Tiny Oranges Book Club!

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Recently I started Rising Strong by Brené Brown and the book is so powerful and her message and research is so compelling, I can’t stop talking about it.  

She is inspiring a movement that I believe will result in happier people, better parents, better friends and better spouses by the act of embracing vulnerability and getting real.

The book is resonating so much with me at this stage in my life.

What I am loving about this book is how she teaches us how we can bring our best selves into our relationships by owning our stories, even the painful ones, to embrace our vulnerability and use it as a mechanism for personal growth.

Do you want to read it with me and discuss? I have never done this before, so I am going to spend some time researching how to do an online book club discussion, possibly on Goodreads, and start my own group. Bear with me on the details and I will let you know how we will get together to discuss.

For now, this is all you have to do:

1. Purchase Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

2. Read Sections One – Four by October 17th.

3. Subscribe to my posts so you can stay informed of our first Tiny Oranges Book Club Rising Strong discussion, happening in about two weeks.

Yay! I’m excited. Will you join me?



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Personalized Board Books – New Title from I See Me!

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* Disclosure – we were lucky enough to receive a sample book from I See Me! to facilitate this review *

We have been VERY big fans of the personalized children”s books from I See Me!  for a loooooong time.  In fact, Jennifer highlighted their products in a post back in 2008 when Tiny Oranges was just getting started… see the post here!

They are always my go-to gift for a cute, personalized gift for a baby shower, new baby or a little one’s birthday.  I am a big believer in practical gifts (and who doesn’t love a personalized gift?!) and when you combine that with reading??  WIN.  There are tons of titles to choose from and each page has the child’s name not only in the text, but in some of the pictures as well.

I See Me recently debuted a new title to add to their collection – It”s my NIGHT NIGHT Time! personalized board book. My little guy just LOVES his new book… “It’s GAVIN’s NIGHT NIGHT Time!” We are GIVING AWAY one below! make sure to enter!


I love that not only it helps him start to wind down, but that it teaches all the steps we do to get into bed.  Brush teeth, go potty (I wish….), lay our heads down, etc.  It’s a really cute story with adorable illustrations.

Plus, the quality of the pages is fantastic.  I especially love how these board books are (almost) indestructible. They are such beautiful keepsakes and the thick pages will really last a long time.  You can see the whole tour of the book here.  This book has quickly become a necessary book in the night-time rotation.

Here we are reading it before a nap…


Be sure to take a look at their site – there’s so much more than just books.  They have lunchboxes, puzzles, coloring books, placemats, stickers and growth charts.  Something for everyone. And SHHHHHHHHHH there’s an I See Me! secret sale going on now though the 4th…


…AND…we are going to be giving away one (1) copy of the personalized board book as well.  Just enter the Rafflecopter here! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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More Great Reads

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Great Reads

This post I wrote on 15 books you can’t put down has been one of my most popular posts to date, and as an unexpected bonus, I have gotten over 228+ comments with readers leaving their OWN favorite books you can’t put down.

Which is beyond awesome, because those comments are now my go-to list for book recommendations of books you can’t put down.

There is nothing I love more than having a book so good I can’t wait to pick it up again.

Since that first list, I have some read some more really great reads, most of which were reader recommendations, so I wanted to share a follow-up list for anytime that made it through the first one!

Great Reads – More Books You Can’t Put Down 

1. Before I Go to Sleep

This book was SO GOOD. I love a good mystery and it leaves you guessing until the very end. It’s about a woman with a rare case of amnesia who wakes up each morning with no memory. Nothing. She has no idea who she is, where she is or who she’s sleeping next to. With the help of a journal she keeps secret from her husband, she is troubled by her own written words, “Don’t Trust Ben” and she learns many things are not what she thought them to be.  It asks the question – who are we if we lost our collective memories and experiences? SO GOOD!!!!!! Read it!

2.The Girl You Left Behind

One of my favorite books from my first list is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes so I waned to give another one of her books a go.  I loved The Girl You Left Behind, not quite as much as Me Before You, because that one is hard to top but this one is also a great read. It’s the story behind a 100-year-old painting and the love, loss and sacrifice behind the portrait of a beautiful young woman during World War I in Paris.

3. The Goldfinch

At over 700 pages, The Goldfinch is a commitment, especially for a busy mom, but it was so good I devoured every page.  It’s the story of a 13-year-old boy who miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother, an event that seals his fate. The ending was so beautiful, my one regret is that I didn’t read this book with a book club because there were so many themes to discuss.

4. The Paris Wife

Oh, how I loved this book, the story of Hadley Richardson and her love affair with Ernest Hemingway in Jazz Age Paris.  The author chose to write the novel in Hadley’s voice after reading Hemingway’s memoir, in the final pages, when he said of Hadley, “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.” A delicious, and fascinating love story which will leave you wanting to know more about the life of Ernest Hemingway.

5. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

I am reading this book right now and it is SO poignant for anyone currently navigating the world of parenthood.  In a collection of essays written by Glennon Doyle Melton of, you will find yourself laughing at one, and crying at another. Her essays are raw, brave and real and will make you look at your own messy, beautiful life with an aura of newfound acceptance. Mamas, great read.

6. Yes, My Darling Daughter

Haunting. Yes, My Darling Daughter is the story of a single mom raising a sweet and bright daughter, Sylvie, who begins having unexplained tantrums and outbursts. As Sylvie starts to share chilling details of what seem to be past-life experiences, her mother reaches out to a professor in the paranormal for help.  Which ends up in a disturbing murder mystery. Page turner.

7. The Glass Castle: A Memoir

This book should have been on my first list, and when the first reader commented and mentioned it, I was like, OF COURSE! YES! I couldn’t believe I forgot to include it. The Glass Castle is the most fascinating real life story of the author’s dysfunctional family and her crazy experiences growing up. But even with the erratic behaviors of her parents, the drinking and the wanderlust, it’s really a story of unconditional family love. Read this one!!!

8.Big Little Lies

I am absolutely in love with Liane Moriarty. What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret have been two of my all-time favorite books, so I was VERY excited to see it was finally my turn after months on the library wait list (yes, I still read books from the library and intend to for as long as they are around!) to read Big Little Lies.  Readers commented and said they loved Big Little Lies even more than The Husband’s Secret.  I have to disagree, I liked the former better, but Liane still writes an amazing story that you can’t put down.

9. The Light Between Oceans

This is the story of a husband who takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off of Australia, and his daring wife who agreed to go with him. Years later after miscarriages and a stillbirth, a baby washes up on the shore in a boat carrying a dead man.  Tom, the husband, wants to report the infant immediately, but Isabel, his wife, feels the baby is a gift from God, and claims the baby as her own.  When the baby is two they return to the mainland and are faced with the choices they made when they see the devastation it has caused others.  This book raised so many questions on morality, right and wrong, and will have you rooting for Isabel even though you know you shouldn’t. Loved this book.

10. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

I never saw the movie with Reese Witherspoon because I was afraid it was going to ruin this book for me! Wild is the true story of a broken young woman who makes a crazy, and life changing decision to hike more than one thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone. First off, a physical feat of that magnitude is astounding to me, but even more so was the fact she did it ALONE. Her story of how this experience shaped and healed her is astonishing.

11.The Rosie Project

The main character in this book, Don, a quirky, socially-inept professor of genetics might be one of my favorite characters ever.  His actions are so wrong, but his heart is just so right.  The story revolves around Don’s quest to find a wife, based on his orderly, scientific knowledge and the development of a 16 page survey to filter out potential mates. Rosie is quickly unqualified but as their friendship grows, Don realized sometimes you don’t find love, it finds you. Adorable, feel good love story of the most quirky kind.

Please add your favorite great reads and books you can’t put down in the comments! I need to keep the recommendations coming! Thank you!

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Local Love: Welcome to Once Upon a Storybook

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Recently, I was introduced to an adorable children’s bookstore in Tustin called Once Upon a Storybook. I love finding fun new spots to take my kiddos, especially when it nurtures reading and learning!

This bookstore is especially designed for little ones, offering cozy nooks to read, a train table area (which will be immediately approved by my son!), fun artwork displayed around, and shelves and shelves of children’s books.  Love.

Story times

Once Upon a Storybook offers several different story time options.

Preschool story times are on Tuesdays and Friday mornings at 11 a.m., aimed at children 2-5 years old. Singing songs and participating in a story-related craft or “experiment” can be expected!

On Thursdays, they offer “Milk and Cookies Story Time” at 7 p.m., which is a great way for littles to relax right before bedtime.

“New Chapters Story Time” is on the second Saturday of each month at 2 p.m., lead by Miss Susie the Storylady. Perfect for ages 8-12, Miss Susie reads a couple of chapters from at least two books to give you an idea of fun new books for kids to read.

Events and summer camps

There always seems to be a fun event scheduled at Once Upon a Storybook, whether it be a pajama book party, an author signing, or even a time to practice reading to a pup (yep, you read that correctly!) – take a peek at their upcoming May calendar.   Remember that some events do require reservations in advance.

For example, their “Paws & Pals” event is scheduled for May 15th from 3-5 p.m., and lets kiddos practice reading to dogs for about 15 minutes.  How cool is that??  This one definitely requires reservations!

In addition to their monthly activities and events, Once Upon a Storybook also offers summer camps for little (and big!) readers. You can check out camp themes, pricing and dates here.

Finally, have you ever thought about hosting a birthday party at a specialty bookstore? Or even a fundraiser, baby shower, or Boy/Girl Scout event? Check out their craft and party room!  They have several party packages available, depending on your needs.

Check them out!

Once Upon a Storybook

17300 East 17th Street, #C
Tustin CA 92780

Phone:  714-669-4377

Hours:  M-Fri 10-7; Sat 11-6; Sun 12:30-5

I can’t wait to take my kids here, especially with summer fast-approaching!

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A Child’s Book Review of Wonder

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My girlfriend raved about the children’s book Wonder after reading it aloud with her girls, similar in ages to mine. She told me the book is so profound and so moving it should be required reading in school.

With a recommendation like that, I ran straight to Amazon to order it for my daughter and my 8-year-old fell in love with her first book. She likes to read but I had never witnessed her love a book like she loved this one. I thought it might be fun for her to write her own Wonder review for other kids.


Hi my name is Emma! I am 8 years old, 9 in June and I am in third grade. I love to write but also read and do gymnastics. I read this book called Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It was so good I almost cried when it ended. I had never read a book I felt that way about.

Wonder Review by Emma, age 8

The book is about a 10 year old boy named August but his friends and family call him Auggie.

Auggie is very different from all of his friends. He is different because his face is deformed. Auggie has been homeschooled because he has had 27 surgeries but now his parents thought he was ready to go to school. When Auggie first went to school most of the children were mean to him because he looks different from them.

Auggie meets a girl named Summer at lunch on the first day of school.  They say their names are alike because August is in Summer. Summer made things different for him because she was a true friend.

The lesson in this book is you have to be nice to to people even if they look different because they are still a person.

I think all kids and even adults should read Wonder because it is just an amazing book!!!!!!!

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