Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What I'm Loving: My Currently List

Here is what I'm currently...

Watching: My boyfriend, Jake, and I have been binge-watching the first season of "The 100" on Netflix. It's a science fiction/drama TV show set in a post-apocalyptic world. Life on earth has been destroyed by nuclear war, and the last remaining humans live on the international space station. After life-sustaining supplies on the space station start to run out, one hundred juvenile prisoners are sent to the ground to test whether earth is survivable. I love "The 100" because it has a bit of everything – romance, action, drama, and suspense. 

Reading: I just finished reading "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick (read my review here), and I started the sequel, "Crescendo." I'm enjoying the YA fantasy novel so far. I'm also listening to the audiobook version of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple during long car rides. Expect reviews on my blog soon!  

Listening: I find all of Rachel Platten's songs extremely catchy, so they've been my go-to tunes when I want something upbeat. My favorite is "Stand By You," which plays on the radio every five minutes but I'm not complaining.

Drinking: Lately I've been craving bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink. I order a cold black tea mixed with milk and chewy tapioca balls. It's a delicious and refreshing treat. My favorite place to order bubble tea is Unique Tea House in Syracuse, although the best bubble tea I've ever had came from a street vendor in New York City's Chinatown. 

Eating: Jake and I have been trying new restaurants around Syracuse lately. We ate at an Irish pub called Kitty Hoynes last week, and we're heading to Byblos Mediterranean Cafe tomorrow night. Both of these places were featured on one of our favorite TV shows: Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri. 

Enjoying: I'm grateful that I get to visit Jake during his spring break. We've been apart for much of our relationship, thanks to internships and study abroad, so I value the all of the time we spend together. 

Wearing: For my 22nd birthday, Jake bought me a gold Pisces necklace from Anna Saccone's Zodiac Collection on Stilnest. I've been dropping hints about the necklace for a while, so I was ecstatic to receive it as a gift. The necklace is adorable and matches most of my clothes, so I've been wearing it nearly every day.  

Top photo taken in Prague, Czechoslovakia 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Gramma Dots on Sanibel Island

I absolutely love food, so it's nearly impossible for me to choose a favorite dish. But if I were ever placed in a scenario where I had to pick my number one meal, the fried oyster Caesar salad from Gramma Dot's might be the winner.

Gramma Dot's is a quaint restaurant located on the Sanibel Island seaside. My family has a house across the water in Ft. Myers Beach, so we often take our boat to Gramma Dot's for lunch. The menu contains typical beach-y fare: fresh fish, shrimp, and sandwiches. You can also order a "Your Choice" Caesar salad with chicken, shrimp, grouper, or fried oysters.

Let me tell you, nothing beats the fried oyster Caesar salad. The oysters are cooked to perfection – crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They pare exceptionally well with the creamy Caesar dressing and crisp lettuce. I ordered this meal during my first visit at Gramma Dot's, and I've never strayed from it during subsequent visits. Then again, when you combine two of my favorite things (fried food and seafood) and place the result on a bed of lettuce, I'm pretty much guaranteed to fall in love.

The other food as Gramma Dot's doesn't disappoint, either. I especially enjoy the crab leg appetizer and homemade potato chips. My mom sticks with the fried grouper Casear salad, while my boyfriend usually order the Cajun grouper. Both options are extremely tasty, but I'm too devoted to my fried oyster salad to order anything new.

I highly recommend Gramma Dot's, if you're ever in Sanibel Island. I guarantee that my family will return to this gem over and over again.

Tell me: what's your favorite seafood dish?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Today I'll be reviewing "Hush, Hush," a young adult fantasy novel by Becca Fitzpatrick. It's the first book in a series of four novels.


Nora Grey, a high school student from Maine, becomes biology partners with Patch Cipriano. Although Nora feels a romantic connection to Patch, she can't help thinking that he's a threat – especially since he seems to be stalking her. Eventually Nora learns the truth: Patch is a fallen angel with a dark past.

Before she knows it, Nora becomes immersed in a dangerous world of fallen angels and Nephilim (the offspring of humans and angels), with a side of forbidden love.


I loved the basic premise of "Hush, Hush" – a love story between a human and a fallen angel. The plot line was dark and suspenseful, which drew me in from the start. And you can't ignore how gorgeous the cover looks!

That being said, I had a couple of problems with this novel:

1.) It's eerily similar to "Twilight."
Don't get me wrong, I loved "Twilight" back in middle school. However, Fitzpatrick seems to borrow heavily from the popular vampire romance series. First off, Patch and Nora meet in biology class – just like Bella and Edward. Patch is mysterious and brooding, and he has a dark secret – just like Edward. And, finally, Nora knows that Patch is a threat but she can't seem to stay away. Sound familiar?

2.) The writing could use improvement
I understand that Fitzpatrick is writing for a younger audience, but some of the sentence structure and punctuation seems a little off. Some sentences don't flow together well, and others simply don't make sense. For example: "His eyes looked like they didn't play by the rules." What is this supposed to mean?

3.) Patch is creepy
Some of Patch's flirtatious remarks really creeped me out because they verge on harassment. He's manipulative and violent with stalker tendencies, but Nora is still fascinated by him. No wonder she finds herself in many life-threatening situations.

However, pushing those criticisms aside, I really did enjoy reading "Hush, Hush." I constantly wanted to know what happened next. The slow-paced beginning gave way to a fast-paced ending, and I stayed up late into the night finishing the novel.

Rating: 3.5/5

Although "Hush, Hush" had some problems with writing style and character development, the interesting plot makes up for the shortcomings. I plan on reading the other three books in the series – "Crescendo," "Silence," and "Finale" – very soon.

Photo from Amazon

Sunday, March 6, 2016

DIY Wine Cork Poster

When my mom needed a wall decoration for our basement bar, we went right to Pinterest for some DIY inspiration. We wanted to find a crafty way to turn my parent's wine cork collection into a piece of art. I was shocked at how many cute ideas I found! Apparently you can make anything from dart boards to picture frames out of old wine corks.

After some perusing on Pinterest, we decided to make a poster that depicted wine corks falling out of wine glasses (we got the inspiration here). We loved the final results, so I thought I'd share the DIY project on my blog.

  • Wine corks (my parents had been collecting these for years)
  • Poster board 
  • Frame
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wine glasses (we bought plastic ones at the Dollar Store) Instructions:
To make the craft, we simply glued the wine glasses and the corks onto the poster board. The wine corks appear to "fall" out of the glasses and onto the board, making a 2-by-2 pattern as they reach the bottom of the frame. The craft took roughly three hours to complete, and it was free since we used materials that we already owned.

I'm very pleased with the final product since it adds lots of character and charm to our bar. This goes to show that DIY products can be just as good (if not better) than artwork bought from a store. All you need is a little work and a lot of creativity.