December 6, 2019

Links + Loves


Here are some non-bookish articles I really liked this past month and my latest loves.

Links
1 / My dear friend Kristin over at Super Space Chick wrote this very thoughtful and well-said post about authenticity and Instagram (which funnily enough is a response from a link I shared in past Links + Loves post!).

2 / In December I always start looking for new Christmas music and I found the ultimate collection of playlists from The Lazy Genius Collective

3 / I've only seen a movie once at The Paris Theatre in NYC but even I know it's a classic landmark so I was sad to hear that it would be closing. Who knew Netflix would be able to save it!

4 / The co-hosts of Thirst Aid Kit ask a very important question on one of their recent podcast episodes: "Why Is This Show Not Called Pacey’s Creek?" I've been asking that since it first aired! Read the article but more importantly, listen to the podcast. It made smile and laugh so much.

5 / One of contributors on A Cup of Jo shares "A Date Moment I Still Think About" and it is so sweet.

6 / I recently watched Unbelievable, a mini-series on Netflix which is based on a true story as written by ProPublica. It's such a powerful show and one that I consider a must-watch. I actually read the article before watching but you certainly don't have to. But I would recommend reading it afterward.

7 / The Atlantic's "The False Promise of Morning Routines" was trending on Twitter recently so of course I had to read, as someone who a morning person with a routine. But my routine is nowhere near as crazy as the ones mentioned!

8 / My favorite line from Darling Magazine's friendship post is this: "There is value in building a small network of healthy friends to 'do life with.'" I wholeheartedly agree.


Loves
1 / I bought this makeup case a while ago and completely forgot to mention it! It's been perfect to keep in my bathroom to organize my makeup and my favorite part is that you can adjust the inner compartments to suit your needs.

2 / I went on a bit of a Christmas decor spree last week. I usually just put up a tree but this year I wanted to add lights, garland, candles and little knick knacks to get into the holiday spirit even more. This centerpiece for my dining table is so pretty and so affordable.

3 / I'm almost always cold and when it's really windy outside, my room has a draft (even though I've tried my best to cover all the windows). This space heater is small but warms up my room so quickly.

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Do you have any links or loves to share?
Would love to hear about them!

December 4, 2019

Harlequin Christmas Romance Tour: An Alaskan Christmas + A Wedding in December


I'm so excited to be a part of Harlequin's Holiday Blog Tour! This might come as a surprise, but I usually don't read Christmas books. But when I read the descriptions for An Alaskan Christmas and A Wedding in December, they sounded like two books I'd really enjoy and I was right! They were perfect for getting into the holiday spirit and totally whisked me away to two totally different winter wonderlands (which I am for all experiencing in my imagination but snow in real life, not so much 😂). I'll be sharing mini-reviews for each of the books and I genuinely hope that I convince you to check them out! 

An Alaskan Christmas (Wild River #1) by Jennifer Snow
pub 9/24/19 by HQN Books
Contemporary Romance
Received e-ARCs from pub for review
This was the best way to kick off my foray into holiday romances! It had everything I could've wanted – a hate to love relationship, best friends reconnecting, and a woman figuring out what she wants on her own terms. Erika Sheraton is a prestigious surgeon and workaholic. To the point where she's been ordered by the hospital to take time off. She decides to go to Wild River, Alaska where her best friend Cassie (who she hasn't spoken to in years) owns an adventure tour company. This allows them to reconnect, albeit awkwardly at first, and while this wasn't the main plot point it was still one I very much enjoyed. Sometimes life can get away from us and while that it isn't an excuse, it does happen but I like to believe second chances can happen too and that was well-done here. But my favorite part was undoubtedly when Erika reunites with Cassie's brother, Reed. Sparks fly immediately and both have memories of each other as kids that weren't entirely flattering. So naturally while there are sparks, there's a bit of antagonism too (but in a good way!). But they do find common ground through his search-and-rescue team and her being a skilled doctor who can't help herself in a disaster. Between that and their crazy chemistry throughout, it was impossible to not be sucked into their romance and adventures together and root for that happy ending.

Do I recommend? This was my first Jennifer Snow book and the first book in a series. I definitely plan to read the next one!


A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
pub
A Wedding in December was another unexpected delight for a number of reasons! It follows three romances – all very different but very sweet. The White family are all gathering in Aspen for youngest daughter Rosie's "whirlwind Christmas wedding" to Dan. That's romance number one and the one I'd rank third. For Rosie, she's always been babied and has been known to be impulsive but she knows she loves her fiancé. That is until the pressure from everyone starts to give her doubts. Next up is older sister Kate who is very cynical in general but even more so due to the demands of her job at the hospital. She wants nothing more than to stop the wedding but when she arrives, she finds herself in a romance of her own with the best man Jordan. I actually felt the chemistry between these two, which is why I'd rank them in the middle. And last but not least, there's the parents Maggie and Nick, aka my favorite romance of the whole book! (Bet you didn't see that coming. I certainly didn't!) Their girls don't know it but they've been separated for months and are on the brink of divorce but they decide to keep lying so they don't overshadow the nuptials. This means they have to pretend to still be a happily married couple. Except while they pretend, it gives them a chance to talk and reconnect and it was surprisingly swoony. The book alternates chapters between all three women and I honestly looked forward to Maggie's the most!

Do I recommend? I do! If you love romance novels that also include crazy family dynamics and alternating POVs, this one is for you.

***
I hope I convinced you to check out these two books!
Thank you Harlequin for asking me to be a part of this. 
And keep a look out for most posts from other bloggers on the tour!

December 2, 2019

Life Lately | Bryant Park, NYC Days + Thanksgiving

My favorite time of year is here –– AKA the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's! I got a early start on getting into the Christmas spirit but now that it's December I can't help feeling excited for all the family and friend time to come and of course, seeing my beautifully decorated (if I do say so myself) tree every day. Here's what I've been up to lately!

Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
A couple weeks ago, Kristin, Alexa and I went to check out the holiday shops (and food) at Bryant Park after work. It ended up being the perfect time to go! It was right before the rush of the holidays so it wasn't crowded and it wasn't that cold either. Our first stop of the night was The Lodge to get chimney cakes from The Stackery. Kristin and I got Elf's Brew (signature "brewed coffee" in a chimney stack lined with creamy caramel) and Alexa got The Frosty's Cocoa (Ghiradelli hot cocoa  topped with marshmallow). The Elf's Brew was amazing and my favorite of theirs. I don't know what that signature coffee was but I definitely wanted more of it afterward. From there, we went Big Mozz because after all that sugar, we needed something savory. And again, I did not expect these to be so good! If you love mozzarella sticks, you have to order from them. After that, we circled around all the shops and ended up buying a couple things for ourselves. I think that might've been the most relaxing and fun NYC holiday market experience I've had!

Solo NYC Days
One of my favorite things to do is take a random day off to spend in the city by myself. I love exploring with friends but there's something very freeing about doing it on my own too. Last month I went to see the new MoMA and walked around the Flatiron area. Then since I had this past week off, I decided to go into the city on Tuesday because I knew it would be warm (well, warmer than usual). First I headed to the David Zwirner gallery to see Yayoi Kusama's latest exhibit. She's famous for her infinity rooms so I got there at 9:45am, before they even opened. And there was already a long line! I waited a little over an hour to get in but I passed the time with a book so it wasn't that bad (word of advice: go on a weekday and go early!). The centerpiece of her exhibit was INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM - DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE. From the outside, I remember approaching and thinking, "This small room? That's it? And wait, we only get a minute?" but from the moment I stepped into it, I got it. I actually felt slightly disoriented at first because the optical illusion is so affecting but I quickly adjusted and there was just something magical about the experience and the light show that accompanied it. I wish we were given at least a minute or two more inside. Then I explored the rest of her exhibit and my second favorite was the INFINITY LADDER. Clearly, I'm a fan of what she does with mirrors!

From there, I went to Chelsea Market for lunch and shopping. I've always enjoyed their artists' flea market. I ended up getting a ring at Jewels by Atlantis and a beautiful ornament from Katmama Accessories. I actually would've bought even more from the latter but I was trying to be good. Her stuff is beautiful! I grabbed lunch at The Lobster Place (for seafood lovers only) and ice cream from Seed + Mill. I've had that spot on my project ice cream list for the longest time so I was happy to finally cross is off. I got salted caramel with milled tahini and halva crumbles which sounds like a strange mix but it worked. It's admittedly not something I would crave but I'm glad I tried it! Then because I ate so much, I walked to Port Authority and it was honestly so lovely to leisurely walk while blasting my own little soundtrack. I have another staycation coming up in December so I might try to plan another day like this one!

Thanksgiving Weekend
Thanksgiving was bittersweet and while I did have some down moments, I was determined to enjoy being surrounded by family and I did! We got together at my parents' house like we always do and for the first time ever, we didn't overdo it with food. We still had a ton though! We all ate a lot and just hung out talking. Then three of my cousins and I decided to brave Black Friday shopping by going that night. We do Thanksgiving lunch with my family so I had more than enough time to rest and relax before they picked me up at 10:30pm (!) to shop. We hit Target first and then the mall. And surprisingly, it wasn't that bad! Turns out, most people would rather online shop 😂 I ended up buying quite a few Christmas decorations, a couple things for myself and presents too. We got home around 2am so I slept in which I almost never do. I spent the rest of the day (and weekend quite frankly): putting up my Christmas tree and all the decor, cleaning, going through every draw and closet to see what I could throw out (it was a lot) and bingeing a lot of TV (Vampire Knight and Unbelievable). I seriously cannot believe Thanksgiving and my week off is already over and that we're only weeks away from Christmas!

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What have you been up to lately?

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