Friday, May 31, 2019

May Reads

I only read 3 books in May (usually I am at 4 or 5), but Where the Light Enters was a lengthy one! Let's get into the reviews, shall we?
I received an Advance Reader Copy from Berkley Publishing (thank you!) - this book comes out June 11th. Quite often, I get into reading the same type of book for a length of time. You might remember last month I read 4 thrillers and then a more fun book - Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. I would compare Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune very much to Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. The storyline is about the main character returning to her hometown after a family members death, and is tasked with carrying on the family restaurant. For Natalie, it is her Mother who died and it is set in San Francisco's Chinatown. Natalie's Grandmother, who passed long ago, had operated a restaurant whose dishes seemed to bring magical help to the community. Even though her Mother kept Natalie from some of theses secrets, she felt it was important for Natalie to open the restaurant again. In order for it to succeed (and also bring the struggling neighborhood back to life), she must cook 3 special recipes from her Grandmother's book...... but some pages are missing. This book was so enjoyable and I loved the characters that came into Natalie's life. As with any book where food is involved, the descriptions are so vivid and essential to knowing the culture. 
In the Blink of an Eye, by Jesse Blackadder
This copy was sent to me by St. Martin's Press (thank you)! This story was certainly not uplifting, but I still couldn't put it down. It tells of a family dealing with a terrible loss (2 year old drowning) which forces them to deal with underlying issues that had already been existing in their relationships (resentment over a move, infidelity, and bullying to name a few). Each chapter takes turns going between Finn (Dad), Bridget (Mom), and Jarrah (teenage son). There is a depth to the trauma, grieving and guilt all of these characters go through, and I was at peace with how it ended.

Where the Light Enters, by Sara Donatti
This Advance Readers Copy was sent to me by Berkley Publishing (thank you!) - it is released on September 10th. This was a long read, but well worth it. I didn't realize it is the second in a series, but I don't feel you need to read the first one to understand what is going on. The other thing I found intriguing about reading this is the same issues women were dealing with in the late 1800's are the same issues we are STILL dealing with. The story follows 2 female doctors (a hardship in itself during this time) who are involved in trying to solve a serial killer type case as well as a recent death and disappearance that may be linked. The way that medicine was practiced, the apothecaries, and life during this time kept this a page turner! It deals with so many things: gender discrimination, race discrimination, religious discrimination, adoption/foster care, and women's health. There is a huge presence of family, as the two main characters are cousins and very close with each others large families. I loved this book!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Worldly Surprise

Well, this is my third find of the season at World Market! I am so impressed with their clothing and accessories. You may remember this Peacock Kaftan and this Butterfly Jumpsuit, and now this pretty Peacock Dress. Best of all, there is a sale today and tomorrow for 40% ALL clothing and accessories!!! I feel their price points are already really good, so this sale is amazing!
I cannot resist beautiful embroidery, and this pattern reminded me a little bit of Otomi which I love. The colors really pop against the black and the style is very modest/classic while still being cool in the Summer with a blend of cotton and linen. I belted it to give it a little shape, but it looks great on its own too.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Summer Holidays

My favorite LuLaRoe dress is the Carly, and I own several of them. This easy t-shirt dress can be styled in so many ways! It stands alone for sure, but you can belt it, throw a jacket, sweater or vest over it, add tights for cooler weather, perfect for necklaces or scarfs, the list goes on and on.
This is the latest Carly dress I've purchased, and it looks like a chunky knit sweater only screen printed onto a lightweight fabric! I love that it has red, white and blue but more muted so that it's not so specific to Memorial Day or 4th of July. Obviously, I plan to wear this for both holidays but it's going to be just as great in the Fall with tights and boots due to the sweater vibes!
I kept it simple here, since when it's hot I don't feel like a constricting belt or heavy necklace. I'll be keeping cool while still looking pulled together! Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!!!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Button Front Midi Dress

 Button front dresses and skirts are huge this year! If you go to any site like Gap, Loft or Anthropologie you will see that dresses like this are $70 and up! Yes, the discount retailers have them too but I was not impressed until I came upon these at....... Walmart! I've noticed that ALL discount retailers are stepping up their game over the years and Walmart is really taking advantage of partnering with some major social media influencers. Seeing some of my favorite bloggers share some cute stuff prompted me to head into Walmart.
 The dress is no longer online (unfortunately) but both Walmart locations near me had a good selection. *Updated: I am now finding links online!* The dress comes in chambray, white, blue/white stripe and multi stripe. I had first bought the chambray one because it is so classic and will go with so much, but then I couldn't stop thinking about the multi stripe so I went back for it. You can find this same multi stripe fabric in a shirt dress style, shift dress style, top and shorts!
 I guess I forgot to mention that these dresses are $22.88! What a steal. I am super impressed by the quality. I love the modest coverage on top - the straps are adjustable and the back has an elastic panel. They all come with their own coordinated sash belts, but I put my own brown one on here to personalize it a bit. And, pockets!!!
Belt : Kohl's
Gap Jean Jacket : Consignment Shop

 The other thing I love about this style of dress is that it works really well with the layering under trend. I don't typically go sleeveless in the office, so popping a tee under these dresses is a great alternative to a jacket or sweater. You can already tell the styling ideas are endless with these!
White Tee : Meijer
Summer Shells Necklace : Anthropologie
Latigo Sandals : Anthropologie

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Crop Top

 The crop top trend that came back a few years ago is not really for this Mom of 2 in her 40's. I've only ever worn this granny square sweater over dresses (see examples below). But, the older I get the less I care about rules - whether self imposed or society imposed. Here is a good example of a self imposed rule I always had for myself - don't wear open toe shoes until your toenails are painted. Well, it has been a few months of on and off open toe shoe wearing and as you can see my toenails are not painted. I'll get to them..... eventually.
 I am always looking for ways to "remix" the pieces in my closet, so my goal for this season is to wear this sweater with both black and blue jeans (just as I did it with a black and blue dress). I pulled out my highest rise black jeans today, and still took a jacket with me for breezy moments.
 Farm Rio Crochet Sweater : Anthropologie
Pilcro High Rise Flare Crop Jeans : Anthropologie
Seychelles Sandals : Anthropologie
St. Johns Bay Jacket : JC Penney
Sunglasses : Target

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Long have I admired Missoni's signature chevron knits that are out of my reach. They did a collaboration with Target a few years ago but I guess none of those pieces spoke to me. When I saw some Missoni-ish pieces at Anthropologie I was really drawn to the colors used. This dress is by the brand Aldomartins and there are also separates (a top and skirt) in this same pattern. At first the logical part of me said skirt because I could remix many tops with it. But then I couldn't stop thinking about how cohesive the full dress was. I tried on both the skirt and dress, and the dress was much more flattering for me. The knit is very thin and I guess you could wear it alone and be fine but I decided to line it with a plain black maxi dress. I am also being careful not to snag it!
I know I've said it in the past, but I love that Anthro offers designers from around the world that I wouldn't otherwise have access to. Aldomartins is based in Spain (as well as Farm Rio which is another favorite brand they carry). There are a handful of designers from India that I've loved too.
When it came to accessorizing this dress, I tried on 3 statement necklaces (because you know I have quite the collection of big colorful necklaces). Honestly, this dress stands on its own! The necklaces were too much for it, but then I feel boring if I don't wear any jewelry. Next time I'll try a simple pendant I think. 
Aldomartins Contrera Knit Maxi Dress : Anthropologie
Seychelles Lofty Wedge Sandals : Anthropologie
$7 black maxi tank dress : Meijer
Sunglasses : Target

Friday, May 3, 2019

Pixilated Peach

I tried to talk myself out of this skirt, because I need another frilly skirt like I need a hole in my head, but then I tried it on and knew I had to have it. I waited until it hit sale + an extra 40% off. It's a peach lining with a sheer layer of pixilated flowers. It reminds me very much of cross stitch. I realize I've been posting a lot of "new" items, which I guess is par for the course when the seasons change, but it's also due to waiting until the weather cooperated!
My initial outfit idea for this was a white tee/tank and jean jacket. I'm glad I went for a more matchy-matchy look with a peach tank and olive jacket. I bought these Anthro copycat shells at Kohl's a few years back in every color they had. I didn't have much to wear the peach with so now I am glad it has a better purpose! I bought these olive sandals secondhand last summer, trying to match a dress (which they didn't). I thought about getting rid of them (reselling, donate) but then I figured a wear enough olive that I should get some use out of them. I tried a few necklaces with this, but liked the outfit standing on its own. 
Sonoma Shell : Kohl's (old)
Hei Hei Jacket : Anthropologie (old, secondhand)
Sandals : Poshmark