The Cafe by the Sea – Jenny Colgan – REVIEW


Lately I’ve been having such a hard time finding my reading “groove”. I read a variety of different genres and sometimes, deciding what I’m in the mood for is easier said than done. I’ve started quite a few books over the past couple of weeks, only to abandon them because they just didn’t feel right. I’ve picked up countless library holds, and then brought them back not fully read. I definitely have favorite genres though, and there’s a certain style of fiction that I find absolutely comforting, which generally speaking, seems to always get me out of a reading rut!

I’m talking the light hearted, vaguely romantic, “chick-lit” type of fiction. Ideally set somewhere in the UK because I’m an unashamed Anglophile who has a serious longing for a place she’s never even been (don’t we all?). I read a lot of different genres and there was admittedly a point in time where I felt ashamed to admit that I enjoyed anything that would classify as chick-lit but really, I think it’s stupid that we should feel any ounce of shame for what we enjoy reading! I’ve come to embrace what I like and I feel much better for it. 🙂 When I find that nothing I try to read is really working for me, a little escapism from reality through chick-lit seems to always do the trick. Thankfully, I picked up The Cafe by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan from the library on Thursday because it has totally turned my reading mood around.

I’ve read one other Jenny Colgan book before (The Book Shop on the Corner), and now I have to say, that I want to read them all! Her writing is so enjoyable and it was so easy to devour this book, just like the last one. I actually had to force myself to go to bed the first night because I wanted to stay up all night reading. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that kind of pull with a book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopeleslly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

There may be spoilers beyond this point!

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Elementary My Dear Watson: Lucy Liu, Gender Roles, and Power Suits.

I really don’t know shit about fashion. I won’t pretend that I do. I basically live in lounge wear, and though I wish I could step out of my (literal) comfort zone, I feel intimated and overwhelmed whenever I consider trying (but nonetheless, I am trying. I bought a necklace at the thrift store the other day, which, if you knew me at all, you’d know what a big deal that was!), but that doesn’t stop me from scanning through Instagram appreciating other people’s fashion sense. The same goes for Television.

We know I watch a lot of TV, and expert or not, there’s plenty to both love and loathe when it comes to television wardrobes. I (mostly) enjoyed watching Sex and the City, but oh goodness, I feel like I was the only one to hate Carrie Bradshaw’s outfits!! Who walks around in a tutu?! On my past blog, I wrote an ode to the fashion of Frasier character Daphne Moon, and recently on this blog, I wrote about Roz Doyle. All of these characters, presented a more or less typical femininity when it comes to what we expect from television. Different styles, yes, but these characters all portray strong females.

Wardrobes are a very mindful choice. They’re put together to give a certain vibe for a character, or to reflect different emotions. Sometimes wardrobe is used to reflect or foreshadow (for example, how Meredith Grey wears Derek’s ferry boat scrub cap following his death). The idea that we shouldn’t judge others on their appearance goes totally out the window when it comes to TV because we not only can’t help it, but we have to. Television has to portray to us an entire world, and unlike a book, there aren’t unlimited pages for character development and background stories. How a character dresses can help to tell us more about them.

I’ve always adored Lucy Liu’s wardrobe as Joan Watson on Elementary. From the very beginning it has been perfection. She pretty much lives in clothing that goes beyond my comfort zone, but which is still absolutely my style if I didn’t have said comfort zone. Even when an ensemble might have been a bit out there, it worked. Watson is strong and confident enough that she could likely make anything work. As the show has progressed, we have seen an evolution in her clothing choices. As Joan has gone from sober companion, to Sherlock’s partner and fellow consulting detective, she has largely dropped the more flowy, distinctly feminine outfits in favor of suits that many might consider more masculine. Yet, that’s just the thing: I’d argue that in the suits Watson has been opting for in past seasons, as well as this current one, she’s even more feminine, because through wardrobe choices, she is challenging the idea of what is femininity. 

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Dealing With Chronic Migraines: What Helps

I have struggled with headaches and migraines for years now. Really, when I try to think back, it’s hard to recall a time when I didn’t experience them. I remember enduring headaches when I was young, many of which might have been migraines, but I simply didn’t know how to identify them. I’ve never had a doctor officially diagnose me as someone who suffers from migraines. I once had a doctor offer me medications that I knew wouldn’t work for me personally, but beyond that I’ve had many doctors discount my experiences and the pain of living with chronic migraines. “It’s because you’re a woman.” … “You need to lay off the caffeine.” … “Try getting more sleep.” …  “Oh you’d know if it was a migraine!”  – These were some of the responses I’ve gotten from doctors over the years. But that was generally where the conversation ended.

Migraines run in my family. I really don’t need a doctor to tell me whether or not I’m actually suffering from them because at this point, I know. Rather, I needed a doctor who would listen to me and help me find ways to manage them. That hasn’t happened, and between that and other issues I’ve dealt with in recent years, I’m currently without a doctor. Finding a doctor that not only, is accepting new patients and my insurance is one thing. Finding a doctor who will listen to me is a whole different story. So in all honesty, I’ve taken a break from that search because it was really starting to drain me after a few bad experiences. It’s actually an issue I’d like to explore more, because I KNOW that I’m not alone, but more on that in the future.

Now that I’ve given a bit of context, let me get into the whole point of writing this post. I’ve been meaning to do so for awhile, but ironically, as I sit here on day three of a migraine, I decided to just sit down and do it. Over the years, I’ve found myself suffering with more frequent migraines than in the past. Over the course of dealing with them, I have tried so many different things to try and combat them. Many, many, things that did not help, but there were some things that did, and I’ve wanted to share them with you. Of course, migraines are a tricky jerk. What might help one person, might do nothing for someone else. Also, it’s important to remember that I’m not a doctor or a medical expert, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Now, the key thing I want to mention before I share these things is that while these are all in my tool box for enduring a migraine, none of these (with a few small exceptions) are really geared toward stopping them fully. I wish I could give you that solution – I really do.

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff – REVIEW


As a lover of books and an anglophile, I was immediately drawn to this book when I first came across it while browsing Book Depository. I ordered it, waited weeks for it to arrive, and then shelved it where it sat forgotten for about a year. The other day I was rummaging through my shelves trying to find something I “put in a safe place”, and met 84 Charing Cross Road again. It’s a teeny little thing so it’s no wonder that it go lost on a bottom shelf. Whoops.

The edition I have is actually two books in one. It includes 84 Charing Cross Road and the sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. The first is a collection of letters between the author, Helene Hanff of New York City, and a small bookstore in London called Marks & Co. Her correspondence begins when she is in search of a specific book and grows from there. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is in diary format and chronicles Helene’s experience when she finally makes it to London to visit. I honestly didn’t realize that I was getting two books in one when I purchased, I just liked this cover best (one of my favorite parts about ordering from Book Depository is all the lovely covers we don’t get here in The States)!

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July 2018 Monthly Favorites

For me, the end of July signals a significant change. August means school will be back in session, and that Fall is right around the corner. I love Fall – it’s my favorite season. But that change always has me feeling a bit regretful for what I might not have accomplished during the warmer months. This summer has been incredibly HOT. So I’ve spent a lot more time inside than out, and I’ve tried to make the most of that, but there will always be moments of reflection as Summer puts on its final show and I wonder what I could have done differently, or accomplished…you know, had it not been oppressively hot out…

I feel like I have a LOT of favorites this month. Some months there’s only a couple of things, while others I find myself with a lengthy list and that’s what happened this month. There’s a bit of everything so lets just jump into it.

My new desk lamp – I picked up this new desk lamp from TaoTronics and it is incredible!!! I struggle from frequent headaches and migraines and it can be difficult to find a balance between needing light to work, and finding the lighting to abrasive and painful (you should see how dim the brightness is on my phone!). This lamp has about ninety bazillion different settings that allow you to adjust it to whatever suits you, or what you might need for a particular project. It goes beyond brightness levels (of which there are TWELVE), and also has didn’t temperatures of lighting as well. Some are the super bright blue toned LED that can be expected of modern lighting, and others are more yellow toned, which is what my eyeballs seem to prefer. I also love the design because that too is adjustable and I have it set up to be right above my computer. Further, the light is non-flickering!! For my head that means so much because flickering and/or flashing light is a huge trigger for me! Oh and there’s a USB port on the light so you can charge a device off it as well. For $30, I really don’t think you can go wrong!

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10 Spooky Finds From Amazon For Halloween

This week has become a sort of “Halloween in July” sort of situation. We don’t mind at all, and we hope you’re okay with it too! Everyone does Christmas in July, so we decided to be different I guess! Earlier this week we shared some of our favorite finds from Pier 1, and then some goodies from Target’s Halloween decor. Today, I wanted to share with you 10 great Halloween goodies from Amazon. Whether we like to or not, plenty of us shop on Amazon, so I thought sharing some of the Halloween treats I’ve found on there would be a good idea. I do wish they categorized stuff better – like having a specific section where you could find all the Halloween goodies, because searching for stuff can be a bit tricky. But I still ended up finding some cute treats that I felt like sharing today!

I don’t have a mantle, which means that every year I am envious of those that do. I love this spider web scarf and have always wanted to be able to decorate a fireplace for Halloween! I’d get this style scarf and add a bunch of candles!

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Fall/Halloween 2018 Preview – Pier One

Okay, so I know its July, but my mind has wandered a bit …. to thinking of Halloween. In all honesty, I think about Halloween nearly year-round. Fall is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. Right now they’re airing a week of Christmas in July madness on The Hallmark Channel (which means I’m missing my nightly tradition of The Golden Girls and Frasier thank you very much…), and I truly couldn’t care less. I personally find it annoying. BUT, Halloween in July?? Yeah, we can talk about that all damn day.

Perhaps it’s because of the birthday of Hocus Pocus which just passed, but I find myself with Halloween on my brain a bit heavier right now. I’ve been lusting over Halloween decor that’s actually, already starting to hit store shelves. So I figured, I might as well include others in my joy (or obsession) – and share some of the items I’ve been delighted by as I browse different stores both in person, and online. I think this post is totally justified because its now 100 days until Halloween!

Today’s post is all about Pier One, who has their Halloween goodies on full display on their website. I browsed through all of it and have selected my favorites to share in today’s post! Enter if you dare…

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