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Happy Halloween

Hey y'all,

I grew up in a family where Halloween was a big deal. Our house was always decorated for Fall first and then lots of Halloween treats. My parents still send us kids Halloween themed cards and on occasion we get boo bags filled with decor and candy for our homes.  Our costumes often came from our dress-up basket or from trips to the thrift store to find items. I remember being a clown, gypsy, flower child, and a witch. This year I decided to go the easy route and went as a witch since my little & grandlitte's party was on Saturday night after church and another friend's Harry Potter Party.
Here are my five favorite last minute Halloween costume ideas if you need to dress up for work or for tonight to go to a gathering or even just hand out candy to little ones.
Grab a bathrobe, curlers, and some stuffed animal cats. 
The only tough part might be the suspenders and knee socks

All you need is a red coat, a hat and it's time to travel the globe. 

If you need more last minute costume inspiration, Ellen always has amazing kids costume ideas. This year's ideas are below. My favorite would have to be the piece of cake.

What are you doing for Halloween?
Favorite costume you have ever worn?
Best,
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Five on Friday {October 28}


Hey y'all,

It has been another busy week and I cannot believe that we have made it to Friday already. This weekend is packed with seeing friends for a Harry Potter party, a Halloween party, two coffee dates, and the usual serving and attending church. I'm hoping I can squeeze watching a Halloween themed movie in there as well.

one.Blog Friends. Lsat night, Ashley from According to Ashley and I met up for dinner. Ashley just moved down to the Land of the Pines and it was so nice to meet in real life. Ashley and I have been email/blog friends since my first blog-Jane Austen Meets Southern Prepster circa 2010! I deleted that blog but I have comment evidence on a post from Preppin' Postgrad back in 2012. I'm excited for lots of adventures here in the Triangle.
Image result for land of the pines
two. Fitbit.I have the fitbit flex and wore if for a little over a year when back in March, I developed a rash. My doctor informed me that I was allergic/sensitive to the band of my fitbit. I tried a few different fitbit bands to see if the rash was from a specific dye in the bands but it wasn't working out. So I resigned not wearing a fitbit. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Tory Burch had her private sale and the Tory sport fitbit bands were on major sale. I ended up snagging the silver and black leather double wrap bracelet for under $50!

three.Partly Cloudy. Thursday, one of my co-workers shared this Pixar short with us since she self-identified as being a dark cloud in a lot of our meetings.
four. David's Tea. I am a big fan of celebrating each holiday separately and since we still haven't passed Halloween I don't want to chat to much about Christmas but some adorable advent calendars are now available including this one from David's Tea. I'm trying to convince myself that I do not need it since I have plenty of tea.
24 Days of Tea

five.Hamilton's America. Y'all, if you did not watch Hamilton's America on Friday, go to pbs.com or the PBS app and watch it! It was a great mix of the history behind the musical and the making of the show. I may have already watched it three times. You have until November 18th before it disappears.Image result for hamilton america

Six. Likes on Facebook. If you haven't been on Facebook to like someone's post, try it out today. They have changed the emotions to Halloween themed characters. I personally love the monster of Dr. Frankenstein is the sad face. 
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What are y'all up to this weekend? 
Halloween parties? 

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.
Also linking up with Brighton.
And Erika


Best,

Saturday Snaps {October 22}

Hey y'all,

I am currently waiting on my car at the dealership since Cora the Corolla officially hit 50,000 miles! Since I have this set aside time, I thought I would blog and share some photos I have recently snaped over the last few weeks. Some of them you might find on my instagram here.

Did you know Panera has the best green smoothie? I was running late to my car appointment and didn't even have time to make breakfast so I swung by Panera and ordered the Passion Power Green Smoothie. The smoothie is made of peach and mango purees and white grape and passionfruit juice concentrates blended with fresh spinach and ice.

At the recent bloggers meet up for TriFabb, I recieved these gorgeous hoop earrings from Brosway in the swag bag from Halie's Boutique. Well, really I received them in gold and Traci received the silver so we swapped since she is a gold fan. Ignore the crazy face I made when texting these beauties with friends.
A few weeks ago, my friend Ashley turned 29 and to celebrate a group of us all got up and met at Chic-Fil-A at 6:30am before work since the stores in the Triangle were offering free chicken minis that morning. It was a great way to celebrate our sweet friend and bible study leader.
Any La Croix fans out there? Love a Diet Coke Cherry? This summer I discovered the Dasani sparkling water and the Black Cherry with crushed ice is the perfect pick-me-up in the afternoon at work.
I hung out with these furry friends last weekend while their Mom was away.
This is what I wore to the TriFabb meetup and I have worn this exact ensemble a few different times. I think it would be perfect for a Carolina game day.
Last Saturday, I ran the Gigi's Cupcake 5K. It is always a fun race and benefits Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina.
Have you recently asked Siri what you should be for Halloween? My friend posted her response and I had to share mine. Perfect response for this English Lit major.
It's Fall! My current go-to snack is a cup of tea and a Fuji apple with crunchy pb.
Did you know you can vote for the next president of the Artic? Of course I voted Narwhal! Check out your local Paper Source store to vote or you can vote online here.

What are you dressing as for Halloween?
Team Narwhal or Team Walrus?

Best,

Five on Friday {October 21}

Hey y'all,

I have had a wonderful week filled with small joys between spending time learning about strategies to reading the bible, spending time just listening to a friend who is having a rough week, and meeting so many sweet women at a bloggers meet up.

one.If you have been reading for a while, you know my love for the food/recipe blog, Skinnytaste. Well, Gina released her second book and I might have spent last night marking every recipe I want to try. The book is focused on slow cooker meals and meals that take 30 minutes or less. The Kale Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken is at the top of my list.

two. Last night I went to a blogger meet up for Triangle Area Bloggers and was introduced to the jewelry line brosway. I had never heard of this Italian based jewelry line but how gorgeous are those stud earrings. I might have the light blue earrings on my list for Christmas since they are perfect for Carolina games. They are made of Swarovski crystals and are only $40! I'll share more about the meet-up next week.

three. I received a lot of compliments on my nail color and it's one I have been wearing a lot this fall. It is called Making Mauves from Sally Hansen. I grabbed it at the Harris Teeter the morning of my friend's wedding and its the perfect gray/pink color.
four.Bible Study. This fall I ended up switching bible study groups and luckily, it has been a smooth transition. The group is really supportive and has helped me to find joy in the Word again. The other night, Ellie decided to join us and send death glares since we seemed to be interrupting her nap.

five. If you didn't read Wednesday's post, the highlight of my week was meeting the sweet Emily Ley. Emily is the designer behind the Simplified Planner (I love mine) and lots of cute desk accessories. Emily was here to speak at the Making Things Happen Conference and did a book signing of her new book, Grace Not Perfection. Y'all, this book is so great and has some workbook elements in it to help you. I would highly recommend grabbing this book ASAP!

This weekend I have a whole lot of rest on the agenda. Tonight I will be sitting in front of the TV to watch PBS's great performance Hamilton's America and the rest of my weekend will be filled with Barre3 classes and a trip to get my car serviced.

What are you up to this weekend? 
What was one highlight of your week?
 Have you already started shopping for the holidays?
Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.
Also linking up with Brighton.

Best,

What I'm Reading Wednesday {Grace Not Perfection}

Hey y'all,

I try to reserve writing about books until I have finished them and can write a complete review but since I just started Emily Ley's new book, Grace Not Perfection on Saturday and I am already halfway through I thought I could make an exception.
 About the book:

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. 
As a busy wife, new mother, business owner, and designer, Emily Ley came to a point when she suddenly realized she couldn’t do it all. She needed to simplify her life, organize her days, and prioritize the priorities. She decided to hold herself to a standard of grace rather than perfection. This mantra led to the creation of her bestselling Simplified Planner®, a favorite among busy women everywhere—from mamas to executives and everywhere in between.
Grace, Not Perfection takes this message from a daily planner to an inspirational book that encourages women to simplify and prioritize. Designed with Emily Ley’s signature aesthetic, this book gives women tangible ways to simplify their lives to give space to what matters most. With a focus on faith, Emily reminds readers that God abundantly pours out grace on us—and that surely we can extend grace to ourselves.
Have you been told you can have it all, only to end up exhausted and occasionally out of sorts with the people you love? Are you ready for a new way of seeing your time? Learn to live a little more simply. Hold yourself and those you love to a more life-giving standard in Grace Not Perfection,and allow that grace to seep into your days, your family, and your heart.
Ideas include:
List Making 101—tips to create effective to-do lists and get through them one step at a time
Simplify your life by simplifying the three major areas: your space, your time, and your mind
Strategies to center your day around an intentionally slower rhythm of life
 

The book is sectioned off into three parts, grace for yourself, grace for others, grace for your calling. I am in the secton section but one thing that struck me was this diagram about all the things we need to fill our heart and mind and body. "We can't draw water from an empty well. And when we are empty, we're good for no one."


Tonight, Emily was actually in town from Florida and I went to her book signing. This was actually my first book signing (I know that can sound shocking since this English major loves a great book). It was a great time to just hear about Emily's heart and here her answers to questions about some of her motivation.
Emily was so sweet to talk to and Gina Zeidler was kind enough to take photos for everyone. I have a few different products from Emily Ley, including my simplified planner so meeting such a sweet down to earth woman who has a heart for sharing her story was powerful. I really reccomend you to read it especially if you are like me and are a recovering perfectionist in a world where we define our perfection/lives by comparing ourselves to the social media snapshot of others.
What are you reading right now?
Are you a fan of Emily Ley's products?

Best,
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Sunday Sayings {October 16}

Hey y'all,

I think as women we often struggle with people's perceptions of us. We are in a culture where perfection is sought after but this week it really hit me that I will never be perfect, I am a sinner and Christ is the only perfect person to have walked on this earth. I think our culture wants us to put on perfect airs but in reality, I am not perfect. I admit, I spend way to much time on Facebook and other social media outlets and say I am to busy for things like my blog or even putting my social media above my quiet time with my Bible.

I am human and I struggle daily with a lot of things but that is life. This weekend is busy between helping watch the furry children of my friends, helping out at church and celebrating a good friends birthday. I hope you all carve out some time to rest and reflect this weekend. Sometimes speaking out loud our mistakes are the scary part but I can tell you we have all made them.

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What's on your heart this weekend?

Best,

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Five on Friday {October 14}

Hey y'all,

This fall looks like it keeps getting busier and busier. Yesterday, my roommate and I finally saw each other for the first time in a week and we also planned to hang out, next Friday. Yep, our schedules are that packed. This week I also celebrated my blog's 100th post and Sunday marks 1 year of blogging on Just Jess. I might have to bake something to celebrate.

As always, since it is Friday, it's time to share 5 things about my week.

one.NC State Fair. The state fair opened yesterday and I am excited that Tuesday night I am headed to the Raleigh Fairgrounds to explore with some of my sweet bible study friends. I never ride the rides or really play the games. I go to the fair for the food and looking at all the exhibits. My favorite thing to get is always the fried Oreos. This years' weird food list includes: a deep-fried Klondike bar, Caramel apple crisp ice cream, grilled cheese wrapped in bacon called the Man sandwich, and a blueberry-infused funnel cake. It's a Fall tradition to always go to the fair.
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two. Hearing. This week one of my ears began to feel muffled on Monday night. Well, after a trip to the doctor I am all better. I merely had a compacted wall of wax by my eardrum. It does make you appreciate having all of your senses.

three. my Crockpot. I have not cooked one night this week after making soup and spaghetti squash in the crockpot this past weekend. It has been a lifesaver with my schedule being crazy. I have a few new recipes I plan on trying over the next week or so and I will share any favorites and maybe fails if they happen.

four. Fall Weather. After hurricane Matthew, the fall weather decided to show up. I broke out my riding boots on Monday to pair with my go-to swing dress and then wore a blanket scarf (similar) on Wednesday. I now need all the fall clothes. I currently want this blanket scarf for Carolina games.
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five. Smoothie Bowls. I have recently been making smoothie bowls a lot for dinner when I don't want to cook and not feeling my leftovers. They are really simple and really filling. My go to has been kale, pineapple, mango, peaches, banana, and mixed with water and oj. I top with some mini chocolate chips and granola. I also love banana, strawberry, spinach, acai, with almond milk and chocolate protein powder topped with fresh banana and strawberries. So many options!
What is your favorite Fair Food?
Favorite meal you made this week?
What are you up to this weekend?
Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha.
Also linking up with Brighton.

Best,
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100


Hey y'all,

This post marks 100 posts on this here blog and Sunday marks one year of Just Jess.It's crazy to think this is my third blog and I am finally feeling like this space is me. I wrote my first blog, Jane Austen Prepster while in college after having a Tumblr by the same name and it essentially became an online scrapbook. My second attempt is still out there, Preppin' Postgrad, but now that we are more than 4 years since I graduated I wanted a space that could grow with me. In the last year I have been encouraged by real life friends who blog and the blogging community to keep going. Some of the lessons I have learned in the last 100 posts include:

To keep sharing the things I love as evidenced in my top posts are all Five on Fridays.
To connect with others always. I have some of the best blog readers and I love starting conversations over email that spark from a comment. 

To stop apologizing. I think this is my hardest lesson but I think as women we often go to apologizing over things first. I blog when I feel like writing. I do not post when I feel like I have nothing to say/no inspiration. I have over 20 blog posts in the draft stages but I refuse to hit publish unless I feel like it is really my voice. If this blog is supposed to be Just Jess, than I need to make sure that my content is 100% me. 

To share the mundane. I love reading other people's lifestyle posts and hearing about weddings, kids, and the little things so I need to remember that my audience might just love those things as well. 

Rest is valuable. My word of the year is simple and rest. This blog has been a great way to reflect and remind myself of simple joys and pleasures. I think the blog world has become a place that often we can go into a pit of comparison but I hope my blog shows you simple is to be celebrated. 

If you blog, what lessons have you learned recently? 
What kinds of posts do you love to read? Recipes? Lifestyle? Fashion? Faith?

Best,

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