Summer Reading List

summer readingIn the past year I’ve visited three historic public libraries for the first time in Boston, New York City, and Seattle. Aside from the beautiful architecture and the wonder I felt at being in such awesome buildings meant solely for reading and educating, these visits reminded me that I am behind on my reading goal for the year. With a little more free time on my hands, a number of cities enticing with scenic areas ideal for a quiet moment, and more than a few plane rides, I put together a list of books I plan to tackle during the summer. Whether you’re hitting the beach, jetting off on a plane, or claiming a sidewalk table in your hometown or a foreign city, here is your summer reading list. 

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Wedding Dress De-Coded

A breakdown of suggested wedding attire and picks $100 & under 

Black tie. Semi formal. With the shift in the role of fashion in our everyday life and dress code vastly left up to interpretation, it can be confusing when your wedding invitation is stamped with the event’s two-word guideline. Thanks to The Knot, we’ve decoded what each one means… and found options under $100 for all your weddings this season.

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National Burger Month | California Style

Celebrating National Burger Month with our favorite burgers in California

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It’s only fitting that I was born in Burger Month (I’m a self-professed über carnivore). I checked in with some of my food-loving friends for their recommendations of the best burgers in California (including a few for you non meat-eaters) to bring you a list of must-try’s to celebrate this glorious “holiday”… and, of course, no list would be complete without the quintessential California burger joint: In-n-Out, so scroll down to see how our burger lovers order theirs.

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FRIEND-ly Ways to Change Your Mood

Classic FRIENDS moments to help you find your mojo.

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11 years ago, one of the best television shows aired it’s final episode. To this day, FRIENDS makes me laugh, makes me cry, and teaches me unexpected lessons about life… rightfully so since I was watching these 20-somethings as a middle schooler. Here are some of those unexpected lessons.

Even the most confident girl may need a little extra encouragement from time to time… after a fight with a friend, after a tough day at work, on a quiet Tuesday night, or when your love life’s D.O.A. Ritual is a way for us to feel control over some small part of the universe’s ways. We use it to celebrate tradition, but we also use it in our daily lives when we get ready for work or wind down for bed. I’ve found small things I can do with purpose that have the same effect of calm and contentment that longer rituals can have. Take it from our favorite friends; you can do any one of these acts or a combination to quickly feel superbly sexy again.

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Guide to All Things Makeup

8 links to everything you need to know about caring for, throwing out, and storing your makeup

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PHOTO: Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Spring cleaning is often attached to cleaning out your closet. As we move into fall, it’s time we give our cosmetics some much needed attention. Because they’re so sneakily small, we often take for granted the little space they take up in our living spaces. Products build up, and we can easily forget they’re there. However, with this round-up of articles from trusted beauty sources, devoting time to cleaning your brushes, tossing out products from your makeup bag, and re-organizing what you keep, you are on your way to a vanity area that will make your getting-ready routine worthy of a red-carpet entrance.

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What I Learned | Twenty-Seven

One week prior to my 28th birthday, a reflection on turning twenty-seven

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Just a month after my 27th birthday, I already felt like a changed woman. Okay, it helps a lot that I left my job just two weeks prior to my birthday and essentially was living like a college kid on summer vacation… so after five years of a regular 9 to 6 job without a lot of free time to travel and breathe, feeling different was inevitable. Nevertheless, the change of pace prompted a lot of reflection and self-discovery. Here’s what I’ve learned since turning 27.

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Reading Spotlight | Beginner’s Guide to John Green

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If you haven’t heard of The Fault In Our Stars, now is the time to crawl out from under your rock. Whether or not you watched the film adaptation starring Shailene Woodley already, get on the waiting list at your local library now if you know what’s good for you. I read this novel for book club and subsequently read two other titles by John Green. I am a fan.

Don’t let “Young Adult” fool you. Like the writers of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Divergent, John Green breathes life into the category with dynamic characters, imperative themes (such as that of needing to matter), and evocation of real emotion (I have both laughed out loud and cried my eyes out over his writing). Since he is not a series writer, here’s the run-down on four of his titles to get you started on your path, with help from a fellow John Green-fan Kate Jones.

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Downward Dog Diss

A yoga nightmare, 5 lessons I took away, and tips on starting yoga

I find the start of each new season to be a great time to refresh and refocus. Yoga is my way of physically manifesting that philosophy, so I tend to make sure it’s part of my schedule as the seasons turn.

I had never regretted my decision to take a yoga class… until last Wednesday.

I headed to this studio, new to me, with anticipation. It was on my list of studios to try ever since I moved back—probably because it was one of the few with free and easy parking; unlike L.A., here nowhere you go has valet. The studio was warm (I’m talking temperature), and I’m much more comfortable in airy (read, air conditioned) studios but I let go and embraced the fact that I would likely leave the class feeling relaxed and refreshed.

With my limited experience, I believe yoga is a practice of constantly letting go of the ego, calming your mind, focusing your breath, listening to your body. On this evening, the night before the full moon, what our instructor led us through was the complete opposite of that. The class started in a seated position focusing in on the breath. I felt myself center. And this was the last time I would feel calm for the rest of the evening.

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On Burning Out

The story of my wake-up call one year ago and tips on avoiding burn-out

A friend and I were talking about people’s different thresholds of “busy.” She has a full-time office job and teaches fitness classes 3 to 4 days a week. A colleague of mine has a full-time job, teaches an extracurricular class once a week, oh, and has a husband and four kids to care for. I attest my own desire to fill my days to my early training in elementary school. My mom had my sisters and me in after-school activities galore—from ballet to swimming, speed reading (an excuse for me to spend more time at the library) to student council. Once I left school for the real world, I felt the need to continue being “involved”… I became my high school alumni association’s class representative, joined my sorority’s alumni chapter and took on a leadership role, then found other ways to use my marketing knowledge by joining my sister’s company’s team part time and decided to get back into writing by launching The Single Diaries with a friend.

The only sure thing is that we have 24 hours in a day and, when you have an inflexible office job, you have to wake up at a certain time every morning. For someone like me who can stay up all night, it is a challenge to stay committed to a bedtime when I can find other things I want to do but didn’t have time to earlier in the day (write or edit a post, read a book, watch Melrose Place). There were evenings when after work I thought I could do it all: run off to an early barre class, stop by a book club meeting, then finish editing a post scheduled to go up the next day. Other days I had to make sacrifices. Instead of organizing a boozy brunch (one of my favorite pastimes), I committed to a Saturday work session at a local cafe.

Taking on an extra project is great in the years after college when making money needs to be your priority to pay for student loans and to get your feet off the ground. In those years, most of us need to work a traditional full-time job to learn the value of a paycheck and to garner experience to build our resume. A side hustle is a way for you to find your passion and develop the skills you need to make your dreams a reality. But what happens when your full-time job and your side hustle leave you with little to no free time?

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7 Do’s and Don’ts of Conversing with Strangers

The art of conversation with The Real Housewives of New York

PHOTO: Bravo TV.

PHOTO: Bravo TV.

I consider myself a fairly good conversationalist, but in the last couple months I’ve met girls who are extremely chat savvy. What struck me was their ability to be natural and to put a complete stranger at ease… it’s that charisma that also makes someone a great interviewee (or interviewer)—both on camera and off. Superb conversationalists don’t try too hard to leave you with a certain impression. They open up enough that you want to find out more. They speak to you in the same voice they use with their close friends. They charm you. I am fascinated by the magnetism, so I turned to The Real Housewives of New York for tips on the art of conversation when meeting someone new.

(And don’t forget to set your DVR for the upcoming season which begins tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, and promises to be the best one yet!)

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