Wednesday, April 1, 2015

February/March 2015 Favorites

I feel like I've abandoned this blog lately! Don't worry, I've got some great posts lined up for the next few months.

Remember how I planned to do monthly favorites posts this year? I'm still doing that, but since I only had one or two favorites in February, I decided to put my February and March favorites into the same post.

Back in mid-February, I read the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor on the recommendation of Megan Duke (who loves the series so much she has one of the the quotes as a tattoo). I was blown away! I tend to stay away from Paranormal YA, simply because a lot of authors put too much emphasis on the supernatural aspects of their characters, without bothering to create a realistic setting for the story. Daughter of Smoke & Bone doesn't have this problem. Everything about it pulled me in from the beginning, and it has everything you could want from a good series: 3-dimensional characters, romance (but not so much as to overpower the message of the story), character development, humor, and yes, loss. 5/5 stars!

My next favorite is something I'm really excited about - my healthy 3 ingredient chocolate bites! They're delicious, especially with strawberries, they only take about 5 minutes to make, and they're super healthy! Bonus: you can make as many or as few as you like. Full recipe coming soon.

I'm a big Disney fan, and when I finally got around to watching Big Hero 6 with my favorite kiddo, I loved it. There was plenty of action, but also some really emotional moments that had me tearing up. I'm a baby; at one point Mackenzie reached over, patted my shoulder, and said "It's not that sad, Lainey. Baymax comes back". It's a great movie, whether you watch it with kids or by yourself.

A few weeks ago, in an effort to cut down on the number of toxins I willingly put in my body, I purged all of my makeup. All of it. Everything that had a rating higher than a two on the EWG Skin Deep Database was either chucked into the trash bin or passed on to one of my friends. As you can imagine, that left me in need of some new, all natural makeup. After doing some research, I decided to take a chance and buy the Southern Belle Cream Foundation, Concealer, and Mineral Powder Foundation (plus some samples) from Cowgirl Dirt. All of their products are completely natural, and they're great! Since I've started using Cowgirl Dirt instead of my chemical laden products, my skin has cleared up drastically, and I need far less makeup.

 (hey, short hair!)

My last favorite is this Stripe It Lucky Skirt from Modcloth. I snagged this last month on sale for $20, and since then I've started wearing it with everything. I like that I can dress it up with heels and a blazer, or dress it down with Converse and a henley, plus it's adorable without being too preppy!

What have you fallen in love with this month? Let me know in the comments.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 2015 Favorites

I'm thinking about doing monthly favorites posts this year! This is the first one and if it goes over well, there will hopefully be more. My favorites could range from books to lipstick to technology - just anything new that I've enjoyed in that month. Let's get started!

The first thing I've been loving lately is taking Polaroid pictures with my new Fujifilm Istax Mini 8. I got the camera as a gift for Christmas, and I've been having a lot of fun taking photos of the people and things around me. There's something really satisfying about taking a photo and instantly seeing it pop out of the top of the camera. If you're looking into buying a Polaroid camera, I recommend this one. It doesn't have a lot of fancy features, but it's cheap and takes great photos.

I'm a big fan of Fall Out Boy and their new album, American Beauty/American Psycho, didn't disappoint. Up until now, my favorite FOB album has been From Under The Cork Tree, but it's possible that AB/AP has taken that place. It's very different from their past albums, and yet, it's still distinctly Fall Out Boy. Favorite tracks? "The Kids Aren't All Right" and "Novocaine".

I recently fell in love with Frostbeard Candles after I ordered one of their candles on a whim for a friend's birthday, and then went back and bought different scents for everyone on my Christmas list. The two I bought for myself - Old Books and Don't Panic (Fresh Towel) are both fantastic and accurately named. Also, because they're soy candles, they burn clean (so you can reuse the jar) and are better for the environment. I've already burned through half of Old Books, I love it so much.

MyFitnessPal is an app I've been using for about three months now to get healthier, and I love it. Entering in what you eat forces you to realize if the choices you're making are good ones, and it's really simple to use: just tap the add button, and select what you want to enter (food, water, current weight, or exercise). The app gives you a recommended amount of calories per day based on your start weight, height, activity level, etc. and all you have to do is select the meal you ate, and search for the what you had or scan the barcode. Then it will show how many calories you have for the rest of the day. If you exercise, it lets you enter the workout you did and for how long. You can also track your weight over time; for instance, I've lost 14.6 pounds since October, and I'm so proud of myself for that.

My last favorite for this month is a book: The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson. The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Clare both hold a place in my book-loving heart, and Magnus Bane happens to be my favorite character from those series'. So when I heard there was a book dedicated solely to Magnus, and I had a Barnes and Noble gift card? I was all over that. I went into this book expecting it to be one long story about a single event in Magnus' life, but it's actually a collection of short stories about different events from different time periods. I thought it was amazing. The book answered a lot of questions I had about the character, while still making me laugh the whole time (and yes, maybe cry once or twice). 5/5 stars for you, Magnus Bane. You go, Magnus Bane.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Secret Diamond Sisters Tag

My friend Jaclyn from Living In A World of Book Quotes tagged me to do the Secret Diamond Sisters Tag for Michelle Madow's book, The Secret Diamond Sisters. Now, I haven't read the book yet, but you don't have to read it to do the tag. All you have to do is answer the questions based on each sister in the story and tag some fellow readers!



Glitter and sparkles? In moderation.

First thing you would buy with a BlaAmEx (Black American Express)? Probably a car.

What color would you dye your hair? I don't dye my hair, but if I did, black.

One word to describe your feelings toward volleyball? Fun

Nick or Damien? I have no idea who either of those people are, so I'm going with not applicable.


Favorite book? I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick one, I'd say Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Which charity/foundation would you donate/volunteer to? I donate to the Harry Potter Alliance and whenever I can! Both do a lot of good work that I support.

Dream vacation? London.

Dream university/college? Not sure.

What color are your favorite pair of flip-flops? I prefer my blue TOMS to flip-flops.


Favorite bad boy or villain character from a book? Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. He's not the main antagonist of the series, and arguably, he's not a villain. More of a scared, misguided student forced to step into the role of villain. But I digress.

Worst thing you've ever done to a book? I unknowingly left my old copy of The Hound of The Baskervilles in the rain for almost an entire day. Needless to say, I bought a new copy.

How long will it take you to wake up in the morning? Give me an hour if I don't have to get up. I can wake up pretty quickly if I absolutely have to, though.

Favorite type of coffee? Tea. (I don't drink coffee)

What are you doing at 1 in the morning? Sleeping. Possibly reading.

Thanks so much to Jaclyn for tagging me! I'm tagging Ellie from Lace It Up Love.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Release: Pinny the Bowling Pin by Leah Ward

Pinny the Bowling Pin is finally here, just in time for you to order it as a holiday gift for any kids on your list! Copies are $10 from, so get them now. I'll be ordering the book for some of my favorite kids, because it's such a cute story. Not sure if you should get it? Here's my review, and it's also been kid-approved by Mackenzie.

Aside from being the release day, today is my last day hosting Pinny's Blog Tour. Thanks so much to Leah for involving me in the blog tour and letting me read the book before its release. If you want to catch up on my posts about Pinny from this week, here they are:

About Leah Ward

Leah Ward is a 21 year old author of YA and children’s picture books. She lives in NC with her beloved jack russell terrier Luna. She decided to pursue writing only two years ago after her bestfriend, singer Taylor Leopold, told her how amazing her poetry was and encouraged her to get it published. After releasing her poetry book, The Art of Words (2013), she decided to try writing her favorite genre book – fantasy YA. 2014 brought the release of her first YA novel Searching for Darkness. Currently Leah is working on a childrens book that all ages will find to love. You can follow Leah on Twitter @LeahWardAuthor and Instagram @LeahWardAuthor. You can also visit her Facebook page for a frequent update of what she is up to and book memes that will give you a laugh!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Make Pinny's Dreams Come True!

So if you read Mackenzie's thoughts on Pinny the Bowling Pin yesterday, you know that we made our own Pinny's after reading the book! The idea is to print out the blank Pinny, choose a profession for him, and draw him doing that job. After we finished the book, we sat down with some crayons and markers to work on making Pinny's dreams come true. Half an hour of furious scribbling and two broken crayons later, we were done!

As you can see, Mackenzie chose the ever so popular profession of "Space Doctor" for her Pinny.

My Pinny was a little more basic; I gave him the exciting job of "astronaut".

If you'd like to make your own Pinny's dreams come true, just save and print out the blank Pinny below. You or your kids can color and draw him as any profession! Be sure to post them to Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #MakePinnysDreamsComeTrue and tag @laineylorio and @leahwardauthor so we can see them!



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