pub 1/3/23 by Delacorte Press  • YA Contemporary  • Received from pub for review⭐⭐💫 2.5 stars | I loved the premise of Margot having a magical night in Paris with an American boy and their promise to meet in NYC a year later (talk about Before Sunrise* vibes!), where they both plan to pursue their dreams (she’s a chef!), only for her to learn this lesson of recognizing and appreciating reality versus fantasy. It set the stage for a good coming-of-age story as Margot navigates a brand new city and culture (she was raised in France), evolving family dynamics, and a brand new job at a restaurant. But the execution and even the characterization of Margot just fell flat for me. Even with all the right elements in place that would typically hold my interest, I just couldn’t connect to it. It honestly might be that as I’m getting older, the more removed I feel from YA contemporary novels like this one so despite how I feel, if you’re interested I think it’s worth checking out and deciding for yourself (plus I loved the author’s debut novel, so there’s that to consider too). 

*Before Sunrise is a magical movie from the 90’s and its sequel, Before Sunset, is my favorite movie of all time. 

* * *

pub 1/24/23 by Berkley • Contemporary Romance • Received from pub for review⭐⭐💫 2.5 stars | This author-couple’s adult debut, The Roughest Draft, was one of my favorite books of 2022 so I went into Do I Know You? with admittedly high expectations and I’m sad to report that it didn’t work for me⎯it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Eliza and Graham are celebrating their five-year anniversary but it feels like they’re strangers. So ironically, when a guest assumes Eliza and Graham are single and introduces them at a bar, they go along with it and suddenly, playing pretends allows them to “date” again and work through a lot of what had been previously left unspoken. In some ways, I can see the appeal of this idea but ultimately, I don’t like how pretending to be different people allowed them to finally communicate (although obviously, we see that they really do love each other for who they are in the end). This unfortunately was another case of me being unable to connect to the story and the characters. 

* * *

pub 2/7/23 by Berkley • Contemporary Romance • Received from pub for review⭐⭐ 3 stars | Hallie Welch has had this huge crush (to put it mildly) on Julian Vos ever since they almost kissed during a party at his family’s winery when she was fourteen and she’s tried to put it behind her. Then Julian returns home for a sabbatical from his job as an Ivy League professor to write a novel and Hallie is, of course, employed to revamp the gardens on his estate at the same time — which turns into this romantic comedy of errors as she swoons all over him, he doesn’t (!) remember her but is drawn to her anyway, and she thinks the best way to cope with this situation is by leaving a drunken secret admirer letter for him. All I can say is: if you love opposite-attracts energy, especially when the guy is a misunderstood grump with a heart of gold and the gal is a ray of sunshine who teeters close to the manicpixiegirl trope while still feeling genuine, then this book is probably for you. It’s certainly not breaking any new ground but it’s sweet, wholesome yet surprisingly steamy at times, and fun. 

2022 was a big shopping year for me and while I have no regrets (because I think saving money and rewarding yourself for hard work are both important), I do want to lay down some ground rules for 2023 by having a No Buy List (inspired by Alyssa Lenore). 

What does that mean exactly? It means that I've come up with a list of 10 items that I will not buy this year. At least, that is the goal. And here they are!

1. Fashion jewelry
| After investing in some quality gold jewelry pieces in the last few years, I find myself reaching for my fashion jewelry less and less or putting them in the donate/sell pile, especially as they start to tarnish and leave black residue on my skin. It only took me ~40 years, but I now understand why my mom always used to ask if my jewelry was real gold and laughed when I would say no. 

2. Graphic tees | Goodness, I love a good graphic tee. I have so many that span my different interests -- books, music, anime, horses, travel -- but it has got to stop! I really only wear these t-shirts at home or to the gym and I need to cut back. 

3. Lounge / sleep wear | Again, I just have too much. I love loungewear (especially a matching set) and nightgowns but as someone who does their laundry fairly often and tends repeat wear their favorite pieces, I really don't need more. 

4. Plants | I am such a sucker for buying plants from Trader Joe's plus I discovered this beautiful little shop in Montclair so my plant collection basically tripled. Some are thriving and two are definitely dying (I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can turn it around) but overall, I think I may have bit off more than I can chew. I want to focus on my current plants and not add anymore. 

5. Hair accessories | I have so many headbands, clips, and barrettes and do you want to know how I usually wear my hair? DOWN. Just all down. Then every once in a while, I'll wear accessories so I shouldn't buy any more. Instead, I'm going to make an effort to use what I already own more often. 

6. Small pouches / leather goods | I'm really happy with the wallets and cardholders I currently have plus I have a wide variety of pouches for organizing items in my bags. There's really no need for more but it's one of those things I'm always tempted to buy. 

7. Multiple copies of books (unless it’s Anne of Green Gables) | I'm out of shelf space and trying to come up with creative ways of stacking my books to make them all fit which means I need to cut back on the multiple copies (unless it's Anne). This is tough because there are new editions I'm eyeing (I'm looking at you TOG paperbacks) but I'm going to resist.  

8. Mugs | Mugs are so fun and cute, which is why I own far too many. I even did a huge cull a few years ago (and regretted one or two I threw out) but I literally have no space in my kitchen or dining area for more. 

9. Cloth / canvas tote bags | Another fun and cute item that I love to buy but I rarely use. I regularly cull my tote bags but I've reached a point where I'm very happy with my current collection and don't want to add more. 

10. Ellie Nap Dresses | This is a tough one that I just added to my list a few days ago. Ellie Nap Dresses are my go-to dress for the summer but I already own 7 and I truly don't need anymore (although, if they bring back the Bridgerton collection from a couple years ago, I will make an exception). Instead, if anything, I'd love to give the other Hill House styles a try. 

Have you ever created a no buy list for yourself? 
What are some things you're trying to cut back on buying?

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

1 / I'm always curious about new skincare products and techniques and on The Everygirl, they recently talked about a new trend called "skin flooding". I'm totally going to give it a try this week.  

2 / As someone who has a ton of books in her apartment and is forever running out of room, I had to check out Apartment Therapy's article, "5 Clever Ways to Store Books, According to an Apartment Dweller That Has Over 500 Titles" and I already do most of the things!

3 / I love French onion soup and pasta so this recipe combining two of my favorite things is something I'm definitely going to cook soon. 

4 / It's been 25 years (!) since Dawson's Creek premiered and after seeing Variety's list of what they consider to be the 25 best episodes, I'm very tempted to do a rewatch of my favorite episodes. 

5 / After putting myself on a shopping ban for the month of January, the first thing I plan to buy this month is a pair of Converse sneakers and Crystalin Marie was 100% my inspiration

6 / I'm often telling my boss that I don't want to be on the manager track but I do want to lead (which I already do). So I loved seeing this article, "From senior designer to lead designer: advancing your career without becoming a manager," which perfectly articulates how I want my career to progress. 


1 /
As a Christmas present to myself, I decided to buy a Kindle! I used to just rely on my iPad mini to read (which I do love) but I have to admit, the Kindle is more convenient. It's smaller and much lighter so it fits into most of my bags, which is perfect. 

2 / Between my iPhone, Kindle, iPad mini, and portable chargers, I really was overdue for a charging station

3 / You all know I love doing puzzles but the only place I can work on them is my dining table, which isn't the most convenient. I got this puzzle table and I can't believe I didn't get one sooner! It's very portable and easy to put away when it's not in use. 


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

Happy New Year! Even though I'm thankful for all that 2022 brought me, I have to say I felt pretty ready to say goodbye to the old and welcome in a brand new year. For weeks now, I've been thinking about what I want 2023 to look like and the reason why it's been on my mind is because it's a big year. It's the one where I turn 4-0 and I'm honestly still wrapping my mind around that. So instead of coming up with the usual broad goals for the year, I decided to create a bucket list of specific things I'd like to do. That being said, I want to be kinder to myself and more attuned to my mental, physical, and emotional well-being so I'll do my best to check these items off the list but at the end of the day, as long as I'm happy and healthy that's all that matters ☺ 

My 2023 Bucket List
▢  Take horseback riding lessons (at least 3)
▢  Maintain a consistent gym schedule
▢  Plan a cousins' vacation to celebrate mine (and my cousin RJ's) 40th birthday
▢  Plan a vacation with Carina
▢  Plan a vacation with Alexa 
▢  Revamp the kitchen in my apartment
▢  Take care of my health so my annual physical is better than last year
▢  Complete Made New: 52 Devotions for Catholic Women
▢  Give therapy a try 
▢  Read at least 100 books
▢  Host a meal at my apartment
▢  Start a new creative project
▢  Complete Building Wealth By Doing Nothing: Investing 101 course
▢  At least 2 shopping ban months
▢  Seriously look into adopting a cat

What are some of your goals/resolutions/hopes for 2023?

I can't believe New Year's Eve is only a few days away! I doubt I'll finish anything new between now and then so this is the perfect time to share my top albums, TV shows and movies from 2022 (in no particular order):

Top Albums
James Bay - Leap
Harry Styles - Harry’s House
Miranda Lambert - Palomino
Maggie Rogers - Surrender
Laufey - Falling Behind 

Top TV Shows
*all released in 2022 except CLoY
Crash Landing on You
The Summer I Turned Pretty 
Inventing Anna 
Conversations with Friends
Harry & Meghan 
House of Dragons 
The Dropout
Obi-Wan Kenobi 

Top Movies
*all were released in 2022 except Spirit
Downton Abbey: A New Era
Thor: Love and Thunder 
Fruits Basket -prelude
Enola Holmes 2 
Wakanda Forever
Glass Onion: Knives Out Mystery 
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

What were your favorites from 2022?

Last year I talked about my evolving reading tastes and how I was picking up books I normally didn't. I'm happy to say that continued in 2022! Again, I'm reading a lot less YA and yet two made it onto this list. I'm still reading primarily romance, a bit less fantasy (which does make me sad) but I also picked up more fiction and tried to check out books with a lot of buzz. Basically, I wanted my reads to be all over the place and I'm hoping that will continue in 2023. 

So here are my favorite books of 2022 (in no particular order):
  1. The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
  2. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
  3. In A New York Minute by Kate Spencer 
  4. House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas 
  5. Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer
  6. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 
  7. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  8. Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton
  9. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
  10. Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan 
Honorable mention: 

What were some of your favorite books from this past year?

pub 10/25/22 by St. Martin's Griffith • Contemporary Literary Fiction • Received from pub for review⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | When production assistant, Marlowe Banks, has to fill in as an extra across leading man Angus Gordon, the last thing she expects is for TV show's entire fanbase to hone in on a single, heated look between them. But they do and suddenly she's thrown into the spotlight, and thrown into more scenes with Angus (which turns out to be a very, very good thing). Ultimately it's about two people falling for one another as they look past the snap judgements  (him as the "bad boy") and their own insecurities (her feeling like a failure after her costume design work is torn apart by critics), and finding a new path. It was a quick, sweet romance that I did like overall and would recommend borrowing from the library (not to buy) but I have to admit that months later (I read this in October), it's not exactly the most memorable. 

* * *

reprint pub 2021-22 by Berkley • Sci-fi/paranormal Romance • Received from pub for review⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | The tl;dr synopsis is that a group of women are abducted by aliens for nefarious reasons and when they land on an ice planet, they manage to escape only to run into a different set of aliens who happen to be blue, gorgeous, and eager to win them over through total devotion into mating for life (whew!). To say that I was skeptical would be an understatement but my curiosity won out and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually kinda like these books. Even though the series is outlandish and ridiculous (which I fully believe the author is aware of and actually leans into), I found myself laughing out loud a lot (probably not when I'm supposed to) and just thoroughly entertained by their escapades. The only times I found myself disliking the series was in the very, very beginning of the first book (there's a triggering scene I was forewarned about and I suggest you look up) and during the second book when it became too angsty. But when it's just being crazy and sexy, I do think it's a fun, mindless read that I personally just need sometimes. So keep an open mind, don't take it seriously, and go in with low expectations, and I really think you may find it as fun as I do. 

For my recent girls trip to Paris, every single one of us intended to shop because of the better than usual exchange rate, lower prices, and of course,  the VAT refund. I say all this up front because today's post includes all the purchases I made in Europe (the first four items in the graphic below!) and I realize it's a lot. It's not money I spent lightly and I absolutely budgeted for them knowing what a great deal it would be. These are all things that I'd had on my wishlist for a very long time and I even checked them out in person (in NYC) to make sure I didn't have any buyers' remorse when I got to Paris. 

So, without further ado, here are the purchases I'm obsessed with lately:

[top-bottom; left-right]

Van Cleef & Arpels Vintage Alhambra pendant | I've been in love with this necklace ever since I saw it a couple years ago. The white mother of pearl and black onyx versions are the ones most commonly seen (my friend got the black and it's more striking than the pearl) but this all gold version is my favorite. It is more expensive but this piece truly goes with everything I wear.  

Celine Teen Triomphe Bag in Shiny Calfskin | As far as luxury designer brands go, Celine has moved to the top of my list in the last year. I wanted a more casual black crossbody bag and I loved it as soon as I tried it on. The size is perfect for me and fits more than you'd expect. 

Longchamp Le Foulonne Hobo Bag | I have so many crossbody and tote bags but hardly any shoulder bags. The quality and minimalist nature of this bag is perfect! Truly, Longchamp is one of my absolute favorite brands. I find myself reaching for this one a lot. 

Longchamp Pure Phone Bag | I'd been wanting a phone bag (literally can fit my phone, keys, card holder, and maybe a lip balm) to throw on when I don't need much and this immediately caught my eye when I saw it at the Charles de Gaulle airport. I honestly don't think I would pay US retail price for it but the duty-free Europe price? It was a steal. 

A&F Air Cloud Puffer Parka | I haven't had a chance to wear this yet but I honestly can't wait to! The inside is the softest faux fur and the use of the word "cloud' to describe this parka is accurate. 

J.Crew Teddy Sherpa Jacket | Even though I hate cold weather, I'm such a sucker for a good coat. I'd been wanting a sherpa jacket so that combine with my recent love of brown (you'll notice a trend with today's post) and the fact that they had petite sizing made this purchase a no-brainer. 

Sam Edelman Loraine Woven Bit Loafer | I'm a huge fan of these loafers and I already own a pair in saddle. When I looking for brown shoes to add to my closet, I came across these on sale and I love them! The woven look adds a little something different to this classic pair of shoes. They're still on sale so if you're interested, buy them now!

Birkenstock Boston Shearling Suede Leather Mule | I saw someone in the city wearing these and immediately looked them up online. I've never been into Birkenstocks but something about this pair called to me! They're comfy and I love the brown color plus they're warm! They're a great alternative to my Uggs moccasins. 


Hi, I’m Rachel! New Yorker at heart, Francophile in spirit, and forever wanderlusting. I’m passionate about books, ice cream, photography and finding creativity in my every day life.

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