Sunday Brunch / 02.07.16

Monday, February 8

1.) Cedric listening to the birds through an open window on a crazy warm day. 2.) Beautiful Fieldcrest Jord watch. 3.) Snowy Boston. 4.) Snow makes everything interesting and beautiful. 5.) Amazing dinner at Giacomo's with Matt. 6.) Sunday morning.

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Outfit / Velvet, Wood, & Valentine's Day

Friday, February 5

I'm a big fan of finding excuses to treat yourself (and yes, that is a link to a Parks and Recreation clip). We all do a lot. We go to work or school (or both), we spend time with family and friends, we volunteer, we do things we truly enjoy, and we somehow find time to sleep. I certainly need to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy the little things, like tea or walks, and to slow down.

Valentine's Day has always been a bit of an r 'n' r day for me. It's two days after my birthday and I've never had someone to celebrate it with (except for my Galentines, but of course Galentines Day is February 13th). It's a great excuse to get myself a birthday gift and a Valentine's gift. This year, I do have someone romantic to share the day with, but we both decided to do without anything fancy. Treating myself to something--whether it's a new accessory like this Jord Wood Watch, taking the entire day to read, or watching a movie with Matt--is just as important as chocolate, wine, and flowers. 

Book Review / Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Monday, January 25

Tell Me Three Things
by Julie Buxbaum
April 5, 2016 [expected] by Delacorte Press (Random House)
 Goodreads || Amazon  
First of all, a huge hooray and pat on my back for actually finishing an arc (advance reader's copy) before its publication date! I've got two more arcs, courtesy of Young to Publishing, sitting on my shelf, but I was excited about this one after hearing good things and just had to read it first.

I don't usually read contemporary YA (John Green the lone exception) and prefer to stick to the dystopian and historical variety. So I surprised myself when, after not reading any YA for some time, I picked up Tell Me Three Things. The cover alone drew me in, before I had even read the back copy, because of it's less traditional YA design (girls in dresses, anyone?). As you read, you realize the cover has a multi-layered meaning, which, let's be honest, are the best sorts of covers. Overall, this books was just short of amazing--I started it while on vacation and had it finished a week later (pretty good for someone working full time and reading mostly on commutes).

In Julie Buxbaum's first YA novel, sixteen-year-old Jessie moves from Chicago to California after her father remarries. She has no friends and is often bullied by the popular girls, all the while grieving for her mother, who died two years ago. Then a classmate messages her under the moniker "Somebody Nobody," and Jessie comes to rely on this stranger she has never met.

One of the main strengths of this book lies in the characters. Even in a first person narration, with a rather self-centered protagonist, Buxbaum brings all of the characters to life. With people from both Jessie's new and old life making appearances, this could be a tall order, but Buxbaum delivers. Despite having next to nothing in common with Jessie, I come to care for her and the people around her.

This is also a romance in the best sense. Jessie's budding relationship with SN takes place over text, and there is no physical romance until the final scene. It is a relationship that is all at once brutally honest and more confused, in both cases because these characters have never met in person. The story is truly driven by Jessie and her thoughts.

For me, the only detractions were minor. First, I don't love extremely modern pop culture references, because apps and celebrities and news change so fast, and this book has many. However, I know this doesn't bother most readers--it will just date the book. Second, I did guess who SN was kind of early on. But spoilers have never bothered me, and I still enjoyed the story. My concerns can't take away the fact that this book is smart and doesn't hold back. On top of everything else, Tell Me Three Things has cursing, blunt & truthful discussions of sex & grief & alcohol, and a Gertrude Stein motif ("Jessie is Jessie is Jessie"--"a rose is a rose is a rose").

Despite being a YA book, Tell Me Three Things felt very adult--a grown up YA book. And through it all, Jessie's strong narrative voice carries the reader along the ups and downs of all of her relationships.
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Disclaimer: I received an advance reader's copy from the publisher because I am a member of Young to Publishing. I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.

Sunday Brunch / 01.24.16

Sunday, January 24

1.) Have a bad day, take selfies until you feel better. 2.) All of the books upcoming on my to-read list. 3.) Matt & I waiting in line for brunch on Saturday, with our usual coffees--black for me, cream & sugar for him. 4.) Successful brunch date. 5.) Beautiful, new snow. 6.) Cedric being Cedric.

Happy Sunday :) Today is a slow one for me, where I only want to read Cinder and drink tea and snuggle with my cat, and ignore the fact that I have chores to do and work tomorrow. I was immensely happy about the snow yesterday, but it's already melting. I'm ready for more, and if we don't get even half as much as we did last winter I'll be very disappointed. 

If you don't follow Style on Target yet, maybe this great whites-and-blues look will convince you. 

A favorite blogger of mine, Hoda of Joojoo Azad, has come out with a book all about streetstyle in Tehran, Iran. It's only $25, full of beautiful photography, and (if you preorder by February 1st) it comes with a matching tote bag.

Boston definitely needs these short-story vending machines.

Since it's both winter and Girl Scout cookie season, keep this list of wine and Girl Scout cookie pairings on hand for snow days.

The start of the year is a great time to daydream about future travels. Keep in mind that Canada will have free entry to all of its national parks in 2017
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Outfit / Winter Blues

Wednesday, January 20

This past week, during our family ski trip to Jay Peak, there wasn't much need or reason to worry about looking presentable. Our ski coats and snow pants were all that anyone would see, and when we weren't at the ski mountain we were doing yoga and reading and eating and watching TV at the rented condo. But on Friday, after hitting up the crazy indoor water park at the mountain, we ate out at one of the few restaurants not on the resort campus--Jay Village Inn. With a cozy fire, close-set tables, and hot food, I knew my Goodwill thrifted sweater would leave me overheated. Luckily, I had packed this casual but light denim shirt I got on a New York & Company Black Friday sale.

Sunday Brunch / 01.17.16

Sunday, January 17

1.) Reading on my morning commute, and a cheap ring I found while cleaning my room. 2.) Driving through Franconia Notch on the way to vacation. 3.) Jay Peak Tram Ale (by Long Trail) as it snows in the afternoon. 4.) I'm just obsessed with how cute and picture perfect the ski patrol cabin was. 5.) The top of Jay Peak, in a cloud. 6.) Cedric, the best part of coming home after vacation.

Happy Sunday :) I can't believe it's halfway through January already. I've been MIA in the blogosphere--reading other blogs, but not updating my own. Most of it is my own failure of time management, but part of it has to do with the fact that random keys on my keyboard haven't been working for a few months (including the number 1 key, the q key, and the delete key) and I've been avoiding bringing my computer to the store.

My family just got back (yesterday) from a ski vacation to Jay Peak. I love skiing but don't get to do it all that often, and trying out new mountains is always fun.

In light of the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, my links today will be focused on them. They were both so talented and ubiquitous, and I'm sure their work will continue to be a part of my daily life. 

Have you seen Benjamin Schwatz's perfect New Yorker cartoons for both David Bowie and Alan Rickman?

When you look into the night sky, try to find the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt constellation, newly created by Belgian astronomers in Bowie's honor.

Have you ever wanted to read like David Bowie? Take his own top 100 list and make it yours.

Alan Rickman's quotes are nothing short of inspiring.

And while I don't love The Simpsons, this inadvertent tribute to both men is great (but it is The Simpsons, so bear in mind that it's not entirely family-friendly).

I'm sure I'll be watching Labyrinth this week, and my family watched some of Harry Potter while on vacation :)

Are you saddened by the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman? What are your favorite works of theirs?
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Life / What I Got for Christmas [2015]

Saturday, December 26

Hello, everyone! Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and happy holidays/winter if not :) 

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, because I get to see my cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles and, well, everyone! As the years have gone on, traditions have changed a little. This year, my mother's extended family opted for a "Faux Noel" a week before Christmas, which my family hosted. My high school friends had our annual Secret Santa. For the actual holiday, my mom's mother is now in a nursing home, so instead of the usual Christmas Eve at her house we got Italian and checked out the nursing home's conference room. We saw my dad's side as usual on Christmas day, but missing my grandfather who passed away in October. Despite all of the differences, I loved seeing my family and friends. As the Doctor says, "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."  

This is a "what I got for Christmas post," so if you don't like these types of posts, that's your warning. Personally, I love these posts and videos. I think they're fun and similar to hauls, but with a more emotional background. I've only done one before, last year. On a practical level, they help me write my thank you notes and also keep me accountable for how lucky I am to have such caring coworkers, friends, and family.
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