Archive for July, 2018

It’s the 3 Little Things

Friday, July 27th, 2018

project 333 summer outfit (shirt (on clearance!!)/ skirt (on clearance!!)/ peep toe shoes/ earrings)

I hope your summer is going well. I realize I have been a bit M.I.A. this summer, but the struggle with typing really intensified this month. I have an appointment with a surgeon next month to see what my options are, but this week I turned a corner after finding a gadget to help with my ongoing carpal tunnel issues. It has been so good to sit back at my desk and type without pain again. I realize it is a short term solution, but it really works.

You can read more about why it’s making me happy below.



Our son celebrated his sixteenth birthday with a big surprise this year! We rented a gorgeous treehouse in Nashville on airbnb (here is $40 on a rental to spend if you haven’t tried it yet!) to celebrate his special day. We had an incredible week exploring Nashville and enjoying the gorgeous views from our treehouse.

It was as magical as I had hoped it would be and I’m so thankful to have raised such an awesome young man. I really believe that he is going to do incredible things for our world with his kindness and intelligence. I know that he has taught me a lot through the process of parenting him.

Here are 3 other things that are making me happy this week:



I have been going to the gym for years and years, but my body just has not been cooperating the way I need to have good workouts that don’t have setbacks. I have been doing a lot of research on what types of things I need to do to help support my body and core strength is a big thing for me. I discovered the Sworkit app and I could not be happier right now with my new routine.

If you have not heard of it, it is a pretty genius concept. Basically, you pick what you want to work on (like strength, cardio, stretching, or yoga) and it builds a workout based on the time you have available each day. You can follow a plan just based on that or you can vary your routine with a large variety of routines geared towards your own fitness levels. Once you select your routine, a trainer demos each step and you do it for a set length of time and then it repeats with several moves to help the area you are working to target.

Best of all, you don’t need anything except a mat and it can be done from anywhere (I can see how awesome this will be for travel). I have this cushy one and I just do my own modifications to the routines to help keep my body on track.

I love that there is no annoying music, but they do have playlists that are really fun or you can use your own playlists on Spotify or Apple. I also love that you can message trainers and ask questions about your own personal training.

I am working my way through the Strength routine and pairing this with my Cyclecast and this foldable stationary bike (one of my favorite self-care purchases) for some low-impact cardio.

My body is really embracing the new changes and I am too. I miss the socialization aspect of the gym, but I also acknowledge that this is a really great option right now. Slowed down, intentional movement, and shorter routines are what my body needs right now. You can certainly do fast and long on this same app though. If you haven’t worked out in a million years, ain’t no shame. They have a really incredible routine for coming back after your hiatus and even a set for older adults (three cheers for that!).

This year I am learning to listen to my body more and changing this routine was really important for me.

The membership runs about $10 a month and you get a significant discount if you pay for the year. They also offer a free 30-day trial to see if it is right for you.

I plan to put my gym membership savings towards a self-care item like massage therapy or chiropractic care this year.

I can’t wait to see how my body changes from these new routines.

carpal tunnel bracelets

Carpal Tunnel Bracing that WORKS

If you have carpal tunnel and are struggling to keep your symptoms under control, I finally found a carpal tunnel brace that works and works with your daily life. I bought two of these M Brace RCA braces and finally have an amazing amount of pain relief.

I will be honest, these don’t look like much. It is a simple velcro strip with a square plastic piece. Depending on where your symptoms are located, you just position the square where you need it and secure it to your wrists (or forearms). Although I am no doctor, I think the brace just provides added support where your wrist needs to help minimize the pain. Within an hour of putting these on my wrists, my finger pain stopped almost completely. It is unbelievable that such a simply designed item can work more effectively than anything else I have ever tried.

I am still using these to sleep in (I have a tendency to bend my wrists in weird ways when I sleep- hahaha) and I also have one oval-8 splint on my pointer finger to help support it with my mouse and texting, but the hand pain relief is absolutely incredible.

These aren’t fashionable and, yes, I am thinking of modifying them with some craft supplies, but I am just so thankful to have pain-free fingers. I still plan to see the surgeon, but this has changed the game a lot in the meantime. If you even have mild carpal tunnel issues, I think these would help you so much.

Kindle Paperwhite

I Got a Paperwhite

Everyone raves and raves about their Paperwhite so when they dropped in price on Prime Day, I decided to scoop one up for myself. I am in reading HEAVEN right now with this little gadget. My hubby had bought me the original Kindle and I used it for a long time, but got out of the habit of using it. This Paperwhite is amazingly light though and is saving my old lady joints to not have to lug books around with me.

My favorite feature is the nightlight though because I have been able to read until wee hours in the morning without disturbing my husband. Ironically, the power went out that week and I consumed three books over the weekend with all my phone-free time.

I got this simple cover (recommended by my fellow bookworm, Kaytee!!) and it helps free my hands up even more with its clever design. I love that I can just prop my book up while I am having my lunch.

Looking forward to sharing what I read this month with you soon. Believe me when I say, it is quite the stack!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends! xo

*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 07.26.18

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

crochet popsicle holder source

These crocheted popsicle holders are such a useful and smart way to stash bust that yarn.

I talk a lot about my tiny house dreams so this article opened my eyes to tiny house living that I would not have thought of.

Wowed by this home makeover. It’s amazing how paint can transform the interior of a home.

Trying to get more out of your hydration routines? This post has me dreaming of some new ingredient additions.

How did I not realize that they were doing this? What a fun way to try a few new things and add some new additions for my next vaca.

I’m enjoying this delicious summer thriller right now.

The problem with relying upon our possessions to save us. Yes.

add a built-in bra to clothing source

Love this easy tutorial for adding a bra to all those summer strappy jumpsuits and dresses this year.

I’m bookmarking these sleep apps for my next night of insomnia.

This was your top purchase this month and this was your favorite purchase this week. #smartladies

This is a beautiful piece on making peace with one’s body as it changes (no matter where we are at).

This book is in my earbuds this week. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking.

I love learning about what it is like to parent in other countries.

Working your digital habits? I’m loving this list of tips to be more intentional.

A simple wake-up call for the real you.

cake wreath source

What an adorable baby shower cake topper? I’m in love!

This is going on my menu plan for the week. Can summer never end?

Struggling with assigning responsibilities to your teens? I love this chore list as a great starting place.

To get your kid moving, walk out the door. Boom.

Looking add more skirts to your wardrobe? I think you will find these skirt styling tips helpful.

The ancient rite of complaining about how busy you are at work. Hahaha!

This week’s album pick while you are browsing:

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

Small-Budget Crushes 07.23.18

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

small-budget crushes

I’ll take one of each- xoxo

found my friend shirt found my friend sweater (so many gorgeous hues!)

stackable name rings stackable name rings

leopard flats leopard flats

cat jungle print cat jungle print (just ordered this for our house!!)

lace cami dress lace cami dress

maybe later sweatshirt maybe later sweatshirt

personalized birthstone rings personalized birthstone rings (what a cool mom gift!)

off the shoulder top off the shoulder top (several hues)

read sign read sign

linen button dress linen button dress

majestically awkward shirt majestically awkward shirt

open front duster cardigans open front duster cardigans

pet portrait pendant pet portrait pendant

everday i'm brusselin' everyday i’m brusselin’

personalized campfire mugs personalized campfire mugs

white peasant top white peasant top

harry potter anniversary editions harry potter anniversary editions

introvert girls club introvert girls club tee


striped v-neck dress

world traveler calendar world traveler calendar

bff tees bff tees

pull-on skirt pull-on skirt

glazed pots glazed pots

ric rac dress ric rac dress (save 20% with coupon code DRESS20)

striped cardigan striped cardigan

musical instruments poster musical instruments poster

white iron planter white iron planter

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 


Amy’s Notebook 07.12.18

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Table Makeover With Removable Wallpaper source

I would have never thought to use removable wallpaper to glam up an old table. I’m so inspired!

No more fake cheese or fake friends. YES!

Overwhelmed with the news and headlines? Read this advice!

I love reading about how people have embraced their small space.

This is a summer reading list for the whole family. I can’t wait to check a few of these books out.

Speaking of books, I’m reading (and loving) this book this week.

This is hilarious.

This makes me so happy.

Did someone say happy? Read this article and get happier.

How to treat cracked heels. Yeah…I need to spend some time on this.

Cherry Tomato Summer Pasta source

Have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in your garden? This pasta recipe looks like a great way to put them to work in the kitchen!

I’ll be brief about the Nordstrom sale: these would be a great staple, if you need a weather-resistant jacket, I like the flattering cut on this, can’t believe the price on these, and this is a capsule wardrobe must-have.

How to diy all those jean trends we are seeing this season.

5 ways to get energized if you didn’t get enough sleep. Using these tips this morning- zzzz!

Speaking of sleep, I’m going to give some of these relaxing evening routines a spin. I’m in a bad check-your-phone-before-bed habit.

Confused about IGTV? I found this really helpful.

When brands use plus-size women in their ads, but actually don’t carry plus-size clothing. Getting all the brownie points without the work.

I love this advice on ways to really simplify your life.

Trying to read more nonfiction? This list might be just the ticket.

“Seeing your needs is the first step. Understanding your needs is the second.” A beautiful reminder on the importance of self-care as mothers.

DIY tee bags source

Turn old tees into tote bags with this tutorial. This would be a fun craft for tweens!

Trying to beat the heat? Try this life hack.

How to pray (even when you’re mad at God).

I take this little speaker everywhere while we have traveled this summer.

My fiddle leaf fig is still humming along, but I’m curious about this method for getting it to really take off.

This book is in my earbuds and it is hot, hot, hot!

Speaking of audiobooks, check out this deal!!

It’s wild how much exterior paint can completely change a home.

20 Keto recipes you can make-ahead!

This was my reaction too.

This week’s album I’m enjoying:

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

Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Summer 2018 Capsule Wardrobe from

Summer is starting to slip away from me and I realized that I had never shared my summer capsule with you. I have to say, this summer I REALLY feel like I have everything I need for many summers ahead. Building a good capsule, with loads of longevity, takes a bit of time and practice. I have learned a lot over the years and today I wanted to share my summer 2018 capsule ideas with you.

I’m a bit wore out from our vacation so please pardon the fact that I refused to steam everything before posting it (even though I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my steamer).  I promise it will be perfectly perfect when I am actually wearing this stuff.

Stay tuned for some of these pieces in action and ways to style this simple and easy wardrobe for summer.

Let’s talk about this 2018 Summer Capsule Wardrobe!

Target Style follow my capsule adventures on Instagram

First, What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

What Trends Did You Embrace For Spring?

I am 40 now so I have started to steer away from too many trends. I am loving the romper and jumpsuit trend so I did add a few of those pieces into my wardrobe. I went bolder with colors and patterns on my skirts while keeping my tops more neutral this season. I continue to love ruffles and embroidered items so they made their way into my summer capsule too.

Get some inspiration for creating and styling your capsule by following my Capsule Pinterest Board!

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule. Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you. When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in.

That’s been the best place to start for me.

Do Accessories Count in the Capsule?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

What Are the Rules for a Capsule Wardrobe?

Here are my modified Project 333 rules or you can go to Courtney’s website to read more about the official guidelines!

Summer 2018 Capsule Wardrobe

note- descriptions are exact matches and similar means I found a few pretty darn close to the original for you!

Summer 2018 Capsule Wardrobe from

row 1- 1) flutter top (similar/similar/similar), 2) white collared blouse, 3) embroidered top (similar)

row 2- 1) white silk top (similar/similar), 2) striped blazer (similar/similar) 3) white flutter top (similar/similar) 4) embroidered cold shoulder top (Ali on the Boulevard), similar

row 3)- 1) striped smocked top (similar/similar/similar/similar) 2) black-and-white stripes 3) linen blend tie tank (matching shorts pictured below)

row 4)- 1) floral dress (similar/similar/similar) 2) chambray jumpsuit (similar/similar) 3) black ruffled romper (similar/similar/similar/similar) 4) blue midi dress (similar/similar/similar/similar)


row 1- 1) cargo jacket (similar/similar) 2) black lace halter top (similar/similar/similar) 3) relaxed flutter shirt (similar/similar)

row 2- 1) South Bend tee (Ali on the Boulevard) 2) denim shorts (similar), linen blend shorts, floral shorts (similar/similar) 3) denim jacket (similar/similar/similar)

row 3- 1) chambray pull-on skirt (similar/similar), black-and-white skirt, green fluid pull-on skirt, blue fluid pull-on skirt, black midi skirt (similar/similar/similar) 2) basic black tee 3) black crops (similar), olive leaf pants, white jeans

SADLY, not pictured is my new favorite black swing dress!

Honorable Unmentionables

Sweatproof Bras– cute and comfy for summer

Thompson Tees (to save myself from embarrassing sweat stains)

Jockey Skimmies 

Summer Shoes Summer Shoes & Purse

I won’t lie, we sell more shoes and purses than clothing around here…which solidifies that you ARE MY PEOPLE.

summer straw tote (I love the drawstring enclosure on this)

black-and-white sandals (more narrow than my usual, but too cute to quit)

snakeskin wedges (similar– same brand, but I, honestly, bought mine here)

comfy suede booties (LIKE WALKING ON CLOUDS)

saltwater sandals

summer slides

footbed sandals

nude peep toe wedges (same, but again, I bought mine here!)

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

One Piece, Many Ways

Fashion Capsule Shopping on a Budget

Planning the Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring/Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

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June 2018 Must-Reads

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

June 2018 Must-Reads from

There is just something so awesome about curling up with the book in the summer, isn’t there? I got a little treat for myself this week and got a better outdoor chair to park in while tackling my stack. I won’t lie, I have managed to spend the last two days in it for almost the entire day. They happened to have these outdoor chairs on sale and since I have wanted one since middle school, it fulfilled a lot of life goals.

We have a family vacation this month so I am already dreaming of what I can read for July. Is there anything more exciting than picking what you plan to read while you are away from home? Lucky for me, I’ve got several advanced readers that I can’t wait to screen for you. I am also looking forward to this month’s book club pick. Have you read it?

Today I’m excited to share the eight books I read in June and, once again, have a little something for everyone. Since I’m sharing book reviews for this newsletter, I am trying to read more YA so I have a few that might even make your kid’s stack this month.

reading chair follow my reading on Instagram

My Usual Reminders

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!

In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,600 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in June) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page.

Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.

July Book of the Month Selections

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!

This month’s selections:

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

The Girl From Blind River by Gale Massey

Beat the heat with these BOTM Summer Reads!

This month’s special:

New members will get a free book with code FIREWORKS. How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly. They’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then they’ll be renewed at the end of their second month (unless they cancel).

Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in June:

A Million Junes by Emily Henry

A Million Junes by Emily Henry

If you love magical realism, I just know that you will adore, A Million JunesThis YA read, is a sweetly satisfying retelling of the old Romeo & Juliet story with a fresh magical spin.

When June runs into Saul Angert (quite literally) she is immediately attracted to him, despite her family’s only rule that she never ever spend any time with an Angert. Each family has its own reasons for their anger, but June and Saul find that they just can’t stay away from each other, no matter how hard they try. As Saul becomes more and more connected with June’s world, they discover that there is a way to actually see and reflect back on the past of each of their families. They are surprised to discover just how layered so many of these stories are.

This is such a moving book that showcases how grief has the ability to change and shape our memories, redefining key moments in our lives. The beauty of June’s relationship with her father, in particular, brought a tear to my eye as you see a little of the behind-the-scenes for many of his actions.

If you don’t like to stretch your imagination, this book is probably not for you. For those of us that still love a little magic in our lives, this book is an achingly beautiful treat!

4 out of 5 Stars

Hey Ladies

Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz & Caroline Moss

Sometimes a book just hits me at the right time and that was the case with, Hey Ladies! This is one of those books that you will either love or hate because the eight women are completely self-absorbed. I was able to put that aside though and just enjoy the hilarity of the all-too-real challenges of female friendships.

The entire book is in email format with a few text threads and hilarious illustrations woven in and the correspondence mostly centers around the planning of one of the gal’s weddings (and all the ridiculous requests that entails). You follow these friends through their correspondence throughout the year as they write back and forth to one another through dates, breakups, vacations, and the hellish wedding planning.

I feel like the writers purposely exaggerate their annoying behavior, yet, you will still find these annoyances relatable on smaller scales with the difficulties of having a large group of friends.

The email sign-offs and correspondences were so funny that I started sending screenshots to my husband.

Is this book life-changing?


Is it a hilarious escape?


I loved it from start to finish really hope there is a sequel when these women have kids and have to start thinking about someone besides themselves.

Just as a side note, if you are Kindle reader, it is best served up through the app on a Fire or on your iPad because of the illustrations! I found the pictures were really small, but can be clicked to expand and opened into a new window through my Kindle app.

4 out of 5 Stars



The Cactus

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

If you were a fan of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I think that you will really enjoy, The Cactus! I really do prefer quirky characters so I was excited to dig into this story about a late bloomer that doesn’t necessarily fit in (or want to) with her peers.

Susan Green, our main character,  is struggling with the loss of her mother and her own news that she will be becoming a mother after her own unplanned pregnancy.

When she discovers that her mother’s will favors her brother over her, her world is sent into even more of a tailspin because Susan is unable to exercise any control on this situation. Since her brother gets the house in the will and refuses to move out anytime soon, she decides to take legal action against him, believing that her mother would have never changed her will if she had been coherent.

All is not as it seems though and Susan discovers that her mother has been keeping a few secrets that will change Susan’s life forever.

Susan is not a particularly likeable character so some readers may find that they struggle with a connection with her.  That said, Haywood’s debut is strong, witty, original, and well-written.

3 out of 5 Stars

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Described by one reviewer as Charlotte’s Web for grown-ups, my favorite book this month was definitely, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. I can’t recommend this one enough for a gorgeously written escape, with equal parts myth and relatability.

Weylyn is an orphan and has been raised by a pack of wolves which is just one of many reasons why he can’t seem to fit in with others.  When he finds that he can single-handedly stop a tornado, with his own powers, he realizes just how different he really is.

Weylyn finds a sweet friendship with a girl named Mary and her devotion has never ended, even as they have gotten older. This beautiful relationship is followed as Weylyn brings magic into everything he does, even as an adult trying to hold down a regular job. The gift he has though is a blessing and a curse and we get to hear his story through the eyes of many in this book.

I could not put this one down and would recommend it for anyone who enjoyed, The Snow Child, because it has that fairytale quality to it that makes you never want to stop flipping the pages until you reach the very end of the story.

Although not labeled as a YA, I would confidently pass this one on to my children because it is a clean, sweet, and magical story. In fact, that’s just what I did. It’s the type of book that you just want to share with others, with unforgettable characters and unbelievable storytelling.

5 out of 5 Stars

The Perfect Mother

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

I was on the hunt for an audiobook and asked my book club if they had a favorite and several ladies said that I would enjoy, The Perfect Mother. As always, they were right and this was a wonderful thriller to listen to this summer.

The May Mothers are a local mom’s group that meet twice a week at the park to share their challenges with new motherhood. The ladies have yet to socialize outside of this though so they decide to meet at a hip bar in town for drinks to get to know each other better and get a break from their babies.

Winnie, a single mother, is reluctant to leave her child for the outing, but is convinced that this will be a good move to get away for a bit and relax. Her child is kidnapped though and Winnie, an extremely private person, finds that her whole life has been opened up for the whole world to see.

Though none of the moms are close, they all go to risky lengths to try to help find her son. Told from alternating perspectives, each mother is carrying a few secrets of her own and as the police begin to uncover them, they began to wonder if one of these ladies just might be involved.

I am picky about my thrillers and this one delivered for a light summer thriller that had me guessing the whodunit through a good portion of this story. This is a great one to add to your beach bag this summer. The narrator also was fantastic on the audiobook, if you prefer to listen to your books!

4 out of 5 Stars

Everything Here is Beautiful

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

This month’s book club selection was, Everything Here is Beautiful, and I was really excited to dig into this one for our discussion.

This is the story of two sisters and the mental illness struggles that one of them is facing and how it impacts the other.

When their mother dies, Lucia starts hearing voices and it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia plows ahead and marries an incredible man, only to leave him and have a baby with a young Latino immigrant.

Once she has her child though, she finds that the voices are beginning again, impacting her ability to care for her child. She moves her new family to Ecuador and back again, but no matter where she is, her mental illness follows her.

If you are on the hunt for a great book to discuss with your own book club, this is such a good one. It really explores what our roles are when someone we love has a mental illness and the blurred lines of caring for them while still allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions about their health.

If you are a fan of Celeste Ng’s work, I have a feeling that this book will resonate with you. Although the story could have been tightened up a bit and trimmed, this is a really incredible debut and you can see that Lee has a true understanding about the complexities of mental illness.

4 out of 5 Stars



Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

I was such a big fan of, This is Your Life, Harriet Chance (you can see my interview on this one here), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Evison’s latest novel, Lawn BoyThis YA coming-of-age story is a great one to hand to a teen to help illustrate the struggles of our different social classes and also illustrate some of the hot button topics that are happening right now in politics.

In this story, Mike struggles to keep steady employment after a short stint working as a lawn boy for a landscaping company. His family struggles financially and they rely upon Mike to help provide for their family. Despite living hand to mouth, Mike is determined to pull himself out of the hole no matter what. Unfortunately, he faces hurdle after hurdle after hurdle to just get a good job.

This is such an honest portrait of what it is like to be poor and how every time you get ahead, you find yourself behind again. Evison does an incredible job illustrating these difficulties that helps the reader find a new empathy for what it is like to financially struggle, but he writes this story with heart and humor.

4 out of 5 Stars

Something in the Water

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water has been on my summer reading list radar for awhile now and I couldn’t wait to dig into it. This is a REALLY hard one to review because it was such a mixed bag.

This psychological thriller starts strong with a couple on their honeymoon who go scuba diving and end up encountering a plane crash and a bag floating on the water that is filled with money. They are a bit down-on-their-luck financially, and the money in this bag has the ability to completely change their lives.  The reader is left to grapple with what they would do, if given the same scenario.

What unfolds is a wild ride and, since the book opens from the first page with the woman burying her husband, you know that everything and everyone are  not as it seems.

The plot moves along as choppily as the waters in this book (pun intended) and Steadman tries to pull together a lot of plot lines with the main character making a lot of really dumb decisions that have you shaking your head throughout the story.

If you hate an ending where you are like…wait, that’s it?!?…you might want to skip this one. Steadman’s final paragraph was a bit of a let down and the ending left a lot to be desired (for me!).

I say this is hard to review though because I really couldn’t put it down and finished it in a single day.  The plot premise was such a good one, it just could have used some smoothing out of the plot in places. Steadman shows a lot of promise and I’d still love to read her next book, with hopes that the plot will flow a little smoother next time.

3 out of 5 Stars


Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in June:

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2018 Must-Reads

February 2018 Must-Reads

March 2018 Must-Reads

April 2018 Must-Reads

May 2018 Must-Reads

June 2018 Must-Reads from

What did you read this month? 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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