Showing posts from 2017

Happy New Year!

Just taking a minute to wish you a Happy New Year, and thank you for reading Chapters. I know I'm not the easiest person to keep up with, as I have a raging case of perfectionism that often causes me to erase things that are lovely without notice. I will continue working on that in the new year. Full disclosure: I have, once again, been considering shutting down the blog, but here is what I'm going to do instead... I am going to take the month of January to focus on my Instagram account, posting higher quality photos with thoughtful captions. If I feel like having a blog and an Instagram account is redundant, well, so be it. But I won't delete Chapters until I come to a well thought out decision, so it won't be an impulsive action that I take back a month (or a week) later.
Remember, my Instagram account is public, so you don't need an account yourself to follow me there. Just click on the photos and you'll see a larger size of the photo, and be able to read …

Post Christmas

Santa certainly treated me well this year! Four days of relaxation with my husband and pups, and some super awesome gifts, like this one! 🠊
Yes, the Penguin Classics black & white collection that I SO wanted. I can't wait to dive into some of these bad boys, but in the meantime they make a beautiful art piece. 
Aside from my new books, Jason and I were gifted a lot of wine-related items. Is everyone trying to tell us something?!
I've started working on my thoughts going into 2018. One thing I want to focus on is gratitude and creativity, in combination. So I want to be more present, and post photos on Instagram with more in-depth captions. Maybe something like a photo-a-day mini blog...? I'm looking forward to getting back into short journaling as a daily practice, and writing here on the blog when I feel the creative urge to contemplate on bigger life events and thoughts. And in huge news, after a single day on the market, Jason and I sold our house! The details are…

First Snow

❄ We got our first snow last night! ❄

1 WEEK!!!

Woah, 1 more week until Christmas. I can't believe how quickly time passes. 
Obviously, I did not succeed in my December challenge of blogging every day. But hey, strive for progress, not perfection, right?! The weekend just got away from me. We had to get my car serviced on Saturday, and Saturday evening was spent with friends. Yesterday, it was errands as usual, and cleaning the house to get it ready to put on the market! I am really getting into this opportunity to clean and organize all of our possessions, and I am having a hard time sitting still at home now. A new idea of how to organize something and make it look nicer pops into my head while we're sitting on the sofa, so I jump up and get to it. The idea that we're going to move with minimal possessions is very exciting to me.
So today, on this final Monday morning before Christmas, and the last Monday I'll be working this year, I'm going to share the three quotes I've chosen to print for my 2018 journ…


So, it looks like Jason and I are planning to buy a new house next year! We had always been discussing it, saying "in the next few years," but then we stopped into the model home of a new neighborhood being built, and we kind of fell in love. After gathering some info, and crunching some numbers, we've decided to move up our moving plans to... now. So, I'm about to be crazy busy over the holidays, cleaning up and organizing the house for potential buyers to come through. On top of that, my mind is just racing with decorating ideas for the new house! Here are some of my ideas for the kitchen so far:
 For accent walls throughout the house, I'm really liking a light/sage green color.
I love this storage design for appliances.  I would love to have a minimal, clean look to the kitchen at all times.
A black and white gallery wall in the dining nook.  Can you picture it? Black & white photos with that sage green color? 
I also started a wish list on Amazon for p…

3 Years

Yesterday marked 3 years since Jason and I met. On December 13, 2014, we were set up on a blind date by mutual coworkers. 
Last night, as we do every year, we went back to the restaurant where we met to celebrate. When our waitress asked if we had been there before, I said, "Yep, we met here 3 years ago today. At this very table." It was so sweet; after our dinner, she brought us the famous Nutella dessert pizza to celebrate our anniversary. YUMMMM!!!
It has been a truly wonderful 3 years, without a doubt the best 3-year stretch of my life. I don't think I could feel luckier to have him, and our girls, and the life that we do.

An Introvert During the Holidays

Any fellow introverts reading this?
The holidays are always a bit of a tough season for me, energetically speaking. I absolutely bask in the warm and cozy moments, but the busy social moments are a bit of a different story.
This post is especially timely this week, because Thursday night will be our only evening this week without plans. This really wears on my poor introvert soul. 
We hosted a get-together at our house on Monday evening, and the last handful of guests left at 11 pm. 11 PM!!! On a Monday night!!! As you can probably imagine, this immediately got me off to an exhausted start to the week, and the following evening we had dinner plans, so I still haven't caught up. Tonight, we are celebrating the 3 year anniversary of the day we met, so at least tonight's plans are low-key, and we'll be home early enough for a bit of chill time. 
The other problem I run into frequently this time of year are the large gatherings. Our get-together on Monday evening had nearly 2…

Christmas Top 5

Disclaimer: I "borrowed" this idea from one of my favorite blogs, mariannan
My Top 5:
Holiday Movies:    1. It's a Wonderful Life    2. A Christmas Story    3. Home Alone    4. Rudolp    5. Elf 
Holiday Treats:     1. Mom's Sugar Cookies    2. Snickerdoodles    3. Apple Pie    4. Polar Bear Coke    5. Hot Chocolate Holiday Traditions:    1. Christmas movies with the tree lights on    2. 1 gift on Christmas Eve    3. Falling asleep to 24 hours of A Christmas Story    4. Christmas pajamas    5. Going to The Nutcracker ballet
Holiday Songs:    1. All I Want for Christmas Is You    2. Silver Bells    3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas    4. It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas    5. White Christmas  
What are your favorites?

Little Fires Everywhere (review)

Remember, Mia had said: Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.
Chances are, you've heard of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere  at least a dozen times this year. Overall, it lives up to its positive hype. It gets off to a bit of a slow start, but the characters really start to develop after the first 50 or so pages. And then you get sucked in. My eyes were moving faster than my brain could keep up for the rest of the novel. 
Mia and Pearl are the Bohemian bunch. The Richardsons are the "normal, all-American" family. For some reason, this alone creates enough tension to start a quiet war. I can't say much about the plot without giving away any spoilers, but I will recommend you read this novel. 
Do you see my challenge with the whole book blogging/reviewing thing? I'm so anxious about not giving away any s…

2 Recipes

WHEW! I worked my butt off today in the kitchen. 6 pans of cookies, 1 loaf of banana bread, and white chicken chili in the Crock Pot. Why isn't there a 12 Days of Christmas song to show how exhausting the baking process can be?! 
Today, I'm sharing 2 family recipes with you: one is my mom's sugar cookie recipe, and the other is my grandmother's banana bread recipe. The banana bread I make all year round, every time we forget we bought bananas at the grocery store and they go brown on us. But the sugar cookies are a December treat that I look forward to all year. It's not quite as much fun now that I don't live close enough to bake and decorate them WITH my mom, but they're still delicious.

❄Gram's Banana Bread❄ This recipe was published in a local cookbook, and has always been a family favorite.
Ingredients: 3 bananas1 tsp. baking soda1 cup sugar2 eggs1.5 cups flour1 tsp vanilla1/3 cup butter Mash bananas, add baking soda, and let stand. Cream butter and…

Favorite Things: Weekend Edition

Raindrops on roses,
   Whiskers on kittens,
       Bright copper kettles,
          Warm woolen mittens.

True, those are some pretty awesome things, but to personalize a bit more, today I bring you a few of MY favorite things: weekend edition. There may be future editions around other themes, but since it's Saturday morning, and I was looking forward to this weekend even more than usual, I knew this was the right one to start with. So, without further ado...
Waking up without an alarm, warm dog cuddles in bed for at least an hour or longer, leisurely hot breakfasts, returning to bed with a cup of tea after breakfast to read, Saturday night movie and snuggles on the sofa, changing from pajama pants into sweats or yoga pants after a long shower, weekend days when we don't have a plan, weekend day road trips, getting into an uninterrupted "zone" for whatever I feel like doing - cleaning/reading/cooking, spending more time with my babies and Jason, trying new recipes, r…

Reflection: Friendships

Have you ever heard that it's so much harder making friends as an adult? You don't make friends as easily by circumstance: same class, same sports team, etc. It takes more of an effort. You don't automatically spend 8 hours a day in the same place. Instead, you all have different lives and responsibilities: different jobs, families, errands. This can be worrying, especially if you find yourself moving across the country, all alone, in your late twenties. (Hi, this was me!)
Turns out, it really hasn't been that difficult to make friends as an adult. And considering what a small town I moved to, I know that if I can do it, anyone can. I've also found that the friendships I've developed as an adult feel so much more genuine than hanging onto the few high school friendships because they're comfortable. Don't get me wrong, I adore my one remaining high school friend, and we've transitioned to an adult friendship pretty seamlessly. The other friendships …

Life, Updated

Today, I thought I would update you on a few of my major stories of 2017. If you've been with me for a while, you know I've struggled quite a bit with anxiety, especially in the last year and a half. During that time, I married Jason, quit 2 jobs, started 2 jobs, adopted a new puppy, and began having regular panic attacks. It was a whirlwind, to put it mildly. I haven't really given a big picture update in a while, so here it is:
Marriage is going wonderfully! Jason has been by my side through the tough times, and my love for him grows stronger constantly. I still pinch myself, and I still have no idea how I got so lucky to find this dream of a man in my thirties. Next week, we will celebrate our third anniversary of the day we met. We were set up by a couple of mutual coworkers, and met on a group blind date. Nerve wracking! But it was pretty much love at first sight. Without a doubt, he is the one I am most grateful for.
My current job is also going fabulously! It took …

2018 Vision Board

Today, I am sharing some images which represent my goals and hopes for the upcoming year. More music, more smelling of the roses, more yoga, more puppy love, and more love in general. All of these things factor into my plans for the new year. There are few moments that inspire me more than the start of a brand new year. I keep ringing in new years with optimism, that this year, everyone will be kinder and happier, and there will be more good news than bad. And for myself, I will move through the year with a renewed spirit, energy, and mindfulness. 

What are your goals and dreams for 2018?

Instagram: 2017

A selection of snaps from a pretty good year...
Nov. 5, 2016 to Nov. 5, 2017 - Layla’s 1 year adoption anniversary #rescuedog #dogsofinstagram A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Nov 5, 2017 at 10:19am PST
The wisdom of @brenebrown #bookstagram A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Nov 19, 2017 at 7:41pm PST
A trip to PA wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Hershey’s chocolate world! A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Nov 25, 2017 at 1:53pm PST
We’re going up! A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Oct 22, 2017 at 6:26pm PDT
Again, everything. #bookstagram A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Sep 22, 2017 at 4:11pm PDT
A post shared by Aimee Kaiser (@aimeeksr) on Jul 9, 2017 at 9:01am PDT

Along Came A Spider (review)

I picked this novel up while I was visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. I had just finished Rising Strong, and I needed something new to get me through the plane ride home. This book was just the ticket! An excellent crime thriller that differs hugely from the movie. So even if you've already seen Morgan Freeman in the starring role, it won't ruin the entire book for you. Sure, there are a couple spoilers that would have been more surprising if I hadn't seen the movie first, but for the most part, the book was so far from the movie plot that I wasn't at all annoyed to be reading something I had already seen. If you need a quick read to help you zone out, I recommend this one.


As part of my end-of-2017 home cleaning/organizing extravaganza, I pulled out a bunch of old photos that have just been sitting in a box. I love these childhood photos, especially in polaroid form. 
I'm feeling so accomplished after all the cleaning I did this weekend, especially my wardrobe. I also made a favorite today, chicken tikka masala in the Crock Pot, and meal prepped curry chicken for the week of lunches. 
I'm typing this post in my yoga room, lit by nothing more than a few burning candles, and getting ready to do the newest video with Adriene, Heart Chakra. Perfect end to a productive and busy weekend. 
Tomorrow, I will be reviewing another recent read.

Honeymoon Photos

I recently updated my photography blog site with photos from our Summer 2016 honeymoon on the Pacific Coast. Check it out
Happy Weekend!

Out With the Old, In With the New

Wow, can anyone seriously believe it's officially December? The past 11 months have basically flown by. I'm feeling that way more with each passing year. Remember when we all thought 2016 was such a disaster of a year, globally speaking? We kept telling ourselves, "At least 2017 can't possibly be as bad as 2016." Globally, the past year has been a shit show. Personally, it's had its ups and downs, although I'm happy to say the final tally includes more ups than downs. And to finish off 2017 strong, I plan to blog every day. I just thought I needed to give myself a fun, creative challenge in the last month of the year. I have challenged myself in several ways this month, none of them I would categorize as "fun" (clean out/organize our home, work out every day), so I needed to add a more lighthearted challenge to keep my spirits up.
I have a few topics planned for December's blog extravaganza, but most of them will be like this: little reflec…


Jason and I finally made it back to visit my family in PA for Thanksgiving last week, after unexpectedly failing the last two times we tried to visit (a blizzard in March, seriously?!). We enjoyed all the delicious food, of course (especially desserts), and we took Jason to a couple of touristy spots in my hometown: Penns Cave (pictured above), Hershey's Chocolate World, and a Penn State men's basketball game (pictured below). It was a nice, relaxing few days. 
When we got home, our first order of business was to pick up the girls from boarding, and decorate the house for Christmas. I also FINALLY ordered some blown-up prints of our wedding photos (only 1 1/2 years after we got married), so we're searching for the perfect frames and deciding where to hang them. We're entering the home stretch of 2017 (and thank goodness this dumpster fire year is coming to a close), and for us, the rest of the year will be about relaxing at home with our little family. We aren't t…

My Retreat

It's still a work in progress, but this weekend, I rearranged some elements of our guest room, and edited some of its contents, so I could create a yoga room. I have always wanted a yoga room. Prior to this, I did yoga in the middle of the living room with dogs running around (and over) me, play-fighting to the point where I couldn't even hear Adriene! Not exactly an ideal environment for relaxation, focus, and mindfulness. 
I did my first practice in my yoga retreat space Sunday morning, closing the door against the noise of dogs and television. It was blissful. 
Key elements to creating your own yoga room: Minimal distractions/decorations - Ideally, my yoga room would be an empty room, with my yoga mat and a candle or two. Since we don't have that kind of space in our home, my yoga room is combined with the guest bedroom. But I did take out the extra nightstand and chair that took up a lot of the space. I will be donating or selling them since we don't even use them …

Diary of an Oxygen Thief (review)

Odd. the first word that comes to mind upon closing the pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief. Allegedly a true story, it really highlights the lowest depths that men and women travel to in order to hurt each other. And men and men. And women and women. The author himself admits: Hurt people hurt people more skillfully. (8)Diary of an Oxygen Thief is an appalling story of a man who tricks women into falling for him just so he can hurt them with brutal words. Eventually, he meets a woman who treats him in the same manner. Basically, what I'm saying is that every character in this novel is gross and annoying. While I have no sympathy for this narrator who is suddenly heartbroken when his own methods are turned against him, it does make you stop and think about the way humanity treats each other, and why. As the narrator points out, it's only the people who are deeply damaged themselves who purposely inflict pain on others. 
On the other side of that coin, however, is the argu…

the sun and her flowers (review)

rupi kaur.
I can't praise her enough. She is one of the treasured voices this world needs right now, in our time of global chaos. 
the sun and her flowers is a poetry collection that will stay on my book shelf for many years to come, and will be revisited often when I am searching for comfort and connection. I cannot recommend this purchase strongly enough, as well as her first collection, milk and honey. Trust me, you'll want to own these beautiful words and keep them where they are accessible to you on a regular basis. 
Like most of you, I discovered rupi's poetry through Pinterest. Her words are a woman's literary best friend. I bought her self-published debut book of poetry, milk and honey, last year. I must have Instagrammed at least half of the pages! Her poetry feels like a hug from your mom, a warm blanket on a cold night, a bubble bath after a long day...
As an English major, I've had a significant amount of exposure to poetry. To some of the greats: …

Reading Wish List

Generally, I buy most of my books off a bargain rack, or rent them from the local library. After I find one that I love, though, I want a more beautiful, collectible copy of it. I have a few antique books on my living room bookshelf, but I won't buy any old hardback for decoration. I buy books for their soul, not the outer cover.
That said, here are the top book-related items on my wishlist this year: Penguin Classics collection: All 80 beautifully simple, black & white Penguin classics. And yes, I will read them ALL.Charles Dickens scented candleJane Austen scented candleThe Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (hardcover)The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou (hardcover)The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou (hardcover) Keep your fingers crossed for me that Santa delivers some literary love this holiday season?

My Reading Lists

I have so many ideas for book posts fluttering through my brain! I hardly know where to start. I want to share with you all which books turned me on to reading, which books are my all-time favorites, which books I love to read during the holidays, and so much more. I just want to talk books like the addict that I am!
I'm going to start by sharing my two main reading goals, which are to read all of the books which have ever been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and all of Oprah's Book Club picks (save for the Bill Cosby picks). For your reference: Pulitzer Prize winnersOprah's Book Club selections Here are my results thus far:

Pulitzer Prize
The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadThe Goldfinch by Donna TarttThe Executioner's Song by Normal MailerTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway I know it's sad, right? I've got some work to do!

Oprah's Book Club

I've read a few more from Oprah's list, as when I&#…

What I Really Want To Be

It's time to get real and admit that what I really want is to be... a book blogger. Snuggling up with a good book is my favorite hobby. It's the way I end every single day on a positive note. But the truth is, I doubt myself a little bit when it comes to expressing my opinion. I don't feel like I'm very articulate when it comes to reviewing books. This has always bummed me out, because what I most want to discuss are books. I mean, I called this blog Chapters both as a reference to the chapters of my life, but also as a nod to my #1 hobby.
I've been feeling the creative urge lately, and I find myself constantly thinking about what I might write here. I've tried a couple of new topics, and it's been interesting because, when I've read those posts back to myself, they don't sound authentic. I don't hear my own voice speaking the words I've typed. It sounds like someone trying to be a blogger. To be fair, this could be because I haven't be…