Summer Reading List

I am a self-proclaimed bookworm. I rather read a book than watch TV and the novel is certainly ALWAYS better than the movie. As a kid, my summers were spent under a shady tree reading or biking to the library to load up on books. And now as an adult, let’s just say that I’ve spent more time (and money) than I’d like to admit at Chapters-Indigo.

Now that  Charlotte is transitioning from 2 naps to 1, and sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks, I seem to have more time to get things done and squeeze in some leisure time for myself! Reading is one of the ways that I can slow down and reconnect with myself. It helps me keep my #MamaMojo full! My book devouring took a bit of a hiatus over the last year as an early bedtime and catching up on sleep has trumped reading before bed. But there’s something about summer that makes me want to sit outside and enjoy a great book.

My favorite genre for summer reading are murder/mystery/suspense. But I also love biographies and memoirs about people overcoming adversity (or as my BFF calls it blunty; “really messed up people”), and I adore historical fiction (anything by Ken Follett or Philippa Gregory).

So here are some of the books I’ve read over the summer or are up on my reading list next! Please send me your summer reading recommendations; I love a good book.

Murder/Mystery/Suspense

In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. I finished this book in 2 days! A who-did-it that flips between past and present as you try to figure out what happened in the woods.

Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll. I’ve actually read this twice, years apart, without realizing because it’s so good and I had forgotten the twist-ending. Sharp, dark and twisted!

 

I’ll be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle Mcnamara. Half part non-fiction, half part modern crime thriller.

The Perfect Nanny, by Leila Slimani. Absolutely terryfing as a parent!

The Book of M, by Peng Shepard. Picked this up the other day because I loved the combo of sci-fi and mystery.

Non-Fiction

Educated, by Tara Westover. A stunning memoir about family, loss and the desire for a better future. If you loved Glass Castle, you’ll love this!

The Home for Unwanted Girls, by Joanna Goodman. The story of an unwed mother seperated from her daughter and the lengths they go to find eachother.

Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance. A look at the struggles of America’s white middle class.

 Brain on Fire, by Susanah Cahalan. I read this so fast too! It’s about a woman’s struggle to recapture her identity after a traumatic brain infection.

 

On the Lighter Side…

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Currently reading and loving it. It’s about a family with a substantial “nest egg” and their dysfunction.

Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan. I love all of Kevin Kwan’s books. They’re funny, name-dropping, pure entertainment about very very rich people and their families.

She Regrets Nothing, by Andrea Dunlop. Think Gossip Girl meets Great Gatsby. Waiting for this to become a movie or TV show.

The People We Hate At the Wedding, by Grant Ginder. The title sums it up – a fabulous wedding is about to take place and the cast of family characters and their drama is even more fabulous!

 

REAL TALK: What are you reading this summer and loving? Send me your book recommendations!

#MamaMojo

When I started my blog a little more than a year ago, my intention was to document my life. I shared my pregnancy, work-life, baby pics, what I wore, where I was going and what I was doing. But recently, I’ve had an epiphany…and it started because a stranger reached out to me through my Facebook page to tell me how she found my page “inspirational.” She commended me for being positive and feeling great in my skin. I thanked her, of course, but it started my wheels turning.

Not too long after that, I hosted a Facebook Live for my mommy group about how to dress your postpartum body. And one of the things that kept coming up was the word “flattering” (which I HATE!)  Moms wanted to know what to wear to “flatter” their new body. They asked me where to shop because the stores they used to go felt “too young” now. They told me how they were stuck in a rut, wearing the same black leggings every day. As I spoke to them, the re-occurring theme was how they feel lost and unsure of their new identities as moms. Pregnancy is a whooper on your entire physical and mental state and coming out the other side, it’s difficult to recognize yourself and connect with the “new” you! I’m talking about simple things like dressing your new “mom bod”, skin care, and self-care. As I answered their questions, I emphasized how important it is to find what they love about themselves, as they are now, and celebrate it. I wanted to let each mom know that they are worth investing in!

As I’ve discussed before, I still struggle to accept my new mom bod. But the one thing I refused to do is to let whatever self-doubt I have, get in the way of enjoying myself. Also, I’ve continued to do the things that I love to do, even with a baby in tow. Why can’t you be a fashion-lover, beauty addict, travel junkie, boss lady AND a Mom? Just because you’ve had a child, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped being who you are!

That’s when I came up with #MAMAMOJO. It’s the magical essence that you have as a woman and as a mother. It’s that thing that makes you do a double take in the mirror and give yourself a smile. It’s the power of looking and feeling your best just as you are. As I meet and connect with other moms and women, I want to encourage and support them to feel good about themselves and connect with their mama mojo! I feel so impassioned and motivated by this new motto and hope that it resonates for you too.

And it’s all thanks to you, lovely mommies! Thank you to all the amazing moms who’ve reached out to me to tell me how my voice has encouraged them to take a little more time for themselves…whether that be to put on some lipstick, take a time out to read a new book, buy a pretty new dress, or simply look in the mirror and truly love what you see.

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I found this dress at a street fair last year and every time I wear it, I feel like a boho goddess! Do you have that one piece of clothing that makes you feel amazing every time you wear it? Photo credit: Grey Cat Studio

REAL TALK: How do you find your own #MAMAMOJO?