My Favorite Reads 001

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a voracious reader. Books were one of my first passions and to this day I love nothing more than losing myself in a good book. I thought it might be fun to check in time to time with what I’ve been recently reading and loving. I tend toward a mix of business-oriented nonfiction and really good modern literature. The occasional so-called chick lit definitely makes the list, but generally I like things a bit deeper. I’m also not really into mysteries or suspense novels, but it’s possible I just haven’t stumbled upon an author that really sucks me in yet in that department. So with that said, here are four books I’ve recently read and absolutely loved. What have you been reading lately? Any suggestions? I’d love to to check out your recommended reads!

Recent Reads from @cydconverse

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso
There’s a lot of buzz about this book right now and, lest you should think it’s just fluff, I’m here to assure you that there’s good reason for all the hype. Penned by the founder of Nasty Gal, this book is loaded with incredible insight on creating a business and a brand, working hard and surpassing all your goals and expectations. Sophia shares her personal rise from girl selling vintage clothes on eBay to high-powered CEO of a $100 million fashion empire. The story is inspiring, the advice is no nonsense and I personally highlighted more passages and quotes from this book than I can even tell you. This is a definite must-read for any would-be female entrepreneur.

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
I actually just read this book for a second time after first reading it in 2012 and I’m glad I took the time. Author Gretchen Rubin shares her own journey toward a happier life and the steps she experimented with along the way to get there. Detailing the process she underwent, everything from cleaning out her closets to making more time for family and enjoying hobbies, Gretchen pairs anecdotes from her personal life with a ton of research into what makes people happy in a way that shows how we can all achieve greater happiness and contentment in our everyday lives. If you’re feeling frazzled, overwhelmed or just kind of ho-hum lately, this is my pick for you!

Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple
This is one of those reads I picked up in an airport bookstore assuming it fell into the aforementioned chick lit category, but which actually ended up being surprisingly more complex than I expected. The story centers on a family that on the surface appears to be a pretty average family, and evolves into a study of human emotion, the complexity of relationships and what motivates each of us to do the things we do. It was definitely one of those books that surprised me by being really good, when ultimately I was expecting a light upbeat read and not much more. Definitely worth the read!

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
This book. Guys, I can’t even tell you. I just finished this book over the weekend and blew through it in about two days flat. It gutted me. The story follows a young woman seemingly stuck in an ordinary life and all the ways her world changes when she’s hired as a caretaker for a man who became a quadriplegic following a horrific accident. I went into the first chapters expecting the book to be one thing and by the time I finished the last chapter I was outright sobbing. It has been a long time since a book has gotten to me like this and now I’m really intrigued about the movie, due out next year. Read this book. Trust me. Just be sure to have lots of tissues handy!

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2014 Reader Survey + Giveaway

Hey, gang! I’m popping in this morning with a little request. This time of year gets kind of crazy for those of us bloggers in the lifestyle/entertaining/DIY realm as holiday prep and projects step into high gear. (In fact, some holiday stuff begins as early as July for me every year!) I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking about The Sweetest Occasion and how to grow it into something truly awesome and after months of feeling stuck, I’m finally feeling really excited about some changes I’m hoping to make. As I’m sifting through those ideas, I would love if you’d take a moment to take this year’s reader survey! The survey helps me to learn a little bit more about you, what makes you tick, what posts and features you love, and how I can continue to evolve The Sweetest Occasion in a really great way. Bonus! One lucky survey participant will receive a $50 J.Crew gift card as my personal thank you for contributing your thoughts and ideas. And no worries – the survey is short and sweet, just 10 questions!

DIY Bouquet by @cydconverse

If you feel so obliged, you can take the survey here. Many thanks in advance, you’re all rockstars and I’m you’re biggest fan. xoxo

p.s. Please note that in order to be entered in the giveaway you’ll need to provide your email address. (Only completed surveys will be eligible to win.) Your answers will remain completely anonymous and your email address will never be shared! The survey is open now through Sunday, September 14 and the winner will be contacted early next week!

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[Photo by Alice G. Patterson | Styling by Cyd Converse | See the original DIY post. ]

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Three Bloody Mary Recipes + Friday Link Love

This week has gone by in a blur! With the start of the school year, my sister flying home from Florida for the week and working on some behind the scenes things prepping for the upcoming fall and holiday season, I can’t even believe it’s Friday already. We have another super busy weekend on deck, not the least of which will be spending Sunday watching football. With the pro season officially kicking off last night, it’s time for tailgating, the best Bloody Mary recipes (of which I’ve rounded up three for you), and prepping for sweater weather. Even though today it’s already pushing 90 degrees and sweaters are the last thing I want. Be sure to scroll down for your weekly dose of link love and happy weekend, friends! xoxo

Best Bloody Mary Recipes from @cydconverse

[Cheeseburger Bloody Mary | Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar | Wasabi Bloody Mary.]

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Shop By Color: Emerald

Jewel tones have always been my favorites and over the last couple of years emerald has been the champion of the cause with me. As we head into fall, I’m loving this rich, gorgeous shade of green. Perhaps not coincidentally, I’m also loving malachite and banana leaf patterns at the moment, which are popping up in more and more places so there’s no stopping my emerald-loving ways at the moment. Pair this lovely linen shirt with your favorite boyfriend jeans and a stack of gold bangles and you’re in business. Or rock this canvas tote to and from the office. Any way you work it, emerald is my pick for pretty fall accessories.

Shop by Color: Emerald from @cydconverse

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[Shop | 1: Throw blanket | 2: Camp tote bag | 3: Malachite earrings | 4: Banana leaf chair | 5: Monogram stationery | 6: Linen shirt.]

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Color Palette: Wildflower + Old Gold

Hello, sweet friends! Did everyone have a nice weekend? I know we loved having an extra day to relax and tackle a few last minute preparations in advance of the school year kicking off tomorrow. Actually, I still have a couple of loose ends to tie up today so that the kiddos are ready for tomorrow and then tomorrow afternoon my sister flies in for a few days so this week already feels like it’s going to shape up to be another busy one. In the meantime, let’s talk about this color palette, which in my mind is bridging the transition from summer to fall. Our yard is still spotted with colorful wildflowers, but already the sun is stretching a bit lower into the sky and evenings getting a bit more golden as the days inch shorter and shorter. So this fuchsia, magenta and gold color palette seems to fit the season perfectly at the moment. Hold on at least a little longer, summer! I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet.
Color Palette: Wildflower and Old Gold from @cydconverse

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[Photos, from top: Wendy's Lookbook | Hello Natural | Avenue Lifestyle.]

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