November Musings | This is 30!

Hello! A little late to the musings game, but it’s been an intense month or so over here!

October was filled with work trips, pumping in airports and missing my baby. I spent the first two weeks of October traveling to St. Paul, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California for work. We also went to New Hampshire with our friends and their kids and enjoyed a weekend away. Then, it was Halloween and getting Nora ready for her first week at daycare!

Nora started daycare the first week of November … and … well … caught hand foot and mouth. We spent the week of my 30th birthday in the nursery, holding our screaming baby and cursing the daycare gods. BUT, we are all better now and our little one is back at daycare loving life!

30, flirty, and surviving

I celebrated my 30th birthday last week, receiving a giant bouquet of flowers from my sister-in-law, cupcakes from my cousin, and other packages and warm wishes in the mail and over the internet. Ian and I went out to dinner and I got two glasses of prosecco and we ate a 6-course meal. It was *chef’s kiss*.

That weekend, Ian surprised me with a visit from my best friend who moved to the West Coast last year. I did not see that coming (cue sobs). We spent the day eating and laughing and watching Gilmore girls with a still sick baby, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. On Saturday, we hosted about 30 people at our house (cue more sobs) for a birthday party. It was a blast, and I really felt the love.

People ask me if I am excited or nervous about my 30s. I’d have to say that while my 20s were the most formative years of my life, they were also the most awkward and uncertain. I have grown a lot in the past year, becoming a mom and taking steps to improve my mental health, so I think my 30s will be the best years yet.

What’s up for the rest of November

There’s really not a lot of time left! This weekend we are attending a Thanksgiving party with our realtor group (insert nerd emoji), and then next week I am taking some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Then, the day after Thanksgiving … it’s tree time! We found this perfect tree farm last year, and learned that all of their trees sell out the day after Thanksgiving. So, twist my arm! Starting a week from now, our house will be all Christmas! Hooray! Then, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, our town hosts a Stars Hollow-esque Christmas celebration. They close main street for walking traffic and you can listen to carolers, eat piping hot soup, look at gingerbread houses, be merry, you name it. We are SO excited!

Plans for December

December is, expectedly, filled with TONS of fun stuff. The first weekend of December is a work holiday party, a trip to Newport with my hometown friends to celebrate our 30s, and cookies on Sunday. The following weekend I am hosting our book club group and an additional small group of friends on Saturday. Then sprinkled in-between we have Christmas shopping, cookie baking, holiday movies, and so much more. I love this time of year, but it goes by so darn fast!

What I read in October and (so far) in November

  • Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (And More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab
  • Carrie Sotto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What I’m reading

  • Babel by R.F. Kuang
  • The Winners by Fredrik Backman
  • Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes

What I’m listening to

  • Have I Told You This Already? Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember by Lauren Graham
  • Christmas music (duh)
  • Goose
  • Midnights (3 am version)

What I’m watching

  • The Crown
  • Rings of Power
  • Gilmore girls
  • Christmas movies

Why I’m Leaving Bookstagram (For Now)

It was around two in the morning and I was lying in bed, thinking about how I haven’t posted on bookstagram in a while. I remember shaming myself for not posting reviews, which would mean I would lose followers, which would mean …

Which would mean …

Wait a damn minute.

Which would mean nothing.

I sat up to adjust my pillow (and my priorities) and realized something that’s been a long time coming: I wasn’t interested in bookstagram anymore. It served its purpose, and it is time to move on.

A little history

I joined bookstagram in July 2019. I realized that I was posting a lot of photos of the books I was reading, and all of a sudden, people were following me and asking me for book recommendations. I thought, “wait a second … maybe I can turn this into a thing!” After some quick research, I learned that bookstagram was, in fact, already a very big thing. I decided to take the plunge and made the switch. I grew my followers from 300 to 1,000 in four months. It was so exciting! I made friends, joined an engagement group, and felt my creative itch go away.

Then, COVID hit. Soon, everyone was isolated and forced to stay indoors. All I had was my husband, my cat, my books, and a tiny screen that connected me with thousands of bookworms around the world. Throughout the darkest times of the pandemic, I would turn to my little corner of the internet for support. Like everyone else, bookworms were looking for empathy, for laughs, for an escape.

Bookstagram really did that for me, and I am super grateful for that. I have made friends who have become lifers. They have been there for me more than some family members. When I was pregnant with my daughter, presents from the book community came pouring in. I was absolutely floored. There are people from bookstagram who I talk to every day, and I honestly cannot imagine my life without their light and humor and presence.

OK, so, why are you quitting?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am calling it quits, but, I’ve decided that I need to take a break from the ol’ bookstagram. But that doesn’t mean that I will stop reading. Oh, no no. Reading I will be doing. But updating my page regularly and contributing to a space that I am no longer interested in? That I will not be doing!

Between my job, taking care of Nora, traveling for work, and other responsibilities, the immense pressure and stress that I feel to post just isn’t worth it. I don’t feel like fighting the algorithm. I feel like I have nothing unique to contribute to the space, and I do not have the capacity or interest to try. There are so many incredibly creative minds on bookstagram — from their engaging reels and insightful book reviews to their book challenges and intricate photos. They are amazing, but I am just not one of them. They are kickin’ butt, so go follow them!

I want to be present in my own life instead of scrolling on a phone. I want my daughter to see me reading books, not screens (kindles don’t count!) I want to be with my daughter, soak in every moment because time is a thief. Bookstagram was stealing that time from me, so I am saying goodbye.

So will you still write about books on here?

Yes! Among other things. I toyed with the idea of making and distributing my own newsletter (I might still do this …) but, for now, I will continue to update my blog with book reviews, monthly wrap ups and TBRs, postpartum posts, and other life updates. My interest is writing, and while bookstagram offers an outlet to write and reach a wider audience, I am happy with my smaller corner of the world, writing my thoughts on a blank screen with little to no character restraints 🙂

So, thank you for following along. If I found you on bookstagram (or if you found me on bookstagram), I am happy to stay connected with you. Thank you for your support and friendship during the darkest of times as well as the brightest.

Be well, all. And onward.

August Hopefuls

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down, yet here we are. It’s funny; I’m usually excited for spooky season to begin, but with a baby, I want time to slow down. Let’s keep the summer for a while longer.

Before Nora, I was able to read 6 books a month. Now, I am happy to average 3. So this month, I will aim for 4 books and see how it goes! Here’s what I plan to read this month:

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

I’ve always enjoyed Ruth Ware’s books, so I am looking forward to this one. It does seem a little cliche in the plot, but wondering if I need cliche right now and something easy to read. This one is top of the list for August.

The Winners by Fredrik Backman

I was lucky enough to get an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of The Winners, the last book in Backman’s Beartown series. I cried when I got it, no joke. I anticipate reading this one slowly, so it might make the August list, might not. Regardless, I know it’s going to be heart-wrenching and amazing.

Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman

I really liked this author’s book, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, so I expect this one to be just as cute and quirky.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Here I go. I am starting Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles. I found this website that says to read the first three in The Mortal Instruments and to move on to the others. We shall see.

July Wrap-Up

What a fun month! I continued to navigate working from home, full-time mom-ing, and I also started a fun 365 Days of Movement challenge where I dedicate time to moving every day! We also went to the beach for a week, and Nora crushed her first family vacation!

I read three books in July, and DNFd a fair few. Bleh. Anyways, here is what I read this month!

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

What I liked:

  • This book was pretty darn funny!
  • The inside scoop on reality TV — ‘cuz we know it’s not real.
  • Inclusivity: LGBTQ, diverse characters, neurodiversity, and mental health.

What I didn’t like:

  • Honestly, nothing. I loved it! 🙂

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, depression, conversations about OCD and mental illness, drinking, alcoholism, familial estrangement, homophobia and racism (challenged)

Finlay Donovan is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano

What I liked:

  • This book was super quippy and fun!
  • The plot/idea behind the book is wildly entertaining.
  • That this book is a series!

What I didn’t like:

  • The main character is “eh.” She makes a lot of obvious mistakes that can lead her to trouble but she somehow gets away with it? Not very realistic.
  • Some of the book was too detail heavy, and could have benefitted from some editing to focus on plot movements rather than mundane “tell not show” details.

Trigger Warnings: misogyny, rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, cheating, nonconsenual drugging

Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

What I liked:

  • A different, feminist take on The Great Gatsby.
  • Thoroughly researched, interesting characters.
  • Clean, shifting perspectives.
  • Entertaining book with a killer ending.

What I didn’t like:

  • Some parts were too top heavy with Daisy’s backstory, but other than that, a solid book!

Trigger Warnings: domestic violence, adultery, war, gun violence, sexual assault, homophobia, abuse, alcoholism, death of a family member, death of a parent, car violence, murder