Summer Reading Challenge: Satisfaction

It wouldn’t be summer without a reading challenge, and I’m so excited to once again be doing the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge! This summer’s theme is travel, so the challenge has books set allover the world. Now, it’s time to crack open a book, and see where the words take you…

BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge: Satisfaction

Location: Road Trip

First Line Teaser: Ginny braced herself.

At twenty-two, Ginny discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, so she decides to console herself by purchasing tickets to every concert on the Rolling Stones North America  tour. Bree is a free-spirit who shies away from responsibility, including her teenage daughter, Victoria. When Ginny and Bree meet at a roadside diner, an unlikely friendship springs up that takes them on the adventure of a lifetime.

I thought a book about a road trip following the Rolling Stones would be a fun, summer read, but I just couldn’t get into Andee Reilly’s Satisfaction.  From the first page, I knew this book wasn’t going to be for me. I mean, I like the Rolling Stones, but describing the 72-year-old Mick Jagger as “smoking hot” is just beyond me. The man’s got moves, but looks?

A bigger issue for me was that I just couldn’t connect with Ginny or Bree. Ginny acts too old for her age, and Bree acts too young. They don’t exactly make winning decisions, and their friendship didn’t make much sense to me. The story just didn’t hit the right notes for me, but it did make me want to listen to the Rolling Stones.

You can find out more about Andee Reilly by visiting her website and following her on Twitter and Facebook.

This summer follow along with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

This book was sent to me for review and is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

This summer follow along with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out other books from the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge – The Balance ProjectEight Hundred GrapesMaybe in Another LifeBeautiful GirlThe Witch of Bourbon Street, and Anchored!

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Erin Condren LifePlanner and Coupon Code

Even though I’m not in school, I’m in the mood for school supplies. From pencils to planners, I squeal at the sight of back to school sales. In many ways, September is like January with the start of the school year offering one the opportunity to make goals and get a fresh start. With that in mind, let’s talk about planners!

How do you organize your life? I love my Erin Condren LifePlanner!

Last year, I splurged on an Erin Condren LifePlanner. Normally, I spend about $10 a planner, but after reading review after review and watching numerous unboxing videos, I decided to drop the dough and see what the fuss was about. As a paper planner lover, I’ve been incredibly happy with my purchase. From the interchangeable covers and personalization to tabbed sections and pocket folder, the LifePlanner is fun and easy to navigate.

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

 Monthly View

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

I don’t go sticker crazy with my planner, but I have added stickers to all of my monthly calendars. I mainly use the monthly calendar as a sentence-a-day journal and write a brief line for every day. The Notes sidebar is where I make notes for upcoming events and other things I want to keep in mind for that month.

Weekly View

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

I don’t usually fill in things ahead of time unless I have an event coming up. I use a lot of the elements of the Bullet Journal system and use boxes for tasks, circles for appointments, and dots for notes.  All of those things get added as the day goes on. When I was in school, I put everything in my calendar as soon as I knew about it, but since graduating, my schedule has become more flexible so my planning style is not as rigid as it once was.


My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

The Notes section is not something I use very often, but it’s convenient to have blank paper on hand. This is where I keep track of products I want to try – beauty, apps, subscription boxes – and events I want to attend in the future.


My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

The back of the planner has four sheets of stickers. Two sheets are labeled and two sheets are blank. I don’t really use the stickers that much, and I find a full page of birthday stickers a little excessive, but it’s nice to have already labeled stickers for doctor appointments and parties.

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

The Perpetual Calendar I use as a monthly log, and it’s where I jot down important events that happened that month.

My thoughts on the Erin Condren LifePlanner.

The Keep It Together folder is my catch all for fliers and brochures while the pouch is where I stash extra stickers.

Every year the LifePlanner gets updated, so if you are interested in seeing what the 2016 LifePlanner looks like, check it out here. And, don’t forget to check out all of the Erin Condren accessories!

Erin Condren has a great referral program, and if you sign up using my referral link, you will save $10 off your first order, and I’ll get a $10 store credit. I love it when everybody wins! 

How do you keep track of your schedule?

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the Erin Condren LifePlanner, take a look at my original planner post.

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Inspired by The Great Gatsby

If there’s a movie that sums up the end of summer, it has to be Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, with decadence and tragedy going head to head in a swirl of champagne and sequins. Okay, I’ve never experienced a summer quite like that, but in my head, the end of summer is like a grand, Gatsby-style party that suddenly stops. Whether you are looking forward to crisp, autumn days or are enjoying the blazing, summer sun, sequins are always in style, so why not indulge?

Deck yourself in rhinestones with this look inspired by The Great Gatsby.

Miuccia Prada designed many of the dresses for the film, but, thankfully, you can find sweet, flapper dresses at a friendlier price point. Frock and Fril’s black Partner in Shine Dress and emerald Cabaret Soiree Dress beg to be worn while you dance the night away. Accessorize with bling-tastic earrings like Lilou Chandeliers by Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz that would rival any of the chandeliers in Gatsby’s mansion. A Deepa Gurnani Crystal Loop Headband would make even Daisy jealous, and the Viva la Diva Heels from Betsey Johnson Footwear are worthy of attention should you find yourself dancing on top of a table. Charleston lessons sold separately.

Shop the Look!

P.S. You can read my thoughts on Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby here.

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Links a la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

Links a la Mode: Enjoy these fashionable links from Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Links à la Mode, August 20 by Lisa Walker

I’m blaming it on the moon.  

IFB Bloggers shared a near excessive amount of posts on mixed drink recipes and personal recipes for turning a frown upside down.  And kind of like the chicken and the egg debate, I’m not sure which came first.  There were also two good posts about putting fashion in perspective and not letting it become something we’re not and it’s not.

As always, a round up would not be complete without an assortment of trend and design details, along with beauty and personal style introspectives.

I also absolutely loved that two bloggers, male and female, posted the same bleu look.  A collaboration may be in order.

SPONSOR: Shopbop Vale, Pari Desai, South Parade, Running Bare Activewear, Eleven Thirty, Eytys Sneakers, Men’s Eytys Sneakers, Tak. Ori, Peter & May Walk Sunglasses, APL Shoes

Check out the Independent Fashion Bloggers on Facebook to find out how to submit your posts for Links a la Mode.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see Policies for more information.*

Summer Reading

This summer has been full of books, so today I am sharing some of my summer reading.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own
by Kate BolickSummer Reading: Spinster by Kate Bolick

Kate Bolick’s Spinster is part memoir, part research into the lives of the women who inspired her pursuit of the single life – columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. After reading Bolick’s essay in Vogue earlier this year, I knew I had to read her book on being an unmarried woman; however, I found the book disappointing. Dry and methodical, Bolick doesn’t deliver the snappy, cultural exploration I was expecting. It didn’t help that I knew very little or nothing about the five “spinsters” she discusses in her book, and she doesn’t go into enough detail to make the women come alive on their own. Since all of the “spinsters” Bolick examines end up marrying at some point in their lives, they did not seem like the best examples of unmarried women in America. Bolick’s own story felt self-indulgent, and while she makes interesting points about being single, Spinster felt like a very boring text book required for a women’s history class. For me, this book did not live up to the hype.

This book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

by Maria Dahvana Headley

Summer Reading: Magonia

Maria Dahvana Headley’s Magonia has been described as a cross between Neil Gaiman and John Green, and I totally agree. The world building felt like a Neil Gaiman novel, while the emotions and dialogue made me think of John Green. However, Magonia is a story all its own.

The Legacy of Us
by Kristin Contino

Summer Reading: The Legacy of Us

The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino travels from 1905 Italy to present-day Philadelphia as it follows three women and their connection to a cameo locket that holds a family secret. Liz Moretti is crushed when her grandmother dies, but when she discovers a diary and a cameo with a mysterious inscription, Liz becomes absorbed in discovering the answers while trying to balance her own shaky love life. Ella is trying to care for her ill mother while raising her own children and pursuing her dream of opening a bakery, but when her normally tight lipped mother, Gabriella, starts talking about an unknown fiance, Ella finds a way to reconnect with her mother.

I enjoyed reading The Legacy of Us. The story is sweet and cozy, and I liked the way the three stories were woven together. Ella’s story was my least favorite since not much happened and it felt like it was only there to connect Liz to Gabriella. However, the two other stories made up for it. Gabriella’s story takes place in Italy during the early 1900’s, and it was easy to be swept away by her doomed romance. While Liz always seemed to be a puddle of tears, her search for the missing cameo while juggling two guys and conflicting feelings about her sister’s wedding kept me turning pages.

 This book was sent to me by BookSparks in exchange for an honest review.

It wouldn’t be summer without a reading challenge, and I’m so excited to once again be doing the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge! This summer’s theme is travel, so the challenge has books set allover the world.

by Brigitte Quinn

Summer Reading; Anchored by Brigitte Quinn

Location: NYC

First Line Teaser: Figures, she thought, the one day she hoped to sleep in, some knucklehead celebrity had to up and crash his plane.

Anchored by Brigitte Quinn is a fizzy look at life at a cable news channel. Barbara King’s life ambition is to be the next Barbara Walters, but until that happens, she’s stuck at the Phoenix, a station run by a former soap opera actor. When the station decides that Barbara needs a co-anchor, things get messy as Barbara finds herself attracted to Jack.

While the behind the scenes look at life in broadcasting was interesting, I couldn’t get into the story. The characters felt flat, and I’m really annoyed by storylines involving married people who find themselves wildly attracted to not-their-spouse. Not that it doesn’t happen in real life or that it can’t be done well in a novel, but it’s a trope I find off-putting. I was fascinated by the inner workings of the Phoenix – the egos, the politics, the gossip. The news channel was the most interesting character in my opinion. Quinn’s experience in broadcasting really came through in the way she brought the Phoenix to life, but the story just wasn’t for me.

This summer follow along with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

This book was sent to me for review and is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

In other news…

It’s time for the Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap!

Your package must include:
  • A book from your partner’s wishlist.
  • A book you have read and loved.
  • A book you haven’t read, but think looks interesting. (Can also be on their wishlist.)
  • *Optional* Other book-related goodies.  

I always look forward to this swap, and you can sign up until 8/24.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out other books from the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge – The Balance ProjectEight Hundred GrapesMaybe in Another LifeBeautiful Girl, and The Witch of Bourbon Street!

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August Wish List: Plaid

I know we are just past the middle of August, but suddenly I am in the mood for fall. I’m looking forward to crisp days that call for cute layers. I’m looking for reasons to drink hot chocolate and can’t wait for the stores to start carrying apple cider. I’m blaming my fall-ish mood on the unusually cool and rainy summer we have had. Sure we’ve had 90+ days, but they have been rare. Normally, I dread the leaves changing color because that means winter is coming, and while I am not looking forward to another winter, I am ready for fall. So, while these plaid pieces may seem slightly out of season for an August wish list, plaid is what is currently on my mind.

Get in the mood for fall with these fabulous plaid pieces!

Dolce by Mojo Moxy Street Style Fashion Show Bootie in InkBuonaventura Bag and Cases LLC Scholarly Statement SkirtCitizens of Humanity Capucine ShirtBB Dakota Harlow Plaid Shift Dress / BB Dakota Woven Plaid Capelet

What’s on your wish list?

P.S. Shopbop is having a sale on classic bags. Use code INTHEBAG to save 20% off until 11:59 p.m. tonight (8/19/15).

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Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

I was raised to believe that a lady always wore hose when she wore a skirt or a dress. This advice seems incredibly dated now, but as a child and even a teenager, I didn’t question it. As a dancer and a figure skater, I was always wearing tights, so pantyhose seemed perfectly normal. However, the age of celebrity ushered in bare legs, making hose free legs acceptable for all but the most professional of occasions. While hose were sometimes uncomfortable, they did have one major benefit – smooth legs. Enter Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

Thoughts on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

Think of Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs as pantyhose in a tube, or better yet, leg makeup. The tinted lotion instantly gives your legs a more polished appearance without making you feel like a stuffed sausage. Influenster sent me the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Leg Makeup in Light, and I’ve been really impressed with the way it smooths over imperfections and does not rub off on my clothes.

Thoughts on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

At first I was worried because the light color did not match my skin, but as I rubbed the color in, it gave my legs a nice, almost sun-kissed glow. Since I am naturally whiter than sour cream, I appreciate anything that brings a little life to my skin.

Thoughts on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

Wearing jewelry from Chloe + Isabel.

Thoughts on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

Thoughts on Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

What I’m Wearing: Floral blouse, H&M. Peach skirt, The Limited. Pearl + Crystal Floral Filigree Earrings, Chloe + Isabel. Retro Glam Square-Cut Crystal Bracelet, Chloe + Isabel. (FIY I’m a Chloe + Isabel Merchandiser.) Melissa Lace up Ballet Flats, c/o Shopbop.

Do you use leg makeup?

*Product was sent to me for review, but all opinions are my own. Also, this post may contain affiliate links. Please see Policies for more information.*

Links a la Mode and Other Things

Links a la Mode: Fashion links from Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Links à la Mode, August 13 by Kim Toomey

Many of you are still traveling and showing how travel boosts your creative pulse.  Another, embarked on a tour of a fashion golden age.  However, what most of the IFB bloggers were talking about this week was beauty… whether at home or in the salon.  The delight of treating oneself to a high-end salon blow out, pampering your skin and follicles with facial masks and hair color, and everyday beauty tricks like strobing or updating your look with the newest nail color.

I just love how this community shares their insight on blogging; from photography and increasing followers to creating a blogging collective.

We also had a couple good entertainment reviews.  One of the spoof variety and one of the deep-cuts fashion icon variety.  I’ll let you decide which is which.

And for those of you no longer traveling, but heading back to the office, move straight to the posts on how to liven up your cubicle style.

Links à la Mode, August 13

SPONSOR: Shopbop Miu Miu Sunglasses, Monica Vinader, Brixton, Men’s CK Jeans, Jason Wu, Stella McCartney, Leather Jackets, Booties with Fringe, Off Shoulder Maxi Dresses & Fold Over Clutches

Check out the Independent Fashion Bloggers on Facebook to find out how to submit your posts for Links a la Mode.

In other news…

The wonderful Velvet from vvb32reads has nominated me for a Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
Put the Award logo on your blog.
Answer the ten questions sent to you.
Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
Nominate ten blogs.

Velvet’s Questions:

1. What book are you currently reading?


Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

2. In your current book, if you were one of the characters, who would you want to be?

I’m not sure I would want to be any of the characters, but I do really like Aza Ray Boyle.

3. In your current book, is an animal mentioned?

Yes, lots of birds.

4. What book is next on your reading list?

I like to read several books at a time, so I am, also, reading The Legacy of Us: A Novel by Kristin Contino. I will be reviewing it for BookSparks next week on the blog, so stay tuned.

The Legacy of Us

5. What book is your significant other (or other person in the house) reading?

Rich Dad Poor Dad by by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter is making the rounds in my house. Financial literacy is something my family is working on.

Rich Dad Poor Dad and financial literacy

6. Do you like to keep your books (horizontal) stacked in a pile or (vertical) standing upright on a shelf?

I’ve got books going every which way on my shelves, but I do prefer nice, orderly, vertical rows of books.

7. Who usually gives you a book as a gift (non-blogger)?

My family gives me books as gifts. I usually ask for one or two coffee table books for Christmas because they are books I would not otherwise splurge on.

8. Where do you usually buy your books (physical location)?

It’s a tossup between Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, although I tend to buy more specialty magazines than books there.

9. What dream location would you like to be while reading?

Someplace quiet. Perhaps a cozy spot by a fireplace with a mug of tea/hot chocolate/cider near by. It can’t be anywhere too exciting or else I won’t want to read.

10. Which current author(s) would you like to visit your local bookstore for a reading/signing?

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, and as much as I would like to meet her, I would totally be freaked out if she showed up at my local bookstore since she is dead. I have no desire to meet a ghost. So, sticking to living authors, I would love to meet Rainbow Rowell and Neil Gaiman.

So, friends, I’m nominating all of you. Same questions. Answer in the comments below or do your own post. I’d love to hear about what you are reading!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award: What are you reading?

Thanks Velvet for nominating me!

P.S. Have you checked out my Chloe + Isabel boutique?

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see Policies for more information.*

Stripes and Chambray

After spending a week in sunny Georgia, it feels strange to come back to the abnormally cool Midwest. This summer has been more rainy than sunny, and I’ve been caught one too many times in a sudden and torrential downpour. Sadly, my week away was not much of a vacation because almost the entire time was spent in helping my brother move, but my family still made time for fun things. My mom and I made a special trip to Marietta to see the Gone With The Wind Museum, which houses an odd assortment of telegrams, scripts, books, posters, costumes, and props and is a lovely way to spend an hour. And, of course, no trip down South is complete without a stop at Zaxby’s and Bojangles’. Fast food for the win.

This summer I'm embracing my love of stripes and chambray.

For me, this summer has been about embracing stripes and chambray. This Chambray shirt from Old Navy is seeing a lot of play and this striped maxi from the Gap is just one of the many striped pieces spilling out of my wardrobe.

This summer look is brought to you by stripes and chambray.

This summer I, also, decided to embrace my entrepreneurial spirit and became a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser. The jewelry company launched four years ago and embraces social media as a new way of reaching customers. The jewelry is based on imaginary best friends with opposite tastes, so whether you are classic or trendy, you are sure to find something you love.

Loving this necklace from Chloe + Isabel.

What I’m Wearing: Chambray shirt from Old Navy. Convertible dress from GapCrystal Pavé Hoop Earrings and Three Row Paillette Graduated Pendant from my Chloe + Isabel boutique. Rings from JewelMint. Bracelets from Pandora and Tiffany & Co. Champion Shoes by Keds. Elizabeth and James Cynnie Mini Bucket Bag c/o Shopbop.

A Chambray shirt is a summer staple.

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Madison Reed: Salon Hair Color at Home

When I was in high school, I begged my mom to let me dye my hair. I grew up watching my mom and grandma dye their hair, and to me at least, dyed hair seemed incredibly grown up. When I was sixteen, my mom finally said yes, and soon my hair was no longer dirty-dish-water-brown but auburn. While my love of dyed hair has led me to some rather expensive hair disasters, I’m still a fan of auburn hair, which means I won’t be putting the bottle down anytime soon.

As I mentioned here, I discovered Madison Reed last year and was very pleased with the results. I tend to flip-flop between salon and at home hair color, but this summer I went back to Madison Reed. The colors are handcrafted in Italy and are free of ammonia, PPD, gluten, and resorcinol, and the quick questionnaire suggests colors that are the best fit for you. My hair color of choice is Sardinia Red – 6NCG, a rich auburn with hints of copper and gold.

One box costs $24.95, but if you go with the continuous plan, each box costs only $19.95. The kit comes with everything you need to get started including shampoo, conditioner, gloves, barrier cream, and a remover wipe. My box was missing the shampoo because it was out of stock, so I was credited $5, which I thought was pretty nice.

Madison Reed: At home salon quality hair color.

So, how does Madison Reed stack up to salon hair color?

Madison Reed: At home salon quality hair color.

Salon Hair Color


Madison Reed: At home salon quality hair color.

Madison Reed Sardinia Red

Both colors are a rich, coppery auburn, which looks brown in most lights but pops more red in direct light. The salon hair color is a little darker since the picture was taken several weeks after coloring my hair, but overall, the difference between the two is the price not the hair color. Since a trip to the salon costs me at least $60, I think Madison Reed is a score at less than half the price.

If you’ve never dyed your hair at home before, here are my three simple rules:

  1. Don’t stray too far from your natural hair color. No trying to go from black to blonde or blonde to red, etc. I speak from experience.
  2. Follow the box’s directions. Pretty simple but Google can be tempting. Resist.
  3. Get a friend to help you apply it. Even after all these years, I still get my mom to apply my hair color for me because I don’t like blindly squirting and hoping I’ve covered all of my hair.

If you want to try Madison Reed, you can save $15 off your first order by using my referral link. Bonus, when friends use your referral link, you get a $15 credit.

P.S. I’m back home and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging. It’s funny how a few days away from the computer can feel like an age…

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