All I Ever Wanted…



When I’m finished with my shift on Saturday, at 1 PM, I will officially be on vacation for the next week!
I am beyond thrilled to get a break from the day-to-day, to spend tons of time with Brad and enjoy summertime!

I have a few ideas of how I’d like to spend my vacation…or should I say staycation?
A trip to the movies, lots of swimming, sleeping in…ya know, the good life.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the goings-on but I can’t guarantee postings won’t be sparse.
Gotta enjoy life while your livin’ it!


Recent Reads: A Stranger on the Planet (Book #24 of 2013)


I’ll be honest…I often judge a book by it’s cover.
Don’t get me wrong, if I hear good things about a story, I’ll read it regardless. But when I’m lost on ideas and wandering through the library, it’s usually a good cover that gets me intrigued.

I spotted this book on a trip to Hoyt Library, scanned it onto my Goodreads profile, and promptly forgot about it. But then, when I went back, it caught my eye again, and I totally forgot about scanning it the first time. The reviews on Goodreads weren’t particularly high (I trust them 3.5 or higher, and while this hit a 3.6, it only had 75 reviews…), but I liked the description and decided to get it.

A Stranger on the Planet is the story of Seth Shapiro from age 12 to…I actually don’t know when…as he goes through life dealing with his dysfunctional family and, as he comes to realize, his own dysfunctional self. I don’t know how to actually describe the plot because, looking back on it, there isn’t really a plot. I thought the writing was well done, but there wasn’t much of a cohesive story.
The book moves back and forth in time, and we learn just how selfish Seth is, as he continues to blame everyone else for his lack and loss of love and success. Some of the lines actually made my mouth drop, that this guy could be so stupid, dense, and insensitive.
I think that was Adam Schwartz’s goal, though, and he definitely succeeds.

The one constant plotline in the book is the strained relationship that Seth (and his brother and sister) has with his mother, mostly because his father cheated on her and left all of them behind in the divorce. Seth is constantly hoping and looking for the approval and safety of his father, but as it turns out, he’s pretty much stuck with his mom.

This certainly didn’t make the list of favorites, but even books I don’t particularly like get credit for being completely readable.
At just a shade under 300 pages, it’s a fairly quick read and I did enjoy Schwartz’s style of writing. It made an otherwise lame story better.


Nail Art Lately…

It’s been about a month since I last posted about some of my recent nail art endeavors, so I figured I would share some more.
I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with different tutorials and trying my own things.


I know this doesn’t necessarily count as full-blown nail art, but I love the look of these. It’s similar to the colorblock nails I showed in the last post. I love the trick of the eye that occurs when you go down the line with a similar color or a glitter. I actually got this idea from an older woman who comes into the place I work. I used these two colors, Hapless Hunter Green (by Deborah Lippmann from the GIRLS collection) and Esmerelda (by Julep) for my birthday, since my birthstone is emerald. They are super shiny thanks to Seche Vite.
If you aren’t using Seche Vite’s fast-dry top coat, you best clean up your act.


These nails are done using this CutePolish tutorial. I loved the mix of matte and glossy. If I did these again, I would try and do smaller sprinkles. Still, they are a very fun summer look (and you don’t have to use a matte top if you don’t have one) and the dripping look is easier to create than I would’ve thought.


(Apologies for the cuticles in this one) This was my take on the ruffian manicure. I did it freehand instead of using reinforcement or french manicure stickers, basically while looking at photos of other, similar manicures. I chose OPI’s My Boyfriend Scales Walls and Julep’s Nina because I wanted the ruffian manicure to also have a creamsicle vibe, since the neon orange is described as a creamsicle shade.
One person caught on to what I did, saying it made her hungry for one, and that made me happy!


So far, this is the best sponge gradient work I’ve done. Next time, I will try to use similar colors of the same family. I love these colors together, but I know the teal/turquoise kind of threw off the flow. I was actually inspired to use a turquoise, purple, and hot pink because of a design on a pair of underwear I own. Inspiration comes from the strangest places. But hey, they are cute!
I hope to only get better with this type of manicure, it’s still going strong and there’s much more than can be done with the gradient as a base.


I loved this gradient technique. I decided that, instead of sponging or taping, I would do simple scallop-y strokes using just the brush that comes with the polish. Essie’s Butler Please (an excellent royal blue) is sandwiched between two shades from the June Nantucket Nostalgia collection from Julep, Bess (the light) and Char (the dark). I surprisingly got a lot of likes on this one on the old Instagram.
You can’t go wrong with blue polish and, honestly, these are some super-easy and versatile nails to replicate.


I recently became complete enthralled with Mr.Candiipants. I love her tutorials (she’s hysterical and she does great work) and she plays around with some really neat techniques. These are very abstract and bright flowers that I made using this tutorial. There are a lot of polishes here, but you could honestly use any shades on a light base and it would look fantastic. I like the look of multi-colored petals, but it would even look nice with the same color!


Let’s wrap up this shindig with a manicure I did without the help of any tutorials or photos. I am sure it’s been done before, heck, I even did a different ice cream mani that you just saw, but I thought it would be fun to make mini-cones on my fingers. I am so proud of these, I used dotting tools and striper brushes and just kinda went with it.

Practice makes perfect, and I’m really trying to do new things as much as possible.
I am hoping to stop immediately grabbing the iPhone and heading into the crappy light of the bathroom when I finish my nails.
Next time, I’d love to have some legit photos to show you, nothing blurry…and I’ll clean up my cuticles better for y’all.

Any questions, just ask!


Take Me Out


On Saturday evening, I went with my father and sister to a baseball game at the field in Moosic/Montage, PA. The local farm team, the RailRiders were playing. I only know enough about each sport where I can get by, but I still enjoy going to live games, especially when it’s free! We were super lucky and enjoyed suite seats, so we got some free food and beer and a beautiful night to be outside in the stands.


Maria actually ended up buying that foam finger. I made my dad put that silly hat on.


The baseball field just had a makeover and it’s really beautiful. You can walk around the entire length of the park, and there are vendors everywhere. There are even lawn “seats” for people who just want to grab a blanket and enjoy a game that way.


The suite just means that, in between watching the game, we could sit in an air-conditioned kitchen room and eat and grab beers from the mini-fridge. It almost felt wrong enjoying free beer, so I kept grabbing the Landshark. No one seemed to want it. Fins Up, you guys!


I almost didn’t go to the game. Most sports don’t interest me and I had to rush to Brad’s to change quickly after a baby shower, but it was so worth it to laugh and enjoy a few beers with my family. I am so glad I changed my mind!


Recent Reads: Imaginary Girls (Book #23 of 2013)


Um….what? No?!

Nova Ren Suma’s work is hard to find. I started with the library, because I’m broke and I need to stop spending so much money when I could just walk down the street and rent a book for a few weeks for free. But none of her stuff popped up in the database of the entirety of the Luzerne County library system…so that was out.

I grew curious about this book (and of the author, because, like, that name) because an author I enjoy (Gayle Forman) had mentioned her. If you’re an author I like and you think there’s another author out there I would like…well, duh, I’m going to seek them out!

Eventually, I had to suck it up and buy it on Amazon…I bought a used copy, hence the beat-up look in the picture above.

I don’t even know how to explain Imaginary Girls. I’ll try. After finishing it, it’s harder to summarize.
Chloe has spent her entire life (14 years of it) in the care of her beautiful, powerful older (19) sister Ruby’s care (they are actually half-sisters, sharing the same alcoholic mother and runaway fathers). Ruby is the kind of girl who asks anyone for anything and gets it. Most of all, she cares about the safety of her sister, Chloe. The book begins with a party by the reservoir in their hometown. The place is actually a
No Trespassing zone, but Ruby and her crew love to have parties there. That night, Ruby talks up Chloe, saying she could swim the entire length of the reservoir, and Chloe does it. Midway, she begins to lose breath and stops at a rowboat on the water. That’s when she finds the dead body of her classmate London. Needless to say, finding the dead body of anyone, especially someone who is 14 years old and shared the same classes as you, would be upsetting. So Chloe ends up moving to Pennsylvania with her father to escape the heaviness that has engulfed her life since the discovery and for two years, she lives a pretty dull life until Ruby enters again, desperate to get her sister back.
Chloe runs away to be with Ruby once again and that’s when she discovers that, as Ruby promised, everything is like it was before.
As in, London is somehow alive.

As I read this book, I kept waiting for a real discovery, a breakthrough, an explanation.
I never got it. Sometimes this is a good thing, I suppose, but in this case I was left wanting more.
Maybe I missed something?
I gave this 1 star on Goodreads because it let me down at the end. As I was reading it, I wanted to recommend it to people as a creepy and intriguing beach read, a dark book that would be enjoyable with your toes in the sand, sucking you into a whole other world.
And I suppose some people would like this, but it wasn’t for me.

I do have a tendency, though, to dislike something but then continue to think about it, puzzle pieces coming together, and that just might happen with this. Who knows? Still, it most certainly wasn’t a favorite and I had much higher expectations, even as I was nearing the end.


Edit: The more I think about it, the more I realize I did sort of miss the point with this book. I kept ignoring one of the underlying stories in the book, and it kind of ended up being very important to the story. It’s strange, I guess, because the book was never written to be or specified as a science-fiction or fantasy, and so it’s hard to accept (for me, anyway) when things go a little…out-of-the-norm. I kept looking for a solid and believable answer for all problems. I guess that, as it can happen in life as well, there isn’t always an explanation.


This Weekend via Afterlight…

As much I adore my iPhone like my own flesh and blood, I have to admit that I miss breaking out the Canon Rebel and taking pictures of life.
I am thankful that the iPhone 5 has such a lovely camera and a plethora of editing apps, but the more I looked around this weekend, the more I wished I had my DSLR to play with settings, to get crisp photos, and to have more fun editing later.
I must remove it from the camera bag it’s been sleeping in very very soon.
I miss it.

‘Til then, here are some photos I took this weekend, edited in Afterlight. I added the same instant film frame to each photo to keep a nice flow.


This lime is from Friday night. Brad and I entertained our friend Terry and his girlfriend Julia, which meant that the guys cooked for like, 4 hours and I got tipsy on Hendricks gin and tonic. When I cut this lime open, the fruit was so bright, juicy, and perfect I couldn’t resist a pic!


On Saturday, after a looooong nap, I walked to Goldstein’s to pick up some club sandwiches for Lou and I. On the way back, I spotted this cat watching me from the window of the cleaners. It was a super pleasant surprise, and I swear he/she posed as soon as I brought out the phone.


Now that summer is just about here, that means the hankering for ice cream will get stronger. Brad, Josh, Maria, and I went to DQ for some sweet treats (the waffle bowl sundae is my go-to). I have a massive, itchy bug bites on my feet from eating outside, but it was worth it.


Sunday, we spent half the day at Brad’s aunt’s house and half the day at mine. Both were for cookouts. I nearly exploded from all the tasty food! But I had the most fun taking pictures of Brad’s aunt’s dogs. They are both theatrical in their own way. And I’m not trying to play favorites, but I’m saving some choice Sophie shots for another post. This is Max, who is very yappy, laying in the sun after he got gated out for licking us and barking over the food too much. He was actually pretty cool with it, as you can tell.


Brad’s family is by no means stuck in the past, but I swear they seem to hold onto somewhat “ancient” radios and they work as if they were just purchased that morning. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. I love that this one has an 8-Track player, haha.


This is the beautiful view we get in our backyard, at my family’s house. It’s so peaceful there, so quiet. I loved sitting on the deck, talking to my dad and Brad. We enjoyed a couple of shandies and more food, of course.


Finally, Maria (being the cutie she is) made these adorable and tasty sugar cookies!

All these little bits and pieces made up for a great weekend. I hope you had one, too!


Recent Reads: The 5th Wave (Book #22 of 2013)


So, the truth about me is that I’ve never really given much thought to aliens or life on other planets.
I’m not saying I don’t believe in it (what do I know?), but it was just not on my list of things to think about.

Brad got The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey for me for my birthday, mostly because I saw the review on Entertainment Weekly and knew I had to read a book they deemed worthy of an A. Also, YA, kinda-futuristic tough chick against the odds…doy, of course I wanted to read it.

I put off reading it for a little bit as I finished some other books and then it just so happened to coincide with watching the movie Dark Skies and starting to watch Doctor Who…suddenly, my life became consumed with the idea of other universes and aliens.
I didn’t plan it…I feel like it was meant to happen. Needless to say, I got a little paranoid.

The description of The 5th Wave from the review didn’t even touch what actually happens in the book.
Yes, Cassie is our heroine…but her side of the story isn’t the only one we get to read about.
I liked being in the dark with the story so I’ll give you a brief overview so that, if you choose to read it, you’ll experience it like me.

The Others have arrived. It was suspected, but there was no idea just how it would happen and what would come of it.
Unfortunately, they didn’t come in peace.
First, they depleted the electricity and energy. Airplanes fall from the sky, no more cell phones or computers, etc.
Next, the tsunamis came, knocking the out every city and state on the coasts and then some.
Then came the Red Death…people getting ill to the point of bleeding out and dying.
And then, the violence.

4 waves. Billions of humans killed.
So those that survive, Cassie included, are left in a bind.
Who do you trust? Who are the Others?

I enjoyed this book, and it was a real step out of my comfort zone.
I will say that it was shockingly violent for a YA novel.
I know that the same could be said of The Hunger Games, but there’s something about boys and girls aged 16 and younger are learning to handle guns, are learning to kill, filled with rage and fear. That was rather intense.
But I thought it was well written and if you like aliens and sci-fi, you should definitely pick this up.
Even if you don’t, this might be a good way to ease yourself into it.


A How-To: Jelly Sandwich Nails

I don’t, by any means, consider myself a nail expert. There’s so much to learn, so much to practice and try.
I am always on the lookout for new polishes and new techniques.


The “Jelly Sandwich” isn’t exactly new, but it is new to me, and I thought it would be fun to show you guys how to do one, because it’s a really simple and fun twist on a common manicure that you could probably do right this second. No extra tools or products necessary!


I always recommend starting your manicure with a base coat. I ignored this step for a long time, and I can’t believe I did that.
Base coat is important for several reasons. On a vanity level, it helps smooth any ridges or bumps on the nail, creating a nice surface on which to apply the polish. If you get a milky base coat, it can help the natural color of the polish pop, because it will have a whiter base to lay on (instead of the various colors of your nail plate). On an even more important level, the right base coat can protect your nails from discoloration and damage that can occur with different polishes. I prefer Essie’s Fill the Gap! and Protein base coats.
I’ve also started to use a nail strengthener beneath the base coat for added protection (I learned that one from Chalkboard Nails, I’ve only been doing the last week and I’ve already noticed a different in my nails). But that’s optional.

Alright…so, what is a jelly sandwich, you ask?
A jelly sandwich is when you take a glitter polish and layer it between two “jelly” polishes. A jelly polish is basically a sheer polish that is still pigmented. If you were to do one coat of it on your nails, you would still be able to see the nail underneath it…it isn’t opaque like a crème.


Hopefully, you can tell in the photo above that the wand/brush is still visible despite being covered in polish. That’s a good indication that you’ve got a jelly on your hands. Even if you have a very basic and small nail polish collection, you probably have a sheer nude or pink that you can work with. Most people tend to have them without even realizing it (i.e. me).


This is Keepin’ It Teal from China Glaze’s Summer 2013 Sunsational collection. They have 6 jellies in the collection, so I stocked up on a blue and purple as well, just to keep a nice variety of sheer polishes to choose from for this. As I mentioned before, the only sheer polishes I had were nude and pink. They work just fine, but it’s fun to change it up, don’t you think? This is one fairly thick coat of the polish, just to set a base.


Next, you’re going to apply your glitter. Come on, folks, I know you have glitter in your collection! It can be any kind…shimmer, flecks and flakes, holographic hexes…whatever. I find the more, the merrier. It adds to the dimension, which is why I chose this Urban Outfitters polish, Chilly, as my glitter. Lots going on, so that when the layer of jelly is applied on top, it won’t get too diluted.
Honestly, you could slap a top coat on this puppy and be good to go…but don’t give up yet!!!


Once you put that layer of jelly polish on top, you’ll have a nice suspended glitter look on your nails.
At first, I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but this photo shows the color change between the basic polish/glitter (left) and the jelly sandwich (right). I love the deeper teal, and the fact that it almost looks Little Mermaid-esque.

And that’s all there is to it!
You could add more layers of jelly polish to suit your fancy, but I chose to stick with just one coat so that the glitter would still sparkle. More coats would’ve minimized that. It would still look cool, but it’s a different effect.

The possibilities of this manicure are endless, from the color combinations to the types of glitter you use to the amount of layers you choose to do. If you’re looking for a fun twist on your basic glitter mani, this is right up your alley!

Hope you enjoyed!
(And next time I promise to use my actual camera, I used my iPhone in a pinch!)


Recent Reads: Plan B (Book #21 of 2013)


For my 21st book of the year, I read my 4th Jonathan Tropper book.
Did you know I love his writing?
Yeah. I do.

Plan B is Tropper’s debut novel. I actually love that I haven’t read them in the order of publication…it’s fun seeing the way his writing has changed. However, this book proves that he always has been (and I’m sure always will be) an amazing writer.
I love that a man writing about with a male protagonist can make me, a female who is a fair deal younger than most of his characters, relate.
That’s the most important thing about writing. Whether you’re writing from a boy/girl/man/woman/animal perspective, a good book will keep you hooked, relatable to your own life or not.

Plan B is narrated by Ben, a recent divorced man stuck in a dead-end job. He is 30, completely lost and confused about his life. No idea how he got to that stage so fast and how little he knows compared to what he thought he would know. At his ex-girlfriend/now-friend Lindsay’s 30th birthday party, a few of his friends reunite and it doesn’t exactly go as planned. Jack, their now-famous movie actor friend, is a coke addict who gets into fights with busboys. Chuck is a cocky surgeon who is smarmy about women. And Alison is completely obsessed with Jack, who has been nothing but her friend for 10 years and she can’t accept that fact.

When Jack’s cocaine addiction becomes apparent, Alison tries to devise a plan to help get Jack off of the drugs. An intervention doesn’t work, so they move to plan B (ha ha) which entails kidnapping Jack and bringing him to Alison’s family home in the mountains, locking him in a room, and trying to cut him off cold turkey. The 5 friends actually follow through with this, a crazy idea at best, an illegal one at worst, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that they are all at a crossroads in their life, looking for something to gain for themselves as well.

In typical Tropper fashion, the book is funny and touching and sad and poignant.
I can honestly say that his books aren’t predictable, though they seemingly would be.
I really enjoy his writing and I’m super glad that I still have two more books to read. I’m not ready to have to wait!