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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Kristin

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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Kristin

25+ Pumpkin Recipes Perfect For Thanksgiving

It’s no secret that I’m a pumpkin spice addict who loves baking.  I’m always looking up new recipes to try (even though I haven’t has as much time as I would like to actually bake them recently) but nonetheless I haven’t stopped looking!  Thanksgiving is getting nearer and since I will definitely be baking for that, I decided to round up over 25 pumpkin spice recipes that I’m considering trying out this year.  Do you have a particular food that you traditionally make or do you like to try out new recipes too?

Little Loves #1

Hi everyone! I decided to start a new series called Little Loves as a way to acknowledge and appreciate more of the little things that are making me happy every day.  I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be posting over the next month because I impulsively decided to participate in NaNoWriMo and so far I’ve surpassed the 3,000 word mark!  Last year’s attempt left me at about 7,000 words before things got too busy to continue but I’m really confident that I’m going to complete the challenge this year because I’m so into my story.  I’ll still be very active on BookTube but I won’t necessarily have the time to post every video here too.  I may switch to a weekly roundup or something.  Hope everyone else is doing well and I would love to know your little loves!

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💖 Grande peppermint mochas from Starbucks in red cups 💖 ModCloth’s fall clothes (I check every single day at noon for new sweaters / dresses / boots / tights) 💖 Carry On by Rainbow Rowell 💖 Admiring Fall foliage during car rides 💖 Pie 💖 BookTube 💖 Movie theater popcorn (I still have to see Pan and The Martian!) 💖 dark nail polish (particularly Essie’s After School Boy Blazer – pictured above) 💖 The Raven Boys (I ship Gansey and Blue) 💖 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 💖 Wedding planning (I CANNOT wait to post the our Save the Date!) 💖 Kelly & Erika’s annual after Halloween party 💖 First Draft Podcast with Sarah Enni (thanks Alice!) 💖 Jem & the Holograms x Sephora eye shadow palette 💖 Starting a book club with Melissa and Cassie 💖 Pumpkin pie spice cookie butter from Trader Joe’s 💖 Holiday Tsum Tsums 💖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition 💖 Plaid everything 💖 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child aka Harry Potter 8 💖 Homemade pistachio muffins 💖 NaNoWriMo 💖 Chai tea in my Fox mug 💖

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Kristin

Waiting on Wednesday: The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing The Raven King which is the fourth and final installment in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater.  I recently read and was obsessed with Blue Lily, Lily Blue and it ended on such a major cliffhanger that I NEED the next one.  So much happened and there’s still so much story to be resolved.  I am absolutely in this book for the characters and Blue and Gansey are on OTP of mine.  The cover was just released yesterday and it’s every bit as gorgeous as the last.  The brushstrokes in that deer are a thing of beauty.

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The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.” (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: Spines With Wines Book Club: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

I teamed up with Melissa and Cassie for a new book club that we’ve named Spines with Wines.  This month we kicked it off by reading The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich because we wanted a creepy Halloween read. You can check out our live show below! Next month we’ll be reading Winter by Marissa Meyer which is the conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles series.  We’ll be announcing the liveshow date over Twitter when we finalize our date and time.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

This book is EVERYTHING.  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is an anomaly of a book for even getting the opportunity to be published.  The story’s inception happened in the popular YA contemporary novel Fangirl (also by Rowell – also a favorite of mine and you can read my review here LINK) about a fanfic author named Cath who has serious feels for the characters in the Simon Snow series.  Cath writes slash fanfic about Simon Snow (very similar to Harry Potter) and Baz (very similar to Draco Malfoy) and Rainbow’s newest book Carry On picks up in their eighth year at Watford as the supposed final novel in the series.  Us as readers have insight into their world through Cath’s Fangirl fanfic and knowledge of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I had already fallen in love with Simon and Baz through Cath’s intense love for them so while I was skeptical about Carry On, I was always planning on reading it and hopefully enjoying it as an extension of Fangirl.  Carry On ended up being so much more than that.  It’s a story in it’s own right and I’m amazed at how Rowell was able to pick up the story as if seven others books has already been published and read by fans picking up this one.  The worldbuilding is phenomenal and I never felt confused about the prior events.  There is a healthy amount of exposition within the first 50 pages or so and it’s engaging enough to keep the reader hooked until her original story begins to shine through.  When people told me that The Magicians by Lev Grossman was Harry Potter for adults, I was severely disappointed (read my review here) LINK.  Carry Onis actually Harry Potter for adults.  The characters are in their 8th year of schooling so the situations they face and their dialogue is more mature in their nature.  I really really really wish that there would be more books in this series because I loved it so very much.

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For each character in Carry On, there is a definitive parallel counterpart in Harry Potter.  In addition to Simon and Baz who I previously compared, we also have The Mage (Dumbledore), Ebb (Hagrid), Penelope (a Ron Weasley / Hermione Granger mash up) and the Humdrum (Voldemort).  One of the best aspects of Rainbow Rowell’s writing is her ability to capture the feelings of romance between characters and Carry On is no exception.  My heart was melting when I devoured certain scenes and it broke my heart each time I had to put the book down to go to work.  The characters are compelling and well developed and all of the outside knowledge the reader goes into with just enhances the experience.  The characters spend their time in the story unraveling a small mystery in addition to something much bigger involving several Mage wars.  I don’t want to give anything at all away about the plot because it’s so perfect that it deserves to be experienced for the first time while reading it through.

Final Thoughts: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a literary dream come  true for anyone who spent their youth reading and writing fanfiction (especially Harry Potter fanfiction).  The characters will capture your heart and the romance will have you swooning beyond belief.  Rainbow Rowell gets it.  It’s not necessary to have read Fangirl first in order to enjoy Carry On but I did very much appreciate having fallen in love with Simon and Baz through Cath’s eyes before Carry On was ever announced.  Carry On is a really fun, snarky, fantasy read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for adult Harry Potter.

Rating 6

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: MEGA Book Haul – October

So, I hadn’t posted an August or September book haul and books have kind of, er, piled up.  It resulted in such a very long haul that I decided to spilt it into two videos otherwise it would’ve been almost a half hour long! Funnily enough, my camera did not actually die at the end of the first video but my memory card sure filled up so that seemed like the most natural stopping point.  This was a really great few months for fandom books and I really love this haul<3 What new books have you been picking up lately?

Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #3)

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves which are the first and second books in the Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first and second books if you’re not caught up on the series yet.**

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and it’s the second to last installment we’ll have with Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah and Blue.  Unlike the previous books in the series, the first being The Raven Boys and the second being The Dream Thieves, I was immediately hooked on the story.  I read Blue Lily, Lily Blue at a much quicker pace than the others and I enjoyed how much occurs in each chapter instead of waiting until the end for a big payoff (although don’t worry, there is a major thing that happens that has me basically dying for book 4).

The biggest draw to the story are easily the characters that Maggie Stiefvater crafted.  Their friendship is so familiar and real that it’s easy to immerse yourself in their tale.  The world in Henrietta could very well be our own with a hint of more supernatural activity.  The relationships between the Raven Boys are so sweet and while their actions are subtle, you truly get a feel for how much of a family these boys are.  Blue has an internal monologue about mid-way through thr book where she thinks about how each person in their Glendower tomb hunter squad is obsessed with each other even though they don’t necessarily say it out loud.  I think those are some of the most meaningful relationships.  I’ve been a hardcore Gansey and Blue shipper since book one but Blue Lily, Lily Blue really sealed the deal on their relationship for me.  It’s such a well woven combination of innocence, passion and intrigue and my heart breaks a little more each time they’re near each other because of Blue’s first experience with Gansey’s spirit on the ley line.  I really don’t know what I’m going to do with myself if anything happens to him.

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As I stated before, Blue Lily, Lily Blue is much more action packed than the first two books.  Now that Maggie has fully fleshed out the world in Henrietta and has conveyed how strong the relationship is between the Raven Boys and Blue, much more of this installment was able to be dedicated to events occurring.  There was constantly something keeping me on the edge of my seat and everything just seemed to move along at a much quicker pace.  There are still a ton of questions left to be answered and a cliffhanger that I’m having trouble handling.  I can definitely see myself re-reading the series before the fourth books debuts because it’s the kind of story that you’ll get something new out of every time you dive in.  Because there are such subtleties in Stiefvater’s writing, I’m looking forward to enjoying the things I’ve missed now that I have more overall knowledge of what’s happening.

Final Thoughts:  Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater is the flawless third installment of The Raven Cycle quartet.  Any reader who has been following the story will be delighted to immerse themselves back in the world of Henrietta and piece together more (but not even close to all) of the legend of Glendower.  I didn’t mention Maura, Calla, Persephone and Mr. Gray in my review because I’m just so enthralled with the Raven Boys and Blue, but their story is eventful and heartbreaking as well.  If you thought the pace of the first two books were too slow, I would definitely encourage you not to give up on the series because you’ll get constant the action and answers you’re craving in Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

Rating 5

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: Top 5 Wednesday: Halloween Recommendations

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday category is Halloween recommendations which is appropriate since Halloween is only 3 days away! For some reason my subconscious decided to type decorations instead of recommendations in the first sentence which shows much being festive is always on my mind on some level so that’s normal.  Are there any specific books that you recommend for Halloween?  Doing my video has given me the desire to re-read some of Neil Gaiman’s books<3

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Kristin

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