2/22/18

Colorblock Sweater + Louis Vuitton Look for Less

5 comments |
It figures that just as I've started talking more about Spring fashion on the blog, Winter has finally decided to arrive in San Diego. I thought we were opting out of that season entirely this year, but Mother Nature always gets the final say and she has other plans. Although it was a bright and sunny day when we took these photos, it was pretty chilly and I did need to layer a cami under this colorblock sweater. But it's still a nice medium weight that makes it a good Winter/Spring transition piece, and the pink/gray/white combo is always one of my favorites...although I usually pair them together with separates rather than getting them all in one piece like this!

My jeans are true to size and one of my all-time favorite pairs from Express (see a few more outfits with these here under #4). These boots are also due for a "multiple ways to wear post" too since I've had them for over a year and reach for them a lot. The product description says they have a 3" heel, but they do feel a little higher than that to me for some reason. I don't wear them if I have a lot of walking or standing on the agenda, but on this particular day I was only taking kids to haircuts and basketball practice, so they were fine for that since I was mostly driving and sitting.

This $20 SheIn Sweater is one of those "One-Size" pieces that will probably work best for XS-Medium. If you're not too sure about the limited size selection, I found a few options from other retailers that could serve the same purpose as this sweater. They all cost just a bit more than my version, but at least would have a return-to-store option if it doesn't work out.

Brand Name vs. Budget Option: Louis Vuitton
One of my favorite designer handbags is the Louis Vuitton Croisette Damier Azur. I think it would be so cute for Spring and Summer, but the $1,650 price tag is not happening unless I win the lottery. I've been on the lookout for a good look for less option, but so far I haven't found one I like. But in my searching I've found some other Louis Vuitton "look for less" options that I wanted share. The first one has the print I like but for now, I'm holding off for a smaller option!
Middle RowLV Neverfull Monogram | Budget Option   

If you've seen any other good similar options to these or especially my #1 hard-to-find favorite, please let me know in the comments!


Linking up with: Carrie

2/21/18

Victorian Lace Top + Link Up

17 comments |
One trend I've been seeing a lot lately (well, at least on blogs...not so much in real life) are Victorian-inspired tops with lace, ruffles and higher necklines. I've seen many that I thought were very pretty, but I wasn't quite sure about pulling off this style myself since I don't usually gravitate to things that fall into the "frilly" category. But I'm trying to take a few more fashion risks here and there, so I decided to try this top since I thought the lace detail was especially pretty and the $19 price tag makes for a budget friendly way to try the trend.

I'm wearing a small in this top, and that's what I usually wear in SheIn tops, but it runs closer to an XS in Express sizing. It's still available in sizes XS-L, and It does have a zipper up the back to get it on and off. Thankfully the zipper was smooth and easy to do on my own, so I didn't need any assistance getting dressed. I did need to wear a cami underneath though since the fabric is sheer and the lace parts are very see through. I expected that to be the case though, so no surprise for me there.

All in all I'm very happy with the top itself and I was especially pleased with the lace detail in person (it's soft and not itchy at all). But to be honest, I didn't feel entirely confident that I was pulling off this style when I wore it to Sunday brunch with the family. I think it was the shoulder ruffles in particular that made me feel extra frilly, but mercifully, my family didn't have any comments on this outfit and they usually speak their minds if they think I'm wearing something "interesting."

My jeans and nude stacked heel pumps both run true to size. At 5'4", I take the short length in Express jeans and these are the Supersoft style that are indeed super soft! A lot of times I think the dark wash looks almost look black in my indoor photos, so score one point for outdoor photos giving a better color read on these.

Just a short and sweet post today! After some extra posts last week for Book Reviews and President's Day sales, I needed to balance things out by spending a little less time on the computer for a couple of days. I hope you'll join us for Style on the Daily below, and enjoy the rest of your week!


Linking up with: Lindsey | The Blended Blog | Kelly, Anessa | Brooke | JoLynne



Link Up Hosts:
Join us to share your Style on the Daily by linking up your latest fashion-related posts below! If you link up, we ask that you link back to your hosts Amy Ann and Gina and follow us on the social media platform of your choice. Thank you!


2/19/18

Six Ways to Wear: Blush Cardigan

11 comments |
There's a storewide 40% off sale at Express and as I debated what to add to my shopping cart, I really tried to narrow down my selections to pieces that will work for now through Spring. We don't have a huge temperature swing for those seasons here, so for me it's more about the color palette and some lighter-weight fabrics.  One piece that I already have and recommend if you're also looking for "wear now and later" pieces is this blush cardigan (the color name on the website is Soft Impala...not exactly and everyday name for Blush or Pink!). It's currently under $30 and easy to dress up and down I've worn mine for almost every season at this point. It is a pretty lightweight cardigan so that might not be an option for every climate, but it does run true to size and has turned out to be a great addition to my closet.







The only one of these outfits that wasn't a real life outfit for me was #4 with the pencil skirt. I don't really have any events that would require an outfit along those lines, but I had all the pieces on hand so I put them together just to show the full spectrum of dressy-to-casual options for styling this blush cardigan.

President's Day Sale Picks:
I promised to update you all when I made my selections from the Express sale and I finally got around to placing an order this morning. Here's a little about why I chose each piece, plus the one that got away.

Express:

1. Lavender Tee: A lavender top has been on the top of my Spring wishlist for awhile, and after a lot of deliberating, I went with this long sleeve tee. It's a simple basic, but I love the color and out of the options I considered, I think it will work best for my climate.
2. Black/White Cover Up: I've been busy on Pinterest lately and I noticed that a lot of outfits I Pinned have a cardigan/cover up like this (see this board for some examples). It pairs easily with a lot of things I already own, so I hope it fits well. It also comes in a neutral shade I love, but I have plenty of neutral cardigans as it is.
3. Neutral Sweater: This looks lightweight enough to work through Spring here and the neutral color should pair easily with any color of denim. I usually favor v-necks but I'm trying to switch it up a bit so again, I'm hoping this will be a nice, staple, basic.
4. Square Neck Cami: Square necklines are trending for Spring, and I personally love the look. A white cami like this will layer with anything and seems like an easy, very budget friendly ($12 on sale) way to try the trend. This One Eleven Square neck cami was my first choice but it was already sold out in my size in white, though it does have plenty of other color options.
5. Lavender Sweater: This is "the one that got away," and it's probably my #1 favorite item at Express right now. The color is so pretty and on-trend. It has been on my wishlist for awhile and I was waiting for a sale, but now that it's here...I really think it's just too late in the season for me to be buying a chunky knit sweater. So I decided to get this t-shirt (#1 shown above) instead. That said, if you live in a colder climate, this sweater might be a better choice for you and they can probably both be styled the same way.

J. Crew:
I also ordered a couple of these camis from J. Crew that Rachelle recommended. They're 30% off plus free shipping with code SOGOOD. I do love a good cami and get plenty of use out of them, and these have adjustable straps which would be a huge advantage for me over my current options. The color isn't showing up that well here for some reason, but the one on the right is a charcoal/gray color, which is something that's been on my wishlist for ages so I hope it looks good and fits right in person.

There are lots of other great sales going on right now (I especially love some of the pieces in the Abercrombie 40% off sale) but I'm going to stay busy with the kids today while they're off school so I can avoid any more temptations. I think I've already made enough purchases for one holiday! We have some free movie passes to use up so if you've seen any good family-friendly movies in the theater lately let me know!

Linking up with: Rachelle | Carylee | Lindsey

2/18/18

Everyday Outfits 2/18/18

2 comments |
Today I'm finishing up Part 2 of my Everyday Outfit recap for the week. I normally post these on Friday but had to rearrange things a bit this week. I kind of like breaking these up into smaller posts so I'm thinking about doing this a little more often. Maybe not Saturday + Sunday every weekend, but just three on Friday + TGIF, and the rest on Saturday or Sunday. Anyway, just thinking out loud on that, moving on with a few things I've worn in the past week or so that I haven't had a chance to post yet!

1. Black Lace Henley, Jeans

My lace henley and bag are the only current items in this outfit, and I'm wearing a Small in the henley. This brand tends to run a little smaller than Express, and I didn't even plan this but the next two sweaters I'm wearing are also from the same brand (Pattyboutik). They're all very well made and worth the money. I also have this lace henley in white (see it in this post) but I wanted the black for times when white isn't very practical. I actually wore this to a Super Bowl party, which is exactly the type of event where a white top would have undoubtedly had a drink or food spilled on it by the end of the night! My jeans are from Express and sold out, but I have this similar pair from Abercrombie in the darker wash and they fit true to size for me.

2. Camel Sweater, White Jeans, Cognac Boots
Camel Sweater (c/o) | White Jeans (40% off) | Similar Lucky Brand Boots | Tory Burch Bag (TB Option, Budget Option)

As mentioned above, I'm wearing a Small in this sweater. It comes in quite a few other colors and is definitely long enough to wear with leggings if you're similar to my height (5'4"). I wore this to Sunday brunch and wanted to make it look a little dressier so I thought the white jeans would be a nice contrast. I ended up feeling too dressy since we ended up at kind of a Sports Bar type place, but oh well. No one kicked me out so I'm sure it was fine! My jeans run true to size and are included in the Express 40% off sale.

3. Marled Cardigan, Gray Jeans:

I guess I could have called this post "Pattyboutik Favorites" since this sweater is yet another item from their Amazon store. I just find their pieces to be really good quality for the price, and this sweater in particular is really warm and comfortable. Again I'm wearing a Small in this and another pair of true-to-size Express Jeans. These didn't make my top five favorites jeans but they are a nice pair of jeans that have been a staple for me for a few years. I haven't been reaching for them as much lately and I'm not really sure why. I think they got buried a little in my closet and I kind of forgot about them, so I made up for it by wearing them twice in one week (see previous outfit here).

Just a short and sweet Sunday post today! See you back tomorrow with six ways to wear one of my favorite pieces from Express that's not a pair of jeans!




2/17/18

Everyday Outfits 2/17/18

2 comments |
Hello and Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is off to a good start. I'm sharing my Everyday Outfits from the past week or so since they didn't get posted on their usual day (Friday). There's a big storewide 40% off sale at Express so I opted to post my Five Favorite Jeans on sale for under $50 yesterday instead. But I still wanted to get these posted while many pieces are on sale rather than wait to post next week, so here it is...

1. Neutral Cowl Neck Sweater, Grey Jeans
Sweater (c/o) | Grey Jeans (40% off) | Leopard Pumps | Kate Spade Bag (Similar)

All pieces ran true to size.  I wore this for a day of blogging, errands (Target, Dry Cleaners, etc.), and taking kids to and from their after school activities. These leopard pumps have a low, stacked heel so they're pretty easy to walk in for simple errands. For another outfit option with this sweater see this post.
Sweater Options with additional sizes : Amazon, Charlotte Russe
Budget Options for Shoes: Amazon, Amazon Flats
Budget Handbag Option: Amazon

2. Camel Cashmere Cardigan, White Cami
Cardigan | Similar Cami | Black Jeans | Leopard Pumps | Necklace | Kate Spade Bag (Similar)

All pieces ran true to size. My cashmere cardigan (see another outfit option with this sweater here) was a birthday splurge, so I've linked some less expensive options below. My necklace comes as a two-layer piece, and I separated it into two pieces since I thought I'd get more use out of it that way. So far that seems to be working out well! This was my Valentine's Day outfit, which I celebrated with a morning and afternoon doctor's appointment for one of my kids. It seemed like that took the whole day with driving to/from different offices and eating some meals and snacks in between.
Budget Cardigan Options: Boohoo, AmazonAmazon
Budget Handbag Option: Amazon

3. Black Moto Jacket, White Tee
Jacket (c/o) | White Tee (c/o)| Jeans (40% off) | Boots (Only $23)

The full post with this outfit is here, but I always share the selfie version of my outfits too since some people prefer those. I'm wearing a Small in this $31 jacket and everything else ran true to size.
Budget T-Shirt Options: (Similar for less, Similar 3-Pack)

Just three for today since that's all I had time to put together. Thanks for checking in and have a great weekend!


Linking up with: Lindsey

2/16/18

Express Jean Favorites Under $50

4 comments |
As expected, Express is running a storewide 40% off sale for President's Day weekend. When I look through my closet, it becomes obvious that jeans are my number one favorite thing to buy at Express. So today I'm sharing five of my very favorites since all of these are under $50 right now. The first three are new favorites that I've added to my collection in the last year and I highly recommend! The last two are closet staples that I've had for years and posted about probably hundreds of times, but I still love them so I can't leave them off a list of favorites. Sizing info is listed at the end of this post.

1. CHARCOAL JEANS:
ONE: Charcoal Jeans  | Shoes | Crossbody Bag (40% off) | Romwe Sweater (c/o)

TWO: Charcoal Jeans | Similar Cardigan | Similar Tee | Shoes | Charming Charlie Necklace

THREE: Charcoal Jeans | Tee (c/o) | Maurice's Jacket | Kate Spade Bag | Sole Society Shoes

2. CAMO JEANS:
ONE: Camo Jeans | Romwe Sweater (c/o) | Express Shoes | Kate Spade Bag


TWO: Camo Jeans | Necklace | Shoes (c/o) | Handbag (c/o) | Mavi Jacket | Express Tee |



THREE: Camo Jeans | Sweater (c/o) | Boots


3. LIGHTER WASH RIPPED KNEE JEANS:
ONE: Express Jeans | Lace Henley Top (c/o) | Boots (c/o)

TWO: Express Jeans | Black Crossbody | Romwe Sweater (c/o) | Express Boots

THREE: Express Jeans | Cardigan | Lace Cami | Lucky Brand Boots | Kate Spade Bag

4. DISTRESSED JEANS*

TWO: Express Jeans | Boots | Necklace | AE Camo Shirt | Kate Spade Bag

THREE: Express Jeans | Boots | Black Crossbody | Express Jacket | Express Tank

*I recently bought a newer/back up pair of these (shown far left in the image above) since the threading in the distressing was starting to wear out after a few years of wearing and laundering. This is why the distressing varies slightly between the same pair of jeans.

5. CLASSIC MID RISE JEANS
ONE: Express Jeans | Blazer (40% off) | Velvet Cami | Crossbody Bag (40% off) | OTK Boots (c/o)

TWO: Express Jeans | Burgundy CardiganNecklace | Shoes | Express Cami | SheIn Bag (c/o)

THREE: Express Jeans | Red Handbag (c/o) | Old Navy Plaid Shirt | Amazon Boots

For size reference, I'm 5'4" and wearing the Short length in my normal size for all five pairs of jeans.  At this point in my blogging journey, I generally just won't purchase a pair of jeans at all if my regular size doesn't work. It just makes things a lot easier to share with you all when the sizing is consistent! Also, for today's post I apologize for skipping the similar/budget options for the sold out pieces, I'm wearing, but it's just too time consuming for recaps with this many outfits in one post. 

I usually share an Everyday Outfit Recap on Friday but since I bumped that for this post, I may post those over the weekend since I have quite a bit of it prepped already and plenty of pieces will be on sale. If you like those posts, check back in here on the weekend or subscribe via email on my sidebar. On Monday I'm planning to share some favorites in a few other categories plus my wishlist or any purchases I happen to make over the weekend at Express or other retailers. I've done a bit of browsing but haven't made any final decisions yet since it's so overwhelming with all the sales! Let me know if you've already made some sale purchases or have current favorites that are worth checking out!

Linking up with: JoLynne | ErikaAndreaNarci

2/14/18

Moto Jacket: Dressy vs Casual + Link Up

19 comments |
Well, it's Valentine's Day, and I'm sure you'll all be jealous to hear that I am getting the romantic gift of a new tire for my car, and my husband is getting the equally romantic gift of a new screen for his iPhone. I'm kidding, of course. I mean, we are actually getting those things because we need to replace them, but we don't have plans to celebrate the holiday itself. I am, however, standing in front of a red wall for today's outfit photos, so that will be the extent of my Valentine's festivities on the blog front!


One thing that came up frequently in my Reader Survey was a strong interest in repeating outfit pieces and sharing multiple ways to wear one piece. I put this outfit together with that in mind since every single piece is something that's been worn previously on the blog. I especially wanted to wear this jacket again A.S.A.P. because it's still in stock and such a great price ($31 plus only $2 for shipping), plus it works for both dressy and casual outfits. I'm wearing a Small here, and I think it runs fairly true to size. You probably don't need to size up in this jacket unless you plan on wearing thicker layers underneath.

In case you missed my previous post, here's a side-by-side of two ways to wear this black moto jacket:
Dressy Outfit (on the left) : Jacket (c/o) | Red Top | Black Jeans | Nude PumpsBlack Crossbody/Clutch | Necklace | Earrings

Casual Outfit (on the right) : Jacket (c/o) | White Tee (c/o) (Similar for less, Similar 3-Pack) | Jeans | Boots | Earrings | Bracelet | Similar NecklaceNail Polish | Clip-in Ponytail

Last time I dressed up the jacket for dinner at a winery (the shoes were not the best for the cobblestone sidewalks...live and learn), and this time I wore it for a Saturday of running my kids around to their weekend activities. And when I say running around, I actually mean driving somewhere, then sitting, watching and waiting. I'm past the stage where I'm actually running after kids and need to wear flats, but the casual outfit option would work just as well with sneakers or flats or even pumps depending on your lifestyle. I do reach for these boots a lot because they're a great neutral shade, and they're currently on clearance for under $25.

While I love my very budget-friendly moto jacket, this is a pretty classic piece that might be worth a splurge for some of you. I rounded up a few different options from U.S. retailers arranged below from highest price (#1 -  a definite splurge and the only option that's genuine leather) to lowest price:
1. Madewell (Ultimate Leather) | 2.  Express ** | 3. Cupcakes and Cashemere (Burwell) 
4. Levi's | 5. Topshop | 6. Amazon (Only $45 with great reviews)

**There's a pretty good chance this Express jacket will go on sale for President's Day Weekend. If they do their usual storewide 40% off sale, this one would be a better price than #5, but still $40 more than #6.

That's it from here today!I hope you enjoy your Wednesday regardless of whether you're celebrating today or not!


Linking up with:  Lindsey | The Blended Blog | Kelly, Anessa | Brooke | Carrie | DawnJoLynne




Link Up Hosts:
Join us to share your Style on the Daily by linking up your latest fashion-related posts below! If you link up, we ask that you link back to your hosts Amy Ann and Gina and follow us on the social media platform of your choice. Thank you!


2/13/18

Book Reviews: February

32 comments |
It's book review day! On the second Tuesday of every month I share all the books I've read in the past month along with my thoughts on them and whether or not I think they were worth the read. This month it's been five weeks since my last review so I got through a few extra books this time. I've also been cutting back on social media time (I think you'll see why based on some of the books I read this month), and I'm not into any TV shows right now, so it's been kind of amazing to see how much all that time adds up.


Fiction:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Plot: A teenage boy goes on a shooting rampage at his high school. Through multiple narrator perspectives, we learn about the series of life events and experiences that lead up to the day of the shooting. After the shooting, we examine the impact on the lives of the surviving students, parents, and key community members.
My Verdict: This book was very well written and did a great job of giving readers a new perspective and sense of compassion for people that society might typically blame in a tragedy like this. It did take a lot of time to build the characters and their backstory, and that portion of the book didn't always hold my interest. It took almost half of the book for me to become invested in the story and the outcome, so I enjoyed the second half more than the first. As you can tell from the subject matter, this is not a happy, fun or uplifting book. It's a "make you think" book, and it does a good job of that. Would I read another book by this author? Yes, she's definitely a talented writer. Overall I liked it but didn't love it. I guess because even though I understood each character's motives and feelings, I still didn't personally connect with any of them.

Most of All You by Mia Sheridan
Plot: A stripper is approached by a client with a very unusual request...and I don't mean unusual in the way you might be thinking with regards to a stripper. The client has a tragic past and needs the help of a woman to overcome some of it, but doesn't know how to approach any other woman in his real life about his particular request.
My Verdict: Despite how it sounds, the story was kind of sweet but predictable. This is the book Kristen and I chose to read together for the month because we like comparing notes on the same book. I would probably rate this one 3.5 out of 5 stars, and Kristen asked me if there was something I didn't like about it. The answer is no, there wasn't anything I particularly disliked about it. It was a quick read that was entertaining and enjoyable enough, but it lacked any twists, turns, multi-dimensional characters or anything really extra that would make it a great read for me.

She's Not There by Joy Fielding
Plot: While a young family is on vacation in Mexico, one of their children is kidnapped out of their hotel room. The narrative goes back and forth between the present (15 years after the kidnapping) and the past as the mother deals with the fallout of the child's disappearance and her hope to find her daughter alive.
My Verdict: Recommend! This was a good page turner. If you read The Couple Next Door you should enjoy this one. It actually starts out in a very similar manner, but not to worry, the rest of the storyline is different. A bonus for me was that the main character lives in San Diego so I was familiar with a lot of the streets and locations. There were two family members who really annoyed me, but I just figured they were meant to be antagonistic. And let's face it, some people are really annoying in real life! 

Wait for It by Mariana Zapata
Plot: Diana is a 20-something woman struggling to get by as a hairstylist and raise her two young nephews after the untimely death of her brother. She moves to a new neighborhood for better schools/life for the boys and ends up meeting two of her very attractive male neighbors under some unusual and potentially awkward circumstances.
My Verdict: I loved this one. This is my third book by this author and possibly my favorite. I love the way she carefully builds the relationships between the characters. I do think she writes a lot of similar characters (e.g. the female leads could all be the same person...but then that would ruin the previous love story she just wrote so she gives them a new name), but it doesn't inhibit my enjoyment of the process. This was a really cute story that has you rooting for certain people to get together all along.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Plot: Hazel is a terminal cancer patient who meets a boy at her cancer support group and they hit it off right away. Obviously, this is not going to end well, yet the author manages to inject enough humor that it keeps the story fun and sweet rather than depressing, although it's still a tearjerker.
My Verdict: I liked this so much more than I expected! I was so worried going into it...I knew it was going to be sad and I just didn't see how I could enjoy it very much if that were the case. But the author's writing style was so fun and the story moved along quickly. Yes, I cried a lot while reading it but in this case it was worth it. I haven't seen the movie and probably won't, but I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it.

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
The Plot: Jasmine is a professional figure skater who is down on her luck. She's competed in singles and pairs but hasn't achieved the kind of success she's always wanted. She's offered the chance to partner up with Ivan Lukov for a season, a very successful male skater who trains at the same facility and has always been her nemesis.
My Verdict: This is my fourth book by this author, but unfortunately it was my least favorite of hers.  The biggest issue for me was that this couple loves to bicker. That was their preferred form of flirtation, but for me it was really annoying. It reminded me of bickering with my brother in childhood and there was absolutely nothing romantic about that. The love story part was cute when they were actually getting along, but the constant bickering really took away from it. Also, this was less of an issue but it bothered me nonetheless...I noticed the author said the main characters blinked at each other and other characters approximately 752 times in the book (I didn't actually count of course, but it seemed like every other page someone blinked at someone else). It became distracting! Why all the blinking? I think I'm making it sound like I didn't like the book at all, and that's not really the case. It held my interest and was basically entertaining, I just didn't love it. The reviews on Amazon (ALL five stars at this point!) show that I am clearly in the minority in this.

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
The Plot: Emma's six year old son disappears during a flood and is presumed dead. Ten years later, he is found wandering along the road but he's unable to speak and answer any questions about where he's been all this time. Emma tries to find answers and begins to suspect everyone around her.
My Verdict: This book was okay...kind of interesting and suspenseful but a bit slow in parts. There was a lot of reminiscing about the past that had too much unnecessary detail for me so I ended up skimming through some of that. It did hold my interest enough to want to finish it to find out the answer to the mystery. But then...the ending. UGH. Without spoiling, I just thought the whole resolution of what happened to the boy was very implausible. It frustrated me so much it ruined the whole book. Ultimately I wouldn't recommend this one.

After our first book of the month (Most of All You) , Kristen and I ended up reading two more fiction books together: "From Lukov with Love" and "Silent Child." If you want a different take on either of those books (and most likely a dozen or so other books she read this month) stop on by her blog today for her thoughts!

Nonfiction

Irresistible by Adam Alter
This was my favorite nonfiction book of the month and one I'd really like to read again. A lot of times I lose focus during audiobooks and don't pay attention to every word, but this one was engaging and really held my interest. This book carefully examines the addictive nature of technology today. There was a lot of emphasis on social media (Instagram and Facebook in particular) that gave me some good food for thought on my own habits and even my strategies as a blogger. I especially liked a lot of the explanations and comparison to gambling in a casino. I can easily imagine Instagram as virtual casino where you see the person next to you winning a big jackpot and think, "Hey, I'm playing the slots just like her. Why didn't I win? Maybe if I try my luck one more time...." Whether you look at "winning" as likes or followers or collaborations, it's always easy find someone with more than you and think you just need one more thing to get there. I've certainly been caught in that trap and this helped me step back and consider how much time I really want to spend in the casino at all, regardless of how much someone else wins there. Anyway, sorry for the tangent there, but that was really the take home message for me. Overall I highly recommend this book for anyone who uses a smartphone or tablet, with an extra dose of strong recommendation for anyone who is a parent.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes
Shonda is the writer behind popular TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (neither of which I watch, for what it's worth). Despite her success, she felt like life was passing her by a little and she wasn't living it to the fullest, so she challenged herself to just say yes to whatever came her way for a year. This decision ended up changing her life for the better, and the book highlights her experiences and lessons learned. Personally, I felt I had already gone through a lot of these things many years ago so it wasn't the most relevant to me right now. But I did find her to be an inspiring person and I think this book would be good for people who have not tackled a lot of their fears and need some motivation to step outside their comfort zone. Shonda had a lot of good insight and I saved quite a few quotes. I have to admit her writing style was a little tedious to me at times. But hey, she's an award winning writer and I'm not, so take that for what it's worth! All in all this is in the "enjoyed but didn't love" category, mainly just due to it not being the best fit for my current stage of life. 

The Four by Scott Galloway
This book was a very interesting look at the way Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have come to dominate the market and infiltrate our everyday lives. It wasn't the most entertaining book but it was a good eye opener about just how much these companies shape all of our lives and what they get away with behind the scenes, so to speak. At times the author was rather hostile towards some of the founders of these companies, and I guess it surprised me because I expected the book to be more analysis and less opinion. And to be fair, there is plenty of analysis, the opinions were just strong and randomly interjected. It also had some good career advice in the last few chapters that I'll probably make my kids listen to at some point before they go to college...assuming the world doesn't change radically again in the next few years! Overall...I don't recommend this to everyone but if it sounds like your kind of thing you'll probably get enough out of it to make it worth your time.

Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
If you work in a management position in a corporate job or coach some kind of team, this book will probably give you some good ideas on how to create a strong group culture. As it happens, neither of those things are part of my life so this book wasn't especially relevant for me. The author studied several successful groups (from Pixar to Zappos the San Antonio Spurs) to find out what made them click, and this book covers the key things he learned from his research. It was interesting in parts, but my mind wandered a lot because I knew it wasn't something I could really put into practice in my own life.

Did Not Finish: Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky. I'm mentioning this here just in case Amazon recommends it to you like it did for me! This audiobook is 26 hours long. I gave it ten hours of my life and gave up. I wanted to learn from it but wow, it was just over my head. The author gave a lot of terminology and definitions in the first few chapters, and then 4 hours later he expects you to recall that definition. I didn't recall that much detail so I had no idea what he was talking about. Then to make matters worse, he would say things like, "I'm sure you see where I'm going with this." Or, "if you recall what I said in Chapter 867, then I think you get the point here." Nope. I didn't see where he was going, I didn't get the point, so I would only recommend this if you are a neuroscientist.


Current Reads + Up Next:

Current Nonfiction: Alone Together. The first half was not my jam (it was about human-robot relationships) so I skipped ahead to the second half (the effect of technology, social media etc. on human relationships) and I'm enjoying it much more

Current Fiction: Hidden. The switching narratives were confusing at first (because the author doesn't tell you who is doing the narrating and you have to figure it out), but now the story is interesting and I'm hooked.

Up Next: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs is the book Kristen and I will be co-reading and reviewing in March. I also want to read The Woman in the Window per Tracy's recommendation and Kristin Hannah's latest book, The Great Alone since I've really enjoyed her other books! On the nonfiction side, I have The Power of Full Engagement on my to-read list thanks to Kristi's recommendation.

Thanks for stopping by today and I can't wait to hear which of these you've read, plan to read, or any other book recommendations you have for me!


Linking up with: Steph & Jana | Stephanie