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July 10, 2016

what the hell is going on around here?

You may or may not have noticed (you didn't notice, no one is reading this, Alessia) that I haven't really been around here for a while. I have an hour or so to kill and just my computer to keep me busy, so I figured that this is as good a time as any to update you all on my life and the downfall of this blog, which was once a very passionate hobby of mine.

It's not to say that I don't love this blog anymore, because I really, really still do. It's just that the things I used to write about — recipes, beauty products, project life, nannying, etc. — are no longer huge parts of my life. I leave my house at seven in the morning and don't return until seven at night. If I make myself eggs for dinner instead of ordering in, I call that a success. The beauty products I used to try after spending hours watching YouTube videos and even more hours contemplating and testing them in Sephora, are no longer products I have time for. Concealer, powder, mascara, out the door — so long, beauty routine. I'm no longer a nanny, so my posts about my little chickens are no longer, and I am still hopelessly working on my PL album from 2015 more than halfway through 2016, so pshhhh.

Although I still read books and can write up book reports, or can find a few great links that I love and share them with you, those types of posts seem to me to be very insignificant pieces of what this blog once was.

I spend 40+ hours a week writing, a few hours reading, and countless other hours on my phone — all of those hours are spent looking at words. I love words, I've built a career out of words, and I hope to continue using words to my advantage as I grow. I just don't have enough time or passion to continue writing words — half-hearted, forced-because-I-feel-guilty words — on this blog.

This sounds like a goodbye, I get that. I'm not sure what it is, to be fair. But for now, Less Is More doesn't exactly have a purpose. I'd love one day to wake up energized and refreshed with a whole slew of new blog post ideas and the time to execute and write them, but right now, that's not my reality. My reality is killin' it at my job, spending my downtime with my friends, family, and boyfriend, and enjoying life one day at a time.

So whether you've been a reader since 2012 (if you have, seriously email me, because why?) or just stumbled upon this post because it's the most recent thing on here, it doesn't matter. I appreciate the eyes that have been on this space for the last four years more than you'll ever know.

This isn't goodbye, it's see ya later.

I swear.

If you want to keep up with me while I get my shit together, check out my daily posts on my POPSUGAR author page, and follow me on Instagram.

July 9, 2016

five month book report.

Back in January, after a few months of overachieving in the reading department, I got cocky and upped my yearly reading goal from 25 books to a lofty 50. I'm sad to report that so far, I'm falling pretty short with just 15 books under my belt. Sigh.

However, it's no surprise to me as to why I've been slacking so hard. The two hours I used to spend a day reading on the train to and from work are now mostly used as nap time. Commuting appears to be getting to me, and it makes me sleeeeepy. So, because of that I'm definitely falling behind, but I'm hoping I can catch up a bit over the Summer (what else am I going to do at the beach?). Regardless, some of the books I've read have been bangers, so here's my apparently biannual-ish because I can't keep my head above water with this blog anymore book report.

Room. God, this book broke my damn heart. Our book club decided to read it because the movie version was coming out (SO good, if you haven't seen it), and it was totally the best book we've read as a group so far. Five-year-old Jack and his quirky kiddo voice speaking on very adult events — his mother is kidnapped, held captive in a small, soundproof shed, and raped repeatedly, which results in Jack's birth — made for one of the most interesting perspectives. I highly recommend this one, and if you're going to read it, don't watch the movie beforehand (because obviously, even though it was an Oscar-winner, the book was better).

The Age of Miracles. This book, despite making me feel extremely paranoid about my life on Earth, was amazing. It's about a young girl who is living in a time where the Earth starts spinning just a bit slower on its axis every cycle, making each day just a bit slower until everything from the climate to agriculture starts becoming affected. It's a stressful read because it seems like such a real possibility of something that could happen to us, but it's also relatable in that it's about a young girl just trying to grow up and fit in, something that everyone has gone through to an extent. It's a very different take on a coming-of-age story.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I have always said that this is my favorite Harry Potter book, and so far, it still is. It's a very close match to its movie counterpart, but still has all of the extra flair J.K. Rowling intended that you can't get from the on-screen version. There's just something about reading about dragons, underwater adventures, and other high-stress competition tasks that makes this one even more of a page-turner than the others.

Before I Fall. I randomly picked this book up from the "New YA" table at the bookstore and it sounded like an easy read, which is what I was looking for. It ended up actually being pretty great. It's a bit like Groundhog Day, but focuses on a teenage girl and her friends who are in a car accident on the night of a party. The narrator, Samantha, wakes up for seven days straight after the accident, and lives the same day over and over again surrounded by her bitchy friends and the peers they are constantly mean to. She tries to change things about herself and her friends each time to see if she can prevent the car accident that she has figured out likely took her life.

After You. This is the follow up to Me Before You, and though I knew that there was no way it would live up to the first novel, it was pretty good. The story starts eight months after the last one ends, and you are reintroduced to Lou and hear what she's been up to since everything that happened with Will. It's a bit sad along the way, but it's hard not to root for a character like Lou, so you'll enjoy the chase for happiness.

The Silent Wife. Snooze fest, man. We read this for book club (I swear this book club is cursed, because most of our choices end up being mediocre at best) because it's becoming a movie, but most of us didn't like it. I thought it was slow, the characters were horrible people who were totally unrelatable, and the story premise itself was a fraud. I hate telling people not to read a book because I didn't like it, but unless you are like me and need to read a book before you see the movie, you can skip this one.

The Girl You Left Behind. I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. I've been well into period dramas since last year, and this one took place half in the present, half in France during World War I, and revolves around a painting of a French woman named Sophie. The first half is from her perspective and about her life before she gets taken by the Germans in 1917, the second half follows the woman that has ended up with her painting 90 years later. Through both parts of the story, you desperately try to figure out what happened to Sophie. It's a heartbreaking and beautiful story.

The Hypnotist's Love Story. This was cute, but as with many of Liane Moriarty's books, there are a few things that end up bothering me. To talk about those little issues would give away too much of the story, but the gist of it is that I can't stand how her stories tend to end very quickly, and in this case, with very little consequence for horrible actions.

The Light Between Oceans. This was the latest book club installment, about a couple who live out on a lighthouse hundred of miles from the coast of Australia. The first bit was kind of tough to get through, as it's a ton of talk about the sea and how lighthouses work and such, but after that I really enjoyed it. The couple has gone through a few miscarriages, and a boat with a baby happens to wash up on the island they live on. They keep the baby, and the rest is a tense story about the web of lies they weave to protect the baby and each other from anyone finding out.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I forgot how totally different this book is from the movie that I have come to memorize every word of. There is so much more character complexity when it comes to Umbridge and Sirius, and even Dumbledore and Harry's relationship is more intense than it's portrayed in the film. This is also probably one of the longest of the series, which is why the movie ended up cutting so many things. I'm really glad I read this one again.

The Art of Crash Landing. I haven't read a book in a while without knowing any single thing about it, and I definitely picked a good read to do that with. Melissa DeCarlo is the exact type of writer I hope to be someday — she's funny, she weaves a great story without giving too much along the way, she makes you think about your own life while you're reading, and she creates characters that are relatable in some small way no matter how wholly different than you they are. I loved this one so, so much.

March 17, 2016

mexican salad in a jar.

I've been making a ton of jar salads lately — and before you say it, no, it's not just because I love pinterest, it's because they actually fit in my work bag better and last longer. The salads stay fresh for a few days, so I can make them on Sunday night and grab one each morning before work, and then when I get to work I dump it all out into a huge bowl and toss with dressing.

For this salad, I tried to replicate what I would get at Chipotle, minus the meat, cheese, and globs of sour cream (though, I might have to add a little dollop to each of these once they're poured out). I'm trying to keep away from unnecessary dairy, especially cheese, and have been replacing meat a few times a week with other proteins, just to keep things light and see if I can shed a few. There is zero science to this, but so far, I feel healthier, and have definitely seen a bit of slimming going on, so I'm not going to mess with what I'm doing unless it stops working. (However, I fully support your additions, and you'd best believe that I'll be making these with cheese from time to time in the future.) This salad is super easy to make, and the directions are made even easier by this handy GIF I made (I know, I skipped the tomato picture and believe me, I'm more annoyed than you are about that).

Mexican jar salad (makes three large jars):
// 1 cucumber
// 1/2 red onion
// 1 can sweet corn
// 1 can black beans
// 3 small tomatoes
// 2 avocados*
// 1 head of romaine

Rinse and chop everything up, and layer starting with the harder veggies, beans and corn, soft veggies and avocado, and then pack it in with lettuce until you can't fit anymore. Seal that puppy up and you're good to go. Enjoy!

*Because avocados brown so quickly, I cut them up into little pieces and tossed them with a splash of lime juice to keep them fresh, and add a little bit of flavor.

March 16, 2016

27 things in my 27th year.

For the last two years, I've celebrated my birthday by making a list of things that I would ideally love to accomplish/experience/do during that age's year. I began my 27th revolution around the sun last Tuesday when I turned 26, and there are a fair amount of things that I'd love to do this year.

Looking back on my 26th year, and what I crossed off the year's list, there are still a couple of things that I've been beating myself up about not accomplishing, so some of those items will reappear, and some of the ones that were successful are definitely getting a second round. As for the others, a lot changed for me last year, so there are a lot of new things I'm excited about trying while I'm 26. I just hope I can keep to the list better than I've been able to keep up with this blog as of late.

1// Organize my photos on iPhoto — this was on last year's list, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't get to it, and just added more clutter in the end.
2// Take a class to learn more about my DSLR camera. (I'm thinking this one.)
3// Catch up to the new season of Game of Thrones by the finale.
4// Learn how to make my gramma's famous rice balls.
5// Take a copy editing class OR read at least three books to help improve my skills.
6// Clean out my closet and donate all of the clothes that I never wear but tell myself I will "some day."
7// Add a new product to my Etsy shop.
8// Take more photos.
9// Get my seventh tattoo.
10// See every Robin William's movie that I've never seen.
11// Lose ten pounds.
12// Take 100 days of selfies, as my 30 days of selfies project was my absolute favorite a couple years ago, and it made me feel creative and more in tune with myself.
13// Go to a late-night show taping.
14// Take a cooking class.
15// Take a road trip.
16// Visit three new breweries.
17// Read all of the Harry Potter books again and the new one!
18// Go to at least four concerts.
19// Use my polaroid camera more.
20// Watch the entire series of Parenthood, because everyone who knows me well keeps telling me it's a must.
21// Come up with a new solution for project life in 2016, as I still haven't finished 2015's album and don't think I'll be able to keep up with weekly spreads at all this year (seeing as it's already mid-March and I've done nothing!)
22// Visit the Golden Gate Bridge next time I'm in SF.
23// Either take a class, or teach myself calligraphy.
24// Travel to a new place.
25// Learn the NYC subway system, because I really suck at it.
26// Read 50 books.
27// Write myself a letter to open up on my 27th birthday (I never got around to doing this last year, and ended up being upset this year when I didn't have one).

Let's do this, 26.