Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

Amy’s Notebook 06.10.15

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Cake in a Bag via A Subtle Revelry

Source: A Subtle Revelry


Birthday cake baked in a bag!

A 2015 summer reading guide.

The most iconic coffee moments in film.

Matt Damon gives us a peek inside Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian.’ Did you see our interview with the author?

This Thai spicy pork and glass noodles – yum (bonus, naturally GF!).

Fun Father’s Day gift ideas.

Summer-ize Your Home via The Nester

Source: The Nesting Place


I love these tips for hushing your house for summer.

Epic road trip, anyone?

13 of your favorite books if their titles were honest.

5 ways to transition a room from baby to big kid.

Hosting a summer ice cream party? This topping may steal the show.

Or, just throw a regular party with one of these summer drinks.


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!

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Sundays With Writers: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

Sundays With Writers is my favorite feature on MomAdvice and I am so excited to share with you today an exclusive interview with Jessica Knoll, the author of Luckiest Girl Alive! This dark and twisty thriller recently hit bookshelves and today Jessica is sharing a little bit behind her story in this interview.  Of course, I am particularly excited since this book got picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s production team so I get to give you the scoop before we see this one on the big screen!

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

How can this book not be on your top list? The title has GIRL in it (like this, and this, and this…), Gillian Flynn’s name is dropped on the front cover for the endorsement, the narrator is unlikable, AND Reese Witherspoon will be producing the movie version of this book (only just recently announced). I’d say this has a winning combination for this to be the book that everyone will be talking about this summer.

Much like other thriller books, I don’t want to give away the plot too much so that you have the satisfaction of discovering the twists yourself. Ani is a girl who never has the ability to fit in at her prestigious private school, no matter how many brand name clothes her mother buys her. When Ani intrigues the popular kids, they decide to invite her in and Ani discovers, maybe it was better to have never been a part of the group at all. In a horrible turn of events, she finds solace in another kid at school that will, ultimately, change the destiny of the school and the kids in it forever.

The book flashes back to Ani’s painful teen years and then alternates chapters as they film a documentary about what happened at their school and how much happier Ani is now that she is working at a high-profile magazine, beautiful, thin, and has the guy of her dreams. Of course, things are never as good as they seem and getting to the root of why Ani is so unlikable helps the reader to connect more as the story progresses despite the excruciating shallowness and weight obsession of this woman.

With just the right amount of sass to balance the darkness of this book (think Gillian Flynn for how dark we get), this read is a quick page-turner that I can’t wait to see adapted into film.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars in our must-read books list for April- did you catch it?

Grab your coffee and settle in for an interview with this fantastic author!

Jessica Knoll

Let’s start with the most exciting news, Luckiest Girl Alive had the movie rights acquired by Lionsgate and Reese Witherspoon is set to produce the film version of your book. Do YOU feel like the luckiest girl alive and how/when did you find this out?

I cracked this joke to Bruna, Reese’s producing partner, and she quickly corrected me by telling me that I’m not lucky—good things come to those who work hard to develop their craft and talent. I really appreciated that! There is certainly a degree of luck involved, but I was also very, very calculated in terms of setting myself up for success. I fought tooth and nail to land a job in the magazine world right after I graduated college, knowing that once you get your foot in that door, it’s a great place to develop your voice and improve your writing and storytelling abilities. Most important, you make a lot of great connections working in magazines, and publishing people like magazine people because you have a whole network of friends who are willing to support the book. I met my agent years before I ever wrote Luckiest Girl Alive, and I met other people in the industry who had lines into Hollywood. One of those lines happened to be to Reese and Bruna. Their involvement has undoubtedly granted the book a certain amount of visibility that any author, let alone a first time author, could only dream of, and I’m so grateful to them for their unwavering support. The luck part comes into play as I got to know them both, and realized how incredibly collaborative and inclusive they are. I really lucked out in terms of being paired up with two smart, powerful women who are also willing to help a first time writer develop and grow. I have so much to learn from them, and lucky for me, they want to teach me.

The unlikable narrator seems to be a growing trend in fiction. I won’t drop the Gone Girl comparison, but why do you think authors are gravitating towards a different dynamic with the narrators of their story? Do you think Ani is unlikable or just misunderstood thanks to her past?

In my eyes, Ani isn’t unlikable at all. She’s flawed, yes, but isn’t everyone? That’s what makes her real and honest. And real and honest are two very likable qualities. That being said, I think we are living in a very exciting time for strong, female driven narratives. I will make the Gone Girl reference here, mostly because it was such an absolute phenomenon that it goes to show you that audiences are interested in the anti-heroine’s story too. There’s a demand for Tony Soprano and Amy Dunne, Don Draper and Ani FaNelli. Let’s give the people what they want!

At the heart of it all, Ani just wanted to be liked, even when she is mistreated in a truly devastating way by the popular kids at school. Do you think this happens more than we know (perhaps, not to this gravity) and did you face any struggles with fitting in when you were in school? Were there any real events that were the inspiration for your story?

Speaking from personal experience, I think it’s incredibly common. Kids can be cruel, and up until recently, sexual assault and slut shaming culture was not something we discussed openly. When I was in high school and college, I didn’t truly understand what rape looked like, and I know a lot of my friends—guys and girls—didn’t either. How can we expect kids to make the right decisions, and treat each other with dignity and respect, when we don’t give them examples of what that does—and doesn’t—look like? What happens to Ani in the book isn’t new. It’s a story old as time. But this sudden willingness to talk about bullying, slut shaming, and sexual assault is new, and that’s a good thing.

Since you have worked as an editor for magazines, did this background prepare you for writing your first novel and how hard was it to transition from writing/editing article pieces to a book? How long was the process of idea into book for you?

It absolutely did. I could not have written this book in my early and mid twenties. That was an important, developmental time for me in terms of discovering my voice, and learning how to find a story’s unique angle. Once I had that skillset to draw on, I spent a good year or two really thinking hard about what I wanted my book to be about, and high on that list was for it to make some sort of commentary about the world and times we are living in. Magazines taught me to have that strong perspective. Once I actually sat down to write Luckiest Girl Alive, it was extremely liberating to be able to write in my own voice. When you write for a magazine, you have to appropriate a ‘house’ voice. But Ani was all me. It was so freeing to tell her story that I churned it out in nine months.

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

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I’ve been tweeting about this book a ton, and I am probably starting to scare the author a little. But it’s a stunning book—gorgeous prose, and an epic and powerful tale about friendship.

You can connect with Jessica Knoll on GoodReads or through 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!

May 2015 Must-Reads

Friday, June 5th, 2015

May 2015 Must-Reads from

I hope that you guys had another great month of reading. This post is running a bit behind this month since we were traveling, but I had to be sure to sneak this one in before June is in full swing. Since we had a long flight to Italy and back this week, I tackled four books on my trip and I have a couple of other great ones to share about this month.  I hope I will have some new ones to add to your beach bag because it is almost beach bag season! You know I can’t wait for that after this long winter season in Indiana.

Here are six books I tackled this month!

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 (currently available for pre-order, hits stores on July 7th!)

I am a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid. In fact, this book made my top ten a couple of years ago and would definitely be one I would recommend adding to your beach bag. NetGalley sent me an advance reader of this book which I could not wait to dig into. If you are like me though, when your favorite authors come out with books you quickly devour it and then have to impatiently wait for the next book from them.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.  What unvold are two story lines- what would happen if she left with him and what happened if she refused.

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her.

Maybe In Another Life is a  fun escape that would make a great addition to your beach bag this summer. Fans of Life Intended will enjoy this as the reader is taken into two different directions as a moment in the narrator’s life leads them down two separate paths and you see the parallel lives unfolding. A satisfyingly sweet story that reminds us that just one simple decision can alter our lives in two different directions entirely. Reid is a beautiful storyteller and her books are always a personal treat for me!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I have picked this book up from the library time and time again and kept returning it. The story did not grab me the way Gone Girl did. When my girlfriend gave this one five stars on GoodReads though, I decided to pack it for my trip and devoured it in a single day and can’t wait to see this one developed into a television show.

The story follows a reporter with a troubled past who has to return to her hometown when she is assigned a story on the murder of two preteen girls in her small town. Returning home is a challenge as she has a dysfunctional relationship with her mother and is reminded why she left the town in the first place.  As the mystery unfolds about the brutal murders of these two girls, she must confront her own twisted past and discover who the killer is just as the reader does, in a wild twist.

I will say that this is dark and I think that is why I have struggled with it before.  Flynn’s writing makes you feel uncomfortable because her imagery is so raw and graphic. It is disturbing in the way that I felt about Flowers in the Attic when I read it as a kid.  Sure, it’s disturbing… but you can’t look away.  Kind of like a train wreck. Flynn creates a necessary tension for such a dark tale and the writing creates a vivid picture for the reader of these dark characters and town.

A perfect twist at the end, makes this a satisfyingly dark thriller that I really enjoyed. Read at your own discretion!

4 Out of 5 Stars

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson


The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

I love our weekly reading check-in on the Facebook page and everyone has been talking this book up as a book that they just could not put down. I am always game for a good thriller so I snagged this one from the library and read it in two days. You were right. I couldn’t put this one down! Thank you all for recommending it!

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”

From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

This is a book of cat and mouse, mouse and cat, cat and cat…Really, the reader just doesn’t know where this one will go and who to trust. This is a fantastically twisty thriller that you must pack in your beach bag this summer. The author does a great job of weaving narrators and twisting the plot so that the reader is left guessing up until that final page. A satisfying ending with a well-woven story. You will love it right up until that final shocking page!

4 Out of 5 Stars

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green

Did you catch my interview with John Green on the site? An incredible moment for sure! The only John Green book I have read is The Fault In Our Stars which I absolutely loved.  I wanted to read Paper Towns since the movie is coming out and I always love to read the book before the movie. Are you like that too?

Quintin has been loving the neighbor girl, Margo, since they were kids. Margo has never really paid attention to Quintin so when she unexpectedly opens his bedroom window one night, complete in Ninja-attire, he is stunned. That evening is an epic one of revenge against classmates that they embark on all night. The next day, Margo is gone, but Quintin realizes that Margo has left clues to where she has gone. With mixed dread that she may have committed suicide and a need to see the love of his life again, he takes his friends on an epic minivan road trip to find Margo on their graduation day.

Super cute and laugh-out-loud funny, this was a great escape. I would recommend it for fans of All the Bright Places as the road trip leads this crew on a fun adventure.

4 Out of 5 Stars

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett

Are you ready for another book that will be making my top ten of 2015? I can tell you right now that this book will be on the list.  I have never read a survival story like it and I have thought about this book ever since I shut the pages. It was one of the most difficult reads I have ever read and I will never forget this memoir or how extraordinary Amanda’s journey was.

Amanda Lindhout lived in a violent home and escaped her life through her issues of National Geographic that she collected and dreamed of traveling to a life far better than her own.  At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.

Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives “wife lessons” from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.

It is impossible to read this book and not be moved by Amanda’s journey. Although it is frustrating to read how naive she is by throwing herself into places that she knows are dangerous to prove the world wrong (which she acknowledges in her story), her ability to transcend the brutality and exit her body is an extraordinary study in survival and her will to live.

If you loved (and could endure) survival stories like Unbroken, I think this one brings new perspective on how women are treated in Somalia every single day and you will be moved by Amanda’s story and what she now gives to Somalia since being held hostage.

This is graphic, brutally graphic. Amanda glosses over much of what she endured probably to save the reader from the imagery, but what she tells is so horrific that you will be thinking of this story long after you close the final pages.

5 Out of 5 Stars

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

(currently available for pre-order, hits stores on June 16th!)

I had this book on my reading list for this summer so I was so excited to get an advanced reader from the publishing house the week before our trip. Mental illness books in the YA category seem to be a growing trend and I think it is a good thing. All the Bright Places, read and shared with you last month,  tackled the issue of bipolar disorder and this book sheds light on the difficulties of being a teen with OCD. Stone illustrates our common misconceptions of OCD (the main character doesn’t even have a tidy room!) and tackles the harder stuff like what it would be like to be obsessive with something like the number 3 and not being able to drive your friends because your odometer must always have that number on it.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

The camaraderie of friendship and group therapy through writing reminded me of the beautiful friendships in the The Fault In Our Stars

The story is well-written and age-appropriate for teens (there is one sex scene), but I think it would be a great one to read and then talk about with your teens about the struggles of fitting in, how everyone struggles with something, and how important it is to be your own person. Samantha is a character that really blossoms on the page. YA fans who are moms will enjoy this one too as the book brings a satisfying twist at the end.

4 Out of 5 Stars


Read With Me This Year:

January 2015 Must-Reads

February 2015 Must-Reads

March 2015 Must-Reads

April 2015 Must-Reads

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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Amy’s Notebook 06.03.15

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

How to make a wine bottle tiki via Julie Blanner

Source: Julie Blanner

DIY wine bottle tiki torch- I love a good 10-minute craft.

Adding this 7-minute egg to my breakfast idea list.

A Marie Kondo decluttering clothing swap party.

I’m saving these makeup tips for teens for my daughter!

It’s time to plan the summer capsule.

Greek yogurt chocolate panna cotta- yes.

I love a good summer book list!

Think of those in Texas (and ways to help!)

Packing for a long trip in a Carry On via Kelly Purkey

Source: Kelly Purkey


Packing for a long trip in a carry-on suitcase.

Better mom uniforms- I love these outfit ideas.

Now we can eat apples poolside! Genius.

Bookcase envy.

School’s out party ideas- so cute!

I’m inspired to plan some career days for my kids.

A day in the life of Pinterest.


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!


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It’s the 3 Little Things (With Meagan): King, Cuffs & Coffee

Friday, May 15th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Well, hello, Friday! Nice to see you again! The Clark family has hobbled through another week and this will be our last 3 little things for this month as the blog will be on hiatus from May 20th-June 1st. My husband and I are celebrating our 15 year anniversary and got our very first passports to take a trip to Italy to celebrate. We are touring Florence, Rome, & Venice on our trip and I am so excited and so very nervous. Grandma retired last year and has generously agreed to step into our place and take over for nine days with my children. She is a saint!

I want everything to be spectacular for her so I am filling the freezer, organizing a fraction of the unorganized spaces, list-making, and tackling the Mt. Everest of laundry piles. It will all be worth it though and we are so thankful we leave our kids in far more competent hands than my own.


Passport Application

Say some prayers for grandma and, if you have a few to spare, throw up a few for us since we are nervous travelers!  We have been saving a long time for this. Actually, since we got married. I started a secret fund and auto-transferred $25 in it each month for a vacation for our ten year anniversary. We were broke, but we never felt the pinch in those early years of marriage. Ten years passed and our kids felt too small to leave them, but now at 12 and 9… the timing finally feels right.

Today we have Meagan Church  joining us to share her happy list! Meagan Church is a writer, children’s book author and the brainpower behind, which explores the story of modern motherhood. She lives in the Midwest with her high school sweetheart, three children and a few animals. Connect with her on Twitter, on Instagram, or visit her website

Meagan and I are local friends that have wrote for some of the same publications and she is as genuine as they come. You are in for a real treat today so please give her a warm welcome! If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to amy@momadvice.comand I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 

Meagan Church


It’s a spring Friday in Northern Indiana, so what better time to take a few minutes and consider a couple simple, yet beautiful moments of recent? Of course I must take pause to celebrate the return of birds, tree buds and running season, but there are other things that have had my heart and attention as of recent, including a book, a bracelet and a brewer.

11/22/63 by Stephen King


“11/22/63” by Stephen King

I don’t typically read Stephen King books. While I am an avid reader, the overwhelming size of most King books intimidates me, not to mention the fact that some of his stories that I heard years ago still haunt my nightmares today. While re-reading his incredibly inspiring book “On Writing,” I felt the urge to dive into one of his newer novels. I had heard good things about “11/22/63,” so I downloaded a digital copy from the library, and, not being very good at converting digital pages to print pages, I had no idea just how long it was. I wasn’t able to finish the digital copy before it had to be returned, so I headed to the library to get a print copy and an intimidating surprise. I pulled the book off the shelf, suddenly thankful for each and every Insanity workout I had endured that had made it possible for me to actually lift the behemoth of a book. But, I told myself that size didn’t matter. What mattered was that I finished a story that had engaged and engrossed me from the start. Soon this book crept into many of my conversations and even a few of my dreams. Even with three little ones, writing deadlines and typical every-day commitments, I read the book in record time. While I have always had respect for King’s writing, reading this book put me in awe of his masterful storytelling. Though I finished it a few weeks ago, the story is still on my mind, along with wondering if the upcoming Hulu mini-series will do the story justice.

Personalized Cuff Bracelets

Personalized Cuff Bracelets

I have always been a sucker for a good quote. And, I’ve always tried to find ways to surround myself with encouraging and inspiring words. Over the past few years, I have had quotes and verses that have served as mantras for me, including the reminder to “be still” and the scripture Philippians 4:13 (which helped me get through three natural child births). When I attended the Storyline Conference in Chicago last fall, writer Shauna Niequist spoke these words that I instantly knew would be my mantra for 2015, “Do your thing with great love right now.” Wanting a constant reminder of these phrases, I fell in love with personalized cuff bracelets. Thanks to the awesomeness that is Etsy, I can have my reminder right at hand (or, rather wrist) whenever needed.

Thermal French Press


French Press

I love coffee though I’m no connoisseur by any means. I just love a nice cup of black coffee, hold the frills. I have had a devoted single-cup coffee maker for a decade-and-a-half. Sure, there have been fancier products on the market, but it served me well. Until recently. When I knew the end was near, I started researching and asking around about a replacement. Soon enough I came across a French press. The reviews, along with the fact that no wasted filters (or K-cups) are required, I decided to give it a try. I settled on a stainless steel option, fearing I would break a glass one and not trusting piping hot water in a plastic carafe. So far, it has not disappointed. Sure, it takes a few minutes longer to brew (four minutes after the water is heated) than the automatic drip did, but the rich taste, bold flavor and lack of wasteful filters have won me over and make me feel like a kitchen barista.

Whole Foods Pretzel Bread

Okay, okay! I just couldn’t leave this one out. A few months ago a friend asked me a question that changed my life: have you tried Whole Foods pretzel bread? Maybe that was a bit dramatic, but let’s just say that ever since she asked that question, we have either had a loaf on the counter or in the freezer…or both. These fresh-baked bites of heaven have saved more than one meal for me, partly because I’m not the best meal planner and also because when the kids hear pretzel bread is on the menu, they stop moaning about the part of the meal they don’t like and instead give thanks for the mouth-watering deliciousness that will soon be broken, shared and devoured.

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Meagan, for generously sharing the happy today!

*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 05.13.15

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The Makerista Spring House Tour Ferns Outside Planters Pots Cement

Source: The Makerista


I want to freshen up my front step like this.

5 curling wand tutorials – no more burned fingers.

World’s best empathy cards.

I want to trick out my bicycle basket!

Swooning over this colorful midcentury modern home.

The truth about beauty that we must teach our daughters.

DIY cardboard box lap tray – brilliant!

DIY Leather-Chain Necklace via Small Friendly

Source: Small Friendly


DIY leather and chain jewelry- I must make this!

Organized nursery closet -LOVE this.

How to make a great drink on a plane.

I just started watching this and I’m loving it!

5 great travel pieces.

Someone slightly more obsessed than me with this show.

Treat yo self. I’m learning this too. Who wants to be secret pals for Mother’s Day next year? SERIOUSLY!!


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!


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Sundays With Writers: When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite mama readers out there. I hope you are having a fantastic day today! I have such a special interview for you today as I got the chance to spend some time with Molly Ringwald last weekend. Yup, THE Molly Ringwald!  Molly served as the keynote speaker at Mom 2.0 this year on behalf of Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about When It Happens to You and what she has in store for us next.

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You. A Hollywood icon, Ringwald brings the compelling candour she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of intertwined and linked stories about the particular challenges, joys and disappointments of adult relationships. Her characters grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord in this fantastic debut novel.


I started this beautiful book this week and am absolutely enjoying it and plan to spend this rainy day with it today. Short story books are not something I typically gravitate towards, but if you are looking for one to try, I really recommend this one as a great launching pad into short story format. Although each chapter is a story, the stories are intertwined in some way that the reader can discover as she reads from chapter to chapter, building upon the initial themes in the previous chapters.

One thing I hear a lot from moms is their struggles to dive into books because their time is so limited that they struggle with finishing books. Short stories are a magnificent way to get in your reading time and feel accomplished. As Molly states in this interview, it is also a great way to trick your brain into writing a novel. By approaching it in a short story format, she was able to break up the writing in a way that felt more manageable as a busy mom.

For those that have asked, Molly was as warm and personable as a girl could hope. She was complimentary and went way over my allotted interview time talking about great authors. I wish I could have chatted with her all day about writing and great books.  She also wasn’t just chatting about herself, her genuine enthusiasm for other writers and her own writing was contagious.

Grab your coffee and let’s chat with Molly Ringwald about When It Happens to You

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

You decided to segue from acting into writing. Is this something you have always wanted to do?

I have always been interested in writing, it’s always been something I have done in my spare time and then it was just something I decided to put out there professionally once I turned forty. I think when you are younger, or at least when I was younger, I always felt like I had to focus on one thing and I think that multi-hyphenates were not really honored in the same way and celebrated as much. I felt like, in a way, that no one would take me seriously as a writer when I was younger, but then you get older and you don’t care as much about what other people think.

Were you surprised by how well your books were received?

Yes, I wrote two books,  (Getting the Pretty Back and When It Happens to You) and they were both on the national bestsellers list. I am particularly proud of my fiction collection though!

When tackling When It Happens to You, why did you decide to write in short story format? Is it because you like the smaller story explorations?

I have always just loved short stories and I was a really a big fan of Raymond Carver’s short story collections, although he is certainly more minimalist and starker than I am..and maybe a little more depressing. I think, really, it was just a format that I understood since most of the fiction that I had done was short. I think that may have been because I was busy doing a lot of other stuff too. Also for me, it was tricking my brain into writing a novel because, as it says, it’s really a novel in stories. And it really is. They all resonate off of each other and it is all structured in that way. I just think writing a novel was a little too daunting for me so this was a way to kind of do that through short stories. That said, they are pretty long stories and the only really truly short story in there is the title story.

Are you thinking about adapting this one into film?

Yes, I have been thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it, but I’d also really like to write another book too.

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

Oh, that’s a hard one! Um…what do you think that would be? (she asks her husband, Panio Gianopoulos, author of A Familiar Beast).

Panio: Light Years?

Molly: Yes, that probably would be true. Light Years by James Salter. Yeah..I think that might be it.

Panio: I mean, when you finished it, you immediately started to reread it.

Molly: It’s true.

Okay, if you are rereading it then it has to be a favorite. If you reread,  you know that it is special!

It’s just one of those books that I keep picking up again and again. There is not a lot of fiction that I read while writing because I don’t want to be overly influenced. His writing is somebody, of course I write differently, but I just feel like he is a master. I also love, and we were recently talking about Desperate Characters by Paula Fox is a really wonderful book and Jonathan Franzen wrote the forward on it!

A huge thank you to Dove for the incredible opportunity to interview Molly about her stories as well as their sponsorship for me to attend Mom 2.0 this year. It was an experience that I will never forget.  Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the

Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the Dove Beauty Bar and share your secrets! Thank you, Dove!!

You can connect with Molly Ringwald on GoodReads or through 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 (With Felicia): Beach Waves, Summer Lips, & Attention-Getting Watches

Friday, May 8th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy to be closing in on the finish line of this week. Holy moly! Do you feel like this too? I mean, SO TIRED. All just good and amazing things, just so many things in one week, you know?

Since my brain is tired today, I’m thrilled to have Felicia from Go Grow Go! joining us to share her happy list with us. She’s been a longtime blog pal of mine and I am so thrilled to introduce you all to her. Please give her a warm welcome! If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to and I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 

Let’s peek at Felicia’s list! 

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream

Beachy Waves For Days!

Who else is thankful that sunnier days are upon us?  I, for one, am so excited to pull out the spring clothes and dust off my sandals.  I am also loving a brand new hair product that does not break the bank, holds texture for beachy waves and smells like vanilla!  It’s the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.  Every day I receive compliments on how my hair smells and the wave is holding all day (sometimes even to day 2).  You can pick it up for under $10 on Amazon or you may even find it for less at Target!
Looking for quick and easy waves?  Check out this video tutorial for How to Create Natural Waves in Under 10 Minutes!
Looking for hair that radiates?  Check out my favorite hair conditioner for shine!
Girl About Town Mac Lipstick

The Perfect Spring/Summer Shade of Lipstick

Have you been introduced to Girl About Town from MAC Cosmetics yet?  Of course you have because every other girl in Western North Carolina buys this stuff out!  I actually have to order it online (which is great because shipping is free and the cost is the same).  I love this color because it is bright and fun, but can easily be toned down.  Besides, who doesn’t love the name?  It makes you want to get out and explore!

JORD Wood Watch

A Watch that Gets Attention

There is one thing I will not leave home without these days.  It is my JORD Wood Watch.  It is so simple, yet stylish and it receives compliments every single day!  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have given out the website address for this watch to both guys and girls.  I love it because it is elegant and matches everything.  I can easily dress this one up or down as well.  Make sure to check out the website because there are so many colors and styles to choose from.  Simple just seems to suit me.

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Felicia, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world…

Flourish Boutique

Flourish Boutique

Thank you to Flourish Boutique for making me feel like a princess while I was at Mom 2.0 this past week and thank you to Kelly, from Redefined Mom, for being the best roomie ever and incredible fashion photographer. So incredible, in fact, that my husband and parents asked for this picture on the patio in a printed photo and lemme tell you, nothing feels more narcissistic than blowing up photos of yourself and picking them up at the photo center.  AWKWARD.





Speaking of the GLAM, it’s ballet performance week. I am so excited to see her take the stage in the Conservatory of Dance performance at Bethel on Saturday. If you have a budding ballerina on your hands, get some tickets and support these incredible dancers.

We love it so much we are going to the first performance to watch and then staying to perform in the second performance.  It’s a great way to show your kids all of the different kinds of dance classes out there and see which one grabs their attention. I hope it is ALL THE DANCES. Being a dance mom? This is totally my thing.


*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 05.06.15

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Organizing Pretty via Cuckoo4Design

Source: Cuckoo 4 Design

I’m all about making organizing pretty.

Everything about this Wes Anderson themed wedding is just perfect.

Dolled up mule- yes, please!

Eight excellent literary podcasts for your morning commute.

I want to try a new part.

Wowed by the Chinese-themed Met Gala attire!

The next Morning Edition book club pick- have you read it?

An anonymous Sephora employee answers your makeup questions.

What are your favorite things to buy at Trader Joe’s?


Capsule wardrobe feelings via TapGenes

Source: TapGenes


This article on capsule wardrobes is a great piece I got to be a part of!

Why do we drink coffee at breakfast?

Inspiration to eliminate the paper clutter. Boy, do I need that!

Excited to dig into this podcast list on my flight to Italy.

Just bought one of these and having fun experimenting with it. Have you ever tried this? (affiliate link)

I have also been watching this video tutorial over and over to figure out my new hair appliance.

How to do all the things.

8 tips for dealing with anxiety.

This made me cry happy tears.


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!

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It’s the 3 Little Things (With Shannon): Library Love, Iced Coffee Concentrates, & Cheesy ’80’s Movie Fun

Friday, May 1st, 2015
It's the 3 Little Things
Happy Friday! I am at the Mom 2.0 Summit this weekend and so I prepared this 3 Little Things edition before I even finished packing my bags. Aren’t you proud? Ha!  Getting out the door always requires a flurry of craziness between packing, laundry, feeding the people, and getting my husband to take over the weekly agenda of activities with the kids. Say a little prayer for him this week- this is a long trip for their mama to be away! While I’m there, I’m incredibly thrilled to be interviewing Molly Ringwald, who will be keynoting the conference and looking forward to meeting and connecting with bloggers and brands while I am there.
Today we have Shannon from  Gidget Girls Reading joining us this week! Shannon is a frequent commenter on MomAdvice and always provides her own thoughtful tips in our comments section. It’s a treat to feature her this week and read more about a few of her favorite things. If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to and I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 
Let’s peek at Shannon’s list! 
Hi, I’m Shannon Griffin!  I am a middle grade and YA book blogger over at Gidget Girls Reading.  I’m a stay at home mom to 2 beautiful girls, school library volunteer, Inspy Awards Judge for the YA division and major bookworm. I’ve been a long time reader of Amy’s blog, MomAdvice, so when she said she was looking for writers for their 3 Little Things I knew I had to write up mine.
Your Public Library

Your Public Library

I’m a big reader and while I get lots of books in the mail from publishing companies,  I still have tons of books lying around from our library. I think I suffer from the fear of running out of books to read. There are so many great books out there and they can get pricey. Did you know the library offers so many other things besides books?  You can check out magazines, CD’s, movies, and many more depending on your library services. You can get e-books and use Zinio for magazines through your tablet. It’s like having lots of magazine subscriptions for free!
They offer reading programs in the summer, and mine even has a winter one. Your child can get free books throughout the summer for reading. This builds up their home library and helps prevent that summer slump from happening. If you haven’t checked out your local library,  give it a try!  I bet you will love it as much as I do!
Maxwell House Iced Coffee Concentrates

Maxwell House Iced Coffee Concentrate

I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but I’ve never meet a tea I haven’t liked!   I am an iced coffee lover though,  but still have never gone through the process of making my own iced coffee concentrate. Maxwell House offers 3 flavored iced coffee concentrates: Caramel, Vanilla and House Blend. They are so easy to make… you just add water!  You can even add a splash of milk, if you like!  I sometimes add a splash of my lactose-free milk to make an iced latte. They cost around $3.48-$3.98 depending on where I go. You can’t even get a small iced coffee at the coffee houses for $4.00!  Each bottle has 10 servings, however, I don’t like a strong coffee taste so I get a little more for my money. It’s my splurge and I have 1 a day so it lasts me quite a while.
80's movies

80’s Movies: The Outsiders, Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, The Goonies…

My oldest had to read The Outsiders in school, and after reading it they watched the movie. Well,  for a girl who was dreading every minute of it, she fell in love with both! She asked if we could buy the movie and I said, “Absolutely!”  I love that movie!  I also bought a copy of The Karate Kid. Well, now both my girls are hooked and love these movies. Over our spring break we also watched Adventures in Babysitting and The Goonies. They laughed so hard during Adventures in Babysitting and really seemed to enjoy it. They said who knew 80’s movies could be so cheesy and fun at the same time? I have to say, it was so much fun passing on my favorite movies to my girls!
Do you have any 80’s or 90’s movies you and your kids like to watch? Let me know I’m making a list so we can have some cheesy movie time this summer! 

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Shannon, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world…

Champagne Taste Dress

This beauty BARELY fit in my carry-on luggage, but it was worth the struggle. Thank you to Flourish Boutique for being a proud sponsor of MomAdvice all of these years. I can’t wait to show off this gown at the IRIS awards ceremony this year!  This is their Champagne Taste Dress ($129.50) and you wouldn’t believe the beautiful layers on this one. I also packed this dress and this PINK (of course) blazer for interviewing Molly Ringwald. Although, none of these are in my capsule, it is fun to step out of the basics for special occasions like this! Use Web Code WEB25 for 25% off one item from their store!  I am so lucky to have them as a sponsor!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and feel free to follow along with me on my trip through IG!! xoxo

*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?