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12 books you must read this summer

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This post contains affiliate links. I was given an advance galley of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by the publisher and a Quarterly Lit box for review, but all opinions are my own.

12 books to read this summer

Summer is for sundecks, cocktails, and lots of books! One of my favorite pastimes is to post up in a comfy beach chair, crack open a book, and stay there until I finish. (Reapplying sunscreen liberally and staying hydrated, of course.) Relaxing with a book and hanging out outside is such a great way to recenter, and I highly recommend it as a regular part of your self-care routine. Since it’s Memorial Day, I thought I’d share my reading list for the summer – along with some all-time favorites.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: It’s no secret that Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorites, so of course her new book (with a sweet dedication to her daughter) tops my list. It’s a book I found hard to put down, which makes it perfect for those days where you just want to lay outside and soak up the sun. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo comes out on June 13, and you can read my preview of it here!

The Animators: The story of two artists who have worked together since their college years, all reviews say this is a fantastic debut with great character development and that readers can’t put it down. My copy came from Quarterly Literary, whose January box was curated by the author. Their author curators annotate their books with Post-Its and trivia about the story, so it’s a bookworm’s dream. I can’t wait to get started on this book.

Attachments: A few years ago, Dani suggested this book to me, and it’s another one I read in one sitting. It’s rare that I’ll want more out of a book, but this is one what I would have read sequel after sequel of. Funny, relatable (especially to me, since I work in the tech industry as well), and well-written, it’s perfect beach read material.

Sweetbitter: This book has been getting rave reviews, and it was suggested to me because I loved both Drinking: A Love Story and Smashed. It’s the story of a college graduate who moves to New York City and gets a job in the restaurant industry, and how the effects of keeping up in her work circle starts to unravel her life.

Swimming Lessons: I love mysteries, so this book seems right up my alley. Ingrid writes letters to her husband about how she really feels – but she never gives them to him. She tucks them away in an unassuming book in the house, and then years later, drowns at the beach. When their daughter moves in to help care for her aging father, she starts to unwrap what really happened, and it’s a book I’m sure I won’t be able to easily put down.

The Nest: Another book on many “must read” lists, this debut novel follows four adult children as they try to keep it together enough to get the full inheritance their father left for them. I think this book will be really interesting as it studies the effect of money on friendships and family dynamics.

The Annie Year: Another novel packed in the Quarterly box is The Annie Year. It has rave reviews and follows Tandy, a small-town CPA who has an affair with big implications. Since I am from a small town similar to the one in this book (and also participated in theater, my own company embroiled in a “scandal” right now!) I’m excited to read this book and think it will be very relatable.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: I can’t let a book recommendation post get by without a YA suggestion. Jenny Han is a bit of a prolific YA series author, but this was the first one I cracked open. It’s a typical teenage love story about being torn between the popular boy and someone off-limits, but it does avoid some of the typical tropes since the girls in this story have more responsibility than most. I’ve added the rest of the series to my library hold list, and hope they come in soon!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?: This book sucked me right in (even before I knew that author Maria Semple had been a writer on one of my favorite TV shows.) Bee’s mom disappears without warning or any hint as to where she might have gone. I love the mother/daughter relationship in it, and the way Bee is certain her mom would never leave her, feeling like she had to have left some clues out there for her to find.

All Grown Up: The story of Andrea Berg, who enjoys her single life while watching everyone around her lives the “perfect” lives – weddings, babies, dream jobs – and the impact it has on her. This book sounds funny, morbid, and right up my alley – another story about a single lady in her thirties? Sign me up.

Bitter is the New Black: It’s been a few years since I read this, so I’m going to revisit it this summer. The story of a woman who was born into privilege, lands a high-powered job as an adult… and then promptly loses it, finding herself in an unemployment office. Jen Lancaster’s books are easy to read through, and her first book is funny, witty, and perfect for summer.

The Forever Summer: What’s better for a summer read than a book called Forever Summer? Taking place on a Cape Cod beach, a DNA test reveals the story of three generations of women who connect over one summer.

quarterly literary box review

If you can never decide what to read next, Quarterly can help! They have one of the coolest book subscription boxes around. Their subscriptions (choose from either the Literary box or the Young Adult version) and four times a year, they’ll partner with different authors for their shipments. They’ll always include three books, and their author curator will annotate their novel with Post-Its, which is so awesome. They also tuck in other goodies that match the theme of their books (The Animators author Kayla Rae Whitaker added colored pencils and a bookmark) for an extra bonus. It’s also a great subscription box for someone who wants to start reading more regularly again – since a subscription will deliver twelve books a year to your door, it’s an easy way to work toward a “one book per month” goal!

They’ve also released a new subscription box called PageHabit – with a wider variety of genres to choose from, each box comes with a debut novel, plus other fun goods. They also make a donation to support children’s literacy, and give you access to their community of other book lovers. (That’s a slippery slope, though – my “to read” list has grown exponentially since joining.)

What are you reading this summer? I’m always looking to add to my Goodreads list!

May 29, 2017

underwater sunshine (or what i did on my summer vacation)

Posted in Living, Travel by

Where do these summers go?! For the second year in a row, the summer was jam packed in the best way, but it absolutely flew by. If I wasn’t spending afternoons by the pool, I was jetsetting somewhere every week, it seemed – it’s pretty amazing to finally be living the kind of life I really want. Here’s a quick recap of the summer:




I started the summer off with two trips to the water – first to see Dani in Boston, then down to the Florida beach with my family. There is nothing I love more than being on the beach and cooking in the sun with the people I love most, so this was a really great way to kick the year off (and a good indicator of exactly how busy I would end up being)!


IMG_2754IMG_2752Even though I made it a point not to travel out of state in July, I still managed to pack the month full. Hands down, Outlaw Roadshow was one of the best days of music I’ve ever been lucky to see, and the surprise Counting Crows set to close out the night didn’t hurt matters any. I went hiking to some waterfalls with some of my best friends to celebrate my Nashversary, and spent many afternoons napping by various pools throughout the city.


IMG_4124.JPGIMG_4121.JPGIn early August, I finally moved to Nashville proper after a year of commuting from the burbs, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the new place (no matter how stressful and time consuming moving ended up being.) Before I set off on another big trip, I finally got to see one of my bucket list bands when I saw Gin Blossoms play two shows in one night. No one will ever be able to tell me any differently – they are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I really had a great night. CF and Sixx came with me, and it was pretty nice to not be there alone!

The next morning, I flew to Montreal for my company retreat. Even though I have “known” my co-workers for almost a year, it was nice to meet in person for real, do some heavy bonding, and exchange treats with friends!

SupportMeeting  IMG_4221.JPG BZ Support Singles


September has been a really great way to end the summer. Over Labor Day, some friends from Charlottesville came to visit, and I had friends from college staying with me as well. It was a busy weekend for sure, but super fun to get out and sing some karaoke again (and have a band full of boys to buy me drinks all weekend :))

After that, I made a last-minute trip back home to the mitten. My best friend had her baby, and I was just homesick for water. Turns out the 10 hour drive isn’t so bad, especially when the trip back is broken up with visits to wineries and dinners with Sixx!

IMG_4332.JPG  IMG_4292.JPG IMG_4307.JPG  IMG_4318.JPG
Last week saw what I consider the most wonderful time of the year – Americanafest in Nashville! A full week of my favorite kinds of music, plus panels and meetings with some of the smartest and most talented folks in the industry. A co-worker came into town for the event, and we exhibited during the conference and at night, I ran from venue to venue checking out showcases and discovering new loves. (I managed to make it to seven Nashville venues in one evening, which felt like a world record.)

In the middle of all that craziness, because I wasn’t getting enough music or activity – I flew to Denver to see Counting Crows for the third time this summer at Red Rocks. It was really otherwordly – Red Rocks is like nothing else, and I can’t recommend going there enough.


Pairing Americanafest with Red Rocks and a comedy show at Zanies in Nashville on Friday night, I ended up seeing shows at ten different venues in 2 states within 48 hours. That is definitely some kind of record.

I have one more trip to Raleigh next week, then off to Cincinnati in mid-October, but other than that and Thanksgiving, my travel looks to be done for the year. So, yeah! It’s been a really great summer. I am so lucky to be able to get to do these amazing things and hang out with such great people. If only this summer heat could last forever, I’d be all set…

September 19, 2015

siesta key / travel journal

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siesta key, florida

Wow. What a beautiful week I had down in Siesta Key, Florida. The family vacations down there every year and has been going for twenty years or so, and my aunt’s ashes were scattered there after her passing. It’s their home away from home, and this year, I was finally lucky enough to be able to visit along with them. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. The clear water, the sugar sand, the dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles I got to see every morning as I walked along the beach – it honestly felt like a dream, or like something that I’d never see in my life.

Siesta Key Beach is south of Sarasota, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, an island just over a narrow passage of water between it and the mainland. Lots of great shops and activities – we even did a fun run with the kids on the beach sponsored by the local Parks & Rec department, which they do every Tuesday and Wednesday night throughout the summer. I missed out on morning yoga (by the ocean, Wednesdays and Saturdays,) but I did have a great time out on the sailboat with my brothers.

Our condo was on the beach, and my room was just steps from the ocean. In the morning, I’d sit on the patio to work (and melt in the sweltering 91 degree heat, which I love.) Afternoons were spent on the beach, cooking in the sun, enjoying some beverages and building sandcastles. It’s no surprise that it’s been consistently voted the #1 beach in the country for years and years. I can’t wait for next year, as I can’t imagine not returning with them.

Here’s a brief photo gallery of my trip (you can check out the sunset appreciation post of its own, as well)!

June 29, 2015

siestas & sunsets

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I’m trying very hard not to be that insufferable person posting all of their vacation photos as it happens, but I couldn’t resist a few. Here’s a Siesta Key sunset appreciation post.




June 23, 2015

Stay Beach Organized / hoboroll review

Posted in Review by


The Hoboroll was designed by hikers for really outdoorsy types, which is great! Their experience has developed the perfect tote-along – I’ve even used it on race days before. Last year, they redesigned the bag and added a bunch of great new features, including changing the material to a much more lightweight and portable fabric. The Hoboroll now scrunches up into its own built-in pocket, which makes it great for travel – if you don’t need the extra organization on the way to your destination, it’s a great way to separate out your dirty laundry on the way home, or aide in fitting all your vacation purchases back into your bag. It’s small and lightweight, so it packs up nicely into a larger bag for travel, and the fabric dries quickly when wet (though it’s not completely waterproof.) They’ve also developed a padded shoulder strap, so it’s a totally hands-free pack now as well! Read more…

June 17, 2015