Reading is a passion of mine, in fact some people could probably call it an obsession... That girl borrowing five or more books from the library at one time? That’s me. Barnes and Noble takes a lot of my money and I’m not sure how I would survive without Amazon. I even have a journal completely dedicated to books I have read or want to read and a section on my blog that focuses on my yearly reading list. You think I’m a nerd don’t you?... That’s cool, I’m completely OK with that!
We all have that list of books that we swear we are going to get to...one day. Because of our busy schedules we have to be pickier than most on what we give our time to. I think I am more than qualified to give you a list of books that everyone should be excited to read… just to get you started.
I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t show at least some appreciation for a Dan brown book. From the The Da Vinci Code to Deception Point these books are page-turners. I read his last book The Lost Symbol in a day because I couldn’t put it down! (I may or may not have called into work sick.) This is why I am so excited to get my copy of his latest novel.
Inferno is another book in the series of mystery thrillers about protagonist, Robert Langdon. Langdon is a Harvard professor of symbology who is thrown into an epic treasure hunt/race against time when he wakes up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy. Throughout this book, Langdon tries to solve a puzzle directly related to one of history's greatest masterpieces, Dante’s Inferno, before the world is drastically changed.
I have been on the waitlist for this book over 6 months! It has been recommended to me by all of my fellow reading addicts and is on almost every book club reading list that I have found. It’s even popular enough to be turned into a movie that will be coming out in 2015. Although I am nervous that it won’t live up to the hype, I am still on the edge of my seat waiting for my turn to come.
Gone Girl takes place in a small town of North Carthage, Missouri where it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. It’s on this day that Amy disappears and the town is lead on a chase to find out where she is... or who killed her. Throughout most of the book, Nick is put in the spotlight at the number one suspect, but is he really a murderer?? Only time and the clues will tell.
A lot of you have probably already seen the show based on this book on Netflix and if you haven’t you NEED to check it out. It’s definitely one of the best new shows out there and you can currently watch the entire first season. This is one book that I have already read and I can definitely attest to its must read status. Especially if you are interested in watching the series!
Orange Is The New Black is the story of Piper Kerman who is sentenced to a year in prison for a crime she committed 10 years before. This book tells her story and everything she had to deal with while being locked up in a woman’s prison. Throughout this book you meet an array of characters ranging from mentally unstable, to overly friendly to downright scary and you see how Piper learns to live among them.
Ok, ok, you have all probably been forced to read this book in high school but I think after the latest Hollywood interpretation, it’s worth picking up again! I personally want to read it again with a more mature outlook and without a book report due after!
The Great Gatsby tells the story of the wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love and infatuation with Daisy Buchanan. While reading of lavish parties and extravagant excursions you begin to get to know a darker side of the man who everyone in the town envies and looks up to. This novel is a timeless story of infatuation, greed, love and lust and perfect for a night at home with a glass of wine.
This is another book that has been recommended to me numerous times. It has gotten rave reviews and has even been named “book of the week” by Oprah.
Mother, Daughter, Me is a memoir telling the story of Katie Hafner’s year spent living with her mother and teenage daughter. It tells of her triumphs and failures of trying to put back the pieces of a failed relationship between her and her mother and also trying to get her own daughter to have a connection with the woman who she never felt close to. This is a great story of generations and the love and hardships of family.
I know I can’t wait to get started reading these books! In fact by the time you read this I may be part way through the list. What are some of your must reads for the coming months?
Fall is my favorite time of year when it comes to fashion. I love all of the jewel colors, warm knits and bold jackets that come with the cooler weather. There is nothing like pulling on a cute pair of wedge booties and a light, cozy scarf to head out the door! I also find that fall is one of the easiest seasons to transition into because you can use a lot of summer trends and balance them out with a classic fall item. For example, you can pair that super cute pastel shift dress with a camel coat and tights and it’s perfect for autumn leaves!
This fall, there are a few items that should be on everyone’s fall wardrobe update list. Here are 5 of my favorites!
I have never been a fan of the harem pant look so I am beyond excited that this fall’s comfy pant has more of a structure and less of a baggy behind! Slouchy pants can work great as a substitute for masculine trousers for work or can be dressed down with a T-shirt for the weekends. Plus, I am always down for a trend that make me feel like I’m in my pajamas all day! These are only $24.95 from H&M.
Leather is always a great material to have in your closet no matter what the season, but I feel that with fall there are more options. (Leather and 100-degree weather don’t mix!). This fall, find a great leather pencil skirt for work or a pair of shiny leather pants for a night out. If you can afford to splurge, this skirt from Net-A-Porter looks great! *Remember: faux leather works just as well and costs a fraction of the price (and is animal-friendly).
Green is one of the go-to colors for this fall and I love it because it will transition well into the winter season. Try carrying a structured green tote for the office or an emerald green pea coat for those chilly nights. The tote pictured here is on sale now at ASOS.com.
Biker boots are one of my favorite ways to add a little edge to your wardrobe without overdoing it. I wouldn’t suggest that you wear these to the office unless casual attire is acceptable, but these boots are great for fall walks and running errands. They also will transition with you all the way through summer into next fall without losing their appeal. Try a crisp white dress and biker boots for the spring/summer seasons. These cute boots are $190 at Top Shop.
The great thing about a classic structured bag is that they never go out of style. This is one of the pieces I would say to invest in because you will be able to wear it for years to come (in a neutral color). If you want to try something more bold this fall, get one in a fun pattern or texture and make any outfit pop! Try this bold bowling bag from Zara or this shoulder bag by Alexander Wang.
Adding some of these pieces to your collection will help you transition to fall without breaking the bank. Keep classic pieces in mind and add some longevity to your wardrobe.
Have you ever thought of how much money you could save if your favorite foundation didn’t cost 60 dollars? As a beauty blogger who isn’t swimming in dough right now, I thought about it all of the time. This is why I made it my makeup mission to find products that I love at the drugstore. I still can’t give up some of my pricey makeup must haves, but now I limit myself to buying a few expensive items and spend the extra money on a slew of other fabulous things at reasonable prices! Here are some of my favorite drugstore beauty finds.
The colors of these lipsticks are so vibrant and fun! The matte colors look so chic and the 8 dollar price tag makes it easy to experiment with a bolder colors than you are used to. My go-to colors are Persian Melon, Orange Flip and Certainly Red.
I have tried numerous foundations in all different price ranges, but I always end up coming back to this one. It has a light coverage that goes on smoothly and blends into your skin for perfect application. It’s also the only product that I found that really matches my skin color.
Tip: I have found that Rite Aid stocks the most shades so head there if it’s your first time searching!
My favorite mascara is Tarte Lights Camera Lashes, but when I don’t have the extra 20 bucks to spare, I love Falsies by Maybelline. It doesn’t clump and it’s one of the only non-waterproof mascaras I buy that doesn’t smudge under my eyes. I apply multiple layers throughout the day and my lashes always look long and full, never dry and cakey.
I have a couple of these shadows and they make doing everyday makeup effortless, plus the easy application will save you time in the morning. The color goes on great, and the color pairs work so well together you really can’t fail. My go to day color is the duo in Dusk.
Essie is by far my favorite brand of polish. It comes in tons of colors and they always live up to the shade you see in the bottle. I have about 20 myself and even make it a point to bring my own when getting a pedicure!
I am just starting to get into using lip liner. I always thought I would end up with a weird unnatural line around my lips and didn’t know that I could use the liner as a lip color itself. I now use NYC liners to create awesome matte colors on my lips that last for HOURS and never look fake. It also makes it easier to give my husband a kiss without smearing pink all over his lips!
A couple of years ago I really started focusing on what I put into my body. I read numerous books on healthy/clean eating and I researched various diets, including raw food diets and vegetarian/vegan diets. Through my research I found a few “superfoods” that every diet seemed to be in consensus about. Superfoods are foods that are so beneficial for you that you should be eating some of them every day. Keep these items on your radar:
Berries- Not only are berries naturally sweet and delicious, but they also pack a lot of antioxidants and phytonutrients, with very few calories. They are full of fiber and have a high water content, which fills you up quickly and aids with digestion. Add a handful of berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal. Just make sure to always buy organic due to the high pesticide content and their thin skin.
Quinoa- Quinoa was once hard to find but is now is readily available in almost all supermarkets. It’s high in protein and fiber and is also a good source of iron. It’s one of the best whole grains you can eat and it is easy to incorporate into your diet. Try substituting quinoa for the rice in a stir-fry.
Kale- Kale is a leafy green full of vitamins A, C and K. K is especially important for reducing the risk of developing cancer, and is a necessity for healthy bones and blood clotting. Try using steamed kale in place of spinach or adding some raw pieces to your next salad.
Beans- Beans are one of the best ways to incorporate fiber into your diet. They are a low fat way to fill you up and help rid your body of waste, which is imperative to a healthy digestive system. Beans are also a good source of protein, which means that they can be substituted for meat in a meal. Try a veggie and black bean burrito or make garbanzo bean hummus to use as a sandwich spread.
Salmon- Salmon has a high omega -3 fatty acid content, which is important for the health of your heart. It has a lot of protein, is a good source of iron and is low in saturated fat. Always choose wild over farm raised salmon, and don’t eat it more than twice a week due to its mercury content. Hit the superfood trifecta by pairing salmon with quinoa and steamed kale!
Avocados- Avocados are full of cholesterol lowering healthy, and they’re high in lutein, which aids in healthy vision. They have also been shown to lower the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Another bonus: Avocados are one of the cleanest vegetables when it comes to pesticides. Want to go a nontraditional route with avocado? Puree it and make it into a homemade chocolate mousse for dessert!
Sweet Potato- Sweet potatoes are a very inexpensive super food to add to your diet. They are high in Vitamins B6, C and D and are also a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for healthy blood, heart and nerve function, as well as healthy arteries. Try making baked sweet potato French fries!
Carrots- Carrots are one of my favorite super foods because they are packed with vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and K) and serve as a good source of fiber, potassium and thiamine. AND they are low in calories! Carrots have also been shown to have strong cleansing properties that detoxify the liver and help with acne. That not enough to convince you? How about this?: The beta-carotene in carrots function as an antioxidant and slow down the negative effects of aging. Run 4 or 5 carrots through a juicer for a refreshing drink.
Nuts- Nuts have a bad reputation because they’re high in calories and fat, but they’re extremely beneficial when eaten in small amounts. Nuts are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and L-arginine, which may help improve the health of artery walls. The best way to eat nuts is in the shells. You’ll eat less because you have to work harder to get them!
Incorporate these foods into your diet and your body will surely thank you. If you have recipe ideas featuring any of these ingredients, share them with us!
Unless you are one of the lucky people who gets to work from home, you probably don’t have access to your kitchen all day. Being away from the foods that you choose can be hard, especially when you are surrounded with office temptations, or low hanging fruit. A coworker brings in brownies; your boss gets everyone morning donuts or maybe that darn lunch cart keeps coming back around! This is why you should always have healthy snacks in you bag or desk drawer for those times when hunger strikes and there are only unhealthy options. Here are some of my favorites!
Carrots or celery and almond butter
Carrots and celery provide a satisfying crunch while the almond butter adds some healthy fats and is a good source of protein.
Dried dates with pecans
This is for those of you (like me!) with a never-ending sweet tooth. This combination tastes like pecan pie without the guilt!
Air popped popcorn with garlic powder
Popcorn is a great low-calorie snack that satisfies the need to munch without adding to your waistline. It’s a good source of fiber, and a recent study found that it also has beneficial antioxidants. Adding the garlic powder is a great way to add flavor without the fat. Simply Organic has a great garlic powder sold at Target.
Organic Pure Bars
These are my favorite bars. The ones I like are made with organic, whole ingredients that come from the earth. They also keep me satisfied for a longer period of time then the sugary granola bars often found in vending machines. These can be found at Trader Joe’s, Fresh & Easy, Whole Foods or most of your favorite grocery stores
Apples, pears, and bananas
These fruits are always a smart snack to reach for. They are low in calories, easy to eat and don’t need to be refrigerated. You can also buy enough for the entire week without breaking the bank. (Helpful hint: if you live near a Trader Joe’s bananas are only 19 cents apiece!)
Sliced cucumbers with guacamole or hummus
This option is a little messier but it’s filling and gets some healthy fats into your diet to curb cravings. Cut up your cucumber the night before and measure out a serving of hummus or guac and take with you in a separate container. Bringing the full container can lead to eating many more calories then intended.
Guard yourself against those unhealthy options lurking in the breakroom. Be prepared with these healthy snacks and you will stay full and fit. It’s a win-win!
If you’re anything like me, finding an outfit for the beach can be a pain. I want to look cute but I also need to be comfortable and wearing something I can get a little sandy. I don’t want to be too dressed up and not be beach appropriate. We have all seen the girls on the sand in stilettos… a major NO. So I keep these essentials in my closet. They are perfect for the sun, the sand and looking chic.
A Breezy Tunic Cover-up
Tunics are my favorite cover-up for the beach because they transition perfectly from a “cute beach bar outfit” to the perfect “walking on the beach outfit.” Also they can be so light that even the long sleeves feel cool. This Michael Kors Tunic is lovely and bright in blue.
A Chiffon Maxi Skirt
As much as I love heading to the water in a cute pair of cut off shorts sometimes I want to feel girly and feminine. A chiffon maxi is ideal for the beach because it’s sheer, light enough to blow in the wind and makes a huge style impact without feeling like you are dressing up. American Apparel has the perfect style in multiple colors. I love the lighter shades.
Wearing expensive jewelry to the beach is a huge mistake. There are so many places for it to get lost and you don’t want to spend your entire day worried about your diamond studs falling out. That’s why I love woven bracelets. You can get cute ones for very cheap and they look so stylish piled on your arm. Also if you lose one in the ocean its no big deal!
A Large Floppy Hat
One of my favorite things to do at the beach is relax with a good book. Sometimes that can be difficult to do with the sun beaming down onto your face. Big floppy hats are a great way to shade yourself and look amazing. Channel your inner diva and try this J Crew hat on your next trip to the beach!
When out in the sun I like to wear sunglasses that cover a large portion of my face. That way I get more protection from the sun and I can see better without squinting (preventing wrinkles!) These Banana Republic glasses are a personal favorite.
A Straw Bag
The best way to carry all of your beach essentials and still look stylish is to have a big straw tote. They hold a lot and will go with any beach appropriate outfit. I fell in love with this Nautical bag by Straw Studios.
With these pieces you will have no problem finding a quick and stylish outfit for a trip to the beach! For advice on what to pack inside your cute tote check out Beach Basket Essentials. Don’t forget your sunscreen!