Friday, June 27, 2014

The Book Blogger Test

Hey readers and fashionistas!

So I was tagged by my friend Emily (The Gnoming Librarian) to do the Book Blogger Test.  I love challenges, tags, and questionnaires, so this is right up my alley!  I basically get to answer some fun book-related questions for you all.  So here goes!

What are your top three book pet peeves?

  • Books with no chapters--I need chapters!  Chapters with titles are even better.
  • Dumb adults.  I read a lot of YA fiction, and it seems that SO MANY YA books have flat, out-of-the-loop adults (usually parents and teachers).  I really appreciate a book with in-depth adults.
  • Having to re-read a book in a series because you can't remember what happened.  I have so many books on my TBR list that I need to keep reading new books!
Describe your perfect reading spot.
I can read anywhere, but I definitely think I love reading in bookstores the most.  Especially if I can put my legs up on a chair or stool.  Bookstores are so motivating and inspirational, and I love being in them.  Since my husband's not a reader, it's a treat to have a 2-hour reading visit.
And I'll be honest--I LOVE to read in the bathtub.  TMI?

Tell us three book confessions.
  • I NEVER have a bookmark on hand.  Which is such a bummer because I LOVE bookmarks and I'm always needing them.  I have no excuse--I'm a librarian that loves purchasing bookmarks for my students, so they're always in the office.  I just never bring them home.
  • I'm a sucker for biographies, even over random celebrities that probably shouldn't have biographies over them.  This is usually the only nonfiction that I enjoy reading.
  • I didn't like The Catcher in the Rye in high school and I still don't.  I know, I know, Salinger fans are cursing me right now.  I just thought Holden was a whiny teen that needed to go back to school.
When was the last time you cried during a book?
Honestly, I just don't cry when reading.  I gasp, I slam books closed, I sigh, but I just don't cry.  Movies are a TOTALLY different story for me, by the way.  I don't think I've ever cried at a book (yes, TFIOS included).  

How many books are on your bedside table?
I always have about 3 books going at once.  I get nervous if I have less than that.

What is your favorite snack to eat while reading?
I'm more into fun drinks than I am snacks, so I usually have a coffee frappe drink of some sort to make it a special reading experience.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone:
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (or ANYTHING Ruta Sepetys)
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Show us a photo of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.
Ummm, I keep my personal collection of books at home (mostly to keep the hubby happy) and I'm not at fail for me.

Write how much books mean to you in three words.
"Always exploring reality."  I once heard someone say that reading books isn't just about escaping reality, but also about exploring it.  This is probably something my students get sick of me saying, but I LOVE its concept.  Explore your own reality by the books you're reading.

What is your biggest reading secret?
I PORE over what books to read next.  I have so many books on my TBR list that I just always feel that, by choosing something to read, I'm probably missing out on something else.  It's an inner battle I face constantly.

A fun challenge, and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers!

Monday, June 23, 2014

172 Hours on the Moon-Inspired Outfit

Hey there, readers and fashionistas!

It's been a busy few days around here--I turned 32 yesterday and had a day full of surprises!  I had a surprise lunch with my family at a local restaurant, received sweet gifts, and had a date night with the hubby...a great way to bring in 32!
And today I started potty training our oldest...whew, what a lot of work!  Feeling a bit tired from that, for sure!

Today's post is an outfit inspired by 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad.  This space thriller had such a creepy concept and even more chilling ending, and I knew it would be fun to design an outfit for it.

The outfit, though, is mostly designed around NASA and its work within the book.  So clean lines, astronaut-like accessories, and spacesuit-like colors.  Here it is:

Here's the breakdown:
  • I knew I wanted white and navy as the main colors--white since that's the infamous spacesuit color and navy because it hinted at a nationality (since our history is filled with countries having pride of their space programs).  This blouse reminded me of a flag and had a clean design.  I envision NASA having particular meaning behind all their designs, so a flag-like blouse seemed like the perfect choice.
  • The white leather jacket and white boots reminded me of astronaut spacesuit features, but they aren't over the top.
  • Skinny jeans sink to the background and make the other pieces the main focus.
  • Circular hoops have a planet/rings subtlety and are classic.
So what do you think?  Do you see the space connection?

My friend Emily challenged me to a Book Blogging Test, so I'll be posting that and another review/outfit this week.  See you back here!

Boots--Rag & Bone
Earrings--Nine West

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

OOTD--Traveling to the Beach

Hello, readers and fashionistas!  Ahhh, I'm feeling SO much better after having that yucky gastro-something issue the last few days (and I can eat again! and work out! and walk standing straight!).  Feels good to be back in the swing of life.

Everyone loves a good outfit post, so here's one from my vacation last week.  This is what I wore on our second day of travel that took us right to the beach.  So I wanted something comfortable but also something nautical/beach-like.  And this worked perfectly for me.  Here it is:

Denim with polka dot navy shorts and a pop of color with yellow shoes.

I love a good denim shirt (as long as it doesn't look too 1990s), and I thought it paired nicely with a simple white tee and the polka dot shorts.  The shorts and shoes stand out a lot, so the top of the outfit needed to be subtle.  My big sunglasses and my hair down gave it an overall relaxed feel.

A close-up of the shorts--so cute!

These flats (in this awesome bold yellow!) wrap around the ankle and are super comfy.

So what do you think?  Would you wear this?

Denim--Charlotte Russe
White tee--Target
Shoes--Steve Madden
Sunglasses--Forever 21

*I am not associated with any companies mentioned.  Just my wardrobe, purchased with my own money.

I'll be back later this week with an outfit inspired by yesterday's review of 172 Hours on the Moon...see you then!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

REVIEW--172 Hours on the Moon

I'm back!  I took about a week hiatus because my family went on vacation, but now I'm home and back in the swing of the ol' routine!

Summer--I have such a love/hate relationship with it.  So much makes me happy about summer--my birthday, my kids' birthdays, my anniversary, slushies, pasta salad, late sunsets, swimming.  But there's always a few downers with my summers, too.

For example, last summer I had my beautiful second-born son, Cedar.  And then I got mastitis over and over and was pretty much miserably sick for 6 weeks.

And this summer so far...

We had Cedar's one-year birthday party--a sweet celebration with everything revolving around the letter C.  A very blessed day, indeed!

C for crown!  And C for Cedar!

And of course we went on vacation.  We drove the 12-ish hours down to Pawley's Island, South Carolina, a peaceful community about 30 minutes outside the much-busier Myrtle Beach.  It was a week of relaxing on the beach, going to Brookgreen Gardens (one of my FAVORITE places on Earth to just wander and think), and eating plenty of shrimp.  A great time for sure!

The largest of all the sculptures at Brookgreen, Pegasus.

My beach boys.

And then our washing machine died, our dryer threatened to follow, our van needed unexpected major repairs, and I got a HORRIBLE stomach gastro-something from the trip home.  Blah blah blah.  So expect the unexpected with the good, huh?

But like I said, I'm back at it, and today's post is a review of 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad.  I was intrigued by this book because I get totally freaked out by space sometimes.  Not having complete control over your movements, possibly getting sucked into the great unknown, the complete silence...*shivers.*  And this book is part sci fi/part thriller.


  • Sci Fi / Thriller
  • Standalone novel

See the cover?  So creepy with the giant eyeball, right?  Look inside the eye and you'll see an astronaut on the left and then a figure on the right who just happens to be surviving on the moon without any astronaut garb...creepy!

The Gist:
NASA hasn't been getting much attention lately, so to gain support from the public, it holds a one-of-a-kind lottery: it is going to send 3 teenagers into space.  Yes, teens from all over the world simply have to enter their name into the lottery and they could possibly join a space crew that will spend 172 hours on the moon.  The winners?  Mia, a Norwegian who wants her band to get attention through her space-traveling fame, Midori, a Japanese girl who just wants to escape her parents' stifling lifestyle, and Antoinie, a Parisian who was just dumped by the love of his life.  But what these three teens (and the public) don't realize is that NASA may have more behind their supposed motivation for sending a crew to the moon...and the crew just may not get to return home.

What I Loved:

  • Like I said, a really cool and creepy concept to me.  Getting stuck on the moon--just gives me chills!
  • I actually love the fact that none of the three teens are Americans.  I think we tend to always assume that Americans will win a spot in everything, and that isn't always the case.
  • The book was pretty scary and definitely had surprises in characters and plot.  Kept me on my toes.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The point of view shifted so often within paragraphs, which got frustrating at times.  I just didn't feel like the characters could be as developed with all this shifting.
  • And speaking of characters, I thought they were a little annoying.  Mia was rude and angry, Antoine was wimpy, and Midori was immature.  I wasn't too invested with any of them.
  • The ending was unsettling and left me wanting more.  Gah, I hate that!
A creepy, solid read even though I didn't love the style.

How do you feel about outer space and traveling into the unknown?

Tomorrow I'll be showing off an outfit from my vacation, and then I'll be back later this week with an outer space-inspired outfit!  See you then!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Master Bedroom Wall Design Reveal

Hey, readers and fashionistas!

So obviously I love playing around with fashion, but you can probably tell through a few of my posts that I also love adding style to my home.  I love adding unique statement pieces to our house, and it's pretty typical to hear "wow, that's really cool!" when people visit our home.  Ok, that was a little braggy...sorry.

But speaking of bragging, I am SUPER proud of our most recent project in our house--our master bedroom accent wall.  I've been wanting to focus on our bedroom for awhile (Nate Berkus was right--it's the room in the house that is always put last), so for Mother's Day Luke agreed to let us add a faux wallpaper look to our wall.

Now I can't take the credit for the design--it is totally stolen from my girl Mandi from Vintage Revivals.  I pretty much loving anything Mandi does and I fell in LOVE with this design as soon as I saw it.  To see Mandi's final product of her faux wallpaper, click here.

So I should mention--this is a sharpie wallpaper tutorial.  Yep, sharpie!  Mandi raved about drawing a design on her wall with a water-based sharpie paint pen.  You can use oil-based, but if you make a mistake you'll have to paint over it.

So we started drawing on the design just as Mandi suggested.  We measured out lines, shook our pen, and got to work.  Here's Luke getting started:

We taped horizontal lines and then drew on top.

The only problem--we didn't like how it looked.  It just looked weak.  You had to really shake the pens multiple times, and since we were drawing with a white pen on a gray background, we really needed the pen to be vibrant.

So since I'm married to a on-the-side-professional-painter, I knew Luke was going to be super picky.  And he was.  Which meant we had to tape and actually paint with a brush our lines.

Like this:

Yeah, we painted in between those tape strips.

This totally defeats the purpose of Mandi's original tutorial and the ease of using a paint pen.  But we'd rather it look good than be easy.  And so we measured...and taped...and painted...and repeated over and over and over.

We first painted our horizontal lines, which are 18 inches apart.  Make sure you use a level!

Then we drew triangles, which eventually connected to become diamonds.  The base of each triangle is 12 inches, so they were taller rather than wider.  I totally stole Mandi's measurements, so check out her tutorial to see all the directions of measuring it out.

And here's the final product!  Yeah, there's a glare on the wall--I'm a horrible photographer.  But forget the photo quality--what do you think of the wall?!  It's like a piece of art, right?!

I LOVE the result of this project--it adds so much character of the room.  I'm thinking of adding some open frames above the bed, but I haven't settled on that yet.

What do you think?!

What kinds of home projects have you been doing lately?

Go show Mandi some love at Vintage Revivals, and leave a comment below telling me what you think!

*I'm going to take a very short hiatus while my family is on vacation next week in South Carolina.  I'd like to be a diligent blogger and take my laptop along with me, but I'll be honest--I need a no-commitment vacay!  But I'll be documenting outfits of the day and will have MUCH to share when I get back!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Takedown-Inspired Outfit

I recently reviewed Takedown by Allison van Diepen--a book that I was so excited to see published since my students (and I) love van Diepen's urban-themed books.  Takedown was excellent, and I have to admit that the brass knuckles on the cover had me feeling pretty tough!  I was excited to design an outfit based off the characters in this book, because I am definitely the OPPOSITE of gangster and this gave me a chance to play around!

So here it is:

Don't mess with me, yo.

So here's the breakdown of the look:
  • I knew I wanted a quote t-shirt, and this one had the perfect amount of "urban" without being too much.  It's a little tough, right?
  • You gotta have high tops if you're going for a gangster look.  The book mentions shiny shoes, and I thought these added a nice feminine touch with the aqua stripes.
  • I paired the high tops with skinny cuffed jeans.  I know, I probably should've added saggy jeans, but this is a girl's look, after all.
  • A leather jacket to accent the shoes and add a touch of "tough girl."
  • I didn't want to over-accessorize with a giant $ necklace (although the book mentions them!), but I thought a star was something a girl would wear.  A bright spot of bling.
So what do you think?  Does it pull off a "gangster" look?  Would YOU be bold enough to try it?

I can't wait to show you how I've been styling my bedroom--we have the coolest accent wall above our master bedroom.  That post will come this week and then I'll share about some fun posts coming up!  See you back here soon!

Shirt--Monki Katy
Jeans--Frame Denim
Jacket--Diana New

*I am not associated with any of the companies/products mentioned.  All opinions are my own.