Making the Grade / Beauty Queens


Thanks for sticking with me while I took my blogging break! It was just enough time for me to catch up on some blog-related items, but I’ll continue to update the site and fine-tune a few more things as the month goes on {i.e. patience would be appreciated :)}.

Making the GradeAnyhoo, Libba Bray’s books may be some of the most bizarre and unique stories in the young adult market, but that’s not stopping them from being good! I was impressed with The Diviners when I read it last winter, and after taking a quick glance at Goodreads, I knew Beauty Queens would be next on my TBR list. Feminist themes, beauty pageants gone wrong, and pirates? I was in. I have lots to say about this one {let’s just say I finished feeling torn}, so let’s get right to the newly formatted review!

Summary: The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? {Goodreads}

Beauty Queens Making the GradeLet’s discuss! Do you have any other good YA feminist novels to recommend? Have you read or are planning to read anything else by Libba Bray? I, for one, can’t wait for the second Diviners book, Lair of Dreams, to come out next year, but in the meantime, I think I will start the Gemma Doyle trilogy.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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Blogging Break


Blogging BreakCiao Bella will be quiet for the next week and a half as I take a short blogging break! Not to worry though, I’ll still be posting over at The Doll Mag and commenting on other blogs :) I’ll return on Wednesday, August 20th – see you then!

{Background from Citrus and Mint.}

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loving >> week 130


The Love ListI’m loving…

J.Crew New Arrivals Fall 20141 ♥ J.Crew’s New Arrivals Now that it is August, I feel that it is perfectly acceptable to start stocking up on some fall items. Thankfully, J.Crew seems to agree! :) They just rolled out a bunch of new items this past week, and I like quite a bit! My two favorite items out of the release {and the previous one in late July}, though, are shown above. I love the Peplum Sweater; I imagine it would be perfect for the transition between fall and winter. I also like the Eiffel Tower Sweatshirt, as it is a fun update to a wardrobe staple!

The Hundred-Foot Journey2 ♥ The Hundred-Foot Journey I haven’t wanted to see many movies this summer {I’m mainly holding out for If I Stay}, but The Hundred-Foot Journey looks pretty good! Starring Helen Mirren as a cold French chef and Manish Dayal as the rival cook of an Indian restaurant, the film may sound a bit predictable, but critics have given it many positive reviews. Personally, I’m not too worried when I {hopefully!} catch it later this summer – watching cooks on the big screen is my type of movie :)

Legally Blonde

3 ♥ The Legally Blonde Musical I have seen the Legally Blonde films countless times, so when I heard that a local community theater group was putting on a production of Legally Blonde, I was all in! I went to a different performance of the musical last spring, but I just couldn’t say no to seeing it for a second time. Everything – the catchy songs, overwhelmingly pink costumes, and memorable lines – made for an amazing show. Have you ever seen it, whether on stage or just the film?

Humans of New York UN World Tour{via}

4 ♥ Humans of New York’s UN Tour I’ve always enjoyed following the blog, Humans of New York; Brandon’s unique, personal interviews with complete strangers manage to capture a wide range of emotions. However, I am even more impressed and captivated with his newest endeavor: a partnership with the United Nations, in what he calls a “World Tour.” Traveling over 25,000 miles around the globe, Brandon will be photographing and interviewing people from ten different countries. It just started this past week and will continue into September – you know I will be following along!

Zucchini-Bread5 ♥ Zucchini Bread Finally, after whipping up two loaves of Zucchini Bread last week, I wanted to link back to the recipe! It’s been a while since I had last made it, so I had forgotten just how tasty it is. I may need to make it one more time before the fall fruit and vegetables start coming in! {These muffins are delicious too}.

Have a great start to your weekend!

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Pros & Cons / A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani


Pros and ConsAfter I read and enjoyed the much talked about The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, the sequel, which came out this past April, quickly proved itself to be a reading priority. How could I put off knowing what happened to the unlikely pair of Agatha and Sophie?! :) Fortunately, A World Without Princes was a delight to read as well. With suspense, magic, and even laughter on every page, fantasy fans, especially members of the intended audience, will like this series quite a bit! It had its flaws, but that didn’t stop my excitement over the third installment.

Want a brief summary? Here you go!: When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed. Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within. {Goodreads}

A World Without Princes Pros and ConsLet’s discuss! Have you ever checked out The School for Good and Evil series? If you haven’t, do you think you will give the books a try? For other School for Good and Evils fans, are you excited to see it go to the big screen? There’s lot to be said, clearly! Finally, do take a peek at the book trailers here and here. They are not only fun to watch, they also capture the moods of the novels perfectly.

Have a lovely night!

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eight books for the typography obsessed


Top Ten TuesdayWhen I saw the topic for this today’s Top Ten Tuesday {hosted weekly by the lovely bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish}, I knew exactly which books my list would consist of. This week’s prompt is “Top Ten Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read X,” and as someone who loves graphic design, I thought I would share some of my favorite choices having to do with fonts! Whether you want to try out hand-lettering {if that’s the case, we would make excellent friends}, are interested in the history and background of type {it’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself}, or are just in search of gorgeous examples of typography {yay!}, these eight books should and do fit the bill.

Books for the Typography Obsessed1 / Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton For those just getting into type, Ellen Lupton’s extensive book is my first recommendation. Covering everything from font choice, kerning, and alignment, Lupton goes into great detail so that even the newest of designers have a solid base to build upon. I also think it’s an excellent read for even the most experienced of designers – a quick brush-up never hurts, right?!

2 / The Scrapbooker’s Handwriting Workshop by Crystal Jeffrey Rieger Artistic readers will appreciate this “workbook” of sorts. Not only does the author explain the basic anatomy of fonts, she also shows readers how they can improve upon their handwriting for creative projects {scrapbooking is the most obvious, but I’ve used what I learned from the book in school projects, cards, and my dry-erase calendar too!}.

3 / Hyperactivitypography from A to Z by Studio 3 I adore this fun and well-designed book! Although there’s little to actually read, you’ll learn a lot from the dozens of activities included throughout the book. Whether you’re matching up the years of when different typefaces were first created or sketching out your own letterforms, you will quickly see that sometimes active practice is the best way to go.

4 / A History of Graphic Design for Rainy Days by Studio 3 Studio 3 rocks at making books that are fun to read and look at. I believe that knowing a basic history of any chosen interest or hobby can be beneficial, but this especially applies in the case of graphic design. Learning about the different eras and designers will form an appreciation that can’t come out of merely practicing hand-lettering. Did I mention that this one is interactive too? :)

5 / Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms by Alex Fowkes I mentioned this book recently, but I can’t recommend it enough! Filled with interviews with famous graphic designers and exercises for you to try on your own, Fowkes clearly knows his stuff. Furthermore, you’ll gain a lot from seeing the variety of handwritten type in the world.

6 / Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd This one is primarily aimed at elementary school kids, but teens and adults will still like this bright and useful guide. Kidd goes into great detail about the basic elements of graphic design, and for those who are just starting out, I think this would be a great reference to have on hand. Book lovers may also like seeing all of the book covers Kidd designed; I know I did :)

7 / Draw Your Own Alphabets: Thirty Fonts to Scribble, Sketch, and Make Your Own by Tony Seddon Like The Scrapbooker’s Handwriting Workshop, this book is more of a workbook than anything else, but what makes it stand out is the helpful steps for working with your fonts on the computer. The different font styles are winners too, as are the grid pages for practice.

8 / Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory Finally, this book not only has an adorable name, it’s helpful and inspiring for beginners! I love the wide variety of styles that Emily Gregory includes, and those more than make up for the lack of technical “how-to’s.”

Have a wonderful rest of your Tuesday!



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