Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday Five: COVID-19 Week 2....or is it Week 3?

I'm back this Friday to share some trivial, frivolous finds from the internet.  Our family has managed to stay home for yet another week.  It's not fun, and I'm not excited at all about social distancing but the days have started to take on a bit of a routine.  The weather has gotten warmer which has made it easier to get outside and walk or get some spring chores done in the yard.  Seeing the sunshine is definitely a game changer as well.  

If you need a mindless five minutes looking at what I've decided to share with you, read on:

1.  Stay Safe Read Books T-Shirt - confession: I ordered myself this t-shirt.  I love a good book related T and this one is calling to me.  Plus I can claim that I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy.

2.  Lou and Grey Striped Brushmarl Tie Front Top -I am liking the tie front option on so many tops at Loft.  I also like the stripes on this one.

Lou & Grey Striped Brushmarl Tie Front Top

3.  Espadrille Slip Ons - it's hard to resist the pull of leopard print.  

Espadrille Slip-Ons

4.  The Board Walk Lace-up Toe Hold Sandal- these sandals look much better on a person's foot than just sitting by themselves.  I love the look of these.

The Boardwalk Lace-Up Toe-Hold Sandal in english saddle image 5

5.  Hemp Relaxed Drapey Tee in Stripe- I am finding more and more stuff from Madewell that I like.  

Hemp Relaxed Drapey Tee in Stripe in natural image 1

6.  Vintage Tee in Gathered Blooms - and I love the colors of this shirt and the print.

The Perfect Vintage Tee in Gathered Blooms in blockprint floral rusted tin image 1

7.  Side Zip Stripe Pullover - I love a good stripe, as you know, and this one has some zipper accents on the side that make it a little different than every other striped shirt.

8.  Banbury Sparkle Sweater - who couldn't use a hint of sparkle in their life?

Banbury Sparkle Sweater - Ivory

9.  Ivory Cheetah Bloom Sweatshirt -I actually like how this sweatshirt looks from far away.  Maybe I'd like it close up, too, but then I realize that those gold splashes are cheetahs.  Interesting at the very least.

The Sweatshirt - Ivory, Cheetah Bloom

10.  Some Good News with John Krasinski - everyone could use a little good news right about now..

That's it for me this week. I hope you are all holding up OK, staying home, finding some time to spend with a good book.  

Has anything caught your eye?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Paris Library

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released title that I can't wait to read.

This week's pick:  The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
Due out: June 2, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Mini Reviews: A Coronavirus Edition

With an entire week away from school, I should be able to get through books quickly. That is not really the case. The first problem is my inability to concentrate on anything.  That's become slightly better to manage this week, but it's still not great. The second problem is that being home isn't really translating into more time.  I am still working on school stuff every single day.  And since my girls are also home I have been making lunches for them and doing some other things around the house.  I've also started watching Jane the Virgin with my youngest daughter and she is intent on us getting through all one hundred episodes as quickly as possible.  

So, I'm feeling pretty good about getting through three books. They are all so different from each other, but I enjoyed them all.

The Shallows by Matt Goldman is the third installment of the Nils Shapiro mystery series. I love that they are set in Minneapolis which is a location I have some knowledge of.  With each mystery I am getting to know the main character a little better and can't wait to see where this series goes (the fourth is scheduled for release this summer).  In this story, Shapiro is called in to help prove a woman did not kill her husband.  There are lots of twists and turns I didn't necessarily see coming, and enough going on in Shap's life that I want to know more.

The Lovely War by Julie Berry has been on my TBR for a while.  Janssen over at Everyday Reading hosts an Instagram book club and this was her March selection. I'm notoriously bad at participating in book clubs, but beause we had no school the past two weeks and I had this book sitting around, I actually read it and then listened to her Wednesday chats about the Lovely War.  While she raved about it, I won't go quite that far. It's a good historical fiction book.  It opens with a conversation between the Greek gods who narrate this story.  I knew that part would confuse me, but once I got through that, it really didn't take away from the rest of the book.  This is a love story of sorts set during WWI and I appreciated the connections between the stories even more when I had finished reading.  I think this is one of those books where I might like it more as time passes after I finish it.  Janssen's comments made me think I could re-read this (although really? Who has time?) and get a lot out of it on a re-read as well.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell is a debut novel and this might be the first social distancing novel that totally absorbed my attention. It is so well written I just couldn't put it down, yet it is disturbing.  Vanessa attended a boarding school where, at age 15, she enters into a relationship with her 42 year old English teacher.  The story moves back and forth in time, and we see Vanessa at 32 when other girls come forward accusing the same teacher of touching them inappropriately.  Vanessa's feelings about what happened and the way it has shaped who she is are so interesting, and unexpected to the few people she tries to talk to about it.  This was one of Book Expo's six books to watch for last year and it is an incredible read.  I hope to see more from Russell and want to talk to someone about this book sometime.

I hope you are hanging in there, remaining healthy, practicing social distancing, and finding some time for a good book or two.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Five: Another Week of Social Distancing Is Nearly Over

I'm not excited at all about social distancing, but here at our house, we've been doing our part.  We stay at home. We wash our hands.  We do grocery pick up instead of shopping in person.  My kids don't see their friends.  And we do this because we feel it is important to flatten the curve and not put a bigger burden on our health care system than they are already facing.  

And although this is inconvenient,  we are definitely spending more time as a family.  Last night we all watched a couple episodes of Jane the Virgin together.  Slowing down does have its benefits.

Anyway, I continue to debate a little about who wants to look at what I've found online, but I have also heard from people that looking at frivolous things - like clothing- is a good stress reliever.  

Many of the things I found this week lean toward the casual.  I'm getting mighty sick of my sweatpants and need to upgrade to a few different, casual, stay at home things.

1. Gingham Trench Coat - This truly is such a springy, Eastery coat.  I love it.  

2.  Sutton Jogger - Right now Athleta is offering 25% off a $100 purchase.  I might take them up on that offer because these joggers look so comfy.

Studio Jogger

3.  Hari Mari Lakes Flip Flops - and when it finally gets warm, I wouldn't mind a new pair of flip flops for myself. It doesn't hurt that Joanna Gaines wears these.


4.  Women's High Waisted Leggings With Pocket - I have leggings I wear to work out, but none that I just wear for for the normal day to day stuff.  I have stated numerous times that leggings are not pants, which I do believe, but I may get these...don't judge.  I am also told that they are Lulu Lemon knockoffs for a fraction of the price.

5.  Women's Sleeveless V-Neck Knit Jumpsuit -and this is a cute piece of lounge wear that looks slightly better than sweats. It's only $23.

Women's Sleeveless V-Neck Knit Jumpsuit - Wild Fable™  - image 2 of 10

6.  Faith > Fear T-Shirt  - Elly and Grace has a great line of Christian themed t-shirts. This is something I should remind myself everyday.

7.  AE Fleece Zip up Hoodie - I've been wearing the same leopard print hoodie for years now. It was definitely worth the $7 I paid for it.  This is more than $7, but I'm thinking it might be time for an upgrade.

AE Fleece Zip Up Hoodie

8.  Transport Sandal - If I ever go anywhere this summer and get to dress up a little, I'm loving these sandals.

STEVE MADDEN Transport Sandal, Main, color, 297

9.  Southport Patio Egg Chair -I love this chair.....and wouldn't even mind hanging out on my front patio area by myself if I had this chair to use while reading.

Southport Patio Egg Chair - Opalhouse™ - image 1 of 13

10.  3 Books With Neil Pasricha Podcast  - I haven't listened to all the episodes, but this new book podcast is the latest thing I've been enjoying while walking.

Image result for three books podcast

That's it for me this week.  Hoping you are healthy and safe and practicing social distancing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Jane Austen Society

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released title I can't wait to read.

This week's pick: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Due out: May 26, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

"Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal." ―Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people―a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others―could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Nonfiction Coming Right Up

I love looking ahead to books that are coming out in the upcoming months. I love a good memoir, and although celebrity memoirs aren't really my thing, I might be persuaded to pick this one up.

No Time Like The Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox

Due out: November 7, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

A moving account of resilience, hope, fear and mortality, and how these things resonate in our lives, by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox.

The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future; as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties; as Mike Flaherty in Spin City; and through numerous other movie roles and guest appearances on shows such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Diagnosed at age 29, Michael is equally engaged in Parkinson’s advocacy work, raising global awareness of the disease and helping find a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the world’s leading non-profit funder of PD science. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism. His new memoir reassesses this outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional challenges.

In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.

Running through the narrative is the drama of the medical madness Fox recently experienced, that included his daily negotiations with the Parkinson’s disease he’s had since 1991, and a spinal cord issue that necessitated immediate surgery. His challenge to learn how to walk again, only to suffer a devastating fall, nearly caused him to ditch his trademark optimism and “get out of the lemonade business altogether.”

Monday, March 23, 2020

Monday Mini-Reviews: I Can Only Handle Some Light Reads Right Now

After a week of little blogging and not much reading, either, I hope I am back on track.  We are still at home - social distancing, folks, and will probably be here for the foreseeable future.  

I have had projects waiting for me to find time to do for years: vacation photo albums, organizing my recipes, finishing up the family cookbook I started a couple years is the time I can attempt to get some of these things knocked off the to-do list.  

I also have an entire room full of books that I've lamented not having time to read.  And now I have time.  

What I didn't have last week was focus.  It's hard to read a book when I get sucked into the news.  I'm still trying to figure out the happy medium of staying informed vs staying too informed.

The books I read were entertaining and easy to read: exactly what I need right now.  

I've read a few books by Taylor Jenkins Reid and always mean to look into her older titles but just never seemed to get around to it.  Annie B Jones mentioned enjoying Forever, Interrupted by TJR on one of her podcast episodes and I decided it was time I get a copy. This book is such a fast read.  A love story, but also a story you may shed a tear or two over while reading.  When Elsie meets Ben one night while picking up a pizza the two instantly have a connection and begin a whirlwind romance.  Readers get to see their love story unfold bit by bit in chapters that are alternated with the present time where Elsie is grieving Ben's death after just nine days of marriage.  In addition to grieving, Elsie must meet Susan, Ben's mom, who knew nothing about her or her son's marriage.  There are some real pearls of wisdom in this book and now that I've read another TJR book, I feel like I should find copies of all of her novels.  They are definitely worth the time spent reading them.

Undercover Bromance is the second book in what is to be a trilogy by Lyssa Kay Adams.  I was skeptical about the first book, The Bromance Book Club, but liked it so much I ordered this one to be delivered as soon as it was published.  I admit I didn't love this one as much as the first, but it was still fun...and perhaps the conditions I'm reading under have something to do with that as well.  This novel focuses on another guy from the Bromance Book Club - a group of men who read and discuss romance novels in an effort to be better husbands, fathers, and boyfriends.  The main characters from the first book were just supporting characters in this one, which was fine and I enjoyed reconnecting with them.  Mack seems to have it all together, except he is striking out in the relationship department. His most recent girlfriend told him everything was too perfect.  When he meets his friend's sister-in-law, Liv, sparks fly - and the two can't stand each other.  You can see where this is going, right?  This might be rather predictable in the romance department, but there is another story unfolding as well as Liv and Mack work to bring down a wealthy businessman who has been taking advantage of female employees. There are a few laugh out loud moments in this book, and by the book's end, I was sad to close the last page - and am now waiting the third book in this series.  

Who knows where my reading will take me this next week.  What have you been reading lately?  Has your reading suffered with this global pandemic taking center stage in your life? 

Wishing you a healthy week ahead with lots of time to reconnect with your family, curl up with a good book, and appreciate all that we have to be thankful for.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday Five: In An Attempt To Think of Something More Fun Than the Coronavirus

As I wrote yesterday, I have debated sharing my Friday Five posts for a while. Certainly we have more pressing things to think about these days besides good sales and cute outfits.  However, in an effort to get my thoughts (and maybe yours, too) off the very somber news that is all we are seeing right now, I've found some things to share with you.

1.  Loft Beach Striped Puff Sleeve Midi Dress - such a nice, summery dress.  I can think of lots of places this would be cute to wear...graduation, Big Sister's graduation party.....we shall see...

LOFT Beach Striped Puff Sleeve Midi Dress

2.  Saodimallsu Womens Turtleneck Oversized Sweaters Batwing Long Sleeve Pullover Loose Chunky Knit Jumper - this one is still a little wintery, but there is a dusting of fresh snow on the ground this morning, so warm clothes are still needed.  It comes in a ton of color options, but right now I'm loving this one.

3. Ruffle Neck Keyhole Top in Stripe - I love this top. Again, it's so summery that I can't wait to get out a pair of white shorts or denim shorts to put on with this.

Ruffle-Neck Keyhole Top in Stripe in botanical stripe soft blue image 1

4.  Eyelet Puff Sleeve Top - I love anything eyelet (almost) and I love the bright pink color of this top.

Eyelet Puff Sleeve Top

5.  High Waisted Elevate Powersoft Side Pocket Leggings for Women -I rotate between the same pairs of workout pants every week.  I'd love something new to change it up a bit.

High-Waisted Elevate Powersoft Side-Pocket Crop Leggings for Women

6.  Sims Stone Necklace - this is on sale right now. I rarely buy jewelry, but love that this is such a versatile piece.

Sims Stone Necklace - (more colors)

7.  Stripe Tasseled Tie Neck Tunic Sweater -this just looks comfortable....and right about now that's the only type of clothes I need.

Stripe Tasseled Tie Neck Tunic Sweater

8.  Striped Teddie Sweater - I can't help but love some clean striped shirts.  I'm loving the blue and green combination.

j.crew factory: striped teddie sweater for women, right side, view zoomed

9.  Classic Popover in Ratti Retro Floral Print - this is a little busy, but I love JCrew's popovers and I like the retro print.

j.crew: classic popover shirt in ratti® retro floral print for women, right side, view zoomed

10.  Smocked Midi Floral Dress - another cute spring dress for all those events I need to attend.  The only hesitation I have is that it is such a wide neckline. I have extremely narrow shoulders, so that is not always a good choice for me....but for someone else, it would probably be fine.

Smocked Flutter Midi Dress

That's it for me this week. What's caught your eye?  
Stay healthy!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

And Just Like That....The World Is A Different Place

A little over a week ago I sat across from my school district's associate superintendent and asked if she thought we would miss any school because of the corona virus.  She replied that nothing was out of the question, but at that point it still seemed so remote.

Just a few days later, COVID-19 was the only thing anyone could talk about....and now here we are a week later, and we've been socially distancing for what seems like forever.  (It's only been four days, for the record).  

School is canceled for the next four least. My high school senior is coming to grips with the fact that she might not have a prom or a graduation.  We are adjusting to our new normal.

I have also been sucked down the rabbit trail of social media and horrifying news accounts all too often.  

I debated blogging or not, but honestly, I'm trying to keep a somewhat normal routine and blogging is a part of that.  With all this free time, one would think that I would have a lot of reading to show for it, but it's been hard to concentrate.  I'm hoping that as I adjust I'll feel more like reading. 

I did read Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman in between all of my time online.  And in addition to the title being appropriate for what is happening in real life, I also enjoyed the story.

Judy has started wearing her dog in a sling that she found packed away from her child's infant days.  She finds it comforting as much of her life seems to be falling apart. She's still dealing with her parents' deaths, her son is having troubles at school, she and her husband are separated but can't afford to divorce, so he's sleeping in a different bedroom, and another close friend is battling cancer.

This story might seem like a downer, but there's humor in it as well as some wise advice (I almost underlined a few things, but decided against it only because I'll be adding this book to my Little Free Library).  Considering I was not the best reader and had a hard time focusing on much of anything, Separation Anxiety did a great job of entertaining me and keeping my mind occupied on something other than the corona virus.  

I've moved on now to a middle grade novel that will be released later this year and hope to be back to blogging more regularly.  

I've debated my Friday Five post, but I've found a few cute things online and maybe you, like me, would like to think about something light and happy for a few minutes.  So check back tomorrow to see what I'm sharing.

Stay healthy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: The Heir Affair

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released book I can't wait to read.

This week's feature: The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Due out: June 26, 2020

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Making it up the aisle was the easy part: After marrying the heir to the throne, Rebecca "Bex" Porter must survive her own scandals as she adjusts to life in the glamorous British royal family, in this "highly anticipated" follow-up to The Royal We, the "fun and dishy" bestseller and NYT Summer Reading List pick inspired by Will and Kate's romance (People).
After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca "Bex" Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world's judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they'd placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick's brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten -- nor forgiven.