Friday, May 29, 2015

Guest Post: Claws Up

Hey, friends! I'm taking the week off (except for Wednesday) because I've been so busy, 
but I have an awesome line-up of guest posts for you this week!
Hello blogging world of Sincerely, Sara! My name is Jacquie, and I blog over at Claws Up!  I am really excited to be guest posting for my long-time bestie, and recent maid of honor, Sara. For my post, I wanted to share a makeup look using some of Sara's favorite colors: purple and plum.

I used to be scared of a bold lip, for years I have been strictly a lip balm kind of girl. But it's getting hard to ignore that bold lip colors are taking center stage. After being scared of the bold lip trend I slowly eased myself in. I have to say I'm now hooked and have jumped head first into the bold lip trend! After I picked up my latest, and boldest,  addition to my collection, I wanted to honor it with a full purple look!
I had a lot of fun playing around with colors outside of my comfort zone and I have to say, I was really happy with how this look turned out. I wouldn't wear it out, but sometimes it's fun just to see what you can create. I can't wait to add even more bold shades to my lipstick collection.

What's your favorite lipstick color? 
What color should I try next?

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Guest Post: My Life as a Teacup

Hey, friends! I'm taking the week off (except for Wednesday) because I've been so busy, 
but I have an awesome line-up of guest posts for you this week!
Hello, hello! I’m Kristin, the lady behind the bookish blog and editing company My Life as a Teacup. Avid reader that I am, I’m known to carry around a book wherever I go, and whip it out at any and all times. You too? It’s a great little club we readers have going on, isn’t it? Though I’m physically able to read a book just about anywhere, that’s not to say I don’t have my preferences: a grey, rainy day, curled up inside amidst blankets and relaxing with a book in hand. And I’m sure you’re dreaming of your ideal cozy reading hideaway right now, too! Different as each person’s reading preferences may be, there are a few essentials that no good reading session should be without. If you find your bookish dream nook in need of some relaxing touches, you might find these rainy-day reading must-haves right up your alley!
  • Bookmark | While a bookmark can be constructed out of just about anything (lottery tickets, napkins, paper scraps, the day’s mail…) it helps to have a designated bookmark in reach so that you don’t have to guess at where you left off. Why not make it a bookmark that represents something you love? For me, I’m all about my hometown of Pittsburgh, and GracefulDiligence’s hand-cut Pittsburgh skyline bookmark is just dreamy!
  • A beverage of your choice | Not everyone is a fan of warm beverages, but in my opinion there’s nothing better to curl up with than a hot mug of tea! Whatever your drink preference, have your favorite beverage within arm’s reach for a mid-chapter refresher. Adagio’s Steve Carlsberg blend of tea is the perfect balance of fruit and creamy vanilla for a dreary day.
  • A nerdy mug | You’ve got to have something equally awesome to to your awesome beverage in. Fill up a bookish mug (like this Jane Austen quote mug) for maximum enjoyment.
  • Page flags | Sometimes you want to come back to a certain moment, jot down a quote, or remember something to blog about later. If you’re against writing in your books, sticky page flags like these, or even from Target’s $1 bin make for great page markers. You’ll never have to hunt for “It’s levi-O-sa, not levio-SA” ever again!
  • A comfy spot | As enjoyable as reading is, after 20-minutes of doing the “I need to find a new body position dance” around your bed/chair/floor, it’s easy to want to give up and do something else. Enter my new favorite thing ever: the body pillow. A friend of mine dragged me to Target to get one for herself, and after two days of tempting pictures and immense jealousy, I went back and bought one for me. It is the Comfiest. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Known. Buh-bye, stiff shoulders!
  • A sweet smelling candle | No day of reading and relaxing would be complete without a wonderful aroma wafting through the room. My favorite all-around candle is Yankee Candle’s Vanilla Cupcake scent. It’s (literally!) sweet, but not overpowering; just the right amount of freshness and warmth to be perfect the whole year round.
What are your must-haves for curling up with a good book?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {May 2015} + U by Kotex's #SaveTheUndies

So I didn't read as much as last month, but I still did very well. Seven books is a lot for me, but it helps that I went on vacation and read two books while traveling and one graphic novel while chilling in my hotel. For the most part, I enjoyed the books I read. What did you read this month?

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares*
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, this YA romance follows Lily, a teenage girl who left a red journal in the Strand bookstore in New York City with instructions for any boys who come across it, and Dash, the boy who finds the notebook and follows said instructions. The two start a back and forth through the notebook and send each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan. 

This book is absolutely adorable! Dash and Lily are such real teenagers; they act irrationally, do stupid things, and are flawed people. I liked Dash and Lily a lot, although they both got on my nerves at times, Lily more so than Dash. Their back and forth through the journal and the adventures they send each other on are bookish and fun and utterly enjoyable. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Room**
★★★ (3 out of 5)

Written by Jonas Karlsson, Bjorn discovers a secret room at a government office where he works that no one else can see. His coworkers find Bjorn's behavior getting increasingly bizarre and want him fired, but he uses the secret room to get ahead in his work. 

This book is...interesting. And not what I expected at all. This book was more about conformity and society rather than the secret room. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I actually liked Bjorn, but I found him annoying and unfriendly. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Girl With All The Gifts
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by M.R. Carey, Melanie is a special little girl. Every morning she waits in her cell to be collected for class. Sergeant Parks points his gun at her while two other soldiers strap her into a wheelchair. Melanie's world is small, but when something goes wrong her world gets bigger and scarier. 

This is another book that's not what I expected at all, but in a good way. Without giving too much away, Melanie's world is very different, one in which you have to be careful at every turn. There's a lot of science in this book, but it was fascinating to read. The story slows down a lot in the middle, but the pace picks up the end. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1)
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by Marie Rutkoski, Kestral, a general's daughter, lives in a world in which there are conquerors and those who are conquered. Living in a country that her father's army conquered years before, Kestral has only two choices: join the military or get married, but she has no desire to do either. Her world changes forever though when she buys a slave named Arin. 

Wow, this book! Rutkowski's poetic writing sucks you into this world of slaves and slavers, merchants and military, and revels and rebellion. Kestral and Arin's slow burn, off-limits relationship from hatred to friendship to flirtation is wonderful and almost feels like a Jane Austen novel. This story is fantastic and kept me on the edge of my seat with all its twists and secrets and shady characters. (P.S. -- I'm showing the second book in the pictures because I gave the first one back to the library already.)

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

Before Tomorrowland
★★★ (3 out of 5)

Written by Jeff Jensen, Brad Bird, Jonathan Case, and Damon Lindelof, this story takes place in 1939. While a secret society of genuises begins preparations to share an extraordinary discovery with the world, a man that is half-machine will stop at nothing to prevent them from sharing this knowledge. 

I had high hopes for this, considering the names attached to it and the fact that it was coming from Disney, but the story was all over the place. It started off with several unconnected and confusing stories that eventually merged together. I did enjoy reading the adventure aspect of it and reading from the point of view of Lee, a young man who gets caught up in the middle of it all. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

Locke & Key, Vol. 1
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez, this dark fantasy graphic novel follows a family after the father is murdered. The mother, two sons, and a daughter move into Lovecraft, an old family home with doors that can change you or transport you if you walk through them. 

Dark, creepy, and cool. That's how I would describe this story. There are magical doors, a creature that wants a powerful key, and someone out for revenge, and that all comes together in an intriguing way. I didn't want to stop reading and I already want to read the rest of the volumes to see what happens and what other doors will be opened next. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

The Look of Love
★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Sarah Jio, Jane has a powerful yet subtle gift: she can see love. On her 29th birthday, Jane receives a card telling her that she must identify the six types of love before her 30th birthday or she'll be able to see love, but never get to experience it. 

I picked this up at the Pittsburgh airport because I wanted to read something light, cute, and romantic for the journey home and this book is just that. It's a little sappy and predictable, but it's also sweet. I really liked most of the characters, but sadly I wasn't a fan of Jane's love interest, Cam. He felt one-dimensional and boring. Despite that, I really enjoyed this story. 

Buy the book: B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

*I received this book via giveaway. 
**I received this book for free via Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own. 

International giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

♥ ♥ 
**This post is sponsored by Kotex, but my opinions are all my own.**

Let's talk about confidence and feeling your best during your period. That seems like an oxymoron, right? Feeling confident during your period? Sounds too good to be true. You feel crappy, bloated, tired, and all you want to do is stay in bed and watch Netflix with a pint of ice cream. 

I may not feel confident in my ability to get through the day without a ton of chocolate, but I'm always confident when I'm wearing U by Kotex® Ultra Thin Pads with 3D Capture Core. I've been using them for a year now, ever since I discovered them. They're now my favorite and I always keep one or two U by Kotex pads in my purse in case my period comes a day early. 

So what makes them so great? They have a one-of-a-kind center that locks away wetness to help stop leaks. It comes in the Ultra Thin Pads, Cleanwear pads, AllNighter pads, and Security pads. These pads definitely save the undies!

Be confident when you have your period with U by Kotex pads. Get a free pair here!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Guest Post: My Open Sketchbook

Hey, friends! I'm taking the week off (except for Wednesday) because I've been so busy, 
but I have an awesome line-up of guest posts for you this week!

Hello! I'm Kayly, and I blog over at My Open Sketchbook. When Sara contacted me about a guest post,  I jumped at the chance to share two of my biggest passions: Art, and my fandoms! Fan art was what started me down the path of art; I was eleven years old and fell in love with drawing Sailor Moon characters. I think fan art is such a great way for people to share their fandom love, and today I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite fan artists!

Her designs are just stunning. I'm a huge fan of art nouveau, and her work combines some of my favorite fandoms with gorgeous art nouveau style. I own so many t-shirts, and even a couple prints of her work.

I love the wit behind Karen Hallion's work. She has such clever mashups!

Alice has some of the most beautiful digital art I've ever seen. Her style is so fluid, and I love how painterly it is.

Ashley Cole is the owner and artist behind this Etsy shop, and her works are filled with great design. As a book lover, I'm a huge fan of her prints and the selection she has in her shop is just great!

I love fanart, both creating it and sharing it with other people. Right now, I'm having a giveaway on my blog to win some of my original fanart sketches! Below are the six pieces to choose from, and I'll be selecting two winners! You have until the end of May to enter, so click here to go to the giveaway!

Do you have fan art?

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Guest Post: Super Space Chick

Hey, friends! I'm taking the week off (except for Wednesday) because I've been so busy, 
but I have an awesome line-up of guest posts for you this week!
Hi everyone! I'm Kristin from Super Space Chick and I'm so excited that Sara decided to share her blog with me today!  I recently started a BookTube channel and I can honestly say it's the most passionate I've been about anything in a really long time!  I'm one of those people that can spend HOURS in a bookstore multiple times per week (my poor, poor boyfriend), I must know what everyone around me on the train is reading at all times, I'm able to lead people to the exact shelves of the book they're interested in while book shopping (you can ask Sara!), and my eyes LIGHT UP when anyone tries to engage me in any conversation about books, so really, a BookTube channel just ~made sense~.

Now that you are aware of how deep my bibliophilia runs, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of my favorite BookTubers (because when I'm not reading or talking about books, I'm watching other people talk about them as entertainment). All the BookTubers I watch focus on YA fiction, but there are others out there if YA isn't your thing!

1) Regan of PeruseProject - Regan is my favorite BookTuber.  I love watching her videos because of her awesome personality and because of how often I agree with her reviews so I feel like I can trust her opinions. She reads a lot of fantasy, but she also mixes in some contemporary YA, adult fiction, and classics. A good video example of how helpful Regan's reviews are is her Favorite Books of 2014 video which can be seen below.

2) Sam of Novels and Nonsense - Sam is my go to for fantasy recommendations!  She makes a lot of unique videos, one my favorite being her Arthurian Retelling recommendations and she often participates in the Top 5 Wednesday challenge for which the topics are available to view on Goodreads.

3) Kat of Katytastic - Kat's bookshelves are to die for (seriously you must watch her bookshelf tour!).  She's been on BookTube for years so sometimes I like to go back and watch old videos that I may have missed in the past.  Kat is one of the members of the Booksplosion book club which posts an jn in depth discussion once a month.

4) Raeleen of PadfootandProngs07 - Raeleen is adorable!  She works at a bookstore so you know her recommendations are on point.  Her BookTube name is an obvious homage to the Marauders from Harry Potter, so I was destined to enjoy her videos from the start.  I love this video of her auto-buy authors.

5) Maureen of maureenkeavy - Maureen is a BookTuber that I discovered recently and I just adore her.  She's incredibly funny and sarcastic and I love watching everything she posts.  Here's a recent Harry Potter tag video she posted!

Who is your favorite YouTuber?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Dear Reader, Who Are You? Pt. 4

I'm currently in Pittsburgh! Are you following my adventures on Instagram?

I'm so excited for this summer! The past month has been crazy busy and I'm definitely not one of those people that glorifies being busy. In fact, I hate being busy. It kind of stresses me out when I have too much on my schedule, so this summer I want to relax, read a lot (which I would do anyway), hang out with friends, take trips into the city, go to museums, and relax even more. 

I would love to know:

  • current favorite drink
  • the book would you bring to a deserted island
  • what I wished I'd done sooner
  • a summer goal
  • currently reading

I'll go first:

  • iced chai latte or the Starbucks s'more's frappuccino
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or Attachments
  • hang out with other bloggers because yay fun
  • downsize my closet
  • Before Tomorrowland

So who are you?

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Inspired By: Spring Activities

Are you planning any fun activities this spring and summer? One of my favorite things to do is reading outside (when there are no bugs nearby) with a glass of iced tea and chips. When I was in Austin, my brothers and I stumbled across a farmers' market. There are a bunch near me and I really want to start going to them more regularly.  

Fields of Flowers
Fields of Flowers
Flowers, flowers, flowers! They're everywhere and they're beautiful. Pretty pink petals are all over the grass and flowers of all colors have sprouted. If you're going to be inspired by flowers, you have to go for something feminine: a pale pink printed dress, a floral necklace, yellow flats, and a yellow backpack. Or put on a blue peter pan collar top, a floral midi skirt, a moon necklace, and black loafers. 

Farmers' Market Shopping
Farmers Market Shopping
Who doesn't enjoy some Saturday afternoon farmers' market shopping? Picking up fresh seasonal fruits and veggies as well as pretty flowers, handmade soap, and delicious chocolate is always a good time. Wear a casual look: a striped tee, jeans, a black watch, and black pumps. Or throw on something a bit girly: a red cardigan, a black printed dress, pink bracelets, and nude flats. 

Picnic Time
Picnic Time
Picnics are the best, aren't they? I'm all about spending time with people I love, whether it's a significant other, friends, or family, surrounded by fresh food and cold drinks and maybe some grilled burgers (or veggie burgers). Throw on a plaid shirt, a long necklace, jeans, and teal sneakers, or a gray cardigan, a pink dress, blue bracelets, a floral backpack, and black wedges. 

Reading Outside
Reading Outside
Grab a new book (or an old favorite), a cold drink, some cookies or chips or a fruit salad, and head outside. Relaxing in a hammock would be ideal (le duh), but I also love reading by the pool or at a bench in a park or sitting outside a Starbucks. Go casual and chic: a pale pink jacket, a gray tee, black high-waisted jeans, and beige booties. Or put on a purple blazer, a black dress, gold rings, and brown heels. 

{via Britta Nickel}

P.S. -- I'm headed to Pittsburgh! Yay! Follow my adventures on Instagram!

What's your favorite spring activity?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag {May 2015}

How great is this bag?! I got "Contents: My Life," but I saw on Instagram that others also got "Contents: Pretty Important Stuff" or "VIP: Very Important Products." This month's theme is Jetsetter, which is perfect because I'm hopping on a plane to Pittsburgh tomorrow and I'll be using this bag to house my make up.

What I received:
♥ Skone Cosmetic's Pretty Eyes Automatic Eyeliner in Navy {full size $15}
♥ IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream {full size $38, sample $7}
♥ Briogeo's Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray {full size $20, sample $4}
♥ Klorane's Smoothing and Relaxing Patches {full size $21 for 7 sets, sample $6 for 2 sets}
♥ Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil {full size $16, sample $5}
♥ BONUS: Urban Decay's High-Color Lipgloss in Failbat & Bittersweet

Skone Cosmetic's Pretty Eyes Automatic Eyeliner in Navy 

I generally don't wear anything other than black and brown eyeliner (sometimes an Urban Decay dark purple eyeliner), so at first this color kind of scared me. This "navy" is pretty bright to be called that. But I wore it this past weekend and liked the way it looked. I don't think I'll wear it all the time, but it's something fun to wear during the summer.  

IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream 

I've tried BB creams before, which were too thin to really cover anything, so I didn't think this CC cream would be that much different. Luckily, this is right between foundation and BB creams; it's not too thick, but it does a good job of covering redness. Plus I like that it smells like lemon and has SPF 50+. I would definitely recommend this. 

Briogeo's Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray

I've tried other products by this company before and really liked them, but this one by far is the best. My hair gets frizzy in the summer (New York is notoriously humid), so sometimes every day I need something to calm the frizz after coming out of the shower. This liquid-y spray has a light floral scent and works wonders. 

Klorane's Smoothing and Relaxing Patches

I love using these! I think it's fun to use the blackhead patches on my nose and pull them off to see what grossness is there. Please tell me you like doing this too! These are different of course: these soothing ones have cornflower and are meant to moisturize and brighten tired eyes. I didn't see a difference, but they sure were fun to use. 

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil

To be honest, I haven't tried this yet, but I've heard great things about it. It's a clear lip pencil that you use on your lip line or your whole lip before putting on lipstick or lipgloss. I'll definitely be using this to make sure my lipstick stays put. 

BONUS: Urban Decay's High-Color Lipgloss in Failbat & Bittersweet

Unfortunately, I'm not a lipgloss girl. I find them too sticky and I don't like that I can feel something on my lips. However, I decided to try the bright pink (FailBait) and it's not as sticky or uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I think that because it's a thicker gloss, almost like a liquid lipstick. I'm excited to try the purple one (Bittersweet).

Have you tried any of these products?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Outfit: Chambray For Day

I got this dress from a family friend; I didn't like it when I first tried it on, but decided to give it another shot and ended up really liking it. Go figure. Does that ever happen to you? You love it and then hate it, or hate it and then love it. 

A new goal of mine is to take pictures in new locations. These pictures are still within my apartment complex but on the other side. In a few weeks, when I have more time, I want to start taking pictures in somewhat public places. I still don't have the guts to do it on a sidewalk (mostly because I have to be several feet from my camera and tripod and I don't want someone running off with it), but maybe a cool wall or a park or a quiet street would be nice. 

I would love to take pictures on train tracks, but the only ones near me are for the MetroNorth, which go into Grand Central, and they run every twenty minutes. Plus, I think it's illegal here. 
Dress: H&M (gift) | Bag: Modcloth | Necklace: Bella's Boutique 
Sandals: Sole Society {similar} | Sunglasses: Firmoo

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