loving >> week 168

Happy Friday, friends!Love ListNo need to stall today; the weekend’s almost here, and I have a Love List set and ready to go! Here’s what I’ve been loving lately, and then let’s chat: how was your week?

The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering1 ♥ The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering Valerie McKeehan has become synonymous with the art of chalkboard lettering. A self-taught artist and entrepreneur, Valerie has had continual success since she opened her online boutique in 2012, and it’s no surprise: she applies her signature touch of whimsy to each piece of artwork she sells. After months of following – or, better said, obsessing over – her work, I was delighted to discover that she was sharing her tips and techniques in a book, and I was even more excited to find it in my hands at Christmas time! The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering is everything a lettering-lover could desire; not only does it include various examples of Valerie’s own prints, it also has step-by-step tutorials on how to create chalkboard art for any occasion. Along with my new chalk markers, this guide will have me lettering left and right over the next few months.

5WV_1SHT_TSR_05.indd2 ♥ The Fifth Wave The dystopian genre exploded in popularity in the literary scene several years ago, no doubt because of the success of such novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent, so it was only a matter of time until the postapocalyptic stories hit Hollywood as well. I won’t lie, I’ve grown somewhat weary of these movies – I’ve heard of one too many poor film adaptations to feel otherwise – but not even my hesitation could stop me from seeing The Fifth Wave, based after Rick Yancey’s novel of the same name. The story is somewhat odd {from the film’s IMDB page: “Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother”}, but the star-studded cast, including Chloë Grace Moretz as the lead, has me feeling optimistic. It only just released in theaters today, so I’m crossing my fingers I will be able to see it sometime soon!

Kate Spade x Beyond Yoga3 ♥ Kate Spade x Beyond Yoga Yoga, in addition to reading and baking, is one of my favorite ways to decompress; I’ve been practicing it for over five years now, and attending a class never fails to leave me feeling energized and refreshed. Of course, what you wear to yoga does not matter so long as it allows you to move freely, but the style-conscious part of me adores the pieces in Kate Spades’ recent collaboration with Beyond Yoga. I’m just as big of a Kate Spade fanatic as I am of yoga, so in my mind, this athletic wear was a match made in heaven. The only thing that is a bummer? The prices are too high for my current budget. In other words, I won’t be sporting this striped bow zip-up anytime soon, but, then again, I’ve never known online browsing to hurt anyone :) Do you like anything from the collection?

Quantico{a still from Quantico}

4 ♥ New Television Obsessions When it comes to TV, I’m usually not one to binge watch. With the structure of my schedule after school and on the weekends, I’m better situated to weekly viewings of my favorite shows – think Downton Abbey on Sundays to start my week off right, Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Tuesdays for mid-week laughs, and an Elementary episode when I have a free evening. However, at the urging of a classmate and due to my own interest, I began both Quantico and How to Get Away with Murder this past weekend, and fly through them I have! Just as I love a good mystery novel, I’ve yet to find a spy, thriller, or crime show I haven’t like, so my enjoyment of the two programs was a no-brainer. My hope is to finish what episodes have aired by the end of the month, but at this rate, I don’t think that will be an issue; I’ll be caught up on the lives of Annalise and Alex in no time.

Selena Gomez Revival5 ♥ Selena Gomez’s Revival Finally, I’m late to the Selena Gomez lovefest, I know, but in all truth, I simply can’t get enough of her latest hits. Revival, her second studio album, came out this past October, but if the frequency that I’ve been playing “Same Old Love” and “Me and My Girls” are any indication, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes one of my favorite albums of 2016. Selena has had an admirable career, and I think she’s transitioned from her pop-princess appearance {no shame, though, I still consider Wizards of Waverly Place a Disney classic} to a more mature and electric style seamlessly. What music has begun your year?

Have a terrific weekend!
Bella

loving >> week 167

Hello!Love ListHappy Saturday, everyone! Is your 2016 off to a fantastic start? I won’t lie, the past few days have tuckered me out – the shift from winter break to a full school week is never easy, and the cold I’m battling surely didn’t help – so I hope to use today and tomorrow to read, relax, and recharge. Fortunately, that should be easy with my weekend plans: finishing up The Tiara on the Terrace, enjoying the new season of Galavant, and attending a directors’ meeting for the one-act play festival I’m involved in. Before that fun, however, I figured it was about time for another Love List – the first of the new year! What’s up for your weekend?

Sherlock The Abominable Bride1 ♥ Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, creators of BBC’s Sherlock, know how to start the year off with a bang! The premiere of the Sherlock special, “The Abominable Bride,” was last Friday, and I personally couldn’t have asked for a better bridge between seasons three and four {which is set to air next winter – forever of a time, I know}. Unlike previous episodes, the latest Sherlock and Watson case is not set in the modern age, but in the time of Arthur Conan Doyle himself. The writers weave the Victorian mystery with the current storyline in a clever structure, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are top-notch, as always. In fear of spoiling it any further, I’ll end with a reminder: an encore broadcast airs tomorrow night, if you want to tune in or watch it again.

In the Heights2 ♥ The In the Heights Soundtrack Ask me about Hamilton, and I’ll immediately encourage you to give the tracks a listen. Exclaim that you too are a Hamilton fan, and I’ll declare us friends there on the spot. Tell me that you’ve see Hamilton, and I’ll be green with envy {and then ask you to describe it in great detail}. In all seriousness, I have nothing but praise for the Hamilton album – it was, in fact, what led me to look into Lin Manuel Miranda’s other production, In the Heights. I gifted the soundtrack to my sister, a Hamilton and Broadway fan herself, for Christmas, but it was only until this past week that I listened to acts one and two in full. I’m happy to say I adored the salsa and rap inspired numbers, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time I listen to it! :) What music have you been loving lately?

Little Victories3 ♥ Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Rules If you’re looking for a humorous way to spend your afternoon, I think reading Jason Gay’s memoir, Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living, will do you well! In my effort to actually check out the nonfiction books I have on my TBR list, I grabbed it from my local library before the year’s end and finished it that same night. Gay has an effortless and entertaining writing style, and his anecdotes flow into one another with ease. In addition, the essays provide insights relatable to any audience, regardless of lifestyles or age. If you’re still not convinced it’s worth a look, listen to the author, who stated that it’s a “rule book for people who hate rule books.” You can’t go wrong with that.

December Movies4 ♥ Recent Movie Outings I’m no avid moviegoer, but even I can tell you biopics have a reputation of being a hit or a miss. Thankfully, the films I saw on my vacation fall in the former category, earning my full recommendation! Joy, loosely based on inventor and self-made millionaire Joy Mangano, benefits from an excellent cast and an engaging story; it had me emotionally invested and on the edge of my seat until the final credits rolled. I also caught the highly praised Spotlight last weekend and enjoyed every minute. I’m not surprised it has received so many accolades and awards; the actors, filming techniques, and story {based after the work of The Boston Globe Spotlight team in uncovering the Catholic Church sexual abuse cover-up} are nothing short of outstanding. Have you seen either film?

Boden Spring 20165 ♥ Boden Spring 2016 Line Finally, be still my beating heart – Boden unveiled their new spring/summer line! The rollout was a lovely start to my week, and though winter has only just begun, I already have my eye on several pieces. Among them? The Cassie Embroidered Top {I love the pop of color in the flowers}, the Tassel Sandals, the Alicia Day Dress {the cut is one of my favorites, and the print is perfect for spring}, the Georgina Top, the Slim Graphic T-Shirt {a good motto to live by, if I ever saw one}, and finally, the Jersey Lined Jacket. I’m starting my saving now, so come spring, my closet will be stocked with a few new – and stylish! – pieces.

With that, I wish you a terrific weekend! I hope it’s all sorts of wonderful.
Bella

loving >> week 166

Hi everyone!Love ListHappy Sunday! Are you hanging in there until your winter vacation? Are you already on break? {In which case, let me say: you’re a lucky duck} I have a few things to finish up before my final push of school – French and physics assignments to complete, gifts to wrap, and holiday cookies to bake – but first, I wanted to post a Love List, for blogging makes any leisurely weekend morning better. Crazily enough, I haven’t shared one in over a month, so you’ll find a selection of things from my December! What are your Sunday plans?

Big Magic1 ♥ Big Magic Though I don’t check them out as much as I would like, I love a good nonfiction book. I’m fascinated by the world around me, and I’ve found that nonfiction, be it a memoir or an essay, serves my curiosity well. One of my more recent delves into the genre was Elizabeth Gilbert’s meditation on creativity, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. You may recognize Gilbert from her Eat, Pray, Love fame, but her most recent work is less a memoir than a discourse – and one on an interesting subject at that. She questions what it is to be an artist, what brings inspiration, and what spurs and maintains passion, and though she provides her own answers, she rarely attacks the reader with her beliefs. I encourage anyone in a creative field, from bloggers to painters, photographers to authors, to check it out for themselves, as I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Wiz Live2 ♥ The Wiz Live NBC’s live musicals, Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and most recently, The Wiz, are somewhat of a hit or a miss; the innovative structure has both helped and hindered actors in the past. Despite the lackluster response of last year’s performance {New York Times writes that Peter Pan “couldn’t entirely live up to NBC’s puffed-up expectations”}, the network pushed on, and are we lucky that they did! Starring cutie Shanice Williams as Dorothy, The Wiz is an impressive production – I daresay call it the best of the three – that foreshadows a promising future for the genre. It’s been on twice now, giving you plenty of opportunities to admire the vocal talent of its cast and their stunning costumes :) Did you enjoy The Wiz?

White Christmas Musical3 ♥ White Christmas I proclaim to be a Christmas movie aficionado, but I’ll share a secret with you: I haven’t watched White Christmas in years. How such a holiday classic has escaped my viewing schedule for so long, I don’t know, but this year, I chose to take its musical adaptation as a worthwhile substitute. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is currently on tour across the country, and my mom, sister, and I were fortunate enough to grab rush tickets for a recent performance. I’m delighted that we were able to see the show, for what the story lacks in depth is more than made up in humor {In other words? This fun production had me smiling the entire time}. From the vintage inspired set pieces to the extravagant coordinating costumes, every element of the show is a lasting memory for the audience. I’ll serve as evidence – I’ve been humming “Blue Skies” all week long!

Big Band Holidays4 ♥ Big Band Holidays As soon as Halloween is over, I consider it appropriate to listen to Christmas music. Others may argue that’s too early, but when you love the season as much as I do, you know you have only so much time to fit it all in! This year, however, my listening wasn’t limited to the holiday radio; just this month, my family and I attended a concert of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis for their annual Big Band Holidays performance. I adored the night out, not only because of the seasonal song selections, but also due to the immense talent of the musicians {the Pandora jazz station fails to compare to hearing it live}. I left in a happy holiday spirit, as you’ll surely feel if you give their album a listen. Do you like Christmas music?

Winter Break{via}

5 ♥ Winter Break Finally, I have just three more school days until I’m off for winter break, and I couldn’t be more excited for the week-long vacation! I’m looking forward to seeing my extended family, hanging with friends, and enjoying my time at home. And with that, I wish you a lovely Sunday!

B