Friday, July 31, 2015

Outstanding Librarian 2015!

YOU GUYS.  I am absolutely floored right now.  I got an email this morning congratulating me for being named the Indiana Library Federation Outstanding School Librarian for 2015! 

When I heard the news, I ran out to our circulation desk to tell my assistant--and she already knew because she and many of my colleagues had secretly nominated me.  Teachers, administrators, colleagues, and students wrote letters for me and I am just so so humbled by it.

I love my job.  I LOVE being a librarian.  And days like today are just so heart-warming.

Thank you, ILF, for the award!  I am beaming!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Favorites--Williams Sonoma, Bauble Bar, Kate Spade, Disney!

Today I'm bringing you my July Favorites video!  I loooove watching favorites videos--call me nosy, but it's so fun to see what other people have been loving.

A fun combination of favorites today--something for the home, the body, and the kids!

What have YOU been loving this month?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Was Here-Inspired Outfit

What. a. week.  Friends, remember when I told you that I had gotten some poison ivy all over my face?  Well, I'm still not sure if it was poison ivy or something else, but that crazy inspection spread EVERYWHERE on my body.  It's 1 1/2 weeks later and I'm STILL on high dosage medicine and STILL trying to recover.  Yikes!  I think I'm reaching a turning point (thank goodness!)--just in time for school to start!

I want to share the outfit that I designed for Cody in Gayle Forman's I Was Here.  Man, what a powerful novel from Forman about depression, friendship, and recovery.  See my full review here.

Cody is a multi-dimensional character in this book; she's searching for answers of her friend Meg's death while also trying to understand who she is herself.  This becomes a literal journey as she travels to Meg's college town to piece together the puzzle of her death.  This outfit took on those deep layers and even gives off a feeling of searching.  Here's what it looks like:

Let's break it down:

  • Cody grew up a bit beneath Meg's family's socioeconomic status, so this outfit needed to be a bit muted in color (especially since it also represents Cody's grieving).  I thought the distressed jeans (which I'm super obsessed with!) represented Cody's status well.
  • The "Single with Cats" tank toys with the character cats that Meg surprisingly left behind.  This would've been Cody's subtle way of handling the secrets she's discovering.
  • The comfy cardigan sweater is soft in color and comfortable for travel.
  • The gray boots keep the outfit from being too soft and sweet.  Cody has her guard up as she travels and these boots give off that no-nonsense attitude.
  • I think Cody would've noticed "M" monogram pieces now that she is without Meg.  A necklace like the one above is a way to remember Meg without going over-the-top.
What do you think?  Do you see Cody wearing something like this?  

Check out all the details of the outfit here.

Tomorrow I'm bringing you my July favorites!  Some FUN things that I've been loving this month!

Monday, July 20, 2015

REVIEW: I Was Here

What a weekend!  It started with the MOST BEAUTIFUL wedding of some friends of ours.  Beautiful because of the decorations, sure, but mostly because of the bride and groom.  We love these two and consider them such close friends.  Can't wait to hang out now as married friends!  (I cried through their ceremony's procession. I didn't even cry at my own wedding!

And then the weekend took a crazy dramatic turn...I think I got some poison ivy on my chin that spread over my entire face Sunday morning.  We're talking one eye practically puffed up so much that it wanted to close, major itching...bleh.  Thank goodness for MedChecks open on weekends!

Today I'm reviewing I Was Here by Gayle Forman.  I LOVE Gayle Forman--her books If I Stay and Just One Day are some of my favorite romance/realistic books.  I become so drawn into her characters and story lines.  So let's jump into this one!


  • Standalone novel
  • Realistic fiction
The Gist:
Cody and Meg were best friends; in fact, Meg's family practically helped raise Cody.  So when Meg commits suicide during her freshman year of college, Cody is shocked and devastated.  When Cody goes to Meg's college house to collect her things, she learns that Meg was hiding a lot...and that someone may have helped her with her death.

What I Loved:
  • The characters.  Like I said, I love Gayle Forman's characters, and these characters are so real.  I can picture them all--relationships aren't perfect and people often show their true colors.  And those features are definitely a part of this book.
  • Bradford especially was SO real.  His scene may not have had a climactic ending, but I can totally see him as a real person.
  • This book is a true look at grief, especially an unexpected death.  Well-done in portraying the characters' various reactions.
  • Cody's eventual revelation of her mother, Tricia, was nicely done.
What I Didn't Love:
  • In one scene, Cody fearfully asks permission from a homeowner to use their WiFi while cleaning their home, and the homeowner seems a little disturbed by it.  I don't find this too realistic--no one really cares if you use their WiFi, even if you're "at work."
My favorite quote:
"Alice..returns with a cup of coffee for me, which she announces is free-range and fair-trade and shade-farmed in Malawi, and I nod along as if my coffee needs to go beyond hot and caffeinated."

I just loved this book--yes, it's about suicide and grief but it was so well-written that I found myself reading it so quickly.  An easy five stars for me!

An outfit based on Cody coming up!  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

REVIEW: Like Water on Stone and a GIVEAWAY

Today I'm reviewing Like Water on Stone, a historical novel-in-verse that shows a family trying to survive during the Armenian genocide of 1915.  Powerful and solid novel for sure.

Check out my video to hear all about it!  And don't forget to enter the giveaway--I'm giving away a copy of the book!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

5 Things I Love about To Kill a Mockingbird

This week was the release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, the second book to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Since TKM is probably my favorite classic book, I thought this was a fitting week to post my five favorite things about the book.

Check out the video to hear all my thoughts!  What do you love about TKM?  Are you going to read the new release or are you feeling a little uncertain like me?

A giveaway is coming up this week! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

An Anniversary in Chicago

Last week was my and Luke's 10-year anniversary--a decade in and still going strong!  We dropped the boys off with grandparents and took off to Chicago for three days.  Three fun-filled, adventurous, romantic days.  A much-needed break from the busyness of raising two little boys and working full-time.  Here's a little look at our trip:

 We stayed at the Loews Hotel.  Luke chose this hotel because it is decorated in mid-century design and man did I love everything.  I wanted to sneak every piece of furniture into my suitcase!

The staff service at the hotel was a-mazing.  We were surprised to find champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries as a celebration of our anniversary.

We watched the Cubs play (and lose to) the Cardinals.  My first time at Wrigley Field!

 We shopped all along the Magnificent Mile--I may have used my birthday money at Lush and Kate Spade... Check out this peanut butter that we found at the Hershey Store...we didn't buy any, but I can only imagine how delicious this tastes!

 It was a beautiful day to visit Navy Pier--hello, Ferris Wheel!

We ate at the top of the John Hancock building at The Signature Room--beautiful views of the city for sure!

We visited Cloud Gate--a.k.a. "The Bean" statue.  Much bigger than I expected and very beautiful.


And a trip to the Field History Museum.  As always, the Egypt exhibit was my favorite!

Sue the T-Rex:

I am totally stealing this sign idea from the museum and putting it in the library:

A visit of relaxation, good food, and renewal.  Such a special celebration that we loved from start to finish!

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender-Inspired Look

If you're looking for a mysterious, strange, lovely, thought-provoking book, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is definitely one to put on your to-read list (check out my review from Tuesday).

Today's outfit is inspired by Ava's family...they're different, a little carefree, uncertain, and maybe even a little wild.  And here's what I designed:

Man, I love this outfit, and I love how it fits the family from this book.  Obviously not literally, since I'm not trying to camouflage wings in the look, but figuratively--it's wild-spirited while still staying inside the lines.

  • An off-the-shoulder shirt is always a bit of a surprise and gives a sense of relaxation and unexpectedness.
  • Pale pink skinny jeans give a softness and femininity.  There is a sweetness to Ava and to her mother, and this expresses that.
  • The feather sandals--ADORABLE--give off the carefree spirit.
  • The pop of color in the earrings (I've had my eyes on these for awhile) and watch represent boldness.  You're not afraid to make a statement if you put in a pop of color.
I would totally wear this outfit--would you?  It's an outfit that is worth a second look--just like the book keeps you thinking.

Want specific details of this look?  Check it all out here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is Luke and my TENTH anniversary!  We are celebrating in Chicago this week...we are so excited to have some time off from the everyday routine.

So thankful for this man who listens to ALL of my ideas and tells me to go for every single one of them.

Love you, babe!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

REVIEW: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

I hope you all had a wonderful July 4 weekend!  We had a great time with friends--shooting off rockets, grilling out yummy food, and watching the city's fireworks.  It was a great weekend of relaxation and family focus!

Today's review is on The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.  And I think the title describes this book completely--strange and beautiful.  So different than anything I've read and a story so beautiful that I still think about it.

Have you seen the movie Big Fish?  Sort of like that.  So strange, so different and unique, yet so beautiful.


  • Standalone novel
  • Fantasy/Magical Realism
The Gist:
Ava Lavender is unique--she was born with bird wings.  And her family heritage is just as strange, too.  At age 16, Ava just wants to fit in, but she simply doesn't know how to do that in our world. But you can't escape who you are, and sometimes you can't escape how others react to you.

What I Loved:

  • I feel like the gist that I'm giving you for this book just doesn't even cover the surface.  This book is so intricate and very character-focused, and there are just so many layers to it.  So many great layers.
  • The writing style is beautiful.  Lyrical.
  • I love the characters in this book; some have a deep love for each other that goes beyond saying "I love you."
  • A climactic ending that is even a bit of a nail-biter.
  • The cover fits the story beautifully.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The story does tend to jump all over the place, which can even be a tad confusing at times.  A lot of characters to keep up with.
An easy four stars for me!  A story that simply pulls you in and keeps you thinking.

Friday, July 3, 2015

June Wrap-Up/July TBR

Well, I read 6 books in June (pretty good when you're chasing two kiddos around!).  See what I finished and what I hope to read in July!

What are you hoping to read this month?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Red Queen-Inspired Nail

A few days ago I reviewed Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, a really unique fantasy book with some dystopian twists.  Mare, the protagonist, is a Red Blood, meaning she is a normal girl living in the poor, struggling part of the country.  But it's discovered that she has powers, just like the rich Silver Bloods.  So the book raises some good discussions, like if we should only rely on one part of ourselves to define us.

So today's beauty inspiration from the book is coming through a nail look.  This was a fun one to create!  And it all comes from this thought--that even though Mare is a Red Blood, she has a little Silver in her.  And even though we may be defined in one way, we are multi-faceted.  We can't be defined in one category.

Before we get started, PLEASE tell me that you have used Butter London nail polish.  Oh my goodness, Butter London is just as its name suggests--it goes on like butter.  Easy to apply, light, and smooth.

For this look, I used two Butter London colors--Her Majesty's Red (shiny red) and Diamond Geezer (bright silver).  GORGEOUS colors.

First, I applied Her Majesty's Red on my nails.  This is two coats.

Then I used my handy tool--a toothpick!  Toothpicks work well when drawing.

I lightly drew a heart on my ring finger using the toothpick.  Look at the shininess of that silver!

This look could easily be reversed, though.  Just paint your ring finger silver.

And add a red heart on top of the silver.

Which heart/color combination do you prefer?  And how do you define yourself?  I'm a wife, mom, librarian, fashion-lover, home designer, foodie...what about you?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Favorites!

Want to know what I loved in June?  Here's a video where I tell you all about it!  I've got beauty products, mama stuff, and a little bit of crazy thrown in!  What have YOU been loving?!

Check back tomorrow to see my Red Queen-inspired nails!