Silver Lining

February 8, 2016

What to Read: Great Book Club Picks

Every book club has its own rules and guidelines when it comes to choosing books. But when it's my turn to pick a book? I have a few criteria I stick to:

1. I love to choose fiction novels, because they usually make for a quick, engaging read, and everybody finishes their book long before discussion night.

2. Good book club books deal with more than one issue. That way, everyone is drawn to at least one of the main themes, and there's never a shortage of passages to discuss.

3. I like to stay away from books that are severely shocking, polarizing, heavy-handed, or explicit (unless your club was formed specifically to read and discuss these types of books, that is).

Here are some of my favorite fiction book club picks:
Need a great, easy fiction read that everyone loves for book club? This is a great list of modern fiction novels that lend themselves to great book club discussion.

The Rent Collector
Camron Wright, 2012
This is about a woman who lives in a dump in Cambodia and makes her money scavenging the garbage for recyclables. It's a beautiful, fast-paced story about hope and the power of learning.

The Help
Kathryn Stockett, 2009
Is there anyone who hasn't read this book by now? It's the story of "the help," the black maids who quietly run households and raise children for white women in the early 1960s. Some maids team up with a white woman who doesn't want to conform to society standards to start a movement that changes their racist town forever.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 2008
Trust me, don't get hung up on the name of this book. It's about the correspondence between a woman living in the shadow of post-WWII London, and the characters of the small island of Guernsey during the German occupation. It's funny and endearing and universally well-liked.

Love Walked In
Marisa de los Santos, 2006
Technically, this is a romance book, and I don't usually pick those for book clubs because they're so one-sided. But this book is about so much more. Namely, it's about an eleven-year-old girl who's just been abandoned by her mother, and how her life entertwines with Cornelia, a short and spunky coffee cafe worker.

We Are Called to Rise
Laura McBride, 2015
This is a great book club pick because it's told from multiple perspectives, and it's about multiple issues that are easy to discuss: veterans with PTSD, immigrant families in America, the social work system, and modern-day marriages. Funnily enough, I don't think everybody will absolutely love this book, so it lends itself to a really awesome discussion. It's richly told and has some really beautiful passages.

Those are my current favorites! And now I have to divulge that, since moving to Arizona, I have not found a new book club, and I'm pretty disappointed about it. Local friends: want to start one? I miss having a book club and book club nights!

Other lists in my book recommendation series:
Light-hearted clean romance books
Beautiful literary WWII masterpieces
Most readable classics
Best books for the new parent
What to read next if you loved Wonder

To see what I'm currently reading and reviewing, follow me on Goodreads here.

Which of these books have you loved the most?
What books did I miss?
Favorite books for book club?

P.S. Let's be friends!

February 5, 2016

twin bumpin'

Now that I know I'm having twins, I can look back and think that there were actually a lot of signs that this was a multiple pregnancy in the my first trimester. Like the fact that I started showing at only 10 weeks pregnant, or the fact that I was more than twice as sick as I ever was the first time around. But of course I had no idea it was twins, so I just thought it was a rough pregnancy, and don't people usually start showing earlier with their second baby? Regardless, I'm only 15 weeks now, but my twin bump is here to stay!


I've been looking back through the archives of Claire's pregnancy, and I think my 15-week bump looks the same size as my 26-week bump with Claire. Ha! And now I'm resisting the urge to buy maternity clothes four sizes too big because if I'm already this big, won't I be gigantic beyond belief by the end?

This week has been full of some of the best, and some of the worst, parenting moments in a while. Claire was very sick for three days, and was up every single hour and a half during those three days. At one point, when I was beyond exhausted and stumbling to Claire's room to give her a snuggle and more medicine at 4:30am, I thought - This is just some sort of pre-test for having twins, isn't it? And then I thought that somebody should definitely check me into an insane asylum right now and save us all the trouble later down the road. ;)

On the bright side, I have been getting unlimited baby cuddles from my normally wiggly girl, and I have also been getting unlimited help from my sweetheart husband. And now we are all fresh from a good night's sleep and feeling ready for the weekend!

Happy Friday!
And thank you, as always, for reading along.
Anyone doing something fun this weekend?

February 2, 2016

Easy Tissue Paper Garland

A few days ago I made this garland to hang up for Galentine's Day. (Although actually, my plans have changed, and I'll be out of town, so I won't be able to host Galentine's Day this year, and I'm actually pretty sad about it. Galentine's Day is one of my all-time favorites!) To be honest, I wasn't exactly sure how this was going to turn out when I started, but I ended up really liking it, so I thought I'd share my tutorial with you today.

The three things I like most about this garland:

1. It's easy. Like, really easy.
2. It costs $3 or less to make.
3. You can change out the colors to work for any occasion.

EASY TISSUE PAPER GARLAND:

MATERIALS:
Tissue paper. You need about one $1 pack per color. So if you want three colors, it's $3. I actually ordered this multi-pack for $12 a few months ago, and used tissue paper from that. (I would highly recommend that multi-pack, by the way. I use it for everything. Most recently for this DIY stained glass and for these presents.) But if you don't have a multi-pack, just get one pack per color that you want.

Thread. Really, any kind will do.

Needle. If you happen to have a thicker embroidery needle and thicker thread, it will be a little sturdier, but I just used a small needle and regular thread and mine is totally fine.

Scissors.

Tape. This is to hang up the garland. I used plain 'ole Scotch tape, and then put a bit of Washi tape over the top for decorative purposes, but any kind will work!

HOW TO:

1. Cut your tissue paper into strips about 4" wide. Cut wider or thinner depending on how thick you want your garland to be.

2. Accordion fold each strip every 3-4". Important: Lots of tissue paper comes folded into almost a perfect accordion by itself. I only had to change the direction of two folds on my tissue paper strips for it to be a perfect accordion. Easy schmeasy. This is also the part where I turned on Netflix to keep me entertained as I folded.

3. Thread your needle.

4. Pull your needle through the center of each strip of folded tissue paper. It should look like this:

5. Hang the ends of your garland. At this point, it will look like a clump of tissue paper in the middle of your thread. Don't despair! You didn't do it wrong!

6. Fluff each tissue paper strip. I liked to crinkle each strip a little bit for added definition. As you go, move the strips out from the center to the ends of the garland. As you can see, my garland is pretty dense. I could have done a lot more fluffing and had a lot longer strands.

7. Done!



Enjoy!
Also, leave me links to other tissue paper garlands.
I'm kind of obsessed, and I want to add to my garland wall.
Happy Tuesday!
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