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Friday Fab Four

blue-drapy-maxi

I love this bag so much. I am not sure if it is the bag itself or the adorable tassels. Whatever it is, it’s so cute and it’s on sale, too! Woot!

Banana bread is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make. This version is oil-free and looks extra delicious (please note the chocolate chips). I have two overripe bananas on my counter so I am planning to give this recipe a try asap.

Did you know that there is a scientific reason babies are so cute? Basically babies are so hard to take care of they have to be physically irresistible or everyone would be like, Nope! Not worth it. The species can just die out. That’s fine. This BBC article gives a fun (and cute!) explanation for why baby humans and baby animals are so adorbs.

Help me solve this Internet mystery! Which of these woman is the mother? The article doesn’t say and it is a TRUE mystery, y’all. Truly. I will not rest until it’s solved. Or I stop being lazy and just do a Google search.

The Books I Read in January

Guys, I have been kicking around the idea of starting a YouTube channel. However, unlike this blog, I don’t want the YouTube channel to be about fashion. Fashion photography is one thing, but fashion videos are a whole different ballgame. I am not ready to undergo the Oscar-worthy production process it will take to get me fashionably video-ready every week.

Instead, I was thinking of making these reading review posts videos. Thoughts?! I mean, I love reading and talking about reading but would video reviews be too boring?

I need your advice. Also, if you have a YouTube channel and want to give me any tips, I will gladly take them. I will pay you in heaps of gratitude and genuine admiration (YouTube content creation looks tough.).

Okay — now on to the reviews! And a cute photo of Hannah because oh em gee she is the sweetest. Also, notice how much happier she is when she isn’t in the snow (lol).

tulle twins

The Fates and The FuriesI don’t want to say I didn’t like this book because that would be untrue. I appreciated this book. I thought the book was beautiful and poetic. But Fates wasn’t something I really enjoyed reading. It’s like going to an office potluck. I appreciate the effort, and I admire the presentation and the thoughtfulness — but I am still not eating food from a random person’s kitchen.

Let’s start with the good. Unlike a lot of popular books, this book was not a thinly veiled screenplay trying to disguise itself as a novel for six months until Hollywood buys the movie rights. This book is the closest thing I have read to modern literature in a while. It is Dickensian in scope (aka: long and detailed as all heck), the language is beautiful, and the character development is amazing. I can definitely see why critics lost their minds over this one. HOWEVER, this book is just dripping with pretension, y’all. The language is almost too flowery at times. Don’t get me started on some of the dialogue. Also, the book was too long (kinda like this review). Like Gone Girl, this book is divided into two parts with the two lead characters narrating each half. The first half was such a chore to get through that I was almost like, Nope! I’ll stop now. However, I kept going because I’m no quitter. The second half is much more interesting which saved this book from being  total dud for me.

The Best American Short Stories (2015)After reading The Fates I decided I needed to continue reading more high-brow pieces. So I got this book of short stories. Apparently they publish one ever year! Who knew? It was really great. The stories were truly amazing, each one better than the last. I am definitely going to get the 2014 volume.

The Walking Dead Volume 7 & 8How do people read comic books on the regular? Are they always this violent? I still love this series, though. I can’t get enough of the zombies! I just have to take breaks between volumes for my sanity.

The Paper Magician: I take my magic fiction very seriously. I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The concept is amazing. The idea was right there. However, a critical mistake was made in this book that killed it before it got started: The lack of exposition or character development. In order for a book about magic to work, you have to establish a world that makes the magic credible (i.e. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc — they all establish, sometimes in great detail, why the reader should believe in the magic presented). The author of The Paper Magician ignored the exposition step entirely and just jumped right in with her little story. I had no idea why I should care about the magic or the magicians in this book. Also, the lead character constantly complained that ‘paper magic’ was dumb. By the end of the book I had to agree. Paper magic is dumbMaybe it wouldn’t have been so dumb if a) the paper magic concept had been more fully fleshed out or b) the author hadn’t set the climatic battle scene right beside a body of water. Call me crazy but water isn’t exactly the best place to showcase paper’s winning properties. But what do I know? I’m not an author.

Alas, this wasn’t my best reading month but I am hopeful for February. Any recommendations??

Hannah vs The Blizzard

snowyWe took Hannah out to experience her first snow, Mr. Blizzard Jonas. The second the wind and snowflakes hit her little face she was like, ‘nope’. We were able to snap a couple photos to commemorate this occasion before she was completely over it.

She’s a summer baby. Snow just isn’t her thing.

blizzard baby

blizzard

Hat: Gap (similar) | Jacket: J.Crew (similar) | Sunglasses: J.Crew Factory | Hannah’s Suit: Gap

Friday Fab Four

low back dressDress: Asos (old and sold out, but this one is currently on my wish list)

I really want some Moscow Mule mugs. They are so cute! But unfortunately, the good ones are always sold individually (and expensively). Ugh. I found this set of two, though. AND you can get them monogrammed.

Thai food is not something I usually think I can make at home. But this Thai soup recipe looks easy and completely delicious. So I am gonna make it this week. (P.S. the fruit salad from last week’s Friday Fab Four was so yum!)

For mommas with teething littles, I found this teething biscuit recipe. The only issue is, if I make these I feel like I would eat all of them. I love dry, moderately flavorless food as snacks (I’m not joking). So I feel like I would secretly love these.

I discovered this Tumblr this week. Click at your own risk. It will diminish your productivity by at least 96%. You’ll learn something, though. So it’s not all bad.

5 Online Shops I’m Obsessed With Right Now

 

IMG_5345I recently discovered this ceramics shop on Etsy that makes every day ceramic pieces and (now here’s the kicker, people) ceramic jewelryI ended up getting two pieces from the shop. This adorable heart necklace (pictured) and a giraffe pendant. I’ll show that one off soon. If you want to get yourself a piece from this store use the code ‘CLARABELLE’ to get 25% off!!

Everyone is doing sassy t-shirts and makeup bags, but these pillowcases take sass to a whole new level. Oh, and for all you bed hogs out there, this pillowcase set perfectly stakes your claim on the bed.

You guys, this site is a home decor dream! I want all of the things. Don’t forget to check out the gifts section for all the cuteness.

Calling all mommas! This shop specializes in the sweetest pinafores for girls. I want then all for Hannah. I can just see her fluffy-headed little self rockin’ the heck out of a pinafore!

This African store is Beyonce approved — and for good reason! There are so many cute things. Great patterns, flawless silhouettes. Can we just take a moment to swoon over these printed pants?

 

Friday Fab Four

matching-crop-top-and-skirt-with-sunhatThis outfit is old, but you can get the winter version of it here. (it’s also available in black)

I love colorblocking, and this dress is so cute (and it’s on sale). Dress it up with heels, dress it down with a denim jacket, throw a blazer over it for work. The options are endless.

I think I am going to make this fruit salad and this veggie salad for brunch on Sunday. Yummmmm (and healthy — it will go great with my bacon)!

You guys, this hula hooping video had me dying laughing. I love how the baby’s family is cheering him on in the background. He really believed he was doing something great.

Alan Rickman died this week and as a die hard (pun intended) Potterhead I am so very sad. Let’s watch this video of Rickman’s best film moments and collectively cry onto our keyboards.

Friday Fab Four!

fall/winter lookOutfit details: Boots:  Enzo Angiolini (obsessed with these) | Skirt: H&M (similar) | Sweater: H&M (similar — and super warm) | Jacket: Tommy Hilfiger

New year, new coat? I’ve been eyeing this wrap coat for a while. I like it because you can dress it up by closing it and tying it nicely, or it looks great open and slouchy for a more relaxed look. Also, the low cut front let’s you show off all your fab winter scarves. This is definitely not a coat for super cold days, but it is a great layering piece.

I’m a big Brussels sprouts fan. Note: If you don’t like Brussels sprouts it is probably because you are making them the ‘old school way’ (i.e. you’re boiling them). This will leave you with a terrible, bitter, flavorless pile of green grossness. Brussels sprouts are best when roasted and seasoned to crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside perfection. This is one of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes. It flavorful and delicious. You can make it as a side, but I’ve also been known to make it as a light lunch. I will sometimes add some crispy bacon to this recipe to make it extra delish, but it is fine as written, too!

Do you guys remember this video? I saw it floating around Facebook this week. It is a YouTube classic. Blueberries! Blueberries!

So it seems like everyone spent Christmas Break binge watching, Making A Murderer on Netflix. So crazy! What are your thoughts?! I will literally talk to anyone about this show. Among a MILLION other thoughts I have about the show, one of my biggest takeaways was the need for professional jurors. You’ve got a professional judge, professional teams of lawyers, professional law enforcement — but  the people who actually make the final verdict are a team of randos off the street who a) don’t want to be there and b) don’t know the first thing about how to navigate the justice system. It’s scary. Yes, the idea of professional jurors is flawed, unconstitutional, and decidedly not democratic — but I think twelve professional jurors might foster more just verdicts.

**Steps off soapbox**

 

The Books I Read in December

preppy mom and babyI can’t believe another month is over and it’s already time to do another reading post! Here are the books I read in Dec (and also a photo of me and Hannah because awww look at her little bear coat!!):

The Walking Dead Volumes 3-6You guys, The Governor’s plot line is MUCH darker in the comics than on the show. I mean, obviously. They CANNOT put what is in the comics on television. But jeez, I thought the show was violent. I know nothing, Jon Snow. Anyway, I am still going to keep reading these comics because they are really good, but they are also really, really disturbing.

The Alchemist: I read this book because it is supposed to be the greatest book ever written or whatever. It was fine. Not the greatest book ever written. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the greatest book ever written! Anyway, The Alchemist a great parable about pursuing your dreams. Overall it is a nice, heartwarming read and I have no complaints about it whatsoever. But it didn’t change my life the way I was expecting it to.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood PalIn honor of Christmas I decided to read something grounded in Christianity. I guess you could say that the Alchemist satisfied that requirement, but this book is funny. I can’t resist the funny. So I decided to read it for a good laugh. Lamb is a completely made up ‘gospel’ written by Biff, Jesus’ childhood bestie. Basically it seeks to explain what happened between Jesus’ early childhood and his early thirties — since the Bible skips over a significant portion of Jesus’ life. This book is hilarious, and it is also a really good synopsis of world religions if you aren’t familiar with them. If you’re super religious, I’m not sure if you would like this book or be offended by it — but it is funny and smart and well researched. I highly recommend it.

The Good Girl: Okay, this book was racist, sexist, and actually the worst book I read all year. Also, on principle I hate books that romanticize kidnapping. Sorry bad writers of the world, but you do not fall in love with a man who beats you up, kidnaps you, and holds you hostage in the woods for months. That isn’t real life. Please stop trying to make it happen. It isn’t going to happen. Let’s please stop romanticizing abused woman overall while we’re at it (I’m looking at you, Twilight series. Do not even get me started.). Oh, and here’s another fun thing about this ridiculous book — the author describes a neighborhood as bad because of it’s ‘large black population’. There is no other descriptors. No staggering crime stats, no crumbling infrastructure, just a ‘large black population’. So basically if minorities live in a neighborhood that makes it automatically bad according to this author. Insert eye roll and exaggerated hair flip. Ugh, I only finished this book because I paid good money for it. I dreaded every second. ZERO STARS.

Everything I Never Told You: This book was like an updated version of Bee Season. An equally as depressing story about the frailty of family dynamics. This book is good, not great. But it is a good exploration of family, sibling relationships, and race.

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (In progress): Word to the wise, do not try to read this book in one sitting unless you are really good at math and physics. I got through about half of this book before my brain turned to mush and I had to switch gears. I plan to go back and read it one chapter at a time to really digest the content. With that out of the way, this book is super entertaining and I highly recommend it. The author, an ex scientist who now writes a popular webcomic, answers insane hypothetical questions like “What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool?” with actual, scientifically based answers. It’s a fascinating read. But again, there is so much math. Math makes me tired, so prepare your brain.

The end! What are you reading???

 

Outfit Details: Blazer: old from Zara (similar) | Chambray: J. Crew | Jeans: Gap

End the year with outtakes

2015 was a big year. I had a baby (yay!). I left NYC (boo!). I turned 30 (shrug). It’s definitely been a year of extreme happiness and a year of extreme not so much happiness.

I could continue with this long-winded reflection of my year and my feelings, or we could do outtakes.

Let’s do outtakes.

IMG_3582When you want to be one of those bloggers who posts perfect pictures of themselves with their baby but your baby is like — NO.

IMG_4394When you forget to zip your bootie AND you’re wearing pink and white striped little girl socks.

IMG_4109When you’re mid-photo-shoot and the baby just definitely blew out her diaper all over the stroller.

IMG_3541When you turn 30 and you want to do a joyous birthday photo shoot, but the effing balloons aren’t lining up right and you’re actually really annoyed that you aren’t 24 anymore.

IMG_3862When you want to do a sexy hair flip photo but it all goes terribly wrong.

IMG_4538“Is that a booger, Hannah?? Here, let momma look. Now hold still. Oh yes, that’s a big one. Let me get it for you.”

IMG_4851When you have it in your mind that you just did an epic spin photo, and this is what you get instead.

IMG_3776When your baby nails her blogger face, but you just can’t get it together.

 

Happy 2016!!!

 

15 Thing to Blow Your Christmas Money On

holidayYou just spend a crap load of money on everyone else this holiday season, now it’s time to treat yo’self.

A Harry Potter adult coloring book and some colored pencils to make it all purdy.

While you’re at it, get this pencil holder for all your colored pencils.

A mini set of Charlotte Tilbury’s best-selling lipsticks.

These tiny heart earrings.

New year, new planner. This Rifle Paper Co. one is adorbs!

Did you know your smartphone is disgusting? Sanitize that joint, it’s flu season.

Okay, I am obsessed with these fancy coloring books. This one is inspired by top fashion designers.

These ‘Moscow Mule” copper mugs because they are so cute.

A bath mat that tells you the truth about yourself.

You need this faux leather jacket.

A snuggly throw. You can’t watch Netflix all day with an uncomfortable blanket, people.

A sassy (but truthful) mug.

Or THIS planner. Omg love, love, love.

A mini doughnut maker.

Now this is a selfie mirror.