What I’ve Read: 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino - Pre-order for release on August 5
This book is set in one day—Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve—and follows several different characters, including Madeleine, a nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer who recently lost her mother to cancer; Madeleine’s teacher Sarina; The Cat’s Pajamas club owner Lorca and his son Alex, and several others. Madeleine and Sarina are the most engaging and Madeleine’s feisty independence made her a fun character to spend time with. As the book gradually winds all the characters closer and closer together, they all benefit, becoming more important and interesting to the reader.
It’s a strange book to describe—the story is very literal at first, but it becomes fantastical or fairy tale-like at unexpected times. This felt a little off-putting while I was reading it. Now, about 12 hours after finishing the book, I think the fantastical elements were a good idea. The entire book feels a little magical, so what’s one more magical thing among the rest? 
If you’re looking for a new book club read, this would be a fun option. (It’s also short and fast enough not to be a burden to club members who drag their toes.) It has plenty to talk about in terms of plot and characterization and there are a few passages in the book that are really, really delightful and worth marking to come back to later. 
The best way I can think to describe this book is to tell you how I felt after reading it. Did you have a childhood movie or book that you would watch or read often? And it left with you this little warm feeling in your stomach that made you feel like everything in the world could be as fun and magical as what you just saw or read about? After turning the last page of 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, I recognized the happy, contented feeling as one I’d had before: It was like the childishly optimistic, happy afterglow that would stick around after a favorite movie or book. I didn’t think 2 A.M. was the perfect book, but it did make me smile. That counts for a lot when it comes to books these days. 
I received this advance review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

What I’ve Read: 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino - Pre-order for release on August 5

This book is set in one day—Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve—and follows several different characters, including Madeleine, a nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer who recently lost her mother to cancer; Madeleine’s teacher Sarina; The Cat’s Pajamas club owner Lorca and his son Alex, and several others. Madeleine and Sarina are the most engaging and Madeleine’s feisty independence made her a fun character to spend time with. As the book gradually winds all the characters closer and closer together, they all benefit, becoming more important and interesting to the reader.

It’s a strange book to describe—the story is very literal at first, but it becomes fantastical or fairy tale-like at unexpected times. This felt a little off-putting while I was reading it. Now, about 12 hours after finishing the book, I think the fantastical elements were a good idea. The entire book feels a little magical, so what’s one more magical thing among the rest? 

If you’re looking for a new book club read, this would be a fun option. (It’s also short and fast enough not to be a burden to club members who drag their toes.) It has plenty to talk about in terms of plot and characterization and there are a few passages in the book that are really, really delightful and worth marking to come back to later. 

The best way I can think to describe this book is to tell you how I felt after reading it. Did you have a childhood movie or book that you would watch or read often? And it left with you this little warm feeling in your stomach that made you feel like everything in the world could be as fun and magical as what you just saw or read about? After turning the last page of 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, I recognized the happy, contented feeling as one I’d had before: It was like the childishly optimistic, happy afterglow that would stick around after a favorite movie or book. I didn’t think 2 A.M. was the perfect book, but it did make me smile. That counts for a lot when it comes to books these days. 

I received this advance review copy for free, but I’ll always write an honest review. Even if I hate it. Especially if I hate it! I love writing angry reviews. 

  • k 13 notes

The good news: Fabletics has a new sale section and one of my all-time favorite Fabletics tops (Tranquil T, above) is in it for $13.95.

The bad news: You have to spend $50 to get the sale prices. (The top above is $20 at regular price). 

Whether you buy it at the sale price or the regular price, this top is WORTH IT. Especially with fall around the corner. It’s lightweight and flattering and it’s CYA (Covers Your Ass) compliant, therefore perfect for wearing with leggings and boots. 

If you haven’t signed up for Fabletics, please consider using my referral link. I really appreciate it! 

  • k 12 notes
What I’ve Read: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
Our narrator is Emily Shepard, a teenage girl whose parents were killed when the Vermont nuclear power plant they worked at suffered a catastrophic meltdown. Emily’s story comes in pieces as she reflects on the past. She tells us early about Cameron, a young boy she stumbles upon when they are both living on the street post-meltdown. They’re both hiding there for different reasons and she takes him under her wing. We don’t hear much about him again for a little while—her story is divided into two sections: B.C. and A.C. (Before Cameron and After Cameron). 
The plot of this book is inherently interesting and dramatic, but it’s also dark and sad. The theme of family—what is it, why does it matter—comes up a lot. Emily’s maternal instincts toward Cameron are a painful reflection on what she’s lost herself (and sometimes doubted she ever had). She acknowledges her parents, but isn’t sure how to feel about them. (I won’t spoil it, but there are a few reasons for this.) When she thinks about home, it’s usually because she’s worried about her dog left in the closed-off radioactive zone around the plant. It’s a very complicated book, touching on everything from mental health to prostitution to alcoholism. It’s also about the danger of aging nuclear power plants, though this point is very subtly made. 
It was fascinating to see how well the adult, male author conveyed the voice and actions of a 17-year-old girl. Even better was that he didn’t try to improve her teenage-ness—something that happens so often and is so irritating in novels with teenagers as main characters. There are very few things more contrived than giving teenagers the gift of adult-like conversation and logical decision-making skills. When that happens, we have 14-year-olds who are better read than most college graduates and speak to each other like philosophy professors. In Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, teenage Emily likes poetry, but it’s a believable interest. She’s not doing university-level literary analysis. 
In short, this book is very, very good. The plot is dramatic, yes, but Emily’s vivid and realistic character is the reason I encourage you to read it. 
Have you read it yet?

What I’ve Read: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Our narrator is Emily Shepard, a teenage girl whose parents were killed when the Vermont nuclear power plant they worked at suffered a catastrophic meltdown. Emily’s story comes in pieces as she reflects on the past. She tells us early about Cameron, a young boy she stumbles upon when they are both living on the street post-meltdown. They’re both hiding there for different reasons and she takes him under her wing. We don’t hear much about him again for a little while—her story is divided into two sections: B.C. and A.C. (Before Cameron and After Cameron). 

The plot of this book is inherently interesting and dramatic, but it’s also dark and sad. The theme of family—what is it, why does it matter—comes up a lot. Emily’s maternal instincts toward Cameron are a painful reflection on what she’s lost herself (and sometimes doubted she ever had). She acknowledges her parents, but isn’t sure how to feel about them. (I won’t spoil it, but there are a few reasons for this.) When she thinks about home, it’s usually because she’s worried about her dog left in the closed-off radioactive zone around the plant. It’s a very complicated book, touching on everything from mental health to prostitution to alcoholism. It’s also about the danger of aging nuclear power plants, though this point is very subtly made. 

It was fascinating to see how well the adult, male author conveyed the voice and actions of a 17-year-old girl. Even better was that he didn’t try to improve her teenage-ness—something that happens so often and is so irritating in novels with teenagers as main characters. There are very few things more contrived than giving teenagers the gift of adult-like conversation and logical decision-making skills. When that happens, we have 14-year-olds who are better read than most college graduates and speak to each other like philosophy professors. In Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, teenage Emily likes poetry, but it’s a believable interest. She’s not doing university-level literary analysis. 

In short, this book is very, very good. The plot is dramatic, yes, but Emily’s vivid and realistic character is the reason I encourage you to read it. 

Have you read it yet?

  • k 25 notes

Hi Jaclyn! As much as I hate to start thinking about the fall, I'm being forced to.. and I'm on the lookout for some new jeans. As much as I've been a strong proponent for American Eagle the last few years, I'm struggling with their quality and would like to invest in some better denim if possible. However, my long inseam (35/36) seems to be impossible to find in skinny cuts. Do you have any go-to spots outside of AE, being a tall, thin girl yourself? Thank you!

- Asked by hiemilychristine

I don’t spend a lot of money on jeans so I may not be the best source for this (I love AE’s jeans too!) but I’ve had a lot of luck with the Tall/X-Long inseam denim from Gap. They’re long enough on me that I can cuff the bottoms.

The 1969 denim from Gap is the best quality for the price (especially since they have promo codes available so often). These ($69.95) are a perfect medium wash. Their black 1969 high-rise jeans are great too ($69.96). The 1969 Legging Jeans are CRAZY comfy. I’ve been eyeing this new pair ($80). I love the color. Their medium/dark blue color is marked down to $42 (from $70). You can get $25 off $125 orders or $50 off $150 orders today with code SMART

Gap’s sizing is annoying (it varies a lot, even from wash to wash in the same style) so if you buy online, I suggest getting your usual size and one larger or smaller depending on what most of the reviews suggest and returning the one that doesn’t fit.

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I'm looking for cute graphic tees that aren't childish to go with my new leather circle skirt and chunky jewelry. Any ideas? Thank you!

- Asked by tinichic

I love Swell’s selection of graphic tees. They look slouchy and comfortable and the prices are great. This long-sleeved one is $27. This moon-themed one is pretty ($24). This trendy arrow print baseball tee ($29.50) is fun. This boyfriend tee might look perfect with your skirt ($22.50). Here’s another option from Volcom ($29.50). 

There are some fun options in J.Crew Factory’s graphic tees section too. You can take 40% off J.Crew’s sale items with code TREAT, so search through their marked down tees—there are some really good shirts, like this Bon Temps tee ($42.50) or this Fantastique tee ($38.50). 

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Hi Jaclyn,I'm in dire need of your expertise! I was wondering if you can help me find a maternity dress for my baby shower in August. The shower will talk place indoors (what a relief) in a reception hall (somewhat fancy) with around 100 guests (to get an idea) The theme is "Ahoy! It's a Boy!" so I was thinking of a navy blue maxi dress...I'll be around 34 weeks at that time, so I would love something comfortable yet flattering. i'm open to any suggestions or advice! A thousand thank you's!!

- Asked by machelemabelle

You’re in luck! Isabella Oliver just marked down two blue maxi dresses that you might love. This Tank Column Dress ($79 from $159) looks so comfortable and chic. If you want something a little more dressy, this Gathered Detail Maxi ($62 from $209) is gorgeous. If you don’t mind straying from the blue and going with purple or black, this Hadyn dress ($112 from $225) is crazy pretty. 

This one-shouldered maxi dress by Mothers en Vogue is $86 (from $159). It looks really comfortable! If you want something more form-fitting, this Ripe Maternity dress (about $50) can also work post-baby for nursing. 

This navy maxi from LOFT ($90 with an extra 40% off at checkout) is simple but stylish. 

If you can spend a little more, Rachel Pally’s navy and white print on this Grecian-inspired maxi dress ($238) is really beautiful. If you sign up for her email list, you can get 20% off your first order. 

  • k 5 notes

Hi friend! As a new gym class junkie, I have to ask: any tips for someone looking to motivate herself to get out to a class as early as you do? I'll do the night classes until my legs fall off, but I can't seem to drag myself out of bed and get motivated to go, even on days I know I'm busy at night. How do you do it??

- Asked by ellegolightly

My biggest motivation is that I know I won’t go and really can’t go if I don’t get it out of the way in the morning. The first few months were the hardest but once I did it enough times, it became part of my daily routine. It helps me to lay out my clothes the night before. I keep them right beside the sink in the bathroom so I can brush my teeth and jump into whatever I’m wearing. I keep my gym bag by the door so I don’t have to hunt for it either. I just fill up my water bottle and get my snack. One of the best things about going in the morning is that I have SO much more energy throughout the day than on days when I skip. I drink less coffee and the 3 PM sleepies don’t come as hard. If you can do the early morning thing for two weeks, it’ll stop being so annoying. I promise. 

  • k 18 notes

Recently (in Shorts)

I’ve been wearing American Eagle shorts all summer thanks to their frequent sales. They are so comfy. The only drawback is that sizing can be hard to figure out (they vanity size in some styles, not so much in others). Here are my favorites (clockwise from top right):

The Boyfriend style is versatile—they look good with a sweater/sneakers or with sandals and a tank. They’re cut a little longer. The Shorties and Midis often have more stretch denim options than the other styles. The Hi-Rise Festival shorts are cut higher on the outside—really flattering. 

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  • / print

My favorite bra in all the land—Aerie’s unlined style—is marked down to $20 (from $30) right now. I haven’t yet found a *real* bra as comfortable as this one is. (It’s not a super supportive style, though it does have underwire.) They also have a few sizes left in last season’s version ($17.99) and in the mesh striped version ($14.99). 

P.S. The more I type the word “bra,” the weirder it’s looking to me. Bra. Bra. BRA. 

  • k 22 notes
This long white embroidered dress from ZARA ($99) is so pretty. 

This long white embroidered dress from ZARA ($99) is so pretty. 

  • k 5 notes