Monday, November 30, 2015

Watch | Read | Listen {December 2015}

It's the official 4-year anniversary of my blog! Yay! And that's not the only thing I have to celebrate: this past weekend I finished the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel! I celebrated by reading a lot, eating Thai food, and visiting a local comic book shop. Hooray!

Can December 19th at 11:25am come any faster? That's the time I'm seeing The Force Awakens. I even got a cool new Star Wars shirt to wear to the movie!

(P.S. -- Enter to win my blogiversary giveaway.)


Shakespeare's Scottish play about General Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) whose ambitious wife (Marion Cotillard) urges him to use wicked means in order to gain power of the throne. It comes from the producer's of The King's Speech. {Watch the trailer.} Michael Fassbender can seriously do no wrong. This looks magnificent. (December 4)

In The Heart of the Sea
The real-life maritime disaster that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick  took place in the winter of 1820 aboard a whaling ship. The crew braved a mammoth-sized whale, storms, starvation and more in order to stay alive and bring a great whale down. {Watch the trailer.} I hated reading Moby Dick, but that won't stop me from seeing this incredible movie. (December 11)

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite in this movie about two disconnected sisters who are summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family home. {Watch the trailer.} Fey and Poehler? Hell yes! (December 18)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Set 30 years after the events of The Return of the Jedi, it features new characters Finn, Rey, and Poe (John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac) alongside old favorites (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher) from the previous films. {Watch the trailer.} I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS! (December 18)

Other movies coming out:
  • Krampus (Dec 4)
  • The World of Kanako (Dec 4)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dec 11)
  • Extraction (Dec 18)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Trip (Dec23)
  • Concussion (Dec 25)
  • Daddy's Home (Dec 25)
  • Joy (Dec 25)
  • The Revenant (Dec 25)
  • Yellow Day (Dec 25)

Books & Music - Dec 15
  • The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley -The year is 1517. Dismas is a relic hunter: one who procures “authentic” religious relics for wealthy and influential clients. Demands for grander and more marketable relics means that Dismas and his artist friend Dürer conspire to manufacture a shroud to sell to an unsuspecting noble. (December 8)
  • The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill -- With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize. (December 8)
  • The Good Sister by Jamie Kain -- The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there. (December 8)
  • Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy -- By accessing our personal power, we can achieve "presence," the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we're making on others and instead adjust the impression we've been making on ourselves. Amy Cuddy reveals that we don't need to embark on a grand spiritual quest  to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to tweak our mind-set in our day-to-day lives. (December 22)

The Weekend's Beauty Behind The Madness (Dec 11)

Besides the holidays and presents, 
what are you most excited for this December?

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Favorite Things + 4 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

Whaaaaat?! I've had this here blog for FOUR YEARS now! 

I started it on November 30th, 2011 and it was originally called Build Castles in Air (a phrase for daydreaming). Then I decided to start taking it seriously and changed the name to what it is now. Four years later and I've met really awesome people both in real life and online, worked with fun brands, loved blogging and other times hated it, become a pro at managing my time, bought a professional camera and (somewhat) learned how to use it, and let's be honest gotten some really cool products all from having this blog. I've made this space on the Internet my own and I'm so glad you've taken this journey with me, whether you've been following for years or months or just days. 

I don't know how long I'll be blogging at Sincerely, Sara (maybe I'll keep typing here until I'm 80!), but I know I'll continue to make fun content for as long as I love it. Right now I still love it and I hope you do too! 

So my favorite things this month is my blog and YOU GUYS! Thank you for reading and commenting and making me smile every day! 

My second favorite thing this month was this trusty Stay Focused notebook. I came up with more ideas for my NaNoWriMo novel and I'm excited to put them in the story in the second draft. Now comes the editing part. Hooray! (That's sarcasm, by the way.)

How adorable is my new Harry Potter brooch?!

 A few fun links:

 13 books perfect for Harry Potter lovers.

 How to manage your finances. (Sidenote: I just got the Pennies app and I really like it!)

 How to take book photos like a queen.

 Never run out of blog ideas.

 10 amazing Etsy shops for holiday shopping.

 How to build a capsule wardrobe.

 How to budget for travel.

 Best books to read on a plane.

 This is cool: DIY house-shaped shelf.

 Natural ways to sooth an upset stomach.

 Sponsor love:
Sharing one thing I love from each shop:

November 30th is my 4 Year Blogiversary! 
I'm giving away all of these fun goodies! 
Giveaway open to residents of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
Since I don't want to leave anyone out, the giveaway below 
(AKA if you live outside the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.)
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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Inspired By: Mockingjay Pt. 2

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

I was counting down the months, weeks, and days until Mockingjay Pt. 2 came out. Oddly enough, I realized that I've only ever read the first half of the book and that was even before I discovered the movies were being split in two. I still haven't read the latter half, but due to how spoiler-ific the Internet is I of course know what happens and how it ends. So I saw the movie yesterday and oh my god so emotional! Let me know if you've seen it and what you thought!


Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is preparing for the ultimate fight against President Snow and the Capitol that will ultimately change Panem forever. She's the face of the rebellion and the face of freedom against Snow and his tyranny. 

For a cool weekend outfit (though Katniss doesn't get to experience weekends when she's fighting the Capitol) reach for a leather-sleeve jacket, a graphic tee, ripped jeans, a feather ring, and lace-up boots. Or go in full tough girl gear: a boldly cut jacket, a blue top, leggings, and black ankle booties. 

Effie (Elizabeth Banks) started out as the Capitol's chaperone for Katniss, but she has turned into a loyal and caring friend of Katniss' and the rebellion. She loves brightly colored clothing, crazy make up, and various-colored wigs. 

A perfect Effie-inspired holiday outfit: a fuschia lace top over or under a fuschia dress, gold bracelets, stud earrings, and sparkly flats. Or for a more muted, but still chic look wear a gray jacket, a gray dress, sparkly earrings, and gray fringe booties. 

President Snow
President Snow
President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is the tyrannical leader of Panem, who resides in the Capitol. He has it out for Katniss because she defied him and helped start a rebellion. He will stop at nothing to prevent this rebellion and bring order back to Panem.

For a feminine look, wear a white lace dress, a burgundy jacket, white rose earrings, and burgundy booties. Or instead wear a blue blazer, a white top, velvet pants, a watch, and lace-up black booties. 

Cressida (Natalie Dormer) was originally from the Capitol. She joined Katniss and the rebellion in order to show Panem what the rebellion was really about via her camera crew. 

For a bad-ass look, put on a black leather jacket, purple sweater, ripped jeans, a gold cuff, and black moto boots. Or a layered necklace, a gray tank, destroyed denim, a snake cuff, and gray Keds. 

Have you seen the movies?
Did you read the books?

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {November 2015} + Giveaway

I didn't read as much this month because writing a novel takes A LOT of time, especially if you're going to attempt to it in only a month. I'm happy to say that I'm close to reaching 40k words! I started reading Winter by Marissa Meyer early in the month and I thought I would finish it in a few days, but since it's the final book in the series I'm savoring it. Do you ever do that? Read a book slowly because you don't want it to end? 

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy 
★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, and Karl Kerschl; Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only Gotham Academy isn't like other schools. And Olive Silverlock isn't like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she's back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude...and an unexplained fear of bats.

This story is so fun. Who wouldn't want to go to a private school in Gotham? The cast of characters in this graphic novel are clever and funny and smart-asses at times. The story is dark and mysterious, but still a great story for all ages. I'm looking forward to getting the next volume when it comes out. 

The Rosie Project 
★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Graeme SimsionDon Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is coninced that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project.

An intelligent man with OCD. A fiery and witty woman who doesn't follow rules. You would never think these two would ever be a match, but it's wonderful reading these two people bicker and flirt and wonder if Don will get his act together. I listened to this while in the car and it made my commute a much more enjoyable experience. 

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal
★★ (5 out of 5)

Written by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian AlphonaKamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts?

Wow! Just wow! This story is incredible and emotional and Kamala is now one of my absolute favorite superheroes because shes's so real and relatable and she isn't your typical heroine. Her story makes you wonder how your life would be changed by having powers and how you would deal with it. 

Carry On
★★ (4 out of 5)

Written by Rainbow RowellSimon Snow can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is Harry Potter fanfiction, which sold me right away. Simon is Harry, Baz is Draco, Penelope is Hermione/Ron, and The Mage is Dumbledore. I really enjoyed reading this because it was like reading Harry Potter all over again and I was sucked into this charming, magical world. The romance between Simon and Baz goes from hate to love and you root for them the whole time. My main problem with the novel was the magic. Rowell used common phrases, song titles, and poems as the spells in this world because it made the spells feel less special and all over the place. #SimonAndBazForever

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What did you read this month?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Outfit: Casual Glam

I was never the kind of person who got really into the holidays, but the past two years I've found it infectious. The lights, the singing, the family togetherness, the warm fuzzy feeling it creates. For me, it's not about the actual holiday (since I'm Jewish), but I really like that it represents all of those happy things. 

So I kind of like that this outfit has a casual holidays vibe.

To add to that holidays look, I of course had to put on some sparkle! This bracelet from Cait Johnson's Chloe & Isabel shop drew me in due to it's timeless and glamourous feel. It looks like something famous actresses wore on the red carpet in the 1930s. It catches the light so nicely! If you're looking for feminine and classic meets modern jewelry, I would recommend her shop. 

**I received this bracelet for free. All opinions are my own.**
Bracelet: ℅ Cait Johnson's Cloe & Isabel Boutique | Sweater: Modcloth {similar}
Dress: Forever 21 | Belt: thrifted | Tights: KushyFoot
Boots: Amazon | Bangle: Bauble Bar

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Ipsy Glam Bag {November 2015}

How cool is this galaxy print bag?! So in love with it! I have to find cool things to keep in it now. This month's bag had a really great collection of things that I've already been using ever since I got them. 

What I got:

treStique Mini Matte Lip Crayon 

It's called a matte lipstick, but I would really call it more of a satin finish. It goes on smoothly and opaquely. I like this Florence Fig color because it's a like a dark my-lips-but-better color with a hint of brown. It's a great everyday color. I would recommend it. 

ModelCo Highlighting Trio

I'm not a huge fan of cream shadows because they tend to crease on me, but I'm going to use this trio anyway. The colors are SO pretty. The bronze and rose colors especially are lovely. I would recommend this. 

Luxie Beauty Eyeshadow in No. 290

While I like this color in theory, because it's a nice muted purple, but when I put it on it makes me look like I have a bruise on my eyelids. Not cute. I think I would prefer to try some other colors instead, especially for only $6. 

Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara

Let me sing the praises of this mascara: I love the wand, it makes my lashes super long, and it doesn't clump! It gives me doll-like lashes and I would totally recommend it. 

Coolway Stronghold Spray

To be honest, I haven't tried this yet because I don't use sprays all that often, but oh my god it smells amazing! Like fruit and florals mixed together. 

What kind of mascara do you use?

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Unique Gifts For The Holidays (With Jord)

It's crazy to me how the holidays are almost here! Hanaukkah just over two weeks away and Christmas just over a month away. I'm sure like me, you have a lot of people to give gifts to who vary in age and who all have different interests. It would be SO nice to just walk into one store, pick out the same gift for everyone and have every single person be happy, but that's never going to happen. 

Below I've collected unique and fun gifts that work for many different people. 
For Everyone: The one gift that almost every single person on your list would appreciate: a Jord watch. I've raved about this company before and I truly love their products. I even bought one for my dad for his 60th birthday in August. They have several different styles for both men and women and various natural wood colors. And they're so classic and timeless. 
For The Candle Obsessed: These small Form & Flux candles that come in every cool scent you can imagine from dusty bookshelf to Nocturn Alley to chocolate tart. 

For The Reader: If you know someone who loves reading, whether it's a nephew, a friend, or your grandma, there's a unique book for them in My Bookmark's shop. I have the Alice in Wonderland one, but the mermaid tail is too cute. 

For The Unique Sock Collector: I feel like there's always one person in every family who collects weird socks. If that's the case for you, then look no further than Out of Print with their book-inspired socks. 

For The Fandom Lover: If you know someone who talks about their fandom incessantly, then it's time to get them a Funko Pop or a Dorbz of their favorite character. 

For The Artist (Or The Perpetually Stressed): Get them The Mindfulness Coloring Book stat. Adult coloring books are so calming and make you feel accomplished something when you've finished coloring a page. 

For Your PenPal: If you have a penpal, you can get them a Three Potato Four penpal key tags to tell them you're thinking of them even when you're not writing to them. 
For The Person Who Loves Scents But Not Candles: If you know someone who prefers wax melts rather than candles, then check out Live Love Wax Co, who creates beautifully-smelling melts, like blueberry cobbler, caramel apple, and pumpkin cider birthday cake. (I got this wax melter at CVS, but there are great ones on Amazon.)

**I received two Jord watches for free. All opinions are my own.**

What gift are you hoping to get this year?

P.S. -- There's no post tomorrow because it's been a busy week.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#WritersLife Tag

I saw this #WritersLife Tag on The Quiet People and had to participate. A tag about being a writer? Count me in! So I interviewed myself about writing since it's NaNoWriMo time. So without further ado...

Write Fuel: What Do You Eat/Drink While Writing?

I'm not sure why, but writing makes me really thirsty. It shouldn't because I'm sitting in one place and the only part of me that's moving are my fingers, but I tend to keep a large tumbler of ice cold water next to me. Or sometimes iced tea or soda if I feel like something different. 

Write Sounds: What Do You Listen to While Writing?

I usually create a Spotify playlist of songs whose mood or lyrics remind me in some way of the novel I'm currently working on. It helps me really immerse myself in the scene and not get distracted by outside occurrences (aka my brothers watching TV or noisy people at Panera, which is a place I like to write sometimes). 

Write Vice: What’s Your Most Debilitating Distraction?

TV. Instagram. The WHOLE ENTIRE INTERNET. But mostly TV; I tend to write on the couch while my family is watching a show and I'll get distracted by what's on the screen and then realize that I haven't been writing for ten minutes. 

Write Horror: What’s The WORST Thing That’s Ever Happened To You While Writing?

Two things: 1. I spilled some water on my keyboard and freaked out, but luckily nothing was damaged (still using that computer now). 2. My computer went black from overheating and freaked out that my computer had died, but again luckily it was nothing. I wasn't worried about my work because I keep it all on Dropbox. 

Write Joy: What’s the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened To You Whilst Writing?

The best thing is when I really get into a scene and the rest of the world completely melts away and it's like I'm in the story instead of just jotting it down on paper. BLISS!

Write Crew: Who Do You Communicate With (OR NOT) While Writing?

Um, the Gods of Writing? I communicate with the story inside my head, I guess. 

Writing Secret: What’s Your Secret To Success (Or Hidden Flaw?)

Outline your story ahead of time! Even if you don't follow it exactly, use it as a guide while you're writing. I'm currently using an outline for my NaNoWriMo novel and even though it's not detailed it really helps to know what you're going to write next. I guess my hidden flaw is that I HATE the idea of writing and don't look forward to it until I'm actually writing and then I LOVE it. 

Write-spiration: What Always Makes You Productive?

When I'm super excited to write a scene! Then I'm all like, When can I write?! When I can I write?! The idea of having a finished product makes me productive (but also scares the hell out of me because then I'll have to edit it!). Talking to people about the fact that I'm writing a novel makes me want to write it more. 

Write Peeve: What’s One Thing That Writers Do (or You Do!) That’s annoying?

Right now? Talk incessantly about NaNoWrimo! (I know, I've been walking it about too much lately.) It's annoying when writers talk about how amazing their work is. Just from experience (years of creative writing classes), it's usually the writers that are too into their own work that write horribly. 

Write Words: Share One Sentence From A Project:

This is a cool sentence: "The sound of sniffling was replaced by the soothing but solemn noise of raindrops hitting the tops of black umbrellas." 

Your turn: Answer one of the questions in the comments section!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Outfit: Burgundy & Chai

I've loved the color burgundy for years, way before it was called maroon or wine or oxblood (by the way, who thought this name was a good idea?). In fact, my favorite colors have always been jewel tones and the classic "fall" colors, like navy, emerald, mustard, and plum, and I wear them all year round because why only reserve these awesome colors for fall? 

Totally unrelated but the Dunkin Donuts vanilla chai latte is my new drink obsession. 

This outfit is one of three featured in Her Umbrella's new Winter 2015 Issue! I took three outfit pictures inspired by fun winter things: snowball fights, holiday parties, and snowflakes. When opportunities for snowball fights come up, I'll be throwing this hat, these gloves, and these lace-up boots on.

What's your favorite "fall" color?

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