Sunday, September 29, 2013

OOTD (4)--A Nerdy Travel Outfit...and a September Favorite

Hey, guys!  I'm in Washington DC right now!  My sister, Alison, is being promoted to a Major in the Air Force, so our family has come along to celebrate (and as an added bonus, my other sister, Lauren, and I will be singing the national anthem with Alison at her ceremony!).  So I thought I'd show you the outfit I traveled in!

I'll fully admit it--I'm a nerd (although a fashionable nerd, right?).  I love learning, reading, museums--all the typical nerdy stuff.  So when I saw this owl shirt, I knew I had to have it.

Even though I'm kind of getting tired of the owl trend, I fell in love with this guy--I mean, he has a bow tie, cardigan, AND glasses!!!  Love him.  I think I'll name him Walter.

When traveling, especially flying, it's important to dress in layers.  So I paired the owl shirt with the colors in it--a red/orange tank top underneath and a mustard cardigan on top.  So comfy and so cute!
I love skinny jeans and I added some blingy sandals to dress it all up.  
I'll admit--I completely forgot jewelry and didn't want to deal with security making me take it all off.  So I just had some faux diamond studs in my ears.

Isn't he so cute?!

Owl shirt--Target
Tank top--Old Navy
Jeans--TJ Maxx
Sandals--Rack Room Shoes

And since September is now over--I can't believe it!--I wanted to share one of my favorite products from this month.  I've heard people rave about this product for a few years now but just got around to picking it up.  And I LOVE it!

A product thumbnail of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
It's the Seche Vite top coat for your nails.  It totally covers and protects your nails and the best thing about it is that you can put it on your nails while THEY'RE STILL WET!  I love love love this product.  I got mine at CVS.

What have you been loving this month?  Come back tomorrow--I'll be reviewing the second and third books in the Eve series by Anna Carey, with correlating outfits, of course!

*I'm not associated with any of the companies/products mentioned.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Add a Little Apple to Your Saturday...

Last week I declared it "Apple Week" in our house.  I wanted to teach our two-year-old, Ransom, all about apples and make some of our evening time together more meaningful.  So here's how we spent our time:

  • Reading apple books!  Ransom isn't a huge fan of books yet but he's getting better each week.  And I was amazed--like jaw-dropping amazed--when he sat on my lap four nights in a row and let me read through an entire book about apples!  It might have helped that he went to the public library with me to pick out the books, so we made it a special event.  Here were our favorite books: 

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert


The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson


How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

  • Making an apple craft!  Ransom isn't too crafty yet since he's only 2, so we picked an easy craft to make together: a toilet paper apple.  I simply cut off the end of a toilet paper roll and had Ransom help me color it red.  Then we made a little stem, colored it green, and stuck it through a slit in the apple.
Pretty cute, huh?

  • Making an apple dessert!  We made an apple crisp together (Ransom got to mix the bowl).  
We plan on going to an orchard soon, but we're waiting until we have "Pumpkin Week."  Poor Ransom is CERTAIN that a pumpkin is a tomato.  But hey, at least he knows all about apples!

Have you done anything with apples lately?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl-Inspired Outfit

In the book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Greg takes pride in the fact that he doesn't just belong to one clique.  He's a browser of sorts--he gets along with all of the cliques but doesn't belong to any of them.  I like to think that I was a little like this in high school because I tended to get along with everyone.  But I will be honest that if I were to be labeled in a clique, it would definitely be the nerdy, goody-goody clique.  So that's the inspiration for today's outfit.  I chose a clique in which Greg would visit but not join: the nerds.  Here's a fashionable look inspired by nerds everywhere:

Preppy Look 

Oooh, the nerd in me loves this!

So let's break it down:
  • The green T-shirt is so nerdy chic.  It's a bunch of math equations in a handwriting font--love it!
  • Blazers and plaid make me think of intellectual professors, so I added in a combination of both.  The contrast of the blazer and T-shirt is so great because it lightens the mood of the "smart" look.
  • The jeans I chose are slim but not super skinny.  They give you some breathing room while still keeping the outfit chic and informal.
  • Oxford shoes?!  Love them!  You can get oxfords in all kinds of colors and glitters nowadays, but I chose simple, clean brown.
  • A leather backpack--the ultimate nerd accessory.  I love wearing backpacks (especially on both shoulders!) and this one is particularly beautiful.

So what do you think?  Does this represent a well-stereotyped nerd (with a little of "chic" mixed in)?
What would you design for a clique?

Check back here this weekend to see what I've been up to with my family and what I've been wearing!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

REVIEW--Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Despite teens being some of the funniest people I know, there just doesn't seem to be a lot of funny YA lit.  It leans more towards the dark, depressing, and angst-driven (ok, teens can be all of that, too!).  So I was excited to read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews because I heard it had that funny factor (even with a dying girl as a main character).  So here's my review on it!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

Summary from Goodreads:
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

The Gist:
Greg Gaines likes to fit in with every clique but not belong to any of them.  He has a "just get through high school" mentality, you might say.  He and his buddy (or rather, "business partner") Earl make pretty mediocre films (based off of actual films) in their spare time.   
Greg's mom forces him to befriend Rachel, a former elementary school friend who has been diagnosed with leukemia.  And he's finding that it's not so easy anymore to go unnoticed.

What I Loved:
  • The chapter titles were funny--loved them!
  • This is definitely a funny book--there are quirky sayings, great lists, and random script formats.  All work well to add to the humor of the book.
  • This is a cancer book that ISN'T sad.  THANK YOU, Jesse Andrews!
  • There are some very quirky characters, like the teacher who demands facts, the Dad who eats weird foods, etc.
  • I appreciated Earl calling Greg out on his "friendship" with Rachel.  I was wanting to yell at Greg myself for this!

What I Didn't Love:
  • So. Much. Foul. Language.  Like cussing and crude.  Ugh.
  • Greg just doesn't develop much concern or care for Rachel.  He even says that if she gets better he won't be friends with her anymore--kind of an unlikeable trait, Greg.
  • I felt like the reader just gets to skim the surface.  Little happens at school, we didn't get to know Rachel as well, etc.  I wanted more depth in some places.
  • I know I mentioned that the book is crude, but it can use re-emphasizing.  So crude!  Talk about gross discussions on barf, boobs,'s like the guys can't behave like human beings.  And I just don't think girls would sit by and laugh at it all the time...I think they'd be totally grossed out.

My favorite quote:  (Regarding the Food Network) "It's always a food competition.  Food isn't a sport.  It's ridiculous for cooks to be competing against each other.  Like in Iron Chef, it always takes place in Kitchen Stadium.  Kitchen Stadium?  That's ridiculous.  And at the end it's always like, You have competed honorably.  How is it possible to be dishonorable?  You were making a stew."

*I'm starting something new here in my reviews!  Because I love the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters, I will be creating one that I think best represents the book, a character, my feelings, etc.  And I'll make a poster worthy of the book.  So for Greg and Earl's love of mediocre movie-making, here's their poster:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pregnant Pause-Inspired Outfit

On Monday, I reviewed the book Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan.  In the book, Eleanor gets married in an orange dress (not necessarily the best choice for a wedding but this is an awkward marriage).  So I decided to create what I think would be fitting if I were to get married in an orange dress.  I used my own wardrobe for this design since I had all the pieces I wanted.  Here it is:

The image is a little blurry (sorry!) but let's just say it was an early morning when I took this photo!

So let's break it down:
  • The orange dress is short and summery and very fitting for an informal wedding.  Easy to move in but still shows that you're taking the day seriously.
  • I threw a cream blazer with it to formalize it a bit (the dress is sleeveless). 
  •  A gold glitter belt adds some fun while accentuating the waist; even when I was pregnant I loved wearing thin belts.
  • Cream flower heels are a soft, sweet touch.

Dress--Francesca's Collections
Blazer--Charlotte Russe
Belt--Charlotte Russe

*I am not associated with any of the above companies.
So what do you think?  Do you think someone could pull this off in a last-minute, informal, courthouse wedding?  I do!  Get it?  I do!  

Come back tomorrow to see my review of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--Best Sequels Ever

So maybe I should title this post "Top Four Tuesday" because that's all I've got.  Let me explain.


Today's topic is about the best sequels ever...but I am HORRIBLE at reading sequels in a series!  Why?  Because there are SO MANY books out there and I want to read everything!  So often I get distracted by other books and never finish a series.  The Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andy Lane?  Read the first one.  The Wake series by Lisa McMann that my students RAVE about?  Read the first one.

And then when I do read an entire series, I almost always prefer the first book.  Just about every time.  So I only came up with four books for my top ten list. 
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner--I LOVE the Maze Runner series and was so engaged in this second book of the series.  So much mystery, action, secret behavior--I LOVED it!
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling--I think #4 and #7 were the best!
  • Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead--I loved the Vampire Academy series and this third book is when I became truly invested in the Rose/Dmitri saga.  So much emotion in that book--so. much. emotion.
  • Scorpia by Anthony Horowtiz--I am a die-hard Alex Rider fan and this fifth book was my favorite.  Very action-packed with a great villain.
Ok, so it's a measly list today, but maybe this will kick me into gear so I'll finish a few series!  Maybe...

Monday, September 23, 2013

REVIEW--Pregnant Pause

Happy Monday!  

Today is Homecoming Week at my school, which is always a blast.  As I type this I am decked out in my Duck Dynasty gear (beard included!).  Very un-girly for me!

Today's review is on Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan.  I'll admit that I was TOTALLY motivated to read this book last spring when I was pregnant...I think I just needed someone to relate to me in being immobile, sleep-deprived, and cranky!

Pregnant Pause 
  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic 
Summary from Goodreads:  
Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteen-year-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids. Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.

The Gist:
Eleanor is 16-years-old and pregnant by on-again, off-again boyfriend Lam.  She's finding little support from her family--her parents are missionaries in Kenya and are returning to the country soon.  Even though Elly is rebellious and stubborn, her options are pretty limited.  So she marries Lam and moves to Camp Weight Away, the camp that Lam's parents run.  Eleanor and Lam must decide what to do once the baby is born, but coming to a mutual decision is not going to be easy.

What I Loved:
  • The camp setting.  This is very unique for a young adult book (which are typically set in boarding schools, let's be honest).  And it's a pretty realistic view of camp, not what you'd see on a Disney show. 
  • And speaking of camp, I loved seeing Elly connect with certain kids at camp.  This was especially great since she is mostly a pretty rebellious teen. 
  • Elly's love for her child.  It's why I really started to like Elly as a character.
  • I loved seeing such a rebellious character in a pregnant, slow-moving body.  Elly tries to make up for it with her sarcasm and attitude, which just makes her physical difficulties pretty funny.  I could totally relate!  *Check out my favorite quote below.

What I Didn't Love:
  • All of the characters!  I didn't really care for any of them.  Both sets of parents were HORRIBLE.  Ziggy--oh my goodness.  Lam--idiot.  Sarah--a deserter.  No one was likeable. 
  • Talk about depressing!  Elly has no support and the future looks pretty bleak. 
  • I didn't really care for the title or cover...I thought it could have gone a lot farther based on the book's content.

Favorite quote: "I shove my tray at the two of them and stand up to leave.  My exit would be great if I could just climb over the bench and sashay off, but I have to clamber over it, holding on to the table, taking it slowly, and then I have to waddle away.  The effect I wanted is a total miss, but I had my say, and that at least feels good."

On Wednesday I'll be back with an outfit inspired by Elly's wedding dress!  And I'm using actual items from my own wardrobe!  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

OOTD (3)--Leopard Skirt

Today's Outfit of the Day is a great look for fall if you're wanting to step it up a bit.  The colors are deep browns and blacks but the overall effect is comfortable and flowing--that's fall, right?

Here it is:

This is also a great way to incorporate leopard print into your wardrobe without it being over-the-top.  Subtle but effective.
Adding a brown/gold belt accentuates the waist and dresses up the look while gladiator sandals keeps it comfortable.  Simple accessories--bangles and stud earrings.

I wore this on a Saturday when we were traveling to visit some friends at a local university.  This was a great outfit to wear for a comfortable trip but still sent the message that I wanted to look nice.

Skirt--TJ Maxx
V Neck T-shirt--Target (I wore a cami underneath since the shirt was a little see-through)
Sandals--Boutique I found on vacation

What do you think?  What's a great comfortable yet dressy look that you've designed for fall?

*I'm not being sponsored/paid by any companies mentioned.  Just an outfit I put together!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Add a Little Harry Potter to your Saturday...

Libraries have been finding a new vandalizing trend lately, and I found it so hilarious that I HAD to put it in our house.  And it all revolves around Harry Potter!  I am a huge Harry Potter fan (I am a proud Hufflepuff, thank you very much!) and thought this was a perfect way to incorporate the books into our house--it's subtle, clever, and sure to get a chuckle out of our Harry Potter-lovin' friends!

So here it is:

It's a sign on our toilet that directs the way to the Ministry of Magic!  *Wizards entered the Ministry of Magic through toilets, FYI.  
I wanted to incorporate some orange into the frame to match our shower curtain, so I just bought some orange sparkly paper at JoAnn's.  And I just printed out the phrase in one of my favorite fonts that I downloaded from

What do you think?  How are you Harry Potter-ing your house?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Host-Inspired Wardrobe

In the book The Host, the Seeker and her cohorts wear black all the time (in the movie, they wear white, which I know can be kind of confusing).  So it got me thinking about the best black accessories/pieces that you should have in your closet.  Black is one of my favorite colors to wear because it can match with just about anything or tame down a bright outfit.  So here are my favorite choices:

Top 5 Black Pieces for your Closet 
  • A large black purse.  A black purse can basically fit every season and go with any outfit.  A staple must!
  • Black nail polish.  Yes, I know this can seem bold, so give deep purple a try if you're afraid to take the leap.  Or start with your toes for a less dramatic effect.  But dark nail polish highlights your nails and sharpens your outfit!
  • A black scarf.  I love scarves for fall, but even a black scarf can tame a bright summer outfit!  I especially love infinity scarves tied in a circle.
  • Black heels.  Wear them with dresses, skirts, jeans--you name it.  So classy!  The ones pictured are my favorites--they're from Madden Girl.
  • Black skinny jeans.  I can't imagine my life without skinny jeans.  Black is just a go-to color that gives you a blank canvas for your outfit.

So what do you think?  What black items are staples in your wardrobe/beauty closet?

Catch me this weekend for a peek at a new bathroom accessory and an outfit of the day!  And Monday I'll be back with a review on Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

REVIEW--The Host

It's a rainy morning here in Indiana--a perfect reading set-up!  I wish I had the day to curl up in a blanket with a few of the books that I'm reading right now...

But at least I can blog about a book, right?  Today's review is The Host by Stephenie Meyer...yes, the Twilight author, but DON'T compare this book to Twilight!  Totally different genre and plot.

The Host (The Host, #1) 
  • Supposedly the first in The Host series...not sure when a sequel is expected
  • Science fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

The Gist
Our planet, and many other species' planets, has been taken over by alien souls.  These souls insert themselves into our bodies in order to better our society.  Wanderer, a soul who took over Melanie's body after she threw herself down an elevator shaft, is supposed to help the Seeker find other humans in hiding (specifically Melanie's brother Jamie and her love Jared).  
But Wanderer finds herself attached to Melanie's loved ones.  And even though Melanie's personality is supposed to disappear now that Wanderer has taken over, she refuses to fully leave.

What I Loved
  • The variety of characters in the book.  Some characters, like Jamie, Jeb, and Ian, come to love Wanderer while others like Kyle and Sharon hate her.  Interesting to see the various reactions to an alien soul.
  • I didn't hate the aliens.  So there was sympathy toward the "villains."  They simply wanted to make our planet better, and Wanderer was a sympathetic character.
  • LOVE the cover.  Perfectly represents the book.
  • The villains (like the Seeker) are gone for much of the book but still have an obvious presence.  You constantly feel them even when they're not in a scene.
  • The climax/action scenes were not what I expected.  I kept waiting for a huge raid led by the Seeker, but that wasn't the height of the action.

What I Didn't Love
  • So much of the book took place in dark caves.  Felt kind of suffocating at times!
  • This is a BIG book, over 600 pages.  Took awhile for me to get through since I'm used to 300-page YA lit.
  • The Seeker, the main villain, ended up being a bit of a let-down.  She was a little too easy to overcome.
  • I didn't completely buy the ending.  Wanderer doesn't want to take Melanie's life but she may not have a problem taking another life?  It just didn't seem to fit her.

Favorite quote: "For a moment, my throat was choaked with emotion.  Mel was too overcome to speak as well.  We were a family in that one instant.  All of us." 

Overall a fun read that kept me engaged!  Tomorrow I'll have some fashion tips inspired by the Seeker!  See you then!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Kill Order-Inspired Nails

On Monday I reviewed the book The Kill Order, the prequel to The Maze Runner series--needless to say I love this series!  Solar flares, the scorching heat, and intense burns are all such a part of this series, so I thought it would be fun to find a nail look to best represent the series.  And I think I found it!

Fire nails 
 *FYI--I found the nail image above--that's not my hand!

Reds, oranges, yellows--fire!  This nail look is all about a burning fire!  Simply start with a yellow nail and then brush on layered strokes of orange and then red.  Super simple!  

I've included my color suggestions from some of my favorite nail brands:
  • Butter London in "Silly Billy"
  • Deborah Lippmann in "Iconoclast Yellow"
  • Essie in "Really Red"
What do you think?  Would you be bold enough to wear this nail look?

Tomorrow I'll be reviewing The Host by Stephenie Meyer--see you then!

*I am not being sponsored/paid to mention any particular products.  They're just products I love.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--My Fall To-Read List

Autumn officially begins next week!  Ahhh, I am so ready--I love everything about fall.  So I'm very excited about the Top Ten question for the week (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish).


What is on your Fall to-read list?

Some of the books on my list are new releases while others I just haven't gotten around to yet--but they are all ones I'm dying to read!
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth--I can't wait to continue the Divergent series! 
  • Unsouled by Neal Shusterman--The Unwind books are so creepy and I LOVE them.  Seriously, the scene at the end of Unwind with Roland had me holding my breath.  So good.
  • Awaken by Meg Cabot--The final book in the series inspired by Hades and Persephone.  I can't say these books were addicting but I'd like to know what happens.
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer--I loved Cinder because it was such a unique re-telling of the classic fairytale but I haven't read the second book yet.  I heard the third in the series is about Rapunzel--I love Rapunzel!
  • The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford--This book is set in 1982, the year I was born!  And in Russia.  Unique date, unique place.  
  • The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin.  I LOVE Edgar Allan Poe and this book has a gorgeous cover that has got me.  And I love reading creepy books in the fall, and this one definitely looks creepy!
  • Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke--another creepy-looking book.  And it appears to have demons or the devil in it...a perfect October read!
  • Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem--A mystery with a Soviet girl defecting to the U.S.  I love a good mystery!
  • Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi--I really enjoyed the first in this series (especially the creepy cannibal scenes!) so I'm anxious to keep going with it.
  • Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz--A tenth Alex Rider book!  I did NOT see this coming!  Cannot wait to read another!
So what is on your To-Read list?  Do you think ahead much about what you'd like to read?  Tell me about it!
And come back tomorrow for a nail polish look inspired by The Kill Order!

Monday, September 16, 2013

REVIEW--The Kill Order

Happy Monday!  What a beautiful weekend we had in Indiana!

I'm back with a review of a book from one of my favorite YA series: The Kill Order from the Maze Runner series by James Dashner.  I LOVE this series and highly recommend it to anyone that loves adventure, dystopian, and sci fi books.

The Kill Order is the prequel to the series, and in my opinion it is SUPER important that you read the regular series first (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure).  The regular series follows a group of teens that have been placed in a maze and other dangerous (and I mean DANGEROUS) exercises for an organization called WICKED in order to bring a cure for a sun flare disease that has taken over the human race. 

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5) 
  • Prequel to The Maze Runner series
  • Dystopian
*You should definitely read The Maze Runner series before reading this book!

Summary from Goodreads:
Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.
Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.
Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The Gist
In this prequel, readers learn more about the solar flares, how the disease got out of control, and how WICKED was formed and the Maze began.
The storyline centers on Mark and Trina, who were in a subway when the Solar Flares hit (about a year prior to the start of the book).  They meet up with former military Alec and Lana and characters Darnell, Misty, and the Toad; together, they attempt to survive the virus by living with others in a camp near North Carolina.  
A Berg (a futuristic helicopter) from a new government shows up and shoots darts loaded with the virus at the campers.  They do this for population control but their plan backfires when (1) the virus makes people out of control, or (2) some people are immune to the virus.

What I Loved
  • The flashbacks.  They do a great job of uncovering the backstory and include characters who die in the present scenes.  They also show the backstory to the "apocalypse" side of the story
  • The crazy zombie people--they are SO INTENSE!  Quite a disease of lunacy!
  • The connection of Thomas and Teresa (characters from The Maze Runner) at the beginning and end of the book.
What I Didn't Love
  • There were still some holes for me.  Not all of my questions from The Maze Runner were answered.
  • It ended pretty abruptly for me.
  • The Post-Flares Coalition was kind of confusing for me, and they were an important part of the backstory.  

Favorite quote:  "There's that short moment that seems to last a lifetime when Mark sees the wall of water rushing down the steps of the subtrans station, like a stampede of white, frothy horses."

Overall an enjoyable read even thought I was hoping for some more answers.  But maybe that's what's so great about this series--you just don't know everything!

Check back on Wednesday to see nail polish inspiration from the book!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

OOTD (2)--Stripes

Let's face it--if you work in an office or, in my case, a school, you notice that black pants are a staple in every woman's wardrobe.  But black pants don't have to be boring.  You can jazz them up with various tops and accessories.  

I love the black pants that I purchased for this fall and winter--they're comfortable and form fitting.  But I'm SUPER excited about a blouse I found to go with the pants.  It's professional, sleek, and eye-catching (my friend Blaine told me I looked like a "cute prisoner," which definitely had me humming "Jailhouse Rock" for the rest of the afternoon).  And of course I had to pair it all with heels!  
So here's the look:

Just hanging in the audio section of my library...

The stripes are vertical, which of course means visually slimming.  

I debated on whether to throw in a bright pop of color through the necklace but opted to stick with the classy black (it's a bubble necklace).  I'll probably change up the accessories each time I wear the outfit.

I definitely recommend tucking in the blouse.  It gives a sleeker, fitter look.

Top and pants--Express
Necklace--Von Maur
Heels--Madden Girl (purchased at DSW)

So what are some of your favorite work outfits?  What do you think of the stripes?
**And yes, that is a giant Chinese carton behind me--I love my library artwork!

Tomorrow I'll be back with a review of a book from one of my favorite YA series!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Add a Little Quinoa to your Saturday...

What beautiful weather we are having in Indiana!  I can tell that fall is almost here!  

Since I had my baby about three months ago, I've been focused on getting my body back in shape.  So this week I incorporated some quinoa into our diet.  I LOVE quinoa!  You've got to try's a seed that feels like a grain/pasta/etc.  

Quinoa is like a blank slate because it can be combined with anything.  I chose a southwestern spin and this is what our dish looked like:

This was our main dish but could definitely be used as a side dish.

Here's the recipe:

1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
Juice from 1 lime
1 Tbsp EVOO
3 splashes balsamic vinegar

The key to this dish is making the quinoa ahead of time so it has time to cool.  
  • Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  Put in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Add vegetables to quinoa.  
  • In a separate bowl, combine cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, EVOO, and balsamic vinegar.  Toss with quinoa and vegetables.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did!  A perfect end-of-summer dish that's also healthy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Shine-Inspired Outfit

In yesterday's book review of Shine by Lauren Myracle, I explained that the book was set in a poor area of North Carolina during the summertime.  Immediately I knew the type of outfit that Cat (the protagonist) would wear: a lightweight floral dress with sandals.  Something simple that would flow in a summer breeze.  So here's what I designed:

Isn't it cute?

So here's my thought process behind the design:
  • The dress is simple and perfect for summer.  For some reason I love shorter dresses to have a floral design, and this is a cute pattern.
  • A jean jacket vest adds some warmth for cooler nights but isn't fancy.  And denim just has that country town feel, doesn't it?
  • I passed on boots since the book was set in the heat of summer and opted for these cute sandals instead (these particular sandals are from Target--I love me some inexpensive but trendy Target!).
  • Simple dangly gold earrings to jazz up the look.  I think every woman has some kind of earring set like this and these earrings can come super cheap.
  • Lip gloss to add a little color, because who wants to load their face with makeup during the summer heat?  And FYI--NYX is a very inexpensive lip gloss brand with great color!
Such a sweet summer look--feminine but still rather modest.  What do you think?  What are some of your favorite summer looks?

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I first came across the book Shine by Lauren Myracle through the Eliot Rosewater Committee, an Indiana-based committee of teachers, librarians, and students that chooses the "best of the best" books for Indiana high school students.  I had prepared myself to not like it--it just didn't sound like my kind of book--but I was very wrong.

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic/Mystery 
Summary from Goodreads:
When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.
Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author.

The Gist
Patrick is found unconscious at the "Come-n-Go" gas station/convenience store.  He was beaten with a baseball bat and had a gas pump forced down his mouth.  Now he's in a coma in the hospital.  The reason for this brutality?  Most likely because he is gay.
Cat--his elementary friend--wants to solve the mystery, especially after the police do very little investigating.  But in their poor, backwards, uneducated North Carolina town, Cat must also deal with her own personal demons of sexual abuse and small-town gossip. 
What I Loved
  • This book, in typical Myracle fashion, covered a deep topic but wasn't overly dark.  Very well presented.
  • This was a strong mystery with plenty of characters involved.
  • There were many complications that rose due to the small-town setting, like gossip, no cell phones, meth addiction, etc. A very interesting setting.
  • The side characters were strong, especially in their individual situations (Wally with meth, Robert being mentally challenged, Aunt Tildy in covering things up).
What I Didn't Love
  • Aunt Tildy--I just hated her character and how she completely ignored what happened to Cat.
  • Cat's meeting/connection with Jason seemed just a little too coincidental for me.
Favorite quote: "He slung both arms over the back of his chair, and it reminded me how different girls and guys were.  Girls kept their bodies tucked in tight, while boys took up every inch of room they could."

Overall a FANTASTIC read.  Very compelling and thought-provoking.  Well done, Lauren Myracle.

Tomorrow I will have an outfit inspired by the book's small-town, summer setting.  See you then!