My Monthly Favorites | August 2020

When I look back on the month of August, honestly? I feel exhausted just thinking about it. In August 2020, I worked much harder than I had in months, as my business finally began to pick up again following the coronavirus collapse.

Admittedly, I neglected my blog a little bit during that time — but I also took on the incredible new project of rebranding my business. Yep, Millennial Pink Media, LLC is now Flow Media, LLC! As stressful as it was, I’m so grateful for the shift, because now I can focus my work on my favorite clients: therapists and other mental health professionals.

So yes, I was hard at work in August — but that doesn’t mean that August wasn’t full of so many wonderful things. From books to beauty, August gave me many opportunities to smile. Here, I’m sharing just a few of the things that brought me joy last month:

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Like so many other millennials who were pre-teens in 2008, I preordered Midnight Sun over the summer. It finally arrived in August, but I only began to read it toward the end of the month, after I finished reading Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I have so many good things to say about this book, but of course, I have to acknowledge the bad ones, too: at times, it’s a little cringey and melodramatic; the relationship dynamic between Edward and Bella is dysfunctional at best. Still, I can’t help but love the Twilight Saga, if only because it represents such a significant piece of my childhood. Reading Midnight Sun as an adult with a new perspective on life has been especially interesting. I was always Team Jacob growing up, but as I read Midnight Sun and get a glimpse inside Edward’s head, I find myself empathizing with his character more and more. I’m planning to re-read the Twilight Saga once I finish Midnight Sun to see how I feel, but I have a feeling I’m going to come out Team Edward this time around. Has anyone else been feeling the same way?!

Amazon.com: Midnight Sun (9781549134654): Meyer, Stephenie: Books

Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff

I’ve always loved a good “no-makeup” makeup look, but the appeal has increased exponentially since the onset of the pandemic. Nowadays, if I bother to put makeup on, it’s minimal eye makeup and maybe some concealer, if I’m feeling ambitious. Usually, this means I go without blush, because my bare face isn’t much of a canvas to work with. However, Glossier’s Cloud Paint — their cream blush formula — in Puff blends well into foundation-free skin, even if you’re ghostly pale like I am. It’s neither too thick nor too liquidy, and looks even more natural than my other go-to blush, NARS Orgasm. I fell in love with Cloud Paint after using a free sample I got from my last Glossier order, and am planning to purchase the full-size product ASAP.

Glossier-Cloud-Paint-Puff - The Everymom

Meera Lee Patel “The Beginning is Always Today” Planner

If you have been around for awhile, you know that I am a diligent bullet journaler, especially for all things work-related. But because I create my bullet journal spreads on a weekly basis, I was running into limitations when it came to scheduling doctors’ appointments weeks or months into the future. Finally, I caved and decided I needed a good, old-fashioned planner in addition to my bullet journal. I used to be a Lilly Pulitzer planner fanatic, but since my bullet journal is now my primary planner (and Lilly Pulitzer no longer fits my personal style the way that it used to), I opted for this Meera Lee Patel planner from Barnes & Noble instead. The planner contains watercolor artwork made by hand, along with inspirational quotes to help you start every month on a positive note. Best of all, the size is compact — meaning that unlike my old Lilly planners, this one will actually fit in my purse without bending the spirals!

Meera Lee Patel 2020 - 2021 On-the-Go Weekly Planner: 17-Month Calendar  with Pocket (Aug 2020 - Dec 2021, 5" x 7" closed): The Beginning Is Always  Today: Meera Lee Patel, Amber Lotus

Ora Organic Probiotics with Prebiotic Fiber

Long-time fans of my blog will also remember that I was originally misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) before receiving my diagnosis of suspected endometriosis. Gut symptoms have always been one of the primary ways in which endo affects my life. I deal with painful endo belly, searing bowel movements, and cyclical constipation and diarrhea on a regular basis. My doctors have told me to try every probiotic under the sun, and none of them seemed to work for me. Then I discovered the brand Ora on my own. I knew I was going on antibiotics for bacterial vaginosis and wanted to take probiotics to replenish the lost bacteria in my gut. Because of the $35 price point, I was holding out on buying them — but in a moment of desperation, I made the purchase, and I’m so glad I did. Ora Organic Probiotics with Prebiotic Fiber help me have a regular once-a-day bowel movement, as opposed to a couple times per week or per day, depending on my symptoms. Combined with plenty of water and a balanced diet, these probiotics are the perfect solution for anyone who deals with constipation or diarrhea due to endo.

Amazon.com: Ora Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics - Vegan Prebiotic and  Probiotic for Digestive Health | Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, for Sensitive  Stomachs - 60 Easy-Swallow, Vegan Capsules, 1 Month Supply: Health &  Personal Care

Seven Stars Bakery in Providence, RI

While I now eat (lactose-free) dairy again, I’m still gluten-free. When I was eating diary-free, I found that being on a restrictive diet that I never broke was causing a resurgence of my disordered eating habits. In addition to reincorporating lactose-free dairy, I’ve also gotten in the habit of challenging my food intolerances a handful of times per week, if only for mental health’s sake. For the most part, I have not had any negative health consequences as a result, save for some occasional bloating, but I have been enjoying tasting all the foods that our new home in Providence, RI has to offer. Our latest discovery is Seven Stars Bakery, which is just down the street from our house. They have traditional French and Austrian pastries, including classics like danishes and croissants, as well as some Viennese pastries I had never heard of before. I got a raspberry danish and cold brew with house-made vanilla syrup — yum! Next time you’re in New England, I highly recommend you stop at Seven Stars Bakery in Providence for a sweet-but-satisfying breakfast supporting a local business.

12 Books By Women Authors to Read in 2020

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in goals — and one of my goals for 2020 is to read a little bit every day. I also believe in elevating the voices of women, which is why this post is all about books by women authors you should read in 2020.

Even after all these years, women authors still have it so much harder than men. An analysis of over two million book titles found that titles written by women were priced an average of 45% lower than those written by men. As of 2010, men were more likely to be published by Random House, Penguin and The New Yorker, and more likely to be reviewed in The NYT Book Review.

So, what’s a girl to do if she wants this to change? Buy books by female authors of course! You can start with this list of 12 books I think you should read in 2020 (that’s one per month!) — and why I think you should read them.

1. Educated by Tara Westover

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The first time Tara Westover set foot in a classroom, she was 17. So many of us take our education for granted, yet Tara had to fight for hers. Born to survivalists, she fought hard to learn enough mathematics and history to be admitted to Brigham-Young University, where she learned about events like the Holocaust for the first time.

Why you should read it: My mom recommended this book to me, so I might be biased, but frankly, I think everyone should read it — especially if you had the privileges of going to public school or attending college. It adds some much-needed perspective to a time in our lives that most of us complained about, and will make you grateful for your 13+ years of formalized education.

2. P.S. I Still Love You

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In the sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean has to navigate a relationship for the first time — which, if you remember what that feels like, is hard AF! — all while figuring out her feelings for a new potential love interest from her middle school camp.

Why you should read it: P.S. I Love You is becoming a movie on Netflix that’s getting released next month! As someone who has rewatched TATB 10+ times, I can’t wait to read this book — or check out the movie. Hello again, Noah Centineo….

3. Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

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Veronica is at the top of her class when she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant — in Texas. When she doesn’t know where else to turn, she reaches out to her ex-BFF Bailey, and they embark on a road trip to the nearest abortion clinic. It’s a tale about fierce female friendship and reproductive rights, wrapped up in a neat pink package!

Why you should read it: Like my previous pick, Unpregnant is also becoming a movie in 2020 — one I can’t wait to watch. However, it’s also extremely relevant to the world we live in today, where reproductive rights are becoming scarcer and scarcer. As someone who lives in Ohio, where a Heartbeat Bill has passed and abortion clinics are few and far between, I can relate to the fear that the novel’s protagonist must have gone through.

4. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

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NYT bestselling author Rachel Hollis is back with Girl, Stop Apologizing! This book is all about embracing your wildest dreams — and turning them into reality. Rachel examines the lies that hold women back from becoming “successful” (whatever successful means to them) and discusses how she overcame them in her own personal life and career. If you identify as a #girlboss or femtrepreneur, this book is a must-read!

Why you should read it: Speaking as someone who’s already read the book, I can honestly say that Rachel is a phenomenally funny, likable and relateable woman. She talks about her five to thrive, the five things she does every day to stay happy, healthy and sane, as well as other practical advice you can use in your life — without coming across like an unrealistic “wellness guru” or Insta-mommy. It’s the business-slash-self-help book you didn’t know you needed!

5. Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Who doesn’t love First Lady Michelle Obama? In Becoming, Michelle tells her story of growing up, marrying a politician and finding her voice to stand up for what she truly believes in. In other words, it’s a story about becoming — becoming who she was meant to be, in order to serve the people she was meant to serve.

Why you should read it: Michelle Obama is a living legend and an inspiration to women everywhere. From her tireless championship of women’s rights to her fierce-AF arm regimen, Michelle Obama is the woman I want to be when I grow up — and I think it’s important to read about our heroes, in order to truly understand who they are and where they come from.

6. She Means Business by Carrie Green

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Carrie Green wants to teach you to become a wildly successful entrepreneur — and she means business doing it! All you need these days to start a successful business is a computer and a dream. Carrie had both, and built a successful empire online. Now, she’s using her platform to teach you her trade secrets, so you can get into the #girlboss game.

Why you should read it: Because there’s no reason you can’t slay the entrepreneur game and become wildly successful! If you have an idea, then pick up this book and start turning your big business dreams into reality. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you except yourself — and that’s one of the things that Carrie is all about: empowering you to get out of your own damn way!

7. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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Alex is the President’s son — and he’s got beef with Prince Henry across the pond. When the press catches wind of their altercation, his millennial golden-boy image falls to pieces. Their handlers stage a truce for damage control…. until their Insta-friendship becomes deeper, and more dangerous, than they ever could have imagined.

Why you should read it: This book won the Goodreads Choice Award in 2019, and for good reason: LGBTQ+ representation is essential, and Casey McQuiston has nailed it! Imagine the internal conflict when two of the world’s most powerful guys enter into a secret relationship — or as the jacket describes it, a “whirlwind romance.” Those two words alone are enough to entice me into reading this YA masterpiece.

8. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

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Free-spirited Gigi just wants to dance — but the very act might kill her. Gigi’s problem? The girls at her elite ballet school are willing to do whatever it takes to get to the top, including manipulating and backstabbing until the bitter end.

Why you should read it: I danced all throughout high school, so I’m still a sucker for a good elite ballerina drama. However, in my opinion, any book that’s described as Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars deserves to be read — and that’s exactly what I think you should do with this little black book!

9. Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison, RD

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Ready for the book to end all diet books? Christy Harrison is a Registered Dietitian who’s here to tell you that yes, you can eat whatever you want. And the key to happiness is giving up on your diet, perfectionism and all the pressures of having a body in the modern era.

Why you should read it: I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for the new age of “dieting,” where the best diet you can go on is one that isn’t a diet at all. That’s exactly the era I think this newly-released book is ushering in, which is why I’m going to tell everyone and their mother to read it until we live in a world where I no longer need to tweet “IDGAF about your diet, Susan.”

10. Dear Girls by Ali Wong

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Actress and comedian Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters made it to print in her book Dear Girls. The letters cover everything Ali thinks they need to know, from making it as a working woman to how she quote-unquote “trapped” their dad into marriage. Though addressed to her daughters, they’re bound to resonate with any girl.

Why you should read it: Until I saw Ali in Always Be My Maybe on Netflix, this was a book I didn’t know I needed. Now, I know better. And, since I’m all about lifting up women’s voices, it only makes sense that Ali’s feminist-inspired book on making a career in a male-dominated field (among other things, of course) would make my reading list for 2020!

11. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

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Written for a digital world, the soon-to-be-released novel Such a Fun Age tells the story of Alix Chamberlain, a blogger-turned-personal-brand, whose babysitter Emira is accused of kidnapping her child. Alix swoops in to “save” Emira, without fully understanding what she’s getting herself into. The book explores issues of race, class, money and privilege, all while following the lives of two compelling female characters.

Why you should read it: One of the best quotes on this book says that it “satirizes the white pursuit of wokeness.” As a white person, I strongly feel that this is a book that should be on all of our reading lists. Besides its racial overtones, however, it’s also a book by a woman with two strong female characters as the driving force, which is something I think we can all get behind.

12. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

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Rhiannon Hunter helped modernize romance for the digital world with her dating app Crush — but her real love life? Not so simple…. especially once Samson Lima, a former pro-football player, enters her life. After ghosting her, Samson surfaces again by chance, in league with Rhiannon’s business rival Matchmaker. Will she be willing to risk her heart?

Why you should read it: After you finish Such a Fun Age, you’re going to be ready for a lighter option and The Right Swipe fits the bill. However, this book still doesn’t skimp on important issues, like the intricacies of modern dating in the online age. Plus, it’s written by a woman of color and driven by a protagonist who’s also a woman of color — so, talk about elevating marginalized voices!