Book Reviews – Volume 1

I’ve always loved reading, but for some reason since graduating college I became a magazine girl. I subscribe to basically every magazine on the planet and read them front-to-back, tearing out or bookmarking pages I want to save for later, like recipes or good shopping finds. With print magazines closing down more and more, my mag supply has dwindled, and earlier this year I let a few of my remaining subscriptions expire (aside from Us Weekly and People StyleWatch – need my celeb gossip and style finds!).

And that brings me to my new book review series. I read a couple books on a vacation back in April and remembered my love for reading. So from there, I’ve been mainly reading books, with magazines scattered here and there on my commutes or on vacation. In addition to my work book club and friends, I’ve been getting great recommendations from reading other bloggers’ book reviews, so I decided to start doing my own to help other people find suggestions.

Book Reviews Volume 1

While I’d love to make this a monthly thing, I know my schedule and it’s not always easy for me to find time to get into a good book. So I’ve added a section of the blog HERE and I’ll be adding posts there whenever I get through a good chunk of books like I did here.

Volume 1 includes six books that I loved – most of which are pretty different from one another. Read on for my thoughts on each and click through the links to view them on Amazon so you can read more and download/purchase as you wish! With the help of Amazon Prime, books arrive on my doorstep within a couple of days (yes, I prefer paperback – at least right now because my Nook is old!).

I’d love to hear which books you recommend – please leave comments with books you loved below and I’ll add them to my list!

xo,

Katy

 

Before the Fall: Before the Fall takes place off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard (not sure if it’s because I’m from New England, but I’m always drawn to books that take place here or on Nantucket).. Eleven people, all but one of which are quite wealthy, and their private jet crash just minutes into a flight taking off from the island. Sadly, there are only two survivors: a painter, who was a last-minute oddball addition to the flight, and a four-year-old child who is the son of a powerful man that died on the flight. This is a page-turning thriller – you won’t see any signs of what caused the crash until it was revealed toward the end of the book. Aside from looking for answers on what caused the crash, the book takes you through the lives of each of the people on that flight and how they were ultimately bound together. My only critique was that I didn’t love the ending, but I also can’t think of any better way to end it and think the author, Noah Hawley, ended it the way he did for a reason. One last note: the author of this book also wrote Fargo, which the TV show is based off of. I’ve never seen it before but it’s supposed to be good!

The Happiness Project: 2017 isn’t quite over, but I’ll go ahead and say that this is my favorite book of the year. I don’t normally read books that technically fall within the “self help” category, but this is a must-read that I recommend to everyone. Gretchen Rubin takes you step-by-step through her year of “trying to sing in the morning, clean [her] closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun.” Rubin is honest, refreshing and real – and the book is all backed in tons of research that she did on the topic of happiness, which is applied to her own life. The best part is that while everyone’s happiness journey is (and should be) different, you’ll close the book with actionable steps to apply to your own life, whether you start your own Happiness Project or analyze yourself in a new way. I did try to do my own Happiness Project and while I didn’t make it very far, I took tons of her tips and started implementing them in my everyday life. I would love to pick up my Happiness Project next year… we shall see! Thinking about getting her Happiness Project daily calendar for 2018…

The Husband’s Secret: Liane Moriarty, who also wrote the popular book-turned-TV-series Big Little Lies, does it again with this book. Much like Big Little Lies, this story is told from the perspective of several different characters, all of which are intertwined in one way or another. The thread that weaves each of their lives together is that one of the women, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, discovers her husband has a secret that will ultimately weigh over all of them. She finds a letter addressed to her, which has instructions to open after her husband’s death… but he’s still very much alive. Once that letter is opened, there’s no going back – and the plot takes you through how this secret impacts so many lives of people who barely knew each other before. I actually didn’t read Big Little Lies but binge watched the entire season of the show, and after that I was excited to read this book. It’s an incredibly well-written mystery that I breezed through despite it being almost 500 pages. Highly recommended!

It Ends With Us: I borrowed this book from a friend and didn’t even know what it was about when I began reading. I was immediately drawn in – the only way I can explain it is that it’s a powerful love story that dives into a sensitive subject matter. This quote from Kirkus from STARRED REVIEW says it well: It Ends with Us tackles [a] difficult subject…with romantic tenderness and emotional heft. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.” I can’t go into any more detail than that without ruining it, but just read this book!

The Couple Next Door: I was really into all of these books, but I would say this was the one that I read the fastest. The suspense was killing me and I just had to get to the whodunit part! As the title implies, this is a story about a couple – Anne and Marco Conti – who seem picture perfect on the outside. Then while they are next door at a dinner party, a crime takes place and that starts the complicated storyline of figuring out exactly what happened and who is to blame. Both Anne and Marco have secrets – as do each of the other characters – and this all unfolds leading up to the last twist where the truth comes out.

Luckiest Girl Alive: This one is recommended for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train and while I haven’t yet read the second, I was sold after loving Gone Girl. This is another one where I can’t say too much without giving it all away. Ani FaNelli is a high schooler who seems to have a perfect life – but she’s really hiding something from her past that has significantly impacted her life since then. You won’t see what’s coming as the plot twists in different directions. I couldn’t put this one down!

Shop all of these books here:

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide 2016

The pre-holiday season got the best of me and admittedly I am WAY behind on my gift guide content that I had originally planned (sorry!!). The holidays are now here, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t quite checked everyone off the gift list yet. One of my favorite things on Christmas morning when I was little was opening up my stocking – my mom wrapped every little thing in it so it took forever!

So today I’m sharing lots of last-minute stocking stuffers from either stores you probably have nearby or good old Amazon Prime. Bought all your gifts already? Pick some of these up for yourself – especially the gift sets that are only available at this time of year and are usually great value! Shop everything via the links and images below, where you’ll find even more options in each category.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope you all get to disconnect and spend time with family and friends.

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide 2017

Shop the Gifts:

May Designs Desk Calendar / Kate Spade Planner

Tarte Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette / Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette

Deborah Lippman Nail Polish Set / BaubleBar Choker / Kendra Scott Earrings

Tory Burch Keychain / PopSugar Must Have Box Ring Dish

Lavanila Cozy Comforts Mini Deodorant Trio / Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Set

Maria Shireen Hair Tie Bracelet / bareMinerals BARE HAVEN Moisturizing Soft Cream

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick / Korres Greek Nights Volcanic Twist Shadow Collection

Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer / Avon Skin So Soft Triple Phase Oil

Masque Bar Oxygen Bubble Sheet MaskExfoliating Foot Mask / Target Copper Bar Tools

Jonathan Adler CandleLL Bean Slipper Socks / Target Mittens

 bkr Water Bottle / J.Crew Hat / Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot Mascara

 

[Read more…]

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that some people love and others couldn’t care less about. I fall somewhere i the middle. The holiday comes four days after my birthday, so those two occasions combined always give my husband and I a great excuse to go out for a nice dinner. Over the years we’ve opted for vacations over big gifts, but because many of you out there are likely getting or receiving gifts to loved ones or even friends, I wanted to share a very pink gift guide with items I’m loving right now.

Shop the gifts using the links below – hope you all have a great long weekend and Valentine’s Day! XOXO

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Shop the Gifts:

PJ Set / Water Bottle / c/o Lauren B. Nail Polishes

Necklace / Ring / Sunglasses / Earrings / Sweatshirt

Lipstick / Watch / iPhone Case / Bag / Flats / Sneakers

2015 Year in Review & Nordstrom, iPad Giveaway

It’s hard to believe I actually started this blog just over two years ago. This morning I scrolled through every single one of my posts from 2015 and it dawned on me how far I’ve come this year. Not only have I experimented with new types of posts (#ootd, monthly beauty finds), but I focused on paying attention to what was resonating with you, my readers, and tried to up my photography game to bring you lots of visual content. As a result, my blog readership and Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter followings doubled! Today’s post includes my favorite from each month this year – and scroll down to the bottom for a big Nordstrom & iPad giveaway!

Aside from the blog, 2015 was another incredible year spent with friends and family. I adventured to Ireland and Hawaii for big trips in summer and fall, and traveled to other new destinations, such as Portland, ME & OR, for work and play in between. Throughout the year three out of eight of our group of college besties welcomed beautiful babies, one got married and we even managed to successfully get all of us out to San Fran for a long weekend. And here at home, our mini bulldog, Hank, keeps us happy as ever.

My husband and I are headed into the city for dinner and drinks tonight and tomorrow we’ll meet up with our friends to kick off 2016 at the beach for the third annual PJ brunch party. I hope you all take some time to reflect on the ups and downs of 2015 – and cheers to a happy and healthy 2016!

xo,

Katy

2015 Year in Review

  • January: Healthy Mini Quiches Recipe (will be updating photography on this one, but they’ve been my go-to make-ahead breakfast all year!)

And now onto the giveaway…

12.30.15-Giveaway

Prize: $500 Nordstrom Gift Card + Gold Mini iPad

Co-hosts: Jenns Blah Blah Blog // Lavender’s Blush // Krystal’s Kitsch // Life is Poppin’ // The Mommyhood Mentor® // Beautiful Touches // Style Vanity // MommaDJane // A Good Hue // A Labour of Life // It’s Kristin

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 1/15 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

 

All that Glitters Gift Guide

I can’t be the only one with a minor obsession with all things gold, so today I’m sharing a gift guide with all things glitter and gold. My current iPhone case is glittery and everything about it makes me happy, and I need to get my hands on these glitter sneakers. Also, gold works for pretty much anything around the house since it goes with browns, blacks and other neutral colors.

In particular, right now I’m loving the Sephora Formula X Bottle Service nail polish set. I’m wearing “Ignite” in the second pic below and it’s the perfect deep red for winter and the holidays. The set comes with 10 different mini nail polishes and the festive champagne bottle packaging makes it an easy, fun gift. Just throw a ribbon around it and you’re good to go! Bonus points if you also give it with a real bottle of champagne.

All of the items below would make great gifts for a friend, coworker, yankee swap or for yourself! Shop them all using the links below.

All that Glitters Gift Guide

Shop the Gifts:

Earrings / iPhone Case / Water Bottle

Sneakers / FitBit Bracelet / Coasters

Pineapple Tumbler / Wine Bag / Blazer

Sephora Formula X Bottle Service Nail Set (c/o)

Champagne Flute / Bag / Notebook

Tray / Coffee Mug / Eyeshadow Palette

 All that Glitters Gift Guide

Office Gifts & Decor

If you’re like me, then you love a good desk accessory. Turns out, with so many in fun colors and patterns now available, they also make for great gifts for coworkers or any friend with a love for desk or home decor. Because really, why wouldn’t someone want to brighten up their work space?

Today I’m sharing lots of great gift options. I personally have a slight obsession with all things pink, gold and white, but I threw in some other fun picks as well to mix things up. As a Chi Omega, I love when I come across anything with an owl on it like these gold push pins (under $4 for the set!). And since I make about 100 to-do lists a day, these dry erase coasters that look like notepads would be perfect for me, along with this to-do list booklet.

Shop all of the items shown here using the links below – and feel free to grab some for yourself too! For even more of my picks, follow along on Insta (@dailykatyblog). Just sign up for ShopStyle.it, like my pics and you’ll get a shoppable email delivered right to your inbox. Enjoy!

 

Office Gifts & Decor

Shop the Post:

Desk / Desk Calendar / Mugs

Stapler / Coasters / Notebook Set

To-Do Notebook / iPhone Case / Vase

Floral Charger / Dry Erase Coasters

Notecards / Owl Push PinsEarbuds

Cyber Monday Sales

Happy Cyber Monday! I’ll keep this short and sweet since it is Monday morning… use the list and links below to shop lots of sales today – enjoy!

Cyber Monday Sale Roundup

  • American Eagle40% off holiday collection, no code needed
  • Ann Taylor50% off with “EVERYTHING”
  • Anthropologie25% off sale with “XTRAGOOD”
  • Athleta20% off with “WORKIT”
  • ASOS: 20% off everything with “CYBER”
  • Banana Republic40% off with “BESTCYBER”
  • BaubleBar35% off 2+ items with “GOGIFT35″ and 25% off 1+ item with “GOGIFT25″
  • Bloomingdales25% off regular and sale items
  • Frye40% off select styles
  • Gap: 40% off with “BESTCYBER”
  • GiltExtra 40% off with “GOLD40″ ($100 discount max)
  • Gilt CityExtra 20% off with “GOLD20″
  • J.Crew40% off 500+ items and 30% off everything else with
  • J.Crew Factory50% off with “TODAYONLY”
  • Kate Spade30% off with “SHINE”
  • Kendra Scott15% off with “SALE15″
  • Loft50% off with “CYBER50″
  • Lord & TaylorExtra 25% off with “CYBER”
  • Lucy40% off favorite pants, discount taken at checkout
  • Macy’sExtra 25% off with “CYBER0
  • Minted20% off holiday cards and 25% off everything else with “CM2015″
  • Neiman MarcusEarn up to $500 gift card with “GC4YOU” – spend $200, get $50 (and upward from there)
  • NordstromUp to 40% off designer brands
  • Nordstrom RackExtra 30% off clearance items, no code needed
  • Old Navy40% off with “BESTCYBER”
  • Saks Off FifthUp to 70% off
  • SephoraLimited-edition, limited-quantity gift sets
  • Snapfish70% off orders $200+ with “MERRY70″; 60% off everything else with “MERRY60″
  • Sole Society30% off, no code needed
  • Saks Fifth AvenueEarn gift card up to $700 with purchase with “NOV15,” plus lots of other deals
  • Tobi50% off with “THANKFUL50″
  • TopshopUp to 50% off

Friday Faves {October 23, 2015}

Happy Friday! I’m so excited because my husband and I are headed to Hawaii on Tuesday – and I can’t wait to share my experience here and in real-time on Insta. I’ll also be featuring my favorite Hawaiian hotels with fitness and wellness activities over on Fit & Fab Living when I get back. And because all I can think about is this trip, today’s Friday Faves are all related to travel – enjoy and have a great weekend!

xo,

Katy

Friday Faves, Travel Edition on DailyKaty.com

  • Maui & Kauai, Hawaii: Aka where I’m headed next week. I can’t wait. We’re staying and checking out a bunch of different resorts, activities, restaurants and more. Shown here is The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui – I wouldn’t mind laying by that pool with a good book for a few days! {via ritzcarlton.com}
  • Perfect carry-on bags: The black bag shown here is my absolute go-to for a carry-on bag. It’s simple but has so much room, is high quality and slips right over the handle of my rolling suitcase. If you prefer something that you’ll use daily in your everyday life too, go for this bag. It comes in large and small sizes and lots of colors! I just got the large one in eggplant – can’t wait for it to come.
  • The ultimate carry-on rolling bag: I’m on the hunt for the perfect rolling suitcases and while I haven’t made any purchases yet, this carry-on suitcase definitely looks like a good option. In addition to having innovative wheels and other cool features, the best part is that it has a charging station right in the suitcase. No more searching for outlets and sitting on the floor at the airport! {via brit.co}
  • Insta travel inspiration: If you’re on the hunt for your next travel destination or just love pretty travel photos, this post will give you lots of travel Instagrammers that you should go ahead and follow for inspiration. Each one of them has their own style and vibe. {via flipkey.com; Insta via @lepostcard}

 

Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you’ve been following along for at least a year or so, then you may remember that I had been contributing to Fit & Fab Living from time to time. I’m so excited to be writing for them again – starting with a fun post about “pink” products that give back to various breast cancer-related nonprofits to raise funds and awareness for research, etc. Head on over to Fit & Fab Living’s “11 Ways to Give Back During Breast Cancer Awareness Month” post to learn more about the pink products below from Drybar, Cureology Beauty, Morgan Taylor Lacquer, Avon, Paula & Chlo, HydroPeptide, Handful and Pilot Pens. And be sure to follow me on Facebook, as well as Fit & Fab Living, for more posts from yours truly!

11 Ways to Give Back During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

*While samples were provided for review, all opinions are my own.*

Friday Faves {September 25, 2015}

Fall is officially here and while I’m not one bit mad about the 75 degree forecast for Sunday, today I’m embracing the change of seasons. I have a busy weekend ahead with a girls day tomorrow and then the Patriots game on Sunday, so for now I’m sharing my Friday Faves and wishing you all a great weekend!

xo,

Katy

Friday Faves on DailyKaty.com

  • Shoes that won’t sink in the grass: If you’ve been to an outdoor wedding, then you know how annoying this is. I usually go with wedges to avoid this, but this post has lots of other great options! {via stylemepretty.com}
  • Lots of ways to wear jeans to work: I work in a casual, creative environment, so most of us wear jeans nearly every day. I love this article that gives you plenty of wears to incorporate denim into your outfits. {via refinery29.com}
  • Learning to tidy up: I just started reading  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing but then I found this article that breaks it down. I’m going to give it a shot… but still think I need to read the book! {via onekingslane.com}
  • Slow cooker season is here: And I am so happy about it. I can’t even wait to start scouring Pinterest for delicious fall recipes that also save me tons of time in the kitchen. This roundup has lots of ideas! {via popsugar.com}