Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Outfit: Partner in Lime

How cute is this bag?! It was a birthday gift from Martie. I wrote on Instagram that it was a lemon, but it's more of a bright green shade, so it's definitely a lime. Either way it's freaking adorable! And surprisingly carries a lot. I wore it to Alex's baby shower and managed to put a small wallet, my iPhone, one chapstick, one lipstick, a small bottle of pain killers, and a mini coin purse inside. 

This swingy shirt is so soft and so comfortable and makes me so happy. I couldn't pass it up when I saw it on the rack at T.J. Maxx because I love the message and the font. We all need to be brave enough to dream and of course I'm dreaming of one day getting my novels published. What are you brave enough to strive for? 
Top: T.J. Maxx | Jeans: American Eagle | Shoes: Keds via T.J. Maxx 
Bag: gift from Martie | Watch: ℅ Jord

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Favorite Things

{Starbucks gift card from Shantel, Laduree macarons, Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Jelly Donut
Urban Outfitters Moon Dish from Naomi, Brandy Melville rings (stone, medieval), 
Watch  ℅ Jord, Birthday Party Candle ℅ And She Blushes {review}, 

It was a pretty amazing birthday month! All the love given my way for my birthday makes me one seriously lucky girl. Three blogger friends sent me the loveliest gifts -- Naomi got me a crescent moon-shaped dish, Martie got me a lime-shaped bag, and Shantel sent me a Starbucks gift card. You guys are the best! 

When I went to Israel four years ago, my Birthright group visited a store named Hadaya in Jerusalem. I really wanted yo get a custom engraved ring, but didn't get it until now. My dad bought it for me and I can't wait to receive it!

How fitting that I should light this Birthday Party candle, right?!

♥ A few fun links:

♥ Why I stopped planning out my life.

♥ How to build the business and life of your dreams.

♥ Tips for finding inspiration in your everyday life.

♥ Lessons learned (I love the part about 20 seconds of insane courage)

♥ Body positivity and mindfulness.

♥ Keeping positive through rejections.

♥ Thoughts about blog haters.

♥ How to care for sunburned skin.

♥ The Finish By Fall Challenge -- I'm thinking about doing this.

♥ You should definitely sign up for Clear the Way's LIVING the clear way lifestyle and health newsletter. 

♥ Sponsor love:

♥ Swap friends: All Things Natalie Christa, A Stylist's Scribbles, Crazily Normal, Emmy Jake & Christina Who?.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sponsor Roundup

I don't usually do sponsor introductions this way, but sadly life got too busy and I didn't have time to complete the posts I wanted to for today and tomorrow and I didn't want to do a half-assed job (does anyone else think of half-fast commercials now when someone says half-assed?). If you like having sponsor roundups like this I would love to know! 

This month I have fantastic sponsors and I'm so excited to share them with you!

Amanda Thompson of Jamberry Nails
Hey I'm Amanda. I'm a wife to a wonderful husband, a mom to three great kids with number four coming in July, and an oral cancer survivor. After going through cancer treatment, it limited my ability to work in the field I use to. Then I found something I could be passionate about, stand behind, and most importantly help support my family with. Jamberry Nail Wraps are high quality, vinyl, heat and pressure sealed nail wrap that can last up to two weeks on fingers and four weeks on toes. They are a fraction of the cost of a salon visit, have no harsh chemicals, are made in America, are vegan friendly and cruelty free, and cause no damage to your natural nail. With over 350 style options to choose from there is something for everyone.

Simply Chic Jewelry
I'm Rachel and I reside in St Louis, MO. I currently work on my jewelry in my spare time: after work and on the weekends. My plan is to have at least one new item up every weekend. Simply Chic Jewelry was started out of inspiration of two things: color and the need for simple pieces. I work in an office environment and I did not want to wear any large statement pieces. I wanted simple, but colorful and chic, items that I could wear to spruce up my work wardrobe. I use a lot of Swarovski crystals and gemstones. I'm attracted to sparkly things! What girl isn't, right? I noticed that I had a lot of supplies and wanted to do something about it. That's when I officially started on pieces for my shop. Simply Chic was an idea I had in Jan 2014 but I finally made it come to fruition. It's exciting! 

Unique Vintage
Created out of one girl's love for vintage clothing, Unique Vintage is here to serve like-minded retro and vintage-inspired fashion finds. Since true vintage items are not that easy to come by, on a whim Katie added some vintage-inspired dresses and before she could say retro-tastic, orders began flooding her inbox! So Katie did what any business savvy girl would do and focused on Unique Vintage full time. Unique Vintage has also become a go-to for many celebrities and fashion stylists. Some of the shows UV items have popped up on are Glee, Pretty Little Liars, American Horror Story, Vampire Diariesand True Blood

We've also recently launched the #iamunique campaign that's all about expressing your own unique style, embracing our unique bodies, and empowering one another through the love of all things vintage and retro-inspired.

Shop | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

Exalted Heights
Exalted Heights is a fairly new Christian based online boutique dedicated to making our customers happy! This was highest priority when starting the boutique. I wanted there to be a place where people could go and get great styles at great prices, with exceptional customer service. We offer a wide selection of clothing, fashion jewelry, shoes and accessories! We get great satisfaction from knowing our customers are completely satisfied with their shopping experience!

Use code freedomrings10 for $10 off a purchase of $25 or more.
Use code is save20eh for 20% off your entire order.

experience that will love.

Bookworms in Dresses
I'm Jess and I run my blog with the occasional post from my best friend Sarah! I've been an incurable bookworm since elementary school, where I started reading under my desk in class. (Ooops!) I also love to travel, take pictures, make crafts, play with cats, and dress up cute! There is so much fun stuff to do and read! 

The Lilac Linnet
Hi I'm Llinos and I am the Lilac Linnet!  I live in the UK and I blog about all the things in life that make me happy, whether that's an engrossing book, a new fitness routine or my guinea pigs.  I also enjoy discussing issues that affect us as bloggers and women, in particular by sharing my experience of cancer.  I love writing and trying my hand at new crochet projects, so if you're looking for a creative and varied blog, be sure to come visit!

Stop by and say hello to these lovely ladies and shops!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {June 2015}

I didn't read as many books this month as I did last month, but four is pretty good considering I was busy. I read an eclectic assortment of books (self-help, sci-fi, murder mystery) and three of them were amazing and one was a complete dud. 

Another Day*
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by David Levithan, this companion story to Every Day is from the point of view of Rhiannon who's life is normal and who has a distant, temperamental boyfriend until one day her boyfriend sees her and they share a perfect day. Then one day a stranger tells her that it wasn't Justin that day at all. 

Fantastic book! I've never read the first one, Every Day, which is from the point of view of A, but I think it was interesting seeing their story from her side and how confusing it is to experience. The characters are very real and flawed and at times Rhiannon's lack of confidence really started to annoy me, but it felt true to her character. Now I want to read the first book! 

Add this book to your Goodreads (Release Date: August 25)

The Crossroads of Should and Must
★★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by Elle Luna, she helps take you on a personal journey to figure out what your "Shoulds" and "Musts" are in life. “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire. She wants us all to take that leap towards "Must," our true callings. 

I heard Elle Luna speak while at BookCon and was instantly mesmerized. She speaks so eloquently and presented the idea of "Shoulds" and "Musts" in a raw way that makes you realize how badly you want to go after your own "Must." This book is beautiful to read, it's thought-provoking, and a little scary because it forces you to take a good, hard look at your life and what you want need to be doing. I would recommend this book to everyone. 

Add this book to your Goodreads

★★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Scott Sigler, this gripping novel is about a young woman who wakes up in an enclosed space and has no idea where she is, who put her there, or her own name. Things don't get better when she breaks herself free. Determined to get herself and others to safety, they begin a journey in a long corridor with unspeakable horrors and the reality of their situation is worse than they could ever imagine. 

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and had me asking all these questions: Why were they in these boxes? What happened to all of those bodies? What is this place? And most importantly: How do they get out? This story is best if you don't know much. It's like The Maze Runner, but much creepier. 

Add this book to your Goodreads (Release Date: July 14)

Death by Coffee**
★★ (2 out of 5)

Written by Alex Erickson, this novel is about Krissy, a woman who moves to a small town to open a coffee shop with her friend, Vicky. The day the story opens, a man comes in, orders coffee, and leaves. Not ten minutes later, he's dead from an allergic reaction to peanuts. Since her father is a murder mystery writer and she loves puzzles, Krissy decides to investigate. 

Let's begin the rant to why this book is so stupid: Just because someone possibly dies from the coffee Krissy made him doesn't mean she has a right to investigate his death. And the fact that her father is a murder mystery writer and that she like puzzles also is not a good enough reason to investigate. She is not the police, she should keep her butt out of it. She doesn't slyly investigate either; she literally goes up to people and asks them questions and they answer! Why are they giving her information if she's not the police? She's new to town. She's a complete stranger! WTF! The one scene that really made me laugh (because it's so stupid) is how on her first date with Officer Dalton she convinces him to let her see the crime scene. Because that's a good idea. This woman could be crazy and he lets her look at the crime scene? Are you insane? Save yourself some trouble and skip this. 

Add this book to your Goodreads

*Free from BookCon.
**I received this for free via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

International giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Outfit: To The Max

As a petite girl, it's so hard to find maxi dresses that are the right length (#shortgirlproblems). This one is still a little too long, but this floral print is too lovely to not wear now and then. It would probably be the right length if I wore higher wedges or heels, but then I wouldn't be able to walk because I'm horrible at walking in heels higher than 3 inches. 

I've decided to not drink soda for at least one month starting today. It's not that I drink soda all that often -- once, maybe twice a week -- but I've noticed that some days drinking it upsets my stomach and I want to know once and for all if it's soda that's causing my stomach troubles. Plus, soda has so many calories and cutting it from my diet will be good for my figure. 
Dress: Forever 21 {similar, similar} | Necklace: Rocksbox | Wedges: T.J. Maxx

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Monday, June 22, 2015

26 Before 27 + Birthday Giveaway!

Is today June 22?! Then it's my birthday! Hooray!

I celebrated all weekend of course! On Friday, Avra, Sunny, and I had tea and scones, went to a street fair where there were acrobats, ate tacos, and stumbled upon four old men playing jazz in a small coffee shop. On Saturday, I went into the city with Avra and Sunny to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers at Laduree in Soho, then my friends and I got gluten-free dessert at Babycakes Bakery, and falafel at a small restaurant in the Lower East Side. On Sunday, my family went out to an Italian restaurant to celebrate Father's Day and my birthday. We ate THIS giant dessert. Talk about an awesome weekend! 

Of course, I'm going to celebrate a bit today by getting something super delicious for lunch at work!

Every year I like coming up with a list of practical and fun list of things I want to accomplish, but first let's see how I did with last year's list. 

25 Before 26
1. Finish my novel
2. Visit Jackie
3. Visit Lauren & Sarah
4. Go my cousin's wedding in Texas
5. See the High Line
6. See the Brooklyn Bridge
7. Have a group giveaway on my blog
8. Take a photography class
9. Meet Martie
10. Meet Naomi & Jason (met them twice!)
11. Go to the gym at least twice a week (worked for 6 months!)
12. Start a new series on my blog
13. Keep up with Kristin's awesome NovelTea book club (I've read some of them!)
14. See another movie alone (Pitch Perfect 2)
15. Learn easy smoothies recipes
16. Keep drinking at least two glasses of water a day
17. Make use of the library more (it's like my new home)
18. Visit more new-to-me local restaurants and places
19. Put money aside every month for my student loans
20. Find awesome birthday presents for everyone I love
21. Have fun this summer
22. Only buy new clothing that I really, really love
23. Keep doing more product reviews
24. Get better at talking to people
25. Wear lipstick more

And now my new list:

26 Before 27
1. Finish the first draft of my new story
2. Cut out soda for at least one month (I'm starting this tomorrow!)
3. Keep drinking at least two glasses of water a day
4. Learn easy smoothie recipes
5. See the Brooklyn Bridge
6. Take a trip somewhere, anywhere
7. Meet Martie
8. Have a group giveaway on my blog
9. Get an e-course on photography
10. Take a short blog break 
11. Get rid of things in my room that don't bring me joy
12. Get my underarms and legs waxed once because why not
13. Use up some candles I've had forever
14. Get a gel manicure 
15. Get the new illustrated Harry Potter (!!!)
16. Possibly attend BEA (it's in Chicago in 2016)
17. Cut myself some slack
18. Take a day trip somewhere
19. Keep up my correspondence with my pen pals
20. Go to the farmers' market
21. Complete Code Academy
22. Listen to all the current episodes of Welcome to Night Vale
23. Try any exercise class 
24. Go to two author readings
25. Write two short stories
26. Meet another blog friend IRL

What do you think of my goals?
What are some of yours?

♥ ♥ 
As a thank you to all of you for being so awesome by stopping by my little slice of the Internet and being wonderful blog friends (seriously, thank you!), I'm giving away a Too Faced Melted Lipstick (you get to pick the color when you win) and a $25 gift card to Starbucks! It's an international giveaway*.

*Starbucks gift cards bought in the U.S. don't work outside the country, so if someone from outside the States wins they'll get two lipsticks instead. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Writing Inspiration

So I've been on a writing kick lately. I hadn't written for six months and then the past two weeks I've been writing almost every night for an hour to two hours straight (this is why I haven't been commenting on your blogs as much. sorry about that). It feels so good to write and I'm happy that what got me writing in the first place is a new story idea. I'm not sure whether it's a novel or a novella yet, but I'm just writing and enjoying the process. 
Outside My Window

Beautifully stated.


Literary Art Print, Oscar Wilde Illustration Quotes Black and White Art Poster,  Large Wall Art Gift for him, Giclee Print
P.S. -- I bought this while at BookCon and love it!

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Anne Lamott #quotes #writing

Wow. How could I even describe my love for writing? Whenever I need to express myself, I always find that I write it down. Ever since I was little, I have kept journals that hold all of my thoughts. Along with writing down my feelings, I have always loved to write stories and create characters. I find it so incredible how authors can come up with amazing story lines and write them down. This may sound crazy but I actually do not mind writing essays, I love being able to share all of my thoughts.

"A eruchin u-dano i faelas a hyn. An uben tanatha le faelas!" Translation: "Oh Children of Eru, Show them no mercy, for you shall receive none."

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Inspired By: Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect is aca-mazing; Pitch Perfect 2 is great, but not fantastic. There were definitely some things that prevented it from being as good as the first (like the fact that the Barden Bella's didn't sing all that many songs), but despite its faults the movie is still really funny and wacky and makes you feel happy while you watch it.

Pitch Perfect 2 takes place three years after the first one. After a disastrous performance in front of President Obama (in which everyone sees more of Fat Amy than they want to see), the Barden Bella's are prohibited from competing except for one competition. If they win the World A Capella Tournament they will be reinstated. 

Pitch Perfect 2 -- Beca
Beca (Anna Kendrick) is now a co-leader of the Bella's (along with Chloe). She loves producing unique music and is an aspiring record producer, so she gets an internship at a recording studio and doesn't tell anyone, except for her boyfriend Jesse.

Making music or just listening? Throw on a comfy outfit of a striped tee, gray jeans, blue headphones, and blue Converse sneakers. Or put on a cool girl outfit: a black sleeveless top, a red plaid skirt, gold necklace, and cut-out wedges. 

Fat Amy
Pitch Perfect 2 -- Fat Amy
Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is the funniest girl of the bunch,she likes to make others feel better with her humor, doesn't take herself too seriously, and has a crush on Bumper, a guy who used to be a Barden Treblemaker.

Go casual and cute in a teal dress, fringe necklace, gold flats, and black purse. Or if you're going to a party put on a pink tank top, black jeans, blue watch, leopard print ponytail holder, and black wedges. 

Pitch Perfect 2 -- Emily
Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) is a freshman who wants to join the Barden Bella's because her mom was a Bella. After singing for the group, she becomes the newest member. Her dream is to write and sing her own songs professionally.

Sing your heart out in a red romper, a black blazer, a neon yellow and wood cuff, and black wedges. Or hang out with friends in a gray cardigan, a floral print tank, distressed jeans, a pale pink watch, smiley face earrings, and red flats. 

Pitch Perfect 2 -- Kommissar
Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) is the leader of the Barden Bella's biggest competition, Das Sound Machine, who are a group from Germany. The Bella's need to crush them at the world tournament, which is hard to do because Das Sound Machine has a big fan base and they're very good. 

Crush the competition in a black mesh dress, an ear cuff, a silver bracelet, and black wedges. Or put on a black lace top, jeans, black stud earrings, and black sneakers. 

Did you see Pitch Perfect 2?
What did you think of the movie?

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