The perfect bucket bag

I tried reaaaal hard not to give in to the bucket bag trend. They first made it on my radar a few years ago thanks to Mansur Gavriel . Their bucket bags caught my attention in a way that the frumpy, hardware-laden, frumpy bucket bags of yore did not - they were sleek, shiny, minimal.

Alas, $700 for a bucket bag is decidedly out of my price range. So when I came across The Leather Collective, I basically turned into a heart eye emoji, because omg, her stuff is beautiful, and super reasonably priced. Sleek clutches , perfect totes, and of course, minimal, beautifully crafted bucket bags without sloppy piping or clunky hardware. So, I ordered a custom bucket bag in her standard size (about 8" x 5" x 10") in a shiny black leather and it is glorious.

It took about 20 days from the day I ordered til the day I got it, since Weif makes each of her pieces to order and it ships from Australia. I am an instant gratification sort of person and waiting more than 2 days for anything makes me super antsy, but this was 100% worth the wait. It's so beautifully crafted and shiny and save for perhaps my Cuyana totes (which I am convinced are pretty much indestructable), it is my favorite bag purchase ever.

All in all, I highly recommend The Leather Collective's work, and there is now a listing for the same bucket bag with glossy leather (under $200!) I custom ordered, but probably not for long! Currently resisting the urge not to spring for her creme colored bucket bag. I have a problem.

A week of reads #1

Light reading week! Last weekend's activities included an out-of-state baby shower, which cramped my reading time, and during the week there was a flurry of actual cooking activity that was not just Stouffer's frozen mac and cheese and Perdue chicken strips. My stomach is happy. My brain is a little sad.

Star Sand by Roger PulversThis book follows a week in the life of sixteen year-old Umeno Hiromi, an inhabitant of a remote Okinawan island. Hatomi, for the most part, is relatively untouched by the ravages of the second World War; that is, until on one of her dives to retrieve the island's star sand for her collection, she discovers a hidden cave housing two deserters: one American, one Japanese. Her diary documents the events of those six fateful days until it comes to an abrupt end. Decades later, when researchers discover the cave in the present day, they find the diary and three skeletons, and unravel the mystery of what happened in that week with the help of an unexpected survivor.

I loved this book, which I chose as my Kindle First pick for this month. Pulvers tells a compelling story with the matter-of-fact, clean prose characteristic of most Japanese written works - language that is simple and beautiful, but doesn't meander unnecessarily. The three central characters are the heart of the story, and each given a sense of great humanity and grace despite the nature of their experiences. This leads to an ending that is about what you'd expect: sad in the way the things you can't change are sad, but also beautiful and a little hopeful.


Confess by Colleen Hoover. Auburn Reed is struggling to rebuild and get her life back on track in a new city after her first love dies. When she meets Owen Gentry, a mysterious, charming artist with a tragic past, everything changes. Owen has a secret of his own that could destroy Auburn's future.

This is the kind of book that 16-20 year-old me would have loved. As an adult, it seems more like a really drawn out, super flowery, soap opera fanfiction. While there was an obviously unhealthy relationship tucked into the story, I can't say I was too won over by how under-the-radar creepy/clingy Auburn and Owen's relationship seemed. I mean. I get it. It's a romance, and one that seems to be geared towards young adults, but I think I've spent too much time on /r/relationships to really buy it as a healthy, adult relationship. Or maybe I'm not as into romance novels as I used to be. While I did find these things problematic, I generally enjoyed the story and found myself reading to the end. If you keep your expectations low and suspend your disbelief a little bit, Confess is a decent light/beach read. 


The Light of Fireflies by Paul PenA ten year-old boy has lived his whole life in the basement with his family: his father, mother, grandmother, brother, and sister, occasionally dreaming about the world outside. The boy had known no other life, but his family had lived above, before a terrible fire scarred them all - his sister, especially, who wears a mask to conceal her disfigured face - and sent them underground Then, his sister gives birth to a baby. His father becomes even more tightly wound. Tensions run high and suddenly, the safe world of his basement seems to small and dark. Then, he finds he has a chance to escape...

I don't know where to begin with this, other than: it starts out very good, but the ending is so...bland. There's a lot of that insidious, somewhat realistic horror that makes it a really compelling page-turner; Pen does a great job building suspense. But as I read about the events that unfolded that forced the family to go underground, I felt a lot of frustration and had many a wtf moment. The turnaround event itself, the stark difference in the treatment of the boy's brother and sister by their parents, they way the adults decided to handle the tragedy thereafter...I found myself thinking almost aloud, y'all crazy. These things ultimately made  the reveal and ending unsatisfying to read.

Months in Review

Hi blog. Happy spring, if you could call it that - after an unseasonably mild March of 70 degree weather and sandal-wearing, I'm holed up in a thick poncho and long boots in the dawn of an April hovering in the 30-45 degree area. It sucks.

Not much has changed, except for finding a pair of white denim jeans that don't make my legs look like overfilled sausages, and these few things:

Dave and I moved to our new apartment.
It's nice. It's already a heaping mess. I don't have a picture because our living room is sparse and needs a good vacuuming and there may or may not be socks and cat toys all over the floor. I have yet to unpack all the books I brought, but that's because we need a bookshelf that is low and sturdy, not tall and light like the one I had previously, because -

We got a cat. His name is Bob.
Last year for our anniversary, the card Dave got me had a little cat on the front. His postscript said "See that thing on the front of the card? Let's see if we can't get you one by our next anniversary." In January I trawled Petfinder for adult kitties; I offered the list to Dave, he saw the year-oldish tabby, and said "okay, I love Bob." We got him. He hid under the couch for the first day and a half but from there it's been nothing but love. I am over the moon about this furry little asshole. I love that he wakes me up by pawing my face. I don't love that it's at 5am, but what can you do. He's turning 2 in late August. We got him from 911 Dog and Cat Rescue, an amazing group of people doing amazing things for animals.

I got a library card in my new town in a county with a bangin' library system.
This is pretty major. It's scientifically proven that ready curbs my shopping habits and also makes me feel like less of a blob, and it also means book reviews that no one will read but that will provide me with an outlet for talking about book stuff, hooray!

See you soon.

Friday things #1

It's Friday! This weekend I'm making toscana soup, spray painting all the things, and watching lots of TV. Also, mentally strategizing to convince Dave to come to HomeGoods and/or Target with me to look at Christmas decorations, because I am a monster.
  • I know I am super late to the game, but Aloha was a trainwreck. Last night Katie and I watched it while eating a bowl of guacamole. When Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, high on the list of Ridiculously Attractive Humans, had their first kiss, Katie's  reaction was "ugh," and a slow shake of the head. So. It was very bad. 
  • Just in time for a local McDonald's impending closure, this week I learned about the McDonald's coke spoon coffee stirrer debacle  of the 1970s. "It was...a spoon that lived in a dangerous era for spoons," as the article states. The more you know!
  • I want pretty much everything in Jaclyn Day's first gift guide (housewares!), including and especially that otter stapler.
  • I think this dopey looking dude needs to be part of my Christmas outfit.
  • Prematurely diving into Christmas decor DIYs. This salt shaker mini scene is adorable and festive and subtle and fun.
  • We've all seen that girl on our insta feed with the selfie face of the glassy-eyed, slack-jawed variety (or maybe it's you), and now there's an extra sexy name for that: "fish gape." It sounds like a weird genital thing.
  • I love The Office Goth's marble-effect coffee table update. Perfectly aligned with my goal of working with what I have.
  • One-pot meals are my ultimate because I am lazy and hate doing dishes. Greatist (whose emails I always open because they have solid reads and recipes) has a great list of one-pot for every meal of the day.
Happy weekend.


The year feels like it's slipping through my fingers. In 16 days it will be Thanksgiving. In 21 days Dave and I will know when we can move into our new apartment. In 38-42 days, we'll set foot in a new place to call home. In 45 days it'll be Christmas, then in 46 it'll be as far away from Christmas as it gets. In 52 days it'll be the first day of 2016.

The days in between will be slow and full: last-minuteish home shopping, planning, and saving energy for the colder months ahead. Mornings spent in bed reading or tidying bit by bit, work days filled with holiday preparation, nights biding my time until the next day - writing, or reading, or spending time with friends and family.

I'm starting to appreciate what a lovely slow down fall can be: an opportunity to reflect after the long, sun-drenched days of summer, when maybe you're a little more lonely and a little more sad, but it's still okay.

I wish it lasted a little longer. Winter creeps up so fast, but I'm trying to enjoy the last few lovely, brisk autumn days.