Archive for the ‘Reads’ Category

Amy’s Notebook 04.29.15

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Inspiring Farmhouse via Design Sponge

Source: Design Sponge

 

I’m so inspired by this space!

Shopping at Anthro with Marie Kondo.

Who knew alcohol prep pads are a purse must-have?

Let’s get ridiculous about decluttering.

Trending: hard cider is the new craft beer.

5 unexpected things happy people have in their homes.

102 things to do on a money-free weekend.

A few smart words on lighting- bookmarking this for our future kitchen remodel.

Celebrating Sheros via Fashion By Mayhem

Source: Fashion by Mayhem

 

So proud of this little Shero.

Could you get rid of your wardrobe?

The “Full House” spin-off is officially happening on Netflix.

For my fellow crazy cat ladies (you know who you are).

Recipe: everyday pancake & waffle mix.

Bruce Jenner & the modern American family.

How to do all the things- I needed that ego-check tip!

amys_notebook

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: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

I’m so excited to have another author this week in our Sundays With Writers series. Jandy Nelson is my new favorite young adult author and I think once you read her words, you will understand why this author has found such a special place in my heart. I picked up I’ll Give You the Sun and I just couldn’t put it down.  Spoiler alert: this one is making the top ten for 2015 so add this to your must-read list!

In some ways,  it reminded me of Eleanor & Park because the characters were just quirky, endearing, and it captured that angst and heartache of youth so well. In other ways, this book was unlike any I have ever read where the authors words are so incredibly visual that it felt like you were reading a painting and the words were living and breathing off the pages. It’s hard to capture into words, that’s why you must read it and why I am BEYOND thrilled to have Jandy join us today.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I’ll Give You the Sun is achingly beautiful in so many ways exploring the beauty and anguish of first loves. This story is uniquely told by a twin sister & brother, alternating chapters, yet one is telling the story three years later while the other is telling the story as it happens. It creates a journey experience for the reader when characters begin to overlap together in these stories.

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Nelson’s words read like watching a painting unravel on a page, as though it all is coming to life, especially when told through artistic Noah’s eyes as his words are the most visually vivid. Nelson beautifully paints the portrait of the typical teenage angst of Jude & Noah, while focusing strongly on the difficulties of being a gay teen and the hostility of classmates that force Noah to try to fit in with his peers.

I laughed and cried through the pages of this one especially because I have never read a writer like this, making me Nelson’s latest fan. It really surprised me in so many ways. I would recommend it for fans of Rainbow Rowell or John Green.

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s settle in with the fantastic Jandy Nelson.

Jandy Nelson

One thing that makes this book incredibly unique is the chapter set-up. With one twin telling the story as it is happening and the other telling it three years down the road, the reader can begin piecing these two stories together in such a unique way. Why do you think it was important to tell your story this way and how difficult was this to execute as an author?

It definitely took a while for me to figure it all out. I knew from the beginning I wanted the story to be told in both Noah’s and Jude’s POVs and in different timeframes, wanted their narratives to be interwoven and the structure of the novel to mimic the mirroring/braided way it can feel to be a twin. Also, it was important to me that each twin’s voice be distinct and each of their stories have its own propulsion and tension. In a lightning strike moment, I decided what I needed to do was write Noah’s story start to finish, then Jude’s start to finish, and intertwine them after. When I was working on one twin’s narrative I’d lock the file of the other’s so I wouldn’t cheat and would stay in the heart/mind/body/time period of the twin I was working on. Once I had both stories finished—this took about two years—I began weaving the stories together which was like writing a whole new novel. I think I lost 50K words in that process, which took another year and a half and involved a lot of praying! In general, my thinking was that the interweaving structure both in different POVs and in different time periods would allow the mystery elements of the novel to unfold and be revealed in the best possible way. Like you say, I wanted the reader to slowly piece the story together. I hoped this structure would create more suspense and momentum, that feeling of “Wait, what actually happened in those intervening years?”

 As a reader we are taken on the journey of Noah feeling like, “a broken umbrella,” because of his sexuality and the acceptance of who he is. Have you heard from any gay young adults who have identified with Noah’s journey? How has your story impacted kids (or even parents) that are going through this?

In many ways, I think Noah feels like “a broken umbrella” when he’s younger less because of his sexuality, which both thrills and frightens him, and more because of his (misguided) perception of his father’s disdain for him, which in Noah’s mind includes his sexuality, yes, but also his artistic and solitary nature. I have heard from many lgbtq teens and it just means the world to me. Unbelievably, some have told me that Noah changed their lives, others that reading his story inspired them to come out or be more true to themselves. And others still, lots of adults as well, just happy to read a love story between two teenage guys. I’ve also heard from a few parents who said they were grateful that their son or daughter now has Noah and his story and that it’s helped their child not feel so alone. There’s really no way to express how happy this kind of feedback makes me. It’s everything!

I’ll Give You the Sun has been optioned for screenplay which I couldn’t be more excited about. Do you have any information on what readers can expect with the film and how involved are you in the process of adapting this book into film?

Yes, Warner Brothers optioned the novel this summer before it came out and Denise Di Novi and Allison Greenspan are attached to produce. The screenwriter Natalie Krinsky is writing the screenplay this very minute. So honestly, not so much to report yet, but hopefully soon. It’s funny, the twins became so real to me that one time in the middle of writing the novel, I went to a Diebenkorn exhibit at the museum and my first thought on entering the gallery was, “It’s such a shame Noah and Jude couldn’t come with me today.” I’d absolutely forgotten that they weren’t real in that moment! So it’ll be wild to truly see them as flesh and blood. I’m also very excited to see all the artwork: Noah’s mind-paintings, Guillermo’s granite giants, Jude’s sand women. The art in the story is incredibly vivid in my head so it will be something to see different artists take on the work. So far I’ve been very involved in the process and everyone’s been wonderful and incredibly respectful of the novel. Fingers crossed!

 One thing I really appreciate about you, as an author, is the extensive research you really did to form these characters…even diving into a sculpting classes yourself! Did you find any special talents or hobbies that surprised you in this journey of creating these voices?

Oh how I wish that I’d found some latent artistic talent when writing this novel! What I actually found out in that sculpture class was I’m the worst stone carver on earth. Alas, I think the closest I’ll ever get to painting is making Noah’s mind-paintings. That was such a blast for someone like me who can’t even do a stick figure justice. But yes, I definitely do a lot of research. My natural inclination is to constantly want to go back to school and so doing research for a novel satisfies this impulse and is much less life-disrupting. I recently decided I’m kind of a method writer, like there are method actors. I love to get completely immersed in my characters and this includes their passions and interests. For instance, there’s a character in my new book who loves to cook and so I’ve been reading cookbooks in the bathtub and generally cooking up a storm for everyone who’ll let me. It’s one of the best parts of writing fiction for me, getting to live all these other lives in addition to my own. It’s the best kind of sorcery.

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

Two books: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. My all time favorite novels.

 

You can connect with Jandy Nelson 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!

It’s the 3 Little Things (With Amanda): Great Books, Protein Boosts, & Swimwear on a Budget

Friday, April 24th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you all had a great week! I had the best little weekend away last week with my two besties from my church camp days and I may or may not have sipped my fair share of these.  This week I am frantically trying to meet all the deadlines and do all the things before I am off to Mom 2.0  to learn and (let’s be perfectly honest) enjoy a little time to myself with some of my favorite people. If you are attending, please say hi! In the meantime, keep checking back here since I have a special Sundays With Writers scheduled this week and I will be working on my must-reads list for the month of April for next week!  If you are curious, I am sneak peeking this book this week and loving it!

Today we have Manda Sue from  Talk Pray Shop sharing a few things that are making her happy this week! I think you are going to be in for a treat since she has so many fun things to recommend on her blog! I am so excited to share these with you today! 

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.com and I will share them in the upcoming weeks!

Let’s peek at this list of her fun recommendations today!

  Confess by Colleen Hoover

Confess by Colleen Hoover

This is a novel I typically wouldn’t have stumbled upon because it’s a fiction love story and I’m normally drawn to the inspirational, religious, psychology, and self-help shelves; however this book was highly recommended on GoodReads so I decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! I cried, laughed, and devoured this sweet story of Owen and Auburn. You won’t be able to put it down once you start so choose wisely.

Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus

Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus

I can’t afford Starbucks every day so I’ve had to compromise and these drinks satisfy my sweet-tooth without ruining my appetite or giving me a sugar rush. Plus, it’s a perfect drink for me post barre with 30 grams of protein!

Target Swimwear

Target Swimwear

 

 My First One Piece Swimsuit (As An Adult)

When I tried this suit on at Target originally, I couldn’t decide if I liked it. I don’t feel that I need to wear a one-piece, but I wanted to try a more modest suit and see what the fashion hype over one-pieces was all about. After putting this suit on hold I decided to just buy it and force myself to wear it confidently. I’m sooo happy I did! I’ve never had so many people compliment me in a bathing suit. Showing less skin also made me feel less self-conscious in the pool and laying out.

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, Manda Sue, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world… Capsule Wardrobe Ideas (current capsule HERE). I’m packing my bags for Mom 2.0 and here is a peek inside the suitcase!

Fashion Capsule Outfits

Fashion Capsule Outfits

Fashion Capsule Outfits

(swimsuit was a past favorite thing over here)

*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 04.22.15

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Nacho Party via Camille Styles

Source: Camille Styles

 

What a fun party idea!

I need to add a few of these apps to my life.

Wow, it’s easy to see the differences in this picture review of 100 mascaras.

33 writers share the books that inspired them to write.

The first yes is the deepest.

ALDI is a growing menace to America’s grocery retailers – and I’ll just keep saving…

Some thoughts on living on $29 a week for food.

25 simple lifehacks- I really love #2!

Fit Volunteering in Your Life

Source: Life Hacker

 

How to fit volunteering into your packed schedule.

10 things you should know about your dishwasher.

Since the 1980s, Jeff Bridges has done something incredible on the set of all his movies.

7 ways Mad Men obsessed over historical details.

Paying off the mortgage early- yay or nay?

Your dose of house inspiration: an old hospital becomes a home.

A list of new podcasts to try- any favorites?

Shorts for Mom via JoLynneShane

Source: JoLynne Shane

 

Shorts for moms.

DIY blowout tutorial.

The more you know- all about estheticians.

3 bright lip colors for spring.

I’m inspired to do a projects update.

Isn’t it ironic? No, it’s coincidence.

This report is not surprising at all.

amys_notebook

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 Ashley): Mad Money Skills, Pearly Whites, & Gluten-Free Pancakes

Friday, April 17th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a happy Friday, indeed, for this girl as I am preparing for an overnight with my two best friends from my church camp days in Chicago. I get to travel a lot for work, but a trip just for me is a rarity and I’m so excited. I’m also happy that our bathroom renovations are finally done!  This week has been a mad scramble to get back on track with my work since my kiddos were on Spring Break. I am sure, just like every other mom, you understand the juggle struggle that happens as the school year comes to a close. Every day my mantra is, “I think I can, I think I can.”

Today we have Ashley from A Little Something Wonderful sharing a few things that are making her happy this week! Ashley is a frequent commenter on here and also a 3 things enthusiast. How lucky am I to get to share her list today? VERY lucky! 

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.com and I will share them in the upcoming weeks!

Let’s peek at Ashley’s favorites today!

Cash Envelope System

Cash Envelope System Wallet

My husband and I recently took Dave Ramsey’s course, Financial Peace University.  In addition to doing a monthly budget, we now also follow his recommendation for paying cash for many purchases.  While paying for cash has really transformed our budget and allowed us to save money and pay off debt every month, I was not a fan of the envelopes.  There was no place to keep change and they were flimsy.  Enter my favorite new wallet from Melissa’s etsy shop, A Time for Everything.  This wallet has amazing tabs to help divide and organize your cash into categories of spending (groceries, gas, etc.).  There is a separate zipper pocket for change, and pockets for cards, a driver’s license, and receipts.

Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse
I have a serious phobia of the dentist that causes me to take fanatical care of my oral health.  I recently found this amazing mouthwash that I have been loving lately.  Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse is described as part mouthwash, part toothpaste.  It works to repair and prevent a whole host of oral issues including gum pockets and receding gums, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, tartar, canker sores and toxic morning mouth.  It does all of this while also naturally whitening your teeth.  Free of harmful chemicals this brushing rinse also contains essential oils (which I love!).  This mouthwash is not overpowering and does not leave a weird aftertaste in your mouth.  After using it, your mouth just feels clean.
Birch Benders Pancake & Waffle Mix

Birch Bender Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix 

My husband loves pancakes on the weekends.  I was always so grouchy about making them because it meant mixing up a gluten free flour mix and creating pancakes from scratch.  I wouldn’t mind this except the pancakes often weren’t very good–either a weird flavor or a strange consistency–the joys of gluten free baking!  Last weekend while shopping at Whole Foods we saw this new to us product on the shelves and decided to give it a try–all you do is add water and cook up your flap jacks.  These were so delicious that I actually went back to double check the bag to confirm that they were in fact gluten free.  I can not recommend this mix enough!!!

 

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, Ashley, for generously sharing the happy today!

 

In my world… Capsule Wardrobe Ideas (current capsule HERE).  The April switch is one sweater out and silky floral pants in for the month. I think all sweaters are officially out of the wardrobe now. Did you get the memo, Indiana?  Are you following me on Instagram? I post 4 outfits each week!

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

Capsule Wardrobe Outfits

*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 04.15.15

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

How to Write a Thank You via The Morning News

Source: The Morning News

 

Fabulous advice on giving thanks.

Love these dresser details.

How to start running.

50 great genre-bending books everyone should read.

Could you do a work uniform?

My husband said this museum would be perfect for me.

8 secrets happy couples know.

50 wonderful things from 2014- bookmarking for anything I missed.

How not to Raise a Narcissist via NY Post

Source: New York Post

 

How not to raise a narcissist in 9 easy steps.

In love with this.

Reading this – and loving it. (noteaffiliate link)

Very excited to see this book turned into a film.

Yelp reviews of newborn babies.

Haven’t laughed this hard in a long time- if you have Netflix, it’s a good one!

The secret language of girls on Instagram.

amys_notebook

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 Lisa): The Bubbliest of Baths, Highlighting the Good Stuff, & Dark, Dark Chocolate

Friday, April 10th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

I am overwhelmed with the response from opening up our 3 Little Things to you all and can’t wait to start sharing all of these fun lists from some of my favorite people! 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.com and I will share them in the upcoming weeks!

Today I have a guest happy list from one of my favorite commenters and supporters of MomAdvice, Lisa Whitney! She doesn’t  have a blog but reads several  with her morning cup of coffee and she says that this is one of her favorite parts of the day. She is a wife, mom of the sweetest 7-year old little boy and a Registered Dietitian in Reno, NV. She also happens to leave the BEST lists each week in our comments section so I am thrilled she offered to share another one today! 

Let’s peek at a few of Lisa’s favorites today!

Lush Brightside Bubble Bar

Brightside Bubble Bar (from Lush)

I don’t have a Lush nearby so when we travel and see a store I can never resist picking up a bath bomb or my favorite facial (chocolate cupcake!). This time we decided to try something new, the brightside bubble bar. The salesperson suggested I use half the bar on one bath. I cut mine in thirds and one section made a massive amount of bubbles. I cut back even more to make the bar last longer when I realized that breaking off just the smallest bit is still just as luxurious. The smell is like an orange creamsicle and it leaves the bath a beautiful bright orange (without leaving an awful film on the tub).

Mary-Lou Manizer

Mary-Lou Manizer 

I am more into makeup now than I was as a teenager and love discovering new things. This highlighter is so beautiful, it gives my face a shimmery sun-kissed glow. Bonus, I ordered mine from Amazon and it came with the softest brush for just a couple dollars more.

Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar

Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bars

Trader Joe’s sells these huge bars for only $4.99. The bar is broken into several thick little blocks, one is the perfect after-meal treat. They come in several flavors, my favorite being the 72% dark chocolate. Since a high-quality single dark chocolate bar sells for $3-5 this is a bargain which amazingly lasts for a very long time. You can bake with it also although I have not done so. I don’t live near an Aldi anymore but I used to and remember they had something similar.

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, Lisa, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world… Capsule Wardrobe Ideas (current capsule HERE).  The April steal is my white blazer in the lower right corner from thredUP. Are you following me on Instagram? I post 4 outfits each week!

Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Ideas

Flourish Boutique Accessories

Flourish Boutique Accessories

 

I had so much fun shopping at our site sponsor’s shop, Flourish Boutique, this past week for some accessories to update the wardrobe. If you are looking for some fun new Spring accessories, I can’t recommend them enough for cute and affordable costume jewelry. MomAdvice readers can get 25% off any of their regular priced merchandise using the code WEB25!

Happy Easter 2015 from the Clark Family

We hope your family had a Happy Easter! I’m pretty proud of my little crew this year. I don’t know about you, but I was scrambling until the last minute gathering Easter finery for the kids and stuff for their baskets. After some last minute shopping and a heck of a lot of ironing (oh, and a lot of leg make-up…ahem), I was so proud how we shined up this year.

As a side note, the doctor confirmed that my son is now beating me by an inch, confirming that he is now officially taller than me. As many of you have seen him grow up from the age of 1 on this site and now (almost) 13 (STOP IT), this is pretty darn shocking to me. I am now rocking the heels and bossing him around the house like usual!

Finally, here is a little LOL that I was busting up over (hat tip to Whoorl for finding this one).  What?  People don’t care when you leave FB? No way! Ha!  Happy Friday, friends! 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?

 

Amy’s Notebook 04.08.15

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Home Tour via Design Sponge

Source: Design Sponge

 

I’m swooning over this beautiful home tour.

Best online fabric sources.

World’s most adorable growth chart.

A great piece on the power in minimizing.

One of the best articles I have read on how to not over schedule your family.

This sounds promising.

A new way to look at giving- hat tip to Hollywood Housewife for this great find!

10 things productive people do before bed – oh, I want to be one of them.

The home I have is enough.

Travel Tips with Google Maps via Kelly Purkey

Source: Kelly Purkey

 

Everything I didn’t know about Google maps.

I love invisible jokes.

An inexpensive kitchen refresh.

Where did the litter box go?

I need to learn the art of jewelry stacking.

Design Mom goes blonde.

If you wouldn’t do it for free, don’t do it for money.

An interesting perspective on my new favorite show.

Yoga pants are ruining women.

amys_notebook

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!

Pin It

Sundays With Writers: The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

Happy Easter Sunday! I hope that you are all enjoying celebrating this season with your family! Today I am excited be interviewing Amanda Eyre Ward, in this week’s Sundays With Writers, about her beautiful and haunting book, The Same Sky. It made my must-read list for last month’s round-up of great reads and today I am learning a little bit more about the story behind the story.

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

 

Ward alternates two stories in The Same Sky- one of a typical middle-class woman who is struggling with infertility and becomes a mentor to a struggling teen and the other story of a young girl and her brother who face the harshest kind of poverty and are trying to get to America where they can finally be reunited with their mother and safe. The story of her journey to America is harrowing and devastating to read. Ward doesn’t hold back on setting the scene, giving you an eye-opening look at the real struggles of coming to America. Their lives intertwine and provide a satisfying conclusion to this sad story.

I found this book disturbing in some parts and I have been carrying some of the scenes around with me this month. There is poverty and then there is POVERTY. We are talking, eating flour and water for dinner (if you are lucky), addictions to glue to feel full by small children, parents abandoning a child to take care of another child and head to America. It was really heartbreaking. I knew after reading it that I had to reach out to Amanda and see if she could share why this story was so important to tell and what we, as readers, can learn from this book.

Ward does a great job of contrasting the struggles of a typical middle-class white suburban mother against the struggles of a child in poverty effectively without being mean about it. It made me think about how my struggles are so minor compared to the struggles of others.

Grab your morning coffee and let’s settle in with Amanda about her hauntingly beautiful book!

Amanda-Eyre-Ward-Headshot

Can you share a little bit about the research you had to do on immigrant children and children at the Mexico/US border to start shaping this book and the story of Carla?

Yes. When I first became obsessed with the children who ride the Beast to find their parents in the US, I had no idea how on Earth I would research the topic. (I actually have an almost magical belief that the right topics come to me at the right time…as do the people/books/travels I need to understand the topics…but that’s another question entirely!)

It turns out that another mom at my children’s school runs many of the shelters at the US border for unaccompanied minors was apprehended trying to enter the US. She was kind enough to bring me to Brownsville and San Diego to talk to the kids about being a writer. I was also able to ask the children about their journeys to the US. To a one, their stories were harrowing and amazing and brave and sad…their voices all combined to create Carla’s voice.

I hope it is okay to say that I have been carrying the story of Carla and her brother around for the last few weeks and I can’t stop thinking about the horrific poverty they faced. First, how hard was it for you hearing these stories and then shaping this story into a book and, secondly, how do you think your readers could help change the real story of immigrant children?

Of course it is OK! It’s one of the reasons I wrote the book, in fact. It was incredibly hard to hear these kids’ stories…especially being a mom myself. I had a hard time turning off the kids’ voices. I still struggle with holding the knowledge that every night, as I tuck my children into bed, there are children sleeping on cardboard boxes by train tracks…and there are kids clinging to the tops of trains, or trying to sleep after another day with no food and no hope, or unable to sleep because they are terrified that the local gang will come for them. The list goes on. But crafting the novel helped me make sense of one girl’s story…I was able to bring Carla to safety.

There are many practical ways to help these children–some on my website. But I tell readers (and friends) that the most important thing is to remember that these are children–like our children, like we were children. It is a humanitarian crisis, and these kids need and deserve asylum, kindness, care, and the ability to dream of a safe life. It is all too easy to turn away from the “surge” or “waves” of kids (as they are portrayed in the media). But you must try to remember that these are sweet, individual children. Then it’s harder to turn away.

There is a really effective use of contrast in creating Alice, a relatable middle class white woman, in this story. Why do you think this contrast is so necessary in the telling of this story?

Father Alejandro Solalinde

Source: CUSLAR

In the course of my research, I watched talks given by Father Alejandro Solalinde, who runs a shelter for migrants in Ixtapec, Mexico. He said that these kids have the spiritual capital the US is lacking. This struck me, and became one of the major themes of the book: though Carla has no material goods, her faith and spiritual capital is something Alice (who quite literally has achieved The American Dream) is lacking. I wanted to show that these kids have so much to teach us about the power of faith and courage.

Whose voice was harder for you to craft- Carla’s or Alice’s? Why?

I am currently working on a book with two voices (though 3rd, unlike Alice and Carla’s 1st) and it’s funny: some days I want to write one character, and some days, another.

I wrote Carla’s section very fast…I couldn’t bear to have her linger along her journey, and was obsessed with getting her to safety. Then I inserted Alice’s sections later.

Almost every morning on NPR, I hear stories about immigration from both points of views, regarding immigrants in the US and immigration laws. Although this book is not political, do you hope people might walk away with a different viewpoint by crafting Carla’s story?

Yes–I want readers to open their minds and hearts and listen to one child…then they might find they have different views on many issues. (I did.)

In this novel you paint so many heartbreaking scenes that pulled at my heartstrings. I am wondering, as a mother, what was the hardest scene for you to write?

The scene after Carla leaves the hospital, when her mother is bathing her in their tub in the Ace Motel. I still cry thinking about that scene.

I have read so many great books this year about the struggles of immigrants like Americanah, The Book of Unknown Americans, and your beautiful book. Do you have any other book or film recommendations (fiction or non-fiction) for people interested in learning a new viewpoint on this topic?

Enrique’s Journey and The Beast are two amazing nonfiction books…I also adored the movie Sin Nombre.

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

My favorite book last year was Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. It’s dark, riveting, gorgeous, important.

You can connect with Amanda Eyre Ward 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: Touching Things Up, Marriage Right Side Up, & Wearable Red Lips

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! Today begins our Spring Break and we have nothing planned for the week. I can’t decide if this is a good idea or not yet.  I will keep you posted.  In the meantime, we are renovating our other bathroom (as we speak) and are finally getting a small taste of Spring weather. I am so thankful for both of these things finally happening.  When you see the before pictures of my bathroom you will understand the sheer delight that I am experiencing at making the space actually functional.  Is it also okay to say that I have been in a complete winter rut on my happy list? I hope so!

I thought it would be fun to share the 3 little things of some of my favorite friends and bloggers in the upcoming weeks. Sometimes your comments below are the highlight of the whole list. You guys have some amazing lists!  In fact, if you want to be a guest poster for the happy list on Fridays, send me a list like these to amy@momadvice.com and I will feature your list for the week! You need NOT be a blogger to share your happiness.  In fact,  if you are a regular reader here, it is the least I can do.

Here is what is making me happy this week!

Nice & Easy Root Touch-Up

Root Touch-Up Kit

I don’t know if it makes me happy to know that my gray is now sprouting up between color jobs BUT I am happy to know that there is a quick solution for this busy mama. I decided to give the Nice & Easy Root Touch-Up kit a spin between my at-home coloring.  I am going to say that if you want to get more bang for your buck out of this product, read the first review and you will see that you can really get a lot for your money with this one. I wish I would have read that before I did my hair so you can learn from my mistake.  This kit made my hair look better in ten minutes flat and (the majority) of my gray disappear. I highly recommend it for a quick touch-up between colorings or appointments.

Almay Smart Shade in Red

A Perfect Summer Red

I am always on the hunt for new colors once the weather warms up and this Almay Smart Shade Lipbutter in Red is just the perfect summer red.  Usually lipstick dries my lips out and don’t get me started on how hard it can be to find an ideal red that doesn’t scream Cabaret.  This one is lovely and natural looking. The lipbutter (that’s how they have it labeled on their packaging although it feels like a typo smooshed together) is supposed to adjust to your skin tone. Bolder than a gloss, it’s a good one if are just jumping into lipstick or embracing the reds.

Head Over Heels Screenshot

Marriage Right Side Up

Oh, you must take a few moments to watch this incredible award-winning short film that completely captured my heart. Head Over Heels is one of the most beautiful little short films I have ever seen and brought a little tear to my eye thanks to its sweet story & beauty.  This Oscar-nominated film was recently unleashed online and it couldn’t have made me happier. This is one you can watch with your kids and would be particularly appreciated by any budding artists or directors in your house.

HEAD OVER HEELS from Timothy Reckart on Vimeo.

 

Capsule Wardrobe Ideas (current capsule HERE)

Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Ideas

Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Ideas

Are you following me on Instagram? I post 4 outfits each week! You could also win a $500 American Express gift card for you AND for your friends this week- head here to find out how!

*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?