Odds & Ends


Happy Monday, lovelies! Hope you crush this week! Back with Odds & Ends this week!



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Gift Guide: Gifts For The Kids On Your List

Gift Guide For The Kids In Your Life

I struggled with whether or not I wanted to do a gift guide for just babies or for kids in general because I know wayyy more about babies. Plus with the kids in my life I tend to gift ~experience~ or activity type things…like we always do a day out with my nieces and take them out to eat and do something fun. Same with the boys I nanny. I’ve also made them craft boxes so that we have something to DO during the day especially in the winter. So I have zero idea of what the HOT toy items are  (except I keep seeing those fingerling things) so I was doubting my skills but then I thought I have enough experience to know what the kids in my life like and actually spend time doing so I can totally do this list!

gift ideas for kids and babies

Check out the rest of my gift guides for more inspiration: Gift Guide For The Book Lover In Your Life, Gift Guide For The Harry Potter Fan, Gift Guide For (Almost) Everyone On Your List

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8th Annual End Of Year Survey – 2017 edition!!


Best books of 2017

My silly little survey I created for myself to highlight what I read in 2010 suddenly grew when a bunch of others jumped in and has turned into such a fun end of year event that I have LOVED hosting and has made my TBR list grow immensely! I didn’t count last year (morning sickness hell) but the year before 360+ people linked up last year and I know even more participated on their blogs and on Youtube!! So without further ado: the 8th annual End of Year Book Survey!

So feel to fill this out whenever you feel like it (please link back to this post/credit me)…whether that’s today or in January   — I know everybody will want to reflect at different points! Feel free to link up and share your End of Year Book Survey and visit others on the list!

I’m still up in the air if I’m going to fill it out because I didn’t read A TON this year but I’ll look over my list of what I read closer to January.


Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2017!!


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My December TBR

So if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (come join the fun there too!) you may have seen me talk about how I realized I only read baby-related books in the month of November so I vowed to myself that I was going to reclaim my reading life in December (what little of a reading life I have!) and I’m not going to read ANY baby-related books at all. So I figure I would post what I plan to read in December…accountability and all! I have off a week around Christmas so I’m hoping to get some reading done!


I’m trying to keep it totally reasonable even though in my head I want to read like 50 billion books. Let me know if you’ve read any of these or tell me which one should be my first priority! I’m also looking to add a holiday romance to this list but haven’t decided which one! Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite!


Foolish Hearts by Emma Millss

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

(the pre-order price for this book is a great deal if you are wanting to buy this book!!)

“A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.”

I really enjoyed her most recent book This Adventure Ends so I’m really excited for this one!


Reign the Earth

Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

A girl realizes she has the power to control the earth on the same day she marries the king who hunted the Elementae to extinction.

This sounds soooo good! I haven’t read her first series (though I own it) so I don’t know what to expect but I know she’s a favorite of a lot of friends!


Girl With The Red Balloon
The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

“When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.”

This is my current read actually! Started it last month but baby sleep books got in the way.


The Girl In Times Square


The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons

“Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.”



Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

“A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.”

I love Robin’s books so much so I am DELIGHTED to finally read this…I’ve been hating that I was in the newborn fog and couldn’t get to this. I’m SO SO happy it’s received such high praise and is winning awards and things!


So what should I read first?? And remember…leave me any holiday romance recs in the comments! I’m really in the mood for that type of book right now!


[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.]

Monthly Rewind: November 2017


I cannot believe we have one month left of 2017!! HOW?? What a year — I mean that seriously and sarcastically. Because god what a dumpster fire it was on a world level but on a personal level it was a life-changing one.  So shall we talk about November??

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Gift Guide: Gifts For (Mostly) Everybody On Your List



Gift Guide 2017


Hellllooo back this week with another gift guide! If you are like me, you have quite the array of people you might be shopping for — parents, siblings, co-workers, bffs, a significant other, people you don’t know that well but feel obligated to buy for for some reason, a Secret Santa exchange recipient and they all have different needs and wants and likes. I love finding fun things for people so I’m giving you some inspiration from my own lists that I need to buy for and putting it into a gift guide to (hopefully) help you with everyone on your list (or with your own list for yourself).

Check out this year’s previous gift guides: Gifts For Book Lovers That AREN’T Books & Gifts Harry Potter Fans NEED!


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Planning For A Great New Year


How To Plan The Best New Year Ever

I’ve always been one of those people who is totally invigorated by the idea of the ~new year~ even though I know I can start anew any day. I always DO get super pumped about the beginning of a new month or a new week or a new season also. There’s just something about it for me that gets me mentally focused on all my goals and things I want to accomplish.

planners for 2018

I’ve done everything — from the typical New Year’s Resolutions, New Year’s intentions, one word resolution that defines the rest of my year, monthly resolutions. EVERYTHING. I’ve done it all. I have mild success most of the time at keeping the long-term resolutions but I do pretty well breaking it down.

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Odds & Ends





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Black Friday Book Deals & My Black Friday Wishlist

I have been WAITING for Black Friday. JUST WAITING. I refuse to get anywhere near a store but I’m so here for the online sales. I’m always on the lookout for a good deal and I’ve got some things I need to get for Riley and I and ESPECIALLY for Riley’s stuff I hate paying full price since she will outgrow it quickly or ruin it or only be interested in it/use it for a short time.

In past years we use Black Friday to get big ticket items but this year the goal is really just getting the next size or two up stuff for Riley at a good price and some new items for me because I just went through a much needed closet purge (going to talk about this soon-ish on the blog??). I’m also looking for toys for Riley because we don’t have much (which is the plan…minimalists here on the toy front) but there are a couple of things I’m looking to get her in the next age range!

Before I get to my wishlist I wanted to share some of the bookish-related deals I’ve seen!






The Paperwhite is on sale — 25% off which makes it $89.99 (I also think this Paperwhite bundle is a great deal). I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Paperwhite (I’ve had a couple Kindles and a Nook) and think it’s a great product, truly. The regular Kindle is $49.99 for Black Friday if you are looking for that one. But I much prefer the Paperwhite.

Use Giftbook17 on Amazon and get $5 off a book purchase of $20 or more! I’m pretty sure I’m using this deal to get this book! What other book should I get to get over $20? I’m thinking a romance!? Please rec a good romance for me that is worth buying!

I will update with any specific Kindle book deals that I think are great! Earlier one of my ALL TIME FAVE books (Code Name Verity) was a lightning deal for a hardcover (like 50% off) but the deal would be done before this post published 🙁


Harry Potter Entire Movie Collection ($85.99)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore ($2.99)
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen ($3.49, $2.99 for Nook)
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow ($1.99)
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch ($1.99):  (I just snagged this one!!)
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton ($1.99):  (also snagged this one!)
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon ($1.99)
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore ($1.99)
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty ($4.99):  (snagged this one!)
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn ($3.99)
Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata ($1.20)
The Wall of Winnipeg & Me by Mariana Zapata ($1.20)
Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak ($1.99)


Barnes & Noble

20% off your online order from November 23-26. CODE: Givethanks // In store is 25% an item AND they are back with the signed editions! They have a bunch of other things on sale so definitely check out the website!


Book Outlet

Book Outlet is doing 30% off their entire site for Black Friday! Add to your cart quickly because there is limited quantities and things go fast!


HarperCollins is doing a big sale on their site! 30% off + free shipping!!

Bookish Candles

(I mentioned these two companies, run by wonderful ladies, in this gift guide)
Novelly Yours — Use code BlackFriday2017 for 20% off your order
Canterbury Road Co. — use BlackFriday25 for 25% off your order!


Book Of the Month

Remember in my gift guide how I said this is a great gift?? SALE ALERT! Use GIFTBOTM and get $10 off a 6 or 12 month subscription for someone else PLUS a free month for yourself!!



ANYWAYS…let’s get to my Black Friday wishlist. I have my carts loaded already (and it some cases already placed orders before this post goes live) and I’m trying to narrow down what I REALLY want!!




One of my all time favorite go-to’s anytime I am looking for new clothes and this deal is AMAZING — especially since I’ve had my eye on a couple of things that I was close to buying!! Take 30% off everything with code EPIC30.

 So this is what is currently in my cart! Help me decide because I have way too much in here GAH!! This is probably going to be my biggest order for myself!

Laceup Sneakers (I always buy very neutral footwear and I have a need for more colorful ones)// Polka Dot Midi // Oversized Sweater (I have been wanting this and almost bought it recently!! I feel like I mentioned it in this post) // Red Dress With Cutout Sides // Lace Dress // Frill Hem Top // Velvet Party Dress // Striped Cardi // High Waist Jeans// Over the Knee Boot (I HAVE BEEN OBSESSED WITH THESE OMG) // Pastel Jeans // Red Blazer (omg I’m happycrying…I lent my red blazer to a friend and I’m prettttyyy sure she shrunk it because it fits weird) // Chunky Sweater (I have like every color sweater but no cream sweater??)


Notes: I’m currently trying to decide if I like this dress or this one (I literally own NO velvet) better for Will’s work Xmas party! THOUGHTS????




Take 25% off everything with code DONTSTRESS. Valid through 11/26.

The only thing on my list from Madewell is a pair of their jeans since, in a previous post where I crowdsourced about jeans, Kristin highly recommended the jeans from Madewell…SO what a better time to try them when they are 25% off!  I am IN NEED of a new fave pair of jeans!


Old Navy

This is baaaaad (by bad I mean really awesome) because Old Navy is my favorite place to get really affordable and cute clothes for Riley! Half of her closet comes from Old Navy right now! This deal is GREAT (I was hoping it was…I even held off last week when I got a 40% off coupon from them!) 50% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE GO GO GO GOOOO.


For Riley:

Seriously so excited because I had 99% of these things in my cart when it was 40% off last week and I decided to wait and see if Black Friday would be better so I am DELIGHTED. Will is…not so delighted with my cart.

Leopard Vest // Jumpsuit // Gold Metallic Ruffle Dress // Peplem Tee & Leggings // Ruffled Leggings (she has NO grey leggings I realized and so much stuff that could go with them) // Jeggings // Jersey Babydoll dress // Floral Swiss Dot Dress // Faux Fur Coat // Reindeer onesie // Floral Jersey Dress // Ballet socks (we had these similar from somewhere else but she outgrew them!!) // Pom Hat

Notes: The jersey dresses?? We have 3 of them already that we love — the leopard print one, the black and gold polka dot one (which she wore for Thanksgiving lunch today) and a floral one that doesn’t look to be there anymore. HIGHLY recommend them. They pair perfectly with leggings and are just so darn cute.



For Me:

I’m cannot choose if I want this in the red/black or the black/white!!! But I have had this in my cart for like 2 weeks and so I feel like its a sign that I need it at half price!



I am a Nordstrom addict. Seriously. It’s a problem. Their Black Friday Sale is: Take an extra 20% off select sale items which is pretty great because I’ve been eyeing some stuff on their sale. 

I already own these (in pink!) but if you are looking for an amazing rain boot..I HIGHLY recommend these especially at this price! The sale is only for the black pair but LOVE!


For Me:

Madewell Cotton Tee (I have been eyeing this tee for forever!!) // Moto leggings (these are amazing I’ve tried them on before but this was the day that I also tried on jeans and Riley freaked out so I just left) // Ruffle Sleeve Dress // Midi Cardigan // Infinity Scarf (I love these colors!!) // Hunter Plaid Shirt (I have been eyeing this one for a while too…can’t choose what color though!!) // Cowl Neck Sweater (PRAISE JESUS…my old black cowl neck sweater is so faded and old but it was a staple so I’m glad to find another) // Lightweight Tunic // Body Con Dress //

Notes: So remember how in this post we were talking about the long cardigans? You guys convinced me and this one looks perfect!



For Riley:


Rosie Pope Leggings 1 // Rosie Pope Leggings 2 // Footie Pjs // Headbands // Vest, Bodysuit & Leggings set


Notes: 1) We LOVE Rosie Pope stuff! I actually didn’t realize Nordstrom had it until recently so I’m psyched about the sales.  2) Where do you find decent priced pjs for baby?? If I’m going to spend money on stuff I want it to be clothes and not pjs so I’m a cheapskate when it comes to pjs so I snag any that I can on sale. Where are the best cheap pjs?? HELP!




I just got an email from H&M that they are doing 20% off plus free shipping which is pretty decent for them. Not THE BEST deal. But there were some things I was already looking at for Riley so I may just get them because I doubt they will do a better deal anytime soon.


For Riley

Leopard Sweatshirt & Leggings // Cable Knit Sweater Dress // Grey Striped Dress // Tulle Dress With Headband // Jumpsuit // Grey Jersey Dress// Sweatshirt jumpsuit // Velour Sweatshirt // Hairbands // 2 pack leggings // Sweatpants // Flannel Dress//

Notes: So that tulle dress….I was thinking of getting it for her for a wedding we have to go to this summer. Thoughts? I think I will have to see how it looks in person probably because sometimes things look less/more fancy than I think online and it will be a pretty fancy wedding.


I didn’t see anything from H&M that I HAD to have but I know Will is going to be perusing this deal because that man is in need of some nice shirts!!
So that’s it for my Black Friday shopping unless something really turns up that I didn’t see! I’m kind of bummed so far with the deals on toys for babies because I refuse to pay full price for a lot of that stuff. I’ll keep on eye out for stuff but so far..BLEH.


Are you a big Black Friday shopper? If yes, do you stay in or go out? ALSO…tell me the best Black Friday deals you’ve seen!



[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.

My Gratitude Is Overflowing This Year

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”  —Winnie-the-Pooh


Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers! I am WAY more excited about this Thanksgiving than I was last year. Last year I had the most horrible morning sickness and basically wanted to puke all day and I only ate 3 bites of mashed potatoes…and pretzels. NOT HOW I LIKE TO SPEND MY THANKSGIVING.

I have so, so much to be thankful for this year. SO MUCH. I feel like I talk about what I’m grateful/thankful for every year and I truly MEANT it. And I know every year it sounds like a broken record, always the same things, but this year I feel like I truly understand what real gratitude looks like. I am overflowing in gratitude this year after everything I went through. So, this list on the outside, might look the same as every other year but I feel this gratitude in my bones this year.


1. My precious perfect baby who is healthy and happy

Motherhood is…wow. But I just love Riley so, so much and am so grateful for her. I love watching her personality develop and watching her learn all about the world.


2. My patient husband who works so hard and loves Riley & I so much

Throughout the worst of my postpartum depression I would cry and cry because I was certain that Will was going to leave me. Me being basically a mess put a lot of the weight on his shoulders and it was HARD. I could see it. Especially when he returned to work. But he was patient and loving and waited for me to become me again. He didn’t complain about having to take on most of the load for those couple weeks. Labor and then the weeks after definitely brought us closer together. He’s always supported me in everything and I’m so, so lucky. I LOVE LOVE watching him with Riley. He’s such a good dad and he works so, so hard to provide.



3. For my family who truly showed me how much they love us during this hard time

For those first few weeks I was in such a bad place…and my family really swooped in because we needed help big time. I refused to be alone with Riley when Will went back to work and he obviously couldn’t stay home. Immediately after I came home from the hospital my aunt and grandmother (who were in from Florida) watched Riley so we could sleep, cooked and cleaned, my aunt even rubbed my swollen feet…and as a nurse she did a whooooole lot of other things that are way too TMI to share but let me tell you…I am so thankful for her being her because my recovery was wicked). My family brought meals and tried to help me with anything I needed help with. My stepmom took a week off of work and stayed with us that first week Will went back to work. My sister and brother-in-law took turns staying with us (meaning juggling their kids to do this). Then Will’s mom came almost every day for a couple weeks while Will was at work as I was starting to get better. I am so, so lucky for my family.


4. My friends who are like family

My bffs are nothing short of amazing. I love this group of ladies like no other and could not have gotten through pregnancy and those first rough weeks without them. They showed up (2 of them having very young babies themselves..one a week older than Riley) — they brought food, they answered all my manic texts at 3am, they made sure I was okay, they had Amazon care packages sent to me, they lovingly told me they were worried about me. I literally don’t know what I would do without this group of girls. And huge shoutout to my bffs I’ve met through blogging — even though they were far away…I could not have managed without their wisdom and support and again urging me to get help. I am so lucky to be on this motherhood journey with some amazing ladies in my corner. I don’t know how I’d do this mom thing without them all.


5.  I’m grateful that I was able to get help in dealing with my PPD and anxiety

This was one of the hardest and scariest things of my life to be honest. I can’t describe what it felt like but I can tell you it felt like I was never going to feel good or normal again. I’m glad I was able to recognize what I was feeling was not normal and that I had supportive friends/family that cared enough to also tell me that. I was telling a friend the other day I feel like this was even harder than losing my mom which I know sounds weird but this was supposed to be a joyful time and I was anything but. I felt so alone and at least when I grieved my mom everyone understood and I felt like what I was feeling was normal. I feel like myself again and have for a couple months. I am SO grateful for this. I’m grateful I can enjoy this time with Riley. My OB was great in dealing with me and gave me a lot of tough love. Even though I was super resistant about taking meds (I literally don’t take anything even when I have the flu) I’m glad she helped me to see that I really needed to and supports my plan to wean off them at 6 months postpartum.


6. I’m grateful for a job that I get to spend my day with Riley

I nanny, as you may well know, and that family has become my family over the years. The boys were among the first to know when I was pregnant and they were with me every step of it. It’s really hard to juggle her and them and it isn’t always ideal but I am truly grateful for having a job where I get to spend time with her. This week Will was off and she stayed home with him and it made me so sad how little I saw her. Maybe it’s just that I’m so used to being with her so much but I really hated the days without her.

These boys are obsessed with her


7. I’m grateful for this space here on the Internet

I’m grateful that I’ve had this space here as an outlet since 2010. I’m grateful for readers who have become friends. I’m thankful for all your feedback and encouragement and listening to all the things I have to say about books and life and everything in between. I’m thankful for YOU sharing so much of yourselves with me just as much as I share myself with you. I’m grateful that most seem pretty receptive to how my blog has evolved over the years (and especially lately) and I’m grateful still for those past readers who moved on…that’s okay!


And some less serious gratitude notes:

  • very grateful for the million books and websites about baby sleep that have helped me (also overwhelmed me) in getting to a pretty good place with Riley’s sleep
  • very thankful for my new car that I bought in the Spring and FORGOT IT HAD HEATED SEATS UNTIL A VERY COLD MORNING THIS FALL. Very, very thankful.
  • thankful for caffeine in the form of coffee….I literally run on coffee these days.
  • grateful that Finn has adapted well to having a little sister (okay that one is less frivolous but I really am grateful for it)
  • I’m thankful that I can fit into some of my clothes again (my maternity wardrobe was sparse and was getting VERY old)
  • I’m thankful for the fact that when I can’t fall asleep after feeding Riley that THE INTERNET IS ALWAYS THERE.


I’m sure you’ve seen a million of these posts today and clicked out of them…so if you have read this whole thing I am VERY grateful for that. I feel the need to be loud about my gratitude this year. I’d love to know what YOU are grateful for this year!

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