Book Review: The Salt House by Lisa Duffy







When a family loses their youngest daughter in an unthinkable accident, how do they rebuild? 

I can't even begin to imagine. Lisa Duffy helps you understand how this family, the Kellys, can possibly live another day without their precious little girl, Maddie. Their other daughters are just as effected by the tragedy and in this book, you get to read from everyone's perspectives about how life is now that Maddie is gone. 

Jack and Hope Kelly had a lot of dreams: Jack's lobster business would grow, Hope would continue writing for women's magazines, they would rebuild their dream home in Maine with their 3 girls. When their future suddenly looks very differently, every one reacts different. Hope slips into a depression that no one can bring her out of. Jack slips further away from everyone and starts to lose his grip on the mounting responsibilities of his business and providing for his family.

I think the parts of this book that were the most powerful were when the characters were so honest and raw. The author really laid it all out there for you. I felt pride at some points on their behalves, but also shame, sadness, frustration and hope... it was quite the roller coaster. 

The best book I've read this summer. A must-read. 

Praise for The Salt House includes:

“…Duffy eloquently displays the emotional complexities of a family going through the healing process. Readers of Elin Hilderbrand or Luanne Rice will enjoy.”
-Library Journal

“[Duffy] deftly sketches the edges of grief. A poignant story of the power of faith, hope, and love to transcend loss.”
-Kirkus

“This insightful, emotionally potent debut is ideal for fans of Amy Hatvany.”
-Booklist

“… a compelling examination of grief and the way loss threatens the lives of every family member. Though all thecharacters are vivid and memorable, I am especially drawn to the younger voices as they maneuver in theuncharted wake of their parents, attempting normal lives under conditions that are anything but.”
-Jill McCorkle, NYT Bestselling author of Life After Life


-I received a copy of The  Salt House from Touchstone Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Show Us Your Books: May



Show Us Your Books: May Edition
with Steph & Jana


The Salt House by Lisa Duffy When a family loses their youngest daughter in an unthinkable accident, how do they rebuild? Jack and Hope Kelly had a lot of dreams: Jack's lobster business would grow, Hope would continue writing for women's magazines, they would rebuild their dream home in Maine with their 3 girls. When their future suddenly looks very differently, every one reacts different. Hope slips into a depression that no one can bring her out of. Jack slips further away from everyone and starts to lose his grip on the mounting responsibilities of his business and providing for his family.  I think the parts of this book that were the most powerful were when the characters were so honest and raw. The author really laid it all out there for you. I felt pride at some points on their behalves, but also shame, sadness, frustration and hope... it was quite the roller coaster. The best book I've read this summer. (ARC Copy, Touchstone Books) 


Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave This super fun book was a slice of summer heaven! Sunshine Mackenzie has it all...and then in the blink of a Tweet, she doesn't. But what's interesting is how you find out that she really never had it it all. Her life as a famous chef, with a Youtube channel and a future Food Network show in the works, was all smoke and mirrors. Her husband Danny wants his wife back, before she transformed herself into the persona of "Sunshine," before she stopped being herself.  I think this book was really fun and fast-paced and the perfect book to read on the go. (ARC copy, Simon & Schuster) 

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg - I picked this after hearing about it a lot from other Book of the Month members. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I just didn't mesh with the narrator and really wanted her to "you-know-what or get off the pot." But I think the evolution of her character was the whole theme of the story so I think it made its point because she did grow alot by the end of the book.

Woman No. 17 - This book was...interesting. The first half had enough intrigue to keep me turning the pages but in the end I wasn't that interested. Lots of different characters: a mute teenager, a couple on the verge of a break up and a very strange babysitter. The mystery and weirdness of what happens when the babysitter decides to do a little "research" was unique but a little predectable and I just didn't really get it. (Hardback, Hogarth Publishing)

Into The Water-  It was good but there were a lot of things to keep track of: dead bodies, ancient witch tales, and a lot of people with some shady pasts. It was definitely creepy so I would give it a go if you like many of the other books like it (Girl on the Train, Woman in Cabin 10). 

Have you read any of these? Tell me what you think! If you are looking for a good round up of books to read, be sure to visit Steph or Jana's Show Us Your Book Link Up! 

Must Read: The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I have to tell you about the 1 MUST READ of the Summer:  


It's not just a Summer must-read because it obviously looks stunning next to a pool or beach but also because once you dive into this story, you won't want to resurface until you've devoured every page. 


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo better be on the top of your summer to-read list. If it's not--trust me you will want to add it! It hits the shelves TOMORROW so go ahead and pre-order anywhere you get your books now. 

For those of you who have read the magic that is Taylor Jenkins Reid, you won't be surprised to hear that her newest novel is nothing short of amazing. But here's a surprise: It's totally different from anything she's written before. 

This story has the intrigue and scandal that you'd expect from anything centered around the 50s and 60s era in Hollywood but it also has much more. There's something so interesting about the sudden relationship between reporter Monique Grant and the famous actress, Evelyn Hugo. When Evelyn requests Monique out of the blue to write her biography, Monique is awestruck, suspicious and nervous. But as she listens to Evelyn tell her life story, there are many things that change for Monique. 

In hearing the struggles and various love stories from Hugo, Monique starts to untangle stories that are going on in her own heart. I just can't express how much I truly enjoyed this book. There are stories intertwined with the bigger plot that pull at your heart strings, there is a massively important theme about love, forgiveness and acceptance and major plot twists that you don't see coming...it's just an amazing story.

I love books that have several stories going on but somehow they are all linked. This book was super easy to follow- it's literally two women sitting together and talking about the past-Evelyn's storytelling is quick and to the point and it was addicting- I couldn't get enough! So many great stories about how cut throat and manipulating it was to be an actress back in those days. Add on top of that more issues that you never can fully understand if you've never been in those shoes: marriage, secrets, abuse, secret love affairs...loving someone the world thought you shouldn't... 
 
This book tackles a lot of issues but as a whole, there is one thread woven through out: Love is love... and you will love this book. 

If you've read it, send me links to your reviews on Goodreads or Amazon so I can hear what you think! Or leave your thoughts in the comments below! 

That's What He Read: My Husband's #BookStack


One of the best things that my husband and I have in common is reading. Before I came along, the last book he read was a pharmacy text book so it's safe to say he enjoys reading for fun instead of cramming for exams. 

He's mostly interested in crime/thrillers but loves a few historical non-fictions as well. I thought it would be fun to share what he's been reading lately! 




Top  3: 





Other Recommendations:

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker 

So there you have it! What are you reading ? 

My Current #TBR Pile




Happy Thursday! Yesterday, I finished an awesome book, The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner. When I finish a book that I really like, I usually have to wait a day or so to dive into a new one. Today, when I went to my "pile" I had a moment of panic. I have no idea which one to choose. They are alllll calling my name. Here's a quick look at the books that are calling my name: 

The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty- A high profile blogger and celebrity needs a housekeeper and Anne Morgan needs a job. So begins a twisting tale with secrets and lies. The only way I actually love housework is when I am reading about someone else doing it! 

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris- From the author of Behind Closed Doors, this book is set to be the thriller of the summer. 

Marlena by Julie Buntin - I have seen mixed reviews of this book, some love it, some say it's a pass but I noticed that Emma Roberts was reading it and giving it a thumbs up so I am going to give it a chance. There's a missing girl, a mysterious, lonely group of teenagers and a past that can't be ignored... 

All Grown Up  by Jami Attenberg - This has been on my pile forever and I really want to read it. Can someone just add one more day to my week? The main character is wondering, what does it take to be an adult? I ask myself that same question on a daily basis, so I have a feeling I'll be able to relate....

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave  - When your first name is Sunshine, you have a lot to live up to. And on the surface, famous YouTube Star and cookbook author Sunshine Mackenzie is nailing it. But of course, as we all do, she's hiding a few secrets that will have a catastrophic impact if they are ever discovered. 


What's next on your #TBR List? 

Your Kids' Summer Must Have: A Little Fun Club Subscription Box

Little Fun Club blog tour. A subscription box for children's books. Great for kids ages 0-12.

There are a couple things that my daughter Reese loves above all else. At the top of her favorites list: Books (she gets it from her mama) and mail. She LOVES checking the mail every day and begs me to let her open packages. 

So, imagine her delight when she received a box  from the super cute company, Little Fun Club. Does her face not say it all? 


Little Fun Club is a subscription box for children's books. It's ideal for kids ages 0-12. When you sign up, your child will receive a box containing three adventurous books every month. The books are tailored to your child's age, so you can rest assured they will always have quality, age-appropriate reading material. Each book is hand selected for your child, and no two boxes are the same.  

We received three books, two for Reese: Sparky by Jenny Offill and George Shrinks by William Joyce and The Hardy Boys, The Tower Treasure chapter book for Ryder. They were thrilled. The awesome thing about this subscription box is that they tailor pick books based on your child's age and interests. I think it's the perfect solution for school getting out in a couple of weeks too. They LOVE going to the school library on a regular basis so this is just like having their librarian visit each month! 



How it Works:

  1. Join Little Fun Club and let them know your child's age so the box can be customized for them. You can include up to three kids per box and they'll customize it accordingly.
  2. Get three adventurous books every month for as little as $25/month.
  3. Grow with Little Fun Club. As your child gets older, the books change accordingly — so you'll always receive age-appropriate books for your kids.


Good to Know:

  1. You can add a note to your child's account with reading preferences so the box can be tailored to their interests.
  2. Shipping is FREE on all boxes.
  3. Little Fun Club selects books based on merit. Books go through a rigorous selection process and are read and reviewed by the Little Fun Club team before being considered.
  4. If you receive a book that you already own, just let Little Fun Club know about it. They'll replace the book in the next box! You don't have to return anything.
  5. You can cancel or put your subscription hold at any time.
  6. A Little Fun Club subscription makes a wonderful gift for birthdays, holidays, or just because.
The final product is a box filled with education, fun, and opportunities for positive child development. They make sure each box is just right before it is sent out.  


Prices:

1 month - $29/month 3 months - $27/month 6 months - $25/month   You can see what types of books Little Fun Club offers by visiting their website.  

  $50 Cash Giveaway | batchofbooks.com  

The Little Fun Club is also giving away $50 that you can use for your first box! Checkout the Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive $50 in PayPal cash Open to US and Canada Ends May 12, 2017 Use the Rafflectoper to enter. Entrants must be 18 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them. The winner will be chosen randomly. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. This contest is void where prohibited by law.  
 

Check out what others are saying about their Little Fun Box! 

Books that Bring a Ray of Sunshine


Lately I've notice a little "summery" theme among some of my ARCs and picks on the top of my TBR stack so I wanted to tell you about them: 





My review for The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green - A classic family drama from Jane Green, that has her familiar, great story-telling vibe-although I did feel like the story was on a much more larger scale, which impressed me. There were a lot of characters and story lines that kept me interested. I am always drawn to stories about mother/daughter relationships. It's about the Sunshines, Ronnie, the mother, put stardom before her children and now she's at the end of her life with alot of explaining to do. Her 3 daughters are all very different and dynamic and I loved their individual story lines. I felt like there was a missed opportunity to really dive into why there is such a strained relationship between the mother and her 3 daughters, I would have liked more flashbacks because they are seriously estranged...but the action of their current lives was enough to keep me interested. 


Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop- I just dove into this and the writing is spot on. Literal, honest and to-the-point and I love that. I don't have time to tip toe around the details or the back story and Dunlop does an awesome job at diving right in. I liked and trusted the main character, Brooke, right away, even as she is telling me about a dead girl and an affair with her college professor in the first couple chapters. It's set in France. Frenchmen everywhere. What else do you need?? 

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave- This cover though, can we just send up the praise hand emojis? If this doesn't get you ready to read poolside, I don't know what will. The main character is a social media star with a luxe lifestyle and everything going for her. And of course, a secret she's trying to keep. Juicy! 


The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner-  This book caught my attention on #bookstagram (which obviously happens a lot because it's my happy place) and I really had a feeling that I was going to love it. Do you ever see a book and just feel like "yes, that's going to be my new favorite."- that's how I feel abou this book. It has everything I need to bring a little sunshine in my life: drama, family, the beach and deep, dark secrets. I mean, other than a chilled wine spritzer, what else do you really need in June? 


Are any of these going to be on your Summer Reading List? Tell me what you're reading! 


Show Us Your Books: March

I don't have a lot of time to write long descriptions but I love sharing all the books I read each month and I read some gems in March so I am going to make this short and sweet. 

Must Reads: 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: YES. Read my full review here and then plan on reading this awesome book. 



The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn: Read my full review here. This is my favorite read of the month. It's a premise that is intriguing because it really is a good "What if?" question and I think everyone wonders what lies on the other side of a question like this... 



It Happens All the Time. (My full review is here) This is a good read because it talks about a tough subject but tells the story in a reflective and interesting voice. 


Didn't love: 

Always by Sarah Jio- I love Sarah Jio- she's always a good, go-to author. However, this story just took too long. Maybe it's because I listened to the audiobook and I can only listen 3 days out of the week so it felt like it took longer to get through, but I am not sure. I felt like the main character, who runs into her first love by happenstance and who is now a homeless man, isn't being genuine enough. The story that she just happens to be a journalist who is covering homeless in her city... it just felt a little too contrived. 

The Separation by Katie Kitmura: Another audiobook fail for me. I honestly believe it had to do with the narrator. She. read. so. slow. I couldn't stand it and had to switch over and listen to podcasts instead and ended up forgetting about it all together. I think I needed to know more about where the hell the husband was to catch my attention quicker.

 I think I may have gotten another book into the line up if I hadn't gotten sucked into Up and Vanished and S-Town this month. Did anyone else listen? 

Currently, I am listening to The Roanoke Girls and reading The Fall of Lisa Bellow  

Thanks Steph and Jana for hosting another great Show Us Your Books link up! 

Book Review: The Arrangement

Shout out to the first book to make me cry in a long long time. I love when that happens. It's not that I actually enjoy crying  but sometimes, it helps to let it out, doesn't it? It was towards the the end and whenever a book or movie fast forwards to the end and shows you how the characters have moved on, it always makes me feel the feels. For example- the last episode of Parenthood? I can't even talk about it without getting choked up. And this had that beautifully tied together ending that I love so much.



I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book. It is a story that needs to be told because I think everyone has a little voice in their heart that asks "What if?" of the path they didn't take, the person they didn't choose.

When Lucy and Owen decided on the "Arrangement" I thought there was no way that both of them were going to go thru with it. They are married and have a "nice" life. Why fix what's not broken, right? But what if it could be better? So they set some rules and try something new. Each one would get six months to sleep with other people. No questions asked, no jealously, no details. And then it's over. That's the plan. After getting to know the characters, I certainly didn't think the one who actually broke the rules would be the one to fall.  But then again, that's why I loved the story- the elements of surprise, how things came full circle at the end- I don't want to give anything away but it has to be said- this book isn't just a frilly romance. It's complex, it's thoughtful and it has depth. I loved every minute of it.

The multiple story lines, the evolution of the characters, the setting (I want to move to Beekman!) These elements made sure that the story was never  boring. I really got caught up in the raising of the kids, especially the main characters' son, who has autism. I revel in learning about other's parenting experiences and Dunn really nailed the ups and downs of parenthood. You know, wanting to scream and kick in frustration while also scooping up and cover their faces in kisses at the same time?

Another thing- this book is funny. There is a little bit of a shock factor, a crazy lazy with a home repair obsession and a bunch of chickens all named after poultry entrees.

Have you read it? Tell what me what you thought. And if not, at it to your TBR!

I received this book thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Book Review: It Happens All The Time



This book is a very important narrative for our society today. Not only does it have an important message, but it also has a multi-dimensional story line that makes it very powerful.


Told in a back and forth style between Tyler and Amber, It Happens All the Time tells the story of two friends who experience a night together that will change both of their lives forever. Hatvany tackles a very heavy and important topic: consent. 

Amber faces many questions: Will she ever be able to have healthy body image, will she ever be confident? Is her engagement the best decision and is she really in love? 

For one night, she decides to let loose and have fun with her friends and she felt safe enough to be a little reckless, especially since she has her best friend Tyler by her side. Flirting with him feels safe. Until one drink turns into more and suddenly, she is waking up with memories of the night before that shake her to her core. She remembers saying no to Tyler and she remembers that he didn't listen. 

When Tyler tells his side of the story, it's quite different from Amber's. He can't understand why she won't talk to him... The most shocking/interesting thing about the book is that you get to see the man's point of view. You can tell the author wrote this with a powerful message and experience behind it.

There is a shocking start to the book that caught my attention right away and I couldn't look away until I finished the last page. 

This is a great because of the thrilling story and account of the dynamics between women and men, our lovers and our enemies... and how quickly those dynamics can change. But also, the importance of it's message makes this a must read.

To hear the author's personal story and inspiration behind this book, visit her website: http://www.amyhatvany.com/book/it-happens-all-the-time/ 

Add It To Your List!

Add It To My List

I love a good blog prompt and this is perfect, thanks so much to Eat, Drink, Lauren & Bre Writes for this fun link up!



Add It To Your Watch List:

Hubs and I are almost done with Shameless. I can't even THINK about what I am going to do with myself when we are all caught up. I am obsessed with the Gallaghers and feel like I will be missing my family when we are done with season 7! 

To help me cope with the separation anxiety, I signed up for a trial month of Hulu because I want to watch Harlots. Are there any other Hulu shows that you recommend? 

Add It To Your Hobby List: 

Brush Lettering - I can't stop watching tutorial videos of brush lettering online so I decided to grab some markers and try it myself. I printed off some tutorial sheets off Pinterest and just doodled away. It's super therapeutic. It's not like I want to start an Etsy shop by any means but if I do get to a place where I feel like I am somewhat nailing it, I thought it would be fun to make some bookmarks for friends. (I started with these Sharpie Markers off Amazon)



Weaving- Now this might just be a private hobby because I don't feel like I am getting the hang out of it but I had to at least give it a try. I am obsessed with these walling hangings by ModernMonsterCO and I thought it looked fun so I bought this book and the supplies and dove in. It's actually a lot more difficult than I originally thought but I do love combininh fun colors and learning all the different ways to create patterns. 




Add It To Your House List: 

House plants- I need one in my life. I have never had a house plant in this house- ONE time I kept a small cactus alive and another peace lily plant in college that I kept on the brink of extinction on a regular basis. But I need a plant, like yesterday. I know the exact type I want: 



Either something like this fiddle leaf fig or any type of palm. Anyone who has luck with indoor plants, give me a shout! 

Also coming soon: Our new couch and chair for the formal living room. We had to custom order to fit the space and so it's taking way longer than I thought. Of course I gave away our old couch downstairs the day we ordered it, thinking it would take a while to see but nope! It was gone in a day so now the room is bare and it echos. I need my reading nook back right meow! 

Add It To Your Reading List:

In April, I have a couple of books I am really looking forward to that I received ARCs from Simon and Schuster: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, coming out this summer. Yes, that Ruth Ware-the author of The Woman in Cabin 10! Also- I just got The Fall of Lisa Bellow in the mail today too! Super excited! I am also loving The Arrangement.  I just finished It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany and really loved it. (click on the link for my Goodreads review).



Add It To Your Listening to List:

I was planning on starting The Hollywood Daughter on audio book tomorrow BUT then I remember creators of the Serial Podcast and This American Life published S-Town- a new series about a murder in Alabama. The cool part: The released the entire podcast at once, so now waiting! Let the binging begin! 

Are there any things on this list that you are loving too? 

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 



The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo better be on the top of your summer to-read list. If it's not--trust me you will want to add it! It's pub date isn't until 6/13 but thanks to NetGalley, I got my hands on a copy. 

For those of you who have read the magic that is Taylor Jenkins Reid, you won't be surprised to hear that her newest novel is nothing short of amazing. But here's a surprise: It's totally different from anything she's written before. 

This story has the intrigue and scandal that you'd expect from anything centered around the 50s and 60s era in Hollywood but it also has much more. There's something so interesting about the sudden relationship between reporter Monique Grant and the famous actress, Evelyn Hugo. When Evelyn requests Monique out of the blue to write her biography, Monique is awestruck, suspicious and nervous. But as she listens to Evelyn tell her life story, there are many things that change for Monique. 

In hearing the struggles and various love stories from Hugo, Monique starts to untangle stories that are going on in her own heart. I just can't express how much I truly enjoyed this book. There are stories intertwined with the bigger plot that pull at your heart strings, there is a massively important theme about love, forgiveness and acceptance and major plot twists that you don't see coming...it's just an amazing story.

I love books that have several stories going on but somehow they are all linked. This book was super easy to follow- it's literally two women sitting together and talking about the past-Evelyn's storytelling is quick and to the point and it was addicting- I couldn't get enough! So many great stories about how cut throat and manipulating it was to be an actress back in those days. Add on top of that more issues that you never can fully understand if you've never been in those shoes: marriage, secrets, abuse, secret love affairs...loving someone the world thought you shouldn't... 
 
This book tackles a lot of issues but as a whole, there is one thread woven through out: Love is love... and you will love this book. 

Book Round Up: My Spring Reading List

The birds are chirping, the tulips I planted around our birch tree last fall are peeking through and the mornings are breezy. Spring is almost here! 

Thank God because we need some fresh air running through the house. The kids look at me like I am crazy but if it's above 60 outside, the windows and screen doors are open. In the last week, I've dusted the windowsills and cleaned out the closets. I just really want to not have to clean when the weather is perfect for reading all day. 

Speaking of that, yes I do have a long list of books I want to read this Spring. You know me so well. Here's a list of books that I can't wait to read in the next couple of months, with a short synopsis to peak your interest:  






The Fall of Lisa Bellow  by Susan Perabo - An eighth grader is abducted, another girl is witness to the crime and the aftermath that this dangerous account leaves in its path is riveting.

Always by Sarah Jio -This is the story of a woman with a good life and promising future with a man she loves...until she runs into her first true love, a man who is now homeless and living in the street. Is he still the man she once wanted to spend her life with...and what is worth sacrificing if she wants to find out? 

The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty - Is a celebrity still worth your adoration once you find out all of their dirty laundry? This main character finds that out when she takes on a job as the housekeeper to someone who appears to have it all...


The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy -This was one of @BookoftheMonth choices for February so it's pretty much a shoo in for me. They never disappoint. This one is a little out of my regular genre-The Possessions are able to channel loved ones who have passed on. People come from all over to talk to the women and communicate with their sisters, lovers, wives- but what happens when that line gets blurred and one of the Possessions falls in love with her client? 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid - When I heard that TJR had a new novel out I didn't even read the description before trolling her instagram and requested a copy from NetGalley. I've been reading it at every opportunity this past weekend and I can't get enough. A young reporter is contacted out of the blue to write a biography on a very Elizabeth-Taylor like movie star - Evelyn Hugo-and the retelling of her life will change both Evelyn and Monique's lives forever. It's got 50s Hollywood, love and intrigue all rolled into one. 

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany - Two people share a past but their current lives involve other people. But what happens but a kiss changes everything? Do you go forward or try to go back in time? 

The Twilight Wife by AJ Banner - You know with all this lovey dovey stuff I have to have a physiological thriller to mix it up a bit. This one involves a seemingly perfect marriage on the surface, but underneath is an undercurrent of lies and hurt- obscured by the fact that Kyra Winthrop has memory loss due to a accidental fall. Is her life really as smooth as it appears or are there dangers lurking just out of her memory's grasp? Is her husband really has angelic as he seems? 

So there you have it- now get to reading! 

Perfect and Cozy


I think everyone can agree that there's nothing better than a little more time spent in the comfort of your bed. And if you can't, then we can at least agree that you're crazy. 

But really, my favorite indulgence staying is bed a little longer on mornings that I don't have the alarm set or nights where I am actually awake enough to watch a full episode of Forensic Files without falling asleep. 

My favorite time to stay in bed is definitely on Saturday mornings where there aren't any kids' activities to rush off to (even though I cherish those mornings just the same). I love the way the early morning sun comes in through the window and I can throw the blinds up and let the sun rays warm the blankets. I love the "Thump" and "tap tap tap" of Reese's feet as she jumps off her top bunk and scurries across the hall into my room to watch cartoons with me. 

I love cuddling with the kids, watching silly cartoons and reading. And the cat loves it too. 


Our cat can spot a sun patch on the bed from a mile away. He's a cozy companion. 

My other staying-in essentials for a little more time in bed is of course, the perfect mattress that's cozy and soft, a good cup of coffee (or 3, let's be honest) and either a book or my journal. And the remote, my phone and a couple fuzzy throw pillows. (If you are on the look out for a great mattress, check out this link for some great options!) 

Other things I love to do: Make funny videos with the kids on Snap Chat, watching Fixer Upper and scrolling through Instagram. 


I honestly can't think of a better way to bring a little calmness and breathing room into my day than by reading in bed. Reading brings me time to escape, time to gather my thoughts, a way to travel to places I've never been and experience things I might not otherwise ever even consider. 

I read to my kids about having patience, how to deal with bullies, how to be kind and how to have an imagination. We travel in space, beat up dragons and learn how to bake cookies...all from the comfort of our bed. 

Letting life slow down enough and not getting caught up in the rush of busy schedules and appreciating that calm, extra time I have with the kids is the key to really being able to enjoy these moments. The laundry may be piled up a little longer and there are dishes in the sink but those cuddles and comfy moments snuggled up with my kids in bed is much, much better. 

What are your "staying in bed essentials?"


This is 31...

So this is 31.... 

There are all kinds of posts, Pinterest pins, articles, etc. on turning the big 3-0. And I totally agree, I really do think it was a liberating milestone. But this being 31 business... it's got a really different vibe and I am totally digging it... 

31 is...normal. It's "C'est la vie" and I am really okay with it. 

Today I turned 31. I started the day with coffee, checking work emails, chatting with my husband...it was supposed to be a normal Monday routine. I had a day of work, catching up on Girls (Season 6!) and laundry and then dinner with my family, which is everything I wanted. And then... spent the day at the doctor's office and hospital because it turns out, R2 didn't just hurt her arm like we thought on Friday, after further checking, it turns out she broke  it in 2 places. 

This is 31. Having normal every-day plans and going about  your business and when life steps in and throws you a curve ball, you just kind of reach your hand up and grab it- just like Geena Davis in A League of Their Own. And being totally okay with it. Broken arm? Been broken since Friday but didn't really notice because of the swelling? NO MOM GUILT ALLOWED, because it happens ALL the time. (I know because I asked the nurse at the doctor's office like 6 times). 

Waiting the last minute for Valentine's boxes? Instant mac and cheese. Never needing a wine cork. Mismatched socks. Seven half drunk bottles of water near your bed side table or rolling around in your car. 

Running up and down the stairs doing laundry all day because you don't have a clean pair of black leggings? This is 31.




Wearing ear plugs so that you can handle going to various basketball, football and wrestling tournaments without going nuts? This is 31.

Crying because the TV won't work and all you want is to watch Snapped while you cook dinner? IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK? This is 31.

Making your son go to his room because he wouldn't shut his mouth during Lady Gaga's Super Bowl performance? This is 31. 

Complaining to your husband that you never get to do anything fun but then the first time any social opportunity comes up, you secretly just want to stay home in your newly washed leggings? This is 31. 

Hearing that someone younger you work with hasn't seen Clueless, doesn't know who Pat Benatar is or doesn't catch Saved by the Bell references? This is 31. 

Buying yourself new Hunter boots "for your birthday present" but secretly wishing your husband still buys you something? This is 31...

Relieved that your 9-year-old and you can wear the same socks so there's less matching to do? This is 31... 

Posting a perfect photo that's edited with all of the filters for Instagram but showing the chaos behind what it took to get that one shot to your real friends on SnapChat? This is 31. 

Bring on the Xanax, the Pinot, the quiet time and the messy. This is your 30s. Sit back and relax a little.

"C'est la vie"