Friday, November 29, 2013

Lust List: My Christmas Wishlist

As a rule, I like to have my Christmas wishlist done by November 25th. I find that it gives my parents a decent amount of time to actually shop for the presents (although considering the fact that most of my wishlist comes from online stores these days, that's not much of an issue) and there's usually a good stock of winter items in store by that time. Also it means that, when Black Friday rolls around, we can take advantage of any deals the stores are offering (and I certainly have; most of my Black Friday shopping was completed shortly after midnight). This year, I gave myself a few rules: 1) No makeup (I did some serious damage at the Sephora VIB sale earlier this month) 2) Try to keep the clothes I ask for work appropriate (even though that seems like the only type of clothing I buy these days). I successfully stuck to those rules. My wishlist this year was actually pretty small (4 total items), because I'm trying to allow myself some room to be surprised (I've always been the kid who snoops for presents, and knowing my mother's email password makes it so easy to find the online receipts these days), so I threw in some of the presents I bought myself from the Black Friday sales.

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Knit Sweater in Dark Gray     $34.95 (3 more colors)
Luck Be A Lady Dress in Avian     $74.99 (I bought one of their other prints, which has since sold out)
Rib Collar Biker Coat     $127.14 (marked down from $170.12)
Urban Developer Top     $47.99
Wool Pencil Skirt in Cabernet    $44.50 (4 more colors)

Just a note about the Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts I used to buy some of these:
Asos: 20% off everything thru 5AM EST 12/2 with the code "gimme20"
H&M: free shipping on order $50+ thru 11/30 with the code "1088"
J. Crew Factory: 50% off all orders $50+ and free shipping with the code "holiday50"
Madewell: 25% off all orders thru 11:59PM EST 12/2 with the code "feast 25"
Modcloth: Hundred of new items marked down to 50% off (see their sale section) thru 9PM PST 12/1

***I also asked for membership to two local library associations (I'm in grad school for Library Science). And I totally broke my own no makeup rule and bought the Stila Lip & Cheek Palette and the   TokyoMilk Dark Set from the Sephora Black Friday deals.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book List: Novels in Verse

If you're looking for a quick read, novels in verse are a good thing to look into. When I was in high school, I was really into reading as many books as possible. And I went through a phase where I was reading so many novels in verse, because I could get through two, or even three of them in a day. My reading pace has slowed down substantially since then, but I still do enjoy a good novel in verse.

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Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
Splintering by Eireann Corrigan
Keesha's House by Helen Frost
Split Image by Mel Glenn
Things Left Unsaid by Stephanie Hemphill
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
Boris by Cynthia Rylant
Jinx by Margaret Wild

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lust List: Jewelry for Christmas

When it comes to jewelry, I do a lot of online window shopping, but not a lot of actually purchasing. In fact, despite probably having hundreds of jewelry items bookmarked across multiple websites, I've probably only worn 4 different pieces of jewelry in the last year (a watch, a necklace and two brooches). Still, I love looking at the stuff. More than clothes or makeup, there's just so much interesting and different jewelry out there. I wish I was better at remembering to put on the jewelry I do own.

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Royal Gem Cuff Bracelet     $28 (7 colors)
Hard Time Watch     $39.99
Bow Link Bracelet     $28 (3 colors)
Mini Book Pin     $12.49 (8 colors, I own this in yellow)
Crown Ring     $58

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lust List: Christmas Gifts for My Sister

As the winter holidays draw closer, I've decided to throw gift lists into the mix more frequently. So both this blog and the next blog will be Lust Lists. Right now, I'm trying to figure out what I want to get for my younger sister. She's 20 and extremely difficult to shop for, half because she and I have such different taste, and half because she refuses to give me the slightest hint as to what she wants for Christmas. So here are some of the possibilities. Personally, I'm leaning towards #3.

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Knit Sweater     $19.95

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book List: Science Fiction

I know that the science fiction and fantasy genres have a tendency to be grouped together. But while I've always been a huge fantasy reader, I've never read much science fiction. I think that's going to change. At this point, I'm really into three different science fiction tv shows (Arrow, The Tomorrow People, and Agents of SHIELD), so I should probably expand my book reading to match. Here's what I've enjoyed, let me know if you have any recommendations!

The Future of Us by Jay Asher
Matched by Allie Condie
Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Hero by Perry Moore
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
I Was a Teenage Popsicle by Bev Katz Rosebaum
Altered by Jennifer Rush

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lust List: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Etsy Picks)

It snowed this morning, so I'm in the Christmas mood (despite Thanksgiving still being weeks away). And that means I've been browsing Etsy for the best in Christmas themed decor and other items. I should probably get started on my present shopping soon (keep an eye out for some future gift-themed Lust Lists), but first I need to deck the halls (and possibly my body).

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Reindeer Brooch from solitttimeco     $33.37

All I need now is a festive sweater (and maybe some hot chocolate) and I'll be ready for Christmas

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Postcard Habit

I collect postcards. I fell into the hobby a few years ago when an internet friend mentioned the website It allows you to send and receive postcards from other users around the world. I've since joined their forum, which allows you to set up private swaps, and participate in other postcard-trading activities. It's been a little over three years since I started collecting and I should hit the 2,000 card mark by the end of the year. I used to post my cards on my tumblr account, as I received them. But I've gotten really bad at scanning them in a timely manner, so I'm usually scanning close to 50 cards in one go. But here are some of my favorites.

*Note: All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them

I collect UNESCO World Heritage Site cards. I think it's really cool way to learn more about history. And some of the natural sites are so gorgeous.
Ayutthaya, Thailand & Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

My childhood love of fairy tales has definitely lead to a love for postcards with castles and palaces. The fact that they're a rarity in the US doesn't hurt.
The Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia & Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany

As a future librarian, I'm also a huge fan of library and book-related postcards:
Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland & Kremsm√ľnster Abbey Library, Austria

I can't resist the cuteness of Korean Jetoy cards and Russian Kotovasiya cards. They appeal to me so much, as a cat lover.
Kotovasiya & Jetoy

We're now approaching my favorite time of the year for postcards. I love all the different varieties of Christmas-themed cards, but my absolute favorites are photos of cities and towns lit up for the holidays, and the gorgeous Christmas markets of Europe.
Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria & a postcards shaped like a reindeer

Of course, the thing that gets me the most excited is seeing a postcard in my mailbox from a new country. I've got pretty much all of the common ones at this point, but the rare ones get me really excited.

Faroe Islands & Iraq & Valparaiso, Chile & Georgetown, Guyana

My full collection can be seen here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book List: My Favorite Realistic Fiction

While the fantasy genre is where I spend most of my reading time, I do enjoy a lot of realistic fiction. It's also a great place to start if you're not much of a reader. No one's asking you to engage in any major suspension of disbelief, like with books that have magic, or dragons, or superheroes, or advanced technology, or the complete dissolution of the United States government. So I thought it would be a good idea to do a basic list of my favorite realistic fiction books. I'll probably do other lists that get more specific within the genre, but for now this is a good place to start.

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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lust List: Cardigans and Sweaters

Cardigans and sweaters are another cold weather favorite of mine. Well, cardigans are a year round favorite, since I tend to run cold and they're so great for layering. As someone with a full-time office job, I tend to stick to more work appropriate styles, which usually means solid color cardigans and more fitted sweaters,  but I do love an oversized sweater for the weekends (they keep me out of the ratty old hoodie I usually wear on my down time). This season's offerings are really great, I had a hard time narrowing this list down.

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Airport Greeting Cardigan in Forest     $54.99 (4 more colors)
Front Pocket Cardigan     $21.99 (on sale from $38, available in more colors, petite, and tall)
Lightweight Boyfriend Cardigan     $24.99 (on sale from $29.95, available in more colors)
Anaheim Sweater Wrap     $54
Tie-dyed and True Cardigan     $59.99
Borrowed-From-The Boys Cardigan in Cocoa     $29.80 (also available in wine)

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Yellow Stripe Crew Neck Sweater     $29 (available in more colors/prints, tall)
Cable-knit Striped Sweater     $44.99 (also in black/white stripe)
3/4 Sleeve Cable Sweater     $29 (available in more colors)
Gamine Sweater    $74 (available in more colors)
Essential Multi-Knit Sweater     $24.80 (also in gray & ivory)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Things I Loved in October 2013

October was good to me. I got a lot of mileage out of minimal spending, which is always a good thing. I spent a lot of evenings plopped in front of my tv, fall 2013 seems to have a lot of good shows. My weekly cooking ventures went better than I anticipated. They opened a Target in my town, which did not disappoint when I went to check it out a couple of weeks ago. Work is going well, school is going well, and I planned a trip to visit friends from college in a couple of weeks. So here are some of the (many) things I enjoyed this month!

This Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe
Cooking makes me nervous. I'm always afraid I'm going to screw things up horribly. And I was extra terrified while making this recipe, because I was expecting there to be more liquid in it than ended up in my pot. But everything turned out fine, and both of my parents enjoyed this as much as I did. I substituted cream of chicken soup for the creamy chicken mushroom soup, and corn and green beans for the peas and carrots (my mother hates peas and I hate carrots), and it was fantastic. It tasted so much like the chicken and dumpling meal sets my father used to get from the grocery store. And I'm sure it was a lot healthier.

CrockPot Caramel Apple Cider
The only thing I ever really get from Starbucks is their Caramel Apple Spice, and for some reason it's not on the menu this year (I've been told multiple times that they have all the ingredients in stock, so I can order it regardless, but that still makes me nervous). So I've been looking for a good replacement recipe. This one is delicious, if not exactly the same. The cinnamon taste is much stronger and the caramel taste is much weaker, but I still loved it. And I figure that, with a little experimentation, I can get closer to my preferred taste. I made this for my parents last week, and my mother has now decided that I'll be making it for our extended family on Thanksgiving. So I'd definitely call it a hit.

Atlas Genius
A couple of weekends ago, I went to an Atlas Genius concert with my friend Katie. We saw them open for Imagine Dragons a few months prior and thought they were fantastic. And it turns out their headlining show was even better. So you should take a listen to their songs on youtube and maybe pick up their album.

Bad for Me by Megan & Liz
You might remember this song from the Macy's commercial that aired last year. I thought it was really catchy at the time but didn't end up downloading it until I saw it in another commercial recently, this time for Audi. I had it stuck in my head for days after I downloaded it and it's an excellent addition to my workout playlist. Watch the video for it here.

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
I wish I could say that my favorite British TV show was something critically acclaimed or classy or cult. But it's not. It's Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a music-themed quiz show. The show is currently in it's 27th season, and I've seen all the episodes starting with season 19. It's hilarious and fun, and I say this despite the fact that I have no idea who the celebrity guests are half the time, much less what the answers to most of the questions at home. I can tell you, that I would do horribly on this show because I have never been able to correctly guess any of the songs from the Intros Round. Still, I find myself watching it on YouTube every week.

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce
Unsurprisingly, my favorite book this month was Tamora Pierce's Battle Magic. Like I've said, Pierce has been my favorite author for over a decade, and I anxiously await each of her new releases. This book was set in her Emelan universe and follows the story of Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy, who we've seen in her previous books. It follows the trio on the tail end of their world travels, in the lands of Gyonxe and Yanjing, where they get caught in the middle of a brewing war. I really liked getting to see Rosethorn's point of view this time around, as we've never gotten to see things through her eyes. It was yet another wonderful, wonderful story from Tamora Pierce, and I cannot recommend her books highly enough.

Lucky Brand Unitas Lace Front Booties
I bought my first real pair of heels during my Junior year of college. They were a simple pair of black oxford booties with a 2.5 inch heels. I wore them on my first date (with jeans and an argyle sweater, in case you were wondering) and they were my go to shoe for my first year of post-college employment (when you wear a 28" inseam, most of the time you need a pair of heels with even the petite leg work pants). But with plenty of tears in the leather and heel so worn down I could feel the unevenness when I stood in them, it was definitely time to replace them. So when a coupon arrived for 25% off any Lord & Taylor purchase, I decided to finally get new pair of black suede booties I have eyeing. These are so comfortable, they don't rub anywhere. The heel is a bit higher than my old pair (3.25 inches), but still easy to walk in. I don't think I could go much higher than this, though. They also come in oliver suede and brown leather.

TopShop Lips in Beguiled & Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate in 107
Now that it finally feels like autumn, I've been breaking out my autumn colored lipsticks. Both of these are gorgeous burgundy colors. Beguiled is just a tag more purple and 107 is a bit more red. It spent a lot of time tracking down 107 (I ended up buying mine in London, while I was on vacation, but Walgreens seems to have it), and it was definitely worth the effort. I already know I love the TopShop lipsticks, but I can't wait to try out more of Rimmel's Lasting Finish line.

Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner
I bought these in travel size for my vacation in August and I absolutely loved them. They leave my hair feeling so soft. They manage to tone down my frizz while still giving my hair volume. Also, it leaves me hair feeling so clean. I switched back to my old favorite shampoo and conditioner a few weeks ago, and it doesn't even compare to this. I'll definitely switch back to Living Proof, maybe even before my current bottles run out. I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of their products.

And that's the cream of the crop from October. Hopefully I'll find just as much great stuff in November (and I'm looking to try out a bunch of great Thanksgiving recipes). What have you been loving this month?