sometimes I read it and cry because my self-esteem was so low.

I've been keeping some form of online journal since high school and it comes much more naturally to me now than keeping a paper diary does.  I like feedback, and it's nice to be able to share ideas and opinions in an environment that seems a bit less judgmental than the "real world."

In college, I moved on to Livejournal, which is probably the only thing I had in common with Mark Zuckerberg.

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now cant live without?

Photo from my wedding venue, the Vinton War Memorial

Um, maybe milk glass?  My mom always had a bunch of milk glass vases in the china hutch when I was a kid, but I never thought of them as anything special until I started reading wedding blogs. While I was planning my wedding, I became a milk glass hoarder with help from my mom, Mr. Q's mom, and Goodwill.  Milk glass patterns became one of the main design themes of our vintage-inspired wedding and even my cake was inspired by milk glass!  After the wedding, I couldn't turn off my vintage junkie ways.  I still feel compelled to stop whenever I'm close to one of the local Goodwill stores, and I always browse the "home goods" section for milk glass pieces even though I really don't need any more!  I like to include my favorite pieces in vignettes in our living room and kitchen - they make me happy whenever I look at them.

Facebook or Twitter? and why?

Facebook!  I am a verbose person who requires more than 120 characters to share my sarcastic thoughts with my friends and family members.  Facebook lets me be a much bigger creeper than Twitter does - go ahead, ask me what any of my high school classmates are up to these days! 

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?

In my dream world, Beyonce loves my blog so much she tells Jay-Z about it, then hires me as her personal assistant and ghostwriter... (photo via Straight from the A)

Though BeyoncĂ© is the first one who comes to mind, because BeyoncĂ©, let me think a little deeper about which celebrity would enjoy a blog featuring links to cute things on the Internet, fashion ideas based on bright colors, wedding/party inspiration and holiday crafts... I'm gonna go with Zooey Deschanel.  Or Ellen.  Or Anna Kendrick.

Hey Zooey, my blog looks pretty good in mobile form.  (photo via Digitaltrends)

What is something you want people to know about your blog?

I want you to know that my big goal right now is to become less of a content curator and more of a content producer.  In other words, less me sharing other people's work and more of my own work.

sunday simplicity #123

"I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.

You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all."

- Roy Croft