2018 archive

Currently September

currently

Watching: Fall TV is back! I’m a little bit of a TV junkie. I’m not someone who turns on the TV just to watch something, but I have a lot of shows that I watch loyally. I’m excited for my favorites to come back and to try out some new shows.

Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m only about halfway through because it’s long, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Listening: Forever 35. I think I’m late to the party on this podcast, but I’m really enjoying going back through their archive. It’s a podcast about beauty and self-care with a different guest each week.

Wearing: It’s that awkward time of year where it’s still warm, but not summer anymore. I feel like my summer clothes aren’t appropriate and it’s too warm to break out the fall clothes.

Looking forward to: Finally moving! More to come on that later, but I’ve been bouncing around for several months so I’m excited to finally get settled in my new place.

What have you been up to this month?

Fall Wellness Challenge

When: October 1 – December 31, 2018

What: Each week I’ll post a wellness related goal for the week along with an update of my goal from the previous week.

Why: Summer always tends to throw me out of a routine. With all of the traveling that usually comes with summer, it can be hard to stick to a workout routine and eating healthily. And keeping up with a challenge will certainly help over the holidays when we all tend to overindulge.

Join me: Follow along each week, and let me know what your goals are for the week. You certainly don’t need to have the same goals as me. My version of this challenge is for me. Your version might look different, and that’s okay!

Follow along: I’ve created a fitness/healthy eating Instagram account where I’ll be posting my daily progress and wellness efforts. Share your own progress using hashtag #ltfallwellnesschallenge.

 

Recent Reads Vol. 4

 

 

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken ★★★☆☆

Ruby grew up watching all of her friends and classmates die from a mysterious disease that’s killing most of America’s children. After her 10th birthday, she ends up at Thurmond, a government rehabilitation camp for children who have survived. Ruby discovers her powers while at camp, and eventually manages to escape.

I never really understood what was going on the whole time I was reading. I didn’t have a good understanding of the different powers children could have, there wasn’t a good explanation of how this happens and what’s happening in the country outside of Ruby’s story.

Would I recommend? No. I’d skip this one, it felt like a cheap knockoff of some of the better written dystopian series.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin ★★★★★

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When Nina Browning’s son Finch shares a promiscuous photo of a teenage girl with his friends, she starts to question everything from the way they’re raising him to her relationship with her husband. The story is told from 3 perspectives, Nina, Lyla (the girl in the photo), and Tom (the girl’s father). I really enjoyed being able to see the story from those different perspectives because it let me into a lot of the story that I would have missed without it.

I loved everything about this book. I couldn’t put it down. The story line, character development, and different voices were all done extremely well. I was really able to put myself into the shoes of each of the three main characters, and I felt like I understood them.

Would I recommend? Absolutely! I loved every second of reading this.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover ★★★★☆

When Tate moves to San Francisco, she moves into her brother’s apartment. While living there she meets her brother’s friend and neighbor Miles who she begins a complicated relationship with. It switches back and forth between Tate’s present day and Miles’s past, which adds an extra element that helps the reader understand exactly why Miles is the way he is.

Through the ups and downs, I was completely invested in Miles and Tate’s love story. There were some great twists that I didn’t see coming. The characters are well developed, and I felt a close connection with both of them.

Would I recommend? Yes. If you love a good love story, I’d recommend giving this one a try.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter ★★★☆☆

After her mother finds herself in a controversial position after a shooting at the local mall, Andy ends up on the run until her mother tells her its safe to come back.

If you’ve been following me for a while or we’ve ever discussed books, you know that I LOVE Karin Slaughter. If she writes it, I’ll read it. I didn’t feel like this one lived up to her previous novels. While I did enjoy the story, it didn’t have the same captivating plot as a lot of her other novels.

Would I recommend? If you’re a Karin Slaughter fan, yes it’s still worth the read. If you don’t have any attachment to Slaughter, it might not be your favorite.

 

What have you read recently?

Recent Reads Vol 3

I’ve been reading a good bit, but life really has been a little crazy lately, and I haven’t had a chance to post a recent reads update. I’ll have another update ready in the next couple weeks. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my favorite batch of books, but I did get a great one in there.

She Was The Quiet One by Michelle Campbell ★★☆☆☆

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Twin sisters Bel and Rose Enright start their sophomore year of high school at a prestigious boarding school in New England after losing their mother and moving in with their grandmother. While the sisters had never been the best of friends, boarding school tears them apart in ways they didn’t imagine.

I requested this novel because I really enjoyed Campbell’s last novel, It’s Always the Husband. Unfortunately, this one didn’t deliver. The dialogue was unrealistic. The characters were extremely unlikable. And the writing overall was honestly just bad. I would’ve put it down after a couple chapters had the plot not sucked me in.

Would I recommend? No. Skip this one, I suffered through the bad writing to find out what happened. It’s not worth it for you to do the same.

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys ★★★★★

Joana, Emilia, and Florian come together on their journey to East Prussia in the hopes of finding freedom at the end of World War II. They make their way onto the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military ship headed to Kiel.

I always think that I don’t like reading historical fiction. But then it’s always the World War II novels that I get completely wrapped up in and can’t put down. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff before. The novel was very well written, the character development was well done, and each element fell perfectly into place.

Would I recommend? Absolutely! It’s heartbreaking and beautifully written.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ★★★☆☆

Christopher Boone, an autistic teenager, sets out to write a book based on the murder of his neighbor’s dog. He numbers his chapters using only prime numbers, and thinks about everything overly logically.

This book really takes you through the process of thinking of an autistic person. And if I’m being honest, being in the mind of an autistic person is exhausting so I can only imagine how it really feels to be in that person’s shoes. I felt like I was reading a lot of it just to get through it more than I was actually enjoying it.

Would I recommend? Yes. Even though I didn’t love it, I do think it’s important for everyone to see the world from another perspective and be able to better understand other people.

 

What have you read recently?

Shopping Ban Update: Month Two

I’m two months into my shopping ban, and I haven’t had any real slip ups since I caved during the CJLA warehouse sale in July.

My skin has been all kinds of a mess, so I needed to invest in some new skincare products to take better care of my face. Since it wasn’t skincare that I was currently using, I didn’t have to wait until I was out of something. I spent about $12 total on a set of 12 sheet masks and a pack of 30 eye masks. I’ve been using the eye masks 1-2 times a week and the sheet masks once a week, and I’ve seen such an improvement in my skin. My face looks brighter, and no more bags under my eyes.

Wins

This month was not without temptation. J. Crew and Jack Rogers both had major sales. I went as far as adding items to my cart and going back and forth between colors before eventually closing out of the web page before checking out. Because as cute as they were, I really don’t NEED another pair of booties.

Losses

We’ve recently moved into a new apartment so there’s been a lot of furniture buying. I know furniture was on the approved list because I knew it was going to be a need in the near-ish future, but it still feels like a loss because even buying cheaper furniture isn’t cheap. Even though I’m on a pretty tight budget, I still feel like I’ve been picking quality pieces that will last.

Thoughts

Avoiding temptation is getting easier. Even if I find myself window shopping and adding items to my cart, I’ve been able to talk myself out of hitting purchase because at the end of the day, I know it’s not stuff that I really need. I’ve been a lot more conscious about my spending habit, which resulted in me saving a lot of money this month.

 

Coffee Date

This is my first “coffee date” post. I love doing the monthly currently post, but that only goes into very surface level details of my life at the moment. I want a post where I can really talk to you and get to know you in the process.

If we were having coffee I’d probably order a cold brew or something iced because it’s been way too hot outside to even think about a hot coffee. The cold foam cold brews at Starbucks have been a favorite lately. The foam is just enough to sweeten the coffee without it feeling too sweet.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have some big, exciting news that I can’t share publicly yet, and it’s killing me. It’s the worst being excited about something that you have to keep a secret. Because I know it’s probably your first guess, no I’m not pregnant.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I really want to dedicate more time to this blog. Since I’ve started, it’s been a good week if I get one post up. And forget keeping up with social media. I love this little space because it’s a great creative outlet, but I’ve been neglecting it from the start.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve started shaving my face. I had blonde upper lip hair that I was getting increasingly self conscious about. I started searching for ways to get rid of it without doing something super painful like waxing and stumbled upon this Popsugar article. I bought these eyebrow razors, and I’ve loved it. Shaving makes my face feel so smooth and no more lip hair!

Shopping Ban One Month Update

It’s been one month since I started my year-long shopping ban. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing, but I’m back on track.

Wins

I finished the pot of Estee Lauder moisturizer I was using. Instead of rushing out to buy the Olay moisturizer I want, I found another moisturizer I had stashed away that I’m going to use up instead.

I needed a dress to wear to a wedding this weekend. I thought about renting, but because I’m going straight from a work trip to the wedding, I would’ve needed an 8-day rental. Those start at $48. A lot of the shopping bans I’ve seen have been for minimalist reasons, since my motivations are more financial renting wasn’t the best choice for me. I found a great dress on Amazon for under $30 that I used gift cards for, costing me nothing out of pocket. And after I wear the dress this weekend, I’ll probably wash it and resell it to make some of that back. If you have an event coming up, I highly recommend this dress. It comes in a ton of colors, has pockets, and no one would guess you only paid $28 for it. I originally bought in a small, and ended up exchanging for an XS.

Losses

Only a couple weeks into my shopping ban, one of my favorite brands did a huge warehouse sale. They had all kinds of crazy markdowns on items I’d had my eye on and I caved and participated in the sale. In my first month I was up against the Nordstrom Sale, this warehouse sale, and Prime Day. I managed to avoid the NSale and Prime Day, but I was bound to fail somewhere.

What I’ve Learned

I’ve unsubscribed from all of the promotional emails I was receiving. If I’m not getting notifications about sales and great deals, it’s easier to avoid them and not think about browsing for something new I don’t need.

I’ve also muted some of my favorite Instagram accounts. I love following Carly Jean Los Angeles and a couple big fashion bloggers, but when all of their posts and stories are encouraging me to buy something or check out this item on sale, it’s too easy to swipe up. By avoiding these feeds, I’m avoiding a lot of temptation.

While I have made a couple really great purchases in the last few months (mostly jeans), most of the clothes I buy I don’t really love or eliminate the need for something else I already have in my closet.

 

Currently July

currently

I can’t believe it’s the end of July already! This summer has just flown by.

Watching: Sharp Objects. HBO produced a miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s novel starring Amy Adams. I’ve only watched the first episode, but it’s so so good. HBO did an amazing job with Big Little Lies, and it looks like they have with this one too.

Reading: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I’ve pretty much just started reading this so I don’t have an opinion on it yet. The movie is coming out next week so I wanted to read the book first. And the book has rave reviews on Goodreads.

Listening: My Favorite Murder. I’ve discovered recently that I really love listening to podcasts during the day. It helps the day go by faster when I have something to listen to in the background. I’ve been getting through 2 or 3 episodes of My Favorite Murder a day lately. They describe themselves as a true crime comedy, and they discuss two true crime stories an episode. I love everything true crime, and this is right up my alley.

Wearing: Jeans. I used to live for warmer weather because I loved wearing skirts and dresses, but lately I’ve been gravitating more towards jeans. I think it’s partly because I have more tops that I like wearing than I used to and partly because I’ve found that jeans that actually fit me and are comfortable. I always wore American Eagle jeans because I thought that’s what fit me, but it turns out jeans are really comfortable when they actually fit you.

Eating: Tacos. Seriously, it’s like I can’t get enough. I think what I really love about tacos is that there’s so much variety, you can eat them for every meal and always have something different.

What have you been up to this month?

Recent Reads Volume 2

recent reads vol 2

Royals by Rachel Hawkins ★★★★☆

16-year-old Daisy Winters is just trying to live a normal life with her family in Florida. That gets harder for her when her older sister gets engaged to the prince of Scotland. After her ex-boyfriend sells her out to the press, the royal family has her spend the summer in Scotland so that they can better control the media.

Royals is exactly the predictable, cheesy love story that you’d expect it to be, but I loved it. The character development is great. This is a perfect light summer read when you need to take a break.

Would I recommend? If you’re looking for a light beach read, yes

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier ★★★★☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Angela Wong disappeared 14 years ago. When her remains are finally discovered, evidence points to her best friend Georgina (Geo) Shaw. Geo loses her job and fiance when she is sentenced to 5 years in jail. Jar of Hearts slowly reveals bits and pieces of Angela’s murder while following Geo and her childhood friend/the officer who arrested her, Kaiser.

I absolutely loved Jar of Hearts. Every piece of information is revealed at just the right moment, and it has just the right amount of suspense and foreshadowing. The murder details do a get a bit gory and graphic, so it might not be the best read for anyone sensitive to that, but it’s evened out with the perfect psychological thriller.

Would I recommend? Definitely!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan ★★★★☆

American Bex Porter meets Prince Nicholas when she spends a semester abroad at Oxford. The Royal We follows Bex and Nick through their relationship from their initial meeting to their royal wedding. It’s basically Kate Middleton fan fiction, so if you love following the royal family in real life, you’ll love this book.

I wouldn’t have typically chosen to read two royal books so close together, but I read this one for the Bad on Paper podcast. It’s a very long book, and I had a trouble getting through it because it’s not a fast paced story. But the actually story itself is very good, the character development is phenomenal, and it’s a beautiful love story

Would I recommend? If you love love, this one is definitely for you

The Power by Naomi Alderman ★★★☆☆

The Power shows us what the world could look like if women had the power. Teenage girls start discovering that they can produce electricity from their fingers, and they start using against boys. As the story goes on, all women develop this power and it’s a role reversal of female oppression.

From a human rights perspective, this story is actually a little terrifying. It shows the very slow oppression of men over a time span of 10 years where women slowly gain all of the power and men eventually have almost none. It’s an intriguing story that kept my attention until the very end, but it was a little too creepy for me.

Would I recommend? Maybe. Not a must read, but a good read.

What have you read recently?

Shopping Ban

I’ve been on serious spending spree lately for absolutely no reason. I wanted a new bathing suit to go to the beach with this week, and one thing lead to another I guess. Regardless of the why, it’s time for a little bit of a spending freeze. I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about doing a year long shopping ban from bloggers like Britt from Tiny Ambitions and Cait Flanders, and even author Ann Patchett. I’m at a point in my life where that’s something that I’d like to experiment with myself. Putting money towards things like a wedding and a house are things that are in my semi-near future so I’d really prefer to be saving my money instead of buying frivolous things.

I debated delaying the full on shopping ban until later in the year. My boyfriend and I will be moving in the next couple months, and we’re going to be starting over with a lot of our furniture. Our last place had a couch that was on its last leg and a lot of my parents’ old furniture so it’s time to start from scratch and really find our own style together as a couple, but that also requires shopping. But I didn’t want to keep making excuses and delaying it so I’m allowing furniture purchases in my rules.

My Shopping Ban Timeline

July 2, 2018 – July 2, 2019

The Goal

To save more money to put towards big purchases, and keep my closet from overflowing.

The Rules

What I’m allowed to shop for:

  • groceries and basic kitchen supplies
  • toiletries and cosmetics like toothpaste, shampoo, mascara, etc. (but only after I run out)
  • cleaning and household products (again, only after I run out of our current stock)
  • gifts for others
  • dress rentals for attending weddings (we have one coming up in August)
  • furniture for our new place

What I’m NOT allowed to shop for:

  • clothes
  • shoes
  • accessories (jewelry, scarves, bags, etc.)
  • books and notebooks
  • nail polish or any toiletries/cosmetics that I won’t use on a regular basis

What Now?

I’ll post an update at the beginning of each month with my thoughts and progress. And I’ll add any additional rules as questionable issues come up throughout the next year.

Have you ever done a shopping ban? What were your experiences like?

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