The 10 Best Beach Reads of All Time!

In my opinion, there are very few things better than sitting on the beach with a book, uninterrupted. It’s the most relaxing thing ever and one of my most favorite simple pleasures.

I get a lot of requests for good beach reads, so today I am going to share my ten favorites, in no particular order. This was very hard to narrow down!!! For me, when choosing a beach read I look for something light and fun. Even though “my genre” is typically murdery thrillers and true crime, for the beach I want something a little lighter. A good page-turner, minus the killing? Haha. Think Elin Hilderbrand, Jennifer Weiner, Christina Lauren, Jane Green, Meg Wolitzer, and Emily Giffin. (Those are a few of my personal fav authors when I’m looking for something light) Tell me your fav beach reads in the comments section!

PS – for more reading inspiration, check out the best books of 2018 / everything I read!

The 10 Best Beach Reads

(again, these are in no particular order… how could I possibly rank them!?!)

Best Beach Reads

The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

This one will always and forever be an absolute favorite book of mine. I never hold onto books after I read them but this has earned a permanent place on my shelf as I love it so much. I am not a big re-reader but have read it twice (and it’s long!) We also have an entire podcast episode about this book (it’s a really early one so don’t judge!!) It’s basically Kate Middleton fan fiction in the best sense of the word. It’s the story of an American girl (Bex) who meets the man of her dreams (Nick) who just happens to be the prince of England. It follows them all the way through college and afterward, through breakups, an engagement, the crazy royal wedding party, and more. It’s juicy and fun and I could NOT put it down!!!

The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee

I don’t know that there’s anyone left who reads this blog that hasn’t read this book but just in case: GO READ THIS BOOK! You must! It’s the perfect steamy summer read. Or steamy winter read. Or whatever time of year. This is definitely not just one of my 10 favorite beach reads but also one of my 10 favorite books ever. It’s the story of an older woman (I hate saying older – she’s 40, I’m closer to her age!) who ends up in a steamy but sweet love affair with a Harry Styles type in his early twenties. The concept did not initially appeal to me but Becca wore me down and once I started, I could not put it down. We also had a book club podcast episode about this one, AND we interviewed the author separately. Such a fun book. If you have not read this book, stop reading this post and order it immediately!

Eat Pray Loveeat pray love review, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is living the dream New York City life and up and abandons the whole thing. It’s funny how with time my views of this book have changed. When it first came out, I was 27 and remember feeling a little bit annoyed by it (I found it rather self-indulgent and couldn’t really relate to it). As I’ve gotten older (and re-read it more recently), I definitely have more of an appreciation for it. It’s been out for ten years now (!!!) and has changed so many lives – inspiring women to go out and search for their best selves and make their dreams happen. I think what I love about this book is that she has everything that we are supposed to want (she’s got the man! the house in the country! the career!) but she still doesn’t feel fulfilled. Her journey takes her through Italy, India, and Bali as she eats, prays, and loves.

Matchmaking for BeginnersBest Beach Reads, by Maddie Dawson

This was possibly my favorite book from all of 2018 and it would make for an absolutely fantastic summer read! All Marnie wants is an ordinary life. The minivan, the picket fence, etc etc. She’s engaged to the man of her dreams and is on track to have everything she ever wanted. Then she meets Blix Holliday (her fiance’s eccentric great-aunt, a matchmaker living in Brooklyn). Blix and her hit it off, but Blix is dying. Marnie’s marriage ends up combusting after two weeks and in a great twist, Blix leaves her Brooklyn brownstone to Marnie (not her nephew or anyone else in the family). The building is filled with oddball but endearing, very lovable friends of Blix’s; and Marnie learns that maybe she’s the perfect person to follow Blix’s matchmaking footsteps. I actually sobbed at the end of this book – it’s so sweet, so heartwarming, just so perfect.

The Hating GameThe hating game, by Sally Thorne

Not everyone loves this one as much as I do (Becca really didn’t like it!) but it’s an absolute favorite and so sweet – I personally think it’s a classic! I feel like the storyline has been knocked off and done a few times (The Unhoneymooners comes to mind) but this one is a classic. Lucy and Josh work together at a publishing company and absolutely hate each other. Hate. And they’re vying for the same job. Lucy finds Josh to be uptight and controlling; Josh can’t understand Lucy’s quirkiness and crazy clothing ensembles. But then… things change and they find out that maybe they don’t actually hate each other so much? It’s a very cute romance (and quite steamy at times, too!) Of course it gets a little predictable at the point, but in a satisfying sort of way, if that makes sense! I loved this book – you won’t be able to put it down.

The KnockoffBest Beach Reads, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

This is another classic beach read (in my opinion) and will always be an absolute favorite of mine; especially as I spent such a long time working for a fashion start up (there were definitely some funny parallels) and of course, because I always wanted to work for a magazine when I was young! Imogen returns to work at Glossy (a fashion mag) after taking 6 months off for health reasons and finds everything has changed. Eve (her former assistant, straight out of Harvard Business School!) has been put in charge and is hell-bent on digitalizing the magazine – something that’s necessary for the magazine to survive, but she’s doing it all wrong and without any sensitivity. The authors do a great job capturing the difference between the old guard of print media and the young new generation of digital media. Does Imogen pack it up and get out of there, or adapt and learn how to tweet!? I couldn’t put it down, I absolutely loved it. It’s fresh, funny, and smart… if you work in fashion or digital media it’s an absolute must!

The Light We LostBest Beach Reads, by Jill Santopolo

Some books just haunt you and this one broke my heart. Just thinking about it makes me all teary again! It’s about a young woman, torn between the dreamy (but flighty!) love of her life from her younger years and her stable, loving husband. There’s Gabe, who she meets in college. There’s an instant spark. They move in together and are so perfect together but their dreams take them in opposite directions. Gabe becomes a photojournalist (heading to the Middle east) while Lucy pursues a career and a life in New York. The book spans 13 years, in which time Lucy marries someone else and has children. It’s romantic and cripplingly sad at times and will 100% stick with you after you read it. I’m not trying to make anyone cry at the beach, but if you haven’t read this yet, you’ll love it. It’s a great summer read.

Slightly South of SimpleBest Beach Reads, by Kristy Woodson Harvey

The whole Peachtree Bluff Series is so good! So read this, and then read the other books too. Kristy has been called the next major voice in Southern Fiction and I just love her books. This one (and the series) is about a family in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia. There’s the mother Ansley who has always done the right thing and put her family first; and her three daughters: Caroline (the somewhat uptight, New York girl who married a high society man and lives on the Upper East Side), beautiful Emerson the actress, and Sloane whose husband is overseas in the military. Things go very wrong for Caroline and she flees New York to hide out in Peachtree Bluff. You really fall hard for all of the characters. They’re each so likable. Flawed, human, relatable. There’s romance and secrets and each book is just wonderful. Writing this made me realize that the third book is actually out… no idea how I missed that – I just went and ordered it!

Love and Other WordsBest Beach Reads, by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is actually two friends, and “she” is one of my favorite authors. Anything new they have out, I’m pre-ordering. It’s a little bit reminiscent of The Light We Lost, though less heartbreaking. What happens when childhood sweethearts reconnect after ten years apart? Macy is ambitiously working on her career as a pediatrics assistant while planning her wedding to an older, financially secure (but terribly boring) man. Everything unravels when she runs into Elliot, her first love. We don’t really understand why they were ever apart, to begin with (this will come out later). Everything dissolves and he’s all she can think about. Honestly, this book is an emotional rollercoaster in the best way possible. There’s a horrible secret (there always is!) that comes out and a twist. It kept me up all night and is the perfect beach read – just make sure you don’t have any distractions!

Here’s to UsBest Beach Reads, by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s hard to pick a favorite Elin Hilderbrand book (they’re honestly all so good – I liken her work to Chicken Soup for the Soul!) but this is one of my favs. It’s about three verrrry different romantic rivals (Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett) who all a) hate each other and b) were at one time married to celebrity chef Deacon. Deacon dies tragically. His final wish is for his full “family” to assemble together at his beloved Nantucket cottage to say goodbye. They all head to the island (along to the children they raised with him and his best friend). So naturally, chaos ensues. But also naturally, as this is a Hilderbrand novel, it turns very sweet. I loved this book. I love all of her books but this is probably my favorite of hers!

Top photo by Carter Fish.

Amazon Nightgown Review… {Best Purchase Of Summer!}

Grace in her nightgown at the beach

In lieu of a real outfit diary (my usual Monday column), we’re going to talk about the Amazon Nightgown as that’s pretty much all I wore while I was on Cape Cod. This is one of my fav pieces of clothing for summer, it’s only $30, and I have a whole highlights section on my Instagram. (I’m also personally determined to get #amazonnightgown to trend!)

Amazon Nightgown Review

First thing first: Let’s give credit where credit is due. I discovered this dress via Hitha, who found it via The Buy Guide. Months and months ago she linked to it in her #5SmartReads Newsletter (which I highly recommend signing up for, besides all of the great Internet things she also tracks down amazing shopping discoveries which are always well priced and at least somewhat practical). A few months later and it is one of my most cherished possessions. It’s comfy, cute, lightweight, and… THIRTY DOLLARS (give or take!) It’s also one of my top-selling products… in July + August (so far, ten days in), more than 500 of you have bought it!

I’m going to answer all of the most frequently asked questions in today’s post… but if you still have questions, definitely leave a comment below and I’ll update the post/respond to your comment.

PS – If you are still nervous about buying clothes on Amazon, check out my tips for buying clothes on Amazon. There are a lot of sketchy products on Amazon, this is not one of them!

Amazon Nightgown FAQ’s

Is the Amazon Nightgown actually a nightgown?

No. Sorry about that. There’s been a bit of confusion and it’s because I have a strange sense of humor (and also this reminds me a lot of Busy Philipps’ Mr. Nightgown. I call it a nightgown because it looks like one. I mean maybe it could be? It’s a dress, a caftan, a swimsuit cover-up. It’s a movement. An internet sensation! But no, it’s not actually a nightgown. (Though I won’t judge if you want to sleep in it, it’s super comfy!)

How is sizing?

It definitely runs a bit small. Generally speaking at least! I have the colors “pink” (that’s the pink and purple one below) and “light pink” (up top). Pink is pretty tight in the chest. I’m always pulling it down to get it over my boobs but I don’t really care – it’s still cute. Light pink is a little big and I have to tie both bows or risk flashing the world.

My advice is to order two sizes – your regular size, and a size bigger. If you are particularly busty, go up a size for sure. Amazon Prime’s return system makes it so easy; yes it’s a pain, but for a very cute $30 dress, I think it’s worth it! I have heard from a few Instagram friends that you should actually go up two sizes if you have a larger chest.

But as a medium-sized person with medium-sized boobs, I was fine wearing a medium. (I’m usually a small or medium in dresses.)

Amazon Nightgown takes Grace around the city in comfort

How long does it take to come?

This also depends on the color. Definitely check out each individual color. Some colors are back-ordered. I ordered “red” and “blue” (LOL at these color names, they could have been so much more creative!) on July 19th and am still waiting for them. (I’ve been promised an 8/21 delivery date.) As summer is coming to an end, make sure to pick a color that’s readily available. Luckily, Amazon is pretty good. It notes the anticipated delivery date for each color once you’ve selected a size. Shipping is very very fast (just a couple of days) if you select a color that is in stock.

What do you wear underneath it?

So I am of medium bustiness… not flat chested but not particularly well endowed and also not afraid to show a little cleavage? I do quite well with a cute lace bralette. I LOVE the Anine Bing lace bralettes for that reason – they’re perfect and easy and comfortable and if they show a little, it’s a nice little flash of lace. For a little more coverage, Hitha highly recommends these!

Grace and her mom in the amazon outfit

How to style the Amazon Nightgown!

Honestly, anything goes! Working from home? Wear it with the Amazon Slippers (should we get those to trend too?). Sneakers are cute! I love it with my beloved gold Birkenstocks for what my father coined, a “Mamas and the Papas vibe” (Totally into that!)

Or pair it with heels and the Amazon Pearl Earrings (lol, these are my latest Amazon obsession… more to come on these but I guess I’m just adding a capital “Amazon” to all my favs). I’m linking a few other bloggers’ posts below but definitely check out the Amazon Nightgown highlight on my Instagram page!

Can you nurse in it?

A lot of people asked me this and honestly, I don’t know. I have no experience here and don’t know anyone with it who have tried. It is pretty tight in the bust. BUT if you size up it could be possible!? I would love for any mamas who read here to weigh in and I’ll absolutely update the post with your advice.

The nightgown has made its way around the blogosphere. Here are how four of my friends + fav influencers styled it!

Friends are loving this too, in their own Amazon Nightgown Review

Hitha rocking it in all its glory. We are clearly birds of a feather as I have those amazing slippers too but in pink. If we’re going to keep score, she found the nightgown and I found the slippers!

Blair gives us a Amazon Nightgown Review

Amazon nightgown… but make it fashion. OF course, Blair manages to make this $30 dress look like high fashion!

Jess in Amazon Nightgown Review

Jess Keys has been another big proponent of the nightgown. She has a whole post about it too!

Amazon Nightgown Review

And last but certainly not least is Anna Jane Wisniewski! How cute is she in hers!?

I could not love this thing more. Best $30 purchase ever!

Also, a reminder: if you buy the nightgown and rock it, post it to Instagram and tag me (+ use hashtag #amazonnightgown!) I love reposting my favs!!!!

Weekend Reading | 8.10.19.

podcast launch

happy weekend from Cape Cod (heading back to Brooklyn around lunchtime!) It was so nice to have a full week on the Cape with my parents + sisters + their families. So much time with my nieces and nephews! After 7 jam-packed days, I am excited to introvert HARD tonight. Planning on ordering my fav sushi + putting on a bunch of old movies – nothing sounds better than that right now! In other news, make sure you check out this month’s reading list – it was a really good month of reading and one of my fav reading lists to date. AND, we announced our Fall tour dates for the podcast… would love to see you at a show this October!!!

Weekend Reading

Merritt put together a really thoughtful guide to dressing for your body type.

Have been testing this eye cream and really notice a difference w/fine lines.

YUM, need to make this: the best dairy-free pesto!

Wow – Keanu Reeves has quite the beauty routine. ($1700 serum, anyone!?)

I probably need this personalized hair clip. Should I get “Tyrion?”

Still not over Ulla Johnson’s stunning home.

Drooling over this splurge of a leopard dress. (And happy to see Rebecca Taylor has extended their size range a tiny bit.)

Everything that’s in season this month… and how to eat it.

On setting goals.

Madewell continues to kill the affordable earrings game.

Is this going to be Fall’s new “it bag?”

What a cute button front midi dress!

What happened when one writer stopped wearing makeup.

Three thoughts that could be holding you back.

100% need this green box bag (it’s only $52 and comes in yellow as well).

Great advice for when you start a new job.

Such a cute polka dot cami.

I want to make this DIY knot pillow!

On attachment styles. This is interesting especially if you’ve read the book Attached!

Love these simple, beachy hoops.

Are you decisive?

It’s really hard to even think about fall clothing right now but I’m loving this $89 plaid blazer.

How to be more productive, according to the enneagram.

Yoga poses that help with burnout.

Love this $13 padded headband.. such a good find!

Margot Robbie makes me want to wear PJs to my next event!

I love this sweet little green mini dress.

Dr. Singha’s Mustard Seed Bath Detox Review.

upclose shot of Dr. Singha's Mustard Seed Bath Detox product

This post was originally posted last fall but I’ve updated it as it’s still one of my absolute favorite soaks!

Ahhhhh you guys I am SO excited about today’s post as this was a really fun (and inexpensive) beauty discovery.

I was actually researching DIY bath ideas when I stumbled upon Dr. Singha’s Mustard Seed Bath Detox. I had never heard of it, but when I featured it on my Instagram story a few weeks ago so many people came out of the woodwork to tell me how much they love this product.

I feel like this soak is one of those secret products that a lot of people maybe use but for some reason aren’t talking about? Dr. Shyam Singha was one of the most sought after doctors and healers of the 20th Century, using holistic medicine to diagnose treat cure a whole list of ailments. He was a pioneer in both the spiritual and wellness spaces and is the one who formulated the bath. The brand doesn’t advertise, but with a bit of research, I learned that it has quite a following. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan, as is Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin and makeup artist Gucci Westman.

But you know how much I love a bath. And this one is absolutely perfect when to treat cure or prevent getting sick; especially after a flight. I try to do this when I get home from a trip (especially after flying).

Mustard Seed Bath Detox

Bathing in mustard sounded a little gross at first! Would I smell like a hotdog? (The answer is NO – this mustard bath is packed with essential oils so it actually smells really good). I was a little weirded out until it came in the mail and I smelled it and realized it was just like any of the other bath soaks I already knew and loved. It definitely smells a little bit spicy but the essential oils make it smell more like a conventional bath. It does make a bit of a mess though, so I recommend wiping down your tub immediately after!

It’s the best, especially if you have sore muscles or are in the need of a good old fashioned detox. Mustard is known for its stimulating, cleansing, and rejuvenating qualities. The bath contains certified organic mustard seed powder, eucalyptus, rosemary, wintergreen & thyme essential oils, and gum benzoin in a base of sodium carbonate.

DrSingha‘s Mustard Bath

According to Dr. Singha himself, “Mustard Baths have been traditionally used for detoxification and purification. In many parts of the world Mustard is well-known for its therapeutic value when used in a bath, helping to increase circulation, oxygenation and the elimination of toxins. The outward application contributes to general well-being by activating the largest organ of elimination in the body: THE SKIN and helping to reduce the toxic load stored in tissues throughout the body.

Sounds pretty good, right? You can take a full-on detox bath (my favorite) OR just do your feet (also pretty nice.)

Benefits of Soaking in Mustard Seed

This soak will make you SWEAT. A lot. It’s the best when you are feeling a little run down, like maybe you are getting sick, or you just had a big weekend of eating/drinking/overindulging. All you need is two ounces (about two heaping tablespoons). The $10 size is eight ounces, so you’ll get 4 baths out if it, which is a pretty good value if you ask me. Add to a tub full of warm water, soak for 20 minutes, and let the bath work its magic. You definitely want to keep the bath warm for the best results.

There are a lot of benefits of soaking in mustard seed. Athletes swear by it for sore muscles and mustard baths are used in Ayurvedic medicine and are also a traditional remedy in England – used for the treatment of colds, stress, achy muscles, and even fever and congestion.

Mustard stimulates the sweat glands. It opens the pores and gets you sweating (drawing out toxins)… while also improving circulation, pain, and congestion.

Foot Soak

You can use the bath as just a foot soak. Start with a bucket (or large bowl) of water. To make the foot bath dissolve 1 large tablespoon of the formula in a bowl, let the foot bath dissolve, and soak! Leave your feet in for 20 minutes and let them relax in a bowl of hot water and then finish with a short cold soak. I did this while watching TV and it was super relaxing.

Mustard Bath Results

I was really impressed by the bath. The soak itself is a yellowy powder and it has a slightly spicy scent. I actually thought it smells really good (the soak also contains a blend of eucalyptus, wintergreen, rosemary, and thyme essential oils). It made me sweat a LOT. I’ve tried a lot of detox baths and this one probably made me sweat the most.

The best way to do it is to soak in the tub full of warm water (fully submerged up to your neck the whole time if possible) and relax in the water for a full twenty minutes. Afterward, rinse off and finish with a cold shower. It’s definitely a shock to the system! After the cold shower dry off. Then, massage your body all over with a scratchy cotton towel (kind of like dry brushing). I didn’t make up these instructions, they’re stated on the back of the tub – the rough towel is important. When you dry with a rough towel, you exfoliate and further boost circulation.

I found it hard to manage the whole twenty minutes submerged but managed to do it. I recommend bringing a giant bottle of water with you. And I definitely recommend doing it before bedtime – sleep under a heavy blanket or two and you will continue to sweat and detox… and you will sleep like an angel! GO BUY THIS SOAK – it will be the best $10 you spend!

Dr. Singha's Mustard Seed Bath Detox Review. Dr. Singha's Mustard Seed Bath Detox - The Stripe, Mustard Seed Bath Detox

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Summer Beauty Update + Podcast Fall Tour!

summer beauty update

First of all, some big news! We just announced our Bad on Paper fall live show tour dates!

I’m listing out the dates below but head over to the site to get your tickets! If you live in one of these cities, I’d love for you to come! We said this on the show this morning too, but you don’t have to be a regular listener to enjoy it. It’s really just a fun girls’ night out! So grab your tickets and bring all your girlfriends!!!

  • 10/2: San Francisco – Cobb’s Comedy Club
  • 10/16: Washington DC – City Winery
  • 10/17: Philadelphia – The Punchline
  • 10/23 – Atlanta – City Winery
  • 11/1 – New York – Gramercy Theater (tickets going on sale SOON)
  • 11/6 – Dallas – House of Blues

In today’s episode of the podcast, Becca and I go through our summer beauty routines. All the products we’re using and loving right now… changes we’ve made to our beauty routines, and so much more. I wanted to recap all of the products we talked about here though!

The Best New Beauty Products We’ve Tried This Summer.

Becca:

SPF + Self Tanning

Skincare Updates?

Grace:

  • Have been breaking out more than usual; got a facial at Christine Chin Spa – I see Coco!
  • Sometimes I find I need a lighter moisturizer in this heat. I like Sisleyouth a lot as it sinks in immediately.
  • TONER is essential. Acwell is my favorite.
  • Face mists on my person at all times – the small size of the Caudalie beauty elixir is everything!

Becca:

  • She swears by Weleda Skin Food on heels. (I use this on my face and am going to have to try it!!)

Hair:

Grace: 

Becca:

  • Summer hair routine: straighten my hair, ponytail, big earrings

Nails

Grace: 

  • Bare nails; or Essie Mademoiselle
  • Other colors I am medium on: Essie Geranium, Clambake, or Fiji!

Becca:

  • Very into light purple; otherwise shell pink or neutral.

Verrry Minimal Summer Makeup Routines!

Grace:

Becca:

  • Way more minimal. Wonderglow Primer and concealer. Then blush. Brows, Mascara, maybe a fun sheer lip. Very into anything that makes you look like you just had a popsicle.
  • Like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina palette… the gold and rose gold are great to brush on with fingers!

Favorite Fragrances

Grace:

Hot Weather products/saviors.

photography by Carter Fish.