Author Archive

September 2016 Must-Reads

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

September 2016 Must-Reads from

I am running a bit behind on sharing my September reads. It was a pretty eclectic pile of books from dystopian apocalyptic fun to time travel (always a favorite of mine) to coming-of-age to dark comedies. I am guessing there is something for everyone this month and hope you enjoy this stack as much as I did!

Later this week, Todd is joining us again with his best picks for the month too! I can’t wait to share those with you on Thursday! Please keep your eyes peeled too for more incredible interviews with authors in our Sundays With Writers series! Yay!

8 Must-Read Books from September 2016

Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon

Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon

I received a copy for review from Netgalley- all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wife 22 happened to be one of my past favorite vacation reads so I was thrilled to see that Gideon had a new novel out. Time travel is always such a fun escape and this story was a delight from start to finish.

Set in 1975, Valley of the Moon chronicles the story of a single mother who takes a camping adventure on her own to find herself again. What she doesn’t expect to find is that just beyond this thick fog is a community frozen in time in the year 1906.

The community welcomes her into their community and she finally feels a sense of purpose, worth, and love… all that have been missing as she tries to raise her son alone.

The reader gets to follow Lux as she travels back and forth through time, finding love in a different era, and learning many consequences of trying to live in parallel worlds.

Lots of lovely plot twists and the ending Gideon carves for the end is movie-worthy. Although the idea of this portal might feel a little cheesy at first, you can’t help but fall in love with both worlds and eras that the author has crafted. Time travel fans will love this one!

5 Out of 5 Stars

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

One of my friends is a librarian (Hi, Pam!) and she said Eight Hundred Grapes had been one of her favorite summer reads. I listened to this book on audiobook and it would make the perfect vacation read.

The book opens with Georgia sitting in her brother’s bar in a wedding gown. She hasn’t gotten married, but witnesses her fiancée in a moment on the street that rocks her world. Returning home to figure things out, she is shocked to discover that, not only did her fiancée have a big secret, but her entire family has been keeping secrets from her. Her parent’s marriage is failing, her mother is dating, her brothers are involved in a love triangle, and their family winery is in the process of being sold. Yeah, a lot has changed.

This story is part storytelling of how these relationships began, part understanding how wine is really made, and part family drama.

This was a fun little escape and I really enjoyed the audiobook of this one!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr.

Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr.

Carousel Court had received rave reviews so I suggested this book as a pick for our local book club. Here is the thing, I wouldn’t say I loved it, but I would say that McGinniss is a gifted writer that made me loathe the characters in his book. I can see why some people enjoyed it, but the characters were so unlikable that it made it difficult to connect emotionally with the story.

This story is about a failing marriage and the true sinking of their marriage ship when they are no longer financially stable. Set in California during the recession, the couple finds themselves in foreclosure alley when no one can afford to stay in their houses. Nick, the husband, works to help clean out the houses when the bank kicks them out of their home. Witnessing all these homes that have remained dormant, he takes advantage of this shaky ground and begins operating a month-to-month leasing company on properties he doesn’t own, using the funds to try to financially recover his own family. Meanwhile, his wife picks up a relationship with an old flame, in hopes that he can pull her out of a life she hates. It can’t, unfortunately, help with her abuse of prescription drugs and lack of any motherly bone in her body. The reader gets to watch the train wreck unfold chapter by painful chapter.

I will remember this, not as a favorite, but the themes from it made it one of our better book club discussions.

If you enjoy stories of failing marriages, twisted soulless characters, and a book filled with literary tension…this one is for you!

3 Out of 5 Stars

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I received an ARC of Small Great Things from Netgalley and have been waiting to share my review for so long that I forgot to add this to the post when I originally posted it- oops! This book actually goes on sale TODAY!

Jodi, with the exception of The Storyteller, hasn’t been a go-to for me in a long time for reading, but when I read about the premise of this story, I couldn’t resist giving her another spin. Honestly, I was REALLY glad I did.

The story focuses on a nurse, named Ruth Jefferson, that has been working in labor and delivery for over twenty years. When a couple requests that Ruth not care for their family, following the birth of their child, she is stunned to find out that she has been removed from their care because of the color of her skin.

When the baby goes into cardiac arrest while Ruth is on duty, she finds herself in the middle of a grueling murder trial and without a job to support her. Kennedy is the lawyer that is assigned to this tough case and the reader gets to go along on this journey with Ruth as she agonizes over a split second decision that may have cost her the job she has loved for so many years.

In a predictable Picoult fashion, there is a twist at the end that you may or may not see coming. That said, it was a solid read all the way through, even though it may have felt a little predictable at times.

4 Out of 5 Stars


Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

This book was provided to me by the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lost Stars was based upon a Modern Love essay that was expanded into a fictional story about a teen that is falling apart after the death of her sister. Carrie is making poor decisions from the company she keeps to the habits she has formed, but so much of that is in response to the death of her sister, her mother’s decision to leave their family, and the feeling of disconnection from her father. When she pushes things too far, her father makes her join a summer work camp at a local state park to help her develop better habits and hopefully improve her behavior. Her secret is that she has never fit in with the rough crowd and has always been passionate about astrophysics. When she meets a guy that loves her, nerdy habits and all, Carrie begins to become the girl she was always destined to be.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for you or your favorite YA reader. Please note, language, mild PG sex, and drug/alcohol use if sharing this with your teen!

3 Out of 5 Stars

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven is a reread for me and actually made my top ten list in 2014 as one of my favorites. I got the opportunity to hear Emily speak and so I wanted to refresh my memory on this beautiful book.

If you haven’t read it yet, it is an absolutely incredible novel and offers a new take on a pandemic world captured through the storytelling of a Hollywood actor and a band of traveling actors that risk it all to perform their art during a flu apocalypse. The storytelling jumps and weaves through time making it a treat to read from start to finish about what life was like before and after a fatal flu strikes the country.

Masterfully woven characters, particularly with the use of the three wives in Arthur’s life, the author brings these stories together in a way that makes you feel like you know each character.

I listened to this one and was curious, when I went to purchase the audiobook, why two versions of the audiobook were offered. I asked Emily about it and she said the UK wanted their own version so that is why there are two versions of it. How funny is that? It was a treat to listen to (I went with the US version) and I am so glad I got to enjoy this one a second time!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The Fault in Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is how the publisher describes this dark comedy. In The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, seventeen-year-old Ivan is a resident at the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus and is quite the handful for the staff at the hospital. He fakes comas (it’s pretty hilarious!), needs lots of vodka to get through his day, an observer of all his fellow patients, and bored out of his mind. When Polina arrives, a beautiful resident suffering from terminal cancer, everything in Ivan’s world changes as they form an unlikely friendship.

I laughed through parts of this and got misty-eyed through others. It’s a beautiful story with a few well-placed plot twists and an unforgettable friendship, not only between these two patients, but an even lovelier one between Ivan and his nurse.

This was a slow starter for me, but I really enjoyed this beautiful story and recommend it for fans of One in a Million Boy!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This month’s MomAdvice Book Club selection was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a timely pick with the movie coming out this month! I have picked this one up several times and never could get into it, but decided to listen to this one on audiobook and browse the PDF later to look at all of the pictures.

When a horrific family tragedy happens to sixteen-year-old Jacob, his father takes him on a journey to a remote island to help give Jacob peace with his grandfather’s death. His grandfather always talked fondly of his time at Miss Peregrine’s so he sets out to see if the woman is still alive. Not only is she alive, but so are all his old peculiar friends. What unfolds is a beautifully dark story of discovery, first love, and what you would do to save those you love.

I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would and look forward to passing on to my daughter to listen to before we see the film. The book does contain some adult language in it for those that are screening their children’s books!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Read With Me

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June 2016 Must-Reads

July 2016 Must-Reads

August 2016 Must-Reads

September 2016 Must-Reads from

What should I be adding to my library bag? Leave your suggestions in the comments below! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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Small-Budget Crushes 10.09.16

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Mustard Cardigan

shaker stitch cardigan (so many cute colors), $19.99

Honeycomb-Stitch Infinity Scarf

honeycomb-stitch infinity scarf, $16.94

Driftwood Jewelry Organizer

driftwood jewelry organizer, $22

Fur Throws

fur throws for every room, $15.88

Halloween Garland

halloween burlap garland, $9.99

Hammered Metal Earrings hammered-disc drop earrings, $9.94

Rosette Fur Pillow

rosette fur pillow, $9.97


It’s the 3 Little Things: Can’t Hear You Snoring, Home Goods, & the Backpack Corral

Friday, October 7th, 2016


Did you read this article in the notebook this week? It got me thinking about something that I noticed about myself. Being a crafter and being frugal means that I rarely purchase things that I really desire for our home.

Many times I think, “I can make that. We don’t REALLY need that. We can do without. It’s falling apart, but there is still a little life in it. Is it REALLY a joy sparker?”

I also have other talks with myself that run through my head like, “Do you deserve that? What could you do to help someone else with that money? Why are you wasting money on such meaningless things? Why can’t what you have just be enough?”

Then I go to other people’s homes and long to have their decor and think how nice it must be to have things like that. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a few nice things that I didn’t have to make from scratch.

The thing is, I can have those things. I just deny them from my own life.

So, as frivolous as it is, I gave myself permission to spruce up our home this week. The pillows were falling apart and didn’t match anymore, I really DID need a few organizers to get our drawers tidy, it was okay to have a rug by all the entrances (yes, I hand carried one back and forth to, “save money.”), and it was okay to buy a stool if it helped make getting shoes on easier. Some of the things were useful (rugs and stools) and some things just made me happy (pretty pumpkins for our dining table).

Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but the joy that it brought me to buy some purposeful & pretty things for our home made me very happy. I still want to be careful with our funds, but I am giving myself permission to bring beauty in. And when my husband came home and bewilderingly looked around at our house, I looked him in the eye and said, “I make no apologies I love what I got.” And, after I gave him the grand tour, he hugged me and thanked me for working so hard to make our home such a beautiful place.

Do you struggle with this too?

Here are a few other things that are making me happy!


HomeGoods (!!!!)

The timing of HomeGoods opening in our town could not have been better with my home spruce up. It has been over a decade since I have stepped into a Home Goods so I couldn’t wait to take a field trip there with my husband. He was really killing my vibe though so the next day, I went back by myself to spend hours walking up and down the same aisles over and over again.

I got some great pillows for our couch, a stool for our entryway, furry throws, fresh dish cloths, pretty cutting boards, and organizers. I also got fridge organizers (similar to this) and actually used these underneath my sinks and in my fridge (especially for sticky items like syrup!)  for getting these spaces organized. I got on such a kick with these that, we now have several eyesores made over into useful spots.

Welcome to Michiana, HomeGoods!


I Can’t Hear You Snoring

I rarely read through pitches for products (see opening paragraph!) because I hate to clutter up my house, but when I got a pitch for SleepPhones, I could not resist responding. These are a fleece headband with small flat headphones built inside that you can wear while sleeping or when lounging in bed. They make two versions, one has a headphone jack that you put into your phone, the other is the bluetooth-enabled version that is wireless.

I love these for three reasons- 1. Most headphones bother my ears (except these- and I really mean it!) so I can only tolerate them for short periods of time. 2. White noise is much more effective because this is against the ear and blocks out lots of distracting sounds (Like my husband. Who also says I snore, but I do not. He does.) 3. I like to lay in bed to watch shows on my iPad and listen to audiobooks and I like to do that while laying on my side. These work perfectly.

I have the bluetooth version so when I get up, I just plug it in and charge it to be ready for the next day. Then I just slip these on, put on the app they offer to go with these, and pass out. I also think these would be AWESOME for chilly mornings and walking in my neighborhood. Podcast listening would just be so much more comfortable because my ears are always cold.

I can’t rave enough about these- they would make such a great holiday gift for a fellow light-sleeper.

Small Space Organization Basket

Backpack Corral

Small houses usually lack mudrooms and our home is no exception. We got this mirror with hooks several years ago (here is a very similar one), but I felt nervous about putting our backpacks on it, especially the weight of these kid’s backpacks (good grief!). When I was walking around Target (always a dangerous pastime), I spied this basket and knew it would be perfect for this troublesome spot. It’s just the perfect height for your backpacks. If you are struggling to figure out an easy holding station for bags, this basket works like a charm! It has a 5-star rating on their site so I must not be the only one that thinks this is the perfect basket for their home.

It was also requested I show off the rest of our home so I will try to take some pictures today now that it has officially been spruced up for fall!


Eating: Big bowls of Pumpkin Chili and baked potatoes. If you haven’t tried this technique for roasting your potatoes, you are in for a big treat!

Reading:  I am almost done with this book and it is ALL THE FEELS. If you are looking for a sweet read and enjoyed The Rosie Project or even A Man Called Ove, I just think you would love this little book too. Catch a whole bunch of reviews next week from me and my reading buddy, Todd!

Listening: Closing in on this one on audiobook then I’m passing it off to my daughter to listen to before we see the movie. If you guys see it, please let me know how it is! Also, did you enjoy the other books from this series? Is it worth continuing? I have commitment issues!

Sharing: If you aren’t part of the MomAdvice Book Club, you are missing out on some incredible Kindle deals!

Here are your incredible book deals for today (even if you aren’t in the club!):

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, $1.99 (absolutely loved this one!)


A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, $1.99 (I gave this one 5-stars!!)

DISRUPTED, $2.99 (I have this in my stack this month!)





DEEP DOWN TRUE, $1.99 (I really enjoyed this one!)

HOOD, $1.99

I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, $1.99 (beautiful stuff!!)

THE WITCH, $1.99


Happy Friday, friends!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Amy’s Notebook 10.05.16

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Quinoa Lasagna

source: fit foodie finds

This quinoa lasagna is going on my menu planner this week.

Why absolute minimalism will never feel like home- I loved this perspective.

I love that they tested internet viral kitchen hacks (with surprising results!)

A simple slow cooker marinara sauce for busy weeknights.

“Learn to embrace a paradox: Time is precious and plentiful. To have as much time as you need for the things you want, you need to be ruthless about not filling time with things you don’t care about.”- secrets of people with all the time in the world.

I can never turn down a great twist on caprese. Get in my belly!

Stuffed Baked Apples

source: camille styles

Stuffed baked apples look like a heavenly autumn treat.

Here are a few ways to turn chicken nuggets into dinner.

Have you heard of a FEED supper? It looks like a great way to share an experience & money for a good cause.

An adorably decorated Halloween porch.

Book Styling Ideas

source: apartment therapy

New ways to style your home with books- SWOON!!

Speaking of books, I am really enjoying this read and excited to dive into this one this week!

The minimum amount you should be tipping for food deliveries.

We need to start a family movie tradition.

These apple treats look like the perfect portion size for our family.

Fake a mantle- we are still enjoying our space heater version that I painted for our office.

This is such a great budget exercise. It makes me think about my own spending.

Halloween Plate Wall

source: tatertots & jello

These are such cute decorating ideas for Halloween!

Blanket scarf diy’ing must be happening right now- this is our top article this week!

I can’t wait to give this new podcast a listen.

Meal prep IG’ers on fleek!  Off to follow them all…

I’m going to work on simplifying my email responses.

You guys must be cozy, blanket capes were your top purchase this week!

I am SO EXCITED about this new Netflix series!

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo


Brain Food: Trail Mix Energy Bites

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Trail Mix Energy Bites from

I’m partnering today with Workman Publishing to chat a little more about our family’s genuine love for the new Big Fat Notebooks series, perfect for your middle school child, and to share a fun brain food snack to pair with these fun books!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from

Last month I shared with you my car organizing strategies (I can’t believe it still looks REALLY good, you guys!! Miracles DO happen!) and how we have incorporated these books into our car time as a great activity to make the most of those moments. Just like I love to take in a good audiobook or a podcast while I am driving, I love that this pocket of time is perfect for some fun learning on the way for my kids. Why not make the most of all those wasted minutes?

Trail Mix Energy Bites from Trail Mix Energy Bites from Trail Mix Energy Bites from

I know I have said it before, but these books are F-U-N. I am actually going to include these in our holiday gift guide because I think they make an incredible gift for any kid. As you can see, they are adorably illustrated and even the font choice makes it not feel like a textbook, but more like a Diary of a Wimpy Kid escape.

Do you remember that show, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Since my daughter has been asking me questions about the things she has been learning from this book and reciting trivia on different subjects, I can tell you that I am, indeed, NOT.

Hey, I can’t be good at everything!

There are five books in this fun series and each is the only book you need for each main subject taught in middle school: Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts, and World History. Did I mention that they meet  Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state history standards?

Yup, pretty awesome stuff.

You can find these fantastic books at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, or Workman.

Here are 4 fun free Big Fat Notebooks worksheets to get you started! 

Thinking Like a Scientist

How to Take Great Notes

Displaying Data

Ancient Egypt Timeline

Trail Mix Energy Bites from Trail Mix Energy Bites from

In honor of fueling our brains, I wanted to create a brain food treat that the whole family will enjoy and requires ZERO baking. Holla!  I am a big fan of energy bites and this little bite is filled with a protein-rich trail mix that is bound together with peanut butter, oatmeal, and quinoa.

I loved these plain, but I thought they could benefit from a little crunch so I toasted up quinoa in a skillet (watch out, it pops!!) and rolled these trail mix bites into the toasty quinoa for a crunchy coating that reminds me of sesame seeds or even rice cereal.

What Makes These Trail Mix Bites Good Fuel for Your Brain?

Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, a major building block of brain cells that are critical for a good memory and stable mood (AKA, they fight the HANGRY!). They are also rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It takes all these important nutrients to help keep your brain functioning well.

Quinoa is our binding agent and our crispy coating and it also contains vital nutrients for your noggin. Quinoa is so easy to prepare in a rice cooker (this tutorial should help!) and happens to be one of my favorite gluten-free indulgences. Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. It also is a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, contains B Vitamins, and iron. All such good stuff to help your brain!

I hope you can share this delicious brain food (both the treat AND the incredible Big Fat Notebooks with your kids. They truly make learning fun and I’m so happy our family got to share about these with you!

Trail Mix Energy Bites from

Trail Mix Energy Bites
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
Fuel your brain with these delicious energy bites that provide vital nutrients and vitamins. Packed with quinoa, these gluten-free treats are satisfying and filling!
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (check the post above for cooking directions or follow packaging)
  • 1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ½ cup dry roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  1. In a dry skillet, heat it to medium heat and toast the uncooked quinoa for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the energy bite to look golden. Be careful, quinoa does pop!
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the other ingredients until they are incorporated well.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then begin scooping & rolling the balls (I like a cookie dough scooper for this).
  4. Roll each ball into the toasted quinoa, coating all sides evenly. Place on the parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all of the batter has been used.
  5. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove and then place them in an airtight container for snacking.

 Recipe Adapted from The Baker Mama

 This post was sponsored by Workman Publishing and Big Fat Notebooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Be sure to follow the Workman Blog for more great ideas!

Small-Budget Crushes 10.02.16

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Rib Knit Tunic

long & lean rib-knit striped tunics, $16.94

monogrammed meadow trinket dish

monogrammed meadow trinket dish, $12

Soup Bowls

souper mugs, $10

Blanket Scarves

blanket scarves, $10.99 each (or buy 2 get 1 free)

When In Doubt Go to the Library

when in doubt go to the library, $29.99

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

October means it is time for another capsule wardrobe and I’m excited to reveal my capsule wardrobe to you today. If you have been contemplating a capsule wardrobe, I would love to encourage you to give a try this fall. For me, fall and winter are the easier of the planning seasons. Plus, who doesn’t love cozy sweaters and warm layering?

The number of items has shifted, but only to make room for the two seasons. Pieces will be switched around as the weather gets cooler and requires heavier layers. I allow myself flexibility and also love to request a few key pieces as holiday gifts to keep the wardrobe fresh.

I decided to start a SEPARATE Instagram account for my capsule since it feels like two separate audiences. This account is only about fashion & the capsule. You can follow me here (@momadvicecapsule) or if you just want the general usual odds & ends, you can follow me here (@momadvice). I hope that makes sense!

Let’s talk about this 2016 fall & winter capsule wardrobe.

First, What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

(check out how I’m styling my pieces this year over here and here!)

I tend to be a pretty colorful person so you will find color mixed in with basics in my wardrobe. Monochromatic isn’t my thing, but can be yours if you are trying to simplify your wardrobe. Many people begin their capsule experience very monochromatic and then find they are comfortable branching out into color after figuring out how to make everything work together.

Capsule Wardrobe Colors

What Trends Did You Embrace For Fall/Winter?

The past couple of years my color scheme has leaned more into the red, white, & blue that feels very nautical and timeless to me. This year I wanted to warm things up so I am selecting a few pieces in wine, rose, mustard yellow, & navy. These colors are folded into my basic neutral scheme (gray, black, cream) for the year.

I love how these colors can be mixed and matched together.

I also love the pink hues since I love a more feminine touch to my wardrobe.

Get some inspiration for creating and styling your capsule by following my Capsule Pinterest Board!

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule. Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you. When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in.

I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces.

That’s been the best place to start for me.

Do Accessories Count in the Capsule?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

What Are the Rules for a Capsule Wardrobe?

Here are my modified Project 333 rules or you can go to Courtney’s website to read more about the official guidelines!

Below is my fall/winter 2016 capsule wardrobe.

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

1. Chambray Shirt (similar or similar)

2. Relaxed Cozy T-Shirt in gray (exact)

3. Striped T-Shirt (exact or similar)

4. Tunic in black (similar or similar)

5. Relaxed Cozy T-Shirt in oatmeal (exact)

6. Flannel Shirt (similar or similar)

7. Mustard Cardigan (exact or similar)

8. Burgundy Cardigan (exact or similar)

9. Black Cardigan (exact or similar)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

10. Black Utility Vest (exact or similar)

11. Denim Vest (similar or similar)

12. Denim Jacket (similar or similar)

13. Green Poncho (fun option)

14. Blanket Cape (exact)

15. Navy & White Striped Blazer (similar or similar)

16. Jersey Knit Cardigan in Rose (similar)

17. Cowl Neck Sweatshirt (similar or similar)

18. White Lace Tank (similar or similar)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

19. Burgundy Swing Tank (similar or similar)

20. Pintucked Blouse in Black (exact or similar)

21. Pintucked Blouse in Blush (exact or similar)

22. Floral Print Top (exact or similar)

23. Poncho Sweater (exact)

24. Burgundy Sweater T (stitch fix)

25. Sweater Dress (thredup or similar)

26. Burgundy Tassel Boho Shift (exact)

27. Sleeveless Pintuck Swing Dress (exact)

Fall/Winter 2106 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe from

28. Khaki Skirt (similar or similar)

29. Black Faux Leather Skirt (similar or similar)

30. Burgundy Tunic Top (thredup or similar)

31. Striped Jersey Dress (exact)

32. Blue & White Striped Shift (explore options here)

33. Wrap Dress in Gray (exact)

34. Fox Sweater (gifted from this incredible lady!)

35. Black Jeans (stitch fix)

36. The Essential Pant (exact)

37. 7 Jeans (thredup)

38. Rose Jeans (thredup or similar)

Shoes for my Capsule Wardrobe

Although I don’t include shoes as part of my capsule, I do get asked about them A LOT. I have a wide foot and I only seek comfortable shoes. If I am showing them to you, I guarantee comfort for you.  Here are the shoes that I am loving this fall.

Tassel Booties

Black & White Sneakers (I add one of these inserts to line them since they are a bit thinner)

New Balance 574

Velvet Hush Puppies Ballet Flat

Leopard Print Hush Puppies Ballet Flat

Tall Camel Boots (similar mine are from thredup!)

Moccasins (similar mine are from stitch fix)

Nude Booties (so many styles over here)

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

One Piece, Many Ways

Fashion Capsule Shopping on a Budget

Planning the Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring/Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

closet clean out with thredup

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is what I am getting rid of this time. Off to thredup it goes for credit for the next capsule- so proud!! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!


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It’s the 3 Little Things: Meetups, GF Pizza, & Bluetoothing

Friday, September 30th, 2016


Happy Fri-yay! This was such a fun week because it was full of fun diversions from my usual mom duties. I just got home from one of the coolest little road trip adventures ever. My longtime reader, Carie, messaged me to share that Emily St. John Mandel was coming to her town and wanted to know if I would come out for the author meetup, to hang out in her town, and meet her family.

Say what?

Yes, please!

I’m not sure if I have ever shared this, but this has been the year of truth telling on here, hasn’t it?  I struggle with anxiety and one of my biggest anxiety triggers is driving. Honestly, if I could have a driver cart me around, I would. In fact, my friends lovingly call me, “Daisy,” and generously pick my anxiety-ridden behind up when we go out. So when Carie asked me to come to her town,  I consulted a map and saw she was four hours away, BUT it looked like a pretty straight shot.  I just knew, in my heart, I would be so sad if I did not do this even though it was entirely out of my comfort zone.

I share this because I know many of you struggle with anxiety too. Maybe you are cool driving, but maybe it is something else. I felt very brave doing this simple thing that I struggle with daily.

How did it go?

Do you remember the scene in Divergent, when they throw them into a fear simulator? I remember it involved birds (another trigger for me- hahaha!). Well, that fear simulator happened on the road as the heavens opened up, the construction narrowed the road into a tiny pathway, and a UPS truck was swinging its backend into my lane.

And I survived.

I was sweaty and needed a shot of something, but I survived.

And I was really proud.

The best part though is that I got to meet someone who has read this site for years and loved books as much as me (and neither of us was crazy which we were both concerned about. I mean, meeting your internet friends can be a little SCARY!) Meeting Emily St. John Mandel was the icing on the cake for this week as she graciously shared about the story behind Station Eleven with all of us.

I didn’t let something like my anxiety hold me back and I made a beautiful real-life friendship with someone who has supported my family for years. How cool is that?


The other incredible escape was spending the weekend in Chicago with some of my dearest girlfriends. My friend, Nancy, moved to Nebraska and I miss this woman every single day. When I headed out that way for some medical testing, we stayed with her family and it made a really tough time into a mini-vacation. She is just good people.

We got to see Lake Street Dive in concert and it was, truly, one of the best shows I have ever seen. We danced the night away at the rooftop bar and got hounded by annoying guys which was annoying, but also proved, WE STILL GOT IT.  I got to eat great food and laughed in that rare away that only comes through with your truest friends. I could ride on that high for a good month!

Here is a great Lake Street Dive playlist for you to kick of your weekend! PS- Follow me on Spotify for some killer playlists! You will never hear the same song twice again!

Here are a few other things that are making me happy this week!

Bob's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

A Decent Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix

Now that three of us are gluten-free, I have had to figure out some new options for some of our weeknight favorites. When it was just me, I loved the ease of the Udi’s Gluten-Free Crusts, but that doesn’t make sense with three people eating this way anymore. I read a ton of reviews on gluten-free pizza crusts and this Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix had great reviews and was surprisingly affordable.

We had pizza last weekend and this crust was REALLY good and came together REALLY easily. It is sticky, but you just use a little plastic, between your crust and hands, to help shape it. The edge is crisp and the slices were fluffy and not as dense as I have come to expect with gluten-free pizza. It made a huge pizza that fed all 4 of us with 3 slices leftover!

If you have any other recommendations for great pizza crust mixes to try, please let me know! I’d love to hear what your favorite is!


Bluetooth In My Old Ride

I have a car without bluetooth (feel sad for me, a poor white woman!), but I wanted to listen to my podcasts, audiobooks, and music in my car from my phone. My husband said I could get a bluetooth adapter for less than $20 and I found this Mpow Bluetooth Receiver and had it shipped to me before I left for this week’s road trip.

It comes with an auxiliary cable that I can plug in and pair with my phone to stream all of the content I want to listen to while I am running around. I also discovered that it can be paired in your house to make other things that you have also bluetooth-enabled. Want to watch a show on your phone with your regular headphones? You can plug it directly into this and not have to connect with your phone. Want to make use of some old speakers you have laying around to create a killer sound system? Plug this into the computer speakers and you can listen to Spotify from your phone.

The battery life is pretty incredible (approximately ten hours) and the sound was really good. Phone calls weren’t awesome (Siri is like, “I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU, AMY. DO YOU EVEN KNOW ENGLISH, AMY. WHY ARE YOU CRYING, AMY?”)  but it was really good for squeezing a great book on my trip and rocking it out to some tunes.

Who says you can’t teach an old car new tricks?

Michiana Old Mom Club

This Old Woman Is Starting a Club

The most meaningful connections I’ve made as a mom were through my mom’s group. They all still remain my dearest friends today. It seems though that once our kids are done being little, that the support isn’t there anymore. Almost all discussions I have with people with kids in school all day are asking how to make friends now, searching for others to help navigate the new waters with older child, and how they can get involved in meaningful volunteer work.

This socially awkward woman is starting a local Michiana Old Mom Club because small talk & Facebook aren’t enough to sustain a mom socially. There will be 3 meetups a month.

Coffee Talk- A daytime chat centered around a discussion related to parenting older children (how to manage cell phones, tween fun, teenage angst, preparing financially for college, etc..) Each person brings an article that they read that they think is helpful and their own experience to the table. No judgement.

MNO- One outing a month where we get to know Michiana- try a new restaurant, see a great local band, have a wine/whine night, see a flick, etc..

Charity- We do one thing for charity each month. Busy months might be throwing change in a pot for something, slower months could be spent doing REAL things for our community.

That’s what I’m bringing to the table because I miss connecting in real ways with people. Kickoff will be Wed. Oct 5 at 7PM at Barnes & Noble (in UP Mall) & then the after-party is at Bar Louie. I’d love for you to join me for a drink and to introduce yourself. Although I’m awkward, I’m a good connector of people, and I’d love to fill that empty spot that I see so many of us have!

Join the group HERE!

Painted Pumpkins

Completing: I painted pumpkins this week and it was such an easy & gratifying 5-minute project.

Reading:  I am closing in on the final pages of this book and it is BEAUTIFUL. I have learned so much about an event in history that I did not even know about. I am hoping to reach out to the author to get our Sundays With Writers series going again.

Listening: To this audiobook (still loving my headphones- it’s a game changer for audiobook lovers)  in anticipation of our book club meeting tomorrow!

Sharing: If you aren’t part of the MomAdvice Book Club, you are missing out on some incredible Kindle deals!

Here are your incredible book deals for today (even if you aren’t in the club!):


HEAT & LIGHT, $1.99



THE 19TH WIFE, $1.99


CROW LAKE, $1.99


BIG SUR, $1.99



HOOD, $1.99




Laughing: Pretty sure my husband is singing along to this one. Are you #teampumpkinspice too?

Happy Friday, friends!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Have you ever painted pumpkins with acrylic paints before? This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right on over that part of the fall decorating. This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween display so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

Let’s get painting!

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate (I got this one with a chalkboard on the side)

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Directions for Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

1. Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

2. With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins,using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface. Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint. Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for. I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats. Once dry,sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.
Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads. The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Amy’s Notebook 09.28.16

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Italian Salad Platter from FoodieCrush

source: foodie crush

Ultimate Italian Salad Platter idea- what a great way to share a meal with friends without cooking.

Speaking of entertaining, who wants to join my Crappy Dinner Party?

Great tips for freezing and thawing food.

I hate cilantro- why do you exist?

I never knew why Honeycrisp apples are so expensive until I read this.

Take a peek at the co-founder of Anthro’s house- Um, yes please!

This navy bean, bacon, & spinach soup looks like another pressure cooker winner!

Speaking of soup, this looks like a big bowl of autumn!

I’m reading this right now and I already know it is going to be a 5-star rating from me. It’s exquisite!

Yeah, so I’m thinking about soup a lot and this one looks good too! #obsessed

Advice for choosing and hanging art in your home. I wish I would have had this advice when we were first hanging our pieces.

Excited about the next Big Library Read- are you in?

Love this Penguin classics poster!

Pumpkin Creamer Recipe from Inspired by Charm

source: inspired by charm

Homemade pumpkin spice creamer for your coffee. YUM!

Spicy red curry cauliflower “wings” sound like a great game day appetizer.

5 things anyone with food allergies should have on their phone- I need to add these to mine.

These booties are my favorite ever. I danced the night away at a Chicago rooftop bar and my feet didn’t hurt a bit. Holla!

The best foundations at different price points- might need to revisit this for fall!

Sheet Pan Bruschetta is on next week’s meal plan.

DIY Wooden Planter from A Beautiful Mess

source: a beautiful mess

What an adorably easy wooden planter.

Hamburger Helper glammed up. I admit it, I loved this stuff!

I am listening to this on audiobook because I get to meet the author tonight- woohoo!!! Pinch me please.

These are some great tips to help reduce your dining out budget.

I always love touring her home.

I’m sure you can guess my political side (if you are on the same side, you’ll enjoy this! ), but I always appreciate good documentation on both sides. Here is the presidential debate with fact checking. It really helped to read the entire transcript and the facts. Who knows? Maybe you might change your mind…

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo