Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ultimate Holiday Wishlist

I decided to not do gift guides this year and just make it all about me (you can still check out last year's guys & gals - most of the stuff is still valid - seriously, if you know a person who loves to grill Mangrates are a must!).  Wow, such holiday spirit, right?  I know, I know.  Sometimes it's just fun to make a list of things both crazy expensive and totally affordable that you would buy for yourself if you could.  So I thought I would share my list.
1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10. / 11. / 12. / 13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. 

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review - "The Body Book" by Cameron Diaz

The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

I had been curious about this book ever since it first came out, so I checked it out from the library, not really knowing what to expect.  Well, I'm glad I did, bottom line I was super impressed.  Now, I should say that this is not really a book aimed at my 40+ year old self, it's more of a primer to basic nutrition, how your body works, and the importance of taking care of your health, best aimed at a girl in her teens/early 20s.  Not saying I didn't get anything out of it, I did.  I enjoyed how she wrote the book as if she were having a conversation with you.  I appreciated that she wasn't preachy, instead she is encouraging and empowering, she's like a cool aunt/sister/bff.  I am absolutely going to be purchasing a copy to have in my library.  Bravo Cameron!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review - "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

The story centers around Alice who comes to on the floor of her gym one day after hitting her head during spin class and has forgotten the past 10 years of her life.  She's stuck in 1998, when in reality it's 2008.  She thinks she's pregnant with her first child, that her marriage is blissful, etc.  Unfortunately a lot has happened in that decade she can't recall.  Her quest is to try to regain her memory as well as marry who she was in 1998 to who she's become in 2008.  I had a super hard time getting into this book, I had to get almost halfway through before the way it's written (following Alice around, mixed in with her sister's letters to her therapist) stopped confusing me.  But once you get used to it, it really flies by.  Was it my favorite book by Ms. Moriarty? No. But it's still a solid read.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review - "#Girlboss" by Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Picked this up on a whim, I've been seeing a lot of people online posting about this book, so I was curious.  I have no idea what her shop Nasty Gal is #nottheirdemographic #old and had not a clue to who she is.  The book gives a summary of her background and how she built her company.  That part was really interesting.  The second part of the book is more advice for younger readers, ones that may not be in the workforce yet, or are trying to find their way (resume advice, cover letter advice, you have to start somewhere and do some things that may not be in your job description stuff - duh).  It's a quick read and would be a great gift to any girl who's graduating soon or pick it up if you just want an inspiring story of a woman who built a company and brand from nothing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review - "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A tragedy has occurred during an school fundraiser. The book follows 40 year old mom Madeline, her best friend Celeste who seems to have it all, Bonnie who is married to Madeline's ex and Jane the young, single, new mom in the school.  As soon as Jane arrives and Madeline takes her under her wing, things start to unravel.  Jane's son is accused of bullying, Celeste's "perfect life" veneer starts to crack, Madeline's daughter wants to live with her father.  It's a good story, interesting and easy to read and follow.  For some reason I just had a hard time getting into the book, but once I was 100 pages in, it just sort of flowed.  I didn't like it as well as some of her other books, but it's still worth your time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review - "Overdressed" by Elizabeth L. Cline

Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline

This one hits close to home for me, which is why I was eager to read it.  It's full of information about the manufacturing methods of "cheap fashion" and how we got to be so dependent on it.  It's a book everyone should read, especially if you have a crammed closet full of clothes you barely wear.  I found it oversimplified at times, preachy at others, but overall the message is good.  Having been in the textile industry for close to 20 years and then at school for textile and apparel management before that (I remember finding out NAFTA passed in class one day and we all collectively groaned, seeing our job prospects diminish in an instant) I've seen the decline of the domestic industry firsthand.  I've seen quality diminish, I've fought with overseas suppliers, I've pulled my hair out at customers wanting something for nothing, etc.  Maybe that's why I'm so conscious to how much I bring into my home.  My closet has never been vast, I thrift a lot, I buy quality over quantity, I wear stuff out, I mend instead of throw away or donate for the most part.  Sure I love my fast fashion fix every now and then but I'm fully aware of what I'm going to get at places like F21, H&M, Zara, Target, etc.  In fact I can't even walk into F21 without thinking "look at all this garbage".    I think the idea of the book can be summed up by one of the interviewees in the book, vintage dealer Sara Bereket when she said "We blame companies.  But at the end of the day we have to be responsible for our actions."  Stop buying so much stuff, buy better quality stuff, hunt out made in the USA items if possible, learn how to fix your clothes or find someone who can, shop with intention.  Ultimately it's in our hands, we created the demand, we can change the game if we are willing to be more mindful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review - "Tory Burch: In Color" by Tory Burch

Tory Burch: In Color by Tory Burch

I pre-ordered this book the second I was able to.  I'm a Tory fan from way back when there was just the one store on Elizabeth Street.  This book is gorgeous, instead of chapters, it's broken down by colors, a sort of personal scrapbook with gorgeous images and stories.  If you are a Tory fan pick this up.  Would be ideal as a gift!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review - "The Arsonist" by Sue Miller

The Arsonist by Sue Miller

I had high hopes with this one, however was supremely disappointed.  Reading this was like walking through mud, it was work.  It's the story of a small New Hampshire town one Summer in the late 1990's where fires are destroying homes of the residents who summer there.  There is an arsonist on the loose and everyone is scared.  Focusing on Sylvia and Alfie who have retired there and their daughter Frankie who has returned to town after fifteen years in Africa doing aid work.  And that's about it.  It's touted as "suspenseful" with "emotional insight", it is neither.  The only suspense was if I was going to actually finish the darn thing.  I would skip this one.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review - "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling

I picked this one up on a whim, I liked her on The Office and I enjoyed Tina Fey's Bossypants so I thought it might be a fun read.  It was a big bowl of okay.  Nothing life changing, nothing laugh out loud hilarious, just stuff about her childhood and career.  She's likable but I just was underwhelmed.  I just didn't "click" with her much.  If you like Mindy then you will like the book.  I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I came away feeling like I never got to know the "real" Mindy.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Book Review - "The Last Original Wife" by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

One of my favorites I've ever read from Ms. Frank.  The story is about Les the middle aged wife of Wes.  The issue is that in Wes's posh circle of friends, Les is the last of the "original" wives.  His friends are all on their second marriages to young, gorgeous girls, with whom she has nothing in common.  She's had enough of Wes's controlling ways and feeling like Wes is doing her a "favor" by not dumping her for a newer model.  After an incident in Scotland while on vacation and a discovery about their finances, Les decides she's had enough and up and leaves to stay with her brother in Charleston.  What follows is a lesson in self-discovery, identity, what happiness really is and what you are willing to put up with in the last part of your life to truly live.  I adored the story!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review - "One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Yeah, it's a bit rom-com formulaic, yet the story has so much heart you can't put it down.  It's the story of Jess, a single mom in a gritty town outside of London.  She works multiple jobs to keep the family fed and housed since her husband went AWOL and left their young daughter and teenage son (Jess' stepson) behind.  The daughter is a math prodigy and the stepson is being bullied.  Jess is trying to keep her head above water when help arrives in the form of software guru Ed (who's got major problems of his own).  What follows is a story that has so much heart and soul, that redefines what family means, gives you hope that good things happen to good people and that you can succeed against all odds.  Pick this one up!

Book Review - "Elements of Style" by Erin Gates

Elements of Style by Erin Gates

Erin's Elements of Style blog was one of the first interior design blogs I stumbled across when I first discovered the blogosphere, and have been following her ever since.  She's got a great eye, fabulous style and feels like a friend with her candid writing.  So when she announced she was writing a book, I couldn't wait, in fact I pre-ordered the book way back in March.  It was worth the wait.  I devoured the book in a day.  It's a great mix of stories from her life and gorgeous photos from her projects.  It's chock full of inspiration, laughs, honesty and beauty.  Plus it looks gorgeous on display (with that stunning striped spine).  If you are an Erin fan or just love looking at gorgeous spaces, then this is the book for you!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review - "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell

I liked Fangirl so much I immediately checked out this one:

Another great book, again classified as "young adult" but this was was a bit darker and more serious than Fangirl.  The story is told in a back an forth switching between Eleanor and Park's point of view.  Eleanor is sixteen and comes from a very difficult home situation.  Park is also sixteen with a more stable home life and an established reputation in their school.  When Eleanor has to sit next to him on the bus on her first day at their school, they slowly start to form a relationship that evolves into first love.  The story is funny at times, heartbreaking at other times.  The ending is tough, you really want her to write a sequel at some point.  Ms. Rowell's characters are so wonderfully well developed that you feel their pain, joy and hope.  A movie is in the works as well.  If you loved books like The Fault In Our Stars and The Age of Miracles then pick this one up!  

Book Review - "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell

I'm switching things up a bit around here.  If you are a regular around here you know I keep a running list of books I've read (and my thoughts on them) on the "Books I've Read" page.  But the list is getting out of control and I want to be able to search my book list more easily.  Plus, let's face facts, I'm not posting as much on the blog as I have been and I feel the blog is evolving a bit.  I mean, I love sharing my reviews of products why not add my thoughts on books as posts too?  So along with the usual posts I'll be posting my book thoughts as well.  Starting today!  I went on a bit of a "putting books on hold" binge at the library over the past few weeks and they have started pouring in. So let's get started.

Oh my, I LOVED this book so much.  It's technically classified as a "young adult" book but I found it totally relatable.  The story centers on Cath and her first year of college.  She has a twin but her twin decided that they shouldn't room together, she wanted to be her own person and thinks that Cath should want that as well.  Cath is a popular (albeit anonymous) fan fiction writer for a Harry Potter-type series of books.  It's her escape, her passion and part of her identity.  Her home life is complicated with an absentee mother and a father who has mental health issues.  I totally related to Cath, the story brought back those "first year of college, coming of age" issues.  Just finding your way into adulthood, crossing that bridge.  I highly recommend this book, it's a light, easy read that satisfies!

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