MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

November 26th, 2018

Check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more great reads for your stack!

Can you believe that I am picking our 2019 MomAdvice Book Club selections this week? This year has flown by and I have SO enjoyed sharing books and discussions with you.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 2,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

The best part?

There is no commitment to participate in chats (although I love it when you do!). This is a place to get opinions about books, find out what everyone is reading, and start chats of your own about books you would just love to talk about.

I wanted to get this list up a little early so you have loads of time to make requests to your local library or read ahead on any of these selections.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

Scroll through the book list below to see what we have in store for you in 2019.  The discussion is held on the last Friday and an Event invite is sent out at the beginning of the month to join a virtual chat. Once you RSVP, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

I’m thrilled to share these 12 selections with you from a pool of talented writers. As always, I try to keep a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, YA, memoirs, and mysteries.

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

January- A Ladder to the Sky

February- My Sister the Serial Killer

March- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

April- Little

May- The Friend

June- The Editor

July- In Sight of Stars

August- There Will Be No Miracles Here

September- No One Can Pronounce My Name

October- The Lying Woods

November- The Library Book

December- Virgil Wander

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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Amy’s Notebook 05.15.19

May 15th, 2019

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How delicious do these garlic butter shrimp zoodles look for a weeknight meal?

Look at this smart solution for hanging heavy art. I can’t wait to try it!

Oh, pretty darn pumped for the next season of this show.

This was a really fascinating read!

The best 2-player board games. We are addicted to this one right now.

A healthier approach to summer drinking this year. This had some great advice!

I’ve got this in my earbuds this week. It’s REALLY good!

Also, just finished this book and can’t rave enough. #bookhangovertime

I am in the thick of it and it is HARD. (*language, folks!*)

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How to make perfectly grilled salmon– so many good tips in this post.

A trick for making weekends feel longer. I love this tip.

How an Asian mom says I love you. This was beautiful!

This was a funny read! I’m not a fan either!

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Turn plastic cups into adorable dancer dolls with this tutorial.

Got this gorgeous jumpsuit as a treat to myself for summer. The copper color is UNREAL gorgeous!

This had me rolling! Seriously, these are getting a little TOO targeted.

10 ways to waste less at the grocery store– love these strategies to reduce food waste.

20 recipes every cook should know. I think this would be a fun summer project to work through this list.

I have been hearing a lot about seed cycling lately. Have you tried it?

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 in this post- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 05.07.19

May 7th, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day to yourself- hahaha! Here are a few things on my wish list! xo

wireless charging backpack (great Mother’s Day gift to oneself- comes in several hues)

dog bowl water bowl

naturalizer shoes deal-of-the-day (can’t beat these prices!)

peel and stick tile (GORGEOUS!!)

classic button down (two hues and under $20!)

introverted but willing to discuss books t-shirt

floral sports bra

lace midi dress (so many colors- perfect for wedding and graduation season!)

hadley tied top (so many colors!!)

spice girl t-shirt

 

faux wrap bell sleeve dress (several pretty prints)

ballet back stripes

a teacher affects eternity

enchantment jumpsuit (this is perfect for weddings!!)

belted drapey joggers (so many gorgeous colors!)

fit and flare dress (use coupon code STYLE for 40% off!!)

prep college cookbook (what a great grad gift!)

color block leggings

pocket utensil set

 

gold accent table

one question a day book (fabulous wedding gift idea!)

pink blazer

ultra stretch jeggings (several hues and incredible reviews!!)

palm print skirt

relaxed t-shirt (so many colors!)

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo

April 2019 Must-Reads

May 2nd, 2019

April 2019 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

It is getting to that fun time of year where I start trickling out some of my thoughts on the BIG summer reads this year! This summer you can expect an OVERWHELMING amount of incredible books to enjoy poolside or with your feet up in the backyard!

Today I’m here to share about SEVEN amazing reads that you can pick up now (or start pre-ordering for your summer beach reading)!

follow me on Instagram for more book reviews

While you’re here, be sure to print out the 2019 MomAdvice reading challenge worksheet and join our free online book club! You can check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here. Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews!

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? Grab your FREE book over here.

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Also Out!!

This month’s special: Check them ALL out HERE!

Book of the Month has a new coupon code to get a FREE book credit when you use code SPRINGFEVER at checkout!

OR For a limited time only, use the coupon code MOMKNOWSBEST to save $10 on a 6+ month gift subscription + a free book for you! Perfect time to buy Mom a gift for Mother’s Day!

What will you be picking?? I decided to go with Necessary People this month!

Here are 7 must-read books I tackled in April:

 

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Looking for a novel that you just won’t be able to put down this month? The Girl He Used to Know is a beautiful contemporary fiction escape that features a really incredible love story with characters that seem to lift off the pages.

Annika is an English major at the University of Illinois. She struggles to make sense of social situations and college, in particular, is a very scary time.

When she joins the chess club, she immediately beats Jonathan Hoffman, who can’t help to be captured by Annika. She is different than any girl he has ever been with, a worthy chess opponent, and she’s stunning (without even being aware of it!). They begin a beautiful relationship together, but an unforeseen tragedy forces them apart and ends their relationship.

One decade later, Annika and Jonathan are reunited and happen to be living in the same town. The two begin rekindling what was lost, but must also address why they lost each other in the first place.

Annika is a character that you can’t help but to fall in love with and you also can’t help rooting for these two to work their relationship out. Graves rounds out her story with beautiful supporting characters that help Annika navigate the world in really incredible ways. I can fully admit that I may have teared up in a few places in this sweet read.

Definitely add this one to your book bags this summer! I have a feeling you will love Annika & Jonathan as much as me!

I’m recommending this one for fans of The Light We Lost!

5 out of 5 Stars

 

Recursion by Blake Crouch (pre-order for June 11th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Dark Matter is one of my favorite science fiction book recommendations to give and ended up making my top ten books list in 2016. To say that I had HIGH expectations for the next Blake Crouch novel would be putting it mildly.

I am so happy to say that this book DID NOT disappoint!

In this story, Barry Sutton is an NYC cop who has been investigating the phenomenon the media has called, “False Memory Syndrome.” It is a mysterious affliction that makes its victims mad with memories of a life that they never lived.

Helena Smith is also trying to understand memory and wants to find a way that it can be captured, through her work as a neuroscientist. Inspired by her mother’s struggles with dementia, she has decided to study memory and focus on a piece of technology that will allow people to preserve their most precious memories.

As Barry begins searching for the truth, he discovers what happens when we play God with memory and how Helena’s technology has helped to create this False Memory Syndrome. While sheltering ourselves from our most devastating memories, by rewriting our history, Barry & Helena begin to realize how altering memories can change our identity, our relationships, and how altering circumstances doesn’t always yield the results we are after.

When the technology gets into the wrong hands, they realize how it can destroy the world, as they know it, and they will stop at nothing to get it back, forced to repeat their lives over and over again, to try to change their circumstance.

Once again, Crouch blends science fiction with a thriller pace and a beautiful love story.  His storytelling is masterful and the suspense is so incredibly good in this one.

I immediately passed this book on to my husband who loved it just as much as me. I am so glad I got to screen this and feel confident recommending this one to our Dark Matter fans.

If you haven’t dipped your toes yet into the science fiction world, I have a feeling you will find this to be a compelling read that will pull you right out of your literary comfort zone.

What are you waiting for?

Be sure to pre-order this for June!

5 out of 5 Stars

Chronicles of a Radical Hag by Lorna Landvik

A couple of the ladies in our book club were RAVING about, Chronicles of a Radical Hag, and managed to convince me to order this for my trip.

I read a lot of Landvik’s earlier books so I knew she approaches stories with a lot of heart and humor, something she does well again in this latest novel.

Haze Evans is a local legend, writing as a columnist for over fifty years, for the Granite Creek Gazette. Her past columns were filled with liberal ideas and her column was nicknamed the “Chronicles of a Radical Hag,” by conservative readers.  She lived without censorship and would reply to her naysayers with tongue-in-cheek recipes to help them melt away their misdirected anger, unafraid to speak her mind about anything and everything.

Haze is unexpectedly hospitalized though and unable to write her column. This is when Susan, who works for the paper, has her son (Sam) help work at the paper for the summer and Sam begins discovering that this older lady’s stories are brave, hilarious, and her political struggles are not too different than today. He finds these columns so fascinating, in fact, that he begins sharing them in class and other kids begin to look forward to Haze’s storytelling AND the hilarious and heartfelt replies from people who read her column.

I am recommending this one for fans of Dear Mrs. Bird or anyone who needs a little bit of humor mixed in with the heaviness of the political world.

Landviks’ trademark humor really shines in this book and you can’t help reading these columns and responses with a smile, especially when a younger generation is discovering how history is repeating itself today.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland (pre-order for July 23rd!!)

Thank you to the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I’m such a sucker for dysfunctional family stories and The Floating Feldmans is a fun one, if those are your cup of tea too!

The premise of this one is that Annette Feldman has decided that she is going to book a cruise for her entire family, in honor of her 70th birthday! It has been over a decade since they have all been together and getting them all on a boat has them trapped into oodles of family time together.

Each of these siblings has come on their boat with an extra set of baggage though (sorry, I can’t resist a good pun!) and this luggage harbors a lot of old secrets and the terrible kinds of hurts that only a family member can seem to hold against you.

Some have grown up for the better, some have secrets that threaten their future, and the grandkids just might have a couple secrets of their own.

Told from alternating perspectives, this is over-the-top fun and had me laughing out loud at various points.

If you just want a fun escape, add this one to your beach bag. I’m recommending this one for fans of, This is Where I Leave You.

4 out of 5 Stars

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (pre-order for August 13th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I never thought I would be such a sucker for a good love story, but I was completely head-over-heels for, How to Walk Away, and Center’s beautiful writing. The author is now back with another beautiful love story, perfectly named, Things You Save in a Fire

Center’s uses her husband’s firefighter background to craft the story of Cassie Hanwell. In this fictional story, she is the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse and is respected by her colleagues and boss. After a public incident though, that taints Hanwell’s image, she finds the timing of her estranged and ailing mother’s request to move to Boston lines up with when she needs to step down.

She joins the Boston firehouse and finds the environment to be a bit of a “boy’s club.” Her ability to separate her work from her personal life has never been an issue, but Cassie has never seen a guy like the rookie that she must train with on her new job. Cassie has built up walls for a reason and the rookie seems to be disregarding them, no matter how hard she tries.

This is a later coming-of-age story where Cassie must resolve her old hurts with her mother, confront the issue of aging parents, and admit why she has been unable to be close to anyone because of a traumatic incident in her past.

That’s not all though…she also must fight off someone who is stalking her and doesn’t want to see her succeed at the fire station.

These characters are deeply flawed, just like we are, and Center’s does an incredible job making them feel real and relatable.

The love story, I have to say, is FIRE and you can’t help but root for these two brokenly beautiful people to love each other.

Definitely, pre-order this one for your summer stack!

I’m recommending this beautiful read for anyone who is a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan! I know you will love it too!

5 out of 5 Stars

Little by Edward Carey

Have you joined our free book club yet? Even if you aren’t looking for a discussion, it is such a great place to connect with your fellow bookworms. This month we dove into Little , a historical fiction novel about Marie Tussaud. Marie was an orphan in the 1700’s who ended up being taken in by an eccentric wax sculpture and develops a growing curiosity and fondness for the art.

To pay for her food and shelter she begins as an apprentice and later tutors a princess on the art of creating wax sculptures.

Does Tussaud and wax figurines bring to mind any famous tourist attraction?

Carey writes AND illustrates this unusual novel that reminded many of our book club participants of a good old-fashioned Dickens novel.

Learning about the craftsmanship that went into these wax figures, particularly back in those days, was equally fascinating and horrifying.

As someone who appreciates the wildly weird, I was really taken into this element of the story.

Admittedly, this was a slow starter and took awhile for me to get into and I can’t say this book would be for everyone. For me, the beauty in historical fiction is always the rabbit trails it leads me on and this one was a fun find for exploring the art of wax sculpture, a subject that I would have never really thought to explore.

Our chat ended up being an excellent one so I would definitely recommend this for any of your own upcoming book club chats.

4 out of 5 Stars

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

Not many of you could probably guess that I’m an old-fashioned theater nerd….well, maybe you could?

This is one reason why I was so excited to dive into the contemporary novel, Trust Exercise, this month. This was a big buzz book for Spring and has gotten a lot of positive press, in particular, about it’s exploration of the #metoo movement, told through these reflective stories.

I am having a hard time reviewing this one because the concept was brilliant, but I felt like the entire plot could have been tightened up entirely. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. The writing, while excellent, didn’t always have a story that I felt entirely connected to.

This novel is set in the 1980’s at a highly competitive arts high school. Along with the talent and greed to get ahead, hormones are raging and relationships between students began to splinter and friendships are tested.

In a spiral of events, Choi begins to flip the plot on its head that makes everything flip upside down for the reader. What you think may be happening, isn’t happening, and a new perspective on the story changes the plot entirely.

It is these new glimmers of truth that allow the reader to see that everything is not as it seems and the power that comes to play in the arts world.

I can see this leading to heated discussions in book clubs about our own past experiences with adults and teachers, in particular, in the arts community. The changing narrative, in itself, becomes a trust exercise into itself.

Not only are the kids doing these trust exercise in their classroom, but Choi is giving us an exercise in who to believe.

Had the plot been tighter, I could see this being a 5-star read, simply for the value of the discussion and the smart twists Choi uses. I struggled to connect though as the chapters felt a bit clunky at times and I found myself having difficulty to keep attention through it.

For reference though, I listened to this one on audiobook! It might lend itself better in print format and I still found the topic and plot twists to be solid. I can’t wait to see what Choi writes next.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

January 2019 Must-Reads

February 2019 Must-Reads

March 2019 Must-Reads

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

Small-Budget Crushes 04.19.19

April 19th, 2019


Wow! The sales this weekend are INCREDIBLE! Happy shopping! xo

striped top (ADDITIONAL HALF OFF on all sale items!!)

rash guard shirt (50% off!!!)

polka dot swimsuit (several patterns!!)

striped midi skirt (50% off & an additional 20% off with coupon code FULLBASKET)

rainbow striped sweater (under $20!!)

yellow tassel earrings (loads of colors)

pleated top (use coupon code HOPTOIT for 50% off!!)

floral ruffle dress (use coupon code FRIENDS for 40% off!!)

striped midi dress (several colors/patterns)

initial birthstone ring (great grad gift!)

tropical orange romper

wrap belt (use coupon code FRIENDS for 40% off!!)

makeup organizer

jean shorts

red block heels (surprisingly comfortable, several hues, & buy 1 get 1 50% off!!)

zodiac cake topper

personalized wooden watch grad gift (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)

candy striped top (ADDITIONAL HALF OFF SALE ITEMS!!)

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo

Amy’s Notebook 04.18.19

April 18th, 2019

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I’ve been dying to make an Instant Pot Cheesecake and this recipe looks perfect.

What it is like to grow up with more money than you’ll ever spend. Fascinating!

These are some really creative ideas for ways to squeeze in more books.

Things I wish my therapist would say to me– hahaha!

A simple conversation starter for any social situation.

This was your favorite purchase this week.

22 Whole30 recipes you can eat all week long. YUM!

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I can’t get over how stunning this bike wheel wreath is! Such a smart upcycle!

These embellished braids would be so pretty for Easter Sunday.

I’ve got this book on my nightstand this week and this book going on my earbuds.

This piece really hit the nail on the head about friendships & parenting in your 40’s. (*language*)

I loved reading this piece on the new microblading eyebrows trend that’s going on.

Loved volunteering for this organization this week. I wish more schools would do this!

Speaking of South Bend, this was the highlight of my week.

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How good does this broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast look? YUM!

This has been my year of branching out and I love this advice on making new friends.

This one-pot dish looks delicious!

We are going to have to try this recipe for our next Indian night.

This is a great gathering of beginner cooking tips. A lot of these are things I learned through trial and error.

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How fun is this faux woven pendant light?

30 foolproof ways to deal with difficult people.

What’s behind the elective-sobriety trend.

Looking for a mocktail to start with? This recipe caught my eye!

It’s harder to focus these days and it isn’t your fault.

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 in this post- thank you! xoxo

Let’s Talk About Books and TV!

April 16th, 2019

I had the honor of being a guest on The Couch Podcast with Mary Carver this week! Mary asked if I would join her to talk about TV and books and it was such a blast. My homework to prepare was to take a list of great television shows people are loving and share them a couple of books I think they would like, based on their taste in television.

When I got done piecing together my notes, I sent them off to Mary so she could create a giant reading guide for you that you can take to your local library for some books you just won’t want to put down!

We chatted about Arrested Development (bring on the quirky characters), Outlander (you know I love a good time travel story!), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (I love female characters that buck the system), Friends (specifically, Ross & Rachel), The Handmaid’s Tale (fight the power!), & Stranger Things (the weirder the better).

We ran out of time to talk about The Crown, but I managed to squeeze in my recommendations in today’s reading guide. Phew!

Head HERE to grab your free reading guide and to listen to this fun podcast! 

Thank you, Mary, for giving me a space to share about my favorite books!

 

Looking for more great books? Here are some posts you might want to visit!

53 historical fiction novels to escape with

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

the best books of 2018

join our FREE MomAdvice Book Club

grab you free reading challenge worksheet

I hope these posts inspire you to curl up with a great book this week! Happy reading!

 

Amy’s Notebook 04.11.19

April 11th, 2019

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Love the notebook? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter with more incredible articles!!

How gorgeous is this centerpiece made from spray painting these inexpensive vase fillers?

This looks like a fun new spin on cauliflower– yum!

How sobriety made me a better cook. Love this inspiring story!

Along the same thoughts, millenials are sick of drinking.

No points for busy. Amen.

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How yummy does this Instant Pot spaghetti & meatballs recipe look?

I am screening summer reads right now and am telling you now, add this to your summer must-read stack. It was amazing!!

I love the idea of quiet maximalism in room styling. This was a whole bunch of eye-candy too!

I have to agree that this is a slippery slope.

Beautiful and simple tips for becoming a better listener. I need to work on this.

The YA books your favorite YA authors can’t stop raving about. I need to add a couple of these to my stack!

Here is your favorite purchase this week. Well done, friends!

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This vegan creamy curried carrot soup looks like the perfect way to celebrate spring.

This piece made me laugh out loud.

Your smartest friends are using this setting on their phone.

We don’t buy things with money, we buy them with hours of our time.

You can’t be everybody’s cup of tea.

I feel this SO very much. It is exhausting.

How to declutter your house using the root cause method.

Do you have any financial self-care rituals? Love this mindfulness idea.

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 in this post- thank you! xoxo

Small-Budget Crushes 04.10.19

April 10th, 2019


Who doesn’t love a little Spring shopping?

striped cami

floral clutch

button-front midi dress (several colors- take 45% off with coupon code CYBER)

clear umbrella (buy 1 accessory, get 1 free)

tile stickers

basket printed cooler

beaded orb necklace (perfect statement necklace in so many fun colors!)

raquel striped midi dress

distressed denim jacket

black geometric rug

puff-sleeved top (several hues)

desert print

tie-waist pants

smocked jumpsuit

metal watering can (two finishes)

black jumpsuit (this is a smart investment piece!!)

v strong coffee

woven circle bag

gilmore girls shirt

wrap-top swimsuit

round glass vase

yoga wheel

tie-waist cropped jumpsuit (several colors!!)

Keep on window shopping by visiting all of my Small-Budget Crushes. This post contains affiliate links!! xoxoxo

9 Ideas for Dating Your Husband in the Spring

April 9th, 2019

Today we have gathered 9 fun ways to date your husband in the Spring.  Make the most of these warmer months and discover a fun new way to date your spouse through this new season.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When I started thinking about this post, I couldn’t help the goofy phrases that kept popping into my head. “Spring is in the air!” “Spring into a date night!” “Have a spring fling!” “Let me tell you ‘bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees…”

It’s silly, but it’s also true that something about the shift into spring does tend to bring out our more playful and even romantic sides. Maybe it’s the warmer temperatures or the way we no longer need so many layers of clothes. Or maybe it’s just the relief that a) we survived winter and b) it’s no longer winter.

My next two date nights are all booked up with superhero movies, but I’m hopeful we’ll get more creative after that. After all, superhero movies don’t seem to be going anywhere, but spring won’t last long and we have to make the most of this time of year. Here are a few date ideas I’ve come up with to create quality time when spring starts. Maybe they’ll inspire you, too!

Take a walk (or run or bike ride)

I’m not normally a real outdoorsy type of person, but after a long winter I’m excited to breathe in some fresh (warmer) air. (Not so much the pollen that comes with it, but that’s another post for another day.)

We’re trying to fit fitness into our lives at my house, so taking a walk or bike ride is already something we’re doing these days. But doing it with just my husband? Maybe even on a trail outside our neighborhood or at a park? That sounds lovely.

(The more athletic readers might even want to go for a run with your spouse. After all, in most communities, you can’t find a spring weekend without a 5K scheduled somewhere. Why not train together?)

Try that new restaurant

For my husband’s birthday a few months ago, I gave him several gift cards to restaurants we’ve wanted to try but haven’t had the chance yet. I figured this will force us to do something different for once! (Instead of ending the whole “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” back-and-forth by eating, again, at the same old chain restaurant where the servers know our orders.)

Bonus points if you find a restaurant where you can eat outside on a nice spring day!

Visit the zoo or a farm

I know, I know, this is the type of outing you’d normally plan for your kids. But why not save some of the springtime fun for your spouse?!

My daughters and I recently visited a local alpaca farm, where we got to feed and pet the most adorable alpacas. Next time I plan a fun trip like that, I think I’ll take my husband instead! (After all, bonding over the cuteness of tiny animals THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE HOME AND FEED AND BATHE sounds perfect to me!)

Speaking of farms — how about a farmers’ market?

Instead of waiting for a free night to date your husband, try a morning.

Grab a fancy coffee or a stack of pancakes together, then hit the farmer’s market for the freshest produce, flowers, and more.

You can have fun but also enjoy the space to breathe and be together, to catch up and connect over more than bills and babysitters. And you’ll probably go home with something delicious, too!

Batter’s up! Take in a baseball game

I personally find baseball dreadfully boring. But my husband loves it. So I try to get us to a game every now and then, keeping my eye rolls and comments to a minimum, of course.

And when I do?

I almost always find that it’s actually fun to hike up to the top of the stadium, eat a hot dog or share some nachos, and root for our team together.

(And I realize that you may love baseball, too. In that case this date idea is even better!)

Spend some time with sidewalk chalk and the stars

Years ago, my husband and I stumbled onto a sidewalk chalk festival in our city. We were blown away by the intricate, beautiful drawings people created, and I’ve always wanted to attend that kind of event again.

We might never fit that into our schedule, but I was thinking that we could borrow our kids’ sidewalk chalk and get to work decorating our driveway ourselves! It seems silly — but sometimes acting silly is the exact thing my relationship needs. How about you?

And after you complete your masterpiece, it might be fun to stay outside for a picnic and watch the sunset or the stars.

Play a round of mini golf

Miniature golf feels like territory of first dates and romantic comedies, but I’m pretty sure it’s a cliched outing for a reason.

I can’t remember the last time my husband and I played mini golf together, but I’m putting it on our list for this spring. (The bonus for us is that there’s a mini golf course very close to our favorite restaurant.

Maybe you have something similar?

Or perhaps the winner gets to choose where you eat dinner or dessert?!)

Dream and plan

One of the most romantic nights I’ve spent with my husband in the last several months involved our couch, a map, and a calendar.

We started talking about ideas for future vacations at dinner and as soon as we got the kids in bed, we picked up the conversation.

We couldn’t stop dreaming and laughing and planning and even learning about each other. (I had no idea he wanted to visit some of the places he suggested!)

As someone who loves traveling…and making lists, this was pretty much a perfect date night. And it didn’t require a babysitter or even a bra (because let’s be honest, I was in my pajamas FOR SURE as we pored over maps and clicked through visitors bureau websites).

You don’t have to make a 15-year vacation plan. Perhaps you and your husband just need to talk through your plans for the summer. Maybe you want to share ideas for future date nights or talk about your next home improvement project. No matter what you’re planning, the point is to do it together, to work as a team to dream and scheme and — if you’re a Type A nerd like me — make a great list together.

Fire up the grill!

I’m not going to say that turning up the heat on your grill will turn up the heat in your marriage.

Well, except I guess I just did! (I can’t help it! Don’t hate me. The springtime puns and jokes are too much for me to resist!)

ANYWAY. My husband is the grillmaster in our family, but I’d love to learn. Perhaps you’re the grilling expert, though; would your husband be interested in joining you? Even if you both grill (or if one of you teaching the other a skill is not likely to end in fun and romance), you could always pick a new food or recipe to try out together. No matter how you go about this one, something about the smell of a grill and eating outside (or with the windows open) screams, “Spring!” And that is win-win, no matter who actually flips the burgers.

Love these ideas? Here are a few more you might enjoy!

6 ways to date your husband in the fall

What to Do When Date Nights are Impossible | MomAdvice.com what to do when date nights are impossible

9 unique ideas for frugal date nights

how podcasts saved our marriage

5 ways to date your husband in the fall

Those are my ideas for dating your husband in the spring, but I’d love to hear from you, too. How do YOU date your husband in this season?

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog,MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts.She is also a regular contributor toincourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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March Happy List

April 8th, 2019

Well, hello there! My husband and I just got back from our Iceland adventures and I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it all was.  If anything topped my happy list in March, it was FOR SURE visiting the Blue Lagoon and celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday.

As amazing as it all was, there really is no place like home. I couldn’t be happier to be reunited with our kids and our fur baby.

Perhaps, not as excited to be reunited with laundry, dishes, and cleaning the house.

Ah, you gotta love real life.

You will be happy to know though that I still have a few amazing reads for you put together for March so don’t miss this month’s must-reads list.

Also, can I brag for one moment before we get started on the happy list? Check out who is up for Mom Blog of the Year again this year!

I can’t tell you how honored I am and to be listed among such incredible women that I admire and respect.

Have you been missing the 3 little things list each week? Just so you know, this feature didn’t go away…it just moved over to my newsletters each week.

Sign up is super quick over here. I will even send you some free printables to help you put together this incredible home management binder.

Today I wanted to share what you might have missed this past month in one big giant happy list!!

I Got that Glow Going

As I have aged, I feel like my skin has gotten duller in appearance and I’ve been looking for some ways to bring the glow back to my complexion.

I discovered these Aveeno Maxglow Infusion Drops and have started adding 2 drops of this to my moisturizer and it really works at adding a subtle glow to your face.

Paired with this tool that I have in my makeup arsenal, my husband has even started commenting on my glowing skin (trust me, that NEVER happens).

I really love this stuff and a little goes a long way! I highly recommend adding these to your makeup routine!

We Have Been Doing a Little Time Traveling

My husband and I were married in 2000 so we thought it would be fun to relive those good old days through this amazing series you can find on Netflix.

This CNN docuseries, produced by Tom Hanks, explores each season through the pop culture, social, and political trends of a different decade, starting with the sixties.

Each decade is explored through about eight episodes and it is filled with amazing interviews with people who played some part in these stories and through the eyes of historians.

After finishing the 2000’s, we moved on to the 90’s and now are enjoying reliving our high school days. I highly recommend diving into these if you haven’t before. It has been both fun and informative!

A Selfie Clip-On Light for Picture Taking

Our home doesn’t have a lot of natural light in it and I often struggle to take photos for my feed because of it.

I happened to stumble upon this e.l.f. selfie light at Walmart and I can’t rave enough about how much light it can bring to your pictures.

It illuminates you with three settings, that ramp up the brightness, and it comes all ready to go with batteries and everything.

It is so small that it is perfect to tuck in your purse for those selfie moments with your kiddos. Priced at just $12, it is one of those inexpensive gadgets that make a huge difference in your photos.

Stitch Fix for Men

I knew as soon as my husband found out we were headed to Iceland, he would start panicking about what items he would need to wear while we are there. Did you know that Stitch Fix now styles for men? I remembered that I read that in my emails and decided to utilize this service for his birthday gift.

If you are pulling off a surprise getaway somewhere or planning a vacation where you know your wardrobe isn’t prepared, I can’t recommend this fun service enough.

In my husband’s box, for example, were two REALLY amazing waterproof packable jackets, a heavy-duty flannel shirt, and a thick sweater.

It was just what he needed and it took the stress out of shopping for him. If you want to give the service a spin for a gentleman in your life, here’s $25 to spend on your first purchase!

My Trusty Dinner Bell

If you have read my blog for a long time, you may already know about my little bell, but I had to mention again how much I love our little antique hotel bell for getting everyone to to the dinner table.

I forget that other people don’t do this so when my brother came for dinner, he started laughing when I gave it a little ding-ding-ding and the whole family came to the kitchen.

As an INFJ, I can’t stand yelling and our split-level home means that people scatter in all directions.

A little tap of the bell and everyone gathers,  saving me from yelling and running around our house to find everyone.

We found our bell at an antique shop, but here is an inexpensive alternative if you can’t find one for your house. I can’t rave enough about how much I love this low-tech item.

ALDI Tikka Masala Simmering Sauce

I might be dating myself, but when I was growing up, we ate a lot of Chicken Tonight.

All you had to do was brown some chicken and then you poured the sauce over it to simmer in and called it dinner.

When I saw that ALDI was carrying a tikka masala simmering sauce, I decided to give it a try and now we eat it every couple of weeks or so.

I shared about it on Instagram Stories and had several people send me DM’s back that they decided to give it a spin after my endorsement and absolutely loved it.

The best part is that you can choose what you want to simmer with it for your own spin. Chickpeas, tofu, chicken, and shrimp all make for a delicious (and way easy!) weeknight meal. We serve it with rice and the baby naan that the store carries (it is the perfect size!) and I consider it almost like a night off from cooking.

I hope you love this sauce as much as as we do!

Slip Shorts

After dressing for one week in a dress this month (to help raise funds for Junior League!), I can tell you that my favorite slip shorts were worn and loved daily.

If you have parents with Southern roots, you know you were not allowed to be running around in a dress without a proper slip.

I can still see images of my mom shaking her head and pointing to the door when I would come out for church without a slip.

That is why I love this more modern approach with these slip shorts for helping smooth those lines and to give a clean finish underneath your dresses.

If you are not a fan of compression garments, give these a try! While still minimizing lines, they are comfortable to wear all day long!

I don’t think we can always say the same thing about Spanx- hahaha!

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

I also went without tights for a week and it was a CHILLY experience in the Midwest.

Spring, where are you?

Luckily, my legs weren’t turning blue thanks to my favorite beauty hack-  Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

Simply squeeze a little on your hands and spread on your lightly moisturized (but dry) legs.

Then just use your hands to spread the make-up on your legs and it all air dries in one minute. It is truly an airbrushed leg experience and, provided you blend well and pick the right shade for your own coloring, it gives a beautiful finish to your legs.

It has a little shimmer to it too, but not overly noticeable.

The best part is that it is waterproof so if you are even at the beach, you will be fine.

You need soap to get it off, otherwise it stays right where you put it.

Since it has good staying power, one bottle usually gets me through the entire summer!

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

The New Season of Queer Eye

I was such a fan of the original cast and the work they did, but I feel like the reboot of Queer Eye is on another level!

It sounds kind of cheesy to say that each episode teaches me something, but it REALLY does.

The guys help makeover people that are often overlooked by others and embrace them with warmness and inclusion.

The ability to meet people where they are and provide solutions for them is a valuable lesson in how we help others in our life.

I, honestly, bawl through every episode because of these beautiful moments.

Through the show, they are able to teach people to embrace others with compassion and empathy.

This is one that we watch with our kids and has given us a lot to talk about- especially the focus on inclusion.

It is easy to judge others if we aren’t walking in their shoes and many of these people have felt let down by the world.

The lessons that are garnered from this are impactful and beautiful.

My favorite episodes this season (so far) have been Jones BBQ (two strong business woman who have put family first before themselves), When Robert Met Jamie (a lesson on how we talk about ourselves and present ourselves to others- really good lesson for kids!!), and Black Girl Magic (not allowing boxes and labels to determine if we are displaying characteristics of our own race & how to form family if you are rejected by your own).

You guys should watch it if you haven’t yet.

Also, thanks for coming to my Queer Eye TED Talk!

Here are a few of my favorite March captures (follow me on IG for more)!

Enormously excited that I got a signed copy of Mayor Pete’s new book and that I got to hear him speak. You would have to be hiding under a rock to not know that South Bend’s mayor is getting a lot of buzz on the news as we all ready for his official announcement that he is running for President! If you are unfamiliar with him, this is one of my favorite interviews that he has done (and, yes, I’ve watched them ALL!!). 

I participated in the Little Black Dress initiative to help raise funds and awareness for the work we do locally in Junior League. If you are local and interested in joining, send me a message and I’m happy to connect you! I’ve volunteered more hours than I ever have and feel more connected to my community and its organizations. REALLY excited to volunteer this month at this organization, that is making national news, through the done-in-a-day projects that this organization offers. 

Loved this sunset we caught as we boarded our plane to Iceland. It is one of those little things that I will never get tired of! 

Top Ten Most Visited Articles in March

  1. Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial
  2. 3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs
  3. How to Organize Board Games
  4. How to Make Rice Cooker Quinoa
  5. Amy’s Notebook 03.07.19
  6. DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat
  7. How to Make a Blanket Scarf
  8. January 2019 Must-Reads
  9. How to Dye Plastic Eggs
  10. February 2019 Must-Reads

Top Ten Most Purchased Items in March

  1. Initial Stacking Rings
  2. Soft Touch Foot Peel Masks
  3. Belei Beauty Products
  4. Neck & Shoulder Relaxer
  5. Hilor Women’s One-Piece Swimsuit
  6. Jockey Slip Shorts
  7. Alphabet Wood Tracing Board
  8. Perfect Fit Open Neck T-Shirt
  9. iPhone Acoustic Speaker 
  10. Women’s Drape Jogger Pants

Top Ten Books Purchased in March (join the club to be notified of daily deals!)

  1. I Think You’re Wrong, But I’m Listening
  2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  3. Born a Crime
  4. Inheritance
  5. A History of Loneliness
  6. What Alice Forgot
  7. What if It’s Us
  8. Z.
  9. This is Where I Leave You
  10. The Dry Grass of August

I hope you enjoyed this month’s round-up of March fun and I look forward to sharing more in April! I hope my month of happy brings a month of happy to you too! If this post doesn’t convince you my newsletter is fun, I’ve got nothing. Sign up over here to get this fun weekly in your inbox.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things!