Monday, August 18, 2014

What I'm reading

Ever since I passed that big HR test several months ago I've been able to turn my kindle back on and load it with books. I've always loved reading and it's one of my favorite things to do after a long day. I'm always on the hunt for new books so I've thrown together a list of what I've read lately that I enjoyed - please add your favorites below!

Blood Orchids & the entire Lei Crime series, Toby Neal - I really get attached to characters, especially in a series. This dragged me in because it's mystery, murder, and a little bit of romance. It takes place across all 7 islands of Hawaii and it's really easy to read, which is fantastic for me when I don't need or want something deep.

Happy(ish), Cara Trautman - This book made me laugh and cry and at some times wonder if my inner monologue was writing this book. It's almost like Bridesmaids met Briget Jones Diary and they had a baby. And then throw in a crazy family, and a squirrel costume. Fantastic for a great beach or vacation read.

The Emperor's Edge & Series, Lindsay Buroker - I downloaded the first novel in this series and was immediately hooked. Imagine the Hunger Games (without the games part) in a steampunk world where a band of unlikely heroes set out to do the unimaginable. Romance, a bit of gore, funny names and hilarious banter across characters kept me coming back for more with these. And when the final book came out I delayed reading it for so long because I didn't want it to end. Also, if you have a kindle, the first one is free to download (don't say I didn't warn you, though).

The Perfume Collector, Kathleen Tesaro - The writing in this book is just lovely - and you are transported back to Paris in the 1920's to help a young bride discover a part of her past she never knew. This book made me want to go back to Paris, buy some lovely perfume, and just sit with a cup of coffee.

The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister, Nonna Bannister - I almost hesitated with putting this one up here, but I believe that it's an important story that needs to be told. This is the compilation of diary entries and other memoir aspects from Nonna Bannister's life in WWII Europe. In some places it was hard to keep going because I felt so sad, angry, and appalled.. but it is an important story to be told. It's stayed with me ever since I finished it and am still in awe of her bravery and courage in the face of such danger and hatred.

What has been on your summer reading list or are there books that you think people should avoid (still not over the ending of Gone Girl, ugh!). Let me know below!

Monday, July 28, 2014

July budget recap

July is almost over! August is coming, and with it... my 30th.. and some fantastic weekends. So how did I do?

July budget

From top left:
Madewell flamingo shirt, 29
J Crew Factory Vest, 54
J Crew Palm tee, 9.99
J Crew boyfriend blazer, 54
Madewell pocket tee, 9.99

Not pictured:

The flamingo top was something I saw a girl wearing in a hotel and stopped her to ask about. My mom and I have a thing with flamingos (we were the flamingo group in kindergarten on my first field trip so we've had a thing with them ever since). I couldn't stomach the 68 price tag... but at 29? Much better!

I'm also very excited about the herringbone vest. I passed on it last year and kicked myself multiple times, especially after seeing everyone's blog posts and pinterest boards on it. 

I was also creeping on the palm tree tee and glad to get it for under 10. 

The boyfriend blazer is another score of mine - for some reason I have plenty of nice blue blazers but was lacking in the black blazer department. I may need to exchange it for a size up, but that's okay.

And a plain blue tee - who can go wrong?

July total: 186.96. I kept it under 200 this month.. but eep. I'm hoping to seriously go clothes-free for August.. except for perhaps a pleated maxi skirt for Mexico (any suggestions anyone)?

Linking up with Fran - how did you do this month?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

J crew sale picks

J Crew is having another blowout sale and I've put together a few items I'm lusting after. The black blazer has already been ordered because 1) you can't beat the price, and 2) I'm in serious need of a good black blazer.

The New Balance shoes are just adorable, and I love how that the palm tree tee is perfect for vacation. The maxi skirt is gorgeous and the floral pullover is the perfect layer for warm summer nights.

Are you shopping the sale - and if so what are you getting?

J crew sale picks

Saturday, July 5, 2014

EShakti Dress Review

I first have to warn you that I'm not very good with these things, but when I was contacted by EShakti to do a review of one of their items I figured I'd give it a try. I was able to pick from an array of items, but ultimately it was this maxi dress that caught my eye, and with a big trip coming up for my 30th I knew it would be perfect for Mexico.

Ordering with EShakti was a breeze - something that's really awesome is you are able to put in your height measurements and pick a size that most matches your actual measurements. I really liked being able to see measurements so clearly outlined - it's a nice change! And on some of their other items you can customize your item to the sleeve length, neckline, and length of your choice.

The item was shipped via DSL Express (and despite being lost in the mail) it took less than a week for the item to arrive from India. I couldn't wait to get the dress home and try it on, and I seriously can't wait to wear this dress in Mexico.

The dress is actually of a heavy material (so it's not flimsy) and it has POCKETS. I seriously am so excited over the pockets; it will be perfect for when I want to grab my keys and phone for a walk. It is form fitting in the top and flares out a bit. Even my husband was impressed with the dress and said it's a score.

Disclaimer: I received this item for free from EShakti for doing a review; however all content and reviews are my own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

June budget

Another month gone.. whew! This month I wrapped up my biggest project to date at the new job. It's been challenging, but on 7/7 when payroll runs and everything is correct I will have a huge weight off my shoulders (and probably celebrate with a beer).

So how did I do this month?

Via Groopdealz
Via Groopdealz
Groopdealz Meow T shirt, 16.99
Groopdealz Anchor T shirt, 13.99

Not pictured: 
Leopard and latte anchor scarf, 12.00
J Crew Factory Herringbone Vest, 54.00

Total: 96.98

Whoa, working a lot and getting back into spin has been really good for the wallet. The two tees will be great in Mexico, and the anchor scarf (as seen on my instagram) is a fun summer accessory, and also makes for some USA pride while watching world cup games. And... if the factory herringbone vest ships, I will be a happy camper since I've kicked myself for passing on it last year.

How did you do this month? Linking up with Fran and her budgeting bloggers!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June Instalately

June where have you gone?!

We're plowing toward the end and begin of a new fiscal year at work so things are a little hectic. Regardless, here's some Instagram to show you that I still exist.

I started June off with a bit of relaxation.. champagne, my kindle, and a massage
A gift from my husband from NY - a cuff made out of a camera lens!
She went from boxes to bags. 
A new beer favorite - Anderson Valley's Cream Ale
A new favorite outfit - J Crew skirt, top, and necklace, Gap cardigan, Louis Vuitton bag
Ferry ride to Angel Island - looking back on SF
A view of the Golden Gate from Angel Island - one more 30 before 30 checked off!
Wanna follow along? You can find me on instagram at makeupandpearls.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May Spending Recap

May has gone by in a blur and I can barely recall what happened in the first half of the month. I think this is somewhat right.. hah.

J Crew Cleo loafers - 59.99, my review here
J Crew Factory stripe tee - 18.99
J Crew Factory Pineapple tee - 12.99

Not pictured:
Gap outlet tank top, 6.00
Old Navy graphic tee in mint print, 8.00
Coach Reena sandals, 50.00

Total: 155.97

Not too shabby.. although I may have a pair of shoes hidden somewhere. Since I worked a ton of overtime I may see about keeping them (horrible, I know...). I love the pineapple tee as it reminds me of summer, and you can never have too many stripes. The coach sandals are perfect for summer and can go with anything from jeans to a maxi dress.

How did you do in May? Linking up with Fran!

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