My Summer Reading and Some Goodreads

6 Reads for Summer | champagneandchambrayc.om

Goodreads

So for all you book lovers out there (or kindle lovers), there’s a site that you should know about. It’s called Goodreads. It’s basically Facebook for bookworms. You make a profile and catalog the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading and the books you’d like to read. You can write and read reviews, as well as join book clubs. They’ve got a system similar to Netflix in that it takes the books you’ve read and the ratings you’ve given them (1-5 stars) and spits out other books that you may enjoy. I love it. I think what I’d love more would be if more of my friends would adopt it, because then I can see what THEY think of a book I’m interested in reading. Stranger reviews are all well and good, but if you don’t know that person’s personality, it’s hard to know whether you would agree or disagree with their take on the story or characters. Regardless, it’s awesome in itself. Here’s a great article from The Atlantic if you want a bit more of a backstory on how Goodreads came to be.

Another fun thing about the site is that you can set up challenges. This year I set a goal of reading 20 books by Dec 31. Currently I’m on book number nine and the site has very politely informed me that I’m two books behind schedule. Go figure. I’m not worried though because I tend to whip through books when I’m on vacation, so I’ll catch up whenever said vacation occurs. But now I want to share the next few books on my summer reading list. Oh ps, if you want to see some past book selections check out this post and this post.

Summer Reading

2014 Summer Reading | champagneandchambray.com

Wild by Cheryl Strayed | Currently reading this one, and I’m not too far into to it yet, but it’s a memoir about a woman who trekked the Pacific Crest Trail all by her lonesome. It’s gotten rave reviews all over the place, and was a Readers Choice winner back in 2012. Yes, I’m a little late to the party on this one, but that’s the great thing about books, they never go out of style!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | This actually probably won’t be next on the list because it doesn’t actually release until July 29th, but it’s on my list because I read The Husbands Secret last year on vacation and quite enjoyed it, and based on the very few critic reviews at this point, it’s even better. Murder mystery, yes please. Unfortunately,  I imagine it will be a little less scandalous than Gone Girl, but who knows!

Paper Towns by John Green | Ok, I’m going to be honest here and people are probably going to get all huffy with me, but whatever. I really didn’t see what was so great about his more recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because you live under a rock. It’s a YA love story that has taken America by storm, and I honestly DO NOT UNDERSTAND. Sure, it was a good book, but it didn’t move me like other books have. It all just seemed very expected. And I know, it’s about kids with cancer falling in love, but like, I can’t just get all weepy because of that, the book just wasn’t that great and I’ll say it, it was somewhat boring. But alas, I’m going to give John Green another shot. A friend of mine whose favorite author is John Green said she’d suggested Paper Towns and Finding Alaska way before she’d suggest The Fault in Our Stars. I’m trusting you here Erica! It’s categorized as YA, but as most people have come to find, a lot of young adult books are perfectly readable as an actual adult. Or as close to that as I am.

The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls | One of my favorite books to date is The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeanette Walls that describes her crazy, and often heartwrenching childhood being raised by an alcoholic father and a bipolar mother. It made me laugh and it made me cry and it was just perfect. She also wrote another memoir, Half Broke Horses, which I have yet to read. But The Silver Star is a novel about two sisters who must also deal with absent parents. I loved TGC so much that I’ve gotta give this a shot.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes | I just finished Jojo’s last book, Me Before You and the more I think about it the more I realize how much I really did love it. One Plus One is apparently also an opposites-attract tale, and I can’t wait to read it. The thing that I found interesting about the last book was that because the author is British, so is everything else in the book. It’s fun to get a look at how they live over there, always drinking tea and a little out of touch.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | This list wouldn’t be complete without a WWII novel. I just love ’em so much, because while most are fiction, it’s not hard to believe that these stories were possible. It’s fun to be transported to another place and time that really did occur, and I know that may sound strange, seeing as it was a terrible time in this world’s history, but it’s also just so interesting and easy to connect with something you know was real. This novel has taken 10 years in the making, so I don’t expect anything but amazingness. A story of a blind French girl meeting a German boy during the war and trying to make it through.

What books do you have on your summer reading list? I’ve love to hear em, and if you’re on Goodreads, let’s be friends! And if you’re not on there already, sign up!

L

Maya Angelou: What a Gal

Yesterday the world lost a great woman. Dr. Maya Angelou died and we responded. Working in social media, sometimes you see a lot of not great stuff, but then other times, times like these, you see the internet come together in a beautiful way to remember someone as important as Maya. A bright light she was, and a talent that will never be forgotten. Girl had mad skills. She was inspiration to so many, really reminding us to be the best version of ourselves. So because of her awesomeness, I thought it would only be fair to remember her by designing some of quote cards. She’s has so, so, soooo many good ones, but I picked some of my favorites to share with you here.

Of course you’ll pin these babies (wink wink), but if you’re really digging any of them in particular, leave me a comment and I can provide a download link to the high res versions so you can print them out to enjoy at home in your kitchen or as a way to cheer up your sad cube at work!

Weekend Links | Memorial Day Sales Edition

[via]

Happy long weekend everyone! The holiday weekend is upon us and that means the unofficial start of summer. Wasn’t it just winter like, two weeks ago? Sorry spring, I appreciate your attempt at showing up, but it’s time to leave now! I’ve got a bunch on the books; a possible getaway to Michigan, perhaps a day on a boat up in the chain of lakes, memorial day and graduation parties, I’m gonna be soakin up every last second of sunshine and tequila! And because it’s the memorial day weekend, it also means a half day of work for me!  Holla for a dolla! Speaking of dollas, this is the time to get those dollhairs to stretch the longest. There are so many awesome sales this weekend, so today your weekend links will be weekend sales. I’ll be continually updating this list all weekend if I come across anything new so be sure to keep checking back.

Gap – 40% off regular price styles in store and online with code EVENT thru 5/26

Banana Republic – 40% off your entire purchase in store and online with code BRHEAT thru 5/26

Splendid – 25% off with code MEMORIALDAY thru 5/26

Loft – 40% off everything except Lou & Grey merchandise with code MUSTSHOP 

J.Crew Factory – 50% off all men’s and women’s styles, prices as marked

J.Crew – 30% off select full price styles. Plus an extra 30% off spring sale styles with code WEEKEND. 

Old Navy – Up to 50% off the entire store thru 5/26. “Up to” sales are the worst, just sayin.

Francesca’s – BOGO50 on all clothing and earrings thru 5/27 in store and online.

Nordstrom – Half Yearly Sale, up to 40% off.

Express – 40% off every single item, in store and online. Card members take an extra 10%.

The Limited – 40% off everything, including sale with code SWEET40

Urban Outfitters – 25% off all dresses

ASOS – 20% off everything with code WEBEGRILLIN

aerie10 for $30 on lace undies + free shipping (best time to stock up on new underwear!)

H&M – up to 70% off select styles thru 5/26

Ruche – 25% off everything with code MEMORIAL2014 thru 5/26 (this is a super cute online boutique)

Wanderlust + Co – 20% off storewide with code MEMORIAL20 thru 5/26 (beautiful accessories)

West Elm – 25% off everything with code SUMMER

Crate & Barrel – 15% off with code SAVE15 thru 5/26 (great time to pick up wedding gifts!)

Akira – They’ve got under $5, under $15 and under $25 sale sections that are lookin’ prettttay good

Victoria’s Secret – 7/$26.50 on ALL undies. Plus 2/$42 bras. And free shipping thru 5/26.  On top of that their annual swim sale is happening.
BaubleBar – 30% off with code MEMORIALDAY
Madewell – Extra 30% off sale items with code OHYES thru 5/26

REMEMBER! Don’t forget to keep checking back, i’ll be updating the list whenever I find something new!

L

8 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

Hey there ho there. Instagram is my jam, I think you might know that by now. You probably do too. But a lot of people only follow their friends. This is good, but there are others out there, that you could and should be following. They’re probably cooler than your friends, they’re definitely cooler than mine! Just kidding, my friends are the bomb.com. But here are some of my favorite accounts that I think you should mos def (yep) start to follow. Some are great photographers, some are funny guys and some are cayooooot! I’m going to do a separate post specifially on Chicago Instagrammers to follow soon, so keep an eye out. Until then, take a gander at these!

@youdidnoteatthat
This anonymously currated account is seriously my new obsession. Girl is posting all sorts of pictures of skinny-minis “pretending” to love on sweets and snacks. A few celebs and a lotta bloggers, but honestly, I find it hilarious and most probably true. I don’t think I’d consider myself one of those girls that doesn’t eat the ice cream. Because let’s be honest, I think it’s obvious that I eat the ice cream. Sorry I’m not sorry. Check out this profile on the account that was recently on The Cut.

@graybenko
this photographer/mom posts super cute pics of her kids. but they’re also supes hilares.  and a lot are really just beautiful.

@muradosmann
this guy and his girlfriend live. the. life. but what’s awesome is he and @yourleo have an ongoing photo they take in all their amazing globe trotting adventures #followmeto. warning: this will make you sad about your life.

@Australia 
a compilation account by Tourism Australia of different users taking gorgeous shots all around the land down under. For most this will just be a beautiful landscape shot to admire, while for me, I get to see places that I visited while studying abroad there, always makes me feel a little warm inside.

@thuglifeforevs
this austin, tx photographer emily blincoe stages really cool color shots. she chooses a color and organizes random objects of that color in a pleasing manner (yeah I said pleasing manner, sometimes i like to act like i’m college educated (i am), or british.) she has a lot of other really fun reoccurring series, and a lot of great shots of her adorable pooch.

@natgeo
this is just what you think it is, the official national geographic instagram account. it’s a compilation of photographs taken by its photographers with really interesting and in-depth captions to give you a great description of what’s going on.

@itslavishbitch
this kid. ha. the epitome of spoiled little rich kid flaunts his wealth in the rudest, most annoying way ever. he’s the poster child for total dick move.  apparently he can only take a poopski in Pelligrino…gimme a breeeeeeak! the thing is, I can’t look away! his captions are the worst (best?) part though.

@mommasgonecity
this one is so cute. Jessica Shyba snaps adorable shots of her lil guy napping with their pup. you’d think it would get old quick, it does not.

Book Review: City of Thieves


Over the weekend I finished up the latest book I’d been reading called City of Thieves. I have this thing about books about WWII, I love ’em. I feel like that makes me weird or something, but then I think about all the other people that love them and I feel better about it. This book, written in 2008 by David Beinoff, takes a bit of a different view on the situation though. Quick fun fact though, Beinoff is married to Amanda Peet. I love Amanda Peet, I feel like she’s totally underrated, but I dig her!

The narrator of the story is Lev, a 16 or 17 year old (still unclear to me, probably wasn’t paying close enough attention, or he just lied about it so many times I can’t remember what the real age was) Soviet Jew living in Leningrad during the Nazi blockade. After getting caught trying to steal a knife off the body of a dead german trooper, he and a Red Army deserted named Kolya are given a near impossible task from a secret army colonial. His daughter is getting married and with a wedding their must be a wedding cake. Problem was, getting your hands on eggs in Leningrad at this time was about as easy as finding a cronut. Near impossible! 

The tale goes on to follow them on their life-saving mission over the next five days. The people they run into, the trouble they come across, the sad situations they find themselves in is all incredibly interesting and sometimes funny, but the best part of the book for me was the relationship that the two unlikely partners form. Lev is a virgin and very uneducated about anything having to do with woman. Kolya is that exact opposite, and takes it upon himself to teach Lev the lady ropes. Their back and forth banter had my laughing out loud on more occasions that not. Kolya doesn’t seem to ever be worried about their impending death should they not succeed in their search. Lev is worried! They meet plenty of new characters along the way, some that you wish stuck around a little longer, and some that you wished you’d never met!

 It’s an interesting juxtaposition, taking an incredibly serious subject and twisting it in a way that makes you smile. Again, this made me feel strange inside, I’m laughing about something that happened during this dark time in history? This isn’t ok, I don’t understand, I’m so unclear about how I should be feeling right now! But if you’re looking for a book that is historically accurate, darkly funny but still a feel-good-in-a-weird-way story, give this one a try.

L