Here’s what I’ve been loving in July/August including my latest fashion finds, a fun activity for kids, an app that is a little strange but very useful, what I’ve been listening to on the radio, a fascinating book, and a gut-busting Goodreads review.

I’ve been eyeing these earrings for quite some time, hoping and hoping that they would go on sale before they sold out.  Finally my wish was granted and I’ve been wearing them as often as I can without reminding myself of a teenage girl who listens to her new favorite song on repeat over and over and over and over…oh wait, I still do that too.

On our recent Chicago trip, I spent a glorious hour or so at J.Crew browsing to my heart’s content.  This particular store had a much larger in-store selection of shoes than most of the stores I have visited, and I fell in love with these suede ballet flats.  Unfortunately they didn’t have the color I wanted (shown here) available.  That’s what online shopping is for.  They are comfy and add a nice pop of color to any outfit.  I’ve already gotten many wears out of them.

I adored this chevron top from Ann Taylor instantly but I was unsure of how it would look in person.  It had the potential to be very good or very bad.  I’m happy to report, it is very, very good.  So good in fact that I now own both colors.  It’s fun and flattering and I just love it!

I’ve owned a pair of earrings from the Etsy shop Tiny Galaxies for a while and every time I wear them, they make me smile.  I love sparkles, and so I essentially love everything in this shop.

I recently came across this little pore scrubber/exfoliator and decided to give it a try.  It makes my skin feel really great and I’ve definitely noticed an decrease in frequency/severity of breakouts since I’ve been using it regularly.  $5 win!

Ever in search of fun activities to do with Andrew, I came across this tie-dye kit and was intrigued.  I did a lot of summer camps as a kid and as a result, I did a lot of tie-dyeing.  I wasn’t entirely certain Andrew was quite old enough to 1) appreciate how awesome tie-dyeing is and 2) do it without turning him and/or me many bright colors.  The kit turned out to be a great call.  It was so nice to be able to squirt dye onto the shirts rather than making huge buckets of dye.  We had a blast with this project.  Our shirts turned out so cool and I totally regret not making one for myself.  What was I thinking?!

I feel kind of silly sharing this but it’s something I found useful so I figure a few readers may as well.  As people often like to say, there is an app for everything.  Now I guess it’s really true.  This app, iPeriod, is a monthly calendar that you can use to record your cycles, etc.  As silly as it sounds, it’s been really handy and for the first time ever when I went to the doctor and they asked when my last cycle started, I didn’t have to rack my brain or just flat out guess.
I am a major public radio lover.  I am a member of our local public radio station (WFYI) and love many NPR programs.  Lately I’ve been downloading podcasts of This American Life shows and I just cannot get enough of it.  Episodes I’ve especially loved lately include #1 Party School (interesting to me since my alma mater IU, situated in my own hometown once held this title) and How to Talk to Kids.  Now that I think of it, I find both of these episodes simultaneously thought-provoking and positively terrifying whenever I think of what is to come as my kids grow up.  One step at a time, I guess.

Normally I’m more of a fiction reader, but over the past year or so I’ve gotten more into non-fiction and I’m starting to love it.  A good friend recommended this book to me.  She’s usually right on with her book recommendations so I put it next on my list.  Destiny of the Republic is an account of President Garfield’s election, the assassination attempt on him, and his subsequent medical treatment.  At first, the book was very slow to hook me…so slow that I actually triple checked to be sure that yes, this was the book she had recommended.  Suddenly I found myself riveted and unable to put it down till the end.  I found Garfield and the man who shot him to be fascinating characters, but it was mainly the historical study of medicine at the time and the views of mental illness that most interested me.  This may seem an unlikely choice, but I really think this book would be enjoyable for almost anyone, medically inclined or not.

And now for your dose of humor…
Let me start by saying that I have not read any of the 50 Shades of Grey series and I don’t plan too.  There are too many truly great books out there – I don’t want to waste my time on a bad one (or three).  Even though I don’t know everything about them, I know enough to find this colorful review of the books positively hysterical.  (By the way, this is semi-NSFW…both because the adult material contained in the books is discussed in detail throughout the review, and because you will laugh uncontrollably while reading it.)  Ben and I laughed to the point of tears the evening we first saw this, and the following day at work I would spontaneously burst out laughing every time I thought of it.  Good times.  For the record, of all those little clips within the review, the Prince one is my fave :)  While the 50 Shades books may be a pointless waste of time, I’m definitely not sorry I read this review of them.

  • Tracy

    I love these posts! I even just tried to buy the Ann Taylor shirt but they’re sold out of the black/white one in my size. Thanks for keeping us updated on your personal life, it’s fun to catch a glimpse!

  • Melissa

    I did actually read and really enjoy all 3 50 shades of Grey books, i still found that review hilarious!!

  • Angie

    Love those shoes! Great finds.

    As for Fifty Shades, I was finally convinced to read them. I got through to chapter 9 in the first book and was just going to stop. My sister convinced me to keep going. Glad I did. I finished all three in a few days. I could not put the books down. I still find myself thinking about them and having a hard time coming back to reality. That being said, it has nothing to do with the very vivid sexual acts in the book. I came to really love watching the 2 main characters evolve emotionally. I found myself skimming past the love scenes to actually get to the meat of the love story that unfolds. It is not a book for everyone but if you can see past the erotic stuff there is a good love story in my opinion.

  • Lauren

    I read her reviews for all three 50 Shades books and I have to say, they were the funniest things I’ve ever read and I totally agree with her!

  • Joan

    Thanks for the book tip. I read “The River of Doubt” by the same author, and really enjoyed it. Currently reading “Crossing the Borders of Time” by Leslie Maitland. Non-fiction, and wonderful. It’s World War II genre. A Jewish family escapes Nazi Germany via France, but not before their teen-age daughter falls madly in love with a French Catholic, whom she has to leave behind, but never forgets. A great read.

  • Bahahaaa, definitely a gut-busting review! The word count alone….ohhh my!

  • goodthymes

    I love these posts – I always find something new to buy online from them. ;) Also, I think I love you just a little more for referencing that GoodReads review!!

  • annieseats

    Wonderful! Thanks for the recs! I’m always, always looking for more good books.

  • Christine

    Totally with you on not wasting time (or brain cells) reading 50 Shades. I don’t understand the hype. And I read those reviews a couple of weeks ago and about lost my mind laughing so hard! I don’t see how anyone can get through them if they’re that poorly written, I don’t care how good the story line.

    That Ann Taylor top is so nice!

  • Shynds8

    I actually have the iperiod app but theres also period tracker an I preferred the layout of it. I found myself in the same situation at the doctor recently when asked when my last cycle started an I said “hold on let me check my phone”

  • Kayla W

    I have a pair of those earrings pulled up on Etsy, they make me happy to just looking at them. Just have to pull the trigger.
    And I totally get the love for the iPeriod. There’s an android app called P Tracker which is really great too.

  • That chevron top is seriously cute, would look good dressed up or down! I may have to go out and buy it :)

  • Julie @ Table for Two

    love love this post!! I love both earrings you featured here and I’m dying to get that bright pink chevron top from Ann Taylor. Debating it!! If you want to read a good book, I heard Gone Girl is amazing (I’m going to be reading that next month on my plane ride to Seattle). Not sure if you like chick books, but Where We Belong by Emily Giffin was a page turner for me. I finished it in 2 days! Also ‘Something There to Remind Me’ by Beth Harbison is great too. Finished that in 2 days as well :)

  • Adrianne

    I love those earrings! Are they really heavy though?

  • Rachel @ sweet ravioli

    I really enjoy reading your ‘things i’m loving’! Has given me so many great gift ideas!

  • anchorsawayblog4

    Oh that chevron top would be perfect for me to wear at homecoming (the time when my husband comes home from deployment).

    Thanks for all of the recommendations!

  • Angela

    I confess, I also listen to my favorite songs on repeat. (I’m 31.) :) I love the earrings and the book tips. Awesome. I just finished “Dark Monk” by Oliver Poetzsch and enjoyed it. I didn’t love it like I loved “The Hangman’s Daughter,” but it was good.

  • annieseats

    They are heavier than any other earrings I own, but I can wear them all day long without they being uncomfortable.

  • annieseats

    Ha! Just finished Gone Girl today actually :) Not really into chick lit though.

  • Carlita

    Love the earrings and flats! Super cute and stylish. Regarding 50 Shades … dont knock it ’till you tried it! Might be good to push yourself out of your comfort zone ;)

  • Suze

    OMG I love these Things I’m Loving posts… I love both earrings (and now have to browse Etsy, lol) and all of it.
    You are right – there IS an app for everything, lol! And don’t feel silly – that’s not the first one I’ve seen with that particular tidbit to record.
    I hooted out loud when I saw the 50 Shades part – one of my coworkers is gaga over it and I am bored to tears by the synopsis of the first – no, I won’t be reading them, either. But the review is hilarious!!!
    Please keep these posts coming!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Thanks for the link to the good reads review. It ALMOST made the fact that I fell for the hype and wasted 9.99 on the book for my Kindle worth it. I was reading the review on the sly during some downtime at work on Saturday and it had me cackling out loud in parts.

  • Andrea

    The cycle apps are a GREAT way to keep track of things (like your sanity!) but I actually think FertilityFriend or Ova Ova are much, much better. Give them a try and see what you think.

  • Laura

    Pretty much in love with that Etsy shop, thanks for the link! That 50 Shades review is too funny – totally sums up how I felt about that book. The worst writing and character development I’ve ever experienced!

  • annieseats

    It’s not the content but more the empty characters/lack of plot that I take issue with. I’ll pass :)

  • I have to say I’m right there with you with how much I enjoyed Destiny of the Republic – it read very much like a novel for me. I listened to it on audio book and found it so compelling. It made me interested in a president who you don’t hear much about because of his short time in office. I’m off to read the review on Goodreads now – I’m not interested in reading the Grey books for the same reasons you said – they are just not well constructed and I have too many other things to read!

  • I’m so exceptionally glad that I’m not the only person on the planet who thought that Fifty shades were very very badly written and a complete waste of a weekend’s reading.

  • Kat

    The review – hilarious. I had tears in my eyes reading it… Thanks for sharing. I need to get back into regular reading (in the private time I’m going to have to somehow make between all the kids, sigh). Gonna have to go check out some of these rec’s. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Kim Q

    We did that same tie dye kit this past weekend- it turned out great! Of course, after I did my daughter’s and saw how awesome it turned out, I went and bought a white shirt for myself too and did my own shirt. I was ready to tie dye every white shirt in the house!

  • Missy

    I love all your posts and thank you so much for all the great recipes and tips. That review (well, I actually read all three of them) was absolutely spot on! After hearing so dang much about those books, I caved and read the first one, hoping that I would love it. (I am a sucker for a good trilogy, but too bad for me I haven’t read a good one since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Even though 50 Shades was terrible, I just had to read the other two, mostly to see if the author had gotten a thesaurus yet! What a waste of three days of my life.

  • Morgan

    I use a similar exfoliator, but mine came with the L’Oreal 360 cleanser. The cleanser wasn’t great but the exfoliator is amazing!

  • Janice

    If you like This American Life… and assuming you have a smart phone… there is an app for you phone that enables you to listen to EVERY EPISODE ever!!! It has the entire history AND updates with each weeks new episode. ALSO, you can stream the new episode live from your phone. I listen to episodes while running. Total escape.

  • annieseats

    I have it and love it!

  • Ashley

    I really enjoy your recipes and your blog overall! However, I was a bit surprised to see a book review, let alone of a book you have not read. It left a weird taste in my mouth to read a snide review of a book on a cooking blog. I read the book, yes the characters were a little annoying sometimes, but not empty. It is what it is, a beach read, a fun read. Also, that website review was much more corny and more annoying then the book. It’s fine if you don’t want to read it, but that was a little judgemental, especially since you are basing your words on other’s reviews.

  • EG

    Now I want those earrings in both colors. White because it’s versatile, and orange because it’s Virginia Tech!

  • annieseats

    Eh, my blog, my opinions I guess. It helps having talked to many people I know who have read it and not one had a redeeming thing to say. You read what you like and so will I ;)

  • John

    Did you ever learn the old, “Don’t knock it till you try it”! I can’t imagine you ever forming a judgement about a recipe without trying it yourself, so why a book?

  • annieseats

    Really? I think we all do it, all the time. I don’t generally like sci-fi books, so I don’t need to read each of them to come to that conclusion. I don’t enjoy recipes full of processed ingredients. This is no different to me.