Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring 2017 Reading List

Spring 2017 Reading List | Kayla Lynn
Ever since reading The Couple Next Door back in February, I have been itching for more one-off mystery books to read (something that's NOT part of a huge mystery series like the Alex Cross books). I don't really have the attention span to commit to a series, and The Couple Next Door was SO GOOD you guys. I finished it in three days, I didn't want to put it down. I'm currently almost done with The Woman In Cabin 10, which in my opinion had the potential to be much better, but that means I'm on the hunt for new books to read. I'm also in need of a bookcase so that Ryan and I'd books can stop sitting in piles on the ground by our living room, but that's a separate matter entirely.

On my reading list this time around I've rounded up a couple more mystery books as well as some short story collections, feels good stories, and even a futuristic dystopian novel (because you need to mix things up every now and then, right?).

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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2. The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy
When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.
Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.
In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed—and of what is eternal.

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3. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
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4. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

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5. Bear Town by Frederik Backman
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

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6. American War by Omar El Akkad
An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

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7. Moonglow by Michael Chabon
In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.
From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of the “American Century,” the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.
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8. What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah
A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. 
In “Who Will Greet You at Home,” a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In “Wild,” a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions. 

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9. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Her perfect life is a perfect lie.
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.
But Ani has a secret.
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

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That's all folks! Comment below to let me know what's on your reading list this spring.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
Photo: Living Gazette
As some of my previous home tour posts have suggested, I am sinking deeper and deeper in love with wallpaper every single day (Pinterest has undoubtedly fueled my newfangled obsession). And with so many apartment-friendly removable wallpapers available out there, papering up your walls is now possible even if you live in an apartment or rent any sort of property where permanent changes to the space are frowned upon by your landlord. I'm becoming more and more in love with the idea of installing this etched graphite forest mural from Anthropologie in the bedroom (although I don't think the S.O. would be on board with it, no matter how "removable" the wallpaper claims to be). Sigh.

No matter if you're going for fun, chic, edgy, or subtle, there is guaranteed to be a wallpaper out there perfect for your design needs. If you're still a non-believer in the power of papering your walls or if you're in need of some inspiration then this is a post you simply can't miss. Scroll on for an epic dose of inspiration and to shop my faves!

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Living Gazette
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Coco Kelley
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
This green forest mural above from Rebel Walls is one of my all-time favorites. I've probably pinned about a dozen different photos of it, from the time that it was an adorable nursery to the day it transformed into a more calm, adult-centered space. I daresay it's the wallpaper that launched a thousand nurseries, and images of this room continue to be heavily circulated on Pinterest. Hands down, Emily Henderson and her design team are the CHAMPIONS of tasteful wallpaper. 

Check out more examples below:

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Bliss at Home
I've tried the whole laying out your gallery wall on the floor first thing and no matter what, I always feel a need to rearrange things once it's actually on the wall. Which means that I've managed to put a fair amount of holes in the wall (sorry about it). I'd be terrified of trying to hang a gallery wall ON TOP of a wallpapered wall; once you make a hole in the paper it's permanent, so I have serious respect for this gallery wall above! It's a commitment, but it looks amazing.

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Homepolish
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Decor Pad
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
Photo: sfgirlbybay
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Sugar and Cloth
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: The Pink House
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: My Domaine
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Emily Henderson
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
 Photo: Coco Kelley
Cassandra Lavalle is another designer whose home styling I can't get enough of (and she's local!). This attic space was recently renovated from a dressing room to a home office, and that wallpaper is without a doubt my favorite feature in the room. If you have the time I highly recommend popping over to her blog and seeing some of her previous One Room Challenge entries (as well as the kitchen remodel!). You won't be sorry.

These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
Photo: Rue Mag
These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper | Kayla Lynn
Photo: Lark & Linen 

Wallpaper Roundup | Kayla Lynn

Which wallpaper is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to share if you liked this post. 


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Favorite Pieces for Summer Entertaining

My Favorite Pieces for Summer Entertaining | Kayla Lynn

Ebony Stripe Placemat / Ebony Black Round Placemat (on sale) / Formoria Dinner Plate / Dauville Side Plate (on sale) / Gold Hammered Napkin Rings / Gray Stripe NapkinGold Hammered Tray / Gray Cooking ApronOceana Platter 

Please note: I'm not that skilled with Photoshop and I'm fully aware of the fact that some of my cutouts are downright janky. I apologize in advance, Photoshop doesn't really like objects with gold rims. 

Al fresco dining season is just around the corner (even though it doesn't feel like it here in Seattle), and I for one am excited to finally be able to make use of the outdoor patio at my apartment. I'm eager to sort of just gloss over this terrible spring that we are having and jump right ahead to the summer! No matter if you're fortunate enough to have sunny spring weather or if you're still dealing with the rainclouds like the rest of us in the PNW, there are still a variety of entertaining staples available to choose from to host a stylish get-together. I for one am loving these mussel shell inspired platters from Anthopologie (I'm a total seafood lover)! Check out my selections above!

Monday, April 10, 2017

6 Stunning Seattle Area Homes to Envy (Part I)

6 Stunning Seattle Area Homes to Envy | Kayla Lynn

Happy Spring! I just had the shocking realization that I only made three blog posts during the whole month of March (yikes). In my defense, I was out of town visiting a friend and taking in the Virginia-DC area for almost a week, and then right after I got home bam. Hit with a really terrible head cold (that I'm STILL trying to shake). Hopefully this month you see a better turn out from me but there are only so many hours in a day! 10:30am to 10pm are basically spoken for between my job as a barista and my commute, and I girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to pay those annoying little things called bills.

Today, though, I'm looking to share a post that I've been wanting to do for a while! Up until the last year or so, my own little bubble of blogs that I check in on religiously had me dreaming of living somewhere like LA, New York, San Francisco, or London and just wishing that my own gray and drizzly corner of the universe called Seattle had an inkling of the creative talent that other cities seemed to be teeming with. Bohemian bungalows, ultra chic and modern condos, lovely sun-drenched kitchens and outdoor sitting areas, I dreamt of it all! And I was dead convinced that there just wasn't any design talent to be found in the Pacific Northwest. Boy was I wrong.

Upon taking a closer look into the community around me, I've come to find that I never gave Seattle nearly enough credit. There are many fashion and interior design creatives located right here in the Seattle area that are fueling a look and style all their own, and I have found a whole host of beautiful homes and designers to be inspired by. So without further ado, I present to you part one of my adventure into Pacific Northwest interior design.

Home #1: A Charming & Elegant Tudor

Designer: Katie & Paul Hackworth of H2 Design + Build

There is a lot to love in this beautiful brick Tudor-style home in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood (I would LOVE to own a Tudor). The designers fused both traditional and modern influences in this home, accentuating the home's 1930s architecture with vintage and traditional elements while also adding in updated amenities and a smattering of modern furniture pieces. I love the black and white tiles that greet you the instant you walk in; the splash of pattern is a pleasant surprise in an otherwise minimal entryway. And let's talk about that wallpaper in the dining room. It's stunning! Wallpaper is definitely making a comeback, and there are many more options nowadays than there used to be just a few years ago (say goodbye to grandma's pink and cream floral walls). Wallpaper can make a very bold impact without having to apply paint, and while I'm terrified of the idea of applying it myself the countless examples of beautiful wallpapering I've seen in recent weeks makes me think I have to really consider it (check out one design team's use of wallpaper in a stunning Los Feliz home here and here).

There are many more amazing photos of this home, check them out as well as shop the look over on My Domaine!

House #2: A Bright & Airy Boho Home

Designer: Heidi Caillier

By far, may favorite feature of this house is the KITCHEN. I love the white upper cabinets in contrast to the dark navy lower cabinets and mixed with brass hardware. Something between this and Kate Arends of Wit and Delight's kitchen would be my ultimate dream scenario. In addition to the kitchen, I also love the whimsical and eclectic gallery wall that has been curated for the dining room area. Plus notice the white fur pelt draped over one of the chairs, just like in the previous home. It's a great way to introduce warmth and texture to a space otherwise dominated by hard wooden objects. You can get a simple faux sheepskin rug from Ikea for only $15, and you can drape it or layer it over just about anything!

I love that there is a touch of greenery in just about every photo. Branches and other leafy foliage create a wonderful bohemian vibe and add a lot of color and vibrancy; flowers (while wonderful) can't be allowed to steal the entire show! To see the rest of this home, visit Rue Daily

Home #3: A Simple and Balanced Creative Home

Designer: Brian Paquette

Next up is a really awesome space from Seattle designer Brian Paquette. His influences stem from fine art, locally-sourced and handmade materials, and architectural space. I for one love the thought and design that went into this formerly blank and personality-less space. The show-stopping feature is definitely that dining room (and once again we see an example of well-designed wallpaper at work). From the mineral patterned wall to the lucite chairs and Apparatus chandelier, everything feels very luxe and high-fashion. It's a space where modern, artistic, and traditional elements combine to create something really wonderful. A++! The rest of the home feels very curated and balanced, with many masculine industrial elements being countered by soft feminine fabrics and patterns. I LOVE the Moroccan influence scattered subtly throughout the house. This space proves that Brian Paquette is a designer to watch in the future.

You can check out more photos and shop the look over at My Domaine.

Home #4: A Small, Moody Loft with Big Style

Designer: Brian Paquette

I couldn't resist including another home designed by Brian Paquette. He's definitely a big player in the Seattle design scene, and as thus it makes sense that he has multiple beautiful design products to highlight. This small 750-square-foot construction in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood (think Amazon headquarters) packs a really big style punch for its size. According to the designer, his clients wanted everything in the home to be something that they loved, not simply a placeholder on a wall or shelf. With this in mind, Paquette set to work creating a warm, comfy space that I for one would love to cozy up in during Seattle's gray and rainy winter months (and spring months, apparently, because I still haven't seen much sunshine around here). The loft makes use of blue and gray tones by pairing them with creamy beige and and white accents (like the crisp white linens on the bed and the cowhide rug in the living room). This loft has no shortage of throws and cozy textiles draped throughout, and the couple's commitment to creating a cozy yet minimal space really shows. I'll forgive the lack of artwork on the walls. 

See more photos on My Domaine.

House #5: The Bold Boho Home of a Seattle Designer

Designer: Jillian Scott of Carl and the Wolf

I'm telling you, wallpaper is IN! Not only in the form of pattern, but in mural form as well (I'm crushing really hard on this one from Anthropologie). It adds instant intrigue and style, and I for one and for it (check out another great mural example here). The jungle mural with a prowling leopard is a really fun yet stylish touch to a young boy's playroom. It creates a perfect environment for letting one's imagination run wild, and playmates will no doubt enjoy it just as much as adult visitors! It's a win-win. I also love a well-curated gallery wall, and this one is no exception. I love the mix of vintage portraits, prints, framed foliage, and funky little face sculptures. It has SO much more personality than a generic gallery wall comprised of all prints (not that I don't like prints). The entire house is filled with quirky and fun elements that makes the space flat out fun to be in and look at. Every time I look at the photos I spot a fun item that I hadn't seen before. I'm in love with the light pendant in the first photo; the brass complements the dark walls and white ceiling exceptionally. This is definitely one of my favorite homes to take in!

You can see more photos as well as read Rue Magazine's interview with Jillian Scott over here.

Home #6: A Personal Stylist's Bright, Colorful Home

Designer: Tiffany Wendel 

While the kitchen of personal stylist Tiffany Wendel says farmhouse, the rest of her home screams anything but. The white cabinets, butcher block counters, and checkered floors have all the makings of a quaint and sunny farm kitchen, with a touch of glam from the two golden pendents (I love them! It's like a pair of golden eggs which honestly is perfect). Moving throughout the rest of the house, you begin to see much more color at work. Darkly painted walls and lucite chairs in the dining room transition to a bright living room complete with a pair of pink flamingo statues, pink vases, and a sunny yellow couch (proof that the color yellow can add a lot to a space). Fun textiles can be found throughout, from cowhide in the living room to a vintage rug and soft sheepskin in the bedroom (seriously, just go to Ikea and get a couple). There even a bit of unknown fabric hanging off the end of the dining room table which is funky but definitely interesting. Each room in this home has it's own unique look and personality, which to me perfectly reflects the diverse range of moods and styles that most people exhibit from day-to-day. 

You can see more photos over at Coco Kelley