Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day & February Playlist

Happy Leap Day! Am I the only one who thinks Leap Day should be a holiday? I mean, if you're a salaried employee, you're not really getting paid for it anyway, right? Does anyone's salary every temporarily increase for leap years? Nope.

 I'll be spending most of my day in meetings, but maybe I'll go get lunch somewhere for consolation. You should do the same. And here's a little playlist to help you make it though your day, too. It's a mix of things I've been listening to the last month. The type of music I listen to is really affected by the weather, weirdly (or not?), and you can definitely tell we had some crazy ups & downs, temperature-wise. Cold wintery Bon Iver & Staves, summery Nathaniel Rateliff , and spring-y Francoise Hardy.....this may be my most eclectic playlist yet. But maybe that means it has a little something for everyone, right? Hope it brings some happy to your Monday!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Club: Library of Souls

I really should have written this review when I finished the book, because I breezed through it in a single weekend back toward the beginning of the month and I've started reading a couple other things since then. But I'll do my best. :)

Library of Souls is the third novel in a three-part series. The first book, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was one of my favorite reads in the year it was published ( I cannot wait for the movie in December!). It was unique, from the concept to the story to the found antique photographs used in the book. I don't have a huge YA repertoire, and it takes a lot for one to catch and keep my interest. That sounds kind of snobby, and I don't mean for it to; YA just really isn't typically my thing, is what I'm saying.  Miss Peregrine's, however, was very much my cup of tea. It was interesting, well-written, and had a creepy undertone that had me hooked from the beginning.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Creative Chat: Ethan Cosby

For this month's creative chat, I interviewed one of the most talented guitar players I know, and he just happens to be my own baby brother. He graciously agreed to let me interview him for the blog, even though he would never admit to being as good as he is with a guitar. He can literally just hear a song and start playing it, which is sort of mind-blowing for non-musical types like me. Chords, I can do--if you give me the chord progression and it doesn't involve bar chords (tiny hands). Ethan on the other hand can play the same chord twelve different ways, I'm pretty sure. He's also taught himself to play mandolin, banjo, and he can even tinker on a piano a bit. Okay, enough big sister bragging--let's get to the questions! (Oh, did I also mention he's an incredible pencil artist? And watercolor artist? Alright, alright, I'm done!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Vinyl Love: Beneath the Skin

Beneath the Skin by Of Monsters and Men

In three words: poetic, moody, emotive

Favorite tracks: Empire, Human, Wolves Without Teeth

Of Monsters and Men are probably one of my favorite bands of the past 10 years. They manage to make albums that are cohesive, with a very distinctive sound, but without having every song sound identical. I'm also a sucker for unique voices. I'm always a little nervous before a sophomore album release for a band whose debut I loved, but I had no reason to be hesitant here. Beneath the Skin feels like a natural progression--true to the original sound, but with a different, somewhat darker feel. And paired with the warmth of vinyl? Bliss.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Explorin' KC

Saturday the weather was just too amazing. 70+ and sunny. I don't think there's any way I could have stayed inside if I had to, anyway, but since I had no real plans and my to-do list was pretty short, I  decided to grab Tyler and go explore a bit more of Kansas City. (He begged me to let him out of the car a couple times, but I just ignored him....). I'm pretty sure everyone in the metro had the same idea, because everywhere we went was packed (!!!) but we had a blast regardless. Here are a few photos from our little adventure.
Tyler spotted the most amazing vintage clothing store that had super reasonable prices! I had to show some serious restraint, but did manage to snag this gorgeous 1940's linen dress.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Feeling: a little all over the place lately, but mostly motivated in so many areas.

Drinking: coffee at the moment. However, I have recently discovered the amazing-ness that is peach tea & whiskey, and I think that might be a game changer.

Watching: the cats chirp at a squirrel on the balcony. Cats are so weird.

Wearing: pajamas. Cause I can.
Wishing: I had been a little more productive over my extended weekend.
Reading: I've started A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and I've been rotating between that and an English history book. And I might start Hound of the Baskervilles.

Loving: the Commodity Goods perfume sampler I picked up last week. There is literally not one scent I wouldn't wear. They're all so good.

Excited about: spring break being just a short month away!

Working on: tackling my to-list for today.
Thinking about: scrapping it and just watching SVU for the rest of the day.

Listening to: a playlist of songs from college. The nostalgia is serious business.

Obsessing over: planning a trip to England for next summer or the summer after (!!!!!). We're going on a family trip to Alaska next summer, so I don't know if we'll be able to swing both trips in one year...but I also don't know if I can wait until 2018 to hop the pond again. Either way, I'm starting to seriously plan an itinerary, and it's basically on my mind 24/7.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Favorite Spotify Playlists

Since September, when I started working at a new job, I've spent more time in front of a computer--typing observation notes, sending emails, writing behavior assessments and behavior plans, doing research. Our office is pretty busy some days, so it's a little harder for me to focus. Those are the days I plug in my headphones and shut off the world with the power of Spotify. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite playlists. Maybe you'll find a new favorite for your long workday. 

SSG - London
Acoustic Winter
Boho + Chill
Into the Woods
Indie Acoustic >> Chill
Folk Pop
Long Way Home
French Holiday
More Banjo!
Quiet & Calm
The Most Beautiful Songs in the World
Relax & Unwind
Evening Chill
Dinnertime Acoustics
Evening Acoustic
Beards & Flannel
The Indie Mix
The Nu-Modern
The Happy Hipster

What are your favorites? I'm always on the look-out for new playlists to keep me company at work!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Social Media Addict

For all of its shortcomings, I really genuinely like social media. I've come to rely on it so much more since we moved up to Kansas City; I love that I can still have glimpses into the lives of my friends and family even though I'm not around. (Although I will say that it is a double-edged sword, because I have also cried after seeing everyone hanging out without me and realizing just how much I miss them!) Here are the platforms I'm using most these days; if you're on any of them, let's connect!

Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform. I don't know what it is about those little photo squares, but I'm addicted. I'm jessica.lafferty.

I try to be as authentic as possible online, but I've often thought that Twitter is probably the most transparent me. I will warn you; there's a fairly high rate of re-tweets from British history accounts. ;) Find me at @jessicae429.

While I try to keep my personal Facebook just for friends and family, I also started a page for the blog so that readers who don't use Bloglovin or other reader services can keep up with posts without having to check in every day. I'm hoping to start featuring posts I love from other websites too--including those from readers. So feel free to follow along and promote your own blog! You can connect here. 

Not that I have a ton of time to kill, but when I do, Pinterest is my go-to. There's just something about having access to so much beauty and inspiration with just a click. You can find me by searching for Jessica Lafferty or by clicking here.

I use Bloglovin both to keep track of my favorite blogs and to find new ones. You can follow me here or the blog here.

Phhhoto is so fun! I know Instagram added a gif feature a while back, but honestly I'm a little glad it didn't seem to catch on, because I don't want Phhhoto to go the way of Vine. It's seriously addicting! I'm @jessica_lafferty

 Oh Snapchat. I feel like Snapchat had some seriously sketchy vibes when it first came out, but now that it has the story feature, it's become one of my most frequently-used forms of social media. Warning: my snaps are about 90% cats. ;)

If we aren't friends on social media, I'd love to connect! Feel free to add me or leave your accounts/handles below so I can add you!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Favorite January Posts

Happy first day of February! I've been not-so-secretly praying for a snow day tomorrow, but it's looking less and less likely. Darn the weathermen up here, getting my hopes up for a decent downpour. So it looks like I'll need to find another way to start February off on the right foot. Although, with February being the month of guitar in my 2016 Creative Resolutions, that probably won't be too hard to do. My husband (and our neighbors!) might disagree, but hey, it's a short month. ;)

Before I get too much into February, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite posts from the January blog world. I'm always looking for new reads, too, so if you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments!
Image made with Retyped app

Learn to Crochet: Chunky Blanket at Always Rooney. I have attempted knitting and crochet in the past, results (and that's being kind). This blanket might just convince me to try again, though. It's SO gorgeous and cozy-looking.

Bohemian + Scandinavian at The Room Journal. First of all, Layne is my style-spirit animal. When I read this post, it was like she was in my head. I love clean white space, naturals, and neutrals....but I also love eclecticism. I actually have a blog post cooking in the back of my brain about how I've been struggling to "find my style" so to speak, and this post was so comforting. It made me realize that I don't necessarily have to pick a side.

Honesty at Adventures in No Man's Land. Oh man. If you don't relate to this post, I don't know if you're human. I find myself so often trying to find the balance between positivity and authenticity here in this little space.

How to Keep a Travelogue at Caylee Grey. Man, if I would have only had this post ten years ago. I went to England with the best of intentions of keeping a travel journal while I was there. I was so caught up in seeing everything, though, that I collapsed into bed exhausted at the end of every day. As a result, I'm left with one page of pseudo-poetic feelings about the anticipation of being in the United Kingdom and the experience flying into Heathrow at night. The next time I go (spoiler alert: starting to make serious[!!!] plans!), this will be my memory-keeping guide.

Happy Birthday and Nonsense About Me at Skunkboy. I could not love this more. It goes back to what I talked about up there with "Honesty"--the positivity/authenticity balance. Katie navigates this so well--showcasing the beautiful parts of her life, but being unafraid to address the less-than-perfect parts head-on. So much respect for this, and her.

Binge List: Documentaries at Practically Perfect. First of all, I could not be happier that Haley is back into blogging again. Secondly, this list might start an addiction for me. We already watched "We Always Lie to Strangers" and if you're from the Springfield/Branson area, it's really a must see. Lots of my Branson stereotypes were shattered--and others were very very much confirmed. :)

Shibori Tie-Dye Cloth Napkin Tutorial at A Beautiful Mess. As if I needed another craft to add to the list....but seriously. These are so pretty, I might have to move them up to the top.

Ten Things to Tell Yourself Instead at Deer Circus. I know it's only January, but I might just go ahead and declare this my favorite post of 2016. It is literally perfect. I'm working on being a little kinder to myself.

Any favorite reads from January that you'd like to share?

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