Bookshelf Sunday: Bright Lights Paris

Bright Lights Paris, is written by Angie Niles, who is a fashion publicist and brand consultant.  May I also add that she is a friend of Blake Lively, one of my beauty and fashion icons.  According to the cover, this book is supposed to help you “shop, dine, and live…Parisian style.” Did it? Yes and no.

The majority of the book is a guide to the local hot spots of the different arrondissements of Paris, showing you how all of the different girls from each of the 12 arrondissements live their day-to-day life, including where they shop, dine and where they go to get away from the hustle and bustle of Paris.  So, in that aspect, it does not teach you how to live like a Parisian, but is a list of recommendations on where to go if you ever find yourself in Paris.  

But, there are some bits scattered throughout the book that tell you how you can bring some Parisian style into your everyday life and how to get a taste of Paris from home.  These included different skin care products Parisian women use, recipes from Parisian chefs, and how you can decorate your home…Parisian style, of course.  It was these parts of the book I enjoyed the much, as I have the realistic mindset of knowing that I will probably not be able to go to Paris for quite some time in my life.  Perhaps when I’m out of college will I ever go to the city of lights.  

Also, the different graphics on each of the chapter pages are super cute and please my aesthetic…I know, I can go home now.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  Being a gal who obsesses over Paris (despite me never being there), this book was right up my alley.  Needless to say, I loved this book and I would recommend it to any girl that is as obsessed with the idea of living the Parisian life.  As the Parisians like to say, c’est sympa.  

October Goals

The picture is random, but it’s currently what I’m doing.  Relaxing with a Starbucks Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato. How basic of me, but despite it being a caffeinated beverage, it helps me slow down and enjoy.

With that said, let’s move on…

The month of September sucked for me. It was terrible and nothing seemed to be going the right way. I complained about the month frequently, to the point where I was annoyingly sorry for myself all the time. There were a lot of downs in school, within friend groups and even with family. So, I decided in the beginning of this month to make a list of goals to think about and try to achieve. This post is basically my list (with the exclusion of a few personal ones), and an update on what I’ve done so far.

1. Go on more walks. In the beginning of the school year and during the summer, I went on daily walks, as it was something I did to maintain my health. As the month of September went on, and as I got more miserable, I didn’t do it as much. Recently, though, I’ve gotten back into the habit of going on not-so-daily daily walks. My roommate and I try to go on walks on the trail around campus every Sunday as a little form of bonding. This afternoon, while I’m writing this, I actually plan on going on a walk with some friends after my last class of the day. Going on walks, either with friends or by myself, is a great stress reliever for me.

2. Lose 10 pounds by the end of the month. So far, I’ve lost five pounds, which I believe is a pretty damn good job so far! I haven’t been going to the gym as frequently as I’ve wanted to, but I always get a good night’s rest and I’ve only been eating when my body tells me that it’s hungry. Binge eating is something that I’ve had a problem with in the past, as well as not eating enough. So far, I believe I’ve maintained a healthy balance.

3. Blog more! I did not blog at all in the month of September, as I was procrastinating and pushing it off until October. Luckily, though, now it’s up and running and I’ve been posting frequently. Thank you for reading!

4. Get better grades! I did pretty well for myself when midterm grades came around. There were only two out of the six classes that I am taking that I believe I need to do better in. One of them is marketing, with the only thing keeping me down is my class participation grade, which is an F…whoops! I’ve been trying to speak up at least once per class, so hopefully I’ll have a higher grade by the end of the semester. The other class being management, which I just personally hate. It’s no offense to the professor or the grad student that helps teach the class, I’m just not doing too hot one the quizzes. I need to study more!

5. Plan my Thanksgiving vacation. Similar to how two of my friends came to my place for October break, I’m having one of my best friends come for Thanksgiving break, which I am super excited for! I want to plan out different things we can do together so I’m not scrambling for ideas when the time comes. I would also like to spend a bit more time with family over this break, unlike I did during the last break. Perhaps catch an episode or two of GoT with my mom before I head back off to college. I also have to plan out the things that I want to bring back home to drop off, and the things that I want to pick up from home to bring back to college with me. So far I’ve planned nothing…I need to get on that!

6. Write more! I know I write a lot for this blog (which is currently being graded), but I want to write a bit more creatively and perhaps start a personal journal. I used to journal every day and wrote creatively frequently. At the start of summer, journaling and creative writing ceased. This month, I want to get back into it. So far I haven’t started writing creatively this month, but I hope to do so by the end of it!

So those are my goals for the month of October! What do you want to achieve by the end of the month?

Autumn Favorites

The weather is turning a bit cold, the oversized cozy and warm sweaters are coming out, and I’m beginning to spend my nights with my fingers wrapped around a warm beverage watching Halloween movies or reading a book.  Fall is my favorite season for many reasons.  I love the colors, the scents, and tastes in this season more than any other.  Not to mention I enjoy having an excuse to stay inside a bit more. “Oh, it’s too cold!” Due to these reasons, I’ve decided to create a list of what I’m loving at this particular time, and what I believe makes fall most enjoyable.

B64962A1-0BC5-44AC-B8E3-5A815C3B54E9

As the colder months roll around, though, I have to up my skincare game.  My hands become dry and I just need more moisturization over all.  So I make sure to have lotion somewhere on hand at all times, whether it be my desk/bedside, backpack, or my evening purse.  Also, since I’m on a bit of a health kick as of late, I have found that wearing sweet smelling hand lotions helps me not indulge as much.  It’s probably all in my head, right? I’ve also switched out my body wash to a more fall themed scent.  While we’re on the topic of scents, I thought I might as well include the scents that I’ve been plopping into my wax warmer.  Unfortunately, since I live in a dorm room I cannot appreciate a regular candle.  

7208E4E9-9299-4604-ADAA-4CCB8B0C8243

Another thing which I thoroughly enjoy during the fall is the vampy makeup, which I feel like I can only wear during this particular season.  For my eyes I have been using the Lime Crime Venus palette which is filled with warm toned hues, perfect for fall. I’ve also been using the Kat Von D tattoo liner for a bold wing which lasts all day and night; perfect for the busy college gal who has no time for touch-ups! To get the I’ve-been-dead-for-over-a-century chiseled cheekbones trend (ya know what I’m talking about, right?) I’ve been using NARS Laguna bronzer.  I know what the makeup experts say about not using bronzers as contour, but I suppose I’ve always been a rebel. Who gives? On my lips I have been enjoying the MAC matte lipstick in the shade Studded Kiss. For my manicure, I’ve been loving the Essie shade “Wicked.”  Vampy queen of the dead, who? #IDon’tKnowHer

028EBF43-2BD6-421E-8C18-A1935C6DA7D3

WARM DRINKS! …sorry about that. I don’t know what came over me. A burst of passion, I suppose.  Warm fall flavored drinks are my life blood during the fall season.  Since I’m transitioning from coffee to tea during the mornings, I’ve been loving these three particular seasonal teas.  Celestial always have amazing seasonal flavors, and this month I have picked up the Caramel Apple Dream and Vermont Maple Ginger from my local Walmart.  They taste and smell amazing! Another tea that has been a fall favorite of mine for years now is the Trader Joe’s Spiced Chai tea.  I don’t really have a Trader Joe’s near me, so whenever a trip is made, this tea is on the shopping list! Not to mention, the packaging on all of these teas are hella cute.

One of my all time favorites, though, are the crisp and cozy nights spent cuddled with a blanket watching my favorite seasonal films, which include: The Corpse Bride, Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown and the Twilight series.  I can’t wait for FreeForm to start doing their 13 Nights of Halloween. You can check out their 2017 movie schedule here.  What are your Autumn favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Bath & Body Works lotion
Bath & Body Works wax melt (couldn’t find the one I bought, but here’s one similar)
Ulta Pumpkin Shower gel
Essie “Wicked” polish
Lime Crime Venus Eye Palette
NARS Laguna bronzer
Kat Von D tattoo liner
MAC matte “Studded Kiss” lipstick
Celestial Caramel Apple Dream tea
Celestial Vermont Maple Ginger tea
Trader Joe’s Spiced Chai tea

 

A Clash of Kings review and differences in the show

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

This past year I’ve been getting into Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series.  In the summer I finished the first book, and now I have finished the second book, A Clash of Kings, which is quite reminiscent of the Cousins War/the War of the Roses in medieval England.  As soon as I read the first book, I was reminded of this time in history and little did I know at the time, that the author, George R.R. Martin, was actually inspired by the war.

I knew and read about the War of the Roses years before I began reading GoT, as I’m a history buff when it comes to medieval England (fun fact: I worked as a pub wench at a Renaissance Festival. I know, classy).  This particular point in history I found quite interesting due to how scheming and lust for power ended up making cousins fight against one another in deadly battles and led terrible war crimes, including the slaughter of young children (read up on the princes in the tower; it’s quite an interesting story!). I could talk for ages about the War of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty, but I won’t bore you all with my odd obsession.  Although the first book, Game of Thrones, resembled the War of the Roses, I believe A Clash of Kings resembled the War even more so.  

Brother fights against brother in the book and everyone from the north to the south, and east to the west, believe they have a stake to the Iron Throne.  Deception and ambition are what drive the story, as Westeros soon begins to be divided again.  I believe I loved this book more so than the first as we got to see the inner-workings behind each King and how they went forward trying to make their claim.  

I particularly was interested in the character Tyrion, and how he went on keeping King’s Landing under Lannister control despite all odds.  Tyrion was not wanted by his sister, Cersei, or by his nephew, King Joffrey, but his father, who Tyrion thought despised him, made it possible for Tyrion to become King’s Hand.  Tyrion used his knowledge and mindful prowess to stop King’s Landing from falling and kept his head on his shoulders the entire time.  Every chapter in the perspective of Tyrion was very well written and kept me interested.  I am not saying all of the other chapters were trash, but I suppose they just didn’t interest me as much.  

Surprisingly, there weren’t as many chapters in the perspective of Daenerys, who takes up a lot of screen time in the show.  She is a much beloved character, and rightfully so, but I believe her character did not grow as much in this book, but character development was focused on the other characters (Tyrion, Theon, Arya, Bran and Jon in particular). For the majority of the book, Daenerys is just trying to get men and ships to bring her to Westeros.  Ironically, she can be seen as a “Beggar Queen” in this book, much like her brother Viserys, was called the “Beggar King”, as she’s just asking for men and ships from others who have more power than her.  I believe her dragons could just be seen as tools in this book to make Daenerys appear more powerful.

I enjoyed seeing new characters added to the chapter perspective list in this book, including the characters of Davos and Theon Greyjoy.  Davos was just used as a tool to show the readers a “behind the scenes” look of what Stannis Baratheon is doing to make his claim for the Iron Throne, including his use of the Red Priestess to get what he wants.  The character of Theon Greyjoy was annoying as usual, but it was interesting to see why Theon does the things he does as well as where he came from and family background.  

You may be curious to know if I have watched the show or not, and my answer? Yes and no.  I am not caught up to the most recent episode and I don’t plan to be for quite some time.  On the GoT wikia website, they show which chapters are in each episode, and I’ve been reading the chapters before watching each episode.  It takes time, but for me it’s worth it because I’m able to enjoy the episode a bit more and am able to see the differences between the books and the show.  

There are a lot of chronological differences between the book and the show, but that’s understandable.  There are some differences between the scenes and how they play out, but everything ends the same way.  One difference that kind of annoyed me is the fact that Theon killed Ser Rodrik in the show, right in front of Bran and his brother, through a botched execution.  In the books, Ser Rodrik simply died in battle, and by that time, Bran and his brother had hidden themselves in the crypts.  Although Theon is definitely an annoying asshole of a character, I don’t believe him killing off Ser Rodrik was necessary, as it only made him look more annoying. In the books, there is more depth to Theon, and they don’t portray that depth very well in the show.

Also, the character of Cersei is more intricate in the books, but simply portrayed as a cold hearted bitch in the TV show.  I agree that she is a cold hearted bitch, but I believe her intentions are more clearly portrayed in the books than on the show.  Plus, there are a few scenes in the book where Cersei is shown as…nice? I know, hard to believe, but it’s true! Also in the book, the relationship between Cersei and Tyrion is seen a bit more.  It shows that since they are family, they respect one another, but quarrel nonstop because of their obvious differences and disagreements.  There were some parts in the book where Cersei and Tyrion interact with one another, which I would have loved to see on the screen, but were totally cut out from the show.  One such scene is where Cersei picks up Tyrion and swings him around the room in excitement, but due to how the writers of the show want to portray Cersei, that scene was cut out.  

All in all, I love the book and the show and I plan on continuing reading the series.  If you have not gotten into the whole GoT craze, I definitely recommend the books as they are literary works of art.  

Pumpkin Picking

This past weekend during midterm break, I invited a couple of my friends to go back to my hometown with me. Whilst we were there we drove to a local farm to get pumpkins. Unfortunately, they were closed. So, we went to go picking apple at Fruit Valley to get my mom some macs. Little did I realize, they had pumpkins there as well! I did not get any photos of us picking apples, but I got tons of us with the pumpkins. It had been raining all day and it was becoming a bit late in the afternoon, so I called ahead to make sure the places I had in mind were open. Two of the three were closed for picking, so Fruit Valley was our saving grace! I’ve gone to Fruit Valley several times in the past with my family, and I have always loved it there.

When we arrived it was pretty obvious that Fruit Valley was better known for their apple orchard than their pumpkins. Although they had an amazing assortment of Halloween carving pumpkins, they did not have a good number of smaller pumpkins, which I had in mind to decorate my dorm room. I did manage to find some pumpkins that I liked, though, as I ended up getting two large Halloween pumpkins for my family to put in front of our door, and three small baby pumpkins to scatter around my dorm room, which were actually the last three! And of course, we got a full bag of mac apples.

Whether you want to pick your own pumpkins, apples, or you just simply want to stroll through the fields on an autumn day, I would definitely recommend a pick-your-own farm!

Bookshelf Sunday: Stuff Parisians Like

One thing I do every night before I lay my head down to sleep is read.  I love reading.  I’m a bookworm.  Whether it be nonfiction or fiction, mystery or humor, whatever genre, I do not care.  Reading a book before I sleep has become an essential part of my daily routine and I believe it is something which helps me wind down and maintain my sanity.  Whenever I feel over my head, I pick up a book, read, and work through it.  So, I figure why not write about them.

Just today, I finished a fun gem of a book called Stuff Parisians Like by Olivier Magny.  I ordered this book at the beginning of the school year from Barnes & Noble, along with another book about Paris (which I will probably show you at some point) in the same order.  I don’t know why, but I have some sort of affinity for Paris, France in general, really.  I’ve never traveled to France before, but I hope to someday.  Perhaps I’ll travel there for my honeymoon if some gent decides to put a ring on it.

SPL was not something I expected to be humorous.  I just thought it would be an insightful guide to things Parisians like, and perhaps make me not look like a tourist if I ever decide to visit.  Little did I know that Magny created a work of humor and ball-busting.  Whether or not the way he describes Parisians is truthful, I’ll have to determine for myself.  The work was satirical yet intelligent, as he pointed out the things Parisians like, but also made fun of them for it.  He painted the Parisian as snobby and ignorant, but ones with refined taste and contemplative.  Who knew someone could be ignorant and deep thinking at the same time? Not me!

Magny characterized an entire population with one book, which says it all.  Not even halfway through the book I began to wonder whether I should take his words seriously at all, but everything seemed so believable! I applaud him for making his experience with the Parisian enjoyable to read, and being cheeky enough to plug his own Parisian wine tasting bar, O Chateau, at the end and in the middle of his book.

The book itself provided me with an interest in learning French, as well, since a lot of the book I had to type into Google translator to make sense of.  Also, because I intend on going to Paris one day, I made several notes in the book for future reference.  The book, aside from the satirical ball busting, made me want to incorporate some Parisian things into my daily life. For example, moderation and replacing butter with olive oil.  Some more humorous things Parisians like that I have incorporated has been calling people fascist when I don’t agree with them (I’m not really that narrow-minded, I swear), and reading the books in someone’s home I’ve just been invited to so I can learn more about them.  Honestly, though, Magny has really made me convinced that Parisians are a peculiar breed.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who is as interested in Paris and France like I am.  

 

P.S. It was also noted that Parisians allegedly like New York…lucky me!

but I'm working through it