July Favorites

Here are a few things that I loved in July:

- Lupita’s Interview in Vogue Magazine. I was so excited when I saw that Lupita was going to be on the cover of Vogue. I finally got around to reading her interview and it was so good. I continue to admire her and if you’re a Lupita fan, you’ll definitely want to check out this interview.

- Julep Nail Color Kam. I may have like six other mint green nail polishes, but they’re all different. This one by Julep is my new favorite of the bunch and you can see what it looks like on my nails here.

- The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. I was really excited to read this one. I posted a picture at the beginning of last month and several people commented about how much they love this book. I finished it recently and thought it was so good. The longer I think about it and reflect on it, the more I like it. At some point soon, I’ll watch the movie directed by Sofia Coppola.

- Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl in Black. I was looking for an eyeliner that I could use on my waterline and this one works really well. It’s so creamy and smooth. Now I need a new eyeliner pen for cat eye flicks because my previous one dried out. Any recommendations for one that makes it easier to do a cat eye for an eyeliner noob like me?

- Postcards from my best friend. I’ve already mentioned these in my wanderlust post, but it was certainly the best mail that I received all month.

Tell me: What were your July favorites?

What I Read July 2014

First things first- I killed it in July (it being a big old pile of books). Thanks to the read-a-thon, I was extra motivated to read and ending up finishing a total of 12 books! I think that’s an all-time record for me, or at least the most books I’ve read in one month in recent memory. This recap is going to be long enough as is, so enough with this intro- let’s get to it.

HARRY POTTER

About- Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts.

Why I picked it- In case you missed last month’s round-up, I’m reading the series from start to finish.

Grade A I think it’s now a tie between this book and the third one for my favorite in the series so far. The last hundred pages were intense and when I finished the book I was freaking out. I texted a few of my friends something along the lines of “Did that just happen? Whaa? Omg!” I’ll also admit that were some tears. I love the first three books but I feel like that was child’s play compared to this one. It just got real.

THE SNOW QUEEN

About- Barrett, a middle-aged man living in New York City who’s unlucky in love, and his brother Tyler, who can’t quite kick a drug habit.

Why I picked it- I was curious to read something by Michael Cunningham. I know that he wrote The Hours and that was critically acclaimed, so I wanted to read one of his books and see what I thought.

Grade B If you’ve been reading these recaps for a while, you’ll probably know that I prefer a plot-driven novel. There’s not much plot in this one, but I still liked it. I can see why he’s received a lot of praise because the writing was really beautiful. I found myself marking lots of passages and thought that his descriptions were enticing. If elegant prose is at the top of your list of qualities you look for in books, I’d say give this one a go.

WHO COULD THAT BE

About- Lemony Snicket (who’s also a character in the book) attempts to solve a mystery, but unfortunately he asks all the wrong questions.

Why I picked it- My roommate has been telling me to read this for a while and the read-a-thon was the perfect opportunity to do so, since this is a quick, easy read.

Grade A- I think Lemony Snicket (the author) is very clever. I like his wry humor and the way he slips in teaching moments in a non-obvious manner. A Series of Unfortunate Events was one of my favorite series as a kid and I still prefer those, but this series is delightful too.

THE FIVE PEOPLE

About- A man dies in an attempt to save a little girl and when he reaches heaven he meets five people who were influential in his life.

Why I picked it- I knew this was made into a movie or tv mini series, so I was curious to check out the book.

Grade C- I was not the biggest fan of this book. I thought that it was so sappy and a little bit preachy. I think this could have been a nice story, but the approach was so heavy-handed and over the top, that I just got frustrated. Anyways, it was a quick read and now I know what it’s about!

DON

About- One twenty-something trying to make her way in the world and figure out adulthood.

Why I picked it- It sounds like the story of my life.

Grade B I liked this book- I thought it was humorous and very relatable. In some areas, her life is a lot like my life, so I could definitely sympathize. I think the title of this book is great and contrary to what it says, at the end of the book I had hope that things would get better. It was a nice reminder that I’m not the only one trying to figure it all out.

WELL READ WOMEN

About- Portraits of famous women in literature and quotes to accompany them.

Why I picked it- I wanted this book since I first heard about it and then several months later, I randomly got a free copy of it at work.

Grade A I thought this book was gorgeous. Each of the portraits was so lovely and I enjoyed reading all of the quotes, particularly the ones that I recognized. There were several characters that I hadn’t heard of, which led me to do some googling and look up a few books. I added some books to my ‘to-read’ list thanks to this book!

WHEN DID YOU

About- A continuation of the series, Lemony Snicket continues to solve mysteries and fight crime.

Why I picked it- It’s a series (this is book 2 of 4).

Grade A- This one was also delightful. I spaced out the Lemony Snicket books during my read-a-thon because it was nice to switch between heavier and lighter reads. The third book comes out at the end of September, so I’ll be looking forward to that.

HEARTBURN

About- A woman finds out that her husband is cheating on her and she has to decide what she wants to do about their marriage. Oh, and the kicker is that she’s 7 months pregnant when she finds out!

Why I picked it- I went through a Nora Ephron phase a month or two ago and I watched several of her movies. I’d never read any of her books, so I thought it was time to give one a try.

Grade A- Nora Ephron is so funny. She’s describing a terrible time in this woman’s life and yet somehow the story is still light-hearted and humorous. Rachel, the main character, is a food writer and there are recipes sprinkled throughout the book, which I liked. I loved the writing style- it’s very conversational and feels a bit like someone’s sharing a juicy story with you. I’m definitely going to pick up another Nora Ephron book because this one was great.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE

About- You guys have seen the movie, right? Right?!

Why I picked it- I only found out recently that the movie was based on a book and I knew I had to read it because I love the movie so much.

Grade A I think this is one of the rare cases where the movie was actually a pretty good adaptation of the book. The book is a hoot and also has the story within a story set-up that the movie does. Unsurprisingly, the book goes more in-depth to the background story, which I found really interesting. The style is such that the narrator is very self-aware and inserts himself throughout the story, which makes it a little hard to tell what’s real and what’s not! If you liked the movie, I am pretty sure that you’ll also like the book.

LIGHT OF THE DIDDICOY

About- A young boy moves from Ireland to Brooklyn, where he has to join a gang in order to survive.

Why I picked it- This was a book club pick. We haven’t actually met to discuss this yet, so I’m curious to hear what everyone else thought.

Grade C+ I’d never heard of this book or this author before, but when I posted on Goodreads that I was reading this book, I got several comments from strangers about how much they enjoyed it! I think they were excited that someone else is reading this book because it has very few ratings on Goodreads. I felt pretty neutral about it. It’s not the kind of book that I would have picked because the subject matter doesn’t interest me that much. I also found the writing a bit difficult because it features dialogue in an Irish accent. Once I got used to the language, it got a little bit easier to read, but I still didn’t find it very exciting. There were a few poetic passages that I appreciated, but I had difficulty connecting with the characters.

LANDLINE

About- Georgie, a television writer, experiences a rough patch in her marriage during the Christmas holidays.

Why I picked it- Rainbow Rowell.

Grade A- After I read Eleanor & Park (if you haven’t read it yet, you should!), Rainbow Rowell quickly became one of my favorite authors. I immediately went back and devoured her previous two books and I was super duper excited for this new one to come out. Can we talk for a second about how gorgeous the cover is? Seriously, whoever designs her books should pat themselves on the back. That was how I discovered E&P in the first place- I saw the cover when I was browsing at Barnes and Noble one evening, looked up the title when I got home, and soon after read the book. Anyways, I digress. Rainbow Rowell has a way of immediately drawing the reader in, which is something I love about her writing style. She’s also able to take serious topics and add levity. Even though this book is about a marriage that’s falling apart, I thought it was far from depressing. She writes both YA and adult fiction, so if you haven’t read one of her books yet, I highly recommend that you do.

FRIENDSHIP

About- Two best friends living in New York City and just trying to get by.

Why I picked it- This book was getting some good buzz, so I snagged a copy from work.

Grade A- I ended the month on another great book. This is the second book on this list that mimics real life for me- set in New York City, poor twenty-somethings, and working in publishing. Check, check, check. This book examines a friendship between two women, with its ups and downs. I could definitely see some of myself in the main characters, which was a fun experience for me, but also a bit disconcerting. I thought this was funny and realistic and sad and touching. Her characters aren’t perfect, which is what makes them so human. This book reminded me of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. and of GIRLS, so if you like either of those things, you might like this too.

Tell me: What was the last good book that you read?

Disclaimer: Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse was sent to me by the publisher for review purposes, but these are my honest thoughts and opinions. Also, I received copies of The Snow Queen, Landline and Friendship for free at work (I work for a publishing house), but that doesn’t affect my review and again, these are my honest thoughts and opinions about these books.

Ireland 600x600 Due to poor planning and a lack of funds, it does not look like I’ll be taking a vacation anytime soon (boo). I may be able to get away for a day trip, but probably not a full-blown vacay. I’m slowly coming to terms with it and if I can’t go away, I can at least live vicariously through other people. My best friend has been in Spain for the past month visiting her family and she recently sent me two postcards. They made me smile and brought on waves of nostalgia because they were related to places that we’d visited together some years ago.

Aside from my best friend, I’m also living vicariously through a few people on my Instagram feed who’ve posted some gorgeous pictures recently. Take a look (click image for link)…

Walnut Beach 600x600 Mount Hood 600x600 Chatsworth England 600x600 Tiburon California 600x600 Mykonos Greece 600x600

Tell me: Are you taking a trip any time soon?

black tee and shorts Sometimes when you’re wandering around NYC, you’ll stumble into pockets of space where the hustle and bustle of the city fades. The streets are quieter, the sidewalks are less crowded, and the air is cleaner. It feels like a world apart.

That’s how I felt when I met up with Jessica in the West Village on Saturday. I’d started my day with a cup of coffee at home, then I met up with my godsister at the Greenwich Village location of Umami Burger. After lunch I had a bit of time to kill, so I sat down a in a little park off 14th street and 8th avenue. The weather was great- it was a bit overcast, but still warm, and the humidity wasn’t too bad. There was a fountain in this park and the background sound of the water was soothing as I listened to a podcast and enjoyed the weather.

When Jessica arrived, we found a quiet little street to take pictures on. The West Village is full of lovely stoops and picturesque streets, so it really wasn’t that hard. Afterwards we walked about and admired various charming shops, although most of them were too expensive for us to actually shop there. We also stumbled onto Magnolia Bakery, so naturally we had to get cupcakes.

On this lovely afternoon, I kept it simple in a black tee with some lace detail and my relatively new cut-off shorts from Gap. This summer hasn’t been too horrible weather-wise (so far), but let’s all cross our fingers that it stays that way!

jeans shorts outfits Outfit Details: H&M top, Gap shorts, H&M sneakers, H&M sunglasses, Fossil Erin Satchel (via Macy’s), Lips- Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Standout | photos- Jessica