sweater weather

as much as i love summer for its long days, the warmth, and the “carefree” living, i also adore fall for the crisp weather, the foliage, fun fall activities, and the fashion!

i have a love/hate relationship with my figure.  as much as i embrace my hourglass shape, it can be downright infuriating to find bottoms that fit properly. in addition, I have a long torso so finding sweaters that are long enough can be a challenge. i always have to do the arm test where I raise my arms to see how high the sweater rides up.

even though i do like to choose clothes that highlight my body shape, i also have a thing for long, baggy sweaters and cardigans. (one reason being it makes you feel even skinnier.) i love the oversize sweater + skinny jeans/leggings look.

i also tend to eat more in the colder months like I’m an animal going into hibernation. (what can i say? i love comfort food.) so, baggy sweaters are perfect for hiding the food baby as well!

i went to the mall last week and came away with three sweaters – all from h&m – and a button-down shirt from forever 21. normally if i like something, i buy it in more than one color.

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i’m a huge fan of turtlenecks so I was ecstatic to find this style. i loved this grey turtleneck sweater so much, i also bought it in blue. i’m contemplating going back and buying it in light grey as well. i chose to purchase a medium – one size bigger – so it would hang even more loosely on me. i also liked the longer length that a bigger size provided.

although pairing a sweater with skinny jeans is a classic go-to look, i opted to glam up my day look by wearing liquid leggings instead. these are several years old and from forever 21.

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another fall staple: burgundy nails

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here’s one in blue

the blue style is actually different because it has a slit down the sides, and is a high-low sweater (meaning the back of the sweater is slightly longer).

IMG_9105.PNGabove is the exact style of the grey sweater. as you can see, it’s also available in a cranberry color.

*edit, I returned to the mall yesterday (11/7) and purchased the cranberry one!

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I did not purchase this one, but the bright teal caught my eye when I was browsing online.

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i also purchased this exact sweater at the store. i like the flirty look, and it would also look cute with a flouncy skirt.

i am always on the lookout for warm and cozy sweaters, so if you find any please do share! maybe it’s my mall but the forever 21 there rarely has clothing that i like anymore. it may be because I outgrew that place – fashion-wise – but i still pop in to see if i’ll like anything. (negative to sweaters.)

i hope to do a future post with more fall/winter fashion so i’ll be on the continuous hunt for sweaters, jeans, and warm accessories.

~ i’m part of a community of  connecticut bloggers called ct blogger babes, and if you would love to read more november posts, please click below! we love, and thank you for, your support!

rosé mansion

yes! here are the photos from rosé mansion! my friends and I had so much fun checking this place out back on august 31st.

here’s some info on the mansion: it’s an exhibit that’s only in NYC from July 14-october 21. initially, the last day was the 7th but I’m guessing overwhelming popularity allowed them to stay open fo two more weeks.

admission is $45 ($35 on weekdays before 4:30pm). tickets sell out FAST for the weekends so buy them as soon as you can. at last check, the next three Saturdays are sold out and there are only two more Saturdays left after that.

the mansion is located at 445 5th ave, New York, New York 10016.

the experience: you wander through differently, and vibrantly, decorated rooms to sample all kinds of rosé and learn more about each one. of course, these rooms are totally meant for the ig-obsessed people like me to take photos in!

the majority of the patrons are women (I’ll say 95%!) there were a few guys when we went, and the one man that was in our group remarked, “I guess I’m the group photographer!”

just in case it isn’t clear.. you must be 21 and over to attend since alcohol is served. you actually are allowed to bring a child but only if 1) they are 12 months and younger, and 2) you are wearing them. they do check your id at the door so don’t think you can purchase a ticket online and think you can get away with it.

okay, on to the pictures!

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the wall as you go up the stairs to begin the tour

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complimentary wine tumbler, pin, and stickers

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everything is covered with the grapes stickers

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scratch ‘n sniff walls!

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these next three pictures would have been lovelier had it not been for the harsh overhead lighting. one improvement to the rosé mansion experience would be to change the lighting.

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this turquoise room was tiny! and more harsh lighting… boo

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this room reminds me of a glam trailer park in florida 

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this room had plastic bags containing different kinds of “rosé” that you could squish with your feet and hands

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I absolutely loved the grapes tunnel

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one of my favorite backdrops

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I quickly snapped this photo when the employee behind the lab crouched down to get something

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the next section is the sparkling champagne room

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the next five photos are hilarious: an employee snapped photos of struggling in the ball pit, and of us helping her up!

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waiting for the garden bathtub room!

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so many cool walls

 

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I wish we had had more time in here but there was a long wait!

we chose our crowns and acted regal

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sing it with me: iiiiii want to swinggggg from a chandelierrrr, chandelierrrr

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I wish you could view the next five photos like a flip book! the pics are so adorable

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so concludes our tour… major props to genie for hearing about the rosé mansion back in july so we could plan accordingly. it was so hard to find a date that would work with our conflicting schedules but we were so ecstatic when we were able to make one work.

here’s to more fun and unique exhibits in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

candytopia

i actually am not a big candy fan. that’s dennis’ thing. i’m more a of a chocolate girl. still, when i scrolled through my facebook newsfeed one day and stumbled upon a candytopia  post, i was intrigued. this interactive candy exhibit looked outrageously fun and it made for good instagram photos – what most of us want these days, amirite?

my friend, genie, and i had already planned a girls’ day in nyc to go check out the rosé museum (future post) so we decided to visit candytopia on the same day. i am so glad we were on top of planning and purchased tickets for both exhibits beforehand because they quickly sold out! weekdays are pretty much available for both but it’s because most people have work or school. the weekends seem to fill up rather quickly. in fact, this coming weekend is sold out at candytopia, and next weekend is nearly sold out as well.

we purchased 11:15am tickets so we could grab lunch afterwards and go shopping before hitting up the rosé museum at 4PM. it was great to have groups go in 15-minute increments to prevent overcrowding. let’s face it, most people attend these exhibits to take photos and candytopia does not disappoint! in fact, we loved how the employees were so engaging and even approached us to ask if we wanted to have our pictures taken. we never felt rushed and everyone was so friendly.

there were children present because it was the long weekend and school hadn’t started for the year yet. it wasn’t chaotic at all; in fact, it was cute to see them so excited for the free candy and the displays. genie and I discussed very briefly how our girls would’ve enjoyed it if they had come but we did not regret coming without them! it was our day of being able to eat uninterrupted and explore at our own pace.

you can check out the site here for dates and tickets. admission is 3 and under are free, ages 4-12 are $24, and 4+ is $34. it seems pricey but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience only available in new york city and san francisco at the moment. plus, the exhibit is temporary and the last day is November 15th. get your tickets as soon as you can!

almost all of the objects were either made of candy or had candy on them. this cab greets you once you pass the ticket area. I believe it’s a replica but there were soft fondant-type banana candy glued onto the exterior.

in almost all of the rooms were open trunks where people were free to take candy such as kit kat bars, candy bracelets, pixie straws, and airheads.

 

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even with groups being split into different time increments, it can take a while to take pictures. you just have to be patient.

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there was a line for the hammock, of course.

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one of our favorite photo ops was the “100” emoji!

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he knew what was up

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I had to take this!

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I loved this one as well

the next photos were taken by syncing our phones with the cameras on the ceiling!

so cool!

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I love the optical illusion

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this wheel spun around while an employee sprayed confetti on us

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probably my favorite! this is the marshmallow pit… with fake marshmallows. 

people asked if the marshmallows were real but that would’ve been a huge sticky mess especially since we all take turns jumping in the pit! it was actually quite difficult to get out of the pit because we kept sinking in!

there are also signs warning you about taking your cell phone into the pit because if you lose it in there… it will take about a week to find (their words).. of course, that didn’t deter us from taking them in because photos!

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if you’re going to be in the new york city or san fran area, be sure to check out candytopia! hurry and reserve tickets before it’s too late.

24 hours in portland, maine

what was supposed to be a fun-filled, child-free weekend in portland, maine was… well, still fun and, yes, child-free, but not a full weekend as we would have liked.

our friends were getting married in portland, maine so, of course, we had to make a weekend out of it. we anticipated a 3-hour drive per google maps and decided to leave around 9am to get to portland by noon for lunch. the wedding wasn’t until 6pm but we wanted to explore the small city.

it had been incredibly humid and raining on and off for the past week, and that saturday morning was no different. a little rain doesn’t hurt anyone but it was downpouring when we left our house. (we also didn’t leave at our planned 9am time, but rather at 9:50am). right when we got onto the highway, 84-east, there was traffic. and that was the story of our drive up. stop-and-go traffic for the next four hours. yes, four hours. the rain, the weekend traffic, and Dennis’ pit stop to use the bathroom added an extra hour to our drive. (later we found out there was a 10k in portland that day and guster was in town to play a show. these probably contributed to the traffic!)

we had decided to get an airbnb with some friends because 1) there was no hotel room block for weddings, and 2) the hotel rooms that were available were very expensive. the four of us had decided to grab lunch at eventide oyster company in downtown portland and stop by shipyard brewery for a beer before checking into our home.

it wasn’t until we were close to eventide that a friend informed me eventide is usually a 2-4 hour wait! can you believe that? who waits that long?? apparently, everyone because when we got there the line snaked out the door and almost down the entire block. it was a wait just to even get in to put our name down!

a passerby remarked that eventide is overrated so then we started wondering if we should go somewhere else. luckily, there was space in the standing room nearby where patrons can stand around to eat and drink. we opted to do that since we were already there. we were really curious to see how good the lobster rolls were and if the long wait is justified.

to start, we ordered four kinds of oysters. i know nothing about oysters except that they are bivalves. (I really enjoyed biology.) i’m actually fairly ambivalent to oysters: i’ll eat them if they’re there but I don’t go out of my way to order them. and dennis despises them, so then there were more for us. the two accoutrements we chose were kimchi ice and horseradish ice. again, not being an oyster aficionado I don’t have much to say but they both tasted fine to me. our server did mention the most popular one is horseradish.

we had also ordered a side of kimchi which we unanimously urge you not to order! that was a huge mistake. all four of us being Koreans, we saw ‘kimchi’ on the menu and we were like, “oh, hey!” no, no, no… please stay away. (seriously though, our friend, Cindy, took ownership of this blunder as she really wanted kimchi. we forgive you.) unless you know kimchi is made by a legit Korean ahjumma, don’t ever order kimchi from a non-korean restaurant! being the daughter of restaurateurs, i should know this and am rightfully ashamed.

back to the eventide kimchi, it was basically pickled cabbage. the coloring was off and I doubt authentic Korean red chili pepper flakes were even used. it was a sad, wilted mess. while we waited for the brown butter lobster rolls to come out, we drank our pints of allagash whites (yum) and I commented how all of Portland’s asians are right here in this establishment. (there seriously was a good amount.) because, you know, maine is like 99.9% white.

the $15 lobster rolls was small imo but absolutely worth the price. of course, the fresh lobster had a large part in the deliciousness but the brown butter was so heavenly. we thought about purchasing second rolls but that would’ve been another $15 each… and we had a wedding to attend in a couple of hours. (we would later regret not buying the extra rolls. more to come later.)

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you can see the sad excuse for kimchi on the left

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sooooo good

I can’t quite justify waiting 2-4 hours just to eat a freaking lobster roll though. I do want to return to eat them again, but will probably just stand instead of waiting an obscene amount of time for a table. if you’re in town, get the brown butter rolls but, again, do not order the kimchi. you have been warned.

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the crowd outside eventide

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everyone is just waiting around

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Dennis among them

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fresh

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this table was reserved. they don’t take reservations less than 6 people.

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unfortunately, the traffic and the wait for a space to open up ate up what little time we had to explore portland a little more. the boys actually did end up going to shipyard brewery while the girls chose to stay home and get ready for the wedding.the house we rented from airbnb was really cute and well-decorated. the owner is a Joanna Gaines fan (she had the magnolia cookbook, and so do I!) and the decor definitely screamed that. we liked everything about the house except it did not have air-conditioning. say what? what house, in this day and age, does not have ac? the guys had booked the house and this was news to them. turns out they failed to notice the ‘no ac’ sign on the ad. it wasn’t unbearably hot at night but still toasty enough where I couldn’t sleep with a blanket on, and I always sleep with a blanket or a thin bedsheet.

other than that, I would definitely rent the house again. it only has 2 bedrooms so not ideal with the children since they sleep in their own bedrooms. but it would be great to return with friends, again.

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workstation on the right when you enter the home

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open floor plan

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I love white kitchens

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huge farmer’s sinks

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note the tiny adirondack chair

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first floor wash

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second floor

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bedroom #1

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bedroom #2

we were all able to ready in time for the wedding! we took an uber to the venue (10-minute drive) so we wouldn’t have to worry about driving back after drinking. it’s a great thing we did because it was so hard to find parking! our friends had driven up from boston and they spent 40 minutes looking for parking, and they were peeved!

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gorgeous yellow dress from rent the runway

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cindy’s dress is from rent the runway, too!

the wedding took place at an irish pub in downtown portland called ri ra. our friends had a private ceremony earlier during the day and were holding a reception for family and friends. the reception took place on the second floor of the pub. I definitely felt out of place as we got out of the uber car because we were so dolled up. people were staring but not unkindly; probably wondering why we were so dressed up for a pub.

it was definitely a very minimal wedding. it just felt like a gathering for friends and family. the food consisted of appetizers all night and there was no cake (sadly, since i have a huge sweet tooth). I had also looked forward to dancing but there wasn’t any music playing either. there were no photo opps so we just took pictures of each other by the dock or at the bar. for a cash bar, the guys seemed to really enjoy downing drinks. i didn’t finish my sangria and i had a glass of pinot grigio before calling it a night.

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hanna, me, and Esther

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one with meagan

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all of us with the bride

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pc: rob

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the lovely couple, rob and cindy

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finally, a decent one

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pc: cindy

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mind you, i was feeling bashful since there was a crowd of people watching

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the bride with her daughter, quinn

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after the wedding ended around 9, a group of us went back to our home to eat and hang out. we ordered 4 boxes of pizza since we were still hungry and the boys also bought beer and wine.

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missing sarah and justin in this photo

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the next morning, we were going to go to holy donut on a friend’s recommendation but good thing I had called! the line was out the door and snaking around the building.. is there a line for everything in portland?!

I was so disappointed because I love doughnuts but it wouldn’t be smart to waste time waiting in line. instead, we went to st. joe’s coffee in scarborough, maine. there ended up being a line here as well (geez louise) but much more manageable than at the holy donut. we ordered breakfast sandwiches and wraps to go since we had a long drive back. (rob and cindy had a 7-hour drive to jersey!)

dennis and I actually drove 20 minutes in the opposite direction to see one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, portland head light in cape elizabeth. even though dennis was feeling awful, he gamely agreed to go since he knew how disappointed I was about not going to holy donut.

I’m so glad we had gone because the lighthouse was beautiful! a big crowd here as well but that’s expected for a famous lighthouse in the peak summer months. I purchased a few postcards and magnets from the gift shop, and that was more waiting in line.

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dennis putting on a brave face

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lighthouses to visit

we wish we had had more time to explore portland, but it wasn’t worth sticking around for a few more hours knowing we had a nightmare of a drive back. it ended up being 3.5 hours but there was still stop-and-go traffic all the way home.

next time we will have to go an extra day (take a monday or a friday off) because the drive alone with all those cars was infuriating. this was not my first time in portland but the last time I had visited was well over a decade ago.

still, we we enjoyed having an adult-only weekend and catching up with friends. i look forward to going back to portland.

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how to start a book club

I have always been shy. painfully shy in my adolescent years, in fact. as the years passed, the combination of a growing urge to want to be heard and not wanting to hide in the shadows of others encouraged me to be more social. I still am fairly reserved especially around a large group of people, and, to many, this fact may seem more like a revelation. some have expressed doubt that I actually am shy. this may be because I am an extroverted introvert. not quite sure what that means? read here.

as a child, I sought solace in reading. my first distinct memory of reading is when I was around 4 years old. I recall being amazed at how words could bring pictures to life. over the years, I stuck my nose in a book whenever I could. everyone knew me as a bookworm. it got to the point where I kept receiving books as gifts, and though that was appreciated I still wanted toys and dolls like any other child.

still, not much could bring me as much joy as a book could. some of my favorite series growing up were the berenstain bears, the babysitters club, ramona quimby, and sweet valley high. and my all-time favorite book is j.d. salinger’s the catcher in the rye. for those who know me, I did not forget harry potter. that series is in its own category of greatness. I used to just pick up a book from the series and start reading. after the 14th go, I lost count of how many times I had read harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone.

in recent years it has been difficult to find the time and energy to read what with raising two children and this little thing called life. however, the desire to read more books never left my mind. what if i was in a book club? better yet, what if i started one? I had discussed this idea with another mom friend who had been itching to start one as well, so I finally created a group on facebook and invited friends who I thought would be interested.

I began this book club back in january and so far we have read five books. we just started our sixth this week.

when you create a book club, you want to think about these factors:

  1. group setting: where will discussion take place? in person? online?
  2. size of group and its members: do you want a large group or an intimate one? who’s invited? is it an open/closed group?
  3. general rules and guidelines: you want to have some sort of set rules so members know what to expect and how to participate.

here is what I decided for the three factors:

  1. I chose to have my book club as a closed facebook group. I invited friends that I thought would be interested, and I also encouraged them to invite other friends. we decided to have weekly discussions on the group page (mondays at 8:30pm) after having read a set number of pages. after a book is completed, our group meets up in person for a final discussion which involves much laughter, gossiping, eating & imbibing.
  2. I didn’t want the group to be too big but I did invite a large number of people because I wasn’t sure who would be interested and committed enough to participate. we have about 15 people that are in the group but only around 8 that are active. we all agreed that this small group is more to our liking because keeping up with everyone’s responses in the facebook group chat is challenging! the notifications keep going off and we have to find the next comment.
  3. who’s the moderator? there needs to be someone to keep track of the time and the comments. our group poses two questions weekly that pertains to the reading. we spend a half hour on each question (8:30-9pm for question 1 and 9-9:30pm for question 2). if members still want to discuss questions further, we do so after discussion for question 2 is completed. but after 9:30pm, members are free to leave the discussion. in our group, usually the person who volunteers the questions for that week is the moderator for the discussion.

our group is a democracy: we decide everything together such as choosing the next book (members suggest titles and we vote via a poll), how many pages to read for the next “assignment”, changing the date/time of a discussion if necessary, and having members offer to post questions for the reading. the only things I did on my own as an admin & main moderator was to come up with a group name (reading between the wines) and the general rules and guidelines.

as for the rules and guidelines, how strict/lax are you about participation? most of us do participate in every book, but sometimes our schedules don’t permit us enough time to be able to read a set number of pages every week and participate in a group discussion. therefore, we have members joining in the discussion when they can (up-to-date on their reading, of course) or just waiting to join in for the next book.

as for choosing the discussion questions, some books have questions in the back of the book. however, we did find that these questions tend to spoil the book since they’re meant to be used after the book is completed. most of the time, we come up with questions on our own (after one of us has read most or all of the set number of pages) or we use our go-to which is “what is your favorite passage or quote?” personally, I like questions that require the reader to go back into the book to reflect a little more deeply on the reading.

some other general rules to consider are use of offensive and foul language and respecting others’ opinions – these are more of an issue the bigger and more public your group is though.

we also thought it would be to fun to celebrate reading a book by having a meet-up along with food and drinks. most of the time, we meet at a designated restaurant to catch up on each other’s lives, and, of course, to discuss how the book ended. our last meet-up was at my friend, katie’s house since she recently had a baby girl (natalie, age 1.5 months), but usually we try to choose a central location since some of us live an hour away from one another. if we do hold it at someone’s house, it turns into a potluck.

another suggestion for the meet-up is to, at least, have one person bring a copy of the book for group photos. I love to document (clearly) so a group photo is a must! a meet-up is also wonderful to be able to meet other members, some of whom you may only know through the online discussions.

at this point, some of you may be a bit overwhelmed! it does seem like a lot of work initially but once you decide how the group will be managed and run, i promise it will be fun (unintentional rhyming there). and that’s the important part: have fun. you obviously wanted to create, or be part of, a book club because of your love for reading. so, don’t forget the main objective in being a part of one. there really isn’t a point in being a part of something if it’s not enjoyable.

I hope my tips have been helpful in motivating you to start a book club! feel free to share any of your useful advice and even book suggestions!

happy reading!

 

photos from our most recent meet-up (7/29/18)

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1. we forgot the book, and 2. missing courtney and lori

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lemon cake balls made by karen

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taking turns playing with genevieve

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new mama & baby natalie

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me holding our current book

here are the books we’ve read so far:

1. little fires everywhere – celeste ng

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2. the secrets she keeps – michael robotham

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3. tell me i’m wrong – adam croft

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4. landline – rainbow rowell

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5. the alice network – kate quinn

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6. the last mrs. parrish – liv constantine* current book

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5 years and counting

june 29, 2013. five years ago, dennis and i were married in hamden, connecticut. how has it only been five years? so much has happened since our wedding that it feels more like it has been a decade. one factor is the bit with the emergence of two little ones. at times, i’m still in disbelief that i am a mother. i still feel like a 17-year-old at heart, and I’m still googling ways to solve toddler problems. don’t all parents?

but, there was a time before children. back when dennis and I enjoyed spontaneous date nights and could wake up whenever we wanted to on the weekends. dennis and I began dating in late 2009, but we actually knew of each other since high school circa 2000. dennis is a few years younger than I am so although we shared some mutual friends, we ran in different circles. oh, and he lived in Connecticut while I resided in Massachusetts. how did two teenagers who lived in two different states come to know one another? we both attended Korean churches that are part of a New England Korean community-type of association. this group organizes yearly retreats, and Dennis and I had attended the summer ones.

it wasn’t until 2009, post-college, that Dennis and I became reacquainted at a friend’s house party (a kegger, to be exact. ah, the joys of a kid-free life!) Dennis claims he arrived at the party in time to see me doing a keg stand. I ended up doing four of them that night so, needless to say, I don’t remember much of the party. however, Dennis reached out to me via facebook messenger to get together for a group snowboarding trip to sugar bush in vermont. I’m thinking he thought it was safer to have a casual group hangout rather than a date for the first get-together 🙂

five years ago, we could only imagine what parenthood would be like. we were so excited to become husband and wife, and the prospect of raising children was considered to be in the distant future. fast forward to 2018, and a life with a 3-year-old and a 14-month-old makes it hard to envision one without them.

though the children mean the world to me, I’ve heard, and read, so many times (most often from my mom) that we should put our spouses first, and not the children. of course, this does not mean to neglect or abandon them but to not focus most of our energy in trying to please and win over these tykes. perhaps, even more so with this generation, parents let their children dictate our lives even when we think we are being strict and disciplined. most of us just placate their demands because we want to avoid confrontation and arguing with unreasonable beings. I am totally guilty of this.

also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m fairly certain I’ve talked about this in past post(s) but its importance and validity is a reason why I’m bringing it up again. as I marvel over the past five years, I’m thinking of how dennis and I can focus more on our relationship without it being lost in our children’s world.

date nights are absolutely key in keeping communication and intimacy alive without the distraction of children, but these only occur a few times a month. it’s something as simple as being “unplugged” for an hour to truly prioritize the other person: listen and be engaged in what the other has to say. currently, we do our dance of asking how each other’s day was and sharing any issues that have arisen while offering support for the other. there, done. we eat dinner, tidy up the house, and pass out on the couch while watching Netflix. (these days, it’s dexter and america’s got talent.)

my goal is to have us take the time to have more in-depth conversations – serious and not-so-serious – about anything on our minds. I know being with the kids all day, every day, I have a lot of thoughts and ideas I’d like to share with another adult (and not necessarily with my in-laws all the time). it’s interesting how alone we can feel in this big, big world, isn’t it? we all just want to be heard, and who better to share my innermost thoughts and feelings than with the person I’m married to?

like so many things, it’s a lot easier than done. take for example, this blog post. I’ve been working on publishing this post for nearly two weekstwo! every time I had time (after the kids are in bed for the night), I would start typing and then I would doze off! (I’m actually nodding off as I type this.) or, I would put it off for another day because I had other things to do like read for my book club. certainly it’s my fault for staying up so late every night even though I tell myself every day that today is the day I’ll go to bed before 11. nope.

still, I can keep trying to accomplish small goals. I can also be kinder to myself instead of beating myself up over not completing my never-ending to-do list. love yourself. love those around you.

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my family

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penny’s 3rd birthday

I promised myself I wouldn’t go all out for penny’s 3rd birthday, especially since I had spent so much time, energy, and money on Ezra’s 1st birthday. but, it just isn’t me to not find an excuse to stay up late party planning and making decorations.

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penny doesn’t really love anything else as much as minnie mouse; but since she had already used that theme for her 2nd birthday party, I didn’t want her to reuse it. I settled on the unicorn theme which is really whimsical and quite popular.

to make the backdrop, I purchased a package of diy paper flowers from Michaels. this particular brand is recollections, and I had read bad reviews – difficult to follow illustrations, no written directions, requires a lot of tape/adhesive – but as they were the only kind Michaels sold, I purchased them anyway. they ended up being 60% off (regular price $19.99 for four flowers) maybe because they’re being discontinued? I couldn’t find any other diy paper flowers at Michaels – online or in store.

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the flowers were… time-consuming. I thought I would be able to whip them up but I spent quite a bit of time staring at the illustrations to make sure I had the correct size petals and that I was assembling them properly. in the end, I winged it because I really couldn’t figure out some of the steps! (recently, I also began rewatching random episodes of one of my all-time favorite shows, the office, so that’s a huge reason why I took so long in getting things done!)

I purchased green, black, lavender, and gold glitter card stock to make the leaves, eyelashes, ears, and horn respectively. I just traced them freehand and cut them out. I used a thick gold calligraphy pen to draw in the leaves’ veins to make them look more realistic. for the unicorn’s ears, I had white card stock at home that I used for the inner part of the ears.

the party room’s walls are bright shades of highlighter orange and lime green so I bought two plastic white tablecloths for a white backdrop. unfortunately, the tablecloths weren’t thick enough to hide the colors and designs underneath but, at least, most of it was covered. (I had looked up the party rooms online in advance to see how they looked.)

the party favors were diy unicorn horns made of funmallows (mini flavored marshmallows). I purchased the styrofoam cups and 5 bags of funmallows from target. (I only ended up using 3 bags for 21 unicorn horns.) the cone shaped plastic bags were purchased from Michaels.

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I also purchased the unicorn tablecloth, straws, and napkins from target. good ol’ target – I also found penny’s unicorn t-shirt in the girl’s section (size xs). the unicorn headband along with the unicorn cake topper were purchased as a set from amazon. the pink tutu was a gift and the polka dot pants are from carter’s.

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for those of you that know penny, she LOVES to jump so having her birthday party at jump off trampoline park was a no-brainer. lunch was included in the cost – pizza and pink lemonade – however, I wanted the kids to have other options in case they didn’t want pizza or wanted snacks. the trampoline park has a strict policy regarding outside food besides cake and cupcakes, but an employee informed me that if snacks are included in the goody bags, they can’t say anything. perfect! my husband assembled separate goody bags – this time, in gold and white paper bags – with an applesauce pouch, goldfish crackers, and a sticker packet in each one. thank goodness because penny barely ate the pizza (like we knew she wouldn’t. she only had a few bites of the crust.)

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the unicorn cutouts are from Michaels

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the cakes were almost a disaster. I had one cake ordered from big y, a small New England  supermarket chain, because I didn’t want to spend almost $100 on a fancy cake like I did for penny’s second birthday and for Ezra’s first birthday. well, supermarket bakeries have their limitations as we know. I just asked for a simple, 10-inch white cake with lavender, teal, and pink flowers cascading down the back for the unicorn-themed party. the cake wasn’t tall enough in my mind for the unicorn decorations. plus, it was my fault in asking for “happy birthday, Penelope” to be written on the cake. the baker didn’t know where to write that since I had told them I was going to use a cake topper; so it was written on the side where I needed to put on the eyelashes.

after Dennis told them we weren’t pleased with the cake, we just got a smaller (and taller) one from the display and the baker quickly piped on the flowers. the manager told Dennis they normally wouldn’t accept our request because it’s too detailed for them. we ended up getting the other cake for free. it was actually great that we had two cakes because we needed both to feed 18 children and some of the adults!

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although I stayed up until 5am (and laid wide-awake in bed for an hour and a half) finishing up the party decorations, I had a really wonderful time making them. I don’t know if it’s because I was watching the office but I wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious. Dennis did wake up around 4am wondering why I was still up. he ended up coming downstairs to help me finish the details. ❤ Dennis and my mil also were kind enough to watch the kids while I took a nap on the couch for 2.5 hours later that evening.

I received a lot of kind words from the guests that day regarding the decorations and the party itself. the kids really enjoyed jumping on the trampolines and eating cake together. many of the parents thanked me afterwards for inviting them and we all remarked how the kids would have a great nap when they got home. (they did.)

the party’s over and done with, and I’m glad. but I did enjoy putting it together for penny. I hope she remembers how much fun she had that day.

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