How it’s already November, I’m not sure but the holiday season is here and I’m here for the holiday season! We are hosting Thanksgiving next week for the first time and that feels very adult-y of us. I’m so looking forward to having my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and in-laws here for the big day. It’s going to be a full house but a fun house. I always dreamed of having a home where everyone came for holidays and this feels like a real pinch-me moment.
I just pre-ordered our turkey which my father-in-law wants to cook on a spit, Bosnian-style. I was trepidatious about this plan but then realized it’s one less thing for me to cook so we’re going for it.
Last weekend I took Luca and Amalia up to New Hampshire to visit my dad and his family and overcame a big personal fear of traveling alone with both kids. It ended up being great and they had the best time. It was definitely challenging to single-parent while there but my family helped and I had almost no anxiety. Luca did great on both car rides and now that I’ve ripped that band-aid, I feel we can travel the world. Ok maybe not, but another road trip sounds doable.
I am in full holiday mode with Lemon Stripes and will be working on pumping out more gift guides for you this week and next. And stay tuned for more Thanksgiving recipes too! I’ve already shared a few:
Pictured above: Tartan tunic (gifted)
WHAT I’M READING & WATCHING
Books – Girl A by Abigail Dean– I’m in the middle of this psychological thriller now and SO into it. It reminds me of Room, in a way, which is one of my all-time favorites. It’s about a group of siblings that escaped a terrible childhood and jumps back and forth between their days being tortured as kids and how they’ve turned out as adults. Excellent read!
Not All Diamonds and Rosé by Dave Quinn- Yes this is the second Real Housewives book I’ve read this year and yes I’m happy with that choice. This one is great because Quinn interviews almost all of the Housewives as well as Andy Cohen. If you’re a Bravo fan, jump on it. It spills some good behind-the-scenes tea on each of the franchises.
We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz– I wanted to love this book, I really did especially because it was recommended to me by someone I trust with books. But it just didn’t quite hit right. I finished it because I was curious as to how it ended but despite lots of recs, it wasn’t my favorite. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The Husbands by Chandler Baker– This book was also recommended to me by a friend and while I liked it more than We Were Never Here, it also fell flat for me at the end. But up until that point, I really liked it. It’s about a community in Texas where the husbands act exactly the way we all want our husbands to act. There is a mystery involved and it made me laugh multiple times.
TV Shows – Squid Game (Netflix): Anel watched this when it first dropped on Netflix and I’d see bits and pieces, thinking he was insane for watching it. But after everyone in the entire world watched it, I decided to try one episode to see what all the hype was about. I binged it in three nights. If you can’t stand gore, skip this one. But if you’re ok with a little (or a lot) of blood, it’s worth it. That said, I did guess the twist pretty early on which I felt proud of.
Succession, Season 3 (HBO): I love this show so much and although this season started out a little slow it is on a roll and it might be my favorite season yet! We all love to hate the Roy family, right?
The Way Down (HBO): I watched the first three episodes of this docuseries following Gwen Shamblin, a “church leader” (read: cult leader) who became famous for helping people lose weight with the power of prayer. While they were filming it, Shamblin and other leaders of the cult died in a plane crash so more episodes are coming later.
Yellowstone (Peacock): Anel and I started this as a joint venture last week and are feeling excited that there are four seasons. It gives me an Ozark meets Virgin River vibe.
YOU, Season 3 (Netflix): What can I say, I’m a YOU stan. I loved every second of season 3 and if you haven’t watched any of this show yet, do so immediately. It’s creepy and murdery but also kind of sexy?
5 THINGS I’M LOVING
1. Marine Layer cardigan– I got served an Instagram ad for this sweater and bought it on the spot. I’ve always been a fan of the red and hot pink color block and this cropped cardigan is perfect with high-waisted jeans for fall, holiday, and spring. It seems to be selling out everywhere quickly but I also found this button-front sweatshirt from them in the same colors. Anel and I are have become big Marine Layer fans this year because everything is so soft and also cute. He loves their shackets.
After I posted it here, a follower sent me this matching sweater for Amalia from Hanna Andersson. She told me she doesn’t want it but please someone out there buy it for your daughter and send me a photo!
2. Block print table linens and a great Instagram follow– We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I am excited to decorate the table for my family. I am going for a green and white theme and bought a tablecloth and napkins from my former marketing client, Pomegranate. I also recently discovered @katherineyounghome on Instagram and am inspired by her tablescapes. I didn’t realize that she also sells the products she posts but it is a great resource for entertaining.
For more affordable block print linens, I love this Etsy shop based in India. You won’t be able to get anything in time for the holiday next week but you could by Christmas.
3. Tennis bracelet: I have dreamed of owning a diamond tennis bracelet for as long as I can remember. For my Christmas gift to myself this year, I made that a reality with the incredible Christine of CMS Custom. She is a private jeweler who makes beautiful customized diamond jewelry for very reasonable prices. She is so easy to work with and creates all bespoke/custom fine jewelry. You can DM her to get the ball rolling then she’ll do everything else on text. For my bracelet (I’ll share photos of it on Instagram soon), we customized the width, the fit size, and every single detail.
It felt like a really big deal to create something so special for myself that I’ve wanted for so long. I’ve had it for a week now and haven’t taken it off once. This piece is a lifer!
Transparency note: Christina gave me a discounted price for the bracelet.
4. Barbour dog coat- I just wrapped an Instagram campaign with Barbour and in it, Bootsie got to model a waterproof plaid doggie coat… with a corduroy collar. He’s never looked more handsome. This would make a great gift for any dog parent. It comes in lots of sizes so can work with any type of doggo. Boots is in a large for reference. Check him out in the coat here.
Transparency note: I partnered with Barbour for an Instagram campaign. Inclusion in this blog post is not part of my contract.
5. Apple Watch– Is it lame to include this? I am so late to the smartwatch game but it’s been such a great change for me! I thought it would make me feel too connected but it’s helped me actually step away from my phone lately. I wrote an in-depth Apple Watch review if you are on the fence like I was.
Photo by Julia Dags.