Products and Books I'm Enjoying in April 2019
Book Recommendations, Loving and Learning Lately, Products I Love

Loving and Learning Lately {18}

Products and Books I'm Enjoying in April 2019

Welcome to Round 18 of this little series I started of all the things in life I’m loving and learning lately! Here you’ll find everything from the books I’m currently reading to the products I’m loving to the shows I’m watching (which, spoiler alert–won’t be very many or very exciting, since I’m not a huge t.v. or movie watcher). If you want to check out past editions of the series, click here.

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small percentage of any sale made at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting To Love and To Learn!

Linking up with Steph and Jana today!

Loving Lately

  • My mom has been trying to sell me on this Lemi Shine Dishwasher Booster for months (even going so far as to buy us a few to try), but I’d never been good at adding it in whenever I ran the dishwasher…until this last month. And now, I can TOTALLY see why she can’t stop raving about it! We get hard water stains pretty bad where we live, and I’d just accepted the fact that our glassware was probably never going to look great when it emerged from the dishwasher. This stuff is amazing, though—you put a little bit in with each load, and your glasses come out SPOTLESS. I’m officially hooked!
  • After months of endless heat, we’re finally creeping up on soup season again! During the colder months, we do soup and breadsticks once a week for dinner (usually on Mondays), and if you haven’t tried out this recipe for cheesy chicken chowder (pictured above), you’re missing out! P. S. I’m hoping to post our favorite breadstick recipe soon, as well as a killer butternut squash soup recipe I got from a friend, so stay tuned for those. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any recipe posts, make sure you like the blog’s Facebook page, which is the only place where you’re guaranteed to never miss any.

Learning Lately

Current and Recent Reads

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

This was one of the books from my Summer Reading List that I was the most excited to check out. I mean, a novel about a book-seller with a quirky but hilarious personality and several geeky literary references strewn throughout? Sign me up! This book definitely delivered on the “fun” and “clever” things I was looking for, though it wasn’t by any means life-changing. Sometimes you just need to read something for the pure entertainment factor, and that’s what this book was for me. Hot Tip: You can get the paperback of this on Amazon right now for just $7. My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars (Note: Some of the humor did get a bit crass for my taste.)

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicone Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

I had just started this one when I wrote up my last Loving and Learning Round-Up, so I didn’t have much of an opinion yet at the time. Well, I have an opinion now! This true journalistic account basically blew my mind—it was like on every other page, I was just shocked at how long this business was able to run without anyone catching on to the hoax. I made my husband put this one on his audiobook holds list (now that we finally got him some inexpensive bluetooth headphones, he’s been passing the monotony at work by listening to books) because I just couldn’t wait to talk about it with someone. My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison

It took me awhile to go through this one, but that’s not because I didn’t enjoy it—-this book is just one of those that’s meant to be savored, not burned through. Maybe I’m strange, but I happen to love books that are written by “ordinary” people living “ordinary” lives, and this one is beautifully written, which is a definite bonus. Basically, this memoir documents a time of transition for the author, when her two sons were entering high school and then about to leave home and their family decided to purchase a completely run-down cottage on a hill that was totally different in every way from the suburb they had just left. This book made me reflect, it made me feel gratitude for the time of life that I’m in right now (poopy diapers and all), and it actually made me want to start doing more personal writing, which I haven’t had a pull towards for a long time. My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

This was another one on my Summer Reading List, and I burned through it in about two days. While the writing is not great (although I’m not sure how many other people would be bugged by it–I know I’m extraordinarily picky), this story about a cooking enthusiast who recently lost her estranged mother and returns back home to the neighborhood she swore she’d left forever is fun, plus I’m always going to be a sucker for books where food/cooking/cuisine is such a big part. Hot Tip: The paperback edition of this is just $5.87 right now on Amazon! My Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars.

Educated by Tara Westover

This was a re-read for me, as I just hosted our monthly book club discussion on it back in August. I have extremely mixed feelings about this book (Westover was raised in the same religion I’m a part of, but her family’s twisted and strange practice of it looks basically nothing like what most practicing members believe), and though it’s horrific to read of the abuse she suffered, there is no doubt that this book leaves quite an impact on you. I’m just glad I finally got to talk about this with other people, since I’ve been wanting to since I first read it last summer. My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Another fun, fluffy read about two identical twins, one of which is a beauty pageant star and the other who’s a nerdy school librarian. When the pageant twin unexpectedly has a severe allergic reaction right before the preliminaries start, she convinces her sister to step into her place…with hilarious consequences. The writing on this isn’t anything special and the story probably won’t stay with me for long (I also found the romance in it cringeworthy, but that’s probably because I REALLY don’t do romances), but there’s no denying that this book gave me exactly what I was looking for, which was something I could read fast that would just be pure cotton candy entertainment. My Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

I’ve been sloooooooowly working my way through this one for many months (ever since I put it on my list of 15 Books to Get Your House in Order), and I’ve finally finished. Although I’ve read a LOT of books on simplifying/decluttering/what-have-you, I found the personal stories from various families in this book plus the step-by-step checklists for each room to be a good motivator for me to go through some of the stuff we’ve been accumulating over the past few years since my 50 Weeks to Organized project ended. My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars

Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr

This is my book club’s September selection, and while middle grade fiction very rarely wows me, I still try and make sure to somewhat keep up on it for future reference as our kids get older. I just barely started this story of two close friends who go through a move and a loss in the same year, but I’ve heard it’s a sweet, charming story (and the book club host for the month has promised us waffles at the discussion, so…#winner).

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I didn’t have any plans to pick this one up (celebrity/prominent figure biographies/memoirs generally aren’t my thing at all), but I’ve heard endless raving reviews on this one, so I decided to drink the kool-aid and see what all the hype is about. I’m not far enough into this yet to have a feeling one way or another on this, but I do think I’ll find it enjoyable based on what all the reviews have been saying.

What have you been reading so far this month? Anything worth passing along?