Book Review: All The Missing Girls

All The Missing Girls

 

Every so often, I read a book that I get a little obsessed with – I can’t stop reading it, I can’t stop thinking about it. All The Missing Girls was one of those books. Even after I finished, I thought about it for days. Big thanks to Sarah for recommending it to me, although I am sure she probably wishes she hadn’t because then all I wanted to do was talk to her about it.

 

This might just be the best book I have read it 2017, and I have read a lot of really good books. If thrillers are your thing, you MUST read this book.

 

Nicolette Farrell has spent most of her adult life running away from her past and her small town life she escaped 10 years ago. But when it is decided that they must sell her sick father’s house to pay his medical bills, Nic heads back to the small town of Cooley Ridge where her best friend Corinne disappeared 10 years ago.

 

After Nic arrives, another girl Annaleise goes missing. The investigation 10 years ago was focused on Nicolette, her boyfriend Tyler, her brother Daniel, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Not only was Annaleise the alibi for the group the night Corinne went missing, but she lives in the house that backs up to the Farrell property as well as dating Tyler. Naturally the investigation circles around the same group as before. And Nic realizes that the key to finding out what happened to her means she must find out what happened to her friend so many years ago. As she begins to dig, she uncovers a lot of secrets about her friends and family and what really happened the night Corinne disappeared.

 

One thing that was SO interesting about this book was the way it was written. Each chapter is a day. It starts with Day 1, and then the next chapter is Day 15 and then it works backwards from there. So you are trying to put the pieces together but backwards, which makes it SO much harder. In fact, I wanted to go back and re-read it so I could have it in my head a little better when things occur. And I read a review on Amazon that someone else wanted to read it in the chronological order so I am not as crazy as I thought. The author does SUCH a good job of slowly giving out tiny bits of information, and it is so well written.

 

To be honest, I generally know which way the wind is blowing in most books. It doesn’t make it any less good, but it does make it just a little less fun when what I think happens happens. This was not one of those books. I didn’t have a clue and I LOVED it!

 

I can’t recommend this book enough!! If you liked books like Gone Girl or Girl on a Train, you MUST read All The Missing Girls.

 

Have you read All The Missing Girls? If so, what did you think??

Festive Fashion

It is hard to believe, but we are nearing the holiday season. Thanksgiving is next week, and then we are full speed ahead to Christmas.

 

Although we won’t be decorating until Thanksgiving weekend, it doesn’t mean that I am not starting to think about the Christmas season. There are so many great pieces out right now – lots of plaid, which I love. So many fun, festive pieces at all price points!

 

So today I’ve got some of my favorite pieces for the holidays. Whether you are planning for a party, family pictures or festive outing, these are some great pieces to pick up! Plus some of them might just work for Thanksgiving as well!

 

Holiday Fashion

 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

This windowpane dress is the cutest! I would wear this starting now and through the New Years (and beyond). It would be so cute with pumps for a dressier look, or boots or booties.

 

This sweater would be fantastic with a red midi skirt for an office party, or with a sequin skirt for a New Year’s Eve look.

 

You can’t get much more festive than a red dress! A fit and flare dress is so flattering, and this would be perfect for Christmas, New Year’s and even Valentine’s Day! If red isn’t your thing, it also comes in black.

 

This sequin cardigan would be great paired with an LBD, with jeans or just about anything else.

 

This velvet midi skirt is festive for the holidays, but velvet is so popular this will still look perfect once the decorations have been packed away. This top would look great with it!

 

As soon as it starts getting cool, I break out the plaid. And I keep wearing it until it gets warm again. But this plaid scarf is perfect for the holidays! I really think I need to add this one to my already ample supply of plaid scarves.

 

Plaid bow flats! Need I say more? I would be wearing these every where. And wouldn’t they look adorable with that red dress?

 

If you are looking for a little more sparkle, these Mary Jane flats are just the thing you need! Pair it with just about any color and it would be amazing. And for a casual party, throw these on with jeans and a simple top for a WOW look without a lot of fuss!

 

And of course, you can’t talk about festive fashion without including some festive pjs! Plaid + flannel is the perfect combo for snuggling up and watching Christmas movies.

 

So have you starting ordering festive pieces for the holiday season?

T-Shirt Dress for Fall

T-Shirt Dress for Fall

 

If you are thinking that, now that it is November, you should pack away those summery t-shirt dresses, allow me to attempt to change your mind. Those lightweight, comfy t-shirt dresses were made to transition into the fall! And it doesn’t take much work, either.

 

T-Shirt Dress for Fall

 

As you may know, I am all about making your wardrobe work double (and triple) duty. Just because you bought something for the summer does not mean it shouldn’t work for the fall. And a t-shirt dress is no exception.

 

T-Shirt Dress for Fall

 

Layering is your friend. In fact, layering is your best friend. It is the best way to make your closet work overtime for you. I have an entire post about layering coming up next week, but until then, let’s just focus on the t-shirt dress. My Everlane dress was perfect for summer. Light weight, so soft and comfortable. I wore it all of the time with sandals or flats.

 

Once it started getting cool, there were plenty of ways to make it transition. Just take that same t-shirt dress, top it off with a cardigan or a blazer and pair it with boots. Simple and so cute. Plus you are still super comfy with that t-shirt dress! (And comfort is always important). When it gets cold, layer a pull over sweater over your dress and add tights, making that t-shirt dress into a skirt.

 

tshirt-dress-for-fall-2

 

Another styling idea would be to layer under it – a blouse or chambray shirt would look great underneath it. Or when the temps really drop, try a tissue turtleneck underneath and add some leggings. Top it off with a scarf and you are ready to go!

 

T-Shirt Dress for Fall

Dress: Everlane; Cardigan: Target; Handbag: Kate Spade; Boots: Ralph Lauren (similar)

 

A quick note about this cardigan – it is ridiculously, wonderfully soft. I seriously felt like I was out and about in my pjs in this outfit. It comes in 9 colors, and I am really thinking I need at least 3 more of them, since I am always cold.

 

So it really is easy to take that summery t-shirt dress into fall and beyond. You just have to use a little bit of imagination and have a little bit of fun, and the possibilities are endless!

Recipe: Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole Recipe

 

It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. So it is time to start seriously considering that Thanksgiving menu. If you are looking for something to bring to the family dinner (or Friendsgiving) or just looking for another side to add to your holiday meal, I have a delicious and easy squash casserole recipe for you!

 

We’ve been having this casserole for as long as I can remember, and like a lot of those, I don’t have a clue where it came from. My mom told me it used to be an eggplant recipe, but my grandmother decided to try it with squash one time and never went back. It is really good and really easy to make. You pretty much just mix everything together and cook. You don’t get much better than that!

 

Squash Casserole Recipe

 

Here is the printable PDF recipe card.

 

A few notes – for cooking the squash before, I cut it up into pieces and then cooked it in water in medium for maybe 15 minutes. Just cook it until it is tender. Let it cool and then chop it up. For the cheese, I mixed some in and then topped it with some more. You can never have enough cheese, right?

 

One other thing – the recipe says to cook for 30 minutes, which is what I put on the recipe card. But I had to cook mine a little longer, more like 40 minutes.

 

We ate this all of the time when I was growing up (it goes great with something like baked chicken and green beans!). It goes with just about anything, and it would be perfect to take for Thanksgiving! Many years it is part of our Thanksgiving meal. If eggplant is more of your thing, you obviously could substitute eggplant since that was what was originally in it. You could also do zucchini, and that would be good too! Another option would be a mixture of squash and zucchini.

 

If you are looking for an appetizer for Thanksgiving, my Antipasto Kebabs would be a hit as well!

 

Are there any recipes you always have at Thanksgiving, besides turkey ?

Hunter Boot Styling For Fall

Hunter Boot Styling for Fall

 

I love my Hunter boots. I have two pairs- a tall red pair and a short pink pair. If I could, I would have 10 pair in all different colors. Earlier this year, I wrote a post all about Hunter Boots when it comes to how they fit and purchasing them. Today I am talking all about styling them for fall.

 

I mainly stick to my red pair in the fall for 2 reasons – I feel like the red is a little more fall-ish (but I wear pink all year anyways), also, the taller ones keep my legs warmer + work with the cute boot socks. We don’t get much snow here, so not only do I wear my Hunters in the rain, they also double as snow boots for me (you know, for the 0.25″ we get). But to be honest, they look cute rain or shine, snow or warm weather.

 

This is not an exaggeration – Hunter Boots make every outfit cuter. When I was deciding which styling to show today, I had a really hard time because they look super cute with everything! You can’t go wrong with them. But these are just a few of my favorite looks for fall.

 

Hunter Boot Styling for Fall

Dress: J. Crew (similar) / Shirt: J. Crew (similar) / Boots

 

You can’t go wrong with Hunter boots and a dress. You just can’t. They instantly take even the simplest look to a whole new level.

 

Hunter Boot Styling For Fall

Shirt: J. Crew (similar) / Skirt: J. Crew (similar) / Boots

 

Hunter Boots and plaid go together like cookies and milk. They just work. No matter what the plaid piece is, go for it. Try to pick a plaid piece that has the same color in your boots so it really pops.

 

Hunter Boot Styling For Fall

Sweatshirt: J. Crew / Skirt: Gap (similar) / Boots

 

Pair your Hunters with just about any skirt and you have a winning look. I prefer a shorter skirt (knee length or above) to show them off. When it gets colder, just add a pair of tights.

 

Hunter Boot Styling For Fall

Top: Target / Leggings: Super old (similar) / Boots

 

Hunters work great with pants too! Pair them with leggings or jeans to kick that look up a notch. When my mom saw this picture, she said it was the cutest outfit. I am literally wearing a pair of leggings and a tshirt (the most amazing tshirt though, super soft and cozy). But the Hunter boots + the scarf (with the red in it… see what I mean?) make the look!

 

You can shop below for some of my favorite Hunter Boots. And I know it is a little early, but a pair of Hunter boots makes a great gift! I gave my mom a pair several years ago and she went crazy for them. And then we gave my cousin a pair last year, and she loved them too! It is a really exciting gift to receive! Sometimes you can get them on sale around Black Friday, so be on the look out!

October Fitness Recap

Fitness Recap

 

A quick health update – I have been going to physical therapy for the past 5 weeks (2x a week), and I am feeling better! If you don’t know, I have been having knee problems since April. When I met with my physical therapist, she evaluated me and believes that it is my hip that is the problem not actually my knee. Apparently your muscles can get knots in them, and I have really large knots in my quad muscles up by my knee, which is making the muscles super tight and putting so much pressure on my knee.

 

We have been doing a lot of strengthening and stretching, as well as some dry needling, which is kind of like acupuncture. They put a long, thin, flexible needle in trigger points in my hip and basically wiggle it around until I scream. It is really painful (if you have issues), but I think it has helped. Also the heating pad is my new best friend, and I definitely don’t hate it! I pretty much spend my evenings glued to it.

 

I’ve still got 5 more physical therapy session to go, but I am really hoping to be done after that. Obviously I will be taking my workouts really slow for a while, once I am able to start back.

 

 

 

One thing that I need to focus on in strengthening my glutes. My physical therapist told me it will help the front if the back is stronger.

 

I’ve done a quick at home arm workout, a quick at home ab workout, and a quick at home HIIT workout. Since I need to work on my glutes (when I get back to working out), I thought a quick at home leg workout would be good.

 

At Home Leg Workout

 

I can’t tell you how anxious I am to get back to exercising, even if it is just a little bit, which it obviously will be for a long time. Although at this point I am just happy that I am in a lot less pain and moving in the right direction. I can now clean my house without nearly being in tears by the end, and I can climb the stairs at work without almost screaming. I call that progress!

Book Review: Tuesday Nights in 1980

Tuesday Nights In 1980

 

I recently finished reading Tuesday Nights in 1980. I happened to see it at Target, and I remembered seeing someone post that they really liked it (I think it was Grace from The Stripe). So I decided to give it a try. I had never heard of it before, but I typically like a lot of the same books that she does, so why not? I didn’t even read the back.

 

I wouldn’t say this would be my typical read, kind of like The Alice Network (although that one was even less typical). But I really enjoyed it. I have always thought of myself of having a pretty broad range when it comes to picking books, but I think I need to be even broader since I have now read two non-typical books for me back to back and really enjoyed them both.

 

Tuesday Nights in 1980 centers around the art scene in SoHo in New York City in 1980. It really focuses on three main characters. Engales is an unknown painter from Buenos Aires, who left his sister there during a war and is trying to forget his past. Lucy is has recently moved from a small town to New York and wants to be around the artists (but isn’t an artist). James Bennett is an art critic who experiences things differently than most people – certain things make him see colors (his wife is red) or smell things that aren’t really there, which is why his reviews are so different and becoming so popular. The book begins on New Year’s Eve in 1979, when all three of the main characters’ world intersect. When two unrelated life altering tragedies occur, Engales, James and Lucy must figure out how to pick up the pieces and navigate their new existences while also figuring out how these tragedies affect their relationship with art.

 

The thing I really loved about this book is the way the three main characters were strangers at the beginning of the book, but they really play a big role in each other’s lives at this time. They are all in the process of trying to find themselves and figure out their place. They are all three a little lost, but these tragedies sort of force their hand to grow and change.

 

Have you read Tuesday Nights In 1980? If not, I would definitely recommend it!

 

Have you read anything really good lately? I am always looking for suggestions!

Why You Need Riding Boots

Why Riding Boots

 

If you are going to make an investment purchase for fall and winter, my suggestion is a pair of riding boots. If you don’t have a pair of riding boots, I challenge you to make this your year. They might just change your fashion game.

 

But I am telling you, splurge on these. There aren’t THAT many things that I am going to tell you that you must splurge on (read more about my splurge vs save thoughts here), but riding boots are an investment piece you will wear for years.

 

Let me tell you a story to try to convince you – 10 years ago, I saw a pair of amazing Coach boots in a magazine. They were probably close to $400, but I was young and had a lot of babysitting money, so I bought them. My mom thought I had lost my mind. She couldn’t believe I would spend so much on a pair of boots. Of course, when they arrived, she fell in love with them and threatened to steal them from me until I bought her a pair of Frye boots of her own. I still wear those exact same Coach boots to this day. That is 10 years of wear and tear, and let me tell you, I wear them a lot. At least twice a week from (depending on the temps) November – February.

 

So  if that wasn’t enough, here are a few reasons you NEED a pair of riding boots.

 

 

They are classics.

 

Why You Need Riding Boots

via

 

Why You Need Riding Boots

 

via

 

Why You Need Riding Boots

via

 

Sure, you could look at a ton of celebrities and models who are wearing riding boots today. But Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin were wearing riding boots years and years ago. Riding boots are classic pieces that never go out of style.

 

They go with just about anything.

Riding boots with a dress? Definitely. Riding boots with a skirt? Absolutely. Riding boots with jeans? Of course. Riding boots with leggings? Why not? They pretty much look good with anything.

 

They get better with age.

The leather is going to age, and if you take care of them, that leather is only going to look better. The more you wear them, the more of that yummy aged leather look you will get. Plus they will be more comfortable!

 

They are comfortable.

Riding boots are so comfortable. You don’t have to worry about a heel. They keep your legs nice and warm. Comfort + cuteness is key, my friends.

 

 

My suggestion would be to go for a simple, brown pair. Probably one of the best brands for riding boots is Frye. But there are several good ones out there (you can shop my picks below). Just don’t go trendy with these – remember, this is an investment piece you are going to be wearing for years.

 

Recipe: Chili

Chili Recipe

 

One of Charlie’s favorite things to eat when it starts to get cool is chili. He was so excited for me to make it for the first time this year. Someone about the first bowl of chili of the fall is so incredibly good.

 

I mentioned in my meatloaf recipe post that I have certain food things that I am really weird about. Chili is another one of those things. I don’t eat other people’s chili. I would NEVER order chili out in a restaurant. And I would never try making another basic chili recipe besides this one. There really isn’t any need because this one is SO good.

 

I believe this recipe was my grandmother’s recipe. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. Where it came from before then, I don’t know.

 

It is super easy to make, and even though it cooks for a little over an hour, you don’t actually have to do that much other than stir it every so often! Also, it only has 9 ingredients, and 2 of them are salt and pepper.

 

Chili Recipe

 

 

This recipe is for a mild chili, which is all I can handle. Charlie would probably like it even more if it was spicier. You can always get the spicier chili mix to kick up the heat. I use McCormick’s, but I am sure you could use any variety of chili mix. Just like with my meatloaf, I use ground turkey because I don’t eat beef. But you can always use ground beef if that is more your thing.

 

We like to top ours with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. And of course have some saltine crackers to go with it too. Charlie really likes having a grilled cheese and dipping his grilled cheese in the chili, which really grosses me out, but I’ve gotten used to it.

 

Here is a link to the PDF recipe card.

 

If you like this, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. I am going to have my favorite white chicken chili recipe (also SO good) in this month’s Edit. It will be going out next week!

 

Are you excited it is chili weather? What is your favorite chili recipe?

Book Review: The Alice Network

The Alice Network

 

I just finished another great book! I was surprised that I really enjoyed The Alice Network. This isn’t normally the kind of book I would read. It is historical fiction, and that really isn’t my thing. That is really more of Charlie’s type of book. To be honest, the only reason I picked it up was because Reese Witherspoon chose it for her bookclub pick a few months ago. I have liked other books that she has either talked about or recommended, so I decided to give this one a try.

 

The Alice Network is two parallel stories – one is just after World War II in 1947. Charlie is in college, unwed and pregnant, when she embarks on a journey to find her lost French cousin Rose. Rose has not been heard from since before the war was over, and even though her parents believe she is dead, Charlie is convinced she is alive.

 

The other story is during World War I in 1915. Eve, an English file girl with a stutter,  is recruited to join a network of female spies (called The Alice Network) in France. She is sent to Lille, which is occupied by the Germans and work for the leader of the Alice Network.

 

Thirty years later, trying to forget the horrors of war and haunted by her guilt, Eve spends her days drunk and hiding away in her London home. That is, until Charlie comes knocking at her door looking for answers that leads them both on a hunt for the truth.

 

Even though it is normally not my thing, I could not put down The Alice Network. It took me about a week to read it, but only because I kept having to go to work! I couldn’t wait to get home and pick it back up. It was so well written, and I loved the way the two stories intertwined. After I finished, I read the afterward that parts of the book were based on real events and people, which made it even more interesting.

 

Even if historical fiction isn’t your thing, I highly recommend this book and think you should give it a try. I am not going to run out and read other historical fiction, but I really, really enjoyed this one!