Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Semi-Charmed Summer 2015 Book Challenge

It's time for the next installment of the Semi-Charmed Book Challenge series! Whether you are a newcomer to the challenge or a repeat reader, I am so happy to have you here today! Continue reading after the jump for the challenge rules and categories. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On My Bookshelf: All the holds!

As you may already know, I love the library. Fortunately for my future profession, a lot of other people also love the library. Unfortunately for my desire to read more current fiction, that means I sometimes have to wait months to read a particular book ... or, in this case, five.

That's right, five of my holds (some of which I'd been waiting for since January) came in on the same day last week. Now I only have three weeks to read them all before they're due back and I have to wait in line again—eek! I finished All the Light We Cannot See last night and am getting ready to snuggle in and start The Girl on the Train today. This is actually my book club book for March, so I really need to get cracking!

I know many of you are also readers, so please help me: Which book should I read next?! The other two may have to go back to the library unread, so this is a pretty intense decision! ;) Your options are Station Eleven (I've heard GREAT things about this one from all different kinds of readers), The Boys in the Boat (a nonfiction book about an Olympic rowing team from the University of Washington, recommended by one of my classmates) or Everything I Never Told You (a contender for our April book club selection). Your advice is appreciated!

How do you choose your next book when you have way too many good options?

Linking up with Lori for Saturday Situation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Winter 2014 Book Challenge: Final Scoreboard

There were eighteen finishers for this season's reading challenge! Awesome job, everyone, that is definitely a record! And if you didn't finish this time but want to try your hand again, be sure to check back on April 15 for the summer reading challenge list. :) I apologize for the confusion in my poll during my last check-in, but four months won for the summer challenge, so it will run from May 1 to August 31. Get excited! :)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Best of February: A Month in Review

Happy March, everyone! I've been a little absent lately because I started a second job in the middle of February (yay for my bank account! nay for my schedule), but it's only a temporary gig so I should be back in a regular schedule sometime in May. :) Until then, I look forward to sharing snippets of my life when I can! Today, that means a February recap:

Most Popular on Instagram & Notable Events

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All the books! And my in-laws' new lambs. My sister-in-law had her first son last weekend (yay!), so we went back to our hometown to be there for the birth. My husband's family has a few animals on their property (mostly sheep), so I enjoyed watching these little guys run around outside for a bit.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winter 2014 Book Challenge: Month 4

Happy March, everyone! It's my birthday month and my first nephew was born this morning (yay! hence the late check-in post—sorry!), so this is a pretty good month, in my humble opinion. :) This post is the final opportunity to check in for the winter 2014 book challenge. Congratulations to the ten people who have finished already! Woohoo! Continue reading after the jump for the full scoreboard and final check-in instructions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Photos!

It's been almost two years since I got engaged, and more than a year since we took our engagement photos, but other than a few teasers, I've never shared them on the blog. So, today is your lucky day! :)

Personally, I was way more excited about our engagement pictures than I was about our actual wedding pictures. Obviously, I loved the way our wedding photos turned out, but I have a theory about wedding photos: They are (almost) all pictures of a loving couple in a tux and a white dress. Yes, you can get pretty creative with wedding shoots, but I think engagement photos are where a couple's personality really comes through. Here are a few of my favorites from our November 2013 engagement shoot:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why I Don't Wear Make-Up

Here's the short history of my relationship with cosmetics: In middle school, when all my friends started wearing make-up, I'd occasionally experiment with eye shadow. Like, once every two months. In high school, my mom had to practically lock me in her bathroom to do my face for formal events like Homecoming and prom. I always assumed I would start wearing make-up when I got to college, but even then I only found myself applying make-up for special events like sorority recruitment or interviews. When I got my first office job after graduation, the make-up still didn't make an appearance after the job interview.

Now that I'm in my mid-20s, I still don't wear make-up on a daily (or even regular) basis. Want to know why?

photo via Jorg Weingrill on Flickr

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This Cambodian Temple is Even Better than Angkor Wat

I'll admit it: When I told my husband I wanted to make a detour to Siem Reap during our Thai honeymoon, it was purely to see Angkor Wat. During our three days in the province, however, we saw A LOT of temples, and this one took the cake.

I enjoyed Beng Melea (also spelled Beng Mealea or Bung Mealea) the most because this temple has not been restored, so we were literally trekking through the jungle to explore the temple. When we first arrived, I was tsk-tsking at all the completely disrespectful tourists wandering off the path to climb on the rocks. The nerve, right?! That is, until our own guide hopped off the wooden platform and beckoned us to follow him down into the ruins. Don't mind if I do....

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Best of January: A Month in Review

I know everyone is probably saying this, but holy cow: The first month of 2015 is already over! After changing jobs, starting graduate school and getting married last year, I'm happy to report my first month of 2015 was much more relaxing. Here's a quick rundown of my going-ons for January:

Most Popular on Instagram & Notable Events

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Three of these photos are actually throwbacks; the only thing pictured above that actually happened in January was reading A Storm of Swords. ;) If you missed it, I also guest posted for the Girl Gone International account for a week in January and had a boatload of fun! As far as traveling/weekend outings, my husband and I rang in the new year in Pasadena with my family. (The weekend involved lots of football-watching, drinking and walking around town.) We then drove down to the Central Valley the next weekend to celebrate a belated Christmas with my other side of the family (holidays certainly multiply when you're a child of divorce). Luckily, the next two weekends were fairly relaxing (aside from me doing a ton of homework), and we managed to squeeze in two day trips to San Francisco and a night of drinks in Palo Alto for a friend's birthday. This month is shaping up to be similarly low-key, but we have lots of trips planned for the spring!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

8 Gifts for Readers

This post was originally published as a guest post on Ever Emma in December 2014.

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought I would republish this holiday gift guide to inspire anyone dating a reader. Enjoy!

For the friend who can't stop Instagramming #currentlyreading photos: Seriously. This library card phone case comes in all iPhone sizes and even some Samsung Galaxy sizes. How perfect is it?
$15 from Etsy

For the bibliophile whose bookshelves are a work of art: There are a ton of adorable bookend sets out there, but I'm currently swooning over these gorgeous metal bookends. And if you're looking for something a little more affordable, you can't go wrong shopping at World Market. ;)
$64.99 from Etsy

For the friend who drinks way too much tea: I don't even like Will Ferrell, but this quote from Anchorman always makes me laugh. I also particularly liked this mug and this one; there are so many great bookish mug options!
$16.99 from Etsy

For the ebook-lover who doesn't want to admit it: I would love one of these gorgeous Kindle covers so I could pretend I was still flipping real pages. As much as I love my Kindle, I have to admit paperbacks will always have my heart.
$40.20 from Etsy

For the friend who cohabitates with a non-reader: Looking for more of a stocking stuffer? A simple book light is the perfect solution for that friend (ahem, me!) who likes to stay up reading long after her partner has switched out the light.
$9.67 from Amazon

For the tech-averse friend who still writes everything down: If you know that one holdout who refuses to sign up for Goodreads, this book journal is the ideal way to track her favorite reads (and not-so-favorite, sometimes).
$19.95 from Moleskin

For the tech-savvy friend who prefers ebooks: I have to admit I've never used Oyster, but this unlimited ebook subscription looks perfect for anyone who's attached to their Kindle (or Nook).
$9.95/month from Oyster

For the bookworm who lives in a studio: (Or anywhere else small enough to prevent having a book nook, really.) This bookish curtain panel would liven up any reading corner.
$17.95 from H&M