Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just Can't Get Enough: July

My playlist this month is very soft and therapeutic.  I must be craving calm.  Have a listen if you will!

1. Modern Life by Little & Ashley:  Whenever I hear Little & Ashley I just want to go running through a meadow.  Yes, I just typed that.  

2. If I Loved You by Delta Rae:  Stop, turn up, and sing along.  Repeat.   

3. From a Window Seat by Dawes: GENIUS!  Seriously now.  Who the heck can recreate a classic 70's sound so flawlessly?  I am transported back to my favorite decade and it's so darn comforting.

4. Only Love by Ben Howard:  Mmmm... (that's all)

5. Skinny Love by Bon Iver:  This is by no means a new track but I am just now really discovering it.  Is it possible to physically curl up into a song?

Do you share my love for any of these mellow tracks?  What tunes are keeping you centered this month/week/day/lifetime? Please, please, do share!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Got Dressed ... For a Wedding

I should preface this post by stating that you are looking at the slightly wilted, party pooped, past my bed time, post wedding festivity photos.  I ran out of time before the event and was unable to take the more suitable and well-lit outdoor photos.  So here I am in my cramped living room with bad lighting and sweaty make up.  Sigh.

As for the wedding ... it was lovely!  A co-worker and good friend of mine got hitched to her long-time love and the ceremony had us all in tears.  There was also a threatening storm hanging above our heads all evening but it never once dropped on the glorious occasion which was a blessing for the bride and everyone's hair.

As for the outfit, I went with the classic black and white ensemble.  I love black and white.  EVERYONE looks good in it.  This dress came with a red skinny belt which was cute but too traditional for me so I swapped it out for mustard yellow.  Black, white, and yellow is SO much more fun and suggests a subtle rock 'n' roll vibe.  I dig it. 

Dress: Target (here)  The entire line of these dresses are adorable and so comfy.  I tried them all on and had a hard time deciding.
Belt: Coldwater Creek (here)  I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to find a mustard yellow belt this time of year. Everything is neon.  I'm not exactly a Coldwater Creek customer but they came through with this perfectly yellow accessory so I am grateful.
Purse: Jennifer Lopez via Kohl's (here)  What can I say?  JLO has some sassy stuff.
Bracelet: Kohl's ~ Chunky and fun!
Shoes: DSW (here)  The cutest and most comfortable dress shoes I own.  And let me tell you ... it's a total witch trying to find shoes for my stupid feet.  I have no shape or curve to my feet whatsoever.  They are perfectly rectangular.  So annoying. These shoes had a narrow cut which is why they fit me so well.  Narrow cut dress shoes that don't look granny-esque?!  I'll take 10 pairs!

Linking Up With...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Out Of My Mind

Wow.  Just wow.

This book has guts.  Susan M. Draper is a courageous author to have stepped into the mind, body, and soul of a physically handicapped girl.  Out of My Mind is a masterpiece of so many things ... reality, acceptance, perseverance, power, understanding, respect, and love.  And all of these concepts are addressed so eloquently with the young adult in mind. Draper does a remarkable job drawing young readers into a world which they are most likely unaware yet leaves them feeling grateful and perhaps better for the experience.

Cognitively speaking, Melody is pretty much just like any other 11-year-old girl.  She loves cool clothes. Purple is her favorite color.  You can find her jamming out to music, especially country tunes, her favorite. Melody loves to watch The Wizard of Oz and snuggle up with her precious pooch, Butterscotch.  Similar to her peers, she gets annoyed with her younger sibling, she worries about what others think of her, and she most desperately wants to be included and accepted.  The only difference for Melody is that nobody knows any of these things about her.  Melody has never been able to share herself with others because she can't speak.  Melody has cerebral palsy.

Melody is an intelligent, witty, thoughtful soul trapped inside a body that doesn't work.  Succumbed to her wheelchair, almost every choice regarding her life is made by another person.  Her day-to-day existence is a guessing game for all who care for her and she's forced to live by what others think she wants, needs, and loves.  That is until the day she receives the best gift of her life: a Medi-Talker.  A Medi-Talker is the high-tech computer that allows Melody to express herself by typing in words, phrases, and even whole sentences and hearing the digital voice speak for her.  It's amazing and it changes Melody's life in more ways than one.

With her new freedom to interact with the world around her, Melody can't leave her special ed classroom fast enough.  The best part of her day is when she's able to escape the mundane routines of her specialized curriculum and join the exciting world of a general ed 5th Grade class.  This is where she feels she truly belongs but it takes a lot of work to convince others of her intelligence and worth as a student.

With much dedication, perseverance, and the love and support of the most wonderful neighbor and caregiver, Mrs. V (who is also the most powerful character in the novel), Melody blows everyone away by making it onto her school's coveted Quiz Team.  The opportunity undoubtedly opens up a whole new and exciting world for Melody but also forces her to come face to face with the harsh realities of being "different."

I loved Out of My Mind for its realness.  Draper does not paint a silver lining around every event that unfolds in Melody's life and I appreciated that.  I instantly fell in love with Melody's character and the fact that she had to face multiple challenges head-on made me love her even more.  For some reason I have been craving these types of stories.  The underdogs.  The obstacles.  The not-so-perfect endings.  The life lessons. I'm so proud of the quality literature that today's youth is privy to. Bless Draper and all the other authors who have the guts and compassion to write stories that really matter.

Recommended Age: 10 & Up

Quality Rating (out of 5 stars):

In other news...
If you get the chance and need a small chuckle, read my latest Facebook post about recently getting locked out of the library. You can also take a peek at my newest library checkouts for both myself and my lil' bean. I'd love to hear what you've checked out lately as well!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Got Dressed ... For the 4th of July

We have a stupid saying in my family whenever July 4th rolls around ... "Well, summer's over." 

Of course, summer is not anywhere close to being over but for some reason the fourth always seems to bring a strange finality with it.  Like all the hype and excitement of the approaching summer season has hit its peak and the following two months just plateau.  I don't know.

Anyhoo, the fourth never fails to produce the ever popular wardrobe challenge.  Who can pull together the BEST red, white, and blue ensemble? Or in my family, who can find the cheesiest Americana t-shirt for under $10?  My brother-in-law always seems to win that one.  As for me, I hate conformity when it comes to apparel.  Most years you'll find me wearing purple on the Fourth of July.  But ever since having a child I feel the need to "play along" for her sake.  

I wasn't about to go shopping for a new Independence Day outfit, that's for sure.  So I started digging (literally) through my closet with every intent of just throwing on another purple shirt and calling it a day when surprisingly I found this very old but very cute top I had completely forgotten about.  

The perfect color scheme (minus blue).

Very hoedown.

 A cutesy flutter sleeve

Shirt: Target (at least 6 years ago!)
Shorts: La Redoute (at least 8 years ago!)  I like these shorts because they're not too short.  I just can't do short shorts anymore.
Shoes: Kohl's (here)

And on a different note but still sticking with the summer apparel topic, how are you ladies feeling about the swimsuits this year?  Is anyone else super excited to see more vintage inspired suits?  I love them!

Check out my Facebook post to read about my new favorite retro suits!

Linking Up With...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Birchbox: May

Dang.  I'm Birchbox belated again.  I just can't keep up with all these fancy little treasures.

May's box was another slam dunk for me.  I loved all of the products, especially the Isaac Mizrahi perfume - ooh baby!

Shall we discuss?

1. Isaac Mizrahi FABULOUS Perfume: I'm always on the lookout for a new fragrance.  Heck, I'm still wearing Happy by Clinique and I wore that in college.  Time to move on.  This perfume is so fun.  A nice, light citrus scent with no over-powering floral notes.  Just what I like.  I would buy this and wear it daily.

2. Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream: I'll be honest.  I have no clue as to the difference between BB creams and CC creams and DD creams and XYZ creams.  It's all a foreign language to me.  However, I am IN LOVE with this cream.  It's awesome.  It just is.  Not too heavy but manages to soften my skin and the color coverage is phenomenal!  If I didn't have to cover up a few zits I could easily wear this without anything else.  Gimme more!

3. Amika Nourishing Mask: I've said it before.  I have a weird aversion to conditioner.  My hair is pathetically fine and just one drop too much can leave my hair limp and with no styling options.  However, I have color-treated hair and I really do need to use some sort of conditioning product on the ends.  I tried this with hesitation and was pleasantly surprised how great my hair felt afterwards.  The best part was the great scent.  I have yet to try the accompanying oil treatment because I'm too scared.

4. Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle: This is more my speed when it comes to conditioners.  I prefer to use spray-in detanglers as opposed to conditioner creams because I feel I have a bit more control over the product and I can use a lighter hand on my baby fine tendrils.  This is a great product with a pleasant scent.  It gets the tangles out without leaving a bunch of heavy residue.

5. Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream:  Whoa!  This is like shaving your legs in a Willy Wonka factory.  The blueberry scent was so incredible I almost ate the cream.  An awesome product that left my skin feeling soft and moisturized and made me downright giddy in the shower.

Any fellow Birchboxers out there?  What are your favorite goodies as of late?  To everyone in general, what beauty products are you crushing on right now?  Any BB/CC/DD users out there?  What's hot?  What's not?