Good night.

Poor Iz has had a busy week. We took her on her longest road trip to date last Thursday. (15.5 hours in the car. A torture chamber on wheels.) Then she got sick. A few days later, just as we were settling in with family and relaxing, I had to fly out from TN for a work trip. She was very overwhelmed and confused. 

So, fast forward to yesterday—I got home and it was very sweet when I went to pick her up from daycare. She said HI MOMMY I MISSED YOU and kissed me and stuck close the rest of the night. At about midnight, as I sank into the blissful comforts of my own bed, I heard Iz scream and get out of her bed. Brandon told me she’s been having some nightmares. She was really terrified when he brought her into our room (shaking all over even) and she asked, “Sleep there? In big bed with Mommy?” I got her all snuggled in. She was still shaking a bit so I pulled up the covers. A few minutes later, I turned over and I felt her pull the blanket up over my shoulder. “Good night, Mommy. Go to sleep.” 

At about 3 am, Iz had another bad dream. She was talking in her sleep. “NO! WHERE MY STICKER GO!” 

She had a nightmare about losing stickers. 

I’m happy to be home. 

ELLE Style 360 for Kohl’s

The ELLE Runway Collection launched recently in Kohl’s and they asked me to take a look at the new stuff. (Last week I reviewed the Elie Tahari for Kohl’s collection.) I headed back over to my local Kohl’s store because I learned an important lesson the first time around: the in-store shopping/trying-on experience at Kohl’s is very different than simply looking at their product photos and trying to make a call about whether something is worth buying. 

My first impression was that the ELLE Runway Collection is—overall—not quite equal to the surprisingly decent quality that I noticed in some of the Elie Tahari pieces. (While exploring the store, I also tried on some of the Vera Wang items. They are very nice.) But, like the Elie Tahari stuff, the quality of the ELLE products really varied from piece to piece. 

Here is what I tried on:

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J.Crew Factory’s tissue turtlenecks are the best for layering under puff vests. They’re $24.50 each or $19.50 for red. 

This plaid jacquard knit sweater from H&M is great. It’s $50. 

This plaid jacquard knit sweater from H&M is great. It’s $50. 

Perfect gray sweater from ASOS ($66). 

Perfect gray sweater from ASOS ($66). 

If you’re a size 6, 7, 9 and 10, the Nike Blazer sneakers on the left are $80 and you can take 40% off with SOSWEET. The Air Pegasus sneakers on the right are still available in size 10 and are $60. Take 40% off with code SOSWEET

I love this cowl neck poncho from Shoptiques ($95). It’s also available in white. 

I love this cowl neck poncho from Shoptiques ($95). It’s also available in white. 

This wrap dress from Piperlime’s eponymous collection is $89 and would make a fun, ridiculous party dress for holidays that are coming up WAY too fast. 

This wrap dress from Piperlime’s eponymous collection is $89 and would make a fun, ridiculous party dress for holidays that are coming up WAY too fast. 

If you’re looking for a CYA-compliant tunic tee for layering this fall/winter, this one from Lucky Brand is just $29.50. Shipping is free. 

How to find your next book:

I got a question about this on Instagram and I said I’d post about it but then I forgot…and then I remembered. So here we are.

Finding books is a sacred process to me. It is almost as exciting as actually reading them. I don’t have any *omg* hidden sources, but it does take a while and I tend to move through my usual spots methodically, adding to my Amazon Wish List or my library holds list as I go.  

With that being said, it helps that I am also an equal opportunity reader. I will read almost anything, from any genre. I have genre preferences (of course) but I enjoy both fiction and nonfiction. I will read YA. I will read history. I will read mystery. This makes choosing a book easier for me (I’m not very picky) and more difficult (because my eyes are bigger than my reading speed). If you have an incredibly hard time finding books that you enjoy because you feel like you’ve read up everything in the genre that interests you, it might be time to try something new. Which is SCARY. It’s hard to leave the proverbial section that you know you like, but if that well has dried up, you might be surprised how many other books are out there that you will DEVOUR and ENJOY. If you’re a fiction person, try nonfiction. And vise versa. That’s the easiest way to get things rolling again. 

On to the list:

  • Shelf Awareness - Shelf Awareness’ newsletter for readers is one of the best ways to find new (as in newly-published) books. They have a good mix of fiction and non-fiction releases, but also throw in cookbooks, kids books, etc. If I had to choose only one place to find out about new books, this would be it. 
  • New York Times Books - Duh. Don’t be deterred by a completely unfortunate review. If it’s a big enough release to get a New York Times review, the book might still be worth reading. Check for reviews from other publications and book bloggers before discarding a title. 
  • NPR Books - A caveat: If you use NPR Books to find new books, it helps to listen to the accompanying author interview or discussion. There have been some books I wouldn’t have touched but I happened to listen to the author interview or on-air review and was completely sold minutes in. 
  • Amazon Best Books of the Month - Amazon has an enormous amount of recommendation power: best seller lists, recommendations JUST FOR YOU, things you might like, blah blah. It can be overwhelming. Instead of getting stuck on the best seller pages (which currently have Disney’s Frozen: A Little Golden Book sitting at #13), go to their best books of the month selection. Amazon editors choose books that are entertaining and interesting and I’m always happy with the books I read off their monthly best-of lists. You can get as specific as you want (Best of Romance, Best of Sci-Fi) or you can go back months and months to find books you may have missed. 
  • Bookateria - If you love lists, Bookateria is a more manageable interface than Amazon. You can see the 2014 Booker Shortlist, buzz books, just published books—it’s good stuff. 
  • Bookslut - This site is great. There are author interviews, links to interesting book-related articles, and a million amazing book recommendations. If you want to get completely immobilized by excitement, check out the book review archives for fiction and nonfiction
  • Bookish - This is like the Buzzfeed website for book reviews: It is very approachable. Every literary reference in Friends, for example. But they also provide good previews of upcoming books and have fun article topics like “Favorite Plane Reads.” 
  • Go Book Yourself - If you like finding books visually—by their title, their cover art, what shelf they are on—this is about the closest you’ll get without actually being in a library or a bookstore. Very fun. 
  • Longform and Longreads - A lot of the longform articles you can find from these two sources are excerpts from books, or written by writers who do have published books, or were written to help drum up publicity for books. See this one, for example. 

And last, but not least, I get so many good book recommendations from friends. A friend with similar taste in books is a friend for life. 

Here is a little graphic you can use the next time you’re looking for a new book to read: 

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Good luck and happy reading! 

Do you have any favorite spots for finding new books?