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Book Spine Poetry

17 Aug

Have you heard of book spine poetry? I just did for the first tine this week, and I think it’s really cool. You take books you own (from what I’ve heard there’s some debate on whether the books should come from one shelf or not) and make the best poem you can using the book titles as they appear on the spines. Here’s my first one:


On the road
Rebecca pledged
All the available light.

It’s fun, you should try it! If you do, leave a link on the comments below so we can check yours out!

The Magic Bathing Suit

7 Jun

So far in my few years as a bigger girl I have had the blessing of finding some magic pieces of clothing. Kut makes a pair of magic jeans that makes my legs look longer and leaner than they are in real life. Nike has a magic style of workout pants that makes everything from the waist down look curvy and firm. Yesterday my second magic bathing suit came in the mail, and I thank the good people at ModCloth for bringing this bathing suit into the world.

i’m looking at the world through rose-colored glasses…

It’s called the Bathing Beauty, and boy is it! In the words of A when I tried mine on for the first time last year, “It’s like it smooths out all the places you’d want smoothed out and accentuates everything you’d want accentuated!” (Yes, my husband uses the word accentuated. He’s very smart that way.) Anyway, this suit rocks.

snow white

I bought one last year before Hawaii and quickly figured out that one bathing suit for a beach vacation isn’t that practical, especially when you need your suits to hold their shape without the benefit of a washing machine for seven days. So I got another, as A and I are planning another beach getaway later in the summer.

The thing I love most about this suit (besides the cute vintage styling and the fact that it’s both sexy and modest – not easy to find in swimwear nowadays) is that it looks great on women of all sizes. I’m nowhere near the top of their size chart, but their customer reviews are filled with pictures of girls with vastly different measurements rocking these suits. Last Fourth of July I went to a pool party at a friend’s house. Her younger sister is a size two at best, we were both wearing the same suit, and we both looked amazing (if I do say so myself). The suit is magic!

black beauty

pretty in any size!

The only thing I would improve on is the style options for this suit. They offer it as the one piece, and as two-piece for small and plus sizes alike. One-pieces are inconvenient if you’re staying in your suit all day, and even though the two-piece has a pretty covered-up bottom (that, sorry, looks a little like a diaper to me) there is a lot of skin shown in the mid-section, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to keep things modest. I would love it if they offered a tankini option, so you’d have the great look of the one-piece with the convenience of the two-piece.

I’ve been singing the praises of this suit since Hawaii last year, and the thing I hear over and over again is, “I’d never buy a suit online, sight unseen!” All I can say is that this suit is worth the gamble. They offer great sizing charts to help you find your perfect fit, and so many women have bought them and commented with their measurements and size they bought that it’s easy to shop with confidence. Mine fit perfectly right out of the box, and I cannot say the same for everything I’ve bought from ModCloth. And there is so many great colors! Next year I’m getting the one with the cherries!

Done With #1 – Do You Feel the Allure?

30 Apr

I’m wearing sunscreen. Took me long enough.

Well, to be fair, I’m not putting it on every day as I should. But when I don’t I think about it – I remember –  which makes me comfortable crossing this one off The List.

I know this one isn’t the most earth-shattering to read about, so I’ll be brief. But it is a big deal for me. Being able to continue my sun-worshipping ways without looking like I have a crocodile bag for a face in twenty years is a win. And here’s the product I bought into that made it all happen:

aveeno radiant moisturizer with spf 30

And for the record, I only just found out this has been an Allure Best of Beauty pick for four years when I went searching for an image. Iso care about Allure, so I’m even more sold on the awesomeness of this product. *detect sarcasm alert*

Lightweight, silky, way cheaper than Benefit, and it doesn’t make my face taste bad. What it does is leave me with softly glowing skin without a lot of gross chemicals. I give it full credit for the surprising number of compliments I’ve gotten in the last months on how I look healthier and have a glow. (Or it could be that I’ve been working out 3-4 times a week, whateves. Not a big deal. 🙂 ) Not pregnant-lady glow, thankfully, but a just-walked-in-from-the-sun-and-I’m-full-of-life kind of glow. I’m in love. Big thanks to Sunrise, whose suggestion made me finally take home the pretty bottle I’ve looked at on the Target shelf for a year.

I said I’d be brief, so I’ll stop waxing poetic about lotion. I’ll just leave you with this last little nugget, one of my favorite ironic songs from high school.

It’s All About the Easy Breezy

26 Mar

The 100th post giveaway for a signed copy of Nidhi Chinani’s gorgeous book Everyday Love ends tonight at 9:00 pm PST! Click here to leave a comment and enter. Winner will be announced in tomorrow’s post.

I’m in love.

I know it’s a bit early for summer talk, but A and I are planning our anniversary vacation, and I’m dreaming of white sands and surf. Usually shopping is my Kryptonite, but I have always loved shopping for a beach trip. Finding makeup and beachwear that can go from salt and sand into a nice restraint by the sea is fun for me, and I’ve always met the challenge. I never want to look done up at the beach, the whole point is to look naturally sun-kissed and gorgeous, so sheer, light, extremely minimal makeup look that helps with sun protection is usually what I aim for. Before going to Hawaii last year, I went looking for a good lip balm with SPF. Thanks to a (slight) Top Model addiction, Cover Girl is my go-to for inexpensive lip wear. I ended up taking home two shades of NatureLuxe Gloss Balm and Oh. My. Lanta.

For years and years Benefit’s Benitint has been my go-to for natural-looking soft color. (To be honest, it’s still my ‘you’re stranded on a desert island and can only have one product with you’ product. Even though I should probably be practical and choose sunscreen.) Sadly, Benetint has no SPF power, which is what sent me to the isles of Target before our last vacation. Enter NatureLuxe. Even though it started out as just a vacation buy, in the last few months it has moved up to become a permanent fixture in my purse. I bought two colors, Coral and Peony. I’ve found that only their darker shades really show against my olive complexion, but the Coral is just bright enough to give my lips a glossy pop on a sunny day. Here’s how the Peony looks:

iiiiiiiii'm breezy!

Love! Sheer, yet saucy. Sweet, yet sexy. And SPF! If you’re planning a sun-soaked vacation this year, I highly suggest you fork over the $7 and try out the Luxe.

Do you have a go-to makeup for beach days? How do you find that balance between natural and over-done?

Friday Five: Books That Keep Me Up All Night

2 Mar

There’s been a lot of sleepless nights lately at casa de BiRL. For once it’s not just because of insomnia, I’ve been reading some really excellent books lately. Unfortunately they all seem to get good right before bed. So here they are, the top five titles that have kept me up lately, from most to least recent:

The Paris Wife

Since I just reviewed this awesome book, I’ll spare you, except to say read it! But not before bed. I saw the sun rise thanks to this little gem.


Again, recently reviewed. This one comes with a serious Do Not Start Before Bed warning. Or, if you do, stop once Loius gets to Hawaii. After that there’s no turning back until the war’s over.

The Night Circus

Oh! I so called it! I picked up this book shortly after it came out (that was pre-Bigger in Real Life, and I’ve been meaning to write the review for a while) and as soon as I was done I said to A, “I bet they’re going to make this into a movie. It would make a really good one.” And I was right! (I’d put money on Unbroken being made into a movie too, by the way.) I totally see this visually taking on a Baz Luhrmann à la Moulin Rouge feel. Here’s hoping! Check out Cinema Blend for the full story. Anyhow, self-congratulations aside, this book is lovely. Luminous yet dark with pulsating, palpable descriptions, The Night Circus is a haunting novel that feeds into my love of gothic-esque fiction. It’s a longer read, so didn’t read all of it in one night, but I definitely stayed up way past the point of comfort because I couldn’t ever fathom what would come next.

Another Piece of My Heart

Jane Green’s been a favorite of mine for years. Yes, she writes what would be classified as “chick lit,” but I like to think that it’s the thinking girl’s chick lit. I snagged this book as a pre-publication promo, and it’s another book I’ve been meaning to review. Jane Green still needs to get an American to proof-read her books for accuracy sake, but I think this is her most raw, moving book to date. She takes an already hard situation–making a blended family work when the mom is an alcoholic, the dad is raising his two girls, the oldest of which becomes unmanageable when he marries another woman, around whom most of the story is based–and ups the ante by throwing in infertility issues and a prodigal daughter. All this has the potential to stray across the line of believability in the hands of a less talented writer, but Jane Green always writes incredibly believable characters that have you feeling every hurt and triumph right along with them. Though a longer novel for a girly-book, it’s still a fast, yet satisfying read. I read this in one night mostly because I thought I could. And I did.

Garden Spells

I own every book Sarah Addison Allen has written, thanks to how utterly and completely I fell in love with Garden Spells. Her other books are wonderful, but nothing compares to this first one. I picked it up before a long weekend in a mountain cabin, not knowing what to expect. After reading for a half-hour next to an increasingly sleep-deprived A, I got up and padded into the living room because I knew I was in it for the long haul. I fell head-over heels into the world of Claire and Sydney Waverly, their lives, their loves, their tenuous trip towards accepting each other as sisters and making a life together. One part Practical Magic, one part Like Water for Chocolate, this book made me hungry for new experiences and for home-grown, handcrafted food. I’ve read it at least four times since its publication, and it never disappoints. It’s one of my best books on my shelf.

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