Friday Faves: Summer Reading

Summer Reading feature via @poorandpretty

What are you reading this summer? Here are a few things I’ve read & loved, am currently reading, or is on my to-read list:

Summer Reading via @poorandpretty

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Currently reading and totally obsessed. I’ve actually begun waking up earlier so I can read this in the morning before I go to work. Also: shirking off household chores and other things I should be doing in order to read. It’s like a grown-up Twilight meets Charmed. I’ll likely finish the entire All Souls Trilogy this summer.

2. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. If I decide not to finish the All Souls Trilogy this summer — or if I finish them and am looking for something else — I’ll move on to Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, which my Dad really liked and lent to me. Don’t you love sharing books with family members?

3. Game of Thrones, Book 1: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I’m not even sure I can handle this one, but my friend Anton gave it to me as a birthday present. It’s just so daunting! I’m current with the show, so I definitely don’t want to read past it, but something tells me this book would take me a while…

4. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I picked this one up years ago at a consignment shop, but I never read it until this winter. It’s a quick but lovely and heart-warming read told from the perspectives of a spirited 31-year-old woman and a 1o-year-old girl with a distant father and bipolar mother. It sounds like it would be depressing, but I promise it isn’t. I love Marisa de los Santos’ writing style – informal, as if you’re a friend she’s telling a (sometimes) long-winded story to. It’s very much how I tell stories. This is a great summer beach read!

5. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. This is the follow-up to Love Walked In. It’s a little heavier (emotionally, but also physically because I mistakenly bought the large print edition, ha!) than the first and I liked Love Walked In better, but it’s worth a read if you want to know what happens to main characters Cornelia and Claire after Love Walked In

I’d love to hear what you’re reading and your recommendations for my next books, in the comments!


Help Support the Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery in Nepal

Young Ani at Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery in Nepal_feature

Scarlett's lemonade stand

This weekend, my 12-year-old niece did something truly wonderful — she hosted a lemonade stand to raise money for a Buddhist nunnery affected by the recent earthquakes in Nepal.

Young Ani at Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery in Nepal

Scarlett met members of the Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery a few years ago when they visited Trinity College in Hartford CT to create a sacred Mandala. After hearing that the “Ani” — some as young as 3 — have been sleeping outside in tents since the earthquakes, Scarlett sprang into action. Through her lemonade stand, she collected over $200 to send to the Nunnery so that they can purchase teddy bears, children’s books, and other comfort items for the young Ani. And now we can help, too.

Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery in Nepal

Now through Saturday, May 30, I will donate 30% of all sales from my Etsy shop to the Keydong Thukche Choeling Nunnery. 

Or, if you’d prefer to make a straight donation without a purchase, please send a PayPal payment to and include a note that says “Donation for Nepal.” If you use the “friends and family” option, I will not be charged a processing fee, which means 100% of your donation will be given directly to the Nunnery. Donations will be collected through Saturday, May 30.

Thank you for your generosity.


The Pitches Are Back in Pitch Perfect 2

We're Back Pitches - Pitch Perfect 2 feature

We're Back Pitches - Pitch Perfect 2 poster

I’m a lover of teen angst/bitchy girl movies (Mean GirlsThe Heathers, etc), musicals, Rebel Wilson, and Elizabeth Banks, so Pitch Perfect is right up my alley. I’ve been rocking out to the soundtrack and trying to rap in the shower all week (not pretty). Wednesday night, my Mom, Suzi, Scarlett and I saw Pitch Perfect 2 and it was aca-awesome! Even better than the first! I won’t talk about all of my favorite moments because I don’t want to ruin the magic. BUT I can share with you some exclusive behind-the-scenes content, courtesy of PP2 sponsor Schick®:

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do it! I’m seeing it again with Stan this weekend as part of my usual week-long birthday celebration. ;)

Pitch Perfect Limited Edition Shave Schick

You can also grab Pitch Perfect 2 Limited Edition Shave products at your local drug and grocery stores for the ultimate singing-in-the-shower experience. They’re part of my skirt season beauty essentials. All Pitch Perfect 2 Limited Edition Shave products will be available beginning April 2015 at drug and grocery stores nationwide.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schick®. The opinions and text are all mine. Can’t get enough a cappella awesomeness? Check out the Schick® Rock Your Legs YouTube channel and show your support for more aca-awesome college a cappella groups!



Wednesday Wishlist: Birthday Edition

Wednesday Wishlist Birthday Edition_feature

My 28th birthday is Sunday. 28!! I’m basically 30. I graduated high school 10 years ago. That is insane! I feels like only yesterday that I was in drama club (of course), that Jordan & I went to prom together, that I registered to vote… crazy. A decade! CRAZY. I can’t even. Let’s move on to the best part of birthdays: gifts! Here’s what’s on my wish list:

Wednesday Wishlist Birthday Edition

1. Patron Prestige Skirt in Pink via ModCloth. Flirty & feminine & pink & tulle. Yes, please.

2. Dream Catcher Eco Flowy Tank by Cinder + Salt. I pretty much want all of Rachel’s clothing in my closet, but this dreamy tank especially.

3. Florabunda Large Agenda by What girl doesn’t want a giant planner with stickers and inspiring prints inside?

4. Cherry Pop Nail Polish by 100% Pure. I love this color! It’s a deep red with a dash of purple ~ super sophisticated.

5. Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit by Bramble Berry. I want this so Stan and I can finally make soap from scratch together! (We’re weird/awesome that way.)

6. Cupcakes from NoRA Cupcake Co. Okay, maybe I don’t need a whole truck, but a few cupcakes from NoRA would be heaven.

Let’s pretend I’m not almost 30, okay? Okay. xo


Sprucing Up Our Bedroom with a Bench

Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

Bedroom with Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

Stan and I have been talking about designing our bedroom for over a year now, and I’m getting antsy. If it were up to me (and if this wasn’t a crazy idea), we would have been flooring and painting in the middle of winter. But because I realized this was a crazy idea, I contented myself with doing a little pre-spring cleaning and re-arranging. I didn’t do this with shelves or boxes. I did it with a bench.

Bedroom Before Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

You see, Stan and I still kind of live like college students. Our furniture is mis-matched hand-me-downs, and none of the rooms look curated or put together. What kills me the most is our laundry situation. We keep dirty laundry in baskets on the floor of our bedroom. When we’re really lazy, we keep the clean laundry in baskets on the floor too, and jokingly call it “the floordrobe.” It just looks so bad!

Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

So when Sauder (rhymes with “chowder”) asked me to participate in their Put Together Design Challenge, I leapt at the chance. Finally! A real piece of furniture that I could style like a real adult! We don’t have an entryway, so our new Cottage Road Bench went straight to the bedroom. It was super easy to assemble — no crazy undecipherable Ikea-esque instructions. Now, dirty laundry goes in one basket, tucked away neatly under the bench. And I’ve instituted a new rule for clean laundry: it must be put away within two days of washing it.

Bedroom with Sauder Cottage Road Bench clothing detail via @poorandpretty

The bench also acts as a space for me to lay out my outfits for the next day, which keeps me organized and eliminates that frenzied morning I-have-nothing-to-wear feeling.

Bedroom with Cottage Road Bench reed diffuser detail via @poorandpretty

Plus, I put a pretty reed diffuser (which will soon need refilling) on it to keep the room smelling fresh and lovely. The scent is Bella Sucre by Voluspa — I love their fragrances!

Sauder Cottage Road Bench as photography backdrop via @poorandpretty

Because our front bedroom gets really great sunlight, I’ve also begun using the bench as a photography backdrop. 

Sauder Cottage Road Bench as photography backdrop closeup  via @poorandpretty

You might remember this photo from my recent For the Makers catch-up post.

Putting on shoes on my Sauder Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

And of course, I sit on the bench too! Especially when I’m getting dressed or slipping on my shoes.

Sami sitting on Cottage Road Bench via @poorandpretty

It’s not a total room (re)design, but it’ll hold me over for now. At least our bedroom finally looks “put together!” :) Check out even more room inspiration in Sauder’s Put Together Lookbook.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine. You can read more about my sponsorship and affiliate link policies here.