What’s On Your Nightstand? | Book Recommendations & More | Melissa

 The Book Friends Series

Poppin' Bubbles-4.png

Hello & Spring in Vermont:

Good morning and happy Friday! How was your week? Spring is in the air around here and yesterday we finally had one of those beautiful sunny April days we have been waiting for! Spring in Vermont can be a rollercoaster ride and it isn’t uncommon to still have a mix of winter weather like we did earlier in the week.

We are used to this but it’s tough to welcome snow with the same feelings as we did back in November…its a long 6 months! Someone asked me on Instagram yesterday why we still have baseball practice inside right now for the kids. If you haven’t been to Vermont this time of the year(you are not missing anything!) we are currently experiencing the 5th season of the year…mud season…which if you can guess from its name, is quite the mucky mess! So they try and keep everyone off the fields until it dries out a bit more and usually, by the end of April, we are in the clear, but you never know!

Welcome, Melissa!

Today I am super excited to welcome my friend Melissa to my blog! She was one of my very first book friends on Instagram and it is quite amazing how much we have realized we have in common. She is truly the most wonderful and genuine person and I am inspired by her not only as a reader but as someone who is always trying to try and grow to be the best person and parent she can be.

She also has two boys that are a bit older than my own so it is helpful to have someone who has “been there and done that” when I need some advice or perspective on parenting(which is a lot!) 😉

I hope you enjoy getting to know Melissa today and be sure to follow along on her Bookstagram Instagram feed. She posts the most amazing book chatter and recommendations and is just a lovely person to know!

Nightstand Series Introduction:

Hi, I’m Melissa. I live in Illinois with my husband, our two boys (15 and 12), our old puppy, and our two cats. I work in the field of medical documentation and you can often find me running my kids somewhere or attending one of their meets or games. Free time is a rarity, but when I have downtime I like to do something relaxing, as I tend to get overwhelmed by too much stimulation.

As an 80s kid, I devoured the typical fare of Sweet Valley and Babysitters Club books, one summer reading about 70 of the Sweet Valley High books. However, reading at that pace, you run out of books pretty quickly, so I read just about anything I could find. This included Stephen King, V.C. Andrews, and, once when I was desperate for something to read at my aunt’s house, Hollywood Wives. None of them were really appropriate for a preteen, but that never stopped me!

During college and the early years of adulthood, my reading for pleasure slowed down drastically. It wasn’t actually until my youngest was a toddler that I picked up reading anything besides parenting books and articles again. We were visiting the library and, as my kids played, I noticed someone had left an adult book in the children’s section. After realizing no one was coming back for it, I took the book, Lauren Weisberger’s Chasing Harry Winston, home with me, finished it that night, and rediscovered the thing I had loved so dearly as a child. I would love to say that my reading took off again after that, but things tend to get in the way, especially when you’re a parent, so I continued to read but probably only a dozen or so books a year.

The last couple years, as my children have gotten older, I’ve found myself with a little more free time and discovered a little corner of Instagram where people are positive, kind, and happy to geek out with you over books fondly referred to as “Bookstagram”. I quickly fell in love, started my account @readalotwritealot, made some great friends and have grown my to-be-read list exponentially!

What are you currently reading?

The books on my nightstand only represent a few of the books I’m reading in April. I began There There last fall as a library book but only made it three chapters before having to return it. I’ve since picked up my own copy and am determined to find out what happens in the rest of the book! Bird Box was a Christmas gift and my husband keeps asking if I’m ever going to get to it so he can finally watch the movie, so I know I need to read that one soon!

The Silent Patient is one I’ve only heard good things about and I’m always up for a good psychological thriller. WITCHDOCTORPOET is the only book I’ve actually started so far. April is National Poetry Month and I was gifted this copy by the author and saved it to read this month. I’m loving the poems! Last, but certainly not least, is On The Come Up. Last year, Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give was one of my favorite books and I’m very excited to dive into her sophomore novel.

I jumped on the e-book bandwagon when they first became popular but quickly went back to regular books and hadn’t actually read any until this year. This month I’m working on some ARCs which include Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything and Fredrik Backman’s Things My Son Needs to Know About The World as well as my Amazon Prime First Reads Pick One Word Kill. I’m rediscovering the ease of reading on a tablet and enjoying not having to wear my reading glasses!

What are you listening to?

I had never done audiobooks before last year, but it was actually at Genevieve’s suggestion that I finally started listening to them and I never looked back! I’m currently listening to The Good Neighbor which is about Fred Rogers and read by LaVar Burton. I don’t think it gets any more 80s than that! I’m also planning to listen to Glenn Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior for my book club later this month.

What else is on your nightstand?

My nightstand, which is actually a piece of furniture that used to be in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, currently looks a lot more organized than it normally does! The Hello Kitty bin holds my reading paraphernalia, favorite candy, and odds and ends. My visor is from one of my favorite vacations and my IKEA reading lamp is perfect because I can set it on the bed and it moves with me as I stretch from one reading position to another. I love to write and I don’t idle well, so notebooks and a coloring book are a must.

Also pictured is a little jewelry dish that a friend gave me. I love earrings, bracelets, and necklaces and almost always have bobby pins in my hair, so this is the easiest way to keep the cats from stealing those things. Not pictured are the million little things that are sentimental to me stashed below, the water glass I always have at night, and many oils, lotions, and lip balms. I’m a very pale girl with dry skin. Hydration and multiple applications of moisture-retaining agents are a must for me!

Thank you so much for inviting me to do this, Genevieve! You’re one of my favorite people on Bookstagram and I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know each other in real life, too! <3


Thank you so much for sharing today, Melissa!! xo

What’s On Your Nightstand? |Book Recommendations & More | Elisa

Poppin' Bubbles-3.png

Hello & Checking In:

Good morning and happy Friday! The kids don’t have school today because of parent-teacher conferences and we are expecting a larger March snow storm today and tomorrow. I have lived in Vermont almost my entire life and I still get surprised when we have snow in late March and early April…I am not sure why! Once we have that sneak peek of spring weather it is easy to forget that it doesn’t come that easily around these parts. 😉

This week’s book friend on The Nightstand Series:

Today I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Elisa! Her oldest and my youngest are in the same kindergarten classroom this year. It is always fun to have mom friends that have kids in the same situation as you so you can discuss boring details that only they truly understand. We often text each other because we forget something or feel like we dropped the ball and it is always nice to know you are not alone!

Elisa is so sweet and is always up for an outdoor adventure with or without the kids. She loves coffee as much as I do and is always up for a 4:45pm cocktail and then popping by the grocery store on our way home at 7pm..we know how to have fun and get things done!

Elisa has amazing taste and is the co-owner of a local interior design company, Corduroy + Pine Interiors. She always has a new project underway at her own house and it made me laugh out loud to find out that she painted her bedroom wall just for the photos for this series…I think she was going to do it anyway but there is nothing like a little time sensitive motivation! I hope you enjoy learning more about Elisa today!

Introduction:

Hey, it’s Elisa! I also live in Vermont with my husband and three kiddos – two boys (6 and 4) and a girl (almost 3). I was mostly a SAHM for the past 6 years but recently started an interior design company with a good friend. I still stay home with my two youngest a couple days a week. As a family, we love to get outside whether for a walk/hike, playing at a playground or exploring a new place. I love coffee and red wine. I prefer to drink them out of the home, but also enjoy curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. These days, I probably read food blogs more than I do books. I’m always on a search for a good new recipe for myself (vegetarian) or something the kids will actually eat.

I go through phases with reading. I’m currently in a rut (a year-long rut), but hoping the books on my nightstand pull me out of it. Before moving to Vermont in 2011, I lived in DC and started a book club with my grad school friends, after graduating of course. This was the turning point for me in regards to reading as an adult. I started with one book a month and soon found myself reading 3-4 books a month. Then we moved to Vermont, bought a house, had a baby and reading just wasn’t a priority, sleep was. Ha! About three years after moving here, I organized another book club with some friends and we went strong for 2+ years, but then life happens. So here I am looking at my nightstand and feeling excited and hopeful.

Currently reading:

Truth be told, the books in the picture only represent half of the books on my nightstand, but they’re representative of all the books. I’m currently between two books, Becoming by Michelle Obama and Oh Crap! Potty Training. We’re getting ready to finally get my youngest out of diapers and probably a little late to the game. I bought this book when we were in the midst of training our middle child because it was not going as easily as it did with our first, particularly at night. It’s been our parenting philosophy that if we’re getting rid of diapers, then we’re getting rid of diapers which means no pull-ups. This was fine for our first, but our second was more difficult and I needed more advice on how to train for night time and this book helped so much. I’m currently re-reading sections as we get ready to train our youngest.

I love a good memoir and have so much love and respect for our former First Lady so when her book came out, I added it to my Christmas list. I ended up getting it for my birthday in early January. My husband says he ordered the large print by accident, but I’m wondering if he’s trying to tell me something. I did just turn 39, hmm… I’m loving it so far, I just wish I made more time to read it. Like a few other guest bloggers wrote, I don’t make nighttime reading a priority. By the time the kids get to bed and I finish all my other chores or work I wasn’t able to get to, I’m exhausted and/or just want to watch a show with my husband.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin, I’m borrowing from Genevieve. She recommended these books to help me get back into reading. They both sound really fascinating. I love historical fiction novels, so I think I’m really going to enjoy The Aviator’s Wife.

The last book in the stack is The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber. I bought this about a year ago and sadly haven’t really started it, but feel strongly about this topic. As our kids get older, we want them to truly understand the value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and family value of ours, giving back. When I bought this book, I also bought each kid a give, save and spend coin bank. Maybe this will be the year I read the book. As anyone else read this? I haven’t heard any personal recommendations about this, instead, I’m trusting the reviewers on Amazon.

What’s on my Kindle?

What’s a Kindle? Kidding. But seriously, I haven’t read a book on a Kindle or other electronic device, and not sure when I will. I really enjoy holding a book, and also try to limit my screen time.

What are you currently listening to?

Like books, I go through phases with podcasts and the only audiobooks I’ve listened to are from the Magic Treehouse collection – do these count? I’m not sure I was a good pick for this blog series, ha. I’m an NPR junkie. I love to listen to it in the car when not with the kids. I’ve recently started listening to the podcast, Brave Little State, by VPR and really enjoy learning more about our state.

What else is on your nightstand?

What you see or what is really there? In the picture, you’ll see a decorative box that hides my peppermint lip balm from Beautycounter, a dollar because you never know when the tooth fairy might need to show up and some random pieces of jewelry. Also pictured is our not-so-stylish landline phone for when the school calls to cancel or when a family member needs to get ahold of me. The real reason the phone is there is that I’m a paranoid person. When my husband travels, I like the security of having a landline phone close by. Not pictured – my Fitbit charger, cell phone charger, dust bunnies, and a random sock or other articles of clothing.

My nightstand is actually a cedar chest that my grandfather had built for my grandmother as a wedding gift. It’s not the most functional nightstand since there’s no drawer and I have to remove everything off the top when I want to access the storage compartment, but it’s perfect for the spot and an heirloom.

Thanks for inviting me to write for the series, Genevieve and for the motivation to finally paint my bedroom.


Thank you so much for sharing, Elisa! <3

What’s On Your Nightstand Series | Book Recommendations & More | Antonia

Poppin' Bubbles-2

Good morning! We are at the tail end of our week off from school and everyone survived! I didn’t get half of the things done that I had hoped to…but we had fun, visited with a lot of friends and got outside, despite the pretty frigid temperatures.

Today I am excited to introduce you to my future sister-in-law, Antonia! Antonia is a huge book fan and I always love hearing what she is reading. She is also a huge Harry Potter fan and has been reading the illustrated version with our older son and he looks forward to this time so much! She loves using the Libby App and our local library too and so it is always fun to compare notes on what we are both reading. I hope you enjoy learning more about Antonia today!

Introduction:
Hi! My name is Antonia, and I live in Charlotte, Vermont with my fiance, Derek, and our (almost) four-year-old pup, Mateo. I work as an Intensive Special Needs Special Educator in a local elementary school, and I really, really love my job. Some days can be long and challenging, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I recently graduated with a master’s degree in Intensive Special Education and didn’t have much extra time to read for pleasure during those two years, but I did spend a lot of my time reading textbooks and articles! Now that I am no longer in school, I love to spend my time running, taking Mateo for walks, spending time with my family and friends, and reading as much as I can!

For me, reading is part of my daily routine. I read every evening and night before I go to sleep. I have always loved to read. In college, I majored in English and got my license to teach high school English (which is always what I thought I’d do until I found myself in the special education world!). Because I loved reading and literature so much, my English classes never felt like work. I loved the range of English classes that my college offered, and enjoyed the conversations that came from the books that we were reading. Since I don’t have classmates to talk about the books I’m reading with, my fiance tends to be the recipient of the conversations, whether he is interested or not!

What is on your nightstand for books?
First and foremost, Harry Potter is on my nightstand and is ALWAYS on my nightstand. I’m sure that some of you are rolling your eyes at me, but I absolutely love the whole series. I don’t have a favorite of the seven books because I honestly feel that J.K. Rowling did such an amazing job telling one complete story, and each of the books was an important piece of it. I tend to read the series about once each year, and every time I do there are new things that I pick up on. I find it amazing that she knew exactly what she was going to write in book seven when she was writing book one, and that she was able to create this world that felt so believable, even though it is simultaneously so unbelievable. Her underlying themes of equality, love, and trust make this series so applicable to our world today. I could go on forever about Harry Potter, but that is not the only book on my nightstand so I will move on!

I currently have Ghosted, by Rosie Walsh in my pile of books that I am reading. It starts as a love story and turns into more of a mystery when one of the characters disappears. I’m still getting into this one, but I am hopeful for an exciting ending! I also just added More Than Words, by Jill Santopolo to my nightstand. I am excited to start this book, which seems to be a part love story and part tale of self-discovery. This book seems like it will be a quick and engaging read.

The book I am spending most of my time reading is The Cases That Haunt Us, by John Douglass. This is a book that I borrowed from my best friend’s dad, who used to be a Police Chief. This book contains stories of six of the most famous unsolved mysteries. I can’t put it down! If you are a fan of “true crime” I highly recommend this, and any other book written by John Douglass.

What is on your Kindle?
Currently, on my Kindle, I have Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty. This was definitely an interesting read. It took a couple of turns that I wasn’t expecting, but I wouldn’t consider it a mystery or thriller. It is about the experience of nine strangers who go to a health retreat that uses some questionable techniques with their clients. I am currently reading All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda, which so far I am really enjoying. It is a pretty standard mystery about two girls going missing ten years apart from the same town. It is definitely keeping my interest and has me excited for what will happen next! I just finished Beartown, by Fredrik Backman and I absolutely LOVED it! The story is about a small town that loves hockey more than anything, and how that impacts the culture and the expectations that the town has for the boys who play. Even if you are not interested in sports, I highly recommend this book.

What are you listening to?
I am not yet listening to any podcasts. I do have about an hour commute to work, so it is probably something I will start doing in the near future!

What else is on your nightstand?
In addition to the books on my nightstand, I always keep my lip balm. I am currently using an EOS mint flavored one. Every night before I get in bed to read I spray an aromatherapy pillow spray on all of our pillows. It has a eucalyptus scent that I now associate with relaxation and falling asleep! I also keep a framed photograph of Derek and I the day we got engaged because it was the best day and I love having that memory close. I also keep a rosewood scented candle and rose lotion there at all times. Finally, I am a big tea drinker (mint is my favorite!), so I keep a coaster on my nightstand, which I use almost daily.


Thank you so much for sharing today, Antonia! <3