What I’m Reading Lately

Last week we (me, Bobby, Kurt) took a road trip up to Canada for our summer vacation. We drove up through Boston, into Portland ME, and hopped on an overnight ferry cruise to Nova Scotia before trekking further up to Prince Edward Island where we spent a few peaceful days relaxing.

With all the driving and ferrying I had plenty of time to read. Here’s what I’ve been reading both on my Kindle app (for iPhone/iPad) and real paperbacks.

astonish me maggie shipstead

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead. I read this on Kindle. It is a ballet story that follows young dancer Joan throughout her life as she moves from being a professional ballerina to being a mom and wife and all the drama that comes in between. She has a brief and passionate fling with a Russian dancer in her early days that follows her throughout the story.

Review: As soon as I got into the book, about 2 chapters in, I couldn’t put it down. I did ballet growing up and ballet stories have a special place in my heart. Very well written and a very engaging story. Even if you don’t love ballet you will love this book. (I will admit that in the beginning of the book, when I wasn’t really sure what direction the story was going to take, I was slightly paranoid that some horrible tragedy was going to happen – thankfully it didn’t.)

flirting with french by william alexander

Flirting with French by William Alexander. Another Kindle book (which I started on the subway). A true story in which William sets out to master French, the ever-elusive language of romance… it turns out to be harder than he thought.

Review: It took me a few days to read this but once I got going I couldn’t stop. I too would love to become fluent in French, but it is massively difficult. Admittedly, I haven’t put in the effort that William has. If you like languages you will love this.

missing mom book joyce carol oates

Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates. I picked this up simply because I miss my mom. I got it in paperback at a store in Charlottetown, PEI. This is a story of a woman, Nikki, who loses her mom tragically and suddenly when she (Nikki) is 31. It follows Nikki over the year after her mom’s death as she grows and changes and her life continues on.

Review: This was my first book by Joyce Carol Oates and it will not be my last. What a beautifully written (descriptive but not flowery) and engaging story. I couldn’t put it down.

paris key book

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell. This was sent to me as an advance copy (paperback) and comes out tomorrow (Sept 1). Genevieve Martin moves to Paris after separating from her husband and her uncle dies (it’s her mom’s brother; her mom passed away when Genevieve was a teen) to take over his locksmith shop. She learns about her family’s history while figuring out who she is herself.

Review: I loved the writing and the story. I am a sucker for Paris. I’ll have to check out more of Juliet Blackwell’s books.

What are you reading lately?

Top 10 Books for Babies and Toddlers

We have been reading to baby Kurt since he was one day old. It may have meant nothing to him at first, but going on 14 months, he’s finally starting to understand. He’s been able to sit patiently listening since he was just a few months old.

When he is fussy or I need to keep him occupied (in the car, on a plane, when he’s sick), a book is the best way to do it.

Here are our top 10 favorite books for babies – and toddlers too!

(In no particular order…)

1) First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

first 100 words baby book

A sweet milestone that happened in the last few weeks was that Kurt now points to the cat in First 100 Words and say, “Ga Ga” (his word for Cat). The other 99 words are equally useful – including colors, bedtime words, eating words, and more.

2) Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

tails book matthew van fleet

Tails is a fantastic book, though Kurt has by now destroyed a lot of the fun functionality (sliding tabs and cool tails). Perhaps wait until baby is old enough to not destroy books (or keep a better eye on baby while he’s “reading” than I usually do!).

3) I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak

i love you through and through book

Just a very sweet baby book. Especially good to hug and cuddle while reading it.

4) Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton

pajama time by sandra boynton

Pajama Time can be used as a bedtime ritual. It’s also a rhyming book. We love it.

5) Trucks by Katie Cox

trucks book katie cox easy to turn page

The pages of Trucks are easy to turn because they have tabs on them. A super simple book (just words for the different kinds of trucks) but colorful and Kurt likes flipping through.

6) The Little Green Island with a Little Red House by Sharon Lovejoy

little green island with a little red house

This book may be for a slightly older child, but Kurt loves listening to us read even if he doesn’t understand it all. The Little Green Island is full of interesting color words like chartreuse and crimson. I think this one will be a keeper for many years to come.

7) Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

mr brown can moo can you

A Dr. Seuss classic. Perfect for babes learning new sounds.

8) Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

pat the bunny

Another classic… but be careful because babies tend to destroy books that are not board books. I love this edition because Kurt can touch “daddy’s scratchy face” and put his finger through “mummy’s ring”.

9) Where Is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz

where is baby's belly button

Great for teaching baby “where” things are. Belly buttons, hands, feet – it’s a lift the flap book. (Again, be careful for baby’s grabbing hands.)

10) Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

everywhere babies

Everywhere Babies is probably the most recent book we’ve added to our collection and it’s fast become a new favorite. So sweet – and I love how it shows both bottle-fed and breastfed babies.

What are your top books for babies and toddlers?

Of Boobs and Bosses: Crosspost from YouBeauty

I wrote an article the other day which was published on the site I run, YouBeauty.com. Thought you guys might enjoy. I have so little time to update here, but wanted to share.

My first foray back to the office after giving birth came just nine days after my son was born. I was still on maternity leave, technically. But I needed to be present for something that couldn’t wait. I hadn’t had the time or energy to figure out how to use the complicated breastfeeding pump I’d ordered on Amazon, so I dragged my bleary-eyed husband and newborn son along with me while I met with the executive team to discuss a coming merger. My husband and son hung out in my office while I went off to a conference room 50 feet away.

As I sat in the meeting, I surreptitiously checked my cell phone. Frantic texts started coming: “he’s hungry,” “now he’s crying,” “you have to come now.” My breasts were already starting to leak; after 10 minutes, I muttered a quick excuse and ran down the hall to feed him. But of course by then…

[Continue Reading…]

Peacefood Cafe Review (NYC)

I have a few dishes to review from Peacefood Cafe on the upper west side. Bobby and I have been here a few times and we always enjoy it. This time was for a late lunch (almost dinnertime).

I like to get the roasted vegetable dish. You get to pick 4 veggies, so I got kabocha (duh), cauliflower, summer squash, and Brussels sprouts. I spray it with Bragg’s liquid aminos. Peacefood is generous with their oil for roasting, but it makes the dish even better. Topped with sprouts.

Bobby got a kabocha sandwich with jicama sticks on the side.

And we shared this vegan potato salad.

All lip-smackingly good. I want to go back again soon to Peacefood. I think baby K will enjoy trying some vegan dishes.

Angelica’s Kitchen Review (Vegan, NYC)

Angelica’s Kitchen

A while ago I met up with one of my best friends for a delicious vegan dinner at Angelica’s Kitchen on the lower east side.

I got the “Pantry Plate” with 5 items – Marinated Hiziki & Arame Salad, Garlic Lemon Marinated Kale, bean and butternut squash salad, some kind of cabbage, and a sprout and bean salad (I think). Next time I think I will try their macro plate.

Fantastic company, fantastic meal.