Rather Be Reading Turns Three!

Hi, you guys!

Today we’re super excited to celebrate our THIRD ANNIVERSARY! On November 1st, Rather Be Reading turned three! (Flashback to our first post/book report — a review of Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer.) Celebrate with us by reading a few then/now comparisons and entering two giveaways below! We thank each and every one of you for stopping by to share our love of reading. Each time we sit down at our computers, it’s because we’re excited to share our thoughts about our books and this blog is a labor of love that wove our friendship together. We’re very thankful for your comments/tweets and the friendships that have evolved because of our little slice of the internet.



  • You guys have definitely witnessed my hair transformations, beginning with my ombre look back in 2011. I loved that hair, but boy it’s been a nightmare getting the ombre out. I’ve been ombred, brown, red, strawberry blonde, and am currently back to a close-to-natural hair color. I don’t know what was up with my eyebrows back in 2011, but I’m glad to see they’ve stopped looking like backwards apostrophes.
  • Back then I had no daughter and hadn’t been a foster parent yet, and I photographed more weddings than any year since (I think). My life was more leisurely and I focused a lot of time on reading, DIYing, and building my business. I currently have a 9 month old daughter, spend time with our foster daughter every other weekend since her return to her bio family, am photographing more families than weddings this year, and DIYing is probably one of the least important things on my mind right now.
  • My reading goal the year we began was 80 books, but I excitedly beat that goal and read 91. I feel almost ashamed to say I’ve gone backwards and have a lower goal this year than I have in the last three years, but it’s true. My goal is 52 – one for every week of the year – and I’m probably still going to be pushing myself in the coming weeks to hit that. This year has involved so, so, so much change it’s almost unbelievable.
  • I used to never watch television, but I have developed a major crush on Nashville, Parenthood, Million Dollar Listing (any city), Modern Family, and am currently re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
  • My addictions have grown beyond nail polish to include lipstick and eye shadows. It’s a sad, sad thing that an Ulta is opening up within a few miles from me. I’m going to need to drive completely out of the way to get to Target. 😉


Then and Now Rather Be Reading Blog

I miss those glasses.

  • Like Magan, I’ve had a total hair transformation too. The bangs I had in the “then” photo was a total hack job, and I was scared away from them until this winter. Except as you can see from my current picture, I decided to chop off 17 inches of hair and go for the pixie. (I am loving it!)
  • I have a very strong memory of working on early reviews for RBR (pre-opening) at my dining room table in our house with the sun shining through the sliding glass doors. Never did I think we would sell our house a year or so later, move to the city, and James would be going back to school to get his law degree. Yet here we are. There are days I miss our house, but I am so happy we decided to make a move that made US happy. (Plus James graduates in May already. How insane is that?)
  • 2011 was a big year for me because I co-founded This Happy Place Blog AND Rather Be Reading within a few months of each other. (Oh! I also got married.) I am so happy that both are going strong, and I honestly owe both so much. They give me a creative outlet, got me into writing again, brought wonderful people in my life, and kicked up my confidence and taught me a lot I never would have learned otherwise. A few months ago, I started a brand new job and part of me wonders if I would have been on this path without these two projects.
  • My reading is out of control. I have more books in my apartment than I ever had in my house. Piles are everywhere. Ah. In 3 years, I have bought so many books and visited so many bookstores. I never had to think of enforcing something like a book ban (maybe one for clothing). I want to support the writers I love. I can’t help it! Lately, I’ve been thoroughly supporting my library which makes me breathe easy. (And also makes feel like a part of my community.)
  • Fun fact: I’ve traveled to Walt Disney World exactly six times since we started the blog and will head back for the big 7 this weekend. (Only to prove my obsession in this place has only grown. I am a loyalist, what can I say?)

As long as blogging continues to be fun, you can be sure we will continue to make our little home on the web at Rather Be Reading Blog. We like to think of this as the low-cost way the two of us can have “coffee talk” 2-3 times a week while we live in separate states. Now the only thing we need is a definite reunion date… get excited! That will be coming soon! 😉

So thank you thank you thank you for EVERYTHING!

Exciting News + (little kids) Giveaway!

In addition to Estelle’s Big Kids’ Table feature, I, Magan, am going to be sharing children’s book recommendations monthly in a Little Kids feature beginning in January. I read tons and tons of children’s books each week and realize that engaging, adult-friendly kids’ books are a rare gem. Macmillan recently shared a few of their upcoming favorites with me, two of which I’m really, really loving: Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead and Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies. Enter below to win a pre-order of each of these books! (Even if you don’t have kids, enter so you can spread the love to a niece/nephew or your friend’s babies!)

The rules: You must be 13 years or older to enter. US residents only, please.



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Anniversary Giveaway!

This year we want to share copies with TWO PEOPLE of the books we’ve reviewed together, KISS KILL VANISH and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! We’re also including a few of our favorite non-bookish things as well (there will be fun surprises from us included in the winners’ packages!).

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Estelle and Magan August 2013

32 thoughts on “Rather Be Reading Turns Three!

  1. Rebecca @ Reading Wishes says:

    Wow, three years! You guys don’t look a day over two 😉 hehe. I haven’t been following you from the very start, so I really enjoyed the photos and you guys sharing with us your blogging journey from then to now; the things that have changed; and the things that still remain the same. Hope you guys get to meet up again soon! Remember, we want to see the evidence (pictures) of this happening otherwise it didn’t, OK? 😛 You guys are one of my favourite blogs and I hope there are still many more awesome blogging years to come from you guys. On that note, a big congratulations!

  2. Jessica says:

    Congrats to turning three! I can’t believe it’s three years already (!!) and I’m so excited to see what else is in store for you guys! I love the joint posts and it’s pretty neat to see how things have changed from then to now. My fave book of 2014 has to be Since You’ve Been Gone. I love Morgan Matson.

  3. Meg says:

    Woo! Congrats on three wonderful years — you ladies are awesome! Have loved following along and look forward to all that’s to come. 🙂

    In terms of kids’ books, my all-time favorites are Eric Carle’s picture books — but delving beyond that, I was once enamored of a book called The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord. I can remember checking it out endlessly from the school library and just falling in love with the illustrations!

  4. Ashley says:

    Oh you two! I know my heart and my life is so much better having you both it in! As for book recommendations. My current favorite children’s book is The Day The Crayons Quit and my favorite book this year in general, so far, is Everything Leads to You.

    Hearts in my eyes for both!

  5. Meg says:

    Oh! Anddddd my favorite read this year would have to go to Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which was ridiculously fun and engaging. I listened to it on audio and was so sad when it was over — I miss the characters!

  6. Jess @ Gone with the Words says:

    This blog and my daughter share the same birthdate! 🙂 Now I’ll always remember it. I’m so happy you two ladies came into my life. You do such an amazing job at spreading the bookish word with your well-thought-out posts and reviews. HAPPY THREE YEARS!!

  7. Betty says:

    I love you two!! Not only is your blog one of my favorites, but so is your friendship! It is easy to see how genuine you both are and how much you care about each other! Cheers to many more years of an amazing blog and friendship!!

    Oh and my favorite beauty product is Egyptian Magic!

  8. Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit says:

    Happy blogoversary! I just wanted to say…you ladies are two of my favourite bloggers. Your writing is superb, and your friendship is awesome. Also, you guys have the best recs – After I Do? So helpful!

    Fave book I’ve read this year is a toss-up between Open Road Summer and I’ll Give You The Sun.

    Fave beauty product right now is Bite Beauty’s two-in-one mini-lipsticks – I have the one in Palomino/Violet, and it’s great for a pop of colour.

  9. Brittany T says:

    ill tell both! My favorite book was Heir of Fire best series ever! My favorite beauty products are a toss between 3 since i cant pick, cover girl BB cream light weight great coverage that makes my skin look fresh and not caked, Nars highlighting powder, and rosebud lip salve which is great for chapped winter lips last forever and has even saved my rough cuticles and minor burns! Please try the rosebud salve its incredible!!

  10. Ashley C says:

    Congratulations on 3 years! That’s incredible 🙂
    I can’t pick one favorite book so far this year. So many to choose from! Thank you for the giveaway though!

  11. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:

    Happy Three Years!! I adore you guys so much and I love this blog. I won’t write a novel here but you both know that. E, if you decide to stop in NC this time at the same place as last time, I now live about 10 minutes away. Here’s to many more!

  12. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook says:

    Aww, congrats on three years! That is so awesome!

    I feel very similar, Estelle, about how blogging has boosted my confidence. I’ve been trying to write a post about it for a year, but haven’t quite figured out the right way yet.

    Also, Estelle, I love the pixie cut!

  13. Heidi @ YA Bibliophile says:

    Congrats! You ladies are lovely and I’m so pleased for you and your blog. Three years!!! As far as favorite book of the year… SO MANY! But I have to go with Isla and the Happily Ever after since it’s the one I waited for the longest 🙂

  14. Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide says:

    OMG YOU GUYSSSSS. Three years! I am so happy for you and your wonderful blog and your friendship and your books and your HAIR!
    You two are such wonderful people and I’m so happy that I’ve found your blog and formed friendships with you! I hope to meet Magan someday in person and can’t wait until I see Estelle face-to-face again! You gals are fantastic <333333 I hope to see much much much much much more from you! xoxox!

  15. Ashley says:

    God, my favorite thing I’ve read the whole YEAR? I think it was probably either Landline by Rainbow Rowell or The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

    You have no idea how much it pains me to not say all the rest! (Laini Taylor! Stephanie Perkins! Jandy Nelson! Maggie Stiefvater!)

  16. Mariah says:

    I have read so many incredible books this year. I really cannot pick just one, so here are just some of my favorites that I have read since January: Shatter Me series, Grisha trilogy, Rumble, Just One Year, A Little Something Different, Illusive. There are a lot others, but those are the ones that came to me first!

  17. Mariah says:

    Ah, I got so excited that I forgot a couple of things! Three years is AWESOME!! That takes a lot of dedication! I loved your then and now pictures. I am 21 years old, but I LOVE storybooks. One of my absolute favorite authors of this genre is Peter Brown. I was able to meet him this past year, and he is awesome!

  18. Kailia Sage says:

    I am so with you on the Ulta Megan but with DSW because my obsession is with shoes. I also found the PERFECT red lipstick and it’s from Revlon (I can’t remember what it’s called–oops) . Congrats on 3 years ladies!

  19. Leah says:

    Again, congratulations! You two are among the sweetest, loveliest women I’ve met and I don’t think I’ve ever told either or you this, but your friendship inspired me to break out of my shell and start chatting up customers at work – a new BFF could be in the very next aisle!
    Magan, I refuse to believe your daughter is already NINE MONTHS OLD WHAT. & Netflix is a deliciously wicked place. Estelle, I’m SUPER jealous of your hair cut (so many times I’ve thought about rocking a pixie, but every time I chicken out). LIVING THROUGH YOU, LOVE! Love, love, love you both & I hope you’ll get a reunion soon! ♥

  20. Leah says:

    M, I’m thrilled you’re going to highlight kids’ books! My nieces are starting to get away from storybooks, but I absolutely love them & have begun making a little library for any Leah Jrs that might appear someday 😀
    My favorite storybook ever is The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer. It’s been years since I’ve read it (though I just recently found a copy at work and immediately snatched it up!), but I remember being absolutely enchanted + the artwork is gorgeous. I’m also a biig fan of David Wiesner’s Tuesday.
    & you ladies are too cruel to ask for just one favorite for the year! CHEATING HERE & YOU CAN’T STOP ME. I’ve narrowed it down to three: STEAL THE NORTH by Heather Brittain Bergstrom, THE TRAITOR’S WIFE by Allison Pataki, & ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr.

  21. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert says:

    Congratulations ladies! I love this post and seeing you both undergo so much positive change! And your new do’s are super cute ;). I think your blog is wonderful and your posts always inspire me so thank you for giving us 3 years of your time and here’s to many more!

  22. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Awe, I love you girls and I’ve loved watching this blog grow into such a fabulous, inspiring place to discuss all things books 🙂 The two of you have worked hard, and it truly shows. Thank you for sharing your passion for reading with me and so many others. Each one of our lives has changed a lot in the last three years (especially this year alone). I do miss our chats, and still hope to meet Estelle in person one day. I miss you girls! but I’m happy to know I can always find y’all here 🙂 Congrats!!

  23. Sandy Steckler says:

    I have a few favorite children books as I am a substitute teacher and these are what the kids enough as read-a-louds: Memoirs of a Goldfish, Falling for Rapunzel, The Night I Followed the Dog, Chicks and Salsa, AlhpaBlock, Arnie the Doughnut, Casey in the Bath, Living Lights: Fireflies in Your Backyard, and Dave Horowitz books.

  24. Michelle Lee says:

    My favorite beauty product is my MAC lipstick! I just love the shade of pink that I have! Thank you for this amazing giveaway! Congratulations on turning three years on your blog! 🙂

  25. Alexa S. says:

    Happy three years of blogging, Estelle & Magan! Time’s seriously flying by so darn fast. I’m so grateful that you two have continued to be involved in this crazy blogging community, with your well-worded reviews and awesome features. But I’m even more thankful to be able to call you both my friends! So glad for all of the discussions and hangouts and collaborations, and looking forward to many, many, many more <3

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