Stacey Loscalzo

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Aug 26

Picture Book Favorites: August 2015 Edition (Part One)

by Stacey

I love summer for many reasons but a huge reason is the increase in reading time. Katherine and I have had a lot of time to read together so I have broken our favorites for this month in to two posts.



Maryilyn’s Monster written by Michelle Knudsen & illustrated by Matt Phelan. All of Marilyn’s friends already have monsters but hers has not yet come to her. She is distraught and heads out to find her monster herself. As it turns out, doing this her own way was a great decision.


Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton. The little boy in Something Extraordinary has some pretty awesome wishes. It turns out with a great imagination, some of these things can come true. For real.


I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton. I always hate to admit it but the truth is we are not huge fans of non-fiction here. That said, we totally love what Bethany Barton has done with I’m Trying to Love Spiders. In a fun story we learn an amazing amount of accurate facts about our eight legged friends.


How to Read a Story written by Kate Messner & illustrated by Mark Siegel. If you’ve been looking for a how to book about reading stories, this is your book and it is even has dragons and princesses thrown in for good measure.


There’s No Such Thing as Little by LeUyen Pham. This cut out book is a perfect reminder of how some things aren’t necessarily what they appear. Reading this books is also a good reminder for parents that even big kids can love picture books. As we read, Katherine kept saying, ‘let’s do another!’

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Aug 24

My Favorite Podcasts

by Stacey

Years ago, I discovered the world of blogging and each day I found a new blog that I loved and looked forward to reading. I’m going through the same thing now with podcasts. Podcasts are a bit like blogs come to life. I love listening to the commentators talk each week as I get to know them and their opinions. I learn about the world, collect more books to add to be towering to be read list and laugh. I am not alone in my love of podcasts as a couple of my favorite bloggers have recently written posts about their favorites. Click here to see Modern Mrs. Darcy’s latest favorites or here to see what my friend Katie is listening too. You’ll see some overlap with my list but also quite a few that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet.

I have broken my favorites down in to the four categories that are keeping my attention these days; pop culture, grown up books, kids books and cultivating a creative life.

Pop Culture

Rob picks on me for my lack of pop culture knowledge. I try to deny that I am out of the loop but truth be told, I could be a bit more in the know and pod casts are helping me get there.

popculture happy hour

Popculture Happy Hour Popculture Happy Hour is my favorite in this category. There are regular hosts like Linda Holmes, Stephen Thomas and Audie Cornish but many guests as well depending on the topic. In fact, I ‘met’ Margaret H. Willison here which led me to Andrew Cunningham’s Overdue which led me to Willison’s own Appointment Televsion. As you can see, podcasts work a lot like blogs. If you find one good one, that one will lead to you many more.  The group tends to cover two main topics but then they end each episodes with a segment called, “Things That Make Me Happy” which tend to make me happy too.


The Popcast The Popcast is a weekly podcast, hosted by Knox and Jamie, about all things pop culture. They cover books, movies, tv shows and more. And they are very, funny.

Books, Books and More Books


Books on the Nightstand Listening to an episode of Books of the Nightstand feels like eavesdropping on two friends. Michael and Ann work in the book industry so they have plenty to say about life in that world and books to love and read asap.


Overdue Overdue describes itself as a podcast about the books you’ve been meaning to read. It is different from many other bookish podcasts in that it is not about new releases which is in part refreshing and in part scary as it makes my ‘to be read pile’ even bigger.

all the books

Book Riot’s All the Books! So All the Books is the opposite of Overdue. Hosts Liberty and Rebecca talk about the week’s releases, what they loved and didn’t and what they plan to read next.


The Readers The Readers subtile is ‘book based banter’ and this is totally accurate. To be truthful, I have only listened to a few of these episodes but they are great. The hosts give each other a tough time but you can tell they are great readerly friends. And my to be read list grows each time I listen.

Children’s Books


Read Aloud Revival Read Aloud Revival is the first podcast that I followed regular. Sarah Mackenzie’s mission in life is to help families “build a family culture around books”. How awesome is that? Sarah is a home schooler and believes pretty strongly in kids reading lots and lots of classics. Her thoughts on this are quite different than mine but I continue to love her podcast for the big picture beliefs that she supports.

the yarn

The Yarn So to be totally honest, I have yet to listen to a full episode of The Yarn but it is hosted by two of my most favorite bloggers of all time, Colby Sharp and Travis Jonker, so I am totally sure it will be awesome. In each episode, Colby and Travis look in to the back story of some of their favorite books. I can’t wait to get to know this podcast!

Creative Life

new york

New York Public Library Podcast I have listened to a lot of these episodes but my favorites have been interviews with Cheryl Strayed and Vivien Gornik and the conversation between Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett.


Magic Lessons Elizabeth Gilbert has a new book coming out this fall called Magic Lessons and she was so taken with her topic that she wanted to keep talking about it. The Magic Lesson podcast is a continuation of the work she does in her book as she inspires all of us to follow our creative dreams.

So that’s it for now. If you have fallen down the podcast rabbit hole, please let me know what you are loving!




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Aug 19

Great New Books: The Ice Twins

by Stacey


I almost stopped reading The Ice Twins by S.K.Tremayne three separate times. That said, when people ask me which book they should bring on their beach vacation, I consistently say The Ice Twins. I am not a fan of the supernatural or fantasy at all with the very big exception of all things Harry Potter. Therefore, when I thought The Ice Twins turned in to a ghost story, I became annoyed. And I thought it turned in to a ghost story three times including the very end of the book. In fact, I’m still not totally sure what happened at the end which makes The Ice Twins the very best kind of read.

Please come see me at Great New Books to read the rest of my review of The Ice Twins…

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Aug 17

Quick Lit: August 2015 Edition

by Stacey

Today I am linking up with the awesome Modern Mrs. Darcy to share my reads from this past month. I must say, I love, love, love summer. There is just so much more time to read!


The Martian by Andy Weir. I don’t really like math or science and there is tons of it in this book. For some reason, though, this story of an astronaut left behind on Mars, completely grabbed my attention. It’s a must read for sure!


Among Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont. Of all my summer reads, this story of a slowly falling apart family was certainly the slowest but also among the most well written.


Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica. I read Pretty Baby in two days when we were at the beach. It had a bit of a Gone Girl feel to it in both pace and the fact that I really did not like the main character. It was definitely worth the read and it also made me remember that I have yet to read Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl, which is now back on the top of my to be read pile.


The Secret History by Donna Tart. A few months ago I swore off of long books. I was just having a really hard time getting through them and it was frustrating me. Then a weird thing happened. I checked my e-mail shortly after we had checked in to our beach house a few weeks ago and found a note from my favorite book recommending friend. She had just finished The Secret History and thought I might like it. An old paperback copy of it was sitting right in front of my on the beach house bookshelf. Hello Universe! I guess you wanted me to read The Secret History. It is the story of young college students caught in a pretty scary situation. The characters, setting and story were all just great. And I am officially back to reading long books. I’m actually reading and loving 11/22/63 as we speak.


Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. Remember Mia was a page turner about a mother who has lost her child in circumstances she can not remember. It was perfect for reading on hot days at the beach.


Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight. I almost wish I didn’t know that McCreight is the author of Reconstructing Amelia which is one of my most favorite books. I kept wanting Where They Found Her to be better or at least as good as Amelia and I’m not sure it was. That said, the story of a mother trying to recover from a stillbirth while reporting on the death of an infant was a page turner for sure.


The Ice Twins by S.K.Tremayne. I will review The Ice Twins at Great New Books on Wednesday so that is all I will say about it for now :).


The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. I’ve been a fan of Lahey’s for awhile now and her book was just as great as her essays and blog posts have been. The message of allowing our children greater independence and therefore failure is so important and will probably be the topic of a future blog post. More to come…

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Aug 12

Fish in a Tree Discussion Guide

by Stacey

fishOn August 17th, on Facebook, Shannan and I will host the first ever Tween Us Book Club. To help us get excited about the upcoming event I created a discussion guide to get everyone thinking.

Please take a look at our questions and plan to join us next week. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thought about Ally and all that she learned.

Fish in a Tree Discussion Questions

1. “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

What is your interpretation of this quote? How do you think it relates to Ally’s life?

2. Describe a “silver dollar” day that Ally had and one “wooden nickel” day. Then do the same for yourself.

3. Ally closes her hands over a butterfly in order to guarantee that her wish would come true. What do you think she wished for? What would your ‘butterfly wish’ be?

4. Ally says, “Well…alone is a way to be. It’s being by yourself with no one else around. And it can be good or bad. And it can be a choice…. But being lonely is never a choice. It’s not about who is with you or not. You can feel lonely when you are alone, but the worst kind of lonely is when you’re in a room full of people, but you’re still alone. Or you feel like you are anyway.”

Describe a time that you felt lonely when you were surrounded by other people.

5. Ally discovers that Shay has been charging her friends for her friendship bracelets. The author writes “I look over at Keisha and Albert and realize that I have been. I’ve been lucky all along but didn’t see it.”

What does Ally mean when she describes herself as lucky.

6. Ally says, “My grandpa used to say to be careful with eggs and words, because neither can ever be fixed. The older I get, the more I realize how smart my grandpa was.”

Describe a time when you or a friend were not careful with your words.

7. Ally’s class must answer the following question: “So I’d like you to tell me, if you could have an unlimited amount of any single object, what would it be? It can’t be magical, have special powers, or anything like that. Just an ordinary, everyday type of object.”

How would answer this question?

8. Ally receives an award for her poetry. Was she deserving? Why or why not?




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Aug 10

Instagram: My New Love

by Stacey

I think about my relationship with the internet nearly every day. I wonder if I spend too much time in this virtual world, missing out perhaps on what is going on in the real one.

Lately, though, I have found one place on-line that makes me consistently happy.


Every time I visit Instagram, I smile.

There is a lot to love on Instagram. What I am loving the most right now, though are daily prompts. I follow daily prompts that inspire me to take simple pictures of our lives that I would not capture without this motivation.

If you are on Instagram please come visit me there and if not, I thought I would share some of my current favorites here.


1. My_365 which is self described as “an interactive photo-a-day challenge with an awesome community of creatives.”

Here are some of my favorite pictures that have been inspired by My_365 daily prompts.





2.Susannah Conway’s August Break. Susannah describes her project this way, “This is a community project that has no real rules –  the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there.”

Here are a few of my favorite pictures so far this August.


August Break: 5 Facts About Me


August Break: Air

3. Clickin Moms: This group of photography loving moms posts a weekly list of prompts that often get me to think in a fun and different way.

Here’s one of my favorites.


CM Glimpse: Fast

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Aug 05

Goop Questionnaire

by Stacey

My amazingly talented friend Lindsey at A Design So Vast recently posted a great questionnaire so I thought I would ‘borrow’ it and use it for my own post.

Here goes and please share your answers in the comments if you are so inclined!

Go-to weeknight recipe?

I love the turkey taco recipe in the great cookbook Keepers. It is one of the few meals that we all (loosely defined) like.


First job?

My first summer job was as a camp counselor and my first grown up job was as a speech therapist at a tiny hospital in rural Maryland.

Next job?

I left my hospital job when I moved back to Richmond and went to work as a public school speech therapist.


Rumford, RI right outside of Providence.

What would you put on your neon sign?

Every end is a new beginning.

Wouldn’t leave home without?

My phone, a book and lip balm.

Essential beauty products?

Lip balm, bronzer and moisturizer.

Wouldn’t fly without?

See ‘wouldn’t leave home without.’

Things you buy in bulk?

I have actually stopped buying in bulk. I forget what I’ve bought and end up buying it again which becomes a storage and a waste problem.

Favorite book?

Ugh. I heard someone once say when they can’t answer a ‘favorite’ question, they just say the most current so I’ll go with that strategy. Right now I am reading and really, really liking, The Martian by Andy Weir

First celebrity crush?

Tom Cruise.

Favorite movie?

I’m sure there are more appropriate choices here but truth be told I think it might be Bridesmaid. I fast forward the bridal shop scene because it is terrible but I could watch the airplane scene all day long and never get tired of it.

People on speed dial?

Rob, Caroline, my mom, my mother in law and a few friends.

Preferred form of exercise?

I wish I knew! I have been to three gyms this year alone trying to find the correct combination of workouts that don’t hurt my back while toning and giving me the right amount of cardio.

Drink of choice?


Proudest moment?

Delivering both girls without medication.

Ok… your turn. Go!




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