cait +tiff

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T / happy (sort of) monday / like a double shot latte

Photo Credit: Leah Reena Goren

It’s still Monday somewhere right?  Because this whole “trying to get everything done before you go on a long ass trip” thing is maddening.  I am desperately trying not to get distracted (example: watching all two seasons of Insecure in one week).  But of course I am.  Always.  There is no other way.

So I thought I’d share some more distractions.  There are more than a few illustrators out there that I adore and who’s Instagram feeds I probably pay a little too much attention to. But really, their honesty, drive and inspiration are generally the things that keep me afloat.  It also turns out that all their wisdom are being turned into tiny compact readable things this fall.  Of course I’m buying multiples of all of them (because sharing is caring).

Artwork Credit: Adam J Kurtz for Design Sponge (here and here)

Adam J Kurtz isn’t an illustrator (it’s technically calligraphy I guess). But I almost consider him to be one because his dance with words is just so perfect.  He’s not even 30 yet and Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives is his third publication.  The name says it all.  It falls into my own mantras and the person I hope I’m trying to be.  But he makes it so much more amusing.  You can basically hear his voice (Instastories!!!!) through ever single word.  Furthermore: at under $10, it’s much cheaper than therapy.

Lisa Congdon is probably the oldest and most established of the illustrators I follow.  So naturally she’d write a book about getting older.  My appreciation knows no bounds for this as I just read this article and it’s freaking me out about the impending middle years.  And at this point, I am going to take all the advice I can get.  I can’t wait to see all the beautiful things her hands have made inside.

Photo Credit: Leah Reena Goren

This one isn’t out yet.  In fact, illustrator Leah Reena Goren literally just announced it.  But I’m really excited about it because it’s probably the book I need right about now.  It’s not coming out until May 2018, but in the meantime, check out Ladies Drawing Night and Besties.


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T / happy monday / all the (super fast) reads

Photo Credit: Cara Robbins for Girls at Library.

Photo Credit: Cara Robbins for Girls at Library.

I have a tendency to do deep dives into reading.  I’m talking about slaughtering 3-4 books within a weekend (because apparently binge reading is how I do ever since I moved to a city that doesn’t have public transit for my usual commute).  It’s never anything that would be found in the Western Canon.  Quite the opposite actually.  I’m a fan of the quicky slap dash murder mystery.  And lately, they’ve been all lady-centered.  As in the protagonists.  As in imperfect real(ish) women who are flawed and somehow feel knowable.  And sometimes a little untrustworthy.  You’ve already met them in The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.  It’s officially a genre now.  So in celebration of an anti-Valentine’s day, independent women who solve all the murders and don’t need a dude to get them out of rut, here are all the reads.

the-girl-before-the-grown-up-the-riverThe Girl Before is allegedly the new Fifty Shades…minus all the bad writing stuff.  It’s a different approach to submission and dominance with two protagonists and one of them is dead.  There’s a super minimalist house, so it’s the opposite of your hygge Swedish crime thriller.  Ugh, there’s so much more I want to say but I can’t.  Look, it’s not Agatha Christie, nor Tana French (see below), but it’s a good quickie. Hehehe.

Remember The River Wild?  And The Descent?  And Deliverance?  Smack all three together and you get this pro-lady survival tale.  The River at Night has all the very easily relatable characters.  You’ve known all of them. You might even be one of them, even if they may be caricatures.  Erica Ferencik even ages them up a bit.  Because, as we all know 40 is the new 30.  In any case, the biggest lesson learned is that I should not plan a reunion group rafting trip when my ladies the next time we want to get together. Vino all the way.

The Grownup is a super shorty!  I finished it over a lunch break!  With a super wry, very sardonic and ultra flawed protagonist, it’s easy to want to just grab her by the shoulders and just yell at her: “GET IT TOGETHER GIRL.”  But if you’re willing to overlook a bunch of issues and are just looking for a satisfying novella, here it is.



Apparently I’m not the only one to be digging this lady.  Reese Witherspoon will be turning all of Ruth Ware’s UK-set messy crime solvers into films over the next couple of years.  Both protagonists in The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark Dark Wood wind up in remote locations and are basically left to their own bruised wits to get out alive and figure out who is behind everything.   There are more than a few red herrings to mess things up too.

history-of-wolves-and-tana-frenchIt gets hot here, so I dig any story that involves the dark and cold.  Give it a try.  Literary air-conditioning. I swear. History of Wolves is one of these reads.  Add in a bit of counter culture with the commune-setting, and the tragedy and intensity of the remote life; this novel is more than your typical page turner.  It’s a work by a new amazing author completely in its own right.

I couldn’t leave this list without the newest from Tana French, which I was already excited about when it was released a few months ago.  Tana French already has a great history of female detectives, and The Trespasser is just her latest.



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T / happy monday / magical book release day


Photo: Tiff Tsang

First of all, L’SHANA TOVA! Second of all, a heck of a ton of good books come out this week.  Specifically on October 4.  I’ve had my eye on them for months.  So the fact that this is all happening on one day sends me over the library moon.  The best thing too is that they’re all by some of the best women the web and writing words have to offer.


everything-i-want-to-eat-and-motrEverything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking by Jessica Kolsow

Maybe it’s because I know Cait’s going to be having jam here tomorrow.  Or that I’ve been following Jessica Koslow and her clean and delicious approach to food over the few years.  In any case, this book is coming at me soon and I’m so excited for a new batch of recipes and some freaking cool clean design.

Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh

I very much wish that Molly Yeh could be a distantly related cousin.  I would love to bask in her half-Chinese, half-Jewish, sugar beet farm dwelling, percussionist, baking, halva-loving glory with all the best lit food photos.  And she has a cookbook now.


in-the-company-of-women-and-tomorrowIn the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

Reading Grace Bonney’s Design*Sponge reminds me of growing up in Toronto.  The diversity of voices is a big comfy cushion and now it’s a book!  Since college, I’ve benefited most from having some of the best lady bosses a girl could ask for.  And since the career pivot, the community has been the same.  This celebration of women who are making waves in creative entrepreneurship gets me really motivated and I can’t wait to have this one on my bookshelf for the rainy days.

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

If you haven’t read Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, you have to go do that first.  In her newest novel, Semple offers another take on the weary, weathered and working woman.  It’s also really funny in the way the PNW wants it to be.


28273664The Trespasser by Tana French

I actually kinda miss having a commute or a monthlong assignment in the middle of rural Laos for the kind of reading that means plowing through an entire crime series because there is literally nothing else to do.  I did just that with Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad collection, recommended them to a bunch of equally professionally peripatetic friends and they got addicted too.  If you want to deep dive into the rabbit hole of crime in Ireland.  Do this. Now.