What The World’s Top Authors Say You Should Be Reading (Updated WEEKLY!)

June 30th, 2015

What You Should be Reading According to Today's Top Writers (Updated Weekly)

When I started the Sundays With Writers series, I had no idea how beautifully it would blossom and how happy it would make me.  I decided to have one question that I would always end with when interviewing our authors. It was this…

If you could tell anyone to read one book right now (other than your own) what would that book be?

Since I started asking that, I have discovered and read books that would have never found their way into my book pile. Of course, browsing through the entire series to find their answers can be a bit tedious so I am putting all of these responses into one post that I encourage you to bookmark, pin, and share with others as this will be updated weekly as we feature the gifted writers in our Sundays With Writers interview series.

If you wanted to read more about each of the authors that have shared their recommendations, a link is provided to our interview about their incredible books. There is a reason they have been featured and you will discover why when you open their books. It has been my honor to interview each of these incredible voices.  

What I have discovered is, if I really like a book that they recommend…chances are, that author is going to be a GREAT one to read since there is usually a reason why they are in love with a writer’s words.

Here are the books that the world’s top authors say you should be reading!

Please note, this file will now be updated after each Sundays With Writers. The list will start moving down from now on so the latest book will now be at the top. Keep this bookmarked for your library list!

Please also note, these are affiliate links.  A small portion of your sales goes to support the work we do at MomAdvice.com. Please follow me on GoodReads for more great book recommendations!  xo

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Read It: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Recommended by: Julia Claiborne Johnson

My favorite book in the world is Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett. It’s beautifully-written, wonderfully imagined, and completely heart-breaking. In it, terrorists seize the mansion of the vice-president of an unnamed South American country during a party that’s being thrown for a Japanese industrialist lured there with the promise of a performance by his favorite opera singer. The industrialist comes, the opera singer performs, guests from all over the world are in attendance; but the terrorist’s real target, the country’s president, skips the party to stay home and watch his favorite telenovela. As the standoff stretches from days into weeks, the hostages and captors for a community that you know can’t last. I’ve read this book so many times that I still have to keep a box of tissues at my elbow for the end game.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Read It: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Recommended by: Barbara Claypole White

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It has everything: a spunky heroine, a messed-up sexy hero, a mystery, a dysfunctional family, plus love and madness in the English countryside.  And Jane makes Rochester cry. I aim to make all my heroes cry.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

Read It: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

Recommended by: Sharon Guskin

One book that really inspired me recently was Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, a novel about Cambodia. It is both dark and radiant at the same time. She finds meaning and beauty within the horror, which makes the book truly transformative.

Paula by Isabel Allende

Read It: Paula by Isabel Allende

Recommended by Gilly Macmillan

This is such a hard question!  There are so many books I could list, but I’m going to go with Paula by Isabel Allende.  The book tells the true-life story of the author’s daughter’s sudden and unexpected illness, which befalls her when she’s a young adult.  That story is interspersed with the history of their family and the story of Isabel Allende’s own extraordinary life.  It’s a powerful, heart-wrenching account of a mother’s love for her daughter, and one woman’s path through all of the big moments in life: love, motherhood, work, grief, joy and family.  It’s raw and honest, powerful and heart-wrenching, and beautifully told.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by MIchael Chabon

Read It: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Recommended By: Jordanna Max Brodsky

Glad to see another author already posted about The Song of Achilles, which is my favorite novelization of Greek myth.  I recommend it heartily to anyone who enjoys The Immortals!

As for non-myth books, I’d have to pick Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayIt’s one of the few books I’ve read that I immediately told everyone in my life to pick up.  Set primarily in 1940s New York, it tells the story of two Jewish cousins (one of whom escapes from Nazi Europe) who create superheroes for the Golden Age of Comics. Add in a Harry Houdini subplot, love stories both gay and straight, a wealth of historical New York City detail, and the most sublime prose style I’ve ever encountered, and you get an irresistible work of brilliance.

Act One by Moss Hart

Read It: Act One by Moss Hart

Recommended by: Melanie Benjamin

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Read It: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Recommended by: Sejal Badani

It’s so hard to pick one! I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell and just finished his book David and Goliath so I’m going to go with that. It’s very insightful and made me think differently about the obstacles we face in life and how overcoming them often helps us develop our greatest strengths. I’m also a huge admirer of J.K. Rowling so I have to throw that in there.

 

Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger

Read It: Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger

Recommended by:  David Arnold

I have “Raise High the Roof Beam” tattooed on my forearm. I am unapologetic in my love of J.D. Salinger, specifically the Glass family novellas. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters really struck a chord in me, and of course, the original poem by Sappho is outstanding.

 

The Howling Man by Charles Beaumont

Read It: The Howling Man by Charlies Beaumont

Recommended by: Josh Malerman

The Howling Man(TOR 1988) Charles Beaumont. It’s got about 30 of his short stories and for those who don’t know him… hang on tight; you’re about to feel a tidal wave of wonder wash over you.

Scruples by Judith Krantz

Read It: Scruples by Judith Krantz

Recommended by: Jessica Morgan

One book! That is really a difficult choice to make. I have a degree in English lit, and I’m sure several of my professors will strongly disapprove of this — it’s very tempting to choose a classic, or at least something “literary” —  but I am going to recommend the classic Judith Krantz book, SCRUPLES (and also SCRUPLES II; the first book ends on a real cliffhanger, so be warned).  If you are interested in/enjoy popular woman’s fiction, Krantz is truly the master of the genre. Her books always feature strong women who excel at interesting jobs, and the plots are propulsive and highly readable and deliciously soapy. I personally never feel guilty about anything I read, but if you are into so-called “guilty pleasure reading” — or even if you are a person who only reads highly literary intellectual books but who longs to UNDERSTAND the idea of guilty pleasure reading — Scruples one of the most pleasurable, and, by this point, a classic of that genre. (Her autobiography, which is titled, brilliantly, SEX AND SHOPPING, is also a favorite.)

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Read It: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (check out her comments below for lots more great suggestions!)

Recommended by: Heather Cocks

HEATHER: Oh, wow, I can’t pick that either. I think it’s because I would never advise anyone to read only ONE book, and I don’t even know HOW to answer this without considering the context. If it’s someone who never reads, I’d say start with the Harry Potter series, because it will invite you into books and then keep you there. If it’s someone who likes stuff that’s tonally similar to The Royal We — funny, with heart — I would hand them Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham, which I promise is a recommendation I would have made before she ever even picked up our book. If you’re into literature and wordplay and quirk, I’d suggest The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (and then read the whole series; they get goofier but no less imaginative and punny). If you want striking prose, read anything by Kate Atkinson. And if you love wartime and friendship and romance, it’s a tie between The FitzOsbournes trilogy and Code Name: Verity, both of which are wonderful examples of books that are technically considered for teens, but offer so much to anyone of any age. How’s THAT for a wishy-washy answer?

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Read It: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Recommended By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I stumbled upon it at the used bookstore attached my library and bought a copy of it for four dollars last December. I have since recommended it to everyone that will listen to me and have bought multiple copies. It is a retelling of the story of Achilles’s life leading up to and through the Trojan War. I can’t tell you what I love most about it because I love everything about it so much. It is stunningly romantic, a pleasure to read, incredibly thought-provoking, and epically tragic, with some of the most wonderful sentences I’ve read in some time. It manages to straddle both classic literature and soap opera in one story. It’s so good (and so juicy) that I would call it a guilty pleasure except that you have nothing to feel guilty about because it’s so very beautiful and keenly smart.

The Street by Ann Petry

Read It: The Street by Ann Petry

Recommended by: Caroline Kepnes

The Street by Anne Petry is brilliant and searing. One of my all time favorites.

 

Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday by Debbie Graber

Read It: Kevin Kramer Starts on Monday by Debbie Graber

Recommended by: J. Ryan Stradal

Debbie Graber’s short story collection Kevin Kramer Starts On Monday isn’t out yet – it comes out next spring – but it’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a very long time. Debbie is just brilliant; her humor, which often sends up the contemporary American workplace, is infused with plenty of heart, pathos, and intelligence. I read it in manuscript form and I can’t wait for it to exist in the world. Please pre-order it the moment it becomes available.

Swimming by Nicola Keegan

Read It: Swimming by Nicola Keegan

Recommended by: Bill Clegg

By my lights one of the most brilliant, moving and devastatingly funny stories about growing up alongside, coping with and surviving the people who raise us.  The voice is so strong, so piercing and so authentic.  I’ve never read anything that conveyed more powerfully how families can be both curse and windfall.  I think about that book all the time.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

After I Do By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Recommended by:  Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Lisa says about Wild- She’s a phenomenal writer and this is a memoir you will think about for years after reading it.
Liz says about After I Do-  It’s an incredibly insightful and refreshing narrative on the challenges of marriage.

 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Read It: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Recommended by: Elisabeth Egan

 

 

Trampoline by Robert Gipe

Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion

Render: An Apocalypse by Rebecca Gayle Howell

 

 

Read It: Trampoline by Robert Gipe, Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion, & Render: An Apocalypse by Rebecca Gayle Howell

Recommended by: David Joy

I’m going to stay true to my neck of the woods and give you three recommendations—a novel, a memoir, and a book of poetry—from Appalachia because I think a lot of what comes out of this region is tragically overlooked. As far as a novel, everyone needs to read Robert Gipe’s Trampoline. It’s bar none the best debut released this year and it’s arguably the best debut we’ve seen from this region in decades. With memoir, I was really impressed with Leigh Ann Henion’s book, Phenomenal. I think her storytelling is brave and her insight into our relationship with the natural world is matured and beautiful. Last but certainly not least, everyone needs to be reading Rebecca Gayle Howell, especially the poems in Render: An Apocalypse, which are just gritty and raw and lovely. She’s writing scripture. So there’re three for you to get your hands on!

 

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Read It: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Recommended by: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

It is an incredibly intense book about racial inequality in our criminal justice system, but it is beautifully written and powerful, with just enough hopefulness to help you sit with the discomfort of the truth and think hard about how you can help contribute to a solution.  I recommend it to everyone I know.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Read It: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Recommended by: Jennifer Niven

The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker

Read It: The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker

Recommended by: Vanessa Lafaye

It’s actually 3 books: The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker.  Is that allowed?  These books were among the first, along with Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, which opened my eyes to the history of WWI.  Before that, like most Americans, I was ignorant of this period, but it’s a huge deal here in England. I finally understood what the veterans had sacrificed in that awful, stupid war.

Geek Love By Katherine Dunn

Read It: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Recommended By: Erika Swyler

I suggest people read it because it may freak them out. It’s also what fearless narration looks like. It’s bold and bizarre in all the right ways and full of incredible visual writing. It’s a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished. It’s the book I dream about writing.

The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

Read It: The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett

Recommended By: Greer Macallister

My favorite book is almost always the book I’ve read most recently, since it’s fresh in my mind. In this case, that’s The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett. It’s about an Arctic expedition in the 1850s, during a time where men died regularly exploring that area. The story weaves together what happens on a particular ship with the lives of those waiting back at home for the ship to return. Barrett writes so beautifully and precisely about both the emotional and physical dimensions of her characters’ lives. It’s gorgeous and brutal. I loved it.

One by Sarah Crossan

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

 

Read It: One by Sarah Crossan, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, & Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Recommended by: Sarah Bannan

I think that’s almost impossible for me as I read constantly, and I am forever discovering my newest favorite novel…So, I’m going to choose my novel of the moment, which is Sarah Crossan’s ONE, which will be published by Bloomsbury in August. It’s a verse novel for young adults, and it’s a beautiful story about conjoined twins.It’s completely consuming and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

(I should also say that I reread, every summer, Meg Wolitzer’s THE INTERESTINGS and Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP. Two completely amazing feats of literary fiction and coming of age…I know this is cheating but it’s hard for me!)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Read It: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Recommended By: Celeste Ng

I’d go with The Bluest Eye, because Toni Morrison is one of my all-time favorite authors and that book says so much about race and culture and identity and love, and it’s beautifully written to boot.

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Read It: Room by Emma Donoghue

Recommended By: Chris Bohjalian

What makes this novel so remarkable is not merely how authentically Donoghue captures the voice of a five-year-old boy, but the deft way she slowly conveys the horrific reality of a mother and son’s captivity. If you want a poignant, powerful novel about a mother’s desperate love for her child, it doesn’t get better than this.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 

Read It: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Recommended by: Rene Denfeld & Kristin Harmel

Rene says- Oh, that is a tough one, because there are so many wonderful books. I just read All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It was stunning.

Kristin says-  All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I realize that’s sort of a lame response, because the book is so popular right now, but it’s truly one of the most beautifully crafted and beautifully written books I’ve ever read. I recommend it all the time!

americanah-book-cover

Read It: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Recommended by: Maggie Shipstead

I just finished reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I loved. That’s the book I’m talking up to everyone right now.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Read It: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Recommended by: Suzanne Redfearn

black-and-blue

Read It: Black And Blue by Anna Quindlen

Recommended by: Jillian Cantor

That’s a tough question! I don’t know that I can pick just one book. But my favorite author is Anna Quindlen. I read Black and Blue years ago and it has always stayed with me. Every time she has a new book out, I buy it right away!

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Read It: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Recommended by: Torre DeRoche

I don’t think I can prescribe a cure-all because books are so personal to each individual, but I’ll share with you the most important book I ever read—a book that burst open my imagination and taught me that it’s possible to create an incredible alternate reality on the page.

When I was thirteen, my older sister told me I had to read this book, giving me only the title and a pinch of her fingers to demonstrate its approximate spine width. I went to my school library to look for the book and, having no idea where to start my search, I said to a friend, “I’m looking for a book that’s about this thick.” I extended my finger to poke the spine of a random book. It was Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: the very book my sister told me I must read. It was a bizarre, serendipitous first encounter. That book rocked my world.

Long Man by Amy Greene

Read It: Long Man by Amy Greene

Recommended by Patry Francis

It’s hard to choose only one, but Amy Greene’s,  Long Man has everything I look for in a novel: a compelling protagonist named Annie Clyde who faces impossible odds with great courage and resilience, an engrossing plot, and a setting so vivid, you really feel as if you are there.

The Stand by Stephen King

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Read It: The Stand by Stephen King, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, & Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Recommended by: Susan Crandall

When I’m asked this question, I always reach way back, looking for a book that has stuck with me so vividly that I can remember the details of the characters very clearly even after a long time. I try to pick something that isn’t a classic, those already stand out and find audiences. I’m a character writer. Suspenseful plots are enjoyable, but it’s the beauty of the character and his/her journey that touches me. So after all that rambling, I always come back to two books, very different genres: Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry and The Stand, by Stephen King. I’m also a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s, Outlander (the first book in the series is my favorite).

father-of-the-rain

Read It: Father of the Rain by Lily King

Recommended by: Michelle Gable

I recommend Father of the Rain by Lily King to everyone. It is the perfect book.

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Read It: My Antonia

Recommended by: Heather Gudenkauf

My favorite book of all time is My Antonia by Willa Cather. My parents always had hundreds of books on shelves and in neat stacks around the house and for a long time I passed right over the thick novel with the illustration of a woman standing in a field of tall yellow grass and holding freshly picked wildflowers. I finally pulled it from the shelf when I was eighteen and immediately fell in love with Cather’s beautiful description of turn-of-the-century Nebraska and the lifelong friendship between a farm boy and a young Czech immigrant. I reread My Antonia every single year, each time with new eyes, always finding something new within the pages. Whenever I visit a bookstore I’m always on the search for a different edition of My Antonia to add to my collection.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

Read It: The Shadow of the Torturer

Recommended by: M.R. Carey

So many possible answers to that!  You could ask me a couple of dozen times and get a different answer each time.  Today I’m going to say The Shadow Of the Torturer, by Gene Wolfe.  It’s the first volume in a tetralogy, so if you read it and liked it you’d have to read the other three.  But they’re so worth it. It’s a story of a far future Earth where the sun is dying.  Humanity has spread to the stars but that was long ago.  Now there are other galactic empires, other non-human civilisations that call the shots.  What’s left of humankind is back on an old, old planet that hasn’t got much time left to it.  But there’s a Messianic religion that preaches that the New Sun, sometimes known as the Conciliator, will be born on Earth as a man and rekindle all our hopes.  Reborn, rather, since he’s been here once before.  And Severian of the Torturers’ Guild believes this to be true since he’s found a holy relic, the Claw of the Conciliator, that heals all wounds.

It’s a very hard book to describe, and there’s no denying that it goes to some very dark places.  But Wolfe’s imagination is vast.  He creates a world and peoples it.  And he has a very serious purpose which takes in faith, physics and the importance of storytelling.

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Read It: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien & Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Recommended by: Mary Kubica

My favorite book of all time is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This is one that I tell everyone to read. It’s a Vietnam War memoir, but is much more than that. You don’t need to be a history guru to fall in love with this book. When it comes to my own genre though, psychological suspense, Before I Go To Sleep is one I often recommend. I just loved this S.J. Watson novel.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Bees by Laline Paull

 

Read It: Room by Emma Donaghue, Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, and The Bees by Laline Paull

Recommended by: Carla Buckley

Emma Donaghue’s Room, Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. Just a few days ago, I finished Laline Paull’s fabulous debut, The Bees; I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Awareness by Anthony DeMello

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Read It: Awareness by Anthony de Mello & The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Recommended by: Rebecca Rotert

IMPOSSIBLE. I NEED TWO AT LEAST, AMY! However, a book I have to read over and over is Anthony de Mello’s Awareness.  It’s not fiction.  It might even be called self-help (choke).  It reminds me of the troublesome human pitfalls that can really muck up our short  little jaunt on earth.  I also return to Duras’ The Lover over and over because it reminds me of longing and waking up to life. These are a few of my favorite things, as the song says.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read It: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Recommended by: Caroline Leavitt

The Great Gatsby. I hated it in high school, but then years later, I had to teach it in a high school, and I began to realize what a perfectly structured novel it is, how moving, how sad, and how beautiful a book it really is.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Read It: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Recommended by: Anthony Doerr

Oh, gosh, my answer to this question changes all the time, but a novel I’m absolutely in love with right now is Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It’s about family, siblinghood, memory, storytelling, and particularly about our society’s treatment of animals. It’s also structured in this beautiful, organic, perfect way—I hope a few of your readers will give it a look!

I, Robot by Iasaac Asimov

Read It: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Recommended by: Andy Weir

I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Read It: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Recommended by: Kathryn Craft

Ah, the dreaded one book question, asked of a multiple-book lover! Since I know nothing about the reader, including why he or she reads—and given my answers to the question about critical subjectivity—I’ll assume your real question is “What book could someone read that would reveal the most about you?” You said “book,” not “novel,” for which I am grateful, since novels are such delicious slices of life it would be like asking if you could only taste one food what would it be. So I am going to go the nonfiction route and say The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. A brilliant life guide that I’ve read many times, my sensibilities are all over its pages.

Get In Trouble by Kelly Link

Read It: Get In Trouble by Kelly Link

Recommended by: Karen Joy Fowler

I’m not sure I can answer this question.  It would depend on the anyone – I don’t think books are a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.   But a current enthusiasm is Kelly Link’s new short story collection, Get In Trouble.  I will be so happy if you all buy and read it.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Read It: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Recommended by: William Kent Krueger

My all-time favorite novel is To Kill A Mockingbird. Anyone who hasn’t yet read this American classic absolutely must.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Read It: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Recommended by: Cristina Henríquez

That’s so hard. But this one has been very much on my mind lately so I’m going to say Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Read It: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, & The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Recommended by:  Frances Whiting

Oh My! What a hard question! I love books so much, choosing just one is almost impossible. But I’ll bite the bullet and say…no I just can’t do it! So instead I’ll say The Shadow of the Wind, The Great Gatsby, anything by P.J. Wodehouse, The Last Anniversary, anything by Mary Wesley, Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons and Clive James.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Read It: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Recommended by: M.O. Walsh

This answer would likely be different on any day you asked me. There are so many great books out there!  Right now, however, I will say Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I’ve found myself missing that book lately, sort of yearning to go back and re-read it for maybe the 12th time.  Who knows why?  This is the great mystery of beautiful fiction; it speaks to us in fundamental ways that we ourselves don’t always understand. It’s a glorious thing.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Read It: Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Recommended by: Mary Louise Kelly

I would tell my brother to read Birdsong, the 1993 novel by Sebastian Faulks. It’s about a British soldier in France during World War I, and it is the most gorgeous epic of love and war and regrets. I’ve been telling my brother to read it for twenty years now, and he keeps refusing, at this point out of sheer orneriness. C.J., consider yourself publicly challenged.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Read It: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Recommended by Annabel Smith

My all-time favourite novel is Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, the incredible story of a prolonged embassy siege and the relationships which form between the hostages and their captors. Patchett has the most incredible insight into human behaviour and her prose is simply gorgeous. I have read this book at least half a dozen times and I get something new from it every time.

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Read It: Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Recommended By: Amanda Eyre Ward

My favorite book last year was Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. It’s dark, riveting, gorgeous, important.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Read It: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez & To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Recommended by: Jandy Nelson

Two books: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. My all time favorite novels.

Light Years by James Salter

 

Desperate Characters by Paula Fox

Read It: Light Years by James Salter & Desperate Characters by Paula Fox

Recommended by: Molly Ringwald

Light Years by James Salter. It’s just one of those books that I keep picking up again and again. There is not a lot of fiction that I read while writing because I don’t want to be overly influenced. His writing is somebody, of course I write differently, but I just feel like he is a master. I also love, and we were recently talking about Desperate Characters by Paula Fox is a really wonderful book and Jonathan Franzen wrote the forward on it!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara Read It: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Recommended by: Jessica Knoll

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I’ve been tweeting about this book a ton, and I am probably starting to scare the author a little. But it’s a stunning book—gorgeous prose, and an epic and powerful tale about friendship.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Read It: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Recommended by Tamara Ireland Stone

That’s easy. Jandy Nelson’s “I’ll Give You the Sun.”

If you like Every Last Word’s message about the healing power of writing, you’ll love the way this novel celebrates the healing power of art. It’s so brilliantly crafted, told in alternating viewpoints by brother and sister twins—his story tells the past while hers tells the present. I’m simply in awe of Nelson’s ability to weave together different timelines and points of view into a beautifully written, emotionally gripping story.

Pin It

Amy’s Notebook 04.26.17

April 26th, 2017

Maple Bacon Grilled Cheese

source: joy the baker

Hello, heavenly grilled cheese combo! I want to try this sticky finger maple bacon grilled cheese for our next sandwich night!

I loved these suggestions for a social media diet. Who couldn’t use one of those?

How to read a whole damn book every week. Couldn’t agree more with these suggestions!

If you are watching 13 Reasons Why with your teen, these are 13 great conversations to have with them about the show.

We are going to have to try some of these drink suggestions for our next board game night.

I started this memoir and it has been such a welcome escape this week.

DIY Bouquet Tips

source: the house that lars built

These tips for how to diy your own bouquets are so great and perfect for a beautiful  Mother’s Day gift.

Do you struggle with anxiety too? I love these tips for cultivating calmness and understanding your own triggers.

This cheesy bruschetta chicken is going on my menu planner!

I spent my Etsy gift card on one of these beauties for my kitchen. Can’t wait to use it!

5 ways to teach your kids about consent- such great reminders for parents!

I love these ideas for making Alexa your sous chef. Lots of things I would have never thought of.

Easy Messy Top Bun

source: a beautiful mess

I love this twist on an easy messy top bun.

Bookmarking this post since the comments are full of great suggestions for my next beach read.

You must be stocking up on your summer staples because this was your top purchase this month! I love these (PS-size up one!)

Do you find yourself fighting the crazy this time of year too? I loved the suggestion to under-react to the crazy- that’s definitely one I need to work on!

Here is the mental trick you need to maintain your focus. I loved all of these suggestions especially the one about starting your day in a positive way!

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Watch TV

April 25th, 2017

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Watch TV

From our parenting and marriage contributor, Mary from Giving Up on Perfect

Anyone who knows me knows I love television. I also love my family and cats and mysteries and queso and long drives by myself, but it’s often more fun to talk about TV. (And, let’s be honest, less divisive than the never-ending debate of cats vs. dogs.)

Given my love for TV I have struggled as a parent, acknowledging and respecting the frequent (and valid) advice from pediatricians and other parenting professionals to limit my children’s screen time. When I had my oldest daughter, I was determined to keep her away from all screens for her first two years. Yes, I was a typical first-time parent that way. And my good intentions and determination did not last for long.

Kudos to those of you who adhere more strictly to the screen-time guidelines than I do. I don’t judge or criticize your choices by any means; I’m sometimes even envious of them. But I’ve found that, while we do try to keep screen time to a couple hours a day, it actually has great benefits for our family.

And I’m not just talking about the fact that I would hire Daniel Tiger to babysit my preschooler in a heartbeat.

Much more than mindless entertainment or free babysitting, watching television with my kids has turned out to be an active and, I believe, healthy part of our relationships. Here’s what I mean:

5 Ways Watching TV Together Benefits Our Family

1. It gives us special time together. After I put my youngest to bed, my nine-year-old and I slip back downstairs for some together time. Our days feel rushed from the first alarm to the bedtime prayers, and my daughter’s love language is quality time – so this pocket of time is high on her (and my) priority list. Sometimes we go through her papers from school, and sometimes we work together to finish some chores or clean up dinner. But most often, we settle into the couch for an episode of Girl Meets World, Just Add Magic, or Project MC2.

I’m super selective about the shows that my kids watch, steering clear of the ones with sarcastic tweens and clueless parents. And when my younger daughter is with us, it’s all-cartoons, all-the-time. But a few nights a week, my older daughter is able to watch a “big kid show” (or the occasional American Girl movie) while she also scores time with her mom. And as long as she wants that, I’m going to give it to her!

2. It creates inside jokes just for our family. Because my girls are young, we don’t have a whole lot of pop culture-related jokes yet. We do have an entire catalog of Daniel Tiger songs and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cheers that we repeat, but I am sure more quotes and jokes are coming soon. I know that because my brother, parents and I still quote TV shows we watched together, and that was twenty (or more) years ago! I also know this because my daughter already loves processing and remembering plot lines and dialogue after a show is over, which is likely to lead to inside jokes someday.

3. It brings up tough topics and promotes open communication. While I anticipate inside jokes becoming part of our family’s language, I’m already seeing this one happen. Even when I’m selective (or protective, whichever word you want to use) about which shows my kids watch, serious issues are addressed in most every program these days. (I had to laugh when we watched episodes of Doc McStuffins and Girl Meets World in the same day that both dealt with being jealous of your friends. So many struggles are universal through the ages!)

Often, when I’ve needed to discuss tough topics with my oldest daughter, I’ve turned to picture books. But as she’s getting older I’m learning that TV shows are a better medium for raising subjects that we need to talk about. The characters are more relatable than two-dimensional characters in a “kid book” and less threatening or embarrassing than an unexpected lecture from me. Watching a TV show together and letting the conversation develop more naturally has allowed both of us to warm up to some hard things that led to heart-to-hearts.

4. It plays a big part in our holiday traditions. Singing songs, making crafts, eating special food. Serving others, spending time with family, wearing matching sweaters. All these things and so many more are part of our family’s holiday traditions. But so is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the Claymation Christmas Special (not to mention Christmas Vacation and other classics we’re saving for when the kids are a bit older!). Watching the Grinch’s heart grow every year is as much a part of our holiday celebration as drinking Grandma’s green punch, singing Silent Night, and exchanging white elephant gifts.

5. It teaches us valuable lessons about life. I used to feel guilty about my love of television. But I’ve realized that those stories we watch aren’t simply entertainment. If we pay attention, they can also teach us something – about the world, about family dynamics, or about social situations. (After all, which of us doesn’t remember the dangers of abusing caffeine pills, courtesy of Jessie Spano and Saved by the Bell?!)

That’s not all. My family also learns about history or the world from all the History Channel shows my husband insists on watching, and we have lots of animated conversations when we watch DIY shows and make up plans for our next home project. And, of course, we also bond over a shared love for sports teams (or shared dismay when they lose!)

Now I want to hear from you! Does your family watch TV together? What are some benefits you get from family screen time?

Fast Talk Faith

If you enjoy learning lessons from your favorite TV shows, you might be interested in FAST TALK & FAITH: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls. Available on Amazon, this devotional offers relatable messages of hope and encouragement with humor and grace, based on stories about our favorite friends from Stars Hollow.

 

Pin It

Small-Budget Crushes 04.24.17

April 24th, 2017

striped-peplum

striped peplum tee

microwave-coffee

if found in a microwave mug

eyelet-lace-top

eyelet flounce top

http://rstyle.me/~9UG3N

ceramic bloom vase charging station

floral-wrap-jacket

indigo floral wrap jacket (use code GETMORE to take 50% off)

puffin-in-bloom

puffin in bloom book collection

yarn-and-coffee-mug

yarn & coffee happy mommy mug

metal-patio-chair

metal retro patio chairs

waverly-dress

waverly dress

bookmark

handmade bookmark

denim-jacket

denim jacket

crochet-one-piece

crochet one piece swimsuit

joules-rain-boots

joules rain boots

hi-rise-jeggings

hi-rise jeggings (half off!)

floral-gardening-tools

floral gardening tools

not-a-regular-mom

not a regular mom tote bag

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

Amy’s Notebook 04.19.17

April 19th, 2017

Flat Iron Curls from A Beautiful Mess

source: a beautiful mess

My sister was raving about using her flat iron to curl her hair. I loved this picture tutorial this week. I wonder if I have the coordination to do it though- ha!

Thinking about downsizing your wardrobe? Check out this post for some inspiration!

This made me laugh so hard. I TOTALLY would do that!

This is a great read for newbies to cooking and purchasing chicken thighs. These are my favorite these days!

Adult friendships are tough aren’t they?

Boho Top

source: ali on the boulevard

I hate to pick favorites in my capsule wardrobe, but I couldn’t love this top more and have gotten so many compliments on it!

I’ve been under the weather which gave me plenty of time to curl up with this book this week. What an incredible read! You MUST read it!

Some great tips for making a great pressure cooker chicken stock!

DIY Painted Floors

source: old brand new

I would never think to diy a painted tile floor, but this patio floor is stunning!

5 women run podcasts to listen to- girl power! I’d also love to tackle this great list of episodes worth discussing.

This was a pretty fascinating read on the immoralities of being wealthy. I am definitely going to be chatting about this one at the dinner table tonight!

You must be preparing for Mother’s Day because this was your top purchase this week. So sweet and I love supporting Etsy makers!

Eight powerful habits that can make your more successful. I really need to get motivated this year and this is a great start! I also REALLY enjoyed this piece on how to make it easier to be awesome.

An underrated places travel bucket list is happening after reading these highlights from each state!

I have a pile of these under my sink and I never knew all the things I could do with them!

Books to read that will soon be movies! Yay!

If you need me, I’m over here reading this book. I loved his first book so much, I can’t wait to dig into this next one!

Comments of the Week:  In response to my piece on S-town“Catching up on my blog reading since were on spring break as well! We went from Ohio to Orange Beach, AL and you know I totally stared down Woodstock, AL as we drove past. The deep dive into John B. McLemore’s life was fascinating and haunting and addicting. Brian Reed is a master storyteller, and his ability to thoroughly investigate this scenario was amazing. It’s stayed with me for quite some time…and I don’t see it leaving any time soon.”- Beth

I could not agree more, Beth! I even convinced my Dad to give it a listen and he’s loving it. I can’t wait to have a daughter-father chat about that.

I have loved reading what you all are up to in the summer months to enter our Brain Quest giveaway this week. This was one of my favorites- “Baking and cooking competitions are a big hit here! Lots of researching and concocting a plan and recipe hunting beforehand to extend their learning (and time ).”- Abbie

Isn’t that so fun? What a great way to get your kids engaged and off their electronics. Hope you all are having a wonderful day! xo

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe (GIVEAWAY With Summer Brain Quest!!)

April 17th, 2017

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

I’m partnering with Workman Publishing today to share about (and giveaway!!) their beautiful new Summer Brain Quest workbooks to help with the summer slump that always seems to inevitably happen in our house.  I am so excited to share these with you and showcase a fun new DIY recipe for Fluffy Slime that will DEFINITELY be on our summer craft agenda this year multiple times.

Summer Brain Quest Workbooks

Summer Brain Quest Workbooks

Summer Brain Quest workbooks are officially on sale on April 18th and are meant as a tool to help kiddos (and their teachers) to prevent “summer slide.” Did you know that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math, and many also lose reading achievement, during the summer?  Now Brain Quest joins the fight against it with workbooks targeting each summer between kindergarten and 6th grade. As my own child is approaching her 6th grade year, we are so excited to get to work in these.

These smart books include a pull-out map that guides kids on a learning quest. They fill in their route on the map by earning stickers for completing workbook pages as well as pursuing outdoor activities. The map offers a choice of routes, allowing kids to customize their learning path and pursue what excites them most (extra math problems? more hands-on science?), and also encouraging them to jump around within the book to follow their curiosity.

I love that this structure helps them learn yet feels like a game! They even hired the  video game artist, Edison Yan, to  make every book feel fresh and fun for kids!

I’m so excited to be giving a set of these away to one lucky reader. Scroll down to enter today’s giveaway with Summer Brain Quest!!

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

In honor of this launch, we thought we’d launch a little something of our own and create some Fluffy Slime to celebrate. Slime is quite exciting at our middle school and I have heard there are even slime trades going on when kids mix up a batch. There has been so much slime-making that there has even been a reported glue shortage throughout certain areas of the country.

Who knew slime was so dang cool?

We wanted to mix up some fluffy slime with you today that would be the perfect summer activity to do together and another fun way to break your kids out of that summer slump!

How to Make DIY Fluffy Slime

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

Elmer’s Washable Glue (this size is the best bet so you don’t run out!)

Borax (make sure a parent supervises and assists with this ingredient)

Shaving Cream (the cheap foaming kind, not the gel variety!)

Water

Measuring cups, spoons, and bowl

Food coloring (optional)

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Making Fluffy Slime

1. Measure one cup of hot water and mix this with 1 tablespoon of Borax. Mix until these two ingredients are fully incorporated and the water turns clear. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT- reports of reactions to Borax are because it has not been properly diluted. I recommend that the parents do this step to insure the safety of the slime. Set aside.

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

2. Add one cup of glue to a large bowl and mix this with a 1/2 cup of water until it is fully incorporated.

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

3. Add 3 1/2 cups of shaving cream to the bowl and mix together well. Next, add a few drops of food coloring (we used red in our version) to add a pretty hue to your slime. Once this is all mixed well, add a tablespoon of your Borax mixture and mix well. Keep repeating tablespoon by tablespoon until your slime pulls away from the bowl and starts to form into a ball. Our slime only required three tablespoons of our diluted Borax mixture before it pulled away into a ball!

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice.com

We are so excited to share our fluffy slime with our friends and to also share these Summer Brain Quest workbooks with you! Yay!

Giveaway Time

Summer Brain Quest Prize Pack

Enter below for our fun giveaway so you can fight the summer slide in academics with your kids!

One (1) winner receives:

  • Complete set of 6 Summer Brain Quest workbooks (grades K-6)
  • Branded colored pencils
  • Branded Frisbee
  • Branded swim goggles
  • And a branded drawstring backpack to hold it all!

Please follow the widget below to enter to win! I hope this post inspires you to get organized. As always, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below! Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can learn more about Summer Brain Quest in the links below:

Visit their Official Site

Hang out on their blog Workman Blog

Follow @WorkmanPub on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Like @WorkmanPublishing on Facebook

diy-fluffy-slime-recipe-with-borax

This post was sponsored by Workman Publishing and Big Fat Notebooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

 

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers

April 13th, 2017

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

With the hope of warmer weather on the horizon in the Midwest, I am looking forward to breaking out the grill and making dinner time simple again. In our house, I’m the grill master and I love the ability to cook in bulk on the grill for our week with a lot fewer dishes.

Today’s recipe is inspired by one of my absolute favorite foods… GYROS.  Before I went gluten-free, my favorite treat to indulge in at the airport was one of these. Now I appreciate making this dish just right for my own diet needs at home. I wanted to make a healthier version of of this and am partnering up with Honeysuckle White turkey because they offer a variety of products from turkeys (raised without growth promoting antibiotics!!)  perfect for upcoming barbecue parties and family nights around the grill.

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com

When making turkey burgers, I like the 93% lean option because it helps yield a more juicy burger. To lighten up the texture even more, I folded in some cooked quinoa (here are my tips for making quinoa in your rice cooker) along with the traditional gyro flavorings of oregano, garlic, and onion from my spice cabinet.

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com

I have found that many people are avoiding the hamburger bun these days so I’m showing off this burger piled on a bed of quinoa with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and drizzled with our star ingredient, tzatziki sauce that I’ve blended up in my food processor.

I’ve managed to convert my ground beef loving family almost exclusively over to turkey burgers, but it took a little experimenting on the grill to figure out how to get a burger that retained it’s juices. For me, before I heat up the grill, I like to spread out foil on the grill and lightly spray it with nonstick spray. Turkey patties can be more delicate than ground beef and I find resting them that way yields a better burger. Always cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and treat yourself to a really good grilling thermometer to help make it easier, especially if you and the grill are just getting acquainted!

The second requirement is making sure to add lots of spices to them to build the level of flavor on these. Now is a great time to make sure your spices are fresh and to reorganize that spice cabinet. You can even download some beautiful free printable labels on our site to help get you motivated.

Honeysuckle White certainly makes it easy to host like a grill master! Test new flavor combinations with wholesome, flavorful turkey products, including turkey breast cutlets, ground turkey and turkey brats, perfect for tossing on the grill!

I hope you love this recipe as much as our family. Now get out there and grill!

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers from MomAdvice.com

Ground Turkey Gyro Burgers
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
All the flavors of your favorite gyro in a healthy turkey burger. These gyro burgers can be served on top of a bed of quinoa or on your favorite gluten-free bun!
Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt
  • ⅓ cup chopped seeded cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions (I did omit since we don't like onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Filling: 1 pound Honeysuckle White 93% lean ground turkey
  • ¼ cup cooled cooked quinoa (plus more for serving)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. n a bowl or your food processor, combine first 5 ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate. In separate bowl, combine ground turkey and seasonings. Mix well.
  3. Shape into 4 patties.
  4. Grill, covered, over medium to high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, turning once. Allow burgers to rest for five minutes before cutting.
  5. On a plate, pile your cooked quinoa, tomatoes,and lettuce. You can cut the patties into thin slices and serve over the quinoa or just serve the burger whole with knives and forks. Serve with the sauce.

 

Honeysuckle White turkey products are available in select states. For those on the East Coast (CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, RI, SC, VT, VA, WV), look for Honeysuckle White’s sister brand, Shady Brook Farms!

This post is sponsored by Honeysuckle White. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Pin It

The Importance of S-Town

April 10th, 2017

minneapolis-2

We rolled in last night after the most lovely little getaway to explore Minneapolis. Things have felt a bit off this month with our family’s rhythm that I can’t really explain right now, but that have made our down time feel a little more stressful and less enjoyable.  As I surfed Midwest adventures on Groupon, I came across a deal for a cute hotel and we decided to just head on over there for a little escape.

For us, this trip was just WILD. Unplanned, poorly packed, and flying by the seat of our pants. A need to get the heck out after a gloomy, freezing, and dreary week in Indiana.

minneapolis-1

One of the coolest things about this job is the ability to find and connect with someone just about everywhere we go and my dear friend, Kelly Whalen, offered to spend a day with us and take us on a tour of the city. Since we had no plan, this sounded like heaven.

It was a magic-making kind of day where the kids hit it off like crazy, we ate incredible food,  the conversations never dwindled, and we explored areas in her town that she hadn’t even got to do yet. Magic, I tell you!

Each of our trips end up having some kind of theme to them where we dive into something and just binge the heck out of it. Our fall trip, for example, was the trip of Hamilton that ultimately lead to our Christmas gift of tickets for our kids.

This trip ended up being the S-Town trip where my husband & I listened to seven hours of the most fascinating podcast I had ever encountered in my lifetime that has had my brain going nonstop since I finished it.  (please note, no, this podcast is not for the kiddos- headphones were on them with something else going!)

s-town-1

If you haven’t heard of S-Town, it is a history-making podcast from the producers of Serial & This American Life where host, Brian Reed, leads their investigative team into a small town in Alabama to investigate a murder. John B. McLemore of Woodstock, Alabama, had emailed the producers of This American Life saying he had a story to tell about a covered-up murder that happened in his town. He calls his town, Shittown (thus the podcast name) and begins a year-long conversation with Reed that leads him all the way out to Woodstock to investigate McLemore’s claims. The series takes an immediate sharp turn that, honestly, shocked me to my core and the podcast becomes something entirely different than a true crime story.

They wisely released the show in it’s entirety which allows you to binge listen to this whole series without the usual Googling that I might have been doing between episodes, like I unapologetically did between episodes of Serial. Since the story develops and evolves so quickly, each chapter feels like almost its own unique listening experience and is almost like taking in a short story audiobook collection that come together in wild ways.

I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t dove into it, but I will say that the themes are dark, sexually graphic at times, and the language could be bothersome to some. The last two episodes, in particular, were unsettling on many levels, in what John might have wanted to have kept private and the fact that I don’t think much of it really added to the story of John.

What I will say is that this moved me in ways that I had not expected. It is a portrait of a tortured genius who desperately wanted love in his life. It’s about the cyclical nature of poverty, mental illness, frustrations with world issues that we cannot change,  the struggles about leading a life that is true to you for fear of perception by those in a small town, and the rich layering of all people. Reed’s compassion flourishes even through, in my opinion, some of its more dicier moments.

Since John B. McLemore was a horologist, one of the most poignant moments in it were McLemore’s own reflections on time and how we use our time. He reflected on how many hours we actually have in our life to make use of.  It was very mathematical and analytical, but so very rich.

Our time on earth is so fleeting and we are all gifted only so many hours in our day. How am I using this precious time and how can I make those moments really and truly count? Why are so much of my efforts and anxieties focused on things that just don’t matter and how can I make a better use of these hours given? 

It made me thankful we had taken that trip.

They were precious hours that filled my cup.

There is much that I found to be profound in S-Town and there are far more thoughtful commentaries to read than I what I can share with you. What I can say though is that it moved me and made me think about a lot of things in new ways and it challenged me in ways that only the best documentaries and nonfiction books have.

I plan to relisten to this one to see what new nuggets I can get out of it and what I will hear in the story now that I know where Reed is leading me.

Once you finish the show (and not before!), you can head down the rabbit trail of articles and podcast commentary like I did:

S-Town Host Brian Reed on True Crime Podcasts and That Major Twist

Brian Reed, maker of S-Town: ‘People’s minds go to paranoid places very easily’

What does the song at the end of S-Town mean?

Who is John B. McLemore

Pop Culture Happy Hour’s Take On S-Town

Sorta Awesome’s Thoughts On S-Town

Longform Interview with Brian Reed

10 Podcasts You Need in Your Life After ‘S-Town’

Have you listened to S-Town? What did you think about this podcast?

 

 

 

Amy’s Notebook 04.05.17

April 5th, 2017

carrot-greenery

source: camille styles

This is an adorable way to wrap a little greenery for Spring!

I love these tips on ways to curb your phone addiction. I’m going to be playing in my settings this week to make some adjustments!

Are you a fan of the audiobook trend too? Here are some great suggestions for books to listen to!

As a crafter, I couldn’t be more excited about this show!

This is the season of overcommitment- this was a great advice on what to do when you find yourself with too many obligations.

Speaking of overcommitted, I shared this reminder this week.

As summer approaches, I needed this reminder on managing screen time. We also have a free printable for tech & chore tickets that should come in handy!

Birthday Pancake Tradition

source: dinner: a love story

Don’t let Pinterest fool you, traditions need not be grand to be appreciated by our kiddos.

I’m spending my spring break with this thriller and I’m really enjoying it!

How motivating is this to turn off your television? #goals

What a great way to think about comparison. Compare up versus down.

I’m a big fan of these online classes too and loved peeking at what other people are taking.

Whoa Wait Walmart Lace Swing Top

lace swing top

This was your top purchase this week- so proud of my friends who launched this adorable line!

I’m going to work on under-calendaring my life.

This is one smart money tip for takeout purchases. I’m going to have to remember that one!

A couple of quick tricks to improve your Instagram shots. I’m an Afterlight lover myself!

Sheet Pan Salmon Recipe

source: cookie rookie

I definitely want to give this sheet pan honey mustard salmon recipe a spin!

Looking for a cute spring wreath for your door? I love this inexpensive idea!

I just was talking to our school staff about this one- here is some advice on social media in middle school. For now we are exercising the right to delay as long as we can!

How to make bacon, eggs, and hash browns with one eye open. This looks like a great way to do breakfast!

I’m scooting off for the week to spend some time with my family while we are on spring break! I hope that you all have a wonderful week and I’ll be back in the ol’ office on Monday to share more with you on the blog- xoxo

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration! Please note, there are affiliate links that do help support our site- thank you! xoxo

 

DIY Easter Egg Tree

April 4th, 2017

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Can you believe that Easter is just around the corner? Today I wanted to show you a fun centerpiece for your table that I created with a few acrylic paints and a fun item I found in the candy aisle! I’m showing you how to make this adorable DIY Easter Egg Tree that could be a fun craft to make for your home or a great alternative to egg dying if you have older kiddos!

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

9″ styrofoam cone

1 package Whoppers Robin Eggs

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Lagoon, Coral, & Sunshine (or whatever colors match your home interior)

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

1 package sheet moss

1 1/2 Waverly Ribbon

Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Sticks

Scissors

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting and prepping moss (I used a large trash bag)

How to Make a DIY Easter Egg Tree

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by covering your styrofoam cone with your sheet moss and CAREFULLY securing it with hot glue.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

Keep in mind, these fibers do separate so you want to be careful where you put your fingers. Overlapping slightly, keep adding pieces of moss to the cone until you get to the top. I folded a small piece over to cover the tip of the cone and then worked my moss around it, much like I did with the scrappy fabric trees I made for the holidays.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

2. Give your candy eggs a good coat of paint. I selected paint colors that matched our home in coral, blue, and a sunshine yellow. Don’t worry if you don’t get every spot on the eggs painted because you can paint them once they are more secure. Give these about fifteen minutes to dry and then attach them with hot glue to your tree, carefully spacing the colors out as best as you can. I ended up painting 12 of each color to cover my mossy tree.

3. Once you have attached the eggs securely, now you can touch-up the paint to make sure they are covered fully.

4. Finish with a little ribbon and glue your bow to the top of your tree.

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

DIY Easter Egg Tree from MomAdvice.com

The moss does have a tendency to shed so put a plate underneath to catch the debris and put this beauty on your dining table, an end table, or on your mantle. Isn’t that too cute?

I hope you have as much fun making this craft as we did! It’s been a true pleasure working with Waverly Inspirations this year and sharing the journey with you!

How about more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

Kid Craft: Easy Technique for Painting Gift Wrap

DIY Phone Charging Station

DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

Pin It

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

April 4th, 2017

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

 

Over in the Midwest, we couldn’t welcome spring weather more!  Today I’m sharing my capsule wardrobe plans for spring and all about the trends I’m embracing for 2017!

I decided to start a SEPARATE Instagram account for my capsule since it feels like two separate audiences. This account is only about fashion & the capsule. You can follow me here (@momadvicecapsule) or if you just want the general usual odds & ends, you can follow me here (@momadvice). I hope that makes sense!

Let’s talk about this 2017 Spring Capsule Wardrobe!

Ruffled Sleeve Shift Dress

(check out some of my new options I purchased for this capsule!)

First, What is a Fashion Capsule & Why Should You Do One?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which is designed using only interchangeable items, in order to maximize the number of outfits which can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.

The reason I think capsule wardrobes are worth exploring is that you realize when you have LESS in your closet you can do MORE with what you have. My closet used to be bursting at the seams with clothes and, what I like to call, one-trick-pony apparel. I felt put together after tearing up my room and trying to build outfits in the process, but it took me so long to get ready in the mornings and I never felt like I had a truly seamless style. Narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 items as outlined in Project 333 was just what I needed to make mornings less stressful and finding a real rhythm to getting dressed for the day. It’s been a beautiful shift in my life and I don’t think I could ever go back to the old ways of bursting closets and pointless purchases.

What Trends Did You Embrace For Spring?

Since I embrace a more feminine style, I love the lace, florals, and ruffles that are happening right now. I wanted to incorporate those into my wardrobe along with my usual mad love for stripes and the nautical feel.

I can’t quit you stripes, I just can’t.

I have a pretty standard wardrobe now after years of doing this that include the usual suspects of chambray shirts, a practical blazer, colored jeans, and basic neutrals. This spring I leaned into the baby blue and rose and lightened up my cardigan game with gorgeous lightweight dusters and, a rather impractical but lovely, lace layering piece. Ruffles are happening throughout on dresses and my sweatshirts.

Get some inspiration for creating and styling your capsule by following my Capsule Pinterest Board!

Why My Capsule Shouldn’t Be YOUR Capsule

I show you my capsule mainly as some sort of accountability, but not necessarily for you to copy it. My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule. Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you. When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in.

That’s been the best place to start for me.

Do Accessories Count in the Capsule?

One question I get asked is if I count accessories and shoes as my items. I do not, but feel free to do that if you like. For me a scarf, belt, or great jewelry really do add to the enjoyment and experience of my wardrobe. I am, however, more selective about the accessories I am choosing and really making sure that they are worth the space in my drawers and the money that is spent.

What Are the Rules for a Capsule Wardrobe?

Here are my modified Project 333 rules or you can go to Courtney’s website to read more about the official guidelines!

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

note- descriptions are exact matches and similar means I found a few pretty darn close to the original for you!
Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

row 1- take care of one another sweatshirt/ white lace top (similar, similar, similar, similar)/ floral top (similar, similar)

row 2- black tee/ pink tee/ gray tee/ white tee

row 3- floral flutter sleeve blouse (similar, similar, similar, similar)/ cream shell (similar, similar), baby blue boho top

row 4- ruffled gray sweatshirt (similar, similar), ruffled rose sweatshirt (similar, similar, similar), striped top, black & white stripes (similar, similar, similar)

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

row 1- lace cardigan/ jean vest (similar)/ black vest (similar, similar, similar, similar)

row 2- olive green pants (similarsimilar, similar)/ rose jeans (similar, similar, similar)/ white jeans (similar, similar)/ distressed jeans

row 3- basic jean (similar, similar)/ black cropped pant (similar)/ a-line black & white skirt (similar, similar)

row 4- ruffled shift dress (similar, similarsimilar)/ black duster cardigan (similar, similar)/ blue swing dress (similar, similar)/ belted shirt dress (similar, similar)

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

row 1- black midi skirt (similar, similar, similar)/ jean jacket (similar, similar),

duster cardigan (similar, similar)

row 2- sleeveless turtleneck shell (similar, similarsimilar)/ pink blouse (similar, similar)/ chambray shirt (similar, similar)

Amy Allen Clark

Browse My Capsules & Wardrobe Planning Advice

One Piece, Many Ways

Fashion Capsule Shopping on a Budget

Planning the Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Summer 2015 Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Spring/Summer 2016 Capsule Wardrobe

Winter 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

Creating the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe (that really works!)

How to Shop Secondhand For Your Capsule Wardrobe

Make Money Organizing Your Closet

25 Best Wardrobe Planning Printables

Coupons That Might Help If You Are Making a Capsule Too

Get $10 for your first thredUP purchase (this is my favorite online consignment resource)

Stitch Fix can be a fun resource for shopping for smart basic wardrobe pieces if a stylist might benefit you!

thredup closet clean out bags- free!

Don’t forget to clean out your closet! Here is what I am getting rid of this time. Off to thredup it goes for credit for the next capsule- so proud!! Here is a list of resources to help you make money while organizing this corner! Happy wardrobe planning!

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe from MomAdvice.com

*this post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

Pin It