Stacey Loscalzo

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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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Aug 03

Picture Book Favorites: Belated July Edition

by Stacey

Oops! Looks like the month of July went by without a Picture Book Favorites post. It certainly wasn’t from lack of great picture books so here goes. Better late than never!


Float by Daniel Miyares. I posted about Float the other day on Instagram which but the way is my new favorite social media platform but more on that another day.. For now, Float is a wordless picture that even people who don’t like wordless picture books will love. It celebrates color, creativity and imagination. What could be wrong with that?


Naked written by Michael Ian Black & illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. How did I not read this book on the very first day it was released? This book is hysterical as a read aloud or even a read-togther. What early reader would not like to read word ‘naked’ over and over again. Seriously, go and get this book immediately if you haven’t already.


A Library Book for Bear written by Bonny Becker & illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Mouse and Bear are two of our favorite picture book characters and they do not disappoint in this tale of how to love a library.


I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell & illustrated by Charles Santos shows how one little boy comes to realize the importance of one little stuffed friend. The illustrations in this one are really unique and worth exploring. Santos is an animator and it shows but in a really ‘picture booky’ kind of way. It sounds weird, I know but you’ll see what I mean!


The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein is one of the best combinations of pictures and words I have seen in a long time. In this story a little boy explores the night time yard and then is treated an awesome surprise.


When Aunt Mattie Got her Wings by Petra Mathers. Do not read this book if you aren’t comfortable crying in front of little readers. I have never known exactly what book to recommend when people ask for picture books that deal with death. I now have the perfect, perfect book. Truly, this book is perfect. Read it and you’ll see what I mean.


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Jul 28

The Power of Family Tradition

by Stacey


Last week, Katherine and I read See You Next Year by Andrew Larsen and Todd Stewart. See You Next Year tells the story of a family’s return to their favorite beach spot. It got me thinking about a piece I wrote last year. Our family travels to LBI every summer and I am often torn. There are so many places to go in this world and I wonder if we should venture further and do something new and different. But then I have moments like the one I write about below and I read books like See You Next Year and I am reminded of the power of tradition.


A blue ball and an orange ball bounce on the waves, floating slowly back to the beach. These balls have taken the same ride thousands of times over the past 30 years. No matter how far you throw them, they always return. When I first vacationed with my now husband we were in our mid twenties. In the bottom of his mother’s canvas beach bag were two plastic balls with the name Rob scrawled on them in child-like scribble. I have a hard time keeping track of a grocery list over the course of the week but this woman had kept two plastic balls in her beach bag for decades.

Earlier this year, I sat quietly at the beach and heard, “Want to throw the balls?” Katherine, my youngest and her favorite cousin Jason, stood in the sand, drying off after a swim in the rough surf. He jumped up and they ran off, their plan clear despite the few words exchanged. They reached in to the bottom of their grandma’s bag, each taking a small plastic ball, the size of their fists. For years, the grown ups stood at the edge of the water with them, afraid that as toddlers and pre-schoolers, they might follow the balls deep in to the ocean. Now they are eight and nine and ready to exert their independence. We move our chairs down closer to the water but we do not join them.

“Remember the time the life guard had to get the ball?” my sister-in-law asked.

“A life guard? I thought it was a surfer?” my husband thought out loud.

“No, “ I said, “It was that life guard. The one with the curly blond hair.”

And on and on we went. The time the water was too cold to play, the time the wind blew the balls in to the group of swimmers in front of the life-guard chair. The time the kids fought over who would throw the blue ball and who would throw the orange one.

Each year, I think we should plan a different vacation. The world is large and our time on it is short. I wonder why we go to the same house at the same beach year after year. And then we have conversations like the one above and I remember the value of tradition in our lives.

Family traditions give us a shared story. We become connected through the tales we tell and these stories provide comfort and familiarity in a world full of change. These shared stories bring together families across geographical distance and across generations. They become a piece of the family puzzle that we can all understand. Family traditions provide predictability to children who benefit from knowing what comes next. In a world where the adults make the majority of the decisions, children revel in knowing how the story will end. With these shared stories we collect memories and comfort.

As Katherine and Jason throw the balls again and again in to the ocean, I close my eyes and imagine these same balls being thrown by my husband and his sister in to the same waves thirty years earlier. The sun begins to get lower in the sky and I reach behind my chair to put on my cover-up. At the same time, the kids run up from the water. They have heard the loud bell of the ice cream truck and one tradition blends easily in to the next. Already I know that Katherine will choose a strawberry frozen lemonade while Jason’s will be lemon. The ice cream truck offers dozens of choices but these will be theirs. And with that, the day continues.






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