Gift Guide 2013: Under $100

gift guide, gift guide 2013, holiday, gift ideas, under $100

I’m so excited to be kicking off my gift guide series today! For the next few weeks I’ll be posting a new gift guide each Wednesday. Today we’re starting off with the most expensive set (that’s right- it will only be getting more affordable from here on out). I’d like to see a few of these pieces added to my own closet, but I’m trying to be good and not buy anything for myself for the next couple of months! Tell me: Have you started your holiday shopping?

Shop the Post

Mark and Graham Leather Pouch (my dad has a similar leather pouch and he’s used it for years) // Zara Structured Bowling Bag // Tinley Road Faux Fur Scarf // Ted Baker Knot Cufflink // Gorjana Chevron Lariat (love this dainty necklace) // Drusy Drop Ring // C. Wonder Polka Dot Leather Gloves (cannot. resist. polka. dots.) // Jack Spade Stripe Watch // J. Crew Calf Hair Pouch // J. Crew Medallion Sweatshirt

Weekly Wishes 05.

memories, travel, mementos, paris, weekly wishes

I hope you guys enjoyed yesterday’s Mexico pictures! Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks, it feels like my trip was a long time ago, so it’s been nice to look through the pictures and remember what a great time I had. The second installment from Mexico should be up on the blog later this week and the final part will be up next week.

I missed a week of “Weekly Wishes” while I was gone, but I’m back at it today. The photo theme for this week was memories and I chose the picture above because I also like to collect little mementos when I travel. I save everything, from plane ticket stubs to brochures, and when I get home I tuck them away in a little box in a corner of my closet. I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with these little bits of my trips, but I like to hold on to them just in case.

Happily, I was successful with my last set of goals, which involved getting ready for Mexico, taking a lot of pictures, and having a great time. It’s been really hard to settle back into the daily routine, but I think I’m finally getting there.

This week I want to…

– figure out what kind of holiday cards I want to send. Last year, I decorated the cards myself. This year I’m not sure if I want to make them by hand again, or I’ve also been considering designing and purchasing photo cards. Do you guys send holiday cards? If so, have you already started the process?

– start my holiday shopping. Somehow, I already feel like I’m behind, which is silly because we still have several weeks to go before Christmas. Still, I want to get my lists in order so that I’ll be prepared to take advantage of upcoming Black Friday deals.

– start reading The Circle, my pick for book club. I got in lots of reading time on my vacation, which was great, as now I’m one book away from meeting my Goodreads challenge. I also want to come up with a few ideas of snacks to serve at our next book club meeting. Pinterest, here I come!

Tell me: What are your goals for this week?

(original image via)

San Carlos, Mexico 01.

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza My Mexico trip was like a dream. Partly because I was pretty sleep-deprived throughout the whole trip and partly because I couldn’t believe I’d actually made it! After a plane ride, a bit of walking, another plane ride, and a mini road trip, we finally arrived at our destination of San Carlos, Mexico where the wedding was held. san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

This is the gang I traveled with throughout the trip. I hadn’t seen these lovely folks in nearly a year or longer, so it was wonderful to reunite with them. We stayed at the San Carlos Plaza, which was right on the beach. By the time we arrived, we were itching to get out of the travel clothes we’d been in for hours and explore what the hotel had to offer.

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, rosa's cantina

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

Not only was the hotel on the beach, but it also had a spectacular pool area as well. For some reason I hadn’t fully realized how warm it would be, but luckily I’d packed a few dresses for the trip. I threw one of these on and then ran down to the beach to dip my toes in the water. I love standing in the ocean and feeling the water rush over my feet as the sand moves underneath me.

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza After some beach time, we headed over to the pool area to lounge around for a bit before dinner. As the sun began to set, I was just so glad to be there and really excited for the wedding for the next day.

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

san carlos, mexcio, sonora, beach, palm trees, san carlos plaza

Check back later in the week for part 2/3 of my Mexico trip!

September and October Reads

September and October Reads

Today I have another set of book recommendations for you guys! I’ve been keeping up the pace and in September I hit my Goodreads goal of reading 30 books over the course of the year. So, I decided to raise my goal and now I’m attempting to read 40 books this year. I’m happy that I’m keeping up with my reading, since it’s really important to me. As you know, I will be hopping on a plane to Mexico early tomorrow morning, so I’ll have plenty of time to read during my travels. If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them in the comments! (click the titles below for links to each book)


About- It’s a collection of stories by Leandra Medine, the founder of the popular fashion blog, Man Repeller.

Why I picked it– This was sent to me by the publisher, and honestly I probably wouldn’t have bought it on my own. However, I was curious and it looked like a quick read, so I decided to give it a go.

Grade B- As part of the fashion blogging community, I’m definitely aware of her blog, but I don’t read it regularly. I thought this book was ok. Some anecdotes are a bit funny, but I don’t always love her writing style. To me it seems like she uses some words just because they sound fancier, when she would be better served by a simpler word. Sometimes I felt like there were issues with her sentence structure too. Gosh, I sound like such an English teacher, but these are the thoughts that came to mind when I was reading this book. If you’re a fan of her blog and looking for something light, quick, and easy to read, then you might like this.


About- A young actress trying to make it in NYC.

Why I picked it– It’s written by Lauren Graham, aka Lorelai Gilmore, aka Sarah Braverman. I’m such a fan of her acting that I had to find out what her writing would be like.

Grade A I really enjoyed this. This was another light and breezy read and I was a little sad when it ended. I liked the main character Franny and anytime she talked about struggling to get by in NYC, I could totally relate. If Lauren Graham decided to make a series of Franny’s life and continue the story, I’d definitely read it.


About- Another food memoir set in Paris.

Why I picked it– I will never get tired of these. First of all, it’s set in Paris. Secondly, it contains many recipes throughout that sound absolutely delicious. Also, remember how my friend recommended a different Paris food memoir to me and I read the wrong one? This is the one I was actually supposed to read!

Grade Like I said, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this genre. For a little while I’m transported to another country through the author’s narrative and this helps ease my wanderlust a bit. Next on my list in this category- Mastering the Art of French Eating.


About- A young girl who’s more interested in living in a fictional world than the real world.

Why I picked it– I loved loved loved Eleanor & Park, so I was pretty excited when I heard the author was releasing a new book.

Grade B+ I find Rainbow Rowell’s work very engaging. I get invested in the characters and I want to see them grow and be happy. She left the ending somewhat unresolved, which can be frustrating as a reader, but I think I do understand why she did it. I also learned about fan fiction, which was a term I’d heard before, but didn’t really know much about.


About- Falling in love with someone without ever meeting them.

Why I picked it– It’s another Rainbow Rowell book.

Grade B- This was my least favorite of her books. First of all, the premise is a little creepy: an IT guy at a company is tasked with checking employee emails for inappropriate behavior. He basically snoops on one of the employees and finds out all of these personal details about her and slowly falls in love with her. The catch is that he’s never met her in person and she doesn’t know he’s reading her emails. I mean, that’s a total invasion of privacy, right (he keeps reading her emails, even when they’re not flagged with anything inappropriate)? Also, I thought her characters were a bit flat and not as fleshed out as they tend to be. However, I believe this was her first book, so I can cut her some slack here; her other books are much better.


About- An old man who takes in two orphan girls and does his best to protect them.

Why I picked it– This was our latest book club book, so I actually didn’t pick this one.

Grade B It was a little difficult to write what this book was about, because there’s not really much as far as plot goes. The book was really well-written and the author described things excellently. When we were discussing this in book club, one of my friends mentioned that it was an short story idea that turned into something much longer. I can see how it’d be difficult to pare this down into a short story, but I also thought it was too long. There are whole portions that I thought could have been cut because nothing was really happening. Then again, it wasn’t really about what happened, but more about certain ideas that the author wanted to convey. So I guess I’m torn. It’s not a book I would have picked up on my own, but that’s the whole point of our book club- to expand our horizons and read outside of our preferred genres.


About- A young woman who moves to America for a better life and in the end returns to her home country.

Why I picked it– I’d been on the library waiting list for this one forever, so I was really excited when it was finally ready. The author is Nigerian and my family is Nigerian, so I thought I would definitely be able to relate to the story. I’ve only heard good things about her work too, so I was really looking forward to this one.

Grade A This book didn’t disappoint. I don’t think there are really a ton of books out there written from this perspective- a Nigerian-American. I feel like I got an extra kick out of this book because I knew about a lot of the Nigerian things she was referring to, but I do think any one from an immigrant family could relate to this. She brings up lots of interesting points about race and describes what it’s like to acclimate to American life. I definitely found this book interesting and I look forward to reading more by this author.


About- A group of students at a liberal college who murder one of their own friends.

Why I picked it– A friend told me that she was reading this book and that it was really great. A little later, I saw this on Flavorwire on a list that was called something like “The 20 Best Books You’ve Never Heard of.”

Grade A- From the very beginning of the book, you know that one of the main characters is going to die, but you don’t know how or why. That’s a pretty great way to hook the reader in. This book is a bit long and dense, but I wouldn’t ever say I was bored. There are layers upon layers, and slowly the author pulls them back to reveal what’s underneath. You can also tell that the author is extremely intelligent from the way she references classical texts thought the novel. It’s not pretentious though- you don’t have to know every reference to understand what’s going on and it is in line with the story since the characters are studying classical Greek. She recently released a new book, The Goldfinch, and the critics are raving about it, so I’ve added that to my to-read list as well.

Thanks for reading all the way through! I won’t be posting while I’m in Mexico, but I’ll see you back here this time next week!

Disclaimer: Man Repeller was provided to me by the publisher for review purposes, but these are my honest thoughts and opinions about the book.