Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Few Things & A Question

Happy Wednesday! It's already the last week of October, which makes me feel less bad about putting up our mini Christmas tree last week. The holidays go by so fast, I like to enjoy the festive things for as long as possible. I'll wait until this weekend to put more of our decorations out and we won't get our actual Christmas tree for a while, so I feel like it's not too overboard, right? Anyway, linking up with Mattie & Jenn today, and Joey tomorrow!

A few things I've learned recently... 

  • I decided to measure out a single serving (according to the box) of cereal and realized my idea of one serving is actually like 4. I probably need to chill out on the amount of cinnamon Chex I've been eating or maybe just don't measure your cereal?
  • Pretty Little Liars is best when binge watched without commercials to distract you, aka make you lose interest. That or the current/final season is just really bad.
  • You can be super disappointed in the last 2 seasons of a 4 season TV show and still be sad when it's over (Hart of Dixie, I'm looking at you).
  • You might smash your husband's finger between weights at the gym if you're too lazy to take your headphones out and mishear what he says. 
  • You can go to Bath & Body Works during a major candle sale and walk out with only one candle.
  • But then you might go to Nordstrom and smell the Nest Holiday Trio and have to try even harder to remind yourself you don't need to spend $60 on candles.

More importantly I need your help regarding a new coffee maker! I've had (& loved) my Keurig for the past few years and I'm not sure if it's something with my machine, or my tastes are just changing, but I've been really unimpressed with my coffee lately. I use the same k-cups & creamer, but the coffee just doesn't taste that satisfying to me (unless I have it iced), which is a huge problem because coffee is probably my favorite thing about the morning! I'm not sure if I should try a fresh press, nespresso, or just a regular coffee pot, but I need a solution asap, because it's getting too cold to drink iced coffee. What coffee maker do you use/love? 

Monday, October 24, 2016

What I'm Loving on Etsy 2

Another You've Got Mail favorite from AlexaZ.

A Kate Spade inspired bookshelf mug from History in High Heels and there's a matching print.

I don't know where I came across this pool party print, but I loved it so much that I wanted to include it even if the artist is based in the UK-- meaning extra expensive shipping to the US.

This grumpy cat bookmark from Wonderflies made me laugh out loud. She also does custom pet portraits that are super cute.

If you look forward to your coffee first thing in the morning, this notepad to-do list is perfect for you. Even if you're not a coffee drinker, Hennel Paper Co has dozens of cute designs from cards, calendars, notepads, and more.

Previous What I'm Loving on Etsy Posts

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ulta First Impressions

One of my least favorite things about blogging is taking product photos/editing them. I know flat-lays or pretty backdrops are a lot more eye-catching, but I have zero skills when it comes to those things and I use my iPhone like 99% of the time. I do prefer to use my own photos over stock photos so my images continue to be a work in progress. On to the topic of this post-- a few new Ulta products I'm excited to try out. I don't know if I've ever ordered such random things, but everything serves a purpose I found to be almost a need vs a want.

1. Castor Oil | I've heard good things about people using this to help grow their eyelashes, so I figured it would be worth a try for my brows. My brows are really dark and the hairs are long , but they definitely lack a little fullness, so I'd like to try and help them grow in if possible. Blame social media?

2. RT Beauty Blender | I've never tried the actual beauty blender... the price always put me off combined with worrying about how hard it would be to clean. When I saw how many good reviews the RT version had, I figured it was worth trying.

3. Burts Bees Lipstick in russet river | I think these lipsticks are my favorite new beauty product of the year... great formula, color payoff, and pleasant on the lips. This shade is a really pretty brick-red which is perfect for fall into winter.

4. Armor Top Coat | I'm back in the groove of painting my nails and was in need of a new top coat. I had been using Seche Vite, which is really good, but it smells so strong, I think it's impossible to use without getting a headache & I can't imagine it's good for you. I was going to go for the Essie gel top coat (3 free), but decided I'd go for Zoya instead-- it was cheaper and 5 free, and I love all of the Zoya polishes I've ever used. Crossing my fingers I end up loving it!

5. Living Proof Dry Volume Blast | Never in a million years did I think I would cave and buy anything that promised volume for the hair. Volume isn't a word I'd ever associate with my hair-- it's impossibly straight and quite long (aka heavy). I did recently cut about 5ish inches off because it was driving me crazy, but I wanted something that would give my hair a little bit of texture because it would either be super clean (too slippery to style if ya know what i mean) or too dirty and greasy and dry shampoo, just wasn't doing the trick.

6. Spin Pins | Staying on the hair struggle, I did a google search for the best hair ties for long hair and everyone kept mentioning spin pins. They claim that one spin pin is equal to 20 bobby pins and I tested one out and it seemed to hold my hair in a bun pretty good, but it wasn't the most comfortable. I definitely need to play around with them a little bit more though.

I took advantage of the Wednesday beauty break and got a little Benefit kit that I got mainly for the bag because I can't handle the glue that is They're Real Mascara, I don't need my eyelashes to be any darker, and the brow conditioner did absolutely nothing. I have a lot of Ulta points I'm saving up for maybe the Lorac 3 palette and I'm anxiously awaiting the Sephora VIB sale to repurchase a few essentials. What are some of your favorite things to pickup at Ulta?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Carly Reads Here | October

the barbizon hotel 2016
This was the month of getting into all of my library books right before they were due back to the library-- meaning I didn't succeed in finishing many of them. And sometimes watching Hart of Dixie takes priority over reading, whether I'd like to admit it or not. I had my worst book (one star) of the year in this batch of books, but the rest were 3.5 stars or above, which rarely happens. Linking up with all of the other book lovers for Show Us Your Books.

The Look of Love | I picked this book solely because it popped up on my library page and I liked the cover and the author sounded familiar. I saw that it was available and the synopsis (a woman finds out she has a gift to literally see love) sounded fun... I did not like this at all. First it was the writing- there was too much I did this, I did that, then I did this... there was also a lot of dialogue that I found obnoxious/pointless. Every character used the term of endearment honey so many times that I stopped reading to do a search to see how many times the word was used. Each chapter was set up with a random address at the beginning- this would have been fine, but the location changed many times within the chapter, so I didn't see the point, and found that aspect to be distracting more than anything else... I could go on, but I imagine you get the point. Wasn't for me.

The Dollhouse | This story follows a girl from the Barbizon Hotel in New York in the 50s, but flips between a present day story of someone who now lives in the building. I would categorize this as something of a mix of historical fiction and chick lit with a good suspense element to it. The POV switches between decades each chapter, and it definitely worked really well at building the suspense, because as soon as you'd get really invested in one storyline the chapter would change-- the further into the book you get, the more the stories start to connect, making it really interesting. I'm not sure if it's because I had a galley copy, but I was hoping there would be more at the end about how Davis researched the book, it definitely left me curious to explore more about that time in New York and at the Barbizon. //this book was provided to me by penguin random house - first to read in exchange for an honest review.

The Woman in Cabin 10 | I'm torn on this one because it was definitely a book I couldn't put down and it had a much better suspense element than In a Dark, Dark Wood, I thought the setting and premise of the story was unique and different, but the main character was highly frustrating. Which often seems to be the trend with psychological thrillers? It felt a bit overdone to have a female appear as unreliable because she has mental health issues and abuses alcohol. There was also one pretty big component to the story (borrowing a stranger's mascara) that bugged me a lot because it seemed so unrealistic. With all my gripes, if you're in the mood for something suspenseful, I'd recommend it.

Things I Would Say |  If you read Alyssa's blog you already know how amazing of a writer she is, if you're not reading it yet, you should be. I mistakenly thought it was going to be a book I would breeze through because of the length... instead I found myself reading one or two essays at a time to take in their depth.

The Wrath & The Dawn | Fantasy usually isn't my jam, but I was in the mood for something different and I remember Kristen (& just about everyone on Goodreads) raving about this book, so I figured it was worth checking out. My understanding of the premise was that a boy-king takes a new bride every night and then kills her (inspired by arabian nights). I had a really hard time getting into this book- girlfriend is possibly going to die the next day, but she's just totally calm and collected hanging out with the people who are going to kill her? That's to say I was really skeptical at first, but I ended up loving it for so many reasons. The romance completely sucked me in, combined with a great suspense element and a really rich setting in the middle-east. So excited for the sequel!

What great books have you read lately?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Merry October III

card; nail polish
What in the world. It's already October, and I know I've been saying that basically every single month since February, but I'm not sure how I'm feeling about 2016 being the fastest year ever. This is my third October in blogland (20142015), and I always have a post with this title, inspired by Rainbow Rowell's book Attachments. It's no secret I'm a sucker for a good seasonal tag post, so I decided to kick off October with the autumn tag. I'm linking up with Kristen & Joey.

1. What signifies the start of fall for you? I think the beginning of September is almost always the unofficial start of fall for me. The older I get the more I realize that seasons are more of a state of mind than a date on the calendar. Does it really feel like a traditional fall day on September 1st if the heat index is still in the triple digits? Probably not, but if it makes you happy to pull out all the fall things, who cares?

2. What is your favorite fall scent? I don't have a specific fall personal fragrance so I'll go with candle scent which is easily sweater weather-- though I've been burning autumn recently and really loving it. I'm also considering trying out a simmer pot of some sort!

3. What is your favorite autumn color? Anything in the burgundy, dark red, oxblood category. Jewel tones suit my coloring better than pastels, so I really love how prominent they are in fashion this time of the year.

4. What is your favorite fall drink? I love hot cider- add caramel and whipped cream and it's even better! I have to admit, I've had one (or three) salted caramel mochas so far this year and I'm kind of obsessed, though I don't even want to think about the insane amount of sugar in them.

5. What TV show are you looking forward to this fall? I'm not really big into any shows that premiere in the fall, but I do enjoy Superstore for something silly and light.

6. What is your favorite fall fashion trend? Over-the-knee boots with an oversized sweater. Two things that are still currently missing from my closet.

7. What is your favorite fall activity? I touched a little bit on this in my fall plans post, but I look forward to going to the apple orchard every year.

8. What is your favorite fall makeup look? There's something about fall that makes me want to bring out all of the matte shadows again, which is a good thing because my Naked Basics palette hasn't had much use lately-- and according to my first impressions post, I picked it up two years ago in October.

Friday, September 30, 2016

4 Books to Encourage & Inspire

I'm a huge fan of non-fiction in general, but especially love a good self-help/improvement book every once in a while. Personally I don't see any problem with the term self-help, but I know it kind of has a negative connotation, so I decided to stick with personal development term for this post.

Quiet | I remember reading this and thinking, finally someone gets it! This is obviously a book about the power of introverts, but I think it's a great read for anyone regardless of your personality type. I think you might appreciate it a bit more if you're a fellow introvert who went through over half of your life feeling like something was wrong with you, and sitting through the majority of high school and college classes with so much anxiety due to the pressure to "speak up", as if participating in front of class is the only way to measure someone's intelligence (end rant). Cain does a really great job of balancing stories with facts and research.

The Happiness Project | This book was published back in 2009 and I'm sure it isn't new to anyone, but it's one of my favorite books when it comes to needing a little inspiration to make changes. Not because I thought anything Rubin shared was really groundbreaking, but because it's the perfect book to help get you into a positive mindset and I love the setup of accomplishing different aspects of your life in each month.

How to Have a Good Day | The title pretty accurately sums up the aim of this book and I loved that it was science-based without being too heavy on the facts. While a large part of the book focuses on work life (specifically more corporate careers), I think there's a takeaway for anyone regardless of what you call your job. Read my full review 

Daring Greatly | A few years ago I read The Gifts of Imperfection and think I've had Daring Greatly on my list since then. Even after I got it for my birthday in April this year, it was one that sat on my shelf for a while until I felt like I was in the mood to read it. Of course it ended up being one of those books that I wish I read years ago because it spoke to me in almost every way. It was another one of those books that I read and was shocked at how much I could relate to so much of the material. That was how I felt reading a lot of this, and I imagine it's how most people would feel because Brene's research on shame is so raw and real. I could easily write an entire post on what I learned from reading this, and I probably will eventually, but for now I would say to check out Brene's research if you're interested in enriching your life and how important it is to be vulnerable sometimes.

I have a few other self improvement books on my radar that I hope to read in the next few months as well. I always enjoy a good personal element and ease to read, but look forward to the research and facts as well. If you you have a good book in this same realm, let me know!

Linking up for my books & favorites

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Currently | September 16

I always read Emily's posts for this linkup and I love Shay's blog so I thought I'd participate in my first what's up wednesday linkup today. I took out a few of the questions because my answers were repetitive, but thought this was a fun version of a currently post. 

What I'm eating this week: I made the first batch of chili for the season and think I finally found a recipe that I love. I'm kind of picky and prefer for it to be more on the soupy side with not very much meat. I used this recipe as a base and adjusted it quite a bit and it was a huge success! Special thanks to my mom for giving me the idea to add fritos!