Book Review: Marissa D’Angelo’s the Cursed Spirit

“You are Catori. And, of all people, you should know what that means. Spirit” — The Cursed Spirit by Marissa D’Angelo

It all started with a reading slump. I was about three books behind on my Goodreads goal, and I was looking for something quick to read. So, I picked up Marissa D’Angelo’s The Cursed Spirit.

The Cursed Spirit is one of the novels in the Charles Island series. D’Angelo released Presence, which is another novel in the series, was released last year. The Cursed Spirit is the first novella in the series, whereas Presence is the fourth. D’Angelo is set to release the Cursed Vessel, which would be the third book in the series, on May 27, 2022.

The Cursed Spirit is set on Charles Island/Silver Sands area (located in Milford, Connecticut) in the 1600s and tells the story of a Native American Tribe. We follow our main character, Catori, who is the chief’s son. Catori isn’t the best at some of the basic tasks as a Native American. However, he is curious about the Island he looks out at, and consistently is found daydreaming about it. He is warned to stay away from it. But, when his friend has a close encounter with it, he goes to find what’s on the island.

So, when I first went to read this piece, I was a little skeptical because history is not my thing whatsoever. However, I was pleasantly surprised on how engrossed I was with the story. Out of all of the books in this series, this one was hands down my favorite. D’Angelo grabs you on page one, and you don’t want to put it down until you reach the final page.

What kept me wanting to read it was the fact I wanted to know the mystery. Thankfully, it is revealed as you reached the end of the novel, with a side of delicious Native American lore. What can be challenging about writing a historical fiction novel is the research, and it showed that D’Angelo clearly did her homework while writing this novel.

That said, I also really enjoyed reading about the relationships between the tribe members. In fact, that was the most enjoyable thing about this novella. I loved reading about the Native American roles of a chief and the expectation of the Chief’s son. I also loved seeing the relationships between all of Catori’s family members, and especially with Aponi. Aponi was the girl that was his best friend growing up, but you can tell there is something more there. Their parents are rooting for them to get together, and although I did not get that in this novel, I am hoping to get that sometime before the series’ conclusion.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a quick read. Or, any read honestly as I loved everything about it. And, don’t be fooled by the description. It is definitely one of the most interesting novels that I have read in 2022, and I gave it a solid five stars.

The Cursed Spirit can be purchased in either physical and ebook format. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited. I did not get compensated for this review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

Friday Faves: May 6, 2022

I’m back with one of my favorite posts to write — Friday Faves. I don’t know how much I am going to be blogging this month either, but I will try to make sure that I make blogging a priority as soon as I can.

Inventing Anna: I finally found a show that I am obsessed with. This show is a Shonda Rhimes show and has many actors from the other shows. It tells the true story of Anna Delvey, a Russian who is imitating a German Heiress. She manages to swindle millions of dollars and complete fraud. The show follows reporter Vivian Kent, who follows her story. Vivian herself has a story of herself to tell. This show is addicting from the first show, and I am almost complete with the series at the time of writing this post.

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey: Of course, my toxic trait is starting the second book of the series. The story is all about Hannah, who returns to her small Washington town for a movie she’s working on. She stays with Fox, and the two have a connection, but both have some issues that they are working through. However, I can tell that they are OTP.

T Jazelle Everyday Sparkle Bracelet: I love T Jazelle bracelets, but these are great for days when I just want something a little more simple. I have the champagne agate one and is great to wear with other T Jazelle bracelets or with others. I got mine from Tickled Pink, which if you use code FYRFREF, you can get 15 percent off your purchase or use this link!

Baublebar Acrylic Name Necklace: I saw this on TikTok, but I am obsessed to the point where I have two. I have the turquoise and the tortoise one and I am in love. This is such a fun summer accessory and I even might grab the white one soon.

Friday Faves: April 15, 2022

TGIF everyone! I have had so much going on, so I wanted to combine this week’s favorites with last week’s. So, they are all over the place. And, I am okay with that. Once I move out next week, I envision returning to my normal schedule with blogging. So, without further adue, here are this week’s favorites:

Reduce 40 OZ Glass: I am obsessed with this water bottle. I got it at Target for $25 and it is worth every penny. It’s big but it still fits it in my car’s cup holder. And it has a handle. This is a dupe for the viral Stanley cup (TikTok made me do it, what can I say), and I am so glad I picked it up.

Sister Stardust by Jane Green: Jane Green’s newest novel is my new favorite read as of late. It takes place in the 1960s and tells the story of our main character Claire. I am forty percent through, but I am really enjoying it thus far!

Nook Glowlight 4: I got a new ereader guys. The reason why? I have the plus and it’s honestly just way too heavy for me to carry around so I got the smallest one they have and because of the move, I may have to rebuy ebooks, so its cheaper for me to do that with Nook versus Kindle. I really like this model because it is easy for me to carry around and the screen is definitely easy to read from.

Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs: Guys, this is so perfect. I really love this one because it smells great but really does a great job of making my skin softer. I rarely change my products, so for me to find something to add speaks volumes. Oh and yeah TikTok is responsible for that too.

Aerie Offline Joggers: I love these joggers. I love Aerie, actually. I love these because they are great for work, and they are so comfy. They fit more like leggings, which work out for me since I love leggings. If you are looking for quality joggers on a budget, I recommend these so much.

Walking Through the Wooster Square Cherry Blossoms

Spring has sprung in the Wooster Square area of New Haven. In the historic Italian section of New Haven, you can walk through the park to find pale pink blooms, as the famous cherry blossoms have finally reached their peak.

The Cherry Blossoms have been a part of the Wooster Square area for years. On April 24, 2022, the Historic Wooster Square Association will host its’ annual Cherry Blossom festival, complete with music and food carts.

However, if you can’t make the festival, you can still head down to New Haven just to enjoy the blooms. Trust me, it will make the perfect Instagram shot.

I got a chance to head down there with my friend Leah and I am so glad that I did. We got some great shots of them, which you can view below:

For further information on the Cherry Blossoms, be sure to check out the Cherry Blossom Blog here.

Woman Who Work: Chelsea of Wilde Threads Studio

Chelsea, owner of Wilde Threads Studio, is a woman who wears many hats. She is running an Etsy shop with embroidered totes, bookmarks and pouches. She is also killing the TikTok and Instagram game, which offers a behind the scenes look at her shop.

How did you learn how to do embroidery? What inspired you to learn?

    I’ve always been a diy kind of girl. I love crafting and making things myself, but I didn’t start dabbling with embroidery until college. I was pursuing a costume design degree and taught myself some basic embroidery techniques to use on our costume construction final. We had to research and construct a piece based on a specific time period and me, being a huge Jane Austen nerd, I chose the regency era. I had so much fun stitching all the flowers at the border of my dress, that embroidery became a fun hobby. I would add little designs to my own clothes and make gifts for my family, as a creative outlet.  

I also happen to be from a pretty creative family and we have a holiday tradition called “Crafty Christmas” where we all make gifts for each other. We all have our mediums that we like to work with, some of us bake, some are great at woodworking, and my niche is sewing and embroidery.

Tell me the story about how your Etsy shop got started?

    The idea for my Etsy shop had been brewing for a few years, but I didn’t decide to start the shop until the pandemic. Like the rest of the world, I spent most of 2020 trying to find creative ways to destress so after I finished all the jigsaw puzzles in my house, I started sketching. The sketches became sample tote bags and the idea to open my own shop grew until I was workshopping names and making a color palette. I was also lucky to have small business owners and creatives in my family to guide me. With their help, by the fall I had a legitimate small business and I launched Wilde Threads Studio in November 2020. As an introvert, tapping post for the first time was terrifying and I spent the whole day texting my best friends for reassurance, but I’m so happy with the shop now. 

How do you get inspiration in creating a design?

My inspiration for new designs primarily comes from nature. Sometimes it comes from a walk outside or I’ll see a beautiful floral painting while scrolling through Pinterest, so the spark for each design varies. For my most recent collection, I was working on a completely different project, took a trip to the fabric store and found a simple sky blue daisy print. I took home a swatch and that became a whole collection, so I pull inspiration from everywhere.

How long does it take you to complete a piece/complete orders?

The production time for each project really depends on the design. My sketches tend to be line drawings and usually take 5-8 hours total to complete. I designed a collection last summer that involved hand-dying rainbow gradients onto each tote, so those orders took about 12 hours each to make from start to finish. As time consuming as those bags ended up being, it’s still one of my favorite collections.

You are killing the TikTok game. How has TikTok helped grow your business?

    I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t understand Tiktok for a long time, but like everyone else, it grew on me and now it’s my go to app for making videos. Similar to instagram, the embroidery community on Tiktok is always growing, so it’s not just a great place to promote my business, it’s a great place to find other makers who share the same passion for stitching. Tiktok allows me to show myself and my process, which is key for a small business. The real star of my tiktok is my dog Penny who wants to be in all my tiktoks and she’s managed to sneak into a few. She’s always a distraction, but also helps me make great content!

Are there any new collections coming soon to the shop?

    The Spring Collection has just launched in April. I was inspired by daisies and butterflies to create three designs, all embroidered in a soft gray. I’m also excited to bring three new silhouettes to shop that will feature again in future collections. The first is a drawstring, the second a circle-shaped tote, and the third (maybe my favorite) is finished with ruffle trim. I wanted to design something romantic and delicate for spring and I cannot be happier with the end result.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get started with an Etsy shop?

I would tell someone starting an Etsy shop to find your passion and let your personality shine. It can be really easy for a small creator to get lost on a big site like Etsy so you have to be ready to promote yourself to find success. It’s 2022, we have tiktok, instagram and facebook at our fingertips. It’s easier than ever to put yourself and your work out there and find your community. I know for myself, I’ve found the most amazing community of fiber artists through social media whose work inspires me everyday. So my biggest advice would be to post. Find a niche you’re passionate about, make something you’re proud of and share.

Be sure to follow Chelsea on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, as well as check out her Etsy! (All photos were provided to me by Chelsea).

Friday Faves: April 8, 2022

TGIF! I have been dealing with the cold that has been going around, so I have been not only sick, but going through a major blogging slump. I hope to get back to blogging as soon as possible. In the mean time, here are my favorites for the week:

Wordle: I have become obsessed with this game and have played it every morning. I am not that great at the game itself, but I am enjoying playing it nonetheless. If you don’t already know what Wordle is, it’s a game where you have to guess a five letter word in five tries. It’s really addicting, and there is a new one every day. You can play it by going here.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez: This has been on my TBR for years. I have been starting to use my E-reader, so I’ve been reading this book. And, I can’t wait to pick up the other two books in the series. It is about our main characters Josh and Kristen. Josh is healing from a breakup, while Kristen is dealing with severe period pain. The two meet, and learn that they are the maid of honor and the best man in the same wedding. They swear to be friends. . . But really, they are destined to be more. Seriously, I loved this book and could not put it down. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something good to read.

Stoney Clover Lane x Target Items: Okay I fell down the Stoney Clover x Target rabbit hole, but in all fairness, it’s because it’s sooo much cheaper than the real thing. I managed to get my hands on two smalls, two minis, two flats, a tote, a fanny and a duffle bag. In addition,I picked up some shoes, and a pair of sweats. I am still awaiting some items in the mail as I am writing this, but the quality is so close to the real thing. So far, my favorite is the tie dye flat, because I can use it as a pouch and a wristlet.

T Jazelle Bracelets: I have been loving my T Jazelle bracelets a lot lately. Every day, I am creating a stack based on what I need and what I am wearing. My personal favorite is the champagne agate hamsa hand.

Friday Faves: April 1, 2022

It’s no April Fool’s Day Joke. Friday Faves is back and I am so excited to share my favorites with you all. From these favorites, you can tell that I have been on a huge Coach kick lately, and I am not mad about it.

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Coach Town Bucket Bag: When I first saw this bag on TikTok, I honestly was not a fan. It’s a dupe for the NeoNeo from Louis Vuitton. However, it grew on me. And, last week, I finally pulled the trigger and grabbed it. I have been using it for a few days now, and I can tell already that it’s going to be a fave. It fits all of my essentials and has enough room for my Kindle. A definite win. I hope the black leather comes back in stock soon, because I really want to grab it to interchange.

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Coach Nolita 19 Bag: I love this bag, because it slips in my bucket bag perfectly, but it’s great to use as a grab and go bag. It fits my wallet and my keys perfectly. I have the black, and I absolutely love it. I use it as both a mini bag and a wristlet. Sadly, the one I have is not available online, so I grabbed the closest thing I could find.

T Jazelle New Beginnings Bracelet in Earth Impression Jasper: I am entering a new chapter of my life, and I knew I needed this bracelet. I got it from my Tickled Pink girls, and I am obsessed with the bracelet. It is a great addition for my stack and it’s such a great symbol.

The Foods That Built America: I have been watching a lot of this show, which gives a backstory of food chains such as Subway. I have been finding it really interesting to watch, and I definitely will be watching over the weekend.

How My Perspective On Fitness Has Changed In the Last Few Months

My fitness journey began in June 2020. I went to my physical, and surprisingly gained the “COVID 19.” With a family history of high blood pressure and heart issues, my doctor had asked me to lose weight.

I tried everything. Last year, I joined a few different trainer programs, and my frustrations grew. I wasn’t losing weight. I was gaining muscle, but not much. And those programs became toxic for me and affected my mental health in a downward spiral. I won’t go into specifics, but I felt that if I couldn’t make something, then I wasn’t good enough or serious about my goal to be healthy. Or, I was constantly beaten down whenever I didn’t reach a goal. I became anxious, almost as if I wasn’t good enough. During check-ins, I sometimes felt as if I was a child that was being punished for doing something wrong at school or I wasn’t committed enough by pushing myself to extreme limits. I also wasn’t having any fun, which as someone who loves Peloton Spin classes, was a big deal.

My breaking point was in early February. I needed to make a change. So, I left the groups, and found a new trainer that works amazing for me, which is Sydney Cummings’ The Sydney Squad.

In the last month and a half, my mindset is now shifting. I am almost at the point where I want to throw away my scale. Now, I am not looking at being a certain number or size. I am looking to be strong, be able to do harder workouts, run marathons, and walk a lot. I am looking to be able to do things and improve. Instead of pants size, the only number I am working to reduce is my blood pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I am working to lose weight, but I am no longer making that my sole focus.

I have also accepted that my body is going to change and so will my style. It is not a bad thing whatsoever. For me, that was the hardest thing to do because I wanted to get back to my smaller jeans. Maybe I will one day. But, I rather celebrate and love my body the way that it is and continue to grow in my journey. I also want to make sure I treat my body in a way that shows love, not punishment. That means fueling it with a balanced diet, drinking water, getting my steps in, and working out towards improvement. I also want to be able to savor meals, and let my body rest and heal whenever I need to. Working out has become something that I want to do, not just something I need to check off on my to-do list

Now. Will the scale go down?

Maybe.

I am not going to focus on that as much.

Fitness, at the end of the day, is something that is a lifelong commitment, not something that ends once you lose the weight. It has to be something you do for you, and should bring happiness. Am I still going to push myself towards my goals? Yes. I am not going to lie. However, I am not going to push myself to be skinny. I am just going to push myself to be a better, healthier version of myself. And, this version of myself is much happier than the one in January.

Bag Talk: Talking About TikTok’s Most Viral Bags — Are They Worth It?

I have become obsessed with TikTok lately, especially when it comes to hauls and bags. And, I am not going to lie, because of TikTok, I may have purchased some of them. No regrets. So, I gathered some of the most viral bags I can think of, and I am going to tell you if they are worth it. Just a head’s up, I will not include luxury bags in this post.

Coach Towne Bucket Bag: Okay so this bag comes in three different sizes — the mini, small and regular. I have had mixed feelings about this bag, but became obsessed with the regular one. At first, I didn’t like it because of the snap closure. However, I ended up grabbing the regular size because it is so roomy. It is also a crossbody which we all know I love a good crossbody bag! I did look at the other sizes in store and they are good sizes too depending on what you’re carrying. To me this is worth it because the bag is a great alternative to Louis Vuitton’s Neo bags and Coach is great quality too. However, for me, I am not a fan of the smaller sizes because I think it would be too small for my daily needs.

Kate Spade/Coach Heart Bag: These are cute, but for me, it’s a no. I think they are a great little crossbody and they hold a lot. However, unless you really like hearts, this bag is seasonal.

Lululemon Belt Bag: 100 percent yes! I own it in three colors and I have my eye on the blue one. These are the perfect bag for walks, beach trips, and so much more. I have even used them for errands. They fit quite a bit of items and the price point is so good. What I really like about this bag is that it fits me perfectly. I have a larger chest so this helps a lot.

Coach Nolita: The Coach Nolita comes in two sizes — the 15 and the 19. I have the 19 and I love it because it’s the perfect little grab and go bag. I throw my wallet and my keys and I’m good to go. I have the Louis Vuitton mini pochette and I love the 19 more because it fits my recto verso. I think the 15 is a great dupe for the mini pochette because I got mine for a lot cheaper than they are now. My answer is yes — especially if you want the mini pochette.

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Marc Jacobs “The Tote Bag”: I absolutely love this bag. It is a great bag that carries everything, and it’s great for work, travel and so much more. I have the mini and I absolutely love it. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, but I love this bag oh so much.

Coach Wallet on a Chain: The mini bag trend has not caught on for me, but this just looks way too small to fit your essentials. Therefore, I really don’t think this bag is worth it.

Kate Spade Novelty Bags: These bags are cute. However, it’s a no for me because I don’t think that they are practical. Like at all. And there are quite a few — including a taxi cab and so much more.

Coach Mini Wallet: I have my Recto Verso from Louis Vuitton, but I really love this one. I think it’s a great little wallet that you can get at a great quality for a great price, and it will fit in any kind of purse you may have.

Friday Faves: March 18, 2022

TGIF everyone! I am so happy that it’s finally Friday. It has been a week, and I honestly need to take some time for my mental health. I have been doing a little bit of “stress shopping,” which shows in this week’s favorites. #oops

So, without further adue, here are this week’s favorites:

Silver Little Words Project Bracelets: I love this collection from Little Words Project. I have “Breathe” and “Strength.” I have my eye on “Faith.” What I love about them is how polished they look. They definitely add something a little extra to a stack. Fun fact: I am now a brand ambassador for Little Words Project, and you can use my affiliate link (it is no charge for you to use, but I get a small percentage should you purchase something) as well as my code K4471U for an additional 15 percent off.

Hamsa Pandora Bracelet: I have been drawn to Hamsa symbols lately. I was talking about the T Jazelle Hamsa bracelet in last week’s Friday Faves. That said, I found this on Poshmark and I have been loving this piece! It’s great with any bracelet that I wear — from my Tiffany beaded ball bracelets to my Little Words Project ones. I love this one so much that I grabbed a few other ones from Rue La La’s drops. And, I am so excited for them and to wear them all of the time.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle: I will not go into too much detail about this, as I wrote my thoughts in this review. This book was really good and I really enjoyed reading it. That’s all I’m going to say here.