New & Upcoming Book Releases

27 May 2015

Is it just me, or does it seem like the end of each spring is accompanied by the release of SO MANY YA BOOKS? Now, I'm not complaining! It makes sense that YA publishers would release books just in time for summer reading. One of my favorite activities during the summer is to sit outside with a cold drink, some sunglasses, and a good book. And by good book, I mean YA Fiction! Here are some new books that I'm looking forward to reading this summer. (click on the titles for plot summaries and info!)

Jenny Han is one of my favorite authors. I find her heroines to be very relatable - dealing with real issues, and not just who likes who. This book is the sequel to To All The Boys I've Loved Before, so if you haven't read that, be sure to check it out first! While I was sad when the first book ended without a firm conclusion, I'm happy to have a whole other book to read about Lara Jean, Peter, and Josh. 

I also love Huntley Fitzpatrick. Her books are a perfect summer read - full of romance, family, and humor. While you're waiting for this book to come out in August, check out it's companion novel My Life Next Door.

Saint Anything - Sarah Dessen (already released!)
Sarah Dessen's books are like old friends - you know you can always count on them to have just the right combination of real life problems and dreamy boys. This sounds a little more intense than some of Dessen's other books, but I have no doubt it will be just as sweet on the romance front and just as moving when dealing with family relationships and friendships.

I've read some of Kasie West's other books and am looking forward to reading this one. Her books are a quick read for me, so I'll probably save this one for when I'm in the mood to stay up late reading. The premise of this book - pretty obvious from the title - sounds just like a Hallmark movie... so I know I'll love it! 

These last few books are by authors that I haven't read before, but I have heard of them on Goodreads or seen the books at the bookstore. I'm a sucker for cute cover art, and these ones caught my eye. 
99 Days - Katie Cotugno (already released!)

What's on your summer reading list? I love to make a big stack of all the books I want to read - no school books or homework allowed!

*All images from publishers' websites, linked to titles.

Surviving Finals Week

18 May 2015


If you're heading into finals (or facing a major deadline), I'm guessing you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Or a lot overwhelmed! I've been through many final exams, papers, and projects in my academic life, and I like to think I've learned a bit about how to successfully get through it all. I can't promise you'll get through it with no problems... I probably had a good cry session every finals week! But that was just how I needed to let some of the pressure go and move on. I hope these tips will help you find ways to approach finals week with a little more confidence.
  1. Stay Calm... When the projects, papers, exams, and assignments start piling up toward the end of the term, it's important to remember that you've made it this far!  You've made it through the majority of the work, the bulk of the material, and all but a week or two of the course length. You can make it just a few more weeks!
  2. Stay Organized... Before you start studying, writing a paper, or working on a project, figure out exactly what you need to get done, what you need to get it done, and when you are going to get it done.  Your planner is your BFF during finals week. I love a good checklist and to map out what due dates are first/which tasks will take the most of my time so that I can prioritize accordingly. Make sure you have all the course material and whatever sources/supplies you might need to complete a paper or project. Also be sure to show up prepared for each exam - bring extra pencils, pens, paper, scantrons, blue/green books - whatever you need to feel ready and prepared.
  3. Get Creative... I'm very much a visual learner, so figuring how I am going to complete a project or how I am going to study is essential to my success. Remember that often times your teacher/professor only sees the final product - so how you get there is up to you! For me, this often means making flashcards for tests and using word/idea maps to brainstorm for papers and projects. Staring at a blank screen probably won't magically bring you an idea, and just reading through your textbook/notes probably won't help you retain information. You have to really engage with the material if you want to learn and come up with a great paper or project idea.
  4. Use The Buddy System... Studying with a friend not only gives you a chance to learn from each other, but also makes sure that you carve out time to actually study. Even if your best friends aren't in your classes, just getting together to study independently will help you to plan more study time and to relieve stress during study breaks. That being said, choose your study buddies wisely - some friends are more distracting than helpful! 
  5. Ask For Help... If you have a question about an assignment or exam, ask your teacher/professor.  It might prevent you from wasting time working on something that you might be doing wrong or studying something that you won't be tested on.  Also, ask your family and friends for help studying. Be sure to ask in advance, and to be specific. I've found that if you just say, "Hey, will you help me study?" you might not get the most enthusiastic response. But if you ask, "Will you help me study my art history flashcards after dinner tomorrow night?" it lets them know that you're going to be prepared to make the most of it, and they can plan around it too. 
  6. Take Care Of Yourself... It's especially important to take care of yourself when you're feeling stressed. Figure out ways that help you relieve stress and remember to take breaks for those things. I always study my flashcards in a bubble bath - it is a relaxing atmosphere for me to study in, and it also helped me destress after a long study session and before bed. Some students live in sweats during finals week. If that helps you feel relaxed and comfortable, go for it! Personally, I prefer to spend a little extra time on my outfit/make-up/hair to make myself feel more confident heading into a test or presentation. Also remember to get lots of sleep and pack snacks! Getting hungry during a test is definitely not ideal.
  7. Make It Fun!... When you've got major deadlines and a lot of pressure, it's the little things that will help you get through. For me, it's pretty colored pens to write with, special snacks/drinks, cute fuzzy socks, and bright sticky notes. For you, it might be typing in a funky font, listening to your favorite song every time you write a paragraph, or making up your own flashcard quiz-game-show. Whatever helps get you through it!
Remember to take it all one day at a time. Just think how AMAZING you'll feel when it's all over (and remember to celebrate yourself for getting through it). I wish you all the best of luck!


Spring Shoe Collection

15 May 2015

Now, I wouldn't call myself 'shoe-obsessed', but I do love shoes! In Fall and Winter I live in neutral boots, so in the Spring and Summer I like to switch it up a little bit. 

 I recently found both of these slip-ons at Target, and I'm loving the ease and comfort of throwing these on when I'm running out for errands or dinner. I think both pairs are stylish without being too much of a statement - they add a cute touch to jeans or a simple dress. 

 When it comes to flip-flops and sandals, I like to stick to neutrals - especially tan. I wear a lot of brighter colors during the Spring and Summer, and I don't want to have to think about whether my shoes are going to go with my outfit. I like how both of these pairs - from Old Navy and Gap - are simple and affordable. 

 I'll admit, sometimes I plan my outfits around my shoes! I found these pink faux-snakeskin flats a few years ago and I love to wear them with an otherwise neutral outfit. They add an unexpected pop of color and I've gotten many compliments on them! The simple, white sandals I purchased recently for a wedding. I wanted something a little dressier than my flip flops, but something that I could definitely get use out of for other occasions. Last, but certainly not least, I love this pair of black clog sandals I found at Macy's (the brand is White Mountain). I have a slight obsession with 70s-style heels, and the studs on these make them a little edgier! I wore these out on my birthday to karaoke with just jeans and a black tee shirt - they were the perfect addition to an otherwise standard outfit.

What are your favorite Spring/Summer shoe trends this year? I'm also keeping an eye out for some flatforms... I'm hoping to find some before the season's over! 


Sewing Box Organization

11 May 2015

I found this sewing box on a recent trip to a Jo-Ann store, and couldn't wait to fill it with my sewing supplies! I've always been interested in sewing, doing the occasional project, and collecting cute notions and fabrics. However, until I got this sewing box, my supplies were kept in a rubbermaid tub in our basement - not cute or convenient! This box in particular had my name on it - I love fashion illustration, especially the images on vintage patterns like the ones on the fabric of this box. 

I'm not going to go through everything I've decided to keep in my sewing box, but I thought I'd share what I consider my sewing essentials. In the pockets on the lid of the box, I just have some snaps and a set of needles. 
 This top tray is very useful for tools that I use often or like to keep handy during a project: 
  • Needles
  • Pins & Pin Cushion
  • Seam Ripper
  • Measuring Tape
  • Washable Marker & Sewing Chalk (for marking fabric)
  • Needle Threaders
  •  Buttons
  • Scissors (for thread, though I still need a nice pair for fabric/ribbon)

I also have some permanent fabric pastels and a tool for fixing sweater snags, but I wouldn't consider those essential.
 In the main compartment, I keep...
  • Thread - on Spools and Bobbins
  • Safety Pins
  • Fabric
  • Snaps - Pieces and a Snap Setter
  • Zippers
I love organizing solutions that are stylish and functional. Having all my supplies organized and handy makes me excited for my next sewing project! 


April Beauty Favorites

02 May 2015

This April I didn't wear makeup very often, but when I did, I wanted to look fresh-faced with just a flush of color on the cheeks and lips. I have quite dry skin, so even as the temperatures rise I still need products that are going to moisturize and offer a dewy - not matte - finish. 

My sister kindly bought me this Tarte Maracuja Oil for my birthday, and I've been using it each night as a moisturizer. It really sinks into your skin, and instead of waking up greasy (like some moisturizers will do), you wake up with a hydrated glow. I also picked up this Rimmel Match Perfection foundation in 101 Classic Ivory, as I was needing a new base. I wanted something a little thicker than my tinted moisturizer, but lighter than some of the fuller coverage products I have. This is the perfect lightweight liquid. I love to mix it with the Maracuja Oil for a little added moisture and to prevent the foundation from clinging to my dryer patches. 

I purchased these two polishes in a set, for it was about 25% cheaper and I wanted to try them out! They're the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes in Sugar Fix (such a beautiful blue!) and the Top Coat. This is the only shade I have at the moment, but I am SO impressed with the formula that I definitely want to pick up more. This polish lasted two full weeks on my nails. There was a little chipping by that point, but I'm used to my polish chipping on day two, so this formula is definitely a winner! If you're going to try these polishes out, I would recommend waiting until the color is completely dry before adding the top coat or it will pull some of the color away. I'm not usually one to spend more than 3-4$ on a polish, but these are definitely worth the price! 

Oh blush... I think I'm still learning how to wear blush without looking like a clown, but this blush is practically fool-proof. It's Benefit's Hervana Blush and it's gorgeous! It is a very subtle cool toned blush with shimmer, so it's perfect for wearing on the cheekbones as a highlighter/blush combo. I may have bought it because it reminds me of Scooby Doo Push Pops (anyone?), but it really is a lovely shade to add just the slightest flush of color and a little highlight. 

What were your favorite products this April? What's your go-to Spring look?