Book Recommendation Roundup

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  1. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen – This is a great book to check out for fans of Emily Giffin and Liane Moriarty books.  The story alternates between the points of view of three girls in their twenties, who are all struggling with something different.  Two of the girls are roommates and end up taking the third girl under their wing after a friend reaches out to them for help.  This is a great book about friendship and how powerful it can be during both the good and bad times in life. (5 out of 5 stars)
  2. Her by Harriet Lane – This story alternates between the points of view of two middle aged women who are in very different points in their lives.  Emma is a stay at home mother to two small children and Nina is a self employed artist with a teenage daughter.  Despite their differences, Nina is determined to insert herself into Emma’s life and befriend her.  As the story progresses, Nina’s ulterior motives are slowly revealed and the cracks begin to show in the women’s friendship.  This book was chilling from beginning to end and gradually increased suspense with each chapter.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ending of the story immediately after finishing it but once I had time to think it over, I think the author did a great job in the way she concluded it. (4.5 out of 5 stars)
  3. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo – This book was both heart wrenching and heartwarming all in one.  A teenage girl, Amanda, starts a new high school in an effort to start over after being bullied and isolated at her previous school.  She’s quickly accepted into a group of girl friends and even begins dating her first ever boyfriend.  Despite everything going so well at her new school, Amanda is terrified that her secret past will be revealed.  She questions whether she would still be accepted if her friends and boyfriend knew about everything she left behind.  This was a great story about fitting in and being different.  The author did a fantastic job in her portrayal of Amanda and I enjoyed reading this story from start to finish. (5 out of 5 stars)
  4. Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon – This was a great thriller but so difficult to read.  After losing everything in her personal life, a journalist struggling with alcoholism begins to investigate the circumstances involving the assault of a teenage girl who has been in a coma for the past fifteen years.  Despite being an emotional read at times, it is well worth it for the high level of suspense and shocking twist ending. (5 out of 5 stars)
  5. The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn – This was another great thriller and it was a little less heavy, in my opinion, than Try Not to Breathe.  A woman takes a job as a live-in gardener and caretaker at a reclusive home in the countryside, in an attempt to leave her previous life behind her.  The man who owns the home rarely speaks and locks himself in his workroom for the majority of his days.  As the woman begins to get to know him better, they begin a strange relationship that is clouded by both of their pasts. The only reason I would give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because it was a little slow at times and I felt like the ending was a little rushed.  Overall, it was a great book and had a much different plot than any I’ve read before. (4 out of 5 stars)

Favorite Finds: November Edition

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It’s hard to believe it’s already the second week of November – this fall is flying by!  Here are my favorite finds for this month:

  1. Favorite Sales – I’m not sure if I’ll be shopping many of the Black Friday sales this year but I love looking at all the different ads to see what deals are being offered.  Here are the early access ads for Target, Walmart, and Kohls.
  2. Favorite Drink – The holiday drinks are back out at Starbucks and starting today through the 14th, you can buy one and get one free from 2 – 5 pm.  My favorite is the White Peppermint Mocha but you can also choose from Chestnut Praline, Regular Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee and Egg Nog!
  3. Favorite Scent – I love the smell of this Harvest candle from Yankee Candle!  It smells exactly like the holidays to me and is a mix between cinnamon, apple and pumpkin. The one linked is directly from Yankee Candle’s website but I’ve also seen it in stores at TJ Maxx and Home Goods.
  4. Favorite Food – With Thanksgiving only a couple weeks away, my favorite food for this month is unsurprisingly pumpkin pie!  My favorite is a recipe my dad makes that has a layer of cream cheese on the bottom and pumpkin on the top.  Here’s a link to a similar recipe in case you want to try it out this year!
  5. Favorite Photo – I love the classic look of this house and the fall foliage surrounding it.  There’s something about this photo that is both eerie and beautiful at the same time.

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How to Dress Up Fall & Winter Outfits

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With the holiday season in full swing, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite ways to dress up casual outfits for holiday parties or even just for fun!  Here are my top tips:

  1. Faux Fur Vests – I love vests and how easy they are to layer on top of a simple long sleeve shirt or sweater.  Faux fur is a great way to add a little glam to your outfit.  Click here, here and here for my favorite faux fur picks.
  2. Ponchos – Ponchos are also great for layering and making an outfit pop.  I really like the look of printed ponchos, like animal print of plaid, paired with neutral accessories.  See my poncho picks here, here and here.
  3. Embellished Leggings – Leggings are the perfect addition to any outfit and I love wearing them as pants or with a dress.  Instead of wearing traditional cotton leggings, try incorporating a texture like faux leather or velvet, to really make your outfit stand out.  My legging picks can be viewed here, here and here.
  4. Over the Knee Boots – One of my favorite trends of the season is over the knee boots that have a block heel.  They look great with both jeans and leggings and add a little extra flair to casual outfits.  Click here, here and here for my boot picks.
  5. Hats – From floppy hats to beanies with fluffy pom poms, there are so many cute hats to choose from during the colder months.  Throwing a hat on instantly makes an outfit look a little more dressed up and pulled together.  View my favorite picks here, here and here.

Do you have any other tips for dressing up casual outfits during the colder months?  If so, be sure to leave a comment below!