Thursday, January 30, 2014

January Book Review

One of my favorite things to do is to discuss books that I've just finished so I figured I would bore all of you with my monthly synopsis of the works I've just completed. 

Since I technically finished my 20th book just after the cut off of last year so Goodreads is considering Are Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling my first book of 2014. I have to be honest that I have mixed feelings on this book. I'm a huge fan of Mindy's, The Mindy Project is one of my favorite shoes and I find her hysterical whenever I see her interviewed but after just completing Tina Fey's Bossypants I felt that this one definitely fell short. I enjoyed reading about her time as a writer for The Office (I had no idea she held such a coveted position on the show since her character was so minor) and did find her relationship stories and advice funny, but felt that it read more like a scattered conversation between friends. Tina is, in my opinion, the godfather (godmother?) of female comedians so it's probably not a fair comparison but Fey's book was laugh out loud funny and offered tons of applicable advice, whereas Mindy's book was more just a compilation of stories. All in all I don't regret reading it, it was funny and light but if you're looking for a book in this genre I'd go with Bossypants.

In November I read These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen and really liked it. The story lines, for the most part, were really juicy and I related a great deal to young twenty-something's living in the city. I also enjoyed her writing style so I knew I want to give another book of hers a try. The Best of Us is her latest novel about four college friends who go on a dream vacation, with their spouses, for one of the friend's birthdays. Of course, all of the couples are facing uniques struggles and a great deal of strife occurs when the group reunites. If nothing else, this book makes you want to book a flight to Jamaica immediately. I highly recommend this one.

Finally, my friend (shout out to Carly!) recommended I read The Husband's Secret. I had heard tons of people talking about it and had read the synopsis a few times but for some reason I wasn't immediately drawn to the book (I think I, mistakenly, assumed that I knew what was going to happen). This is one of the best books I've read in awhile! The story is about three different women and how their lives intersect when one woman finds a letter from her husband addressed to her in the event of his death. I have to admit I was a little bored in the beginning, you don't find out what the letter contains until 200 pages in, and being my impatient self I was getting restless. I confess that I tried to look up spoilers for the book probably three separate time in the first two days I was reading it but luckily couldn't find what I was looking for. I did put the pieces together a little earlier but the best part is what happens after you find out what the secret is. It's rare for me to like a book in which, when completed, I dislike two of the main characters, but with every twist and turn I was riveted. Also, the best epilogue I've ever read! You HAVE to read this one! 

An suggestions on what to read next? Have you read any of these books? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hair, Hair, Long Beautiful Hair

I need your help and opinions. I'm in desperate need of a new hair dryer. In all honesty, I've been in need for on for awhile now but have been too lazy to buy one. I've never spent a substantial amount on a hair dryer before, which is slightly counter intuitive seeing as I've sunk so much cash into hair care products and tools I could probably purchase a small island. But I've always kind of felt that a hair dryer is a hair dryer. My mentality is similar to that of experts who advise us not to waste money on expensive mascara and to put those bills toward foundation, for example. Since middle school I've always invested in quality straighteners and curling irons (which is moot considering the fact that I've using my curling iron exactly twice) because I felt that when using a product that applies direct heat it's important to buy one that will protect your hair. But a hair dryer is diffused heat, therefore, they're all kind of the same? Or at least that's what I've been telling myself. But when I actually sat down and thought about it, my hair always does feel better after having professionals blow it out, and I use my hair dryer 100x more than any other product so it would make sense to invest in a quality one, right? So basically the point of this whole run on paragraph is to ask you opinion, is an expensive hair dryer worth it? Do you have one? If so, does it make a difference, or should I just save my money?

I have my eye on this gorgeous Buttercup Blowdryer from Drybar. I think the color alone would make me want to use it. Thoughts? 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Comfort Zone

I used to be terrible about leaving my comfort zone because, well, it was just that, comfortable. But I realized that nothing worthwhile, or life changing, ever happens when you're playing it safe. One of the greatest things about living in a city like New York is that everyday you see so many different kinds of people and your personal world is expanded every single day. I've shared with you my New Years Resolutions, but perhaps the biggest one, for me, this year is to challenge myself. I want to do things I wouldn't normally do and go places I wouldn't normally go. I want to experience it all. 

One of my favorite Youtube videos is of a commencement address entitled "Always Wear Sunscreen" that gives a wonderful list of advice. But the one piece that has always stood out to me is "do something everyday that scares you". It could be small, like going to a workout class without a friend (believe me, I find that very intimidating) or as big as asking for that promotion. Whatever it is, take the chance. It will be worth it. And even if you don't get the desired result, you will have the peace of mind that you gave it a shot. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Years Resolutions

Now that we're almost a full month into 2014, I figured it was time to share a few of my New Years Resolutions with you. Last year I made a conscious effort to hold myself (or rather have you guys hold me) accountable by writing about my progress at the end of each month. It kind of fell by the way side (much like my blogging, in general) during the fall but I think it really helped me to remind myself each month that there were things I still wanted to accomplish. 

Here are how I stacked up against 
Last Years Resolutions:
1. Run a 5K: Check! (The Color Run) 
2. Read twenty books, including five classics: I finished my 20th book 1/1/14 so technically I did not make it (plus I did not read those five classics) so as punishment I'm upping the ante this year
3. Move to New York: Check! 
4. Take a cooking class: Fail, but I'm determined to do it this year 
5. Expand Jewelry Collection: Check!
6. Buy 3 Coffee Table Books: Check! (Ended up with five) 

Here are some of my 2014 resolutions: 
1. Invest in more things for my apartments: Before I moved, I was consumed with my desire to purchase things for my apartment, but since I've moved I've wanted to spend that money on clothes or activities and have really neglected my home. I'm going to make a conscious effort to purchase more things for objects as opposed to clothes. 
2. Try Three New Restaurants a Month: I am constantly reading, hearing, and researching the best places to go out to dinner in the city. There are so many great places to explore that I'm definitely going to try visit three new restaurants each month. 
3. Buy my next designer handbag: Post on this to follow
4. Read twenty five books this year: Last year I was so close, but since I didn't make it I'm forcing myself to read even more. 
5. Keep up wit Blogging more: I've been extremely neglectful since I moved and I'm going to make a serious effort to write more. I'll probably expand, a little more, of the subject matter that I blog about but don't worry I promise it will still be good. 
6. Instagram more: I'm addicted to Instagram, I check it constantly, but I realized that I went through a period when I wasn't posting my own photos so this year I'm promising myself to take more photos- which in turn kind of forces me to do more amazing things to document 
7. Try New Things: There are so many insanely cool things to do here that I just want to try everything!

Hold me to them again this yes!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Worm

It's no secret that I love to read. (Almost) all year, I've been giving you my reviews of the books I've been checking out and I thought with the holidays coming up, and everyone (hopefully) having a little down time, it might be nice to compile my favorites of the year in case you need a few ideas. I think books are such a wonderful, personal, gift to give even if you're not much of a reader yourself. (I've linked to my original synopsis through the title). 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

This book is the definition of a page turner. It was my first book of the year and I actually forced myself to slow down and enjoy it since I was flying through it just to find out what happened next. Honestly, one of the best books I've read in awhile. (Be prepared- it's definitely weird) 

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult 

I'm a huge fan of Jodi's, I've read almost all of her books, but feel like her later work is much better than her earlier material. I took a little hiatus from Picoult's books for a few years because the plots of her most recent novels didn't really interest me, but The Storyteller definitely didn't disappoint. I recommended it to several people and got back mixed reviews, so it might not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. 

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah 

This is a book to read with a box of Kleenex. It's really a heartwarming story and is a very easy read. 

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue 

This book is kind of a compilation of all the genres that interest me. It's a little chick-lit-esque but also has a mystery interwoven so it gives the book more substance. 

Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess 

This might be my second favorite book of the year, behind Gone Girl. I think this is a great book for every twenty-something girl (especially if you live in the city). It's extremely well written and is the first installment in a soon to be series of five books. (Think grown up version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). 

Columbine by Dave Cullen

This is one book I didn't write a review on but recently finished and it was amazing. It was throughly researched and the details will haunt you long after you finish the book. It's obviously very heavy subject matter but extremely informative. 

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell 

I've heard such wonderful things about Gladwell's books and after seeing an interview with him I was fascinated by his plots. This is his first and while the subject matter isn't as exciting to me as some of his later works, he brings up some extremely interesting points. I'm only half way finished but I've really enjoyed it thus far. 

I'm two books shy of my goal for the year and am desperate for any suggestions! So if you read anything you loved this year, please pass along a suggestion. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years Eve Threads

(I received some interest in my NYE outfit so I thought I'd share all the deets.)

Okay, I'll just say it, I'm not normally a huge fan on New Year's Eve. I feel like every year there's tons of hype surrounding it and it very rarely lives up to everyones expectations. I've had lots of fun New Year's but only a handful were amazing. Despite all of this, I still find myself participating in the lunacy each year. But surprisingly this year went alarmingly easily! My plans were decided in November which took a huge weight off my shoulders. Since we were so early, we got an amazing deal (it ended up costing less than I used to pay for events in Baltimore!) and it sounded almost too good to be true. Which is when the real dilemma arose, what the heck am I going to wear?

I had been passively looking (which basically means I troll the same websites at which I always look in hopes that the perfect dress magically materializes before me) for about two and a half weeks. Needless to say that wasn't successful. So, while I was home for Christmas, I dragged my poor Momma to the mall to assist in the endless search. This is no exaggeration when I tell you I tried on thirteen dresses. I reluctantly settled on a plain black option that I was less than thrilled about, hoping I could jazz it up with some fun jewelry. But as I was headed for the parking lot, I told my mom I was going to do one last lap around the Nordstrom dress department. That amazing sales associated immediately pulled out this hot pink dress with an open back…and a bow. I mean I don't think I've ever seen a dress that's more made for me. I was done! 

Amanda Uprichard Sheath Dress

Paired with this J.Crew necklace, simple Kate Spade drop earrings, and classic (comfortable) black pumps and I was all set! 

Hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's Eve!! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to my dear readers!

Here's to making 2014 the best year yet! 

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