I can hardly believe it myself but I've been blogging on here for 10 years (official anniversary date is Sept 30)! I honestly never thought I'd be writing here all these years later and there are times when I wonder why I still do. But the truth is, I genuinely still enjoy it! I think a big part of the reason why is that I've never really put much pressure on myself and have let my blog evolve and change to fit whatever my current situation is. I may never have the biggest following and that's okay, as long as I'm still happy writing here. 

To look back on Hello, Chelly, I've put together a list of 100 significant posts from the last 10 years! It's a lot so feel free to skip around but it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me. It reminded me of how open I could be with writing on a personal level and all the fun ideas I had for posts, either with friends, authors, or just on my own. Let's get started!


Where it all began
1. an introduction.


Getting personal
9 years ago!
2.
Me, my Dad, & Books - how I became such an avid reader. 
3. My Mom - one of the toughest things I've ever had to write. 
4. Always the Bridesmaid - I'm going to lie, I'm glad my bridesmaid days are over! 
5. Thinking about friendship. - I still think about friendship a lot.
6. Life Lately | How I’m Coping with Stress - Anxiety has been a very real thing for me lately so this was good to re-read. 
7. Friends Can Be Soulmates Too - I still strongly believe in this blog post title (and what I had to say in it).
8. Fears of online dating - This hasn't changed either. 
9. Designer’s Block (for the last few years) - I'm still jealous of my younger self's creativity. 
10. (Not-so-quietly) ranting - I did not remember this post at all but wow, it totally took me back to that moment in time. 
11. Looking back on 2012 - This was the start of my end of year reflections which I've done every year since. 
12. Summer Bucket List - I did these summer bucket lists for 5 years!
13. Finding Time for Myself - I have to say that this is no longer an issue. 
14. I decided to get my DNA tested - I love that AncestryDNA will update its findings yearly to provide more accurate results. 
15. 31 Things You Didn’t Know About Me - It made me laugh to see that I mentioned owning 3 Anne of Green Gables books at the time I wrote this (fast forward to the present where I now own 40+). 


I am such a foodie
16.
Project Ice Cream - the start of many, many ice cream posts both on the blog and my Instagram.
17. Table for Two #5: Pandorica - I love doing this feature with Alexa but this was a special one because we drove upstate just to visit this Doctor Who-themed restaurant!
18. 10 Recipes I’ve Recently Tried and Loved - I still make a bunch of these meals pretty regularly. 
19. My Favorite Filipino Recipes - I'm proud of how many Filipino dishes I've learned in recent years. 
20. Table for Two #21: The Blue Box Cafe - Another special one that involved two of my favorites, Audrey Hepburn (Holly Golightly vibes!) and Tiffany's. 
21. Foodie Adventures - Oh goodness, I miss going to food festivals in the city. 


Shop-a-holic
22. 
Recent Purchases I’m Obsessed With - I did this first post on a whim and since then, it's become a staple on my blog.
23. My Favorite Bags - I shared this for fun but it ended up making me evaluate my collection. 
24. You're My Person | A Galentine’s Day Gift Guide - I loved doing this collab with Alexa, Kelly, and Hannah
25. Mabuhay! Filipino Brands to Keep on your Radar - Some awesome brands, if I do say so myself. 
26. What’s in My Bag | Paris Edition - Clearly I enjoy sharing my bags! 
27. My Favorite Jewelry Brands - Missoma continues to be my #1. 
28. My Experience with Rebag - Still my go-to for looking at pre-loved bags. 
29. Product Review | Ink + Volt Planner - I don't use this planner anymore but if you love having goals as part of your planning, this is a great option. 
30. My Bag Collection - My entire collection as of last month! 


Travel adventures
31.
Happy Bastille Day! - I've been doing annual Bastille Day posts for years but this one in particular stands out because we decided to find places in NYC that reminded us of Paris and now we do this every year! 
32. San Francisco Cousins Reunion Trip - This first and only (so far) cousins reunion trip will always been special to me. 
33. Paris, je t’aime | Day 1 & 2 - Going to Paris with one of my BFFs will always be a much treasured memory. 
34. Where To Next - I hope I'll be able to use these tips again soon! 
35. My Travel Bucket List - My list hasn't changed. 
36. London Calling, Part 1: British Museum, Harry Potter and dessert - My first and only solo trip was a memorable one!
37. Aruba | One Happy Island - I'd love to go back to Aruba. 
38. My 7 Travel Rituals - My rituals haven't changed at all. 
39. Iceland, Part 2: Waterfalls, Hot Springs and Glacier Lagoons - This was our first trip abroad together and certainly not our last. 
40. Barcelona: Beautiful Sights to See - Truly a beautiful city. 
41. Lovely Dublin, Part 1 - This feels like a lifetime ago. 
42. The Travel Bug - After over a year of no traveling, I'm very much feeling that wanderlust. 
43. Portland, Maine - My cousins and I were just talking about planning another trip here next year. 
44. My (Humble) Guide to First-Time Solo Travel - I don't know when I'll travel solo again but I'll always treasure the memory of that experience. 


TV/Movies/Music/Internet
45. 
Adventures in Anime #1: Fushigi Yuugi - I love how we did this on a whim and then us watching anime together became a regular thing. 
46. All About Audrey: The Films - If you didn't know how much I loved Audrey Hepburn... 
47. Every concert I’ve ever been to - I miss concerts. 
48. What I’m Listening To | If You Ever Playlist - You know that feeling when you put together a really good playlist? 
49. Adventures in Anime #5, Part 1: Sailor Moon - Rewatching Sailor Moon during quarantine was one of the best choices ever. 
50. Every show and musical I’ve ever been to - I'd love to see a musical again sometime soon. 
51. Let Me Tell You about Last.fm - When it comes to tracking my listening habits, Last.fm > Spotify. 
52. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before | Viewing Party + Thoughts on the Movie - Best bookish themed party ever. 
53. What I’m Listening To | Dawson’s Creek - I totally feel like listening to this now. 
54. Madman with a Box - Watching Doctor Who for the first time was an investment and absolutely worth it. 
55. Let’s Talk Music - I enjoy surprising people with my taste in music. 
56. Website Tips & Tricks! - I didn't know where to put this so I added it here. In addition to being a designer, I was a web developer at the start of my career. 

Home Sweet Apartment
57.
Apartment updates! - Throwback to early quarantine when I made a bunch of little updates!
58. Living Room Update - Still proud of my living room makeover from two years ago. 
59. Apartment Must-Haves - My must-have tips haven't changed. 
60. One year at my apartment - I've been living here for 8 years now!
61. Living on my own (& loving it!) - Reading about how I felt a month into living at my apartment made me smile. 


New Yorker
62.
An ABT Balletomane - Going to the ballet every year (minus the recent two for obvious reasons) is a tradition I love getting to share here. 
63. Festive Fun Day in NYC - Alexa, Kristin and I love coming up with traditions like "festive fun day" or going out on Galentine's Day so looking back on these posts makes me really happy. 
64. Bestie Saturdate - Ditto with this one, it's one of my favorite NYC days! 


Bookish collabs
65.
 Books and Wanderlust - One of my favorite collaboration ideas ever! 
66. Books In Real Life, Episode 1: Racing Savannah - This post exemplifies how Alexa and I are always down for a new adventure together and that it doesn't take long for us to be on the same page. 
67. SS&D Surprise Party! To Susan, With Love. - We loved Something, Strange & Deadly so much. 
68. BDB Party: Dream Cast - Alexa, Kelly, and I came up with the best cast for Black Dagger Brotherhood. 
69. Capeside Revisited: Pacey + Joey Meets YA - Collaborating with my fellow Dawson's Creek lovers for these posts was so much fun. 
70. MABUHAY! A Celebration of Filipino Culture in Literature - Celebrating my culture each year on the blog is super important to me. 
71. Return to Green Gables: Re-read Reflections - Rereading this series in its entirety was long overdue and I'm glad I got to share the experience with Alexa and Hannah
72. The Lexie Project: On BFFs - The one where Alexa and I talk about how we met and being BFFs. 
73. Light Up the Darkness | What Throne of Glass Means to Me - Re-reading the Throne of Glass books in preparation for the final book's release with Alexa, Kelly, and Hannah was magical. 
74. Book Boy Roulette - I totally forgot about this post with Alexa, Kelly, and Hannah and it cracked me up. 
75. Thirteen Days of Ash & Fire - An Heir of Fire Blog Tour: Day 12 - I miss the days of planning yearly #MaasThirteen blog tours with Alexa
76. Paranormal Cook Club: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa - This book club with Alexa, Kristin, & DJ is still going strong and this year's picks in particular have been awesome. 
77. Friends with ARCS | Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - Alexa and I started this collab in 2013 and it's still going strong. 
78. Featurette! Emery Lord + Dawson’s Creek - I've retired this feature but looking back, I'm blown away by these authors' generosity in writing something for my little blog. I mean, getting to talk about one of my favorite shows with Emery... 
79. Feaurette! Katie Cotugno + Dirty Dancing - ... and a movie I loved while growing up with Katie...
80. Featurette! Justina Chen + Before Sunset - ... plus my #1 favorite movie of all time with Justina, when hardly anyone knows about this movie, was amazing. 


Bookish fun
81.
My (Updated) Anne of Green Gables Collection - I've unsurprisingly added a few more to my collection since this post. 
82. Book Recs: Horse Fiction - I've got more horse fiction to share! 
83. BFFs & college | Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler - I enjoyed sharing my personal experience with applying to colleges and how that related to this book. 
84. I’d Rather Be Reading: Lists & Questions - A great idea and challenge for a bookish post. 
85. Book Recs: My Go-To’s - I still stand by this list. 
86. Binge-worthy New Adult Romances - I miss angsty New Adult romances. 
87. Book Recs: Underrated YA Contemporary Romance - I've actually been re-reading a bunch of these this year. 
88. Tidying up is good for the soul - A non-fiction book that caused me to take immediate action and de-clutter my apartment. 
89. Bookshelf Tour - How I organized my books on this shelf has changed since then. 
90. Re-reading The Harper Hall Trilogy - I will forever credit this series with introducing me to fantasy. 


10 most popular posts of all time (in order)
91.
BEA Part of It / New York, NY: Shopping Spree! - I honestly can't believe this is my most popular post ever but of course it would be about shopping! 
92. BookBags (3): YAGB Edition - Seeing this post made me miss this feature (which I've since retired). Should I bring it back?
93. Bridal Shower! - Forever proud of this bridal shower I helped plan. 
94. Latest Read: Tiger Lily - This is still one of my favorite books. 
95. Rachel & Carina’s Infinite Playlist (63) - I had this feature with my best friend for years! She's not into blogging so I really appreciate how long she did this with me. I don't know why this playlist in particular is so popular though! 
96. Latest Read: The Book of Broken Hearts - Wow, my reviews used to be so long. 
97. SS&D Celebration: A Day in Paris - I wouldn't mind recreating this day if I ever go to Paris again. 
98. David Levithan + End of the Summer Fun - I really don't know why this post gets so many hits given how simple it is but it was nice to remember these moments. 
99. Latest Read: Love Is the Higher Law - Given that this month was 20th anniversary, it seems fitting to find this book here. 
100. Latest Read: Lola and the Boy Next Door - Full disclosure: this was my least favorite of this trilogy. 


***
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did! 
And whether you're an OG follower, new to my blog, or somewhere in between - thank you so much for supporting me! 


The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | The Love Hypothesis is a funny, often sweet rom-com involving one of my favorite tropes (fake dating!) but while it did make me laugh out loud and swoon, it didn't quite hit the mark for me.


Olive Smith is a third-year Ph.D candidate who is focused on her research project, her best friends, and getting by on her measly student income. When her BFF Anh develops feelings for Olive's ex, she knows the only way Ahn will go for it is if she believes Olive has moved on. So Olive kisses the first man she sees and it happens to be Adam Carlsen, a young very attractive professor, who is pretty much known by the whole student body as being harsh and unapproachable. Naturally, a single kiss isn't enough and they need to fake date to prove they're really dating to Anh. But soon the entire campus knows of their relationship and their ruse turns into something bigger and unsurprisingly more real than either of them ever expected.


First and foremost, Olive and Adam find themselves in some of the most awkward situations to prove they're dating and I couldn't help but cackle each and every time. But underneath all that humor is this very real connection and Olive gets to see a side of Adam know one else knows (cue: me swooning). I enjoyed the progression of their relationship from strangers, to fake daters, to friends, and then to something much more. I really loved Adam and how he showed up for her. But what frustrated me was Olive (particularly during the second half of the book) and the various "conflicts" in their story. Olive came dangerously close to the manicpixiegirl territory and some of her quirks were just ridiculous. Then in terms of conflict, I don't mind if the story is predictable. It's a romance and I'm reading it knowing I'll get the happily ever after. That said, the levels of miscommunication as a barrier between them was unbelievable (that particular bit of writing felt lazy) and all the reveals and big declarations were anticlimactic to the point of dissatisfying. It's a cute book but it just lacked a certain pull to make me feel fully invested. 


If you went to grad school, what would you want to major in?
I don't know if this would come as a shock or not, but I'd want to go back for Professional Writing. There was a point during college where a professor encouraged me to switch majors to English so I could pursue writing, which I obviously didn't do. But after blogging for as long as I have, I wouldn't mind upping my writing game! 


***
pub 9/14/21 by Berkley Books
Adult - Contemporary Romance
Received e-ARC from pub for review

Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.
It's hard to believe we're one week away from the official start of fall! But it's already starting to feel cooler in the mornings and I'm surprisingly not that mad about the fact that I need a cardigan sometimes. So in honor of the new season, I've put together a playlist that makes me of think of the changing leaves and slightly chillier weather. And apparently, mellow songs are my Fall vibe. 


"Stormy Weather" - Kings of Leon
I've been listening to this song since their album came out and the title alone made me think it needed to be on this playlist.

"Brooklyn" - Patrick Droney
I highly recommend listening to his 2021 album but Brooklyn was my introduction to his music and it's still my #1.

"Street by Street" - Laufey
There is something so soothing about her voice. 

"Your Sunday (Sunday Morning)" - Sunny Shin, Ampoff
Sunday Morning is one of my favorite songs and her cover is just excellent. It really makes me conjure up mornings spend underneath a warm blanket and wanting 5 more minutes in bed.  

"Let It Go" - James Bay
It's no secret I love James Bay and while I continue to love all his albums, this is the song I came back to over and over again.

"willow" - Taylor Swift
I surprised myself by having a Taylor Swift song on here but I gave evermore and folklore a chance at the start of the year and while I still don't love her music, I really like da handful of songs and this was one of them. It definitely feels like an autumn song to me! 

"Celadon & Gold" - Maggie Rogers
For some people, red and burgundy are probably the colors most associated with fall. For me? It's warm yellows (aka the gold in the song title) and forest green. 

"Steady" - Emily Wolfe
This song has so much love and warmth and just feels solid, if that makes sense. 

"Meet Me in the Woods" - Lord Huron
The title and lyrics had that fall feelings. 

"Sweater Weather" - The Neighbourhood
I don't think any fall playlist is complete without this as one of the tracks. 


***
Hope you enjoyed my playlist!
What are some of your favorite fall songs?

If you need more fall songs, here's the fall playlist I made last year

The Pick-Up by Miranda Kenneally

⭐⭐⭐đź’« 3.5 stars | The idea of taking a rideshare to a music festival and then said car picking up a cute, genuinely nice guy along the way who is also going to the same concert and in a matter of minutes you have a connection? I mean, that really appealed to me as a story. (And why do I never have meet cutes on public/shared transportation?) But that's how the alternating points-of-view between Mari and TJ start and I was immediately intrigued to see how this romance would play out.  


Since Mari is in Chicago visiting her dad for the weekend, she and TJ only have three days to get to know one another. What surprised me was that there was a lot more going on with both Mari and TJ other than a fun weekend of listening to music and kissing (I mean, that was inevitable!). For Mari, there's a lot of drama and issues going on at home with her parents and for TJ, he's struggling to find the confidence to be himself as his family's expectations weigh on him. 


Because there was quite a few things going on, I expected the book to be much longer in order to address and develop these themes more deeply. But at only 250 pages, I didn't think that was enough time to really dig into the romance (although the chemistry was certainly there!) or each of the characters and what they were experiencing. Don't get me wrong, I loved the concept of the book and I certainly didn't mind that it took place over the course of a three-day weekend, but I did feel that we as readers needed more time with Mari and TJ to feel thoroughly invested.


Name 5 artists you'd love to see at a musical festival |
James Bay, Maggie Rogers, The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and The Strokes. (Note: I love a lot of bands but I have yet to see the latter three, which is why they made the list!) 



****
pub 9/1/21 by Sourcebooks Fire
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
     Goodreads | Author


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


Adventures in Anime is a collaborative feature I have with Alexa Loves Books! The idea is simple – we watch anime together and then we answer 6 questions about what we enjoyed most. We'll do our best to keep it spoiler-free but we will be mentioning our favorites so keep that in mind!

***

It was time for a re-watch and we decided Yona of the Dawn would be the perfect choice, and it was! The series follows Princess Yona, who is chased out of her kingdom with her bodyguard Hak, after her father is murdered by Yona's cousin, Soo-Won. Despite their differing statuses, the three of them are actually childhood friends and they are stunned by Soo-Won's betrayal. At first, they just need to find somewhere safe but soon, Yona realizes that she doesn't want to keep running. She wants to reclaim her kingdom and her rightful place. Together, they set on a journey to find the legendary four dragons to seek out their help. And finding these four is an adventure in itself and they, along with Yona, Hak, and another friend they pick up along the way, form a motley crew and family sorts that I couldn't help but love. But throughout the course of the series, Yona truly is the star as she does the most growing up and it's gratifying to see her bravery and kindness shine. 

For each of these posts, we will answer these questions!

Favorite character(s)

Given what I just said about Yona, I don't think it's a surprise to hear that she's my favorite character. When we meet her, she's so naive and sheltered but then has to grow up real quick and she rises up to the task. But I have to say another close favorite would definitely be Hak. I totally forgot how swoon-worthy he is and I loved his loyalty to Yona. 

Favorite episode
Episode 19, Trial of the Cheonsu Plant – not only did this episode showcase Yona's strength but also the bonds between their group of friends. 

Favorite scene 
I don't want to say anything too spoilery but let's just say that it involves Yona, her bow, and a ship. This moment just gave me chills. 

Favorite quote
"Don't say stuff about protecting me [...] Makes me want more." - Hak to Yona and reminding me just how swoony and romantic Hak is (Yona girl, you need to open your eyes and see how wonderful he is!)

Favorite setting
Yona and friends don’t stay in one place for very long but I’m rather fond of Ik- Soo's home.

Bonus! Favorite kiss
There’s an almost kiss moment between Yona and Hak that would’ve been so wonderful if only Yona wasn’t completely oblivious.


***
So fellow anime fans, have you watched Yona of the Dawn?
And if so, what did you think?

Back in 2020 I shared what my favorite bags were (that I own) and after putting that post together, it actually made me revisit my entire collection in general. If my favorites amounted to a list of 13, then why was I holding onto all the others? Since then, I've done a lot of selling on Depop, donating, and of course, adding new bags to my collection so I'm excited to share where I'm at and the thought process behind my purchases. 


I'm going to categorize my bags by luxury designer, bridge fashion, moderate fashion, and mass market fashion (see explanation here). 


Luxury designer (over $1K)

I won't lie, I love luxury designer bags! Whenever I decide to add a new one to my collection, it's a very calculated purchase. I typically wait between 3-6 months (if not more) to think about it but I try make a decision within 6 months if I'm buying brand new since boutique prices increase 1-2x a year. I read/watch reviews about the bag online and go see it in person. Then I save up for it until I have enough money set aside to buy the bag (versus charging it to my credit card and paying it off). That's why I typically treat myself around my birthday, Christmas, or when I get my bonus. 


1. Dior Medium Bobby Bag | My first Dior bag and certainly not my last! Mine is the dark tan calfskin (no longer available) and it's such a beautiful, classic piece. 


2. Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM This was my first luxury designer bag purchase and still one of my best investments. I've had it for 11 years!  


3. Louis Vuitton Pochette MĂ©tis | I was honestly never a fan of the LV monogram print until I saw this bag. It's a great crossbody that fits a lot more than you'd expect and elevates any casual outfit. 


4. Louis Vuitton Vintage Alma Handbag Epi Leather PM | I bought this last year through Rebag during a sale after stalking it for over a year. It's a discontinued style and I got it, in amazing condition, for $735 (a steal!). I typically don't go for hand/crook of the arm bags but this silhouette is so elegant. 


5. Gucci Monogram Bree Shoulder Bag | I bought this in 2013 and for the first few years, this was my most used bag but now, I'm trying to sell it (if you're interested - feel free to email me or check out my Depop). I still think it's a wonderful bag and I actually got it serviced at Gucci recently so it's in great condition but I just don't reach for it anymore. 


6. Gucci Ophidia GG Small Shoulder Bag | Another excellent, roomy crossbody at a more affordable price point when compared to the Pochette Metis. Very classic, with a bit of a vintage look.


7. Chanel Quilted Medallion Tote | I wrote a whole post on my experience on buying this discontinued Chanel style through Rebag but needless to say, I'm still incredibly happy I pulled the trigger on this gorgeous tote. 


8. Dior Saddle Bag | Yes, I got my second Dior bag about 6 months after getting my first and let me tell you, no regrets here! I had been looking at this bag even longer than the Bobby but I was waiting for a neutral color to come out and when this warm taupe shade was released I knew had to get it before it sold out. 


9. Dior vintage clutch | I inherited this clutch from my mom, which I didn't even know she owned until I cleaned out her closet. For sentimental reasons, it's going to be a forever piece in my collection and hopefully I'll have an occasion to use it at soon. 


Bridge fashion (between $300 and < $1K)

This category makes me think of Kate Spade, Coach, and Rebecca Minkoff which used to be my go-to bag brands for years and years. But they're also the same bags I always ended up giving away or selling so I don't have many in this price bracket. I prefer to either invest in the luxury bag OR go lower. 


10. Polene Numero Un (in monochrome gris) | I admired this bag online for years but I didn't want to buy it without trying it in person. I finally got my wish during my trip to Paris with Alexa. It's such a unique structure and I always get compliments when I use it (which admittedly hasn't been often lately). 


11. Tory Burch Kira Chevron Floral Convertible Shoulder Bag | This is the newest bag I've purchased and my first from Tory Burch! I bought this during their recent Private Sale, so it's no longer available, but I got it at such a great price. I typically wouldn't go for a floral print but given all my neutral clothes, I thought this would be a fun yet subtle print to play up an outfit. 


Moderate fashion (under $300)

The quality of bags and brands in this range just gets better and better over the years. 


12. Longchamp Le Pliage Tote Small | It's funny, even though this isn't my most used bag, my collection wouldn't feel complete without it. (I also own the large size but at this point it's become more of a travel/overnight bag for me). 


13. Madewell Abroad Shoulder Bag | This simple crossbody has traveled with me everywhere and after years of owning it, it's starting to show quite a bit of wear so I'm planning to replace it at some point. 


14. Cuyana Small Structured Leather Tote | A perfect, petite-friendly tote in a classic camel color. I wish I got more use out of it but lately I've needed to carry a backpack for work. 


15. Longchamp Le Pliage Messenger Bag | This style can't be found on their website but if you're lucky, it'll be at an outlet, which is where I found mine. This is another new-ish bag and it was love at first sight. (Full disclosure: it's slightly overpriced IMHO but I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of it!) 


16. Madewell Transport Camera Bag: Woven Edition | As I mentioned, all my bags tend to be neutral but I was drawn to this pale lilac and I love the woven style. It's a smaller crossbody but still fits all the essentials. 


17. Cult Gaia Gaia’s Ark | This is such a cute, statement bag that I typically use for special summer occasions. I didn't have an opportunity to wear it this summer but hopefully next year! 


18. Dooney & Burke City Small Barlow | I have such a soft spot for this bag because it was a gift from my mom and it's probably the only bag she's ever given me that I actually loved (I'm picky with bags, lol). I still use it to this day and it'll most likely stay in my collection for sentimental reasons. 


19. Italic Phoebe Bucket Bag | I haven't talked about my Italic membership yet but for a yearly fee, it gives you access to designer quality products at a fraction of the price. This bucket bag reminds me of the Celine Sangle and it was one of my first and favorite purchases from their site. 


Mass Market fashion (under $100)

For bags that you know are only special occasion or you're not sure if you want to make the investment, I totally think it's worth it to get an inexpensive dupe or a cheaper alternative before making the plunge. Or who knows, maybe you'll stick with the alternative! 


20. Target Universal Thread belt bag | I wanted a belt bag for whenever I go on a walk so I knew I didn't want to spend much. And this belt bag has surprisingly gotten a ton of use! Sometimes I think about replacing it with something higher quality but honestly, this looks great and is made well. 


21. JW PEI Kate Faux Pearl Bag | As much as I love the look of a white bag, they're just not practical for me so again, I didn't want to spend a lot. I decided to give this brand a try and it's been a great summer bag. It can be dressed up as a handbag or more casual as a crossbody (I have the strap tucked in) but I see it as another special occasion piece so I don't expect to use it that often, which is why the price point works. 


***

Thanks for sticking with this pretty lengthy post! I really hope you enjoyed seeing my bag collection. And I'd love to know - which ones were your favorites?

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | It's been a very long time since I've read a Karina Halle book! I was long overdue and I must say, I was surprised by how fun and wholesome The Royals Next Door was but unsurprised that it still had her usual high steamy factor. 


Piper Evans is an elementary school teacher, romance reader who runs an anonymous podcast on the genre, and primary caretaker for her mother who struggles with mental illness. That latter paired with the judgement she feels from her small island town regarding her ex-fiancĂ© weigh heavily on her but she keeps a smile on her face regardless. When British royals rent the property next door to hers and bring security detail with them, including a very hot and brooding bodyguard named Harrison, it pretty much shakes up her entire world (and that of their island community). 


So if you've ever wondered what it must've been like for Prince Harry and Meghan to move to Canada for have some semblance of a normal life, then this book is for you. It's very obvious who this story draws inspiration from and I personally enjoyed Halle's imagination on the subject. Especially the Harrison part. Harrison and Piper immediately clash and it's classic enemies-to-lovers, except being enemies didn't last very long. Which I didn't mind at all since their banter and sexy times were definitely more fun and I appreciated that while there was some drama, it wasn't overly angsty. But there's more to the story than royals and romance. The book speaks honestly and positively about therapy, dealing with mental illness, and on a lighter note, the enjoyability of the romance genre and how people need to stop looking down on it. 


Do I recommend?
I do! Like I said, if you like royals and romance, this is a fun and quick read that I'd recommend checking out. 


***
pub 8/31/21 by Berkley
Adult - Contemporary Romance
Received e-ARC from pub for review


I had the loveliest day in the city on Saturday with Alexa and Kristin! We decided to make it a nap dress day, which was so fun to do. We saw three other women wearing nap dresses and we got compliments on ours in almost every store we went into. It truly is the IT dress this summer! Anyway, we kicked off our outing with brunch at While We Were Young. It was our second time there and I can't say enough good things about it. Great good, friendly and efficient service, plus delicious cocktails (and I rarely get drinks at brunch but I did both times we were here!). Reservations are required though but totally worth it. 


Our next stop was supposed to be Rothy's (we got there eventually) but we didn't realize how many cute stores were located in West Village. We ended up just walking around visiting at a bunch of places. The first store that caught our eye was Stoney Clover. I've ordered from their website twice but this was my first time going to the actual store and it is the cutest! We loved the whole aesthetic and took a ton of pictures. Not to mention added a few things to our shopping wishlists. 


From there, we went to Rothy's (Kristin and I walked out with new shoes!), Margaux, and The Daily Edited. And since it was nearby, we even went to see Carrie's apartment from Sex & the City! I didn't know it was a tourist spot. On the corner of that street, we bumped into a local artist named Kazuya Morimoto. We loved his work and ended up buying a couple pieces (I got one of Montmarte, Paris!). Then we went to The Strand and all bought romances since it was Bookstore Romance Day before ending the outing with ice cream & bubble tea from Surreal Creamery


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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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