Sincerely, Reading: Recommendations

book recommendationsAs you can see, I’ve always loved reading!

I really enjoyed seeing how other bloggers use Instagram Stories to crowd source and then share responses with their followers. I get most excited to see when they’ve compiled a list of book recommendations – I’m always looking for something new to add to my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads! The best part of IG Stories is that you can screenshot these lists, so even if I’m viewing the stories in passing, I’ll save lists for later.

Seeing how other people use Stories inspired me to share my own list of books that I read in 2017, and rank them by favorite to least liked. I also copied all of the books on my “for later” shelf and shared that list in case anyone else needs a good book. While you might have seen the list on my Instagram Stories (follow me if you don’t already), I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share the book recommendations again on the blog. In case you didn’t screenshot that list on Instagram, here’s another one that won’t disappear in 24 hours. Click through to find your next great read!

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2018 Goals

beret

SheIn – oversized sweater| Spanx – faux leather leggings | Amazon – beret hat

Man, I was really ready to take on 2018. I ended 2017 on a good note – feeling rested and newly excited by workouts again. I came back to work after the New Year feeling slow and disinterested. What was wrong with me, I thought? Then I got my answer. A tickle started in my throat, and the next morning I had a full blown cold. I slept 12 hours the first day of my sickness because I was so worn down. The gym back I’d packed hasn’t been used in the four days I’ve been alternating between sleeping in my bed and resting on the couch. Of course, a little sickness isn’t the worst way to start the year. But it certainty does help me feel ready to grab 2018 by the … well, you know.

I’m trying to keep my momentum going by thinking about everything I’ll do once I’m not sick. Everything I’ll do immediately and for the rest of the year. Which yes, includes trying new trends like wearing a beret. While I’m not one for “resolutions” in the traditional sense of choosing a change to make or add, I have thought about several goals I have for myself this year. Can’t wait until I’m recovered to see them through!

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Category: Style


Trend I’m Continuing in 2018

tassel jewelry trend

There are a few trends I hope will be left in 2017, such as lucite shoes. But something I’m bringing with me into the new year is the tassel jewelry trend – seen above in the Rocksbox earrings I’m wearing. I’ve been gravitating toward tassels more and more and I think it’s a trend that should stay! In fact, I’m not just here for the tassel jewelry trend. I like seeing tassels the many ways they’ve been incorporated into fashion, including on dresses and shoes. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite tassel-accented items as well as inspiration from fellow tassel-wearing bloggers. Check it out!

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My Favorite Things 2017 – Best Nine

There may be some bad things about social media – FOMO, for example – but I do love how it helps us chronicle our lives. Social media is our digital scrapbook, and with the click of a button we can look back. That’s why I love the 2017 Best Nine on Instagram! The Best Nine, my nine photos from the past 12 months that received the most likes, captured some of my biggest and best memories. I thought I’d share a quick blurb behind each photo in chronological order.

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My Favorite Things 2017 – Entertainment

Best books of 2017While not officially on the list for 2017, The Radium Girls has been a great read the last few days over the holiday! I am so happy I got into reading again, and use the local library to find a good book. (Soap + candle from Mojo Spa)

Wow…2017 is coming to an end and this week I’m reflecting on some of my favorite things from the last 12 months. Some of which I thought you might be interested in to incorporate into the next year. Today I’ll start with a peek at my favorite books, TV shows and podcasts from the year. Please leave a comment with your favorites – I’d love to check them out come Jan. 1!

Books

  • The Couple Next Door – Wow, what a page turner! Each time I thought I had the “who done it” figured out, there was another twist…right down to the very end. Stop trying to guess and just enjoy the book! (Runner-up thriller: The Woman in Cabin 10)
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Maybe I’m biased as I’m from northeast Ohio, but I enjoyed that this book was set in suburban Cleveland and the kids’ experiences are relate-able to any 90s family. It was an interesting mix of a coming of age story and one that proves no one ever grows up to have all of the answers. I’d recommend this book with one caveat: the characters’ decisions might disappoint you at times. It’ll also force you to come to terms with what you might have done differently (or even the same) in their situations.
  • Crazy Rich Asians (trilogy) – I started this book because it was described as the Asian “Gossip Girl.” While the story wasn’t as salacious (probably a good thing), the characters’ wealth and the way in which it’s described kept me reading, as did the history lessons the author cleverly tucked in every few pages.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole – If you want to know what actually happened in the Playboy Mansion when Hugh was there, this book is juicy. It’s also relatively well-written (for what I might expect) and makes me really like Holly, who I first found charming on the E! reality show.
  • The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress – My friends on my college text chain turned each other on this book.When I started this book I didn’t think I’d like it. It’s set back in the 30s, an era I’m not particularly interested in. However, the characters held my attention as did all of the twists and unexpected connections. It’ll keep you entertained, and would be a great book club book.

TV

  • Broad Church (Seasons 1,2,3) – If you love crime dramas, this is for you. Just get ready to turn on the subtitles. It’s a BBC series that starts when an unexpected death (murder?) rocks a small community. An outsider detective comes in and starts upturning a lot of small town secrets. It doesn’t stop for three seasons, and three mysteries.
  • Younger – I mentioned this show two years ago, and I keep suggesting it to any Sex and the City or Lizzy McGuire fans. (They’re similar, right?) Sure, Hilary Duff stars in this TV Land series about 20-somethings in NYC, but that’s not even the best part. Her 40-something colleague is trying to keep her age a secret from the millennials and while doing that has amazing fashion moments. The fun 30-minute  episodes make it so easy to binge on a lazy weekend!
  • Big Little Lies – I would have happily included any of Liane Moriarty’s books in my best of list, having read them all and liked them. This HBO miniseries really does “Big Little Lies” justice. It’s a cast of fierce females, and amazing fashion. Be prepared to face some heavy issues though, such as domestic abuse and custody battles. But it’s definitely worth it to keep cheering on the women.
  • Floribama Shore – Perhaps the show to surprise me the most this year, the cast of Floribama Shore is just a fun and a lot more lovable that the similar Jersey Shore. They’re less characters of themselves, more just normal 20-somethings (with a pension for fist fights) trying to have fun on the Gulf Coast. Watch this with guys and girls, everyone will like it!

Podcasts

I already shared a list of my favorite podcasts, and have continued to add to it as I’ve listened to others.

Want more?

  • Check out all of the books I read this year by connecting with me on Goodreads.
  • If true crime shows and movies are your thing, then check out the list of top picks from Cosmopolitan.



Tried and True Gifts for Guys

men's gift guide

I’m not big on men’s gift guides. I read a lot of them that are tech or hardware geared and think, “How sexist; men in my life don’t care about most of this stuff.” Buzzfeed recently published their own list of great gifts for men with the same sentiment. I read it and realized just because a gift guide says it’s for “men” doesn’t mean it has to follow the typical pattern. Today I’m rounding up my own suggestions of gifts the men in your life might like. They’re not all the stuff you’d see in GQ or Sears, but instead they’re actual items guys I know have been into. Some even overlap with the Buzzfeed list because Steve has tried them himself and can attest for their appeal!

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Category: Style


Ushering In a New Era

Taylor Swift Outfit Ideas

So the big, exciting news this week is that I got tickets to the Taylor Swift show in Chicago!!! Well, actually, I got tickets through a friend’s friend, but still it means I’ll be at Soldier Field for the Reputation Tour! I am going with five other people – four of whom I don’t know – but still think it’d be fun to dress up as Taylor’s eras for the concert. I’ve only mentioned it to my friend so far, and he told me I will have to be the Red era because I can pull off her signature red lip. I will happily accept that challenge.

I am having so much fun thinking about the concert and the possibility of dressing up as my favorite Taylor that I started researching the other eras and Taylor Swift outfit ideas. I looked at SheIn because of their inexpensive clothes and breadth of styles and trends. (You can read more about my SheIn experience here.) Keep reading for my top picks of adorable, inexpensive clothes for each Taylor era! (P.S. This post goes best with a soundtrack, I currently have “Speak Now” on.) Continue reading



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Category: Style


This Week(end)

best books 2017

Ah – I am so behind on this post! I started gathering things to do for the weekend last week, and then here we are on Monday and I’m finally publishing the list. I’ve not been on my normal schedule mostly because I’ve been in Washington, D.C. the last few days. I’m here to work a conference (#PRLife), but it’s luck that I have family and friends to visit with at night. I hung out with my cousin and his wife (who I had the pleasure of seeing last at their wedding in Philly over the summer) and some college girlfriends. One hosted a Sunday night pasta dinner for us and we all had the best time telling stories and laughing around the table. What a great way to start the week.

I return home to Chicago tomorrow but it’s still not back to regularly scheduled programming. By the time I get back, the holiday parties and Christmas shopping will have begun! What does your December look like? Mine is quite full with Steve’s birthday and a trip to see my parents.

I hope you do have some time to relax this week, and if you’re in need of things to do, why don’t you…

  1. Pick out a new book from the Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best Books 2017” list. Little Fires Everywhere, pictured above, is on there and I can attest it’s great!
  2. Wait impatiently for DJ Earworm’s mashup of the top songs of 2017, and in the meantime listen to this mashup aptly titled “Perfect Struggle.”
  3. Speaking of year-end lists, which I LIVE for, check out the 50 tweets of 2017 that got 50K+ retweets.
  4. Shop local this holiday season with Chicagogrammers’ gift guide.
  5. While we’re in the holiday spirit, get creative with your Elf on the Shelf. Even if there’s not one in your home, the photos are still pretty comical.



Friendsgiving & Small Business Saturday

FriendsgivingCandle c/o Gold Fawn Candle Co.

My University of Dayton girlfriends and I have a lot of traditions, including Vegas trips and a long-distance Secret Santa gift exchange. One of my favorite traditions, though, is our Little Women night in the winter. For several years, any of us living in Chicago at the time will get together for a cozy night in to watch Little Women, the movie version with Winona Ryder. Most of us read the book and saw the movie as young girls, and it was so fun to revisit it with friends later in life! This year, the friend who hosted our Little Women night was a Little Women virgin and we were so happy to share the sweet movie with her! Although admittedly, a lot of it was spent debating whether Christian Bale was hot or a creep. (I thought he got even hotter with “age” despite his drinking in France.) We also realized we ask the same questions year after year. (“What was it their family was? Suffragists? Pacifists? No…what’s the word?” No, the March family was transcendentalists, as they say later in the movie.)

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Wedding Wednesday: Finding THE Dress

wedding dress shopping

A blogger friend I’ve followed for a while (hi, Catherine!) recently got married, and I’ve been having fun following along with her wedding-themed posts. She shared her wedding dress story last week and it inspired me to get the story up here about wedding dress shopping and how I chose my dress. Truthfully, I have to give the credit to my mom for leading me to the dress since she found a great bridal store thanks to Yelp. But after a few wedding dress shopping trips and dealing with different types of stores, I’m happy to share my wedding dress shopping experience (and the original photos my dress that helped me fall in love). By the way, I tried on a lot more dresses than the one in these pictures. Check out my Instagram Stories to see them. I almost wish I had a second chance to wear other top contenders!

wedding dress shopping

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