Why Don’t You…?

Why don't you...? A list of fun things to do this month!

Why don’t you…?

 Treat yourself to a new book on Book Lovers Day?

Stock up on denim?

Watch cheesy romances on Netflix?

Make a short film with your friends?

Wear purple mascara?

Drink lemon water first thing in the morning?

Swap goodies with other bloggers?

Buy a new planner for school?

Whip up some Spumoni Ice Cream Terrine for Spumoni Day?

Send postcards to out of town friends?

P.S. I’m out of town and have fallen dreadfully behind on visiting and commenting on blogs. While I hope to catch up this week, comments and blog posts may be a little inconsistent until I’m back home next week.

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Summer Reading Challenge: The Witch of Bourbon Street

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…

Enjoy the summer with Suzanne Palmieri's Southern set novel, The Witch of Bourbon Street - part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

Location: New Orleans

First Line Teaser: It must be late in the evening now, the sky is mercilessly dark.

Frances Green Sorrow was born to save her family. The Sorrows are a mismatched group of people who live deep in the Louisiana bayou and are blessed with magical talents. However, they cannot free themselves from a tragedy that occurred at the beginning of the 20th Century and took the lives of almost all the Sorrows. Frances embraces her family’s magic until she unexpectedly gets pregnant and makes a whole series of bad choices that turn her into a hermit hiding in a shack on the Sorrow Estate. Yet, Frances can’t hide from her family’s calling, and the day she decides to embrace who she is, is the day her life changes forever.

Suzanne Palmieri’s The Witch of Bourbon Street is an enchanting, cozy read. The Sorrows are a strange group of people firmly planted in their mythical reality. This is the story of a family, and the book follows several of the Sorrows while weaving together the past and the present. Even the bayou and the Sorrow Estate seem to come alive and support the cast of eccentric characters who struggle with years of hurt, misunderstandings, and bad decisions.

I’m not usually a fan of magical realism, but I was swept away by The Witch of Bourbon Street. I enjoyed the way the novel examined how complicated love and friendship can be. There are no easy relationships in the Sorrow family, yet love is never out of reach. I felt the ending fizzled a bit as the mystery of the tragedy was revealed, and there was a bit too much closure for my taste, but those thoughts don’t stop me from thinking that this was a delightful book. If you are looking for a summer reading escape, I recommend a trip to the Louisiana bayou via The Witch of Bourbon Street.

You can find out more about Suzanne Palmieri 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.

In other news…

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday video is about favorite character tropes.

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

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DIY Date Night Jar

Date Night Jars are easy to put together and make sweet gifts.

This summer has been a season of wedding festivities, and the Date Night Jar has become a bridal shower staple. I will admit that the first time I saw one I couldn’t believe anyone would pay $30 for a jar full of craft sticks. However, when my cousin asked me to make her one for a shower she was planning, I couldn’t say no. These things are allover Pinterest, but finding printables for the tag and sign is not so easy, so I thought I would share how I made my jar. And, now that I’ve made one, they’re kind of growing on me…

Date Night Jars are easy to put together and make sweet gifts. Directions for tags are included, too.

I love how easy this is to put together. Write or have guests write date night ideas on craft sticks. The crafts sticks are stored in a large canning jar, so all a couple needs to do when they need a date idea is reach into the jar and grab a craft stick. Deciding how to decorate the jar is the toughest part, but I think simple looks best, so I used twine to tie a tag onto the jar. I made the tag and sign using PicMonkey. After printing and cutting out the tags, I glued the front and back together then covered them with packing tape. If you have a laminator, that’s even better.

Date Night Jar Tag Front

Date Night Jars are easy to put together and make sweet gifts. Directions for tags are included, too.

Date Night Jar Directions Tag Back

Date Night Jars are easy to put together and make sweet gifts. Directions for tags are included, too.

Date Night Jar Sign

Date Night Jars are easy to put together and make sweet gifts. Directions for tags are included, too.

Here are some date night ideas to get you started:

♥ Find all the historic landmarks in your city

♥ Go to a drive-in movie

♥ Play “Would You Rather?”

♥ Go dancing

♥ Take a class together

♥ Eat at a new restaurant

♥ See a play

♥ Go to the zoo

♥ Ride a hot air balloon

♥ Visit an art museum

What do you think of Date Night Jars?

P.S. If you need more date night ideas check out At Home Date Nights and Summer Dates Around the Blogosphere.

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RocksBox: A Jewelry Rental Subscription

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your jewelry box could magically be filled with new pieces every month? While it’s not magic, Rocksbox is the closet thing I’ve found. For only $19 a month, Rocksbox gives you unlimited access to designer jewelry. A stylist sends you three pieces based on your personal preferences and wish list. You can keep the pieces as long as you’d like or return them at any time for your next three pieces. The average value of each set is $200.
Wishing your jewelry box was always full of new pieces? Rocksbox lets you rent designer jewelry for only $19 a month.

I was sent the following pieces:

  • Sophie Harper Triangle Pendant Necklace in Gold (value $50)
  • Gorjana Axel Drop Earrings (value $55)
  • Jules Smith Big Bang Midi Ring Set (value $55)

At first, I was a little disappointed that the pieces were so similar, but then I read the stylist’s note and saw that she had built the set around the necklace, which was on my wish list. While I was hoping for a variety of statement and delicate pieces, the trio I was sent quickly won me over. I really like the necklace and ring set, and it was exciting to get a package of sparkly things in the mail.

Wishing your jewelry box was always full of new pieces? Rocksbox lets you rent designer jewelry for only $19 a month.

It’s a little weird wearing earrings that other people have worn, but all of the jewelry I received was clean and in good condition. Accidentally losing a piece makes me nervous, and I really appreciate that the jewelry was sent in little bags, which make keeping track of everything easy. In the end, I liked the jewelry I received, but I don’t think I will continue with the service because I would rather spend $19 a month on something I can keep instead of jewelry I have to send back. It is nice that you are given $10 to spend on your current set, but the credit expires in a month, so you can’t save up the credits.
Wishing your jewelry box was always full of new pieces? Rocksbox lets you rent designer jewelry for only $19 a month.

My first month was free thanks to an invite code from Beth, and you can try Rocksbox for free, too! Just enter my invite code (ABFF25) to get your first month free.

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Sweet Links

Fill your weekend with these sweet links!

I can’t get enough of The Lively Show, and this interview with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, is so good.

Fangirl moment… Have you seen the new videos for Doctor Who and Sherlock?

I love this so much. Can We Just, Like, Get Over the Way Women Talk? I’ve pulled a quote, but you really must read the whole thing…

“At first blush, all of this speaking advice sounds like empowerment. Stop sugarcoating everything, ladies! Don’t hedge your requests! Refuse to water down your opinions! But are women the ones who need to change? If I’m saying something intelligent and all a listener can hear is the way I’m saying it, whose problem is that?”

How to Adult: 5 “Grown-Up” Recipes to Have in Your Arsenal

This Printable Blog Post Tracker will help you stay organized when it comes to posting product reviews.

How sweet are these Orange Creamsicle Nails?

Strobing is the new contouring. See herehere, and here.

Offline Dating is a sweet, short film.

These late night snacksicles look yummy!

Improve your photography skills with the SITS Summer Photography Challenge.

Sales! Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale through 8/2. Plus save 40% off sale styles at LOFT and 70% off sale items from French Connection.

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday video…

P.S. In case you missed it, here are some things I’ve been blogging about lately:Last Minute Wedding Gift Ideas, Summer Reading Challenge: Maybe in Another Life, Inspired By Blue Crush, and 5 Things To Know Before Doing The Color Run.

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Christmas in July

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but we have six months till Christmas. Somehow six months feels both too soon and too far away. But, why not indulge in a little holiday spirit and celebrate Christmas in July!

With six months to Christmas, why not celebrate the holiday spirit with Christmas in July!

While it is probably too hot for the traditional Christmas sweater, this Ugly Christmas Sweater T-Shirt is just right for summer weather. Complete your holiday look with Moto Vintage Daisy Shorts and Soludos Classic Sandal. It wouldn’t be Christmas in July without cookies, so if it’s too hot to bake, try ordering some sweet treats like this Cookie and Brownie Gift Set. Munch away as you watch your favorite holiday films (like Elf) or read an updated Christmas classic (like A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel).

Do you celebrate Christmas in July?

P.S. Denim lovers take note that the new Alexa Chung x AG collection launches on Shopbop July 23rd!

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Last Minute Wedding Gift Ideas

Forget to buy your friend a gift for her wedding? Got an unexpected invitation to an old friend’s bridal shower? Did your cousin just announce she eloped? These last minute wedding gift ideas will quickly get you out of the jam all while making you look cool and creative in the gift giving department.

These last minute wedding gift ideas are sure to please the happy couple!

♥ Surprise the happy couple with the Ticket Stub Diary so they can keep track of movies, concerts, and other events they attend together. To make this gift extra special, throw in tickets to a local event or a gift card to the cinema.

♥ For the couple that likes to be prepared, gift them this Calling For A Medic First Aid Box and fill it with fun bandages and other first aid necessities.

♥ Grilled cheese lovers will rejoice when they see this darling Snoopy Grilled Cheese Maker. Include a grocery store gift card so they can stock up on yummy cheese and bread.

♥ The geeky twosome will adore this Han Solo™ and Princess Leia™ Stacking Mug Set. Add some tea and a Star Wars Death Star Tea Infuser to show them that The Force is strong with you.

♥ Delight the musical newlyweds with the Take Your Turntable. Don’t forget to include some vintage LPs.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Beautiful Girl

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…

This summer follow along with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge. Why not pick up Beautiful Girl by Fleur Philips?

Location: Montana

First Line Teaser: Clarissa sees Decker Bail before I do.

At only seventeen, Melanie Kennicut is already a successful actress and model, but her life is turned upside down when a car accident scars her face. Melanie’s overly controlling mother doesn’t want anyone to see Melanie until she has plastic surgery, so the two of them leave LA for Montana. Melanie hopes the summer away from LA will mean her mom will let her be just a normal teenager, but when her mom freaks out about her talking to the cute, young gardener, Melanie decides to break the rules and drive off with Sam. Unknowingly, Melanie sets off a chain of events that have tragic consequences.

This is a sad book, and the story was quite different from what I originally expected. I thought the story would focus on the idea that beauty is only skin deep. Instead, Fleur Philips’ Beautiful Girl is your typical YA coming of age story with an unexpected twist.

Melanie’s relationship with her mother is heartbreaking, and while I’m not fond of love at first sight stories, Melanie’s desperation to be with someone who likes her even with her scars makes sense. Sam is dealing with his own family issues, and the two quickly form a bond with each other. While I found the touch of Native American mysticism trite, Sam’s family was one of my favorite parts.

My struggle with Beautiful Girl came about halfway through the book when the story seemed to change out of nowhere. Suddenly, I was no longer reading a coming of age novel but a thriller. The shift just didn’t make sense to me, and I didn’t like the way Melanie’s mom was quickly portrayed in a new light. I would have much preferred the unhappy teenager and micromanaging stage mom work out their differences like normal people instead of being brought together through such a dramatic event. In general, I don’t like sad books, so it’s not surprising that this is not my favorite read of the summer. However, if you don’t mind sad books, you might enjoy Beautiful Girl.

You can find out more about Fleur Philips 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 Grapes, and Maybe in Another Life!

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Wish List: Summer Trends 2015

This has been the rainiest summer I can remember. I’m not talking thunderstorms and tornadoes, just plain, old rainy days. Today is the only day it’s not supposed to rain this week, and it’s really nice to have a break from the gray skies. Now, let’s talk of pleasanter things like summer trends and other good things.

There are so many cute trends this summer! Cold shoulder tops and platform wedges are just a couple of my favorite looks.

July's wish list is all about summer trends 2015!  From the It bag to denim, here are five fashionable things trending this summer.

Summer Trends 2015

The Cold Shoulder Top

A little sexy without being too revealing, the cold shoulder top is popping up everywhere. This sweet tee from Ella Moss looks perfect for a hot, summer day.

Mirrored Sunglasses

One of my favorite trends from last summer is still going strong. My favorite style to wear is the mirrored aviator like these Ray-Ban Cockpit Aviator Sunglasses.

The It Bag

From wish lists to celebrity street style, the Chloe ‘Drew’ Leather Crossbody Bag is seemingly everywhere. This modern saddle bag’s classic shape makes it a wardrobe staple for those who can afford to splurge.

Platform Wedges

With the height of heels and the stability of wedges, this sporty shoe is gaining in popularity. And, thankfully, it is more flattering than the flatforms of seasons past. Check out these Charles By Charles David Megan Platform Wedge Sandals, which are currently on sale.

Denim

I know. We’ve talked about this before. Denim is one of my favorite trends this summer, but it’s hard to go wrong with a denim mini skirt any time of the year. I love the shape of this Topshop Button Front Denim Skirt, a Nordstrom Exclusive.

Shop the Look!

In other news…

I finished reading The Girl on the Train, and since some of you asked how I liked the book, I thought I would share some of my thoughts in a video. The short answer is that I liked it, but it is nothing like Gone Girl.

P.S. Come back tomorrow for the next book in the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge!

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Inspired By Blue Crush

One of my favorite summer movies is Blue Crush, the 2002 film about surfer girls living in Hawaii. While the story is your typical teen drama, the underwater filming is breathtaking. I know very little about surfing, but the cinematography seems to really capture the action that happens on the waves. Plus, I love the girls’ mix match style. The best friends live in a beach shack and do no have a lot of money, so their clothes reflect that penny pinching lifestyle. It’s, also, the early 2000’s, so hemp jewelry, beachy braids, and denim cutoffs play a major role in their looks.

How to Get the Look

Embrace summer with this beachy look inspired by the movie Blue Crush.

Blue Crush surfer girl loves her well worn basics, so a distressed denim mini skirt and simple white tank top are a good place to start. A string bikini underneath means you are ready to hit the waves at a moments notice. Accessorize with a hemp necklace, leather cuff bracelet, and comfy flip flops and your easy, summer look is complete. Now, if only the girls’ surfing prowess was so easy to copy…

Shop the Look!

What movie inspires your summer look?

P.S. If you want to give your hair beachy waves without the beach, try this DIY Vanilla Sea Salt Beachy Waves Spray!

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