I’m so happy with how much I’ve been able to read this summer – 10 books in 2 months. Check out my reviews below and let me know what you’re favorite book has been this summer!
No Exit – Taylor Adams: This was a perfect vacation read – quick and suspenseful with twists and turns until the very end. The premise is ridiculously creepy. A girl gets stuck in a snowstorm and has to wait it out at a remote highway rest stop. She makes a horrifying discovery – in the back of the van parked next to her car is a little girl locked in an animal crate. With no cell service and no exit, she has to unmask and unwit the captor inside.
Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker: I’m already fascinated by sleep and dreams, and this book gave me everything I wanted and more. If you’re not already as interested as me, it might feel a little repetitive, but the author says in the beginning to jump around, read the chapters that interest you, and even (you guessed it) fall asleep reading! Ha. Read this book and you will never think about sleep the same way again … and you’ll become a sleep nazi to everyone around you!
Summer of ’69 – Elin Hilderbrand: I’ve only started reading Hilderbrand’s novels in the last year, and I’m ready to go to the library and check them all out for my summer reading list. Her latest follows her typical formula, and draws you in to the stories of every member in the family – their secrets, their love interests and their personal struggles while also intertwining the national climate (Vietnam War, Woodstock, Apollo 11) during the summer of ’69.
Lock Every Door – Riley Sager: I devoured this book in 2 days. Set in a mysterious, famous residence in the Upper West Side of NYC, I was immediately drawn in. Sager’s writing is efficient yet captivating, and has the right amount of twists and turns to haunt you throughout. Want a quick beach read that will keep you guessing? This is it.
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: This was the first audio book I’ve ever listened to as an adult (Mom and I used to listen to them all the time growing up – picked them up at Cracker Barrel on road trips, ha!). I felt like I was late to the party on this Reese Witherspoon pick, but I’m so glad I joined. This book has the most fascinating main character and an intriguing plot. While there’s an underlying mystery, I found myself not as concerned with solving that and more interested in life in the marsh. A very unique book that I think will soon become a high school reading list staple.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking: Hygge n.(pronounced HOOH-GA) – a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
I am currently all in on living my best hygge life. This book is part self-help, part Danish culture and part happiness psychology. Not only did I learn a lot, but it provoked a lot of introspective thinking. This is a perfect little gift for someone, and a perfect side table book to pick up when you’re feeling down and want to learn how to be happier.
The Golden Hour – Beatriz Williams: My least favorite book of the summer – it starts out a little slow, but picks up as the character’s stories across countries and decades start to weave together. I was hoping for another Along the Infinite Sea (one of my favorite books of 2016), and though it felt similar in ways, this didn’t have the same intrigue and sparkle. Historical fiction set in WWII era-Nassau, it follows a love story, the glamorous Duke and Duchess of Windsor and a mysterious crime.
When Life Gives You Lululemons – Lauren Weisberger: The quote-unquote sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, this is a quintessential summer pick. Though I never read the former, I obviously know and love the movie. In the book, you’re immediately entertained by Emily’s new job post-Miranda Priestly, and you quickly get swept away in the drama of the housewives of Greenwich, CT with their neighborhood gossip and never-ending happy hours, all while wearing lululemon.
Final Girls – Riley Sager: I’m now officially a Riley Sager fangirl and have read all of his books (yes it’s a him, under a pseudonym), this one being his first. Three girls are part of three separate unthinkable tragedies and are the only ones left behind. This thriller is about how they cope separately, until another tragedy hits close to home. It’s full of so many twists, is seriously creepy and a terrific debut.
My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress – Rachel Deloache Williams: I can’t say this book was written well, or didn’t get a little lengthy about mid-way through, but I can say the story is FASCINATING and I can’t wait for HBO show (it’s already in the works.) The true story of a Russian girl who conned New York City’s wealthy, you’ll be questioning how she did it the entire way through.
You can read all my book reviews here.
M A Y
- Celebrate anniversaries, even if it’s just with champagne on the patio.
- Something you loved last year might not be something you love this year.
- Celebrities – they’re just like us.
- Put your mozzarella in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before eating it (trust me).
- Watching series finales is more fun with friends.
- A themed party is a better party.
- Sunscreen DOES expire.
- Wine hack: never order the 2nd cheapest wine on the menu.
- Add coffee grounds to your hydrangeas to turn them blue.
- There’s no place like home.
J U N E
- Visit/call/send postcards to your grandparents.
- Las Vegas sun is different than Arkansas sun.
- Wash your hair immediately after smoking a cigar.
- Don’t let your husband go to the dealership to just “test drive”.
- Long weekends are not the same as a week-long vacation.
- Sports can actually be fun if you have money riding on the game.
- You can make a delicious drink out of (accidental) frozen wine aka breakfast sangria slushie.
- If it feels like fate, take the leap and go for it.
- Don’t break in new shoes in Las Vegas.
- Take the bet; you have to risk to get the reward.
We had the best start to our vacation visiting Kyle’s grandparents in Reno! They took us to Virginia City (old western town), we explored downtown Reno, and we had lots of late night wine in grandma’s gorgeous garden.
Then we took an amazing day trip to Lake Tahoe – one of my favorite places of ever!
L A S V E G A S
Night 1: We love the Cosmopolitan + Absinthe!! If you haven’t seen the show, we highly recommend, but warning it is VERY raunchy.
Pool days are the best days!
Night 2: We still love the Cosmopolitan and didn’t leave – found amazing live music + food at Rose. Rabbit.Lie, the coolest speakeasy behind a barbershop + late night milk bar cake (and secret pizza, obviously).
Another pool day and the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had in my life … also won $$ on my first ever sports bet. Yay Toronto!
Fun last night at Container Park + Fremont Street
We had the best vacation spending time with family, and can’t wait to go back! ❤
In May, we celebrated 5 years in our very first home. I’m amazed by how quickly the time has gone and how much we still love it just as much as that first year. If there’s anything that could make me feel like a legit adult, this is it!
In honor of the anniversary, I wanted to capture 5 favorite memories in our home + a few things we’ve learned along the way …
- I’ll never forget our very first night in our first home. It genuinely feels just like one of those highlight reels in a move. We bought our favorite wine + beer, ordered pizza and sat cross-legged on the floor giddily talking about the future.
2. I love hosting and entertaining people, and we’ve had a lot of incredible parties at our house (My Golden Birthday, Annual Fall Parties, South by South Mouth NYE bashes, Game of Thrones finale, etc.) It’s really hard to choose just one, but I think our #WarmThisHouse party stands out the most probably because it was the very first. We hosted family + friends, ate macarons + took shots, turned our patio into a cocktail hour, and ended the night with costumes and jumping photoshoots. I love this pin board of our polaroid pics from the night that I keep in our bedroom. It reminds me of the simple things in life.
3. Here’s a life lesson: A house is hard work, but a yard is HARDER work. Boy, have we learned this. I’ll never forget the first summer in our house when I spent hours pulling freaking dandelions from the front yard. Then hours pruning our rose bushes. Then hours at the doctor with my infected hand thanks to the rose bushes. Another lesson – sometimes just spend the money to have someone help you.
4. We’ve made several updates to our home – changing light fixtures, patching holes in the wall thanks to dear ol’ Olli, but none so big as deciding to add on a deck, and husband’s only request: a hammock. It’s been some of the best money spent + best decision ever made.
5. Truly my favorite memory of all though in the 5 years of our home has been enjoying time on our front porch. There’s something so special about that white wrap-around beauty. I feel so much peace on that porch, especially in early morning and early evening. (especially in fall with a blanket, coffee + book!) I’ve planned international trips out there, had countless deep conversations with friends + intimate conversations with God, and most recently enjoyed a nice bottle of rosé to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. A lot of life has happened on this porch.
I’m so thankful to have such an amazing home to share with my family, and just as thankful to have some of our best friends living in our neighborhood. Aren’t neighbor friends so special?
I truly can’t wait to see what the next 5 years brings. ❤
Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid: This is one of the most uniquely written, and captivating books I’ve read in a very long time. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story of the whirlwind rise and fall of a rock’n roll group in the ’70s is hauntingly beautiful, fascinating and kept me turning the page for more.
Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker: If you’re interested in wine – and not just drinking it – but the behind the scenes of the wine industry, the restaurant/wine culture in NYC and the makings of becoming a sommelier, read this. It did drag a bit in the middle, but overall very interesting and enjoyable. And obviously makes you want to drink more wine.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid: So after I read Daisy Jones, I was told to read this book by the same author. I’d heard so much about this one, but for some reason never picked it up. After loving Daisy Jones, I was skeptical it could be as good, but had to try. Y’all. This author can do no wrong. Again, uniquely written, captivating and hauntingly beautiful. Do yourself a favor and pick them both up to read this summer.
The Bride Test – Helen Hoang: Another repeat author, Hoang wrote one of my favorite books of 2018 – The Kiss Quotient. This one is similar in that it’s a super sweet story, easy read, but has more depth than you’d expect. A love story between an autistic man who doesn’t think he can love and a Vietnamese “mail order bride.” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be rooting for these characters.
You can read all my book reviews here.
[drinking this || all the beer at our favorite event, fayetteville foamfest]
[loving this || the best monday night with literally everyone at the killers!]
[enjoying this || a quick trip to LA for work, eating at my favorite restaurant, spending time with one of my favorite people + running into DIANE KEATON!!]
[cheers-ing to this || an amazing long weekend]
Reminder: for 2019 I’m starting a new series – 10 things. I want to capture things I’m learning in my 30th year whether tiny or bold, big or small. The rules: It can only be one sentence, and there can’t be repeating lessons from month to month. It can be something I’ve learned in prior years, but needed reminding. I’m also including one picture per month that’s symbolic of the month for me.
My plan was to post this monthly, but the past few months have been craaaazy so doing a combo post again. Here are 20 things I’ve been learning:
M A R C H
- Don’t be lazy – put your outdoor cushions inside for the winter.
- Sometimes a 9:15pm dinner is the best dinner.
- Porch wine always tastes better than inside wine.
- Israeli hummus is the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life.
- There is nothing like the first spring day.
- I am the worst uuni pizza chef.
- Give yourself permission to do nothing for an afternoon.
- Lemon coffee is not just a thing, but a very delicious thing.
- The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
- Don’t listen to other people’s negative opinions.
A P R I L
- It always seems impossible until it’s done.
- Wind therapy is a real thing.
- Add brussels sprouts to your crawfish boil.
- Sometimes the right thing to right thing to do is the hard thing to do.
- A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference.
- Not all tiki bar drinks come with umbrellas.
- Seeing my name in a byline never gets old.
- You can get a sunburn in April.
- A cookie can make someone’s day.
- Book the massage.
10 Things: Jan + Feb