Showing posts from 2016

Book Review: Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin is a Christian historical fiction book set in two different time periods in the mid to late 1800’s. Anna Nicholson is the daughter of a prominent Chicago family, seeking answers to deep questions about her life and faith after breaking off her engagement. As she thinks about her life and what she really wants, she goes to Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan to regroup. There she meets Derk Vander Veen, a young worker at the hotel that is planning to go into ministry. At the same time, Geese de Jonge, Derk’s “adoptive” grandmother, is writing her story of emigrating to America from the Netherlands 50 years ago. Though painful at times, Geese understands that telling her story is important. She is shocked to realize that she and Anna may be connected and some of the most painful parts of her story may yield a sweet joy that she never anticipated.
The book Waves of Mercy is told is alternating points of view as Anna shares her thoughts and revelations and Gees…

Book Review: A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White is the third book in the Ladies of the Manor series. This Christian historical fiction book continues the saga of the coveted Fire Eyes diamonds that was started in the first two books in the series. The book series is set in the early 1900's and the story is told by interweaving the perspectives of those in the upper class as well as those in service. This title features Lord James Cayton and Lady Ella Myerston and their relationship that develops despite the peril they face in protecting the diamonds.

First of all, the cover of this book is gorgeous! Easily one of my favorites that I've read this year. Many of the reviews state that fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy this book and I definitely agree. There's a richness to the writing that really captures the characters and time period well. The book is full of intrigue, romance, and suspense plus characters that develop and change. Lord Cayton is actively trying to make himself a bette…

Book Review: A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears is a Christian historical fiction novel with a very timely and relevant message for all of us to hear. Lydia King is a member of the Teaville Moral Society and she truly has a heart for the poor. She's engaged to the son of the moral society's president, despite the fact that she doesn't love him. Lydia is hiding a secret about her own poverty and how close she is to being a part of those that Teaville needs to help. Lydia has been asked to get a donation for the moral society from Nicholas Lowe, the richest man in town, but he repeatedly denies her requests, regardless of how many times she asks. Lydia and Nicholas strike a bargain that shows her more about the character and heart of Nicholas than she could have possibly imagined.

This book was well written and interesting. I enjoyed the two main characters and was intrigued by the societal expectations of women of that time period. Lydia finds herself drawn into a world she couldn&…

Summer to Fall Transitional Wardrobe: 2016 Edition

We still have a month left of summer on the calendar, but here in Ohio, we're already feeling a bit of a weather shift. It's still quite hot and humid, but mornings and evenings are cooler. I've always had trouble with the change of season in terms of what to wear (see my 2015 transitional capsule here and some winter to spring transition tips here) so this year, I immediately recognized the need to pull together a transitional capsule.

I picked an overall color scheme of gray, black, denim/chambray, orange, green, and purple. In looking at last year's capsule, I definitely see some similarities and six of the pieces are exactly the same! Here's what in the summer to fall transitional wardrobe for 2016.

Starting with casual bottoms:

Merona nutmeg polka dot shorts*Old Navy boyfriend jeans*Boston Proper dark wash skinny jeans*Sonoma medium wash skinny jeansStylus black skinniesAnn Taylor LOFT denim shorts* 

Work pants:

Old Navy lilac Pixie pantsAnn Taylor LOFT white cr…

Book Review: A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

Time for a new book review! I recently finished reading A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson, book 2 in the Sapphire Brides series. You can see my review of book 1 in the series here. In A Beauty Refined, Phoebe Von Bergen is the daughter of a German count. She is visiting America for the first time with her father as he is buying sapphires in Helena, Montana. While at the Broadwater Hotel, Phoebe meets a lapidary (gem-cutter) named Ian Harper. Ian realizes Phoebe's father is not a truthful man, and his secrets threaten to endanger his daughter's faith in her father as well as her safety.

Set in 1907, at first glance this book is a historical romance. On a deeper level, this book contains a great deal more mystery and action than I anticipated. The cover of the book is gorgeous. I really liked reading about the food and clothing in the book; I might be weird, but I always enjoy that aspect of historical fiction.

I think my main issue with this book had to do with the plot. Obvi…

July 2016 Clothing Budget

It's been a couple months since my last clothing budget, and this month I did some shopping at Goodwill, garage sales, Schoola, and some retail stores. I overspent my budget for the month by about $10, but I've only spent around half of my $600 budget for the year, so I'm in pretty good shape. Here's what I bought this month:

July 2016 Clothing Budget by gracenote30 featuring wedge shoes


J.Crew chambray skirt and DexFlex striped flats - $10 Garage sales:

Charlotte Russe dark red maxi skirt - $1 (NWT)Jellypop Elsa black flats - $1 (NIB)

Denim espadrilles - $12.66Woven tote - $5.76

Merona plaid button up - $5.16Apt. 9 print blouse and Boston Proper skinny jeans - $0.75 (I ordered a pair of white jeans that were not in great shape from Schoola and they refunded the full amount of the jeans and gave me a $10 credit to spend. I was really pleased with their customer service!)

2 Sonoma tanks and a pair of Sonoma skinny jeans - $10.15
The Fabu…

Summer 10x14 Remix: Recap!

I wrapped up my summer remix challenge last Thusday. I managed to create 14 different outfits using 10 pieces. Here's a look at my outfits;

Summer 10x14 Remix by gracenote30 on Polyvore

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge. As usual, I leaned heavily on shoes, scarves, and jewelry to make the outfits look more unique. I wore 9 different pairs of shoes over the course of 14 days. :) I would have liked a few more layering pieces - I missed my denim jacket and cardigans! I also would have liked another option or two for really hot weather. My favorite part of the challenge was knowing exactly what I was going to wear every day. I liked this so much...that I am doing a 20x21 remix for most of the month of  July. It's hosted by teachthriftwear on Instagram. Check out our capsule outfits on Instagram!

Summer Style with Schoola

If you've read this blog for any length of time, it's no secret that I love thrifting and purchases that give back - purchasing with purpose is my favorite! I bought my first items from Schoola a little over a year ago and have purchased several times since then. If you're not familiar with Schoola, here's a little background: Schoola provides a unique way to fundraise for schools. People send in their new or gently used clothing to Schoola, and instead of receiving money back from those clothing items, 40% of the proceeds from items sold are donated to the school of the donor's choice. Individuals that buy from Schoola get to an environmental, ethical, and educational impact with their purchases as well.

Recently, I reached out to Schoola to collaborate on a blog post, and they graciously sent a box of goodies for myself and my daughter! Our favorite pieces from the box were perfect for festive Fourth of July looks!

My daughter fell in love with this red, white, a…

Book Review: From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden is another great historical fiction novel by the author. I've read some of her other books in the past and I enjoy her writing style and the way she brings history to life. The book is set in Boston in 1897. It's part mystery, part suspense, part romance, part historical fiction. Stella West is an artist. She has been in London for several years and is celebrated for her ability to illustrate. Romulus White is the partial owner of a successful scientific magazine. He's been trying to get Stella West to illustrate for the magazine for years. When Stella comes to Boston, Romulus sees his chance to get her to work for him. He has no idea that she's left London to investigate her sister's untimely death. The pair end up working as a team in several areas even though Romulus doesn't believe Stella's sister died under suspicious circumstances. The book is full of twists and turns until it arrives at a (mostly) happy ending.

I …

Schoola Promo - 50% Off and Free Shipping!

Schoola is one of my favorite sources for online secondhand clothing, so I had to share this great promo from them! Beginning June 20 and running through June 26, take 50% off any Schoola order, plus get free shipping with code EXPLORE. This promo is not valid on new with tags items.

Some of my favorite wardrobe staples are from Schoola including my polka dot chambray, navy gingham button up, khaki Pixie pants, brown utility jacket, and a herringbone vest. Even better, if you place an order through my referral link, for a limited time, we both get $20 off. Have you ever shopped at Schoola before? Any favorite pieces?

*The link above is my referral link, but all the items I've purchased through Schoola have been with my own money and/or affiliate credit.

Summer Closet Remix: 10 Pieces, 14 Outfits - The Pieces

If you follow me on Instagram, I tried to start my summer closet remix a couple days early. The outfits were fine, but the pieces weren't working in my brain as a capsule. This morning, when I woke up, I hopped on Polyvore because I've been waiting to see if bluehydrangea had added a new capsule wardrobe for summer - I love the capsules she creates. I wasn't disappointed because she did create a summer capsule a few days ago! With this new inspiration, I was able to put together a 10 piece capsule that feels more cohesive, versatile, and summer appropriate than the direction I was originally going.

Here are my pieces:

Coral Tee - Mossimo (Target)Striped Skirt - Ann Taylor (Goodwill)Peach Polka Dot Crop Pants - Gap (Plato's Closet)Gray Pixie Pants - Old Navy (Goodwill)Polka Dot Chambray Button Up - Old Navy (Schoola)Floral Blouse - Liz Claiborne (JCPenney)Boyfriend Jeans - Old Navy (Goodwill)Gray Tee - Mossimo (Target)Green Sleeveless Shell - Merona (Goodwill)Khaki Pixie…

DVD Review: The League of Incredible Vegetables from FishFlix

Several weeks ago, I was contacted and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing a Christian DVD from FishFlix. I had never heard of FishFlix before, but when I checked out the site, I was impressed with the variety. I was given the option of some family-friendly Christian DVDs and when I asked my daughter she said she wanted to try a VeggieTales DVD. FishFlix sent us Veggie Tales: The League of Incredible Vegetables DVD.

The DVD arrived very quickly and we had an opportunity not long after receiving it to watch it. My daughter was home from school recovering from a sinus infection, so we enjoyed watching The League of Incredible Vegetables together. I didn't realize it, but she had already watched it before and it is one of her favorite VeggieTales movies! The movie is a fun twist on the superhero theme that is so popular right now, but it addresses the common childhood (and adult) topic of fear, Ultimately, even superheroes can't rely on their super powers, but we can all…

Summer Closet Remix: 10 Pieces, 14 Outfits - June Mini Capsule Challenge

It's been awhile since I've posted much fashion-related here on the blog as I've taken most of my outfit posts over to Instagram. I still have a $50 a month clothing budget and I still love remixing and trying to make the most of my closet!

I'm not currently participating in a shopping fast, but I do belong to a Facebook group called "Let's Be Shop Free for 3" and the group members are all trying to support each other as they try to make fewer, more thoughtful purchases.

I love a good remix, so I volunteered to organize one for the group and thought I could open it up for blog and Instagram participation as well.

For this remix or mini capsule wardrobe challenge, choose 10 clothing items from your current wardrobe. Spend some time playing around with the pieces and think about what's on your schedule for the last two weeks in June. Make sure you pick pieces that you love and are comfortable in - that's key! You'll be wearing these 10 pieces f…

Book Review: Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman

I was really excited to receive the book Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman in the mail this week. Believe it or not, I was actually out of books and it arrived at the perfect time. This book is realistic fiction, which is a little different than what I typically read, but it was a nice change of pace. Lauren is an up and coming fashion designer, fresh out of design school. She's been given an opportunity to have one of her designs on the red carpet at a major awards ceremony, but when there's a serious "wardrobe malfunction" at the event, Lauren believes her career is over before it's even started. She finds herself needing to find an out of the way place to live until the whole mess settles down. She gets a low paying job with a local high school costume department, but the unexpected perk is a free place to live. The cottage needs some work, but it puts her smack dab in the middle of Charlotte Montgomery's world. Miss Montgomery is a former Hollywood star…

Book Review: A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson

A Treasure Concealed by Tracie Peterson is the first book in a new series, Sapphire Brides. This Christian historical fiction book is set around the turn of the 20th century in Montana Territory. Emily Carver has grown up with her parents in gold mining camps. Her father is sure he is about to strike it rich - as he has believed for all of Emily's life. Emily longs to live a "normal" life in a home and with a family of her own. This dream seems impossible as she's only ever lived near the mining camps - moving often - and usually disguised as a man to ward off unwanted attention from the men living in the mining towns. When Caeden Thibault, a geologist working for the government, arrives in the camps near where Emily lives, two very different people meet and we learn that there is more to both of these individuals.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. In addition to the historic setting of the book, there is quite a bit of mystery and suspense in the plot. I feel tha…

March 2016 Clothing Budget

I haven't done a clothing budget round up in awhile, so decided to put one together this month. I have been loving navy and gray lately, and that's definitely reflected in my purchases.

March Budget by gracenote30 featuring ankle jeans

Navy Lands' End Blazer - $5.67 (Thrifted)Purple Croft and Barrow Cardigan - $1.28 (After coupon)Gray JCPenney Cardigan - $7.70Gray Old Navy Jeans and Burgundy Pixie Pants - $7.43 (After ON Rewards)Navy Old Navy Pixie Chinos - $6.18 (After ON Rewards)Navy and White Old Navy Sweater - $5.11 (Thrifted - not pictured)Cobalt Apt. 9 Necklace - $0.64 (After coupon) I am so happy to have some more pants and cardigans in my wardrobe! Looking ahead, I want to get some color in my wardrobe for spring and summer. I'm looking for floral and lace, too and am in the market to replace some flats. :)
I'm linking up to Budgeting Bloggers at Franish!

Schoola Promo: 50% off at Schoola!

If you've read this blog before, you know that I love thrifting! While I do buy a number of items at Goodwill and other local resale shops, I also really enjoy thrifting online. I've gotten some great things at Schoola lately - including my polka dot chambray, tan cardigan, and khaki Pixie pants. My daughter also has a number of Schoola items in her wardrobe, mostly dance tops from Justice. :)

I wanted to share about a great Schoola promo going on right now! You can get 50% off plus free shipping with the code SPRINGBRK. My affiliate link is above and you can also get $20 to use at Schoola if you sign up and make a purchase using my link and haven't purchased through them before!

Have you ever shopped at Schoola before? Any favorite purchases?

Book Review: Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship

We've all seen how popular adult coloring is these days! A couple of months back, I had the opportunity to review the coloring book Whatever is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship. The book is beautiful. It contains a variety of lovely pages that are based on Bible verses, hymns, inspirational quotes and more. The book is a larger size, approximately 9.5" square. Designs include animals, flowers, trees, geometrics, and more. The pages would be lovely framed once they are colored. I have to be honest; I am not much of a color-er. :) I gave this a try and while coloring is not my favorite thing, my mother really enjoys it, so I will be gifting her this book. I only colored on one of the pages.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.

$10 at Target: February Link Up

A few months back, Becky at bybmg started a series entitled, $10 at Target. She's been sharing her finds each month and this month, she and several other bloggers are hosting a link up for everyone to share their finds. I must confess, I broke the rules for the challenge just a bit (I'll explain!) but had so much fun doing this. My mom and I got a chance to shop together on Friday and since Becky had just posted the reminder, I had the challenge fresh in my mind. We both found some great deals - like the cute butterfly print twin sheets she picked up for my daughter's Easter present for $5! - and we enjoyed hanging out together, so it was a win-win.

On to my haul!

I love shopping for jewelry and accessories in the Target clearance section, so we started there. I found this pretty floral scarf for $4.48. I wear a lot of black and purple and green are among my favorite colors, so I think this scarf will get a great deal of wear.

Next, we scoured the Valentine clearance which…

Book Review: A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason

A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason is the second book in the "Courage to Dream" series. It continues to follow members of the Montgomery and O'Leary families. This book primarily focuses on Maggie Montgomery, Adam O'Leary, Aurora Hastings, and Gabe Montgomery, but there are a number of additional characters included in the book that are a part of the interwoven storylines. The novel is part historical fiction, part romance, with faith in God connecting many of the characters and their actions.

This book is full of many different twists and turns are so many different characters and plots! I did read the first book in the series, Irish Meadows, and unlike some other books, I think it is very helpful to start with book one. It will help the reader to get a better handle on the large cast of characters and the complicated and tumultuous back story that set the stage for this novel. That being said, I liked this book quite a bit better than Irish Meadows for some reason.…

Mini Capsule Challenge

It's been a long time since I've done a capsule wardrobe challenge, so when I saw on Instagram that Style This Life was hosting a 20 pieces, 21 days challenge, I decided it was time to do another challenge. Even more fun, my daughter (she's 8) decided to join in. Here are the items we picked!

I snagged a screenshot from my items in the Stylicious app. We're both using it to organize our items and create looks. It's pretty fun - and actually the reason I think she decided to give it a try. :)

Tops: Gray striped dolman - Max Studio (Plato's Closet)Red checked button up - Old Navy (Goodwill)Blue chambray - Falls Creek (Meijer)Black and white striped tee - MeronaBlack and tan print tee - Old NavyYellow striped popover - Old Navy (Goodwill)Olive vest - Christopher and Banks (Goodwill)Charcoal knit blazer - JCPTan cardigan - Alfani (Schoola)Cream sweater - a.n.a.Camel turtleneck sweater - Croft and BarrowBlack cable knit sweater - Sonoma Bottoms: Dark wash jeans - NYDJ…

Book Review: The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen is a favorite author of mine. Her Christian historical fiction novels are full of suspense and rich detail, and are among some of my favorites. I was excited to get an opportunity to read and review her newest novel The Painter's Daughter. Sophie Dupont assists her father in his art studio on the north Devon coast. Artists regularly come to these shores to paint. Sophie gets involved with one of these artists, Wesley Overtree, and finds herself in "trouble". Before she has an opportunity to share her news with Wesley, he leaves for Italy. In the meantime, Wesley's brother, Captain Stephen Overtree arrives looking for Wesley, and when he realizes her predicament, he behaves honorably to her and proposes marriage. The remainder of the novel navigates their complicated relationship which basically continues to be a bit of a love triangle. There are a number of plot twists throughout the novel as well.

While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't my favorite fr…

Book Review: Amish Christmas at North Star

When I saw the release of Amish Christmas at North Star, I knew it would be a book I wanted to read. The book is comprised of four Amish novellas by authors Cindy Woodsmall, Mindy Starns Clark, Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert. The book opens with the story of events that took place on November 30, 1990. On that evening, an Amish midwife delivered four babies in North Star, Pennsylvania. The babies were named "Rebekah's Babies" when the story appeared in local media. The novellas are Christmas stories that tell what happened to the babies: Elle, Eden, Kore, and Andy.
I think novellas are always very nice to read. They are typically short, easy, pleasant reads. This book was no exception. Each story was a lovely, cozy tale for the Christmas season. The only thing I disliked about the book was that many of the stories ended a bit quickly or abruptly. I think that is a potential drawback of novellas in general because they are so short. It's hard to fully…