Welcome to another edition of my reading list and book recommendations guest post series. Today I have my first guest poster that is a librarian! While I consider myself a big reader, librarians are on a whole other level of reading awesomeness.
Hi everyone! How is your week going? I can’t believe we are so close to the kid’s holiday school break, considering it feels like Thanksgiving break was just yesterday! We have been busy at work getting all our 2019 things tied up before we have almost two weeks off from school and this time of the year always feels like a race to the finish line.
We try to keep it low key with the holiday festivities but even so, it always feels like a lot. As much fun as this season is, the kids are always wired, the noise decibel is high, there is so much sugar EVERYWHERE and there are just so many things to remember(or a lot of times, to forget, in my case…ha)
I often struggle to try to find the right balance between being real and straight up whining and I think it can especially be hard online. Family life is great AND it can feel like so much. As the kids have grown older, some things feel much easier and some things feel SO much harder.
I have been feeling like I am treading water lately and while I know I am not alone it can sometimes feel that way. I am always grateful for friends, both in “real life” and online that remind you that NO ONE has it all figured out.
Today I am excited to introduce you to one of those people, my #bookstagram friend Caroline!
Caroline and I connected over DMs on Instagram. Caroline is part of the amazing #bookstagram duo @texacalibooks. Friends Caroline and Nina share about all things reading and for this post, I asked Caroline to share how @texacalibooks came to be…
Nina and I went to law school together and have been besties ever since. Nina had the account for about a year called “One Awesome Book” and about 50 followers. She kept telling me to start one too since we constantly gave each other book recs.
We decided it would be more fun to do it together since we don’t live in the same city. So we changed the name, got me added, my obsessive personality kicked in and here we are !!
We may live on opposite sides of the country, but we always end up having so many things in common. Her kids are a bit older than mine so I always appreciate her great perspective and advice.
We love chatting books, work/life balance, and COFFEE and she is just one of the sweetest most genuine people and her writing always makes me smile. I am excited for you to learn more about Caroline today!
Nightstand Series Introduction:
My name is Caroline and I live in Los Angeles with my husband, who I met in law school, and our two kids – Alexa is 14 years old and Beckett is 11 years old. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and went to the University of Arizona for undergrad and The Ohio State University for law school (go Bucks!). I am a partner at a law firm in Century City specializing in real estate finance and have been at the same firm for almost 18 years. Ack, I am old!
Simply put, I am a working mom constantly trying to find that elusive work-life balance and failing miserably. I work very long hours and every weekend so between that and having two very active kids who play club sports, there is not much time for hobbies.
My daughter plays soccer and is also on her high school lacrosse team and my son plays soccer, basketball, and baseball. Life in sunny California means club teams are year-round and I am that soccer mom who has a sweatshirt, tee-shirt, and hat for my kids’ soccer club that I wear while I pace on the side of the field.
I basically spend my time not working acting as their Uber driver to and from practices and cheering them on in games that are all over Southern California – as far south as San Diego and as far north as Santa Barbara. We had one weekend a few months ago where the kids had 9 games between them, all out of town and about 25 miles apart from each other.
But I do carve out a little time for myself every day by running about 3 miles very early in the morning (and in the dark!) before my kids are awake and I always make sure that I read before bed every night regardless of what time I am finally going to bed. I also have an intense love for coffee, Target, extra soft sweatshirts, sneakers, Hallmark movies, and Bravo shows.
We are family who loves to ski so we go to Utah every winter for a family ski trip and we also spend a week doing nothing but laying by the pool in Hawaii every spring break. In the summer our crazy lives come to a grinding halt because my kids each go to sleepaway camps in Wisconsin.
My husband is from Chicago so my son attends the same camp that my husband went to as a kid and my daughter attends the sister camp that is owned by a camp friend of my husband. So after a very hectic school and sports year, my husband and I have an empty house which is always weird. However, the time is filled quickly with work, scouring the camp websites for pictures of the kids and making sure that we are not messing up our son’s many fantasy baseball teams while he is away.
What Kind of Reader Are You?
I have been a reader my entire life. I was the dorky kid who brought a book everywhere with me. I remember being the only kid at sleepaway camp who actually read in the cabin during rest hour. The only time I had a lull in my reading was in law school because between all of the studying and working, there just was not time to read.
When I graduated law school, the chick-lit genre was just starting and authors like Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, and Helen Fielding sucked me in immediately and kickstarted my love for reading.
What Time of Day do you do Most of Your Reading?
I read in the mornings when I am getting ready for work. I put the book on the bathroom counter, propped open with hairbrushes while I brush my teeth, blowdry my hair, etc.
My son also reads before bed so if I can take a breather from reviewing documents for work, I snuggle up to him with my book. Also, I always read a little before I go to sleep. And I suffer from insomnia so I often read my books in the middle of the night with my little itty bitty book light.
The ultimate is when one of my kids has an out of town game and there is not a conflict between the schedules so my husband drives and I can read in the car. Freeway reading is the best.
Favorite Book Genres
I am all over the board right now in terms of genres. I still love chick lit the best but I am also very into thrillers, young adult, historical fiction and contemporary fiction.
My one real book confession is that I didn’t love The Goldfinch. It dragged on too long for me and I was impatient and bored.
What Are You Listening To?
I only listen to music in the car. My kids insist on it and I am usually at my office before I realize that I am still listening to whatever they put on. They went through a major Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen phase but now it is more pop music.
What Else is on Your Nightstand?
I always keep a glass of water on my nightstand because I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. Other necessities are my glasses because all of my reading at work has made me absolutely blind and lotion (I have a whole routine at night where I put lotion on my feet and then sleep in socks and my feet are nice and soft when I wake up.)
I have an alarm clock, my phone, the remote control that I have to keep on my side or my husband will find it and put on sports, a picture of my kids hugging each other so I can remind them that they actually do love each other, candles because this is LA and we have earthquakes, a flashlight because this is LA and we have earthquakes (see candles), my Casper light which is my most favorite thing ever and a little ceramic keepsake that my mom gave me when I was a little girl.
On the shelf under my nightstand is my stack of library books. I am a big library supporter which I love because I never spend money on books and I don’t have to worry about clutter when I am done reading them. The downside is that it also means that I am always a little behind on the hot new books and I am beholden to the library due dates. The struggle is real!
Thank you so much for sharing with us today! I hope you enjoyed learning more about Caroline. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Congratulations and welcome to the club!! As a lifelong book lover, it took me a while to move over to reading ebooks, but now I am hooked! I remember when e-readers and ebooks first came on the scene in a larger way and there was this idea that hard copy books would become obsolete.
Now that they have been a part of mainstream reading for some time now, I think everyone was able to see that they are just another option for reading and it doesn’t have to be one or the other! I will never stop buying books but ebooks have been a wonderful addition to my reading life.
What do I do now?!
Just like with any kind of technology, there is a little bit of a learning curve with reading on an eReader/Kindle but once you get the hang of it, it super easy! There are so many online resources that can teach you how to use almost anything now and the Kindle walks you through the set up similar to when you get a new iPhone.
Once you do the initial setup, you can adjust the font style and size, the brightness of the screen, etc. All of these things are easily changed depending on your reading environment and make it so you can see the screen whether you are in bright sunlight ore reading in a dark room. Reading on a Kindle is a lot different than reading on a screen like an iPad or phone, the biggest thing is that there isn’t glare.
Changing the size of the font is as easy as tapping the screen. I like reading with a larger font but it is totally a personal preference. You tap the screen to change the page and some people prefer to not have to turn the page quite as frequently.
An Amazon Account…
The biggest thing you need is an Amazon account (you don’t need a prime account but it can be useful). You need this account whether you are purchasing books through Amazon or borrowing them through your library with the Libby app…which I will talk more about in a bit. Once you log in you are able to get reading!
Kindle…ready to travel!
Kindles come with a USB charging cord that you can either plug into your computer or use with a charging block in a regular outlet. Once they are fully charged the battery lasts forever, like weeks! This is great for traveling and being on the go. Kindles have a screensaver that helps save battery life and come on after not be used for a bit.
MoKo Case for Previous Kindle Paperwhite Generations (prior to 2018)
This is also a personal preference but I always feel like anything is easier to hold and protect when it has a cover. Even though the newest Paperwhites are waterproof, they just feel more protected with a cover. I also love that they automatically wake up or put your Kindle to sleep when you open and shut them. I also feel that makes them feel more “book-like”.
I have had great luck with both the Fintie and Moko cases. There are a lot of cover color and texture options so there really is something for everyone! I would say that I have had the best luck with the covers that aren’t a fabric material because they are easier to wipe down and stay clean. And make sure to choose the option that works for the model that you have…just like with phones, the dimensions change just the slightest and the covers won’t fit properly.
How do I Get Ebooks Through The Library?!
Meet Libby! Although not every library participates, Libby is an amazing way to borrow ebooks and audiobooks for FREE! If you have used OverDrive in the past, Libby is the updated version of this and is much more user-friendly. All you need is your library card login information and password and you are good to go!
What does Libby do?
Libby is an app that allows you to listen to or read thousands of ebooks and audiobooks and also allows you to send them to your Kindle reading device, right from your phone!
Meet Libby PDF Guide
Back in May I worked with the wonderful technology librarian Susanna and taught a Libby Introduction class at our local library! Susanna worked hard to prepare a Libby Guide that we gave out at our class and also is available in a PDF format HERE. The first part is geared toward members of our local library(with that specific login information) but the rest of it is helpful for anyone who is hoping to learn how to best utilize the app!
In addition, Libby has a great Help Section on their website to help with common questions that come up…you can see that HERE.
Amazon First Reads & Kindle Book Deals
In addition to reading through Libby, there are also many other ways to read on a Kindle without spending a lot. A few months ago I shared about Amazon First Reads and reading on a budget HERE.
I also love searching for Kindle book deals. Every day different ebooks are on sale and you can find them easily by searching “Kindle book deals” in the Amazon search bar.
I try to share Kindle Deals of books I have read and loved in my stories on Instagram so make sure to be following along!
Book Bub Kindle Deal Updates Via Email
I also subscribe to Book Bub which shares daily Kindle deals via email(you can sign up HERE!) and it is a great resource!
I would love to help answer them…please leave a comment below and I will do my best to help find you the answer!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Hello! How is your week going? The last few weeks have been doozies…
Trading in backpacks & cleats for swimsuits & long summer days:
I am excited for a change of pace and tomorrow is the last day of the school year for our boys! While summer is always hectic in its own way, there are less scheduling demands and a lot more “carefree” days.
It does mean that I will be making way more lunches (I will miss you school hot lunch!) and less work time alone, but as the kids have gotten older it has become easier in some ways. After many years the pool is finally fun and there are so many things we can all do together now. I am looking forward to lots of ice cream from Cookie Love and making lots of summer memories.
Summer Reading Challenge:
Do you remember being a part of a summer reading program as a kid? I have vivid memories of it myself and visiting the library during the summer was one of my very favorite activities. We would walk or ride our bikes there and there was always something so special of having a stack of new books to dive into.
Now that we have a family of readers, I am super excited about the kids participating in the summer reading challenge at our own local library. I stopped by yesterday to talk with one of the librarians and was excited to check out the summer book log and sticker chart. Doesn’t it look fabulous? You can learn more about the Vermont summer reading program HERE. And if you are not a Vermonter, most libraries have a similar option so definitely check it out! <3
Currently remembering our night out…
After many weeknights and weekends of spring baseball for the boys, we belatedly celebrated Lucas’ birthday last Saturday and had an evening out, just the two of us. We headed down to Middlebury and had an amazing dinner at the Arcadian. I am a huge fan of Aperol Spritz and it was so nice to catch up over a couple of cocktails and some amazing pasta. I mean how good do these sound…
I had the crab pasta and Lucas had the squid ink pasta and I don’t know which one was better because they both were amazing and really complemented each other nicely.
I don’t talk about our farm life a lot on here but I had to share a photo of some of our neighbors, whom we also affectionately refer to as our other lawn mowers. They roam the farm and always look over to say hi when we drive by. Sometimes they are even in our driveway!
June is shaping up to be the best book release month! I read Mrs. Everything a few months ago via NetGalley and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy!! I was at Target before they were even putting the new books out on the shelves, and it was so exciting to see them getting unboxed. This is one of my favorite books of 2019 and I highly recommend checking it out! You can read my full review HERE.
I am going to have to do another skincare update on here because I have a few newer additions that I have just been loving…including Pixi Glow Tonic Glycolic Toner. I have always exfoliated with a physical exfoliator a couple of times a week, but I never had used a “chemical” unless I was at a facial.
During the last couple of months, I have incorporated this into my daily routine and it is amazing how much my skin has smoothed out. While I have the hormonal acne (mostly) under control, I have always had little bumps that popped up, especially on my forehead. I think they were tiny clogged pores and this stuff is magic!! I learned about it on the 10 Things To Tell You Podcast episode about skincare and it is life changing!
If you want to join Book of the Month and get your first book FREE you can use my referral link. You can skip any month or add any additional hardcover books for only $9.99 which is a great deal! I have seen some sneak peeks of the July book selections and I don’t know how I am going to choose!
Alright, that is all for now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week! <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps supports this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Today it’s another edition of Coffee Talk Wednesday! How is your week going? It has been a busy one work wise and I can’t believe we only have one week left of school before April break. After that, the rest of the school year flies right by…it snowed last night so it doesn’t feel like spring here in Vermont but I know warmer weather will be here eventually…
Our local library!! I had a great meeting this morning with Susanna at the Charlotte Library and I am excited about the project we are working on together to teach more people about the Libby App. I am talking about the Libby app in my next column for the Charlotte News and we are also planning a Libby Q&A in May.
I am so grateful to our town library for making reading so accessible for our family. We may live in a small town but the library love is strong here and so many people use it and appreciate it which makes me so happy.
It is also pretty amazing how much libraries have grown with the times to accommodate the ever-changing ways we consume content and media. Hard copy books aren’t going anywhere but the Libby app is such a wonderful way to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, for FREE! One of the things I love about reading is that is really is accessible for almost anyone, and there are so many amazing people and resources that make this possible.
There is nothing that makes me feel like more of a parent than when I prepare an afterschool snack for a group of hungry kids. I wouldn’t call myself super domestic, but I can make a mean bowl of popcorn. 😉
I love our Nordicware popcorn popper and it makes it so easy! I pop this thing in our microwave and 3 minutes later we have perfect popcorn that just needs a little salt! I like making it with oil and it reminds me of the popcorn maker we had in our high school lobby…so many memories!
Currently listening to…
I am still working my way through To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood on Audible and I am just loving it. It is so relatable and she has the perfect balance of her professional experience mixed with her own life as a parent. I am excited to share my full review soon!
No this isn’t a late April fools joke…I have been trying and loving Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Frog Prince. Now before you think I have gone way out of my comfort zone, this isn’t actually a green lipstick…but it adapts according to your PH and skin tone to create the perfect rosebud pink shade!
I love tinted lip balm and lipsticks that are moisturizing and this is another one I am adding to my lipstick arsenal. Its the perfect color and I love that it feels like a balm with the perfect amount of color.
I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday! xo
I love reading but it also is a habit that can add up quickly if you are buying all the books you are reading each month. Although I do love to buy books, I really try to be selective about what I actually buy, both for cost reasons and also because I really only want to have books in my personal collection that I truly loved.
I do a lot of research into the books I read and I am also a huge library book reader, both hard copy books and e-books through the Libby App. This allows me to read things without worrying about the guilt of buying it and then not always loving it. And when I do love it, I buy a copy and then have it to read again or share with my other book-loving friends.
I also love to find e-book deals online. One of my favorite things is to search for Kindle Book Deals over my morning coffee. It gives me the greatest thrill when I find a book that has been on my TBR list and I like to share these on my Instagram stories so I can share the love.
Last year I learned about Amazon First Reads. It is a program that allows you early access to new book releases as a prime member.
You are able to choose one e-book out of the six choices each month, for free! They are broken down by genre and it is a fun way to learn about new authors and have access to titles you might not have known about otherwise. Once you get the e-book it is yours to keep, so even if you don’t read it that month, it will be on your device when you are reading to read it.
This month I chose I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagan who I have enjoyed reading in the past. Have you used Amazon First Reads? I would love to know your thoughts! <3
“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost comes a tender and moving new novel about a woman at a crossroads after the death of her father, and caught between the love of two men.
Nina has always known who she’s supposed to be. But is that who she truly is?
Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And Tim–her devoted boyfriend and best friend since childhood–feels the same. But when Nina’s father dies, he leaves behind a secret that shocks Nina to her core.
As her world falls apart, Nina begins to see the men in her life–her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her boss, Rafael–in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she loves, and a passion that could upend everything.
More Than Words is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live.”
Do you ever feel hesitant to read a book when the first one you read by the author just blew you away? I loved The Light We Lost so much and when I heard that Santopolo was coming out with another novel I was excited but wondered how it would live up to her first one.
More Than Words was different than The Light We Lost but it sucked me in and I was deeply connected to the storyline and could feel the emotions of the characters. Santopolo is a beautiful writer that is able to build incredible depth and imperfection in her characters which I think makes her novels so much stronger and more relatable. On the surface, this book shared about Nina, who was an incredibly privileged young woman that grew up in New York City as the heiress to a family own hotel empire.
Once the layers started to be pulled back there were secrets and challenges that causes Nina to question not only her family history but her path forward. This was one of those books I had a hard time putting down and it was such an enjoyable read. I read it over the weekend and it was the perfect book to curl up with on the couch.
Definitely add this one to your list, and if you haven’t read The Light We Lost you need to check that one out too! <3