Summer reading is always, to me at least, the best kind of reading. From conquering a classic to beach bag picks, some of my best reading of the year is always done in these months. Last week on Instagram I shared 10 books on my summer reading list.. and then I realized that for the past 3 years running I’ve posted my lists here (2020, 2021 and 2022) – and I’d hate to break that chain. As a thank you for those who are visiting here, I’m adding 5 more to the list. Below – 15 books I can’t wait to dive into this summer. Hope you find something to add to your TBR (to be read) stack!
  1. Happy Place by Emily Henry: First things first. Every summer needs a great rom-com and Henry consistently turns out solid content in that department. In full disclosure I already flew through this one last weekend and loved it.
  2. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Admittedly, this was also on last summer’s list – but I’m determined to conquer it this summer.
  3. The Guest by Emma Cline: I’ve already finished this one too – I’m flying through the list! But highly recommend if you want something with a bit of tension/suspense that’s not at all a thriller. I loved Cline’s ‘The Girls’ a few years back and really liked this too.
  4. June Loves Legs by Karl Geary: A heart-wrenching coming of age story of friendship, set in 1990s Ireland. This one grabbed my eye on a recent browse at the Strand so I picked it up.
  5. American Mermaid by Julia Langbein: I love when a book feels like it has a truly original premise and this Hollywood story with a hint magical realism sounds like it will fit the bill. Also, it was praised by the authors of ‘Pizza Girl’ and ‘Circe’ – both of which I loved, so I’m really looking forward to this one.
  6. Brutes by Dizz Tate: The Virgin Suicides meets the restless humidity of Florida – I love a dark story of girlhood. I’ve had this debut novel on my list for a few months now.
  7. Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper: One of only 2 non-fiction books to make the list, I love Gilded Age history so I’m excited to make time for this one.
  8. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson: Set in the dark underbelly of a glittering 1920s era London, I’ve heard great things about Atkinson as an author and this setting already has me hooked.
  9. Last Summer In The City by Gianfranco Calligarich: Billed as a ‘forgotten classic’ this book, translated from Italian, was originally published in 1974. I’m 40 pages in and it gives me the feel of Fitzgerald or Hemingway meet Andre Aciman’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’. I thought it was going to be a more challenging literary read but I’m already totally immersed in it.
  10. The Furrows by Namwali Serpell: A reflection on memory and grief, this story follows a woman who is looking back on the death of her younger brother when she was a girl. I’m reading for my virtual book club and will be interested to hear what everyone thought!
  11. At Balthazar: The New York Brasserie at the Center of the World by Reggie Nadelson: I love a food scene book, from fictional Sweet Bitter to non-fiction reflections from Anthony Bourdain and Ruth Reichl, so I’m excited to get a behind the scenes look at a New York institution in this new release.
  12. The Librarianist by Patrick DeWitt: I loved the dark humor and unnerving charm in DeWitt’s ‘French Exit’ so I’m ready and waiting to pick this up when it releases in July, following an aging librarian in Portland, Oregon as he begins to volunteer at a local retirement home.
  13. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman: My NYC book club is reading this one, set in Coney Island at the turn of the century, before we head there on a bookish field trip. I love Hoffman’s ‘Practical Magic’ series so I’m looking forward to diving into her backlist.
  14. Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan: Admittedly, since I flew through Happy Place I wanted to stack this list with at least one more fun rom-com and I’m excited for this after reading and loving Monaghan’s ‘Nora Goes Off Script’ last year.
  15. Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles: Intimidating in size at almost 600 pages, but if it’s anything like ‘Rules of Civility’ I’ll be flying through it. Towles does historical fiction so beautifully and I can’t wait to follow the story of two brothers on a 10 day cross country drive, set in 1954.


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LET’S CATCH UP 4.30.23

As is often the case in the winter, I needed a little break from this space. Two months worth of space it seems. But (as also is often the case) as we head into spring, I’m starting to feel like myself again and with it I feel like I can return to somewhat regularly scheduled programing here. Or at the very least a little game of catch up. Below, what’s on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart as we head into one of my favorite months of the year. Ready for you May!


  • I’m really proud of my slow but steady return to running this year and am tentatively thinking of getting a half marathon on the books for later this year. I’m admittedly a little scared to commit to the training again (the last one I ran was over 5 years ago) but I also know how great it feels to set a big goal like that and achieve it. Putting this all here to hold myself accountable?
  • We re-started The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from season 1 so that we could re-watch the whole series before finishing with the newest (and final) season that just premiered. It’s such a visual treat (the interiors, the clothing!) and I can’t wait to see how they wrap the whole thing up. No spoilers please.
  • Also – I rewatched How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days last week and I’ve gotta say.. Kate Hudson’s outfits in that movie really hold up for me. I loved them in 2003 (no coincidence that my junior prom dress in 2004 was yellow) and 20 years later, I still want them all.
  • And speaking of movies, I saw Polite Society in theaters this weekend and LOVED it. Such an original premise and laugh out loud funny, but with a heartwarming story of female strength, the bond between sisters and girlhood friendships at its core. Can’t recommend enough.
  • T-minus two weeks until my date with the T-Swift tour. That’s all.


  • I’ve been slowly working my way through Trust by Hernan Diaz. Centered around the 1929 stock market crash it’s a more demanding literary read, but I’m fascinated by the structure of the book and where it’s taking me. I’ll report back when I’m done.
  • My book club is reading The Furrows by Nawali Serpell this month, a brother/sister story exploring themes of grief, family and memory.
  • This might only be interesting if you’re a student of/deep fan of fashion but I’m reading Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and the 90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion by Maureen Callahan and it’s so fun to deep dive into that time in NYC and London and how the fashion world was evolving out of the 80s supermodel/dynasty era into the world of grunge/minimalism. I like having a non-fiction book to chip away at while I read primarily fiction.
  • Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses (both of which I loved), just came out with a new work of fiction – Hang the Moon. Set in Virginia during Prohibition and centered on a strong female protaganist.. this sounds like it’s going to check all the boxes for me. Diving into it next!


  • In a somewhat surreal turn of events, over the course of the next two weeks I have not one but two Black Tie events to attend, both for work. The first of which is this Wednesday and I’ll be borrowing this chic bag to carry and hoping that these shoes that I ordered complete with the look!
  • And speaking of shoes, I ordered these silver platforms to see if I think they’ll be comfortable enough for 3 hours of dancing at the Eras Tour. If you missed it I ordered this mirrorball of a dress and am still just swooning at the thought of wearing it. Otherwise, I’ll go with Converse sneakers for a fun high/low look.
  • Okay, okay now for some more relatable fashion. I love this classic checked midi skirt. Sneakers, heels, t-shirt, a cardigan – there’s nothing it won’t go with for work or weekend. I love the idea of pairing it with this shrunken vest.
  • I’ve got summer dresses in mind – this one and this one in particular. Could the weather cooperate now?


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Have you ever seen yourself at work? Not on a Zoom Call – that I’ve seen ad nauseam in recent years – but without a monitor screen reminding you to sit up straighter or fix your hair. I mean, have you seen yourself actually in the process of working? Or parenting.. or creating.. whatever it is you “do”. I don’t think I ever have. 

While on set for a photoshoot last week I had one of our model’s playing around with my polaroid camera in a video we were filming. In the midst of this she ended up taking a candid picture of myself and the photographer on my team. Essentially a reverse view of what our own camera was capturing. In the photo I am bent slightly, peering up to the camera’s screen – mid observation. A note to adjust the lighting ready to slip from my lips, musing quietly on what I think might work better. The wheels of my work are turning. It’s interesting to see myself this way.

This year I’m moving to a corner desk. It’s not exactly Don Draper’s Madison Avenue view, but it’s something. And I often find myself thinking I’m not quite cut out for the job. Too young (although less so by the day) or small somehow. But when I look at this photo I see myself in a new way – small, yes, but in control of the moment. Here lies hard proof that I am someone’s boss.

This photo felt like a tiny sign from the universe to keep going (also to stand up straighter and fix my hair). Next time you think of it – I encourage you to take a candid photo of someone “working” and give it to them. It might be just the thing they need to keep going too. 



A little later than usual, but I’d be remiss to not post this recap of something that has such a meaningful impact on my year. In reflection, this wasn’t my absolute best year of reading (2020 and 2021 were incredible for me) but the out of the 51 books that I read, the 10 below will stick with me for a long time. Some of them have even been elevated to the coveted “best books of my life” list. Happy reading in the new year!

Below, in no particular order, my top 10 books of 2022. And in case you’re interested – my lists from 2021, 2020 and 2019.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I like historical fiction but I often find that the writing is not as compelling to me as more modern, literary fiction. This one however really swept me away. New York in the 1930s, a female protagonist that I just adored, an imperfect love story. It’s going on my all-time favorites list.

Left On Tenth by Delia Ephron – One of only 2 non-fiction books that made my list this year. This is a story of second chances. A coming of “old” age story. A reminder to us all not to give up or count ourselves out no matter the circumstances. I loved it. 

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors – I tend to lean towards fictional relationships that feel more like real life.. a little messy, honest, hurtful, beautiful. This book had such a modern voice and a central relationship that felt completely original. I’ll be watching what Mellors does next. 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – The most backlist title on my round-up this year (it was originally published in 1992) this one is a cult classic to a lot of readers and a kind of pioneer in the Dark Academia genre. I’d wanted to pick this up for years and am so glad I did. It’s long but it builds such a vivid world that you really inhabit with these characters and I found myself not wanting it to end. All in all I really loved this book and it too has been elevated to one of my all time favorites.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske – I think I liked this book so much, in part, because it really surprised me. Fantasy isn’t my go-to genre by any means but this world, where secret witchcraft existed amongst Edwardian England, totally captivated me. Not to mention a very compelling love story at the center. A pitch perfect escapist novel to me. 

Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason – This book made me both laugh out loud and cry. A rare feat. I will say, it’s not an altogether easy book to read, but it has an unforgettable lead character with a great supporting cast and discusses mental health issues in a heartbreakingly honest way. 

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi – The second time a book by Choi has shown up on one of my year end ‘best of’ lists and the only YA book on my list. Choi writes in the most realistic young modern voice that I’ve read and I loved this New York story. Is it weird that in my head I pictured the couple as 2019 era Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson?

Hollywood’s Eve by Lili Anolik – The second non-fiction book to make my list. Like the real life Penny Lane, I’d heard of Eve Babitz but found this deep dive into her life (and with it a look at 1960s Hollywood in its heyday) unputdownable. I read right before we went to Palm Springs and it felt so atmospheric and fun.

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo – If you liked Commonwealth by Ann Patchett or Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann (aka engrossing family sagas) I urge you to pick up this one that I absolutely loved at the beginning of last year. I still think often about Marilyn and David’s relationship.

Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach – Another book I still think about often after having read it last summer. I devoured this over the course of a single weekend, out on the fire escape – sweating and sipping diet coke (it’s the sign of a great book to me when I can still distinctly picture exactly how and where I read it). I hesitate to give anything away here – but it’s a story of sisters and trauma and coming of age and I related to so much of it so deeply.



LET’S CATCH UP 12.14.22

Can you believe that we’re two weeks into December already? While it’s been flying by, I really feel like I’ve been making the most of this season… even if it means for a slightly busier schedule than my introverted self tends to like.

Below, I’m sharing the holiday outfits I’ve been wearing lately + what else has been on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my shopping cart.



  • We leave for holiday travel in less than two weeks – a fact that seems as impossible as it is exciting. I’ve never traveled the week of Christmas/New Years before.. are we crazy? Time will tell.
  • Before we go I have a bunch of holiday movies I need to squeeze into watching this season! We’ve already watched Serendipity and The Holiday and we have tickets to see Love Actually at our local theater which will be fun! Now to make time for Elf, The Family Stone, While You Were Sleeping and maybe the new Netflix one ‘Something From Tiffanys’ which looks cute.


  • Because my mind is absolute mush this time of year, as usual I’m working my way through my Holiday Reading List – a stack of books that I look forward to every year that are easy reading and essentially feel like a giant hug. So far I really enjoyed ‘Last Christmas in Paris’ and just started ‘All I Want For Christmas’ and don’t want to put it down!
  • My virtual book club chose The Measure by Nikki Erlick as our January read so I’m hoping to get a jump start on that – could be a good book for our flight?
  • I love a good memoir and there’s quite a few on this ‘Best Memoirs of 2022′ list I’d be interestedin picking up this winter.


  • Besides last minute gifts (insert panicked face here), I making my final suitcase edit for our upcoming trip and wow wow wow wouldn’t this brocade dress be chic for New Year’s Eve?!
  • I can’t stop looking at this $40 evening bag. Okay okay, it’s a little bit tacky. But also kind of fun for a holiday party?
  • If you’re in need of shoes that would put Mrs. Clause to shame.. might I suggest these? I have them and plan to wear them tomorrow night to a jazz night at Lincoln Center!
  • Sizes are running low but this crisp white button down with feather cuffs is finally on sale! I might not be able to resist.




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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.