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

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.


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?


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

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


The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams


Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed


Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton


A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold


A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman


The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero


You are a Badass by Jen Sincero



The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


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.

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Amy’s Notebook 09.21.16

September 21st, 2016


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.!


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

How To Make Smoothie Bowls (GIVEAWAY with Mamma Chia!!)

September 19th, 2016

How to Make Smoothie Bowls Tutorial This post is sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

I am always on the hunt for great post-workout snacks that can keep me fueled throughout the day.  Today I wanted to share with you how to make two delicious smoothie bowls and I am pairing them with a fun new drink from Mamma Chia, called Chia Energy Beverages,  that you can now find on Walmart shelves.  Doesn’t that sound like a delicious pairing?

Mamma Chia at Walmart

I always struggle with finding new things at the store so, in case you are on the hunt, I wanted to show you where you can find them at Walmart. These drinks can be found in the produce section at the front of the store.  Our drinks were on full display on the top shelves and come in 4 flavors: Grape Power, Cherry Charge, Blackberry Blast, & Raspberry Razz. These drinks are the first beverage that combine chia with the energy of guayusa.

For those of us with a coffee addiction (ahem!), these are a great way to get energy for the day without that caffeine crash.

Caffeine crashes are THE WORST.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from As you know, I have been struggling with my health and I am really committed to eating better so that I can improve how I feel. The founder of Mamma Chia, Janie Hoffman, was also struggling with many debilitating autoimmune disorders and found a great deal of relief from adding chia into her diet. Her mission was to share that gift with others so that they can experience the health benefits too. I also love that the company donates a portion of their proceeds to support farmers, community groups, & organizations that build healthy, local food systems. 

It makes you feel doubly good about your purchase!

Today I thought I would incorporate the power of chia, not only in our drink, but as a topping in a healthy smoothie bowl. Chia is actually considered a superfood because chia seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. They also help you to sustain energy levels naturally while helping you stay fuller longer.

Today we are topping our smoothie bowls with chia. If you haven’t had a smoothie bowl before, you are in for a treat.  I understand that many fancy-schmancy breakfast joints serve these now.

How lucky are you that you can save some money and make these at home for a fraction of the cost?

Let me share two recipes for smoothie bowsl with you and don’t forget to stick around to the bottom of this post for our giveaway with Mamma Chia- yay! 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from

The idea is to make the smoothie thicker (make sure you have a powerful blender for this one) by using less liquid to create a thicker consistency. The fun part is the layering of delicious additions on top.

On this Chocolate Cherry Bowl, I have topped it with fresh raspberries, toasted coconut, & more chia. Try any combination of flavors you like though!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
Smoothie bowls make the perfect snack or breakfast. Top with your favorite oatmeal toppings or try our suggestions for a healthy start to your day.
  • ½ cup frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup avocado
  • ¼ plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Toppings: toasted coconut, berries, chia
  1. Combine all smoothie bowl ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from

I love berry anything and I loved pairing a Raspberry Smoothie Bowl with the delicious flavor of the Chia Energy Blackberry Blast drink. I still wanted some of the chocolate flavor in this one so I topped it with a chocolate granola, and chia.  The vibrant hue from the raspberries in this one make such a pretty bowl, don’t they?

This is certainly a powerful motivator to get my workout done so I can enjoy this snack when I get home.

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
Give me all the berries! This Raspberry Smoothie Bowl is packed with berries and can be topped with crunchy granola, chia, and more berries for a fun post-workout treat.
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Toppings: granola, raspberries, blueberries, and chia
  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.

Mamma Chia Energy Beverages

Today I’m giving away to one lucky winner a $50 prize pack from Mamma Chia that will include one each of the Mamma Chia’s new organic Chia Energy Beverages and some of their other delicious products. Please enter the giveaway in the widget below and I hope this post inspires you to give these new drinks a try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from This post was sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

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Amy’s Notebook 09.14.16

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

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste

September 13th, 2016

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

This post was sponsored by Bayer. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

If we are only doing science with our kids when the science fair rolls around, I feel like we are missing the boat. Every day is an opportunity to teach something about science with our kids through simple routine moments throughout our day. From baking bread to why their bath tub toys float to how swinging at the park really works…that’s all science (and pretty amazing!).

Simple daily activities are a great way to incorporate science into our daily routines and most parents have a desire for that. In fact, in Bayer’s recent back-to-school survey, nearly all (95%) parents surveyed agree that it would be helpful to have tips for turning simple activities into science learning opportunities for their children, which is why Bayer decided to create a program to address this need.

So many of these teaching moments are overlooked in our house so I am excited to partner with Bayer as they work to improve science literacy in kids through their award-winning program, Making Science Make Sense (MSMS). In this program, Bayer creates hands-on lessons to kids to seriously think about science and fostering the seeds of science in our kids even when they are small. It inspired our family to take a science challenge of our own and gave us a TRULY fun moment with our daughter while teaching her a really important science lesson in the process.

I honestly don’t know who was more excited- my daughter or my husband.

Who doesn’t love a crazy chemical reaction?

If you don’t want to take on our experiment, you can tackle so many easy and fun experiments through the MSMS science library exploring topics like what happens when water boils, where the light from sun comes, and why do oil and water not mix. Not only are these fun things to talk through together, they could also definitely round out a homeschool curriculum.

Since we have middle school kids, we have found it takes a lot to wow them so I wanted to create some science fun that they had never seen before. Grab your safety glasses and dive into a fun science experiment with us as we make Elephant Toothpaste and learn a heck of a lot of science in the process.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste


How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

Supplies Needed:

1 Cookie Sheet

1 Empty 2-liter container

1 Tablespoon of Dry Yeast

3 Tablespoons Warm Water

Small Cup For Mixing

Liquid Dish Soap

1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (20-volume is a 6% solution and not available at drugstores so make sure you get the type we are linking to)

Food Coloring

Rubber Gloves


Safety Goggles (we bought these and they fit perfectly)

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

 Directions for Making Elephant Toothpaste

 Please note: We advise parents do the pouring of the hydrogen peroxide as it can irritate the skin and eyes.

1. In a clean 2-liter bottle add 8 drops of food coloring. We picked blue to look like toothpaste!

2. Next have an adult add the hydrogen peroxide to the mixture. A funnel really helps with this step!

2. Add one tablespoon of your liquid dish soap to the bottle. Have your child swish the bottle gently.

3. In a separate cup, mix together the dry yeast and warm water. Mix, mix, mix for 30 seconds.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

4. Place the funnel on top and then pour the yeast mixture into the bottle.

5. Watch in amazement as this starts foaming and overflowing from the bottle. Be sure to put your gloved hands around the bottle to feel the heat that the bottle is giving off.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

Doesn’t that look like toothpaste? We were all amazed at this chemical reaction.

What’s the Science Behind This Elephant Toothpaste?

Each foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acts as a catalyst to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since we did this process so fast, it created lots of bubbles quickly.

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from


We also created an Exothermic Reaction which means you created heat with this reaction. How cool is that? We thought that part was almost as amazing as the foam that we created!

How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from

She was absolutely miserable.


Science is awful.

Just look at that face!

Just kidding, she was in science heaven in our backyard lab.

Although experiments are grand, I hope the takeaway is that we have the opportunity to share science with our kids every single day. I hope this idea and the many, many ideas from Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense give you lots of chances to talk about science each and every day.

Do you have any tips on how to share science at home with your children? What hurdles do you experience in encouraging STEM learning beyond the classroom? I would love to hear them!

This post was sponsored by Bayer. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

The Reading Life of an Entrepreneur

September 12th, 2016

The Reading Life of an Entrepreneur from

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.


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 (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!


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


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August 2016 Must-Reads

September 9th, 2016

August Must-Reads from

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.


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

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April Must-Reads

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June 2016 Must-Reads

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August Must-Reads from

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

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

One Piece, Many Ways: Making the Most of Your Capsule Wardrobe

September 6th, 2016

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from


Last week I talked about how to shop for a capsule wardrobe on a small budget and shared some of my favorite finds with you from the big box stores. Boutique options often feel out of our price range and, in my experience, sometimes feel like one trick ponies. I am partnering up with a local business, Ali on the Boulevard, to showcase items that you can get LOTS of wear out of and the highest priced item is just $38, keeping you right within your budget. Once you see all the ways that you can style these, I know that you will see how versatile they are for your wardrobe and the diversity in these pieces.

All items are available for shipping to you and online so you can take advantage of these pieces no matter where you live.

Let’s get started!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

wrap dress, (ali on the boulevard), nude heels (similar, target), burgundy bubble necklace (similar, kohls), faux tan legs (amazon), bralette (ali on the boulevard)

Wrap Dress Style #1

If you are looking for an alternative to your little black dress, I found this gray heathered wrap dress (did you see she named it after me- awww!!)  in an a-line cut that makes a great substitute. Wrap dresses, as long as I have been around, never go out of style and are a fun piece to accessorize with. The material is very soft and feels like a nightgown. I am wearing a Small and I find this to just fit. I would size up one in this one!

Ali advised wearing this with a bralette. You know that I have preached and preached that Coobi bras are the next best thing to sliced bread, but I did hear from you that some of you can’t pull it off without support (LUCKY DUCKS!). Her shop offers bralettes that are not padded and can be worn with your regular bra, offering the support you need, without the bulk, seam, or annoying roll-up of a cami.

Cami rolls are the worst.

This first look is a great look for a nice dinner out or for church!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

wrap dress, (ali on the boulevard), flannel shirt (similar, j. crew), tassel booties- your feet will say thank you over and over again (tom’s), zodiac necklace (ali on the boulevard)

Wrap Dress Style #2

Here is the same dress, but now I am wearing it like a skirt, a trick anyone with a capsule wardrobe is doing on repeat in their wardrobe! I tucked the tie inside the shirt and tied the hem of my flannel shirt. I am wearing a J. Crew factory flannel in an XS and I can’t rave enough on how well this washes and the fit on this shirt. You will get lots of wear out of that piece too!  This didn’t need a lot of accessorizing so I went with a small zodiac necklace from the shop. You can see a close-up on my IG feed.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

wrap dress, (ali on the boulevard), mustard cardigan- (h&m), burgundy tights (target), tan boots (thredup)

Wrap Dress Style #3

Dresses can still look cozy especially when paired with a longer cardigan, boots, and tights. I tied the tie towards the back so you wouldn’t have it hanging out in the front. This is a great look to look dressier, but still super comfy for your day. If you haven’t discovered fleece tights, get some for winter. You can find them even at Walmart now!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

wrap dress, (ali on the boulevard), burgundy cardigan- (h&m), burgundy tights (target), tan boots (thredup), gray & white rose patterned scarf- check out her scarf collection (ali on the boulevard),  belt (similar, target)

Wrap Dress Styling #4

Indiana can get chilly so I do a lot of scarves and sweater layerings to fight off the cold. This time I am just doing tone on tone. Gray dress, gray scarf, burgundy cardigan, burgundy tights. Adding a belt makes this feel more like a skirt again!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

wrap dress, (ali on the boulevard), jean vest (thredup- here is a similar one on budget) , burgundy tights (target), tan boots (thredup), pearls (similar, target)

Wrap Dress Styling #5

Jean vests are such a versatile piece so I am excited to add that to the capsule this year. A bib necklace of pearls adds a feminine touch to the denim and, once again, it’s all layered over that basic wrap dress!

5 Ways to Wear a Wrap Dress from

Here is a side-by-side shot if you prefer pinning that way! Can you believe that is the same wrap dress?

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

rust sweater- olive in stock and rust returning!! (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard), long & short necklaces (ali on the boulevard),  world’s comfiest leopard flats (Amazon), bralette (ali on the boulevard)

Oversized Sweater Styling #1

Ponchos and capes are so fun, but can be a PAIN to stay on and the fabric can be a lot to maneuver on a petite frame. I find the ones without arm holes to be distracting and the ones with arm holes to limit my range of motion. I also hate doing chores around the house with a lot of fabric on me. I am PARTICULAR.  This sweater has the shape of a cape, but is a sweater with sleeves. Ali has these in a few color options for you. I am wearing the Rust colored one and a size Small. This fits true to size!

In this styling I am pairing these very simply with a basic black pant, leopard slip-ons, and a long & short simple necklace.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

rust sweater (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard), long & short necklaces and bracelet- shop the collection (ali on the boulevard),  world’s comfiest leopard flats (Amazon), belt (similar, target), bralette (ali on the boulevard)

Oversized Sweater Styling #2

I prefer a cinched waist so this is the same styling, just with a belt. I think it gives it a totally different look without a lot of style switches.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

rust sweater (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard), world’s comfiest black flats (Amazon), mustard scarf (anthro from thredup, linking to similar) mustard belt (j. crew from thredup, linking to similar)

Oversized Sweater Styling #2

I like color so I have lots of colored belts and scarves to dress up my wardrobe basics. Adding a colored belt and scarf makes this sweater feel like a different piece. You could also chose just one or the other instead of layering on both!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

rust sweater (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard), black bralette (ali on the boulevard), tan boots (thredup), mint statement necklace (similar), bralette (ali on the boulevard)

Oversized Sweater Styling #3

You know when you see pictures of women wearing capes and gazing at their cell phones while holding tiny dogs in their purses? I feel like this is tiny dog in a purse style and I don’t even like dogs. #teamcats!! You can pick a statement necklace in any color and make this look a little different. The best part is how comfy this is while still looking polished.

4 Ways to Wear an Oversized Sweater

Here is a side-by-side shot if you prefer pinning that way! I LOVE this piece!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

textured printed t-shirt (ali on the boulevard),  Just Black black jeans (Stitch Fix), Moccasins (Kenneth Cole, Stitch Fix).  chevron necklace (francesca’s)

Plain tees can get a little boring so I was excited to find this t-shirt because the cut is really flattering (and comes in a curvy size too for my curvier friends-holla!). The best part about  this piece is that the front is as cute as the back. This shirt runs true to size and I am wearing a small!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

Hard to show you the back so this is the best I could pull off, but you can see it MUCH better on her site. Isn’t that cute?

T-Shirt Styling #1

This is a great mom uniform- a cute t-shirt, black jeans, and suede moccasins. I am still madly in love with my chevron necklace and this looks great with this shirt. This is a great outfit for running my kids back and forth to activities.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

textured printed t-shirt (ali on the boulevard), suede booties(similar,old navy), rose jeans (similar, 6PM), jeweled statement necklace (similar, romwe)

T-Shirt Styling #2

Colored jeans can be fun and I love pairing this with my rose jeans. Suede booties and a statement necklace in similar tones completes this look and makes it a fun one to go out on the town with!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

textured printed t-shirt (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard),  Madden Girl Open Toe Booties (similar, Macy’s), mustard tassel clutch (similar, cotton on), fringe necklace (WALMART!!, but linking to similar)

T-Shirt Styling #3

Tees don’t always feel like great going out choices, but I have found with the right accessories, they can feel quite dressy. This bib necklace made of fringe was a $4 find from Walmart that I still love. Paired with black pants, booties, and a bright clutch, this would make the perfect sushi date outfit with my hubby!

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

textured printed t-shirt (ali on the boulevard), black pants with zipper detail (ali on the boulevard), black cardigan (h&m), tan boots (thredup), red skinny belt (target), pearl necklace (ali on the boulevard)

T-Shirt Styling #4

I feel like I could style this shirt and pants the very next day and no one would even know this was the same shirt and pants! Layering a neutral cardigan over it and cinching the tee waist with a skinny belt adds a totally different look. It hides the pattern, making this feel like a different piece.

4 Ways to Wear a Tee

Here is another side by side for you! I love the versatility of this piece!

4 Ways to Wear Black Leggings

You may not have noticed that these pants are on repeat too. Did you catch that? If you are looking for something that fits like a legging, but offers support and doesn’t pill, these are an EXCELLENT option.  On me, they sit above the belly button and are full length. For taller girls, this might have a cropped affect (LUCKY LADIES!!).  The shot all the way to the right is how I folded them inside themselves so they would look more cropped.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from My favorite part is the zippered detail on the side. How cute is that? These fit true to size and have faux pockets on the back that make them look like a pant (without the bulk of a pocket), but offer an elastic waistband. I know I will be wearing these all the time and I am told that they wash like a dream. I still would wear something with full butt coverage over them, personally (elderly hipster!), but I like that they look like a structured traditional pant instead of tights.

One Piece, Many Ways- Make the Most of a Capsule Wardrobe from

Street Sneaks for $26!!

You might be surprised to know that I wear my sneakers A LOT. These pants pair perfectly with sneakers. My favorite classic New Balance  sneakers are always in rotation, but I know those can be a little pricey. Ali actually sells these adorable sneakers for $26 (!!!), that look so stylish and are surprisingly comfortable. I have a wide foot and this is wide enough for my block feet. These only come in whole sizes. I teeter between a 7 and a 7.5, but the 7’s still had plenty of toe room for me! There was no need to break these in- I never had a blister. You can’t beat that price for an attractive street sneaker.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of these looks AND I hope you can help me support a small business owner. This is a great opportunity to help a woman owned business succeed & stock smart basics in your capsule!

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love- promise!! Your purchases help sustain this site so THANK YOU!! Ali & I are working on a partnership to offer our readers affordable clothing options for your capsule wardrobe needs. Thank you for supporting her small business!