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Tell Me: What Are You Reading? (The Cookbook Edition)

It's time for a confession: sometimes cooking stresses me out. Try as I might, I rarely seem to get everything cooked and ready to serve at the same time. I've overcooked lobster, undercooked chicken (yikes) and steamed vegetables beyond recognition. 

There was a time in my life when I hated to cook. My husband actually took the reigns for a fairly good portion of our relationship. Over the last few years, however, I've been attempting to work on my skills in the kitchen and I must say, it's paying off. I find myself enjoying it more and more.

Yes, I still worry about burning all the things, but I've realized that almost anything can be either fixed or replaced. Overcooked lobster? Sure, that's a bummer. Lobster isn't exactly a budget meal. Yet, we've always got something else in the fridge or freezer as a back-up.

So for today's edition of What are You Reading?, I want to share a few of my favorite cookbooks and I would LOVE to know if you all have any go-to resources for your favorite dishes.


This one is a favorite because of the way each recipe is presented. I can't tell you how many times I've reached a point in a recipe and wondered, "Is it supposed to look like this?" The recipes in this cookbook have photographs for almost each step, the layout is a visual learner's dream and the meals we've made from the book thus far have been fantastic. 

To Buy: "What to Cook and How to Cook It"

We received this cookbook for Christmas several years ago and it's been in heavy rotation ever since. I love knowing that the recipes have been tested from every angle and come with recommendations for what cookware to use and a list of steps that can be completed ahead of time. Many of our go-to meals come from this gem.

To Buy: "The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook"

In all honesty, I just received this cookbook for Christmas last year and have yet to try any recipes. However, I have been reading through the delicious-looking recipes and just I love how Perelman, a food blogger-turned cookbook author, added a story behind each recipe. I'm having trouble deciding which meals to attempt first! 

To Buy: "The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook"


Now I'd love to hear more about what you're reading!

In the comment section below, tell us:

  1. The name of a favorite cookbook (or a few, if you're feeling up to it)
  2. The author's name
  3. Your favorite recipe from the cookbook 

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I can't wait to get some recommendations from you all! 


Note: I've linked to IndieBound in this post using affiliate links. This means I get a teeny tiny commission, should you purchase through the link. All commissions get reinvested into this site so I can keep sharing with you all!


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Tell Me: What Are You Reading?

I've read some really great books over the last year or so, along with some that turned out to be not-so-great. It happens, right? I thought it would be fun to start a series where we could chat about our favorite reads – whether we've just devoured a new release or can't stop rereading an old classic. What do you think?

I'll start!


"In The Woods" pretty much had me from page one. Set in Dublin, the story follows detectives as they work to solve a pretty creepy murder case. If you like murder mysteries with a backstory, you'll enjoy this book. 

My favorite part: the character development was pretty wonderful and French added some serious depth to the story.

To Buy: "In The Woods"

"Shadow Divers" is a challenge for those who get claustrophobic or are scared of the ocean. The true story of deep sea divers pushing limits in the name of discovery had me feeling anxious and a little scared at times.

My favorite part: This is a tale based on truth and, therefore, had me turning page after page – even if I winced a little each time.

To Buy: "Shadow Divers"

Another true story, "Wild" follows Cheryl Strayed as she picks up the pieces from a fairly broken life and sets out on a journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. The story is inspiring, terrifying and fun all at once.

My favorite part: Cheryl Strayed is the most unassuming bad ass. You'll admire her and want to be her friend by the end of the book.

To Buy: "Wild"


Now I'd love to hear more about what you're reading!

In the comment section below, tell us:

  1. The name of a favorite or recent read (or a few, if you're feeling up to it)
  2. The author's name
  3. Your favorite part of the book (could be a character, scene or theme... just tell us why you recommend it!) 

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I can't wait to get some recommendations from you all! 


Note: I've linked to IndieBound in this post using affiliate links. This means I get a teeny tiny commission, should you purchase through the link. All commissions get reinvested into this site so I can keep sharing with you all!


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Cover to Cover: Off Switch Magazine {+ an interview with Founder and Editor-in-Chief Katie Michels!}

It's not often I find myself walking hurriedly to the mailbox. We usually get our fair share of junk mail and bills. Sometimes we'll get nice cards from friends and family members. On Saturday, however, I was expecting a copy of Off Switch Magazine's fourth volume. So, I walked quickly, heel to toe, to the mailbox.And there it was...

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{All photos in this post are courtesy of Katie Michels.}

I had read online previews of back issues, but I had been dying to get a print copy in-hand so I could absorb all of the stories and interviews at my own pace, away from the screen. I found Off Switch Magazine several months ago through the powers of the internet and when I heard that the publication was using Kickstarter to help move forward with Volume 5, I didn't hesitate to contribute. I have a deep respect for those working in print publications. My papa was a newspaper man and I guess I've always viewed print as something special.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love the internet. I do. However, there is just something about physically turning paper pages midway through an article that gives me a feeling I simply cannot get from turning virtual pages.

After watching the video and pledging what I could, I reached out to Founder and Editor-in-Chief Katie Michels. I knew that I had to try to get a copy of the latest volume and feature it here on the blog. One special order of volume 4, multiple emails, some lovely photos shot by Katie, herself, and here we are!

Let me tell you: the magazine is beautiful. It's not only well-designed, but the content is also thoughtfully curated. Each issue is themed and offers everything from photo collections and book recommendations to interviews and creative non-fiction pieces. Volume 4 focuses on "Lessons Learned" and was a treat to read.

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From one couple's story detailing lessons learned from six weeks on the road to an interview with Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers, it was clear to me why so many others were supporting the Kickstarter campaign. While back issues aren't currently available for regular orders, several levels of contribution in the campaign will get you the entire collection and many include a copy of Volume 5!

Katie was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, the publication and the Kickstarter campaign. I hope you enjoy her candid interview as much as I did!

1. How would you characterize Off Switch Magazine? What can people expect to find between the front and back covers?

We're relatable. Sure, we do our best to make things look good, but in the end our message — words, photos, and stories — is both human and honest. We want everyone who reads Off Switch to come out of the experience with a smile on their face and a stirring in their heart. A stirring that both inspires and motivates them to live passionately toward their dreams, big or small. At least, that's what we hope you'll find within our pages! If you like, you can simply enjoy the pretty pictures!

2. Tell us about your educational and professional background and how it prepared you for the challenges of the world of magazine publishing.

I am a twenty-three-year-old Midwesterner born and raised in a suburb west of Chicago, Illinois. I hold a bachelor's degree in graphic design, which beyond learning how to put together an editorial layout, didn't completely prepare me for running a quarterly magazine. School can be a great launching pad, but in the end observation and trial and error are the things that have taught me the most with regards to magazine publishing. I'm a strong believer in finding something you love and working hard to see it through. Trust your gut, know your limits and get ready to discover your capabilities!

3. What inspired you to launch Off Switch Magazine? Was it a single moment/incident or a collection of happenings that led you down this path?

Funnily enough, there was a single moment (or day, rather) where I decided to do this: my last day of college. While in school, I had taken a course in magazine layout/editorial design and fell in love with it. That passion for layouts and photos was the starting point. The hard part, I thought, was deciding what the yet-to-be-named magazine would be about. After tossing around idea after idea, I finally realized that the answer had been lying in front of me the whole time. I had kept a blog for the past couple years called Off Switch, a name that originated from a childhood phrase illustrating my inability to keep quiet. Over the years the term "living without an off switch" morphed from being about a chatterbox to living life fully and wholeheartedly. The blog chronicled my own pursuit of a life without an off switch, and now this magazine helps to chronicle not just my journey, but the journeys of my friends around the world. Looking back it's humorous to think I could have named the magazine anything but Off Switch.

4. You've launched a Kickstarter campaign for your next volume. Can you tell us what you hope to accomplish with a little help from readers and supporters?

With our Kickstarter campaign we will be able to give Off Switch Magazine a true shot at being a sustainable and profitable print magazine. Currently we print Off Switch in very small runs with an online-based printer, and have very little room to allow for markup, let alone be able to sell copies to boutiques at a wholesale price. Basically, funds generated through Kickstarter would help us to print the spring volume of Off Switch with a traditional printer at a higher overall price, but a much lower per copy price. As much as our dream is to be a quarterly print magazine, I am fully aware of the realities of life and money. I have plans in place should we not reach our goal. Let's just say things happen for a reason, and sometimes we have to adjust our plans and show a little patience. I'm open to whatever happens as long as I can keep working on Off Switch, whatever format that may be. Plus, it's a special thing knowing I've got the support of so many friends!

5. Tell us what we can look forward to in Volume 5. How will this volume inspire us to live life "without an off switch?"

Oh gosh! This volume is based on the super fun theme of "Come Celebrate." It's our second volume where we really adhere to a theme throughout, and that aspect very much makes each issue of Off Switch feel like complete and unique volumes in a growing series. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a good celebration every now and again? I have a feeling you will all LOVE volume five.

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I have a feeling she's right, don't you? If you'd like to learn more about Off Switch Magazine, please visit their website here. If you're as inspired as I am and would like to help, you can contribute to the Kickstarter campaign here (it wraps up on February 27, so hop to it)!

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