Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

career of evilLast year I wrote a post about books I love and some I haven’t read yet. Well for my book club, we just finished reading Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith. Who’s Robert Galbraith, you may ask… J.K. Rowling of course! Love her. I’ve read the Harry Potter series eight times, going on my ninth at some point this year. My opinion as to why she created this pseudonym is because her first adult novel after the Harry Potter series (The Casual Vacancy) didn’t receive the best reviews. Side note: I didn’t even get 100 pages into The Casual Vacancy.

Career of Evil is the third installment of the Cormoran Strike novels. Genre: action-mystery, in my opinion. Cormoran Strike is a detective in London who, essentially, solves cases faster than the police can with the help of his assistant Robin. While I’m not going to spoil anything, my advice is to read the first of the series (The Cuckoo’s Calling) before picking up the third. Skip the second if you want. I did and didn’t feel like I missed any vital information. The first book, however, introduces you to the main characters so if you do end up skipping the second book, you’re not left wondering who’s who.

On to my review. I really enjoyed this book. While it did take me a little over a month to read (a month and three days, actually), the book captures your attention in the first four pages. From then on you’re hooked. The nice thing about the Cormoran Strike series is that it’s always action packed and you end up reading more chapters than you thought you would right before you go to sleep. This book flip flops between two sets of characters in every chapter and it’s interesting to see how both sets of stories intertwine throughout the book. That’s all I’ll tell you about the plot because I don’t want to ruin the book for you, but my only real critique of the book is the ending. I was thoroughly disappointed and you might be too after you read it.

All in all, the writing is captivating (I mean, it is J.K. Rowling after all) and the plot is well thought out and intriguing. If you end up picking it up to read it – or have already read it and loved it, hated it, or was meh  about it – let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Leigh

Bachelor Bracket Time

The Bachelor

The Bachelor is on it’s 20th season, and I’m still (sadly?) an avid viewer. It’s a guilty pleasure I just can’t seem to give up. Luckily, my friends are just as into it as I am, and we regularly get together for Monday night viewing parties.

Reality TV madness

Bachelor bracketTwo of my friends are so into it that they decided to start up a website where we can track our picks from week to week (instead of paper brackets like we were previously doing). It’s really great and much more user-friendly than other brackets I’ve seen out there. You can see what it looks like and my picks for the remaining weeks on the right.

It’s open for anyone to join, and it’s not too late! So if you’re interested, head over to their site (Reality TV Madness) and make your picks. Brackets close at 8pm EST tonight (that’s 5pm for us West Coasters), so sign up and get your picks locked in ASAP!

Join us in a little friendly competition, and may the odds be ever in your favor. Who do you think Ben is going to end up with? My initial pick was Olivia, but seeing as she’s going crazy lately, I think it’s going to be between JoJo and Lauren B.

xoxo,
Veronica

Home Decor

These next three weeks are sure to be hectic. My husband and I are currently packing up our apartment and moving into a bigger one a few streets over (at another complex). While I do love all the current art pieces we have (and one we bought on our honeymoon in Hawaii), since it’s a bigger space I need to accommodate and make it feel homey rather than empty.

Where do I go? Pinterest, of course! It has truly been my savior in figuring out how to organize in a stylish and creative way. The two main rooms I need to focus on is the bathroom and kitchen. Here are some of the ideas I will be implementing in my new apartment:

Bathroom:

Using a wine rack as a towel holder. Such a great idea!

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.39.53 AM

Loving this tiered tray to store things like q-tips, lotions and small hand towels. My new bathroom counter will have the space for this.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.25.06 AM.png

Bedroom:

I have everything pretty much set for the bedroom already as we’re bringing over what we already have, but I am always looking for a better way to store my jewelry. I love this framed jewelry board. I love that this one has a little shelf/tray for rings.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.57.31 AM.png

Kitchen:

I’ve always wanted to put up cute signs and these are printable. Just head to the dollar store and find a nice frame to put these in!

coffeeprintables

Living Room:

Loving these shelves and how they’re decorated. Will be sure to do this in my new place.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.46.31 AM.png

Guaranteed over the next three weeks I’ll come up with more ideas. Once we are settled in I’ll be sure to take some photos and share them with you.

If you have any cool ideas, be sure to let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for more.

xoxo,

Leigh

Rainy Day Activity: Watch Harry Potter

8178443672_87d458b231_o.png

El niño is here. It is pouring in Marin County today and instead of staying at home on the couch cuddling with my cats, I am at work. But if you’re lucky enough to be at home today because your office decided to close due to weather or you just have the day off, it’s time to catch up on Harry Potter.

Yes, you can easily say that I am a Hogwarts fanatic and love Harry Potter. It’s true, all of it. But one of the main reasons I am writing this post today is because last week we lost Alan Rickman who played Professor Snape in all the Harry Potter films (you might also remember him from Galaxy Quest or Dogma). He was definitely a talented actor and will be missed.

giphy.gif

LETTHEMEATCAKE-FOREVER.TUMBLR.COM

So as an homage to Mr. Rickman, and to get through the cold, gloomy day, I challenge you: get through as many Harry Potter movies as you can today. My husband surprised me last weekend with the blu ray box set of all the movies, purchased for only $80 at Best Buy (great deal, right??). We ended up getting through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

We will for sure be watching more this weekend if the weather is still like this. Stay dry out there!

Do you have a favorite Harry Potter movie?

xoxo,

Leigh

Music: David Bowie

In Memoriam.png

While everyone was enjoying the red carpet glam and Golden Globes on Sunday night (see Veronica’s picks for worst and best dressed), the world lost a great musician.

David Bowie passed away at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. His music influenced generations and hopefully will continue to do so. His latest album “Blackstar” was released just days ago and the music video for “Lazarus” is incredibly powerful (see below).

For me, music has always been important in my life. My dad, who introduced many different genres of music to me at a young age, played an integral part in my love for music. He introduced me to Queen and David Bowie at the same time, hence “Under Pressure” being one of my favorite songs to this day. Can’t forget about the crazy cool lyrics of “Moonage Daydream” either (you might recognize it if you saw Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014).

David Bowie was the kind of musician that pushed boundaries – a true master of music – all while keeping his private life private. From reading about his relationship with model Iman, he was a kind and gentle soul. I can’t forget to mention his costumes during concerts. He made quite the fashion statement.

Carnegie Hall will be holding a memorial concert for him on March 31 with well-known musicians paying tribute to the late singer.

How has David Bowie’s music influenced your life and what are some of your favorite songs? Check out this Spotify playlist of some of his best.

xoxo,

Leigh

Documenting Monumental Moments

2016-01-06 17.52.09.png

When it comes to documenting special moments in your life you either pull out that fancy DSLR camera or bust out your smartphone to capture it. On October 11, 2015 I tied the knot! It was a magical day and we had the best photographer I’ve ever worked with (Vinh Nguyen Photography). He captured our day so beautifully (read a write-up of our wedding here) and every photo allows us to relive that special day.

But what about keeping those special moments close every day? That’s where photo albums and prints come in. After receiving all our wedding photos (there were 1300+ of them!) I downloaded the photos onto my laptop and started sifting through them. My husband and I figured out which photos we wanted to print and then I decided, why not have a photo album as a keepsake and to show those who come visit?

Let’s backtrack a little. After our engagement shoot, I was trying to figure out which website to use to order prints. Veronica had recommended I check out mpix.com because the quality of the photos were great when she received her wedding photo prints from them. So, I gave it a shot. Uploaded the photos and got the prints three days later and they turned out great.

That’s what I did. While Mpix is good for prints, it’s also great for photo albums, canvas prints, framed prints and more. They had a deal going on (you can always find a coupon for something online) and I created a great little 46 page photo album of our wedding, documenting things in order of first look/Ketubah signing, ceremony and reception. The cost of the book turned out to be only $57, which isn’t bad at all. It became pricey because we ordered about six copies of the book for family members, as well.

I am still waiting to receive my prints, but I can’t wait to find the perfect frames for our wedding photos. My husband and I are moving into a new and bigger apartment in February, so I’ll be sure to reorder a large print of this photo from Mpix again. Framed this time.

VNP05712-2_edited.jpg

Photo by Vinh Nguyen Photography

What website do you order prints from?

xoxo,

Leigh

Staying Safe on New Year’s

latest-happy-new-year-2016-photos.jpg

2016 is almost here and surely you have figured out what your plans are tonight. Whether it’s hosting a dinner party of your own (see outfit ideas and lucky foods to include in your menu), bar hopping downtown or just heading down the street to a friend’s house for a party, it’s important to stay safe.

More likely than not there will be checkpoints around your town tonight. I know there surely will be in San Francisco and up north where I live in Marin County. It’s important to remember how you can get home safely on New Year’s:

  1. Uber: While I have yet to truly need to utilize Uber, it does come in handy in situations like tonight. Before you go out, be sure to download the app on your smartphone and get everything set up prior to your NYE festivities.
  2. Lyft: I have never used Lyft, but how cute are those pink mustaches on the cars? Easy to pinpoint in a dark setting, Lyft will take you anywhere in San Francisco (and other cities) and get you to your destination safely.
  3. Taxi: I always have my local taxi company programmed into my phone. Might be a good idea prior to heading out, just in case Lyft or Uber can’t swing by and pick you up.
  4. Designated Driver: If you’re lucky, one of your friends will offer being the DD for the night. Easy solution to getting from point A to point B safely.
  5. Bus (or other forms of public transportation): When there’s no other option, busses come in handy. While it can be a bit of a trek to get home via bus, it’s worth it to remember that it is an option for you.

I hope you all have a fabulous New Year and I will see you in 2016.

xoxo,

Leigh

Winter is Here

Winter is coming… Actually it’s already here. As I type this blog post my husband is in the driver’s seat and we are en route to Bend, Oregon for Christmas! Here are some snaps that I have taken so far. I will be sure to add more once we get to my in-law’s house. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy new year! 

What are your plans for tonight and tomorrow? 

   
    
   

Holiday Traditions

Christmas tree

The tree is up, the presents are (mostly) all wrapped, and the bags are packed and ready for the drive to my parents house tomorrow. I’m so excited to have a little break from work and just spend time with family. And speaking of family, one of my favorite things about this time of the year are all of the holiday traditions we have. I mentioned in a previous post how we always go to a movie on Christmas Eve (we’re seeing Star Wars this year of course), and on Christmas Day we stay in pajamas and drink hot cocoa while opening presents (see my cozy favorites here). But another one I wanted to share is our tradition of a Christmas tree full of love and memories.

Our tiny tree is quirky and full of an assortment of ornaments, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each ornament is a memory, and hanging them on the tree is a joyous trip through the past: the bead wreath I made in elementary school, a dancing bear a friend gave me when I was on dance team in high school, a sand dollar ornament my husband and I bought in Carmel, CA on our first wedding anniversary.

When I was younger, every year my parents would take my brother and I to an ornament store and let us each pick out an ornament. I would of course go for the biggest, gaudiest ornament – my favorite was the giant glittery peacock that now serves as a topper for our tree (it’s that big). I loved that tradition, and try to continue it even now with my husband, buying at least one new ornament every year (and I can’t wait to carry it on if we have a family of our own one day!). On our tree nothing matches, everything is a different size and shape, but to me it’s the most beautiful tree in the world because it’s full of love.

Do you have family traditions this time of the year? I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday! And just for fun, here’s a bonus pic of my cat under the tree – too cute not to share! 🙂

Cat under tree

xoxo,
Veronica

Star Wars Week Wrap-up

It’s here, the final day of Star Wars week on SassySweetSF. We’ve decided to leave you with a pic of us wearing our Star Wars shirts (seen in Leigh’s fashion post on Tuesday). We are total nerds and wore them to work yesterday to celebrate the premiere day – twinning! I hope you enjoyed our theme week and that you have a chance to go out and see the movie soon! I’m not seeing it until Christmas Eve with my family (we have a movie night tradition), so no spoilers! But I do have a review (and pics) from Leigh who saw it last night with her husband:

“Definitely worth the 2 hour wait in line [we were first!] and we will be seeing it again. Star Wars fans will not be disappointed with this seventh installment of the franchise.”

Leigh in lineMovie signLet us know if you see the movie and what you think!

xoxo,

Veronica