Oh my goodness, are we ever overdue for a Things I’m Loving! I try to wait until I have enough things that I legitimately love worth telling you about, but this time I think I waited too long. There is just so much to tell you about! Let’s get to it.

1. As soon as the weather warms up, I am all about shorts and dresses. Boden is killing it with their line up of summer dresses and I limited myself to three for the season, which required great restraint on my part. I love all of my new additions but this swishy dress in particular is a must. It is high quality design and a flattering cut. I’ve already worn it once and plan on many more times throughout the summer. Just a perfect summer dress!

2. Last month Andrew and I had a date night that included a visit to a local arts center to see the gallery shows, visit several artist studios and check out a really cool art fair hosted by the Mother Artist Project (a really awesome initiative.) I was thrilled to meet Rana Salame, a very talented local jewelry artist. Her designs are incredibly gorgeous and almost every piece she makes is one of a kind. I bought a pair of peach colored jade earrings and a cream druzy necklace and they are both amazing! Though I can’t share those specific links with you because each piece is unique, I did want to alert you all to her awesomeness. Add her as a favorite on Etsy and see what gorgeous new designs she will come up with next!

3. Is it weird for me to tell you guys about underwear? Maybe, but I’m going to anyway because these are worth knowing about. You know I’m always on the lookout for good companies doing good things and I recently learned about Dear Kate, a brand focused on making underwear much better than everything else out there. I was intrigued so I decided to try a couple of pairs and I became an instant convert, already having invested in several more pairs. The high performance fabric is specially developed for their brand and it’s truly amazing! Other things I love about them include their celebration of all body types in their advertising, as well as the fact that their products are made domestically. I haven’t tried the nothing under yoga pants or shorts yet but considering how often I practice, I think these will be my next investment. You can read more about the details on their site but bottom line, I love their stuff and just had to share with you!

4. I’ve been experimenting with different types of oils for heat styling to combat frizz. Some have been less than stellar but I have been really loving this Bumble & Bumble hairdresser’s invisible oil primer. I spray it on my hair while damp, brush it through and then proceed with blow drying and curling. It does a really great job of giving a smooth finish (actually it does so well that sometimes I just leave my hair straight because it looks so nice when I use this.)

5. Another dress! I can’t help myself, I basically wear a dress every chance I get. They are just so easy and comfortable! This black shirtdress from Anthro is a staple kind of item, as it would work in so many situations. It is a bit boxy on its own but I plan to wear it with a belt to define the waist. I love the sleeve detailing and the gold buttons. I can see this being gorgeous in the fall as well with leggings, boots, and a cardigan.

6. I’m picky about lotions and moisturizers, but the Bare Body Milk from Julep is my top choice for summertime. I first tried it out last summer and have loved it ever since. It is a lightweight lotion that does a great job moisturizing and leaves the skin incredibly silky and smooth. The scent is nice too, fairly mild and not overpowering so it won’t clash with other scents you might choose to wear.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I have read countless books set during World War 2. They are almost always excellent and incredibly moving, at least in part due to the undeniably gripping subject matter. This book seemed set apart somehow, approached from a different perspective than the angles usually taken with this topic. The way that Doerr crafted this work is truly masterful storytelling, creating a suspenseful narrative that jumps back and forth through time while we wonder at what will become of the two main narrators and how their stories might intertwine.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Wow. Wow wow wow. This book is so unbelievably beautiful and eloquent and moving that it has rendered me incapable of summoning the words to even begin do it justice. Though it is technically poetry, the lyrical free verse is incredibly readable and evokes such vivid imagery, Ms. Woodson’s words transport you to another world. Though the book deals with some very heavy topics given that it is about growing up during the civil rights movement, it still manages to be uplifting and positive. This is one of those books where the beauty of a line could and did bring me to tears in numerous instances throughout the book, wanting to read those lines over and over and savor them. If it were up to me, this would be required for every human being, period.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed: After reading and loving Wild last year, I was anxious to find more to read from Cheryl Strayed. When I first came across Tiny Beautiful Things, however, I was uncertain. When I saw that the book was less a book than a collection of reader questions and Cheryl’s responses in her role as advice columnist Dear Sugar, I didn’t really know what to expect. So I put off reading it. However, in the giant post-Serial void, I started listening to the hilarious, entertaining and addicting Savage Lovecast (absolutely not recommended for anyone closed minded or easily offended). Since that introduction into the world of advice columns/podcasts and hearing Cheryl in a recent Savage Love episode, I finally decided to read Tiny Beautiful Things. I LOVED it. It’s a bit hard to express exactly what I love about this book, because there is much to love. Cheryl is a extremely talented writer and that comes across loud and clear in her lengthy and lyrical responses to the many questions her readers pose. She intertwines very detailed stories from her own life into her responses, and while some criticize her for it, I found her use of her own (amazing, entertaining and hugely varied) life experiences perfectly appropriate. We do not advise others in a void – we draw on our own lives, our own emotions and our own mistakes, and Cheryl achieves this masterfully. What I loved equally to her gorgeous response essays were the questions themselves. They repeatedly emphasize so many dilemmas of the human condition – love, loss, immaturity, infidelity, jealousy, and the list goes on. The questions and Cheryl’s responses dealing with death and loss were especially poignant for me. I sort of think of this book now as a Big Book of Truth or a Big Book of Life. Though I borrowed a digital copy from my library, I’m planning to buy one to highlight all of my favorite passages. It’s really hard to put into words just how much I loved this book. Chances are if you give it a try, you will understand.

Runaway by Alice Munro: I hadn’t exactly planned to read this book when I did, but I finished a book one evening before falling asleep and the next morning I realized I had nothing to read on the treadmill. I really, really need something to read on the treadmill! This book was the first one on my Goodreads list that was also available for immediate download from our public library, so I went for it. It’s probably good that I didn’t realize in advance that it was a book of short stories because in general, I don’t typically enjoy those. However, each story in this collection was quite captivating. Munro’s ability to quickly develop deeply complex characters is pretty much unparalleled. If you are at all interested in short stories, this book is an excellent place to start.

I’m pretty sure everyone on Pinterest has a thing for string lights and I am no exception. When we bought our house last summer, I knew this patio was made to have string lights around it. How to actually put them up was the question. Thankfully I found this post from Bright July with excellent step-by-step instructions. The whole project was pretty straightforward and we absolutely adore the way they turned out. We bought these lights from Target to complete the job. Now that the weather is warm again, we enjoy them nearly every single evening. So glad we did this!

I haven’t been much in the mood for knitting lately but I have been having a LOT of fun sewing. These two projects (crochet and sew dress and liberty elastic waist skirt) are both free patterns from Purl Bee. I absolutely love the way both pieces turned out, and will be making more of both patterns for sure. They are both quick and pretty simple projects, and most importantly Caroline loves wearing them!

No particular articles or other food for thought to share this month. I’ve just been watching Amy Schumer videos nonstop and waiting with baited breath for the next season of OITNB to be released this week!!!!!!

Disclaimer:  These posts are a way for me to share the things I love with you, simply because I love them!  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission. This helps to offset the costs of running this site and allows me to continue providing you the content you enjoy.

  • Melissa Brooker

    Oh Annie! i love everything in this post! I have naturally curly hair so frizz is a major problem for me and i have yet to find a product that works for me, i will have to try the oil primer! I’m also going to look into Dear Kate for sure!

    I am anxiously awaiting Friday for more OITNB, and i will have to try not to binge watch the whole season!

  • Loving all of these too – that dress especially! I didn’t know about the Cheryl Strayed book although I loved Wild too so I definitely want to get it – thanks Annie!

  • Forgot to say – Also Amy Schumer and Orange – so excited!!

  • Sam Derby

    Always love these posts- especially your etsy finds, they are the best. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelli

    Annie, I love your porch! Can I ask where your string lights came from?

  • annieseats

    Yes, sorry – should have included that! I have updated the post with a link. Mine are from Target.

  • kellyp19

    I am OBSESSED with Tiny, Beautiful Things. I love Cheryl Strayed generally, but I just connected with this book in a way that is hard to describe. I have bought it for all my friends (who loved it!), recommended it to my book club (who also LOVED it!) and walk around telling strangers about it sometimes (no feedback there ;-) I’m so glad you read and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your faves – I just put Runaway on my reading list.

  • I’ve been trying to convince my husband for weeks that we need string lights around our patio area. We even have the lights already! Yours looks great!

  • Angela

    i really look forward to these posts. The Cheryl Strayed book is one of my favorites. I read it before Wild. She is gifted. I have Doerr’s on my nightstand to read. Underwear recommendations are never odd and always welcome. Banish the wedgie!

    Hope you and yours are well. :)

  • Nikki Rader

    I’m gonna have to give All the Light We Cannot See a chance! I have seen it everywhere!

  • Carden

    I am SO excited that you have discovered Dear Kate! One of the co-founders of the company is actually a friend of mine who I studied abroad with. Their products are amazing and I’m so happy to see that you have found them and enjoy them so much.

  • Crescentia Kalpana David

    Hi Annie, I have been a follower of this blog for a while. I love that you have varied interest, mother of 2 children, and a doctor. How do u manage ur time?

  • Sarabeth

    If you liked All the Light We Cannot See, I also recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Another fabulous WWII read about two sisters in France.

  • annieseats

    Yes! This is on my to-read list. Glad to know you enjoyed it!

  • annieseats

    Hi Crescentia! Thanks for following :) I never know quite how to answer that question. Thankfully my job has fairly regular hours so that is really helpful. I spend as much time with the kids as possible in evenings and on weekends. I read during my lunch break and at bed time, so that allows me to make time for the books I want to read. I fit in my workouts in early morning or late at night and weekends whenever I can. I just have so many different interests and things I love to do, and I think if you really love something, you find a way to make time for it so I find ways to squeeze in my various interests whenever I have a free moment. I have no idea if that is helpful but honestly I don’t have a special strategy. Thanks for reading!

  • annieseats

    They are seriously awesome! That is so cool that you know one of the co-founders!

  • annieseats

    You do need them! It was a much quicker project than we anticipated and I love them so much!

  • annieseats

    You get me. Seriously, this is exactly how I feel about the book! It is really hard to put into words all that is wonderful about it.

  • I am in love with everything Boden and am wearing one of their dresses right now! I also limited myself to only 3. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do lately :) Also, All the Light We Cannot See is my book club read for this month, so glad you like it!

  • AC

    Annie, don’t miss the Dear Sugar podcast (http://www.wbur.org/series/dear-sugar) as well. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I read your post, I happened to have 5 credits in my audibel account, and I’m going on a car trip next week. Long story short, I just got wild. All The Ligjt, and Brown Girl Dreaming . I stink at picking out good books, so thanks!

  • Mary

    I LOVE these posts; thanks! I loved Brown Girl…. I just finished Black Dove White Raven (Wein, YA, historical fiction) and liked it! See what you think. If you like it she also wrote Code Name Verity (WWII) .
    Everyone needs underwear – thanks for the recommendation.

  • Lauren

    I bought tiny beautiful things after seeing your post on it… I am only a couple letters in but can’t put it down and totally get what you mean about wanting to highlight passages. So many powerful quotes! Thanks for the recommendation!

  • annieseats

    So glad you are enjoying it!

  • annieseats

    You know, I tried so hard to read Code Name Verity but I just could not get into it. I read nearly half of it and it was lost on me! I will have to try Black Dove White Raven. Thanks!

  • Mary

    I persisted in reading Code Name Verity. I was working as a school librarian at the time and “it was my job.” I didn’t love it until at least halfway through but, at some point, it hooked me! I remember hiding from the family on vacation so I could finish it :)

  • Molly F.C.

    Hi Annie. I too felt that Code Name Verity was slooooowwww at first, but somewhere around the halfway mark I got hooked. So much so that I think of this novel alot. I really love it. I’m a fan of World War II fiction in general. There’s a sequel of sorts to CNV that I read too.