Befriended: Talking Friendship with Author Emery Lord

We’re best friends, Estelle and I. We live miles and miles apart, but there’s seldom been a day in our three year friendship that we haven’t talked about something. Our friendship is the platform from which Rather Be Reading was created. Because of that, we’ve been really wanting to focus on friendship more. Something positive and uplifting. We both find friendship to be such an incredibly important aspect of the books we read. They can often make or break a book. There’s the good, the bad, the ups, the downs… and through all of that, you need a best friend. Someone to hold your hand as you wade through the craziness of life.

Hence the new feature we’re rolling out right now: Befriended.

We’re beginning with one of our very favorite new authors, Emery Lord. We’ve both read Emery’s debut novel, Open Road Summer and fallen madly in love with her incredible writing. (Admittedly, we’ve also watched her awesome author intro video and want to be her BFF, too). Reagan and Dee have this outstanding friendship with years and years of history and love between them. We asked Emery to talk to us a little bit about her personal best friend and in the vein of our themed gift-packs, to create gifts to and from Dee and Reagan. It’s an understatement to say I love how this came out and how much I adore what Emery wrote about her best friend. (Fact: I teared up reading it.)

A big, huge THANK YOU to Emery for helping us introduce our new friendship feature, Befriended. Without further ado, please welcome Emery to Rather Be Reading…


My BFF and I met at church when we were in fourth grade. We were in all the same activities our entire lives and have so many similarities, but we’re different in a lot of ways too. Even little things. I’m a basic-nail polish kind of gal, and she’s great at, like, nail art and Jamberry nails. She went to a small private college for Music Ed; I went to a larger public school for Communications and English. She lives in the suburbs near our hometown; I live in a more urban setting a couple of hours away. She got married in the winter surrounded by cranberry reds and creams, in a strapless dress with her hair up. I got married in the spring, surrounded by peony pinks and tuxedo blacks, in a dress with sheer sleeves and my hair down. I wore her veil.

I wrote about to very different BFFs in Open Road Summer because I wanted to show that you don’t have to have everything in common to be best friends. You just have to show up, emotionally. Everyone understands a relationship like marriage…that I chose my husband to be my family. But my best friend is someone I chose to be my family too. It’s a sisterhood of choice, and it doesn’t matter how far apart we are or how many differing choices we make. What we have in common is 20 years together and so much love and loyalty that we can fill the miles between us. That’s truly all we’ve ever needed.

– – –
From Dee to Reagan
dee to reagan gifts for open road summer by emery lord
  • Arrow Necklace: This is a necklace Dee lets Reagan borrow in Open Road Summer. I think she’d get her one of her very own, since Reagan loves it–and probably write her a cheesy card tying in lyrics to Kacey Musgraves’ song Follow Your Arrow  😉  (which I love).
  • Photo Cube Printer: Reagan’s a photographer, so she’d love this for iPhone photos taken on the go.
  • Vintage 1971 Canon 35mm Camera: Dee’s an antiquer, so she’d absolutely snag this vintage camera for Reagan.
  • Ferris Wheel Photo Frames: Dee would get this both as a way for Reagan to display photos and to tease her a little about Matt Finch and a Ferris Wheel  😉
  • Boots: Reagan loooves shoes and these boots are totally her style.
  • New York Book: Dee is super supportive of Reagan’s ultimate goal of attending NYU. She’d absolutely gift Reagan with NYC-related things to share in her excitement about that.
– – –
From Reagan to Dee

reagan to dee open road summer gift pack by emery lord

  • Bestie iPhone Cases: Reagan would totally get these infinity BFF phone cases for herself and Dee, since they’re in a long-distance friendship/on the phone so much of the time. But, since Reagan would be using the phone case too, she’d pick something a little less frilly  😉
  • Decorative Pillow: Something for Dee’s tour bus or new apartment–Reagan’s sense of humor and something to make Dee laugh.
  • Tennessee Necklace: To remind Dee of home.
  • Floral Weekender: So not Reagan’s personal style, but definitely Dee’s. I think Reagan would get this for Dee to remind her she’s only one packed bag away from a weekend trip home.
  • Every Day Journal: One of the things Dee struggles with is how quickly life seems to be moving–by the time one thing happens, she can barely process it before the next big thing happens. Reagan would buy this one-line-a-day journal to help her remember each day without spending too much time memorializing instead of living–something she’s big on  🙂
  • Dolly Parton Quote: Dolly is one of Dee’s heroes, and Reagan would want to remind Dee that even Dolly has seen herself through the rain!


Thank you so incredibly much to Emery Lord for stopping by RBR 
to help us kick of BEFRIENDED. Friends, please, please read Open Road Summer
as soon as you possibly can. And stay tuned for more friendship-related posts!

Add OPEN ROAD SUMMER to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble | My Review of ORS

Happy Birthday, Dawn Schafer (+ Giveaway!)

I’ve been a loyal fan of the Baby-Sitters Club series since my parents bought me a four-pack of the books back when I was in elementary school. One of my best Christmases ever! But for some reason, even though I was nothing like her, Dawn became my absolute favorite member of the club. Introduced in Book 4, Dawn moves to Stonybrook with her mom and brother, leaving behind sunny California, her best friend (coincidentally named Sunny), and her father. She ate healthy foods, she dressed casually, her hair was super long and blonde, and Mary Anne was her best friend. She got to go to Disneyland when she visited her dad in California (I was always so jealous), and could surf!

And back in fifth grade, I desperately wanted to change my name from Estelle to Dawn. (See? Serious obsession.)

As luck would have it, Dawn and I do have a little bit in common. We share a birthday. Isn’t that wild? So on this day, I’m celebrating for both of us. (Can you believe it’s her 40th birthday? Eek!) Here are a few goodies I might send Dawn if I ever got her address:

Sidenote: As I put this together, I started to think about how I always imagined the Baby-Sitters Club gals as these idols I could never catch up to in experience, age, and maturity. But for some reason when I was piecing together this character gift exchange, I finally was thinking of Dawn as the same age as me. It’s crazy how she seems so frozen in time to me after all of these years.

Character Gift Exchange Happy Birthday Dawn Schafer

Gap Bomber Jacket: Dawn always had a casual style + she wore a ton of jean on her book covers so this just seems to be perfect for her.

Floral Mesh Bracelet from Kate Spade: If only, if only… I had a money tree. Simple enough to fit Dawn’s taste but pretty enough to make a statement no matter what you are wearing. I am in love with it.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes: If you remember, Dawn is a total health food nut but she must have a sweet on her birthday! These recipes are made with fresh fruit and perfect for the warmer February days in California.

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar: If you stuck around for the California Diaries by Ann Martin (after Dawn decided to permanately return to her home state), you would remember the series’ darker tones. Dawn loved to surf, loved the water, and I think she really would have liked this book.

Letterpress Connecticut Card: You can’t forget your childhood. While I don’t think Dawn would have ever moved back to Stoneybook, I’d like to think she had a way of memorializing wherever she was living right now. Subtle, pretty, and a lot of meaning.

And if you want to relive the glory days of Dawn, these are a few of my favorites:

Favorite Baby-Sitters Club Books starring Dawn Schafer

Dawn and the Impossible Three | Dawn on the Coast | California Diaries: Book 1 | California Girls! (Super Special)

Gosh, these totally bring me back… I need to schedule time for a re-read! (Yes, it’s true… I still own some of these!)

And for you dear reader, I’m thinking about today as my new year’s. A time to start fresh and just enjoy. Much of my goals this year revolving around less is more, staying present, and getting serious about the areas in my life that could use some work. So today, I want to pay it forward. This is a different kind of giveaway but I hope that you enjoy it. Thanks so much for your support over the past two years and taking time out of your day to hang out with us!

This giveaway will have five winners; these are the prizes:

1. A handcrafted book cover card made by me for you. (Cover of your choice.)
2. Tell me your birthday and you will receive a special surprise in the mail from me when your day comes.
3. Are you a huge BSC fan like I was? Tell me your favorite baby-sitter + I’ll send you a fun care package!
4. A nail color of your choice from Julep (along with a surprise add-on).
5. Last but certainly not least, I will pre-order one lucky person a book that blew me away (and doesn’t come out until May): Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.

Please note the terms + conditions! This one is a little different…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck (!!) + have a fantastic Wednesday!