7 captivating books to read this fall

Last Summer I started a book list to get through before fall came. I enjoyed hunting down great titles and having a pile of books to get me through days at home or by the pool – so THIS year I decided to come up with another book list full of captivating reads (most with with strong female leads) that I would not be able to put down. If you’re like me and love falling deep into the magic of books, then this list will be all you’ll need this fall!

rising strong by brene brown

If you are striving to learn to live a full and wholehearted life after you’ve experienced hurt,  then you NEED to pick up a copy of Rising Strong. This one is a road map for how to get back up after experiencing suffering in your life. It’s about owning your story, the process that made you you, and learning to love yourself for who you are now after overcoming fears, struggles, shames and hurts. It’s about learning to trust again, learning to love yourself, diving deeper into community and learning how best to communicate and understand your story.

Rising Strong Continue reading

Hello, 2016!

Since it’s technically still January (for one more day), and January is the first month of the new year, it’s totally okay for me to write a “hello 2016” post right? Fashionably late is better than nothing! 🙂 I’ve been telling myself that once I graduate grad school (in May of this year!! AHH) and once John and I get married in two months and the planning is over with, I will F I N A L L Y be able to devote the time I want to devote to this blog as well as to Stick & Stone Co., and to doing more of the things that I love to do that give me happiness and fulfillment (painting, hiking, photography…). I feel like I haven’t had any me-time the last several months, and that dear friends is a place you never want to end up in.

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Fall Favorites & Halloween Recap

I know fall “officially started” in September but where I live, summer [unfortunately] lives on through January. And though yeah it’s nice to have sun and warm days all the time in San Diego, I LONG for fall weather! I lived in Washington state for a couple years after college and worked in Portland for a while, which totally ruined me with my preference of scenery and weather. I never really cared for the lack of seasons in San Diego, but now that I’ve had a taste of real seasons I can’t. do. san. diego. weather. ack. 

So until John and I can move back to the PNW, I have to find other ways to satisfy my fall cravings and favorite fall things — while [involuntary] wearing shorts and driving with the windows down in 80 degree November weather. That being said, here are some of my fall favorites that I’m totally missing right now: Continue reading

2015 Summer Book List Top Picks

THE MINI APARTMENT summer book list

Summer is always one of my favorite times of the year…school’s out, sun’s out, and new books are out! I love books that are so captivating, I can’t put them down until I’ve finished them from cover to cover (true story, I read each book in the Wildwood series–500+ pages each book, and there’s three of them–in less than a week each time a new book came out).

I complied this list based upon my personal interest of action + adventure and mystery + thriller reads. Here are my top choices for an awesome Summer reading list:

really Anything by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and every time he comes out with something new I just have to have it! These are all uh MAY zing reads:

Trigger Warning – Gaiman’s latest complication of short stories including a new Doctor Who short story, an addition to American Gods, and many more disturbing mysteries.

American Gods – A gripping story about an ex-con, Shadow, who fights in a battle between gods and mythological creatures.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – a captivating read about a young boy and his terrifying adventures with his neighborhood friend Lettie. This book is about mystery, friendship, believing the impossible, and questioning memory.

Unnatural Creatures – a compilation of Gaiman’s favorite whimsical and captivating short stories written by his favorite acclaimed authors. Also a plus: All sales of this book benefit 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students in their creative writing.

Neverwhere – a story about a man who ventures into the world of London Underground, a place of unusual, unnatural and uncomfortable things and people. His adventures with a young woman named Door are not for the faint of heart, and will have you on the edge of your seat throughout each chapter.

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

If you like Jane Austen, you’ll love this rendition by Alexander McCall. Emma is written as contemporary small-town girl who worries over dinner parties, likes her gin and tonics and drives a Mini Cooper. So relateable right!

DIY Art at Home by Lola Gavarry

This isn’t exactly a book to READ per se, but it’s definitely a good one to use for inspiring some fun summer projects! Garvarry provides full sized templates to use for creating modern and chic masterpieces that could be done in one day. Perfect for those lazy summer “I don’t know what to do today” afternoons!

The Forgotten Girls by Sarah Bladel

This one is from a murder series written by one of the best international crime novelists in my opinion, and is perfect if you love a good crime mystery, romance novel.

Perdita by Hilary Scharper

Gosh this was another one I could not put down (it’s in my title image)! I’m going to read it again over summer, I loved it so much. Perdita has us questioning memory, the impossible, what it means to be human, and is full of mysterious adventure.


I’m so excited to hear what you have to say about trying out these wonderful works of literature! Let me know if you’ve already read some of them, or if there are any others on your own book list that you’ll be diving into this Summer.

*Personal tip to get the most out of your reading:  pour a tall glass of homemade strawberry lemonade, find a sunny spot outside, throw out a cozy blanket and you’re all set to get lost for a few hours in one of these magical reads! ❤

A 60th Birthday Surprise!

This is the year my beautiful mom turns 60! I missed celebrating her last two birthdays with her since I was living out of state, so this year I wanted to go all out and surprise her with something absolutely grand. And I did…a surprise getaway weekend to one of my favorite places, Palm Springs! 😀 ❤

palm springs

I had been meticulously planning this girls getaway weekend for WEEKS and it all came together so well in the end despite all the major planning and attention to detail that went into it! Continue reading