2018 Read List

We are four weeks into 2018 and I’m two books into my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 40. I couldn’t wait until all my unread books were unpacked so I started the year off with Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and quickly devoured the second book Siege and Storm. I started the last book in the trilogy, Ruin and Rising this morning, and will likely polish it off by the end of this weekend. No comments until I’ve read the entire series.

Knowing the challenge that awaits me, as well as a new bookcase that needs some space filled, we hit up Half Priced Books this past weekend and got some new-to-me books. Some I’ve read, others not so much. First, the books I’ve read:

Wicked / Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Heir of Fire by Sara J Maas
Queen of Shadows by Sara J Maas

The Throne of Glass series, as well as A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sara J Maas were originally Kindle purchases. They have easily become favorites and it’s time to upgrade them from digital to physical copies. Wicked and Son of a Witch I owned a couple of life times (and addresses) ago. It’s nice to have a hardcover copy of both as I build out my collection of Gregory Maguire books. I may not have loved all the ones I’ve read so far, but his take on the classic tales is fascinating.

For my new-to-me books I haven’t read I picked up everything I could by Jojo Moyes. Me Before You was such a good cry and it’s about time to continue the series with After You, possibly in time for the release of the third, but that would be quite ambitious. I also found The Girl You Left Behind and The Last Letter From Your Lover. Lastly, I picked up In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. After seeing it’s stunning cover, what feels like everywhere, I just had to have it. Here’s hoping it was worth the fascination.

Now for the real reason I started this blog post. Part of my 2018 “resolutions” include reading all the unread books I have. Well, now that they are all unpacked here’s the list, in no particular order, of all the (fiction) books I have that I’d like to get through this year:

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jasmyn Ward
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Final Girls by Riley Sager
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Wool by Hugh Howley
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Unforgettable by Paul McComas
The Detective by Roderick Thorp
Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut
Liminal States by Zack Parsons
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire
The Alchemaster’s Apprentice by Walter Moers
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
Grimm’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Noel Pocock
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Step Aside Pops by Kate Beaton
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
The Tick The Complete Edlund
Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles, Dave Wachter, & Matt Santoro
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, David Lloyd
Code Monkey Save World by Pak, Coulton, Miyazawa, Kholinne, & Bowland
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower – The Gunslinger Born by DAvid, Furth, LEe and Isanove
American Splendor by Harvey Pekar
Expedition by Wayne Douglas BArlowe
Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand
The Evil Garden, The Willowdale Handcar, The Iron Tonic, The Doubtful Guest, & Amphigorey all by Edward Gorey
Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird by Jesse James Freeman
Trampling in the Land of Woe by William Galaini
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Blackadder 1485-1917
The Princes Bride by William Goldman
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Tailchasers Song by Tad Williams

If my math is correct, counting the trilogy I’ve started by Bardugo, that brings my total reading list to 60 books. That’s not even including the books I’ll be accumulating from Book of the Month, or whatever other covers catch my fancy, not to mention the pre-ordered Maas book I should get in May, or even the handful of non fiction titles I’d like to read, such as Lauren Graham’s, Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). Which means I’m well on my way to reach and exceed my goal.

Now, to be completely honest, a few of these titles (Pride and Prejudice and Bloodhound to point fingers) I have tried to read on multiple occasions, and they just didn’t hold my interest. I don’t know if that was the fault of the writing or the fault of whatever life was like at those particular moments. However, I’ve lumped them in the Catch 22, no matter how much I’d like to read them, they just might not be something I can enjoyably get through, and I feel no need to take on compulsory reading.

For the few that are reading along, share what your reading or a book you love to recommend. It’s never too early to start next year’s books I have and need to read pile.


Le Tote: Box 6

It’s an absolutely fabulous feeling when you get a delivery that hits every nail on the head. It fits. It’s comfy. It’s trendy. It makes you reconsider your own style because, damn that looks good! All of that culminates into not feeling like you are wasting your time or money on a subscription service – even when they have the odd bad box.



Look at those beautiful colors and patterns. I may need to request all of these again asap!

The Max Studio Printed Jersey Dress is just the thing for a leisurely walk to the park, or curled up with a good book. I don’t think I can stress the wonders of a dress that is durable, and doesn’t leave me feeling constricted. Retail: $98 Le Tote: $68

I was a bit cautious with the Noir T Strap Poppy Tank. There wasn’t a whole lot of give to the material and that can easily make it something that doesn’t go on at all or come off easily. However, I was delightfully surprised, and had I not been recouping from other purchases I would have kept this for my physical closet and not just my virtual one. It also pared really well with the Smudge Me Not lip color I got in my Wantable Makeup Box. Retail: $58 Le Tote: $48

The Max Studio Inverted Pleat Front Tank wore perfectly under a cardigan with black crop pants. It would make a great addition to any office wardrobe, and it’s lightweight and airy material also make it perfect for an afternoon date at the zoo. It’s hard to go wrong with a multi-functional piece of clothing. Seriously, I’m sure we are all guilty of buying clothing that is for a very specific purpose and hardly sees the light of day because of it. Retail: $88 Le Tote: $68 $33*

Last, but not least, the Catherine Catherine Pleated Peplum Top. To be honest, the pastel pattern wasn’t really doing it for me when I pulled it out of the box. Of course the cut of the material made it worth trying it on. I know there’s is a fashion science behind why peplum style tops look fantastic on the pear shaped, I don’t even care what it is I just love it. It’s simultaneously fitted and loose in all the right spots! Though, the color scheme would have been more appreciated in April versus July. Retail: $48 Le Tote: $42

This was definitely an experience that I was happy to rent. Yes, I liked all the items, but not enough to part with the cash to keep them (except the Poppy Tank.) It was great having new-to-me items that looked fantastic, because a little something new does wonders for my attitude.

If you’re looking for some new looks to freshen the wardrobe or even makeover your style, I highly recommend Le Tote to get yourself started. Click here and get $25 off your first month.

*Sale price at time of writing review. 8.9.17

Le Tote: Box 5

It was bound to happen sooner or later, a Le Tote delivery that just did not float my boat. Now, here’s the thing: every one of the items I got came from my closet. They all looked super trendy and comfy, and the week it came we had a bit of cool streak so the longer sleeves weren’t even unbearable… well, they wouldn’t have been had more than one of the items fit right.

The KUT from the Kloth: Black Print Blouse was the only thing I opted to wear. It was the only one that turned out to be as comfy as it looked. I wore it layered over a simple gray camisole and black pants and felt like I was on point for the office. Retail: $68 Le Tote: $54

I was most excited to try on the BCBGeneration: Collarless High-Low Blazer. Such a great color, and as soft as it looks. What goes a bit unnoticed from the pic is the huge shoulder pads. The compulsion to cut them out was so high, I had to immediately put it in the return shipping bag so I didn’t have to commit to the item. Retail: $118 Le Tote: $43

I’m not sure if there was a construction defect or if the Noir: Zipper Front Shirt is best for a willowy frame but no matter how I styled the sleeves it just laid all wrong. Worse, was the lack of mobility. Great top if your arms are basically going to be at your side all day, but try to reach for something, a pencil that fell on the floor, a strand of hair dangling in your face, or your favorite mug from the cupboard and you are met with resistance and/or zippers digging into your flesh. No thanks! Retail: $66 Le Tote: $33

Last but not least, the London Times: Tie Sleeve Shift Dress. It’s summer and I practically live in dresses, this one however I couldn’t get out of fast enough. Le Tote swears they hand measure every garment so that the items you get are sure to fit, but I think this one got lost in translation. What should have been flowy ended up being uncomfortably tight. Which brings me to possibly my only real complaint about Le Tote, you can’t select a different size to try something in. I’m not sure if you are limited to the sizes specified in your profile, or those Le Tote stylists tag as being measured for you, but there have been several items I would have like to try in larger or smaller size but I couldn’t request the difference. Retail: $58 Le Tote: $46

Now, enough with all the griping. Yes, I had a bad Tote. But I’ve had more good ones before and since (I might be a wee bit behind in the reviews). I’m really looking forward to trying Le Tote: Select, their version of StitchFix, Wantable, Dia & Co. etc. I’ve got another box or two of the competitors coming, and then I switch it up to try something new.

If you want to give clothing rental a try, click here for $25 off your first month.


Subscription Withdrawals

It hasn’t even been a full week since I mailed out my last Le Tote box and returned my Dress of The Month, and I’m already finding life just a bit sadder without subscriptions. At this moment I have nothing to open. Nothing to try. Nothing to review.

Now, I’m sure once I get home I will be delightfully surprised to find a new Le Tote, my first Beauty Box 5, or even my first Book of the Month. But the wait is almost as unbearable as waiting for a hot guy to text you back. (That’s right hubby, I’m talking about you here!)

Last week I signed up Book of the Month – I really need to do something about that reading goal of mine. For less than $10 a month I get to pick between 5 new hardcover releases. I can also add additional books and book lovers swag to my delivery at a discount. Considering a new book can cost between $15 and $30 bucks, I’m in!

Also last week, I volunteered as a subscription box reviewer at Find Subscription Boxes, in an attempt to get some free stuff for doing what I already do. Right now it hasn’t panned out to more than a bunch of annoying emails trying to sell me subscriptions, but I can wait. If it weren’t already so cumbersome to manage work, personal, and school emails, I’d probably set up another just for my subscriptions (because damn, do they blow up my inbox!), but I can barely keep up with the few I already have.


As for now, I wait, very impatiently for the next box to be delivered. Guess I could use this time to read a book or something.

Le Tote: Box 4

Le Tote, easily my favorite of all the clothing subscriptions, is a flat rate monthly rental subscription. Get 3-5 items depending on your subscription, wear them as long as you want and return them when you want something new. If you find you can’t live without one of the items, you can buy it at a discount.

Delivery #4 is my first of the Classic Box subscription with 4 clothing items and no accessories and is the first box I kept longer than a few days. Typically, I’m good to wear everything once and send it back, but this time I got a fabulous dress that hubby assured me would be worth it once I got paid first.

Even though each item came from my closet (all the items Le Tote has available and I’ve clicked the little heart on) only half of them worked out for me this round. Let’s take a look:


I thoroughly liked the orange Vince Camuto High Low Shirtdress, I ended up wearing it as a tie front shirt since I didn’t have any belts to give it some shape. (This should be rectified in the coming weeks.) It worked really well for casual Friday with my cute black and white capris. Would definitely rent again. Retail: $89 Le Tote: $68

I looked like a freakin’ goddess in the pink paisley London Times High Neck Maxi Dress and felt like one too! I wasn’t too keen on the price tag, but my favorite person said it would be worth the splurge. And it is! Adding a light sweater or a denim jacket will make this dress wearable spring through fall. Who am I kidding, boots and a comfy pull over will make it fantastic for winter too! I don’t know if you noticed, but I love this dress. Retail: $98 Le Tote: $74

I’m going to get better about taking before and after pics when I swap items. I don’t recall what the Lumiere Star Cold Shoulder Top replaced but it did replace something. I know the description says star, but you can hardly tell they are more than polka dots in the photo. In person they were way to aggressive for my liking. Despite the open shoulders the sleeves were too tight to move in. I just couldn’t make it work. Retail: $45 Le Tote: $26

Lastly, the skirt. The crepe paper like fabric of the Le Lis Pleated Pencil Skirt was too small for me to even try on. Seriously, I’ve got shapewear that is easier to get into. The elastic waist band did nothing to help. This sad little article of clothing stayed in the box until I was ready to ship it back. Retail: $45 Le Tote: $36

I was all too happy to pack it up and ship it back yesterday morning, my next box finalized before I had even left the office.


Dress of the Month: #1

Unique Vintage offers a fantastic line of new, vintage-style, clothing and accessories. I could take home almost everything that they have to offer. With their classically designed dresses in patterns that range from solids and polka dots to full on city scapes and holiday prints, there is something for every taste and season.

The idea of a Dress of the Month Club was so fascinating for several reasons. One, because picking from the hundreds of options is just daunting. Two, it’s a surprise each month and a great way to try things outside of my comfort zone. Three, your subscription cost is less than the dress value, so it’s a built in discount.

To sign up you really just give them your size and leave the rest to the universe. It’s $50 a month plus $7 for flat rate shipping. If the size is wrong you can exchange it. If the dress is in no way shape or form something you would wear you can return it for credit towards your next month. You take a small gamble, but it can sort itself out.

After signing up for Dress of the Month at the end of May, I decided to order a few things that were on sale. Two pairs of cute strappy shoes, one in black the other in nude. A fantastic black dress with white polka dots, and a long pearlescent necklace because the extra item got me a decent discount and free shipping.

It took what felt like ages for that order to ship. When I got it a week ago, I was bummed to find that the shoes had been shipped separately. (I got the first pair Thursday, still waiting on the second). Even worse, the dress didn’t fit! I ordered the size suggested based off my measurements, but I either shrunk, mis-measured, or a combination of both.

The down side is because it was a final sale item I can’t return or exchange it. On the up side, I’m confident in my seamstress skills enough to possibly successfully take it in. (I just got to find the time.) Customer Service quickly responded to my inquiry for changing the size of my Dress of the Month Club, so I was rather disappointed when I received it last night and it was the same too big size.

image3.jpegMy bum filled out just fine, but I could have stuffed a whole roll of paper towels, still on the roll, down the bust and it wouldn’t have filled the whole thing up. Such a disappointment considering how fabulous that pattern is!! I would have been happy to exchange for a smaller size but hubby vetoed the cut. It’s hard to tell with such a busy fabric but the bust and sleeves do some weird pleating. Retail: $94

I would have liked to try this on in my own size, but the effort to send it back and wait for exchange just doesn’t seem worth it. Next month though my subscription will already be paid for, less shipping cost.

My first experience may have been a let down but I’m holding out that next month will be much better.



Play by Sephora: Box 1

My Play by Sephora came a whole day early!!! I was not prepared, so I made myself wait to open it until I wrote up and took pictures for my Makeup Bag entry. It wasn’t too hard because the hubby and I spent the night shredding a terrible movie. Live tweeting was involved so the two hour movie took us three and half, and by that time it was well past our bedtime. But I digress.


Play by Sephora is a monthly subscription that provides you with, as they describe it, five samples and a scent. For everyone that can math, you get six samples for $10. It all comes in a unique bag that ties back to an overall theme for that month. Additionally, you get a Play Pass to receive an extra 50 Beauty Insider Points with your next in store purchase, a handy little fold out giving you tips for the season, info on the samples and how to apply, along with exclusive access to how-to videos online.


This subscription is ideal for those that want to try before they buy and have no idea where to start. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked by all the open testers at the local Sephora and was simply overwhelmed.


First thing I tried was the Yves Saint Laurent “Black Opium Eau De Parfum”. Typically I avoid scents as they tend to be overpowering – granted I’m sure that opinion has more to do with the years of working with teenage boys who practically bathed in Axe body spray – but I’m here to expand my horizons. It definitely smells better on me (vanilla with a light floral) than it did in the packaging (baby powder.) I’d say this sample is a winner. Retail: $68 (reg. size)/$25 (travel size)

Next up is the Kat Von D “Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in K-Dud.” Well, that’s a color! Think of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Now, remember the dress she wore to her actual high school prom? That’s what is currently on my mouth in a matt finish. It. Is. Odd. AF. After two and a half hours that included eating dinner & leaving lipstick behind on my water bottle, the color was mostly still there even if a little faded in the middle. I blotted a layer of it off before going out in public, still leaving a trace of color stained on my lips but a lot less bold. Even that itty-bit of color was still on three hours later. Retail: $20

IGK Rich Kid “Coconut Oil Gel” I tried, not in my hair, but hubby’s. It has a pleasant scent, void of the chemically smell found in a lot of drugstore hair gels. I worked it into his dry hair opting for simple twist instead of the typical braid. His hair didn’t look like it had any product in it and it maintained a no effort look to his tied back locks. Who can complain about that? Retail: $15-$27

Benefit Cosmetics “The POREfessional Face Primer.” I was most excited to try this because I wanted to get out and take some pics to celebrate our one year anniversary. Unfortunately, even though the product went on silky smooth it seemed to highlight my pores instead of blurring them as the product description claimed. Further, it left behind almost gritty streaks. Was not impressed and washed it off immediately. Retail: $12-$31

I ended up testing the First Aid Beauty “Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer” instead. This was great. It went on weightless and left behind a fresh glow. WIth makeup on yesterday and bare faced today my face feels radiant and moisturized without feeling too oily. And there’s still enough for another day or two. Retail: $14-$28

Last item is the Ouai “Rose Hair & Body Oil. I have yet to find a body oil that claims it is fast absorbing and actually is. I messaged into my elbows, which tend to be trouble spots in the summer, but feeling tacky for several minutes is not how I want to spend any part of my. Sure, my skin felt and looked more hydrated but I get the same results with body lotion that does absorb quickly. Retail: $32

Of all the things I got in my first box I could definitely see myself splurging on Black Opium and replacing the Aveeno for the Hello FAB in my makeup routine. If hubby wasn’t so devoted to Dollar Shave Club I try to convert him to the Coconut Oil Gel. As for the rest, I could do without. I will say that the price paid for the products I got to try was worth it. There’s enough of each sample to try it several times but not so much you feel like you are wasting it if you know it’s not your thing. Already looking forward to July’s Play by Sephora.