Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

Happy Monday!

This book review is going to be a little shorter than the last but I have been reading a lot lately and really wanted to keep you all updated on my favorites. I recently read The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan and loved it. It has actually been on my radar since last year and I finally got the chance to read it. It is the story of book lover named Nina and her journey. Her passion for books is very strong and she can’t imagine doing something that does not bring that love into her life every day. The catch is that she also is not a risk taker and struggles a bit with having confidence in herself.

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When the library Nina works at closes, her whole world is flipped up side down. She has no idea what to do. A crazy idea hits her, to run a bookshop from a van. This story takes you through this whole endeavor and her relationships with the people she meets from taking a giant leap of faith.

Several moments in this story helped me remember how important it is to be good, to help those who might be in a much more difficult situation than my own. This seems pretty vague now but makes much more sense when you read the book. I don’t want to spoil anything and this is one of my favorite parts! Beyond just helping others, I thought a lot about how much we jump to conclusions and see people how we want to see them, not how they really are or how they want to be seen.

It is overall just a great read that is very heartwarming while also being a quick, easy read. I am looking forward to reading some more of Colgan’s books!

Erin

Book Round Up

About every three months I am going to be rounding up all the books I have read in that time. This will be a good way for me both keep track of everything I have read and to share what I have been reading. In that time I also have some personal goals to read a variety of different genres including at least one newer book and one non-fiction. I will go ahead and do a short verdict on each book I include.

Book Stack

Capture Your Style: For anyone interested in media/blogging etc. this is a really useful book. It helped me think a lot about instagram as a platform and how to utilize it. I really liked her approach to thinking about not just the photos you posts but your feed as a whole. You are telling a story and that should be easy to follow and understand.

The Rules of Magic: Because I did a whole review on this book I won’t go into detail but I absolutely loved this book. Read more here.

Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austin is a favorite of mine but her books can be slower since the language is a little more difficult and the pace in general is a lot slower. This is the one Austen book that I knew nothing about so it was great to read. I actually listened to it as an audiobook while driving back from South Carolina and I think that actually helped me get through it.

Reason for Hope: This is Jane Goodall’s autobiography and it was incredible. I found it to be one of the most honest accounts of life I have ever read. She goes into so much more than just her experience as a scientist. She talks a lot about spirituality and her struggle with humanity and violence.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry: Neil DeGrasse Tyson has always been so intriguing to me. I loved Cosmos and have always been fascinated by the stars. This book breaks down quite a few astrological concepts into manageable pieces and understandable language.

Everyman’s Poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: I am not big into poetry but since I loved The Psalm of life so much I decided to try some more of Longfellow’s work. I highly enjoyed it and am opening up a lot to poetry in general.

Harry Potter: I am lumping the second, third and forth together since they are all books I have read many times before. There is something so comforting about re-reading beloved classics. This time was even more special because I was listening to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text throughout. I feel like I thought about many events and characters in such different ways than how I have in the past.

During the very first week of 2018 I was finishing up Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes but I included that in my 2017 favorites so you have find that here. Thanks for reading! I am always eager for reading suggestions so feel free to comment with your favorites.

Erin

Life Update No. 3

With a lovely trip to South Carolina, this month has been a pretty exciting one. I have been focusing a lot on working, reading and seeing friends. Side note: when I was young one of my favorite activities was visiting the library and I feel like I just re-discovered how much I enjoy that. I have spent lots of free time just browsing the shelf. It also makes reading so affordable! The trip to Myrtle Beach and Charleston broke the daily work routine up which really nice. I got to eat lots of seafood, hang out on the beach, enjoy great company and discover a new city.

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Big exciting changes are happening for me this week. I made a last minute decision over the weekend to move back home to Boulder. The move was going to happen but I decided that I really wanted to be home for Easter so I moved everything up by about two weeks. There were lots of reasons that led to this decision but in short I have been feeling very torn between two places and unable to really give myself to starting a new chapter in life. The last minute decision has made everything this week very crazy. I have been going non stop since Saturday morning, working, catching up/saying goodbye to lots of people and packing. As crazy and stressful as it is, I know how much better it will be to have things here fully wrapped up. I will then be able to put myself fully into my goals for the next few months.

Watching: I have two shows that I have been watching over the past month, Altered Carbon and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Aiden and I started watching Altered Carbon together since we haven’t found a show we both liked since The Good Place. Altered Carbon is a futuristic show that grapples a lot with class differences and how the wealthy control the world in a whole new way. It can be pretty violent but overall I am really enjoying it. The other show I have been into lately is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. This is actually one that I am getting back into after watching the first season last year. I love a good murder mystery and the female lead in this one just makes it for me. If you are looking for some great vintage style inspiration then this is your perfect show as well. I am also into the soundtrack (lots of jazzy music).

Listening: Siembra by Bomba Estéreo has been on my playlist for a little while now but I recently have started to listen to it on repeat. I love everything about it.

Reading: I have finished quite a few books since my last Life Update post but I am currently in the middle of The Tudors. This is the first historical non-fiction book I have read in a really long time. It recaps the whole reign of the Tudor family in England. For some reason I am finding it very intriguing and I like the writing style of G.J. Meyers (it is much more understandable). I realized how little I know about non-US history so I am trying to branch out. The role of religion has especially captured my attention throughout this book since it is historically has such a big presence and that presence has carried into the modern world. In short this book is very out of my comfort zone but I am really liking it.

Wearing: Recently button down shirts have captured my attention. They have always been a staple but I have recently discovered just how versatile they are. One project of mine is to find some button downs that fit well at thrift shops and alter them.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Erin

Book Review: The Rules of Magic

Last week I read The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman, while we were at the beach in South Carolina. I knew it would be good since it is the prequel to Practical Magic and it has been highly recommended. What I did not realize was just how much I would love it and how much it would impact me. Because it was so significant, I have decided to devote an entire post to my thoughts on it. I will not spoil the actual story or ending, but rather talk about the themes that I related to and that impacted me.

The story is entirely separate from Practical Magic, but is about the same family and has similar themes. It is the story of Jet and Franny (the aunts from Practical Magic) and their journeys in life. The family has been cursed in love for hundreds of years. Each generation has their own complex experience. In brief summary, three siblings Jet, Franny and Vincent struggle in their relationships with each other, their parents and their significant others, while also coming to terms with their family’s history and origins. There mother does not talk of her family or the secret’s that are held deep within her past, making the journey of discovery all the more difficult.

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Despite the premise of magical roots, the story turned out to be very relatable. Much conflict within their stories are things that we all face throughout life. Finding yourself, family, love, relationships, death and grief.

This story helped me come to terms with so many things in ways I had not thought about. A major theme, especially in the beginning, is connection to family and how ignoring/denying where you come from will never end well. This is shown through the lens of witches denying who they are, in large part to find love and get away from the legendary curse, and the consequences that ensue. It struck a chord with me because I do believe that those who came before us make up a large part of who we are, although we may deny this at times in our lives. Embracing this could bring about great things and cherished relationships. The first part of the book takes place throughout the teenage years of the siblings and I found their experience and feelings to be very similar to my own in that time of life. This drew me in immediately.

The second element of this book that was important to me was that of grief and death. This is a very human subject that can be so difficult to deal with in reality. There are lots of books that involve death but this one brought out the grief process in a way I never experienced. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail, but the subject of death and grief are very prevalent and incredibly relatable. The loss of someone we love so dearly can feel like the whole world crashing in. It might feel like we lose a piece of ourself. The loss in this book brought that reality to fruition and really challenged me to think about how the losses in my life have effected me and how I deal with grief.

Loss goes along with the importance of love because death (and the potential for loss) creates a fear when it comes to love. Opening yourself up to love can be incredibly difficult when loss has been a big part of your life. The fear of loss and pain are so much more real when you have people that are so very important to you. The curse of the family in love brings the fear of losing someone into close proximity. Fear of loss is ever present and cannot be ignored or hidden. Through out the story I thought a lot about what it means to love others despite your own potential to experience great hurt.

As you might guess, I highly recommend this book. It is written beautifully and the characters are developed in a truly remarkable way. I would love to hear any thoughts you have had if you have read this book (or otherwise). I am also always looking for book recommendations!

Erin

Around the Web

Last week was a whirlwind of adventure for me. We drove to South Carolina and spent the whole week on the beach. It was a little cooler than I expected but we had a couple great days for sun bathing and swimming (although the water was freezing). My highlight was definitely driving down to Charleston to explore the city. I am going to do a whole post on what we did because I loved it so much!

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It is going to be difficult to get back to the daily work routine after so much fun in the sun. It should help that the temperature is getting warmer and spring is almost upon us. I rounded up some things I have been looking at for the past few weeks. This week is kind of a jumble, however I have been reading a ton lately, so I included a great booklist and a yearly checklist.

Hunter and Target Collaboration: This is one of the most exciting collaborations! It will debut in early April and will include lots of very affordably prices items. On Hunter’s part is a great way to make the brand more accessible to many more people.

Eartheasy: I just found this website through a podcast and it is a great way to fill your life with sustainable solutions. They sell some great products for more sustainable living and a blog with lots of great content. I have been eyeing this booklist from their blog right now.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter: This year they use their letter to answer some pretty tough questions. I am including this because these are questions I often struggle with in my own way and I really liked reading their answers.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: This challenge caught my eye because it is a little more challenging and very specific. The challenge I have been using so far this year had more general book prompts and I like that this one is specific because it forces me to search more and get out of my comfort zone.

JooJoo Azad 5 Ethical Brands: I recently discovered JooJoo Azad and love how it ties fashion with some really important social issues. They have lots of exciting projects coming up so I will definitely be keeping an eye out. The article itself is older but I am always looking to grow my knowledge on eco friendly and ethical brands.

Have a wonderful week!

Erin

Favorite Books of 2017

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I can’t believe this year is already coming to an end! It feels like it went by so fast, yet so much has happened. I decided in early December that I wanted to do a post on my favorite books from this year.

I am going to jump right into my favorites. I will say that most of the books I read for fun were in the past six months because in college it was so hard for me to find the time to read for pleasure. I have absolutely loved getting back into that reading swing. Not all of my pick’s were released in 2017, however most were 2016 or 2017 releases.

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A City Baker’s Guide to Country Living: This book seriously blew me away. I knew it would be good but I definitely did not expect to love it as much as I did. They whole baking aspect was so fun and there were lots of great characters with complicated pasts and intriguing personalities. It is tough to chose a favorite from this list but this book and Along the Infinite Sea are probably tied for number one.

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Magpie Murders: A modern Agatha Christie. It is a story about an editor and her interaction with a particular murder mystery author. I was surprisingly intrigued from the very beginning despite how long it took to introduce all the characters and their stories. It is a book within a book that is filled to the brim with mystery. This is the kind of book that holds my attention through the entire thing.

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Ready Player One: I definitely had a harder time relating to this story but I am a lover of dystopian fiction and this one made me think about things a little differently. I suppose that is why I love dystopian fiction. Most books I read in the genre seriously make me look at things in a different light. Some aspect of humanity gets turned on its side and dissected. I just found out that the movie is coming out next year and I am pretty bummed out. I saw the trailer and the characters just weren’t what I pictured and the whole thing is portrayed so much darker than I had imagined (literally darker).

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Along the Infinite Sea: I was worried that that era of war and tragedy would be glorified and made to sound almost idyllic. However the portrayal of the war itself and Nazi terror was terrifying and brought the book back to the reality of those times. Despite the historical context this novel depicts the great love stories of several people trying to find their places in a complicated and conflicted world. It is truly an amazing novel with fantastical characters.

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Party Girls Die in Pearls: This mystery is a Plum Sykes novel and I am obsessed. Its all about the adventures of two Oxford girls and a murder. It was such a quick read for me and the characters really enticed me. As goes with most murder mysteries there are lost of unexpected twists thrown in there.

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Classic Style by Kate Schelter: These is the best non-fiction read if this year for me. I related to so much of it way more than I expected and just loved her take on life and style. Her illustrations are also so on point. I actually read this during the summer and it was the perfect time. I had the time and energy to really focus on the content and think about how my own life and views relate.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite reads have been this year. I am all for recommendations and am going to start including some more book related posts next year. A big part of that will be a bran new monthly series that will break down a book I read that month. I couldn’t be more excited! I also wanted to include a short list of books that have been either highly recommended or that I am very excited about but didn’t get a chance to read this year.

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur)

The Bookshop on the Corner (Jenny Colgan)

Happy reading!

Erin

Around the Web

Happy Monday! I can’t believe it is already Thanksgiving week. This year has gone by so fast. I have lots of ideas for the holidays so I am very excited about the next few months but I just can’t believe how fast the past few months have gone. I rounded up my picks for the last several weeks. Here are the ten things that I have been into lately or found to be exciting/interesting:

Thanksgiving Checklist: The Everygirl did a checklist for Thanksgiving and I was surprised at how helpful it is for me. Our family does a lot of the planning early but all the cooking, cleaning and setting up is done on Wednesday and Thursday. This checklist has made me rethink that last minute preparation and look at a new perspective.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: I am re-reading Harry Potter right now from the very beginning and in order for probably the second time since I first read them. The things I have noticed and seen differently are amazing. This podcast has also really helped me look at the world of Harry Potter in a very different way. I feel like I have started to read differently in general and I love it. The podcast goes through every chapter looking through the lens of a different theme (eg. fear, generosity etc…). It is definitely time consuming but I am learning so much, especially about the minor characters, and it is very worth it.

The Post Movie: This is a trailer about the movie The Post which is about the Washington Post and their journey in uncovering a great government cover-up. My friend posted this trailer to Facebook and it seems about time for this movie. I am really optimistic especially since it has Meryl Streep who just makes everything better.

Teaser Trailers of the Past: I saw The Incredibles Teaser on YouTube the other day. It seems like most of what I have been looking at over the past several weeks are movie trailers. The Incredibles 2 is coming next summer and it is about time. This is one of those classic childhood movies and this teaser got me super psyched about the upcoming film. It is a little strange since The Incredibles was always one of the few stand alone kids movies out there. A Wrinkle in Time is another trailer I just saw that is exciting. This is one of my favorite books of all time and I am not really sure how I feel about it being made into a movie. The cast seems pretty amazing though!

Pink ASOS Coat: This is my favorite coat on the market right now. It is a blush pink, has pearls and a great shape. It is also so affordable. I highly recommend checking out some of ASOS’s jackets and coats right now because I really love the selection. Another favorite is this navy coat which has a great faux fur collar and is even more affordable.

Canada Goose Jackets: For some reason I had never really heard of Canada Goose jackets before last week. All of a sudden tons of bloggers started posting about how great they are and I had to check it out. They are very expensive so it is not something I would just go out and buy; but I am adding one to my list to save up for in the future. It seems like the last a long time and are the warmest coats out there.

Create & Cultivate LA Conference: I personally will likely not be attending the Create & Cultivate Conference this year due to expenses but I did want to link it since I have been thinking a lot about it lately. The line up is fantastic and there is so much I feel like I could learn from attending. I would check it out no matter your profession. It is such a great way to bring out your creative self and talk to other like-minded people. I also just love the Create & Cultivate philosophy.

Trello: This is by no means something new. I have actually heard about it several times before but never made an account. After a meeting last week I decided to give it a try as an organizational tool for my blog posts and I am loving it. It is such a great tool! I do recommend having a specific goal in mind for how you are going to use it or else I could see it getting pretty hectic.

The Golden Girl and Fate: I really loved this post that Jess Keys did on how she met her husband. It just really touched me. Ever since I read it I have been thinking a lot about fate and how/why certain things happen to us. It is crazy to think that some of my best friends are people I met due to circumstance I would consider to be fate. Kudos to her for such a well-written and inspiring post.

Porter Magazine’s Incredible Women of 2017: This one is actually not really from the web but I wanted to share since it opened my eyes and has really inspired me to follow my dreams. The link I shared is to the Porter magazine subscription but the actual article is found in the current issue of Porter (Winter 2017). It is a compilation of incredible women and it is the article which has brought back my drive to be creative and pursue my dreams. It highlights everyone from the women’s march organizers to Meryl Streep to Misty Copeland. The person that particularly caught my eye is Barbara Jatta’s who has been appointed the director of the Vatican Museums. It is the first time a women has ever held such a pivotal role in the Catholic church. I am not exactly sure why it caught my eye but her strength and ability to get to where she is has really inspired me.

Thanks for reading!

Erin

10 Favorite Outfits: July

The month of July has been a little less exciting than the last but fun nonetheless. I was working almost everyday but still we found time to explore and eat some great meals. Cambridge City definitely popped up quite a bit and I had time to cook some fun meals with friends. Just as July is ending I am driving out to the east coast for some vacation time with family and friends. It is sure to bring lots of fun and new, exciting places. Here are my ten favorite looks from the month of July:

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Hanging out at home on a rainy Saturday: Skirt H&M, T-shirt very similar, Sneakers Converse however these are available, Necklace similar, Glasses Oliver Peoples

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Work day: Pants could not find these but similar, T-shirt similar, Belt similar No27

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Picnicking in Whitewater State Park: Dress Target, Sandals American Eagle

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Just a work day and walk around the campus: T-shirt similar, Jumpsuit Chicwish, Slides Sole Society

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Dinner at The Firehouse: Overalls similar, Shirt Abercrombie & Fitch, Bag Mango, Sneakers similar, Necklace similar

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Ice cream and antique shopping in Cambridge City: Shorts similar, Sandals American Eagle, Bag Everly Oak

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Rainy Thursday and fondue night: Dress H&M, Boots Hunter, Hat vintage Nordstrom

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Just hanging out on Sunday: Romper similar, Slides Sole Society

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Sushi night: Blouse similar, Chino Shorts J. Crew, Boat shoes L.L. Bean, Belt similar No27, Wallet Vera Bradley

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Brunch and walking around the Rose Gardens: Dress old Modcloth (similar, also this one), Bag Rebecca Minkoff, Sandal American Eagle

Erin

Around the Web

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Happy Saturday morning! Here is my round up of interesting articles I have been reading this month. I did include a book that I am reading now as well, Classic Style, which is amazing! Just a warning this Around the Web is definitely mostly fashion.

Rodarte spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear: Rodarte and Proenza Schouler debuted their 2018 ready-to-wear collections at the fall 2018 haute couture week in Paris. This is impressively a whole season ahead of most designers. Although this is so far ahead considering most people are just focusing on the fall season, it is definitely an interesting move on the designer’s parts. There were lots of florals, texture and blush (not going anywhere!), there was also some black in the Rodarte collection.

Lucinda Chambers interview: This fired vogue editor goes at the fashion industry in a way you would not expect. Yes this news is from the beginning of July but it was just such an interesting perspective to me especially because she is really wasn’t afraid to say what she wants about the industry. It is definitely worth the read.

Classic Style by Kate Schelter: This book is definitely changing my perspective on how I create and define my style. I am not finished reading but it has been so great so far, I can’t rave about it enough. She addresses how classic style is not about having tons and tons of clothes but quality pieces that really define who you are what you stand for. Her illustrations are also beautiful!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: I am sure everyone has heard that one of the biggest and best sales of the year is underway. This sale is amazing because it is basically a pre-sale with many of their fall items on major sale. Here are a couple of my favorites. My shoe picks: Blush MulesTory Burch boots (on major sale), Vince Camuto over the knee boot. Dresses: pink ruffle mini and this wrap maxi. Outerwear: Patagonia fleece vestquilted Patagonia pullover, Pendleton rain jacket, Barbour navy vest. Accessories: plaid scarf (comes in several color patterns I ordered two), Rebecca Minkoff embroidered crossbody (sold out right now). So some of these items are sold out but they update fairly often with returns and the occasional restock so check back frequently if there is something you really want.

Misty Copeland poses as Edgar Degas paintings: This is such a cool project, putting a twist on classic paintings. I love Misty Copeland and these photographs are incredible and definitely help to redefine a part of our culture.

Walking Dead season 8: Strange as it might be, I am such a huge Walking Dead fan and I am so excited for the next season. I have been waiting for a while and it is set to premiere on October 22nd.

Goop Summer Reading Guide: This has been pulled up on my computer for at least a week because it has given me such great ideas for reading right now and really inspired me to get into a more regular reading routine. I am really excited to read several of their new picks and their classics list definitely gave me some ideas.

Erin