Have you read this book?
I wish I hadn’t. 

Have you read this book?

I wish I hadn’t

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Gym Bags

I got this question via email:

Jaclyn,

Given your love of working out and stylish gym wear I am hoping you can help me out here. I am looking for a new gym bag. I carry my gym bag to work along with my regular work bag and my current bag is bright orange, shows all dirt and is beginning to look ragged. I am having a hell of a time finding something that meets my requirements: cross body, large internal or external pocket, and light weight. I also don’t want to pay $140 for a bag, like some of the under armour bags I have seen. I’ve checked Dicks, Athleta, Lululemon, Old Navy—to no avail.

Please help!

You need to check out the new Fabletics gym bags! (I wrote about them here.) I’ve been using mine all the time lately. It meets your specifications—it’s SO lightweight—and the best part is that it’s just $39.95 if you buy a la carte or $50 if you buy it in a set with a couple other accessories (like a water bottle, socks or headbands). If you haven’t signed up for Fabletics yet, you can receive the set for $25 because of their new sign-up promo offer. (If you do sign up, please consider using my referral link. I’d really appreciate it!) 

Here are some other options:

  • Dakine’s gym bag with faux leather trim is really cool ($65). 
  • Sherpani makes a gym duffel that looks nice and roomy. The price is good too—just $48! 
  • The North Face has a really nice gym tote with a crossbody strap that’s $75 and available in black or blue. This is sleek enough to use for travel too. 
  • I like the unique design of this Lilypond bag (available in red or blue). It’s $70. 
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Aerie:

Hi! Just wanted to say I really appreciate your blog and all the heads-up you give on sales going on. Those bras from Aerie you posted a couple of weeks ago were EXACTLY what I’ve been looking all over for. Perfect for smaller girls who DON’T want padding. You’re a godsend! I bought 3. I’ve always felt that some people have a knack for finding sales and some don’t ( I don’t ). So I really appreciate it!
sajimar25

Thank you for the kind words! :) 

Those bras really are the best. They are so comfortable and the prices are insane on certain styles right now. This one is just $14.99! This style (I own all possible colors of these) is $14.99 too. I think this version ($17.99) is my favorite so far though—the cut is flattering and supportive. 

While you’re there, check out Aerie’s Outta-Sight underwear too (4 for $26.50). The thongs are the most comfy I’ve worn and they don’t show through ANYTHING. 

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I love Coach's leather Willis bag in black, but the price is eeeek - $298. Any cute dupes around? I really love the size and shape!

- Asked by gloriabeetwill

PERFECT dupe for you on Gilt today: Illbeca’s North Moore leather satchel is marked down to $99 (from $189). It’s adorable (see the replies for more info). 

If you want something even more budget-friendly, Steve Madden’s crossbody bag is $36 (from $58). UO has a structured, smaller bag for $54. Sole Society has a cute crossbody for $45. 

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My favorite flats are on sale on Bare Necessities! Take an extra 20% off all of them with code BPP20

TOP:

BOTTOM:

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I don’t wear earrings often (I’m always afraid that my piercings have closed up when I go to try and put them in), but these J.Crew ones on sale for $39.99 (from $58) would be fun with my chambray dress and a ponytail. Get an extra 40% off the earrings with code TREAT. 

I don’t wear earrings often (I’m always afraid that my piercings have closed up when I go to try and put them in), but these J.Crew ones on sale for $39.99 (from $58) would be fun with my chambray dress and a ponytail. Get an extra 40% off the earrings with code TREAT

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Hi Jaclyn, I noticed a black sheath dress in a picture you posted on Instagram from a recent trip to Nebraska. Can you tell me where its from? Im always keeping an eye out for affordable versions of these for work! Thanks!

- Asked by kmc111508

I couldn’t find the exact dress, but I did find the right style! It’s the Kenneth Cole Hilary dress. 6PM has the charcoal version on sale for $64.28 and Zappos has the black version for $98 (mine doesn’t have the white exposed back zip). It’s basically the perfect black knit dress—I searched for a week for the right one that could work for travel. It doesn’t wrinkle and it’s so comfortable. The length is just right for me too. Highly recommend! 

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Two new books! One was amazing, one was meh:
The Martian by Andy Weir - This book has no business being as engaging and good as it is. I started reading it and didn’t stop until my plane taxied into the gate. (I had 5% left when the landing gear went down. PUSH FORWARD) It has thousands of amazing reviews so I don’t know why I was surprised that it was so good. In The Martian, a team of astronauts lands on Mars to conduct various research projects. Mark Watney, a botanist, is one of them. He’s there to analyze soil samples. This isn’t the first group of astronauts to land there—this book is set in the future, so their visit has the feel of a still exciting but almost routine space mission. (Similar to the way the collective public feels now about International Space Station visits?) Anyway, while in the middle of their research, they get a warning that a dust storm is approaching their position. They hunker down and try to weather the storm, but it’s more severe than they anticipated. Things intensify and a violent accident forces Watney’s team to evacuate and leave him behind—they assume he’s dead. He’s not. Watney is stranded with no communications to earth and no foreseeable chance of survival (he calculates he will starve to death long before a rescue arrives). The book is told mostly in the first person through Watney’s logs, though the book visits mission control and his former crew further into the story. Watney is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read this year. He’s smart, resourceful and funny. Really, really funny. The book has some of the same space fear-and-survival themes as Gravity or Apollo 13, but Weir made Watney’s character a completely original one. The realistic technical details were expertly woven into the plot too—they never become tedious or overwhelming. This is a hard book to follow up. It’s one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year (see also: I Am Pilgrim) and I can’t wait to see what Andy Weir writes next. 
California by Edan Lepucki - This post-apocalyptic novel about a couple trying to survive in the California wilderness after society crumbles is good…but not great. I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters, but the rest of the book felt uneven and sluggish. The book doesn’t say exactly why the country is in ruins, though hints include an energy crisis that is mentioned briefly. When the population became more desperate and violent as societal structures broke down, the wealthier citizens barricaded themselves in Communities, or planned developments with armed guards, basically. The rest were left to fend for themselves or they could try to gain access to the ready food, healthcare and shelter that the Communities had. It’s a slow burn kind of book—and I don’t mind that—but this burned way too slowly. I mean, I was pretty invested in the characters through the first quarter of the book and was only mildly interested in their fate by the end. The ingredients for a great book were there: It’s hard to deliver an original post-apocalyptic book these days. This one just couldn’t come together. 
Have you read either one? (Put The Martian on your list immediately if you haven’t read it yet!) 

Two new books! One was amazing, one was meh:

  • The Martian by Andy Weir - This book has no business being as engaging and good as it is. I started reading it and didn’t stop until my plane taxied into the gate. (I had 5% left when the landing gear went down. PUSH FORWARD) It has thousands of amazing reviews so I don’t know why I was surprised that it was so good. In The Martian, a team of astronauts lands on Mars to conduct various research projects. Mark Watney, a botanist, is one of them. He’s there to analyze soil samples. This isn’t the first group of astronauts to land there—this book is set in the future, so their visit has the feel of a still exciting but almost routine space mission. (Similar to the way the collective public feels now about International Space Station visits?) Anyway, while in the middle of their research, they get a warning that a dust storm is approaching their position. They hunker down and try to weather the storm, but it’s more severe than they anticipated. Things intensify and a violent accident forces Watney’s team to evacuate and leave him behind—they assume he’s dead. He’s not. Watney is stranded with no communications to earth and no foreseeable chance of survival (he calculates he will starve to death long before a rescue arrives). The book is told mostly in the first person through Watney’s logs, though the book visits mission control and his former crew further into the story. Watney is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read this year. He’s smart, resourceful and funny. Really, really funny. The book has some of the same space fear-and-survival themes as Gravity or Apollo 13, but Weir made Watney’s character a completely original one. The realistic technical details were expertly woven into the plot too—they never become tedious or overwhelming. This is a hard book to follow up. It’s one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year (see also: I Am Pilgrim) and I can’t wait to see what Andy Weir writes next. 
  • California by Edan Lepucki - This post-apocalyptic novel about a couple trying to survive in the California wilderness after society crumbles is good…but not great. I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters, but the rest of the book felt uneven and sluggish. The book doesn’t say exactly why the country is in ruins, though hints include an energy crisis that is mentioned briefly. When the population became more desperate and violent as societal structures broke down, the wealthier citizens barricaded themselves in Communities, or planned developments with armed guards, basically. The rest were left to fend for themselves or they could try to gain access to the ready food, healthcare and shelter that the Communities had. It’s a slow burn kind of book—and I don’t mind that—but this burned way too slowly. I mean, I was pretty invested in the characters through the first quarter of the book and was only mildly interested in their fate by the end. The ingredients for a great book were there: It’s hard to deliver an original post-apocalyptic book these days. This one just couldn’t come together. 

Have you read either one? (Put The Martian on your list immediately if you haven’t read it yet!) 

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What I’ve Read: 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino - Pre-order for release on August 5
This book is set in one day—Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve—and follows several different characters, including Madeleine, a nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer who recently lost her mother to cancer; Madeleine’s teacher Sarina; The Cat’s Pajamas club owner Lorca and his son Alex, and several others. Madeleine and Sarina are the most engaging and Madeleine’s feisty independence made her a fun character to spend time with. As the book gradually winds all the characters closer and closer together, they all benefit, becoming more important and interesting to the reader.
It’s a strange book to describe—the story is very literal at first, but it becomes fantastical or fairy tale-like at unexpected times. This felt a little off-putting while I was reading it. Now, about 12 hours after finishing the book, I think the fantastical elements were a good idea. The entire book feels a little magical, so what’s one more magical thing among the rest? 
If you’re looking for a new book club read, this would be a fun option. (It’s also short and fast enough not to be a burden to club members who drag their toes.) It has plenty to talk about in terms of plot and characterization and there are a few passages in the book that are really, really delightful and worth marking to come back to later. 
The best way I can think to describe this book is to tell you how I felt after reading it. Did you have a childhood movie or book that you would watch or read often? And it left with you this little warm feeling in your stomach that made you feel like everything in the world could be as fun and magical as what you just saw or read about? After turning the last page of 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, I recognized the happy, contented feeling as one I’d had before: It was like the childishly optimistic, happy afterglow that would stick around after a favorite movie or book. I didn’t think 2 A.M. was the perfect book, but it did make me smile. That counts for a lot when it comes to books these days. 
I received this advance review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

What I’ve Read: 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino - Pre-order for release on August 5

This book is set in one day—Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve—and follows several different characters, including Madeleine, a nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer who recently lost her mother to cancer; Madeleine’s teacher Sarina; The Cat’s Pajamas club owner Lorca and his son Alex, and several others. Madeleine and Sarina are the most engaging and Madeleine’s feisty independence made her a fun character to spend time with. As the book gradually winds all the characters closer and closer together, they all benefit, becoming more important and interesting to the reader.

It’s a strange book to describe—the story is very literal at first, but it becomes fantastical or fairy tale-like at unexpected times. This felt a little off-putting while I was reading it. Now, about 12 hours after finishing the book, I think the fantastical elements were a good idea. The entire book feels a little magical, so what’s one more magical thing among the rest? 

If you’re looking for a new book club read, this would be a fun option. (It’s also short and fast enough not to be a burden to club members who drag their toes.) It has plenty to talk about in terms of plot and characterization and there are a few passages in the book that are really, really delightful and worth marking to come back to later. 

The best way I can think to describe this book is to tell you how I felt after reading it. Did you have a childhood movie or book that you would watch or read often? And it left with you this little warm feeling in your stomach that made you feel like everything in the world could be as fun and magical as what you just saw or read about? After turning the last page of 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, I recognized the happy, contented feeling as one I’d had before: It was like the childishly optimistic, happy afterglow that would stick around after a favorite movie or book. I didn’t think 2 A.M. was the perfect book, but it did make me smile. That counts for a lot when it comes to books these days. 

I received this advance review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

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The good news: Fabletics has a new sale section and one of my all-time favorite Fabletics tops (Tranquil T, above) is in it for $13.95.

The bad news: You have to spend $50 to get the sale prices. (The top above is $20 at regular price). 

Whether you buy it at the sale price or the regular price, this top is WORTH IT. Especially with fall around the corner. It’s lightweight and flattering and it’s CYA (Covers Your Ass) compliant, therefore perfect for wearing with leggings and boots. 

If you haven’t signed up for Fabletics, please consider using my referral link. I really appreciate it! 

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