This past weekend was mine and Alexa's monthly bestie date and our outing was especially fun! We tried a new breakfast spot called Davelle, which is a traditional Japanese cafe. It's quite small but if you go early like we did, we easily got a table (they have outdoor seating too). I ordered the black sesame and cream cheese toast while Alexa got berry and cream cheese and then we shared a plate of kaarage (Japanese style fried chicken). It was all delicious! And the spot itself was really cute and cozy. 

From there, we made a quick stop at Mejuri to shop their early Black Friday sale and then headed over to Wick and Pour, the first and only candle making lab in NYC! We both love candles but neither of us had ever made one before. The class is about 2 hours and while the location is pretty small, it was 12-16 people in a session. I combined roses and fresh linen scents with pink dye and gold glitter (Alexa and I both realize how very Sailor Moon-like it seemed) and she created one that was honey jasmine with old books scents with purple dye and pink glitter. I love how both our candles turned out! 

We ended our day with a matcha break at Cha Cha Matcha and book shopping at McNally Jackson

***
What have you been up to lately?
Have you ever made candles before?

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


Links
1 / I love friendship posts and I've got two very different ones to share. One is about the importance of work friends (which was sent to me by my closest work buddy!) and the other is sweetly titled, "Home is Where Your Best Friend Is" (cue the feels!). 

2 / I'm definitely a Selena Gomez fan and even more so after watching her documentary, My Mind and Me, on Apple TV+. If you haven't watched, I highly recommend it, regardless of whether or not you're a fan. She recently did an interview with Rolling Stone where she opens up even more about the documentary and her struggles with mental illness.  

3 / My favorite Doctor is Ten, aka David Tenant, but even after new actors took over the Doctor Who role, I kept watching. Until I got to Thirteen. Jodie Whittaker is a fantastic actress, who I first saw in Broadchurch, but I quit watching 6 episodes into her debut season. Then I saw this trending on Twitter: David Tennant Confirmed as 14th Doctor. To say that my mind was blown is an understatement. More details are in the article!

4 / Lauren Conrad posted her November Womenswear Collection and I see a bunch of things I want! For example, there's a pink sequin dress I'm in love with but I don't have an occasion to wear it to (yet!). 

5 / The Everygirl shared a post on the benefits of having hobbies and even though I'm pretty sure I've shared similar posts in the past, I think this is a topic worth bringing up again (and again) and reinforcing.

6 / I can't believe how early the Black Friday and even Cyber Monday sales are starting! Which is great for me but bad for my wallet đŸ˜‚ Here's a round up of sales already happening and an Amazon-specific one, both from PopSugar.  

7 / As a User Experience (UX) designer, one of my pet peeves is encountering a peer who clearly hates getting feedback from anyone, even if it's thoughtful constructive criticism. This editorial by Jorge Arango articulates why (glad it's not just me who feels this way!) but in a nutshell: our job is literally to process and react to feedback. But I think this is great advice even if you're not a designer.


Loves

1 /
Over the weekend, I did a DIY dresser project where I covered the drawers on my 10+ year old dresser with adhesive wallpaper to make them pretty again. I got the wallpaper from Wallpops and I can't recommend them enough. They also have backsplash options which I purchased for my next project, the kitchen! 

2 / At my recent visit to a new dermatologist, she said the redness on my face is partially from broken capillaries, which can only be fixed with laser. But you know me, I did some research on serums that could at least help and I found the OdacitĂ© Ap + P Serum for Fragile Capillaries. While it's not a total fix, I am seeing a big difference since I started using it! My only complaint is that the bottle isn't even 1 full ounce, which is ridiculous, but it truly works for me so I'm sticking with it. 

3 / I needed to clear some space in my closet so I bought this beautiful coatrack with gold and marble details to put in my bedroom. I'm using it to hang blazers, sweater coatigans, vests, etc., and for stacking books on the marble base. It's been both a pretty AND effective addition to my bedroom!


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

I decided to watch Rosaline for two reasons: I'm a fan of the book it was based on (When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle) and Sean Teale is my #2 celebrity crush (behind my OG #1 Joshua Jackson, of course). I had a feeling the movie would be fun but this far exceeded my expectations! In the original Romeo & Juliet story (which I hate), Rosaline is only mentioned in passing as Romeo's ex. In this movie, it is all told from her perspective and the Rosaline of this adaptation is hilarious, witty, and flawed. I just laughed and smiled a lot throughout. Her scenes with Daario (Teale) had great chemistry and they had a whole hate-to-love thing which was just charming to watch. Not to mention, Sean Teale just oozes charisma and I loved hearing his British accent. If you want something fun to watch, I can't recommend this enough. 


She-Hulk
Available on Disney+

Orphan Black is one of my all-time favorite TV shows so when I heard that Tatiana Maslany was taking on She-Hulk, I could not have been more excited. She's a brilliant and underrated actress so I was looking forward to seeing her in something so mainstream. Unfortunately, I just wasn't a fan of the show. I think Maslany was great as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk but I just wasn't happy with the direction of the story. I've heard the show follows the comics really closely and stays true to the voice and tone of it but it didn't work for me. There were definitely some highlights (I totally ship She-Hulk/Jennifer with Daredevil/Matt!) but I spent a lot of the season wondering where it was all going, how would it tie in to this phase of the MCU, and it never answers those questions. The finale made things worse in my eyes and just felt really sloppy. If it comes back, I'll probably still watch (because of Tatiana!) but my excitement and expectations will be much more tempered. 



Fruits Basket: Prelude
Available on Crunchyroll

I was so bummed that I couldn't watch Fruits Basket: Prelude in theaters so I was checking Crunchyroll constantly until I could finally stream it. And now that I have, it did not disappoint! The first 20 minutes or so was basically a recap of Tohru and Kyo's scenes from the show, which honestly could've been shorter since I already watch YouTube videos that do exactly this. But we do get some extra scenes between Kyo and Kyoko (Tohru's mom) before segueing into her love story with Katsuya. Even though we already know the ending to their relationship and these two characters, it was really beautiful to watch how their romance unfolded and seeing them welcome Tohru into their lives. I didn't expect to get so invested or emotional in such a short period of time. If I had one complaint about the movie, it's that we didn't get more time with these two. But I really enjoyed it and we also got a glimpse into what Tohru and Kyo have been up to (somehow Kyo got even dreamier!) so all in all, I was very happy with it!


***
What have you been watching lately?

Fall is here and the weekends in October have been a mix of busy and low-key — which is exactly how I like things to be!


Fall Flower Festival at Holland Ridge Farms
At the beginning of the month, the fam and I went to the Fall Flower Festival at Holland Ridge Farms. It was our first time going and we absolutely loved it! We surprisingly preferred it over apple picking, which is our usual annual tradition. I think we enjoyed this more because there was so much to do but also lots of places to sit and rest, which is perfect when your group includes a toddler and older parents. They had rows and rows of flowers for picking, photo opportunities, an animal farm, tons of food trucks, local vendors, tractor and horse carriage rides, and kid activities. It really was a beautiful way to welcome in the fall weather. 


NYC day with Alexa
For our monthly hangout, Alexa and I decided to spend the day in the city and it ended up being gorgeous weather that felt a bit like summer. We kicked things off with breakfast at Maman, which was delicious, as always. From there, it was time for the shopping portion of our day! We walked to Polene to see their new store in NYC (and first stateside location!). It looked like a perfectly curated gallery. We each tried bags, added a couple to our wishlists, but I walked out with the Numero Uno Nano (in green), which I've been wanting for a while. Then we looked at Celine, where I added yet another bag to my wishlist. After shopping in Soho, we walked all the way to the Union Square area for bubble tea at MooMooChaa (highly recommend!) and Barnes & Noble (where we each bought books). And because the weather was just too good, we continued walking to Port Authority. You know you're best friends when you spend your day together just walking and talking the entire time nonstop (we logged like 8 miles!). 

***
So that's what I've been up to lately! Until next month ☺


pub 9/20/22 by Dell • Contemporary Literary Fiction • Received from pub for review⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | I’ll be honest—this wasn’t exactly the most memorable romance for me but it was a super sweet, wholesome, quick read with minimal angst and fit the mood that I was in at the time. Rae Rose, as she’s known to the public,  is a famous pop star and right before she’s about to embark on a major tour, she takes off for Rome, Kentucky (inspired by Roman Holiday, her favorite Audrey Hepburn movie) so she can take a minute to be breathe and be herself, just Amelia. Her car breaks down on Noah Walker’s front lawn and naturally this handsome, slightly grumpy, stranger offers her his guest bedroom until her car is fixed and she accepts. Everything in the book is really surface level (little is said of her music for instance) and moves at breakneck speed (insta-love, the whole kooky town of Rome rooting for them, and the resolution of any conflict). But there is a sweetness to the simple way this story is executed so if you’re in the mood for something quick and fun, this would be a good option to borrow from the library. 

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pub 9/27/22 by Delacorte Press • Magical Realism • Received from pub for review⭐⭐⭐đŸ’« 3.5 stars | I’ve read all of Adrienne Young’s books and while Sky in the Deep continues to be my favorite, I did enjoy this foray into magical realism / mystery thriller with Spells for Forgetting. It’s an atmospheric story about an island (who feels like a character all on its own!), old and magical ways, people who can’t let go of the past, an unsolved murder, and an all-consuming love. Emery Blackwood hasn’t been the same since the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend Lily Morgan, and ran off. Now he’s back and it reignites a lot of suspicion plus pain and suffering for Emery and the people of their island. I appreciated how Young told the story, switching perspectives often while still focusing on Emery and August, and unsurprisingly, I didn’t guess a single thing correctly beforehand (I like just being along for the ride anyway!). Mysteries, in general, are difficult for me to connect with so I didn’t exactly fall in love with this, but I was drawn enough into the story to need to know how it would all end.  

* * *

pub 10/11/22 by Berkley • Historical Romance • Received from pub for review⭐⭐ 4 stars | The Belle of Belgrave is the second book in the Belles of London series and the author continues to deliver on this historical romance (be forewarned: it’s absolutely not Bridgerton levels of steamy) that involves four friends who would rather spend their time riding horses together than subjecting themselves to societal female expectations of their Victorian era.  This installment focuses on Julia, who would rather fake being sick so she can stay home and read a book instead of attending a ball, and Captain Jasper Blunt, who is on the hunt for a rich wife but is clearly more than what he seems. Their romance is clearly a take on Beauty & the Beast, but with a twist. I adored the steady progression of their relationship, which felt romantic and earned, but also how each individual grew and came into their own by the end of the book. With this latest book, there are now two more friends left in their little circle and I cannot wait to read what the author comes up with for each of them! 


For the newcomers: Alexa, DJKristin and I unofficially formed the Paranormal Book Club and the goal is to re-read (or in some cases, read for the first time) old YA paranormal books. The plan is to read a book/series per season (which I'm tracking here) and after, we'll answer five questions.

Today I'll be talking about our latest read: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.

Here are my thoughts:
  1. What were your initial thoughts about the book? Were you excited to read it?
    Having last read The Goddess Test in 2012, I was curious to see how it would hold up 10 years later.  To be honest, it was never a favorite but I did look back on it fondly since I had enjoyed the lore and I remember getting quite invested in the romance. It's about Kate, who has just moved back to her mother's childhood town to honor her dying wish, and is struggling with being a teenager at a new school and the reality of caring for her terminally ill mom. Then she meets Henry, who claims to be Hades of the Underwood and brings a young girl back to life to prove it, and asks her to accept a bargain to pass seven tests. In return, he'll keep her mother alive. As you can imagine, it's an offer she can't pass up. 

  2. What was your favorite quote or passage, and why did it resonate with you? 
    "Keep trying until you have no more chances left." As a reader, this resonated because I was rooting so hard for Kate to pass every single test and to get her happily ever after with Henry. But on a personal level, I believe I'm type of person who will always try hard to succeed, no matter the circumstances. 

  3. Which character did you relate to the most, and what was it about them that you connected with?
    I related to Kate the most. The situation with her mom hit very close to home and I think her single-minded devotion to her mom, especially in her time of need, was something that resonated with me. 

  4. Was there anything you wanted to see more of in the book, like more page time for a secondary character or a plot point you wish was explored more?
    I would've liked to see more of Henry's side of things and maybe a bit more development overall but at the same time, I think the story was well-paced and the amount of time spent on each character made sense for this first book (especially since I do know what happens in the later books). 

  5. What are your final thoughts? Would you read this book again and/or continue with the series? Would you read another book written by the same author?
    The book held up! I more or less rated it the same, which was roughly 3-3.5 stars. I think it's the writing that prevents me from rating it higher but overall, I still liked the story and the lore. I don't have any plans to reread the rest of the series but if the author came out with a new YA book, I think I would check it out from the library.

*** 
Don't forget to check out what Alexa had to say about The Goddess Test!

And if you want to learn more about 
Paranormal Book club and our past reads, go here.

Even though I'm never happy about the end of summer, I can't deny that I love shopping for fall items and my recent purchases definitely reflect that! Here's what I'm currently obsessed with:


[top-bottom; left-right]


Madewell Cali Demi-Boot Jeans in Shoreham Wash | As much as I love my skinny jeans, lately I've been trying to branch out. First with mom jeans, and now ankle-length demi-boot jeans! I'm loving this style and since this pair has a raw hem, I was able to cut it to a length that works for me. 


Cuts Almost Friday Tee | I was influenced once again! The quality of these basic tees live up to the hype though. I have this (which is TTS) and the tomboy tee (had to go up 2 sizes)  but I prefer the fit of this one best. 


Sam Edelman Loraine Bit Loafer in Saddle | I adore this saddle color and have been wearing these loafers a ton since buying them. If you've been eyeing the Gucci loafers, this is a great dupe that's high quality. 


Loft Houndstooth Long Modern Blazer | I am super into blazers lately but it can be hard to find one that's a flattering fit on me. So when I do, I don't second guess buying it. This one fits great! 


Longchamp Silk Scarf | I had been wanting a printed silk scarf but originally I was looking at Hermes, although I was not a fan of the price. On a whim, I decided to check Longchamp since I've been loving their stuff so much and when I saw this, I knew it was the one. It's neutral, great all year round (IMHO), and it has horses! 


Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer | After using Tarte Shape Tape for 3 years, I decided to try something new and I did not expect to love Dior's concealer so much. The color is perfect (more so than Tarte's) and I love that it's more creamy but less heavy. I think this is my new holy grail concealer!


Baboon Conan Cropped Pants | I wanted to add non-denim pants to my closet but as per usual, it's hard to find something that fits me well and preferably wouldn't require hemming. So imagine my shock when I tried these on in-store and I immediately loved the fit on me. The length, the waist, way the trousers fall -- it's perfect! And if I were to order online, there's a short option if I wanted them to be truly cropped ("regular" crop is ankle length on me). 


BLANKNYC Plaid Shacket | I got this during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale but only began wearing it recently! A shacket has long been on my wishlist but it was tough to find one that was oversized without overwhelming my frame and again, I got really lucky shopping because this one is just right. The neutral color is an added bonus. 


***

Have you bought anything lately that you're obsessed with?

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


Links
1 / I semi-impulsively booked a trip for next month with work friends and these two articles couldn't have come at a better time: best way to organize your carry-on and 15 Amazon buys for under $20 to help women travelers feel safer

2 / The Everygirl's post, "You Don't Need a Better Half--And This is Why" puts into words exactly how I feel about the importance of having a strong sense of self. 

3 / OK, I'm not looking for a job but sometimes I think that even if I were, interviews seem so different (read: more intense) now. These tips about what shouldn't be on your resume and "green flags" to look out for during interviews were pretty helpful. 

4 / Wit & Whimsy created a list of the 11 best French cafes in NYC and I'm thinking I need to make an exhaustive list of my own (based on this one) and just try them all! 

5 / It's hard to believe it's October already and we're just two months away from December! I usually start Christmas shopping in November so I'm saving Self's list of "The 39 Best Friend Gifts for the Bestest of BFFs" for inspiration.

6 / I follow Apartment Therapy on Instagram and when they shared this woman's home tour (she's since moved to a new apartment), I immediately started following her. Her aesthetic and style couldn't be more different from mine but I just love seeing her creativity! There's something about her reels that I find strangely soothing to watch too. 

7 / Two trailers I'm thinking about right now and that you should watch if you haven't yet: Little Mermaid (this is my favorite Disney movie and I was skeptical of a live-action version but seeing this gave me chills) and Rosaline (because I have the biggest crush on Sean Teale!). 


Loves

1 /
It was long overdue but I finally got a brand new laptop! I got the latest MacBook Air with M2 chip and I am in love. I did do add-ons for storage and memory but totally worth it. I'm planning on having this laptop for a good, long while. 

2 / I was influenced to buy the Stanley Quencher H2.0 Travel Tumbler by three different influencers I follow and I must say, I get the hype. 

3 / My AirPods haven't always been the best fit for me and they fall out of my ears quite a bit, so I actually went back to using the wired ones for a while. But I had an Apple gift card so I decided to use it towards getting the Beats Fit Pro (in purple). The sound is incredible but most of all, I'm so impressed by the noise-cancelling capabilities. Highly recommend!



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

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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