Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shadow and Bone-Inspired Look

Last week I reviewed Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and gave it 5 stars--I loved it that much!  I loved the characters--Mal and Alina, the Grisha, the Darkling.  They were all fantastic!

One unique feature about the Grisha in the series (other than their special powers) is that they wear special jackets to distinguish them from normal people.  So I wanted to design an outfit that featured an awesome blazer.  Blazers are a great wardrobe staple because they can dress up an outfit, even if that outfit is pretty casual. 

Here's the outfit I designed:

Don't you love the green with the black and white?  Here's the rundown of the look:
  • The rich green blazer is gorgeous!  It's slim-fitting, too, which takes away the bulkiness of some blazers.  This blazer definitely takes the outfit up a notch.
  • I didn't want any colors to compete with the deep green, so I kept the rest of the outfit on a black/white/gold scheme.  The striped sweater and shorts are classy but casual.
  • The accessories are chic but don't take away from the blazer.  And even though the necklace is large, it just keeps the outfit at a dressier level.  And I think the Grisha would like to look dressy.
So what do you think?  Would you wear this outfit?

To find the actual pieces of the outfit, click here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Stylish Week

This week brought the new Fall season and we are embracing it!  We checked a few items off our Fall Bucket list, and I have to admit that I'm just not ready for a new week to begin since this one was just so great!

I broke out the plaid this week!  That's one of my favorite Fall trends!

Luke has become quite the expert steak maker!  We've had this meal two weeks in a row and it is de-lish!

I started something new at work this week called "Coffee Break with Julia."  It's basically a chance for me to meet with teachers, enjoy coffee, and discuss ways we can collaborate on projects.  My friend Maggie, a science teacher, was my first "guest."  We've already starting planning a genetics murder mystery project involving the library!

This little guy earned a new toy by getting 10 stickers on his good behavior chart!  He was so excited about it!  It's the character Crusher from "Blaze and the Monster Machines."  Little brother got a matching one because...well, that should go without saying.

I surprised Luke with an outdoor movie at our house Friday night.  "Hoosiers" is a favorite for sure.

We took the boys camping this weekend at one of my favorite state parks--Spring Mill.  Here's our little buddy helping Daddy set up the tent.

Spring Mill has a lovely Pioneer Village with a working mill...it was so fun to walk around the village, sit around the campfire, play Chutes and Ladders, and just rest together.

Happy Autumn!  I hope you are enjoying it, too!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

This tag was so fun, because sometimes it feels good to just say "I didn't like this one!"  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

REVIEW--Shadow and Bone

My friend Emily (from The Gnoming Librarian) has told me over and over to read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  I'm not sure what was stopping me--too many books on my TBR list, maybe?--but now I regret waiting so long!  What a fun read!  Let's jump into the review!

  • Fantasy
  • Book One in The Grisha series
The Gist:
Mal and Alina are orphans.  And they're normal, which means they serve in various roles in the military while the powerful Grisha use their magical skills to serve the King and the Darkling. 
As they try to cross the Fold, a dark and very dangerous area roaming with human-eating Volcra, Mal is hurt and Alina shockingly saves him.  She saves him with a power that only Grisha have.  Which means Alina is a Grisha after all.  And everyone wants to use her power for their good.

What I Loved:
  • This book was so unique.  I loved the characters, the plot, the mystery.  The bad guys and good guys are all so good in their parts.  I was totally invested.
  • Who can be trusted is unknown and often changes.  I loved not knowing what to expect.
  • Mal and Alina's relationship is believable and beautiful.  Love them both.
  • There were big, intense moments that I couldn't predict.  So exciting!
What I Didn't Love:
  • I didn't really understand the function of the priest/spiritual adviser--whether he could be trusted or not was unclear.
  • How exactly Alina worked her powers was a little confusing.
My favorite line:
"There's nothing wrong with being a mapmaker."
"Of course not.  And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either.  Unless you were born to be a hawk."

I loved this book!  Quick, exciting, and just plain fun!  I can't wait to see where the series leads.

An outfit fit for the Grisha tomorrow--see you then!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

MashUp Reviews

I decided to pile 4 short reviews into 1 video, so catch up here on my recent reads!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

My Stylish Week

Another week gone by!  And it was a lovely one for us as Fall is moving into town.  Take a look!

As Fall is moving in, it's time to pull out the boots and cardigans!  This was a fun outfit to wear as my family trekked around on a lazy day.

After a grocery store has been in our town for about a year, we FINALLY tried it out!  Our little guy loved getting to push around his own cart!

And speaking of a new grocery store, we have been on a health kick lately--eating cleaner and avoiding all the junky sugar and fat.  Meals like this one--fish with fresh vegetables--were a hit!

It's amazing how a (faux) leather jacket can change up an outfit.  I've worn this dress before but my outfit got SO much more attention when I paired it with the jacket and boots.

This little guy was squealing in the next room because he solved some new train puzzles.  Of course, the cheetah hat helped him.

School photos came out this week!  I was so excited that the photographer let me put all my hair on one side!

When our oldest took a preschool field trip to a nearby apple orchard, he became obsessed with the idea that I would take his apples and make an apple pie.  So I did one better--I made an apple tart!  It looked lovely and was very delicious!  Recipe found here.

A friend and I took an evening to explore a local town, peruse some antique and candy stores, have dinner outside, and go to a historic theater.  Such a fun night and a needed getaway for this Mama!

So what made your week stylish?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Am Scout-Inspired Outfit

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today's outfit is inspired from my review of I Am Scout by Charles Shields.  This is a fantastic YA biography of Harper Lee and how her life impacted To Kill a Mockingbird.  Seriously a great read for Harper Lee fans!

This outfit brings back a bit of the 1950s and celebrates Harper Lee's preference for wearing male shirts. 
And here it is:

Do you catch the 50s vibe?
  • I paired a chambray shirt with navy shorts.  Harper loved to wear men's shirts because they were more comfortable for her tomboy lifestyle, and a chambray shirt is a fashionable take on a guy's look!
  • Don't you love this burgundy loafer?  It adds a pop of color and a little bling with the gold detail, but it's definitely not overpowering.
  • A deep blue clutch, pearl earrings, and slim watch all add to the 50s feel of the look.
I love this look because even though it isn't overly feminine, it definitely still has some girly charm.  Perfect for a tomboy who doesn't want to look too much like a girl.

What do you think?  Would you wear something like this?

Want to find the pieces of this outfit?  Click here for all the details!

And don't forget to check out my latest YouTube video, a review on the book After Hours by Claire Kennedy!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Last Two Stylish Weeks

Weather-wise, the last two weeks have been crazy--we went from sweltering 90-degree temperatures to mild, Fall-like days (I prefer the latter!).  So here's a look at my last two weeks!

Please tell me you've heard of these!  They've been all the rage in Indiana lately.  They straight-up taste like cotton candy.  GRAPES!  Luke brought these to me at work when we had a lunch date. They were fun to try, but after the first few bites my mouth kind of went numb to the taste.

There is nothing more exciting to a librarian than boxes of books!  These were SO fun to open!

Haircuts used to be quite the screaming ordeal, but now they're pretty fun for the boys!  As soon as I walked up to this guy with the camera, he yelled out "Chee!"  

Summer weather has meant big dinner salads...yum.

My girlfriend Sue gave me these Pooh books when she retired from my building last year.  So so sweet.

This guy started soccer and is having a ton of fun!  His team got yellow shirts so they named themselves "The Giraffes."  So of course my guy wants me to call him "Little Giraffe" all the time.  Adorable.

This is my favorite chick flick of all time (I know, this one?!  But it is!).  And it was $3 at Walmart.  I made Luke watch it with me, but I have to admit it's more fun to watch it with my little sis.

We started a behavior chart with our oldest to celebrate his good decisions and discourage his bad ones.  We were so excited to give him his first sticker!

Obviously if you're going to visit your friends and check out their new apartment, you have to wear your superhero cape.

Our school hosted a talent show called "Cabaret."  I agreed to participate by singing "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" from Frozen.

My two buddies joined in to represent the staff and they were AWESOME!

Luke even brought me a peppermint tea before the show to help "prepare my voice."

I hope your last two weeks were as lovely and silly as mine!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

REVIEW--I Am Scout

Ok, where are all my To Kill a Mockingbird fans?  This is seriously one of my favorite classic books, which means I did a double take when I saw the YA biography of Harper Lee at my public library.  Harper Lee has been fairly mysterious over the last 50+ years--definitely not living like we would expect a famous author to be.  Little has been known about her until Charles J. Shields wrote an adult biography (Mockingbird) and now a YA version (I Am Scout).
  • Standalone book (YA version of the adult biography Mockingbird)
  • Nonfiction/biography
The Gist:
Despite the immense popularity of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, little is known about the author Harper Lee.  She has led a very private life in both Alabama and New York and declined interviews and speaking engagements consistently.  This biography reveals her story, covering her life from childhood in Alabama to adulthood in New York, including her inspiration for her novel, her friendship with author Truman Capote, and her inability to produce a second novel.
What I Loved:
  • So much research went into this book, and I felt like it was SO thorough!  There were interviews with so many of her classmates, neighbors, friends.  This book practically left no stone unturned. 
  • I'm so glad that the book didn't just focus on TKM--it focused on Capote and his book In Cold Blood, the Hollywood adaptation of the movie, etc.  Gave a full-rounded view of Lee's life and career.
  • Photos were included that really added to the reading experience.
  • I left the book with respect for Lee.  Not just respect for her as an author and as a "hidden" author, but a respect for why she chose to live in a solitary manner.
What I Didn't Love:
  • This book was written/published before Go Set a Watchman was either made public or released, so that was not even mentioned in the book.  And I'm so curious to know the truth behind the publication of that book.  Did Harper really want it on shelves or did she never want it published?  I'm so curious!
Four stars for me--an excellent read that kept me engaged (sometimes nonfiction doesn't!).  Excellent for all Harper Lee fans!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Darius & Twig-Inspired Outfit

It's FRIDAY!  So excited about a three-day weekend!

Yesterday I reviewed Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers, and while I didn't really enjoy this book, I wanted to design an outfit for Twig.  He's a runner--a good runner--that's trying to figure out his true passions in life.

So I wanted to design a running outfit for Twig.  A basic, tried-and-true outfit that he could throw on whenever he had the chance to go out running.  And here's what I came up with:

  • Don't you love the running shirt?  Get it, 13.1?  I love puns and cheesy jokes on exercise clothes since you usually need a smile in the midst of a tough workout.
  • Basic running shirts that aren't constricting.
  • I like the electric blue in the running shoes.
  • Running essentials--exercise watch with stopwatch and headphones.  I know cross country runners aren't encouraged to run with headphones, but I definitely don't like running without them.
 Can you see a guy running in this?

And did you check out my August Favorites video yet?  It went live today--these are my favorite videos to watch!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

REVIEW--Darius & Twig

Today I'm bringing you a review of Walter Dean Myers' Darius & Twig.  This was a quick read for me (it's a fairly short book) since I kind of knew what to expect with Myers.  So enough chit chat...let's jump right in!

  • Realistic/Urban fiction
  • Standalone novel
The Gist:
Twig is a competitive and skilled long-distance runner.  Darius is a writer who creates Fury, his peregrine alter ego.  Both want to pursue their passions but are growing up in the dangerous, unpredictable Harlem.  And that setting doesn't make it easy to go after their dreams.

What I Loved:
  • This book gets to the heart of the characters.  It sends a message that there is so much more to a person than the outside.  
What I Didn't Love:
  •  I wanted more from the minor characters--Darius' mom, Twig's uncle, Herb, Sammy.  Maybe because the book was so short it just didn't go past a surface level characterization.   
  • I couldn't understand what Twig wanted.  Did he want to be a runner?  Did he want to give up?  Confusing. 
  • The mom's advice seemed hard to follow.    
Favorite quote:
"Idiots don't know they're idiots, which is unfortunate."

As you can see, this was not a favorite of mine.  I just felt that overall it was lacking.  Which is too bad, because Walter Dean Myers is a renowned author, and I just wasn't invested in the story.  Only 3 stars for me.

I'll be designing an outfit for Twig tomorrow--catch you then!