Friday, November 27, 2015

Jen's Christmas Wishlist

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11

Man, I can't believe I'm already making my Christmas wishlist. I bet no one is surprised it is full of gnome necklaces, dresses, quilty shirts, Cozy cat sweaters and bookish things. I definitely have a pretty distinct style. 

If I had to narrow this list down for Santa, it would probably be cool if he brought me the kindle case (3), the quilty shirt (7) or those jeggings (10). 

What is on your holiday wishlist or what are you planning on treating yourself with during those black Friday online sales? Let's be honest, they are pretty hard to resist! I know the Forever 21 pre-black Friday sale has already gotten me, because I'm ridiculous.

xoxo
Jen

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Carry On {Book Discussion}

Welcome to another (fashionably late) book discussion! Carry On was a book club pick from October, which should be obvious since we are discussing it at the end of November {sarcasm alert!}. Honestly, this month flew by and since most of the blog planning falls on me (Heather) and I was a lazy bum, we didn't post for almost two weeks! Now, we are discussing the book Carry On by our homegirl Rainbow Rowell. As you can tell from the above photo, we got to meet her at a book event in St. Louis and it was amazing. We definitely felt like we were surrounded by our people and got to geek out a little. She was super cool and has amazing hair. Carry On is a fantasy book following the chosen one, Simon Snow, his roommate Baz, the vampire, and other assorted friends and enemies. This was such a departure from her other books, but we get into all that below. This is a spoiler free discussion, nothing that you couldn't find out from reading Fangirl or the book description! Now let's get to it! 



Carry On in GIF form 



Discussion Time! 




Heather
Ok Carry On by Rainbow Rowell discussion can commence! This book is so different from her usual contemporary YA and adult books. What was your favorite/least favorite part?

 

Jen
Oh man, it really was! I think my favorite part was just the characters in general. They were so moody and utterly hilarious at the same time. Rainbow knows how to create amazing characters! I think my least favorite part was that the story didn't feel super authentic, almost fan fiction-y. But the story eventually becomes it own and I think the sassy characters made up for that, at least for me. What about you?


Heather
I do agree that Rainbow has a gift for creating these amazing, fully dimensional characters that feel so relateable and authentic, even in a fantasy setting. I actually disagree about the story not feeling authentic (Our first bookish blog disagreement! Gasp!). I thought it was the perfect balance of creating a new world while borrowing from familiar fantasy tropes. I think my favorite was the love story between Simon and Baz, especially since we don't have a lot of same sex romance in our books. I am fully #TeamBaz. I think my least favorite part would just be that the story was hard to get into at first. If we are comparing it to Harry Potter, it would be like starting with book 7 and having to try to figure out this world that would have been explained in book 1. It did eventually come into its own and become addicted and something I couldn't put down! Now favorite character? 

 

 

Jen
Oh man, it was bound to happen at some point! I do agree with the comparison with Harry Potter, book 7.  And I think once the story started developing more and becoming its own, it lost that fan fiction-y feeling for me.  I really only felt it for the first quarter of the book or so.  And yea, I'm fully #TeamBaz too and I think he was my favorite character.  He was so sarcastic and snarky and a little less broody than Simon, who can be a lot to take at times.  He was also pretty damn hilarious.  Who was yours?



Heather
Well we are back to agreeing because Baz was also my favorite! He was so sure of himself and his feelings. He was hilarious and snarky. It was so fun seeing him and Simon fall in love and I loved the contrast of their personalities and how they went about discovering their sexuality, with Baz being so sure he was gay and Simon not really giving it much thought, but knowing he wanted to be with Baz. Where would you rank this book with the rest of Rainbow's books? 

 
Jen
HAHA! I knew it wouldn't take us long to agree again! And without a cat fight! Yea, watching their relationship progress was pretty sweet and really funny. I loved the internal monologues going on during that first kiss. And then having it reenacted by Rainbow herself and David Levithan was pretty amazing and really made it come to life. For me, even though I did think it was a pretty original idea and I love that it is a obscure companion book to Fangirl, I ranked it at 4 stars.  I really did love it but I just think I love her contemporary fictions way more so I thought a distinction needed to be made.  Where does it rank with you?



Heather
Man, that reading with Rainbow and David Leviathan was just the BEST. It really did bring the scene to life and was just adorable. I ranked it as 5 stars. Once I got hooked into the story I couldn't put it down. I thought the idea was very original and kind of had some twists that aren't usually in fantasy type books. It wasn't predictable at all! I don't think I could rank it with her other books, since I'm a heart eye emoji for them all. Any final thoughts? 


 

Jen
Yea, at some points it felt the the her fantasy side and her contemporary side was mixing and that had a very interesting and addicting result.  My final thought is, I can't freaking wait to read it again.  It is definitely on my list of books to reread in 2016.  I'm really digging the 2016 rereading goal we have chosen! Some books and worlds you just need to experience more than once to get the full effect, you know?



Heather
Yes! This is definitely a book that we need to reread in 2016! I almost wish she had made it a whole series, Harry Potter style. I think that this is such a good pick for someone who loves Harry Potter or fantasy type books. The world building and snarky teens make for an enjoyable and quick read! 

 

Jen
Holy crap, I would die if Rainbow decided to turn this into some sort of series! Or even the way you envisioned it would have been cool. You could have watched Baz and Simon brood over each other for years! And watch Simon figure out about Baz becoming a vampire. Oh man, what could have been. haha!

 

 

Heather
It would have been awesome, but I also love that she did kind of a fantasy experiment and it worked so well! 

Jen
For reals. It was risky but it really paid off! I think Rainbow could write about anything really, and I would still find it entertaining.

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As always, thank you so much for stopping by! We would love to discuss Carry On or any book suggestions you may have! 
 



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

28 Before 29 {Recap}

Pizza celebration dinner from my 28th birthday


Hello friends! Every year on my birthday I like to make a list of goals to accomplish  before my next birthday. I've been doing this since I was 26 and now that I'm getting ready to turn 29 and close out my 20s, it feels like a really great tradition. I am feeling really reflective this year. I keep going over my list for next year, which I decided to go with a 30 Before 30 instead of sticking with my current format. I keep second guessing my decisions. Are they too silly? Should I put more big things on there? Will I feel accomplished enough by the time I turn 30? I think a big turning point for me was realizing that you don't stop growing as a person at 30. You still have so much potential to do great things. 30 can seem so old when you are 18 and just starting out, like a turning point in adulthood where you should have it all figured out, but I just keep reminding myself, "Girl, chill." My 20s were crazy, amazing, heartbreaking, wonderful. I seriously cannot wait to see what my 30s bring.

Seeing my goal list from last year makes me realize how many things I was able to cross off. Some of the things I didn't get to just don't vibe with me and where I'm at right now. I would love to still learn to knit or make more tintypes, but it wasn't in the cards for me this year. Sometimes I think it's hard to remember things you want to accomplish or work on during the daily grind. I found that printing out my list and keeping it in my planner really helped me evaluate where I was at and what I wanted to do next. It definitely was the inspiration to make an appointment to get my nose pierced last month, and to sit down and make a legit budget recently. Do you make birthday goals? Definitely share with me yours if so!


 

28 Before 29

1.       See my HAM friends, even if it has to be separately, but ideally all together

*July 2015 we finally got to get together again for the first time in 2 years! It was a blast!



 

2.       Get a kit for tintypes

*I would still love to do this at some point! Tintypes still have my heart so I would love to get back into making them!

 

 

3.       Stick to a monthly budget

*I'm counting this, even though budgeting is new to me. It's the most excited I've ever been about money

 

 

4.       Get a tattoo

*On the fence about this one.

 

 

5.       Save $1000 for emergencies

*This is a goal for 2016 for sure, but I don't think I will carry it over as a birthday goal

 

 

6.       Update my bedroom (new bed frame& sheets/blankets please!)

*I still really want to do this, but since I'm moving in with my boyfriend in a few months, we are planning on updating a lot of things together

 

 

7.       Learn to knit

*I will conquer this eventually!

 

 

8.       Go to a new winery

*I went to a new winery a few times this summer. The wine was great each time!

 

 

9.       Host Friendsgiving or Friendsmas

* I actually talked to Jen about making doing a Friendsgiving next year! I really do think it would be so so fun!

 

 

10.   Watch at least 15 movies that were nominated for Oscars

*My boyfriend is really into Oscar movies so last year we watched almost all of them and then tried to guess the winners. I am the reigning champ so I will have to defend my title again this year!

 

 

11.   Go back to school

*I'm still undecided if this is something I want to do. It's always in the back of my mind but I'm not sure if I will ever figure out what to go to school for

 

 

12.   Shoot one roll of film per month

*I would love to shoot more film but I have barely picked up my digital camera this year! Maybe next year I'll add film back into my goals

 

 

13.   Read 8 classic books

*I forgot about this goal until the end of the year and my book load right now is way too full to fit this in unfortunately. I might carry this over to next year too.

 

 

14.   Start a book blog with Jen

*Obviously completed since you are reading this on said blog! I'm so happy we were finally able to get this started

 

 

15.   Complete 3 quilts

*I actually only completed 2 but I'm still counting this as completed because the Halloween quilt was no joke to work on!

 

 

16.   Work out at least 3 times a week

*In August I ran a mile every day. I haven't kept this up, but in August it was awesome to really push myself to complete a goal I set for myself

 

 

17.   Take a family vacation

*in August we went to Lake of the Ozarks to visit my boyfriend Jarrett's dad at his lake house. It was a blast and the girls were a fan of lake living for the weekend

 

 

18.   Get family pictures taken by Grace

*I didn't even get to see my friend Grace this year (she lives in NC). I would love to get updated family photos and I would love for Grace to take them eventually.

 

 

19.   Go to a state I’ve never been to

*Colorado stole my heart this year guys! I am already trying to talk Jarrett into taking me back asap!




20.   Complete a Project 52

*I have one planned for next year that I really think I'm going to love.

 

 

21.   Go on more hikes

*Done and done. Colorado was basically nothing but hiking. We also have went once or twice a month in the state park close to us.

 

 

22.   Print out pictures to hang at home

*I printed out a bunch, but still need frames and things. I do have a corkboard that I have used to display my favorites

 

 

23.   Get my nose pierced

*I did it! I got this done in the beginning of October. I'm in love with my nose ring. Plus it makes me feel really cool and hip.

 

 

24.   Get a passport

*Another goal I'm carrying over. I have no plans to travel overseas but I do think a passport would be handy to have.

 

 

25.   Get a French press

*I am obsessed with my French press. It's one of the best things I ever bought, along with investing in good, local coffee.

 

 

26.   Go antiquing in Springfield with Jen

*This is on the books for 2016!

 

 

27.   Get a library card

*Done! However, I don't use it as much as I could. The library in my town does not have the best/newest selection

 

 

28.   Try one new restaurant a month

*This was my favorite birthday goal and I crushed it. Some months we were trying to find a place on the last day of the month, but I was able to try somewhere new every month and found a ton of restaurants that are now favorites!

 

 

 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Heather's Birthday & Christmas Wishlist

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13

I turn 29 in 13 days! WOAH!  Preparing for my last year in my 20s has me feeling really introspective and determined to make the most of my 29th year. I always thought that when I got close to 30 I would be sad and have all these emotions about it, but honestly the only thing I feel is excited. My 20s were jam packed and I am really looking forward to see what my 30s bring!

For my wishlist this time, I combined my birthday and Christmas into one list. The only things not pictured are a coat I want from H&M (which I have a feeling I will get anyway) and the entire Harry Potter books boxed set since I don't own them and that's a down right shame! I have had most of these things on my wishlist for awhile so it was fun to kind of put them all together into one big list! I think the things I want the most would have to be a tie between Thug Kitchen, the cat wine glasses, and the Instax camera. But everything on this list is something I would love to own!

What's on your wishlist this year?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Six of Crows {Book Discussion}


Hello friends! We are back with another book discussion! We actually decided to split up October's reviews into two posts. Carry On will be in it's own post next week! This week we discuss Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This book really exceeded expectations (at least for me!) so I'm excited to jump into this book discussion. We've also tried to cut down on spoilers, I actually don't think this post has any at all! Hopefully that makes book discussions a little easier to read, especially if you haven't read the book and want to. Let's get this show started! 


Book Description
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
 


After Finishing Six of Crows in a GIF 



Book Discussion

Heather
So now we start our 3rd book discussion. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! 



Jen
This isn't our first encounter with Leigh Bardugo.  In our first book club year, we read book 1 of the Grisha Trilogy, Shadow and Bone, which I loved and have been meaning to read the rest of that series.  This book takes place within that world which I think is pretty cool! Almost like a companion series!




Heather
I also remember really loving Shadow and Bone, though I don't remember much of the book itself. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I ended up just loving Six of Crows! The Oceans Eleven vibe really hooked me! 




Jen
Yes! It was like a crazy mix of fantasy and very intense crime novel.  I think the premise was super unique! It did take me a couple of chapters so figure out what the hell was going on and to kind of reintroduce me to the Grisha world itself but once I broke through that barrier it was really hard to put down!



Heather
I agree, it was a little hard to get into at first, but really I think it's because I forgot so much about the Grisha world. Once I was able to sort it out I was hooked. I just loved the group of 6 that came together to accomplish this prison break in that seemed impossible. I also love that each character was both bad and good. I love when characters in books exist in that moral grey area. If you had to pick a favorite character POV, which would it be? 



Jen
Yea, there was a lot of characters to keep track of! I also did love that each character struggled with good vs. evil.  And oh geez, it is really hard for me to pick a favorite character POV! They were all so good! But I think the ringleader Kaz was my favorite. He was so ruthless and scared of nothing.  He had his failings because of his pride but I thought he was pretty kick ass for organizing and accomplishing the impossible prison break!
And man, he always had a trick up his sleeve until the very end!



Heather
Kaz is a good choice! Just when you thought they were in an impossible situation, he had a trick up his sleeve like he was planning for it the whole time! I think my favorite POV was Inej, the Wraith. I thought she was so soft spoken but someone who was very smart and a great kind of kick ass female character. Actually all the female characters were kick ass, which make my feminist heart happy! 



Jen
Yea, Kaz is really just a lucky bastard.  The shenanigans within this book just made my heart race.  And I think Inej was my second favorite character.  I definitely admired her quiet kickassery!  I also agree that all the female were super kick ass! This book was full of so much female empowerment! And I really love that there was zero love triangles going on.




Heather
I loved the amount of shenanigans, the heart pounding tension, and the humor that made me literally laugh out loud sometimes. I also loved that there were no love triangles. I did love the Nina and Matthias story line. I think I just loved the amount of conflict in this book, both internal and external and that the easy choice we wanted characters to make was something they were just not able to do sometimes.. 



Jen
I agree.  All the conflicting angles made for super entertaining and anxious reading! I think the scene at the harbor was one of the best showdown scenes I've ever read before.  I was seriously shaking in my boots and then floored over how most of them escaped the situation. The trickery never ends in this one!  Leigh has written a masterpiece in my opinion.  




Heather
I agree! I was kind of blown away by how much I liked this after going in with no expectations for it. As soon as I finished I just wanted more immediately and knew it was a 5 star book for me hands down. I can see this being a favorite series as it goes on. Adventure! Gangs! Romance (kind of)! 
Humor! It's got it all! 



Jen
Oh man, I agree so hard! 5 stars all the way! And yea, I can see this becoming one of those series we fangirl over.  It is going to be a reallllllllllly long wait until we get our hands on book 2. But you are right friend, it really did have the right bookish recipe to make a really interesting and kickass book! 




Heather
We read a lot of fantasy YA and I honestly felt like this was something new and fresh, not a variation on the same kind of thing, which can happen a lot in the YA world. 



Jen
I agree wholeheartedly! It was super dark and very much a twist in the fantasy YA game.  In fact, to pigeonhole it into the YA category really isn't fair for to this book.  I think fantasy lovers everywhere would love this book.  It just felt more mature to me compared to the other YA fantasies I've read, which let's face it, is a lot. haha!



Heather
Once again, I agree. I think that this is something that any fantasy love would enjoy. Sometimes YA gets lumped in as lighter reading or for younger readers, but honestly some of the best books I've read would be classified as YA. I think people would be surprised at the depth and range of great stories they would find in the YA genre. 



Jen
I agree with that too.  Sometimes I feel a little juvenile for strictly reading YA but you are so right about the depth and range. Most of my favorite books are labeled as YA and I am not even ashamed!




Heather
I think that the feelings and experiences in YA are so relatable, even if you are past high school age. Everyone remembers those feelings. And some feelings are still universal, like finding your way or figuring out who you are as a person. For me, that is not something that stopped after high school. 




Jen
I agree, I think the act of figuring yourself out as a person is an ongoing journey and you pretty much nailed why I love YA so much! 



Heather
YA will have my heart forever maybe! I think that concludes our Six of Crows review and YA gushfest 



Jen
Yea! Good book discussion friend!

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Thanks for joining us for another book discussion! Let us know if you decide to check out Six of Crows and we will see you next week for a discussion of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.


<3 Heather