Monday, June 25, 2018

Pink & Green

I am really drawn to pink & green together, so this dress was no exception. But with a price tag of $178, it was out of my reach. As you will see below, I lucked out with markdowns..... I even got an extra 30% off the $49.95! This was late Fall last year so I am just now wearing it, which you have to deal with if you want to get good deals off season. I bought the necklace around the same time too, which I've worn with other things, and it just so happens to go with this dress perfectly.
The hard match though has been the shoes. It's one of those cases where you see olive sandals all the time but then when you are looking for them.... nothing! Plus, this is a bit darker than olive - it is more of a forest green. I finally decided I was going to stop looking and wait until the right pair of shoes fall into my lap so to speak. I really don't want to go the pink route because I won't wear them as much as a more neutral green. Until then, I thought I could get away with brown sandals if I put on a brown belt to try to tie it together.
 Eri & Ari "Lalia Lace Dress" : Anthropologie
Layered Marbles Necklace : Anthropologie

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Wonderful Gift

Check out this gorgeous peacock crochet shawl Aunt Donna gave to me! It was such an unexpected surprise, and a gift that I will treasure. I am a serious lover of crochet tops/sweaters, but I have never had anything made for me. I couldn't wait to wear it/blog about it, and with today being in the 60's it was the perfect chance for this beauty! When I have a statement piece like this, I keep the rest of my outfit really simple. Jeans and a tee here, but I could see this over a dress too!
Handmade Peacock Shawl : gift
Mossimo High Rise Jeans : Target
Rampage Sandals : Meijer

Friday, June 22, 2018

Books About India

India is a country that is very intriguing to me, and I would love to visit it someday. Until then, reading books about India will have to suffice so I thought I'd do a little round up here.
I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers, in it's entirety, on a train trip to and from Chicago. It was very good, and very heartbreaking.
In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
 I read Lion by Saroo Brierley, as well as watched the movie. Both were very enjoyable. It is very common in India for young children to be "left to their own devices" while their parents work or else are forced to work at a young age themselves to help support their families. While helping his brother one day, 5 year old Saroo falls asleep on a train and finds himself lost. As much as he tries, he cannot find his way home. After surviving the rough streets, he is lucky enough to get adopted by an Australian family. As an adult, he spent countless hours on Google Earth to find his village and eventually reunites with his Mother and family. As a Mother, I cannot imagine losing a child and "not knowing" what happened. And how scary it must have been for Saroo to have gotten lost.

I really enjoyed This Is How I Save My Life. I related to Amy because she is a Virgo like me, and it's hard for us to step out of our comfort zones, we agonize over decisions, and rack our brains about the what ifs. After the long road of being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Amy has already been to dozens of doctors and has tried countless medications and treatments. She eventually decides to try an experimental stem cell treatment only offered in India. Upon completion, she feels better and can actually have a functional life. But she begins to wonder if she owes her recovery to the treatment itself or the new mindset she has after being forced to life a completely different lifestyle during her stay there. Very inspirational, and it makes me question the health care system.
 It has been a while since I read and watched Eat, Pray, Love, but India was one of the three countries Elizabeth Gilbert spent her year sabbatical. Again, being a Virgo I am in admiration of Elizabeth's brave journey and choices! 
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

R.I.P. Kate Spade

I treated myself to this Kate Spade bag about a year ago (see this post). Kate's entire peacock collection featured several clothing items including a dress and a blouse with this same peacock print. While I loved everything, I had to narrow down my purchase and this tote bag made the most sense for my lifestyle. When I noticed this peacock tee at Talbots, I knew it would match my bag pretty darn good! On sale for $39.99 with an extra 40% off, the price was much more affordable too! Trust me though, my purse rarely matches my outfit like this on a daily basis!
This sequin tee joins up with some old favorites - jeans, sandals and sunglasses that I've had for years and get a lot of wear!
I was very sad to hear of Kate Spade's suicide a few weeks ago. I wonder what will happen with her brand....... other designers who have passed have had their brand carried on so I hope that happens for Kate. I'm also interested to see what happens on the secondhand market for her pieces. I have already seen some insane prices on eBay.
Kate Spade Peacock Tote - Macy's
Mossimo High Rise Jeans / Sunglasses - Target
Sandals - Payless

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book & Show Reviews : Dystopian Themes

One genre of books (and shows) I've been enjoying have dystopian themes, so I thought I would group them all together. I recently did a post about the book VOX, which fits into this category. And along those same lines, where the focus is women in society, I've been binge watching The Handmaids Tale on Hulu which is based on Margaret Atwood's book of the same name. I have not read the book yet, but WOW is all I can say about the show.
In another book to TV relationship, I read the Wayward Pines Trilogy upon my friend Sarah's recommendation. Man, it did not disappoint! A scientist predicts a fault in the human gene, so he decides to carefully select a group of people (unbeknownst to them) to freeze and reawaken in the future when he thinks the gene will have run it's course. When the time comes to rebuild Wayward Pines, human-like creatures are still overrunning the earth. The last of mankind is protected by an electric fence and brainwashed to think that Wayward Pines is all they know. But of course, others remember their past and begin to question why they can't leave this place. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so that is all I will say. Since the TV adaptation was a few years ago, I was able to binge watch its 2 season run. The first season followed the books pretty well. The second season was entirely different characters but I still enjoyed it and did not want it to end!
 Parched is a book that was written by an individual who used to work at the same company as me. Since I read this one a few years ago, I am going to rely on the on the stock description:
The sun has become a 'red giant' and the world is hot and parched. In California, James and Lexie Deforio have three goals: to find food and water, to survive another day, and to protect their two children. When their home is abruptly robbed and burned to the ground, the family is forced to embark on a cross-country journey in search of safety and water. Facing ruthless bandits, murderers, and some of the most extreme conditions they have ever encountered, they struggle to survive. When James is shot trying to help another family, Lexie and her children set out on a harrowing journey to save him. Finding temporary safety in the abandoned Ohio salt mines deep under Lake Erie, they appear to have found a new home. But, like everything on their journey, not all is as it seems.
Andrew put a teaser at the end for a possible sequel. I haven't seen anything yet, but I'd definitely be interested in reading more!
 Bird Box, another recommendation from Sarah, is by another Michigan author Josh Malerman:
Something is out there . . .
Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?
Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?
In researching this post, I am thrilled to find out that Bird Box will be adapted into a movie to be released in December! Also, if any of these books or shows are appealing to you I would highly recommend the movie A Quiet Place which was recently released. So, so good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Guest Bedroom Update

 We recently refreshed our guest bedroom, so I thought I would show what we did (especially the DIY projects). I don't have a before picture of the room, but we painted the ceiling/trim (white) and walls (greenish grey). Cleaned the carpet. And moved the ceiling fan/light fixture from our room to replace the dated one. Back in February, I had the honor of helping my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandparents home. I was able to select many items that are near and dear to me that I was able to use when decorating this room.
 I wanted a cleaner look (a.k.a. didn't want to match bedding to the wall color) so I got a new bedskirt and comforter from Kohl's. You can see one of the kids was just sitting on the bed so excuse the wrinkles!
 The throw and pillows I already had, but check out this amazing embroidered pillow I found in my Grandparents basement! In the 40 years I'd known them, I had never seen this so I don't know the story behind it.
 We had this crate, and my Dad gave us this green canister a while ago. The scale is my Great-Grandmothers, which I put some old books on. The dried hydrangeas I cut from my Grandma's bush when I was there.
 My Grandparents had a set of 3 suitcases from the Wheary Luggage Company (which was made in our hometown of Racine, WI). Grandma even stored them in the original boxes (which I have too). I remember her pulling these out to pack for our annual Summer vacations in Hayward!
 Topping this display is a stack of Golden Books (from when Grandpa worked at Western Publishing) and a really cool feather hat my Dad got me at a garage sale. I found the vintage head stand for it at a flea market last year.
 I just love the aged leather, and having a piece of Grandpa's handwriting.
 Okay, onto the DIY! One of the coolest features in this room is the ledge shelf that spans almost the entire length of this wall. There's a "dump site" by Jon's office where we get a lot of our "reclaimed" wood. We think this was a utility pole. Jon measured the studs in the wall so that he could drill holes into the back (I think there were 5). We used some heavy duty hardware to drill into the studs and then fit the shelf holes onto them. The railroad spikes on the front were placed by Jon into existing holes the pole had. I knew this shelf was going to be a photo gallery, and I affixed some ribbon onto some of the frames to hang them from the spikes. The family sign is from Kohl's. Most of these pictures I already had, as well as the established frame color scheme of silver, pewter, black.
 Lastly, these wall sconces are on both sides of the window. These were my Grandma's on my Dad's side. They were gold ceramic and meant to hold taper candles. Some of my friends know the funny story behind this project and can relate to the priorities of men vs. women. Our weeknights are pretty hectic. We all get home from work/school and there are backpacks to unpack and get ready for the next day, dinner to make and kitchen to clean, baths to be had, etc..... In the midst of all of this one evening, Jon starts setting up a painting station on the kitchen island. I was thinking "WTF is he doing!!?!?! There are a million other more important things to be doing right now!" After a brief exchange, he told me he thought these would look better in distressed white and then we could put a test tube vase in them with a flower (all of which we already had) for the room. I have to admit I stood there with my jaw hanging wide open. You see, this man can drive me insane on a daily basis, but he still has the ability to surprise me after 16 years of marriage. I have to say his idea was brilliant and I think they turned out wonderful!
So besides the paint, bedskirt/comforter, and family sign we did not buy anything else for this room. It is so gratifying to "use what you have", especially when the items mean something to you!

Crochet is here to stay!

 It's no secret that I am a bit obsessed with crochet pieces, as shown in the sampling above. But, I'm at the point where I probably have enough of these crazy sweaters unless I strike a super good deal. So lately, I've just been enjoying the "eye candy" at a few of my favorite sites. It seems that crochet is here to stay (in the mainstream fashion world), at least for a while! I've included links to all of pieces below.
 Striped Long Kimono - Anthropologie
 Crochet Bell Sleeved Sweater - Urban Outfitters
 Festival Knit Tank - Anthropologie
 Roches Crocheted Tank - Anthropologie
Kearney Crocheted Cardigan - Anthropologie