BookTube: My Mug & Tea Cup Collection

Hi everyone! One thing I am an avid collector of are mugs and tea cups.  There’s certainly nothing that pairs with reading better than a piping hot cup of tea if you ask me and I like to have a wide variety of drinkware to fit my mood.  I collected all of my mugs and tea cups into this video so I could share some of my favorites with you!  Tell me in the comments what your favorite mugs are and which tea is your drink of choice!


Wedding Stuff

Wedding Stuff: Save the Date!

I already posted the image Andrew designed for our Save the Date on social media early last week because I couldn’t possibly wait another second to share it but I wanted to post it here too since I’ll be sporadically blogging about wedding stuff throughout our process.  We spent a very minimal amount of money creating them (our biggest expense was postage) because Andrew is so talented!  We dressed up one rather cold Sunday evening, set up our green screen and tripod / camera in Andrew’s backyard, and sat on some stools from his mom’s beautiful new kitchen.  We set the timer on the camera (the most frustrating part was not being able to tell if we would be in focus) and took a series of poses facing foward, kissing, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, pretending we saw a shooting star, etc., but we landed on the image below.  Andrew added in the galaxy background and hanging paper moon + stars and we decided on a purple sidebar to announce our date which we’ve decided not to share online at this time.  I’m SO happy with the way it came out and I think it fits our space theme perfectly!



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Fall TV Anxiety Strikes

It seems like every Fall I get stuck in the same endless cycle of Fall TV anxiety.  I LOVE the Fall.  I LOVE new TV shows and getting to see new episodes of old favorites.  I actively follow all of the news surrounding upfronts, every bit of casting information I come across, and I find joy in reading the synopses of new shows prior to even seeing the preliminary trailers.  I make lists of all the shows that seem promising (I even gathered those into a video this year – Supergirl FTW!), I mark my calendar with all of the premiere dates and I enthusiastically set my DVR for the upcoming season.

In the first few weeks of September show premieres tend to be staggered.  Only two shows the first week?  DONE.  What? We’re adding a third in the next week? Totes handleable.  By the third week I’m still feeling pretty good and I’m locking down the final schedule of shows I’m sticking with.  Things are going well.  I’m up to date (with the exception of Jeopardy because that premieres every single day so I’m bound to rack up a few episodes here and there).  I’ve even been able to tweet reactions to shows on the night they air (spoiler free of course)!  I’m feeling good.  Things are good.

The next thing I know it’s October and some of the shows I committed to last season are returning.  New Flash (MY FAVORITE), Arrow, Fresh Off the Boat, The Mindy Project and New Girl (just to name a few), what more could a girl ask for?  Suddenly, family things keep coming up.  I’m spending a lot of time during the week catching up on blogging, reading and BookTubing since my weekends have been booked solid. I’m still able to dedicate a small amount of time to TV but realistically I’m only enjoying one 45-min episode or 2-3 20 minute episodes per night.  Unfortunately my lack of time doesn’t stop new episodes from airing.  It’s okay I think. I HAVE to have a free weekend soon.  I’ll just binge watch some stuff!

The weekend comes and goes.  I’ve barely made a dent in the shows I have to catch up on because unexpected life things keep coming up.  I can’t exactly tell my family I have no time to talk to them because there are rumors circulating that the Red Devils will be revealed on Scream Queens next week and I’m still four episodes behind.  I look at my DVR. 85% full.  My anxiety levels start skyrocketing.  I think about how I’m never going to catch up.  “Why do I do this to myself?!” I wonder.  Can I even go online anymore without being spoiled about something I’m behind on?  Then Jessica Jones premieres on Netflix in its entirety and clearly takes precedent over everything else because JESSICA JONES.  Panic attack ensue. (This is the stage I’m in now).


The next thing I know, it’s the holiday season.  Things in TV land are calming down as shows prepare for their Winter hiatuses.  I’m excited.  That means I’ll have weeks of time to catch up before everything resumes.  And it’s Winter.  What introvert wants to leave their house in the Winter?  Not this one.  I barely like committing to going anywhere in the Summer but suddenly I have a valid and widely accepted weather excuse to use.  It’s like a gift.  I see so many cold nights snuggling under blankets with Andrew, my Wii-mote, and lots of chocolate in my near future.  I’m sure to catch up at this rate…  Only, I’ll be adding Agent Carter to my watch list in January.  And X-Files. And Legends of Tomorrow.  And Swords of Shannara.  And…

…I give up.

Until May at least.  Everything is ending. As long as I don’t fall more than 5 episodes behind on anything I can clear my DVR of recent episodes and depend on Hulu.  There’s usually at least one or two shows I’ve decided to give up on by this point.  Whether it’s due to lack of time or interest, it’s bound to happen.  I’m finally there. I’ve finally done it.  I’ve seen all the things (or shows have been cancelled {RIP Constantine, I miss you buddy!} or I’ve come to terms with what I’ll watch when it’s released on Netflix).

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It usually takes until at least mid-May to fully catch up on everything I care about watching.  Coincidentally, this is when upfronts week occurs.  The cycle re-starts itself.

Do you ever feel this way or go through a similar cycle? Am I the only who stresses herself out about something that’s supposed to be entertainment?  I’m fairly certain that before social media I was never faced with this problem.  Also DVR-ing  of the past actually meant asking my mom to record Dawson’s Creek and Charmed on VHS tapes.  Maybe that’s how I missed out on Gilmore Girls and why I’m only now trying to catch up on all 8 seasons amid the madness of the Fall TV season.



BookTube: The Autumn Book Tag

Hi everyone! I filmed the Autumn Book Tag back in mid-October and while I do love filming in bulk because it’s the easiest for my schedule, I do hate that some things get dated if I’m not able to post right away.  For instance, in this video I talk about how excited I am for Crimson Peak which comes out *tomorrow.*  Oh well!  Sadly, I didn’t like the film (review here) but I suppose it’s nice to reflect on my previous enthusiasm when the trailers had me captivated.


Tea & Broadway Chat

Tea & Broadway Chat: Hamilton

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton on Broadway and I’ve been singing and humming the music ever since.  I feel a little late to the hype train since the show opened Off-Broadway back in February of 2015 (it re-opened ON Broadway this past August) but I wanted to add my voice nonetheless in case there is some strange reason why you haven’t heard about the historical rap musical turned phenomenon that’s sweeping the nation.  The show chronicles Alexander Hamilton’s life, focusing on his time in New York and his contribution to the formation of our nation, and it’s inspired by the biography written by historian Ron Chernow which has now been added to my TBR list.  The show is really something special and while your brain’s intrigue quadrant may switch off when you hear it described as a historical rap musical (like mine had initially), I would urge you to give Hamilton a shot anyway because the show really strikes a chord.  I can’t wait to see Hamilton win every last Tony award it qualifies for come 2016.

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There really isn’t one specific element that can take all of the credit for making Hamilton everything that it is but rather it’s the harmonious combination of everything that works in its favor.  One of the most notable aspects of the show is the diverse cast.  Instead of casting the Founding Fathers as middle aged white men, Lin cast hispanic and black men in their roles and he gave a much stronger voice to the women of the time as well.  In fact, the only middle aged white man in the show is King George who’s musical contributions sound akin to The Beatles which provides a nice contrast between the old ideas of government and the progressive new views in America.  King George is a very silly character and his mannerisms lend comic relief in an otherwise stressful, tense and sad story.  The main characters in Act I are Hamilton, Burr, LaFayette, Mulligan, Laurens, Washington and the Schuyler sisters Angelica and Eliza (who becomes Hamilton’s wife).  Act II trades LaFayette and Mulligan for Jefferson and Madison, who are played by the same actors respectively.


The first act of the show is full of hope and excitement while the Revolutionaries are plotting to win the war against England and perpetuate momentum for the United States citizens who think they’re fighting a losing battle.  My favorite song from this act is “My Shot” sung by Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Lafayette and Mulligan.  It’s about seizing any opportunity that arises and not giving up your shot to change things no matter what the cost may be.  Another favorite line which perfectly captures the sentiment of Act I is “look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”  It first is heard in The Schuyler Sisters song and is repeated several times throughout the show.  It’s so perfect! I can’t think of anything more exciting than living in Manhattan and laying the groundwork for a new free nation.


Once Act I comes to an end and the American’s have won the war, things seem to be in a really good place.  Then comes Act II which basically rips your heart out.  Alexander spends the majority of this act writing like he’s running out of time to create the Federal Reserve system, opposing Thomas Jefferson and everything he stands for, being unfaithful to his wife and then self sabotaging himself by writing the Reynolds Pamphlet in an effort to uphold his legacy despite it ruining his chances of ever being President, and getting into further disputes with Aaron Burr culminating in the fatal duel between the pair which ultimately causes Burr to be remembered for killing Hamilton.  My three favorite songs from Act II are “The Room Where it Happens,” a catchy number performed primarily by Burr about wanting to be involved in the most pivotal moments in history, “Hurricane,” performed by Alexander Hamilton which leads to the Reynolds Pamphlet and most of all, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” performed by the remaining members of the show but focuses on Eliza.  Once Hamilton has been killed, it’s up to her to tell his story and despite writing herself out of the narrative for a while after Hamilton admitted to being unfaithful, Eliza lives for an additional 50 years.  She spends that time interviewing every soldier who Hamilton worked with, reading and sifting through years of his writings, speaking out against slavery and establishing the first private orphanage in New York City.


The stage setup for Hamilton seems rather simple at first glance.  It’s very wooden and there are minimal props throughout the show but there is a spinning turntable in the center of the stage which enhances many of the numbers.  One of the best uses of the turntable is during the duel scenes.  The characters explain the stages of a duel and they rotate around the stage in a clockwise motion until they get to the final stage.  The turntable also looks beautiful during the aforementioned “Hurricane” in which the stage is lit to look like the eye of a storm.  I also love the costumes the characters wear during the show.  The girls looks lovely in their ballgown style dresses and the men don uniforms during Act I while in Act II they switch into to ensembles more similar to what we would recognize from old history books and paintings.  I really enjoy Hamilton’s rich green satin coat and ruffle front blouse.  It’s so entertaining to witness the juxtaposition of such modern music to old fashioned clothing on the late 1700-1800’s.


I would honestly love to see an entire play about Eliza and Angelica and their roles in the revolution so I’m thankful that Lin gave them such a strong voice in Hamilton.  It’s a great reminder that there are a ton of people who were involved that don’t always get the credit they deserve in U.S. history textbooks.  I struggled a lot with history throughout school, always finding it boring, and I wish there would have been more resources like Hamilton to have turned to because my interest level would’ve sparked.  Obviously, the founding of our nation is important and interesting but it wasn’t until Lin filled in the blanks with his take on their personal narratives that I truly felt invested in and more connected to that time.  I tweeted it the other day and it absolutely stands true, if I could somehow get in contact with high school me and tell her how obsessed I would become with a historical rap musical about Alexander Hamilton I would assume future me had gone crazy somewhere along the way.  The entire show is a musical so it’s easy to follow along with the soundtrack at home if getting to NYC is unreasonable for you.  I know I’ll be listening to this for years to come and I really hope I’ve convinced you to give Hamilton a shot.  


If you’ve seen Hamilton and have any thoughts on it or just want to gush about it together PLEASE contact me because I literally want to talk about it with EVERY ONE but sadly I don’t know that many people who have seen it.

BookTube: Top 5 Book Blogs I Read

I watch a lot of BookTube and while I love doing so, I also really enjoy reading book blogs.  I’ve been wanting to post a video about the Top 5 Book Blogs I Read for a while so I can share some of my favorites with anyone who may be looking to add some book bloggers to their Feedly or Bloglovin’ or what have you.  The book community is so large and there’s more than one way to absorb reviews, find out information about new releases, and reflect upon past favorites.



GIVEAWAY: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

I discovered Passenger by Alexandra Bracken in the weeks leading up to BEA last May and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s release ever since.  As I said in this video, two of the main factors that really drew me to this book are 1) time travel and 2) pirates.  I had been hesitant to read the ARC I waited in line for (for hours I might add) because I heard that an updated draft had already been completed that would make many changes to the book’s final published story.  I decided to table it and wait until I could read the book Alexandra Bracken intended the reader to read.  Little did I know that an updated copy would be showing up at my doorstep a couple of months early!  Passenger is my most anticipated read of 2016 and I feel so blessed to be afforded the opportunity to check it out in 2015.  But the most exciting part of this story is that Disney Hyperion is also allowing me to giveaway a copy of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger to one lucky blog reader!  

If you’re like me and you feel like you can’t wait until January 5th for the official release, Disney has been kind enough to provide us with an e-book sampler to tide us over until then. 


About the Book 

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods–a powerful family in the Colonies–and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them–whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.


One (1) copy of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken will be given away.  Prize is provided by Disney-Hyperion and will ship early January following the release of the book.  Open to US addresses only.

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Cross Country Couture: Not Your Dolls

My best friend Melissa moved to Texas last month and I’ve been missing her like crazy ever since.  Just because there are a few states between us doesn’t mean we don’t still talk every single day (for most of the day really) and bond over things like books, fashion and boys.  We’ve always known since the first day we met that our friendship is the type that lasts forever so we’ve been trying to think of ways to make an effort to “hang out” despite the distance (also see the Spines with Wines Book Club).  Since  we’re not physically able to see each other as frequently, we decided to start a post series called Cross Country Couture where we agree on an item of clothing we both want, each do a photoshoot in it and share our results.  Our first post features the Not Your Doll vintage tee by Wildfox Couture.  Since we’re both HUGE fans of Valley of the Dolls, this shirt inspired our whole idea since we simply adore the aesthetic<3

Along with today’s post, Melissa is relaunching her blog (finally!).  She’s witty and wonderful and you should go read everything she’s ever posted immediately, including, of course, the other half of the Not Your Dolls photoshoot.
















Wedding Stuff

Wedding Stuff: The Cinderella Shoes of My Dreams

Wedding planning is well underway and I’m so happy to say that I’ve already found my dress and the dresses for my bridesmaids.  Accomplishing those major milestones has allowed me to move on to accessorizing.  My mom told me about this pair of Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoes she came across on Facebook (she’s a recent FB addict now that she has an iPad) and I have never been so blown away by a fancy pair of footwear.  Unfortunately, they retail at the outrageous price of $4,595 which is something I could never afford (and quite frankly, if I suddenly happened into $5K I wouldn’t be able to justify spending it on a single pair of shoes).  They’re covered in Swarovski crystals and they have just the right amount of show stopping sparkle.  Luckily, one of my most crafty bridesmaids Kristin is convinced that she can make something similar for a much lower price!  I was so overcome with joy when she texted me about it but I made her swear that it wouldn’t be too much work before admitting that I would love to wear something similar. 

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Photo Album: After Halloween Party

Last weekend Andrew and I attended Erika and Kelly’s after Halloween party.  It’s an annual party they host and it’s always called the Menage-a-Party because it’s a combined celebration for Halloween, Day of the Dead and Guy Fawkes Day.  This was the 5th year they hosted it (and my second year in attendance) and as always, costumes were required.  Since we were driving instead of commuting from NYC like last year, it was much easier to bring things along so of course my DSLR one of the first things I threw into my purse.  I also made some salted caramel pretzel blondie bars and we picked up a bottle of wine on the way.  Andrew and I dressed up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse! It was a really last minute costume idea but I think it came together nicely considering the only expense was Mickey ears for Andrew.  I really want to dress up in more Disney couples costumes with my future husband<3  It was so much fun seeing everyone’s costumes (Kelly made an amazing Rey costume, Erika and Alex dressed up as Coraline and Wybie, Gil took on Gaby from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Steph made the cutest Totoro, and Nick and Melissa were the perfect Bob and Linda – I particularly love Nick’s Gandalf sign – Not pictured is Matt who dressed as Star-Lord and his fiancé Claire who dressed up as Elsa).  The only downside of being the photographer is not being able to be in as many photos so I may have to hand the camera off to Andrew at some point next party ^.^












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