To Read: Books of July


Good morning! After a year-long hiatus from the blog, I’ve finally felt ready to start posting again. It’s been an amazing year - from starting and excelling at a new job to getting married, a lot has changed. I’ll be posting what I’m interested in, treating this space as a journal/record of our lives at this point in time. I can’t wait to share what I’ve got lined up, so let’s get started!

I’ve been picking up my reading pace over the last few months, and today am sharing the 4 books I finished in July:

  • To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedediah Jenkins - I reread this because I’m always reading stories on some sort of travel during the summer months, and Jed is one of the best storytellers there is.

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (not pictured) - a friend lent me this novel because apparently we all HAVE to read it, and that sentiment rings true. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say this story weaves multiple genres together and you won’t be able to put it down.

  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney - another quick read, dissecting relationships between friends and more-than-friends. Again, I won’t spoil anything, however it does say on the back cover how doomed the main relationship in the book is. That is all ;).

  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler - waited a long time to read this one, but I’m so happy I finally got the chance! A cross between Devil Wears Prada and the restaurant/wine world, this book was nostalgic but also adult at the same time. A grown-up and gritty version of the books I read as a teen, and I loved every second of it.

Please, please share what you’ve been reading lately, as I’m always looking for new material! Thanks for reading, and have a fun day!

To Read / Summer Book Progress


     Good morning! Just wanted to share an update on what I'm currently reading! I finished the Alchemist, and have started Love Story. I loved the Alchemist, but wanted something less philosophical this time around, and Love Story is perfect. I saw the movie at least 6 years ago (thanks mom!) and have always known it to be a classic, but had no idea it was based on a book! So far, it's very good, basically the same as the movie, and a quick read. Perfect for summer! 

     Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you back here on Monday with one of the last of my summer outfits! 

For Hobbies / Summer


      Hi there! The other day, I was thinking about how much more I try to get done during the summer. I guess it's the extra day light, but one of the things I've noticed this season is that I try to pack so much into summer days! It just seems like there is more room that I can choose to fill or not fill (sometimes you have to lounge). This leads me to all of the hobbies I'm constantly rotating. It's become quite a bit, so I've decided to narrow it down to what I've enjoyed most! Check out the list below. 

Summer Hobbies:

- Reading (I'm tearing through The Glass Castle at the moment!)

- Growing and Drying Fresh Herbs (I'm never taking the abundance of herbs that summer weather brings for granted again.)

- Pilates (I've always enjoyed yoga, but transitioned to higher intensity pilates this summer. It's the only exercise routine I've stayed consistent with in awhile! #momlife)

- Flea Market Hunting (Something about the warmer weather drives me to scrounging the flea markets for the ultimate score.)

- Craft Time with Bailey (My mother heavily encouraged creativity in all its forms, and for me and my two sisters, that meant craft central (our craft/kitchen pantry) all summer long. It's been one of the only things I can do to occupy Bailey when it's too hot to go to the park this summer!)

      That's all! What do you do to fill your time in the summer?? Leave a comment below! Have a fun Thursday!

To Read / Summer


     Hi there! I set a summer goal to read at least five books, and so far it's going well! I've finished The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. All three were excellent, and currently, I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. 

      My interests vary when it comes to books, so if these picks seem like a strange melange of choices, they aren't. I just happen to like multiple kinds of books! American Gods is actually a new TV show, and I haven't checked it out yet, but if it's anything like the book, I'm sure it's good! The Secret Life of Plants is nonfiction, but abstract enough in ideology that some may not view it that way.  

       Plants have always had a connection to humans, since we've been around at least. We couldn't survive without them, and I think that's a relationship worth delving into! 

       Thanks for reading, and let me know what your favorite summer reads are! See you back here on Monday!

For Reading / April


     Good morning and happy April! It's the start of a new month, and with that comes a new book to read. This month's selection is Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. It's an analysis on what makes specific people successful, and brings about the idea that luck, circumstances, and background do contribute to extreme success.

     I've previously read one of Gladwell's other books (David + Goliath) and find his writing style one of the easiest to follow, so this will probably be a short read. He's one of the best at making accurate observations, and I can't wait to jump in! Thanks for reading, and have a fun Monday!

Book of the Month: Discussion


     Good morning! Today, we are discussing September's Book of the Month: Walden! I ended up loving it, and it was refreshing to read something insightful for a change. Usually, I just love a good story, but every now and then, it's important to read books that require a deeper thought process than just reactions to an exciting plot twist. Some have called this book boring, and in a way, it is. There's really no dialogue, but once you get past the general expectation that all books require dialogue, you can accept this book as one man's point of view on the state of his life, and read it as an opinion piece on the principles of living.

     Thoreau covers topics whose relevancy is everlasting. Economy, solitude, and self-reliance are all essential to the understanding of what is necessary to truly live a minimal life. Walden was Thoreau's experiment to test his own independence from money, company, and in general, the expected "necessities" put forth by society. Can he really live away from the rest of the world, on very little money (which back then, was even littler than today's living standards), and without the luxuries that most people subconsciously deemed vital? That was the ultimate question. Whether it was actually un-civilized to lead a perfectly productive life alone in the woods was what he sought to answer.

     On economy, Thoreau points out that he built and constructed his own house in the woods, for far less than the average family pays each month to live in an already built house. He makes the argument that if we utilize what's readily available to us, it makes better economic sense in the long run to just do it yourself. Humans are capable of making their own things, but most choose to buy instead, in the end paying more for the convenience than the product itself. Obviously, this is still true today, though I've taken to making when I can and only buying when necessary. Most consumers still prefer to do what's easiest, which is their prerogative, but brings us to Thoreau's point that it's unnecessary. You can build your own house, you can make your own tomato sauce, and you can shine your own shoes. It is possible to live life with very little and get along just fine, which is a lesson I think most would agree is very useful to remember.

     On solitude, Thoreau proves that life alone is doable, but don't expect to not hear voices as your mind adjusts to not hearing any real ones for awhile. It's hard to be alone sometimes, but it's essential to being well adjusted. How can you live a sociable and authentic life, without first flourishing solely on your own? You can't interact genuinely with others until you've been alone with your own thoughts. You must know yourself before you can really know anyone else, and Thoreau succeeds in that aspect. Solitude gave him that, and it also made him go a little insane for a bit. When you don't have anyone to interact with, your mind interacts with itself, which I would venture to say is normal in that situation. It's your brains way of working it's own problems out, and all you have to do is listen to find understanding. Being alone made Thoreau appreciate company in a way that he wouldn't have otherwise.

     On self-reliance, Thoreau learned it's possible to be independent from all of the things society says we should be dependent on: money, each other, the government, etc. It's extreme, but it's true. You can hunt and farm your own food, you can build a house without assistance, as stated above, you can resource and protect your life without help from officials. Minimal existence can be lived, but it's important to remember that you don't have to isolate yourself to achieve some of these aspects of an essentialist lifestyle. Thoreau lives it but ultimately leaves it, having learned what he needed to from that life. Adopting key principles from Mr. Thoreau will do the trick, and in my opinion, that's the point of this book. He's not saying, you have to do all of these things that I did to get there, but he is saying that you can learn from his experience. Live your life with these things in mind, and you'll find happiness in your independence from self-doubt and the pressure that society puts on the public.

    I'm curious to know your own thoughts on Walden, so leave me some comments below or email me to discuss further! Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

To Look at Books


     Hey there! Bailey's been accumulating a few well illustrated books ever since her first birthday. Of course, I'm the one that requests those beautiful books, but I like to think Bailey can appreciate their beauty as well. I've decided to share our favorites today! Have a look below: 

1. So Many Stars by Andy Warhol - Mr. Warhol created this pretty board book with his mother, and that seems to make it even sweeter. 

2. Corduroy by Don Freeman - this classic was always one of my favorites growing up, and Bailey's bear love is strong at the moment, which makes this one even more perfect.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jennifer Adams - I received this as a gift before Bailey was even born, and I immediately knew I would subliminally push Bailey to love literature with it.  

4. Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo - Our recent obsession with plants and cacti is the only excuse I have for this one. Which, in my opinion, is perfectly fine.  

5. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt - growing up, I loved any book that involved animated crayons, or art in general. This is the most fun option yet.  

Other Readings


     Hey there! As a book lover, I always have an everlasting book list. Also, I have a lot of friends that love reading, and they like to share! This is the case for my book situation right now. At the moment, I have about 4 or 5 books that people have lent me. When this happens, I ignore my actual list, and read what I have on hand first. During this time, I don't let myself buy any new books, since the ones people have lent me are free. It's so hard to not buy new books! In the meantime though, I wanted to share what my stack of books to read looks like. I plan to read Goldfinch next, then probably will re-read my Blog Inc. book for a refresher. After that, it'll probably be Ada, or Ardor, and I'll finish up with Outlander (which my friend Cat is obsessed with)! I would share my whole book list, but that would take all day, seeing as there are consistently at least 50 books on it. Can't stop won't stop reading. Have a great Monday!

Book of the Month: Discussion


     Hi guys! Let's start by saying that Brooklyn is, in a word, enlightening. My generation, in the U.S., is possibly the farthest, in mindset, from the immigrants of the 20th century. As a young adult, it's hard to grasp the courage of our ancestors who traveled here, through challenges we couldn't begin to fathom. The why behind immigration hasn't been lost on me, or the fear that comes with it. I've traveled internationally before, and moved away from home. I'm well aware of how living in America is simpler and more beneficial than living in a country with less opportunity. I understand the homesickness aspect of it too. The only thing we can't really relate to is immigration feeling like the only choice. If we move or leave home, it's generally because we want too. It's not our only option to lead a full life, like it was Eilise's.

     Leaving Ireland, and coming to Brooklyn, was the only option to reach her full potential. This is not the case in our easy lives. I can walk out my front door, and there is a job opportunity in any field I could want. I think this is the point of Brooklyn, to give perspective. Everyone needs it at some point in their life. It's what Eilise needed, and it's what she found in coming to America. Parts of the book are hard to read, and sad, but it's an honest depiction of the hardships of immigration, which is the only real way to understand if you haven't been through it yourself. 

Book of the Month


     Hi there! It's the beginning of the month, and that means a new book to read! I chose Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, mostly because the film they turned it into caught my attention. I've decided to read it before I see the movie though, which is usually what I do in a book/film adaptation situation. I usually try to not hold it against the movie though, if they change things from the book. Also, I wanted to do a novel this month, since we took a break with a cookbook last month. I was looking at self-help and organizational type books for this month, initially. My interests wouldn't stray from the novels though! I kept looking at them more, so I just decided to throw in the towel and settle on one. Brooklyn has rave reviews, and it's really giving off A Tree Grows in Brooklyn vibes, for obvious reasons. This book tells of actual immigrants though, as opposed to the children of immigrants, so that will be a new perspective. I can't wait to get started! Happy reading!

On Wes Anderson, Pt. 1


     Happy Monday, readers! This weekend, we had our first actual snow! It was only a couple of inches, but it finally made it feel like winter. We were holed up in our house all weekend, listening to records, organizing, drinking lots of hot cocoa, and of course, reading. I actually had the chance and time to read multiple books, which is always awesome. One that I started was my new Wes Anderson Collection. Matt Zoller Seitz breaks down each of Wes's films into interviews and commentary with the man himself, which is a rarity if you know anything about Wes Anderson. He's quite the notorious recluse. It inspired me to do a monthly post on each film, from start to finish. I love discussing books, but don't get much opportunity to discuss movies. I realized, I can use this platform to talk about whatever I want! Life's great, isn't it?  So today, we are going to talk about Wes Anderson's first film: Bottle Rocket.

     Bottle Rocket started as a short that eventually developed into a feature. If you've seen it, you can kind of get that. It's not a very long tale, in terms of plot, but it showcases the Wilson brothers comically. It actually isn't what I picture when I think of Wes Anderson films. That shows growth though, and creatively, that's the point. Artists don't really know how their work is doing until they look back on past work and hate it. I don't think Wes should hate Bottle Rocket, necessarily, but he probably does see the most flaws in it, since it was his first feature. The best parts of Bottle Rocket are the Wes Anderson influences that you can see, mainly the music and dialogue. Those aspects are very true to his, now well known, style. Really though, it's hard not to like a funny classic robbery movie. This one is simplicity at it's best.

     In the interview Matt does for the Collection, they discuss public opinion of the movie, that being the fact that it was kind of a flop. It seems that Wes knew it was just the first pancake though, in the most humble way possible. You can just tell that he'll always have endless and brilliant ideas for films and that Bottle Rocket was just the first try. I actually watched this movie for the first time after seeing almost all of Anderson's other movies (the Royal Tenenbaum's is my favorite). My roommate at the time, Alison, had a love of Wes Anderson as well, and Bottle Rocket was one of her favorites, so we all had a movie night! I might not have ever heard of it, it is such a low key movie. Flop or not, it will always be a part of my collection.

Book of the Month


     Hi readers! It's time for the new Book of the Month. I'm really enjoying having an excuse to read a new book every month. I decided to make January's selection special and exciting, what with it being a new year and all. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton is intriguing based on the cover alone. I know the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover" and it's true, you should never pick a book because you like it's cover. However, there is nothing wrong with letting the cover be one of the deciding factors. I mean, moon phases. I can't not love something if it features moon phases.

     The Luminaries summary in itself sounds like nothing I've ever read. I've always loved astrology and mythology, but have only read factual guides, never novels based on the zodiacs themselves. This book looks like it will be one of a kind, and I can't wait to get started with it! It's a long one (848 pages), so if it takes longer than a month to get through, don't sweat it. From the reviews I've read though, I have a feeling this book will fly. The review/discussion will be posted at the end of the month, so let's get to reading!

What We're Loving, #9

     Happy Monday readers! Does anyone else feel drained after the holiday weekend? I feel like a zombie this morning! The weekend wasn't that stressful, I think it's more that I am trying to do my usual Monday routine after not having my usual weekend. Bailey's sleeping patterns were thrown for a loop this weekend so it wasn't the best night/morning. She stayed up until 10 last night when she usually goes to sleep around 8. She had such an exciting weekend, what with Christmas and visiting her Nana and Grandpa's house in Arkansas. Hopefully, tonight we can get back to our normal routines and get a full nights sleep. For now though, let's take a look at what we're loving this Monday morning!

What we're:

Wearing: my "mom sneakers" (slip-ons really are an essential)/her Daddy's Santa hat.

Reading: My favorite holiday season read/ My Name is Elmo!

Eating: Peppermint Mocha everything/all the Pirate's Booty she can.

Making: Something fun involving these dowel rods (stay tuned!)/colorful pictures.

Loving: My new set of cheese knives from my best friend Cat/ a rediscovered utensil.

What We're Loving, #8

     Hi guys! It's Monday again (mehhhh), but it's the Monday before Christmas! This makes me so happy. I'm just ready for this weekend to start already! Christmas eve and morning are going to be a blast, especially since I will be going home to Arkansas on Christmas day for the first time in two years. It is much needed, and I can't wait to spend time with family. I put the finishing touches on presents over the weekend, as well as doing a ton of photo shoots for January. I had to get as much done as possible to have a nice clear schedule for this holiday weekend! We also did a lot of celebrating. There was a college graduation and a 21st birthday back to back, and it was perfect. My best friend graduated from Mizzou, and her boyfriend (Brett's best friend) turned 21 the next day! I hope everyone's weekend was as fun as ours was. Check out what we're loving at the moment below!

Wearing: These super cute midi rings (I'm trying to improve my jewelry game)/ the cutest little turtleneck onesie to match her mama's.

Reading: Armadillo by William Boyd (a new-to-me author)/ 1, 2 at the Zoo and basically anything with animals in the pictures.

Eating: The most delicious jam ever, especially on a BLT/ classic Greek yogurt.

Making: A super useful lip scrub for a January post/ all the messes with my leftover wrapping paper scraps.

Loving: Lavender oil and it's many uses/ her first bed ever from Nana and Grandpa! :)

What We're Loving, #7

     It's Monday you guys! I'm having one of those very productive "I can do anything" Mondays. Which is good, but I know that it means I'll crash later, so I'm trying to not get too far ahead of myself. The weekend was a relaxing one, Bailey slept well and I binge-watched a lot of Gilmore Girls, but that's nothing new! I've started to dig in to my gift-shopping and wrapping, which is a huge relief. I also went on a chocolate bender this weekend, not sure why but it was awesome. I tried chocolate covered potato chips, bought two of the Vosges chocoalte bars pictured below (though I definitely haven't eaten all of them), and had to buy some Ferrero Rocher bon bon's as well. I just had to. Bailey's still on her blueberry kick, regardless of how many times I show her the Violet Beauregarde scene from Willy Wonka. Oh well, other than that, not much is going on. I'm reading a lot, which is amazing, making a lot of things, and like I said, eating a ton of chocolate. While I reign that in, I hope you all are having an awesome Monday! Thanks for reading!

Wearing: A DIY leather hair tie I made over the summer/the cutest Care Bear PJ's!

Eating: Vosges Bacon Dark Chocolate (wow)/ two cartons of blueberries a week.

Reading: Brave New World (my dads old copy)/Let's Get Dressed!

Making: Lots of prints on dark paper with my paint pen/ all of the scribbles.

Loving: My Mario Badescu Rosewater Face Spray (truly amazing)/Lego's, unfortunately for our feet. :(

What We're Loving, #6

     Hi guys! I hope everyone is having a nice and smooth Monday! So far today, mine's been pretty good. I've just been catching up on posts that I shot over the weekend, and there were a lot. I still got some relaxing things in though, with a manicure in the new shade of polish pictured below. I also started reading the new Book of the Month! So far, all I can say is wow. If you are reading along, be prepared to get inspired. We've mostly just been getting prepared for winter around here! There are like four throw blankets scattered throughout our living room at the moment. Ha! I just can't get enough of them. Same goes for Bailey and the crackers she's been stealing from me. Gotta love my little scavenger though. :)

What We're...

Wearing: My vintage Bass boots from Goodwill/the cutest little lion socks.

Reading: Essentialism by Greg McKeown/Fox in Socks (the only book she'll tolerate for more than a page).

Eating: Habanero BBQ almonds/sea salt crackers!

Making: A Fall 2015 photo album with my prints from Artifact Uprising/beautiful music.

Loving: New polish from Essie/brushing her hair with my brush.