Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Goal Review

Hi guys! I've been so busy lately just trying to do the holiday thing... that I haven't time for blog reading or posting! I look forward to catching up a little over the weekend though! :) Tomorrow is KC & I's 4th wedding anniversary, so I have a feeling I won't be up for blogging or be checking off anything else on this list in the last day of 2015! ;) So here is my check in. Check back for 2016 goals on Friday!

This year I was in a funk, and very busy, so I did not set these goals until mid-September. All things considered I think I did ok. :)

1) read 50 books - 27 (more than any year in a LONG time! Calling this a success of it's own!)
2) visit 3 new states - 2 (Alaska & Florida)
3) start selling my invitations and hand lettering  - YAY!
4) completely clean out the bedroom and closet - SO SO CLOSE!
5) start saving money, intentionally, ideally $1000 per pay period
6) have fun cooking again
7) learn to make a new dessert
8) send more than just envelopes in the mail (packages, gifts, etc.)
9) do yoga again! Ideally 3 times per week at least.
10) get back to work on my scrapbooks
11) watch 12 classic or cult classic movies (9 - A Philadelphia Story, 9-5, psycho, the addams family, practical magic, clueless, home alone, elf, the princess bride,)

12) take 5 classes, workshops, etc. related to invitation design and lettering
13) focus on KC and I's Christmas traditions, and make more
14) blog at least once per week
15) buy a moto jacket
16) start learning my DSLR
17) host a clue themed party
18) see a play or musical
19) plan out 5 legitimate date nights - 2 whomp. whomp.
20) plan some kind of party for just the girls in my life :)

Other accomplishments;

  • Saw more concerts this year than any other so far - 8 total! ....  checked Jack White off KC's bucket list, again! :) (Jack White & Loretta Lynn, Broods, Vance Joy (at Afentra's Prom), Taylor Swift, Celtic Woman, Black Violin, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Modest Mouse, Train, Glass Animals.)
  • Did a lot of travel! 6 trips! (NOLA (take 2), Nashville, Indianapolis, Alaska, Florida, Arizona)
  • Learned some fun new board games. Any other board game lovers out there?! - (Carcassone, Agricola, Tsuro, King of Tokyo, Wits and Wagers, Jamaica, Avalon, 7 Wonders (+ 3 expansions), Pandemic, Coup, Castles of Burgundy, ... and probably more!)
  • Read a lot more books than previous years! 27. Two of which were classics, and three being The Selection Series. :)
  • Checked lots of things off of my 1,001 in 101 list!
  • Adopted Scalawag!!
  • Reached # of Blog Views
  • Celebrated four great years of marriage! & almost 9 as a couple!!
  • Survived my family moving, and visited them once (see AZ above)
  • Started my Stationery Business! (Completed: 2 Baby Announcements, 2 Wedding Suites, 1 Set of Save-the-Dates, 4 Sets of Christmas Cards, 2 Sets of Bridal Shower Invitations, 1 Bachelorette Invitation, 1 Set of Hand Drawn Wedding Map Inserts, 3 Sets of Other Party Invitations, 1 Moving Announcement, 10 Custom Address Stamps, 4 Sets of Thank You Notes, & Countless Lettering projects!) & Started: 3 other weddings for 2016, as well as at least 2 baby announcements! - pretty awesome!!
  • We saved lots of money, and had an extremely productive (and more enjoyable) August - December due to some planning, less plans overall, and taking the time to layout some goals!

How was your 2015? What did you do? What are you proud of?

What do you want to accomplish in 2016?

Thanks to all of the readers, followers, and friends who have supported this blog this year. I really appreciate it, it keeps me going! :) 

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snapshots of an Arizona Christmas 2015

Hi everyone! I hope you have been enjoying the last week, getting psyched for the holidays or not. Whatever floats your boat.

We spent the last 5 days in Arizona visiting my family for the first time since they moved. :) We had a good mix of downtime doing Christmassy stuff with Olivia and seeing more of the area where they live. It was very needed, and very hard to leave.

We made a ginger bread house, paper snowflakes, a Christmas dinner, drew pictures, made rein(root)beers, and played catch. We watched 4 Christmas movies as well.

We drove through the superstition mountains, did a photo shoot with Jenny Karges (SHE'S AMAZING!), visited Schnepf Farms, and an olive mill, and did some shopping.

We tried out some of my family's favorite restaurants since moving. We had Thai food, diner food, and HUGE nachos! :)

Overall it was pretty laid back, but we had such a great time. It was really difficult to leave, and I'm still missing them lots, but I am grateful that we got to go down there before the end of the year. Trying to distract myself and get geared up for a Kansas Christmas now. :)

What have you all been up to? Or what do you have coming up?



Monday, December 14, 2015

A Few Pictures From "Friendsmas" Ugly Sweater Edition

We had a semi-impromptu gathering of a few people last night for games and snacks.

We wore ugly sweaters and chatted about bad exes, weddings, and Star Wars. I took... not very many pictures you guys... what can I say... we've been busy.  So most of these are of the prep process....

Here are just a few!

We made "reinbeers" - fun. I was pretty sure everyone would be like... oh ok, you went there... that's great .... but actually everyone really loved them! The only other guy there besides KC went up to the fridge and was literally laughing and saying how fun they were. Then his reinbeer's eye popped off. Whoops. It's good to have a project though, right?

KC wore his dad's xmas sweater from the '90's. His mom DIYed them back in the day and they have matching ones. Which we have worn together before... :) I love that he kept his buffalo check underneath. There is a lot of hipster happening in this ensemble. I found mine at the Salvation Army for $8 (maybe...) over the summer... along with those shoes for the same price. The shoes had never been worn or very very little... so I couldn't pass them up. Too. Festive. I should mention that I absolutely love these sequined sparkly pants... I wear them all the time, with everything. I had worn them to a ballet earlier in the day and decided they were just crazy enough to make my outfit tackier. So, on they stayed. Seriously though, yoga pants on the inside, sparkles on the outside, where's the bad?!

Uh yeah, we are THOSE cat parents. Our poor poor future littles.

Speaking of the ballet. One of my best friends, Juliet is a dancer. She's awesome. We try to go to as many of her shows as we can. She hasn't actually done ballet in a long time, she's does modern now. but she knocked it out of the park as Older Clara / The Sugar Plum Princess in LFK's version of the Nutcracker, The Kansas Nutcracker. I LOVE The Nutcracker... but we had not yet seen this version. Delightful. I should also mention, the tiny kids who performed as snowflakes, mice, grasshoppers, etc. for their classes were ah. dor. able. I could not stop laughing when the tiny mice couldn't pull the injured (adult sized) mouse king off the stage. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a LONG time. Anyhow, I managed to snap myself out of my day dream to catch a few pictures. How gorgeous is this?! Woohoo Juliet!

This week we head to Arizona to see MY FAMILY! YAY. I will maybe throw in some quick desert xmas posts if I get a second. Perhaps during my second viewing of Christmas Vacation... ;)

What are y'all up to?

Anybody want the reinbeer tutorial... or is that kind of a duh.. ? We might make Olivia Rein(root)beers. :P



Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Christmas Movie Bucketlist 2015 / #alltheChristmasmovies Week

Here's the last post of #alltheChristmasmovies Week. Thank you for talking movies with me, sharing your favorites, letting me know your tbw list, and getting into the holiday spirit! :) I am also posting KC & I's Favorites Christmas Movies today!

Today I'm sharing My 2015 Christmas Movie Bucketlist, we'll see how I do! :) These are all movies I have never seen! :)

Christmas Movie Bucketlist 2015:

Meet Me in St. Louis

Another classic, this musical features Judy Garland & the classic song "Have Yourself A Merry Litte Christmas". The costumes alone are fabulous enough to make me want to see it. :)


This is another one that people just can't believe I haven't seen. The truth is, I was never a huge Will Farrell fan. I liked him in Superstar (basically just because it's one of my favorite movies EVER), and blades of glory... (not sure why), and then Stranger than Fiction (not his typical character type) ... so I've just skipped out on most other Will Farrell Movies. However, for the sake of the season I'm willing to give this one a try. :)

I'll Be Home for Christmas

JTT and Mrs. Justin Timberlake? A '90's dream. I remember really wanting to see this when it came out, but I never got to watch it. I hope to find it (somehow...) this year and change that. :)

White Christmas

Another from the classics list, I still can't believe I haven't seen this one. Rosemary Clooney is great, and I have never seen her in a movie! For the song "Sisters" alone... I need to see this one. :)

Holiday Inn

Another classic, we got this DVD a few years back but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. It looks really cute, but I think it also contains some really really not PC parts... nothing to be done about it so many years later... but I'm not sure if it will become a favorite or not.

Four Christmases

I wanted to see this since it came out years ago, but have never had the chance. I love the idea of the movie; a couple who takes vacations every Christmas to avoid stressful family situations gets caught in their lie and must participate in 4 family Christmases in one year. I love Reese Witherspoon, and I think this looks pretty funny. Not a big fan of Vince Vaughn... so we'll see!

Christmas in Connecticut

The plot alone on this one makes me want to see it! It's even got an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. A recovering war hero reads the newspaper column "Diary of a Housewife," and must meet the woman behind it. AND her husband and family that she writes so much about. Turns out, it's all fake. She's single! In order to keep up the illusion she sets up house on a farm in Connecticut, hiring actors to be her family. - this sounds delightful you guys.

Miracle on 34th Street

Another one that's just crazy that I haven't seen it. I hope this year I get a chance! :)

Home Alone - CHECK!

You guys freaked out over this one! But I have NOW SEEN IT! It's so so so so good, I can't wait to add it to my list that I watch every year! :)

Bad Santa

Still a little on the fence about whether or not I would like this one.. but it's definitely not going to be like the others. I'm all about variety... I'll keep you guys posted...

Other Xmas Movie Posts: 10 Classic Christmas Movies10 Non-Traditional Christmas Movie Picks, KC & I's Favorite Christmas Movies.

Have you seen any of these? What do you think of them?

Any that I've TOTALLY forgotten in these posts?



KC & I's Favorite Christmas Movies / #alltheChristmasmovies Week

#alltheChristmasmovies week keeps on going with KC & I's favorites! Also being posted today, our Christmas Movie Bucket List... you won't believe some of the ones I haven't seen... !

Here is a list of our three favorites each. Funny 2/3 are the same.... :)


The Santa Clause

So classic. This '90's kid loves The Santa Clause. Papa Giggo!

Love Actually

The classic, non-traditional pick. It's not too funny or too serious. A really great movie. Poor Karl. : /

The Holiday

Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, and Jack Black. Plus adorable British children and cute old men. What's there not to love?!


The Holiday

KC loves this one. He cracks up, especially at this part with Jack Black. Sometimes we scroodle-do songs. Yes, really.


I mentioned Scrooged before, but this is a KC classic. He loves Bill Murray movies in general... which I have barely seen any of. This one is still one of his favorite Christmas movies. I'm trying really hard to like it. ;)

Love Actually

We have an annual Love Actually & Hotschnappslate night. It's awesome. I think KC appreciates the British humor in this one. It's hard not to. :)

Other Xmas Movie Posts: 10 Classic Christmas Movies, 10 Non-Traditional Christmas Movie Picks, Our Christmas Movie Bucketlist 2015.

Which are your all time favorites?



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

10 Non-Traditional Christmas Movies / #alltheChristmasmovies Week

It's #alltheChristmasmovies week here at Simply Alexandra. (it seemed like the thing to do...)! I've got at least four Christmas Movie posts planned to help you get into the holiday spirit. From my personal favorites to non-traditional picks... here we go!

Today I am featuring those off beat Christmas movies, or ones that take place during the holidays. They still get you feeling festive... but they aren't the obvious picks! :)

10 Non-Traditional Christmas Movies

The Holiday

This is the happiest, feel good-iest, most adorable holiday romcom. Just watch it. :)

Synopsis: Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) are tired of their lives. Amanda is a workaholic who just ended a bad long term relationship, and Iris is a writer who is in a toxic unrequited relationship with her ex. The two women are desperate for a change and exchange homes for the holiday season through a website. Amanda ends up in the English countryside, where there are "no men" until she runs into Iris's brother Graham (Jude Law). Iris ends up in L.A. she has the time of her life in Amanda's fancy home, and a blast meeting Amanda's friends and neighbors. Most notably Arthur, Amanda's elderly neighbor, an authentic old Hollywood director, and Miles (Jack Black), a composer who worked with Amanda's boyfriend. Life changing stuff y'all.

Love Actually

You've probably seen this one by now... but it's another favorite. It's movie made up of multiple plots that slightly intersect. It's the inspiration behind "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve", but MUCH better.... :) While this is a romcom... it's definitely got some drama. And is much more realistic than The Holiday. It's not all happy endings, but it's a really good movie. :)

Synopsis: Various love stories during the holidays. All taking place (mostly) in London. From the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and his secretary, to the single guy flying to Milwaukee to meet "girls gone wild" ladies, the little boy in love with a school mate to a writer on holiday (Colin Firth) ... there are a lot of laughs and a few tears. Every story is different, each one making the movie a great one to watch.

Bridget Jones's Diary

I had not seen this until last year, but it is heart warming, hilarious, and relateable. We've all had a Bridget Jones type day.

Synopsis: Bridget Jones is 32 years old, and her life is a mess. She wants to make big changes in the new year, so she decides to keep a journal and document changing her life. This movie spans a year, and includes two Christmases, so I think it works for this post! It's really hilariously delightful. I recommend checking it out! Rated R.

While You Were Sleeping

This is one I tend to forget about, but really really love. It's sweet and you can't go wrong with my girl Sandy B.

Synopsis: Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is a train toll operator and is secretly in love with a regular passenger. When he falls onto the tracks one day she saves his life. She follows him to the hospital, where he is in a coma, and his family assumes she is his girlfriend. They take her in for the holidays, and complications arise as she falls for his brother.

The Family Stone

This is my mom's favorite Christmas movie. I kind of love it too, it's a little bit sad, but I love those movies that have big family gatherings in them. :)

Synopsis: When Sibyl's (Diane Keaton) oldest son announces he is bringing a woman home for Christmas she is worried. When her son Everett (Dermot Mulroney) arrives with his girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) the whole family is instantly against her, and they don't try to hide it. Sibling shenanigans occur until she is forced to her breaking point. One family member is nice though, Everett's brother Ben (Luke Wilson). When Meredith's adventurous younger sister (Claire Danes) comes to join them, everything is turned upside down. There are also tons of well known actors in this one! This is one where you will laugh, cry, and wish you had a lot of siblings. :)

Little Women

I grew up watching this one. I love the story, it's so sweet an timeless. Though this movie spans years and therefore many seasons, I always want to watch it at Christmastime.

Synopsis: While her husband is away at war Marmie (Susan Sarandon) is left to raise her four daughters Meg, Jo (Winona Ryder), Beth (Claire Danes), and Amy (Kirsten Dunst) and manage her home on her own. The story tells the tale of girls growing up together. They play, fight, grow up, etc. It's very relateable despite the setting. Let's not forget Laurie (Christian Bale), who steals the heart of at least one of the sisters. In the end it's a heartwarming story.

Mean Girls

I haven't seen this in years... but it was a favorite when it came out. While not really a Christmas movie, who can forget this scene... ?

You know this one... :)

Bad Santa

I have never seen this. It always looked kinda silly... but it's on a lot of lists... so I guess I should watch it at some point. Plus, Lauren Graham. Duh. (not quite Lorelai... haha)

Synopsis: Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner pose as Santa and an Elf every year to pull off a Christmas con. Willie is depressed and turning to alcohol, Willie thinks it's too late for him. His behanvior tips off mall security (Bernie Mac). When Willie is befriended by a kid, he realizes maybe it isn't too late for him after all. - We'll see you guys...

Edward Scissorhands

This is not a Christmas movie... but part of it does take place during Christmas. It was one of my all-time favorite movies in high school. :) If you haven't seen this before, it's a little strange, but a really good movie. Johnny Depp knocks it out of the park as usual. :)

Synopsis: When an inventor creates an animated man, but dies before completing him, Edward (Johnny Depp) is left with scissors for hands. Discovered by an Avon lady he is brought home to live with her. While there he falls in love with her daughter (Winona Ryder). Conflict ensues, as it is hard to be accepted when you have scissors for hands. It's all about acceptance and being different. We can all relate to that right?

Dan in Real Life

I love this movie, and while I usually watch it in the fall, some friends have said that they like to watch it at Christmastime. I love that idea, such a great big family movie, but a little less sad than The Family Stone. :) If you haven't seen it I highly recommend.

Synopsis: Dan is an advice columnist for a newspaper as well as a single dad. He is raising his three girls as best he can, but he's not happy. When the four of them take a trip to visit the whole family, Dan finds what he has been missing. This movie is a little sad, hopeful, honest, and really pretty funny. I love it!

There you have it! 10 non-traditional holiday movies to get you in the spirit.

Other Xmas Movie Posts: 10 Classic Christmas MoviesKC & I's Favorite Christmas Movies, our Christmas Movie Bucketlist 2015.

Have you seen any of these?

Are your favorites as well?