Books

Year In Review: 2014 Survey

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For the past 5 years or so I’ve been taking time to fill out this year end survey. 2014 really is no exception. The survey contains what I feel are the best and worst in everything from (As seen above) music to movies to even television and my personal life. Everything is based entirely on my opinion so feel free to disagree (but not in a cruel manner of course) and leave some comments with your best/worst of the year or take the survey for yourself and share it with me!

BEST:

Best Film Of 2014: Wish I Was Here
Best Book Of 2014: Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Best Actor Of 2014: Miles Teller
Best Actress Of 2014: Felicity Jones
Best Celebrity Of 2014: Literally none of them
Best Game Of 2014: Kim Kardashian Hollywood
Best Song Of 2014: Night Changes – One Direction
Best Moment Of 2014: LA road trip in September
Best Band Of 2014: One Direction. Stay seated because I won’t be able to hear you over all that record breaking, a stadium tour, and giving millions to charity.
Best Singer Of 2014: Liam Payne, where the hell did you come from? I mean those ooooos in Night Changes…
Best TV Show Of 2014: Girls, Silicon Valley, A to Z
Best Piece Of News 2014: On The Road Again

WORST:

Worst Film Of 2014: Transformers (Wahlberg or not…just stop)
Worst Book Of 2014: I don’t read bad books I’m sorry.
Worst Celebrity Of 2014: Kimye
Worst Game Of 2014: Kim Kardashian Hollywood.
Worst Song Of 2014: All About That Bass
Worst Moment Of 2014: I can’t say I have a standout worst moment this year that isn’t overly personal.
Worst Band Of 2014: The Wanted. They are still a band….right….?
Worst Singer of 2014: I’m going to say Selena, cried at the AMAs for staged dramatic effect, Gomez
Worst Tv Show Of 2014: Glee..just end already
Worst Piece Of News 2014: I think there’s a majority of news I don’t even have to mention here because it goes without saying. None of it should be forgotten but in this space I won’t mention the severe injustices by individual headlines.

PERSONAL:

Did you have any resolutions? Did you break them? Keep them? No. Like I say every year, I make goals many of which were not reached or simply forgotten after months.
If you could change one thing about 2014, what would it be? I would be more calm, open, and understanding of those I surround myself with on a daily basis. I tend to not act as one should when under lots of stress.
What is the most memorable moment of 2014: Where We Are Tour
Who did you spend most of 2014 with? My best friend, Rachael and five loveable idiots
Where did you spend most of 2014? Phoenix, school, the car.
Have you changed alot since 2013? No. I think I continued the same growth pattern I started last year only just found more of who I am, where I want to go, and who should continue to be a part of that.
So, how is Nicole spending her last night of 2014?: Comfy clothes, bubbly drinks, and One Direction.

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Friday Five: August

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August is here and that means the dog days of summer are almost over. Thank god. I don’t know how many more 100+ degree days I can take. No one likes looking like a giant tomato every day now do they? With a new month comes plenty of new and exciting things to get ready for. These are 5 at the top of my list.

  • Clothes: Fall should be arriving (it takes forever here) and that means a whole new wardrobe. Okay maybe not a whole new wardrobe but time to add some new stuff! I would love to add this biker jacket from Mango and this linen tee from Acne Studio to my fall closet.
  • Film: There aren’t a whole lot of great albums or movies coming out this month. But there is a little romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan getting a limited release August 8 called What If. It should be interesting to see Daniel without his signature wand and taking on romantic comedies. Oh and it co-stars Adam Driver. Sign me up. Watch the trailer here.
  • Art Exhibit: The last time I went to the museum it was to see the Hollywood Costume exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. It was pretty cool. Now SMOCA has a really cool exhibition of photographs by Bill Owens called Suburbia. Just from the preview on their website, the photos seem to give such an interesting look at middle class American life. I can’t wait to check it out.
  • Music: As I mentioned before there aren’t too many great albums coming out this month. So, I stumbled upon an old idea: the 30 day music challenge. It’s like the photo a day challenge in the sense you work with a prompt someone has created. Today’s prompt was a song that makes me happy. Naturally I chose Hall & Oates because why not? For the next 30 days I’ll be taking to my Tumblr to share a little bit of my love of music and you can follow along on my playlist tab! I apologize in advance for anything really stupid that happens along the way. 
  • Boozy Book Club is back! Yes and back with full force. I missed book club. Reading a book a long with friends kind of seems like a rough idea, but we seem to make it work. And we agreed fairly quickly on our newest selection: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Maybe I’ll even write a little bit about it here on the blog.

The Weekender: 26 July

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Hello Friends and happy weekend! Today is kind of going to be a day of catch up so don’t mind the other posts following the Weekender. I felt a bit under the weather this week which, I feel, is entirely unfair to happen to someone during the hottest week of the year. Rather than pretend I was productive I’ll just admit I wasn’t. I misspelled the number ‘twelve’ for heaven’s sake. This blog is about my life and lifestyle in general and well, that’s life, isn’t it? So check back later for some more posts! If not, here’s your weekly dose of important things!

Watch: The trailer for The Walking Dead Season 5
Turn your face into an emoji to annoy your friends with
Speaking of faces, Check out my new favorite app: Party Party from A Beautiful Mess. Now I can make stop motion videos and GIFs of my dog. You’re welcome, Instagram.
Kind of creepy: Children’s characters as Pantone swatches
Wait, hold up: Glazed Donut Muffins
I’m in love with this Herman Miller office furniture to create the office I want.
Stop what you’re doing right now and check out the Nostalgia Machine
Zach Braff on his Kickstarter experiment and go see Wish I Was Here. I highly recommend it.
Weekend Hair Links: How to keep your ombre looking great, braid your bangs, or possibly a DIY hair mask
Weekend Tunes: 5 Seconds of Summer
In case you missed it: My thoughts on this week’s Pretty Little Liars and posts on Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, my summer reading list, and Boy Meets World

Summer Reading List ’14

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When I was younger one of my favorite things was the summer reading program at the local public library. There was always some kind of theme and the goal, ultimately, was to get children reading while they were out of school. The was always a prize for reaching little tiny milestones over the course of the Candy Land-esque treasure map. Prizes like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut (I never did redeem this) or a bookmark which exclaimed to everyone within a 5 mile radius that you LOVED reading. The summer reading program was awesome. Not only did I get challenged to complete a task, which I definitely could beat my sister at (I’m competitive), but I got to head to the library week after week to get new books. I would constantly check out the same few books time after time. Mainly a fiction book we read in class that year that I couldn’t put down or a baking book for children. Yeah, my love of baking started very early on.

Sadly, when you grow up there’s no longer such a fun way to get reading back into your life. Well, there’s book clubs where maybe a good class of wine or spot of cheese on a cracker can replace that cool number 2 pencil reward of years ago. Now I use reading to relax and stay sane since life seems to move so much faster when you’re an adult. Or maybe that’s just me.

The last book I read was The Fault in Our Stars. Obviously it’s quite the tearjerker. So, I decided maybe it’s best to seek out some other books to finish out the summer reading. As you can probably see, it’s fairly expansive. Subjects from novels about all the thing humans waste to the economics behind the disribution of capital. But right now in my iBooks, Orange is the New Black is just begging to be started. Maybe it’s time to start up the ol’ boozy book club again?

1. Want Not by Jonathan Miles 2. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman 3. Design as Art by Bruno Munari 4. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 5. One More Thing: Stories and More Stories by B.J. Novak 6. Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso 7. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design 8. Capital In the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty

Hello, July

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Far too often I find myself saying, “I can’t believe it’s already _____!” It’s July and I seriously wonder where half of this year already went. I feel like I’m living in that one scene in Garden State. You know the one where Zach Braff is sitting on the couch and everything around him is moving but he’s sitting still? Yeah, like that. Except you know without the drug use and the subsequent orgy, but more feeling like I’m standing on the sidelines while everyone else lives the miraculous, fabulous lives. But with a new month brings the prospect of new and exciting to things to look forward to. These are a few of mine.

Books: According to Entertainment Weekly, Friendship is a great novel for fans of the television series, Girls. It centers around a friendship similar to that of Hannah and Marnie’s except with far more pent up anger and resentment. Now I normally don’t listen to say, the likes of Entertainment Weekly, when it comes to what books I pick up, but I’m willing to give this one a shot.

Television: There’s one thing I love about summer: Big Brother. Both the US and the UK versions. The UK version is my current favorite (#teammark). They are wacky and crazy and love backstabbing each other. I can’t wait to catch up with them (and the latest on Mark’s eyebrows) on the daily.

Fourth of July: Ah, that time of the year where we, as Americans, celebrate our independence from the British. Not entirely sure when it began that we celebrate this with fireworks, BBQs, and a Will Smith movie, but I’ll roll with it. There’s nothing I love more than a cold beer and a viewing of Independence Day to celebrate America. Still not entirely sure what aliens have to do with independence but okay.

Films: I am most excited for Wish I Was Here. It’s been ten years (holy cow) since Garden State, and I’m anxious to see Zach Braff’s follow up about a actor/father trying to find his purpose in life at 35. While it is has similar parallels to Garden State and is meeting mixed reviews, I can’t stop watching the trailer like a wide eyed kid at Disneyland. Not to mention those new songs by the Shins and Bon Iver…

Music: Speaking of music, there’s going to be some new tunes out this month in addition to the (brilliant) Wish I Was Here soundtrack. First up: 5 Seconds of Summer. Hear me out! There was a time where pop punk (whatever you want to call it) reigned supreme. I guess it still kind of does. I don’t run in that circle so I’m not entirely sure. Around this time I was in high school and I loved it, so listening to, what one reviewer called, “frenzied pop punk that tries to dry hump you,” takes me back. I just can’t get enough of it, and if you pre-order on iTunes you’ll receive quite a few tracks now! My favorite so far is Amnesia.  Next up: Jenny Lewis. I love Jenny Lewis. Troop Beverly Hills Jenny. Rilo Kiley Jenny. But especially solo Jenny. I cannot wait to hear The Voyager.

New hair color: If you can’t tell yet, I have a bit of a thing for bright colored hair. I haven’t had the guts to dye my entire head yet. The upkeep just feels so daunting to me, but now Bleach London has a new product I can’t wait to try: hair crayons. They have quite a few products in their new range I want to try, but for now I’ll stick to my soon-to-be rosé locks.

LinksFriendship by Emily Gould /  Wish I Was Here trailer /  5 Seconds of Summer (Available now outside of the US) iTunes pre-order: hereThe Voyager by Jenny Lewis / Hair crayons available for purchase from Bleach London Worldwide

Noteworthy 001

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Introducing Noteworthy a little segment where I’m just going to ramble about things I find are intriguing to me right now. It really serves no purpose other than for me to share things I’ve come across that I find particularly cool in the hopes you, my trusty reader, may also find them cool. Sounds pretty interesting, yeah? Maybe not, but it’s happening so enjoy, haha.

Coveting: Somehow I constantly find myself furniture shopping. I’m not in need of a new sofa at the moment, but if I was, I would certainly choose this one from Design Within Reach. Well if it ever fit my furniture budget. A girl can dream, right?

Food: First there was the cronut (which I still refuse to try) and then the waffle taco (I’d try 17 cronuts before I ever try a waffle taco) and now the churro ice cream sandwich. There’s something to be said about zany food combinations lately, but I can’t quite determine what that could be. All I know is, I might really be on board to try a churro ice cream sandwich.

Music: I mentioned previously my excitement over hearing the new Lana Del Rey album, and Ultraviolence did not disappoint. This album is much grittier and melancholy than her previous release Born to Die. It contains themes of loneliness and longing, and contains many nods to musical trademarks of the past. It’s a beautiful album but definitely not to be listened to if maintaining happiness is ones goal. On the other hand, French Exit by TV Girl is certainly a more upbeat choice for blissful listening. TV Girl’s albums never seem to disappoint me. There’s some serious summery vibes to this album and I just want to lay around all day listening to it whenever possible (with a cocktail would be even better)

Travel: I don’t have to mention my wanderlust. Everyone knows it exists by this point, but what else can be expected in summer? And I love this Kate Spade travel wallet which is now unfortunately sold out.

Sports: The World Cup, am I right? Every four years the world is united to celebrate football. (or at least pretend, as Americans, we like it as more than part of a physical education class curriculum) I quite like football sometimes so finding the time to watch games is pretty enjoyable. Unfortunately, England is out of the running for the cup, but I still really love this Elizabeth and James England tee. No shame in supporting my team of choice, right?

Fashion: I’m obsessed with playsuits this summer. They are comfy and cool. Unfortunately my new favorite one (pictured here on Lou Teasdale) is leather and doesn’t agree with Arizona heat. I guess there’s always winter right? Not to mention it’s not entirely budget friendly.

Books: One of my all time favorite classes I’ve taken has been about the history of rock music. So, I’m really excited to read Bob Stanley’s book on pop music when it is released next month. Mr. Stanley is a music critic who, in the book, breaks down genres, bands, and specific songs to recall the good and the bad in the evolution of pop music. I can’t wait to read it.

Links: Bantam Sofa / Churro Ice Cream Sandwich / (On Spotify) Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey & French Exit – TV Girl / Kate Spade Travel Wallet / Elizabeth and James Tee / One Teaspoon Johnny Ringo Leather Playsuit / Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! by Bob Stanley

Currently…

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Summer is (unofficially) here and that means many television shows are on their summer hiatus, but thank goodness for teen shows and ABC Family. Without them I wouldn’t have my new summer addiction: Pretty Little Liars. I can hear the annoyed groans of my brother from across town, but trust me, Pretty Little Liars is so much better than I thought. The twists and turns are endless and just when I think I’ve solved the mystery of A, the rug is pulled out from underneath me. Not only that, all season long I’ll be writing about it over at Screen Spy! Find out what I thought of this week’s season 5 premiere: EscApe from Manhattan

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Continuing with this, “Nicole, do you realize how old you are?” theme, I’m currently reading The Fault In Our Stars. When I first heard of this book (and it’s film adaptation, which ultimately brought along this decision), I very quietly nodded my head and allowed everyone to talk about their cryfests. Last weekend, I bought my ticket to the movie thinking “why not?” I’ve heard enough about it and saw my fair share of posts on Tumblr regarding metaphors and the like. I was pleasantly surprised how well done the film is and how happy fans of the book were that it stayed fairly close. Being adapted by two of my favorite screenwriters certainly didn’t hurt either. But long story short: I ended up crying far more than I’d ever like to admit in real life let alone on this blog, so just know it happened and move on. (Watch the trailer and buy the novel)

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Music is kind of a big deal, and this cone speaker by Aether is rather amazing. The Cone learns what kind of music you like, when you like it, and pretty much every other detail of your music experience in order to serve you better. It’s beautiful looking not to mention fairly technologically advanced. Like if Smart Houses were real, I wish every room of mine would have one of these included. Hell, I would love to have one right now.

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Speaking of music, nearly every time I do a currently I always mention some songs I’m loving. I suppose this time should be no exception? I’m a little bit more than excited to hear Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey. These songs being released every few days have been so good. I just don’t want to stop playing them. My current favorite is Brooklyn Baby. On the other end of the spectrum I’m listening to a lot of Salute by Little Mix. They recently released an EP for the single featuring some remixes, and this remix Troyboi just happens to be one of them. It’s slowed down and really has this 90s pop mixed with an electronic twist vibe to it. Kinda makes me feel like someone mashed up Pony and Salute at times. I won’t pretend I’m not obsessed with it.

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Earlier, I mentioned The Fault In Our Stars and it goes without saying that a book/film about that type of subject matter (not to mention the countless references to her favorite book that ends mid sentence and what that means about life) can’t help but make me think of all the things I want to do in life. That combined with these two photos Jac Vanek posted of her travels to Santorini on Instagram made my wanderlust grow exponentially. Adding Santorini to my list of places to visit immediately.

The Weekender: 31 May

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I can’t believe it’s already June. Duh, time moves quickly when you get older. Probably because you are no longer waiting impatiently for summer vacation and life just rolls on. I’m pretty excited to be checking out Palo Alto this weekend. I read the book of short stories written by James Franco (because apparently he can do anything he wants) and I’m interested to see how it turned into a film. The reviews (which I rarely ever read) don’t seem to think it has a point. I’ll be the judge of that.

Jane Birkin via The Dapper Project

The Weekender: 8 March

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Happy Weekend and a special happy international women’s day to all you lovely ladies out there. That’s a pretty cool day right? Let’s celebrate with a cocktail! Okay, maybe that’s what I’ll be doing then again I also just really love cocktails. Anyway, here’s some wicked cool things from the internet this week.