Thursday, July 30, 2015

R+R

Thumping Thursday everyone!

Every once in a while, everyone needs a day or two to just chill. I call these days my Rest and Relaxation days - or R+R days for short. 
While everyone has different definitions of what it means to relax, I have a couple of things that are absolutely crucial for me to really wind down: 
  • Barry Tea: I'm a big tea drinker and Barry's Irish gold tea is one of my favorites! I usually take my tea with milk and no sugar
  • Clay mask: I like using this avocado mask by Freeman's. No restful evening is complete without a green face mask, amirite??
  • Book: For entertainment, I've been reading Go Set a Watchman, the highly anticipated sequel to the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. I will have a book review on this book next week!
  • Candles: I picked up this candle by Paddywax recently because I was drawn to the not-so-strong floral scent. It's a grapefruit-y candle (they call it "French Gimlet") that doesn't overwhelm my sensitive nose. So far it smells heavenly!
  • Nail polish: Since I'm taking a week off from work soon, I gave my nails a break from muted "office-appropriate" colors and playing with some fun bright colors! I'm really liking "Fashion Playground" by Essie lately. It's a pistachio-colored polish that has a sort of glittery sheen. Love it! 
  • Comfy pajamas: I recently bought these perfectly adorable summer-appropriate pajamas from Forever 21. I feel so comfortable and cool in these! The fabric is perfect for these hot and humid DC summer nights and the print is super cute to boot!


What does your R+R day look like? 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Club: The Martian

Good summer evening, lovelies!!

It has certainly been a while hasn't it? My life has been one hectic journey lately (something I'll be discussing later this week on the blog) and I've been thinking of a couple of creative directions I want to make with Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

In the meantime, please enjoy this book review by my good friend, Jen:

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The Best Book Ever! Or at Least This Year...
by Jen Muller

The Martian by Andy Weir is officially one of my favorite books; easily in my top 10.  The plot: a team of astronauts go to Mars and after a storm separates and injures Mark Watney from his team, he becomes stranded and presumed dead on a deserted planet. As the book states, it is truly “castaway story for the new millennium.”

Usually with a book, you can recognize the genre and general schemes that the plots tend to follow. This story, however had just the right amount of plot twists that kept me interested and not frustrated by constant setbacks. I found the amount of setbacks for the characters to be well balanced with the rewards for their trails. This kept me invested, as a reader, in the characters’ survival.

The writing in this novel was fantastic. To be honest I didn’t have high hopes for a novel that is heavy on math and engineering conversations. That said, I found all technical information easy to digest and loaded with either jokes or analogies, allowing me to comprehend how a man stranded could survive against literal alien elements.

The novel switches perspectives between Mark’s personal log, the third person when in NASA or on the space station, and sometimes its abstracts of computer messages.  Personally, I usually find it annoying when novels switch perspectives like, but in the context that Weir uses for the changes, I found it to enhance the story and I found myself immersed in the characters’ plights.

Astronomy is a very complicated field and going to Mars is quite a technical task that relies heavily on experts in the fields of engineering, chemistry, biology, astronomy, mathematics, and every other fields in science and technology from here to the sun. This novel had every reason to bog down the plot with technically specific information, but it didn’t.

Weir walks the reader through Mark’s background in botany and engineering which foreshadows how he will use these skills to survive. Weir doesn’t talk down to the reader and in fact he makes it all understandable. I found myself reading this book on the subway and understanding the chemistry of creating water from pure oxygen and hydrogen, I understood the mechanics of solar cells and electrical engineering, and I found myself riveted by Mark’s problem solving skills.

The science in this novel is very complicated, but since it is so well written I found myself genuinely interested when new challenges cropped up.

I loved the characters in this book. I found I could relate to them and their challenges, and I was invested in their backgrounds and the successes. Mark Watney is the main character in this novel and he shows great growth throughout the novel. Watney is presented with many challenges and where the majority of people would feel abandoned or depressed, Mark simply seems to take a breath and begin to solve the problem. Sure, there is some cursing and there is some screaming about situations, but he is remarkably well-adjusted and has a great sense of humor throughout the story.

I actually laughed out loud on the subway while reading this book…multiple times! I am known for a lack of a sense of humor but this book... well!

The secondary characters are well-rounded and very realistic characters, but what surprised me about the background characters was how diverse they were. For example, secondary characters in this novel are German, Hindu, white, black, Hispanic, male, female, married, single, nerdy, cool, etc. These characteristics for secondary characters surprise me because it grounds the context of the novel. I also found their actions to be incredibly realistic. Actions were dramatized for the novel (in my non-expert opinion) and they seemed to behave like a real-world adult would. I also found these secondary characters to be refreshing, which is a detail in this novel that I never expected to enjoy.

Weir was a programmer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been working as a software engineer since. He is not your typical author, and yet his writing style, plot, and characterization were far superior to books I’ve read by traditional authors. I had to add this note in my review because no matter if he writes another book or not, he is an interesting person and worth being aware of.

In the end, I want to conclude by saying this book was amazing. While I typically tend to gravitate towards science fiction novels, this book read as pure prose and literature. It was stimulating, motivating, and I found myself feeling better about humanity after reading it. I will be excited to re-read this book many times to come. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sunny Days | Eyelet Dress and Coral Clutch

Wondrous Wednesday!

I wore this exact dress and clutch combo about two years ago. I think that it looked cute back then and I still think it's a cute outfit now! I added my trusty denim jacket and switch out the sandals but it's nice to recycle an outfit worn on the blog before, wouldn't you say?
June was an incredibly wet month. While we experienced some of the hottest days, it wouldn't last too long because it would rain, bringing cooler temperatures with it. I brought this jacket everywhere! I think a sturdy denim jacket can be a staple in any girl's closet - it's a classic piece that comes back in style every year!






Thanks for reading!

Dress: Bershka (similar here)
Top: H&M jacket

Accessories: Forever 21 clutch (similar here), Ray-Ban sunnies
Shoes: H&M

Monday, June 29, 2015

Staying Warm in the Freezing Summer | Circle Skirt and Denim Jacket

Happy Monday lovelies!


I'm one of those people who is perpetually cold. Winter is a tough time for me because unless I wear three layers of everything I honestly feel like I'm going to freeze to death. You'd think that Summer would be my favorite season because of how nice and hot it gets but I have my own battle in the summer with the evil and sinister forces of the air conditioning. I mean, I'm not against air conditioning by any means but a lot of buildings will have it on at full blast leaving me freezing in my summer clothes. Then I walk outside where it's hot and muggy... my body can't seem to adjust and I end up with a cold in the middle of summer. It's a struggle.
I recently went and bought a blanket to keep with me at work. You read that right, a blanket made of wool from Old Navy. I probably looked a bit out there and, in fact, some of my co-workers laughed at me until they found themselves cold later on in the day (joke's on them :P). 






Do you struggle with staying warm in air-conditioned buildings? Let me know some of the ways you deal because #thestruggleisreal. 

Top: H&M top, H&M jacket
Bottoms: H&M 
Accessories: Bershka bag (similar by Betsey Johnson), Ray-Ban sunnies
Shoes: Chinese Laundry (similar here)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Days | Tank Dress and Chambray with Pops of Leo

Wondrous Wednesday lovelies!

Just a quick post today - Another simple outfit for cooler summer days. I think I like the way chambray looks when it's tied around a dress. It gives a retro-vibe to any casual look that I've been very fond of lately.

Thanks for reading!

Dress: H&M (similar here)
Top: Forever 21
Accessories: J Crew pouch, Geneva watch (similar here), Loulou necklace (super cute here)
Shoes: Sole Society

Monday, June 8, 2015

Transitions | Polka-Dot Dress and Little Red Bow

Happy Monday everyone!

I've been going through a transitional period lately in so many aspects of my life - my personal life, my professional life, even my blogging life! Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming because I feel like so many things are happening at once and I'm not completely sure where to focus on first but I'm really excited about some of the changes that occurring.
Speaking of transitions, I find this dress to be a great piece to wear during the period between Spring and Summer. This was actually my first clothing purchase from ASOS! I quite love the fit and the scuba material is heavy enough that it doesn't blow up. That's actually a real fear of mine - the metro can bet a bit windy and when I wear more lightweight dresses, I'm afraid I'll pull an accidental Marilyn Monroe but not in a cute way. The material is just heavy enough to ease my worries about flashing strangers in public. Polka-dots are my favorite print ever so this dress is right up my alley!





Thanks for reading!

Dress: ASOS
Accessories: H&M bow, Nine West clutch (similar here)
Shoes: Forever 21

Friday, June 5, 2015

TV Shows to Binge Watch This Summer

When I think of summer, I think of the pool, barbecues, fireflies, and catching up on all my favorite TV shows. With streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, binge-watching never got easier. Not sure where to start? Here is a list of some of my favorite TV shows that I highly recommend you binge watch this summer:
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, this show is about a group of detectives in the 99th precinct of Brooklyn, NY. I don't know if any of you watch Parks and Recreation but I believe this show is by the same creators. Plus, it's Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live fame - you know it will be hilarious.
  • Veep: I kind of came late to the Veep train but ohhh man, is this show funny! Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the Vice President of the United States, this show chronicles her life in the public eye and her staffers. It's by the same people who brought the hilarious show The Thick of It and its spin-off movie, In the Loop. It's very raunchy and the humor may not be for everyone but as someone who works in politics, this really hits home.
  • How to Get Away With Murder: I believe that Shonda Rhimes can do no wrong! This show about a group of law students and their fearless teacher, a defense attorney played by the fabulous Viola Davis, had me hooked since episode one. 
  • Orange is the New Black: This is a Netflix-exclusive show that had me addicted from the very first episode! I wrote a review about the first and second seasons and I can't wait until the third season!
  • Arrow: So this show is kind of my guilty pleasure - it's a CW show (CW being the station that makes the super overly-dramatic programs filled with hot men and women that would appeal the the angsty teenage crowd) so already I'm too old for this. BUT the show stars Stephen Amell who looks like this. And I'm a big fan of DC comic characters - Green Arrow and Batman were my favorites because they were the only ones in the Justice League without superpowers (wow, I am a nerd). Definitely worth checking out. 
  • The Flash: This was a spinoff of Arrow and I honestly think this show may be even better than Arrow, which is incredible to me because I seriously love that show so much! I think The Flash is much more light-hearted than its original counterpart but if the grittiness of Arrow was your favorite part of the whole show, don't let it stop you from watching The Flash - the story is amazing, the characters are fantastic and you'll fall in love with the universe all over again. 
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Another Netflix-exclusive that I did a review on. Seriously, I think Netflix has been on-point with their shows lately. This show has a strong feminist message without being overly in-your-face about it, if that makes sense? I personally love it and feminist messages are okay with me. "Females are strong as hell!!"
Are there any shows you guys think I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to hear about TV programs (both here in the US and abroad) that are good!
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