Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm Drenched.

Hi, friends.

They say when it rains, it pours--well if so, I'm drenched.  Soaked.  And I need a little sunshine. 

We've had a major leak issue in our new house that left us in an undesirable situation.  Luke has a kidney stone that landed us in the ER one night (where our van was hit in the parking lot).  I. am. soaked.

So I'm taking a break for the rest of December so I can just re-group.  I'll be back in January with my normal posts--I have a line-up of book reviews ready to go!

Thanks for understanding...I just need some time over the holidays to relax and enjoy the moments.

Friday, December 5, 2014

REVIEW--To Be Perfectly Honest

Wow, what a few weeks!  

You know what happens when you let your three-year-old watch train videos on your phone?!  You run out of data!  So blogging from home has been VERY challenging lately, which leads me to my two-week hiatus.  Plus we had Thanksgiving--ours was fantastic and relaxing and I hope yours was, too! 

Our sweet little family on Thanksgiving--all 3 of my guys are in plaid!

My first pecan pie--it was DELICIOUS!

Today's post is a review for To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones.  This is a novel in verse (I feel like such a speed reader when I read these!) about a big fat liar.  Well, maybe she's not big and fat--just a liar.  Let's jump right in!

Such a sweet face--but she's a liar.  Don't trust her!
  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic fiction, novel in verse
The Gist:
Colette is a liar, and she'll tell you that she is (that's pretty much the one thing you can trust her on).  Her lying probably comes from the fact that her mother is a HUGE celebrity, which often puts Colette and her younger brother on the sidelines.  Lying gives Colette something to do and allows her to escape her feelings of being left out.
When Colette's mother takes the family to the middle of nowhere so she can film her next movie, Colette is completely annoyed.  Until she meets Connor--a sexy motorcycle rider who also shares feelings for her.  Colette hides her mother's identity so Connor won't ditch her for an autograph...but then starts to wonder if Connor will still like her once he knows about her lies.

What I Loved:
  • The title.  So clever and cute.
  • Colette's younger brother has the CUTEST's so fun to read all the "thweet" things he says.
  • I loved that Colette was such an unreliable narrator.  Maybe it's the English major in me, but I loved having something so literary like that to discuss with my students.
  • As a novel in verse, the book is a quick read, but it's also pretty light; despite some heavy issues that pop up, I didn't feel overwhelmed and felt it was overall a little "fluffier."
What I Didn't Love:
  • I knew every time that Colette was lying.  She didn't fool me once.  She'd tell a story and then say something like "Aren't you shocked that everything I just told you wasn't true?!"  Um, nope.  I knew it all along.
  • A trick that Colette and her family play on someone near the end of the book was over-the-top and completely unrealistic.  I think I even rolled my eyes as I was reading.
  • There's a little twist at the end with Connor that I saw coming from the start.  Just sayin'--if you're a liar, you better be prepared for liars.
  • The cover--she's a pretty girl, but the cover just doesn't get much across.
My favorite quote:  
"Only idiots believe everything they read in the National Enquirer.  Unfortunately, most people are idiots." 

An ok read for me, but a bit forgettable.  I wish I'd had the audio version, though, just to hear the little brother's lisp!

Some outfits coming up soon!

Monday, November 24, 2014

We Are the Goldens-Inspired Outfit

Happy Monday, everyone!  Are you geared up for Thanksgiving?  I am ready for the break--even though I have been out of school lately with various trips and conferences, it will be nice to have a chance to just collect myself again.  Moving to a new house has taken a toll, so it's going to be good to just re-group.

Today's post is an outfit inspired by We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt.  In the book, Nell and her sister Layla are soccer players.  So I wanted to design an outfit for Nell on game day.  Since I work in a school, I see the student athletes when it's game day--they dress nicer than the typical school outfit.  So that's the inspiration for the look.

And when I think soccer, I think stripes.  So I designed a classy outfit for Nell with sleek stripes.  Here it is:

Simple enough to wear to school and comfortable...but still stylish!

  • Like I said, soccer makes me think of stripes, so I went for a simple yet chic black and white striped sweater.
  • The black skinny jeans pair nicely with the sweater.  Keeps it casual.
  • I always see my athletes wear flats when they dress up.  They're more comfortable in their dress, so flats just make sense (stereotypically, the star of the girls' basketball team doesn't do well with heels!).  But adding the bows to the top of the flats gives it a feminine touch.
  • A simple but beautiful watch keeps the outfit trendy and accessorized.
What do you think?  Could you see a student wearing this before a game?

More reviews coming up!

Jeans--House of Fraser 
Flats--Saint Laurent 
Watch--Nixon Kenzi 

*I'm not associated with any brands/companies mentioned.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Went to Y'ALL Fest, Y'ALL!

Hey, readers and fashionistas!  Over a week ago, my friend Emily and I road tripped from Indianapolis to Charleston, SC for Y'ALL Fest, the largest book festival in the country (and it's only been going on for four years!).  It was a BLAST!  We're talking 60+ YA authors just walking around Charleston, meeting their readers and giving panels on various topics.  Totally up my nerd alley!  Here is a list of my favorite things about Y'ALL Fest and my highlights:

  • Blue Bicycle Books--This bookstore hosts the festival and is book proud.  The employees were helpful and excited and showed off why I love local indie bookstores so much.  The bookstore itself has cute decorations and just makes me want to sit down with a book and a cup of tea.

 Yes, they had a bicycle outside their store with books on it.

What a neat idea--painting the covers of books to spell a word!

  • Charleston--What a beautiful city!  It was so easy to access everything at the festival, and I loved how local businesses got involved (I got to meet Gayle Forman in a donut shop and James Dashner in a toy store!).  I have a soft spot for South Carolina (my family used to vacation there every summer) and I love the warm air and palm trees.  I was ready to move down to Charleston!
 We ate at Hyman's Friday night for the BEST hush puppies in the world!  This is my friend Emily, who is slightly obsessed.

  • The experiences I had meeting authors--Obviously this is one of the best parts of the festival.  Authors walk around, take photos, meet readers, and have signings.  I literally bumped into Stephanie Perkins and talked to Rainbow Rowell for a second like we were old friends.  Every author was so gracious and excited to talk with their readers--Varian Johnson was so appreciative, Laini Taylor was just plain fun, Maya Van Wagenen was so genuine, and I could go on and on.

 Stephanie adorable is she?!

Epic Reads--they are so fun!  I look like a crazy person here with three chins...that awkward selfie strain.
  • Aaron Hartzler--This guy gets his own category.  I literally drove to Charleston because I wanted to meet him.  I loved his book Rapture Practice and could tell from Twitter that he would be a fun guy.  He was fan-tastic!  Just what I wanted in my experience to meet him.  Out of the thousands of people at the festival, only about 10 of us were in line for Aaron, which just made the experience even better.  It was AWESOME to talk with him, take photos together, and just act like it was totally normal for me to be hanging out with him.  Aaron later hosted a "Hollywood Squares" author game at the Smackdown event, and he was the highlight of the event.  He is hilarious!
 Yep, Aaron Hartzler has his arm around me!  I loved meeting the others in line, too.  This was the highlight of the trip for me!

 I was the first in line to meet Aaron, so I got to hold the author paddle!
  •  The lines--Why would I love the lines at Y'ALL Fest?!  Because that's where you meet other readers.  That's where you connect with people all over the country who love the same authors as you.  You meet parents who take their kids out of school so they can meet Veronica Roth, dads who willingly stand in line for two hours so they can get a romance author's autograph for their daughters, librarians who are passionate about students and reading.  I have to give a shout out to Megan and Brian, an engaged couple who I met in the James Dashner line and who I kept running into throughout the festival.  
 Most of the lines at Y'ALL Fest are looooong.  These were the lines for Libba Bray and
Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl.

 The line of people behind me for James Dashner.  How ADORABLE is that girl behind me?!
  •  The road trip--Traveling with my friend Emily was perfect because we're both librarians.  And what do you do when you are in a car for 11 hours?!  You listen to an audiobook!  We listened to The Here and Now by Ann Brashares on the way down and Panic by Lauren Oliver on the way home.

The author autographs I got:
Lauren Myracle (She told me librarians are her heroes!)
Varian Johnson
Sara Zarr
Carrie Ryan
Kami Garcia
Margaret Stohl
Jennifer E. Smith
Leigh Bardugo
Maya Van Wagenen
Melissa de la Cruz
Aaron Hartzler
E Lockhart
Sarah Dessen
James Dashner
Lauren Oliver
Laini Taylor
Ann Brashares
Alexander London
Libba Bray
Becca Fitzpatrick
Kiera Cass
Marie Lu
Gayle Forman

And there were so many others!  I missed out on Ally Condie and Sarah Maas...maybe next year?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

REVIEW--We Are the Goldens

Hey, readers and fashionistas!  I'm excited about today's book review--I loved this book because it was such a surprise for me.  I expected controversy and edginess, and I got a deep-thinking and realistic portrayal of a sister's internal struggle.  So good!

Today's review is on Dana Reinhardt's newest book, We Are the Goldens.  I had read her book The Things a Brother Knows and really enjoyed it, so this was an easy grab for me.  But I LOVED it.  Let me explain why:

  •  Standalone novel
  • Realistic fiction
The Gist:
Layla and Nell are the Goldens.  And Nell absolutely adores her sister.  Loves living a few years behind her and looking up to her.  But Nell notices that Layla is more distant than normal, uninterested in normal high school things, and unconcerned with school gossip.  And then she learns of Layla's big secret.  A secret that could change their family's life forever.  A secret that haunts Nell's every moment.

What I Loved:
  • The point of view of the book--it's second person, which is so rarely seen in fiction.  Nell is speaking to Layla throughout the book, giving her behind-the-scenes info on the decisions she's made.  So effective since this book is all about looking at a situation through Nell's eyes.
  • Even though I wanted major action to happen in the end, I'm glad it didn't.  It just didn't need it.  This book is about Nell even more than it is about Layla.
  • This book is so gosh darn realistic...and that's all I can say about that since I work in education.
  • I didn't think the adults were weak in this book.  The parents cared about their girls and appeared to be very realistic as divorced parents.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The cover. Just doesn't work for me.
  • Even though I loved the ending, my students won't like it.  I'll have to convince them why it's the best choice
Favorite quote: "They had three times the pool to choose from when putting together their team, so of course they were better than us.  Plus it was a Jesuit school, so they probably had God on their side to boot."

Such a great book--I highly recommend it!

Yep, 5 heels for me!

I'll be designing a Nell-inspired outfit soon!  I'm headed to YA'LL Fest tomorrow...can't wait to tell you all about it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Peter Pan Halloween and An Outfit

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you had a fun and treat-filled Halloween!  It was FREEZING in our neck of the woods, so only my big guy got to participate in the door-to-door trick or treating, and that was pretty limited.  Nevertheless, the boys looked adorable in their Peter Pan-inspired costumes!  My big guy was Captain Hook and the little one was the crocodile (or as my older son called him, Tick Tock Croc!)

Eeek!  So cute!

Today I'm sharing the outfit I designed for the graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, a cute story of a battle between the geeks and the cheerleaders.  I decided to take inspiration from the cheerleaders and show a glam yet casual look for school.  And here it is:

A casual outfit for the school day that still shows off someone's cheerleader status.  Let's jump into it:
  • Cuffed jeans are pretty popular right now, and a cheerleader is always on top of the styles, right?!
  • This Bayside Cheerleading t-shirt was too fun to pass up.  It pays homage to "Saved by the Bell" and reminds us all of the loveable Kelly Kapowski.  A cheerleader would love this t-shirt.
  • Glitter silver shoes dress up the outfit, and it's no surprise to find a cheerleader wearing glitter.  This gives the look some sophistication and is a good substitute for glitter eyeshadow.
  • Cheerleaders always wear bows, but this outfit adds in a bow bracelet instead to keep the look more mature.  An additional black bracelet ties in with the gray t-shirt and keeps the outfit from being total glam.
What do you think?  Could you see a cheerleader wearing this to school?

More reviews to come--stay tuned!

Jeans--J Brand
T-shirt--NBC Store
Shoes--Kate Spade
Bow Bracelet--Etsy
Black Bracelet--Bloomingdales 

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What My Boys Read for Halloween--Preschool Books

Happy Halloween week!  Whenever a holiday comes around, I love to have a week of decorations, activities, and books to get us all in the mood.  Now that my oldest son is embracing bedtime stories ("One more, Mommy!"), I grabbed a stack of Halloween books from the public library (no sense in wasting money on holiday books when you can get them for FREE!) and started reading.

Here have been our favorites this year:

Wobble the Witch Cat by Mary Calhoun.  A cute story about a cat too scared to ride on his witch's broom.  One of the lengthier stories of the bunch.

Inside a House that is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.  By far our FAVORITE of all the Halloween books.  It has a repetitive rhythm, and my son had the entire book memorized after a few days of reading.  This one might be a purchase for us so we can have it year-round.

Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti.  A major favorite due to the flapped pages and silly sound effects that I made.  Even my youngest guy calmed down long enough to watch this one.

Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming.  A beautiful poem about all things Halloween.  I didn't know if my boy was interested in this one, but he asked for it the next night, so it must have been a winner!

The Costume Copycat by Maryann Macdonald.  Since I have two little boys, I loved the sibling center of this story.  A sweet ending, too!


There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro.  A funny, repetitive story with a funny ending.

So what have your kiddos been reading for Halloween?  Or what books have gotten YOU in the Halloween spirit?

Monday, October 27, 2014

REVIEW--Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Happy Monday, everyone!  Wow, what a weekend we had!  We packed up our sweet house and moved to a larger, updated home.  It is SUPER exciting to think about all the memories we're going to make in our new home.

So what do you read when you don't have a lot of time on your hands?  You read a graphic novel!  So today I'm reviewing Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks.  Let's jump right in!


  • Graphic novel
  • Standalone
The Gist:
Charlie shouldn't care that the principal of his school has extra money to spend.  Or that the principal isn't sure who should get the money--the robotics team for their upcoming competition or the cheerleaders for their new uniforms.  But Charlie IS stuck in the middle, because he is good friends with Nate, the president of the robotics club, and is dating a cheerleader.  And a battle is about to ensue between the groups, with Charlie's relationship with them both on the line.

What I Loved:
  • If you're not a big graphic novels reader (like me), this is a great choice!  The artwork is tasteful and well-done, the plot simple and engaging.
  • There are some interesting side stories within the novel--Charlie's relationship with his parents, for sure.
  • This really hits on the stereotypical high school drama we so often see.
  • Pretty clean...and I can rarely say that about graphic novels.

What I Didn't Love:
  • I'll be honest--I just can't get super-pumped about a book with a battle between cheerleaders and geeks.  It's been done...many times.
A fun read and one that my students will probably devour!

Next up is a cheerleader-inspired outfit!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Little Boys in Plaid

Hey, fashionistas!  I cannot tell you how much I LOVE fall clothes!  The plaids, deep colors, boots...ahhh!  And this year I have been smitten with how cute my boys look in their fall wardrobes. 

We picked up some new items this year at Target, because let me tell you, my boys know how to wear out their clothes.  And this year's Target selection is full of jaw-dropping cuteness.  Let me show you a few of my favorites:

 Here's my oldest boy, and oh my goodness I LOVE this outfit!  It will probably be his Thanksgiving day outfit.  The plaid with the deep khaki pants...ahhh!  And can you catch the elbow pads?!
The boots are great, too...much cuter than his typical character tennis shoes!

A close-up of that cute cute boy.

A weak photo of his younger brother, but this is the only shot I could get of the active boy.  Look at that green plaid!  And a front pocket, too!

At the local hardware store--check out the little guy's letter jacket!  And his name begins with C, so it couldn't be more perfect.  When he outgrows this jacket, we're keeping it!  You can peek the cute maroon shirt that big guy is wearing, too.

So how are you or your kids dressing for fall?

*I have no affiliation with Target (I wish!) and paid for this all with my own money.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glow-Inspired Outfit

Hello, friends!

So it's been about a week and a half since I posted...I know, I know!  But let me tell you about that last week and a half.  First, we closed on a new house!  I am so so excited to get my decorating hands on this new house!  Then Luke and I were both gone on different retreats (me for church, him for work) PLUS I was on Fall Break and just decided I needed time to rest and READ!

So here's the outfit that I designed for Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (I reviewed it in my last post).  I was designing for protagonist Waverly, so I wanted an outer space theme with a girly touch, and I think that's exactly what I got with this!  Here it is:

So let's break it down:
  • I wanted the outfit's main color to be black because, let's face it, that what Waverly is mostly seeing in Glow--a black universe. So the majority of the outfit is black.
  • The T-shirt is a solar system diagram, and it pairs so well with this girly skirt.  The two together makes a casual but sweet pairing.  And since all of the girls are being kidnapped so they can help women bear children, I knew I needed to accentuate the girly part of an outfit.
  • Black tights and black boots keep the feminine touch.  However, since Waverly IS trying to escape for most of this book, she needed some kick-butt shoes that gave her some edge.
  • Since Waverly and the rest of the characters are on a mission to start life over in a new universal existence, I wanted a pop of white to represent rebirth.  Hence this killer leather jacket.
And there you have it!  An outfit that Waverly could wear to express her femininity in space while also going on high-speed chases.

Jacket--Miss Selfridge
T-shirt--Fluffy Co (Modcloth)

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

Want to see the cutest little boy clothing?  Check back this week to see my stylish boys!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Happy Monday, readers and fashionistas!  Today is the start of a crazy busy week for me!  We're talking house meetings (we're moving!), library meetings, church retreats, etc.  But all super fun!

Today's review is for the book Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan; it's a sci fi thriller, a perfect genre for the Halloween month.  So let's jump right in!


  • First in the Sky Chasers series
  • Science Fiction / Thriller
The Gist:
Waverly (girl) and Kieran (boy) are on the Empyrean, a ship that is bound for a new world in space.  Their ship is filled with non-religious people while a sister ship making the same destination is filled with religious travelers.   The ships aren't traveling together but are basically allies in their destinations.  Kieran proposes to Waverly and anxiously awaits her response.  But she doesn't have a chance to answer him when their supposed ally ship attacks and kidnaps all of the young females.  And what was once a quiet trip in space turns in to a dangerous race for all their lives.

What I Loved:
  •  I really enjoy the genre of sci fi / thriller, because it throws in the unexpected in a fast, action-packed plot.
  • The author did such a great job at manipulating my emotions when it came to the characters.  I would be leaning towards loving Kieran, but then his adversary Seth seemed like the nicer guy.  And this happened throughout the whole book (the ships' captains, especially), bringing up the question "is there a little bit of evil in all of us?"
  • For the most part, I liked the dual narration between Waverly and Kieran.  I preferred Waverly's storyline, but nevertheless it was nice to switch it up throughout the book.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The title only makes sense to me when you compare the book to the other titles in the series.  On its own, however, Glow just doesn't fit the book.   What does it have to do with anything?
  • The religious vs. nonreligious issues of the ships didn't seem to make sense to me, especially when the religious ship seemed to be more evil.  Not sure why that part of the book was needed.
  • I just could not grasp the look of the ship, so when the attack happened, I had no idea where everyone was, what size space they were in, etc.  I needed a better "visual" of the ships.
An enjoyable read, but I'm not sure I'll continue with the series.  My confusion of the ships' set-up along with the various character traits left me puzzled most of the time, making it (as I said) enjoyable but not super fun.  Three heels for me!

 I'll have a space-themed outfit for us soon, along with some stylish kid clothes!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life As We Knew It-Inspired Outfits

Hello, readers and fashionistas!  Last week I reviewed Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, a look at the world when the moon is knocked out of orbit (yikes!).  In the book Miranda has her entire life changed, and luxuries like clothes and food are not as accessible or changeable as before.

So for today's outfit inspiration, I chose to take one shirt and show three ways to wear it.  Because I'm sure that's exactly what Miranda was doing--re-wearing shirts/jeans/shoes over and over again.  So here's the shirt we're starting with:

Zoe Karssen Follow your heart sweatshirt 
Isn't it so cute?  And it provides warmth, which Miranda definitely needs in the book!

You'll notice that none of the outfits are very accessorized, since that was the last thing on Miranda's mind.  But I thought this shirt represented her well...even though she was going through a crisis, she still loved ice skating, felt writing was therapeutic, and even had a crush on a boy.  She wanted life to be as normal as could be, which meant going after her dreams.

So how could Miranda get the most out of her shirt?  Here are three ways:

Now for a big chunk of the book, Miranda has to think about staying warm, but the first third or so allows her to wear warmer clothes.  So in outfit 1, I paired the shirt with bright red shorts (you need a pop of color!) and black Vans.  Simple but chic.

Outfit 2 plays off the "I need to be warm" part of the book; therefore, it is paired with skinny jeans, a bright pink vest, and warm tan boots.  Casual but colorful and thoughtfully put together.

And of course, Miranda could always pair the shirt with pajama pants and fuzzy socks to stay warm at night.  This does make an awfully cute set of pjs!

So how would you wear something over and over?  You never know when natural disaster will strike, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

REVIEW--Life As We Knew It

Happy Wednesday, readers and fashionistas!  Halfway through the week!!

Today's post is a book review on Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  I originally picked it up as a backup plan in case a book I wanted to use in class was too edgy for parents' permission.  But I was surprised at how quickly I finished the book and how much I enjoyed reading it.  So let's jump on in!

  • Dystopian
  • First book in the Last Survivors series
The Gist:
Miranda is just a normal teenager living a normal life.  She lives with her mother and younger brother; her father is remarried and living in another city and her older brother is away at college.  When everyone hears that scientists have predicted that an asteroid will hit the moon (and not cause any damage), they are pretty excited about it and even stay up late to watch it happen live from their front yards.  But the scientists were wrong--when the asteroid hits, it IS a big deal and knocks the moon off its orbital course.  Which means tsunamis, volcano eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. And life as Miranda and her family have known it is all about to change in a fight for their lives.

What I Loved:
  • This book is really clean.  Yes, I know I'm an educator so that means something more to me than the average Joe, but I was just impressed by how appropriate it was for students of all ages to read.
  • The book is very thought-provoking.  And I really believe that if the moon was knocked out of its orbit, what is described in this book would actually happen.  Which is pretty terrifying to think about.
  • This book considers all aspects of being in a survival situation--physical needs, emotional stress, fears and uncertainty, confusion on how to live, etc.
  • Additionally, I liked that as a reader I got to see more than just inside Miranda's home.  I got to see around the town and hear about what else was happening in the world.  
What I Didn't Love:
  • There was practically no resolution with Miranda's father and step-mother, which bugged me a bit.  Did she have the baby?!
My favorite quote:
"I guess all the animals have left town." 
"I hope Kansas lets them in."

A very solid read for me, so I will probably continue with the series.

 I'll be back soon with an outfit perfect for Miranda's situation--an outfit that can be worn over and over in new ways (since Miranda won't be shopping any time soon).