Wednesday, April 30, 2014

REVIEW--Into the Still Blue

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Previously this year I reviewed Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi...GREAT books in the Under the Never Sky trilogy.  I recently read the third and final book--Into the Still Blue and can't wait to review it!  So here we go:

  •  Third book in the Under the Never Sky series
  • Dystopian
The Gist:
When we left Aria and Perry, they realized that Sable and Hess had joined forces to kidnap Cinder and force him to take them to the Still Blue.  That would mean safety for them and their people, possibly death for Cinder, and hopelessness for Aria and Perry and their newly-mixed tribe of Dwellers and the Tides.  So Aria and Perry know they must rescue Cinder and find their own way to the Still Blue before the Aether storms destroy them all.   But that means a mission of complete danger, betrayal, and decisions...and Sable and Hess aren't giving up with out a major fight.

What I Loved:
  • Sable and Hess were FANTASTIC villains.  I seriously didn't know how Aria and Perry would surpass them because of their strength in all things evil.  Especially Sable.  One dangerous guy.
  • I loved all the characters and how they returned to be important to the plot--Roar (Oh I LOVE Roar!), Brooke, Soren, etc.  
  • I wasn't expecting for Aria to have any conclusion about the identity of her father--I was happy to see that and it was nicely done.  I liked the dual side to his character, too.
  • Action-packed scenes, bouts of violence--it all had me turning the page quickly.  I was engrossed!
What I Didn't Love:
  • I still miss the cannibals from Book One.  And they're not in this book...isn't it sad and creepy that I miss the cannibals?  I just found them intriguing.  
My favorite quote:  "You're out to hurt at least a few people.  I'm sure of that.  What I'm trying to figure out is how wide you're casting the net."

I never say this about final books in a series, but I think this one was my favorite!  Sad to see it end, actually.  Aria and Perry are a great match, which leave Roar single for me (wait!  I'm married...and oh yeah, Roar isn't real).

It's been awhile since I've had a 5-star review!

I'll be back with a new outfit (inspired by this book of course!).  See you then!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Warby Parker-Inspired Looks

Happy Friday, friends!

I was asked a few weeks ago by Warby Parker to design some outfits based on some of their new collections.  I thought this was a fun idea since a few of their collections are centered around the upcoming warm seasons.  Don't worry--this is not a sponsored post and I'm getting no form of compensation for this's just a fun alternative to my typical outfit designs!

But if you do get interested in the Warby Parker collections, just check out their site.  They offer 5 days free to try out 5 frames for most of their collections, which might be beneficial if you're in the market!

Here's the pair of glasses that I chose from the Spring Collection:

Aren't these fun yet sophisticated?  I wanted to design a Spring outfit that embraced the new warmer weather, and here's what I came up with:

Cute, right?  I love the sundress and fedora--they're so playful which would go great with the glasses!

Dress--American Eagle
Necklace--7 For All Mankind

From the Spectrum Sun collection, I chose these glasses:

 Fun pink shades that glam up an outfit.  I decided to pair this with a Summer date night outfit.  Here it is:

It's dressy yet casual--great for a night on a restaurant patio watching the sun set (ok, cheesy I know!). 

Jeans--Old Navy

And from the Architecture for Humanity collection, I chose these fun glasses:

I love the pattern on the frames!  Probably the most serious of the three, I decided to pair them with a comfy look for chilly evenings.  Here it is:

I love mixing cream, gray, and pink--a soft, feminine combination.  The glasses would really sharpen up (no pun intended) the look!  And I love mixing the patterned glasses with the floral design.

Oversized cardigan--River Island
Shirt--Dorothy Perkins
Jeans--Saint Laurent

So what do you think?  How do you pair glasses with outfit?  

I'll be back next week with more book reviews and outfits...I've got quite a few reviews ready to go!

*I am not associated with any companies or products mentioned.  I received no compensation from Warby Parker for this post.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Book Night 2014

Yesterday was World Book Night, a celebration of connecting people with books.  All across the world, Book Givers went out in public to someplace "non-bookish" and gave away books for free.  I mean, how cool is that?

I first heard about World Book Night through Twitter.  Some of my colleagues were Givers last year so I heard all the buzz about how to be a Giver and participate.  You have to apply pretty early to be a Giver--I believe the deadline is in the Fall for the following Spring date (which is a good reason to follow World Book Night on Twitter so you don't forget!).  The application is quick and easy and I was accepted right away to be a Giver!

When you apply to be a Giver, you get a list of books; from that list, you choose your favorites that you would like to give away.  I think I listed three favorites and was given around 30 copies of this book (I didn't count):


Even though I normally read YA fiction, I'm glad that I was assigned adult nonfiction due to the audience I had for my giveaway.

So where did I go?  I chose my high school's baseball game that night.  It was a perfect choice--there was a large crowd and the weather was beautiful!

These were my passing-out-book buddies:

I mean, who could resist taking a book from those cute faces?  Ransom, who's 2 1/2, practiced saying "Would you like a free book?" with me--adorable!

I set up my table next to the ticket booth since I knew I'd be visible there, and sure enough, we gave away all of the books in less than an hour!

And now I have the privilege of calling myself a Book Giver!

My favorite parts of the night were people just absolutely shocked that I wouldn't ask for a donation...they were genuinely excited to get a free book!

Want to be a Book Giver?  Just follow World Book Night on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled this Fall for the application deadline!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shatter Me-Inspired Outfit

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Today is World Book Night, and I am SO EXCITED to be participating as a Giver for the first time!  I'll be posting about my experience tomorrow, so check it out to see where I gave away books!

Last week I reviewed Shatter Me, the first book in Tahereh Mafi's trilogy about Juliette and her lethal touch.  Today's outfit is based off that book, and ooh how I wish this outfit were in my personal wardrobe!
Here it is:

So sparkly, right?

Let me explain how I came up with this:

Juliette never wears something like this in the book (although Warner does try to woo her with beautiful clothes).  But I knew for this outfit I wanted something that completely got your attention and had a "danger" factor.  After all, Juliette has everyone's attention since they're afraid to touch her.  And the book is called Shatter Me, so I knew I wanted to play around with metallics and textures.
  • The dress, which I found on Amazon for less than $100, is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.  Silver shimmer...need I say more?  And the perfect length to get everyone's attention!
  • The heels by Stuart Weitzman are bold and more powerful-feeling than a pair of flats.  Who doesn't love a good pair of black pumps?  They make a statement without taking away from the dress.
  • For accessories I stayed simple--the dress is the statement piece--and stayed within the color scheme.  Bracelets are from Dorothy Jenkins and Marc by Marc Jacobs and the clutch (which you want with this dress--no lugging around a purse on your shoulder!) is from
So what do you think?  Could this be a show-stopping look?  I think so!

Tomorrow I'll be telling you all about my World Book Night experience...and then Friday you'll see some outfits I've created to go along with glasses (for nerds like me!).  See you then!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

REVIEW--Shatter Me

Happy Thursday, everyone! 
I have heard SO MANY people--librarians, bloggers, students--talk about the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi that I knew I had to read it PRONTO.

The series is dystopian--which I love like the rest of the world--and a mixture of romance, action, and mystery.  So let's jump right into a review of the first book, Shatter Me!

  • First in the Shatter Me series
  • Dystopian
The Gist: 
Juliette has a power--her touch is dangerous.  By simply touching her you can get seriously hurt or even killed.  So her parents have had her locked up for the last 264 days.
And the world itself isn't doing much better--diseases are killing people, food is scarce, etc.  Survival is priority in the outside world.
But the Reestablishment thinks that Juliette might be a tool they can use as they work to "rebuild" society.  And Juliette has to learn who can be trusted and what she must do for her own survival.

What I Loved:
  • Like I said, this book had everything--dystopian setting, romance, action, mystery.  It grabs at all of your emotions for sure!
  • Mafi's prose is so stylistic and unique...I just couldn't get enough of her writing.  She uses numbers in number form (instead of writing them out as we so often see) which just added a lot of character to the story.
  • I enjoyed the main characters, Juliette and Adam.  And I TOTALLY like them as a pair!  
  • As the reader, you get to be inside Juliette's mind a lot, and this really deepened her role as the protagonist.  Mafi also writes a lot in Juliette's inner dialogue and then crosses it out, just as if you were second guessing or correcting yourself in your own mind.  Again, this really added depth to her character and made her more human to me.
What I Didn't Love:
  • I wanted some more background on Juliette and The Reestablishment.  I felt like readers were thrust into the middle of the story without much world-building.
  • Warner is an odd villain to me.  First of all, it is revealed that he is 19 years old, and up to that point I expected him to be MUCH older.  And second, he seems naive in his feelings toward Juliette.  I know many villains can be blinded by love for someone, but he just seems downright foolish at times.  I'm curious to see where his character goes in the next book.
  • I don't fully grasp the cover.  It's beautiful, but not really what I expected for the book.  
A solid first book in a series, although all they hype I'd been given left me wanting more.  I hear the next two books in the series really do it justice, so I can't wait to start those!

I'll be designing a look soon based on Juliette...can't wait to show you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OOTD--A Pop of Lime

Hey, readers and fashionistas!  

Today I'm bringing you my own outfit--I just love Outfit of the Day posts, and it appears that you all do, too!  

With Spring slowly making its way into our lives, I've started adding a lot of color into my wardrobe.  Today's outfit does just that--it adds a burst of lime.  And lime is quickly becoming one of my favorite colors.  I've used it in my living room (lime curtains) and it really brightens up the space!

So here's my look:

Yep, just hanging out on my front porch in my cute wedges...

I am all about skinny jeans...I seriously can't fathom wearing "non-skinnies" on a regular basis.  I paired my dark jeans with a white and black polka-dot top with the cutest tie in the front.  Just darling and 1950s!  I added the lime cardigan to brighten it all up (sorry the color isn't as vibrant in the photo!).
For accessories I chose a white bangle, black dangly earrings, and THE MOST COMFORTABLE wedges I've ever owned.  Seriously--like walking on clouds.

A closer look at the accessories...and I was having a decent hair day!

So how are you embracing Spring in your wardrobe?  Do you have any lime pieces?  Share!

Jeans--American Eagle
Blouse and Cardigan--LOFT
Bracelet and Earrings--unknown (I've had for awhile)

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rapture Practice-Inspired Outfit

Hey, readers and fashionistas!

Yesterday I reviewed Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler, a book that had me laughing, gasping, and sighing in frustration.  Seriously, friends--such a good book!

So in designing an outfit based off the book, I thought it would be fitting (no pun intended!) to design a conservative outfit that still looked chic.  Aaron's mother dressed very conservatively (and only wore skirts/dresses), so I wanted to design a current, updated look that hopefully even she would approve.

So here it is:

Think it would get Aaron's family's approval?

I'll break it down:
  • Maxi skirts are ALL the rage for about the second year in a row.  You're going to especially see them everywhere with the spring and summer seasons approaching.  This skirt has a trendy chevron design, and what could be more classic than black and white?  This skirt could be paired with just about anything.
  • Denim shirts are also really big right now (and also go with just about anything), so I paired this with the skirt and tucked it in for a cleaner look.
  • I added the necklace to give a POP on the top of the outfit.
  • Gladiator sandals are cute but not over-the-top.
  • OPI's Bubble Bath nail polish is soft, gentle, and feminine.  I didn't think Aaron's mother would go for a bright teal or yellow polish!  
So what do you think?  Would you wear this outfit?  Do you see someone who is very conservative wearing it?

Tomorrow I'll be back to share another outfit from my own wardrobe.  See you then!

Skirt--Boohoo Mysha
Sandals--Nine West
Nail Polish--OPI "Bubble Bath"

Monday, April 14, 2014

REVIEW--Rapture Practice

Happy Monday, everyone!

I'll admit--I was a little hesitant to read Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler.  I was assigned to read it for a committee and when I first read the description, I thought "Oh great...a Christian bashing book that just wants to be controversial."  Yes, I am a Christian, but it's more than just that.  I just hate reading nonfiction books that tear down others' beliefs (whatever they may be).  But I was SO pleasantly surprised by this book that I'm reviewing it much earlier than I expected (I had some others ready to go first but I've put them on hold)!  And now I want to meet Aaron Hartzler just to talk more about his story.

So enough of the anticipation--let's jump into it!

  • Standalone novel (although I TOTALLY want a sequel!)
  • Nonfiction
The Gist:
Aaron Hartzler grew up in a VERY conservative, fundamentalist Christian home.  He wasn't allowed to listen to secular music, go to the movie theater (even to see a "good" movie because there might be previews for "bad" movies), look at girls on magazine covers (even fully-dressed girls), etc.  He wanted to be an actor, which was fine to his parents as long as he acted in churches or taught in Christian schools.  And while Aaron was ok with these rules/standards as a child, he started questioning them as a teen...and eventually started questioning his parents' beliefs in general.  And he had to choose--to fully obey his parents as their child or risk punishment by making his own decisions.

What I Loved:
  •  This book made me laugh, gasp, huff, and roll my eyes.  I was with Aaron in every situation and fully felt a whole range of emotions.  In other words, I was totally invested.
  • I could relate to Aaron's story--even though I wasn't raised in a home like his.  But I have had certain rules that I didn't fully like and I've been with my friends when they've had to follow very strict rules.  I've been in churches that have discussed what movies you should definitely NOT see (and I felt like I should've worn a disguise when I DID go see one) or what books you shouldn't read.  My husband's family didn't approve of trick-or-treating or Halloween in general.  So I understood Aaron's dilemma.
  • I wasn't bored once with this book, and sometimes nonfiction can drift a little too much for me.  
  • Hartzler alludes to the fact that he later in life came out as a gay man, but he kept is very clean and "safe" in the book (which, as a school librarian, I really appreciate!).
What I Didn't Love:
  • I think this is a compliment, because the only thing I didn't love was that I want to know so much more about Hartzler's relationship with his family today.  He's now a gay actor (and not in church plays)  which I'm sure is a big let-down to his parents.  So I want to know the rest of his story!!  Sequel, perhaps?  Please!!! 
  • And I want photos in the book, too!  I'm dying to know what Aaron's family and friends looked like.  
Favorite quote: "We may be the only house in Kansas City that doesn't have a television set, but we've got something better: my mom."

A really enjoyable read...and very thought-provoking.  Four stars for sure!

 I'll be back tomorrow with an outfit inspired by this book!   See you then!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OOTD--Getting Ready for Spring!

Hey everyone!

Today I'm showing off an outfit I recently put together to get me in the mood for Spring!  The new season is kind-of upon us and there's nothing that makes me feel better than putting together fun, bright colors in an outfit.

Here's a photo that I took in my library...and now that I look at it, it kind of has a cute-librarian look, too!

 Don't you love the blues and corals mixed together?

Denim shirts are staple pieces right now because they can be dressed up or down in so many ways!  I paired this light denim shirt with dark denim skinny jeans and bright accessories. 

The teal polka dots on the cardigan are so sweet, and I love the complementary corals in the necklace and flats.  I added some teal chevron stacking bracelets for that extra pop of color.

Cardigan--Target (only $15!)
Shirt--Charlotte Russe
Necklace--Charlotte Russe
Bracelets--Christmas gift from my sis, Alison (from an Etsy store)
Jeans--American Eagle

*I purchased all items with my own money (other than the Christmas gift); I am not associated with any companies/products mentioned.

So what do you think?

How are you dressing for Spring?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

One Step at a Time-Inspired Outfit

Good afternoon, readers and fashionistas!

Yesterday I reviewed One Step at a Time by Josh Bleill, a memoir of Bleill's service in the Marines and the heartbreaking yet inspirational story of him losing his legs.  So today's outfit is very military-inspired.  But here's a disclaimer: I don't know much about the Marines, so this isn't an outfit to be taken so literally.  It's just an outfit that makes me think of military hues and lines.  Here it is:

Let's break it down:
  • The blazer is that typical military olive color, and I love the way the waist is cinched.  Very clean and classy-looking!
  • I paired the blazer with a goldish-tan tank, another typical military color.
  • Boyfriend jeans are a bit relaxed and (as the name suggests) guy-inspired.  Now I don't necessarily think that the military is relaxed, but it is obviously male-dominated.
  • The necklace has straight lines and reminds me of military medals. 
  • The tan flats match the colors of the outfit and keep the outfit a little more sensible.
So what do you think?  Could you see yourself wearing something like this?  Is your wardrobe military-inspired?

Tank--Uma Wang
Jeans--J Brand
Necklace--Daily Look
Flats-- Tory Burch

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

I'll be back tomorrow with my own Outfit of the Day--see you then!

Monday, April 7, 2014

REVIEW--One Step at a Time

I'm back!!!  Wow has it been a crazy few weeks, so I'm glad to get back to a normal routine again!  And that includes blogging, too.  :)

So today let's get going with a good-old review.  I recently read One Step at a Time by Josh Bleill, a former Marine and now community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts.  I'm actually hoping to have Bleill come to my school next year to speak with students and staff about the experiences he wrote in this book.  So let's get to it:

  •  Standalone novel
  • Nonfiction
The Gist:
After 9/11, Josh Bleill knew he wanted to serve his country.  So he joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 2004.  He was sent for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, where he lost both legs in an IED explosion.  In this book, he discusses this incident and how he learned to move past his injuries (both physical and mental).  He was later hired by the Indianapolis Colts, his favorite NFL team, where he currently serves as a community spokesperson.

What I Loved:
  • For me, this is a hometown story.  Although I didn't grow up in Greenfield (where Bleill lived), I also grew up in a small Indiana town and could relate to Bleill's growing-up stories. 
  • It's a very inspirational story--Bleill could very easily live in depression and self-pity because of all that he's been through, but he doesn't.  A great story for students to hear!
  • I was afraid that Bleill was going to start with a LOT of background about his upbringing and young life, but he doesn't.  He jumps right into the main story for you, and I really appreciated that!
What I Didn't Love:
  • I know Bleill isn't a professional writer, but he did have a ghostwriter for this book.  And honestly I wasn't very impressed with the ghostwriter.  The writing seemed basic and even elementary at times.  This is a book you read for the information, not for the writing style.
  • At one point Bleill talks about how he waited to tell his family that he had joined the Marines.  And he says "I told myself I hadn't broken the news to them yet because I wanted to tell the entire family at one time.  My other sister, Julie, lived in Fishers, Indiana, and my parents lived 40 minutes from her in Greenfield.  And I lived all the way in Indianapolis, right in between them.  Getting all of us together at the same time from such great distances was hard to do--or at least it is when you don't want to do it."  I know this are very well, and describing 40 minutes as "great distances" was pretty silly to me.  We live in the world of automobiles, not horse and buggy...that's not a great distance at all. 
  • Bleill writes MULTIPLE times about how great the Marines are and how they are such a family.  And I'm sure they are and I TOTALLY respect the Marines.  Just got a little repetitive after awhile.
My favorite quote:  "I didn't mind going back to California, especially not after living through another Indiana winter."  Amen, Bleill.  Amen.

So a good read for the inspirational story of Bleill's time in the Marines, but not a great example of writing style.  I'm really looking forward to having my students read this (and hopefully meet Bleill!).

I'll be back tomorrow with a Marine-inspired outfit!  And then I'll have my own outfit post up soon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Break!

Hey, readers and fashionistas!

I know I have been SO MIA and scatter-blogged (like that word?!)'s just been a crazy life!  This week is my Spring Break, and I'll be honest, friends--I think I've deserved a little R&R.  So I'll be back Monday with new book reviews, book-inspired outfits, and even some of my own outfits (yes, I've been doing a little shopping!).  

So I'll see you Monday!

And thanks for understanding :)