Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

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

Friday, September 30th, 2016

emily-st-john-mandel

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

Say what?

Yes, please!

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

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

How did it go?

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

And I survived.

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

And I was really proud.

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

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

chicago

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

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

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

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

Bob's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

A Decent Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix

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

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

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

mpow-bluetooth-receiver

Bluetooth In My Old Ride

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

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

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

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

Michiana Old Mom Club

This Old Woman Is Starting a Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the group HERE!

Painted Pumpkins

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

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

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

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

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

IS THIS TOMORROW?, $1.99

HEAT & LIGHT, $1.99

A CERTAIN AGE, $1.99

ISLE OF PALMS, $1.99

THE 19TH WIFE, $1.99

THE BEST PUNCTUATION BOOK, PERIOD, $1.99

CROW LAKE, $1.99

ROSE IN A STORM, $1.99

BIG SUR, $1.99

THE LULLABY OF POLISH GIRLS, $.99

THE MERMAID CHAIR, $1.99

HOOD, $1.99

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, $1.99

TRAIL OF BROKEN DREAMS, $2

NEVER KISS A RAKE, $1.99

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

Happy Friday, friends!

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

Amy’s Notebook 09.28.16

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Italian Salad Platter from FoodieCrush

source: foodie crush

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

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

Great tips for freezing and thawing food.

I hate cilantro- why do you exist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love this Penguin classics poster!

Pumpkin Creamer Recipe from Inspired by Charm

source: inspired by charm

Homemade pumpkin spice creamer for your coffee. YUM!

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

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

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

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

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

DIY Wooden Planter from A Beautiful Mess

source: a beautiful mess

What an adorably easy wooden planter.

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

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

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

I always love touring her home.

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

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

It’s the 3 Little Things: Mag Fix, 60 Second Manis, & Epic Docs

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Martin's Groceries to Go

Some of you city kids might not find picking up your grocery orders by shopping online a big deal, but this girl is OVER THE MOON to not have to step into the grocery store this week. Thank you, Martin’s To Go!

We have had to make some diet modifications with our kiddos this week (pretend I’m using my Oprah voice for this part, “YOU get to be gluten-free, YOU get to be gluten-free, YOU get to be gluten-free…You ALL get to be gluten-free!!”) and I am trying out new products like gluten-free pizza crust mixes and bread mixes to accommodate everyone. It was nice to get to research reviews online and make smart choices and then add them to my online grocery cart.

Then on a MAGICAL day (now you can pretend like I’m reading a story in the movie, ELF…) I pulled up to a VIP parking spot, called a MAGICAL woman on my phone and said, “I HAVE ARRIVED, ROLL OUT MY RED CARPET”, and she MAGICALLY put all my groceries in my car for me, without me stepping into the store.

It was GLORIOUS.

She did not MAGICALLY let me order my boxed wine online though so then I had to hightail it over the liquor store like some COMMONER and pick it up.

What a quick and shocking fall from VIP that was.

Once they add that though?

Perfection.

Here are 3 other things that made me happy this week…

Magnesium Oil For Joint Pain

Magnesium Relief

I had my doctor’s appointment last week, with a specialist for EDS,  and we talked a lot about ways I could manage some of my joint aches and pains. I am trying to wean myself off medications (per her recommendations)  and she suggested one of the best things I could do was not only take magnesium orally (I take this one), but to also consider topical uses of magnesium through epsom salt baths and Magnesium Oil.

The heck?

Yeah, I actually had never heard of magnesium oil before. After reading a million reviews and reading up on it, I got the Art Naturals Magnesium Oil and started using it as soon as it arrived. This stuff is amazing!  It works INCREDIBLY well for joint pain, but it also says that it helps a ton for people with migraines too. I don’t suffer from migraines, but I know many of you do and wanted to mention that.

There is 100 mg elemental magnesium per 1 ml (approximately 8 sprays) in this oil. Since I was recommended to double my current magnesium intake, this is helping me achieve that without taking more supplements.

I spray it on all my achy joints and it has helped me to skip my pain medications this week because it helps so much!  If you have migraines, you just spray your temples to help with your pain management, usually easing pain within just a couple of hours. It has helped so much I actually stopped taking my second dose of pain relievers without a great deal of discomfort in the evening.

It does leave a bit of a residue, but not too bad for this white, white woman. I’ve also found it stings a bit so not a good thing to spray shortly after shaving!  I’m planning to mix up a lotion she recommended soon (I’ll share that recipe later!), but in the meantime this is an effortless way to increase my magnesium.

I also bought this enormous bag of epsom salts (our poor delivery guy!) and I soak in that with a few drops of this lavender oil in the evenings for another way to get my magnesium in topically. Thank God for that epic bath tray so I can make the most of my bath with a good book.

Did you know that most people are deficient in this?

You can read more about why magnesium is such an important and vital nutrient, even if you don’t suffer from joint pain.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri

60 Second Manicure

I have ZERO patience when it comes to painting my nails. I actually find pedicures to be excruciating because I can think of a million other ways to spend my time.

Too bad I have hooves for feet or I would never take care of them.

I ran across this Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish and read on the packaging that it will dry in 60-seconds.

Say what?

I don’t have one minute for this nonsense.

Although this feels like a long time, I thought this felt more manageable than the usual 15.

If you can believe it, this REALLY does dry in that short amount of time. I am recommending this for women that have ADD (like me!) or busy, busy little girls that can’t hold still for nail painting. This works incredibly well and my toes lasted for a week!

O.J.: Made in America

O.J.: Made in America

If I was going to make a top 10 of the best documentaries I have ever seen, O.J.: Made in America would be top of the list. You may have thought you knew everything about this case, but this documentary explores so much more than O.J., with a more of a pointed look at race, social class, and being an American hero. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to follow through on a five-part (8 hour!!) series (we have commitment issues with shows), but each night we looked forward to the next chapter of this series and I was genuinely sad when it ended.

I’m awaiting the American Crime series to hit Hulu, but I understand that the O.J. portrayal in that is very, very different from this portrayal. O.J. appears much more calculating and has a true awareness of alignment when it came to who he identified himself with and how it benefitted him. It starts from his childhood and works its way out, helping explain a lot of his behaviors and why he was the way he was.


This was one of the best things I have ever watched on race- I urge you to watch it too. We spent so much time talking about this and rehashing it in the evenings. It was incredibly compelling and made me think a lot differently about the case.

We watched this on Hulu, but you can also watch it through the ESPN site (if you have cable), or through Amazon.

It will be worth every moment of your time.

Bar Cart Makeover

Completing: I finally finished my beautiful bar cart Craigslist find. I will share more about that restoration process later, but I am enjoying basking in her beauty this week. It’s been a beautiful anchor for our antique painting on this wall.

I will hopefully also have the capsule posted next week. I am in LOVE with this blanket cape I found last week for it.

Reading:  Just wrapping up this YA novel this week. I have enjoyed it especially because it was based on this Modern Love essay (one of my favorite columns!)

Watching: Did you catch the premiere of, This is Us? I was like ho-hum, ho-hum, and then the ending was like, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” I absolutely loved how they pulled it together and can’t wait for the next one. You can watch on NBC or on Hulu!!

Eating:  Instant Pot, you are a glorious invention. This week I tried this recipe for a delicious evening in our backyard!

Laughing:  Not Safe For Kids (!!!!),  but laughing my tail off at this. Trump supporters might not love this one, but I sure did ;)

Happy Friday, friends!

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

MomAdvice 2106 Book Club Selections

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

MomAdvice 2106 Book Club Selections

It may be news to you that we have an underground book club lurking in the shadows of Facebook, but we really do! Joining the MomAdvice Book Club is free and a great opportunity to get motivated to read books that you might normally not have picked up on your own.

I wanted to give this year a try to see how successful it was before doing a proper introduction here. I can honestly say that I have read several books this year that I would not have picked up on my own and had some great discussions about these incredible books.

The way I have the club set up is that we have a volunteer hostess each month who makes our selection and leads our discussion. It gives the book club variety to have such different readers leading with very different tastes in books. The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question. You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

This post will be updated with our monthly selections so you can join in at any time with our group! Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

MomAdvice 2016 Book Club Selections

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

January:

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

February:

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

March:

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

April:

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold

May:

A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

June:

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

July:

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

the-girl-in-the-ice

August:

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

September:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

October (discussion coming soon!):

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

November (discussion coming soon!):

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

December: To Be Announced

MomAdvice 2016 Book Club Selections

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! 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.

Pin It

Amy’s Notebook 09.21.16

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

  dining-room-inspiration

source: emily henderson

This dining room makeover is so inspiring!

This just blew my mind.

I love this idea for customizing your appliances.

I have never heard of the minimalist game, but it sounds like a great way to declutter.

Get that pie filling in the freezer for the holidays.

How to remove the bone from chicken thighs tutorial. So easy!

Listening to this book for my local book club while I tackle yard work this week!

5 hair colors in 7 weeks- how fun would that be?

Great ideas for organizing charging cords.

OMG! This birthday party makes me wish my kids were still little so I could throw one. Bring on the B.I.G.!

sheet-pan-meal

source: the kitchn

This sheet pan meal is going on my menu plan this week!

The most compelling piece I read this week. My biggest pet peeve is entitlement.

A dorky weekend project for me- yes, I am THAT COOL!

I just bought one of these for my capsule (reveal next week) and it is the cutest piece (can’t believe that price!)

Take the cookie cutter out of your home.

Love this brussels sprouts kitchen hack.

I’d love to give looming a try and this diy cardboard loom means no more excuses!

Tips for styling a coffee table.

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

Amy’s Notebook 09.14.16

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Sheet Pan Nachos from Damn Delicious
source: damn delicious

This recipe might help with my late night Taco Bell cravings.

How to make a week of lunches to save money- I can always use this type of inspiration!

Sweet potato toast? Who comes up with these genius ideas?

Tips to help your daughter cope with mean girls.

Grain-free pumpkin blender cookies are on my planner this week!

We have used this EVERY SINGLE DAY since we got it- I am not kidding. Saving a lot of $$$ on takeout.

Speaking of takeout, I want to make more Chinese take-out at home.

Here is what you can expect from the fall television line-up. Anything you are excited to catch?

Tips for painting exterior doors.

Almost Makes Perfect: Housewarming Party Inspiration

source: almost makes perfect

There is a feast for the eyes in this housewarming party post.

More antipasto platter goals.

I have worn this dress three times this week (no joke!).

So smart to freeze kits for breakfast casseroles.

5 mistakes to avoid when cooking eggs in a pressure cooker. Noted.

McMansion hell is my new guilty pleasure read. I love my small house.

5 funny shows to watch now. Also, this is the first time I have ever heard of traumedy as a genre.

This piece on aging and style really gave me a lot to think about.

I could not put this book down this weekend- REALLY loved it!!

Bookmarking this cute black cat cupcake for Halloween.

How to have a beautiful home with children- lots of great tips and #housegoals.

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

The Reading Life of an Entrepreneur

Monday, September 12th, 2016

The Reading Life of an Entrepreneur from MomAdvice.com

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Todd Greer. Todd is a ferocious reader and an incredibly gifted entrepreneur.  I recently reached out to see if he could share some of his favorite books with us and he graciously offered to share his perspective on some of the best reads this year. How lucky are we? I will go ahead and let Todd share with you today about his background and why reading is so important to him. 

Todd Greer

 

So, let me get this out there. Reading is my alcohol. It’s my partying. It’s my binge watching. It’s the addiction that I live with daily. I sneak books. I hide my book purchases. I subscribe to multiple book services.

It’s Brokeback Mountain, “I can’t quit you” serious. That is how I feel about books.

So since I have let you in on my little secret now we can chat. I am an entrepreneur. I started a business in Mobile, AL called The Exchange. We are a coworking company, helping our community to “reimagine work.” Before that I was a Non Profit Executive, a Minister, a Team Building Facilitator, a Volleyball Coach, a College Recruiter, a Political Operative, a Communications and Events staffer, a Hardware Store clerk, and a Paperboy.

Yep.

I have done a lot of stuff.

Oh, and I have a PhD.

I like to do stuff, and collect knowledge, and connect people. That’s what I do.

So, when it comes to books, I am the guy that is simultaneously reading four books. No. Not an exaggeration. And I have a pile of other books that I am regularly pining over just waiting to be able to taste and enjoy.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

*Right now I am reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown (seriously, this is one of those open your eyes reads about how easy it is to hold on to crap you don’t need and say yes to things you really don’t want to do),

The Aviators by Winston Groom

The Aviators” by Winston Groom (Not sure that there is enough here to hold me. We are jumping around a little too much between the different pilots and the storytelling just isn’t drawing me deeper),

The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

The Pale Horseman” by Bernard Cornwell (ok, if you have watched the series on Netflix you know just how much of a BAD@$$ Uhtred is! This series has me hooked – if you don’t know Bernard Cornwell and you like the Game of Thrones, you need to read his work),

Accused by Lisa Scottoline

and “Accused” by Lisa Scottoline (I want to like it, but this first book in the series has some seriously played out stereotypes as it is working to develop the characters. Frankly, it’s still a wait and see).

Well, more accurately, I listen to a lot of books (and read a few). Last year, I read 78 books. This year, I already have 50 down.

Seriously, very few people I know read at the rate that I do. Well, except our dear friend at MomAdvice.com (she is only two ahead of me and I think I can catch her. Oh yea, and last year I beat her by ten books – so take that, Amy). 

Editor’s Note: Please note that I consider these words to be fightin’ words. I will be regaining top position this year.

Each of us reads (or doesn’t read) for a variety of reasons. Here are mine: to fall asleep, for a short drive (audio), for a long ride (audio or reading), to prep for a presentation, to be current in research or current affairs, to do yardwork, to de-stress, to learn, to get lost.

Much like my music taste, I have an eclectic palette with books. I read mystery, autobiographies, history, historical fiction, religion, social science, business, and fiction. If you can engage me, inform me, amuse me – I will read your work!

In the days and weeks to come, I will actually talk a little more about the actual books. Till then, my bookshelf is calling me!

around-the-house-2

Thank you, Todd, for sharing with MomAdvice! We look forward to sharing some of Todd’s favorites in a future post!

 

Pin It

August 2016 Must-Reads

Friday, September 9th, 2016

August Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

My reading time was limited this month with the whole getting everyone back to school, buying all the things, filling out all the things, driving to all the things. I am finding that audiobooks are my jam again as I run my kids back and forth to activities and school. If I have to be driving, it is so nice to take advantage of those pockets of time in the car!  I have so many must-read picks for you for August and am already working on my next stack for reviewing.

There are lots of projects going on over here (I can’t wait to show you)  and my cheap bluetooth headphones are the next best thing to sliced bread.

NO CORDS?

A game changer for this busy reader!

I am hoping to get back to Sundays With Writers again so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new posts or sign up for our newsletter to get the scoop!

Sorta Awesome Show

I also had the opportunity to join the Sorta Awesome Show and share the best (and worst) in my summer reading. When I tallied up how much I read this summer it totaled 28 (!!!) books. Laura, also known as the Hollywood Housewife, is one of my own go-to resources for books so I couldn’t wait to hear what she had been reading. As soon as we got done, I put everything she mentioned on hold. She’s that good!

One thing we talked about was how the heck do I read so much. This post might be a good one to read if you want to consume more books this year!

If you want to geek out over books too, you won’t want to miss this episode! I’ll be excited to hear if you agree and disagree with our opinions.

6 Must-Read Books from August 2016

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

I love historical fiction, especially when that historical fiction involves a story that I had never been aware of. Williams shares the true story of the SN-L Nuclear Reactor and the only fatal nuclear attack to occur in America in her beautiful novel, The Longest Night.

When Nat & Paul Collier move to the town, Paul is not only frustrated with his immoral boss, but he has a growing concern with the safety at the plant. When an altercation sends Paul away, Nat becomes friends with a man in town and lines between friendship and attraction for one another becomes blurred.

Set in Iowa in 1959, Williams builds a beautiful tension between her characters. It reminded me a lot of Mad Men and Masters of Sex. Once you finish the book, you will be running to look up the facts of this little known tragedy to learn more.

I know I was.

4 Out of 5 Stars

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Fans of Defending Jacob will appreciate Walker’s novel,  All Is Not Forgottenas it focuses on what parents will do to keep their children safe.

The book opens with a teenage girl, named Jenny Kramer, who attends a party and is brutally raped. The graphic and shocking nature of the rape is laid out in detail in this story so highly sensitive readers may need to steer clear.

After the rape, Jenny is given a drug that suppresses the memory of this horrific event, in hopes that Jenny can move forward in life. Unfortunately, Jenny just can’t move forward because she has to know what happened to her.  There is one problem through.  What if the person that is supposed to be guiding her to the answers has his own ulterior motive?

It has been a long time since I have read a book told in first person minor and Walker chooses to narrate her story through the psychologist’s eyes. Unfortunately, for lack of better words, this guy is an absolute douchebag. This can be a turn off and, at times, distracts the reader from the plot. The book held my interest, but I was hoping to know more from Jenny’s perspective.

Can you believe MomAdvice called someone a douchebag on here?

Oh, you bet I did!

That said, I always love to read the books before the movies and this one will be hitting the big screen.  I will be curious what Jessica Knoll and Reese Witherspoon’s production team come up with when writing and producing this one for film.

3.5 Out of 5 Stars

The Assistants by Camille Perri

The Assistants by Camille Perri

I used this month’s Scribd audio credit on The Assistants, and I am SO glad I did. This book was such a treat from start to finish and a really enjoyable listen, should you be sitting on a little credit too.

Tina Fontana works for the head honcho at her company who is swimming in money. When a technical error occurs with an expense report, Tina uses it to her advantage to pay off her student loan debt…to the tune of $20K.

Only one problem though… other people in the office have been noticing and want their loans paid off too.  More people become involved, more money is funneled, more loans paid, and more stress that Tina will get busted.

Imagine a Robin Hood story, but with a modern twist. This book is just the medicine for anyone who has struggled with student loan debt (raises hand high!). I love this book so much and found the ending to be pure perfection. It certainly was the sweetest literary escape this month for me!

5 Out of 5 Stars

You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

Few books have brought me to tears of laughter the way that Tina Fey’s, Bossypants, book did. Lucky for me, You’ll Grow Out of It just so happens to be the kind of book that makes your sides hurt with laughter and has some of that Fey magic that I have been missing in my life.

Klein is a tomboy through and through so her book focuses a lot on the silliness of expectations on women, the unbelievable things we must do to maintain our good looks, the ridiculousness of wedding dress shopping, and even the expectations we feel deciding how we give birth to our children. From her rants about barre classes to the rudeness of being called ma’am, it made me laugh SO MUCH. There are a couple of raunchy chapters I could have done without, but the majority of the book was just incredibly honest and hilarious. I’m so glad I read this one!

4 Out of 5 Stars

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapeña

I am a sucker for a good thriller and The Couple Next Door was a really incredible keep-you-up-past-your-bedtime read. The story revolves around parents that are invited to a birthday celebration party with requests that children not attend. When their babysitter cancels, they decide to still attend the party at the neighboring brownstone, leave the baby sleeping in the crib, with an agreement to take turns checking on the baby every half hour. When they check in, later in the evening though, they find the crib empty and the baby is nowhere to be found. The reader is taken on twist after twist as the couple tries to find their baby and the motive behind it.

I was surprised the book opens right away with the baby going missing and wondered how the story would ever build out from there when such a big part of the plot happens in the opening chapter. The author crafts plausible (and not so plausible) twists though that takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride with these parents. Just the discussion alone of whether or not the couple should have left their baby would make a great one for book club discussions.

This one brings all the twists and builds great tension. This one is worthy of a reading binge-and I consumed it in a mere 24 hours!  I just loved it!

5 Out of 5 Stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall has been on my summer reading bucket list so I was excited to finally make time to dive into this one. The story revolves around a plane crash and the aftermath that happens following the accident.

Many chapters are like individual short stories, sharing the real story of these eleven passengers. The main story though is focused on a down-on-his-luck painter who becomes a hero when he brings one of the plane’s smallest passengers to safety.

In many ways, these stories reminded me of Did You Ever Have a Family, with all of the individual story threads being woven together. There were many moments in the book that I enjoyed and some that dragged a bit for me. The ending, for me, was abrupt and a little disappointing.

I’m glad I read this one, but it read like a slow read for me.

3.5 Out of 5 Stars

Read With Me

Read With Me This Year:

January Must-Reads

February Must-Reads

March Must-Reads

April Must-Reads

May Must-Reads

June 2016 Must-Reads

July 2016 Must-Reads

August Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

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

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

Amy’s Notebook 09.07.16

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

A Unique Gallery Wall

source: design sponge

SO MANY gorgeous details in this home- who knew I would swoon over a George Washington collection? I have Rich & Pretty on my nightstand and love seeing a peek at the author’s home!

I love a good sheet pan supper.

I’m a sucker for a good caesar salad dressing- yum!

Such beautiful details in this finished basement family room.

This mediterranean power salad looks like another great salad winner!

Shibori dying is on my crafting bucket list. Have you tried it?

Tips for hanging baskets on walls- I love how beautiful this looks!

What a simple & delicious dinner idea for busy nights.

How to store clothing without a closet.

DIY Macrame Plant Hangers

source: the sweet escape

Hang all the plants.

A she shed craft space- be still my beating heart. Tour my she shed too!

This book is keeping me up at night.

Outdoor lighting without the pergola. Great tips and similar to our set up!

These paint stitched pumpkins are so cute and make me excited for fall decorating!

How to nail a low loose bun- I must try this!

This soup is going in my fall soup rotation!

This is just the weekly meal prep inspiration I needed.

16 ways to fancy up store bought ice cream.

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

Amy’s Notebook 08.31.16

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

late-summer-entertaining

source: design mom

I love these meal ideas for late summer entertaining.

5 tools that can help you clean like a pro- I’m in!

I hate trying on jeans so this was helpful.

Had a good laugh over these reviews- I wonder if the company regrets making this product…

I want to try out this 100 year-old to-do list hack.

Why fangirling in your 30’s is so much better.

 

painted-patio

source: a beautiful mess

These DIY painted patio floors are such an affordable update to an outdoor patio!

This is on my crafting bucket list. Have you tried it?

I can’t wait to do a little antiquing and weave some of these suggestions in our home.

The hell that is the school drop-off line. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

I never knew you could spray paint balloons!

11 books that pair well with your childhood faves- can’t wait to snag these from my library.

The question to ask yourself- what if I don’t.

I gave this a spin again and, for the first time, I wasn’t disappointed.

Just discovered this blog for replicating fancy style on a budget- yes!

5 important things you should know about your fridge- I’ll finally use my crisper drawers right!

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