Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

Amy’s Notebook 08.25.16

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Eggs in Ham & Cheese Cups via Hos Josephine

Source: Hos Josephine

 

How good does this look for breakfast? YUM!

Love the map in these lamps. It’s all in the details, isn’t it?

Buy only the home you need, not the house you can afford.

Swooning over this kitchen reno!

Wouldn’t these be the cutest present to share?

An inspiring post on vacation cooking- I must do this for our annual trips. So smart!

I love these DIY shelves!

How to build cute comfortable outfits.

Spaces to Organize in the Fall via Polished Habitat

Source: Polished Habitat

 

More organization eye candy. Now to get the energy to make it happen!

I could have written this post.

This studio living room tour brings all the color. Love all the little details!

I love peeking at other people’s favorite reads, don’t you?

“If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.”

Adorable study nook!

I’m obsessed with book covers.

Ten key insights from a family therapist on parenting.

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!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Bang Trick, Crying Laughing, & Busy Mama Shoes

Friday, August 19th, 2016

 

happy-3

Good morning! These past few days have felt a little heavenly as the kids headed back to school and I’ve had the whole house to myself. I love my kids, but having some introvert time has been so good for my soul. The days here are much longer (we must RISE FROM OUR BEDS at 5:45AM (!!!) and I realized my body is revolting a bit with these new changes. My muscles are throbbing and I have been ending these days curled in the fetal position.

That part hasn’t been heavenly, but that whole health portion of my life really isn’t.

Instead of pushing myself further, I gifted myself three days to get myself used to these changes by  just allowing myself the pleasure of rest. The gym can wait for now!

As soon as the kids have left, I have spent the mornings on my patio with HOT COFFEE (!!!), a good book, and a cozy throw. I drag an ottoman out there and catching a little sunshine on my face, listening to all the nature sounds, and swimming in pretty words! If a girl must rest, that is the way to do it.

I have successfully put up blinders to block weeding, crumbs on the floor, piles of unfinished laundry, and the growing feeling of disorganization already.

Three days shouldn’t set me back too much….right? Right???

happy-2

My best friend and I also have an annual tradition of a fancy feast and toast once our children go off to school. A sushi date was arranged for our back to school kickoff, white wine was served, and we toasted to getting through another summer.

Oh, and there are pedicures too every year.

Please pray for the poor woman that had to work on these feet.

Poor, poor woman. Her tip was quite generous (does anyone else avoid looking at someone working on your feet to not feel the shame?)

Here are 3 other things making me happy this week! 

happy-4

A New Bang Trick (That Works)

I finally got a haircut again (it’s only been since…oh, April!) and I am back to bangs again. I was looking for tips on styling bangs and I happened to run across a video with the coolest trick for keeping your bangs looking fresh.

I don’t want to give it away, you need to watch it, but I tried it this week and these styling tricks really worked, especially her idea for the finishing touch to keep sweat at bay!

By the way, I can’t recommend this dry shampoo enough- for the price and the results. I use this between my infrequent shampoo days! If you are struggling with bang styling, I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

A Book With ALL the LOL’s

If you haven’t heard of Jessi Klein, she is the head writer and producer for the Inside Amy Schumer show and a gifted comedic writer.  She has written her first book and I can’t rave about it enough. If you have been looking for a book with the humor of Bossypants, You’ll Grow Out of It, has some of that comedic magic that I enjoyed so much from Tina Fey’s book.  In fact, I have been laughing until I am crying and have side stitches from laughing so hard.

I tried to read chapters aloud to my husband and start speaking gibberish because I can’t breathe or speak through the laughter. Ask him about it. I could tell he really felt like listening to me was a good use of his time.

These chapters are all about Jessi’s life as a tomboy and how she tries to conform to the expectations the world has on her as a female. From getting the perfect tight butt at barre classes, to lingerie shopping when you are more of a 3-pack Hanes Her Way kind of girl, to the inexplicable high we get from going to Anthropologie (which she calls Zooey Deschanel’s manger- LOL!), I am laughing at her struggles and relating to many of them too. Although not a tomboy, I get irritated by the expectations as much as anyone else.

If you need an escape, this would be a great I’m-waiting-for-kids-activities-all-day read since each chapter is its own story.

Just prepare for everyone in the carpool line to look at you like you are absolutely crazy when you are manically laughing alone.

I hope it makes you laugh as hard as it did me!

 

Skechers Ballet Flat

Great On-The-Go Shoes

Although I wouldn’t qualify these shoes as the most fashionable, I have been looking for a shoe that would be perfect to slip in on and as I run kids back and forth to activities or just for a quick jaunt to the mailbox.  I didn’t realize that Skechers made a ballet flat and these are perfect for my wide-foot friends (holla!). The width is generous and the inside is filled with cushy memory foam that keeps cool so your feet don’t sweat. They took a day to break in (I think mostly because I have been living in sandals), but I now wear them all the time and find them to be a really supportive busy mama shoe. Give them a shot- they come in a few different styles too!

For fashionable flats, I still can’t recommend these enough for your fall staples! They are oh-so-comfortable!

happy-1

Completing: Nothing. Please see above.

Reading: I just finished this book. Have you read it? It’s another film project for Reese Witherspoon’s production team. I’d love to chat about what you thought!

Eating: We tried this incredible risotto recipe and I am excited to try my own variation on it. I joined the cult of Instant Pot. Have you heard of it? Let me share a pamphlet with you about the Book of Instant Pot. You, too, could  have a transformed life in just a few easy steps.

Listening: The Living Room episode has been listed as many people’s favorites and I savored it while waiting for my daughter at dance. It is guaranteed to pull at all your heartstrings at once. It also makes you think about how we interpret others. If you have some time, listen to it and tell me what you think!

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 08.17.16

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Painted Polka-Dot Curtains from LollyJane

Source: Lolly Jane

 

I am loving the simple painted trim on these curtains!

8 brilliantly hidden kitchen drop zones- check out the wine rack!!

This is on my to-do list.

What teens need most from their parents.

Homemade rainbow popsicles with 100% fruit- genius!

This looks like a good page-turner.

I doubt I could ever do this, but I really enjoy it’s beauty!

Harry Potter floating candle tutorial- LOVE IT!

No Churn Brownie Batter Ice Cream via The Recipe Critic

Source: Recipe Critic

 

No-churn brownie batter ice cream- I want to try this with a gluten-free mix!

DIY stair runner made with vintage rugs- gorgeous!!!

I love learning about parenting in other countries.

15 must-see documentaries. I think we have seen all but 3 on this list!

Amy Schumer is one of my faves- loved seeing her favorite reads!

A home tour of musician’s homes- so much design inspiration in these for artsy types!

5 signs you should stop decluttering.

An ancient Tuscan farm turned magical​ bohemian​ home.

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!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: A Compelling Documentary, a Bookish Phone Case, & a Deal App

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Saugatuck

Saugatuck

Saugatuck

Saugatuck

Saugatuck

The most glorious gift this summer was spending a week together in Saugatuck. Our family has been fortunate to get to do lots of travel through my work. When we had a power outage and spent the evening with flashlights & giggling with our kids, we asked them where their favorite vacation had been. It surprised me to hear that Saugatuck was their favorite destination. Not only is the town close (just an hour and thirty minutes away), but it was also a heck of a lot more affordable than, say, Disney or Universal. We booked a cabin right away and planned for a completely unplugged week.

With my work (um, this!) and my husband’s (programming), making a commitment to be unplugged felt like a bit of a stretch, but we REALLY did it. We put together puzzles, soaked in the hot tub, took a disastrous paddleboat ride (never knew how heavy those were until we walked one out to the beach), brought an enormous stack of library books, made incredible meals to eat on the porch, late nights with vino & the first season of Game of Thrones….it was heaven.

I am so incredibly grateful that we could do it and we are now planning to do this every year with them. Our time feels so fleeting- to soak in my family like that made my heart so happy and brought us a lot closer before the chaos of the new school year starts.

If you haven’t explored Saugatuck, I shared some of our favorite things in this article (and plan to update it this week with more things we enjoyed!)

Here are some other things that are making me happy this week:

The Fear of 13

The Fear of 13

I know we have a lot of true crime fans on here and I just discovered this incredible documentary called, The Fear of 13. It sounds like the premise would be a little boring without the typical bells and whistles of Hollywood. The documentary is a retelling of how a prisoner, Nick Yarris, found himself on death row. It opens telling you that he has requested his own execution be done early and then, almost in a puzzle format, the viewer gets to find out how he ended up there, what prison life was like, and the scientific breakthrough that changed everything.

More compelling than that though is that Nick found his transformation through BOOKS and that was the window that really helped transform his life. He is, perhaps, one of the most incredible storytellers I have ever had the privilege to listen to. I found myself holding my breath through parts of this. It is, truly, an unforgettable documentary. It sounds crazy that this would make one happy, but it is the beauty in the telling of this transformation that makes it so amazing.

If you have Netflix, it is available for streaming right now!!

Bookish iPhone Case

My New iPhone Case

Well, I held out as long as I could on getting the new iPhone. For our son’s birthday though, he got mom’s old phone and I had to get a replacement phone. That, of course, meant replacing my case. I have never really had anything special, but I found this bookish case on Society6 and it couldn’t ship to me fast enough.

What makes it more special is that David Arnold, Jandy Nelson, & Jennifer Niven were all interviewed on my site and I see their books tucked into this rainbow design. It just has made me so happy and it also has made me want to tackle a few others that are showcased in this case!

If you haven’t ordered from their site before, here is $10 to spend to support an artist!

Dealflicks

The Dealflicks App

I am savvy about saving money, but my sister is INCREDIBLE at saving money. As a single mom, she knows how to make every dollar count. We love to catch movies together and she told me about this app called Dealflicks that would save us money on our tickets.

You download the app on your phone and it offers deals with your local movie theater that save you a ton.

We catch movies in her town and a ticket is $7 and a popcorn is $100.

Well.

Basically.

So with this app, it offers certain shows at a discount rate. So for $7.50 we get a ticket to a show AND a medium popcorn, saving us at least $100 (approximately).

If you want to give it a try, use this code RF8M4BBEAL to get an additional 20% off your tickets at checkout. In that screenshot, you can see where to add your coupon code. I have caught three movies (two with her and one with my Dad) and I have used this each time for our movie dates!

Enjoy all that savings!!!

Book Cover Puzzle

Completing: This incredible puzzle with my family! It was such a challenging one and so fun to see all of these book covers. I hated taking it apart after we were done. This puzzle made us all so happy!

Reading: The Longest Night this week and it was beautiful. I shared my thoughts on it on Instagram and why I think you should read it. I love how books have the ability to teach me about times in history that I never knew about.

Eating: Roasted Shrimp Pasta in bowls on repeat! I can’t think of a better summer dish!

Laughing: At hilarious tweets about Simone Biles. She is amazing…and so are these reactions!

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 08.10.16

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Closet workspace via I Heart Organizing

Source: I Heart Organizing

 

I’m a big fan of tiny closet offices.

Who knew you could paint leather?

9 thrillers that the Times editors think you should check out.

10 things you should purge every fall.

Now this is the way to stash bust my yarn collection- so cool!

I just disabled this on my phone after watching this.

 

Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe via Penny Pincher Fashion

Source: Penny Pincher Fashion

 

Items to consider for your Fall capsule wardrobe.

All 20 flavors of LaCroix ranked. I completely agree with their top choice.

Excited to read this next book from David Arnold! (affiliate link)

Are you into Stranger Things too? Check out a little behind their chosen font!

This tweet made me LOL!

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!

 

July 2016 Must-Reads

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

July 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

Going on vacation after a jam-packed busy month was just what I needed to tackle a big stack of books for July. I had a few hits and a few misses this month so I thought I would share those with you. I will be curious to hear if some of these books hit you in a different way than they did for me. Let’s talk about it!

I also usually tend to shy away from popular books, but this month I wanted some quick escapes while we were on holiday. I picked several that I know everyone will be talking about this month as well as a couple of gems I discovered that I had not heard about before. I’ve got time traveling, sci-fi, YA goodness, chick lit, and a thriller this month- hopefully, there is something for everyone!

TBR Mug

(You can get a cute mug like this for $5 with my $10 coupon!! Support an artist and acknowledge your mountain!)

Want the inside scoop on what I’m reading each week? Join our online book club where we talk about books all day every day. This is not an exaggeration! Join me!

8 Must-Read Books I Read In June

Fellside by M.R. Carey

Fellside by M.R. Carey

I was so excited to dig into M.R. Carey’s latest book since The Girl With All the Gifts is one of my favorite reads. This book was interesting, but very different than his last one. I don’t know how to explain it except by saying that it is Orange is the New Black meets The Sixth Sense.

Jess Moulson finds herself in a maximum security prison, called Fellside, after a tragic fire that not only deforms her, but kills the little boy in her apartment complex. As she deals with the grief of the crime she has committed, she is visited by the ghost of the little boy who helps her to make peace with the tragedy, but also allows her to exit her mind and body, giving her the chance to jump into the minds of the other prisoners and see what they are dreaming of.

Killing a child makes her a target at the prison, but even with the little boy’s help, it can’t protect her from the crooked system.

At almost 500 pages, the story dragged for me in the beginning and then I finally hit my pace about halfway through. It was worth reading just for the court scene and the creative twist at the end, but it requires a lot of commitment to power through the first half of this one.  If you have the time, add it to your stack!

Be sure to read my interview with M.R. Carey where we discussed his first INCREDIBLE book. That one was definitely a must-read for me! 

4 Out of 5 Stars

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

It is difficult to find thrillers that are solid all the way through, but All the Missing Girls, truly delivers a strong thriller from start to finish. This is Miranda’s first novel for adults (she had previously been writing just for young adults) and shines as one of the best thrillers I have read this summer.

This story is told backwards from Day 15 to Day 1 as the mystery of a missing girl, named Annaleise, is trying to be solved by local police.  As luck would have it, the main character (Nic) has been through a missing person case before when her best friend Corinne went missing, a decade ago, and no one ever heard from her again. Her family goes under scrutiny once again as they try to figure out where Annaleise has gone.

You are taken down a bumpy road as these two cases collide in shocking ways and everyone is suspect. Reading in reverse chronological order is a challenge for a reader and reading it digitally made it more difficult to page back to figure out where these sections came together. I would recommend reading this one as a good old-fashioned book to really pull the storyline together in a way that you can really grasp.

If you enjoyed, In a Dark, Dark Wood or Luckiest Girl Alive, I have a feeling you will really enjoy this twisty book and trying to solve the case of these missing girls. If you are like me, you really won’t know until the final pages what these family secrets hold.

5 Out of 5 Stars

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Described as Cloud Atlas meets Orphan BlackA Thousand Pieces of You is the first in the planned trilogy (the third book releases in November!) from Claudia Gray. This book is EVERYTHING that you may have felt like you have been missing since the Hunger Games trilogy.

Marguerite is the daughter of two scientists that have found a way to unlock different dimensions through a high-tech necklace, called the Firebird, which gives you a chance to step into alternate worlds (past & present).

Marguerite’s father is murdered and the murderer turns out to be a trusted lab assistant who has used the Firebird to leave and hop in another dimension. Hot on his heels though are Marguerite and Theo, another research assistant on the team to try to avenge his death.

What unfolds is time travel magic as Marguerite plays a game of cat and mouse from one dimension to another. Stepping back in time and then moving through the future, the reader is taken through each dimension as Marguerite tries to find Paul. What she doesn’t expect is the awaiting love triangle or the truth behind her father’s death in a surprising little twist.

I DEVOURED this story and fell in love with each of these characters- I can’t rave enough.

If you are screening YA books for a teen, there is a sex scene in this one (mildly done), language (mildly done), and references to the struggle-is-real about periods.

I read this one through Scribd (if you happen to use that service too). I can’t recommend this one enough for a sweet YA escape and have already reserved the second book at my library!

5 Out of 5 Stars

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Ware’s debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood, was so fantastic that I couldn’t wait to dig into her second thriller. The Woman in Cabin 10 feels a bit like a Hitchcock film or a finely crafted Agatha Christie murder mystery. Playing into the unreliable narrator theme, that seems to be so popular these days, Lo Blacklock is dealing with anxiety following a break in at her home. Assigned to cover a boutique cruise ship for a travel magazine, Lo believes she witnesses a murder in the cabin next to hers.

When she reports it and starts investigating what has happened, someone is not too happy about it, creating an already unhinged woman into a state of even more heightened anxiety. As a reader, this whodunit murder mystery was solid all the way through and kept me guessing until the final pages.

Be sure to check out my interview with Ruth Ware as we discuss her debut, In a Dark, Dark Wood!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

I was so excited when this book came into our library since I enjoyed Big Little Lies so much. Moriarty follows the same formula as she did with her last book, setting up a tragic event that happens at a neighborhood cookout and the implications that happen from the tragedy. Perhaps it is because she uses the exact same setup as Big Little Lies, this one felt a little too formulaic and I felt like I knew what to anticipate from the very beginning.

I feel bad saying this, while this tragedy was sad, the build-up of the first half of the book makes it feel much larger than it was and just wasn’t worth all the suspense of over two hundred pages of setting you up. Although the first half moved swiftly for me, the second half REALLY dragged as the author tries to pull all the loose strings together in a fairly predictable way. The only good parts were some of the layers added to some of the characters (a daughter of a hoarder, a grumpy neighbor with a sad past, the stripper who changed her life due to a generous client).

This would be an enjoyable beach read, but was not my favorite read from her.  I wouldn’t qualify this one as a must-read, but I did want to include it for the Moriarty fans!

3 Out of 5 Stars

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

I was so excited to dig into Giffin’s latest book even though her last one was one that I had abandoned. First Comes Love really brings the charm that Something Borrowed had captured in her writing as she explores the complexities of a relationship between sisters.

When their brother is tragically taken from them, Meredith & Josie’s lives pull into two different paths following his death. Meredith seems to have it all with the perfect marriage, a great career, and a child. Josie remains single, after her first love has moved on, and decides to take her life down a different path to raise a child in a less conventional way. Of course, neither story is as it fully seems and Josie carries around a secret that threatens her (already) failing relationship with her sister about the night of her brother’s accident.

This one is a satisfying read from start to finish and a pleasure to read! I absolutely loved it!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I enjoyed Dark Matter so much last month that I couldn’t wait to dive into another sci-fi thriller. Sleeping Giants sounded like an interesting premise for a book and had comparisons to, The Martian, which I had really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I think this one lacked the charm that The Martian had, making the comparison a little bit of a stretch for me.

This book opens with a girl riding her new bike and happens to fall into a hole on her ride. When the firemen come to rescue her, she is being held in the palm of a steel hand in a square-shaped hole. Seventeen years later, the mystery of where this artifact is from is still unknown. This girl, now a doctor,  decides to pull together a team to figure out the mystery and what it could potentially mean for humanity. Told mostly in interview format, with an unnamed interrogator, it is a quick novel to breeze through for a sci-fi escape.

I have to say though that this was not a captivating read for me. I didn’t enjoy reading the story through interviews and the writing felt a little cheesy at times. I was hoping for an action-packed book with this robot, but it seemed to focus more on the political angle than the fact that these people possessed a killer robot that could wipe out humanity. Some of the motives of these characters felt forced (I won’t give anything away), but didn’t make sense for me as a reader. I am wondering if the action is going to happen in the second book, due to be released in April of next year.

That said, it is the first book that my husband, son, and I ALL read (appropriate for a 14 year-old boy, for sure!) and so it gave us something fun to talk about. The guys seemed to enjoy it more than me so if you are looking to do a mother & son book club (how fun would that be?), this is definitely one you could read together!

3 Out of 5 Stars

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

A small town is filled with gaps where the world looks differently and even the corn has a voice. When a kidnapping happens and the only witness can’t give descriptions to what the kidnapper looked like, the town’s whispers taint his reputation. He is determined to redeem himself (and the taken girl) and sets out on an adventure to get her back. He must fall into these mystical gaps to find her and the truth is revealed on why he could never fully see her captor.

I am such a big fan of magical realism in literature and this book delivers that so beautifully. The imagery that the author creates through words is astounding!  I really enjoyed this unique story and I think you will too if you are looking for a magical escape!

4 Out of 5 Stars

 

July 2016 Must-Reads

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June Must-Reads

July 2016 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

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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Sundays With Writers: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

sundays-with-writers-1

I am always looking for special books that I think anyone could love and appreciate. One-in-a-Million Boy offers that perfect blending of sweet and sassy that I think any reader could appreciate. I am so excited to share an interview today with Monica Wood to understand some of the inspiration she had for this story! Best of all, it’s on sale today for $2.99 so hurry up and snag it at this price for a great summer reading escape!  The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

In, The One-in-a-Million Boy, Ona is 104 and develops a fast friendship with a Scout who is obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records. He believes Ona has a chance of winning, thanks to her age. Unfortunately, the boy tragically dies and his father is left to fulfill his son’s duties. Quinn has never been much of a father though, but it is through Ona that he discovers just how special his boy is.

The book flashes back to the special conversations the boy had with Ona around her kitchen table, is laced with true Guinness Book of World record holders, and a road trip adventure that brings the boy’s parents closer to Ona as she tries to seal the deal on her very own world record. This story is touching, heartfelt, and beautifully told.

I included this in our Must-Reads last month!

Now settle in with a cup of coffee for a chat with Monica Wood today to learn more about this sweet story!

Monica Wood

You have such a diverse body of work! You recently wrote a very successful memoir (When We Were the Kennedys) and I also understand you have written your first play which had an incredibly successful run. The One-in-a-Million Boy is equally incredible and such a beautiful read. What type of writing has brought you the most pleasure and which type of writing has been the most challenging for you?

What a lovely question! Playwriting turned out to be the easiest, at least for that first play. For one thing, I had only one tool: dialogue, which I love to write. Any time I’m writing dialogue I’m happy. Novels are by far the hardest. They are so big; you can’t hold the whole thing in your head at once; you can lay the pages out on the floor and look at them the way you can with a short story; and it takes so, so, so, so, SO long to figure out what the story is, who the characters are, and how everything fits together.

One-in-a-Million Boy

You chose to not name the little boy in this story. Is there any reason in particular you decided not to name him?

You know, some readers get really far into the book before they realize this. They page back to see if they missed it. I named him several times in the writing of the book but nothing felt right. In the end, I realized that I couldn’t name him because to name him would be to make him too moral, to corporeal, too much tethered to the earth. He is more of a presence, a spirit in the book. Hence, no name.

You bring such beauty and humor to the story of Ona and just the right voice for a woman of 104 years of age. Did you shape her character from anyone in your own life? What was your favorite scene to craft for this feisty woman?

My favorite scenes are between Ona and the boy, I think. They were both delightful company for me in the many years it took to complete the story. I had a very dear friend whom I did not meet until she was 87. She died at 98, still in possession of a valid driver’s license, and I count her as one of the loveliest friends ever. I miss her still.

The boy says, “I have deficiencies,” to explain some of his obsessions like the Guinness Book of World Records. It reminded me a little of Be Frank With Me, as the writer in that story also refers to these behaviors, but doesn’t actually label her character. As a reader, I am assuming the boy has Asperger’s. Why did you not want to label him in your story?

Mostly because I don’t know that he has Asperger’s or any other syndrome except his own quirky little personality. I was somewhat like this child in my own childhood: a list maker, an obsessive observer. Most writers I know were a little like that as children. I started this book in 2004, when Aspergers was not yet part of the common parlance. I’d heard of autism, I’m sure, but this was before “on the spectrum” was commonly used.

National Wildlife Refuge

source: wikipedia

 There is a pretty epic road trip in this story which brings your three characters together in some surprising ways. I love a good road trip story! What has been a favorite road trip of your own?

My husband and I drove across country and back in the 1980s. I’m a birder, so we planned our trip to hit lots of National Wildlife Refuges. Unlike national parks, refuges are almost always empty of tourists. It was wonderful to find ourselves nearly alone in so many spectacular places.

Kim Goodman- Eyeball Popper

(kim goodman- guinness record holder)

I’m curious to find out what is one of the strangest Guinness World Record that you found while researching for this project?

Oh, my. Where to begin? Those books are a testament to human goofiness and striving. I think the eyeball-popper takes the cake. Something like an inch or so. There’s a picture of her with her eyeballs literally OUT of their sockets.

If I could set a world record in anything, I’d love for it to be the record holder for most book pages read… or maybe most cups of coffee consumed over the course of a lifetime. What is one thing you wish you could set a record in?

I wouldn’t mind a record for most books sold in a single day. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Since your writing is so diverse, I am wondering what you are planning to write next?

I’m working on a new play at the moment. This one is harder because it’s not based on a previous book. So I’m back at the old “who are these people and why are they saying these things” stage of writing.

You can connect with Monica Wood on her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads, through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

It’s the 3 Little Things: Evening Snacks, Headphones For Busy People, & 80’s Awesomeness

Friday, July 29th, 2016

skies

I won’t pretend this was an easy week. My husband and I are both scrambling to complete all-the-things so we can enjoy a vacation together as a family. All-the-things, it turns out, is a little more than we both bargained for, but I just keep thinking about that vacation reward that we earned with our kids! Yesterday evening we took the kids out for sushi and toasted to the partial completion of almost all the things.

 

It’s the best we can manage right now.

I can’t wait to have some unplugged time with my people.

Even though it has been busy, I have some fun stuff for my happy list this week!

Planters Nut-rition Chocolate Nut Protein Mix

My New Favorite Evening Snack

I have been working on a little snack station for the back to school season (coming soon!) and I wanted to have some healthy treats on hand for indulging in. I happened to pick some of these Planters NUT-rition Chocolate Nut mixes and they are absolutely amazing.

The chocolate soy nuts and granola clusters make this a yummy sweet treat at the end of the day while packing a 10 gram protein punch to balance out my wine.

It totally balances out.

I did the math for you.

They have several different varieties that come in little portion-controlled packs. I loved this so much that I wanted every crumb out of the bottom, tried to pour the crumbs in my mouth,  and accidentally spilled granola all over my face in a very embarrassing attempt to get every last bite. I didn’t claim to snack pretty!

Good thing I like to snack alone!

SoundPEATS Wireless Headphones

 

My Podcast Listening Got Way Better

I have been wanting to get a pair of wireless headphones for listening to audiobooks and podcasts around the house, but the prices have always seemed a little outrageous. I went hunting on Amazon and found these bluetooth wireless headphones for less than $20 that happened to have amazing reviews. I have been using them all week and they are truly AMAZING. All of the controls are in the plastic portion that rests around your neck and then the buds go in the ears. Normally earbuds bother me, but these don’t seem to bug me at all and the design of them allows for them to stay in better since they are supported around the neck. It can connect with my phone for long conference calls (way better on my old lady joints!) and it tells you audibly when it powers on, off, and about your battery life. REALLY loving these for tackling chores around the house and listening to my books! It’s also really good for ignoring my children.

Sing Street DVD

A New Favorite Musical

If you are a big fan of the ’80’s you will love SING STREET. ONCE is one of my favorite movie musicals and this film is from the same writer and director of that and he worked with Adam Levine on this project for all you Levine fans!

It’s about a boy who wants to impress a girl and tells her that he is in a band and needs her to star in his music video. The problem is… well, he doesn’t have a band. He gathers up all these kids and they create a band just for this opportunity and it is the cutest thing ever. The music is original and KILLER. Since it is set in Dublin the accents can be a little thick at times, but worth straining your ears for to hear this beautiful story. My husband and I agreed, it’s probably the best film we have seen this year! I think you will love it too!

Reading: Bone Gap and it is beautiful! If you like books that use magical realism then you will really love this YA read. I am reading it through my Scribd membership right now as one of their Scribd Selects (free-ish) book options!

Eating: It’s Orange Chicken night and I can’t wait to dig in!

Watching: Raunchy, but hilarious, Broad City is my new guilty pleasure this week!

dad

Loving: This comic strip. No matter what side you are on, what a momentous day for our kids to see this moment in history! Also loving, catching Lights Out with my dad for his birthday! Happy birthday to the man that taught me the importance of reading! I love you!

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 07.27.16

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Tutu Cake via Oh Happy Day

Source: Oh Happy Day

 

Seriously adorable tutu cake topper.

12 minimalist You Tube channels to follow- inspiring!

Sweet family dinner rituals- do you have one?

More books to add to your library wish list for 2016.

I love an inspiring home tour and this one is lovely!

Sage advice for summer communications.

Tiny kitchen with style via Apartment Therapy

Source: Apartment Therapy

 

Tiny kitchen inspiration.

15 Things About Living In Jordan- I love learning about other countries and their traditions.

On my summer sipping bucket list.

A trick to stop scrolling through those social media feeds- love this perspective!

God creating animals (all the LOL’s- language!!)

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!

 

Kathleen Tessaro’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Katherine-Tessaro

Author: Kathleen Tessaro (Author of Rare Objects and many more novels! Read more about Kathleen in our interview HERE!!

Kathleen Tessaro’s 3 Favorite Books

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Possession by A.S. Byatt

A.S. Byatt’s “Possession” is the masterpiece which has inspired me the most structurally in all my novels. I have never recovered from the sheer audacity and scope of its ambitions.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Nancy Mitford’s “The Pursuit of Love” is my desert island book – one I could happily read over and over again for it’s flawless mixture of biting wit, sudden tenderness and clear, unadulterated love of language.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

 

Tom Stoppard’s play “Arcadia” completely transformed my idea of storytelling. I will never forget the delicious tension of the audience, balanced on the edge of their seats the night I saw it at the National, hanging on every word; thrilled to keep up with the character’s formidable intellects as they unravel a centuries old mystery that married quantum physics with the tragic fate of young woman in the eighteenth century. He taught me never to write down to my audience.

 

 This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!