Hello Fall

longline cardigan, longline cardigan black, back to school, asos back to school, fall outfits, fall 2015 trends

Hello Fall, it’s nice to see you again. As someone who mostly grew up on the West Coast, I still get excited about the definitive shift into autumn. Even though I’ve been out of school for a few years now, fall still feels like a fresh start. For me, one of the best parts of going back to school was picking my first day of school outfit. Of course, you wanted to look great on the first day of school and make a great first impression. I remember wanting to look trendy, but not like I tried too hard, and to still feel comfortable.

One trend that I’ve seen popping up frequently are longline sweaters and coats. I love the cyclical nature of fashion- I remember when these where really popular back in middle school. The duster sweaters in middle school were more ‘grandma chic.’ The current options are sleeker and more modern, which I like.

longline cardigan, longline cardigan black, back to school, asos back to school, fall outfits, fall 2015 trends

I wanted to try out this trend, so I picked up a simple knit version from Asos. I went with one of my favorite colors to wear (black) that way I know it will fit in well with other pieces in my closet. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone a bit with this longer silhouette, but wearing it in black made me feel more confident about my look. Also, when the trend dies down, I feel like it’s something I’ll still want to wear because it’s not too wild.

I was in an experimental mood when I was putting together this outfit, so I decided to tuck up my dress and wear it as a top. This Old Navy dress is one of my favorite purchases from the summer and I’ve gotten a ton of wear out of it. I’m pleased that I’ve found another way to continue to wear it into fall. I finished off the outfit with my trusty Chelsea boots. Altogether, I really like this look and if I were going back to school this fall, this could have been my first day of school outfit!

What do you think of these longline pieces? Would you wear them?

Outfit Details: Vila long line cardi c/o Asos (shop more longline clothing here), Old Navy patterned cocoon v-neck dress, American Eagle black hi-rise jeggings, Topshop chelsea boots, Fossil Erin Satchel, Forever 21 necklace | Lips- NARS Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte | photos- my friend Ben

Book Reviews: September 2015

you review, the raven boys review, sorcerer to the crown review, a window opens review

A-Window-Opens I think this was my favorite book of the month. It struck just the right balance of charm and good storytelling. The main character, Alice, lives in NJ with her husband and kids, and works as the books editor of a women’s magazine. When her husband decides to open his own law firm and her family’s financial situation changes, she pursues a new job at a cool literary start-up called Scroll. In addition to trying to succeed at a new job, Alice is dealing with her father’s failing health.

This book is about work/life balance and the struggle to “have it all.” Between her husband, her kids, her job, and her family, Alice is pulled in many different directions and is just trying to do her best. Alice is a book lover, so she automatically gets brownie points from me, and the way she was written felt very real and normal. I sympathized with the challenges she faced and I thought we could be friends in real life. Alice begins to realize she can only stretch herself so far and decides to focus on the things that matter the most to her. The author makes a great point that your version of “having it all” might not be the same as somebody else’s, so it’s better to let go of that notion and focus on your own personal, attainable goals. This book was light, but not empty, and definitely fun to read. I’d recommend it!

The-Raven-Boys Last month I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a booktube friend. The Raven Boys are rich, privileged young men who attend a private boy’s school and Blue wants nothing to do with them. Blue’s family is rather special. They’re all clairvoyant…well, all of them except Blue. She has no powers of her own, but she does enhance other people’s abilities if she’s nearby. Thanks to a series of events, Blue crosses paths with four particular Raven Boys- Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan. A quest for a long-lost king draws this unlikely group of friends together and leads them to make some interesting discoveries.

I really liked this book. It has adventure, a bit of romance, class struggles, magic- all very interesting elements. The best part of this book was definitely the characters and I enjoyed learning more about each one. I also love the idea that on paper, these five wouldn’t be friends, but when they are brought together they find they have a lot more in common than they think. It’s also set in a rural town in Virgina, which I think works very well as a setting. What is it about small towns in Virginia being full of strange magical occurrences (I’m thinking of Mystic Falls from The Vampire Diaries)?

The-Dream-Thieves I enjoyed The Raven Boys, so I was looking forward to reading the second book in the series. There’s not too much I can say about the plot without spoilers, but I will say that the main plot of the first novel takes a backseat here and it’s much more focused on one character- Ronan.

I did not know that when I started the book; I assumed it would pick up right where the first one left off. This left me a bit disappointed and I really missed the interactions of the group as a whole. We are introduced to a few new characters, but really I would have liked more focus on the original characters. Don’t get me wrong- this was still a good read. I just had certain expectations and the focus of this book wasn’t really what drew me in to the story in the first place.

Sorcerer-to-the-Crown Here’s another book that was good, but also slightly disappointing. I first heard about it on Book Riot a few weeks before it was published and I immediately placed a hold at my local library. In this book, Zacharias is the Sorcerer Royal, the highest level of sorcerer in all of England. Although he has great magical abilities, he is frequently disrespected because of the color of his skin (he’s black). There’s a lack of magic throughout England, which of course is a problem. Zacharias travels to the border of Fairyland, the source of magic, to investigate the magical deficiency, and along the way he stops at a school for girls to give a speech. In this society, practicing magic is for males only; females are considered too weak to handle magic (grrrrrrrrrrrrr). When Zacharias visits the school and observes how the girls are taught to suppress their magical abilities, which can cause them great harm, he is horrified. He decides to campaign to completely reform restrictions on females and practicing magic.

Ok, there are a lot of great themes going on in this book. First of all, there’s a main character who’s a person of color and a powerful magician. Awesome! There’s another main character, Prunella, who’s a female person of color and also a powerful magicienne. Super awesome! There’s a lot of discussion of race and class in this novel, which is very interesting. Even though Zacharias has achieved the highest level of sorcery through skill alone, there are people who constantly doubt him and seek his downfall. Prunella also has to deal with assumptions about her character, simply because she’s of mixed heritage. Another theme that’s explored is feminism- in this case it’s the idea that females should have the same magical rights as males. It’s thought that females are not strong enough to practice magic, or if they are, that they’ll only use it for frivolous domestic tasks. The magical society in England refuses to recognize that there are females with great abilities too.

I thought the world the author created was well done and that she tackled some very interesting themes. There was still something holding me back from loving this book though. Perhaps it was the writing style, which was old-fashioned and put some distance between myself and the characters. Perhaps it was a bit too long, and some less interesting sections could have been cut. Overall, I liked it and I would read the next book in the series.

You I’d heard a lot of interesting things about this book and it was on my TBR for a while. One booktube friend in particular told me that I had to listen to the audiobook version. You guys know that I don’t generally listen to a lot of audiobooks, but I trusted her opinion and decided to borrow it from the library.

Right away I was uncomfortable and a little embarrassed. I thought, “I hope no one can overhear this right now!” You is your classic boy-meets-girl story, except the boy is a crazy-obsessed stalker. Beck walks into the bookstore where Joe works and it’s love obsession at first sight. He googles her, finds her Twitter, figures out where she goes to school, figures out where she lives, and basically begins to full-on stalk her.

The novel is written from Joe’s point of view and it’s unsettling to be in the mind of someone so twisted. He sees nothing wrong with his actions and he takes the smallest interaction with Beck and blows it far out of proportion. This book contains a lot of graphic and explicit language, so I’d give this a pass if that’s not your jam. I do have to say that the audiobook of this was very well done. The narrator did an amazing job of capturing Joe’s different moods. One minute he’s ecstatic because Beck has agreed to go on a date with him, the next he’s enraged because she’s still talking to her ex-boyfriend. It’s shockingly easy for Joe to find personal information about Beck on the internet and it makes you think twice about what you put out there.

Joe does all kinds of terrible things, and honestly, Beck isn’t a really great person either. She’s self-absorbed and makes a habit of using people. This book gets points for being a page-turner, although towards the end, I was ready for it to be over. If you like thrillers with completely twisted narrators and don’t mind the explicit content, you might like this.

SCS Home Wish List 01.

home wish list, home decor, affordable home decor, living room refresh

October will mark my three-year anniversary of living in my current apartment. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I’ve decided to finally decorate my living room (gasp)! But in all seriousness, my roommate and I are upgrading our living room. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years now, but I couldn’t afford it until recently. I’m excited to finally be able to dedicate some time and money to making that space feel like home.

We’ve already made some strides: there’s a new bookshelf in the living room, we got rid of my well-worn loveseat from college and replaced it with a normal-sized couch, and we’ve tossed the standing coat rack and replaced it with a hanging rack on the wall (much more space efficient).

I’ve really been bitten by the decor bug and for the last couple weeks I’ve spent many hours on the web browsing for home inspiration and decor. I’ve already placed an Ikea order and a Target order, which will hopefully arrive later this week. If the furniture does arrive this weekend, my plan is to try and put it all together (at home assembly, here I come!). I’ll try to take before and after pictures too so that I can show you guys the transformation.

Once we have the bigger pieces set up, it will be all about the details. I have my eye on a few pretty pieces- shop them below!

01. Moss-knit Blanket 02. Copper Task Lamp 03. Chindi Colorblock Pillow 04. Velvet Cushion Cover 05. Metallic Triangle Pillow 06. Glass Tea Light Holder 07. Ceramic Geo Vase 08. Copper Faceted Lamp 09. Magical Thinking Feather Planter

Book Reviews: August 2015

daughter of smoke & bone series review, eight hundred grapes review, where they found her review, the vacationers review, 2 am at the cat's pajamas review

Harry-Potter-7 At the beginning of August, I finally finished my read-through of the Harry Potter series. I started this project last summer and it felt great to finish this month. The final book in the series did not disappoint me and I couldn’t put it down for the last two hundred pages. Now that I’m done, I’m ready for all of the Harry Potter references in pop culture- I’ll finally know what they mean! I’ve been watching the movies as I finish each book and the only one I have left is Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

I put off reading the series for so long because I thought I’d missed my window. People have been in love with Harry Potter for decades and I thought it was too late for me to join the club. You know what? That kind of thinking was so off base. It’s never too late to pick up a good book. I completely understand why Harry Potter is special to so many people around the world and now it’s special for me too. This was the first time I’ve read through the series, but it won’t be the last.



Dreams-of This series. It’s been out for a few years now, but I recently picked it up because one of my booktube friends had mentioned it. I ended up getting totally sucked in and I thoroughly enjoyed this YA fantasy series. The main character, Karou, is an art student in Prague. She has a strange and mysterious background that she doesn’t fully understand. She’s torn between two lives- being a normal teenager and being a part of her family of “monsters.” As Karou begins to learn the truth of who she is, she gets caught up in a war between two species.

That’s a very general outline, but with this series it’s better to discover the secrets as you’re reading along. My favorite part of this series is definitely the world that the author created. She’s reinterpreted the story of angels versus devils and explores interesting themes, including how war affects people.

There is some romance throughout the series and sometimes it’s a bit heavy-handed, but it didn’t bother me too much. Karou is an awesome character, from her appearance (she has blue hair!) to her sarcastic quips. She’s used to taking care of herself and she’s fiercely protective of the people she loves.

The first book is very much a set-up book and introduces us to some important characters, including Karou and Akiva, the person who reveals the past to Karou. The second book is all war and heartbreak, but I thought the conflicts and internal struggles made this book even better than the first one. I felt that the final book brought the trilogy to a fairly satisfying conclusion, and honestly, I could read many more books set in this world. The author really paid attention to detail when dreaming up this world and I think there’s more left to uncover. These books were fun to read, hard to put down, and the perfect thing to allow me to journey to another universe for a bit.

The-Vacationers I’ve wanted to read this book since I first heard about it last summer, and I decided I was going to make it happen this summer. It follows a family from NYC as they take a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Spain. It turns out that everyone in this family has secrets and as the days progress, the secrets slowly come to light. It’s about a family that’s a bit broken at the moment and is trying to mend itself back together.

This book was ok. For a book that mainly about the characters, I didn’t find many of them compelling. The few characters that were more interesting weren’t really explored. The writing was at least good, which is what kept me reading. Yep, not too much to say on this one. It’s a perfectly fine beach read.

Where-They I read Reconstructing Amelia by McCreight last year and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d pick up her next book. Molly is a developing journalist who recently lost a child. By accident she’s assigned to cover the story of a murder, the murder of a baby girl. No one knows who killed this baby girl, or why. As Molly investigates, she realizes that this story is a lot more tangled than anyone had previously suspected.

This was another solid thriller from McCreight. She definitely kept me guessing throughout the novel and when the conclusion came, I definitely hadn’t pieced together the full story. This book is set in a small town in New Jersey and I feel like small towns make an interesting setting for stories like this. Everyone knows everyone and everyone is quick to pass judgment. This novel jumps around in perspective and incorporates a few different mediums, including journal entries, therapy transcripts, and articles written by Molly. I can imagine that might be confusing if you were listening to the audiobook, but I found that I was able to follow along.

There is a lot going on in this book and the author mostly pulls it off. I feel like she wanted to include a lot of characters and details in there to throw people of the real scent. You do have to pay attention a bit because everything is connected.

2-am Madeleine is not quite ten years old and all she wants she wants to do is sing at The Cat’s Pajamas, a jazz club. The entire book takes place over the span of one day and follows Madeleine as she does her best to achieve her goal.

This book wasn’t what I expected. It was kooky, but I liked it! The writing was a bit experimental and playful and Madeline is not your typical little girl. She’s plucky, she curses, and she won’t let adults stand in the way of what she wants. I felt for Madeline because she’s having a difficult childhood. Her mother passed away recently and she lives with her father, but he’s not really there. This novel surprised me with its quirkiness, and that was a good thing.

Eight-Hundred I was 100% influenced by the cover to pick this one up. One week before her wedding, Georgia gets in her car, leaves everyone behind, and drives to her family’s vineyard. She’s reeling from a secret about her fiancé she’s just discovered and she goes home hoping to find some comfort in the familiar. Well, home is not quite the safe haven that she hoped it would be because everyone in her family is dealing with their own issues.

This book is set in wine country, which is fun. It definitely made me want to go on some wine tastings. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the writing bothered me. Also, the book was totally predictable. I thought the family dynamics were a bit strange and I would have liked further development of all of the characters. This book is about the different paths in life that we take, but that theme is only lightly explored. It was a quick and light beach read, but I wouldn’t go into it looking for much more than that.