{reading} outside my wheelhouse

While I try to read pretty diversely, there are books I too often ignore because I deem the genre “not for me,” such as science fiction and fantasy. Lately I’ve been trying to push myself to give books that I’d typically ignore a chance.

Two recent reads both fit this bill for me: Sleeping Giants, which would be classified as science fiction, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which falls into the fantasy camp.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. As a child, Rose discovers an artifact that shapes the rest of her life. While out riding her bike, she falls into a large hole, its walls aglow with intricate designs. From above, the firemen who rescue her can see that she has fallen into a giant metal hand. As an adult, Rose is a scientist, and throughout the rest of the story she is being interviewed about her research on the same metal hand she discovered as a girl, as well as other body parts found throughout the world.

Classified as science fiction, I would not have picked up Sleeping Giants had I not heard so many great reviews from other readers who don’t typically gravitate towards that genre. It was compelling, creative, and well-written, and I was enthralled from the start.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, prince Rhen is forced to repeat the same season--fall of his eighteenth year--again and again until true love can break the curse. Harper, who exists in the modern world, gets taken against her will to Emberfall, Rhen’s kingdom. Often underestimated due to her size and cerebral palsy diagnosis, Harper is different from other girls Rhen has met. Her fierce determination to return to her dying mother and brother who is desperately trying to provide for their family make Harper a lot more than just a potential savior to Rhen’s curse.

I don’t typically go for fantasy or fairy tale retellings, but I kept hearing about this one and decided to give it a try. It went quickly, and I found myself engrossed in the story and wanting to find out what happens next. I loved Harper and appreciated the way cerebral palsy was a part of her life, but didn't define her character. However, I just couldn’t get into the last part of the book. Some of the fantasy elements were too much for me, and I also didn’t like the obvious way she set up the book’s sequel. I knew this book had a follow-up, but I have no interest in reading it. I’m glad I read this one, and it was a fun departure from my usual choices, despite not loving its wrap-up.

{wearing} a jumpsuit

My style is pretty classic, so I’m not one to jump on trends right away. (See what I did there?) Some I skip completely, but more often I just take my time and try things in a way that works for me. That has definitely been the case for me with jumpsuits, which have now been around for a while.

After trying on several jumpsuits with no luck, I recently found this one at Target and was surprised with how well it fit and how much I liked it. It’s not the most practical--unbuttoning all those little buttons in front is kind of a pain, but I love it regardless. The color is perfect for transitioning into fall, and I can imagine it with a thick cardigan and some mules once the weather cools down.

Have you jumped on the jumpsuit trend? 

{shop} jumpsuits 

These two wanted in on the photo shoot and I obliged. I think these photos convey their  personalities quite well: Violet - I'll do my thing; Jona - oh a camera, I'm supposed to smile! 

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} easy homemade donut holes

We've been trying to cut back on eating out this month, so last weekend when I was craving donuts, I decided to go the homemade route instead. I know there are lots of ways to do homemade donuts, but this muffin-meets-donut recipe I saw years ago on In Residence felt like the perfect easy solution.

My plan was to make them before everyone got up so that they could have a little surprise donut treat. Jona must have sensed that baking was happening, because he got up and helped me.

These look like little donut holes, but made in a mini muffin tin, so they're a perfect combination of two breakfast favorites. Whatever you do call them, donuts or muffins, they're delicious.

What's your go-to for a breakfast treat? 

{reading} backlist fiction

Over the summer I read a lot of books published this year, mostly because that is primarily what was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. (Anne Bogel rarely lets me down.) However, new books often mean longer wait times at the library, and recently I wanted a book and I wanted it NOW (just call me Veruca Salt), so I hit up my Goodreads for some backlist.

I picked up Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, a “big buzzy book” (as they say on the Reading Glasses podcast) from a few years ago. I remember hearing mixed reviews at the time, but it was a win for me.

Tess is a young college graduate who decides to shake up her life and move to New York, and lands a job as a “backwaiter” at a ritzy restaurant in the city. From the restaurant staff she learns all about food and wine, with a hefty side of drugs and partying mixed in. Simone, a long-time server, takes Tess under her wing and educates her on the restaurant and its patrons, cuisine, and fine beverages. However, when Tess falls for Jake, a bartender who has a known history with her new mentor, her laissez-faire restaurant life begins to get complicated.

I worked as a hostess and a server at a few restaurants in my younger days, and while my experience was far different from Tess’s, her story made reminisce about that part of my former life. I liked Tess. She was flawed and made some poor choices, yet I liked her earnestness and honest observations. It was a book I enjoyed getting lost in. I recommend reading this book with a glass of wine.

Have you enjoyed any backlist titles lately? 


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. 

{wearing} tie-waist pants

I can't say that I love to shop, but I do enjoy finding pieces to update my wardrobe. It's the process that I don't always enjoy, especially for certain items, like pants. Now a new pair of shoes I like, I swear I can blink them into existence. But pants? Pants shopping is a slog.

I took a chance on this tie-waist pair from Old Navy when I was ordering some clothes for Violet recently, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm loving this trend and how wearable it is--no buttons or zippers, just pull these on and go. The downside is they wrinkle so easily, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for comfort and style.

I love the polish that the fun tie-waist detail gives a look. The rest of my look is simple: just a striped tee, neutral sandals, and colorful jewelry. Are you a fan of this style of pants? 

{shop} similar pieces + more tie-waist pants

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} caprese pasta salad

While summer is not my favorite season, it does have the best produce, so I’m soaking it up while I can. Tomatoes are delicious right now, so I made a caprese pasta salad over the weekend. We had friends and family over for a barbecue, and I wanted a light, fresh side to balance the pork and ribs that Aaron smoked.

I followed a simple recipe I’ve been making for years from Iowa Girl Eats. I did leave out the arugula, only because I wasn’t sure if everyone would like it. Also, since I use regular pasta (she calls for gluten free because she is a GF blogger), it lasts for a few days in the fridge without getting soggy.

Our basil plant actually grew this year, so between that and the constant supply of tomatoes in my house since Violet LOVES them, a caprese salad may have to happen at least once more before fall.

What is your go-to summer side dish? 

{reading} Literary Mysteries

I love sharing what I read, but I was starting to get overwhelmed trying to recap all the books I read every month in one post. Instead, I'm going to focus on one or two that I loved and would recommend each week.

I am often drawn to thrillers, but too often I walk away feeling disappointed by them. I like the idea of a page-turner, and yet sometimes I find myself turning those pages just to get to the end already. With these books--both of which I would put in the literary mystery category, although Never Have I Ever did have a thriller vibe as well--I couldn't put them down, and at the same time I found them to be well-written along with being all kinds of compelling.


Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. The neighborhood book club has quite a shake-up when Roux, the new tenant in a run-down house down the street shows up at Amy's door. She gets the women to spill their secrets, yet when Roux hints that she knows things about Amy's past, things Amy has never shared, a game of cat and mouse begins. Roux soon realizes that blackmailing Amy wouldn't be as simple as she thought, and Amy learns that if she wants to beat Roux at her game, she has to face her past.

This was a bit of a departure from the other Joshilyn Jackson novels I've read, but I really enjoyed it. She is such a fantastic storyteller.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Lucy has always had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law Diana, yet from the outside they appear to be a perfect family. When Diana is found dead, with a suicide note nearby, everyone wonders what made her want to take her own life... if that is really what happened. 

Wow, this one drew me in from the very beginning and kept me guessing the whole time. The characters were incredibly well-written, and I didn't want to stop reading until I had the mystery of Diana's death figured out. 

The Mother-in-Law: A Novel

Have you read anything good lately? 

{wearing} animal print + I'm back!

Hey there! I'm dipping my toe back into blogging waters, but like my apprehensive six-year-old, I'm not too sure what will come of it. My blogging break was long and complete. Other than one guest post, I didn't do anything blogging-related since my last post in May. (I didn't even respond to comments. I'm sorry.)

Anyway, I'm going to try to get back into the groove, but keeping posts shorter and more focused. Each week I hope to what I've been wearing, reading, eating, and/or loving. I may not get to all of these each week, but having this limited focus will help me, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

I shopped a few Labor Day sales this weekend, and something I saw everywhere--even more than usual--is animal print. I feel like they say it's a trend every fall, but it really is out in full force right now. The leopard blouse I'm wearing today is old (it was a big "trend" when I bought it no doubt), but I have my eye on a few other leopard print items this season as well.

{what I wore}

{shop similar pieces below}

{on my wish list}

I have quite a bit of animal print in my wardrobe already, but I could be tempted to add some more. My wish list includes a leopard-print sweatshirt, leopard ankle booties, and a leopard midi skirt.

What's your favorite way to wear animal print right now?