Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Random Recent Favorites!

Long time no blog. That's just how it goes these days.
Jumping back into the swing of things with a few recent favorite purchases I've made. 
Warning...these are all over the place! This is a crazy mix of things!

1. This Pottery Barn Kids style pool towel from Amazon for $7 cheaper and free shipping with prime!

Here it is on Amazon for $16, and here's the exact same towel at PBK for $29! We have several PBK towels and the quality is the same. There's a mermaid version of the Amazon one too!

2. This jersey swing dress from Old Navy. I have it in 3 colors and I love it. It's so light and airy on a hot day, is the perfect length, can be dressed up with a cute necklace or can be worn with flip flops around town for errands with my kids. I love it. And it's cheap!!

Up until a few months ago, M could hold the tablet in her lap for road trips and watch movies happily for hours and hours, but within the last 6 months she has started to feel a little sick on road trips when looking down at her lap (just like her mama!). We bought this mount for the car and it's actually working really great on road trips for BOTH kids. We put up T's rear facing mirror so it's angled at the tablet, and they can both watch a movie or a show together. We tested it out this past weekend on a trip to Tennessee and it worked like a charm!

I am LOVING the ease of this sunscreen stick for my kids faces and necks and ears before the pool or a playdate outside. It does go on pretty white, but rubs in very easily. The price has gone back up on Amazon, but two weeks ago I got a 2 pack for $15. I keep one in my diaper bag and one in the pool bag. It smells so good, and as a bonus it gets a 1 rating from the EWG. 

I know. This is a weird one. But if you have dogs who are prone to getting filthy outside, get one of these! We put it in our utility room off the patio where the dogs come in and out and it has been a game changer. It absorbs any water they carry in, it cleans their feet a little, and it's so durable. I wish we splurged on this sooner.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This is four and a half

M turned 4.5 last week (which J claims half birthdays are dumb and made up...but whatever), and I know moms say this at every age, but right now might be one of my most favorite stages with her. The last few weeks have just been good and I'm seeing a big change in her.

A few little notes from this age...

The other night J was out at a work thing, so I was putting both kids to bed myself. There was a moment when it was clear that everyone needed my help and attention at the same time, and M just looked at me very matter of fact and said, "You know mom, it's really hard having two kids when they both need you at the same time." True fact, kiddo.

Current job aspirations...a horse rider who also works in the tall buildings uptown. And maybe a part time chef on the side.

Mastered riding a two wheeled bike this past weekend. Three cheers for the balance bike we bought her back when she was two! Her ability to balance on that made the transition to the pedal bike so much easier. We never even put the training wheels on. If you have a little one and you're debating a balance bike...do it. They're 100% worth it!

Asks BIG questions. Her mind is like a million little gears that are constantly turning and moving, and she's asking questions all the time to keep those gears oiled and moving. Questions about how we're made, about animals in the deep sea and how they communicate to one another, about death, about how America became America, about what our brains look like and are made of....I love her inquisitive little mind and I hope it never changes and she continues to search for answers and ask her questions to the people she trusts in her life.

Feeds the dogs all on her own for us. This is her biggest chore that she helps with regularly, and honestly, it really is a huge help in the mornings and evenings when we're trying to get food on the table for everyone. She's also been getting herself dressed in the morning if I help her pick out her clothes the night before. This has been a big help on school mornings! 

Favorite new food of the moment....hard boiled eggs. We have my mom and dying Easter Eggs at her house to thank for this one! 


I can't believe we're more than halfway to FIVE. 
The rate at which babies and kids grow and change is pretty amazing!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Five on Friday....beauty favs

Yay Friday! It's been a long week and we're looking forward to a beautiful weekend here in Charlotte. J has been working HARD to spruce up our backyard over the last few weeks and it's looking so great. We're almost done with a little project that I can't wait to share. Hopefully this weekend we'll finish it up!

I'm linking up with April today and sharing my five "beauty" favs of the moment. 

I say beauty and kinda chuckle to myself, because I am NOT a beauty product guru. Like not even a little. But I've recently started using all five of these in the last couple of months and love them all!

1. DryBar Triple Sec - I LOVE this stuff. I was looking for a good texturizing spray and tried this on a whim. I bought the smaller size to sample it, but I'll be buying a larger can when I run out. This stuff is amazing at adding texture, volume, and even works as a dry shampoo. I love it. It's worth the price tag and helps me stretch my hair to 4 days between washes!

2. NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick - I bought this at Target last week (for way cheaper than the price on Amazon, fyi) and it adds such a pretty glow to the apples of my cheeks. I bought the color Pearl Pink Lace, but you can go for others to add a touch more color. I can wear this with my CC cream (see below) only and feel like I look so put together. 

3. NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Cheesecake - I feel like so many glosses I have add minimal color, but this one is the prettiest pink that actually keeps my lips pink! I have been using lipsense too, and I do like it, but sometimes I don't want an all day color. I want some color, but only something to last for a few hours. This is my favorite!

4. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer - I have seen others blog about this or talk about it on snapchat, and I don't know why I waited around for so long to try it. It's cheap and it WORKS. I have a few other concealers that provide more coverage but they're so cakey. This one is still good coverage to cover circles under my eyes but it's light and not cakey. It's an awesome drug store find!

And last but definitely not least....

5. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream - I have bought and loved many CC Creams. I truly love this one from Aveeno and still use it some days. But for whatever reason, I gave this IT one a try, and guys....it lives up the hype I had heard about it. It's light but covers so well. It's pricey, but one worth splurging on in my opinion. I could live in this and the NYX illuminating stick above! They are the perfect amount of makeup without looking like you're wearing makeup!

Have you tried any of these?
What beauty items are you loving these days?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Look around, look around! [NYC March 2017]

Time for a trip recap. If you don't like pictures of yummy food, Hamilton (blasphemy), boat like hotels, or other broadway related things, then I apologize in advance!

So let's see...let's start with last June. When we planned this trip. I had recently been bit by the Hamilton bug a few months before this, and we were on our family vacation in Hilton head watching the Tony awards. I had said to J previously that I thought it'd be fun to make a trip to NYC to see the show, but we both knew tickets were either outrageously expensive or just flat out impossible to get. About 15 minutes before the Tony's ended, I got an email alert letting me know they'd be opening a new set of tickets when the show ended. I hopped on the laptop at 11:01 and got to work. It was not easy (ticketmaster, you are the worst), but we got our tickets....for nine months later in March!

So after many many MANY more listen throughs of the soundtrack, we eventually made it to March and our trip was here! But now we also had 2 kid free days in NYC and I got to work planning a fun trip for us!

J actually flew up to NYC to work on Monday with his team there, and I joined him late Wednesday night. When I got there, we went to dinner in Little Italy, but took a quick detour on our way to the subway station so I could see this...

"She is buried in Trinity Church near you" (all the crying eyes)

This is where Alexander, Eliza, and Angelica are all buried. 

After our dinner we headed back to our hotel and I gave J his "heart" M had made for me to bring on the trip. I love that kid.

The next morning, J had to head into his office for most of the day, and I was left on my own. I booked myself a ticket for a Foods of NY walking tour. I opted to do a morning tour at Chelsea Market, and my friends, it didn't disappoint! J likes to give me a hard time and tell me I'm a bit of a "tour guide snob" (it's true, I totally am), but my tour guide here was fantastic and wealth of knowledge! Chelsea Market was a really fun place to do a food tour because the building is packed with adorable and delicious establishments, but unless you're a resident of NYC, you would never sample them all on a trip. but with the food tour we stopped and tasted something at about a dozen of the places in there, and we got some good tips on what to order in pretty much every place we didn't stop to grab a bite. I can't recommend this tour enough if you're looking for a low key and fun NYC activity!

::funny tour guide note...we had a young couple on the tour from England. We had a "biscuit" and jam at one place, Sarabeth's, and the guide asked the couple if they had ever had a biscuit and then they went on to talk about scones vs biscuits. The guide then said "Do you want to know why we call them biscuits?.....Because we won the war"...this was an excellent start to my Hamilday!::

After the tour which ended with a fun little stroll on the highline and then a few neat views in the meat packing district, I walked over to the flat iron district for an appointment I had made at a dry bar, RPZL. I knew I'd have a little more free time before J would be done working, and it was too cold to just hang out on the high line or in a park, so I thought I'd treat myself to some pretty hair and pampering...something I pretty much never do but want to do all the time now! My stylist was SO sweet and gave me such pretty waves. We had a wonderful chat about being a stylist in NYC vs a stay at home mom in Charlotte, NC. I wish I had taken a picture in here! I have pictures later down that show my hair!

I went back to Chelsea where our second hotel was (we opted to move out of the financial district for our last two nights since J wasn't working on Friday). We stayed at the Maritime Hotel here, which overall, we really did love it! It was a fun boutique hotel that really stuck with their "nautical" theme. Our room was beautiful, relatively spacious for NYC, had a beautiful bar downstairs and a great complimentary breakfast, and the location was fabulous. I'd definitely return here!

We got ready for our 7PM show and 5PM dinner plans with the other theater district early birds. We ate at Becco in the theater district and it was a great choice. Fast since they know they're catering to theater goers, but really good. If I'm being honest, I really wasn't THAT hungry since I was so anxious and excited for the show, but I still managed to eat. I knew if I didn't I'd be starving by the end of the show. About half way through dinner, I told J I felt the same way I felt the day we drove to the hospital to have our babies. That's how jittery and anxiously excited I was!

So now...on to the big event. Hamilton. Siiiiiigh. There just aren't enough words. I am still processing it 2+ weeks later.

Let's start with the serious deets for the serious fans. 
Here was the cast we saw on the night we were there.

The show itself was truly everything I hoped it would be and just SO much more. Is that too cliche? I don't even care, it's the truth! Walking into the Richard Rogers theater at 6:30 with the rest of the crowd was one of the craziest and coolest moments of my life. EVERY person in that line seemed to have the same level of excitement and nervousness that I did. Everyone there either had been waiting for MONTHS like us for this trip, or they had paid a small fortune for this night. There was just an energy in the air that I can't compare to anything else. It was special. 

So the actual show...what do I even say other than it took the most genius piece of art and music I've ever experienced and seeing it in the flesh with the dancing and the strategic staging and the spinning circles on the stage and the actual facial expressions made by the actors, it all just amplified the layers of this show. It took something that I knew by heart and completely turned it all around and showed me new pieces and things I didn't notice before. It was beautiful. I thought for sure I'd be sobbing through out the whole thing, but I really didn't. I got a lump in my throat when Phillip died and Eliza ran to him, and then I shed a few tears in It's Quiet Uptown and Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story. My favorite numbers on the stage were actually My Shot (I loved when they started the "Rise up!" here) and Satisfied. seeing this one in person was just cool how they made it "rewind." My favorite cast member we saw would be a toss up between Lexi Lawson as Eliza (I found her to be so endearing) and Taran Killam as the King. But I was truly impressed by everyone. And even though I know the OBC and their unique sound so well, I didn't miss anyone. I thought everyone was perfectly suited. And Javier as Hamilton...he was perfect. I love Lin, but Javier's voice is definitely better!

Are you still with me? That was a lot of words! 

Now on to Friday...not nearly as BIG of a day, but just as much fun! We slept in and then went to have breakfast at Friend of a Farmer in Gramercy Park. It was delicious, and a quiet, child free breakfast out is probably my favorite way to start the day. 

While at breakfast we were debating how we wanted to spend the day. I had made us dinner reservations for the night, but we sorta wanted to ditch them and see another show. After a quick texting session with my sister who just moved out of the city last May, J and I headed down to the South Street Seaport TKTS box office for their 11AM openeing to see if we could find a deal for a Friday night show. My first choice was to see Waitress (it was still Jessie Mueller's last week), but there were only partial view tickets for a 20% discount, BUT they also had Amelie tickets for 40% off and in the third row. SOLD! More about the show later!

We hopped back on the subway and headed to The Met (thanks for the suggestion Mallory!). J also gets free tickets to a large number of museums in the city for him and a guest, so this was a free trip, but I'd definitely pay to return. We had fun strolling around for about two hours. We grabbed a bite to eat afterwards and went back to the hotel to rest for a little bit before the show.

After some naps and showers, we walked back over to Chelsea Market and grabbed dinner and a beer at a sushi bar in there. We weren't starving, so this was the perfect dinner before the show.

We got to the theater a little early, so we took a quick stroll over to Times Square to snap a picture for M since this is what she remembers most about her trip to NYC in 2015! 

Amelie and Pippa! So one of the main reasons I was itching to see Amelie was to see Philippa Soo in the role of Amelie. And my friends, she didn't disappoint! She was so good. The whole show was just so fun. I had never seen the movie Amelie that it is based on, but it really didn't matter. I'm so glad we ditched our dinner plans and squeezed in one more show. It was 100% worth it!

 We ended the night at an Irish Pub in Hell's Kitchen with a plate of nachos and two beers, and then we got back to our hotel and CRASHED! I logged close to 20,000 steps this day on my fitbit, and we slept well that night.

So there you have it. Was that enough detail? I only rambled a little bit, right? NYC never disappoints. We had a ball, we ate well, we enjoyed one of the best 3 hours of our lives, and it was nice to step away from parenthood for a few days and feel like real grown ups (thanks mom and dad!).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

odds and ends

I'm gonna pretend it hasn't been a full month since I last blogged and just jump on in here with a random odds and ends post!

If y'all are looking for some high end fashion finds, keep moving on...but if you want some cheap kid bargains I've found lately, this might be right up your alley! I've recently bought M these cartwheel shorts at WalMart for $3.88 a pair! I had looked in a few other stores but couldn't find them in her size this season, and then WalMart came through for me with awesome prices and her size. WIN!

I also snagged her this pool zip up cover up for $8.84 and these adorable shorts for $4.88 a piece. She's been wearing them with tshirts on our warm days the last few weeks and I kinda want to go back and buy more patterns. They're perfect!

Unrelated to little girls fashion, I snagged this tray at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago for next to nothing since it was 50% off. Anyone else always losing remotes or just us?  That darn apple TV remote is SO small. T still hides our remotes, but this tray on the coffee table has been helping a lot! 

And because they're both so cute! M painted toast at school a few weeks ago and the teachers shared this one with me. I love seeing pictures of her in her classroom!

And T just being a happy go lucky toddler and demanding his breakfast with two forks in his hands! Also...bravo to those of you with clean kitchens. Does anyone else feel like your counters always look as cluttered as mine?!

This is so random, but I'm gonna share! I bought these wool dryer balls and gave up dryer sheets back in January, and I haven't looked back! I'm loving them. My laundry is coming out so fluffy from the dryer, and I can also use them with my cloth diapers. I don't know why I waited so long to switch to these. 

Last month I met up with a friend who is a Beauty Counter rep and I was so impressed with what she showed me. I am really not a "skin care regimen" kinda girl, but I want to be better. I am loving my products that I got from her. This is week 3 with them, and so far, I couldn't be more pleased (again...I don't sell them...an honest review!)

And last...I'll just leave this here for now from our trip last week. I still have SO MANY THOUGHTS and not the right words to use to describe our evening at the Richard Rogers Theater last Thursday. I'm going to do my best to recap eventually!

OKAY! This is enough of a random post for one day. I really do want to come back soon so I can share all about our NYC trip. I love having our trips documented on here so I can remember anything we loved to share with friends later!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Pretty Letters

I was going to post this little story on instagram the other day, but I had too many words 

So I mentioned a few weeks ago that I took a handlettering class here in Charlotte, and since then, I've become a little wrapped up in my new hobby. Most nights when my kids go to bed, I find myself practicing my lettering while I watch TV or listen to a podcast, and I've had so much fun digging into the right side of my brain, and doing something creative. But...this isn't about me and my love for brush pens and water colors! This is about my four year old. 

M has taken an interest in my new stash of art supplies, and any papers I leave sitting around the house. The other morning she asked to get out her own water colors, so I set her all up with papers, paint, a glass of water, and her art smock. I left her at the table and went about my chores around the house. After painting me a "statue of new york city" and an "ambulamce," she brings me this one (on the left) and tells me these are her "pretty letters", just like mine (right). 

Sometimes I get really sad watching my babies get bigger and become real kids. Every new milestone is so exciting, but gives you a twinge of sadness as you see the baby in them fade away. But then she goes and does cool stuff like this, and I'm not so sad. Instead I'm in awe of how creative and curious she is, and how she watches everything I do. Even when I think she isn't paying attention.

You guys. Being a mom is so neat sometimes. It's also hard. So very hard. But looking at your little girl (who was a baby yesterday, by the way) and recognizing just how genuinely cool she is, it's a pretty neat feeling.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

instead of doing all the other things....

It's nap time (well..."rest" time for M) and I should be doing 100 other things, but instead I'm enjoying some hot tea right now (this one...so good!) and decided to say hello over here. My living room is covered in kids toys that I considered picking up, but I know they're all gonna end up all over my floor again by the time my kids are up, so I'm just going to leave them where they are.

Good things going on this week in our home...

...I took a handlettering class via @skillpopclt on Monday night and it was so much fun. I've been wanting to do one of their classes for awhile, but having a little baby for a great portion of last year made escaping for a few hours in the evening really hard for awhile. Monday's class was a fun way to tap into the right side of my brain, and it was 2 hours of child free, me focused time. I need to do more things like this.

...My friend Allie started a book club this past year, and for February we read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was beautiful. You can go to my goodreads to read my review; I highly recommend.

...M and J went to a Hornets game on Saturday night, which means she has now been to more NBA games than her mom! How cute are these two? She had a ball (partially because he bought her cotton candy!) and is asking to go back to another game.

...we ordered girl scout cookies from two little brownies in our neighborhood. They delivered them on Sunday, and now I cannot stop eating thin mints! Why did I order so many?!

...made these Thai Beef Bowls on Sunday evening and it was a big time winner. We all liked it, even the kids. Their bowls were a little more deconstructed and involved some fruit on the side, but overall, a hit of a meal that I'll definitely make again. 

...M got to bring in Valentine cards to her school buddies on Monday, and she (naturally) went with the box cards with Moana on them. I'm pretty sure I could have talked her into something really pinteresty and cute, but she was just as happy and proud to take in her Moana ones, making everyones lives a little easier.

...We bought a new couch and sold the old ones on craigslist a few weeks ago and we've been loving the change to a sectional, and I have a new end table coming later this week. I also want to repaint the living room to something more neutral. I am over the bright pink/red/coral (or whatever color you want to call it) that I thought would be fun 3 years ago.  Feels nice to make a fresh change. 

...I'm busy making plans for our trip to NYC next month. Hoping to do a food tour one day in Chelsea Market while J is working, but still looking for other ideas for our time there. Anyone have any off the beaten path must do's for NYC? Send them my way!

Friday, February 3, 2017

5 on Friday: New Recipe, Movies, Podcasts, & Beauty Favs

Happy first Friday of February! 
Linking up with April this week to share five snippits from the week.

1. This (L'oreal Infallible Matte Lip Gloss) is my new favorite drug store lip stick! It's a liquid gloss, but goes on with a matte finish and stays on so well through out the day! I have a few shades now, and I'm loving it. I have found it at Target for $7.99, can't beat that!

2. Last Sunday, we had a babysitter come over for the afternoon and we went out to see Moonlight. It was....okay. I know, I know. It's already won a bunch of awards, and was also nominated for a few Oscars, but I just didn't love it. It dealt with some pretty big issues (racism, sexuality, isolation, poverty) but I don't think it hit each of those areas as much as I wanted it to. It was like it only glazed the surface of each issue and I wanted more. It was well done and the acting was wonderful. But the story/writing just wasn't enough for my liking. We also watched Sing Street on Netflix (another movie about a young man trying to find his place in the world) and I loved it. Highly recommend if you haven't seen it. And free if you have Netflix!


3. One of my favorite places to grab a quick lunch here in Charlotte is Chicken Salad Chick. I like their chicken salad, but what I really love is their broccoli salad on the side! I did a little searching on pinterest and found a few copy cat recipes and I sort of combined a few and made my own version  a few weeks ago with some ribs that J smoked. It was excellent...just as good as the real thing!

Broccoli Salad
2 heads of broccoli
8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 Mayo (I like Duke's!)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of sugar

Whisk the mayo, vinegar, sugar, and juice in a bowl to make your dressing.

Wash broccoli and remove the heads. Toss in large bowl with dressing, bacon, and cheese. 

Refrigerate until served!

4. My new favorite nail color, Essie Romper Room! Also, I recently bought this Orly Bonder that I've been putting on my nails before I paint them, and I'm finding my polish is lasting a good 24-48 longer before it starts to chip/peel. For $8 on Prime, that's a winner in my book!

5. And ya'll know I love my podcasts! This is one I listened to after hearing about some of the Sorta Awesome girls chat about it in on their show. The Gimlet Media podcast Startup is done in seasons, and I've actually only listened to one story that they mentioned, so season 4, episodes 4-10. The story is about the American Apparel CEO and founder, Dov Charney, and y'all. It's nuts. This guy is on the one hand, a brilliant businessman, but on the other hand...he's completely crazy and terrible. It's a fascinating story about him and the company before he was fired and where he is now as he's starting a new t-shirt business. I didn't know anything about him before listening, but I found it to be captivating show.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

chin up

Things that have helped me to hold my chin up this week...

On Being a Christian and a Feminist...And Belonging Nowhere from Sarah Bessey. This piece resonates so much with me right now.

"I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or deride or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time."

The movie Lion. I went with a friend to see it last Wednesday after our kids were in bed, and it was excellent. Such an amazing story of courage and determination. One of the best movies I've seen in quite some time.

Speaking of movies, the Oscar nominations! This is one of my favorite times of year! It was refreshing to open twitter and facebook this morning and see a plethora of stories and tweets about this.

Aziz's monologue on the opener of SNL this week. It was spot on. 

I've linked to Becca and her wise words more times than I can count, but this post is a must read. I love her heart and her thoughtful writing. 

"Time will always fly, I suppose, and it will provide brilliant moments of light and glitter, followed by mud puddles and cold drizzle. Whatever the next four years brings, we will hold fast to the beautiful pieces and always stand rooted for the causes of justice and hope, even when the ice melts and the glitter fades."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

links galore

Happy Tuesday! A few little gems I've seen or read or saved or pinned or bought in the last few weeks that I thought I'd share. 

Dying to find a reason to make these pimento cheese potato bites. Maybe for when I host bunco next month?

Y'all know I saw and loved Moana. This perspective from Annie Downs made me love it even more.

This is hanging in my kitchen, and I love it. I haven't had a calendar in years. Happy with the one I chose!

Local friends/readers, who wants a coffee date? I've only tried a handful of these.

OMG. The name alone [Million Dollar Spaghetti] makes me want to make this. Definitely trying this recipe soon.

M has become an excited new reader and she's trying to read and write whenever she gets a chance these days. Pulling out a lot of my teacher stash to help encourage this new love without making it feel like a chore. We're working on some sight words together and I've been looking for fun ideas to help her with them. Currently putting together this and this.

Rachel Hollis and The Chic Site are my favorite way to start the day. I love Rachel's daily emails and following her on snapchat. I love her positivity and her overall approach to life. 

I cut out all sweet treats for January, but I'm dying for a donut or these come February 1!

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Reads

Well, 2016 was a slow year of reading for me. I managed to read 7 books, which isn't terrible, but I always strive for 12 or more. And of those 7, I really only liked about half of them. I had a little baby for about half the year, and an exhausting mobile baby the other half of the year. We're gonna call that my excuse for being a bad reader this past year. The baby plus too much binge watching TV after my kids go to bed and then finding myself too sleepy to read. Here's to hoping for less TV and more pages in 2017! I have a big list of want to reads I'm going to list at the end...you can follow more of my reading here on goodreads!

So here were last year's reads, in the order I read them. And for those who may wonder how I choose what to read next, it's almost always determined by what's come in from the library after I've reserved it.

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
4/5 stars on Goodreads

Love Mindy's first book, this was a fun follow up. Not the best, but definitely an entertaining read. If you need something light after a heavy book, this is a great one to throw in. She can always make me laugh out loud.

4/5 stars on Goodreads

I have blogged, tweeted, snapped about my love for Sara Bareilles in the past, so it should come as no surprise that I read and loved her book. The book is a collection of eight essays that talk about the story behind eight of her songs, and through those stories, you learn more about her and where she has been in life. My favorite story was about the time she was on tour with Jennifer Nettles and they wrote a musical together called Lesbians. It's endearing and sad and happy and funny and just the perfect book to pick up if you've ever been a fan of Sara. This was probably my favorite read from the year. 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
3/5 stars on Goodreads

 I don't like quitting a book, but I considered it a few times with this one because this book was DARK. And not in a twisty way that makes your jaw drop and takes turns you didn't expect. More in a too violent, too graphic, and too unbelievable way. I wouldn't recommend (even without all the dark stuff, I thought that story was kind of....dumb?), but if you do pick up, be warned that it will make it hard to sleep at night.

3/5 stars on Goodreads

I really do like a lot about Jen Hatmaker. I do. And I did like this book, but I didn't love it the same way some friends did. I felt like there were a few essays where she just tried a little too hard to make me laugh and I didn't. And then reading the book as a whole took me weeks because I felt like I was just reading a well written a mommy blog, and each essay didn't say that much different from the essay before it. I did like the book, but I wish I had read it in small chunks while reading another book. 

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
3/5 stars on Goodreads

I can never turn down an Emily Giffin book. And I don't know why, because I haven't really loved the last few books she's put out, but like always, I reserve it at the library and finish it quickly because I can't seem to put down her books. While I did like this more than her last book, I didn't love it. The two main characters were both unlikable, and I think that made it hard for me to really connect to the book.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty 
2/5 stars on Goodreads

Are you guys tired of my "blah" reviews yet? I know...it wasn't a good year of reading. Maybe that was why I didn't read much...I kept choosing bad books? Anyhow, I feel like most of Moriarty's fans felt like I did after reading this book. I feel like I kept waiting for something BIG to happen, and finally after so much build up, the "big thing" happened and I was left thinking, "that's it?" I still love Moriarty's writing and her storytelling, but this story was just not her best.

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
3/5 stars on Goodreads

A friend passed this on to me, and I'm glad she did! I wouldn't rank it up there as one of my all time favorites, but it was a good read to end the year. It was a story about a boy who goes missing in the park with his mom, and the whole book you're questioning where he went and what happened to him.  It has some twists and turns, and while parts are a little predictable, it was an enjoyable fast read for me.  

And there you have it!

My whopping seven books. I really do hope to do better in 2017! I'm already half way through my first book (The Mothers), and I have so many other books I am determined to squeeze in. The Sound of Gravel, Homegoing, Present over Perfect, and Before the Fall are at the top of my list.

What was your favorite read of 2016? What's at the top of your list for 2017?

Past book reviews: