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Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I Learned From Reading 50 Books in One Year

What I Learned From Reading 50 Books in One Year

My 50 Reading Challenge Books for 2014! 

                                                                    I've read a lot of books in my life...

I was one of those kids who would walk the halls while reading a book and simultaneously maneuver through the crazy student fraught hallways. I would read under my desk during class, during lunch, during church, and my parents would even LOCK MY BOOKS IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR as a punishment if I was naughty, which of course was completely unjust. Some of my friends' parents would PAY them for every book they read (I would have millions, MILLIONS!$$!!).

In 4th grade, I would read at my desk and when the bell rang for P.E. I would vehemently insist that OF COURSE I'd had no idea that everyone had already left the classroom except for me! This actually led to many concerned phone calls home, "Hi Mrs. Tamir, this is Alyne's teacher calling. Alyne seems to be unusually unaware of her surroundings, enough so that we think there might be cause for concern?"
Soooo... I've grown up (a little) and have used Goodreads on and off for a few years, but never consistently. Goodreads is an awesome website/app where you can track what books you have read, the books you want to read, and follow what books your friends are reading.

Last New Years Day they issued a challenge - Choose how many books you want to read this year, and Goodreads will track it for you! I decided on 50 books.  It's a nice round number, and about one book a week (I gave myself two bonus weeks for when life gets in the way)! Today, I finished my 50th book!!! Yaaayyyy fiesta party party!! This was my first real New Year's resolution that I made AND kept. Movin' on and up in life guys ;)

So today I am going to share with you just a few of my favorites. Also included are a few books to stay faaar far away from, and also a few that I maybe shouldn't admit I have read? I hope you enjoy and get some ideas for what YOU want to read in 2015!


"The Story of the Trapp Family Sisters" - Maria Augusta Trapp

Do you love The Sound of Music? Do you love gorgeous mountains in Europe? Do you love FAMILY AND ALL THAT IS GOOD? Then you will love this book that is all.


"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" - Laura Hillenbrand

Another book they're making into a movie! AMAZING story about a guy with a CRAZY AMAZING LIFE. He's a survivor guys. Much interesting, such fascinate, much inspire.


"The Twelve little Cakes" - Dery Dominika

I LOVED THIS BOOK! And I'd never heard of it! Such a cute/real life story of life in Czechoslovakia under Communist Russia (doesn't sound "cute" as i'm writing that last sentence but it really really is). Dominikas family is such an amazing example of being positive, constructive, and resilient in the face of extreme hardships and adversity. Sooo great LOVE.


"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" - Mindy Kaling

Ok so obviously I am in love with Mindy Kaling, and her book is as hilarious, informative, and wonderful as she is.


We are BFF's don't even worry about it

"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" 
How my Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or less -Ryan Terry

So this lady has 10 kids, an alcoholic husband (he's not all bad though), and pretty much lives in the middle of nowhere. And YET she makes ends meet by winning promotional contests for limericks and jingles hosted by big companies! Hers are consistently chosen out of THOUSANDS of entries, and she uses her hard work and talent to raise a great family and fight for them to have the best she can provide.

"Yes, Chef" - Marcus Samuelsson

RAISE your hand if you are in love with the Food Network (yes all hands should be raised). Marcus Samuelsson, a judge on Chopped, has written or co-written or whatever a really inspiring book. He was adopted from Ethiopia by Swedes. He is very relatable and is also brave enough to share some of his most personal and private life experiences that helped him reach where he is. Reading his story has enriched my life personally :)


"Escape from Camp 14"
One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West - Blain Harden

Luckily the title of this book also serves as a perfect plot summary! I like to read books that teach me about real people in our real world, and this is an awesome amazing story. Compelling, interesting, and TRUE.




"The Goldfinch" - Donna Tartt

Great interesting book! It's a bestseller for a reason. Avoided reading it for a while because I thought the cover was boring (oops), but am so glad I tried it out anyhow! Such a great story that teaches about art, history, and people. Very well written. Even though it was over 700 pages, it was easy and compelling to read!


"The Time Traveler's Wife" -
Audrey Niffenegger

(Lessbehonest...I almost feel a little racist just writing her last name)
Everyone in the world likes this book and ME DO TOO! It's cute, and interesting, and good. I rike it.


"The Shoemakers Wife" - Adriana Trigliani

T_T <---face crying tears. This book made my face cry tears (as illustrated). It's about love, beauty, family, Italy, and America. The simple life. Beautiful.


BEST OF "Let's Pretend I Never Read That"

"I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends"
Confessions of a Reality Show Villain - Courtney Robertson

So maybe I read this, and maybe it was great. NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE. But theoretically this is the "tell all" of the super hated Courtney Robertson from Season 16 of the Bachelor. And maybe it's good. And maybe I LOVE IT.


"Kris Jenner...And All Things Kardashian" - Kris Jenner

What? Alyne?? TWO reality TV show books on your best-of list???  WHAT IS THIS?! I'm sorry but maybe I also love the Kardashians a little and thank goodness Kris Jenner loves to overshare because then I. GET. TO. READ IT! Bonus: Inside info on the OJ Simpson case! (I know I sound like the cover of OK! Magazine)


                                                 BEST BOOKS ON HOW TO BE FRENCH 

(because maybe I read enough of these to have a "best of" list. So sue me French people are cooler than everyone just admit it).

"French Women Don't Get Facelifts"
The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude - Mireille Guiliano

This lady has a cult following of lovers and haters. I am one of the LOVERSSSS. Listen, she can sound snooty and elitist sometimes but I DON'T CAAARE I still love her <3  All I want to know is what face cream she uses and what she eats and everything about her and all French people and she TELLS ME so I am grateful. Maybe I too can someday aspire to be as successfully elitist and rich-like as she is ;)


"Lessons From Madame Chic" 
The Trop 20 THings I Learned While Living in Paris - Jennifer L. Scott

Why I am to like this book?  It had some great points about life: Enjoy what you're doing! Enjoy cleaning! Don't watch too much TV!. Dress presentably! Don't spend a lot of time and money on your hair every day! Go with your natural style, wavy, curly, or straight! Eat well! Take time to host dinner parties! [And invite me! ;) ] Don't save all your good things, use them now! Why wait? Every day c'est une occasion.



"The Glass Castle" - Jeanette Walls

Addicting. Similar to "The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio" (above), a girl with a CRAZY vegabondish childhood overcoming her life obstacles.


"Unbearable Lightness" 
A Story of Loss and Gain - Portia de Rossi

Sucks you in! Portia de Rossi is Ellen Degeneres' wife. Great book that gives great information on how it is to deal with anorexia and eating disorders. Very enlightening and well written.


"Global Mom" - Melissa Bradford

A little long winded, but great useful information if you're ever planning on living abroad! She lives in Paris, Munich, Singapore (and more), but of course I was most interested in Paris! The book also has info on living abroad with kids. It explores the loss of one of her children as well.



"Out of the Easy" - Ruta Sepetys

I read this book's title and was like, "That makes me think of people being easy for some reason". RIGHT I WAS. This books is literally about bathshebas. prostitutes. WHORESOMES. (Also so maybe now "whore synonyms" is in my search history?) This was just super boring and lame (Sorry, Ruta <3). THOU SHALT NOT READ IT.


"Wild" - Cheryl Strayed

So as you've probably heard they're making this bestseller into a movie with REESE WITHERSPOON (aka Wreath Witherspoon thanks to the brilliant Mindy Kaling). I love Reese just as much as anyone but I HATE DIS BOOK. BAH humbug. It's written badly! The voice of the woman narrating is annoying (sorry I'm sure you're a nice lady?)! And the final cardinal sin, it that is BOORINGGGZZZ #sorrynotsorrybutalittlesorryalso


         THANKS FOR READING and I hope you got a few ideas! You can see my (and other peoples!) reviews and ratings of all 50 books HERE on Goodreads!  I'm deciding if I want to redo this challenge again in 2015, so PLEEEASE leave amazing great inspiring book suggestions below! OR ELSE. Just kidding. But really. A lot of the books I read this year were actually suggestions from you guys when I asked on facebook :) Thanks again for all your great ideas, and thanks again for reading!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 Tips on How to Look Cute While Wearing Garments!

[Don't what what garments are? Here is a video that explains it.]

            Onceee upon a time I got engaged. It was an awesome engagement, and happened on an island in Fiji, with the sun was shining, and my little island skirt was blowing in the wind. My fiance even captured it on video (you can watch it here)! Everything was great. All set to be married, we returned to Utah, and I was endowed in the lovely Manti temple. My Mom came in all the way from Los Angeles, my fiance’s family drove up from Toquerville, and we had a great time! THEN...darkness fell. The evening was approaching, and it was time for me to get all beautified for my bridal shower which was that very same day. I had to put on clothes. But first, I had to put on...GARMENTS.
         Let’s just say, it was not a fun time. After trying on multiple outfits I realized something. I would NEVER LOOK CUTE AGAIN. This simple truth took hold and I threw myself on my dirty BYU housing basement carpet floor in a fit of despair. My fiance looked on, trying to comfort me (and probably himself at having gotten engaged to me), telling me I looked great, and that of course I would get used to being 100 degrees hotter constantly! But I wasn’t to be comforted. I laid on the ground and cried for over an HOUR. Eventually I calmed down. But I was more resigned to my dark fate than at peace with my garmented future. I went to my bridal shower and had a great time with great people...but the struggle was real.
        I’ve always had a hard time with my body, so making me wear, essentially, a BODY SUIT underneath my clothes was enough to push me right over the edge. Now, after having worn them for 2 years, 2 months, and 13 days, I’ve learned some tips and tricks from my sage friends, superiors, and testing things out myself. I hope this helps you at least a bit, and if you have any other amazing ideas to help us all out, PLEEEASE share your wisdom with us in the comments!! Without further ado…

10 Tips on How to Look Cute While Wearing Garments!

1.) Tailor Your Garments: Fun fact! If you go to the distribution center where you purchase garments, you can actually have a worker take your measurements and order custom fitted garments (at no additional cost), and then ship them right to your house. What? Yes. It's true.  Free custom tailoring? I think YES.


2.) Keep it Simple. Get rid of clothes that you know just don’t work with garments. Try to avoid too many awkward layers because T-shirts under sun dresses are basically the equivalent of socks with sandals (haha jkjkkkk but really). Look for classic silhouettes that work for you and that are a good mix of not too tight, which shows garment lines, but not so baggy that it’s shapeless! I think you get the idea :D

O hai doge

3.) Carinessa!! Carinessa is my BFF. We go camping together, take long walks on the beach, and even brush our teeth together :D BESTIES. Carinessa tops are hands down, the best tops for modern girls. I am sooo glad they exist!! They’re more spandexy, so they stay close to your body without poking out and billowing wherever they please. Wear them under your bra to achieve a more natural look. Carinessa bottoms are great to wear with skinny jeans and leggings, because they stay close to your body and don’t roll up as much (or at all). They also travel well because they are extremely wrinkle resistant! Remember that Carinessa is a warmer material and holds in some heat! This is awesome for winter, buuut less awesome for summer. Not that I stop wearing them in summer but theoretically.

4.) Sweaters are Better-s: Big boxy knit sweaters, loose thin drapey sweaters, all the sweaters!  All the most fashion-ista-y girls I talked to are huge proponents of the sweater look. Sweaters look great because they are longer, and thicker. They lengthen you out, conceal garment lines, and they’re really simple to match! Both open sweaters (like open fronted cardigans) and pullovers look great. I'm also including tunics here. Tunics are often a great choice! Tunics are essentially longer shirts. One of my main problems with garments is that I feel like they make outfits look bulkier. Tunics are a great way to make you look longer and leaner. Plus, they very easily conceal the line around your waist from the bottoms! But make sure you buy tunics that look good on you! A badly fitting tunic (too clingy, too wide, too long) can be no bueno and make you look more like a big plastic bag than you'd probably like.

5.) Layer it up: Layers! I sometimes hate layers because maybe I am soooo lazy and more layers = pulling more clothes over my head. Also I'm always afraid I'll end up looking a tiny bit homeless. Nevertheless, layers done right can make a good outfit into a great outfit, and your garments will be completely concealed and unobtrusive! There are lots of cute undershirts that you can wear as a base (many girls favorites are from DownEast). Then, layer using fun sweaters, vests, ponchos, or jackets over them. Below, Sarah is showing us how layering is done!

6.) A-lines and pencil skirts: Pencil skirts have high waists that line up with the Carinessa waistline for a smooth long look. These are great for the working ladies out there in professional settings, or anytime you want to look chic, really! Drisilque is also a good material option for the bottoms here, because it’s lighter and keeps you cooler if you are running around to meetings. DriSilque is also a bit higher up on the thigh fyi, so you don’t have to worry about your garments poking out as much.

7.) Get some “extra help”: Skin Tape, Spanx, demi tees- these are all great extra’s that can really make a difference! Skin tape can hold your shirt in place so that your garment doesn’t slip out. You tape your shirt (not your garment) to your skin, so that it doesn’t sashay around wherever it pleases. Skin tape also can be used to close the gaps with button down shirts (hurrah!). Spanx are great when you’ve got any lumpiness going on; you don’t need to wear them to look smaller, but you can definitely wear them to look smoother. Downeast has demi-tees which are thin undershirts that only cover your bra and shoulders (not your stomach). These are great to wear under sheer shirts, and they hide the obvious garment neckline!

8.) Nips and Tucks: If you dislike garment lines on your thighs, then wear the capri length bottoms! These go past your knee so there’s no thigh line to speak of. Also, almost always you should tuck your top into the bottoms!! This stops bunching, movement, and keeps a smooth silhouette. Make sure your bottoms aren’t too tight/small, because if they are, they will create a lovely little pooch from the pressure of the waistband :) Also, get your tops in long, and your bottoms in petite. Long tops make it so much easier to keep your garments tucked in, and if you bend over, nothing will be accidentally revealed to bystanders. Petite bottoms have lower waistlines, so your garments aren't pulled practically up to your chest like "grannie panties"!


9.) Buy ALL the things: One thing that this article can’t do is try on the garments for you! Garments are pretty affordable, so GO CRAZY and try new materials and sizes! From mesh to silk to thermals, garments come in all varieties- they even make special garments for the armed forces! Best case scenario: you find some awesome new garments that fit better with some of your favorite outfits! Worst case scenario: you end up being EXTRA grateful for your Carinessa and DriSilque as you shudder at the garments of the past!

10.) REMEMBER THE WHY!: Why are we wearing garments? We talked about the How, but one thing to always remember is the “why”. Learning about garments can help us to appreciate what they really mean. If garments were merely another layer of clothes to deal with, then why would we wear them? Really thinking about and studying the meaning behind them can make a big impact on how you feel towards your garments on a daily basis. I didn’t think I would, but I really loved the Church’s recent video about them. It helped me connect and relate it to other cultures, and how they value sacred garments as well.

          Anyways, oooobviously I am no expert, but I hope this at least gives you somewhere to start! I initially had a way hard time with garments, but now I hardly think about it! I also drew mucho wisdom from my awesome and much more fashionable friends: Natalie, Sarah, Lauren, Jessica, and Megan! Thanks so much for reading! And I wish you a life full of joyful shopping trips ;)  

XOxoxoxoxoxo Alyne

Sunday, January 5, 2014

25 Things to Do Instead of Getting Married Before You're 25, a Response to a Response

         Oh lawdy.

        Well my husband (husband?! she has a husband?! but she looks so YOUNG and BEAUTIFUL oh stop it you) suggested that I write this article since I had a preeeetty strong reaction to the first article, "23 things to do instead of getting engaged before you're 23". I am not linking to it because I hate it. I think my comment on the article was something along the lines of "You're an idiot" and "I cannot even DEAL" mature, I know.

        I have NOTHING against staying single until kingdom come! I also have nothing against people getting married whenever they want and are ready! Luckily Taylor wrote a great article pointing out the 1 million inconsistencies and wrong things in the original article. I will point out a few myself.

        FIRST of all, she touts her list as things married people can't do. Obviously she has serious mental problems and we should get her some help because married people can do 90% of things on that list. Wait WHAT as a married woman I can't #10 Cut my hair or #4 Adopt a pet?!?!? Well thank you for enlightening me because I love animals and didn't know that being married prevented me from adopting one! And wow I can't cut my hair?! I sure screwed that one up, I've done it probably 4 or 5 times since I got married!

        And let's talk about #15 Disappoint your parents and #22 Be Selfish. Actually let's NOT talk about them because they are SO DUMB AND AHHHH I can't handle it kill me now. I almost don't even want to write an article refuting things because they are so OBVIOUSLY ridiculous - but apparently thousands of people think this girl is a genius, so I'm just here to tell you that for sure she is not.

        OKAY! Onto positive things. The world is a big place and there is a lot of stuff to do and to learn about. I know I feel stagnant sometimes and life can get bleak, but from my experience, if you wait it out it will eventually get better, at least for a while :) And there are things you can do on the upswings that will get your endorphins going and your face smiling. And with no further ado, a list of things that even married people can do.

                                                       To the list!

1.) Travel the world!  Something anyone can do!

                                 When we lived in Brazil for 2 months                                 

2.) Laugh at your mistakes

Burned a stove top onto our strainer!

3.) Seek some thrills you've always thought sounded fun!

4.) Create art!

My husband, a MARRIED man, successfully painted a fox

5.) Go horseback riding

Married people! Doing things!?

6.) Enjoy art! 

Banksy in Park City

7.) Visit and hang out with your single friends

We didn't forget about our friends once we got married :)

8.) Grow an epic beard and then SHAVE IT OFF YAY (this is more for men).

Before and after
9.) Hike to a waterfall

Kanarraville Falls 

10.) Go on a road trip! Drive instead of fly!

Lovely Colorado
11.) Try something new

Roller-biking anyone?

12.) Get your camp on - being outdoors is a great change of pace

Camping with family at Galilee!

13.) Find a great view!


14.) Visit a national park, or somewhere breathtaking!

Grand Canyon

15.) Find ways to make errands fun
Even if it's shopping and sooomeone is bored ;)

16.) Get your DIY on!

Yay power tools!

14.) Go to a local festival

A photobooth at Sundance Film Festival

15.) Listen to and watch TED Talks, and download inspiring and eye opening podcasts (like radiolab)!

Or just take selfies in airports?

16.) Visit relatives you haven't seen for a while or that you didn't know you had!


17.) Enjoy the water!

Jet skiing in San Diego!

18.) Start a business and create jobs! My husband did this (here) and it's a blast!

The girl in the first article said to do this when you're single. But guess what, married people start businesses too!

Some of the employees at the office

19.) Do more service! (Come with us to serve in Fiji this Spring!)

Serving and being served in beautiful Fiji!

20.) Bake cookies for someone!

And if you royally fail, just visit a friend without em!
21.) Spend time with animals!

Horse in Cambodia!
21.) Visit a museum

Assyrian Guards

22.) Grab some friends and make a cool video!

Star Wars Parkour in Goblin Valley

23.) Invite new friends over for a meal!

Being social helps you live longer says science
24.) Look at old pictures and reminisce!

In my Mom's wedding dress
25.) And finally, make time to spend time with your family! 

                                                         Whoa you read the whole thing!


p.s. I'm going to try to do a post for travelling on a budget soon...