2023: My year of grace and letting go

I’m not a big resolution person but I do like the fresh start that January brings–both for the new year and for me as it’s my birthday month (another new year of sorts). In the past I have created what I call “personal development” goals for the new year (or even the new fiscal year) and I have made plans. All of which has felt increasingly like hubris after the last three years. I’ve seen people share words of the year or yearly mantras–ideas that have always felt manageable but never fully resonated with me.

Until last week when I was thinking about the energy I wanted to bring into 2023. And then I knew.

2023 is my year of grace. My year to grant myself the grace I find so much easier to give others. This is a year to celebrate wins, to give myself the space to try, and to be gentle with myself.

2023 is also the year I let go of that which no longer serves me. It is the year I give myself permission to keep my circle small if I want to. To clean out my closet. To start again. To try and move on.

What energy are you hoping to bring into 2023?

See You in the New Year

With the holiday season upon us, I’m taking a break here at Miss Print.

I’ll have my December reading tracker at the end of the month but other than that things will be quiet around here until January while I spend time making the most of a crisis-free vacation after last year’s disasters.

Enjoy the holidays, the winter, the lead up to the new year, and this picture of my beautiful puppy who celebrated her second birthday earlier this month:

Bella Christmas '22

See you in January!

Sunsetting Chick Lit Wednesday

I’ve been doing Chick Lit Wednesday reviews on the blog since it’s first year (way back in 2007).  Over the years the purpose and vision of this weekly feature has changed and, as I enter my fifteenth year as a blogger, I’ve decided to sunset this weekly feature. As time has passed I have realized Chick Lit Wednesday has, in many ways, runs its course and singling out those Wednesday reviews is misleading as the vast majority of reviews on this blog highlight books with strong feminist themes and characters–something I originally hoped to highlight with Chick Lit Wednesday.

What does that mean for the blog? Not much is going to change! I will still follow a Monday/Wednesday (and sometimes Friday) post schedule. Books will still be reviewed through a feminist lens.

The main difference is reviews will no longer be labeled “Chick Lit Wednesday.” I’m leaving the tag Chick Lit Wednesday active on the blog if anyone wants to browse older posts and won’t change titles for previously published content.

Panel Announcement: See Me (Virtually) at SLJTeen Live!

Big news: I’m moderating a panel at SLJTeen Live! on Thursday August 4.

SLJTeen Live! is a full day of free, virtual events showcasing forthcoming titles for teens and tweens with panels, keynotes, and more. The event is also entirely virtual and free to attend live the day of or after the fact via recordings in the virtual environment.

Mark your calendars for my panel “Let’s Talk About Mental Health” on Thursday August 4 at 10:05am EST.

I’ll be moderating the “Let’s Talk About Mental Health” panel featuring authors Ted Anderson, Matthew Dawkins, Lizzy Mason, and Amber McBride on Thursday May 4 at 10:05am EST.

SLJTeen Live! Let's Talk About Mental Health Panel Description


These books cover the topics relevant to so many teens (and adults!) today. Listen and learn about these teens and their stories on mental health.

Details including the full program schedule and how to register can be found on the SLJTeen Live! home page.

Here’s more about all of the authors:

Ted Anderson author bio Matthew Dawkins author bio Lizzy Mason, Amber McBride author bios


And my bio because why not?

Emma speaker bio SLJ DoD May 19

See you there!


Join Me (Virtually) on May 19 for SLJ’s Day of Dialog

I have some fun news! I’m be moderating a panel at School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog on May 19.

SLJ Day of Dialog May 19 header

SLJ’s Day of Dialog is always a fun day filled with author talks and panels. It’s a great way to hear about new-to-you authors, upcoming titles, and debuts. It’s also entirely virtual and free to attend (live or after the fact in the virtual environment).

I’ll be moderating the “It’s in the Air” panel featuring authors Kacen Callender, Jas Hammonds, Susan Lee, Maya Prasad, and Rhiannon Wilde on Thursday May 19 at 11:00am EST.


It's in the Air panel lineup

This panel features authors of rom-coms, swoony love stories, and tales that address questions of identity, discussing their novels and the genre.

You can register for the event here: https://www.slj.com/event/school-library-journal-day-of-dialog-2022-spring#home

The full program schedule can be found here: https://www.slj.com/event/school-library-journal-day-of-dialog-2022-spring#program

Here’s more about all of the authors:

SLJ DoD May 19 author bios

And my bio because why not?

Emma speaker bio SLJ DoD May 19

See you there!

SLJ Day of Dialog May 19 header

Week in Review: March 26

Blog Posts of The Week:

Tweet of the Week:

Instagram Post of the Week:

How My Week Went:

I’m feeling better this week. The stress is all still there but I made a conscious choice to let it go. I think I’ll feel better once I figure out how to fit yoga back into my life (I meant to start again in January but then December and January were trash so …). I also need to make more time for writing. It feels like everything has been triage lately but (in a recurring theme) that’s for a lot of things that I cannot control. Which means I have to live with them. And stop putting off things I want to do.

Blog-wise I spent this week getting ready for National Poetry Month (April) where I will be sharing and discussing a different poem every Friday. It’s a feature that has been on the blog in some form since 2011 and I’m really excited to share more poems with all of you.

This week I listened to The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne by Jonathan Stroud. I loved The Screaming Staircase so I was excited for this one but it’s not quite as tight as I had hoped. Also still working my way through We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faisal. Nasir is still trash.

Here’s How I’m Staying Organized (Right Now)

Here's How I'm Staying Organized (Right Now)

A couple of years ago, I talked about all of the changes I had made to make “work from home” work better for me. This year as I take on some different tasks at work (including working on the Rise Feminist Book Project committee!), I thought I’d revisit some of the strategies I have in place to keep myself organized. I add the “right now” caveat because, as with many things, organization is an ongoing journey and something I’m constantly honing. What I like best about the options below: it’s all modular and scalable so you can take what you like and leave the rest.

Getting Started

Back in 2017 I wrote on Teen Services Underground about going all digital with my organization. For the most part, that’s still my favorite way to keep my life on track. But now that I have a committee where I’m reading more and have more meetings, I have been embracing a hybrid model.

If you’re starting from scratch to get organized, I highly recommend reading Joy At Work to help set up a good framework. Kondo and Sonenshein have great advice to organize your life with tips for everything from your desk to your email and digital files.


There’s no single right answer for how to stay organized on paper. I have found that I prefer modular options for notebooks and undated options for planners so that if I don’t update them for a while, the planner is still usable (like if I end up not going to my office for a year and left my planner there instead of taking it home, hypothetically).

Back in 2015 I first learned about Midori traveler’s notebooks (and all of the different versions out in the wild) from Hannah’s blog post about her faux-dori: https://www.soobsessedwith.com/2015/03/my-foxy-dori-other-favorites.html

The idea of a refillable notebook with endless options for inserts appealed to me immediately and, in the the years since, this planner option is the one that has stuck with me and what I’ve continued tweaking.


There are tons of versions of traveler’s notebooks and various notebook inserts. My favorites are from Webster’s Pages. They have a whole range of planner (and scrapbooking) products including binder and composition notebook planners. I like their traveler’s notebooks because they are modular, start lightweight, and can hold a variety of inserts. The size is such that I can also keep it on my desk at work or bring it home pretty easily. Plus everything is vegan (not leather). I also appreciate the variety of notebook inserts (lined, blank, grid, undated planners) as well as the standard sizing that means I can use anything that fits.

You can also find Webster’s Pages on Amazon if that’s more your bag: https://amzn.to/3ucl1vm

Currently my paper planner has:

    • Card Holder/Zipper Pouch: I use this to hold paperclips (how I mark my place in the other notebooks), colored pens (I’m big on color coding), spare business cards, and a flash drive with work files.
    • Lined Notebook: I use this for work notes including things for quick reference (titles/stats for the staff book club I run), meetings, and other projects
    • Grid Notebook: This notebook has graph paper grids on every page. I’m using it for my committee work. I have a few pages at the front with criteria and am using the rest to track books that are nominated. I can use the squares to mark books read, where I got them, and what format.
    • Undated Calendar Notebook: This one has monthly and weekly spreads so I can see my full calendar at a glance and also use the weekly spread to drill a little deeper. More on that below.

Some people like to keep notebooks as records of everything they do. For work and projects, I view notebooks as more consumable so I don’t worry too much about keeping them organized. My biggest tip: use a different ink color for every meeting/item so when you flip pages you can see where a topic change occurs.

I use the Notes app on my phone similarly to write down quick thoughts (which I delete once I act upon them or transcribe the information) and longterm information I might need like hashtags for Instagram posts.


I have a smartphone (specifically an iPhone) that I use for everything. While I am not a fan of cloud syncing or Google, I do like having all of the information I need on my phone and syncing that with my laptop at home. I keep everything I do for work/fun/household chores in my phone with color coded calendars so I don’t accidentally double book.

Where the paper planner pays off is I can lay everything out for a monthly spread that I can see all at once what I have happening for the month (a feat beyond my phone’s screen size) before drilling down more for weekly spreads. Librarians have all kinds of weird schedule things so I like being able to use the weekly paper calendar to mark daily desk shifts and (again for committee stuff) track what I’m reading.

I am a big fan of color coding here to help me better parse information at a glance. My favorite pens are Marvy Uchida Le Pen because they are bright, have thin points, come in a variety of colors, and easily fit in my notebook pouch.

Reminders/To Dos

This is the one item that has remained mostly digital. I have to do lists for work, blogging, my shopping list, and general reminders. I find I like the reminders app format because I retain the ability to check things off my to do list while also being able to add time sensitive reminders where I can set alarms.

My blog reminder list is the one I use the most as it’s where I keep track of reviews I have to write. I like being able to see all the titles at once without scrolling through my read shelf on Goodreads or my blog post drafts. I can also add to dos when I want to email reviews to publicists or reach out about an author interview.

And there you have it. Now you know everything I’m doing to stay organized (right now).

Everything You Need To Know For the Perfect Manicure

I get asked a lot about my manicures so I thought it would be fun to share all of my tips in one handy infographic. The text below the graphic will also have some product recommendations (with Amazon affiliate links).

manicure infographic

1. Start with clean, dry nails.
Use nail polish remover to remove any old or chipped nail polish before you start.
I usually use a pharmacy store brand nail polish remover or Cutex brand (find it on Amazon) with generic cotton balls (find it on Amazon). If you’re looking for more of a one-stop shop you can get a polish remover jar instead. Olive & June has one I have liked (find it on their site) and it looks like Cutex also has their own version (find it on Amazon).
Once you’re done, wash your hands to get off any lingering residue.

2. Shape your nails.
If your nails were chipped or broken, this is the time to smooth them out.
Revlon’s emery boards (find it on Amazon) are the classic go-to but any nail file can work well. The main thing is you want a coarse side for filing/shaping and a smoother side for finishing.
You can also use an orange stick (find it on Amazon) or your nail to gently push back your cuticles so your nail beds are ready for nail polish. You might also see these being called “nail sticks” or “cuticle pushers.” Any kind will work. The main thing is one side will have a pencil kind of point and the other side will have a flatter end. The flatter end can be used for cuticle work. The pointy end will come in hand while painting your nails.

3. Apply a base coat.
I always start my manicures with a base coat. This adds longevity to the manicure. Using a base coat will also prevent your nails from getting stained if you are using a darker color and make the nail polish easier to remove later.
You can use any clear nail polish, even one sold as a top coat! Just make sure it’s not a super shiny version (as in the branding would say “super shine”) as that will make it too slick for subsequent coats. Let your nails dry completely after applying your base coat.
My current favorite clear nail polish is Sally Hansen’s Good.Kind.Pure. clear polish (find it on Amazon). This line is plant-based (even the brush) so it is vegan and 16-free.
NOTE this line is marketed as cruelty free but the Sally Hansen brand is not because they sell products in mainland China where animal testing is required.
If you are looking for a clear polish that is vegan and cruelty free, check out Zoya’s top coat options (find it on their site). You can also try Olive & June’s Super Glossy Top Coat (find it on their website) but I find it is almost too shiny for a base coat.

4. Apply your nail polish of choice.
Apply the nail polish evenly over your nail in a smooth, thin coat. Use the pointy end of your orange stick to remove any excess polish near your cuticles. Alternately you can rub/wash it off once your manicure is complete. Let your nails dry completely after this coat.
If you are new to manicures it’s easier to start with a lighter color with some shimmer. Darker, more opaque polish will require more coats (and possibly patience) to get a finished look.
I only use vegan, cruelty-free polishes and have recommendations if you want to go that route:
Zoya (check out their site): You can shop by color, opacity, and more. Don’t let the scope of colors intimidate you. Also watch for their semi-annual sales where polishes are 50% off with the option to “trade in” older bottles.
Olive & June (check out their site): You can shop by color, season, and set here. Polishes are graded from beginner to advanced which, again, is based on opacity. Olive & June also sells nail art stickers, mini sets, and sets of matched colors to create gradient manicures. I check out their sets page for color inspiration.
Sally Hansen’s Good.Kind.Pure line (find it on Amazon) (with the caveat from earlier that it’s only this line that’s vegan and cruelty free–not the entire brand)
Orly (check out their site): This is a common nail salon brand. They also do seasonal collections and have a wide range of treatments.
Different polishes will work different for different people/nail types so you might have to experiment to find your own go-to brand.

5. Apply 2-3 more coats of nail polish.
Let your nails dry completely between each coat. This is my number one tip for a perfect manicure.
Depending on the color and the look you want, your nails should be done after two or three more coats.

6. Add top coat.
Once your nails are completely dry add a top coat for extra shine and to help your manicure last longer.
In most cases this can be the same clear polish that you use for your base coat.

Advanced tips:

  • As you work on your manicure be sure to bring your nail polish up over the edge of your nails to better seal the manicure.
  • Not sure if your nails are dry? Tap the nail in question with a fingernail or orange stick. Dry nail polish will not get dented and will make a knocking sound. Once that happens, you’re ready to go!
  • Level up your manicure by adding an accent nail in a contrasting color, using multiple polishes to create a gradient effect across your nails, or apply nail art stickers for a fun finishing touch.

See you in 2022

1/10/2022 Update: One last update on this post before I put it to bed and move onto to new posts. Mom came home from the nursing home on January 3. She left a little earlier than planned but her mental health was such that she needed to get home. I also feel like with the continuing bad covid situation, we made the right choice.

Mom has been improving every day. She still gets tired easily and is definitely not back to 100% but she is able to move around the apartment no problem. Bella, our puppy, was scared when she came back home in the wheelchair (Bella doesn’t like moving furniture) but I’m happy to report things are back to normal on that front now too. Bella is very happy to be part of a two person household once more and has resumed jumping on Mom at inopportune moments just like before.

Thank you again to everyone who checked on me and my mom and Bella during a very rough December. Thank you again to everyone who kept us in your thoughts. I always knew I had the best blog readers and social media followers but this confirmed it, I have been so grateful and so humbled to have so many people in my corner. Thank you.

12/23 update: I’m writing this update with a lonely puppy in my lap. Bella looks for Mom around the apartment every morning. After we went for a walk she ran back to search for my mom to no avail.

Mom was transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility (a nursing home with short stay options) last night. I’m really glad she’s out of the hospital as covid cases continue to rise. Have you ever seen a zombie movie where everything is fine, then the news starts talking about weird headlines, then suddenly you’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse? Being at the hospital feels a lot like that right now.

In retrospect, as ominous as it felt I’m glad Mom had a lot of contact protocols in place. I had to be in a gown, rubber gloves, and a mask the entire time I visited her. Which is so scary. But hopefully kept her from being exposed to other stuff.

The rehab place feels so much better and safer. I didn’t even realize how scared I was having her in the hospital right now.

Mom’s slowly trying to eat again and she’ll be getting physical therapy at this new place to get her strength back. We’re still taking it one day at a time and trying not to dwell too hard on missing Christmas. I am also trying to take care of myself and get rest so that I don’t make myself sick while being there for Mom.

The double whammy of this happening during the holidays and a pandemic has been unreal.

Honestly, I’m not going to make any pleas to anyone to get vaccinated or wear a mask. If you aren’t doing those two incredibly small things to protect yourself and others, I have nothing left to say to you. I have no sympathy left for anyone leaving their job over vaccine mandates and no patience for anyone acting like the pandemic is in any way over.

I’ll close with a thank you (again) to everyone who has been checking on me, showing up for me, and being there for me (and sending Seamless gift cards). It still feels like a long road but it doesn’t feel like it’s all up hill anymore.

12/19 Update: I have an update and I thought id add it here for anyone who might be following. Mom isn’t going to be home for Christmas.

She was admitted to the ER Thursday after falling twice at home and being very sick and dehydrated. We have since found out she has rotavirus. No idea where she got it.

The main treatment for rotavirus is to let it run its course but it’s wreaked such havoc on my mom’s entire system. She hasn’t been eating since Thursday and she’s extremely weak. Aside from not starting at 100% (I suspect the hospital doesn’t fully understand how she navigated the world before as an elderly/disabled person but that’s a different story).

Right now she can’t get out of bed and she’s still on fluids and they’re trying to figure out what she can eat without aggravating her symptoms. She has some IVs for electrolytes and fluids too but it’s sort of a wait and see stage I think.

The doctors are saying maybe two weeks. But I think a lot depends on how she continues to respond to fluids etc.

Thank you to everyone who has checked in or offered well wishes. This isn’t the first holiday I’ve spend worrying about my mom in the hospital but I sure hope it’s the last.

It’s especially scary right now with covid cases on the rise. All I ever want in situations like this is to not be alone. But I can’t even ask that of anyone right now because I’m exposed to so much stuff every time I go into the hospital.

Part of the protocol for rotavirus involves having a gown and gloves on the entire time I’m with my mom in her room–same for anyone else going in–so it’s been extra fun. I just dropped $50 on disposable face masks and N95 masks and I’m just really hoping we get out on the other side of this soon.

12/16: I’m putting the blog on hiatus until the new year. This post started shorter while I decided what I was comfortable sharing but I decided I didn’t want to talk around it.

Partly this is because I was sick for three weeks after thanksgiving and that burned through my entire queue of written posts. So I need more content. But then something else happened.

My mom is in the hospital. She fell and was in bad shape with symptoms presenting as sepsis. Her numbers are improving but it’s an as yet unidentified infection. Longtime followers will know this isn’t my mother’s first serious hospitalization.

I don’t think it’s as bad as her previous ones. Her numbers are improving but she’s very weak and has a fever. So it’s hard to feel like things are moving in the right direction. Im not even sure if they are honestly. And I’m not taking it as well. I was hysterical and had a massive panic attack when I called 911. I’m still waiting to find some kind of baseline. But I don’t know how to do that.

Being in a hospital in the middle of a pandemic is a nightmare. I’m writing this in my mom’s room while she sleeps. I’m in a face mask and a gown because they’re still isolating the source of the infection. You know, on top of worrying about covid in the hospital.

I don’t really have a grand statement here. I’m grateful to all of my friends who have been checking in and helping me make sure my puppy Bella is okay. But it’s still exhausting and I still feel so isolated and lost and scared.

If you have any space for it, please keep my mom in your thoughts and I’ll be back in 2022.

See Me (Virtually) in October at the Tampa Bay Teen Lit Fest

I have some fun news! This October I’ll be moderating a panel for the Tampa Bay Teen Lit Fest.

The Lit Fest is entirely virtual and will be presenting virtual author panels and keynotes throughout October.

I’ll be moderating the “Forging Your Own Path” panel featuring authors Romina Garber, Thanhha Lai, and Debbie Rigaud on Thursday October 21 at 6:30pm EST.

This panel focuses on teens struggling to come into their own, trying to do what’s right for them in the face of adversity, destiny, and sometimes most difficult of all: family. Join a panel of authors Thanhhà Lai (Butterfly Yellow), Debbie Rigaurd (Simone Breaks All the Rules), and Romina Garber (Lobizona) for a discussion moderated by Blogger/Librarian Emma Carbone.

You can register for my panel here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6466042481234617616

Full details for the author fest can be found here: https://www.hcplc.org/TeenLitFest