Tag Archives: quirky

Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Miss Benson’s Beetle By Rachel Joyce Edition

Hi everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the newest book by Rachel Joyce called Miss Benson’s Beetle. I am a huge fan of Rachel Joyce, as she authored one of my favorite books, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, so I was very excited to read Miss Benson’s Beetle. Like Harold Fry, it was nothing short of delightful and told the tale of an unlikely duo going on a big adventure. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Marjory Benson is a homely woman living in 1950s Britain with a large stature, no remaining family, or any meaningful relationships. She is a teacher of domestic sciences and, more often than not, is the subject of cruel jokes from her students. One day, after a particularly nasty cartoon rendition of her was passed throughout her class, she had enough and marched (Rather, limped) right out of the school. It was a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment and she was ready for an adventure.

As a child and young adult, Marjory had a fascination with collecting beetles, which sprang from looking through a book of undiscovered creatures with her father. This book included the Golden Beetle that is supposedly found in New Caledonia and it has never left the back of her mind since. Now unemployed, Marjory decides that this is her time to travel across the world, find the beetle, and name it after her father.

Of course, this will be no easy feat and Marjory decided that she needed an assistant to accompany her on her search. Her interviews with potential candidates left a lot to be desired and, in the end, Marjory was stuck with the last option she wanted to go with – a young, flashy woman by the name of Enid Pretty. Enid is everything that Marjory isn’t. She’s talkative, outgoing, fashion forward, and an instant annoyance to Marjory. Despite their differences, Marjory needs an assistant and Enid joins her on the extensive traveling from Britain all the way to the Pacific island of New Caledonia.

Little does Marjory know, her assistant is bringing a lot of baggage along with her and I’m not talking about the traveling kind. Well, that too, actually, considering Enid brought countless suitcases with her! Enid is a woman on the run and a trip across the world is her perfect getaway. Later, in their journey, Enid is named one of Britain’s Most Wanted Criminals with Marjory wanted for association. Can the women continue to evade the law, find the beetle, and salvage some form of friendship? Read Miss Benson’s Beetle and find out!

It has been a long while since I read a book that I would consider “light” as I am drawn to mysteries and psychological thrillers and Miss Benson’s Beetle was like a breath of fresh air. It was such fun to join the odd couple of Marjory and Enid on their adventure and I felt eager to read it every day. From their travels on boats, trains, and a stolen Jeep to them trekking through the New Caledonia rain forests for an undiscovered beetle, I felt like I was with them every step of the way. I laughed when Enid said something silly, cried for their hardships, and felt my heart pounding every time they came in contact with the police.

I loved this book because, at the end of the day, it was a testament to the power of friendship no matter how unlikely. It also gave Marjory Benson, a woman who spent her life wishing she was invisible, a chance in the spotlight. All she needed was the help of Enid to coax her shine out of her. Watching Marjory transform into a confident woman while Enid matured through Marjory’s guidance was a joy. I was rooting for their success the whole time and I just know that you will too.

Miss Benson’s Beetle was one of the best feel good books I’ve read in years and I can’t recommend it enough. I am going to rate it with the prestigious ten out of ten stars for brilliant characters, a unique story line, and the wonderfully descriptive writing of Rachel Joyce. I enjoyed it so much that I wouldn’t mind reading it again and I literally just finished it!

What are you currently reading? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

English Factory Tennis Dress

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English Factory Tennis Dress

Hello!! My favorite thing about TJMaxx, other than their amazing prices, is that it gives you access to brands that you’ve never heard of or brands that are a bit out of your budget. Both of these go for the brand English Factory, which I discovered during an online shopping stint on TJ’s website. Upon inspection of English Factory’s own page, I saw that there was really nothing on there that I would be comfortable paying for, because all of their items were upwards of one hundred dollars. But, thirty five dollars for the beautiful, albeit a tad wrinkly dress seen below? I can swing that! Take a look:

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Before we go any further – yes, this dress has been ironed since these pictures have been taken! Lol!

I haven’t had much luck recently when it comes to finding some cute new dresses. And, with summer officially here, I was getting pretty desperate to find a lightweight dress or two to wear for work or play. And then, this English Factory beauty comes along and knocks me off of my feet. As soon as I saw this online, I loved it and I was completely confident that it would look awesome on me. And, obviously I was right. So much so, that out of the seven or eight items that I ordered, this dress is the only thing that I kept.

I love the quirky retro brickabrack detailing on this little number. It looks so sailor girl chic against the crisp, white cotton and I’ve never seen anything that looks like it before. The shape is also extremely flattering on me. The more structured top that turns into a flouncy skirt gives a unique silhouette – very different than every single piece of clothing in my wardrobe. And, the best thing about this dress, is that there is a slip built into the skirt so that your underwears don’t show through. Freaking SCORE.

My new English Factory dress doesn’t need much when it comes to styling an OOTD. A fun pair of platforms and one of my new Foley + Corinna purses are all I need to create a statement look!

How would you style this dress? What are some of your favorite, lesser known brands? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

New Love Notes Cropped Button Down

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New Love Notes Cropped Button Down

Heyyyyyyy. One style of top that I have grown increasingly fond of as of late is the button down. I LOVE them and have began to accumulate quite the collection. And, my love grows even more specific, because I always seem to be drawn to blue, vertical striped button downs – like this cropped cutie by Love Notes seen below:

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  • TJMaxx Price: $13

I really freaking like this shirt and, yes, it does look fabulous underneath the sleeveless hoodie that I wrote about yesterday! This top reminds me a lot of clothing from Zara and getting it for a fraction of what it would have costed there makes it an even sweeter buy. My new Love Notes lovely shows what looks like geese in different stages of flight and it’s just a cool pattern to have over the blue stripes.

Not only is the pattern of this top unique, but so is the style of it because it’s cropped. I am so looking forward to pairing this with black shorts this summer and maybe even during the spring with tights underneath for a quirky fun look. Everything about this top is a score for me and you definitely can’t beat a thirteen dollar price tag!

What is your favorite style of top? Who else is an avid fan of the button down? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Oh, Christmas Tree

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Oh, Christmas Tree

Hello everyone and happy holiday season! My family is…eccentric to say the least. We have our quirks and distinctive personalities and I’m confident that people would pay to hear our daily banter. One of our infamous “parlor tricks” is leaving our Christmas tree up for just a little bit longer every year. First it was March, then June, then July…you get the drift. And now, our tree has just been up all year because, apparently, we like it too much to take it down. Take a look:

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My family, especially my father, loves ornaments. On vacations, I normally treat my dad to a new one as a special surprise from our travel destination. Our tree is filled to the brim with lights and baubles and it has become such a statement piece in our home that no one really questions it anymore.

Not only has our tree been up for a year now, but we decided to decorate it for the different holidays, as you can see by our Easter bunnies and eggs that are still up. We revel in our ornaments from organizations that we donate to, and we can’t pass up a good bargain. For example, the speaker that you see by the figure skater ornament (Compliments of when I competed in New York!), is attached to a four dollar strand of Rudolph themed ornaments that sing holiday carols. We were all pretty pleased with that one!

The never taken down tree in our living room has truly become a Mushenheim staple and I think that it’s hilarious. Much like a collector of coins or stamps, we take pride in our ornament collection and have it proudly displayed for the world to see…all year round. Lololol. #ohchristmastree

What is one of the quirks that you and your family share? What is the longest that you left your Christmas tree up? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

When Eclectic = Frugal

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When Eclectic = Frugal

Having an eclectic taste has been a fashionable choice for a while. It means that you don’t just go into one store, buy everything there, and have a perfectly matching house and wardrobe. Instead, you have found things that really speak to your personality and created an interior with a most interesting dynamic.

But sometimes, what eclectic means is frugal.

You didn’t shop at just one store because you know where the better deals lie. You are willing to trawl through flea markets to find a vintage sofa half price and you know that inheriting things from your parents and grandparents is the best way to fill any home.

Need a bit of help to get started? Here’s what you do:

Set A Budget & Save:

When you’re trying to get along on very little money, setting budgets for yourself is the best way to manage your finances. Not only will you see just how hard you have to work for each thing, you will also be able to set a realistic time frame to get what you want. If you can take on odd jobs here and there or find ways to make extra income, you will certainly benefit and get your want list faster.

Make a list of all of the things that you need and want in your house. This should include everything from the necessaries like a sofa to the more decorative, like mirrors or cool TV stands. Put a rough estimate on how much you would like to spend on each thing, then put them in order of priority. So, if you have nothing to sit on, the sofa will come at the top, if you already have a sofa that will do, it goes at the bottom. Now you can see how much you need to earn and save and can gradually tick things off of the list.

Make Do & Mend:

To bring the price of your list down, you should look for opportunities to make do with the things you have. Mending a sofa could be cheaper than buying a new one, so have a look at what you’ve got and see what you can do with it. This attitude is also really helpful in charity shops and flea markets that sell second hand furniture. If you think that something is salvageable, you could get a really good bargain on it. When you are in the habit of making the most of what you’ve got, buying new just won’t have the same charm.

Upcycling AKA Recycling:

Staying on the sofa theme, upcycling is often a really good way to make something old and worn new and beautiful. At the very heart of the eclectic style is the idea that you can reupholster any classic sofa in a vibrant modern fabric and achieve a completely new and beautiful look.

You should also be on the lookout for things that you can use in other ways, too. You would be surprised at the things you can make use of to great effect. Have you ever thought of using colanders as a set of bath shelves? No? Here’s how you can make that happen!

Eclectic is cool and is a great way to ball on a budget. Let your personal style shine through with quirky choices and turn your home into a charming space in no time.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Designing A Home Office With A Quirky But Professional Vibe

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Designing A Home Office With A Quirky But Professional Vibe

Today, more and more people are opting to work from home, instead of working in commercial office environments. In the US alone, 43 percent of workers work from home at least some of the time, with around 30 percent of workers working at the home front the entire time. Over the past 12 years, the number of home workers in the US has risen by 103 percent, which shows that every year more and more people are choosing this satisfying option.

Working from home is becoming an increasingly popular trend, but it’s not suited to everyone. If you are going to effectively work from home, you not only need to be a self-starter, able to motivate yourself, and good at timekeeping, but you also need to have a dedicated work space in your home. Sure, you could work from your sofa, but if you want to ensure that you are as productive as possible while working, having a dedicated space is a must.

When it comes to designing your home office, you want to create a space that has a unique look and feel to it. You want your home office to have a quirky, elegant, and professional vibe. To help you achieve this, below are some tips and ideas for designing the perfect home office:

Call In The Experts: Not too keen on DIY? Then call in the professionals! You want your home office to have the right look and feel to it, so it’s important to get the interior design plan just right. If you don’t feel like you’ve got the skills to do that yourself, it could be worth calling in the experts. Even if you already have ideas for the space, you can still use a professional interior design service. That way, you can combine your thoughts with those of the experts. All that matters is that you end up with a beautifully designed space that is a perfect fit for your needs, so if that means working with a professional designer, then it’s worth it.

Focus On Comfort & Aesthetics: However you decide to go about designing your home office, one of the most important things is to focus on comfort and aesthetics. While you want your home office to be a comfortable space to work in, you also want is it to be an aesthetically pleasing space. When it comes to selecting the features to incorporate, make sure to think carefully about both aspects – comfort and aesthetics. In terms of combining the two, it’s usually a case of picking furniture designs and styles that are chic and smart as well as comfortable. Or, if this isn’t an option, customizing a piece of furniture can also work well.

Personalize The Space: One of the major benefits of having a home office is the fact that you can personalize the space, so it’s vital that you take advantage of that. In a commercial office, you can personalize your desk to a certain extent but not in the same way that you can with a home office. It’s important to take advantage of this and use accessories and other features to personalize your home office while ensuring that it remains a professional space. It’s all about getting the balance right, is all.

If you’re working from home, a savvy office space is a must. Now, it’s up to you to create your dream space to buckle down and get to work!

Featured Image By: Flickr

Monday Update: This Or That Edition Update

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Monday Update: This Or That Edition Update

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! During a previous Monday Update, I asked for everyone’s opinion on what pair of glasses I should pick out between two equally gorgeous pairs. The choice was between a circular pair of Dolce & Gabbanas or a rectangular pair of Kliik Denmarks. I made my decision and received my new pair of glasses last week and I must say, I’m very happy with them! So what pair did I pick? Take a look and find out:

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THE DOLCE & GABBANAS!!!

Shocking, I know, because the majority of you guys picked the Kliik Denmarks as the pair that I should pick. So why did I go with the polar opposite? I guess I just liked how quirky the circular pair was. I liked that it made me feel professional but still fun and I loved how I could picture myself wearing them to school, my job, and my internship. And yes, I was totally enamored by the fact that they were Dolce & Gabbana. I’m really not a girl that goes gaga over labels but I do have a soft spot in my heart for designer eye-wear. It’s a weakness and a sickness, I tell ya!

All of the above reasons kind of sealed the deal for the D&Cs but one major “aha!” moment made me feel that much more confident in my decision. When I returned to the optometrist’s office after a weekend with both pairs of glasses to help make up my mind, I was wearing my old pair of specs. I’ve had my only pair of glasses since I was fifteen (I’m almost twenty-two, now) and it took trying the Kliik Denmark pair on one more time after I took my old glasses off to know that they were no longer the pair for me.

My pair of old faithfuls just so happens to be the exact same shape as the Kliik Denmarks except that the frames are thicker. I had no intentions of parting with my old pair of glasses so that I could have them as a backup pair and to wear them around the house on a lazy day. Once I saw that I would essentially be having two pairs of the same glasses but in different colors and widths, I knew that I made the right choice by picking the Dolce & Gabbanas.

The D&Cs were the first pair of glasses that I tried on after my eye appointment so it seems fitting that they ended up being the pair that I left with. I’m so happy with my new glasses and all of the compliments that I’ve received about them make me feel even more confident with my quirky cool choice!

So there you have it, an Update on a previous Monday Update: This Or That Edition! Has anyone purchased any new eye or sunglasses recently? How about a new pair of shoes or a purse? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: This Or That Edition

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Monday Update: This Or That Edition

Howdy everyone and happy Monday! I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend! I’ve needed to go to the eye doctor for quite some time now and finally managed to get an appointment this past Friday. After I got a new prescription for my contacts, I spent some time looking for new glasses because I’ve seriously had the same pair since I was fifteen. I found a few pairs that really spoke to me so I went home and then returned later in the day with my mom to get her opinion.

I tried on tons of different frames but I ended up returning to the two pairs that I was daydreaming about all afternoon. Two remarkably different but amazingly cute frames. A pair of red, black, and white Kliik Denmarks and a circular black and grey pair of Dolce & Gabbanas. My mom and I were really struggling to figure out which pair was the one and began to grow increasingly aware of the time crunch that we were working with as the office was closing soon.

Lucky for me, I was allowed to take both frames home for the weekend so that I could decide which one I like the best. All weekend I’ve been flip flopping between the two quirky cool pairs and I think I’ve made a decision…But I want to hear what the general public thinks, first. I’m so aware that the following selfies kind of suck but they get the job done. So take a look and then help me decide which pair I should go with:

^^^ Why must I love them both? WHY?!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: This Or That Edition! What pair of glasses do you like the best? Has anyone struggled with a glasses situation similar to mine? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJ’s Trip

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TJ’s Trip

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! As you guys know, I freaking LOVE TJMaxx. I live for all of the fabulous but affordable finds there and always enjoy a TJ’s shopping trip even if I leave empty handed. My mom and I go to TJ’s once or twice a month to see what’s new and we had one of our excursions this past weekend. We left with a scarf for both of us, a new toy for both of our dogs, and a little “Ollie sized” food dish for our most recently adopted pup. I’m seriously so in love with my BCBGeneration scarf that I can’t even handle it so take a look at the darling new addition to my wardrobe:

^^^ So cute!

Usually when my mom and I shop at TJ’s, we breeze by their selection of scarves because we don’t wear them often. However, my mom said that she would like a new and lighter one for spring so we took our time and thumbed through the many scarves that TJ’s had on display. I found my mom a lovely black, grey, and white striped scarf that looked so adorable on her so we decided to go with that one and continue scouring the store.

As we were walking away to go check out the shoes, I took one last survey of the scarves and found the only Popsicle print square scarf that was hanging up. I was instantly enamored by the whimsical pattern, creamy colors, and vintage feel of the silky BCBGeneration scarf. I knew right away that I wanted it. The scarf was the perfect amount of cute and quirky that I love and it was at just the right price of eight bucks. How can you say no to that?!

As soon as I saw the scarf, I began thinking of all of the different ways that I could wear it this spring and summer. Tied in a bow around my neck, Parisian style, as a turban, as a hair wrap, casually flung over my shoulders – the possibilities were endless! I love pieces that are versatile and can be worn during all or most seasons. This sweet little square scarf passed that requirement with flying colors!

The best part about this scarf is the pure luxury of it for such an amazing price. The rich cream, mauve, and baby blue palette just screams vintage chic and the silky material feels so fabulous to the touch. I adore the BCBGeneration brand, too, so the fact that my scarf came from their collection was another added bonus. I’m so excited to sport my quirky and sweet new scarf this season and I’m so beyond happy with my latest TJMaxx find!

My mom and I’s latest TJ’s Trip was an obvious success and I live for our monthly shopping excursions together! What is your favorite way to wear a scarf? What was the latest purchase you made while out shopping? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

New NYX Lipsticks

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New NYX Lipsticks

Hellooo everyone and happy weekend! I absolutely love the makeup brand, NYX, and I recently restocked my favorite shade of their matte lipstick and purchased a color in their new Liquid Suede cream lipstick, too. NYX has the literal best matte lipstick that I’ve ever used in my life and I swear by my go to color, Pure Red. In almost every single picture of me that I have posted on lifewithlilred, chances are that I’m wearing my favorite shade. I was running low on my lipstick so I had to snag another tube from Target and also ended up with their Liquid Suede lipstick in Stone Fox. Take a look at the packaging and my skin swatches and then let’s discuss:

Before I began using NYX’s matte lipstick, I was using Covergirl and blow drying the bejeezus out of my lips to give it the perfect matte finish. At the time, there really was no reputable matte lipsticks out in any brand so I thought that I would be stuck blow drying my lippies until they fall off. Then, one day, I stumbled upon NYX’s matte lipstick at the grocery store and was so impressed by the ones that I tested that I bought at least five different shades that day. Of course, Pure Red ended up being my favorite and I’ve been a faithful user ever since.

As soon as I saw that I was running low on my Pure Red, it was vital that I got a new tube ASAP. Thankfully, a trip to Target remedied my restocking needs and I had a brand new matte lippy stored safely in my basket. During that shopping trip, I had the insatiable urge to try something new, as well. I’ll be frank, I’m not keen on the super colorful lipstick trend. I don’t care for the blues, greens, and purples that have been flooding my Facebook and WordPress newsfeed as of late. However, I was very interested in trying to find a grey or a black lipstick to try.

I knew that NYX had recently come out with their Liquid Suede line that boasted a wide variation of colors so I was really happy to see that Target had the new collection fully stocked. They had your classic reds and pinks as well as the funky crayon box colors, too. But at the very end of their color spectrum, they had a deep grey shade called Stone Fox. It was exactly what I wanted but I was very nervous to buy it without testing it in case it looked fucking miserable. So I did what any self respecting asshole of a shopper would do…I removed the plastic wrapping on the lipstick, went to the nearest mirror in the clothing section, and gave it a try…

It. Looked. Horrible. The dark grey was just too much and I looked like a total freak. I panicked, because I didn’t know how I was going to get the color off because it was clinging to my lips for dear life. Then, I had an idea. I dug into my purse and grabbed one of my berry flavored tinted chapsticks to see if I could coax the color off by applying some moisture. I smudged on the chapstick and rubbed my lips together like I was trying to start a fire and then I examined the results in the mirror…

Not bad. Not bad at all. The Liquid Suede/chapstick combo resulted in a smokey pink with the most subtle hint of lavender and it looked so cool! I showed my mom the shade that I concocted and she loved it, too. I asked her what color she thought it was and she was dumbfounded when I told her that my custom color was born from a lipstick shade that looked like I had smeared car grease onto my mouth.

After achieving a unique kind of success with the Liquid Suede shade, I couldn’t not buy it…Especially considering I had already opened it. I tested my Berry Smokey color around my best friend and boyfriend and it was the first thing that they complimented me on when they saw me. I was so pleasantly surprised when my boyfriend noticed because makeup isn’t his forte in the slightest! Honestly, makeup really isn’t my strong point either so I was so happy that I was able to turn a totally dreadful color into something edgy and cool all on my own.

So after reading the tale of my small lipstick victory, the real question is, would I recommend the products that I purchased? If you are a fan of red lipstick, I would without a doubt recommend NYX’s Pure Red matte lipstick. It’s the most gorgeous shade of red that I have ever seen and if you don’t believe me – check out all of my pics from yesterday’s photo shoot post!

As far as NYX’s Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone Fox goes, I’m kind of wishy washy about it. If you want to look like you fell face first into wet tar, then yes, totally buy this product. If you want to create your own smokey shade by mixing it with another lipstick or balm, then yes, totally buy this product. However, if you’re looking for a subtle way to rock a dark lipstick shade, then this cream lipstick is not for you. Wearing the deep grey color alone was too much, even for me, and that’s really saying something considering I’m the queen of all things edgy and quirky. So, yes, I suppose I do recommend this product, too, but just know what you’re getting yourself into before you buy it.

All in all, I’m really pleased with my New NYX Lipsticks and I’m so happy that I found such a reliable brand to suit all of my makeup needs. What is your favorite NYX product? How do you feel about the lipsticks that I wrote about today if you use either? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah