I mentioned it in my last post but, despite the fact that it was a whirlwind summer – I still did really well reading-wise! 13 books! While I strayed a bit from my initial Summer Reading List – I’m happy with the ones I did check off. I also read 4 back list titles (from at least 20+ years ago) which was really fun. I want to do more of that. Below – everything I read this summer. Hope you find something to pick up for your own stack in the season ahead!

  1. The Guest by Emma Cline: A languid, Hamptons summer vibe that served up just enough tension to be compulsively readable. While I loved her debut The Girls, I solidly liked this one. (4 stars)
  2. Strip Tees by Kate Flannery: If you also wore American Apparel scoop back dresses and knee socks between the years of 2003-2009.. you need to read this book. A memoir from one of the early employees about navigating adulthood and career building in a business built around the hero worship of one bad man. (4.5 Stars)
  3. Brutes by Dizz Tate: Billed as Virgin Suicides meets the Florida Project – there were parts of this book that were so vivid to me. Beautifully written but felt a bit meandering. (3.5 stars)
  4. Happy Place by Emily Henry: How she keeps churning out consistently great rom-coms every summer, I don’t know.. but she does. This wasn’t my all-time favorite out of her line-up but I really enjoyed it all the same. If you’re looking for a fast, fun read – this is it. (4 stars)
  5. My Last Innocent Year by Daisy Albert Florin: A woman looks back on her last year of college and the relationships that significantly impacted her. While the romantic ones are the focus I loved the reflections on her relationship with her parents as well. For fans of Writers and Lovers by Lily King. (5 stars)
  6. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby: I’ve always wanted to read this – and while I typically don’t gravitate towards male protagonists, it was kind of fun to hear things from a man’s point of view.. even when he was a sometimes infuriating as our main character here. I loved the record shop setting too. Now I want to finally watch the John Cusack film adaptation and also the role reversal TV adaptation that starred Zoe Kravitz as a female version of the lead instead. I love when book’s send me down a rabbit hole. (3.5 stars)
  7. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann: This one was a re-read for me. I first read this in my early 20s and while I still loved the romp of it all, it was sadder than I remember it being upon re-reading. There are things that are definitely dated here but it’s compulsively readable and fun to think of women in the 1960s reading this too. (4 stars)
  8. American Mermaid by Julia Langbein: Every once in a while a book really surprises me and this was one of them – go in blind like me. But to give you a taste – it’s a magical realism story of Hollywood, feminism and.. stay with me here.. mermaids. (4 stars)
  9. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles: I doubt I’ll love an Amor Towles book as much as Rules of Civility, but this one was solidly great and the way it all came together was so beautifully executed. (4.5 stars)
  10. The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett: I’m on a mission to read everything Patchett has ever written and while I’m not surprised, I’m still in awe of how wonderful even her debut novel was. I loved this book. (5 stars)
  11. Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur: I loved Brodeur’s debut memoir Wild Game so eagerly picked up her first novel. A great setting (coastal Maine) a great family drama with a complicated patriarch at the helm. It wasn’t Wild Game but I enjoyed this one too. (4 stars)
  12. The Furrows by Namwali Serpell: There were a lot of great reviews for this book but my entire book club struggled with it. A story of memory and grief and siblings. Maybe it was just us? (3 stars)
  13. Last Summer in the City by Gianfranco Calligarich: Originally published in the 1970s, it’s considered a forgotten classic until finally being translated into English and re-published. It had feelings of Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye – a story of listlessness and young love and loss across one summer in Rome. (4.5 stars)



Welcome to the ‘ber months! Labor Day weekend always feels so bittersweet to me. While I’m sad to see summer go, the fall and holidays are a time of year that I really love. Plus (and this feels truly wild to say) – I’m getting married this month and then we’ll be headed out on our honeymoon. Needless to say, a lot to look forward to! We’re spending the long weekend at the lake house with my family which has become a lovely little yearly tradition. Hope you all have fun plans! Before we head out – here’s what’s on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart.


  • It’s ironic that – despite never dreaming of a big wedding – half of my favorite movies center around the big day. Just for fun, in the weeks leading up to our own, Adam and I have been watching 1 classic wedding movie a week. So far we’ve done The Wedding Singer and Four Weddings & A Funeral – still in the docket: My Best Friend’s Wedding, Father of the Bride, and Runaway Bride. What are we missing?
  • What else have you been watching? We’re in season 2 of The Bear (obsessed) and I just finished season 2 of The Summer I Turned Pretty. I read the books so I knew this season was going to be a heartbreaker, but still.. oof. #TeamConrad forever though. I want to start on season 3 of Only Murders in the Building too.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever shared a recipe here before (a skilled chef I am not) but in an effort to save money on takeout and eat healthy I’ve been making ‘kung pao shrimp‘ at home this summer and it’s SO good. And easy. My only two requirements.


  • I’m almost shocked at how much reading I managed this summer, despite an absolutely bonkers few months. I think it totaled 12 books! I’m going to post a recap of them all later this weekend.
  • My book club is meeting in a couple of weeks to chat about The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff – I need to dive in asap if I’m going to finish in time!
  • You know when you’re just going to love a book before you’ve even started it? Tom Lake by Ann Patchett is getting great reviews and since I’ve pretty much loved everything she’s ever written.. it feels like a sure thing.


  • Now that I’ve got my wedding day attire *nearly* squared away.. I’ve turned all attention to planning my honeymoon outfits. Why didn’t anyone mention how fun this part would be?!? I’m not going to give too much away about our plans but I can tell you.. there will definitely be occasion for fun accessories. I just got this black beaded evening bag, these high shine silver mary jane heels and have my eye on this rosette choker – which I’m thinking might double well as a belt over a dress.
  • Speaking of accessories – you all KNOW I’m a fall shoe devotee. And this season there are so many ‘trends’ that feel timeless to me and are right up my more classic style alley. I’m excited to jump on board with: kitten heels, bright cherry red or dark wine red (code: THESTEELEMAIDEN15 gets you 15% off this pair), loafers, mary janes, ballet flats, chocolate brown.. I promise to exert some modicum of restraint.
  • I need a bit of a denim refresh this season and I love this simple wide, but not too wide, pair and this pencil skirt (note: I first ordered my usual size in this skirt and it was very large – I’m sizing down 2 sizes in this and then I think it will be perfect. It has quite a bit of stretch).
  • Completely frivolous but I got this pumpkin mug last year and it brings me SO much joy. It sold out quickly but I just saw they’re back in stock in cute new colors this year. I suggest you make a run for it.
  • Talbots – is that you? How cool is this leather blazer. If you’re not feeling that 90s though – this colorful tweed option is the type of thing I always go with from the brand. Throw on over a mini dress or with a pair of jeans and a cardigan and you’re good to go.
  • The Reformation Sale is still going on – but sizes are going fast. I love this midi dress. And not on sale – but how pretty is this polka dot top for a date night?
  • Aside from our own, we also have a 2 other weddings to attend this fall. I tried this dress on a whim (under $120) and ended up loving it – the color and fit are gorgeous in person. I’m packing it for our honeymoon and planning to re-wear it to one of the other weddings.
  • I’m pretty sure I’ve begged this of you all in years past, but truly.. bury me in a mini skirt, sweater, and loafers.



Fashion wise, I really love the window between late August and early October. That magic time of year where weather allows summer pieces to still be worn, fall pieces to be introduced and layers to be mixed and matched is just bliss. Bury me in a sweater, mini skirt, bare legs and socks/loafers, will you? Below, 13 items that I’ve got lingering in online carts as we speak.



If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me when Adam and I were going to get married… well I don’t know if I’d be a rich woman but I certainly could have bought myself a very nice pair of shoes by now. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked him the same question, or instead questioned me on when I’d become a boss or earn 6 figures or travel the world.. I’d be barefoot out there. As Taylor Swift says.. “All they keep asking me, is if I’m gonna be your bride? The only kind of girl they see is a one night or a wife.” (bless her). For a reason I can’t comprehend, it seems to trouble people when they can’t chart a woman’s path. I suppose it seems dangerous if we’re allowed to veer too far off course?

For the record, I’ve never said I wouldn’t get married. I just have never felt any pressure to do it according to someone else’s timeline. I have been committed to Adam since pretty much the moment I laid eyes on him. We’ve spent the past (nearly 13) years growing together, learning how best to love each other.. trying for other sorts of dreams. None of that is any less worthy of celebration just because we weren’t married.

I suppose I’m saying all of this because I have somewhat complicated feelings about some of the notions of marriage. But I very much like the idea of a partnership and sharing your life with someone you love. And I’m not against putting that on a legal document. I’m just against acting like getting asked to do so is the crowning achievement of a woman’s life.

What I’m getting at is this. Adam and I are getting married in September. We’re doing it our way, just like we’ve done it for the past decade+ and how I hope we continue for the next 5 or 6 decades to come. I can’t imagine sharing the “engagement” story here (some things are too precious and personal for the internet, no?), there’s no ring, and I’ve never had any intentions of having a bridal shower or a bachelorette party. All of those things are great if you want them.. I just don’t.

There will just be two people, on what I hope is a crisp Fall day in New York City, putting a bookmark in a story that’s still being written.

Thank you all for being here for quite a bit of that story and for all of the kind words that have been sent our way since I mentioned this on Instagram. It’s so touching to know that people have been rooting for us all along (marriage or not). And I do promise to share a few bits and pieces of this all with you as it happens.


I’m in firm denial that summer is halfway over (this every day is a thunderstorm weather is reallyyy putting a damper on things) – but I have managed to put a few outfits together lately that I’ve liked so I figured I’d share a few here. A mix of date nights and work days mostly.


Theory Jacket (old), JCrew T-Shirt and Slip Skirt, Straw Bag bought in Paris, Loeffler Randall Sandals

Alexis Bittar Earrings, Abercrombie Shirt (old), Neely & Chloe Bag (old), Abercrombie Pants, Coach Sneakers (old)

Few Moda Dress (gifted), Marc Fisher Sandals (old)

J.Crew Shirt (old), Boden Shorts, Inez Sandals (gifted, use code: thesteelemaiden15 for 15% off your order!)

Banana Republic Vest and Shorts, Alexis Bittar Bangle, J.Crew Sandals and Bag (old)

Few Moda Dress (gifted), Talbots Sandals (old)