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The Link Up: 2 Books Emily Couldn’t Put Down, The Finally In Stock $50 Outdoor Rug We Love, and The Sale We’re Most Excited For This Weekend

Goooood morning, afternoon, or night depending on when you decided to click on and read this post. How are you? Our week has been pretty great as LA is starting to open up more and more, meaning the pandemic light at the end of the tunnel is looking brighter. Regardless, it’s Sunday and we’ve got a lot of goodies in store for you this week.

You might not believe us but this week’s home tour is actually a RENTAL. Boy did they nail it. Tilly Barber, founder of the furniture restoration company, Homebody already had some AWESOME pieced (which makes sense given her businesses), so this home was the perfect place for her and her housemates to store all of their awesome stuff…or to live in it –– either way. The pieces are really special, so check this tour out if you’d like to feel inspired on this fine Sunday.

From Em: So I’ve read close to 60 novels since the pandemic started (in addition to self-help and non-fiction). Before you come to any judgment about me or you, you should know that they are all PAGE TURNERS and many of them involve dukes. I used to read voraciously (and was why I was an English major) but then just kinda stopped and getting back into it has changed my life. I’m a major pleasure-seeker so knowing that I have a good book to get into bed with, in the most uncertain times, has made my days so much happier. So I’m going to start recommending them here. I’m not going to give any real proper reviews or criticisms, just tell you the ones that I couldn’t put down, that made me feel happy, and gave me something to look forward to every day and on weekends. So here goes:

1. Beach Read: I have no idea why I avoided reading this for a year, but Emily Henry’s writing feels like hanging out with a cool, funny friend and the romantic tension throughout is SO GOOD. It’s light. It’s easy. It’s funny, snarky, and witty. The dialogue is excellent – real, but better. I was so sad when I finished that I pre-ordered her next book “Friends We Meet on Vacation” which was sweet but no, not nearly as good or steamy. I thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of this book.

2. The Vanishing Half: I read this probably 6 months ago and it’s still one that I feel like was a page-turner, that I can’t get out of my head, and that I also learned A LOT. It’s about two sisters, twins who navigate very different experiences in life as one shifts to white-passing and leaves the other sister to navigate a very different life. It’s a multi-generational story (which I always love), is extremely well written, deals with a lot of past and current social issues in a really personal way and is just totally gripping. This book will be read in college Lit classes for sure, but trust me that you can’t put it down.

From Mallory: Has anyone tried Methodology before?? I just got a marketed for it and it sounds VERY interesting… basically, it’s a meal service that delivers to you and comes in fancy glass jars. I’m thinking about doing it for lunch a few times a week since it stresses me out to work from home and figure out what to eat for lunch some days (like when I don’t have leftovers) and I can’t keep doing the same tuna salad over and over again HA. I’ve tried Hello Fresh before but am not super into the quality/portion size of the proteins…anyone have any suggestions or meal services they love?? I know Em’s trying out Green Chef right now (which someone said is also a Hello Fresh company or something??) Anyway, I’m interested in the market and would love your full report.

Also from Mallory: The outdoor season is upon us, so I just wanted to let everyone know that one of our favorite outdoor rugs is fully restocked at target and it’s a STEAL. I completely understand why it sold out last year… it’s so classic and you can get a 4×6 for $50 all the way up to a 9×12 for $220. I’m a firm believer that outdoor rugs shouldn’t be super splurgy since they get so trashed from being outside year after year, so I’d snag this before it sells out again. Oh and if you’re curious how we styled it out last year this one’s for you.

From Ryann: My sweet, sweet sister-in-law sent me some makeup for my birthday and I am obsessed with everything she bought me, but one thing in particular really blew me away. I have so much trouble finding good mascara (hello tiny eyelashes) and the kinds I have used in the past always clump. This one by Milk is FANTASTIC. It goes on so smoothly, doesn’t clump, and actually makes my eyelashes look longer and fuller. I am not a makeup expert but I think this mascara is a real winner, folks

From Albie: One thing my husband has always wanted since the day we moved in was a deep freezer… don’t ask me why. Now that we have one though, it really feels like I’ve turned a corner as an adult. It’s come in super handy for getting meat for grilling Sundays but also for things like breads & veggies that we may buy ahead of time when we catch em on sale. 

From Jess: As you may know by now, Caitlin and I are racing to finish our balcony makeovers by 7/20. Since I like to complicate everything, I am painting and “installing” IKEA outdoor floor tiles. But guess what? They need to be cut down to fit. Originally I was going to hire out since my dad is unavailable (the audacity) but then decided I didn’t/couldn’t wait. It’s a race after all! So I hopped in my car and bought this cordless jigsaw. I love it, it makes me feel very powerful and for both the tool and battery it’s only $99. Since I know there will be more projects in the future I think it’s a pretty great investment:)

From Caitlin: In our meeting this Monday, I launched into a tiny tirade about this book – it’s SO good and I read it all in one sitting last weekend. Basically, it’s about the most prolific serial killer you’ve never heard of. He was arrested in 2012, the FBI considered his behavior “unprecedented,” and he struck all over America. I would write more buuuuut I’m not trying to give anyone anxiety (the EHD team’s reactions were an even split between “must read!” and “please stop talking about this”), so just click through to read some wild details.

Also From Caitlin: Megababe is having their 20% off sale this weekend! If you’re new to the brand, I live and die by Thigh Rescue (you can grab the mini for $8!), the Body Dust (if you’ve ever gotten boob sweat or felt sweat drip down your body while doing chores – AKA me – this is a lifesaver, especially with the Dust Puff) and the natural deodorants ACTUALLY smell great and work (I just picked up Smoothie for the first time, but usually Soapy is my go-to). Highly recommended if you’re looking to feel comfy in the heat this summer!

Thanks for reading this week! We’ll see you tomorrow. Happy Sunday! Xx

Opening Image Credita: Design by Tilly Barber | Styling by Annie Portelli | Photo by Caitlin Mills | via the Design Files

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Sina
22 days ago

I love a good, steamy historical novel with dukes and almost-kissing. I can highly recommend Evie Dunmores books!!

wally
22 days ago

RE: meal services. I used Marley Spoon for a while and quite liked it. I’m a vegetarian and it had the largest selection of vegetarian options I’ve seen (except in veg only meal services)- it also has a large selection overall. I stopped using it for a bit bc I don’t like to cook in the summer since I don’t have central air, thus prefer salads or other cold foods.

Juanita
22 days ago
Reply to  wally

Agreed that Marley Spoon is the best! Most important factor (I think) is how the final meal tastes, and I found Marley Spoon to have the most reliably interesting and delicious recipes. They have good customer service too (maybe because it’s not as popular as the brands that advertise heavily all over Instagram etc.). Would recommend!

Roberta Davis
22 days ago

Emily, I read and loved Beach Read per your earlier recommendation. Also read Dark Matter, that you recommended a few months ago. I read a lot as a kid, got away from it (too much to read in college, I guess) and am definitely a pleasure-seeker, too! So keep those recs coming, please! (My winter obsession was the series starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- 6 books in all, by 2 authors after original author Stieg Larsson died after the 3rd book. They’re all good.) Caitlin, I’m going to read your also!!! Thank you!

kk
22 days ago

Speaking of power tools I love my plug in Sawsall! I have used it to demo old furniture for the trash ( great for city apartment living ) , build weirdo DIY projects, modify furniture to my liking, and now I’m in the country, take down small trees! I got one with 2 blade angles, super useful!

Irene
22 days ago

Mallory, I like the sound of Methodology. They don’t deliver in my area, so please try it and review it. I’ve ordered meals from several plans, and my favorite was Sprinly. There wasn’t much work I had to do to prepare the food, and it was all fresh, even though the delivery for my trial week was delayed two days.

Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, and Gobble were all OK, but I got a bad (shriveled; moldy; worm-holed) vegetable in each of their boxes during my trial weeks. The huge amount of packaging was a pain to deal with, especially those ice packs with a bizarre filling material that they claim you can pour down your drain. Methodology’s glass jars sound a lot better.

Emily and Caitlin, thanks for reviewing interesting books; and please keep it up!

Eliot
22 days ago
Reply to  Irene

yeah, I love the concept of Blue Apron-style meal services, but it’s the abundance of packaging that keeps me away. I’d be thrilled if someone could devise a more efficient way to deliver perishables

Kj
21 days ago
Reply to  Eliot

Can you find anything local to you here? https://localmealprep.com/

Lori
21 days ago
Reply to  Eliot

I agree. I’ve given up and just take a day off every now and then to cook in bulk and freeze in single portions in microwaveable glass single serving dishes. I’ll do breakfast tacos separated with wax paper and frozen in a dish and then transferred to a freezer ziplock that I reuse. I work a job involving a lot of physical labor, so even standing over a stove for 20 minutes at the end of a long hot day is just too damn much to bother with.

Rusty
22 days ago

See Jess?….in yourvheart, you’re a wannabe GC.

22 days ago

OMG Israel Keyes’ story (or, rather, the story of his victims) is just so terrible. I’m not even sure I can read that book, even though I’m tempted!

Suzanne
22 days ago

I really loved Green Chef when I used it four years ago, but tried a few, and ultimately chose Sun Basket. However, I often wanted more vegetables. Eventually, I switched to skipping the meal services in favor of a CSA and meat delivery. Grill or roast some meat. Roast, steam, or sauté some vegetables, and dinner is done. I miss the sauces sometimes, so occasionally I’ll make a batch of something like pesto or chimichurri. Meal plans are a great time saver for shopping and planning, and trying new recipes, and I miss that sometimes. Another great option for lunches is to do a Sunday prep for the week of vegetables, grain, protein, and a variety of toppings to mix and match to make a bowl, salad, or sandwich. When I can get it together, I love this option.

“The Vanishing Half” was one my top reads of last year! I agree that inter generational novels are so good. I love the exploration of the mother-daughter relationships and between sisters.

Kj
22 days ago

Yes, I have been reading so much this past year too and loved both Beach Read and The Vanishing Half. For easy/fun reads try Abby Jimenez (I loved her The Happy Ever After Playlist and Life’s Too Short). Creepy/mystery not scary Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind or Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. Books about other countries/cultures Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing or Transcendent Kingdom. Historical fiction Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale or Karen Harper’s American Duchass A novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt. Great one about human nature: Fredrik Backman’s Anxious People.

Char
22 days ago
Reply to  Kj

Read and enjoyed several of your list. Hope you’ve read Backman’s other books – what a great storyteller!

Kj
21 days ago
Reply to  Char

No, I haven’t yet! But I will put more of his books on my “to read” list (which is too long already).

Paula Carr
22 days ago

I keep meaning to start “The Vanishing Half,” but I’m afraid it well be too emotional. I think I’ll finally bite the bullet, though.
I heartily recommend any of Ellie Griffith’s books if you like mysteries at all. She has three series going: one with an archaeololgist single mom, one with professional magicians in 1950s Brighton, and her newest with a Lesbian Pakistani police detective. If you’re into fantasy at all, I adore the Seanane McGuire October Daye books — about a mixed human/fairy character set in the San Francisco area.

Kj
21 days ago
Reply to  Paula Carr

Is it maybe Elly Griffiths not Ellie Griffith? Wow, she has a LOT of books.

Mariangela
22 days ago

Looks like you sold out all the large sizes of the rug! 🙁

Milo
21 days ago

Love the book recommendations!!!

Sona
21 days ago

I’m a crime junkie and instead of reading true crime books, I’m obsessed with true crime podcasts. I listen to Crime Junkies (hosted by two women) and True Crime all the Time hosted by two men. Both of those podcasts have done episodes on Israel Keyes.
On another topic from today’s Link Up, I love the idea of an outdoor rug on my covered patio but I’ve never bought one because I fear it will be hard to keep clean. So much dust and dirt and leaves, etc seems to accumulate on my patio. It’s already a chore to keep the stained concrete clean. An outdoor rug does look great in styled photos but what experiences do people have using them IRL?

Lori
21 days ago
Reply to  Sona

I love them if you use on a covered porch. I just shake mine out or leafblow regularly. You can take the hose to it to get stains out if you need to. I imagine it would be a lot trickier on a condo or apartment balcony.

Emily
21 days ago
Reply to  Sona

Another TCAD fan! I found them a year ago and love listening. If you like TCAD, then I should probably check out your Crime Junkies recommendation too. 🙂

Sona
21 days ago
Reply to  Emily

Definitely try Crime Junkies. I’ve also listened to several other series put out by Audio Chuck, Crime Junkies production company. I also love Anatomy of Murder. Very well researched and presented by a former New York City prosecutor and a former deputy sheriff/investigative journalist.

Karyn Meadows
21 days ago

Late to comment, but Mallory. Try Freshly if you have it in LA. We have it up here in the Bay Area and my 24 y/o son swears by the quality and taste.

Jane
20 days ago

Check out Everytable for prepped meals! You can go to their hollywood location if you’re local or you can get them delivered. Not every meal is a hit but once you find ones you like, they’re a lifesaver and they’re extremely cheap compared to other meal prep services.

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