Paper: Bullet Journaling

I’ve recently discovered the joys of bullet journaling, which has really helped me become more organized (kind of) and keep all of my important stuff in one place, give or take the occasional post-it note that’s still floating around. Bullet journaling is explained in detail on this site but just know there is loads more that can be done: if you’re crafty you can add some decorative embellishments and calligraphy lovers can make it look amazing! Personally, I don’t have a creative bone in my body so I am a bare bones type of bullet journal user. But if you’re interested in finding out more about this awesome analog way of keeping your schedule straight, check out these sites:

Then, when you’re ready to dive in, some suggested items to start with are:

 

And no bullet journal would be complete without:

I prefer the XS or S nib size for my pens but these are great because they are acid-free and archival quality so they won’t run, smear, or bleed through the paper. Awesome stuff!

Let me know if you’ve been bullet journaling or some of your favorite website where you gather inspiration!

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Shiny Things: Dual Birthstone Bracelet

What a cute idea! I found this while perusing Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop, which, if you don’t know, is an awesome, yet sometimes crazily curated collection of stuff, ranging from housewares, health & beauty, to jewelry and clothes.  I tend to find loads of things I love but rarely will I find something I’m willing to spend my money on so easily as this piece…

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This beauty is by designer Ariel Gordon, and it’s charming in it’s simplicity.  I have two daughters with the same birthday so I would be getting the same birthstone on each side but imagine what colorful creations you could get! And if you’ve got no children, you could do something cute like: you and your spouse, you and your best friend, or you and your dog (my dog could probably fit into all the categories stated above)! What’s that? You’ve got 4 kids? Grab two! I bet they look fabulous stacked.

I love how delicate they are, I’m off to check it out further.

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Book Chat: Our Own Country

Once a month, whether you like it or not. That’s about how often I’m doing this blog but at least I’m doing it so whatevs! 🙂 I kind of get caught up in day to day life: my kids started school, getting the new schedule sorted and the mom-taxi up and running again…  fuck it, I’m going to stop making excuses and just get to the point. I finally got to read this book that has been sitting idle in my queue for the longest, and it was really good!

our own country

From Amazon:

A love affair tests a new nation’s revolutionary ideals.

In 1770s Boston, a prosperous merchant’s daughter, Eliza Boylston, lives a charmed life—until war breaches the walls of the family estate and forces her to live in a world in which wealth can no longer protect her.

As the chaos of the Revolutionary War tears her family apart, Eliza finds herself drawn to her uncle’s slave, John Watkins. Their love leads to her exile in Braintree, Massachusetts, home to radicals John and Abigail Adams and Eliza’s midwife sister-in-law, Lizzie Boylston. But even as the uprising takes hold, Eliza can’t help but wonder whether a rebel victory will grant her and John the most basic of American rights.

My Take:

As I said above, really good read! I was not the most attentive in American history class but some of this rang a bell. It was that kind of book, where I felt the emotions of the characters, from Eliza’s hidden feelings for John Watkins to her companionable relationships with Cassie, Lizzie, and Abigail Adams. They were women struggling against the tide of slavery, wishing and working for the freedoms of those that were without.

Eliza was not a product of her parents, especially her mother, who was so caught up in societal obligations and niceties that she often forgot how to be civilized to those around her. I was so happy to see Eliza speak up and out for those whose voices weren’t heard during those terrible times. Not to mention, Eliza’s relationship with John Watkins! How amazing that she did not let the common ideals of the era infiltrate her feelings for another human being and was able to find love (and a baby!).

The history was secondary to the love story for me but still completely engrossing, and I don’t really like romance novels as a general rule. I also didn’t realize this was a three part series, though it says it on the Amazon website. Duh. With that said, it didn’t seem like I needed to read the first to enjoy the second but kind of wish I had.

**Full Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Chat: A Twofer

Ok, I admit, this blogging thing is way harder than I originally thought. I’m basically rubbish at it and I’m not sure how much that’s going to change but when I do get around to doing it, I really enjoy it. It’s a fun way to get the reviews in my head onto “paper” and I love keeping track of all the fun things I find online and the fabulous (and sometimes not even remotely fabulous) books I read.

So today, with that said, I’ve got two books for you.  That’s right, a twofer! (thank you Tina Fey and 30 Rock for introducing that term to me eons ago). Up first is:

Throw Away Girls by Jennifer Vaughnthrow away girl

From Amazon:

Hard-charging, insightful, and ambitious, Jaycee Wilder wants to take her TV news career to the next level. The Los Angeles reporter is hungry for the big story. When dead girls begin to pile up at seedy nightclubs that cater to whimsical, fetish-seeking strangers, Jaycee suspects a serial killer is at work. She aligns herself with an east coast cop trying to resurrect himself- and his once stellar career- from a drunken skid. The killer lives a normal life during the day, while hunting the Throw Away Girls at night, punishing them for their dark urges. He leaves messages behind in his victims’ blood, his explanation for enacting such brutal, twisted justice upon the unworthy. He watches the media coverage. He knows the wily reporter is chasing him. As Jaycee follows her gut, and the evidence, she forces him to act. But when a killer is clever and cunning, he can infiltrate anywhere. Jaycee must utilize all her skills to expose him before he gets to her first.

My Take:

Ok, so I read this book fairly quickly because it was easy.  I thought it was entertaining but the writing was completely sophomoric and at times borderline silly. The dialogue was quite cheesy as well:

 “Shh”, she said dismissively. “Another girl, sexed up and then sliced up. I’m trying to listen here.” (loc.155)

And would then move on to this:

At it’s core, this was a highly metaphysical superstructure of balance. (loc.1952)

Say what?!

The Jaycee Wilder character totally reminded me of the Courtney Cox role in Scream, you know, the pushy and annoying reporter, etc. Jaycee certainly ended up way over her head and frankly, I could have told you “whodunit” from the beginning so to me there was no mystery but bottom line, I was anxious for this book to be over so I could move on. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it because it was pure Stilton in book form and didn’t require much brain power.

Up next: 

Until I Met Her by Natalie Barelli

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From Amazon:

She’s gone from nobody to somebody. And she’s not going back.

When ordinary Emma Fern strikes up a friendship with glamorous Beatrice Johnson Greene, her favourite author, she can’t believe her luck. But Beatrice has an unusual favour to ask, one that will change Emma’s life forever.

For Emma, desperate to please, it’s an offer she can’t refuse. All she has to do is let Beatrice publish her latest novel under her name. But the book becomes a huge triumph and after her first taste of success, Emma wants more. And she’ll stop at nothing to get it. This is her masterpiece, after all. It says so on the cover.

Only Beatrice knows the truth. And surely there’s a solution to that.

My Take:

Holy smokes! I loved this book, could not get enough! I ripped through this one,  not because I wanted to get it over with but because it was so damn good. I waffled for a good long while on who was the bad guy because the characters were so rich and well developed. Eventually I came to the same conclusion most people would but it was quite a ride getting there.  Emma Fern starts off as your normal, run of the mill woman and then basically turns batshit crazy. I mean, she did have some provocation but let’s be real.  Beatrice was a bitch, I get it, but should that turn someone murderous? Probably not. At least not a sane person.

I loved the side angle story with her husband too, it added another dimension or layer which makes Emma spin out of control. But I don’t want to divulge too much info so I’ll just leave it at that.

I would 100% recommend this book and imagine my glee when I just noticed there is a follow up! I know what I’m downloading asap…!

**Full discolor: I received these books for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Chat: Never Look Down

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Sorry I’ve been M.I.A, we were on holiday in Italy and it was aaahhhhhmmaaaaazing!! Two weeks, four cities, and more pizza, pasta, and gelato than you can shake a stick at! The only reason I didn’t come back big as a house was because we walked and walked, and walked some more, every day.  Tours, sometimes two a day, would make us walk even when our legs were screaming in agony.  Our first stop was Torino, which upon first glance, I wasn’t a fan of but after getting out and checking out the city, I fell in love. Such an amazing place filled with kind people, dogs running around without leashes, and squirrels you could feed by hand. While there we checked out the Egyptian Museum which was crazy good, I think probably one of the best in the world.

Next was Rome, where we did the Roman ruins, Colosseum, and Vatican tours. I’m not even remotely religious but I can’t even get over the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s huge and beautiful and over the top. We only had 2 days in Rome but we made the most of it, that’s for sure!

Then it was a train to Florence, where we stayed right on the Ponte de Vecchio, a view that is a requirement to see. The duomo was also glorious, but by this point the kids were churched out. They had more interest in staying in the hotel room, but I couldn’t blame them, it was the best we’d had thus far on the journey. Ferragamo doesn’t do anything bad, does he?!

Finally we set off for Venice. It was as cool as I imagined it to be, nearly as smelly but hey, it wasn’t summer yet so the worst smells were yet to come. We had a blast being typical tourists, taking gondola rides, feeding the pigeons in the piazza, and wandering the streets getting lost. None of us wanted our Italian journey to end but eventually, it’s back to the grind.

Back to the task at hand. So this review  is actually a bit old, I had forgotten to post it way back in February so here it is!

neverlookdown

From Amazon:

In his first case in private practice, Oregon lawyer Cal Claxton came to the aid of a tagger calling himself Picasso, a Banksy-like figure in Portland. Dividing his time between a wine-country town and the city, the ex-L.A. prosecutor now encounters another urban teen at risk, Kelly Spence, also a tagger. Using climbing skills learned from her much-loved deceased father, a mountaineer, Kelly places angry tags in visible, hard- to-reach places. A runaway from an abusive foster home and alternative high school student, she lives with her father’s former girl friend. Kelly is four stories up at 3:00 one morning when she looks down and witnesses the brutal murder of a woman in the parking lot below. Unluckily the killer spies her but Kelly escapes. The police soon seek her as a witness. Desperate to stay anonymous, she seeks help from someone on the street she trusts. Too soon she finds his mutilated body and becomes even more afraid. Cal is drawn into the case by his volatile Cuban friend and landlord who is devastated by the murder: the dead woman had just become his fiancée. Her ex is the obvious suspect, but Cal’s instincts lead him in a different direction where he will run into Kelly. Can he get her to talk, or will the killer find her first?

My Take:

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were rich and well-developed. I loved the Cal Claxton character most, as I assume I’m supposed to being that he’s the protagonist. As for the story line, I thought it was good but a little unbelievable. I mean, he made Kelly sound like Spiderman, climbing buildings like it was no big deal. I had a hard time buying it but beyond that, it was a totally fun read, great for a ski weekend trip cozied up by the fire (can you guess where I read this, lol?!)

Overall, I’d definitely recommend and will be seeking out other Warren Easley books!

PS. Try not to judge the uber cheesy cover, I think they could have down waaaaaay better than that!

**Full disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review

Paper: Party Time!!

I don’t know about you, but I love putting together a good party. I’ve got two little girls who share a birthday so the lead up is always exciting and a great time for me to start scouring the internet for awesome party supplies. And there are TONS! A few of my favorites include: Harlow & Grey, Sweet Lulu, and Beau Coup

Harlow & Grey is great for more modern, adult parties but I’ve used some of their stuff for certain themed birthday parties in the past. These plates played a big part in our last soiree:

How beautiful are they?!

 

Next up, is Sweet Lulu:

These are just a few of my favorites, and they can literally be used for any type of party, or just to spice up a regular night’s dinner! Little ones seem to love that…

 

Finally, I really like Beau Coup, such cute things for every possible party, great themes to choose from and quality products.

Adorable or what?! I love every single thing and have used the milk glasses before for “mermaid lemonade” and my girls LOVED them!

If you’ve got parties in your future, definitely take a look at these shops, they are game changers and such a nice departure from your typical party store goods.

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Shiny Thing Alert

I’m so sorry I’ve been shit at this blog thing, I really am trying. It’s all so new and I try to do it after I’ve read a book in order to give a review but honestly, life is busy, and I don’t read books as fast as I used to. That, along with my aromatherapy school, I have just fallen behind. But when I find something I love, I must share, and there are a pair of earrings that I’ve been eyeing lately.

They’re by one of my favorite jewelry designers, Marco Bicego. His stuff is pricey but well worth it as it lasts forever and is truly gorgeous. I love the look of brushed gold and his is the loveliest I’ve come across.

These are gorgeous!! I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on them yet but they are in my cart waiting patiently for me to save up for them:

The Jaipur Collection: Two Stone Stud with Diamond & Turquoise

is $1,350

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And a piece I actually do have, that I bought for myself after graduating from college:

Siviglia Gold Small Bead Short Necklace

is $1,430

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How gorgeous is this stuff?! No lie, it’s kind of hard to tell quite how beautiful they are on a computer but in real life, these babies shimmer and shine! Check them out if you get a chance, I know this brand is sold at places like Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus.

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Book Chat: The Woman In The Mirror

 

Woman in the mirror

From Amazon:

A fabulous and very dark exploration of the twisted and neurotic minds of the residents of a cliff-top bungalow.

A gripping, page-turning journey, peeling back more and more layers through tantalizing revelations of the past.

Noreen Palmer describes herself as sweet and responsible, but she can’t stop lying about the things that happened in her bungalow perched on a cliff above the ocean.

When Alexandra Mallory and Jared Brady rent rooms in Noreen’s precariously situated home, the danger of falling over the cliff is the least of their fears.

Noreen’s escalating threats force Alex to uncover Noreen’s secrets and right a terrible wrong.

My Take:

This book was good, but there were some things that didn’t work for me. The good news is that I found myself wanting to set aside time to read this, which doesn’t always happen, even on the best of days with the best of books. It was because I honestly had no idea what the deal was with Noreen, or Alex, or even Jared. They all seemed to be a bit quirky but obviously Noreen was the one who made me shake my head the most, thinking “why the hell would anyone be like this”. (You finally do find out why she was like that but it still didn’t do much for me.) Everything seemed a bit forced, like Jared falling madly in love with Alex after one night, planning their life together after they move out of Noreen’s. I mean, C’mon.

What I didn’t quite get until near the end was how the book is about a woman who is tired of the sexism and obvious hypocrisy women face day in and day out in real life. Alex starts talking about it as the book goes on, and it does ring true. I found myself saying “right on, sister!” Of course, she takes things quite a bit further than the average person but that kind of made for the interesting read the book was. I really enjoyed the chase of finding out why Noreen was the way she was, why Alex was so cool and aloof, and what would happen between her and her roommate Jared. Overall, this book didn’t disappoint, and I was happy with the ending as it didn’t leave me hanging…too much.

 

**Full disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Paper: Feels Like Spring

Hey guys! I don’t know where you’re all located but I’m in Bermuda and I have to say, the weather is delightful. Having just got back from a little ski trip to Vermont where I was basically a Popsicle the whole time, this is downright refreshing. And yes, it is a bit cold for Bermudian, subtropical standards but damn, I’ll take it! With the weather like this and the birds chirping outside, I couldn’t help but fall in love with these little beauties from Paper Source.  Don’t they just make you want to start writing?!

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Book Chat: Walk Into Silence

walkintosilence

From Amazon:

A woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?

When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

My Take:

Loved it! I couldn’t get enough and needed to find out what happened to Jenny Dielman. I kept thinking it was the nosy, husband coveter from next door because she acted so incredibly shady, but then I also thought it might be the ex-husband or even his new wife so there was plenty of mystery to be had. The writing was really nice, flowed smoothly and the characters, as I said, were so good that I just couldn’t decide who to suspect more.

I certainly hope to have a long series involving Jo Larsen, a very driven detective who doesn’t settle until the case is closed.

While I hate books where kids or animals are the subject of abuse or worse, this book was written in such a way that I wasn’t a blubbering mess but more involved in the whodunit so that’s always a win for me.

Overall, great read and highly recommend!

**Full disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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