What I Wore This Week: The Early Edition

I’m posting early because tomorrow I am going on “vacation”, so instead of writing blog posts I will be folded into a seat the size of a postage stamp while a 2 year crawls all over me for 12 hours. Can you tell I’m really looking forward to it?

{Dress: Ross, Earrings: Target, Belt: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

This is my trusty $7.99 Ross Dress For Less purchase. I love this dress so much I went back to see if they had more, but the dress selection that day was pitiful. Anyway, Holly tells me it is perfectly fine to belt something directly below my boobs, and I thought it was super cute. If you are a belting newbie such as myself, can I recommend just putting a belt wherever a dress or shirt has one of those stretchy elastic waistbands? When I see one of those now, I hear “Belt me here.” Very helpful.


{Skirt: c/o Downeast Basics, Tee: Downeast Basics, Necklace: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

A bunch of us got invited to a “Blogger Mixer” at Downeast Basics and it was really fun. I picked out this skirt with the $25 gift card they gave me, and I ADORE it. It’s so flattering and fun and I love the color.  Of interest to me is that I checked out the site a bit before I went and I didn’t give this skirt a second glance, but in person, as soon as I put it on, both Amy and I were like, “HELLO.” It pays to go to the evil mall, is what I am telling you.  Also, it makes my kiester look great, is the other thing I am telling you.

One of my problems with tucking shirts into things is that the thick 100% cotton tees I normally buy don’t tuck in smoothly. They tend to pull out of my clothes and end up bagging, especially in the back. I just grabbed this t shirt quickly because I was wearing a dress and needed something to try skirts on with, and although it’s more spandexy than my normal tees, it worked really well to tuck into this skirt.  So there’s a tip from me – tucking in might require a thinner tee with some stretch. It’s a fine line between baggy and “is that…a bodysuit?” for me, but I think this shirt works.

{Tank: Target, Skirt: J. Crew, Necklace: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

Remember when I said this skirt made me look like a Mennonite, and Hillary said I needed to wear it with sexy shoes to de Jesusify it? This got me thinking that maybe if I added Satan’s Tank Top, it would super extra help with the de Jesusifying. I think it was very successful.  In truth I only bought this color because my local Target is literally incapable of maintaining any stock of any color of tank top ever, and this was all they had, but I really am loving the red and navy. De Jesusification success!

{Dress: Banana Republic, Shoes: Hush Puppies, Necklace: Ebay}

Does anyone else find Banana Republic totally overwhelming? There’s so much stuff I like and it’s all so expensive and there’s all these little rooms and I could spend a billion dollars in there.  That’s why I like to vet it online, I guess. It’s also really helpful to have “the uniform” in this situation. I just tell myself if it’s not something I’m looking for (I keep a list in Google Docs) I don’t even need to waste my time. Anyway, after I professed my love of triangle shaped bags, Maggie recommended this dress.  It runs a little small, I think, fyi. I am wearing an XL in this picture. It really really like it, though. Giant blue and white t shirt for the win! Oh, and for the record, most of the non sale stuff in BR is 40% off every Wednesday. I’m not going to lie, I would not pay $80 for this dress, but $40 something? Sold.

I will be on vacation for two weeks. Please don’t call the fashion police if you don’t hear from me.

HA HA HA what a good joke.



What I Wore This Week: Now With More Bronchitis

So yes, I had bronchitis. Have. I have bronchitis. Eh, it sucked, but whatever, it could be worse. There’s no barfing in bronchitis, which I appreciate.

{Dress: Banana Republic, Scarf: Old Navy before I banned them from my life forever, Wedges: Franco Sarto}

I love this dress, but it’s really…sexypants. If you look like this, you can throw this dress on for a little afternoon shopping and not have anyone give you a raised eyebrow. In my case, it’s a whole lotta dress, so I searched Pinterest for ideas on how to tone things down a tidge, and Pinterest thought I should scarf it, so scarf it I did, and I really loved the whole thing.




{T Shirt: Gap, Skirt: Gap, Wedges: J. Crew, Necklace: Lily Wang, Ebay}

When I got this necklace, I was sort of nonplussed with the thing. Then I wore it five times in a row.  I will say that I’ve seen it go for as high as $25, and I would be really irritated had I paid $25, it’s basically just plastic glued to plastic. However, I paid $13 for it and it’s really hard to find a true orange large necklace and I’m very happy I bought it.

This is also when I decided I needed to take my pictures in my bedroom again because my hallway pictures were ALWAYS blurry. So annoying.


{Dress: Lands’ End Fit and Flare, Necklace: Lily Wang, Shoes:: Franco Sarto}

One of the things that I didn’t realize I had lost until recently was a sort of…fun goofy side that I used to have. I mean, this is fashion. If you can’t screw around with it a little bit, you’re not doing it right.  So you know, take a chance. Wear a crazy necklace.  Buy the silver shoes. Wear your hair in goofy buns. It’s true, someone might look twice at you.  Someone might make fun of you.  (Although they probably won’t.) Regardless, the world will continue on. So, goofy hair, here we are. Represent. (Favorite outfit of the week. Am wearing it again today!)


{T Shirt: Gap, Denim Capris: Old Navy, Pre ban, Scarf: Old Navy, also pre ban, Belt: Target, Shoes: Target Girls (last year)}

I partially tucked in a shirt! Into jeans! WHO is this person? I have no idea, but I like her and her cute belt.

{Sweater: J.Crew Factory, Denim Capris: Old Navy, Necklace: Lily Wang, Ebay, Wedges: J. Crew}

{Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft, Skirt: Banana Republic, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

Navy plus brown animal print? Love it. I also think this skirt could be great with an orange shirt. I was going to hem this a bit, but Twitter told me not to, so I left it. This shirt is really great, btw.  If you need a fancy t shirt, I think it’s very pretty and flattering. I bought it on sale though, so maybe wait for another one.

{Dress: Gap, Belt: Target, Necklace: Target, Shoes: Banana Republic}

So cute with a belt! This is my new favorite dress ever.


Investments & Inspiration

The other day I was lurking around in some forums and in the midst of a lot of snarking re: topknots and arm parties, a sentence jumped out at me. Someone said “Fashion is not inspirational, fashion is just clothes.”

Now, I do agree that fashion is not an investment, at least not a financial investment.  I suppose if you buy a $200 pair of jeans or an $1800 purse and grow tired of it, you  may be able to sell it on Ebay for some cash, but in general clothes aren’t worth anything other than the use you’ll get out of them.  This is an excellent reason not to fool yourself into buying clothing you don’t need as an investment, and also to make yourself wear the things you do have.  Clothings’ only actual financial worth is as clothing. If you want to invest in something, open a mutual fund.

However, I’m not sure that I agree that fashion is not inspirational.  I will tell you that I’m not attempting, here, to be inspirational to anyone. I am thrilled if I am, but I would never presume that anyone thinks that I am.  Inspirational is a BIG word, you know?  But the thing is, all this work that I’ve done, and it has been work, and the money I’ve spent (although not a grand sum by any stretch of the imagination, it was also not nothing), it has been totally totally worth it. In 35 years, this is the happiest I have ever been with myself.  It is almost the most I have ever weighed, and I have never liked myself more.

I mean, I would love to lose 50 pounds. I do not like my thighs.  There are things I just don’t wear. I take off and return a lot of clothes that look awful. I try to laugh in the dressing room but sometimes I have not my best moments standing in front of that godforsaken Target 3 way mirror.  But leaving the house every day feeling happy with how I look, instead of ducking my reflection and feeling cranky when I open my dresser drawers? It is the best best best feeling, you guys. It’s inspirational to ME, to feel great about how I look.

Especially because I have weighed 50 or 60 or 70 pounds less than this and I have hated how I looked. I have felt fat in a size 4. I have stood in front the mirror and pinched imaginary rolls while my husband rolled his eyes at me and walked away, and in none of those moments did I ever stop and say “No. I will not do this.” Instead I said “I can do better. I can do more. I can be better. I should try harder.”

That voice in my head never went away until I decided that even if those pants were a size 14, I deserved new pants. I deserved to wear clothing that made me feel good about myself.

I have to be honest with you. I did not set about to create a revolution, in my head or anywhere else, but I am astonishingly glad that I did, because there’s someone here now that matters even more than me, and what she hears and learns about herself? It starts with me.

As long as I live, until the day I die, I will never ever ever forgot the moment they said to me, lying on that table in that darkened room, “It’s a girl.” And I am not sure how many days it took me to say it out loud, but in my heart that was the moment that our house, our home, became a Body Disparagement Free Zone.  And I made it a rule, The Rule, that in our house, you don’t talk about how fat you are or how much weight you need to lose or how much you don’t like yourself. In our house, you are beautiful.

But there’s a big difference between refusing to let the words come out of your mouth and refusing to let the words come out of your brain.  Because I stopped talking about how fat I felt, but I didn’t stop telling myself, silently, in my head, how fat I was, until I started to dress myself like I actually cared about me and how I looked and what I wore. And then, somehow, I started to like myself, fat thighs and big kiester and all.

And damn, if that’s not one of the most important things I’ve ever done.

Because the thing is? The world? It is ready willing and able to tell our daughters how fat they are.  How imperfect.  How they should have longer legs or blonder hair or bigger lips or longer eyelashes.  And do not get me wrong. If my daughter comes to  me and she wants to wear deodorant or shave her legs or she wants a purple Esprit bag like every other girl in her 8th grade class? I will sit with her in the bathroom and I will teach her how to shave her legs. I am not going to ask that she not fit in so that I can prove some kind of feminist point.  And we are not going to sit around shoveling brownies in our mouths every morning for breakfast and every night for dinner. There will be brownies, sometimes, but there will also be kale.

BUT when you stand in front of the mirror and you call yourself fat? You might as well be screaming it in your daughter’s ear.  And trust me, that job has been taken care of already. The world is going to scream that at her for you.  But my daughter, from me? She will hear me screaming from the rooftops that I am beautiful.  That we’re all beautiful.  That fat thighs or no boobs or long hair or short hair or stubby eyelashes or big feet are the things that make you wonderful, and that as far as I am concerned?  She is stunning. Magical.  Amazing. Lovely. The most gorgeous girl the world has ever known.

Inspirational? I don’t know.  But it certainly feels like it from here.

The Fall/Winter Uniform

Today it’s only 65 degrees outside, which is very bizarre and annoying because it’s not supposed to feel like fall in JULY, but it’s a good reminder to me that I am ill prepared for five months of rain and coldness, at least wardrobe wise.

I think it’s safe to say I am well outfitted for summer.  I do have a few things I am still looking for, but the fact that I started out buying ONLY THINGS that were on the list and I ended up buying things that I loved and go together even if it wasn’t on the list is a good sign that starting out with a small list of essentials works really well for me.

What I’ve been doing for winter clothes for the past few years is attempting to goofily wear my summer clothes anyway as soon as it got cold. I’d throw on some purple tights with my white eyelet skirt and add some boots and ignore how bizarre the whole thing looked, and then I’d get cold and while shopping Christmas sales I’d throw some bargain priced XXL sweatshirt in the cart, slap a “To Mom Love Eli” label on it, and look like a giant schlub all winter long.

That being said, I do think that my winter clothes purchases will be more limited, mostly because they’re generally way more expensive, and also I hate winter, so I don’t know that I see myself getting that excited about swathing myself in layers of wool.  However, here’s a list of what I think it would be good to have the first time it starts raining and never stops.

(I’m thinking the fall winter colors are going to be black and camel, with accents of forest green, mustard yellow, white and pink.)

Long Sleeved T Shirts: two white, one navy, one black, and one in a fun color like pink.

Sweaters: A nice black v neck, a nice coral pull over, and then all the other sweaters I already have. I love this look, but I have sensory issues with sweaters over crunchy button down shirts, so I might have to adapt it.

Skirts: One black wool skirt, one camel wool skirt, one mustard wool skirt, one pencil skirt (pink?). I have pretty much despaired of finding an awesome mustard colored skirt (how great is this one?) but hope springs eternal.

Jeans: one pair of trouser jeans, one pair of skinny jeans, one pair of bootcut jeans

Pants: One pair of nice well fitting boot cut or wide leg khakis, one pair of red pants, one pair of cargo pants, one pair of yoga pants, one pair of leggings

Dresses: At least two winter dresses, one in black.  As many as I can find, really, up to five, but I think these are going to be hard to find and are also going to be expensive.

Shoes: Riding boots in brown

Source: zappos.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

one pair of nice chunk heeled black shoes

one pair of high heeled mary janes in a fun color. (I ADORE these shoes. I’d buy them right now but even sale, they’re a little more than I want to spend on purple high heels. Sigh. If anyone sees a knock off, ALERT ME.)

Outerwear: one nice wool coat, one nice wool hat, maybe one or two really pretty silk scarves, a bunch of pairs of tights.

So my questions for you are: Where should I buy jeans that is not Old Navy, who I have Permanent Lifetime Banned, and do you have any tips for turning summer clothes into winter clothes that doesn’t involve white eyelet skirts and purple tights?

I actually am keeping the following picture front and center in my brain because I think dress plus sweater plus tights plus boots could go a long way into the fall, no?  A summer dress looks less weird in this look than a summer skirt, somehow, I think.

What I Wore This Week: Blurry

This week was not my favorite.

Part of my problem is that I am starting to run out of clothes. I am sure I could combine endless t shirts with the same white skirt over and over again, but I’m not sure how interesting that would be. And I now have favorite outfits that I can’t wear because I’ve already taken pictures of them! This is why fashion blogging is for rich people.

HOWEVER. I will take this as a challenge. And I will say that I have loads of stuff that I either need to figure out a way to make work, or else I need to get rid of it. SO.

{Dress: Gap, Earrings: Target, Sandals: Gap}

I tried this dress on in navy and white and it was nothing special, but man, it called to me, so I tried it on again two weeks later in green and white. SOLD! I love love love this dress. It’s so comfortable, it’s flattering, it’s preppy and modern but it’s  the furthest thing from “uh, why are you wearing a dress right now?!” AND it doesn’t look like a swim suit cover up. There’s limited sizes and colors online, but there were a lot in the store last weekend.  I’m thinking of going to get another one.

One thing that was confusing is that MOST of the time, dresses without a real waist look terrible on me. Before this dress, I thought that I could NEVER wear this style. Like, polo dresses on me? No. Just no. However, while side eyeing an episode of What Not To Wear, I caught Stacey explaining that one CAN wear a giant bag of a dress IF it is cut like a triangle.  So basically, you need to get in the store, look for the giant triangle, and try it on. It could work, even if it is a giant bag, it just has to be a giant triangle shaped bag.

{T Shirt: Gap, Skirt: J.Crew, Shoes: Top Siders}

This skirt is SO comfortable but something about it makes me very easily look like one of those types of people who isn’t allowed to wear pants because of Jesus. I mean, I like skirts, but not because of God.  Anyway, I have been searching for the right shirt to pair with this. This was not it, in my opinion. Hope springs eternal though. I just bought a bunch of t shirts from Ann Taylor Loft because they were on sale, and I couldn’t find “fancy” t shirts anywhere else. I figured ONE of them has to be not totally see through, right?

Also, you will notice that this picture is blurry. Quite frankly, you’re not missing much.

{Dress: Lands’ End, Belt: Target, Cami: American Eagle, Necklace: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

This is my beloved Lands’ End Fit and Flare dress, but with a belt and a cami and necklace. I LOVED this outfit, btw. It felt very outfitty.  I do notice that this dress makes me look like I have a HUGE rack.  I mean, they’re not small, but I wear a 34C.  Not sure what’s up with that.  Anyway.  I suppose there are worse problems that one can have.

{Shirt: American Eagle, Cami: American Eagle, Shorts: Target, Wedges: J.Crew, Necklace: Target}

Part of the reason I bought these white shorts was so that I’d have something else to wear this shirt with, because I love it but it’s a little tricky to find things it works with.  I almost took this outfit off, actually, but then I loved it in the pictures.  This color is my favorite in all the world. Also, please note that I am barely smiling in this picture. I cannot possible explain to you how stupid this pose felt while I was doing it. And I felt like I was smiling at Pageant Queen levels.  And yet in photographs, I am barely above “bemused disgust” levels.  I feel it only fair that I point out, though, that Eli and Erik have just left for a three day camping trip, so it’s basically a miracle that I am wearing something that’s not a bathrobe accessorized with a bag of Cheetos Puffs.


What I Wore This Week: A Revelation

Let me tell You about this thing I did.

So two weeks ago, Eli went on a sleepover! It was very exciting.  We celebrated by going to the mall, because I had a bunch of stuff I needed to return to Lands’ End.  While I was there, I tried on a cute striped jacket and another one of those Lands’ End dresses we all loved, but in navy, and a dress I had been eyeing at the Gap, and then I put it all back.  I have no idea why, but I put it all back.

Then I came home and proceeded to dump a whole bunch of stuff from Old Navy into my cart online.  When that order showed up, it was all awful.  Too short, see through, didn’t fit, and worst of all, a sweater that made me feel SAD.  Literally, I felt sad whenever I put it on, even though in my head, when I ordered it, I had seen myself looking so cute! in it.  Much cuter than any of the clothes I had tried on at the mall the weekend before.  But somehow, after I was done packing up all the Old Navy stuff so I could return it all, I couldn’t get that Lands’ End jacket out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about that dress I’d tried on at the Gap.  And so I went back.  For the second time in a two week period, I went back to the mall.  I know.

BUT while I was there, I crossed some kind of bar.  Yes, those clothes were more expensive than the very very cheap clothes at Old Navy.  And also because I was trying them on and standing there looking at myself them and although I looked good, I was also not able to pretend that they were going to make me look aspirationally better than I actually look, if that makes sense. I did not have a false picture of myself in those clothes, because I was standing there looking at them in the mirror.

For some reason, it’s really hard for me to pay $20 for a well made t shirt. I would rather buy $40 worth of dresses on Ebay than one $40 dress at the Gap, even though when Ebay things show up they are often faded, or don’t fit, or look a little off.  It took me three trips to the mall to buy a jacket that looks great on me and was on sale for $38 dollars, because I am so much more comfortable with the idea of an $18 sweater, even if it makes me feel sad every time I put it on.  It’s very strange, it really is.

So my “list of clothing I am not allowed to buy because it’s actually terrible” started with random Target t shirts, and it has extended to everything at Old Navy, unfortunately, and most things on Ebay and probably almost everything online, and thrifted stuff I can’t try on.  In general, even though I hate it, I should be trying things on in the store.  When I think about the things I still own and that I love and that look great on me, it’s mostly clothes from J. Crew and Banana Republic.  When I think about the things that fill the giveaway bags year after year, it’s a pile of clothes from Old Navy, dresses that looked cute on the first time and then never fit right again, t shirts that shrank, dresses that faded or pilled.

I will probably have to learn this lesson a few times, I’m guessing.  I love buying shoes on Ebay.  I still really like the sweaters in Target, actually.  And like I said, all the stuff that I bought this weekend from Lands’ End or the Gap was WAY on sale.  (Although interestingly most of it isn’t actually on sale online, which is another reason to go to the store.)

So.  Whatever.  Most people figured all this stuff out years ago, I know.  I’m getting there, though.

{Polo: Izod (Marshalls), Skirt (Gap), Necklace: Target, Shoes: Franco Sarto}

I wore this skirt a few weeks ago with a white t shirt and hated it, but I felt like if I wore it with a white polo shirt, it might redeem it. And it did! I finally found a white polo and when I wore it with this outfit, I LOVED this. I think it’s a little boring looking in pictures, but in person I thought it was super cute and flattering.

{Shirt: Banana Republic, Shorts: Target (Mossimo), Shoes: J.Crew}

I bought this shirt in a fit of desperation when I was shopping for The Blathering last year. It ABSOLUTELY KILLED me to pay $40 for this shirt, and yet it’s gorgeous and I love it and I’ve worn it a ton. I don’t even want to think about much money I spent on MUCH CHEAPER clothing that I have since gotten rid of.

{Jacket: Lands’ End (way on sale in the store (Sears) but not online), Denim Capris: Old Navy, Necklace: Ebay, Shoes: J. Crew}

This is the infamous striped jacket. I really love it. I can see myself wearing the crap out of it this fall.  They had a ton two weeks ago in the store, and when I went back, they didn’t have any. I went to go try a dress on anyway, and there was one, in my size, hanging on the dressing room door, marked down to $30 something dollars. Kismet!

{Dress:  Banana Republic, Shoes: J. Crew}

The nice thing about taking pictures is that when something is off, you can see it and work on it. I wore this dress a few weeks ago and I thought it looked weird. So I tried it without the built in green panel thing and I liked it MUCH better.

{Dress: Lands’ End, Necklace: Target, Cami: American Eagle, Sandals: Gap}

I had to go back and get this dress in navy.  There’s almost none left online but in the Lands’ End section in my Sears there were a fair amount still remaining.  Also, these shoes were on sale for $9 at the Gap in Roseville, fyi. And they have orange, tan, and some other color I forget.  I kind of wish I had bought three pairs.  They slip on! Best shoes ever.

This look, by the way, is saying: “Preschool was canceled but I didn’t find out until I got there. The dress I wanted to wear is in the wash. I slept funny and now I can’t move my neck.  I am not at all sure about this necklace and I had to retake these pictures because the first set was blurry, and I realized I wore those J. Crew wedges in every picture and I just had to grease up my daughter’s leg with olive oil to get it out from in between the crib bars, and some horrible spam robo caller is sending me to the brink of insanity but I am SMILING ANYWAY.”

Books I Read In June

69. The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.  This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long long time. It gives me hope for humanity.

70. Insurgent. I really have no idea what the point of this book was. It just felt so unnecessary, plus all other synonyms for pointless.  Plus it was boring. And long as hell.  I was underwhelmed. It kind of felt like some publisher was all “If you could write another of these, and make it ___ pages long, it would be awesome and also we’d give you a pile of cash.”  Which I am sure is not at all what happened. Of course not.

71. The Likeness.  Ok, so let me tell you about me and Tana French.  I had never heard of her, somehow, and then I saw Faithful Place on the NYT’s Best Seller list, and I assumed like most of the books on there, that it sucked ass, but it was one of the few books on the list that wasn’t 1. a series by someone I can’t stand or 2. that I hadn’t read yet.  And so I read it, and I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite, but I liked it.  It reminded me a lot of Kate Atkinson who I also enjoy. So then I read In the Woods, (and all of this is completely out of order, btw) and I really liked In the Woods.  If it had a flaw I’d say it was a little heavy handed with the foreshadowing, and it was a tiny bit melodramatic, but it was a really good book, as these things go.  So then I read The Likeness, and about 50 pages in, I just wasn’t feeling it. She had a premise that I found it hard to buy into and it spent some time lost under my bed, I won’t lie, and then I ran out of books, and I went back to it, and man, she sold it. She really sold it, and it ended up being my favorite book in the series and honestly, I really really loved this book.

The last paragraph, it just…it shook me. Now if you don’t want to read the last paragraph of this book right now, please skip it, but otherwise here it is for you, because damn, if that is not some fine ass writing, then I don’t know what is.  (This is actually not a huge plot spoiler but maybe you still don’t want to read the last paragraph of this book before you read the book.)

There is one thing I hoped, that she never stopped.  I hope when her body couldn’t run any farther she left it behind like everything else that tried to hold her down, she floored the pedal and she went like wildfire, streamed down night freeways with both hands off the wheel and her head back screaming to the sky like a lynx, white lines and green lights whipping away into the dark, her tires inches off the ground and freedom crashing up her spine. I hope every second she could have had came flooding through that cottage like speed wind: ribbons and sea spray, a wedding ring and Chad’s mother crying, sun wrinkles and gallops through wild red brush, a baby’s first tooth and its shoulder blades like tiny wings in Amsterdam Toronto Dubai; hawthorn flowers spinning through summer air, Daniel’s hair turning gray under high ceilings and candle flames and the sweet cadences of Abby’s singing.  Time works so hard for us, Daniel told me once.  I hope those last few minutes worked like hell for her.  I hope in that half hour she lived all her million lives.


Anyway. Loved it.

72. The List. Oh, I don’t know, I guess it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but by the end I had tired of The List.

73. Very Fond of Food.  I had no desire to cook anything from this book, and since it was a cookbook…well.  You do the math.

74. The Tempest. I can’t even remember this book.  That’s not a great sign. Oh, yeah, that. No.

75. Gilt. I do not know why I cannot remember that I don’t like books about historical shit where I already know how the historical shit turns out.  Spoiler Alert!: Henry the VIII was a dick.

76. City of Lost Souls.  You know, no one’s going to give Cassandra Clare a Pulitzer, or whatever, but the woman is very very good at what she does. This checked all the boxes, and although it kind of was a giant stall job, I’m gonna have to say that in terms of fantasy series, I really really really have enjoyed this whole deal.  And man can she string along a romance like no other.

I mean, I was excited to read this book, it did exactly what I thought I would, and it was entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the three days I spent reading it.

77. Gone, Girl. Ok, so.  For a minute there everyone was talking about this book. It was on all these lists and Erik sent me an article on how it was the book of the summer and lots of people loved her other books and according to the reviews, a lot of people liked this book and so I just ASSUMED it would be wonderful. And I read so many books and so many of them are unimpressive that sometimes I like to go into a book just KNOWING that it’s going to be great. It makes me feel…cared for, or something.  Assured. Which is maybe why my reaction to this book was so violent, because I felt sort of…betrayed, almost? I mean, maybe I just didn’t get it, but man, I did not care for this AT ALL.  It was just so cheesy and weird.  And what wasn’t cheesy just felt nasty in tone.  It felt so fake and all the characters were so plastic and false and unlikeable and it just rang so untrue for me.  And it felt so full of “tricksy little author tricks!”. Like, yeah, for you! You successfully made me like a character, and then changed my mind! And then you made me change my mind again! And then again! Fancy! Except I don’t care about that at all! I would rather just enjoy reading a good book! But you win! You got a bunch of fancy author tricks all packed into this book! Ew.  No thank you.

78.  The Beginner’s Goodbye.  I consider “The Accidental Tourist” to be one of the best things ever of all time.  Everything about it. Perfection.  And so I read all of Anne Tyler’s other books in the hope that some of that magic has rubbed off.  But this book is probably my least favorite thing that she’s ever written, let’s just leave it at that.

79. This Is How.  I just could not attach to this book, and I tried. I really tried.

Tumbleweeds.  You will notice this book did not get a number.  That is because it was so bad that I could not read it.  And I am still pissed that a book this bad tried to claim a similarity to Friday Night Lights on the fly leaf.  BOO HISS.

80.  A Good American. I wanted to really like this but I just thought it was boring.  I almost always dislike books about music, actually.  I am trying to think of an exception to this rule but I can’t right now. Anyone got anything? I like listening to music, reading about it doesn’t do it for me.

81. An American Heiress.  You know, it was entertaining enough, and they talked a lot about dresses, which I enjoy in a book, but it was no Luxe series.  Just read that, if you haven’t yet.

82. Tell the Wolves I’m Home.  Ok, now, not everyone is going to love this book.  And it was really too long, and it’s narrated by a 14 year old who can get frustrating and/or irritating at times, and it’s not perfect, I will say that. It’s a tid bit weird, it reminded me a lot of The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake.  But I think it’s not a nothing book, if that makes sense. It is very well written and it is really saying something. It says something. It does something. I felt like it meant something in the world. It was not perfect, but it was not a pointless sequel to a knock-off post-apocalyptic YAF series.  So, yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  So I have given myself permission to opt out of things that I will never be able to unsee or unhear or unread and that will cause me distress until the end of my days, and this is one of those things. I understand that women and children are the victims of unspeakable violence but I simply could not read this extremely detailed telling of such things and not lose my shit, so this had to go on the “no” pile for me. Sometimes one must protect oneself above all else.

83. Amped. Yeah, I just didn’t care.

84. The Darlings. This sounded really interesting. Alas, it was not.