Welcome October, I've Been Waiting! (& Hello, Fall-O-Ween!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Words cannot express how ridiculously excited I am now that October is finally here. Actually, maybe that one can: ridiculously. I am ridiculously excited for all things fall and October and Halloweeny-related, and I've been itching to spill about my plans for weeks! Sure, those three things (fall, October, Halloween, hereinafter referred to as "Fall-O-Ween" 'round these parts) are normally associated with dying. But just like Beth from Attachments, October makes me feel alive. The weather is perfect, the energy in the city is always lively, I can wear riding boots everyday and hello, Indian Summer!

But what does all that mean? 

Posts about any & everything Fall-O-Ween:
Expect a lot more of me, showing up on this dear blog of mine. I had a thought of turning this into a Blogtober (blog everyday in October) sort of thing, but who am I kidding?... However, 3-5 times per week? Yeah, that's happening.

Another thing that's happening - small giveaways. No car for you; this isn't the Oprah Show :) But I love Fall-O-Ween so much that I wanted to share a bit of it with you all this month!

Link Ups:
Is fall your favorite season? Do you go all-out for Halloween? Do you blog about anything Fall-O-Ween related? If so, pop in to TKD every Friday in October and simply link one of your posts for us to see! (Also, feel free to grab the button below if you like).
The Kari Diaries

With all that introduction out of the way, let's kick off Fall-O-Ween right! Remember the little sneak peek in this post? Well, last week, I made my little apartment a bit more cozy by decorating for fall. I may add a spider, trinket or cobweb here or there as Halloween approaches, but most of the decor stays the same until December. We're picture heavy today, so check out lots more after the cut!

To Fill Up & Live | The Darkest Minds

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I haven't blogged in week. Because I've been reading. I know, I know. Crappy excuse. But true, so I get points for that, yes? I got sucked into the world that is Sarah J. Maas' Crown of Midnight and then I had to bury myself in The Darkest Minds so I'd have a review for our bookclub book of the month. So in a way, I've been such a bad blogger last week so I can be a good blogger now :) So, about this book review...

Title: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publication: Hyperion 2012

Character(s): Ruby, Liam, Chubs, Zu

Main Plot: Ruby thought she was lucky to survive IAAN, the disease that killed most of America's children. Having spent 6 years in a treatment camp, she soon realizes that there are fates far worse than death. And Ruby's lethal, and she's looking for a safe haven. But what is "safe" anymore?

Favorite Quote:
"Well, we'll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow."

"Let's carpe the hell out of this diem."

"Try to imagine where we'd be without you, darlin', and then maybe you'll see just how lucky we got."

"Did you know... you make me so happy that sometimes I actually forget to breath?"

My Rating: 4.5
I need to note that I really dislike writing full reviews right after I've finished a novel. Sure, I'll jot down a thought or two, but I never feel like my thoughts are coherent enough for a review directly after. I'm left without a choice here as I just flipped the final page of The Darkest Minds less than an hour ago. So bare with me.

And trust me when I say, this needs to be read. By you. Was it perfect? Nope. But overall, it's a must read. Why? Well, because not only is it a fast, action packed novel akin to a car chase (pun intended), but something about it just feels important. After a disease wipes out a large portion of America's teenage population, surviving children are rounded up and placed in a treatment camp, where they are classified into colors based on mental abilities. Ruby, our protagonist, is masquerading as a harmless color for years, but really she's one of the dangerous ones. This novel sucks you in and swallows you up, in the best way possible. Bracken handled the complicated world-building in an expert way, keeping us on the edge of our seats but not in the dark. She utilizes flashback brilliantly to do this. She let me know just enough about what was going on without info-dumping everything on me, yet still maintaining suspense. There were quite a few WTF moments. Which reminds me, while Bracken doesn't use slang terms like "wtf" in her novel, I really love her use of a more casual tone in her writing. It made me smile and made me love certain characters even more.
The only downside? I love pretty much all the characters, even those that weren't around very long. But, Kari, that's not a bad thing. Well... except the protagonist. Ruby is, she's a bit of a mystery to me in so far as her character is concerned, which, believe me, is an improvement from how I felt about her in the very beginning. Up until about a third of the way through the novel, Ruby frustrated me. Although I understood her position (being locked up in a camp for most of your adolescence does little to make you a fierce, super hero), I found myself angry with her at times. I warmed up to her eventually, but, basically, the jury is out for the moment regarding the feels towards Ruby. Bracken did an excellent job with her character development throughout this first novel. But despite how far she's come and how strong she is (seriously at the end, homegirl is stronger than I could ever be), I still feel like I don't know her well enough, something I'm not use to feeling when a novel is written from the first person point of view aka Ruby's own head. (I mean, hello? If I still don't know you after swimming in your head for 500 some odd pages, will I ever?) The Darkest Minds was a great story. It just seems like it wasn't organically her story. Ruby as a narrator feels lackadaisical for quite a bit of the story and I found myself wishing Liam or bloody mouth boy from the beginning were telling it instead. 

With that said, I know, why would you want to read it? Oh, but you do! This adventurous novel is a perfect fall read. It's dark and captivating and just the book to lead me into the season - and the series :)

Have you read The Darkest Minds? If so, link up with us down below!


Our September book of the month is - TA DA! - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, a masterpiece about the all-consuming power of love, passion and revenge. It's a welcome reread for me, and I hope you'll join us to rediscover the magic of this one! This gothic-romance classic is the perfect read for October.

How fantastically creepy is this cover?! [Source]
Speaking of October, tomorrow marks the start of my favorite time of year, and I can't wait! Tune it tomorrow to see what all the fuss is about!

Recap: Sore-losing & Being A Nutella Jar

Monday, September 22, 2014

Am I the only blogger who doesn't find my weekends blog-worthy enough to warrant a weekly "weekend recap" post? It seems to me that every Monday like clockwork my bloglovin' feed in flooded with posts about weekend roadtrips and other interesting and exciting extravaganzas. I mean, sure, I do things. But do you really wanna see pictures of my current novel, a date night or the inside of some lounge/bar first thing every single Monday morning? Because I surely don't want to spend every Sunday night writing up such posts.  

Anyway, I checked my phone's photo album today and realized I had the strangest combination of pictures from the past couple days, and thought "I think I'll participate this week". And well, with my participation in link-up type posts being at an all time high recently (note: it's only been 2, counting this one lol), how could I say no? 

Walked out to this bizarre, yet totally normal, letter on Friday night. Apparently, it's filming season in the city. Christmas two weeks ago, and now criminal acts shall be committed in my lobby. I will not be volunteering my apartment, despite how cool it could be to have my abode featured as the teeny tiny apartment of some struggling artist in NYC who is inevitably murdered leaving only his brilliant, unrecognized work and a bloody crime scene behind. My desire to keep my little place a crime-free zone wins out. Insurance and promises of moo-lah be damned.

This is what 250 points at Sephora gets you. I needed a case and it's so darn cute! It also solidifes that I will not be upgrading to the iPhone 6 anytime soon. How can I when I just got this new case? :)

I need a new coffee table. For all my pretty, new, soon-to-be-mine coffee table books, of course. This one I saw in a shop window is perfect. Except for the fact that I can't remember where I saw it and I didn't get the store name in the photo. Fail.

This Maze Runner got seen on opening night because, hello, have we forgotten? Dylan O'Brien. His performance was outstanding. I love his ability to portray so much without saying anything and act with his entire body. Go see it for The Dylan!

Saturday was an icky day. I wasn't feeling to great. The Annual Block Party for my street took place during the afternoon, effectively blocking off all traffic. I ventured out for a bit, but failed to take any pictures, hence the random photo below of some other block's party from last year. Think street fair only smaller. I forewent my friend's awesome 80's prom party and spent the night inside decorating. A post is to follow, but here's a sneak peek :o

My fashion sense is kinda all over the place. I don't stick to a particular aesthetic. My fashion icons are Blair Waldorf and Carrie Bradshaw, two very different styles but they work together. That skirt and top combo in the background of the 2nd photo is perfection.

I love, love, love this phrase!

And Sunday was spent how all Sundays are spent. Watching football, planning for the upcoming week and browsing blogs and YouTube. Except mostly football :) Pizza, for everyone, and new Brady shirt for me! I'm also losing in the blogger fantasy league and none to happy about it. So there's that :\ #soreloser

Also, want to drop these two little gems here... Lucky me, I'm guest posting on Kay's blog tomorrow. So head over there for an extra dose of my lunacy! I'm sure you'll want to stick around her blog once you're there. Also, the BookClub linkup for The Darkest Minds review will be happening on September 30th, so be sure to check back here and link-up then!

Hope your weekend was recap-worthy :) Tell me about it. 

Books With a Side of Coffee Table

Friday, September 19, 2014

I want all the the coffee table books!

I know this seems like it's going to be a 'best of' list of sorts but really this is a just a wish list of books I want for my my coffee table display. Display, you ask? Well, yes, because instead of using my coffee table for normal purposes (what are coffee tables used for again?), a large gold tray sits in the middle of mine complete with flowers, remotes and other trinkets. I'd show you but that's another post now, isn't it?

There are a few books that I want that are quite pricey (like the $85 Chloé or the $300+ Cutting A Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture), but I consider these ten to be much more affordable. As I can't pile up all of the books on my table - this is no bookcase afterall - I have to choose one or two. Which would you suggest?

(1) Pride & Prejudice (Mr. Boddington's Penguin Classics) 
Sure, no one's gonna read an entire novel while lounging on my sofa. But I just love this novel so much, I have to display it somewhere. With this stacked on my coffee table, guests will think "Wow, she must really like this book." And why, exactly, yes I really do.

I've always said that if I didn't live in New York, I'd want to live in Paris (or London!). This comparison book is totally different from any other on my list because it's all cartoon like drawings of the cities. Vahram Muratyan compares the street signs, female fashion icons and coffee preferences through pictures in his book. Any book with coffee in it makes a good coffee table book, right?

A guide for everything a woman must know regarding what to wear and where to wear it. Christian Dior teaches some of us and reminds others of the 3 fundamentals of fashion: simplicity, grooming and good taste.

The author Siobhan Wall uncovers London's most peaceful locations, taking us along with magnificent photographs. The 100+ pages of this hardcover exposes bookshops, beautiful gardens, and more hidden gems in lovely photos taken by Wall. 

This colorful little baby's been on my wish list for a few months now. Nichole Robertson's photographs are color-coordinated; each page dominated by a bold color running throughout the photos. There's also a follow-up called Paris In Love. I may just need both :)

My goodness, it's beautiful. The photographs are amazing and artistic, and both the decor and fashion in it is just so... chic. 

Google these books and you'll see how outstanding these photographs are. Most of them seemed to be of moments from all over the world, pulled right out of everyday life: fog creeping in over a city, an eagle prepared for flight in Mongolia and gauchos relaxing in Brazil. Something about these books just feels important. 

Lauren Conrad is one of my fashion inspirations. This book gives tips about your wardrobe, beauty and hair styles from a celebrity who blends classic looks and modern trends so beautifully.

Chanel is cannon, for sure. With over 100 illustrations, its pages track style from 1920s to the present, reminding us of the magic of Chanel - as if we didn't know!

I have a major sweet tooth! And how cute would it be if a friendly visit turned into trying out some dessert recipe from this book? Perfect Girl's Night In!

Which coffee table books do you like best? Have any favorites? I need haallppp!

An Excuse To Use Gifs

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Okay, so I had a 'storytime' post all cued up and ready to go, but (1) it turned out less funny and more controversial and I wasn't sure if I was ready to go there today, and (2) I realized that it's Confession Wednesday and I can't remember the last time I did a confessions post and I'm sure I've never participated in a Confessions Wednesday linkup. Plus, I've been a reader (albeit silent reader because I'm a creep and a shitty blogger) of Kathy's blog for too long not to have linked up.

So with that lame intro...

++ I've been watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy back to back like it's giving me life because, well, it kinda is. (Correction: Shonda Rhimes gives me life.) So, if I go missing for a while, I'm just over here tv binging like they're gonna take it away.

++ The Maze Runner comes out this Friday and I'm mostly excited to see it because of who's in it. Because, hello, Dylan O'Brien?

++ The fact that I'm decorating for fall this weekend is also making my entire week.

++ I may or may not have skipped ahead 100 pages in Crown of Midnight, just to see if my ship ever becomes a thing. I'm knee deep in Sarah J. Maas' world of Erilea (Throne of Glass series) and I ship Chaol + Celena so hard.

++ If I'm doing something I really want to do and I have to pee, I hold it until I absolutely cannot any longer and then I dash towards the bathroom like a mad woman. I'll have bladder issues by 30. TMI, I'm sure.

++ I've been in a Tuesday night slump since Pretty Little Liars ended, so, even though I'm super sad this season is the final ride, I'm really, really happy Sons of Anarchy is back on.

++ I miss smoking. I'm sure this is a shit confession and who actually says this shit, but I do (say it and miss it, that is). Sure, it's a crap habit, and yeah, I'm glad I don't anymore. But sometimes I see someone with a cigarette and I remember the grind of law school and how it kept me somewhat calm back then, and damn it, I miss serenity.

++ Speaking of calmness and serenity, I need some of that these days. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just now going crazy or perhaps I've been cray all along. I just feel totally restless.

++ I'm one of those impatient people who hates giving pedestrians the right of way, but is quick to cuss out a cabbie for turning in my path when I have the light.

++ Oh and I can't do a confessions post without gifs. It just feels unnatural. This post was pretty much an excuse to use gifs.

What you confessing today?

Thirteen Years.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Keep those that suffered and lost during this day thirteen years ago in your thoughts. Remember where you were at the very moment you heard the news.

I'll never forget that day. I was in my 7th grade classroom, just twenty minutes outside of New York City. It was someone's birthday and we were waiting for the extra cupcakes to be raffled off. I remember kids being called out of the classroom one by one until there were only half of us left. And I remember thinking "Good. Less competition for the cupcakes." That is until they called my name. But no one was waiting for me in the office, instead I picked up the phone. "Keep your cellphone near you," my dad's voice came through the receiver. "Something's happened in the city. Mommy is fine. But you are going to stay in school. You are not to be afraid, mama. No man, no woman..." he began. "...no beast alive can beat me," I finished the phrase we always said to remind us to be strong, to be fearless. I'm not sure if I was fearless or if I simply endured that fear, but I remained in class for the rest of the day, and by the time my dad picked me up at the normal time, I'd learned a valuable lessons:


Thirteen years later. Never forget. We are stronger than we think.

1, edited by me

Frustrations of Writing A Novel [Part II]

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Okay, so the first post (click here!) wasn't exactly named "Part 1" so this isn't technically a "Part 2", but I didn't have a better title, okay! :\ The creativity is running low these days and I'm pouring every ounce I can find into said novel. That being said, as before, I've compiled these writing frustrations over time into a single post as I'm sure many of my non-writer readers appreciate being able to efficiently skip the one post (please don't!). Here are a few of the things bugging me recently:

I'm obsessed with my 'story bible.' I originally just had all my outlines, character sketches, research etc. as files on my computer. But switching from .doc to .doc really slowed down the writing process, so I decided to print it all out. Cue me, running out to the 24hr Staples at like 1am for a binder and labels because I'm excited and I can't be a normal person and put a lid on said excitement until a reasonable hour. The good thing is that I've really fleshed out my story in the past weeks in a way that I wouldn't have done electronically. And filling in/outlining my story chapter by chapter has made all the difference. Seriously, I may just do an entire post on story bibles because I feel like I must pass on this miracle.
The downside? I'm so into making my story bible into this encyclopedia of everything WIP that I'll spend 1/2 my allotted writing time playing with it :\

The mushy middle. Outlining chapters has been a lifesaver but also revealed a major issue. The mushy middle. After outlining about 1/3 of the story, I realize there is so much missing from the middle. It's a soggy mess of information and disjointed events, and I haven't the slightest clue how to get through it. Halp!

The 'juicy' scenes keep calling me. They say it's best to write the novel chronologically. Why? I don't really remember. The writing gods just say so!! Really, all I know is that multiple sources state that it's the best option. But what's a girl to do when the scandalous, romantic parts are much more interesting than the scenes that lay the groundwork? I fight daily with the urge to jump into Chapter 5. I'm nowhere near Chapter 5, btw.

Still being a perfectionist. Nothing new here. Writing 101 says to plow ahead and avoiding looking back, but I get caught red-handed editing last night's work all the time. Moving along, nothing to see here!

My characters. Sebastian still insists he's not a smoker, much to my dismay. But he has let me know he prefers the drums to the electric guitar, and his Grammy is the wildest woman of the not-so-wild West. Lea's still watching people like a creeper, but I'm starting to think that's just who she is. So that's progress. I still haven't figured out all the details (like why Chase took a year off or what's wrong with Harper's brother), but at least shit's happening now. Baby steps, people!

Are you currently writing anything? Got any woes you wanna complain about?