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.

Book Review: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Rebecca Serle has become a must-buy author every time that she releases a new book. I’ve read almost all of her books by now, and there has not been a book by her that I have not been obsessed with. So, when One Italian Summer was an option for my Book of the Month add-on, I grabbed it.

The synopsis (taken from Simon and Schuster):

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Review:

This book truly hit home for me. I lost my mom over three years ago, and that’s a loss that I have yet to fully recover from. There were times where tissues were required when reading this book. If someone is recovering from loss, I highly recommend reading this.

That said, I gave this book five stars. As I mentioned earlier, I am such a huge fan of Rebecca Serle. I’ve read (and devoured) the Famous in Love duology, In Five Years, and The Dinner List. This book absolutely met my expectations of a Rebecca Serle novel — a little bit of love, difficult to put down, and an overall great book to read.

What I love about this book is watching Katy’s character growth. At the beginning of the novel, she was lost. The book starts off during her mom’s funeral. Katy was at a standstill at the beginning with her marriage and with her career life. Throughout the book, she begins to find herself again. She rediscovers her passion for photography. She begins to figure out who she is, versus being her mother’s daughter.

Furthermore, I loved how Katy had some kind of closure with her mom. As mentioned in the summary, she meets her mom when her mom is 30 years old. Before this, she knows her mom as being completely put together and stylish. This version of her mom is imperfect. And, I liked reading that because oftentimes, we associate our parents as being perfect, when sometimes they are not.

Other things that I loved from reading this book include: the twist in the end, and the ending (which I will not spoil).

That said, the only issue that I had with this book is that the ending had more closure than I thought was normal. Katy just lost her mom a week or two ago, and it’s already seeming like she’s gone through a few stages of grief in one go. Which, if you know anything about grief, is unrealistic. I also thought the ending was a little quick and rushed as well.

Minus that one issue that I had with the book, I really loved this book, and I still highly recommend you checking it out.

Are Yoga Pants Making a Comeback?

I am going to completely age myself here when I say that the most popular thing back when I was in high school was the yoga pants. And, for some reason, they could never work for me. They would fit okay in some areas, and be too big in others.

However, 12 years later, flare leggings have entered the scene. Atheleisure shops such as Lululemon and Aerie have them available, and they are one of their best selling pairs too.

So, I decided to give Aerie’s Offline OG High Waisted Pair a try. These pair have gone viral. For the most part, I loved them. I am a huge fan of the line, and have several pairs of the highwaisted leggings. What I like about these pairs is that the leggings were exactly like my normal ones. The only difference was that they had a small flare at the bottom versus being more fitted.

And, I loved them! I loved that they give me a different look than traditional leggings, but they are so comfortable.

That said, I did have one complaint with them, which was that the leggings were really long. I am short, and I found myself tripping on them throughout the day. The next pair I order will be the ones in short.

So, how did I wear them?

I kept it really casual. I wore a crewneck sweatshirt from Old Navy, and a pair of Koolaburra by Ugg boots. This was the perfect outfit for a day of running errangs. I also had my Madewell Transport Tote Camera bag as well.

Overall, after wearing them, I finally do get the hype of these leggings and am brought back to my high school days with this look. Next time though, I will opt for the short length, because I don’t want to be tripping around.

Friday Faves: March 11, 2022

TGIF everyone! I have a rather short list of favorites this week, and I am perfectly content with that. But, these are all still amazing favorites, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

T Jazelle Hamsa Bracelet in Champagne Agate: I love T Jazelle and I have been enjoying my latest addition, which is the Hamsa bracelet. I got mine in Champagne Agate, which is a stone that brings positive energy and happiness. I love this bracelet because it goes with all of my stacks and I really love wearing it with my other bracelets. I have worn this four days in a row, and I really love it.

Mukbang Videos: Mukbang videos are videos in which the person orders a ton of food and they eat and chat with you. I really like it, because it gives me a chance to discover new food to try. I have been watching Steph Pappas a ton.

All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachel Lippincott: I finally picked up this amazing read by the authors of Five Feet Apart and I can not put it down. It tells the story of Kyle who gets into a car accident with his ex girlfriend. He meets Marley, who he learns how to love with after loss. I am really enjoying this book, and at the time of writing, I am about fifty percent done and I can’t wait to finish the remainder of the book this weekend.

7 Woman Owned Brands/Businesses to Support During International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, I wanted to take the time to shoutout some woman owned brands, businesses, and women who are working in the world to make a difference and deserve a shoutout. Many of which are CT/New England based. Gotta love a local shoutout!

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T Jazelle: Founded by a young entrepreneur named Tiffany, T Jazelle is one of my favorite gem stone bracelets. The bracelet, which has become my obsession for the last year, is a genuine gemstone with a sterling silver/18k plated charm on it. Every charm has a special meaning to the wearer. They make great gifts, and they are just great to wear. T Jazelle is located in the Cape in Massachusetts.

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Tickled Pink: I love this store. I actually wrote a post alll about them last year. It is an instant surge of happiness the second you walk into the door. They are the best place in the state to go for if you need a gift and they have the cutest items. Every piece in their store is hand picked by the Pink Girls, mother and daughter duo, Jess and Hillary, along with Kim. They are so knowledgable about the brands that they carry, and are amazing to just talk to. They are located in Seymour, Connecticut.

Gals on the Go Podcast: This podcast is by far one of my favorite that I’ve been listening to, and one of the longest podcasts that I follow. It is hosted by influencers Brooke Miccio and Danielle Carolan. I love this podcast because it is entertaining and information. You can listen to them on Spotify and Apple Music.

Marissa D’Angelo: Marissa is a Connecticut-based author, and her book Presence is based on Milford’s Charles Island. She is also the other of Chasing Time, which was also an amazing read. She is currently working to release her next novel soon. She is located in Maryland, but originally from Connecticut.

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SV Decker Jewelry: I have been such a huge fan of SV Decker jewelry, and have mentioned her several times over the last few years. It is owned by Steffi Decker and while the store is located in Milford, Stef is slaying on her Instagram, if I do say so myself.

Sydney Cummings-Houdyshell: I am a proud member of the Sydney Squad, which is Fitness Youtuber Sydney Cummings’ training group. I am such a huge fan of Sydney. You do not need to pay the subscription price to access her workouts, as she strives to make workouts accessible for everyone. Her workouts are intense, but she pushes you in a way that motivates not discourages you. As a Sydney Squad member, you are paying for a ton of content to help get further information about health and fitness. I find it incredible how she is so passionate about her workouts and her community.

Little Words Project: Last, but certainly not least, Little Words Project was started by Adriana Carrig as a way to use words as a positive impact versus negative. The brand is definitely one of the most inspiring brands, and has expanded so much over the last year or so. That said, Little Words Project’s message is all about making a positive impact in the world, which is so important.

US Chowder Pot Offers an Authentic and Delicious Nautical Experience

Summertime is just around the corner (we can dream right), and I am already craving inhaling the salty sea air and the delicious delicacy that come with summer, such as fried fish, burgers and more.

One of the best places in Connecticut to visit during the summer (or really anytime of year if I am being honest), is the US Chowder Pot. They have two locations in Branford and Hartford, and offer indoor/outdoor dining and takeout. While I have yet to visit the Hartford location, the Branford one has nautical decor all throughout the restaurant.

Now, let’s discuss the food. They have a dinner and lunch menu with a huge variety of items to choose from. They offer standard seafood delacies such as fried fishes, lobsters, and of course, New England Clam Chowder. An interesting menu that caught my eye (but I can’t have it because I am highly allergic to dairy) was the lobster Mac and Cheese. And, if someone in your party doesn’t like seafood, they have burger, steak and chicken options as well. And, all of their menu items come with their delicious honey bread. Trust me, you’re going to devour that while you are waiting for your meal.

I’ve been there a few times over the years, but just went to the Chowder Pot this past weekend with my fiancé for lunch. Now, their lunch menu is really affordable and you get a lot with it. I had a grilled chicken, which came with two sides. He had the Chicken Parmesan, which also came with pasta and a side. The portions were extremely generous and we were extremely full after the meal.

While the food is delicious, the Chowder Pot also offers entertainment as well. You can check out more details about their schedule here. Just looking at the schedule, there is live music at least once a week.

Between the ambiance and the food, the Chowder Pot is definitely something to check out.

Run Don’t Walk to the Kate Spade Outlet for this Bag

I have been on the hunt for the perfect everyday black hobo purse. I already have two other variations of the bag in my collection — the Madewell bucket bag and a Coach bag that I purchased a few years back at the outlet. So, on a recent trip to the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods, I had my sights set on grabbing one.

I went to Kate Spade, Coach and Micheal Kore. It was at Kate Spade where I saw this bag lying in the front section. It caught my eye the first time I went in, and then I went back a few more times before grabbing the bag in two colors.

It is called the Staci Shoulde bag. At my outlet, they had three colors — black, white and a light blue. I picked up the white and the black. Since going home, I learned that there are two other colors — a floral, and a pink red. I am considering grabbing one of them in the efforts to use a coupon they gave me at the store.

There are so many unique things about this bag that made me love it enough to grab it in two different colors. The first is that it is probably the perfect size for me. I am a huge fan of my Louis Vuitton pochette Métis, which is one of the most flattering crossbody bags that I have ever owned. This one is a little smaller than that (and a fraction of the price) and holds about the same amount. Next, I love that it can be both a hobo bag and a crossbody. It allows me to have two looks in the price of one so if I get tired of the hobo look or need to go hands free, I have that option without having to switch bags.

Now what do I hold in it?

As many of you know, my small leather goods are all vintage Louis Vuitton. I have my mini Pochette, 6 ring key holder, Recto Verso, Zippy Coin Wallet, and my sunglasses. I also have my AirPods and my work keys as well. They all fit perfectly without bulging, and I think that I even can fit my Kindle. I haven’t tried yet, seeing as I have only had the bag for a few days.

While I went with classic black, I did grab the white version as well. I have never had a white bag before so I am a little nervous. The black is something that I will wear year round, but I can see the white working its way into my purse rotation in the spring and summer. As I mentioned before, I did get a coupon, so I might grab the Robin’s Egg blue one for a pop of color during the spring time.

I won’t get into pricing of the bag, because outlet sales vary every time you walk into the store. At the time of when I scored these bags, I got 60 percent off with an extra 20. But, the outlet has at least that going on every time you shop, so I would call your local Kate Spade for a deal. That said, I did say that for a bag that is amazing quality (especially as lux brands are going up in price as time goes on), paying a little over a $100 for a bag you will use a lot is honestly worth the purchase.

That said, I highly recommend this bag because it’s the perfect every day bag. As of right now, it is not available at the Kate Spade outlet online, so I recommend calling your local outlet. They do however offer the smaller version, which I also can see myself getting as well to use for smaller days. I probably will to see if they have it when it comes time to redeem the coupon, because this is the perfect spring bag.

Leather/Crackle Leggings: Trendy and Versatile

When buying clothes nowadays, I have been looking for pieces that I can wear many different ways — for casual and for work. For me, one of these pieces is leather or crackle leggings.

At first, I was sooo against them. You hear influencers talk at length about how they are amazing. But then, I tried them and they were a game changer. They fit so well, and they are a great alternative to wearing dresses in the wintertime.

To date, I have two pairs — the Aerie crackle one and the Spanx ones. And I love both of them. I’ve worn them on a girl’s night out. I’ve worn them to work. I’ve also worn them on more casual days.

If you do end up getting them, here’s one word of advice. To make sure that they last, be sure to wash them correctly. Turn them inside out and then wash on delicate. Then, make sure that you don’t put them into the dryer and let them air dry. If you take care of them, you will have these pieces for years to come.

So, how do I wear them?

Work/More Dressy:

How to Get This Look: Aerie Crackle Leggings, Marc Jacobs the Tote Bag, Sweater and Boots No Longer Available

For work or more dressier occasions, I pair the leggings with a sweater and a high boot.

Casual Days:

How to Get This Look: Aerie Waffle Henley (No longer available), Spanx Leather Leggings, Louis Vuitton Pochette Métis, Adidas Sneakers (no longer available)

These leggings are great and comfy for running errands and just for hanging out. I pair them with a cozy crew neck sweatshirt, and a pair of white Adidas sneakers.

How do you feel about the leather legging trend? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday Faves: February 25, 2022

Happy Friday everyone! This Friday is a unique one. Today marks the three year anniversary of my mother’s death so I am taking the day off for some much needed self care.

That said, I wanted to share some of my favorites of the week. I have been doing some shopping lately, so I am sure that some new pieces will be entering these in the coming weeks.

Bubly Soda Stream Drops: I purchased a Soda Stream for my fiancé. However, I have been using it more than him. I purchased the cherry flavor, and I fell in love. It’s zero calories and has natural sweeteners. I recently repurchased more, along with the strawberry flavors. If you are debating on getting a Sodastream, I recommend it. It’s definitely helped with my water intake.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: I wrote a review in my last post, so I won’t talk about it much here. However, I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it.

James Avery Initial Petite Signet Ring: James Avery is one of my favorite jewelry brands. I have a few of their rings, and am working on a charm bracelet. I have been wanting a signet pinky ring for a while now. I looked at the David Yurman ring, but I honestly couldn’t justify the price for something that I was not sure I was going to wear. So, I finally bit the bullet and got it. I have been wearing it every day since it came in. It is the perfect pinky ring, and goes with everything.

Aerie Crossover Crackle Leggings: We love Aerie leggings around here. They make a great and affordable alternative to Lululemon. I got mine on sale, and I loved them so much that I ordered another color in them. And, I might go back for a third because these will take me into the summer months. Aerie is amazing, and I highly recommend the brand especially when they have so many great sales and a great rewards program.

Book Review: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

I’ve read and loved everything that Nicola Yoon has written. So, I decided to finally pick up her latest novel, Instructions for Dancing.

And, it did not disappoint.

This novel tells the story of Evi, whose dealing with the heartbreak of her parent’s divorce. She gains the ability to see couples’ fate once they kiss. She then stumbles upon a dance studio, where she meets X. Together, they enter a dancing competition, and take the steps they need for Evie to learn to heal. And, of course, Evie may fall for X somewhere in the process.

Okay, so I really loved this novel and everything about it. I closed the cover with teardrops in my eyes. Nicola Yoon did not disappoint with the novel, which is refreshing to hear when you’re talking about an author with two back to back bestsellers, which are Everything, Everything and the Sun is Also a Star.

What I loved about this book is that I loved reading about the different relationships between Evie and her friends, Evie and her parents and of course, Evie with X. Watching Evie learn to open herself up to the possibility of falling in love even if it runs the risk of getting hurt was amazing. At the beginning, Evie is scarred from her parents divorce and by learning that her father had an affair. Over time, Evie begins to heal thanks to her taking the chance to learn to dance, and that evolves in her relationships. She even learns to forgive her father. That said, this novel explores the meaning of what it means to love and learn to forgive those we love when they make mistakes.

That said, I also loved how Evie had the ability to see the path of a relationship. Those chapters were so fun to read, even though at some points, it became awkward when she learned the fate of her friends’ relationship. Of course, her gift gives her the foresight to see her own heartbreak as well. I thought that was really interesting, and it made me think of what it would be like to possess that gift.

Overall, I can not say enough good things about this book. I loved the writing, the message and the characters. It’s a book that I enjoyed reading — like Yoon’s other books — and could not put down. It tugs at your heart strings, and I will leave you with a tissue warning. You will need it as you get to the end of the book.