15 Books to Read This Summer

This year I set a goal to make reading a priority. I’ve been a pretty voracious reader ever since I’ve been since a child but as I’ve gotten older, reading has been a hobby that has definitely slipped through the cracks as responsibilities piled up. In order to reach my goal, I’ve been devouring as many books as I can get my hands on and with summer (aka one of the best reading seasons) almost upon us, I’d thought I’d put out my list of recommendations.

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  1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl – I read this on the recommendation of a close friend and couldn’t put it down. I’m serious when I say that I couldn’t put it down. I was reading at work, at the gym, on the street, and in the kitchen while I cooked dinner at night. I was obsessed with this book to the point of bringing it up to my roommates and anyone who would listen at any available opportunity. I’m pretty sure half of Chicago has likely heard me talk about this book at this point and so if you don’t live in the Midwest, I’ll send this rec out into the interwebs in the hopes that you also will enjoy this book as much as I did.
  2. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood – As someone who was raised Catholic, I found the premise of this book to be extremely interesting before I’d even cracked the cover. However, I was not prepared for the laughs. This book is hilarious. Grab it as soon as you can.
  3. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell – This gave me all the happy, spring feels and also provided more than enough dramatic flair to get me completely and utterly hooked by the second chapter.
  4. More Than This by Patrick Ness – I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book as I had heard mixed reviews but overall definitely enjoyable. Especially if you’re into cool Matrix vibes and adventurous fiction.
  5. Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs – Honestly, anything by Augusten Burroughs is wonderful but this little baby is exceptional. I was cry laughing at multiple points throughout the book and was struck hard in the feels at others. I was genuinely sad when I finished it and then dove deep into the internet hole of stalking Augusten Borrough’s personal life like some strange and unoriginal voyeur. Augusten, if you ever see this, I’m sorry, I enjoyed your book, and you and Christopher are adorable.
  6. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – So good. That’s all I can say. So good. And cute. And amazing. Read it.
  7. The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda – I love a murder mystery. Literally, get at me with any murder mystery recs that you have. This plot was a little different than what I’m used to and I loved every second of it.
  8. Love’s Executioner (And Other Tales of Psychotherapy) by Irvin D. Yalom – As a professional counselor, I loved this book but I honestly think it’s extremely useful for anyone and everyone (especially if you’re into reality television and/or personal growth).
  9. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – So, full disclosure, I only read this because I liked the cover art and because they’re supposed to be turning it into a movie starring Sebastian Stan (yas gawd). But honestly, it’s amazing. A quick and easy read with a killer mystery to boot.
  10. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – This book is a classic. Just read it.
  11. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – I read this while going through a bit of a funk because I had heard good things from people who had read it in similar states to myself. Plain and simple, this book is fucking hilarious. You will absolutely 110% laugh when you read this and every single section is enjoyable. If you’re okay with laughing on a beach in public, take this book with you or else read in the comfort of your own sunshine-filled personal space.
  12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – An amazing book of poetry that has an almost cult-like following and for damn good reason. I think I read this book in twenty minutes and then proceeded to cry at the kitchen island in my parents house where I then forced my mom to listen while I recited certain passages aloud.
  13. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West – This is a collection of essays about feminism, pop culture, fat acceptance, and basically being a person in the digital age. I was actually interrupted several times while reading this book by important phone calls (i.e. family emergencies and potential employers) and I actually considered not answering either only so that I could keep reading. It’s that good.
  14. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein – Refreshing and hilarious antics about growing up as a woman and all that that entails. Both relatable and inspirational.

Winter Skincare

As Chicago is currently in the midst of a mini blizzard, I’d thought I’d share my winter skincare favorites. I think most of us in snowy, cold climates fall victim to dry, itchy skin this time of year, which is why I try to keep my skincare products light and moisturizing. Most of these are products that I use year-round but are perfect to keep your skin feeling fresh during these chilly months.

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Laura Mercier Flawless Skin One-Step Cleanser – This has been my favorite cleanser for years now. It’s super light and very gentle, which I like as my combination skin can find some products too heavy or drying. I use this morning and night and it easily melts away my full-coverage makeup without leaving my skin feeling stripped and dried.

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF – This is a miracle product and I do not say that lightly. After struggling for most of my teenage and young adult years with stubborn acne, I was left with moderate discoloration and scarring that was a huge source of insecurity for me. My aesthetician recommended this serum which I’ve been using for roughly two years and the difference is incredible. In addition to improving the appearance of discoloration, this serum also works to improve fine lines and protect against environmental damage. It’s incredibly light and my face feels noticeably dry and patchier whenever I’ve gone a few days without using it. The product is a little pricey but worth every penny as you only need a few drops. I use this every morning and it’s my go to product whenever I’m feeling like I need a little top-up with my skin. If you struggle with uneven skin tone or damage from the elements, I’d highly recommend this product.

No. 7 Beautiful Skin Day Lotion, Normal/Dry – If you’re noticing a theme here, you’d be correct. I’m all about lightweight products that provide the same benefits as those that are thicker or heavier. This lotion is extremely well light but incredibly moisturizing. I use this in the morning as it provides a great moisturized base for my makeup as well as at night after I’ve cleansed my face. Although my skin is combination and prone to oily spots, I’ve found that the normal/dry provides just enough moisture without making my face feel greasy.

Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque – Living in the city, my face falls victim to an excess of toxins simply by strolling outside. I love a good masque in order to clear my pores but am always concerned about the drying impact on my already parched skin in the winter. This masque is thick and creamy and doesn’t dry my skin out in the slightest while still managing to decongest my poor clogged pores. Unlike other clarifying masques, this one contains aloe and chamomile and provides a noticeably calming sensation to the skin that doesn’t leave behind any unsightly redness. I love putting this on a few minutes before I shower and letting it dry before washing it off under the steamy water as a warming winter ritual.

Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Eye Serum – Another serum, I know. But this one is specifically for eyes and it’s never too early to think about fine lines and wrinkles. As someone with superĀ fine skin under their eyes that’s exceptionally prone to bags and dark circles, this serum has made a huge difference in my general appearance. The serum is described as “water-light” and it’s 100% truth. However, despite its light consistency, it’s packed with all sorts of skin nutrients including peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants, making it super moisturizing and powerful for such a delicate area of your face. My dark circles are noticeably brighter after using this and it rids my eye bags almost instantly. While another product that’s definitely a little pricey, its benefits are definitely worth the hefty tag.

What are your winter skin favorites? I’d love to hear any and all of your recommendations in the comments.