Thursday, June 4, 2015

So I'm not sure why Bloglovin' isn't updating with my most recent posts, but after wondering all my blogging friend are at, I've realized it's an issue. Of course, I realized two full weeks after my launch and my giveaway (although one is happening right now!), and you probably thought I died :(

But I'm still here! I've emailed Bloglovin' support to hopefully switch my URL over and fix the issue, but until that's done, come visit me over on my new site!


x K

Here We Go!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to say that The Kari Diaries is officially under construction! With plans to relaunch my site and my brand on Friday (Monday, at the latest but most likely Friday!), I'm disabling comments for my most recent posts. Of course, this has nothing to do with not wanting to hear all your thoughts - umm, hello, you are the best - and more to do with the fact that any comments made now won't be carried over to the new site/blog (and I don't want that!).

Change is always weird and a little scary, but I am so beyond excited for this project to finally launch into something that you all can actually see for yourselves. I just don't have the words! I'll post updates via Instagram and social media so look out for me there, especially over the next few days.

See you so very soon!

x K

When A Book Becomes A Television Show & You Can't Contain Your Excitement

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I should specify that The Mortal Instruments (TMI) was previously turned into a movie in 2013, and not such a great movie at that. Yet, still the excitement for the new TMI t.v. show, titled simply "Shadowhunters", has taken over my free time recently. I scour the twitterverse a few times daily looking for more TMI news like a fiend. It's a problem, yet not a problem I particularly hate having, I can't lie.
But I get ahead of myself. I was suppose to start this post with a little PSA. For anyone who's part of our bookclub, you're probably (maybe?) wondering where the hell April's book review is. Kay and I have had a super busy month and neither of us has actually finished the novel yet. So instead of pushing dates back or not giving a novel I've heard is fantastic the attention and recognition it deserves, we're gonna roll it over to next month. Meaning the May book of the month is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and we'll be reviewing it on Tuesday, June 2nd. Okay? Okay. Now back to all the Shadowhunter talk...

Beware, this is one for the bookworms, a-hem, bookdragons.
Photo from @the_mortal_instruments on IG.
After waiting months since the announcement of the show in October of 2014, we've been inundated with so much news this past two weeks. All of said news has made me so excited for the show that I'm currently re-reading the 700+ paged City of Heavenly Fire even though I have dozens of other books I need to read. Priorities...
Generally, I love them. Just simply love.

Jace Wayland - He is just so perfect as Jace! Movie Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) didn't really match Book Jace in my head, so while everyone was hoping for Jamie to reprise the role, I was ready for some new, admittedly hot, blood. And that's exactly what we got for our TV Jace, Dom Sherwood.

Simon Lewis & Isabelle Lightwood - Now despite all the uproar about this casting (more on this in the next section), this might be my favorite casting of them all. I spent the better part of an afternoon watching tape of Alberto Rosende (Simon) and OMG he is such a great actor. I'm most excited to see what he does with this role. As for Emeraude Toubia (Isabelle), she is exactly how I pictured Isabelle - long black hair, full lips, and simply stunning.

Clary Fray - I wasn't as invested in Clary's casting beforehand because honestly, I don't think it takes much to physically cast her character. But somehow, Kat McNamara looks like I expected Clary to look.

Alec Lightwood & Luke Garroway - At first, I was just okay with both of these. I love Kevin Zegers but I did think he was too old for the part in the movie so I was glad to get someone younger (although TV Alec, Matt Daddario, looks like like a baby). And Luke, well although I actually really liked Movie Luke, I didn't mind the casting of Isaiah Mustafa. However, both of these choices grew on me, especially after hearing Isaiah's clip, and they are perfect for the roles.
Cassandra Clare, the author of all Shadowhunter series including TMI, just shot to the top of my favorite authors/persons list. Although I love her novels and The Infernal Devices trilogy is one of my favorites ever, it's her comments on the casting and her response to unreasonable tweets that has made me obsessed with her twitter feed these past few days.

Cassie has make it crystal clear - she supports diversity. As casting news began to leak and the show began selecting more diverse actors for the character roles, she said this:

You can read her more in depth response to a fan question on her tumblr here, but basically, she's perfectly fine, happy even, with the wide range of representation in her cast of characters. Expanding upon the tweet above, she speaks candidly saying that she told producers and the network that "...while the characters who are characters of color in the book (Magnus, Maia, Raphael) must remain as characters of color, and be cast that way, I [have] no such feelings about characters who were white or white-assumed."

At that statement, I legit put down my phone and clapped. Because, there is no denying it - she just gets it. I love when people understand the struggle of others although they aren't necessarily similarly situated. Cassie acknowledges that her privilege exists and she aims to connect with her diverse readers by supporting the inclusion of diversity in derivatives of her work, although it wasn't as present in her original.

But she went even further than that. Cassie took to twitter after the casting announcement last week, informing fans that the characters of Simon and Isabelle would be played by a Latin actor and actress. In response to tweets complaining that the original characters were not hispanic and "no! so is the entire Lightwood family gonna be Spanish now?" and "but how can Simon be Jewish if he's Latin now?" (and about a hundred other comments ranging from simply misinformed to what I would consider outright racist), Cassie responded to her fans via direct tweets and retweeted particularly prejudicial tweets as a means of "calling her fans out". Unlike many authors whose work becomes the subject of controversy, Cassie didn't "stay out of it" but rather jumped in to defend her characters, the casting decisions and diverse representation like a, well, like a Shadowhunter :)

We may have known the show was coming, but all of this casting talk has made it seem like such a reality. In regards to casting and the addition of diversity, I'm all for it. So long as we have an Isabelle who's sassy, a Jace who's smart-assy, a Simon who's charmingly awkward and a Luke who's as kind as he is wise (among all the other things we love about Cassie's characters), I'm game.

What do you think about the Shadowhunters casting? In fact, what are your thoughts about casting for book adaptations in general? Discuss it with me below!

May's Monthly Goals

Thursday, May 7, 2015

When I posted my April monthly goals, I was really excited for the recap where I got to say "I did all these things." Ha! You'd think I'd forgotten to make goals, considering the expertise with which I ignored them. But we don't give up around these parts, especially when setting goals and connecting with other bloggers is so damn fun. So I'm linking up with Drea again for May goals.

First, we recap, although we really, really don't want to. Last month we promised we'd:

  1. Lose some weight - I'm counting this as done. I haven't weighed myself recently, but clothes are fitting a bit loser and my eating habits have been loads better since then.
  2. Read Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky - Pssh! Nope. Total fail on this one. 
  3. Complete a few projects - WIN! More info on this below.
  4. Finish the draft of my novel - Ha! Who am I kidding? 
  5. Comment on blog - Another major fail, but one that will be changing next week at the latest. 
So I'm batting what? Like 200? Eeep! Well, on to May's goals:

+ Write the novel - Last month's fail at this puts my D2 deadline of June somewhere out there in a land I call "not gonna happen." But I can't let that ruin my motivation. All I can do is place this goal back on the list and hope for better this time. "Let the guilt remind us to do better next time." (Quote stolen from Divergent obviously because I'm a book nerd.)

+ Read Notes from Underground - I'm not that much of a book nerd clearly seeing as this too is a carry over from last month. Instead I read other books, like A Thousand Pieces of You (which I loved and reviewed here), as well as currently re-reading City of Heavenly Fire because talk of the tv show this week put me in the mood. I really need to read more classics, though I'll never leave YA land for good. I love you, YA <3
Note: Quick mini goal. I need to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by next week, because that review was suppose to be up this past Tuesday and, well, it wasn't. Fail.

+ Build the "I Feel Infinite" Series - I mentioned last week that I was beginning an Instagram series where I'd be posting my original prose daily. I've been doing great so far, but then again, it's only been like, what, 6 days? Not throwing a victory party just yet. However, I did successfully put myself out there and finally completed one of those projects on my list, so I have high hopes for this month.

+ Keep losing weight - Self-explanatory, right? For reals.

+ Launch my website - Another project I've been working on for the past six weeks, and a kinda big one in the internet/blogging world, right? I'm working steadily on building a website to house my freelance work and my blog and well, just my internet self, and I'm excited to combine everything into my own little space. The url "www.thekaridiaries.com" will still function and link directly to my blog page, but branding, design and platform will be changing over sometime next week. I'm so excited to share this new space with you, but for now, a sneak peek will be post on my Instagram this afternoon!

+ Launch a newsletter - Everything I've ever read about building a brand and an internet presence has one thing in common: start a newsletter. I've always shied away from it because it seems so official, you know? But having subscribed to a few over the past couple of months and launching the Skylights newsletter, I've realized how fun it can be. A newsletter gives you the opportunity to just talk readers informally, like sitting around with your girlfriends gossiping and draining bottles of wine. And I mean, I wanna do that with you all! <3

What are your goals for the month? Have you linked up with Drea?

April Favorites

Friday, May 1, 2015

I revived favorites posts last month and I have to admit how excited I was to jump into this post today. I'm glad I don't pump out favorite posts weekly (that's a little too much for me) but I love talking about things I'm loving recently and what you are loving too!

Before I jump in, I started a new Instagram series showcasing some of my writing. More information below (my favorite moment!).

Beauty Product: LA Girl Matte Pigment Lip Gloss

The name's a little long, but the product - the product is dy-no-mite! Seriously, I am so in love with this matte gloss. I personally have the shades "Timeless" and "Secret", but every single one of these colors are gorgeous. It's a relatively new product so it may be sold out at your local beauty store, but it's available online here and here

Moment: "I Feel Infinite" IG Prose

It just started today, but as it was an idea born in April, it counts! I talk a lot about embracing my identity as a writer. And every now and then I tell you about participating in NaNoWriMo or writing a short story, but I don't put my writing out there daily (aside from my stream of thought scribblings in blog posts). And although I'm really scared to, I know I have to, that it's the only way to really know if my writing connects with people.

I've seen a lot of poets who post their pieces (or pieces of pieces) on Instagram and have built a community of poets and writers who support each other's work. Like most writers, I so want that! Being a writer can be lonely because you can't really share your work with others until it's complete, which can be months, years even. But I want to connect with other writers and people who like my work sooner.

So I've decided to start posting my shorter prose on my Instagram at least once a day. I've titled the series "I Feel Infinite", borrowing the infamous phrase from Stephen Chobsky's Perks of Being Wallflower, because Charlie <3 You can read more about all that here, and check out my first post at 1 p.m. today! Eeep!

Book: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This was a really hard choice. I've read a few great novels this month, including the book I'm reviewing for Skylights on Monday, A Thousand Pieces of You. But My Life Next Door was just everything I needed it to be. It follows the story of Samantha, an overprotected, seventeen year-old girl during the summer before her senior year, and the day she finally meets the boy next door, a member of the dreaded "Garretts". I expected it to be a good cute romantic contemporary, but I didn't expect the depth and the phenomenal characters. I have so many thoughts about this, all of which I'll talk about later in a review, but just go, go read it. You will absolutely love it! Need more convincing? This line sums up my love for the book:

George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although at this point, with green teeth. "I might marry you," he allows. "Do you want a big family?"
I start to cough and feel a hand pat my back.
"George, it's usually better to discuss this kind of thing with your pants on." Jase drops the boxer shorts at George's feet...
 Also, I kinda squealed when I discover there's a companion novel releasing this summer! Say what? I'm in there.


"Chiromancer" by Copeland; "Trap Queen" by Fetti Wap

The stark difference between these two songs is both hilarious and a bit weird. How am I equally obsessed with songs that are so different? Nevertheless, I am. Copeland's track is perfect for thinking (as are so many of their songs) so I play it mostly when I'm writing or walking at night. To me, something about it feels kinda epic. I know that's weird, but hey, I said it. Now, Trap Queen? Trap Queen is faarrr from epic LOL. But it's got a bomb ass beat and makes me want to move. And it would kinda bring out the ratchet in me, if I had any, which I don't, of course :)

Celebrity: Meghan Rienks

She's not actually a celebrity because she's a YouTuber, but really, I don't doubt that she'll reach true celebrity status very soon. Her videos really brighten my day because her personality is so fun and sassy and she's hilarious without really trying to be. She's also gorgeous but almost oblivious to it, so it makes her personality shine even more. Check out her videos here and here.

Laugh: "It's Gonna Be May!"

Well, technically it's already May, but every year this meme cracks me up! This song is still the jam, too.

What are some of your April favorites?

Things I'm Not Good At

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's been that kinda week ya'll. The week that already feels long as hell even though it's only Tuesday night. Busy weeks I can handle, but long weeks? I'm no good at those.

Sometimes it helps to just say it, say "I suck at this" so you can face it head on or just learn to accept it. Although I'm not sure what good this post will do you. Maybe you'll see something on this list that you're terrible at and think "good it's not just me". Or maybe they'll be a few that make you feel better because you're spectacular at knitting a blanket from polyester scraps. Who knows? Hopefully, it's entertaining at the least.
++ Texting back. 
Anyone who's had the pleasure, or perhaps the curse, of texting me already knows this. I'm a shit texter. I'm always "just seeing something" or missing texts completely. With me, there's no in between - either I text back in 5 seconds or in 5 days. I'm sorry, I love you, please keep texting me.

++ Doing the things I've planned. 
I'm a planner. I have a super expensive (and probably unnecessary) planner and I decorate it like I'm trying to win an award. I write things out all pretty-like and then I don't do half of the things on my list. I'm a functioning adult for the most part, but like cleaning my closet and prepping meals for the week are recurring items on the to-do list week after week.

++ Vacuuming. 
Because I have to drag it out of it's hiding spot in the back of my coat closet. And it's loud. And I always get the urge to vacuum at around midnight when my neighbors are soundly asleep.

++ Washing dishes.
We've talked about this, and you understand <3

++ Being consistent.
This is a more recent development. I've always been a pretty consistent person. I procrastinate sure, that's always been the case, but I was always consistent. Recently, I've been getting overwhelmed with all the ideas I think up and then executing anything feels like so much pressure. I'm working on it. It's coming along.
I have been consist over at Skylights Magazine though! We post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I wrote this post today :)

++ Being brief.
If you've been reading this blog for any duration of time, you know this already. Homegirl can't say it short and sweet to save her life. Over the years, I've tried to make brevity my friend, but for the most part, it just didn't take. I mean, I can be brief sure. But it's just not who I am. I get too excited about things. And I don't have time to be anyone other than me. Ya know?

++ Watching television.
Don't get it twisted. I'm a pro at binge-watching television shows until my eyelids are heavier than even the most sleep-deprived law student's. But that doesn't make me good at watching television at all. Good at it would be watching a few hours and going to bed, not consuming episodes of the 100 all through the night.

++ Running.
I desperately want to be a runner. I can't really explain it, but being a runner in the city is like being so on top of your game. I see a girl running on the Pier at night and I think "get it, girl". I wanna get it too, whatever she's over there getting. I'm just not a very good runner. I'm trying though!

++ Waking up in the morning.
I basically have to extract myself from my bed in the mornings. Despite my attempts at becoming a "morning person", I experience separation anxiety everyday I have to get out of my bed before noon.

++ Feeding myself. 
Heaven knows I do not need to be a mother anytime soon because I can barely feed myself. Last night's dinner was all of deli turkey, Trader Joe's snap pea chips and a tub of frozen yogurt. *Insert wide-eyed emoji here* Dear Balanced Diet, you can show up anytime, really.

Truthfully, we all suck at something, right? And I guess it's good to be able to admit that. Tell me what you're not so great at below and make me feel less like a weirdo, yes?

Confessin' on a Thursday

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm wack. I had this grand plan to confess things on Wednesday with the rest of the blogging world and then it was well past midnight and I had a million things to do and I didn't get a chance to finish this post. Welp! Confessin' on a Thursday, it is! Kinda like going up on a Tuesday, no? Ok, yeah.

++ I'm a perfectionist.

++ I haven't washed dishes in over a week. No lie. I could use the fact that I ran out of dish detergent as an excuse, but really, I just didn't feel like it.

++ The highlight of my week was the casting announcement for the Shadowhunters t.v. show (aka The Mortal Instruments). Fellow Shadowhunters, say hello to Dom Sherwood, our Jace Wayland, . He's like... perfect.

++ Working out is not, well, working out.

++ I'm a handwritten notes kinda gal. There are a million sticky notes and scraps of paper littering my apartment.

++ I buy candy, tell myself it's for guests and that I'm not gonna eat it all, then promptly devour it.

++ I finally saw the 50 Shades of Grey movie and although I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would, it was still pretty baaaaddddd.

++ Every time I see someone's travel pics, I feel my heart breaking. I've got the wanderlust, ya'll. I've got it bad.

++ Recently, I've been taking night walks around the city and the views, the lights, the warm spring air may just be making me a bigger NYC snob than I already am. Eeep!

Happy 1-Month Birthday, Skylights!

Friday, April 17, 2015

I totally took the week off there. And the shit blogger award goes to... Does it make it better if I say that I have content lined up for the rest of the month? :)

The truth is I've been so very busy with Skylights for the past month. And I'm just so very proud of the content we have up over there! So before I launch back into regular blogging after my little hiatus, I figured I'd highlight a few of my favorite Skylights articles from the first issue in honor of the magazine turn one month. (It's the little things, people!)

Of course, I'd vote NYC but then again, I'm partial to the city :) This is the 5th entry in NYC v. LA, a series about highlighting and comparing them. Analogies of our cities, if you will. For example, Washington Square Park is to NYC as _________ is to LA. You'll find the answer to that in this post!

Having drafted and redrafted this post nearly half-a-dozen times, I'm actually quite proud of it! You know when you write something - a blog post, an article, a scene in a novel, whatever - and it teaches you something in the process? Well, this post did that for me.

When you grow up in a city is so easy to take it for granted, to become disconnected to the very place you call home. But if there's one thing you should always remember, it's that there's always a way back home.

It was terrifying for her, of course, as can be expected. She'd spent a great portion of her life in love, assuming they' be together forever. And then time passed, things go hazy and she was nowhere to be found.

As someone who thinks entirely too much and frequently can't get her hands to catch up with her head, I really appreciated this post.

Another article I was excited about, people seemed to really connect with this article when it was published a few weeks ago, which is fitting considering the subject matter. And because of how it was received, it's become a favorite.

The city isn't just glitz and glamour, but there's nothing wrong with a little stardom! I compiled a list of television and movie sets to visit in NYC.

Times Square is to NYC as _______ is to LA? Analogies, analogies all around!

My plans for the weekend include cleaning, pre-writing about a dozen blog posts and commenting on a zillion other blogs. Got any exciting plans? No matter, have a good one!

April's Monthly Goals

Friday, April 10, 2015

I probably should have done this post a week ago, but alas, I had no idea I even wanted to do such a post until like two days ago, when I saw it on other blogs (one being The Drea Daily). Eeep! Still, it's only a week in and it's always a good time to set new goals. Right? Right.

+ Lose some real weight - I know, I know. Fitness is about the way you feel, the confidence in wearing your clothes, the health of your body. And I'm not diminishing any of that. But truly, I need to lose some el beessss. Point, blank, period.

+ Read Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky - It's pretty heavy stuff, but I've been wanting to pick it up again for a while now. I read portions of it years ago for a presentation in law school, but as those were more stressful times, I want to read it in its entirety now. It's dense but it really isn't that long. And if I can read upteen books about shadowhunters, assassins and mal-adjusted teenagers, I can find time to read this.

+ Complete a few projects - One of my biggest bad habits as a kid was being a dreamer not a doer. I'd think up all these bright ideas and embark on new things and then somewhere in the middle I'd lose steam. As I've grown older, this has changed, but recently, I feel like I'm five again, getting all excited about my shiny new toy at the store and then forgetting where I've stashed it.

+ Finish the first draft of my novel - Considering that April is Camp NaNoWriMo and I'm suppose to be participating in Camp NaNo, this should be a given, but it's 10 days in and I have yet to write a single word, so... clearly, it needs to be said. My original deadline for D1 was the new year, which clearly has been pushed back multiple times. But if I have any chance of meeting my own self-imposed "done" date, I need to be through D2 by the end of June :\  

+Comment on blogs - I'm sure you've noticed, but for the past month or so, I've been complete shit at commenting on other people's blogs. Everyday I set out with the goal in mind and then I get stuck doing other things and I'm falling asleep vowing to do it tomorrow. I still love you all, I swear!

Got any goals for the month? Feeling inspired to set a few goals of your own? Join me in linking up with Drea!

Reveal Radiant Skin

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I don't think I have the words to describe how excited the weather in the city has been making me recently. For the past few days, it's been relatively sunny and pretty damn warm (50s and 60s is basically tropical weather for us eastcoasters who've been living under a layer of ice for months). I've shed my snuggly winter coat in favor of a light jacket and I couldn't be more thankful.

Another thing it's about time to shed now that spring is here? Your skin. Gross. That sounded a lot better in my head. But it's true - that winter skin has got to go! About two months ago, Deb and I shared our tips for protecting your winter skin. Now, we're sharing a few of our favorite products to cleanse and exfoliate said skin.

(1) Philosophy Purity One Step Cleanser
It was a March favorite for a reason! No doubt about it - Purity is a 'Holy Grail' product for me. I'll buy it over and over again without fail. It's smooth and cleans without being sudsy and drying, and it's a makeup remover, cleanser and toner all in one. One step and a little moisturizer and I'm done! In fact, the cleanser is so hydrating I can get away with skipping moisturizer. I kid you not! Plus, I get 8 fl. oz. for $24 and it works perfectly with my Clarisonic Mia.

(2) Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil
Nearly six years ago, someone at I knew at Sephora gave me a sample of this and I've been hooked ever since. Not only do I love the scent (I believe there's rosewater in it!) and the feel of the oil on my face, but this oil can be used to remove makeup and cleanse at the same time. It's only the price tag at nearly $40 for 3.4 fl. oz. that keeps me from repurchasing constantly, but I spring for the set (it comes with a pretty good wash and cleanser) every 18 months or so, just to have it at the ready.  

(3) Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub
Considered an "acne wash", this product is sort of a crossover between a face cleanser and an exfoliator. Personally, as it is a bit to harsh for me for everyday, I use it as an exfoliator. Every couple of days, I apply it between gently cleansing and toning. This scrub smells amazing and really seems to brighten my complexion.

(4) Shea Moisture Lavender & Wild Orchid Scrub
It's not only the skin on your face that needs exfoliating. Your body's also been put through the ringer due to the cold weather. Like a python (do python's shed? Or it is another kind of snake? Or all snakes in general? Clearly, this girl wasn't about that science life), it's time to reveal that bright, new skin! This Shea Moisture scrub is a newer favorite. I picked it up sometime last fall after I ran out of Lush's Ocean Salt, and realized that it was almost as good as Ocean Salt, and umm a fraction of the price :)

(5) St. Ives Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Body Wash
People seriously sleep on St. Ives products! St. Ives is always a hit for me, and the price range of their products makes it a steal every time. The citrus scent of this body wash wakes me right up in the morning and evens out my skin tone over time. Of course, there are different scents if you're not into smelling like an orange tree, two of which I've tried and liked, apricot and shea butter.

(6) Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash
Now that spring is here, I've brought this baby back out. It's a favorite for sure! It smells like sweet lime and its silky texture feels so luxurious on the skin. Its scent doesn't really fit in the colder months, but once it gets warm, it's one of the very few washes in rotation. More expensive than drugstore for sure, but less than many of the other high-end brands, and completely worth it.

What are your favorite cleansers and exfoliators? I could use a recommendation for a good drugstore face cleanser. Oh & make sure you check out Deb's post - no doubt she's got a few for the wishlist!

To Fill Up & Live | Love Lucy

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Before I jump into March's book review, I wanted to thank you all for all the support you've shown Skylights Magazine over the past two weeks! It's been a whirlwind and I'm so grateful. I've written a post over there about learning how to edit as a writer, if you're interested :)


Title: Love, Lucy

Author: April Lindner

Publication: 2015

I feel bad for this book. Not because I didn't enjoy it because I did. However, because of the subject matter of this novel, it gets compared to and falls a little short of other novels that I love. Love Lucy is a novel about travel and romance and a bit of self-discovery. In that vein, it gets placed in my mental library beside one of my favorites, Anna and the French Kiss, as well as a recent read, My Life Next Door. As I've mentioned already in a full review, Anna and the French Kiss is a story about travel, first loves and self discovery, while My Life Next Door (thoughts coming later this month) is a story of family and summer romances. Both were phenomenal. And however unfairly, Love Lucy just can't hold a candle to either of those novels.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it because I absolutely did! Linder's writing style was solid and she did a wonderful job of making the reader long for foreign places. I felt like I was 16 again (the age I traveled to Italy) awestruck by all of the Italian scenery. When I visited I really adored both Florence, which is like a European NYC, and Rome, so seeing those places again was a bit nostalgic. And I really loved the mention of the classic Roman Holiday - great movie! I also really liked the message of this novel for our main character Lucy. About following your heart both on a personal and professional level. The pressures of society and family especially can be heavy to bare so it was good to see a character struggling with some of those things and figuring them out. It made the novel interesting, although I have to admit that some parts got a little repetitive and I may have skimmed through quite a few chapters (Eep!).
For me, where Love Lucy falls short of the two novels mentioned earlier is in the love department. Although I liked the characters individually, Lucy and her Italian beau Jesse just didn't seem to have much chemistry beyond the typical "whirlwind foreign romance" variety of most travel books. Don't get me wrong, they serve a purpose in each other lives in this book. But it's a purpose that could be furthered by a friendship just as much as a relationship. That ache of loving someone? I just didn't feel it. And because of that, as one of those readers that loves shipping her characters, I couldn't really connect with the progression of the storyline.

All in all, Love Lucy was a fun read. If you're looking for a novel about travel and how it changes you, this is a decent option. Is it worth an impulsive purchase on your Kindle and a speedy read through? Probably so. Will it change you? Probably not.


April's book is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Winner of multiple awards, including the Prince Award, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a heart-warming novel about the classic tale of how polar opposites attract, about that friendship that can change the course of your life. Having heard so very much about the brilliance of this novel, I have been looking forward to reading it for over a year, so I'm very excited to jump into it this month! This would be a great month to join us! Review will be on May 5th.

Did you read Love Lucy with us this month? Got any thoughts? Or maybe some recommendations for travel, romance books? Let me know!

March Favorites

Friday, April 3, 2015

Long, long ago, I decided against writing friday favorites posts every week because it felt like cheating. But honestly, I miss babbling about the things I really love. So I thought, "let's take a page from YouTube and do monthly favorites." Why, yes. Wonderful idea, inner goddess (LOL at that 50 Shades shout-out. Bleh).

Beauty Product: Philosophy Purity Facial Cleanser

I have to admit that I'd been neglecting my skin for a while. Or at least I wasn't treating it well. I'd run out of my Purity cleanser and thought "I don't need to repurchase it. I'll just use that cheap-o one/sample right over here." Lies! My skin just wasn't feeling the same, and by mid-month I needed to get to Sephora. Hey, holy grail products are holy grail for a reason, right?

Moment: Exploring TSQ

Well, you guys already know about Skylights, as I've mentioned it to no end this past month. I'd say the launching of that was definitely my favorite moment of the month. Specifically, exploring Times Square at night for an NYC v. LA post. I forget how spectacular that area can be because I spend so much time trying to avoid the crowds up there, so it was nice to reconnect again.

Book & Movie: Perks of Being A Wallflower

If you saw any of my posts this month, you knew this was coming! I'd normally have a favorite book and a favorite movie, but both the Perks novel and the movie adaptation were so phenomenal it takes over both categories. Sorry, not sorry. It's amazing!
Ps: book review should be coming soon.

Song: Elastic Heart by Sia

If it were a record, I would've broken it two weeks ago. Seriously, I play it constantly and sing it at random intervals throughout the day. Anything Sia makes is pretty much an insta-love for me, but I really love the message of the song. It's kinda sad, but also so empowering! It's also inspiration for a scene in a novel I'm not suppose to be writing because I haven't finished Omission yet. Whoops!

Treat: Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins

This is not my picture of the milk chocolate covered raisins, for if it were, it would be a photo of an empty carton. They are long gone, having purchased them almost a week ago, and tasty things do not last very long in this apartment. Kinda not-so-bad-for-you treat like these have been my go-to recently. It makes me feel better about #beastmode not being a soaring success. 

Celebrity: Shaliene Woodley

Maybe it's because I just saw Insurgent a few days ago (which was a good movie, totally different than the book as expected, but still pretty good) or because she's been all over the media for movie promotion, but anything with her name attached to it immediately gets my attention. Like J Law, I just love how she stays out of the limelight as much as possible and doesn't "do" social media. I think it makes me want to know more about her. Plus, she has a deep, husky voice that I wish was mine and gorgeous expressive eyes that I also wish were mine.

Laugh: Subaru Legacy Commercial

Every single time I see this commercial I cry from laughter, partly because it's funny but mostly because it's so damn cute! When he yells back "I'm five!", the tears are real, guys.

Now off to visit all of your blogs and see what you've been talking about recently. With everything happening recently, I've been kinda crap at that. Eeeep!

Meeting Cory Matthews

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Last time I did a 'storytime' post I got some pretty awesome feedback, and because, I mean - who doesn't like awesome feedback?, I'm bringing it back. 

Freshman year on a huge campus in the northeast. As can be expected, the university's frat row is crawling with students, or rather predators, prey and the perpetually drunk girl down the hall, who on this one night blends in with her fellow18-year olds. (She's also the one exclaiming "See, it's fun!" to her companions as if this absolves her from ridicule during the week. No, Suzi, you'll still be the only drunk err, 'fun' one come Monday afternoon.) Touring the frats is pretty much the norm for any underage kid looking to go out in this college town, and my friends and I are no exception.

I don't really remember where I meet him. This boy who looks like Cory Matthews. But that is the very first thing I think when I meet him. "OMG, he looks like Cory!" I whisper-scream to my friend shortly after meeting him, receiving a very 'so what' look in response. I should probably mention now that Cory Matthews was my first ever crush at the ripe old age of 5. Sah-woon. So when a handful of friends insist that this Cory Matthews look-a-like 'definitely likes me', I'm not exactly upset, to say the least. He is really cute, in that adorable, bashful kind of way, and at least 6ft 2'. And despite looking like Cory, he wears a backwards cap and lets his jean hang off his hips in that attractive way guys do. Let's call said boy *Tommy.

Cory Tommy and I spend a lot of time together, just not actually alone together. As most freshman do, we travel in a pack of about 10 to 20 every time we go out, but Tommy and I would always separate from the group, standing a distance away from everyone but not so far that it's uncomfortable. I've always gotten along really well with guys, so I don't think much of it. I mean, I hang out quite frequently with one of the other guys trading CDs to copy onto our iPods, and another friend chases me down the hallway with a can of Nair. I'm no stranger to guy friends. It isn't until one night when we wander into some truly random frat with a dance floor that I realize "yeah I think this guy's into me." He isn't much of a dancer (has rhythm but not quite sure how to use it. Not that I'm a big dancer either. I can hold a beat/note, but that's about it), but he keeps pulling me out onto the dance floor so he has an excuse to touch my waist, my hips. He also compliments my cowboy boots and denim skirt (it was a Western themed night!) by saying "you sure do pull that off, don't you?" and staring down at me through his eyelashes. We babble back towards campus slightly buzzed and holding hands when we think no one is looking.

A few weeks later, we find The Mudhouse, a fraternity house just off the 'main row' where one of the brothers really likes to stare at my boobs - so much that I'm almost never on the list but always let in, and said brother always hands me a Bud Light can to replace the shitty Nattie Light on tap for everyone else.  And then, one totally normal night at The Mudhouse, something totally not normal happens.

The Mudhouse is having some really weird invite-only shindig where party-goers go from room to room for samples. Each room has it's own theme or station. Tommy is hanging out with some guys and is going to meet my small group a little later. Frat bro who likes to stare at my rack (but never touches! Come on!) begins showing me around the stations but eventually leaves me somewhere. I end up in the "Purple Haze" themed room, rocking out, throwing back heaven knows how many mind-eraser shots, and dancing with some guy that I never really learned the name of. Classy, I know. Eventually, I think I see a tall, curly-haired boy standing just outside the door frame, but when I look back he's gone. I go in search of Cory and find him sitting outside on a porch swing drinking a beer surrounded by a few friends. Plopping down on the seat next to him, I curl into his shoulder and he wraps his free hand around me. We sit like that for a while as he talks to his friends and squeezes my arm intermittently.

All I can think is "what is this?" Yeah, I knew he kinda liked me. He's said a few borderline things, dipping his toe into the waters of 'not-friendship' and then stepping back. He's held my hand in secret, dances with me occasionally and has infiltrated my little group of friends for the sake of me (so says little group of friends.) He seems to be almost claiming me in this moment, but he hasn't actually made a move. Like a real move on me. And in my clouded, mind-erased head, none of the aforementioned gestures mean a thing. In fact, there could only be one possible reason for all of this.

"Are you gay?," I blurt out as we walk back alone.

He stops walking just ahead of me and turns around hesitantly like he's not sure who he'll see. His brow furrows and a light flush takes over his face, and for a moment, I think "Shit! He is. I've embarrassed him." But then I realize that he's not embarrassed. He's pissed. Before I know it, he's stormed off ahead of me just within earshot. I think to call him back but I don't. We walk back to campus like this, him turning often to be sure I'm still following, me searching through my foggy head for what to do next. As we get closer to my dorm, he slows until I'm by his side. I look up at him expectantly. Expectant of what, I don't know. After what feels like 5 minutes, he pulls me into him and fits his mouth to mine. We dated for almost a year after that.   

Actually, he kept walking right past my dorm and never spoke to me again.

April Fool's! :) Although I do still think about him sometimes. Tommy, where you at? FaceBook friend me again!

*Name has been changed for the sake of anonymity and because, well, I'm not sure I remember his name :) Damn you, mind-eraser!

Insert Monday's Post Here

Monday, March 30, 2015

Confession: I don't have anything to say here at TKD :( But that's only because I used all creative energy on today's Skylights article. So instead of whipping something random up, I'll just redirect you guys over there!

The Contact High of Connection


I'm actually really, really proud of this piece. I struggled and tussled with it for weeks and finally the words started clicking into place. Fitting, really :)

So if you get a chance, go ahead and check the article out! And I'll see you here on Wednesday. Hope your week was all kinds of wonderful!

When You're Obsessed With The 100...

Friday, March 27, 2015

You compile a post full of gifs about The 100. You also talk incessantly about it, and tweet your love for it ad nauseum. Because you know, that's what it's like when you're a total fangirl.

I've mentioned The 100 approximately seventy billion times on the blog already (here, here, and here), and people who don't watch it are probably like "okay, alright, we get it!" But for reals... you don't. Not yet. You don't understand the amazingness that is the The 100 but maybe after this post, you will.

When you're obsessed with the 100

During the first 10 minutes, when you understand the premise of the show and how life in space would totally suck.

When you think "hey, maybe living in this world wouldn't be so bad"... 

When you realize it might be that bad because no one is safe...

Not even your favorites...

When your ship looks like it's setting sail...

 When you've gotta give props to the writers because it's only episode 3 and you are legitimately hooked... 

When someone tries to talk to you during an episode...

When it's 2 A.M. but you just have to see what happens next...

When you've finished Season 1 and you're trying to trick Netflix into thinking you're in Canada so you can watch Season 2...

When you finally trick Netflix and rejoice in 16 more episodes of this awesomeness...

When the anxiety is too real and you feel like you need someone to save you from the feels...

When it looks like your favorite ship is about to sink.

When said ship soars instead and then your other ship looks like a 'go'...

When the thing you thought wouldn't happen in a million years, just did...

When you can't wait until Season 3 and you know this is going to be your future next fall and you're totally ok with it...

Please don't blame me if you now spend your weekend watching episode after episode of The 100. I warned you! I also kinda encouraged you so there's that :)

Happy Weekend!


Also, if you have some time, do check out Skylights Magazine! Today is the final day of launch week & we're highlighting the most popular tourist attractions in our cities!

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