One More Chapter: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This marks the third novel of Agatha Christie's that I have read and let me tell you, the moniker "Queen of Mystery" is so damn appropriate. "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" is by far one of my favorite books, not just of the mystery genre but ALL genres. It managed to do something truly unique that I hadn't encountered previously in any mystery I'd read. "Murder on the Orient Express" is no different.

The novel features well-known detective Hercule Poirot, a mustachioed Belgian who has a penchant for being clever and solving virtually any case that comes his way. We start the story with a full cast of characters from all walks of life, it seems, and said characters find themselves stuck on a train thanks to a snow storm. As if adding time to the commute wasn't bad enough, it turns out that a man was stabbed in the night!

We are confronted with physical clues from the scene of the crime...but were they placed there intentionally as a red herring? Or were they genuinely left behind by the perpetrator? The stabbing itself presents a similarly confusing situation in that the wounds are not all identical. Was this done by multiple killers, or was this done as a ruse to make Poirot THINK there were multiple killers? These are the very questions that Poirot--and the reader--have to work through. And believe me, Poirot WILL work them out.

The ending, of course, brings with it a conclusion to the mystery. But it's the way that Christie managed to weave together the story that had me interested from the first page to the last. I kept changing my mind as to who could have done it and (by accident, as a joke) I managed to guess the ending. Take that for what you will.

I can't recommend Agatha Christie enough. Her works hold up surprisingly well over the years and it's easy to see how she revolutionized the entire mystery genre itself.

One More Chapter: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Thank you for joining me on this bookish jaunt! "One More Chapter" is the name I decided to give to my book review feature that used to be called "Bookworm Beat." After being so lazy about it, I'm happy to finally be getting into a good habit of reading once again and I'm really looking forward to sharing certain selections with you! One More Chapter will be devoted to reviews of a single book, whereas "Bookworm Beat" will likely be a quick summary of what else I've been reading lately. If you ever have any recommendations for more books or comments on the one currently being reviewed, please share! I LOVE talking all things books with ANYONE, so bring it on!!

The first selection I'm going with is "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng. This book is the sophomore release by Ng, author of "Everything I Never Told You." I haven't read her debut title yet even though I own it, but after reading "Little Fires Everywhere" I think I'm going to have to move it up on my TBR list!

"Little Fires Everywhere" was published in September of this year and was a Book of the Month choice for that month. As a BotM member, I didn't choose this particular title and has a major case of buyer's remorse once I heard of the praise this book was getting (for the record, I chose "The Power" by Naomi Alderman). I snatched it up from Target as soon as I could and raced through it in less than two days, so I hope that gives some insight as to what I think of this book. I'm not a particularly slow reader, but I seem to get distracted by other things in life (I'm sure everyone can relate to that!) and so I will often set a book down for days at a time before coming back to it. This book, however, got to be too intriguing to step away from for too long.

Let me give you a quick rundown without spoiling anything. This novel is set in Shaker Heights, a ritzy suburban community in Ohio where order and presentation is everything to everyone. Or almost everyone. The Richardsons are one of the wealthy, well-respected families in the city who have always had it easy and predictable. Elena and Bill Richardsoon and their children--Tripp, Lexie, Moody, and Izzy--haven't had to deal with much drama in their lives...that is, until Mia and Pearl Warren move into the neighborhood. Mrs. Richardson, who has a home she rents out as a gesture of self-important goodwill, takes Mia and Pearl on as tenants. Mia, a photographer and single mother to Pearl, lived an itinerant life since Pearl was born but made the decision to settle down in Shaker Heights indefinitely. After all, Shaker Heights is the model of idyllic living, right?

Pretty soon, all four Richardson children and both parents become entangled with the Warren duo, especially after a custody battle has Mrs. Richardson and Mia on opposite sides of the issue. Things spiral as secrets surface and we quickly learn that all actions have a ripple effect. Mia's mysterious past (Where did she come from? Who is Pearl's father??) and Elena Richardson's seemingly stable and perfect life crash into each other, leaving a lot of pain, confusion, and answers in their wake. The true nature of these people begins to show underneath the crumbling facade they have tried so hard to maintain. By the end of the book, everything is to intertwined that you can't help but praise Ng's storytelling and ability to think out a plot like this without making it too convoluted.

The title of this book is so appropriate, with references to fire, cleansing, etc scattered throughout. The theme is clear here and as a reader, you realize just how much everyone is keeping within themselves to keep up appearances. At some point, everyone breaks and sometimes the only way to recover is by burning it all down. Which, by the way, is exactly what happens at the very beginning of the book.

The writing, I thought, was very good, particularly with the characters. I found myself gritting my teeth as all of the misunderstandings, miscommunication, and mistakes being made that just compounded on themselves until they reached a point where there was no turning back. Interestingly enough, the one character whose perspective we really didn't get all that much was Mr. Richardson, and his involvement in the plot was honestly a little irrelevant. I didn't mind this, however, because there was already so much going on with so many strings criss-crossing in the plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found myself ripping through the chapters, at times having a pretty good idea of what I would find next but still managing to be surprised by the way the details came out. This was also one of the few books I have recently finished where the ending seemed satisfying to me. A little symbolic maybe, but pretty much a resolution that made me feel okay with how everything wrapped up. I'm sitting here still wondering about Izzy...

If you have read this book, please let me know what you thought! And stay tuned for the next edition of One More Chapter.

Just Hitting Refresh Over Here...

I have had Hazel & Honey for a little bit now, and realizing that has made me think over a few things. Namely, my reason for running a blog in the first place. When I first started this, I had so many fun ideas of what content I would post and how it would be an interesting way to express myself. But quickly I fell out of love with what I was doing. I didn't know why. I just felt guilty about it.

I knew I had to be honest with myself as to what this was all about. Yes, it's "just a blog," but it was still something I felt the need to put effort in. I was reading some great, cute blogs and wanted to be like them. I wanted to collaborate with cool artists or brands or other bloggers. I wanted that recognition and feeling like I had a point of view. But that was the absolute wrong thing to do.

If I continue to try and be like my favorite bloggers, this is going to be tedious and fake. So the only way I can enjoy blogging again is if I just be myself, no matter what others may think of that. So here goes...

First and foremost, my number one priority for almost a year now has been my daughter. That's not changing. And motherhood has been the hugest game changer in my life. So why am I not sharing more about that? It seems inauthentic. So starting now, I'm going to be including a lot more about parenthood and having a child/children, and balancing that with all the stuff that made me "me" before I became a parent.

Second, I really enjoy being creative and working with my hands. I have been scrapbooking for almost 20 years now and I realized that I hardly EVER share that with anyone. Isn't that a little weird? I used to get constant remarks about how that is such an antiquated "granny" hobby and that always left me confused...these folks had no idea what scrapbooking has become! I guess that has made me a little apprehensive about posting it online and whatnot, but I think it's time to say screw it. So I'm hoping to share more about any creative projects I'm working on.

I also love books and reading. Bookstores are basically mini-Disneyworlds in my eyes. I love going into local used bookstores whenever my husband and I go out-of-town, just walking amongst all of the shelving and getting a neck ache from reading the sideways spines on the books. I've been a part of a few now-defunct book clubs (always trying, though!) just because I LOVE to talk books with people I know. I like reading pretty much everything and I am really excited to share what I'm reading and get recommendations from other people!! That TBR list is never going to stop growing.

There are other things I'm into that will also make their way onto the blog now and then. Beauty, fashion, cooking, etc. The categories at the top of the page also aren't going anywhere, and I decided not to delete any previous posts. I think it's important to see the evolution of my blog over time and I am not embarrassed about being a total noob. We all gotta start somewhere, am I right?

So I hope you enjoy the new Hazel & Honey. I'm finalizing some recurring features I'd like to include, but if there is anything anyone would like to see, I would be open to suggestions!

Thanks so much for stopping by!! Hope to chat soon ;)

//What I'm About / Vol. 5


The book, which this show is based off of, has been on my TBR list pretty much since it came out. It's sitting on my shelf, mocking me. But I keep bumping it for others...don't worry, my dear, I'll get to you eventually. Back to the topic at hand, the show is entertaining and will have you wondering why you didn't think to do what she did--seriously! I'm kicking myself. The hubs and I binged almost the entire season, but still have a few left to go. Oh, and RuPaul is in it, soooo...all the thumbs up emojis.

Bullet Journaling

I am a notorious list-maker and far-too-organized person. I literally have four planners/calendars going at once...who needs to be that organized?! Me, apparently. So bullet journaling is something that I would naturally get sucked into. I attempted to start it a couple years ago but this time, I'm diving in full force. For those who don't know, bullet journaling is a method of keeping a combination planner and commonplace book, using a systematic approach to scheduling and notating your entries. It can be completely customized to the way you operate and be as artistic or as minimal as you like. The only things you need to start are literally a notebook and a pen. The rest is fluff. I can do an entire post on that (and just might!), but let me leave you with some reference links.

Ruth Riechl is, among other things, a food writer, and boy does it show in this book! The way she writes about food is so poetic that you can nearly taste the very dishes she describes. This book goes through her life as she blossomed into a foodie and it's so compelling, I can read pages upon pages before I even think to set it down.

Back at it with another magazine recommendation! Mollie Makes is a lifestyle and crating magazine that is packed with fun project and a ton of artistic inspiration. It is another imported magazine which makes it a little on the pricier side, but it's so worth it. The physical copies come with a mini-craft--supplies and all!--so that's the route I prefer to go. If you visit their website, they are offering 3 issues for $9.95, which I think it fantastically reasonable.

If you enjoy cooking at home but feel overwhelmed by meal planning and prepping, definitely check out Prep Dish. It's not one of those services that sends ingredients to your home or anything. Instead, you get meal plans, complete with organized grocery lists (BLESS!) and step-by-step prep instructions. The meals are also paleo or gluten-free and dairy is always optional. The entire concept is that you have a shopping day, a prep day, and then you get to enjoy meals for the week. I plan on doing an entire post dedicated to Prep Dish because my husband and I love it SO much, so I won't go into too much further detail. I will say, though, that we've been doing this for three weeks now and we have yet to eat a meal that we didn't like. Winner!

//What I'm About / Vol. 4

If you're a paper/stationary nerd like me, you'll dig this magazine. It's full of all things beautiful and paper-related. It's an imported magazine, so it's on the pricier side. But it's so totally worth it.

Imagine being Beyoncé's sister. Just imagine. Queen Bey's younger sister who is ALSO trying to make it in the music business. Damn. I would probably just spend my days eating cookie dough straight from the tube and call it. But not Solange. I first heard her sing when she performed on Saturday Night Live and while I thought her performance style was a little out there for my taste, I couldn't help but be drawn to her voice and the beat of the music. I have been playing "Cranes in the Sky" on repeat in my car--and my daughter even stopped crying when this song came on. Winner.

I enjoy wearing mascara but I loathe taking it off at the end of the night, especially if I'm wearing contacts. Usually, the only products tough enough to remove mascara well are also the products that you least want in your eyes when you're wearing contacts. And for some reason, those two seem to always be simultaneous--until this (I have the blue one). I use this on a cotton pad (not cotton ball) until I see little to no traces of black. I then follow it up with my ride-or-die cleanser, which is probably more of a byproduct of my obsession with the Korean skincare routine than anything else.

Vintage compact for my translucent loose powder

I have been on the lookout for just the right vintage compact for several years and I finally found it! It's larger, mirror intact, great condition, and it came with a sifter. After I cleaned and sterilized everything, I took my go-to setting powder (which basically comes in a spice container) and poured a small layer into the compact. I popped the sifter on top and now, all I have to do it pounce my powder brush on top of the sifter and BAM!

Now for something totally out of left field! I am a big fan of the History Channel series, Forged in Fire. Thanks a lot, little brother, for starting a binge-watching marathon. Apparently, a former contestant started a new web series where the make awesome fictional or fantasy weapons that are fully functional and totally awesome. Naturally, I was immediately addicted and can't get enough of the skill and talent used in blacksmithing. Oh, and my paternal grandfather was a blacksmith, so that's cool!

//Weekend Mornings (Scrapbook Layout)

So it has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I made a traditional layout. I think the last time I made one, I was still pregnant with Hazel. Even then, I wasn't that happy with the finished product. I just wasn't "feeling it" and struggled through the process, glumly stashing the end result so I don't have to look at it. Then I took these adorable photos of Hazel one weekend and decided that I HAD to document them in a layout.

I can't tell you how happy I am with it. Admittedly, in the beginning I was thinking I was going to hate it. But I plugged away and kept playing with it and eventually I made something I am quite proud of.

I used mostly elements from a past Gossamer Blue kit, which I believe the background patterned paper was from. I was drawn to the pink and teal combination (a popular color scheme in scrapbooking as of late) and so I decided to play around with that, adding in white and kraft elements, as well as touches of gold. You know me, I can't resist that gold shiz. Sidenote: I think my appreciation for gold came with age because I was adamantly against it for the longest time. I guess it's true what they say about acquiring wisdom with age. Anyway, you'll notice that the photos I used contain NEITHER pink nor teal. And I don't care. Seriously. I was never big on matching colors used in my layout to those found in my photo(s). I don't like things to be SUPER matchy-matchy and besides, this gives me way more freedom.

I love to layer elements, so after deciding to angle the photographs atop the kraft paper, I started tucking in bits and pieces until I came to something I liked. I tried to bring a lot of pink onto the teal side to make everything blend together nicely.

I really enjoy texture in layouts, so I combined a variety of papers and embellishments to achieve that look. I even used a notebook paper punch on the edges of the white-and-pink striped paper and then roughed up the edge so it stands up a little. I was all but finished with the layout when I thought it looked a little off-balance, so I used a coral ink from Studio Calico and a date stamp in the upper-right corner to tie it all together.

That's it! If you have any questions about why or how I did something in particular, please feel free to ask!

//The 100 Day Project + Metal Stamping Made Easy!

Today I decided to begin the 100 Day Project after seeing a bunch of posts about this in my Instagram feed. I don't know all of the history behind the project, but the premise itself is simple--it is intended to broaden you creatively by having you engage in a creative task for 100 days. This website is the first thing that popped up when I Googled this project, but I cannot attest as to whether it is "the" project I was seeing references to. Either way, I decided this would be a fun way to do SOMETHING artistic once a day.

I was debating about what my project should be. At first, I thought it would be an amazing feat if I chose embroidery or scrapbook layouts. But then I realized that if I was being serious, I needed to be realistic in my goals. Embroidery would require too much fiddling around with supplies and if I wanted to use more than a single color, rethreading my needle multiple times would get annoying. Fast. And with scrapbooking, well, that was just impossible. I could take hours working on a single layout and I certainly don't have that kind of time with an-almost 6-month old. I decided to go with watercolor.

I went to the store and got a pack of 3" x 5" index cards, unruled, so that I could paint on those. I began playing around with what to watercolor and in the end, I chose basic pattern and mark-making. Most importantly, I give myself only 5 minutes to work on this (not including drying time). That's right. FIVE MINUTES. Honestly, even as a mom of an infant, if I don't have five minutes to myself each day, I really need to change some things because I am not about that life.

On the back of the painted card, I used my Mega Date Stamp from Studio Calico (currently out of stock, but they do have the time stamp in stock) to stamp today's date. I plan on making a mini-album of these when the 100 days are up, but for now there will be a small pile on my desk.

Another fun creative thing I did today was try my hand at metal stamping! I was at Target (otherwise known as "my second home") and I perused the craft aisle. Y'all, Target got some new goodies in! Some of these lovelies include DIY project kits by Brit + Co. The best part? Each kit is under $30!! Oh, man. I used to LOVE project kits when I was a kid because you had everything you needed to make something cool--and sometimes practical! I had a hard time deciding which one to get but I ultimately chose this "Metal Stamp a Necklace Kit."

I instantly knew I wanted to do my daughter's name as my necklace. I used the practice bar to get familiar with the process and once I felt comfortable with that, I used the included vinyl tape to secure my metal blank. Stamping this took only minutes and then about another three minutes to attach the chain to the metal bar.

You have enough supplies to make TWO necklaces (think about how fun it would be to make matching necklaces for you and your BFF!!!) but considering that the only supplies you'd have to buy more of are the metal blanks, you can really get a lot of use out of this kit. I couldn't be happier with my new jewelry ;)

//What I'm About / Vol. 3

I have been super duper absent lately thanks to a bout of disease that ran rampant through my family, so that was fun. At least my baby girl didn't get too sick. The hubs and I bore the brunt of that haha. Anywho, I thought a good way to ease back into the blog was with a good ol' "What I'm About" post. Let's proceed!

PINK MARTINI!! They are so fun and have a very multi-cultural, cosmopolitan swing/jazz sound. I currently am obsessed with their most recent release, Je Dis Oui! It means "I say yes" and it's the chorus of the first track, "Jolie Garçon." My daughter, for the record, enjoys this song ;) Their music has been on heavy rotation during my commute. I really feel like I should be drinking cocktails in a smokey bar in Paris when I listen to their music, though I don't know why.

The Puppini Sisters are another great group. They are considered a "vocal harmony swing group," according to their website, and they do a lot of covers that span genres and it all has a very retro twist to it. The group is UK-based and no, they aren't literally sisters. I've been listening to their Christmas album a lot because it's great and I love Christmas. If you think people shouldn't listen to Christmas music out of season, then fight me. Just fight me.

So, real talk. I love coffee. LOVE it. I kind of wish I could be one of those folks who gives up caffeine and is constantly drinking water and staying hydrated and being all-around fabulous. But this is not meant to be for me. When I was pregnant, that was literally the toughest thing for me, giving up my usual insane amount of daily coffee. When I tell people how many espresso shots I liked in my latte, they looked at me like I should be committed. To each their own. I am also a slut for Starbucks and whenever they come out with a new menu item, I'm immediately intrigued. I gave the Cascara Latte a go and I love it! It's just subtly sweet and as long as you don't get additional espresso shots, the balance is perfect between the sweetness and bitterness. 10/10 would recommend. PS. I guess it's pronounced "cass-care-ah" because when I say it as "cass-car-ah," the barista promptly--and irritatedly--corrects me. Meh.

This movie was really good. Like, way better than I thought it would be. It was funny (Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson are so freaking good) and considering that I was once a teenage girl back in the day, man, did I relate to some of this stuff. The teenage angst and the meanies at school and the making a damn idiot of yourself in front of a boy you like---yep, been there with all that shiz. Rent this tonight with a pint of Halo Top ice cream (Peanut Butter Cup is the best flavor, IMHO) and watch it in your jammies (preferably with a friend or two).

I am almost afraid to admit this because I feel like there is going to be a barrage of criticism. But when you're a mom, that's par for the course, right?! ;) My 4-month old LOVES this show. It's the colorful and expressive blocks on the screen, I think, but the music is also really fun. I think this is a Canadian show but we watch it through YouTube or Hulu and it's the only thing that was able to calm my baby down after her last round of shots (poor thing). While I don't believe in using a TV as a babysitter for the fact that time is so fleeting and I would hate to miss out on a bunch of time with Hazel in that way, I am ALL FOR this show as a way to spend time together. The songs are very catchy and fun and educational, but in interesting ways. A+ to Big Block Singsong.

//BBRBF Book Club / The Bette Davis Club

With this being my first ever BBRBF Book Club post, I am a little nervous--but mostly excited! I rarely post about what I wear because, truth be told, I am not 100% happy with how I look and I always look at photos of myself and pick apart every little thing that I don't like. HOWEVER, in an effort to be kinder to myself, I am attempting to turn that around by posting the freaking photos anyway and saying who gives an eff.

Taking these photos was an interesting endeavor. My first photos were sent to the depths of Hell and so I had to retake them. Considering that we only have a few windows in our townhouse and all of those windows are located in less-than-easy-to-pose-in locations, I was left with using some lighting and my unfinished basement as a backdrop. In the words of the wonderful Tim Gunn, "Make it work." I hope to be able to take the photos outside for next month, though, and hopefully get better results. And who knows, I'll probably redo these, too, and edit the post! Ha!

February's book was "The Bette Davis Club" by the late Jane Lotter. I read the forward of this book--something I hardly ever do--and was touched. It was written by the author's daughter who said how her mother's biggest dream in life was to be a published author. It was so very sweet and humbling because while being a published author is no small feat, the fact that it was this woman's greatest wish and it actually happened is adorable and emotional. Jane Lotter ended up passing away shortly after publication, so knowing that she was able to see her dream come true just in time is the kind of amazing things you only hear about once in a blue moon.

From Goodreads:

"The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.

When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancé, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.

From acclaimed humor writer Jane Lotter comes this madcap, laugh-out-loud adventure, The Bette Davis Club."

As you can see, the book centers around Margot Just, a martini-guzzling, older dame who is essentially destitute and attending her niece's wedding. And her niece's mom happens to be the child of the wife of Margot's father, who had a sidepiece otherwise known as Margot's mom. A little confusing, to be sure, but stick with me.

So Margot is in this super awkward situation, staying in California with her half-sister Charlotte--who is MEGA rich and successful, mind you--when, on the morning of the wedding, the niece is nowhere to be found! She up and left her own damn wedding, leaving Charlotte to convince Margot to go looking for her and bring her back to get hitched. Why? Because Margot is the cool aunt. Margot agrees to do it, but only after being offered $50,000.

Margot and the jilted groom head off in search of the runaway bride, zipping around in Margot's father's beautiful red convertible--a 1955 red MG, for what it's worth. Not totally sure why they couldn't have taken a different car, especially since the convertible had a "Just Married" sign and balloons attached to it, but hey! Armed with Charlotte's American Express "black card" and enough angst for a gaggle of teenagers, the hunt is on!

//this is that car that's mentioned about a million times in the book/

Admittedly, this book is not something I normally would pick up. That being said, I...didn't like it a whole lot. I really wanted to like it because of the story behind the story. Don't get me wrong, it was a fun book to read. The plot was pretty light-hearted, despite the money troubles, alcoholism, and dysfunctional family. I just didn't feel like the narrative flowed all that well, probably because of the two timelines--Margot reminiscing about the past while looking for the niece in the present--and it made the story feel a little too disjointed for my liking. At the time of this writing, I haven't even finished the book (though I plan to because that's just in my nature, darn it!). I have read that things end up working themselves out in the end, though to what that's referring, I have no clue. I guess we'll see!!

On to the clothes!

Forgive me for looking like I'm ill, but it's because I am. I'm pretty sure my darling, innocent 4-month old girl got me sick. It's okay, I still adore her and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I'm just feeling like poop and trying to hide it the best way I know how--with MAKEUP! Bless!

Since there are a lot of Old Hollywood references in this book (uh, hello, the title!), I thought it would be super fun to go glamour up in here. I don't often get the chance to doll myself up this way, so what better occasion than a book review?!

This dress is from Amazon. I know. "AMAZON?!" you ask, shocked. Yes, Amazon. And it was a steal at only $23.99! I ordered it in the "Red" color, though in the photo and in person the color is more wine-like, which I prefer. Speaking of the stock photo, I think it's hilarious how you can obviously tell it's a photo of Dita von Teese. Kudos for trying to appeal to the right crowd, I guess?

The size chart was pretty spot on and frankly, I could have even sized down with the amount of stretch in the dress (which, btw, is great if you have thicker arms like me!). I like having the bit of breathing room, so I'm still happy with what I have. The keyhole isn't TOO revealing, so I think I could get away with wearing this at the office, especially with a blazer. I really love the length, both of the dress overall and the sleeves, and the higher collar is super chic. The ruching around the waist is quite flattering and the quality seems pretty good for a dress that cost less than $25. I am pretty confident I'll be ordering it in other colors

The fascinator by Urban CoCo also came from Amazon and considering it's through a different seller, the colors worked pretty well together! The color I got is listed as "Wine Red" on the site, though the photo makes it look more like a true red. Rest assured that in person, it IS closer to a wine color than not. I just want to say that I love being able to get a decent outfit with Prime Shipping. What a time to be alive.

The fascinator comes attached to an alligator clip, which I appreciate because my hair is short and I don't always care for how a headband looks with one of these. It arrived in a box and not a bag, for which I was very grateful because let's face it, most of these "more affordable" sellers tend to skimp on the packaging, resulting in a crushed product. It came to my mailbox without any issues and for that, I was very grateful!

The veil has these pipe cleaner-type pieces studding the material and the overall look is very charming. I am thinking of getting the navy blue fascinator offered as my next choice, though be sure to note the differences in price between the selections.

//derpy expression: check!//

My shoes are my current favorites and they are getting a TON of love right now. They are the black Windmill style by Restricted Shoes and they are super comfy, look cute af, and if you go visit the blog of the lovely Ashley, a.k.a., "Southern (California) Belle," you can get 25% for a limited time!

I had a lot of fun putting this look together and I can't wait to see what the other ladies come up with!! Please visit their blogs using the links below and see how they styled themselves using this book as inspiration.

Join me next month for our March book selection, The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, where I will take better photos ;)

~Fabulous Ladies~

Sara of In a Nutshell
Helene of Circle Skirts & Petticoats
Kathrine of The Miss Information Blog
Noelle of The Classy Junk
Kristina of The Eyre Effect
Laci of Laci Fay

                                                                         // Outfit Details //
Fascinator - Urban CoCo on Amazon
Tights - Target

//Inspo Thursday / Embroidery!!

Hey, y'all! Today's post is a spin on a post I did a long while back where I profiled someone whose creative work served as a source of inspiration for me, impacting my own creative projects and attitude. This time, rather than focusing on one person, I thought it would be fun to be a little more loosey-goosey with it! This edition of Inspo Thursday is brought to you by EMBROIDERY!

I dabble in the craft and I find it VERY fun and fairly easy to do, provided you have patience to sit there and stitch, stitch, stitch. I am not that good by any means, but I'm good ENOUGH and frankly, unless you're selling your wares, who cares?! Like anything, embroidery is something you get better at the more you do it and there are tons of sources online to help you learn various stitches (Sublime Stitching has some how-tos that I've used before), should you want to get fancy AF with it. I usually just do a simple backstitch and that seems to serve me well most of the time.

Looking at these various artists, however, I am pushed to try harder and improve my work with effects like mixing stitches and "blending" threads to create a shading effect. Check out some of my recent favorites I've been peeping and see if they don't inspire you to pick up a needle and thread!

Adam has this way of adding a lot of thickness and dimension to his piece, using the stitches and thread to build up certain portions of his work. And can we talk about the Ravenclaw diadem?! SWOON!

I am obsessed with bees and this is too sweet. He also turned it into a patch to be sold in his store, but they're all gone now :(

The use of the holes in the canvas is genius and something I haven't seen before! I also love spiders, so this piece is right up my alley.

Sarah's work is very inspired by plant life, particularly succulents and cacti. The way she saturates her canvases with stitching results in an almost "patch"-type effect that is stunning. I can't imagine all the hours she spends working on this gorgeous embroidery.

The woman also does these cool portraits, where the figures are intertwined in vegetation and their faces are often obscured. Aside from these, she's also done crystals, lunar phases, and various kinds of landscapes.

Sarah offers a Pattern Program where you can subscribe and get original designs of embroidery patterns, complete with a PDF pack including instructions. You can get 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscriptions and she often posts inspiration using these patterns on her social media.

Brannon's work is also floral-inspired and I am SO in love with her little flowers-in-a-vase pieces! She lists several of them periodically in her shop and I am always too late in scooping one up. Some day...Speaking of her shop, along with her hand-embroidered pieces, she also sells cards, prints, gift tags, and more!

I just love the way she clusters her florals together like this. While she does do monochromatic pieces and those are great, I am super partial to the colorful explosions like this tree. The woman has only been doing since 2014, for crying out loud!!

The variety of colors and flowers in her work is drool-worthy. It just makes me happy to look at it! She DOES accept commissions for custom work, so it's worth reaching out if you are looking for something truly special.

//Some other favorites include//

For more inspirational work, check out one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @embroidery, run by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching.