Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beta-Inspired Makeup

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  We have had a lovely day just enjoying our family--we've watched a movie, snuggled, and raced cars (with the boys, of course!).  We're super excited to celebrate Thanksgiving with extended family tomorrow--I'll share a few fun treats from the day tomorrow!

Today I'm sharing a makeup look inspired by the cover of Beta by Rachel Cohn.  So as a reminder, here's the cover:


This is Elysia, a clone.  Which is why she has this purple tattoo on her face.  Now I have nothing against tattoos, but I don't necessarily get excited about dominate tattoos on the face, so I decided to find a bold but manageable eye look.  And I love the collection I've created!  *Please note: this is not my face below; this is simply an image I found that demonstrates exactly what I wanted!

Purple winged eye
Basically this is a purple winged eye look.  Since the cover tattoo features the side of Elysia's face, I wanted an eye look that extended out a little.  Winged looks are GREAT for jazzing up your face a bit without going crazy overboard.  I added the illustration on the bottom right to show exactly how to draw the winged eyeliner.  I prefer using eyeliner pens for this because they are so simple to use!  Almay makes a pretty inexpensive one that lasts for quite awhile.  

The purple eye shadow is applied with the lightest color extending to the eyebrow, the middle color on the lid, and the darkest color in the outer corner and crease (that tends to be the go-to method for applying eye shadow).  I tossed in a few beautiful eye shadows that would work well--Polyester Bride by Urban Decay and the Armani Face & Eye palette.  

So are YOU bold enough to try a winged eyeliner look?  With the holidays approaching, why not add a little wing to your party look?

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I'll be posting a few images from my day with my family.  But I'll be back on Monday with another book review--and a "Who Wore It Best?" cover contest!  See you then!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Met The Pioneer Woman!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I'm a little sleepy was a loooong night last night!  My sister, Lauren, and I drove 2 hours to meet The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) and have her sign our new cookbooks.  Lauren is a HUGE PW fan and I have also really loved her blog, cookbooks, and Food Network show.  She just seems so real--personally and in her recipes.

So we waited about 2 1/2 hours before it was our turn to meet Ree (and there were a TON of people still in line behind us!) and she was absolutely lovely!  I had worn my "Pioneer Woman" peasant top in her honor (she tends to favor peasant tops in her photos and show episodes)...I mean, c'mon, if I'm going to have a blog called "Stylish in the Stacks," I have to represent when I meet someone!  Here's what my outfit looked like:

And when I met her, the first thing she said was "Oh your outfit is so cute!"  Yeah, I was super excited to say the least!  She was completely genuine and humble and I might have told her that she was adorable--yep.  I said that. 

We met her daughters, Alex, and Paige, too--here's a photo of Lauren with them.  Lauren is 5'7" and look how short she looks!  Those girls could be models--tall, thin, and super sweet.

And here I am with Ree:

A fun way to start my Thanksgiving week!  See you tomorrow for some makeup inspiration!

Monday, November 25, 2013

REVIEW--Beta by Rachel Cohn

Happy Monday, friends!  I'm very excited today because tonight my younger sister Lauren and I are driving a few hours to meet one of her favorite celebrities--The Pioneer Woman!  And she's kind of an author, too...right?!  I'll share more with you about it tomorrow!

But today's post is a review on the book Beta by Rachel Cohn, the first in the science fiction Annex series.  So let's get right to it!

  • First in the Annex series
  • Science fiction
The Gist:
Elysia is a 16-year-old clone.  She was created after her "First," a teenage girl, died.  She now serves a wealthy family on Demesne, an island where everything (even the air!) is bio-engineered for perfection.   Living with the Governor's family (to replace their college-bound daughter), Elysia is satisfied with her life until she stars having memories of her First.  Now she, a supposedly soulless clone, has memories, feelings, and opinions.  If she lets anyone know this, she will be terminated.  But Elysia isn't sure she can choose a clone life forever, either.

What I Loved:
  • This book was very unpredictable--so many characters, like Xanthe, Tahir, and Dr. Lusardi have secrets that aren't expected.
  • I could picture Demesne and loved their virtual gaming systems (especially their game called LoveStory--how cute!).
What I Didn't Love:
  • So much was thrown in at the end--a pregnancy, murder, Zhara returning, Tahir disappearing--I felt like I read through the whole book just to get to all the action at the end!
  • The overall plot seems a little overdone.  When I booktalk this book, my students always say "Oh that sounds like ____ movie!  This sounds like ___ book!"  And they're right--it is a lot like other books and movies.
  • The characters take a drug--'raxia--all the time.  It becomes a little too much.
  • There isn't much information about what happened before Demesne, such as the Water Wars.  I'd like more about it.
  • I didn't buy into the romance stories in the plot (either on Tahir's end or Elysia's end with Alex).  Just didn't believe it. 
My favorite quote: 
"What does Beta mean?" I asked.
"A test model," she said.  "Still under development."  She chuckled and added, "Just like a real teenager."

So an ok book that had a more exciting ending than middle.  But I'll definitely pick up the sequel to see what happens!


I'll be back on Wednesday with a makeup look inspired by the book's cover--see you then!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Add a Little Painting to your Weekend...and an OOTD

Hi, readers and fashionistas!  Well, the weekend is almost ever and Thanksgiving week is here!  I'm so excited to have this week to celebrate with my family!  But let me share a little bit from my weekend first...

One of my first pieces of "big girl" furniture that I bought on my own when I graduated college was a dining room table set.  And it's the same set that we use in our dining room today...but I'm kind of over it.  The wood finish on the tabletop was pretty weak--hot plates would often leave burn marks on top.  So we started using a tablecloth...and I hate tablecloths.  They're always uneven or need washed about every day.  With Christmas almost here, buying a whole new dining set wasn't really in the budget, so I decided to paint the table.

With the AWESOME advice of my cousin-in-law, Morgan, we bought chalk paint.  Specifically Annie Sloan paint.  Guys, if you are painting furniture, you HAVE to use Annie Sloan's chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint--it's called chalk paint because of its chalky feel).  This paint requires NO priming or prepping of the furniture.  And a little paint goes a long way!  Even though a quart of the paint is pretty pricey--about $38--it covers two tables plus a few chairs.  

You can't find Annie Sloan in a typical paint store, but it's sold in antique and small business shops.  You might have to do a little research to find it, but honestly, it is SO worth it (and my husband, who grew up painting with professionals, agrees!).

So here's how our table looks now:

And I LOVE it!  It has that shabby chic look and we haven't had any burn mark issues!
The chairs are going to disappear soon--hopefully with some great Cyber Monday sales!

So if you're a fan of painting furniture or adding some life back into some old pieces, you must check out Annie Sloan!

Ok, now on to an Outfit of the Day.  I've worn this outfit to work twice and both times received numerous compliments (from both co-workers and students).  And it's practically all from Target!  I love this outfit because it keeps me looking young and fresh but it meets all dress code standards.  Here it is:

  • The skirt, which--let's be honest--is the center of attention of the outfit is a pink houndstooth print.  Hot pink.  I love it--and it's from Target!
  • The black boyfriend tee and cami are also both from Target.
  • The thick black belt is from Charlotte Russe, and a student told me that this outfit wouldn't nearly be as good without the belt.  It definitely brings the pieces together.
  • Black tights (Target) and black heels (Madden Girl) keep the outfit professional.
  • Simple accessories--a thick black bangle (a gift) and an initial pendant necklace (Linx & More) keep the outfit dainty but focused on the skirt.  I also wore stud earrings from Charlotte Russe.
So what do you think?  Would you wear this outfit to work?

I'll be back tomorrow with a review!  See you then!

*I am not associated with any of the companies or brands mentioned and purchased everything with my own money.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Through the Ever Night-Inspired Outfit

This week I reviewed Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, two books in the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi.  Needless to say I can't wait for the third book to come out next year!

So today's outfit is based off Through the Ever Night and focuses on something an Outsider might wear (since I already designed an outfit for a Dweller).  I wanted the outfit to be a little rugged and adventurous but still have some style.  And here it is:

Chic Rustic Look 
(Obviously an outfit designed for Aria or other females)

So let's break it down:

  • I wanted cargo pants since they allow for pockets and movement, but I didn't want baggy cargos with no shape.  These are great because they have the look of a skinny jean without being so skinny.  And the color, a navy/gray, is great, too, since it allows for dirt to not be so noticeable (this is an outdoor look, after all!).
  • The mint printed blouse adds a rugged look to the outfit without being too bold.  I could definitely see Aria in this--she's feminine and sweet but also constantly running around.  And of course it needs a white cami underneath...I chose one that has a little bling on the front to make it a little more feminine.
  • I LOVE these boots!  Totally fun for being outdoors and still looking like a girl!  I love the metallic detailing around the ankle--a perfect choice for this look!
So what do you think?  Could you see Aria wearing this in the Tides' tribe?

I'll be back this weekend to show off a painting project and an outfit of the day!  See you then!

Blouse--Equipment Daddy--$110
Tank top--Witchery Broderie--$75
Cargo pants--J Brand--$285
Boots--BCBGeneration at Macy's--$169

*I am not associated with any brands or companies mentioned.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

REVIEW--Through the Ever Night

Today's review is on Through the Ever Night by Veronica is the second book in the Under the Never Sky series.  I was so anxious to read this book after finishing the first, and now I am on pins and needles to start the third (which comes out in 2014!).

  • Second book in the Under the Never Sky series
  • Dystopian 
The Gist:
Perry and Aria have been separated for months, but now find themselves together to rescue Perry's nephew Talon and discover the whereabouts of the Still Blue.  But even though they're together again, their life is anything but easy.  Perry's tribe, the Tides, doesn't accept Aria for being a Dweller and wants her gone.  And Colonel Hess is putting so much pressure on Aria to find the Still Blue that she's simply running out of time.  Add to that the constant Aether storms.  Perry and Aria want to rely on each other, but surviving together is proving to be extremely difficult.

What I Loved:
  • You really get to see Perry and Aria develop as individual characters in this book.  They are together for awhile but their separate stories (with Perry now as a Blood Lord and Aria finding her place as half-Dweller and half-Outsider) really shine through in this book. 
  • ROAR!  Oh, I just love the character Roar so much...maybe even more than Perry!  He is funny and adorable and completely loyal to his love, Liv.
  • It isn't picture perfect for Perry and Aria even when they're together.  Perry struggles in his new role as Blood Lord and The Tides aren't liking Aria much...we as readers want their lives to just be perfect but this is definitely more realistic.
  • So much happens in this book!  They're trying to rescue Talon, Reverie is falling apart, Kirra poses a new threat, Cinder's powers are coming to surface, the Tides don't trust Perry, everyone is searching for the Still Blue, and we see Liv for the first time...whew!  So much that the book stays very unpredictable!
What I Didn't Love:
  • I loved the bell-wearing cannibals (the Crovens, I believe) in the first book, but they aren't in this book once!  They're so creepy that I just wanted them back. 
  • Marron.  I really loved him in the first book because he seemed so safe and ahead-of-the-game...but even he can't survive the raids and Aether taking over the land.  Disappointing since I had high expectations for him.
  • The cover.  Sorry, I'm just not into it.  Aria keeps describing Perry's blonde features, and the guy on the cover is a brunette.  And he looks so relaxed as he's sauntering down the path...this book is way too intense for that!
My favorite quote:  
"He'd only seen Roar stare vacantly at the water, or at the sky.  'You know, you could do a lot better than him, ladybug.'
Aria shook her head.  'No.  I couldn't.'"

 A great book and sequel--full of excitement and thrills!
Back tomorrow with an outfit based on the Dwellers...see you then! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Under the Never Sky-Inspired Outfit

On Monday I reviewed Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and in the book Aria is a Dweller.  This means she has lived in a Dome all her love and has experienced many technological advances.  So that's the inspiration for today's outfit--someone who hasn't been outside much and is technological.  And this is what I designed:

Sleek, Futuristic Look

So let's break it down:
  • I wanted a clean, sleek white jacket to really show the futuristic, technological side of the book.  This leather one is gorgeous (It's a Guess brand for $140) and a perfect fit!
  • I decided to pair the white with black because I just didn't see a lot of color happening in Aria's Dome (if they want color, they just create their own imaginative space).  These black skinny jeans were a practical pick (although the price isn't too practical--$220 from Frame Denim).
  • Black suede ankle boots (from Karen Millen--$299) keep the outfit contemporary and serious.
  • A silver watch is sleek and shiny, and I always think of metallics when I think of the future.  This one is DKNY for $265.
  • Aria wears a SmartEye, so I picked some sleek glasses to complete the outfit.  These are Fulton glasses for $39.
So what do you think?  Could this pass as a Dweller look?  
I'll be back tomorrow to review Through the Ever Night, the sequel to Under the Never Sky.  And Friday you'll get to see an Outsider-inspired outfit!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--Books I'd Recommend to Reluctant Guy Readers

I love today's Top Ten Tuesday topic--it's "Books I'd Recommend to X Person."  I chose reluctant guy readers because that's the target group that I've been focusing on lately in my own school.  And once a guy picks up a book and enjoys it--the result is amazing!  They have fun reading and discussing their books.  A totally proud librarian moment.  So here are books that I would recommend to reluctant guy readers:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  It's weird, unpredictable, and action-packed, and boys love it!

Ashfall by Mike Mullin.  Not a pretty dystopian book, and guys usually love the realism of it.

Jude by Kate Morgenroth.  This book is often under the radar but is so great!  A young guy pretends to be a drug dealer to help out his politician mother and then finds himself wrongfully accused and imprisoned.

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser.  Any Todd Strasser is great but this one is especially awesome...the ending is a total surprise!

Genesis Alpha by Rune Michaels.  Two brothers, a video game, and a murder--boys will be hooked!

Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Word is definitely out about this series, but I think guys especially love that it's a little more "high school" than other popular dystopian books.

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker.  Again, Carl Deuker is a popular author for guys, but this book especially catches their attention.

The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.  Basically a teenaged James Bond.  Sold.

The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan.  Another action-packed series for guys.

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith.  A terrifying prison set underground...guys are hooked!

So what do you think of the list?  What books would you recommend for a particular group of people?

I'll be back tomorrow with an outfit based off of Under the Never Sky.  See you then!

Monday, November 18, 2013

REVIEW--Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Happy Monday!  On to a new book review today!  Today's review is on Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

  • First in the Under the Never Sky series
  • Dystopian
The Gist:
In Aria's world, there are two groups--the Dwellers, who live in an underground Dome, and the Outsiders, who live outside in tribes.  These two groups hate each other.  But both have an equal problem with Aether, constant storms of electrical energy.  
Aria is a Dweller and is kicked out of her Dome home, Reverie, for a crime she didn't commit.  She has absolutely no survival skills and needs to get to her mom, who is in another Dome area called Bliss.
Perry, an Outsider, is trying to get his nephew Talon back from the Dweller Guardians that kidnapped him.  
These two are enemies by nature but might have to come together in order to survive.

What I Loved:
  • There are some unique dystopian features in this book--Aria wears a SmartEye, characters have powers (can read emotions, hear from long distances, etc.).  
  • The cannibal characters are so creepy!  They wear bells and these warnings just add an extra spooky factor to their character.
  • There is a twist at the end of the book regarding Talon, Perry's brother Vale, and their tribe--I totally didn't see this coming!
  • Counselman Hess and Soren are so evil--great villains!
  • Roar!  My favorite character--I heart Roar.
What I Didn't Love:
  • I wish I could've seen more of Aria before she got kicked out of Reverie.  It happens so early on in the book that you don't see much character development.  I would have loved to see more of Aria's friendship with Paisley.
  • Aria and Perry's relationship turns so fast--they go from being enemies to practically in love.  I didn't buy it happening so quickly. 
My favorite quote:  "Blame me if this turns out to be the greatest night of your life."

A great read!  Very entertaining and fast-paced...great for dystopian fans!

I'll be back on Wednesday with an outfit inspired by Aria.  And tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday is going to be a fun topic!  See you then!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Black Boy, White School-Inspired Look

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on Brian F. Walker's debut book Black Boy, White School.  In it, Ant is an African American from the ghetto side of Cleveland who tries to make a new life for himself in an East Coast private school.

So he is the inspiration for today's outfit, and I knew just what I wanted to do!  I wanted to create a "slackened" boarding school look.  Since many private schools have uniforms, I wanted Ant to have a uniform look with his own added style.  So here it is:

Slackened Prep School Look 
I really like the way it came together!  Let's discuss it:
  • The sweater vest is kind of a given.  Who doesn't think of a private school with a sweater vest (especially if it has some plaid added to it)?  I chose burgundy because it's a manly color.
  • Paired with the sweater vest is a gray skinny tie.  I see Ant as wearing this loosely, just enough so that he's challenging the uniform norm.
  • Jeans of course--these are cooler than wearing khaki pants.
  • Converse shoes really bring the whole outfit down to a "cooler" level.  If this outfit had dressier shoes, it would definitely look more serious, but I wanted this look to have a more relaxed feel.

 So what do you think?  Does it fit Ant?  I could totally see him wearing something like this!

Next week I'll be reviewing the first two books in a very popular series--see you then!

Sweater vest--$32 from Lands End
Tie--$158 from
Shoes--$50 from PacSun
Jeans--$28 from Old Navy

*I am not connected with any of the above companies mentioned. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

REVIEW--Black Boy, White School

Happy Thursday!  Ok, I know I've gone on and on about Ruta Sepetys the last few days, so I will switch now to a completely new book review.  Today's review is on Black Boy, White School by Brian F. Walker.  So let's jump right into it!

  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic 
The Gist: 
Anthony "Ant" lives in Cleveland, the ghetto.  He witnesses his friend's murder and knows he just has to get out of Cleveland.  So he gets a scholarship to attend a prep school in Maine.  But learning to change his image to fit in at his new school may cause him to lose his identity at home.

What I Loved:
  • I loved the idea of the book (which was actually based on the author's own life).  Kid from rough area goes to new, safer area and learns how to adapt.
  • The title--it's really simple but it gets to the heart of all the issues within the book.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The cover--it's just blah for me.  I don't get the half face thing...maybe it's showing him being torn between two places?  Just didn't work for me... 
  • There just wasn't enough depth for me.  It was too short for what it was trying to achieve.  So therefore, the character development was pretty shallow for me--both with Anthony's character and especially the other African American characters.
  • So NO ONE would call him by his preferred nickname of Ant...everyone at his school called him Tony.  This stereotype just got a little far-fetched...NO teacher or student remembered to call him Ant?  Really?
  • The scenes should have incited feelings in me and they just didn't.  Maybe it shouldn't have been in third person so I could have felt more connected...
My favorite quote: "Ant didn't like her because she told everybody he couldn't kiss.  He could kiss just fine, though.  He just hadn't liked kissing her."

Well, as you can probably tell from above, this book just didn't do much for me.  I just wasn't invested in it, despite loving the initial premise.  Two stars for me.


 Tomorrow I'll be back with an outfit based off of Ant himself!  See you then!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Between Shades of Gray-Inspired Outfit

On Monday I reviewed Between Shades of Gray, one of my favorite reads ever!  So I was really excited to design an outfit based off of Lina, the main character.  When I met Ruta Sepetys last week, she asked me how I would design an outfit for this book since it was set in Siberia.  And I really didn't know.  But I love what I've come up with for Lina!  Here it is:

An Outfit of Hope 

Now, I don't expect anyone to wear this outfit in Siberia, so let me explain the inspiration:
  • I knew I wanted the main color of the outfit to be gray, because let's be honest--the book has a depressing premise.  Lina is not going to be in bright pink!  This dress is simple but has lace, which is very reminiscent of the past.  And this particular dress is pretty inexpensive--$50 at Target!
  • The shoes (which are NOT inexpensive--they're Alexander McQueen's at almost $500!) also give the simple look.  I wanted some girly flats, and I think these show it off best.
  • I wanted simple accessories with some meaning.  The charm bracelet (around $150 at Tiffany's) is sweet and girly and demonstrates Lina's love for family and art.
  • And then I added some pops of green.  Why green?  Because I was an English major and learned that green is the color of hope.  And Lina has so much hope in this book--and she really has to have hope, because otherwise she would never survive.  So I added two green accessories--a belt (less than $10 at Target) and stud earrings (around $42 at Macy's).  
So what do you think?  I just love the adaptation of the book!

I'll be back tomorrow with a new book review--see you then!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--Book Covers I Wish I Could Re-design

I am obsessed with book covers--they really make or break a read for me.  Which is sad, honestly, since most authors have no control over their book covers.  But I totally judge a book by its cover!  So today's Top Ten post (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is about book covers that I wish could be re-designed.  Here are my choices:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  I'm just not a fan of books with actual people on the cover, and this girl looks way too much like Angelina Jolie.

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann.  This is the paperback cover.  The hardback cover is AWESOME and has this creepy etching in an old school desk.  This one makes this book look like a romance...and it's not. 

Choker by Elizabeth Woods.  This cover is boooring.


Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith.  This book was so good--a great historical fiction book about a girl wanting to join the WASP.  But no one will pick it up in my library because of the cover.  They just don't like the image of her and it definitely pushes guy readers away.

Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan.  Again, another boring cover.

Ice by Sarah Durst.  This looks like a girl is hopelessly in love with a polar bear.  Yeah, I have no desire to pick it up now.

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis.  I love this book series and I loved the design of the first book in the series (on the left)...and then the publishers changed the third book to this design theme (on the right).  And I just want the first design back!  Besides, who wants to have the trilogy with different themed covers?


Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman.  Again, another great book (this one is about Hades and Persephone) but this girl does nothing for me.  And kids just don't check this book out.


Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins.  Could be so much better without a cartoon.


The Beastly Arms by Patrick Jennings.  I HATE the font of this title.  It looks too much like the Harry Potter font, so I think of this book as a Harry Potter wannabe.  Which I'm sure is not an accurate representation of the book!

So what covers do you wish you could re-design?  Leave a comment below!  And come back tomorrow for an outfit inspired by Between Shades of Gray!