Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

It’s the 3 Little Things: Shiny Pots, Cozy Throws, & Beautiful Books

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! This week I have had the unique opportunity to head to the Celestial Seasonings headquarters and learn all about their teas which is, seriously, one of the coolest opportunities ever for a super fan like me. If you recall, I raved quite a bit about my Sleepytime Extra tea that helped me break my melatonin habit and I even included their teas in a gift guide this past year for the holidays. I am a tea enthusiast so I feel so lucky to get to see how they create their products and share that with you in the upcoming week! Yay!

I am writing this on Tuesday night for you since I will be in Boulder this week and hopefully I am having a magical flight where I get upgraded for no reason, my suitcase is incredibly light since I have a mere fashion capsule wardrobe that I can make four million outfits out of a mere one or two pieces,  and I will be reading the world’s best book.  Let’s just pretend all of those things are happening right now!

Without further adieu- here’s the abbreviated happy today!

All the Lights We Cannot See

World’s Coziest Throw

As if the world’s coziest slippers were not enough, I could not wait for the temperatures to drop so I could spend my day curled up in the happiest shed on earth and read my library books! Last year I scored this throw on clearance for $10 and it has made my world so much cozier. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for it again as they seem to put these back out seasonally at the store and this is one to watch for. It is cozy fleece on one side and then the other side is a glorious faux fur.  They even had a free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription attached to it which made the deal even sweeter.  I promise that it instantly makes all your reading time better- keep those eyes peeled for something similar at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Walmart!

A Beautiful Book

My book club read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr this month, picked by my sweet friend Carrie. Everyone has been raving about this one and I am just going to have to agree that this is one fine piece of literature.  I loved it so much that I immediately emailed Anthony to see if he might do our Sundays With Writers with us and he graciously agreed!  If you want to read it before the interview, you will be so happy you did. I wish I could give this ten stars on GoodReads, it was that good.  I was held captive by this book and could not put it down. The storytelling is superb, the characters vividly created, and the words read like poetry. My heart was in my throat for much of it and I could not turn the pages quickly enough so I knew what would happen with Marie-Laure & Werner. I loved how their stories weaved together and how the author created such striking details that made you feel as though you were witnessing it all firsthand. I can’t recommend this one enough- it will be, perhaps, in my top ten books ever read.

Don’t be intimidated by the length as the chapter are short and help to keep the story moving.  It is one you will be glad you picked up and also will take you on a little Wikipedia narnia when you are done to learn more behind this beautiful piece of work! Stay tuned for a fun interview with Anthony soon!

Bar Keepers Friend

Shiny Everything

Tell me I am not the only one addicted to this stuff- Bar Keepers Friend is the best cleaner ever! You want shiny pots? A shiny sink? A shiny tub? Well, shine, shine, shine. I can think of very little that could not benefit from this cleaner! If you haven’t tried it, prepare to be amazed. My pots look like the day I bought them and I use this every night on my sink.  I can’t imagine my life without this little cleaner and if you have rust issues, this is a great one to have on hand.  A shiny home definitely makes this girl happy.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

tiny-bangs

Did I mention it is Tuesday when I am typing this? I’ve got nothing to share this early in the week, but I did get my bangs chopped and I feel like a brand new woman.

There is that.

If you want to see what I’m wearing you can check my trip highlights on my Instagram feed! :)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Quick & Easy Knitted Boot Cuffs

Easy Knitted Ruffled Scarf with Sashay Yarn

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

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

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Amy’s Notebook 10.01.14

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Folded Leaf Garland via A Subtle Revelry

Source: A Subtle Revelry

 

Folded leaf garland – sometimes a simple seasonal update is just enough.

Have you ever wondered where to start when your style starts changing?

I love a good hollywood makeup trick!

An inspiring home tour that celebrates family.

Tips for getting organized, of which I can never have enough.

An amazing barn renovation.

7 foods you can cook straight out of the freezer for those busy weekday nights.

What to say to Mean Girls via We Are That Family

 

Source: We Are THAT Family

 

What we need to say to the mean girls.

Pumpkin pie spice…popcorn? Um, yes.

I want to try this 7-day smartphone detox.

Anthro-inspired mugs would make beautiful gifts for friends & teachers.

When blogging becomes a slog.

Breakfast hacks – ways to make breakfast easier.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Review: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I was so excited to get a chance to preview the new Jodi Picoult book, LEAVING TIME, that will be hitting store shelves on October 14th! Through a partnership with Walmart Moms, I was given the chance to take a peek and share my honest opinions of this new book with you.

Over the years I have been a huge Picoult fan and I have read almost every book she has written. My love affair with her began with MY SISTER’S KEEPER and I was thrilled when she came to visit our town and our book club got a chance to meet her in person. She was as charming and genuine as I could have hoped so I continued to read her books despite the similar themes with courtroom battles and a surprising twist. Even though I wasn’t as enraptured as I once was, I decided to pick up THE STORYTELLER last year which ended up making my top ten list for one of the best books she has ever written. If I was going to make any recommendation at all, I would pick that one up and devour it immediately. It is, in my opinion, Picoult’s finest work. It is because of this book that I was so excited to see what she would tackle next.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

In LEAVING TIME Picoult embraces a mystery theme that brings an unlikely cast of characters together to piece together the disappearance of Alice Metcalf. Jenna Metcalf’s mother’s death is now a cold case and one that consumes Jenna’s every thought. Alice Metcalf mysteriously disappeared during a tragic accident at the elephant conservatory where she works as a scientist studying the grief among elephants, working alongside her husband. Jenna believes that there is a bigger story to her disappearance and hires Serenity Jones, a disgraced psychic, and Virgil Stanhope, an alcoholic private detective, to help her find out once and for all if Alice is alive or dead. The true question though, is what if Alice has been alive all along and never wanted a relationship with Jenna?

In predictable Picoult fashion, this story alternates between the different characters, and it also weaves in the scientific journals and observations of elephant behavior by Alice. As the story builds, more and more layers are added and we are given a host of possible suspects for Alice’s disappearance. As more of puzzle pieces are added, Jenna begins remembering more and more about what happened when she was a child as it all comes together in a shocking twist that readers will never see coming.

One element I thought worked really well was the storyline of Serenity and her rise and fall in psychic stardom and her struggle with no longer having the gifts she had before. I also loved the private detective and the demons that he was battling since this case was one he never thought he performed well. Most of all, I really appreciated the ending to this one that makes you want to reread the book again to find all of those hidden clues that Picoult placed in there for you that you might not have noticed before.

You can tell that Picoult has thoroughly researched this one, but at points the researched portions dragged on and on for me. Alice’s scientific journals add predictable parallels to her own mothering. At times though, the research was so long that it felt as though you were reading a nonfiction story.  If you are a fan of elephants or the struggles of elephant conservation, you will be swimming in all of the facts and have plenty to read. For me, I felt that this created a bit of lag in my reading and I found myself skimming through those portions to get back to the meat of the story.

Truth be told, the ending is really what makes this Picoult book shine and worthy of a read- I would recommend this book simply for that reason alone! The final forty pages have a way of tying this story together that will have you begging your friends to read it so that you can discuss the plot twist you never saw coming.

Walmart will be offering LEAVING TIME at a deep rollback discount! You can preorder your copy today at the price of, $20.52.

 

What is your favorite Jodi Picoult book? I’d LOVE to hear!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Comfy Slippers, Cleanish Floors, & an Open Table

Friday, September 26th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I am excited to share with you my quick list of what is making me happy this week and can’t wait to hear your lists too!

UGG Driving Moccasins

The World’s Coziest Slippers

You know you have hit middle-age when great slippers are making you super happy.  Every year I buy a cheap pair of slippers from Target that I trash and then have to buy another pair, usually mid-season. I discovered that UGG makes slippers (I know, I am so behind on the times!) and I decided to hunt on eBay to see if I could find a pair of slippers for myself.  I wanted something that looked like a shoe and not yo grandma’s slippers. I found these Gray Suede Driving Moccasins that were brand-new (just missing their box) and bought them for $55. Considering I am probably spending that much on two cheap pairs every year, this is a worthy investment. The best part is that they have leather inserts for warm days and then they have that delightful furry insert for freezing days. You can wear them to get the mail or the kids off the bus or just wear them around the house.  Between these and my thrift store UGG boots that I replaced the inserts on (who knew?),  I have the world’s coziest feet.

Bissell Steam & Sweep

Cleanish Floors

You know how people can be very OCD about one thing and not care about another. Dust gathering on shelves? Don’t care! Dirty floors? I CAN’T HANDLE IT (thus, why my feet are in slippers all the time).  I have tried many a floor steamer and the Bissell Steam & Sweep makes me so happy because it steams and sweeps at the same time.  I use this a couple of times a week on our bathroom floors and in our kitchen. It does as good of a job as my vacuum and I can be doing that while cleaning up spills at the same time in one swipe of this tool.  If you are looking for something to clean and sweep at the same time for floors, this is the gadget I recommend. It has saved me a ton of time cleaning which makes me very, very happy.

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken

Open Table

This article that I shared last week really inspired me to open my home up more to guests and that has, in return,  brought so much happiness to my life. Although I don’t feel equipped with our families busy schedule to devote one night a week to a dinner with all of our friends in my home, it did inspire me to think about setting aside some of my worries about our home not being completely renovated the way I want or always as clean as I want for the perfect entertaining experience and just allow people to see things as they are. The past two weeks we have invited family and friends into our home for meals, coffee, and conversation. We made new friends and I even had both my sister and my sister-in-law over in one week! It has helped motivate me to keep my home in some state of cleanliness just knowing that someone might need a meal one night and it has been good at curbing the loneliness that can happen sometimes with working from home.

I am calling it Open Table and I am opening my table weekly to someone and sharing a meal or a cup of coffee with them in my home.  It’s making my heart very happy and I hope it is making others happy too.

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule. Note that this week I finally cashed in on my steal for the month!! I am one month in and grabbed my steal on the very last day of the first month’s challenge- yay!  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

white collared shirt + rolled teal jeans + oxford shoes

Converse White Collared Shirt (purchased- Target)/ Teal My Heart Skinny Jeans (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Oxford Shoes (Owned-Naturalizer)/Chevron Necklace (owned- Charming Charlie)

wine colored maxi dress + mustard necklace + jean jacked + leopard belt + peep toe shoes

 The Must-Have Maxi in Burgundy (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/ Not Afraid of the Dark Denim Jacket (purchased- Flourish Boutique)/Peep Toe Shoes (owned- Payless Shoes), Mustard Necklace (owned- Goodwill)/Belt (Owned-Target)

utility vest + gray t-shirt + pearls + rolled jeans + ballet flats

STEAL OF THE MONTH: Utility Vest (owned- Groopdealz)/Old Navy Vintage V-Neck T-Shirt in Gray (Old Navy)/Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans (owned- Old Navy)/ Ballet Flats (owned- Payless Shoes)/Pearl Necklace (owned- Flourish Boutique)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

How to Make a Care Package for the Homeless

Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

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

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Amy’s Notebook 09.24.14

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Tacos via Camille Styles

Source: Camille Styles

 

Pumpkin spice tacos- say what?!

A kitchen renovation like this is on my to-do list.

Fabulous tips for applying lipstick so it lasts all day.

Raspberry gin cocktail- you had me at gin.

Simple & elegant touches for fall decorating.

15 career tips from smart women.

Gold Leaf Art via Lovely Indeed

Source: Lovely Indeed

 

I love this diy gold leaf art.

I can’t wait to hang my daughter’s guitar like this- plus, the styling around the piano is fantastic!

I want fill my freezer with these quinoa burritos.

I want to try this 24 hour iPhone experiment.

A rainbow of gourds.

I’m in love with these dining room updates.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Sundays With Writers: Lifelines by Caroline Leavitt

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Sundays With Writers

I have a very special treat for you today and am so honored to be interviewing bestselling author Caroline Leavitt for our Sundays With Writers series. I have been a longtime fan of her work and recently requested a copy of her book LIFELINES on NetGalley to read. It was so interesting to see several all available for one author (a rarity for a reviewer)  and was so excited to read that Caroline’s backlist of novels are now being published into ebook format for her devoted readers.  I was not as familiar with how all of that works in the publishing world so I was so excited to interview her and let her tell us about this unique opportunity.

Lifelines by Caroline Leavitt

Let me begin with her book LIFELINES that I read last week. Honestly, you would have never known that the book was originally published in the ’80′s because the story is timeless as is the beautiful and rich relationship between the mother and daughter in this story.  This story is about a woman named Duse, a strong-willed psychic and Isadora, her daughter, who struggles to find her own identity. It begins with Duse’s supernatural gifts which lead her to palm reading and how these lifelines in her own hands help guide her in her decision to find love and begin her family. As Duse is open to her gift her husband and daughter do not believe in it and live their lives differently, often conflicting with Duse’s world and their own self-discovery. What happens though when these three worlds collide and what if there truly are things in the world that cannot be explained.

  I found this book to be a deeply moving story that illustrates the bonds and difficulties that often arise in mother and daughter relationships.  I would recommend this beautiful book for people who enjoy stories with lots of character development, descriptive prose, and a slower build in their books. As with everything I have read by Caroline, I find her storytelling superb and this book was such a treat to read. I had happened to read IS THIS TOMORROW recently too and I can say that from her earlier work to her more recent work, it is solid through and through.

Now grab your coffee and let’s chat with the wildly talented Caroline Leavitt today!

Caroline Leavitt

For those of us that aren’t in the publishing world, explain what it means to have your backlist published?  How did this opportunity arise and what is the gain for you, as an author, to see your backlist published?

Before there were-e-books, everything was just in paper, which meant that, for most books, after a while, the book goes out of print. If people want to read it, they hit the library (which is great, I love libraries), or used bookstores or private sellers, which often charge ridiculous prices like $2,000 for my novel Meeting Rozzy Halfway! That  price tag means I can’t afford to buy up extra copies of my own novel! My agent and I were approached by Dzanc Books who had a new series called REprints (that’s the right spelling, by the way!), where they were bringing back literary novels in e-book form and would I like to have my book list out? I was so completely thrilled! In fact, Dzanc is now going to publish another one of my backlist, Living Other Lives. That means all my books, except for my third novel, Jealousies, which everyone hated, (I was pushed into writing a “more commercial novel” by my then publisher), will be available!

I would be most grateful if everyone would take a look and/or order them all here:

I read your book LIFELINES, one of several titles that are making their way out into the world again and would love to hear what makes this book special to you? Do you feel your writing style has evolved since this was published originally in the ‘80’s?

What an interesting question! The book was special to me because it was my second novel. My first, Meeting Rozzy Halfway, had created a sensation and made me a kind of star, and everyone had huge expectations for Lifelines, which got rave reviews—and then the publisher went out of business and the book lost promotion and steam, and well, there you go. The book died. It has particular meaning for me because parts of it were first published in the Michigan Quarterly Review, which was actually my very first publication. They paid me $50! I was so thrilled! I was deeply interested in identity back then, who we are compared to others—(hey, I was really young and insecure). I wrote my first two books in first person, and then I began to branch out!

LIFELINES really, at its roots, deals with the bonds between mothers and daughters.  In one line you say, “Through it all, Isadora began to think that if you had to be mother and daughter, it was easier at a distance.” The complexities of these relationships are so rich and deep just as they often are in real life. What made you want to explore this relationship and do you think there is any truth to Isadora’s thoughts?

Another great question. Well, at the time, I had a tangled relationship with my mother. I loved her (and still love her) very deeply, but she was insistent that I live my life the way she thought I should, and it caused a lot of friction. At the time, I just wasn’t strong enough to say to her, “I love you, but it’s my life and I know what it is going to make me happy.” Isadora wasn’t strong enough to do that—plus, there were parts of her that wondered if she WAS living her life the right way because everything was going badly for her! It became a really useful way for me to explore my own feelings about who I was, who my mother was, and who we could be together.

Edgard Cayce

I have read that you always add a spiritual element into each of your books. LIFELINES deals a lot with the things that we can’t always explain like palm reading, the feeling of spirits moving through one’s body, and the power of hypnosis. Do you believe in the power of these things yourself? What type of research did you do to prepare for Duse’s gifts?

I am LOVING your questions. I have always been interested in magic, the unknown, etc. I blame my father, who used to give me books about Edgar Cayce, the minister who would go into a trance and be able to tell peoples’ futures and cure their ailments, and no one—including him—knew why. I loved reading about that! I saw possibilities everywhere!  My father also gave me these old magazines called Weird Tales, and one of them talked about there being hidden holes in the world and if you stepped in one, you would vanish and go into another world. I looked for those holes everywhere!  But I also started reading a lot of quantum physics for the layperson and the thing that struck me is the pieces always talked about how the universe is really more strange and weird than anything we can imagine. There can be parallel universes where you might be living out another live. Maybe we are part of a giant computer (they’ve recently found pixels in space!).

So I do believe that anything and everything is possible—and that anything and everything has a scientific explanation we just don’t know yet. Many physicists say that there is no time, really, that is all a loop with everything happening at the same time. Wouldn’t that explain how a psychic might know your future?

I didn’t really do research back then. (I know, crazy, right?) Instead, I used what I knew and the experiences I had had with psychics I had gone to.

Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt

As an author of nine bestselling novels, I am sure it might be difficult to answer this, but what is one novel of yours that you wish everyone would read? What makes that book particularly endearing to you?

Yikes, this is like asking a mom who her favorite child is. Each novel was extremely important to me at the time. I guess I would urge people to read Is This Tomorrow because that is my most recent and the most me.

You are not only an author, but also a critic of books for People, The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle. I wrote my first book and had such a hard time reading the feedback from it and have found that I prefer doing interviews with authors rather than reviews of books because I am now aware as an author of what it feels like to be on the other side of criticism. Since you receive criticism for your own work, do you find it difficult to critique others especially when so many authors are colleagues or personal friends? Do you publish feedback if you find you really hate a book?

What a great question. Before I became a critic, my reviews used to decimate me. If they were bad, I would hole up and cry for weeks. If they were good, I was skeptical and wondered if the reviewer was just being kind to me because he or she felt sorry for me.  My husband Jeff is a music critic and he used to talk to me for hours about how this is just one person’s opinion, and you have to weight the criticism, maybe learn from it and in any case, let it go. Becoming a critic was the best thing I ever did for myself because it made me realize how true that is. There have been books championed by every other critic on the planet that I just hated. And there have been many, many books I have loved that no one else even bothered to review, or if they did review, they tore the book to pieces.  It made me review and consider books more carefully. No one sets out to write a bad book, yet many reviews read as if that is truly the case. I think there is a right way to critique, to gently point out things that may not be working and to explore why in the context of what you believe the author was intending to do.

It’s considered deeply unethical to review a book by someone you know, even casually.  You are not supposed to review a book if you share the same publisher or editor or agent. Many papers I have worked for, including the NYT, make you sign a contract stipulating that you do not know the author. I’m very careful with that. Part of why I started my blog was so I could be above board about interviewing writers I knew and giving them some press for their books!

I also work privately with writers on their manuscripts because I love looking at books and figuring out what works and why, and what doesn’t work and how a writer could think about fixing that issue. It’s an intensive process—but it’s always done with great care and concern for the artist, because I know how hard a process writing anything is. And that process deserves the utmost respect. The difference between this and reviewing is that here, I can point out ways for the book to succeed on a higher level. A review is just a review.

That said, I don’t review books I hate. I don’t want to tear apart another writer. There’s so little review space available now, that I want to promote the books I love, instead.

I also read your book IS THIS TOMORROW and absolutely loved it. I’m a big fan of period pieces especially the 1950’s era and you weave a beautiful story about what it would be like as a single mother in this era and the scrutiny of those around her and the heartache of what it would be like for your child to suddenly be missing. I just felt like this one must be made into film.  Are there any plans to see this one being made into a screenplay? Please say yes.

Oh, thank you!  Thank you!  I have had my heart broken and smashed by the movie biz many times. My first novel, Meeting Rozzy Halfway, was supposed to be a film with Paramount and then there was a writers/directors strike. My novel Into Thin Air was considered as Madonna’s directorial debut for three days before she went on tour. It was later picked up by another producer, but nothing ever happened. Pictures of You was optioned and nothing ever happened. Living Other Lives was optioned by the guy who made some Stephen King films and it had a script written by an Obie winning writer. It was about to go into principal photography and then everything stopped. I never heard back from anyone, until months later, when the producer resurfaced in Nashville, but the project was inexplicably dead. Is This Tomorrow actually has a script! I submitted the first scene  (I wrote it) to Sundance Screenwriting Lab, and was a finalist! They take only 6 people, but I didn’t make the cut. There’s a producer interested who is looking at financing, and he’s told me to be patient—so I’m used to all of this. Having a movie made of your book is the brass ring, but the chances of it actually happening are so slim. Still, a girl can hope, right?

What do you have in store for us with your next book?

I’m just about to turn in Cruel Beautiful World, which was sold on the basis of a first chapter and a thirty page synopsis, and of course I’m terrified. It’s set in the 60s and early 70s, the time when all the free love movement was starting to turn ugly, with the Manson murders and Altamont. It’s about a 16 –year-old girl who runs off with her 30 year-old hippy teacher to join the “back to the land” movement that began in the 70s, a so-called-paradise that turns into a nightmare for her.

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

The Great Gatsby. I hated it in high school, but then years later, I had to teach it in a high school, and I began to realize what a perfectly structured novel it is, how moving, how sad, and how beautiful a book it really is.

Thank you for these magnificent questions!

You can connect with Caroline Leavitt on GoodReads or 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!

 

 

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Tween Happiness, Red Lips, & Facebook Management

Friday, September 19th, 2014

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! The week passes by oh-so-quickly and I can’t believe it is already time for another happiness list. Let’s not delay the happy one more minute.

What If by Randall Munroe

What If by Randall Munroe

Tween Belly Laughs

When your kid falls in love with a book, especially when that kid is a tween boy, it is pure magic. I heard an interview with Randall Munroe on NPR one morning about his book, WHAT IF?, and told my husband that I wanted to get this book for him. He had read about the same book that morning on a tech blog and asked if I would pick it up for him at the library.

Jinx.

Padlock jinx.

When I got it, I handed it to my son, and my husband hasn’t really read the book on his own since my son got his hands on it. Munroe explores the absolute craziest, “what if” scenarios and comes up with a truly scientific explanation of the outcome for each of them. It is accompanied by hilarious drawings of what might occur in these scenarios, making it a perfect book for boys who loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

What this kid doesn’t know is that his mama ordered a copy for him for keeps since he has been working hard on school and cross country this fall.  Hearing him belly laughing until he couldn’t breathe is such a rare and delightful thing for a mom of a tween boy. I can’t wait to give him his copy.

L'Oreal True Red Lipstick

The Perfect Red Lipstick

I shared with you the fun red lipstick guide I found on Oh Happy Day this week in our notebook and couldn’t wait to hit my drugstore for the perfect red lipstick. Although the color that was highlighted in their guide was called, “British Red by L’Oreal” next door to it in the display I found, L’Oreal Colour Rich Lip Color in True Red (#315) and fell in love.  A tube of this lipstick is just $5.99 and your lips stay pretty and hydrated. I ate lunch and it still hung on (perhaps not as bright), but it didn’t have that dried out effect that some of the other lipsticks I have tried before.

I happened to be picking up my last item from alterations and the sweet lady that altered my dress said, “Oh my! Don’t you look so pretty! You look just like Marilyn Monroe with that lipstick.”

Which I don’t.

But I giggled like a schoolgirl and skipped out to my car…where a sick daughter awaited in the back seat.

But we will pretend I threw on my sunglasses and drove away in my convertible singing about diamonds. Because you know…MARILYN.

No Facebook

Goodbye, Mobile Facebook

I have been complaining a lot about people tapping me out all the time which annoys myself, frankly. What I am coming to realize is that I can only be tapped out if I allow people to tap into me. Which I do. Constantly.  I removed Facebook from my phone this week and I am so much happier. I pop on my computer when I need to check it and I stay off of it when I don’t. I no longer see the number of notifications pending and I am no longer worrying about what that could mean. I can’t do away with Facebook because of my business and the connections that I make with other bloggers, but I don’t need to carry that around with me all day.  It’s amazing how much more productive I can be now!

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule (the I like my belt & cardigan edition).  Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

green cardiagn + lace shirt + leopard print belt + rolled skinny jeans + oxfords

 Forest Fairy Cardigan (owned- Flourish Boutique)/a’reve lace shirt (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Belt (Owned-Target)/ Pearl Necklace (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Seven Skinny Jeans (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Oxford Shoes (Owned-Naturalizer)

burgundy tank + green cardigan + leggings + statement necklace + two toned boots

Seamless Tank in Burgundy (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Pearl Necklace (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Belt (Owned-Target)/Forest Fairy Cardigan (owned- Flourish Boutique)/The Essential Leggings in Black (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Two-Toned Boots (owned- Flourish Boutique)

striped shirt + leopard belt + skinny jeans + boots

White House Black Market Blue Striped Collared Top (purchased second hand on Twice)/Old Navy Rock Star Skinny Jeans (owned- Old Navy)/Belt (Owned-Target)/ Boots (owned-see details here!)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Here are our top 3 posts this week!

1. 5 Ways to Date Your Husband This Fall

2. How to Spray Paint Furniture

3. Goodbye, Old Friend: Asking Jealousy to Leave

And here is your bonus happy today! ADORABLE!

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

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Amy’s Notebook 09.17.14

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Yarn Garland via Design Improvised

Source: Design Improvised

 

DIY yarn garlands – so simple and sweet!

Bring on the red lipstick.

Why rest takes courage- I needed this.

Go ahead, have another cup of coffee!

The most stylish micro-apartments- sometimes you just don’t need more space.

Why cucumber is the new baguette.

Chocolate-Caramel-Latte-Muffins via Dine and Dish

 

Source: Dine & Dish

 

Chocolate caramel latte breakfast muffins to go with that cup of coffee- YUM.

2014 Man Booker Prize Shortlist announced!

Why it doesn’t matter how you feel about your friends.

Princess Anna inspired crochet hat to make for your favorite Frozen fan.

A sweet take on a bedroom for 2 sisters.

I am so inspired by the transformative power of a weekly dinner night with friends.

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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It’s the 3 Little Things: Better Mornings Edition

Friday, September 12th, 2014

3_little_things

Happy Friday! Geesh, sorry about the Charlie Brown edition last week, but thank you guys for your encouraging words and prayers. When my mom called me on Saturday she insisted I go to the doctor. And, yes, I am a 36 year-old woman who still needs her mother’s encouragement to go to the doctor. Turned out I had both a sinus infection and a raging ear infection. Lesson learned, always listen to your mother. One round of antibiotics later and I am feeling like a whole new woman. I was also happy to hear that I had not visited the doctor since last September so that is a pretty good track run! Go me!

Better Mornings

This edition is going to be about some things that are making my mornings better. I took this shot on Instagram to share a little bit about my progression towards a better morning. I am lucky and very unlucky when it comes to my mornings. Unlucky in the fact that I have to get a middle school kid on the bus by 6:30, but lucky in the fact that I am having productive and happy mornings thanks to getting up so much earlier.

Here are some things that are making me happy this morning.

She Reads Truth

She Reads Truth

I don’t talk a lot about religion on here, but faith is an important part of our family life.  I have fallen off the wagon, so to speak, in diving into my Bible on my own and relying on Sunday sermons to power my weeks. It is usually in the Fall that I am seeking something to fill the void in my day.

Here is the honest truth. Working at home is a beautiful thing and it can be very isolating especially when you find yourself alone at home with no adults or even children to talk to for the day. There are days where the only interaction I have with anyone is at the gym  which isn’t good for someone who loves constant noise in her life.  I wouldn’t change my job for the world, but I definitely find myself seeking something when I feel a little empty and I am feeling empty.

She Reads Truth is a free devotional series that I am doing to get back into the daily discipline of reading my Bible again. You can download the app or subscribe to the emails to get the latest devotion. The lessons are real, they are applicable, and they are current.  I had never read Hosea before so I decided to read that series and, boy, could it fit me more?  It’s all about being an unfaithful servant…which is ME.

I think God might be telling me something in these morning chats with Him and maybe I needed that silence and loneliness to find Him again.

One Line a Day Journal

One Line A Day

I struggle with journaling, but since I was getting my mornings back on track, I wanted to make this a priority.  Have you heard me talk about my One Line a Day journal? It is one of my favorite things. One page holds five years of memories, giving you the chance to see how your day changes from year-to-year. My biggest struggle is at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is jot down my thoughts on the day. I am exhausted (see bus time above) and all I want to do is watch mindless television or read a book.

In the morning, after much coffee, is a great time for me to journal so I just jot down my thoughts from the previous day which works much better for me and makes me really happy that I am finally putting pen to paper again. You have to make good habits make sense to your life and this just makes sense.

The best part is that this little journal costs less than $10, but can give you FIVE YEARS of joy.

Gallery Wall Ideas

My Gallery Wall

For two years this wall has bugged me and every morning when I would come down the stairs I would see it and wonder how I could finish my gallery wall. I am a slow decorator because I want things to have meaning in my home, but I just didn’t know what to do with this wall. I finally finished it and this is the first thing I see when I come down the steps and it makes me so dang happy.

Gallery Wall Ideas

Gallery Wall Ideas

Gallery Wall Ideas

After organizing my photos this week, I updated the prints with some of my favorite shots that I took this year. I added this free printable and this free printable to the space to round out the corners.

Gallery Wall Ideas

Gallery Wall Ideas

My favorite things on the wall though are the special things that make us, “us.” I hung my great-grandmother’s biscuit cutter that she used to make biscuits for us each morning when we would stay with her in the summers on the farm. My husband’s grandfather was quite the ping pong player and his ping pong paddle (with his name handwritten on it) hangs on the wall to honor him. The, “It Is Well,” hymn (from this AMAZING Etsy shop owner)  is my absolute favorite and one I loved to BELT OUT (as only a girl like this can do!) at church so I hung this print on the wall.

I also love this beach photo that my hubby had snapped with my phone when we were in Saugatuck that I transferred into watercolor using the Waterlogue app. All those things make this wall oh-so-us.

Happy, happy!

And if that doesn’t cut it- cut a rug to this adorable video with your kids.

 

Three Things I Wore From My Fashion Capsule (note the transition from heat wave to Fall- yay!). Grab more inspiration on my Fashion Capsule Pin Board.

bow top + black a-line skirt + mint belt

Gap Black Skirt (purchased second hand on Twice)/Ann Taylor Loft Pink Print Collared Shirt (purchased second hand on Twice)/ Mint Belt (owned- Target)/Pink Sandals (Owned-see here for details!)

belted coral t-shirt + rolled jeans + nude flats

Mossimo Short Sleeve Coral Shirt (purchased- Target)/Seven Skinny Jeans (owned- Flourish Boutique)/Nude Ballet Flats (owned- Gap)/ Bow Belt (owned- Ann Taylor Loft)

cozy sweater + long tank + black leggings + brown boots

Free People White Cowl Neck Sweater (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ The Essential Leggings in Black (owned- Flourish Boutique)/ Boots (owned- see details here!)

3 Things YOU Loved This Week (you, lover of MomAdvice things, you!)

Here are our top 3 posts this week!

Gluten-Free Broccoli Grape Harvest Salad

How to Make Glow-In-The-Dark Jell-O

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

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

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Amy’s Notebook 09.10.14

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Hello Fall Printable via Nest of Posies

Source: Nest of Posies

 

Loving this hello beautiful fall printable.

Glam-rock chain cuffs would be a fun DIY for my fashion capsule project.

Frugal and adorable bobby pin storage.

Love this peek at a barn restoration (and the realness of updating your space).

How to ask your kids about their school day – I need this!

Adorable crocheted boat shoes.

I love this removable sweater lampshade cover.

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls via The Kitchn

Source: The Kitchn

 

Slow cooker chicken burrito bowls- it’s like Chipotle at home.

World’s cutest baby shower idea.

This floral infinity scarf made from a thrifted dress is a great upcycle.

How to lengthen and embellish your shorts.

I’d love to learn calligraphy!

Are you tired of being a stuff manager? Me too!

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

Pin It