Book Review x 6

Below is a brief recount of six books I have read over the past few months. I would absolutely love to hear if you have previously read any of them and what your thoughts were! And even more so, I would love new book recommendations (I think this one is next)! Looking for more recommendations? View past book reviews here.

Book_Review

Looking for Alaska by John Green: Miles “Pudge” Halter lead a boring life, craving “the Great Perhaps”. When he meets the clever, sexy, screwed up, and fascinating Alaska Young at Culver Creek Boarding School she pulls him into the Great Perhaps and nothing will ever be the same after. After reading John Green’s most famous book, The Fault in Our Stars, I immediately reached for this one, which I think is a million times better than it’s more well-known counterpart.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight: In the middle of the most important meeting of her career, Kate receives a phone call from her daughter’s school; she’s been caught cheating and consequently is being suspended immediately. By the time Kate arrives at Amelia’s school, her stress turns to grief when she is greeted by firetrucks and police cars and the shocking fact that her daughter Amelia is dead. After months coping with the thought of Amelia jumping to her death, Kate receives an anonymous text: Amelia didn’t jump. If you loved Gone Girl and Gossip Girl, you’ll love this.

The Racketeer by John Grisham: The fifth federal judge in the history of the United States has just been found murdered in his remote cabin with his young secretary and an emptied safe. Malcolm Bannister, currently residing in a Federal Prison, knows who killed Judge Fawcett, but all information comes at a price and Malcom Bannister, aka the Racketeer, has his. A fast-paced, whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: At the age of seven, Libby Day survived the murders of her mother and two sisters and testified that her fifteen year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes finds Libby and offers to pay her money for details in hopes of finally setting Ben free. Through Libby’s search the unimaginable truth emerges and lands her back where she started – on the run from a killer. Completely disturbing and haunting (much more so than Gone Girl).

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: The biography of the girl who was shot by the Taliban and awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her outspoken fight for equal education worldwide. Recounting her family’s history in part one was extremely daunting. The brief overviews of the country’s history and the countless names in part two were subsequently under and overwhelming. However, the final three parts that told the story of her fight for education rights and her life held my attention much better due to my ability to connect her words with the recent accounts on the news that I was already familiar with. Although the slow start is a struggle, Malala’s life is beyond inspiring and a great reminder to each of us to fight for the rights of others and our beliefs because one person can make a difference.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: Following the death of her mother, a divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, 26 year-old Cheryl Strayed finds her inexperienced self alone on the Pacific Crest Trail hoping to figure out her life. As a woman who also has felt (feels) lost and confused and turned to travel as a path to the discovery of answers to personal struggles, I found this book extremely relatable and hopeful. Justin and I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at an REI event and found her even more impactful in person. Looking forward to seeing the movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

 

What I Want // Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas

1. Blanket – whether draped over the back of the couch or your shoulders this blanket will keep you comfortably cozy

2. Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray Travel Kit – beachy waves here I come

3. Clare V. Foldover Clutch – this particular item has been on every Christmas/birthday wish list for as long as I can remember – a gorgeous neutral to dress up or down

4. No Show Socks – pretty replacement pairs to wear with booties

5. Kate Spade Satchel – fun black and white stripes update a classic black tote

6. Jo Malone Candle – cuddled in pj’s under a warm blanket with this woodsy smell filling the house sounds like a perfect Friday night

7. Gold Earbuds – an easy update to my less than exciting current headphones

8. The Lip Scrub (Limited Edition) – an essential for chapped winter lips

9. West Elm Decanter – necessary for my nightly nightcap

10. Essie Devil’s Advocate Nail Polish – a replacement for my favorite winter color that unfortunately exploded at 39,000 feet

11. Nixon Leather Watch – a black leather and gold watch is the perfect addition to my all neutral wardrobe

12. Wishbone Ring Catcher – a purposeful yet pretty catchall for my nightstand

13. Olloclip for iPhone 6 – an accessory to help up the ante on my usual iPhone photos

14. New Book from Kate Spade – a bold coffee table accent to remind me to add a splash of color

Bohemian Flair

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Denim (under $30 option) | Tee | Cardigan | Hat | Necklace | Purse (similar) | Heels

Ripped denim has a special place in my closet heart since its relaxed vibe perfectly counteracts the structured fit of my usual blazers and blouses. Although these new Madewell favorites are technically supposed to be cropped, they fit my short legs perfectly and may be the most comfortable denim I’ve ever wiggled into. When paired with this season’s favorite cardigan length, a floppy hat, and a simple tee the denim look becomes more bohemian flair than simple everyday wear.

What’s your favorite way to dress up your ripped denim?

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Recipe // Crockpot BBQ Chicken topped with Coleslaw

BBQ Pulled Chicken with Coleslaw

Coleslaw is not my favorite. In fact it is way at the bottom between pickles and pudding. But when it tops a pulled chicken sandwich dripping with barbecue I become all game. You can’t load it high enough. The crunchiness and sweet tang adds just the right amount of flavor and texture to a saucy sandwich. This combination of recipes now sits at the top of my list.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken (via):

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce (prefer Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Season each chicken breast with a pinch of sea salt and place into the Crock-pot, pouring the barbecue mixture on top. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Serve the chicken whole or shredded with coleslaw on the side or top.

The Best Coleslaw (via):

16 ounce bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons diced onion
2/3 cup Miracle Whip
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Stir together coleslaw mix and diced onions in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together Miracle Whip, vegetable oil, sugar, white vinegar, and salt; pour over coleslaw and onion mix and stir until well combined. Let refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

BBQ Pulled Chicken with Coleslaw

BBQ Pulled Chicken with Coleslaw