trying something new

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So before I did a season welcoming hair chop (no worries, nothing drastic) I took these outfit photos - and I have to admit they turned out better than I expected! I've only ever worn this sweater layered over buttons downs, because for some reason I had it in my head it would be too tight to wear on its own. It's a vaguely retro inspired look in the end, with the pencil skirt and leopard pumps, and I can't wait to wear this to work.

Sweater: Anthropologie (also worn here & here) ~ Skirt: Dorothy Perkins ~ Purse: No Brand/Eastern Market ~ Shoes: Nine West ~ Watch: Ebay (similar) ~ Bracelet: Kate Spade Saturday (40% off) ~ Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples ~ Tights: Target

one last snow day

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Spring has finally - thankfully - arrived in DC but I figured that before the snow was completely gone I could take a picture of a work outfit I've enjoyed off and on this season. I've slowly been transitioning to the skinny ankle baring work pant, but I found these pants on clearance at Nordstrom Rack and really liked them. They work perfectly with my comfy Nine West heels (with no hemming!) and look incredibly professional with no extra effort on my part.

(I apologize for the slight grainy-ness of these photos. I didn't realize until I was editing that the snow was just too high a contrast for the navy coat/gray pants combo and to show the details some of the clarity was lost. Sorry!)

Coat: Nautica (from Marshalls, similar from ASOS, similar in red) ~ Top: J.Crew Factory (old) ~ Sweater: J.Crew (old) ~ Pants: Atelier Luxe (from Nordstrom Rack) ~ Shoes: Nine West ~ Gloves: Ralph Lauren (from Marshalls) ~ Sunglasses: Kate Spade

Friday Book Club

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I'm still not really sure where I stand on my neglected book review blog, but I wanted to start a new feature here inspired by Nalini Singh's Friday Book Club. On her Facebook page she'll ask every Friday what people are reading - and loving. I don't want to commit to anything that frequent (sorry, lol) but I think on the first Friday of every month I'll try to spend a little time talking about what I've read lately, and what books I've got my eye on for later.

Read & Loved:

Radiance by Grace Draven

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart. 

My Thoughts: A Twitter recommendation, and one where I really enjoyed the story. Ildiko and Brishen come together first as friends who respect each other in circumstances not of their choosing. Their evolution into partners is authentic and honest, while also staying true to who they are as people. There's just enough action and world building to keep things interesting and the epilogue has me kind of desperate for the next one!

Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

She stole his roses.
Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

My Thoughts: A very cute contemporary romance (and I say that with serious love for the genre). Layla is a fun character, full of personality and devotion to her music. Matt is one of those great gruffy on the outside heroes (and considering my love for bear shifters I guess it's not surprising how much I liked him). Fast paced, it's a very easy read that I've already reread a time or two.

Read & Liked: 

House Immortal by Devon Monk

One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized...

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece...

My Thoughts: I picked up this one up on sale from Amazon, mostly because the story itself intrigued me. It's different from the usual Urban Fantasies I'm drawn to and for the most part I enjoyed it. I think it dragged a bit there near the end, it was one of those books where I skimmed pages to get back to the good stuff, and it has a serious cliffhanger ending. All in all though the characters are (for the most part) fully fleshed out individuals and I'm going to be picking up the 2nd book for sure.

I'm Looking Forward To:

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

The Others freed the  cassandra sangue  to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him.

Meg is still deep in the throes of her addiction to the euphoria she feels when she cuts and speaks prophecy. She knows each slice of her blade tempts death. But Others and humans alike need answers, and her visions may be Simon’s only hope of ending the conflict.

For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep… 

My Thoughts: Love her, love this series. A no brainer, auto-buy for me.

What books are you guys reading? Anything awesome that I have to give a try?