Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Wendy’s Picks

If you watch my Instagram stories, you probably already know that one of my resolutions for 2019 is to read 25 books this year (which, frankly, would be a good 15 more books than I read in 2018…). There was once a time when I easily read anywhere from one to three books a week, every week, but those days were before I had kids and it became harder to find time and, more importantly, energy to read books anymore, and I defaulted to reading magazine and newspaper articles, blogs, and social media vents (almost exclusively on a screen).

Every year I make a resolution to read more, but I think this is the first time I gave myself a number of books for the year — and a pretty ambitious one considering my current baseline. And so, I started with a short book (and in full disclosure, I started in the final days on 2018), with the novel, His Favorites. And, oh, it was such a good book to start with! At under 150 pages, it is, indeed, petite, but every page packs such a punch, and the writing is so beautiful. I don’t think it was purposeful, but the theme is very in keeping with hashtag MeToo, and also made me want to make a secondary resolution to read only female authors this year. I didn’t register that the second book I picked up to read was written by a man, but I quickly discovered that he’s a gay man, so I guess that makes it ok. So: 25 books this year — only women and gay men authors! (Any recommendations?)

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the perfect sock and its name is Bombas. My whole family — Drew and the kids and I — are sold. They are crazy comfy, warm, supportive, and if you happen to have kids with sensitivity issues (or if you have them yourself) for whom seams are the enemy, you may be pleasantly surprised with how drama-free your mornings are about to become with Bombas. Trust. (PS If you follow the links, you’ll get 25% off your first order. And I’ll get two free pairs of socks, which will make me happy!)

Pairing my most comfortable socks with my most comfortable boots ever this winter has been amazing. Finally, finally, after several years, I have found the perfect (for me) flat, black, ankle boot. Every step is like a dream (really!). Ooh, and the boots are still on mega sale. Yay!

I requested and received these joggers for Christmas, and I am so glad I did! They were on sale at Anthropologie and are since sold out there, and they’re nearly sold out on the brand’s online shop, despite being full-priced (i.e. expensive for some freakin’ sweatpants but still worth it). So, if you’re in the market for some insanely soft, cozy, comfy joggers for all your lounge-around time during the chilly months, these fit the bill. They take hygge to the next level (even Drew wishes he had a pair!). I’m keeping my eyes on the rose-colored ones in hopes the stock will be replenished (and, fingers crossed, maybe even marked down a bit!).

There are a lot of things I like about our home — the light that floods the top floor, our deck, the central air (when it works…), but probably my very favorite thing in the whole place is the great big soaking tub in our master bathroom. It’s been practically life-changing – for me and for Drew (who was never a bath person until we moved in, and now he loves baths as much as I do). Spending a big chunk of my childhood in Japan, I remember visiting Japanese bath houses a handful of times as a kid, and the visceral memory of it lingers to this day. In an effort to introduce Drew to the sensation, and to recreate a sort of mini Japanese bath house in our own bathroom, I gifted Drew with these Japanese bath salts that I’d heard were amazing. I helped myself to a packet one evening, and I can confirm: the bath salts are legit! I had to buy myself my own box, and now it’s a religious experience drawing a hot steamy Japanese bath house bath for myself a few evenings a week. If you’re looking for a Japanese hot spring spa experience – and, really, you should be — treat yo’self with a box of these salts (unless, of course, a trip to Japan is in the cards for you, in which case, you should still get some of these salts and see if I’m right about how well it mimics the real thing!).

Wendy’s Weekly Picks,” is a feature in which I highlight stuff I like or recommend in fashion, gift ideas, home decor, makeup, websites, entertainment, and recipes. Some of the recommendations are affiliate products, which means I’ll receive a commission on any purchases you make through the links. Thanks for your support!

31 comments… add one
  • ktfran January 3, 2019, 1:38 pm

    The husband bought me Michelle Obama’s book for Christmas. I’m excited to dive in. I have a Kindle, but there are a few books I like to “collect” for the bookshelf. This is one.

    I know you’re more of a memoir person, but in the last five years, I’d say my favorite fiction is still the Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

    Also, I added those bath salts to my amazon wish list and I’ve been interested in Bombas. I’m happy to hear you like them!

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      Dear Wendy January 3, 2019, 2:08 pm

      I am branching out and going to read more fiction this year, so I’m happy to get novel recommendations!

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  • Kate January 3, 2019, 1:49 pm

    The book “Dumplin’” is really good YA fiction. There’s way more to it than the Netflix movie covered, though I thought the movie was cute.

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      Dear Wendy January 3, 2019, 2:07 pm

      We watched the movie the other night and I thought it was cute (not incredible, but cute).

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      • JD January 3, 2019, 2:09 pm

        I watched it too a couple weeks ago. Cute. I always love seeing Jennifer Aniston in a different role. I got sucked into some British shows about repos and evictions for a week or so and am now wishing I hadn’t blown through them all.

  • Vathena January 3, 2019, 2:25 pm

    @ktfran, I also got “Becoming” for Christmas and I looooove it! I feel like I’m now BFFs with Michelle. I’ll be sad when I’m done reading!

    Novels by women that I’ve enjoyed (some fluffy, some not):

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    State of Wonder, Run, Bel Canto, and Commonwealth, all by Ann Patchett
    What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
    The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    Maine and The Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan (I also have Saints for All Occasions on my to-read list, but haven’t read it yet. The author is an alumnae from my college and we’re both in an online parenting group made up of alums – I have a fangirl moment whenever she replies to a post!)
    Fates and Furies, Monsters of Templeton, and Arcadia, by Lauren Groff
    The Goldfinch and The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
    An American Wife and Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    Any book by Margaret Atwood

    There ya go, 20+ books written by women! 🙂

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    • Vathena January 3, 2019, 2:39 pm

      I’m also trying to read more by authors of color. I recently finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and while it was intense, it was an excellent read. I started Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, but my library ebook loan expired and there is a waitlist a mile long, so I’ll probably just buy it. I also really want to read Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan (it’s on pretty much every best-of-2018 list).

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      • ktfran January 3, 2019, 2:49 pm

        One book that has been on my list forever and I need to read is The Warmth of Other Suns.

        And to Wendy’s point about including more fiction, I’m the opposite and want to include more non-fiction!

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        Dear Wendy January 3, 2019, 4:24 pm

        If you haven’t read “An American Marriage” (I haven’t), it was on literally every “best books of the year” list that I read last week, and I know it was Oprah’s book choice for the year. The author is an African American writer.

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        LadyInPurpleNotRed January 3, 2019, 4:29 pm

        I second Wendy’s suggestion of An American Marriage–it’s a wonderfully thought-provoking book. Well worth putting on hold and getting your hands on.

      • Vathena January 3, 2019, 4:34 pm

        Oh, nice! It’s been duly added to my list. Now I just need to get myself some spare time…

      • anonymousse January 3, 2019, 7:54 pm

        We should start an online book club. I loved the Underground Railroad, too.

    • anonymousse January 3, 2019, 5:27 pm

      I love your list! Some of my favorite books on there.

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  • K January 3, 2019, 3:23 pm

    I read 12 books last year (not a ton, I know – want to read more this year) and only one was by a man. My favorites were The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy (Wendy, I think you may have recommended that one?) and The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks. They are both memoirs.
    I also love all of Curtis Sittenfeld’s work and this year she published a book of short stories, You Think It, I’ll Say It, which was great. Also, @TheRascal let me know about a book she worked on, I Have The Right To by Chessy Prout – another memoir I really enjoyed this year, and very relevant in the #MeToo era.

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      Dear Wendy January 3, 2019, 4:23 pm

      “You Think I’ll Say It” is on my list for this year! Last week, I read a bunch of “best books of the year” lists from a variety of sources I trust, then compared the list and looked for books that make multiple lists, I read descriptions of each book and then made a master list for myself of all the books that appealed to me. Then I searched for each one at the Brooklyn public library and made a list of the ones that were available immediately at my local branch (just 3 out of close to 30 books) and I checked out those immediately, and placed a hold on a few others that looked like they could become available in the next couple weeks.

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      • K January 4, 2019, 12:35 pm

        I did something similar last year, read a couple of “best of the year” lists and made a list for myself of the ones that looked interesting. I didn’t get to a bunch from last year, so I’ve just been adding to the list! My library system is really great, it includes about 60 libraries from 5 different counties and unless something is super popular, you can usually get it sent to your library fairly quickly.

    • Ange January 3, 2019, 9:43 pm

      I loved female chauvinist pigs by Ariel Levy back in the day and loved it, I didn’t know she had a memoir.

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  • Sara January 3, 2019, 5:11 pm

    Delurking after YEARS to say that I loved Circe by Madeline Miller. I also just got The Mere Wife, and am looking forward to reading it soon. Also last year I did the Goodreads reading challenge. I set my goal at 12 books for the year and ended up reading 33! Something about seeing my progress was really encouraging.

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      Dear Wendy January 3, 2019, 5:49 pm

      Thank you, and hi! You’ve reminded me it’s time to do another lurker appreciation day!

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      LadyinPurpleNotRed January 3, 2019, 6:10 pm

      Ooooh yes, Circe!! Not my normal genre, but I loved it!!

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  • anonymousse January 3, 2019, 5:38 pm

    Okay, you must read:
    The Library Book by Susan Orlean.
    It. Is. So. Good.
    I love Louise Erdich. She is a native woman who writes incredible novels. I haven’t read all of her work, but I recently read The Future Home of the Living God. It was oddly an apocalyptic storyline focused around pregnant women. A little handmaiden’s tale-ish. The Round house and La Rose are good, too.

    I love anything Barbara Kingsolver. It’s all good.

    Tana French writes excellent thrillers.
    Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling. Also mystery/thriller.
    Sarah Waters, Meg Wolitzer, Emma Straub.

    Ooh, also Jesmyn Ward and Jhumpa Lahiri.

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

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    • anonymousse January 3, 2019, 5:39 pm

      I recently started checking out digital copies. So convenient and it’s saved me a lot of dollars.

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    • Vathena January 3, 2019, 6:01 pm

      Oh this list made me think of a couple more- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins!

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      • ktfran January 3, 2019, 9:55 pm

        @anon, thanks for th thriller recommendation! Always looking for new authors.

        @vathena, I think I’m one of the very few who really disliked girl on the train.

      • ktfran January 3, 2019, 10:01 pm

        I’m a nerd and am currently rereading Harry Potter in prep for a trip to universal with the fam/nieces this Feb.

  • Ange January 3, 2019, 9:46 pm

    I just finished My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh and really liked it. It’s a fiction book set just before 9/11 and has a super unlikeable protagonist but I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know, something about it sucked me in. I haven’t bought an ebook for years (I usually only get free ones though bookbub) but I’m glad I did. It’s a strange premise and it feels like nothing really happens but it’s stuck with me. The author has her detractors as well, I guess that’s why her protagonists work so well.

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    • Ange January 4, 2019, 5:26 pm

      Also ‘joggers’ in Aus are sneakers so colour me surprised to see a barefoot model ?

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  • JD January 4, 2019, 9:16 am

    I need to find good boots for icky weather. The ones I bought hurt my feet after a couple hours. I picked up some amazing actual snow boots. They are regular snow boots but Uggs inside. So amazing. Every time i wear them people stop me and want to know where to get them. Not practical for a little dusting on the ground though.

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  • Reilly January 4, 2019, 2:39 pm

    Long long time lurker, first (maybe second?) time commenter! I had a similar goal of reading only women in 2018. I wrote a bunch of recommendations and shared the link in the “Website” field, but here are a few I’d suggest based on your post…
    – I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya (Trans woman of color; this is a quick read but incredibly impactful)
    – We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (Some tough life stuff wrapped in irreverent humor)
    – Educated by Tara Westover (This has probably been mentioned already- it was super buzzy this year and for very good reason; it’s RIVETING)
    – Also love the romance works by Jasmine Guillory- they’re the perfect modern romantic stories.
    Love the ankle boots, too! Thanks for another year of DW. 🙂

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      Dear Wendy January 4, 2019, 2:41 pm

      Thank you! I’ve heard of all of those except the first, and will add to my library list.

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    • anonymousse January 4, 2019, 4:02 pm

      Educated was incredible!

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