Posts in Life
Beach Reads

I have been reading A LOT this year. My goal was to read 25 books this year, and I've already blown way past this at 27 books and counting. As the temperatures rise, Nick and I have been spending more time at the beach. And besides falling asleep and playing in the water, I enjoy nothing more than a good, fluffy, light, beach read.

Here are my picks for the best beach reads I've read this year. These are not all necessarily new books, they just happen to be books I've read over the past few months.

Love and Other Words - Christina Lauren

I really enjoyed this book - it's a love story that flips back and forth between past and present. This is a slow burn kinda book, with a happy ending. There's a ridiculous "thing that happened" that causes the conflict, but honestly, it could have been easily avoided with a conversation. But, some of that realization comes with maturity, and well, let's just say that you shouldn't let this diminish the enjoyment of the book. If you remember what it was like to fall in love for the first time, or if you vividly remember falling in love with your current significant other, you will probably enjoy this book. 

 

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter - Scaachi Koul

It's entirely possible that I have a bias towards this book because it is written by the child of Indian immigrants in Canada, and an Indian immigrant myself, there are a lot of very South Asian things that I relate to. The author, Scaachi Koul, also writes for Buzzfeed, so she has this breezy, conversational voice that I particularly enjoy. The book is a collection of charming, funny, and touching essays - you could fly through it in a few hours. 

 

You Think It, I'll Say it - Curtis Sittenfeld

Another selection of short stories - if you're a fan of Curtis Sittenfeld, you will enjoy this book. The stories move quickly, some of them are funny, some of them are awkward, all of them are good.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

I LOVED this book so much - such a sweet and charming story of friendship and finding one's place in the world. At first the title character Eleanor seems extremely particular and unfriendly, but as you get further into the book and peel back the layers, you find there's so much more to her than initially meets the eye. I found myself flying through this book, and although there are some sad bits, it has a happy ending.

 

Origin - Dan Brown

Look, the Robert Langdon series of books have a formula, and if you've read Angels and Demons or The DaVinci code, then you know what that formula is. Origin doesn't stray from that formula, but has the added allure of highly advanced AI. All the Dan Brown books feel like a race against the clock, and I read this one in a day.

 

This Love Story Will Self-Destruct

Another romance, this one is a modern romance - sweet without being nauseating. Boy meets girl in college, they reunite later in life. There's a conflict, and a satisfying resolution. Nothing fancy or particularly complicated, but enjoyable nonetheless. 

Cleveland beach Edgewater

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase any of these books using the links included, I receive a tiny commission at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

My Summer Bucket List

I had such a fun time checking off my Spring Wish List that I decided I'm going to do one for each season this year. So, without much further ado, here's a summer wish list to help you (and me) make the most of this summer! 

Go on a picnic:  I did a couple of these last year - one with my girlfriends, and the other with Nick. And I liked it so much that this year I want to do some more. A summertime picnic doesn't have to be fancy - some sandwiches, fresh fruit, crackers and cheese, some wine... it doesn't have to be complicated to be fun! 

London-picnic-in-the-park

Snuggle up and watch a movie outdoors: There are so many venues for outdoor movies in Cleveland - from the drive-in movie theater, to outdoor movies at my favorite local ice cream shop that it's a damn shame that I haven't done this yet. But this is about to change. This is my summer to do this. 

Ditch your car for a bike (even if it's just for a few hours): I bought a super cute bike this year, one with a basket. I have a fantasy of riding around with flowers and a baguette in my basket, except for one, small problem. I am scared of the traffic. So, I'm taking this nice and slow, but the plan is to end this summer comfortably riding around the city on my cute bike.

ice cream cone with sprinkles Masons Creamery Cleveland Ohio

Master a summer cocktail: This is a really achievable goal, but I really want to master a few simple, classic, summer cocktails this year. I've already mastered the Aperol Spritz - next up, margaritas! 

Margarita at Pearl Columbus Ohio

Attend an outdoor concert: Nick and I are already doing a lot of these this summer, but one of my favorite outdoor concerts is the Orchestra Series at Blossom. This year, the Orchestra is playing the score to Star Wars: A New Hope live, and since Nick and I are both huge Star Wars nerds, naturally, we are going to this event. 

Plan a Beach day: We live so close to the beach that every day can be beach day, but it is really nice to plan a whole day at the beach in the summer. Cleveland has a number of great beaches within a very short drive -- we may not have an ocean, but our Great Lake is a pretty good substitute. 

Toes in the sand Cleveland ohio beach lake erie

Attend an outdoor yoga class: I did this last year with a bunch of girlfriends on a farm, and it was so much fun that I definitely want to do it again this year. Last year's event also included brunch and flower crowns, so I've got my eye out on a similar brunch/yoga type event this year too!

Flower crowns outdoor yoga spice acres farms cleveland ohio

Go on a hike: This is the biggest stretch goal for me this summer because Nature and I have a tenuous relationship at best. I'm allergic to everything (including the sun) and I will likely get bitten by insane bugs, but I'm hoping to challenge myself and do this, even if its just a teeny tiny one on a mostly paved trail. Baby steps you guys.

I'd love to hear your summer bucket list ideas if you have any, so please share them in the comments below. And keep an eye out on my Instagram stories to see how I'm making progress towards these summer wish list goals! 

 

Style Talk with Stella Compiseno

I'm kicking off a brand new series called Style Talk, where I interview stylists and stylish women and convince them to share their secrets with me, and with all of you! Today's interview is with Stella Compiseno of The Heart's Delight. Stella is a stylist and a blogger, and I was particularly drawn to her because we share similar career backgrounds in finance. I'm fascinated by women who have successful careers in finance and capital markets, and move on to completely different roles - there are a number of fashion businesses today whose female owners have these backgrounds, and Stella's jump to a new career is both interesting and inspiring. 

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A huge thanks to Stella for her time and for sharing her story and style tips on the blog! 

My style mantra is all about fewer, better things ~ Stella Compiseno of The Heart's Delight

 

How + why did you become a stylist?

For a long time (12 years) I was probably the furthest thing from a stylist! I worked on an Institutional Equity trading desk in sales. While my career in Capital Markets and finance fulfilled the analytical and practical side of my personality, I was always reaching for outlets to explore my creative side. Fashion, design and styling was always a passion and inspiring to me, ever since I was a kid. While I had never made a career out of it, I actively pursued it in my free time --  helping people find special outfits, organize closets, style a party, etc. It was just always something I did for friends and family, but never made a business out of it. 

When I moved to Cleveland in 2011, I finally had a chance to take the plunge and re-discover my heart's delight. Since I couldn't transfer my old job to my new city, I created my own business opportunity, focusing on my styling pursuits and fashion/lifestyle website, The Heart's Delight. I've now been styling professionally for over 6 years.

 

How has your style evolved over the years? 

My style has definitely grown and evolved as I've gotten older. In my 20's I was all about trend driven fashion. I loved all of the fun, bright styles and colors and wasn't timid about my fashion choices. I lived in NYC and had access to some of the newest and coolest designers just outside my door. As my life transitioned from single, NYC girl to suburban mother of 2, I've matured in many ways -- including my style! I'm less drawn to trends and more focused on building a sophisticated, classic and easy wardrobe that makes me look and feel great, without much effort. My style mantra is all about fewer, better things. I want to LOVE whatever I pull out of my closet and be truly happy to wear it for years to come.

 

We’ve all made style faux pas in our lives - Please tell us about an outfit you wore in the past that makes you cringe when you think of it today. 

Oh, geez... the late 90's were a rough phase for me. I just cringe thinking about all of those terrible clunky shoes I wore that made me look like Frankenstein. I'd wear these tight, black, bootcut pants, with a "going out top" and the horrendous Steve Madden elastic platform sandals that would "thwwaaap" with every step I took. SO BAD.

(Editor's note: SAME!!! I remember having a collection of tight bootcut black pants, which were affectionately called "booty pants" - come to think of it, they were the precursor to modern athleisure!) 

 

What style advice would you give your younger self?

I'd probably sternly tell myself that while trends can be fun and look great, they don't work for everyone all of the time. Pick and choose only those trends that work for your own aesthetic, lifestyle and body. I might have saved myself the trauma of growing out a ill-advised pixie hair cut.

 

How do you curate your own closet?

I follow an 80-20 rule for my own closet. I build my wardrobe using 80% classic, timeless pieces and 20% trend driven items. I invest in my classics and save on my trends. I realized a long time ago, that while spending $500 on a pair of shoes might sound crazy to some people, I wear those shoes for YEARS and they make me feel amazing each time I put them on. That's worth every penny. 

I've also created a signature style for myself which is clean, neutral, modern and minimalist. This has helped me stay true to my own aesthetic and ensure that every piece I purchase will be seamlessly incorporated into my daily wardrobe and not stand out like a sore thumb. If I can't think of 3 different ways to wear a piece, I don't buy it. Everything in my closet mixes and matches and gives me tons of options no matter what the occasion.

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Looking at your own closet, what are your favorite investment pieces and what trends are you loving this season?

Oh, gosh... I love this question! 

My top 3 investment pieces are:

1) An IRO single button black blazer -- the ideal topper for any occasion or outfit that makes you look instantly put together.

2) A VERONICA BEARD ruched mini dress -- it's SO beyond flattering and the dash of feminine my sometimes tomboy-ish wardrobe needs.

3) A CELINE leather satchel -- the caramel color is just so versatile and the leather is buttery soft. 

My top 3 trends are:

1) High waist paperbag pants -- a great summer alternative to jeans and super flattering to highlight a waistline!

2) Round Straw crossbody bag -- inexpensive and makes a visual impact.

3) Statement earrings -- modern geometric metal and/or acrylic earrings are an inexpensive way to give the most basic summer outfits (tank + jean shorts) and major style boost.

 

What is your go-to style tip?

I honestly have a few, but the one that I use with EVERY woman (and the occasional man) I style is give your sleeves a roll and cuff your jeans! It's amazing what a little roll can do to change proportions and make an outfit feel more finished, flattering and styled.

 

What are some style blogs your follow?

People are always surprised to learn that I actually don't follow a lot of style blogs! The few that I follow have to be really, really good and full of inspiration vs. just affiliate shopping links. Here's my short list:

Damsel in Dior: I love Jacey's minimal vibe and her ability to take a trend and own it, making it her own. Her personality and Instagram Stories are also beyond entertaining and worthy of a follow.

Happily Grey: Mary is simply stunning, but her style is what keeps me coming back. I love the way she mixes and matches -- dresses + combat boots, distressed denim and silky camisoles, flirty skirts + sneakers... she has a gift and an eye for good style.

Atlantic-Pacific: While I could never pull off Blair's editorial style, her images and styling are impeccable and truly inspirational.

 

 

Find more of Stella at her website www.theheartsdlite.com or over on Instagram

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My Spring Wishlist

It only took until the beginning of May, but bring finally showed up! Warmer temperatures, flowers in bloom, longer days -- i forget how much I really love Spring until it gets here. While I'm usually in a rush to hurry up and get to Summer, this year I'm really going to make an effort to embrace Spring with my Spring Wishlist. 

Plant an herb garden: I plant an herb garden every year, but honestly, I don't think very much about what I plant in there and typically miss out on some essentials. My usual go to is basil and mint, but this year I'm looking to plant some chives, parsley and thyme in addition to the usual. 

Decorate our front porch with tons of plants and flowers: Last year we finally bought some comfortable furniture for the front porch and added a hammock, and this year I really want to add some planters. I LOVE flowers, and in addition to hanging baskets I want to add even more plants and flowers to our front porch - I want it to look like a mini garden, or like the entrance to a London pub in the summer!

 My front porch inspiration

My front porch inspiration

Attend a garden party: I just want to sit in a beautiful garden surrounded by flowers, drink champagne, and eat mini sandwiches with the crusts cut off. 

 Photo credit:  Jungle Jetsetter

Photo credit: Jungle Jetsetter

Establish a consistent yoga practice: This one shows up as a resolution almost every single time I make a resolution, and unfortunately it's one I haven't turned into a habit...yet. I'm hoping this time is different. Having read part of Charles Duhigg's book on the Power of Habit, I learned that I need to focus on the reward in order to create a habit. In the case of yoga, it is savasana, zen vibes, and a sense of accomplishment that comes at the end of a session that I need to focus on, and in theory, it will help me build a habit and ultimately crave yoga. In full disclosure, I got really bored with the book and didn't finish it, but I'm pretty sure I got the essentials. 

Complete a bunch of online and IRL courses that I've been interested in: I recently read a really great book called Designing Your Life, that applies the principles of Design Thinking to your life. I've heard a lot about Design Thinking from Nick (he's an architect, so this is part of his job), and even did an exercise at work, but had not really thought about using it to design my life and my career! As part of the exercises in the Designing Your Life workbook, I'm taking some online classes to try things out and get a sense of what I might want to do when I grow up. I'm hoping that this groundwork really allows me to bloom this year (sorry not sorry for the Spring pun). 

What's on your wishlist this Spring?