Whatchya Readin’?

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It was a resolution of mine to read more books this year.  ( Much more doable goal than the illusive six pack.)  So far I’m off to a great start.  I’ve been a reading fiend the past few months and it’s been absolutely wonderful.  I’ll show you my reading list if you show me yours, deal?  Ok, perfect.  Here’s what I’ve read, what I’m reading, and what’s next on my list.

5172b0s2busvl-_sx329_bo1204203200_    Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut  In college I had a bad Vonnegut experience so I was reluctant to humor the boyfriend and give his favorite author another go.  That being said, I’m so glad that I did.  Look at the Birdie is a collection of unpublished short stories from the late author.  It’s an incredibly easy and pleasant read that reminded me how much I love great storytelling.  While the products of both are completely enjoyable to read, I find that there’s a great difference between a great writer and a great story teller.  Fortunately for us, Vonnegut is both.

dont-worry-it-gets-worse-alida-nugent-cover-676x1024  I already wrote a post about this insanely hilarious and completely on-point book about navigating life as a twenty-something.  Here it is.

midnight-in-the-garden-of-good-and-evil  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt  About halfway through this book, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite books of all time.  The characters are so eccentric and illusive and the story is so fascinating and entertaining that it’s hard to believe it’s based off of entirely true events.  Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It’s The Great Gatsby meets murder mystery with a seventies southern twist.  Best read with a julep in hand.  There’s also a film adaptation with a seriously killer cast, pun intended.  If you finish the book and just can’t get enough of Georgian history, check out my previous post about my impromptu road trip through Georgia.

 

513okn5tcjl-_sx320_bo1204203200_ Doctor Sleep by Stephen King  I’m a Stephen King nut.  My grandfather, a former publishing executive, introduced me to his first book, Carrie, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I’m in the middle of his novel Doctor Sleep which is the long-awaited sequel to his lauded book, The Shining.  (Another must-read.)  While it’s a hefty book, it’s a serious page turner with both familiar and new characters.  Fear not my fellow Shining fans, Danny Torrance is still at the center of it all.

41giajvpdkl-_sx332_bo1204203200_ Summer of Night by Dan Simmons  After hearing about my love for a good mystery, Dylan suggested this book.  Once I read the synopsis, it quickly moved to the top of my reading list.  It’s creepy and suspenseful and, after peaking at the first few pages, beautifully written.

517r8gmvvzl-_sx283_bo1204203200_ The Class by Erich Segal  A dear friend of mine gave me this book a long time ago for Christmas.  It sounds like it’s a book best read slowly, with lots of breaks to sit and think.  From what I gather, it echoes the moral magnitude of the Dead Poet’s Society.  It’s one of those books I know I’ll love, I’ve just been waiting for the right moment.

 

Any of these titles do it for you?  Have you read them before?  What should I add to the list?  Tell me everything.  Speaking of reading, here’s another post you might like.Happy reading!

Woman in the Workforce

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Wow, it’s been two weeks, maybe three, is that right?  I’ve been the least punctual blogger in the entire blogger world.  But I promise I have something to show for it.  This week my search ended and I was finally able to hop off the job hunting train.  I’ve got a real job!  I’d say adult even but let’s not get carried away.  I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Netflix for helping me fill all my free time by allowing me to binge watch Gilmore Girls and various true crime shows.  I’d also like to thank Whole Foods for providing snacks during said mindless TV marathons.  I’m looking forward to having an actual schedule and doing a significantly better job of maintaining The Cashmere Turtleneck.

And before I forget, thanks to all of you readers for helping me to feel like I was doing something worth while amidst all of my floundering.You’re the best.

Have a Phenomenal Weekend

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This weekend I’m planning on continuing the employment hunt, cleaning out my closet, reorganizing my bathroom and getting drinks with a few girlfriends. I spent last weekend getting a start on my spring cleaning and it felt incredible and I’ve been on a serious cleaner’s high all week.  What are your plans?  Here are some links I found around the web this week that I wanted to share.  Happy clicking and I’ll see you all Monday!

I really want to give this book a read.

As an avid Netflixer, I found this article to be super interesting.

In my opinion, this is the perfect candle for spring.

I just love these placemats.  Wouldn’t these napkins look great with them?

This is a book I wish I hadn’t read simply so I could have the experience of reading it for the first time all over again.  This one too.

This video speaks to the transformative powers of a little color and a little you time.

West Elm is having a sale!  What better time than spring to give your home a 30% off pick-me-up?

Kind of dying over these shoes.

Great news for winos everywhere!

This cocktail sounds seriously divine.

 

 

A Bonus Post: Mind Your Manors

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Manners are tricky, aren’t they?  Whether it’s nailing down the protocol for thank you notes, figuring out exactly how to set a place setting or tending to all the tiny details and formalities of a dinner party they’re just tough.  It’s difficult to enjoy a meal or a party, regardless of who’s hosting, when you’re worried about whether or not Emily Post would approve.

This month’s issue of Real Simple Magazine has a terrific article on “old fashioned niceties” that totally deserve to be revived. My mother always taught me to mind my P’s and Q’s but there are some practices that seem to have fallen to the wayside.  Here are some wonderful tips for refreshing your repertoire of manners and other far from antiquated habits to pick up.

Send a Note not to say thank you, not to say sorry but just because.  Not only will it strengthen your relationship with the receiver and warm their heart, it will also warm yours.  Studies have shown the correlation between the movement and reward centers of the brain.  A hand-written letter is a great way to brighten your day and someone else’s.  Bonus: It’s an opportunity to improve your penmanship.

Thank Often and Then Thank Some More.  Real Simple had this really great suggestion to not only send thank you notes after receiving a gift or being hosted at someone’s home, but to also send them to thank someone for their friendship, hospitality or even to re-thank people just because you thought of how wonderful their previous acts of kindness were.

Sit Still while talking on the phone.  In their article, Real Simple talks about nostalgia for the landline.  I had one of those I’m-so-glad-you-said-that-because-I’ve-been-feeling-the-same-way-too moments.  I miss being excited to come home and check my messages on my answering machine and talking on a phone that doesn’t have a giant screen on it, only big rubbery buttons.  The mag suggested that when you get a phonecall or plan to give a friend a ring, sit down in one place and really focus on the conversation.

Read Aloud to Your Partner.  How lovely does this sound?  Dylan and I live just far enough from each other that when he comes to visit normal schedules are usually out the window.  We’re both avid readers, but when we finally get into bed it’s usually after a late dinner and we’d rathe spend the time talking (or just plain passing out) than reading.  This being said, after reading the suggestion, I’m kind of dying to try it.  I think there’s something really intimate about the simplicity of sharing a story with each other.

 

Are there any old fashioned niceties that you practice?  Want more on modern manners?  Check out Lizzie Post’s podcast, Awesome Etiquette.  She’s the great-grand-daughter of Emily Post so she definitely knows a few things.   Here’s some stationery for writing, a thank you note for thankingan attachment to make phone calls feel a little more like they used to and a book I’d love to re-read with the boyfriend.

 

 

What I’m Packing: A Weekend Road Trip

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I’m a big believer that always having something to look forward to is a great way to motivate yourself through the sludge of the week.  Since we work during the real-person weekends, Dylan and I consider Mondays and Tuesdays our weekend.  This “weekend” we’ve decided to take a mini road trip and head to Western Massachusetts to go hear Gloria Steinem speak (eek, I’m so excited), visit some dear friends of ours and stop by some of our favorite spots from our boarding school days.  I’m particularly looking forward to eating at our pre-prom taco spot and my favorite bookstore  in the entire world.  Since I’m already thinking about what to pack, I  thought I would share with y’all a little bit about my weekend-away essentials.

The Perfect Packing Tote– When it comes short road trips, I’m a big fan of packing all of my stuff into a giant tote rather that zipping it up in a smaller duffle or a piece of luggage.  When I’m riding in the car I’ll often want to grab something like a scarf, hand creme or a snack and it’s a pain to rifle through a perfectly packed and zipped bag.  I love this tote (pictured above).  Not only is it huge, it’s also got giant pockets all the way around.  I’m able to fold up all of my clothes and leave them undisturbed in the middle and pack my toiletries and all my other goodies I might want during the ride in the easy-access pockets.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes-  I have to admit that, when it comes to clothes, I’m a bit of an over-packer.  I like to have options and feel prepared.  To avoid looking like this dude, I try to pack versatile pieces that are comfortable and can be dressed up or down depending on the the plan for the day.  I pretty much never go anywhere without at least one of my denim shirts. (I’ve had this one forever and it’s only gotten better with time.)  I also always bring two pars of pants, usually jeans, because spills are eminent in my life.  A scarf is also a must for me because I’m constantly cold.  Plus, it can double as a blanket, makeshift pillow or even an eye mask.  Layering is pretty key for me during any trip so my jean jacket is a frequent travel companion.  Lastly, I always pack two pairs of shoes: one neutral pair of sneakers that will go with everything and one pair of nicer boots or sandals that can elevate any of my outfits.

My Not-So-Big Beauty Bag- I like to keep my beauty routine pretty brief when I’m on any vacation so that I’m not stuck in the bathroom for an hour in the morning.  That being said, I do have a few must-haves.  I bring my face wash, cleansing brushtoner,  moisturizer, and a spot treatment.  I also bring my own Dove Beauty Bar.  Hotel soap usually dries my skin out and makes me itchy and there’s something about the smell that makes me feel so clean and comfortable.  I’m a pretty big fan of bringing some sort of brightening mask because traveling always makes my skin look a little tired.  These sleeping masks from Sephora are fantastic and super reasonably priced.  I never pack a toiletry bag without perfume (I’ve been loving this floral one lately).  It’s the last thing I put on when I get ready and it makes me feel totally pulled together.  Finally, I hate washing my hair when I’m only gone for a weekend; If I do that then I have to bring a hairdryer and it’s so clunky and takes up so much space so dry shampoo is a must.  This one is my tried and true.

Not Pictured Needs

Whether I’m going to be gone for two days or twenty days I always have a book.  Here’s my latest read.  Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Hand creme is another important bag essential.

What are your musts for a weekend away?  Anything you do mid-drive to make the drive go by?

My TV-Free Weekend

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I’m an avid news watcher and, I’m sad to admit it, but I get hooked on shows crazy easily.  I hate that I get so consumed by random shows.  This past weekend I decided to try something out: A TV-Free weekend.

I loved it.

The weekend felt longer and more relaxing and I did all of the things I usually feel like I don’t have the energy to do.  Saturday I  listened to music while making breakfast and took my time getting ready for work.  I came home after a dinner with friends, took a bath  and listened to this podcast then crawled into bed and read this month’s Real Simple magazine.  Sunday I slept in and decided to spend my Easter doing some spring cleaning and doing all the things I really wanted to get done but always told myself I would do “later”.  I decided Sunday was officially “later”.

I spent the entire day listening to podcasts and doing the mundane chores of a typical Sunday but I have to tell you, it as incredibly relaxing and kind of cathartic.  It was peaceful and pleasant and all the inexplicable pressure I usually feel when I do my laundry or declutter my bedroom was nowhere to be found.

Maybe I’ll try for a whole week next.  Think you could do it?  I highly recommend it.

Do You Talk to Strangers?

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Lately, I’ve been going to my local coffee shop to do my job applications.  It makes me feel like I’m actually getting something accomplished by getting ready and heading out the door versus staying in my PJs all day.  Maybe it’s been serendipitous, but for the past two weeks, I’ve sat next to the most interesting people having the most interesting conversations during my coffee shop time.

Usually, I sit there with my earbuds and sip my very large latte while hoping that they don’t realize I’m definitely eavesdropping.  Then there are other times that I can’t help myself.  Someone says something funny and I laugh or they debate an answer to a question that I know and I chime in.  Sometimes it leads to a great chat and sometimes it’s a brief exchange but either way, I enjoy it (I hope they do too).

It might be because I’m still getting used to living in a new place where all my friends aren’t just a phone call away. Is that it?  Am I just a friendly yet friend-starved coffee shop patron?  Or is this forming habit making me seem like the neighborhood’s new crazy coffee lady?

Let me know what you think.

P.S. If you’re ever in the Boston/Brookline area you absolutely have to check out these two places.  First, Tatte.  There’s something for everyone and not a bad item on the menu.  Next is Pavement Coffee House.  Their dirty chai lattes are both incredible and incredibly large.  You’ve also got to get one of their multi-grain everything bagels.  SO good.  Plus, they’re both great places to strike up a conversation with strangers…

 

Thanks For Being Patient

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Before we get on with this week’s posts, I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for stopping by even though I’ve been kind of really terrible about my bi-weekly posts.  I’ve been keeping my nose to the grind trying to find a job so that I can fund my love of shoes and road trips and pasta.  I promise I haven’t forgotten about you all and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed writing for you each week.  That being said, I’m going to do my best to make sure I get out at least two rounds of posts a week.  Hang in there with me people, I’m trying.  Happy reading and thanks for (hopefully) understanding.

Have a Wonderful Weekend

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Hi everyone!  Sorry I’ve been gone but I decided to slip away for a weekend and take a spring break of sorts.  How’ve you been?  Any big plans for the weekend?  I plan to continue the job hunt and and get to work on a line up of some super great Monday morning posts for all of you.  Here are some links I’ve collected during some inordinately long layovers and wonderfully long coffee breaks.  Happy clicking!

Me and the boyfriend made this seriously fantastic curry dish when we got back from a weekend away.  It’s super simple and yields amazing leftovers for curried chicken salad.  Yum.

You absolutely HAVE to watch this truly hilarious skit with Christopher Walken from SNL. A friend showed it to me this past weekend and I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

Speaking of googley eyes, here’s this.

I found this Always commercial the other day and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a (some would say) completely irrational fear of the zombie apocalypse.  Needless to say, I had to take this quiz to find out whether or not I would survive.  “You would survive longer than most” isn’t a sufficient answer for me.

I plan to watch this documentary this weekend.  Can’t. Wait.

Can we talk, really quickly, about how insanely gorgeous this leather jacket is? Okay, thanks.

You can eat your way to a better night’s sleep according to this article.

If you’re going through Making a Murderer withdrawals, this podcast just might be able to get you through.  Best listened to during the day if you live alone or just live in constant fear of murderers…

Check out all of these random yet awesome beauty tools.  I love the brush mat.

Hope you enjoy all these lovely links and I’ll meet you back here Monday. Sending you kisses and hugs and tons of coffee in mugs.

Have a Really Fabulous Weekend

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Hey there you wonderful readers you, happy Friday!  I’m sorry I’m getting this to you so late but I had work and then I got a little carried away in my excitement of the return of House of Cards!  This weekend I’m going to a stranger’s birthday party, getting ready for one of my closest friends to come and visit and holing up in a cozy coffee shop to continue the full-time job hunt.  What are you up to?  Something wonderful I hope.  Here are some things I found around the web this week that I thought I’d share with you.

If you haven’t already, you’ve got to check out Magnolia Market, run by Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper.  Their home accents are simple and beautiful in every way.

I could not stop laughing at this photographic comparison of Los Angeles and New York City.

Have you heard of Kit and Ace?  Poke around their site and read their About page, I think you’re going to like them.

Here’s a really great blog post with super helpful denim wearing tips from the denim experts of Madewell.  (You should shop around, they just got some super crave worthy pieces in.)

The only election calendar you’ll need all year.  (You should also definitely sign up for he Skimm.)

How simple and pretty is this cocktail?

I’m absolutely dying to try this truffled gnocchi macaroni and cheese.  Three of my favorite things in one warm and satisfying dish.

I’m really loving all of the beauty products Anthropologie is now carrying.

I hope you enjoyed all of these as much as I did.  Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll meet you back here Monday.