Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 2014 Book Challenge: Month 2

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Welcome to the second Semi-Charmed Summer 2014 Book Challenge check in! We're halfway through the challenge already; do you think you'll finish?? Here's the full scoreboard after the first check-in last month (including one winner already! Heather is so sneaky....):

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Book on the Shelf! (Summer Book Swap)

Hosting reading challenges attracts a lot of book-loving bloggers to my little corner of the Internet. One of these bloggers is Carly from Carly Blogs Here, and when I heard she was co-hosting a summer book swap with Tiffany, Emily and Lauren, I knew I had to participate. What's better than getting a book in the mail?? (Getting a book paw-delivered to you by a corgi, of course. Sorry, I've just been on a huge corgi kick lately....)

Anyway, I was so excited to be paired with Sara from Life & Leopard—she's a fellow Literary Junkie, so it was fun to have a familiar name to swap with. And when she emailed me her favorite authors, I just knew I'd found my reading soulmate. So of course I was confident I would receive an awesome book from her, but I didn't expect her to know me quite so well.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Words of Wisdom from Norton Juster

I reread The Phantom Tollbooth earlier this month, and if you know anything about my reading habits, you may know I don't reread books often. This was one novel that had been on my mind for a while—actually, I even mentioned wanting to reread it someday in the post I just linked to—and it just so happened that reading a children's book was one of the categories in this summer's book challenge! (Okay, so that category might have been totally planned to encourage me to reread The Phantom Tollbooth. I guess that's one of the perks of being the challenge host!)


Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that this book is absolutely fantabulous. I couldn't stop telling people about how great it was when I was reading it. If you haven't read this book in the past five years, read it again. It's a quick read and definitely worth your time to remind yourself of some very important life lessons! Including ...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Best of April & May: Two Months in Review

Once again, I completely missed a monthly check-in, so I'm going to fill you in on two months of happenings in my life and on my blog today. I have to say, it was kind of weird thinking back to April and what I did that month. I fluctuated between "That was really two months ago? It feels like yesterday!" and "Oh my goodness, that was only two months ago? I barely remember that." Is anyone else feeling like 2014 shouldn't be almost halfway over already???

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So basically, y'all are telling me the only thing you like better than photos of books are photos of my fiance? I can't say I blame you. ;) But really, April and May were relatively tame compared to some of our busier months this year. We celebrated our one-year engagement anniversary on May 18 by registering for wedding gifts, treating ourselves to In-N-Out and opening a bottle of wine my sister and her boyfriend got us from the vineyard where we got engaged. I also started my third annual summer reading challenge (it's not too late to join!) and have been reading some great books (details below).

June is shaping up to be another crazy month; we had family visiting this weekend and we'll be out of town the next three weekends, but we were able to take some time this afternoon to nap and for me to catch up on some blog reading. Oh—and did I mention we're training for a triathlon? We're on week five of the training plan now to plan for the big race on July 19! (That reminds me: I guess we'll also be out of town at least the first three weekends of July as well! Yikes!) Looks like my next two monthly recaps will be chock-full of fun stuff. :) For now, continue reading after the jump to see what you (and I!) liked the past two months.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer 2014 Book Challenge: Month 1

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Welcome back, semi-charmed readers! If you've joined the summer 2014 book challenge, today is your first chance to check in and tell me what you've read so far. If you haven't joined yet but are intrigued by the idea of joining a fantabulously fun reading challenge with some awesome bloggers and blog-reading individuals, there's still time! Simply click here to read the rules and categories, and feel free to look back to May 1 and count any qualifying books you've read since then. Continue reading after the jump to learn how to check in with your progress.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Travel-Inspired Prints Under $80

As you may have seen on Instagram, this past Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of my engagement. My fiance and I spent the day registering for gifts at Bed Bath & Beyond, and I don't mean to complain, but it was exhausting. Luckily, we agreed on almost everything, but it was still difficult to think of what we really need to upgrade and how much of each item (e.g. dishes) would be reasonable. I also struggled with what was appropriate to put on a gift registry. Is our registry supposed to be strictly functional household items, or can I include a huge framed poster of Yosemite National Park? Your input would be appreciated!

Anyway, the point of all this is that for today's Travel Tuesday link-up, I thought I would share some of the gorgeous prints I found during our trek through our local Bed Bath & Beyond store. And after you tell me just how perfectly acceptable it is to add such items to my registry, I might choose a few. :)


Prague, $24.99 | compass, $79.99 | Grand Teton, $59.99 | Budapest, $24.99 | elephants, $19.99 each

Link up with your travel-related posts below! Feel free to grab the button, too.





Also linking up with Nicole for Treat Yo Self Thursday.

Literary Junkies: May 2014

It's time to join Taylor, Christine and me (as this month's co-host!) for the May edition of the Literary Junkies book club link-up! And if you've read Where'd You Go, Bernadette, be sure to join us at 7 p.m. CST tonight for our monthly book chat on Twitter. Or join our Facebook group. Or our Goodreads group. Or all of the above. :) Anywho, time to move on with this month's questions!

As always, Literary Junkies is hosted by 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

50 Books From 50 States: Reading Challenge!

Remember when I said I wasn't participating in any reading challenges this year? Except my own challenges? Of course, that means the Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge alone is not enough for me anymore. Kelsey from Keeping up with Kelsey contacted me about co-hosting a fun geographically based challenge with her, so how could I say no?? Hence, the 50 Books from 50 States Challenge is born.

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I actually started a "Where You've Been Reading" challenge a few years ago, but I knew I would never be able to read 50 books to fit the challenge in one year. Thankfully, Kelsey agrees, so this will be more of a long-term challenge. And, to help you out a little more, you are more than welcome to count any books you've read since 2012 until now for this challenge. (It's harder than it sounds to read 50 books from 50 different states!) And, of course, double-dipping is always welcome! So feel free to count any books you're already reading/have read for other challenges.

Here's a little map showing the books I have read since 2012 or plan to read for this challenge. Feel free to look at specific states for ideas if you need any, and let me know if you have any good ideas for states that I don't have a book assigned to yet (the red states)!


View Where are you reading? in a larger map

Sound fun? Of course it does, and we'd love to have you! Continue reading below for the nitty-gritty of the challenge.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The best type of souvenir.

Welcome to Travel Tuesday, a weekly opportunity to share your travel-related blog posts! Last week, I asked about your favorite type of souvenirs when traveling. Anyone want to guess mine?



Friday, May 9, 2014

Go Green! (Mental Health Awareness Swap Reveal)

A few weeks ago, I found a green-themed accessories swap opportunity on A Cute Angle. As if I wasn't already sold on the idea of getting a fun new green accessory, I then discovered Ashley was hosting the swap in honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month (May). I was partnered with the fabulous Maddie over at The Whimsy One. It was so fun learning about Maddie through her blog (right off the bat, I discovered we are both huge bookworms) and shopping for some green goodies to send her way. As with any swap, though, the best part was opening my package and seeing what Maddie had picked for me!


Maddie said she wanted me to "pamper myself" with this package, and I will definitely take her up on that invitation! Plus, I love fuzzy socks. I wear them around my apartment all the time when we're too cheap to turn the heat on. ;) And I painted my toenails within about five minutes of opening my package and seeing that glorious mint polish: