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The Link Up: The Page Turner Novel Emily Finished In One Day, The $18 Denim Shorts Ryann Didn’t Think She’d Love, And A Really Great Mother’s Day Gift Idea

Are the May flowers here? It’s the 2nd! We are extremely ready. I’m sure you are also ready to enjoy your Sunday (we hope the weather is nice where you are) and kick all the way back. So to start off this day of leisure, let’s first get to our links. Y’all Em’s is VERY good (hit on Kindle link and add to cart;))…

This week’s house tour, designed by Jason Mowen via The Design Files, feels like home we needed to see today. Like a hug from a really beautiful and soulful friend. The scale gallery wall of the galley wall art is amazing, the open shelf bookcases are such a beautiful feature (and only proves what we said in this post), and the rest of the space is just so perfectly layered, curated but completely unpretentious. Enjoy:)

From Emily: It’s no surprise to my friends that I’ve been nose deep into romance novels since the pandemic started – I grew up on them, unbeknownst to my parents and I think they seriously shaped who I am. I’ve read close to 40 romance fiction books this year (everything from The Wedding Date series, American Royals, The Union of Rakes series – all SO GOOD). Some are literally the 4.99 soft-backs you see at CVS (which I just download on my kindle, duh).  When I picked up Beach Read at 9 pm on Monday, after putting the kids down (and seconds after finishing The Duke Heist) I was immediately into it. I stayed up till midnight (not advisable) and then read it every second I could in between meetings on Tuesday, concluding on Tuesday night at 7 pm (yes, it was poor parenting). It’s funny, witty, smart, relatable, and yes STEAMY with so much almost kissing (and a lot of actual kissing). Emily Henry is doing the modern romance genre RIGHT and I actually just preordered her next book – first time in Emily Henderson history. I NEVER preorder a fiction book but am so excited for May 11th when her next book comes out. Anyway, if you want to escape, feel good, make your tummy feel warm (says my 12-year-old version of myself), and maybe spice up your nighttime mood, read BEACH READ.

Did you check out our Mother’s Day gift guide?? Well if you still need ideas we asked our Instagram community what they actually wanted and let’s just say the list is good and thourogh.

Now we are going to talk to Max Humphry’s (Co-Designer of the River House) new book in much more depth later but it’s out and you should BUY IT! We are SO happy for him and can’t wait to dive in!

From Ryann: After reading Em’s swimsuit post yesterday I felt inspired to find the right suit that I would feel good in for summer, and then I remembered that I’ve been wanting to try out You Swim for some time now. I am super intrigued by them because their swimwear is one size but fits U.S. size 2 to 14 or UK/Aust. size 6 to 18! I think this is very cool and I love seeing a range of bodies so I can envision how it will look on me. I hope that by supporting them they can make even more inclusive sizing past a size 14 so I ordered their Eva Standard Waist Two Piece in Aster and will report back on how it fits!

Also From Ryann: I am admittedly a bit of a denim snob so when I was looking for new cutoff denim shorts for summer (mine don’t fit like they used to :)) I was skeptical to try these from Target in Medium Blue. I decided to try them out anyway and I was shocked at how well they fit! I like that they have a longer hem and the stretch fabric is super comfortable but doesn’t look cheap.

From Mallory: Chase and I made these healthy enchiladas for dinner with some DANK flour tortillas (these are my all-time favorite) and they were amazing! We also started using greek yogurt in place of sour cream for almost everything because we like it better and apparently it’s a lot better for you…do you guys do this?? What a life hack IMHO. Also, since we’re on the subject of food, I’ve been craving buffalo sauce an insane amount recently, so we’ve been making some at home. We use Sam the cooking guy’s recipe (go to like 5:30) as a loose guide to make ours and MAN it’s good. If you’ve never made homemade buffalo sauce this is your sign to start!!

From Caitlin: If you’re into skincare and not following @namvo on Instagram, you are missing out!!! She’s fun to watch, very relatable (e.g. open about not drinking enough water, eating foods that can cause breakouts, etc.), laugh-out-loud hilarious, and SO DEWY AND BEAUTIFUL. She’s also really passionate about the NuFace and I just found one on sale right now – I’ve been doing a ton of research and am pretty much ready to enter my credit card details, but I’d love any first-hand accounts from you pals! Has anyone else tried one? (PS. Sometimes she also posts the most oddly satisfying spa videos and they make me SO JEALOUS.)

From Jess: This is my third time this week talking about Bloomist’s new live plants because that’s how much I LOVE them. They come to you completely beautiful and potted which for someone who isn’t great with plants (aka me) it’s so awesome. And guess who’s having a sale? They are! So if you use code MOTHER15, you get 15% off and it runs until the end of day Monday. FYI you’ll need to select express shipping to get your plant to your mom in time and Monday is the cut-off. I also want to mention that they only do two sales a year so if you’ve been eyeing anything now is the time to get to it.

Also From Jess: Do you love bread, delicious toasts, wonderful small businesses, AND live near Napa? Well, one of my best friends and her husband just opened up an incredible bakery in Napa, CA called West Won Bread. This has been SUCH a labor of love and my dad even built the fence of their outdoor cafe area! My dad also officiated their wedding so it’s pretty awesome there’s a piece of him in their first brick and mortar:) Anyway, if you live in the area or are planning a trip in the future go see them and eat some really good bread!

Ready for another wonderful and joy-inducing Etsy collab?? Well, designer Prabal Gurung has brought pastels and springtime to the scene in such a beautiful way. Go check out this awesome collection!

While we are extremely lucky to have ample vaccines in the US, India is in a COVID crisis. Via Sara’s Instagram stories, I saw this post that gives a handful of organizations we can donate to. Until the entire world is rid of this horrible virus, it’s not over. We are truly in this together.

Well, that’s all we have for you today. Hold your loved ones close and be good to each other. See you tomorrow. xx

Opening Image Credits: Design by Jason Mowen | Photo by Nicola Sevitt | via The Design Files

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2 years ago

Caitlin – Since you’re looking for a facial toning device – the Pure Lift is a step up from the NuFace. It’s much more effective (and a little more $) but Pedro at Shen Beauty who does my facials swears it’s the best at home device.

2 years ago

Beach Read has been ordered. I’m guessing everyone has watched Bridgerton at this point, but I would highly recommend the books too. Eight of them for all the siblings. They are of the read-all-through-the-night variety. Outlander is another escapist ultra romance, but not light.

Re India’s Covid Crisis: I can recommend this org as being 100% trustworthy, with 100% of your donation going directly to providing covid relief :

2 years ago

Sorry, I don’t see the enchilada recipes. The tortillas are linked twice 😊

2 years ago

Can you re-link the enchilada recipe? Both links from that section are going to the tortillas on the Target website. Thank you!

2 years ago

I did the same thing with Beach Read! First time I’ve preordered a book. It’s such a small but exciting thing to look forward to.

2 years ago

I would love a roundup of all your favorite romance novels!! I just binged the Bridgerton books and now am seriously hooked on the genre

2 years ago
Reply to  Eva

I agree

2 years ago

If anyone wants a free “mini” museum tour, the masterpiece videos here are interesting:

2 years ago

Jess, I love Napa recommendations. My husband’s family lives there, so once we have final vaccinations, we’re heading up for a visit. We’ll stop by West Won Bread for yummy bread!

Erin Fahs
2 years ago

Emily, have you read “The Idea of You”? I was a terrible parent while reading that book over a weekend earlier this year! 😝. And loved the swimsuit picks!!

2 years ago

Great house tour – I’m pleasantly surprised that you guys link so many Aussie homes via Desogn Files! That one is such a quintessential Aussie country weatherboard cotrage in every way! Sublime. 🤗

Mallory made me laugh … yup, it’s a thing…sub Greek yoghurt for sour cream BUT not Greek “style”, which is usually cheaper. It needs to be real Greek yoghurt, because the “style” one generally is laced with actual cream because they don’t go through the whole fermentation process. So … heads up and get the REAL GREEK YOGHURT or youreeating just as much fat.

Caitlin – Are you up for doing a trial of all things in BARS … soap, shampoo, conditioner, and more??!!??
People commented that they’re interested and they’re plastic-bottle-free!! 🌏
Cup of Jo did one last year and it was good. Got lots of comments and interaction.

2 years ago

Caitlin, I swear by my NuFACE! I know there are other toning devices out there, but the NuFACE WORKS. Besides lifting and toning, it’s improved the texture of my skin so much and has somehow (how???) gotten rid of my rosacea bumps. I couldn’t recommend enough.

2 years ago

I’m a big NO to the Nuface. I didn’t see a difference at all, despite using it twice a day and taking before and after photos. If you’re going to do it, I’d say buy from somewhere that has a money back guarantee. (I ordered from QVC and was able to return it.) I kind of wonder if part of this is based on age? I’m 43 and my skin is in pretty good shape…I feel like most of the people I’ve seen recommend it are in their 50s and up? Anyway, I’m sure the reviews will vary widely here but I’d say just stick with a good prescription retinol and sunscreen.

2 years ago

I blame Emily for looking too damn good in those swimsuits; I have three suits being shipped right now. I’ll let you know how the try on goes. Also Emily; I’ve got Beach Read on hold at the library. Along with 50 other books and 23 kindle books. I’m a fast reader so I always like to have plenty reads on hand.

2 years ago

I received a NuFace last month and noticed a difference very quickly! (FYI I’m 41)
I also have those Target shorts (love them!) so I’m feeling very in 😉

2 years ago

Ryann – I have the same exact YouSwim suit in forest and I feel amazing in it. You won’t regret it, welcome to the club!

2 years ago


Kaitlyn Kinnaird
2 years ago
Reply to  A.B.

Best romance read! I’ve read it three times now.

2 years ago

I just read a great romance novel as well. It’s called Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. It was such a treat, with fully realized protagonists, great side characters, and some steamy scenes! I will also read the other two books in the series, and maybe even check out some of her other books.

Nicola O.
2 years ago
Reply to  Brittany

Talia Hibbert is fabulous. Love all her stuff.

2 years ago

Does anyone who uses Gua Shua tools have thoughts on NuFace? Because the motions of the NuFace seem to mimic the action of draining lymphatic fluids and massage, which is so similar. Obviously you can’t mimic the vibration but one is $325 and the other is far less, if maybe you’re getting a similar result it would be interesting.

2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

I’ve personally not seen any dramatic results from using gua sha (I mean, it feels good but that’s it). The micro current of the NuFACE is what does the trick, and the mini (on sale for $150ish) works as well as the big one!

2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl

The movements are similar but the mechanism is very different. Gua sha and lymph drainage massage are going to stimulate lymph and blood flow for a nice glow, but microcurrent actually mimics the electric signaling our brain uses to communicate with our nerves. It encourages lymph and blood flow as a byproduct but the magic of microcurrent is that over time and consistent use, the subsensory electric signal basically charges the battery of our cells. The fibroblasts have increased energy (cellular ATP) and can then produce more collagen and elastin for a lasting lift and tone. Microcurrent is often called a workout for the face or a non-sugrical facelift because of its ability to lift, tone, and tighten. But, like any non-invasive modality that increases collagen it’s going to take a series of sessions over time so you have to be consistent with it. I use a couple of professional microcurrent machines at my studio, and one of the companies 7eMyolift makes a great home device: and they’re doing some Mother’s Day promos this week!

2 years ago
Reply to  jessi

Thank you for the info! Whatever non surgical options we can use the better, right?

2 years ago

Beach Read IS so good! I got it from the library a couple of weeks ago and ignored many household tasks to finish it in 2-3 days. Really great!

2 years ago

I loved Beach Read and Emily Henry’s new book is excellent too (I got it early from Book of the Month)! Some of my other favorite recent romance reads are: The Ex Talk, Accidently Engaged, Shipped, Float Plan, You Had Me at Hola, The Unhoneymooners (pretty much anything by Christina Lauren) and This Time Next Year. And if you like sexy faeries, the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Nicola O.
2 years ago

My favorite contemporary rom com author of late is Lucy Score. Check out By a Thread, or The Price of Scandal.

2 years ago

All the books of Abby Jimenez are terrific books if you loved Beach Read as much as I did. Her new one, Life’s Too Short, is so so so good. Start with the first one in the series, The Friend Zone, then Happily Ever After Playlist. You’ll LOVE them!!!

2 years ago

I’m completely addicted to romance novels right now- sometimes you just need a guaranteed happy ending! LOVE The Wedding Date series. I’ve been binging Julia Quinn (I actually prefer many of her other books over the Bridgertons), Tessa Dare (super steamy with strong women characters) and Sarah MacLean. Contemporary ones I enjoyed (in addition to Beach Read) were Twice in a Blue Moon and You Had Me At Hello. I get a lot of these as digital copies from my library that I can download to my Kindle. Then I just donate $ to the library each month to compensate 🙂 I can’t wait to load up my reading list with all these great suggestions, I’ve already got Eva Leigh downloaded!

2 years ago

If you’re a mayonnaise eater try subbing greek yogurt for half or more of the mayo! Maybe a little squeeze of lemon and dash of salt to make up for the flavor lost … I really can’t tell much difference, (and I’m a mayo lover), and it makes me feel like my summertime egg salad sandwiches, etc. are at least a little healthier. Love using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream too, not only for health but to reduce food waste, cause I would always end up throwing out a half container of sour cream.