Things I’m Reading and Loving

Hello there! One very subtle shift in summer to fall for me is that suddenly, my nose is always back in a book. I’ve always been a voracious reader, so much so that my parents used to buy books for me for vacations and hide them so I didn’t read them before the trip. However, in the throes of boring adult life, it seems like I never have time to stick my nose in a book; that is, until the seasons change, and there’s less weddings on weekends and allergy appointments and beach days (not bad things to be preoccupied with, other than allergy appointments.) I’ve been sick since Monday with a terrible cold, and the only positive of this crud (well, that’s being dramatic, because there’s lots of positives — like it’s not ebola, I work from home, and I have access to doctors and medications should I need them), is that I’ve had lots of time to read. Here’s what I’ve been reading: (And no, none of these are sponsored endorsements. As usual, if you click the link I may make 4c (I’m rich!), but these are my own heartfelt recommendations.)

1) Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This book was given to me by an awesome friend and coworker, and it’s a wonderful mental vacation through the minds of a bored but genius architect mother and her 15-year-old daughter. Here’s the official blurb:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

I really liked the way the book was written via different forms of communication: email, letters, post-it notes, etc, and from so many different points of view. I liked the snarky commentary on the tech world that comes about from Bernadette’s husband’s job, and the creative twist on perspective offered by Bernadette and her dreary suburban life. This is a book you’ll rip through quickly, and I promise you’ll feel good at the end.

2) The SkinnyTaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

I’ve been a fan of the Skinnytaste blog for years, loving that these light and delicious recipes aren’t loaded with chemicals or weird ingredients. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single recipe I’ve made from Skinnytaste has been a hit. Pinterest? Not so much. (Pssst: Visit Pintester.com, which cracks me up, especially this post, because I’ve recently had the same fail.) I can’t wait to make the Skinnytaste Baked Potato Soup, or her watermelon lime granita, which I just may do as our dollar store is having a few sad looking late-season watermelons rolling in. The photos in this book are gorgeous, the instructions are easy, and I’m all about beautiful cookbooks that you can ooh and ahh over without feeling the button on your jeans simultaneously stab into your roll of tummy flub.

3) Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham

I don’t watch a lot of TV(probably less than two hours a month), but occasionally, I would check out old episodes of Girls. I didn’t fall in love with the show, but it did intrigue me; I appreciated the different perspective of ladies my age in the media. I enjoy following Lena on Twitter, and also enjoy seeing her challenge the media in a bunch of different ways: by wearing froofy pink and red ball gowns, by pointing out the very obvious fact that every time she gets told how “brave” she is for going naked in a film it’s implying that she should feel brave because she’s showing off her imperfect, non-Hollywood body, and by her unwavering stance on feminism and equal rights for all. Lena’s book is hilarious — it’s not going to be for everyone because she’s brutally honest in ways that may make some people squirmy, but her chapter about her food diaries had me guffawing and realizing how very much like her struggles with weight echoed my own life and my own Double Chin Diary. I think Lena and I would be friends in real life, and I already have two people in mind who are getting this book for Christmas.

4) Ebola’s Cultural Casualty: Hugs in Hands-On Liberia

As a sometimes journalist (Go CSUN, Class of 2008!), it warms my heart when I read a piece of journalism that not only informs, but also gives you all the feels in terms of story. This piece was the first piece of news about Ebola that made me really grasp the severity of what Africa, and now Spain and America, are experiencing. The piece specifically talks about the challenge of having to go touchless in a culture that is so built upon touch, and it’s a heartbreaking and eye-opening look into what this horrifying illness is doing. Read it.

What recommendations do you guys have for me? Now that I’m through these latest books, I need ideas for others! 🙂

Plus-Sized Pretty: Professional Edition

Hi everybody! How are you doing?

I’ve started my new job and love seeing all of the beautiful clothes women wear to the office. It’s got me thinking that it’s time to go shopping! Feeling put-together and primped always helps me feel on top of my game. Here’s a few looks I’d love to grab to update my work-wear wardrobe. Do you have any go to outfits for work? What are they?

 

This faux two-piece dress has an adorable pink and white bird print that I think is so fun and playful. With how trendy birds are lately, I feel like it’d be spot on with fashion trends but also comfortable and casually chic at the office. I love the little tie at the neck – very Mad Men!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I’m on Eshakti.com, I couldn’t help but pin another cute bird dress! I love the birds on the line and the vintage cut of this dress, which would be flattering on chicks with “birthing hips” like myself!

Source: eshakti.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

While I wouldn’t wear this ensemble with white pants, I love the pop of purple underneath this fun dalmation print cardi. You’d certainly stand out among the cubicles in this peppy puppy print.

This shirt is adorable and $7! Um, sign me up! I love lightweight and airy tunic tops like these because they’re casual, yet flattering, and match well with almost anything. Wear a tank underneath to make sure there’s no scandalous slippage and you’ll be in good shape.

I have one blazer and can tell I need to drastically improve my collection. I like this one because the sateen gives an ordinary outfit a bit more shine, and the shorter sleeve length is nice for offices with stuffy air conditioning. One thing I’ve noticed though, it’s crazy hard to find a cute plus blazer that isn’t super boring! Anyone have any tips for me?

 

I need to get out of my black pant rut, and I think another go-to look for a work wardrobe is a nice pair of khaki slacks. This will go better with some lighter blue and green colored tops I have.

That’s all I can find for now, but tell me – where’s your favorite work wardrobe shopping spot? I’m definitely disappointed at the lack of cute plus-size blazers I’m finding, so if you have any good ideas, please please please let me know!

 

What gets me through the hard days? Humor.

Hi everyone! This week’s weigh in was kind of a bummer because I gained a little bit of weight, and consequently, cut my calories a little bit. I even wondered what I should do on the blog…fess up? not mention it? And then I realized, the whole point of this blog is to stay honest to myself, so I gotta keep it real! I get so discouraged sometimes with weight loss – it seems like its the one thing in my life so far that I just cannot do! However, I know that hard days and times like this will pass, and I have to keep going, and never give up. So when I need a little more pep in my step, I always look to things that will make me laugh – and lately, that’s been Pinterest! Enjoy some of the health related funnies and motivational little pix that have made me smile today! Also, if you’re on pinterest, follow me! I’m @lyssacurran .

Source: tumblr.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

Motivational Monday

Tonight I was browsing Pinterest (follow my pins @lyssacurran) and found these images that feel quite inspiring… are they inspiring to you?

Source: vi.sualize.us via Aly on Pinterest