Life Lately…{September 1st, 2020}

Gen The Bookworm blogGood morning and a big shout out to all the parents who have made it to September! We may be smiling but are also crying on the inside, LOL.2020-09-01_0007We like to hide inside our L.L.Bean sweatshirts when we get nervous, which has been quite frequent lately. These striped sweatshirts were basically our quarantine uniforms March-June and these fall temps has us pulling them back out once again! While I have no affiliation with L.L.Bean, I would be happy to be their spokesperson if they are looking…

This summer has been a rollercoaster of emotions and while we have had many highs we also have had just as many lows. There have been plans that have had to be changed and many pivots in our daily family and work lives. We normally would have started school by now but this year we are starting after Labor Day which means we got a couple of extra weeks of summer. Continue reading “Life Lately…{September 1st, 2020}”

Q&A Part I | Photography, Sweatshirts, How I Started Reviewing Books & Monetizing a Blog! {Gen The Bookworm}

Q&A

Q&A Part I

I get certain questions on DMs and emails quite frequently that I thought might make for a fun blog post! These are some of my favorite things to read online because I like knowing random things about the people I follow along with!

I thought I would be able to answer all of these in one post but when I shared I was going to do this on Instagram stories, I received some more questions, so I am going to do a Part II soon!

Q: What kind of photography do you do?

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A: I work for my friend Kristy who is a family portrait photographer! She specializes in family photos, lifestyle newborn sessions, high school senior portraits, and professional headshots. I do a lot of her behind the scenes work including culling and editing her sessions. It’s the best! We also teach photography classes in the late fall through early spring when the photography season in Vermont is a little quieter!

Q: Did you go to school for photography?

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A: No! I majored in psychology and had no plans for going back to school after. I ended up learning DSLR photography kind of by trial and error and a lot of watching YouTube videos and searching things online when our first son was a baby.  I am a visual learning and I learn best when watching others so this was great for me. I fine-tuned some things later on through the workshops on Clickin Moms which is a great resource!

Q: What kind of camera do you use?

#bookstagram

A: While I do have a “professional-grade” DSLR (a Canon 5d Mark III) that I use in our workshops, I primarily use my iPhone!

I am a huge “documenter” and I like that I always have it with me to capture daily life. I do edit them a little, usually, by bumping up the exposure, and adjusting the temperature (warmth) and contrast a bit..all these things you can do right from your phone (I use Lightroom for regular editing).

Q: Do you have a book that you’ve tried to read multiple times and just can’t get through it?

Recursion

A: I usually just DNF (do not finish) books that I am not able to connect with. There are too many books to read one that you aren’t enjoying!

I do have a harder time with this when it is a book that has come highly recommended. I have tried multiple times to read Harry Potter and Recursion because they have been recommended to me SO many times…but I just can’t get into them! I keep trying though…

Q: Do you read any books you don’t like? It seems like you mostly rate books 4 & 5 stars!

I think I kind of answered this one above but I have no problem giving up and moving on to my next book if I am not enjoying something. I also do a lot of research with my book selections and have a lot of a book reviewing friends that have similar tastes in genres so that information helps with my success rate with books!

I do try and finish books that I have chosen to review so that is where some of my lower ratings will come from. You can read more about how I rate books in my FAQs section HERE.

Q: What made you start a blog? I want to start but it seems like it is so much faster(easier?) to just share on Instagram!

That’s a great question! I started my book blog a year ago because I was feeling like I wanted a centralized location for sharing reviews, recommendations, photos, etc.  I had previously just been sharing on @genthebookworm on Instagram. I think because I am someone who likes to write with a lot of details, I really liked the idea of not being restrained by a maximum amount of text and photos.

I also used to be a blogger and I started a decade ago! Some of you were around for that, but I spent the first 5 years of pregnancy and parenting blogging all about my experiences as a new mom. I stopped blogging (and also made it private) once our older son started Kindergarten. It just didn’t feel like it was my story to share anymore.

So blogging isn’t “new” to me but this format is very different than my old one which really was more of an online journal. Blogging has also changed so much in ten years, and so have our kids who are obviously much older now.

I love having a place to share that is devoted to my specific interests (reading, podcasts, favorite products, LL Bean sweatshirts…) and I like that it is my space to do whatever I want even if it is totally random.

And while I LOVE social media, I am fully aware that it can (and does) change all the time. I love the consistency of having your own spot on the internet that you can direct people to no matter where the internet tides go with algorithms, etc.

Blogging does take a lot of work. It isn’t particularly hard(and I kind of love doing it!) but it time-consuming. I have also been trying to implement SEO which takes me forever but I think it is worth it!

My Life Motto…

Done is better than Perfect

@stacieswift

I try not to overthink things too much because when you do that, you end up never doing anything! I  am terrible with typing too fast and spelling a million things wrong so I often have to go back and revise these posts a bunch of times. I do use and love Grammarly and it helps a lot!

Q: What are your favorite books from childhood?

favorite childhood books

Ohh this is a tough one! My favorite childhood picture book is Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I also loved Matilda and The Witches by Roald Dahl! As I got a little older I loooooved The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High and basically every book by Judy Blume.

Q: How do you have time to read so much?

I get this question A LOT, and I totally get it, I do read quite a bit. I think it is just like any other hobby or interest, I just really prioritize it. I bring my books (or Kindle) everywhere, and I do a lot of reading while I wait. I also read every night before bed instead of watching TV.

I don’t have any problem with TV, I would just rather read! And when I do watch something (Lucas and I get into documentary series sometimes) I ended up reading less because it is hard to do both!

I also listen to audiobooks when I am working on the computer, doing things around our house (like cleaning or folding laundry)  or commuting to and from work, so this really adds up.

Q: What percentage of your monthly reading are audiobooks?

This depends a little (I listen to a lot more audiobooks during the school year because in the summer I am never commuting alone!) but I would say I listen to 3-4 audiobooks a month and read the rest!

Q: What are your favorite sweatshirts?

LLBean pullover

This makes me LOL because I don’t think there has been a time that I have posted an IG story video without someone asking about my sweatshirt or pullover. My goal in life is to basically be able to wear a sweatshirt or pullover everywhere I go so this makes me so happy that there are other sweatshirt lovers out there. LLBean is my GO-TO!

Goodthreads Sweatshirt

I also LOVE my Goodthreads Sweatshirts from Amazon and I am wearing my Pale Grey Heather one right now!  I posted about these on my Bookworm Gift Ideas post but I have to share about them again because the light blue, medium grey, and charcoal grey are on sale! They are the coziest and I have been wearing them around the house like loungewear, over my tank top on the way to barre and out and about with jeans.

Q: Where do you shop? (I know you want to answer this!)

Ha! I do love talking about Talbots. But seriously, I do buy most of my clothes at Talbots(The T by Talbots collection is THE BEST!) I also get my jeans there and I love that they have petite lengths in the store!

Q: What is your favorite book?

American Dirt

The Most Fun We Ever Had was my favorite book of 2019 and probably ever. I also LOVED American Dirt (publishing on 1/20/20). If you pre-order any 2020 books, this should be it, it was amazingly powerful and I also COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

Q: How did you start reviewing books?

The #bookstagram community is very active on Instagram and that is where I first started writing about books (around 2015). In 2018 I started my public IG feed @genthebookworm as well as this blog so I could have a more organized and specific place to share my reviews. You can review books on many different social media outlets but I have found that Instagram is the most interactive and really feels like a community.

As far as how to get books to review, for a few years, I just reviewed books that I either purchased or borrowed from the library or the Libby app. As my readership has grown, book publishers, publicists, and authors now send me books to review which is such a great honor.

In 2018 I also became a member of NetGalley and that is how I get many of my ARC of E-books. Anyone can join and you just request books and you are approved individually by the specific publisher of the book.

The more exposure you can provide the more likely you will be approved. I will say that I was approved for many books just by posting on my @genthebookworm account on Instagram so you definitely don’t have to have a blog to get started. The more you do the higher your reviewing percentage is so that helps too when they are looking to approve you as a reviewer.

It is such an amazing way to read books before they are published and I love providing feedback that not only is helpful to the publisher and author but also helps other readers when they are deciding what to read next.

Q: How do you grow a following online?

I am not sure if I am super qualified to answer this but I really feel like slow and steady is the way to go. Consistency is key and finding your audience. I would rather have people that are really interested that are following along than just high numbers so I really think quality over quantity wins here.

I also love engaging with others and I think it helps when it feels like it is a conversation. Everyone handles this totally different but I will say that the people I know that DO have a large following, put A LOT of work and energy into it.

Q: How do you monetize a blog? Do you make a lot of money with your affiliate links?

I also don’t think I am the person to ask about this question, haha. There are many ways to monetize a blog. When I started blogging in 2009, sidebar ads were the way to go. Now sponsored posts and affiliate links are king and there are blogs and social media feeds that make A LOT of money.

I did add affiliate links this past spring because I was linking to everything anyway and figured, WHY NOT? Of course, it totally depends on what you are affiliate linking, but my links generally are for books.

The commission rates are higher for certain items and lower for others. For instance, higher end fashion and beauty products can have a commission of around 10% of the purchase price! Books are lower, I think around 3 or 4% so this means that if you do buy a book through one of my links, I will make around $.25-.50 as a commission on that sale(it does not change the price you pay!)

So on average, I make around 10-15 dollars a month. While I appreciate it, I definitely am not doing this to try to replace my regular work income. My goal right now is to cover the costs of my WordPress site, hoping this will happen in 2020! 😉


Alright, I am going to do the rest of my Q&A is another post next week, so stay tuned. And thank you for taking the time to send a question, I appreciate it. <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!

October 1st, 2019 Book Releases {New Book Publications}

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October Book Releases:

It’s October 1st which means we are starting a great month of new book releases! If I were a book, I would like to be published in October because not only is it the best month ever but it is my very favorite time of the year to read! There are so many awesome books coming out during the next few weeks and before the holidays when new book releases tend to slow down a bit until the new year.

Now that we are back into regular routines because of the school year, I am trying to get back into some of my weekly blog series too. I always love sharing new book publications and so here are some I am excited about today!

fairplayeverodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky was released today and Reese’s Book Club just announced it is their October 2019 book selection! I love that it is going to get so much attention now because this topic is so important.

While we have learned a lot as the years have gone by, figuring out the daily logistics of life with work, marriage, kids and household tasks is a constant juggling act. Fair Play both takes on and tackles the topics of the mental load, second shift, emotional labor and invisible work that in the 21st century still cause a great imbalance in many families ‘ home lives.

Fair Play was a 5-star book for me and was such an awesome conversation starter in our own marriage. The book is relatable while also having a proactive approach to managing household/family/life tasks while also balancing your own goals and desires.

You can read my full review of Fair Play HERE.

It is also one of the upcoming book choices for our Better Together Book Club and I can’t wait to discuss it more then.

Gen The Bookworm

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

Can you believe I just read The Tattooist of Auschwitz two months ago?! It was on my TBR list for a while but when an ARC of Cilka’s Journey arrived in my mailbox I knew I needed to prioritize it ASAP.

Cilka was one of the characters in The Tattooist of Auschwitz and I was interested to learn more about her. Cilka’s Journey is a powerful story that was inspired by the true to life experiences of Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor Cilka who ends up in a Siberian work camp after being charged as a collaborator for “sleeping with the enemy”. This novel is not an easy read as it confronts the issue of rape during wartime.

While this story does focus on the atrocities that happened to Cilka(and many others), it also shares the heroic efforts she was a part of. Cilka has a compassion for others that guides her through the toughest of times and this part of the story was both heartbreaking and utterly compelling. How Cilka chose to use the gifts she was given to help others was so powerful and a reminder of the beacon of light in humanity even in the most horrific of times.

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Your Turn by Dr. Tyra Manning

“Writing my stories helps me remember the good times and the worst of times, and offers me the opportunity to understand them. Writing and celebrating my stories helps me heal. Hindsight gives me many gifts: clarity, acceptance, forgiveness, and new perspectives on past experiences. I am not unique in having lovely and sometimes sad stories in my repertoire. Sharing our life stories teaches us that we have more commonalities than differences. It brings us closer.”

-Dr. Tyra Manning

I love anything that helps remind us that we are more alike than different. I have always been a big fan of sharing our stories because it can help us connect and also help us feel less alone.

Your Turn is a guide and collection of personal essays that demonstrates how to share more effectively and find meaning in the ups and downs of our lives. Manning shares her own personal stories while also providing writing prompts to encourage you to start sharing too.

Thank you to Book Sparks for sharing an advanced copy with me. 

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…{Photographer Life in the Fall, Embracing The School Bus, Cozy Sweatshirts, Pure Barre Milestones & More}

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Checking-in:

Good morning and happy Tuesday! I am working from home today so I thought I would prioritize checking in here. September has been jam-packed and it has taken a bit to get back into a routine. The boys are happy at school and Kristy and I are adjusting to our regular work hours again which has been nice!

Fall Photographer Life…

This time of year, work is filled with editing lots of school photos, high school senior portraits and lots and lots of family sessions! It feels nice to have our longer workdays back again as this is definitely our most hectic work season. Our family has also made a big transition that has added 30 minutes to my own workday…the boys are now taking the bus home from school!

small town lifeOur kids started at a new school last year so it was a lot of new things all at once so we took our time making all of the changes at once. This year they were ready and it has been wonderful and also a time saver.

Buzz and our neighbor dog Mason love meeting them at the end of the driveway. I am trying to prioritize walking to the bus stop instead of just grabbing them in my car on the way home if I have the extra time. It is nice to have that quiet transition period between my workday and full-on family mode again and the weather has just been amazing. I even grabbed an iced latte one day for my walk and it was pretty much perfection.

Currently Enjoying…Fall in Vermont

Fall in VermontWe have had an amazing month of weather and I am hoping fall hangs on a little longer than last year! Fall in Vermont is amazing when the stars align, but often it ends up being super warm or freezing! We have had that perfect September sweatshirt weather for the most part which is my very favorite.

Sweatshirt & Highschool Shopping Memories

Abercrombie pullloverI grabbed this fleece pullover from Abercrombie the other week for $25 (I used the Honey plugin and the sale codes stacked!) and it is so cozy! It also makes me giggle to think about shopping there because I remember when we got an Abercrombie store when I was in high school and I haven’t shopped there since. We don’t have one of these stores anymore but I will never forget how you could smell it from a mile away…yikes!

While I don’t plan on doing my regular clothing shopping there (don’t worry Talbots, I still love you the most!) this fleece pullover is awesome! I ordered a size large and it is a roomy and comfortable fit.

Peaches & Beeswax Wraps

beeswax food wrapA couple of weeks ago we went peach picking. It was fun and we just picked enough to eat. We didn’t make anything creative with them but they were amazing sliced and also on top of overnight oats. I have been trying to be better about having a filling breakfast and these are great. I soak the oats with some milk and chia seeds overnight in our fridge and I have been using these reusable beeswax food storage wraps to cover the bowl instead of saran wrap. I thought this 6 pack was a great deal and we use them for covering everything!

Currently Baking…

fall recipesSo we didn’t bake anything with our peaches but we did have great luck with this Carrot Apple Bread! Me actually baking is a lot like capturing a butterfly with your iPhone, it doesn’t happen a lot! I find it incredibly frustrating because you have to measure everything so accurately and I always make the biggest mess. But after some inspiration from The Kitchen Table restaurant, I knew I needed to try and recreate their dessert bread from their Fall Harvest Dinner. This was a great duplicate and was super moist and include the perfect flavors of fall.

Currently Loving…Ursa Major!

Ursa MajorSpeaking of more eco-friendly options, I was so excited to see that they having Ursa Major products at The Lodge at Spruce Peak. I loved that they have reusable containers and are featuring a great Vermont product!

I normally use my own shampoo and conditioner when we travel because I am picky, but I couldn’t wait to use this! The Daily Shampoo & Conditioner are amazing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Body Wash but the body lotion was awesome! It makes me happy that so many hotels are continuing to get rid of single-use containers too!

Currently Loving All Things Stripes…

funnelneck sweatshirt

Speaking of favorites…I will never stop loving anything with stripes. The other week I shared about my love for the Striped Funnelneck Pullover from LLBean on IG stories because it was on sale. So many people DMed me back and said they loved it so much too!  Then a few days later I ran into my buddy Katherine who was wearing it at the grocery store! It’s the best, seriously.

Currently Loving…Beyond Booked Book Sleeves!

Beyond Booked book sleevesI love being able to support my friend’s small businesses when I can and my Bookstagram friend Tancy recently opened a book sleeve shop on Etsy! It has been a great way to safely transport both my paperback and hardcopy books around and I especially love the Rifle Paper Co. fabric choices!

Pure Barre in the Wild…

pure barre pop up classI love bringing my books just about everywhere and a few weeks ago they visited the Pure Barre Pop Up class at Perkins Pier. I have never taken an exercise class outside before and it was the perfect cooler weather and cloud coverage for doing Pure Barre in the wild.

Currently Loving…Fall Soccer!

Fall soccerFall soccer is in full swing and our younger son still isn’t sure about actually playing soccer but he loves running around with his buddies…If you have ever seen a 1st-grade soccer game, it is something else!

I am not super competitive and I wasn’t ever great at sports myself, but I always loved being part of the team and community of the sports teams I was a part of. It makes me happy they love this part of it too.

Pure Barre Socks & Milestones

Pure Barre 750 classesSpeaking of communities, a few weeks ago I celebrated 750 Pure Barre classes since I joined the Pure Barre community in August of 2015. While I love the workouts, I love my friends there even more. It has been such an incredible source of support and a great way to make adult friends.

I still find the classes incredibly difficult but I love seeing how much progress I have made, personally. When I first began my core strength was zilch and now I can (usually) do a plank for 90 seconds, which is huge for me. Like many people, I have certainly had body image and eating issues in my life and I love that there is a wonderful focus there about being your best self and working out to be healthy and strong.

barre socks

I also have found my new FAVORITE barre socks. They just started having them in our local studio as well but I found one of my pairs on Amazon HERE. I wasn’t sure if I would like the criss-cross straps but they are super comfortable and they stay sticky month after month! I am size 8.5 in women’s shoes and I have the size small socks.

Currently Reading…

current audiobookLast week I finished The Dearly Beloved on Audible and I highly recommend it!! I am little behind on my book reviews on here but if you are looking for an audiobook suggestion, this one was fabulous! And hopefully, my full review will be up soon.

On my Kindle, I have been catching up with some of my NetGalley & Edelweiss advanced reader books because there are so many books that will be published in October!

Alright, I think I have chatted on long enough here but I hope you enjoyed this random assortment of things I am currently loving!


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small percentage that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky | G.P. Putnam’s Sons {Book Review}

Book review of Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Book Summary:

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.

Publication Date:

October 1st, 2019

Genre:

Time Management, Gender Studies, Parenting & Family Life

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

fairplayeverodsky

(LINK to Fair Play by Eve Rodsky)

If you follow me on social media, you know I have been going on and on about Fair Play but I am just so excited about it. I love parenting books, I love self-help and relationship books and as soon as I saw the premise of this I knew I needed to read it ASAP!

The Adjustment to The Roles in Parenthood…

The adjustment to parenthood did not happen super easily for us both personally and in our relationship together. It was a huge transition and we struggled in many ways as we navigated our new roles and expectations of one another.

“On many days, feeling the full weight of exhaustion that would seize me the moment my baby was down and I was finally offline, I’d wonder What did I do all day? When even I couldn’t answer the question, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d lost all control of my time. Sound familiar?”

While we have learned a lot as the years have gone by, figuring out the daily logistics of life with work, marriage, kids and household tasks is a constant juggling act. Fair Play both takes on and tackles the topics of the mental load, second shift, emotional labor and invisible work that in the 21st century still cause a great imbalance in many families ‘ home lives.

Relatable and Proactive!

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky

Not only is Eve Rodsky’s writing accessible and totally relatable, but it is also helpful! I love a good plan. I feel the absolute worst when life feels tough and I don’t know what my next steps are going to be. Even when things are still rocky, when I am moving forward, things always feel more manageable.

Rodsky created a simple and straightforward approach to help equitably restructuring the balance of domestic “duties” while also factoring in time to focus on creative and personal growth so that everyone feels fulfilled and happy.

While our relationship does follow a similar path as Rodsky’s (heterosexual married couple with kids) she has also done her due diligence. Rodsky worked with 500+ couples to include a wide variety of multiple social constructs that can alter perspectives, challenges, and accessibility so this book really is for everyone!

More Information…

Eve Rodsky’s Q&A on her own website is super informative if you are looking to learn more about why she took on this project. Resources like this are so awesome to help raise awareness of these important conversations that are so important to navigating family life.

Thank you to Putnam for sending this amazing book mail and to Edelweiss for an ARC ebook edition.

***On October 1st, 2019 Reese’s Book Club Hello Sunshine chose Fair Play for their October 2019 book club selection!! You can read more HERE on their Instagram page and this article is a great summary of what Fair Play is all about! Congratulations Eve, what a well deserved accomplishment! <3

 

Social Media Roundup {What’s New & Recent Posts}

Gen The Bookworm Instagram

Checking-in:

Hello out there! How is September going for you? Besides the semi-regular book review posts, it has been very quiet around here. I will eventually get back into the swing of things and be back with more regular Currently Loving posts, guest posts and that old summer vacation to Maine post I promised a couple of weeks ago…oops!

The “B” Word

I try not to use the “B” word (BUSY!) because it is one of my pet peeves but this time of year would probably fall into that category with work obligations…I like to say it is just a little more hectic and blogging on here doesn’t fall high on my priority list because that is really what it is. While my photography work is year-round, this beautiful time of the year in Vermont means we are running in high gear and our days are full.

I certainly have some free time but I am just doing other things, like putting away laundry while listening to my audiobook!! I do a lot of extra things in the morning before the kids wake up, but if doesn’t get done, it gets pushed off to the next morning and the blog posts tend to fall into that category.

I am NOT a computer before bed kind of person and I think it is important to have some time of the day to just “be”. Reading before bed is sacred to me, and I tend to read even more when life is hectic because it helps shut my brain off and wind down. Do you do this as well?

Busy as a Status Symbol

Busy has somehow become some kind of status symbol which is a bummer to me. Have you noticed this too? I think maybe because we see so much more of each other’s lives because of social media posting in general, which can be a great thing in many ways! 

I love when it helps make me feel less alone, or feel connected to someone else experience the same thing. But usually, if you have time to write about how BUSY you are, well, yeah…

Blogging vs. Social Media Posting

Anyway, I love blogging because I have a lot to say and sometimes(most times…) I reach the maximum amount of text on Instagram, ha! But blogging is a process, and so posting on social media tends to reign supreme when I have a smaller chunks of available time.

So if you are wondering what I have been up to, you can find some links to my recent Instagram posts below. You can also find me at @genthebookworm if you are interested in following along on a regular basis!

Instagram Roundup:

Gen The Bookworm

The Hard Copy/Audiobook Juggle with The Dearly Beloved

Gen The Bookworm

Cilka’s Journey Book Mail & The Tattooist of Auschwitz 

Gen the Bookworm book reviews

September Reading & Seasonal Reading Preferences…

bookstagram made me do it

Bookstagram Recommendations!

do you write in your books?

Hot Topic: Do You Write in Your Books?!

Pure Barre Vermont

Books & Barre

Fair Play by Eve Eodsky

Eve Rodsky presents the challenges of the “invisible work” of motherhood and then goes on to share a solution!


I hope you have a great rest of your Tuesday! <3

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work, Wireless Headphones, Barre Necessity & Fun at the Fair!

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Checking-in:

Hello! How is your weekend going? I am sitting down with a big mug of coffee to write this and then I need to finish editing a wedding because we are leaving for MAINE tomorrow!!

Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work!

During my heavy editing season audiobooks get me through the long hours of sitting at the computer. My work is heavily creative so I am able to listen while I work which is amazing! Speaking of audiobooks, I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had this past week which I alternated reading and listening too. I shared more over on Instagram but I think it might be my favorite book ever!

Audible book

 

I also decided to go the Audible route to help finish Red, White & Royal Blue and it is amazing on audio. I am hoping to finish it today. Have you read this yet? It has had some raving reviews and I can see why.

Wireless Headphones for the Win!

I had a lot of DMs about which headphones I have after I posted about them HERE.

I have the Tao Tronic wireless headphones. I got them last year after reading a lot of reviews and not being sure if I wanted to make a huge financial commitment. These are currently on sale for $39 and are awesome! I strongly dislike earbuds(and I can’t get them to stay in my ears) and I don’t care about whether I look cool or not, so they are great!

They have many uses which include listening to audiobooks and tuning out your noisy family. I also wear them at work when I am listening to a true-crime podcast because Kristy is afraid of them, ha! I also love wearing them around the house when I am vacuuming or putting away laundry…it makes the time fly by! I also love that I can listen to something without having my phone right next to me because I get less distracted by it that way.

Busy Season:

This last week has been a lot of tying up loose ends and finished all our work projects before we took a few days off. Summer in Vermont is short but intense and that means photography work here is similar. During the summer we are in a constant cycle of editing, lots of backend communication and sending out galleries and prints, etc. This does not even include all the work Kristy does to take the photos!

I am lucky to work with someone who is so organized because it is a lot to manage. Kristy recently set up whiteboards that look similar to the patient boards they have at hospital nursing stations, and it is fabulous!

Childcare in August…

The last couple of weeks before school usually mean that summer activities have ended and beloved babysitters have headed back to college! This means we did a lot of working with kids this week which is always a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

They were at home with me, at work with Lucas, spent some time with grandparents and also came to work with us at Kristy’s. Flynn’s mismatched shoes are a good representation of this past week inside my head, ha!

Summertime Self-care:

While I haven’t been going as regularly, barre is essential to my mental well being so I have been prioritizing that as much as possible. During the school year I go on my way to work but these days I go whenever I can get there, early morning, midday, or afternoon classes.

This is probably good for me as I am a very routined person and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have met some new barre buddies which is always the best! I still freak out if I can’t go in my specific spot in the room though…baby steps!

Fitting in Reading:

I bring my kindle along with me during the day and read when I can but most of my reading during the summer happens in the evening. During the school year, I have a lot more chunks of alone time in between meetings, appointments, and dropping off and picking up the kids. This time of the year, I AM NEVER ALONE, ha.

Kids Books We Love…

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Julia Rothman Collection

Speaking of kids and reading, I get a lot of questions about how we get our kids to love reading. I am not an expert by any means but my love of reading came from being read to as a child and always having access to books.

I vividly remember riding my bike to the library and picking out whatever books I wanted to read…and then trying to figure out how to ride home while carrying them out without the foresight to bring a bag, ha!

(Ninjago | Dog Man | Pokemon Essential Guidebook | Frog & Toad Storybook Favorites | The Julia Rothman Collection )

So we have always read with our kids and had a lot of books around. We also try to be open-minded about what they want to read, even when they are into super annoying books like Pokemon, Lego, and graphic novels like Dog Man and Hi-Lo. I know people have strong feelings about this but I a big believer in the idea that reading is reading even if some of it might not be “ideal”.

We try to enforce at least 20 minutes of reading time a day whether it is on their own or with us.  This has been a bit lax during the last couple of months but during the school year, it is a before bedtime requirement.

I had big plans to do a whole post about book suggestions that our kids love last spring and I never got around to it. I have big plans for September and I plan on sharing a more detailed post then!

Vermont Summer Living…

We have been embracing all the wonderful parts of this time of year while also looking forward to school starting again so we can get some of our regular structure back. Summer is great and school is too!

Addison County Fair & Field Days!

Speaking of embracing the wonderful parts of this year, I never posted about our trip to the fair! We visited the Addison County Fair last week which has been one of my summer traditions since I was a toddler myself. I love reminiscing about all my memories there while also seeing how much our kids love it. Lucas grew up in the big city of Burlington so he is still unsure about it all but I think it is growing on him. 😉

We planned accordingly so we could attend the Demotion Derby. We also had lots of fair food including fried Oreos. It was a pretty rainy week but this night ended up being just beautiful.

End of Summer Reading:

We have been soaking in all in and I have big reading planning to finish off our summer vacation. I am a last-minute packer but I have been thinking about what books I want to bring to Maine for weeks!! I think I have narrowed it down and I will keep you updated over at @genthebookworm.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! <3

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…August Transitions, Being a Tourist in Your Own Town & Summer Nights

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Checking-in:

Hi everyone and happy Friday night. While I may not be drinking coffee right now, I did just have some espresso gelato, so that counts right?

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After a fun week of camp for the kids and work for us, it feels great to have no plans tonight. We may live in a small town but we live close to a lot of amazing food options and tonight we visited Pizza On Earth for some to-go pizza. We picked up two pies and also each had a little cup of gelato, before dinner! I know, just living on the edge over here….It was delicious and was such a good reminder of the ease of summer nights.

August Transitions:

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(image from Positively Present)

August is a big time of reflection for me on what has worked so far this past year and what might need some adjusting. Now that both our kid’s schedules really follow the school calendar it really does feel like the end one of one year and the start of a new one in so many ways.

This past week the kids were in a day camp which allowed me to have a lot more work hour available since school ended back in mid-June. This time was also a great indicator of how I can work smarter once we are back to this “regular” schedule in a few weeks.

While I got a lot done, it was also a reminder of how much I have to catch up on and the “pile” seems so high right now it feels a bit overwhelming. I talked about this on Instagram the other day but I have felt like I am just treading water over here during the last couple of months.

I have a supportive partner and many helpful resources that I don’t ever want to take for granted but it still often feels like I am just trying to stay afloat instead of making progress forward. I love to share my highlights on here but there is also the reality of life with two working parents and the endless cycle of family life at this stage and it is just something in the background that we are constantly navigating.

Academic Calendar Planner:

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So with that in mind, I always follow the academic school year with my planners and it feels nice to have a “fresh start” as we transition back into more structure and routines.  I love sitting down at the beginning of the school year and penciling in all the important dates and not having to wait until I have a new planner for the “new year” in January.

I am a paper planner person all the way and I just love having a physical calendar in front of me. I have tried many brands of planners over the years(Erin Condren, Emily Ley, etc), and have been the happiest with Bloom planners and they also have a great price point.

Day Designer wall calendar

In our kitchen, we also have a shared calendar which includes appointments, events, practices, etc that all of our family can refer to. The Day Designer wall calendars are wonderful for this and I love that they have so many color and print options depending on your style and preferences

It Takes a Village…

 

Swim team ended for us last week and it was the end of an intense but wonderful month and a half of daily swimming and the wonderful community that comes along with it. I think a lot about “our parenting village” and I am so grateful to have made friends in many different areas of our family life.

I could not have done so many things this summer without the help of these people and it was such an important reminder about how small things really do add up. I remember hearing about this elusive “village” when our kids were very young and feeling not quite sure how you created one.

I will say that saying just hello and finding something in common with another person can the gateway to lifelong friends.  It is also important to remember that most other people feel the same way as you and would be happy to have a new friend or just someone to chat with for a bit.

This summer I also learned about hard cider seltzer, I am always late to these things but I love how delicious and dry these are, and these tiny cans are a perfect size!

Currently Loving…Beyblades!

 

I don’t think I can talk about some of the successes of summer without giving a shout out to the ultimate friend maker & connector, BEYBLADES. The boys were introduced to these this past spring by some friends at school and it has been a “bey bonanza” since then…You don’t need a lot (and they were using a pizza pan for their “arena” in the photo above, my friend Jess is super smart!) and they are hours of fun.

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I had never heard of these things before but I guess they were a thing that has come back as of recently… Anyway, the kids are playing with them now as I write this and they only argue about them I’d say 50% of the time…so I would call that a win!

Speaking of the Kids Arguing…

If you talk to any other parent this time of year, they will probably say the same thing…school can start anytime now and THE KIDS NEED TO BE SEPARATED!!! Our kids truly do spend the entire summer together, so I totally get it, but oh man, the drama! So last weekend we decided to each go our own way with one of the boys, and it was BLISS!

Being a Tourist In Your Own Town/State…

There is something so fun about soaking in all the activities right where you live. Vermont is a place a lot of people visit for vacation and we are lucky to live here all the time.

Owls Head Farm PYO Blueberries…

We have an annual tradition of hitting up Owls Head Farm at our old stomping grounds in Richmond, and we were excited to go for the pick 6 quarts get a 7th free deal.

Our younger son is an amazing berry picker and he is at the perfect age to still think this is totally fun and cool(not so with the 9-year-old!) so we completed this task in under an hour. It was the most beautiful summer morning and the berries were big and delicious.

 

Swimming at Warren Falls:

 

How gorgeous and clear is this water? I drove over the Lincoln Gap with our older son and hit up the swimming holes at Warren Falls. He “snorkeled” (with his goggles) and I sat reading my book with my feet in the water. It was amazing.

 

If you don’t have Chaco Sandals, are you really a Vermonter? 😉 We also explored the area where people jump in and he went quite a few times while I watched and took some photos. My river jumping days are over(long story for another day!)but it was so fun to see him so excited about it!

Canteen Creemee Company

 

We didn’t drive all that way to not try out the Canteen Creemees and they were amazing!! I had the chocolate mint which was great but the maple creemee was out of this world!!! It was topped with maple cotton candle and while normally don’t do a lot of extra toppings (besides rainbow sprinkles) it was the perfect addition.

Currently NOT Loving…Packing Lunch!

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After packing lunches for the boys for many years, we have fully embraced hot lunch at school..so my packing skills were a little rusty when we had to break out the old Yum Boxes for camp this week. I did okay on the first day…but it went downhill from there. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding your kids at home or packing it for them, the food disappears faster than you can buy it and their opinions change on the daily…

One of my top parenting hacks is to get cafeteria lunch if your school has that option. Ours is amazing, well balanced and they have so many more options than the dismal options that were available when we were kids. It is such a time saver and also money saver as buying everything to pack in a lunch box (the two above were lunch and two snacks) is quite expensive, especially if you have big eaters.

Currently Reading…

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It has been a little slow in the social media department as this week was very work-focused for me but I have been quite doing a bit of reading in the evenings. I finished The Forever Summer which was a perfect summer read (predictable yet enjoyable) and Life and Other Inconveniences was published this past week if you are looking for another one to add to your end of summer reading list! The Wedding Party is coming up next for me, and I have heard great things.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3

Coffee Talk | Currently Loving…Maine, Worklife Balance, A $12 Romper & An Upcoming Photography Workshop

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Checking-in:

Hello!! Who else cannot believe it is the last day of July?! It always happens but after the 4th of July summer just speeds right on by. I am excited for August because we have some of our very favorite annual traditions during the next few weeks, including a visit to the Addison County Fair & Field Days…and a family trip to Maine! Here are some photos from our visit last year…

Work-Life vs. Blog Life

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Someone asked me how summer was going with work and the kids yesterday…and I think I was like “ummmmmmmmmm”.  My editing work is going fairly well because I have had some consistent childcare which is essential.

And everything else, well you can just look laptop screen and figure that one out…ha! I think it is easy to envision working “part-time” as an ideal setup (well I did anyway!!) but I often just feel pulled in all different direction and kind of feel like I am not doing anything very well.

I try to be as organized as I can but and my schedule has so many pluses but the reality is, it can feel really tricky, especially this time of the year. There are so many wonderful parts of this stage of parenting but it’s when work and family life overlap that things feel challenging and that happens more than I would like during the summer…

We have had many conversations about how to make things work the best for our family and it is really all hands on deck this time of year. While we do have a small amount of paid childcare, Lucas also takes the kids one afternoon a week which is something we figured out after reflecting on what worked and didn’t work last year. We also are lucky in the sense that my busy work season is the opposite of his, which helps everything feel more manageable.

I also have been saying NO to work lately which is really hard for me but I don’t want to say yes and not be able to give my all to someone or something. It is helpful to remind myself that just because I can’t do something right now, does not mean that chance or opportunity goes away forever…and sometimes the timing might be even better at another time. 

I am planning two articles for the newspaper after taking a little month summer hiatus, a new Mom Book Club at the library(with some amazing guest speakers!) in the fall and a lot of other ideas are stirring around in my head. It is hard not to get ahead of myself.

I get so excited about so many things but I also need to be realistic about the amount of time I actually have to work with. School and “regular life” will be here before we know it and so I am trying to really enjoy these last few weeks of summer without thinking about all the things I could be doing “better” or more.

Currently Listening To…

I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks this summer as I tend to do during my heavier computer editing seasons. I tend to listen to one Audible book a month and listen to the rest on Libby. I am planning on sharing some of my favorite audiobooks soon! I tend to listen to non-fiction for the most part but I will listen to fiction as long as it isn’t too complicated.

Our daily commute is about an hour total during the summer so podcasts have been a lifesaver! During our car rides we tend to listen to either But Why, Brains On or Smash Boom Best which are all kid-focused podcasts that I enjoy too.

When we have listened to all of those the kids also enjoy some of my podcast favorites…even though they aren’t for kids, a lot of them are totally kid-friendly and Sarah’s Book Shelves Live is one of them. It has also created some great book conversations between the three of us which I love.

Romper Weather…

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I am not someone who embraces new fashion trends quickly…or sometimes at all…BUT I had to run to Walmart last weekend to get some oil for our boat. It isn’t somewhere I tend to go a lot (and I do understand people have strong feelings about it so it’s totally cool if it isn’t your thing) but it was the only place that was open already. I ended up getting totally sidetracked by the rack of rompers and ended up leaving with two of them…and no boat oil because they were sold out, ha.

Walmart romper

I have already worn them a bunch of times and they are amazingly comfortable, breathable and great for this muggy weather we are experiencing. I am 5’4″ and a size 10 and I chose a size large…I think a medium would have been fine because they are stretchy but I am happy with it!

I convinced a few of my friends to try them and they love them as well…even my tall buddies who have had trouble with the length of this style in the past. I have zero affiliation with this but I thought I would share the link HERE if you are interested in checking it out.

Keeping Cool & Beach Reading

Last weekend was hot and humid and we spent all of Saturday out on the lake. It was wonderful and so refreshing. We started out at the Bouquet River and then headed over to Split Rock where the water is always extra chilly.

Are you a beach reader? It is one of my favorite things…I like to position my chair really close to the water so that the waves come up over my toes. I like to sit in the shade and our Sport-Brella is so easy to set up and provides awesome sun protection.

Currently Watching…

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Lucas and I just watched the Who Killed Garrett Phillips? documentary on HBO. It examines the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and the subsequent trial of Clarkson University soccer coach Oral “Nick” Hillary.  This case shares a grievous miscarriage of justice and sadly, this family still doesn’t have closure over the loss of their son. If you are looking for a conversation starter, this is it. I found it especially interesting as it all takes place just over the lake in New York so a lot of parts of it, especially the small-town politics, were all too relatable.

Currently Looking Foward To…

It doesn’t seem possible but fall will be here before we know it…This past week Kristy and I  have been going over our teaching plans for the rest of 2019 and the start of 2020! Teaching is one of my very favorite parts of my work and you can learn more about it HERE if you are interested…

Your Life Your Camera Workshop

Vermont introduction to photography workshopDo you have a DSLR camera you’d love to learn how to use better? Would you like to take your photos to the next level? The next run of our “Your Life Your Camera” workshop is scheduled for Saturday, November 9th from 12-4 in South Burlington. The cost is $150 and seating is limited. This workshop sells out every time- email kristy@kristydooleyphotography.com to reserve your seat today!

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday. <3