5 Summer Accessories Under $20

summer accessories under $20

I ran a poll recently on Twitter asking what post you wanted to see next: summer accessories, a Disney travel journal, or 4th of July outfits. Most people, it seemed, wanted summer accessories. 

My husband helped me with this by making (surprisingly helpful) suggestions. Without further ado, here are 5 practical, affordable accessories for this summer.

1. Flamingo pin, $3.50 from Maurices

I love flamingoes, so I'm really excited they're still on-trend this summer. This pin is perfect for sprucing up a plain t-shirt or tank top, or adding to a collection on your denim jacket, bag, or hat. Summery, sweet, and simple. And only $3.50!

2. Cactus Water Bottle, $11.50, from ASOS

Being hydrated is important year round, but this water bottle, at a hyper affordable $11.50, is perfect for the summer time. Over the past few months I've become obsessed with cactus print (as has the rest of the world) so this really hits the spot. 

3. Cross Body Bag, $18, from Forever 21

I love a cross body bag for vacations and this one is really perfect. It's big enough to carry a small wallet and your phone, plus sun screen, lip balm, and other accessories. But not so big that you feel like you're toting around half your house. It's available in 3 colors, but I love this dark, rusty red. At $18, it's the perfect price for the summer.  

4. Floral Baseball Hat, $12.50, from Maurices 

Baseball hats are in this summer. This one from Maurices is particularly cute. I'm a sucker for floral print, what can I say? And at $12.50, you can get in on the trend without committing to something more expensive. 

5. American Flag print iPhone case, $7.90, from Forever 21 

"Everyone needs a phone case," my husband said. He's not wrong. I love getting new, fun phone cases and Forever 21 always has so many options. I love this one for the 4th of July; it's cheeky, summery, and fun without being "bald eagle crying on a mountain top" over-the-top Americana. And at $7.90 you can throw a few others in your cart too. 

3 Tips for Taking Your Toddler to Disneyland

disneyland with a toddler

Hi, I'm Michelle and I kind of royally screwed up a vacation to Disneyland. 

Ok, hear me out: I really thought my toddler would enjoy it. As I wrote in my newsletter over the weekend (oh, you don't get my newsletter? You can sign up here), I made the terrible mistake of assuming that my child was essentially a very small clone of myself and would enjoy everything I do. 

Well, lesson learned: you gotta ease your kid into it. You can't just jump on your favorite ride and think they'll be ok with it. Especially if you already know that your toddler is terrified of loud noises and enclosed spaces like elevators. Oops.

In all fairness to my husband and I, we've never really taken a family vacation before. We just didn't know a lot of things. And this trip gave us a chance to figure out how to make the most of even crappy situations. Midway through the second day, I wanted to cry; I felt like I wasn't having fun, like Forrest wasn't having fun. I felt really bummed. Instead of giving in and just calling it a bust and not trying, my husband and I talked it out: we came up with a plan to make our last day in the parks as fun as possible. And you know what? It worked. We really hit our stride. 

So, that's a really long way of saying: we made mistakes; we learned from them; we learned how to have fun regardless. 

This week, I'll also be posting my packing list dos and don'ts, so I won't be mentioning any tips relating to packing in this post. These, however, are my tips for making Disneyland a fun trip--something my husband and I didn't figure out until our last day (which really did redeem the whole trip). 

1. Adjust your expectations.

First and foremost, a toddler cannot and will not experience Disneyland the same way a child, teenager, or even adult does.  Toddlers, especially young toddlers, aren't great at drawing the line between reality and fake yet. To them, a lot of things seem "real" because they don't know any better. So when I took my son on Pirates of the Caribbean, he thought it was real. And terrifying. Can you imagine? 

Toddlers aren't going to want to ride the big thrill rides, or anything extremely dark and loud. To start, stick with the classics: the carousel, It's a Small World, and the Dumbo ride are great. If your toddler is apprehensive, pick a ride they can watch for a while to get a feel for what's going to happen. Also, take advantage of shops, walkthroughs, and character meets. They'll have much more fun with those than most rides. 

2. Download the Disneyland app. 

This really was a lifesaver in the park. The Disneyland app is a place where you can buy and link your tickets and Fast Passes, link your Photopass for character meet and greets, and get a list of waiting times for rides, meet and greets, and restaurants. Seriously. It was great for planning which area to go to next to maximize our time. It's also how we ended up meeting Tinkerbell with zero planning and zero line; we were the first people there! 

3. Establish a good routine.

The maximum amount of time Forrest (age 22 months) could handle in the park was... about 2.5 hours. Yeah, that's it. We got to the parks at 7:30, got in the gates at 8:00, and by 10, he was usually ready for a nap. We would walk back to our room, get him down for a nap, and then go to lunch. We would go back to the park from around 1pm to 3pm, then back to the room again for him to have some chill time: a movie, dinner, and milk, then bedtime at 5:30pm. 

After that, our other family members would stay in the condo with Forrest while Danny and I enjoyed the parks. It was a perfect situation. We got time with our son in the parks and then time with just each other. This won't always be possible for us, but it worked this time. And, hopefully, you'll find a routine that works with you too. You know your child best and you know your child's routine--and for the best vacations, honestly, that should be maintained as much as possible to prevent tantrums. 

Guest Post: 26 Is Still Mid-20's, Right?

I'm very excited about this guest post. I'd like to introduce you all to my sister-in-law, Amy: she is one of the kindest, most positive people I know, alongside being incredibly motivated and ambitious. I hope you all enjoy this guest post! 

I’m a Gemini (with Aries rising). It has never been up for debate. I have been called a “cusp” baby, but let’s be real, Cancers are too moody and introspective for me to truly relate. I meet all the Gemini stereotypes: I am outgoing, can come off a little immature, and make friends easily. I enjoy reading my horoscope every week, and married an Aquarius, my “most compatible sign.” All this to say, my birthday is coming up.

I’m one of “those” people when it comes to birthdays. I send cards to all my family and friends, I write hysterical birthday texts, and my Instagram is full of birthday wishes. I love singing off key, I love watching gifts get opened, I love EVERYTHING about birthdays. I even love my own birthday and I have a yearlong countdown to June 19. This year though... this year is different. This year, I am suddenly aware of my age, and I must say, I have some weird feelings about turning 26.

I can honestly say that I’m not afraid of aging. I am looking forward to being like 35 and finally feeling like I have my shit together. This year, it isn’t about the age, or realizing my mortality, as with most women, my insecurity is about my mom.

26 was my mom’s biggest year. When she was 26, my mom found out she was pregnant, learned her mother’s stage IV cancer had returned, lost her mom, and then had a baby 6 weeks later. 26 is a looming age, one of those ages I always thought was far away. To be 26, to be old enough to have a child and recover from losing your mom, a person would have to be mature, would have to be aware, would have to have a full handle on the world and on their life. I don’t, and I’m starting to realize, neither did my mom.

My mom wasn’t a full adult, she wasn’t “ready,” she hadn’t gleaned all she needed from her mom when she was 26. She was still finding her way in the world, she was buying her first new car, she was starting her career and marriage, she was just like me. I love being compared to my mom, I love when people tell me we look alike, that we talk the same, and that we have the same interests. I love our similarities, but I really hope that we don’t share the cursed year of 26.

In addition to the shred of looming dread, I really am looking forward to this year. I have started my career, and I’m good at it. I just bought a new car, I can easily afford my rent and monthly expenses for the first time since college, I am getting the hang of this whole being married thing, and I have a sense of confidence that I have not experienced before, and I can’t wait to continue to grow. I have set some personal goals for the year, a few professional ones, and am excited to start tackling them. 26 will be a great year, a year I have always known was coming, and I’m ready for it.  

About Amy

I’m Amy, Michelle’s Chaco wearing, BB Cream and brown mascara using sister-in-law. I love Portland, higher education, and smart boss ladies, specifically Hillary Clinton. You can find me on the internet as @amynelmson.

5 Casual Summer Outfits That Are Perfect for Vacation

It's June! That means summer has arrived and we're all anxiously looking forward to vacation (hopefully...) I know for me, my upcoming vacation felt like a Very Big Deal. I haven't talked about it much, but I've been working on losing weight the last few months; I've managed to shed over 15 pounds, as far as I can estimate, which is a big deal. I'm below my pre-pregnancy weight and I finally feel like clothes look like clothes on me again. 

For that reason, I ~splurged~ and actually bought three new shirts for my vacation. That's right, three shirts and a new pair of $10 Forever 21 jeans is a splurge these days. Oi vei. 

Here are 5 outfits that will be perfect for any summer holiday, regardless of where you're going. 

1. The Disney Outfit

The secret is out: I'm going to Disneyland for my vacation. What can I say? It's my favorite place. This is a perfect outfit for Disneyland: comfy top, comfy jeans, small purse. I don't recommend flip flops; your feet will kill at the end of the day, but some cushioned Vans or sneakers would look cute too. Cool, casual, totally easy. 

2. The Tropical Outfit

If you're the lucky soul who gets to go somewhere sandy and sunny for vacation, well then, this is the outfit for you. A pretty patterned dress will keep you cool and will look great over your bikini. Interesting sandals, sunglasses, and a simply lipstick will mean good Instagram photos. 

3. The Road Trip Outfit

You're going to be in the car, on the move, for a long period of time. Comfy jeans, a pretty hat, and a loose top are perfect. A patterned top is perfect for the car because, if you're like me, you'll spill something on yourself inevitably (or, um, your toddler will launch a juice into the front seat). Comfy flats and simple accessories mean you'll look cute along the way too. 

4. The Explorer Outfit

So you're going to your dream city: Austin, Texas, or New York City, or Los Angeles. This outfit is for you. Comfy, cool, and very hip, you'll fit in. A cute patterned dress, a comfy cardigan (because I always like to have my arms covered), a roomy bag, and some quirky shoes. 

5. The Stay-Cation Outfit

You're harumphing through this post because, harumph, you don't get to go on vacation! Don't worry; this is my first summer vacation in, seriously, six or seven years. If you're staying at home, or maybe just traveling to visit family, you can still get a special outfit. This outfit is perfect for staying at home, going out on the town, or visiting family: a simple, tank top dress topped with your favorite cozy flannel and paired with some killer boots (if you're feeling a little gothy) or some plain black flats or sandals (if you're not feeling so gothy). 

10 Cheap & Easy Summer Date Ideas

cheap and easy summer dates 2017

When I told Danny, my husband, I was writing this post, I said, "Have any date ideas? Cheap and easy?" 

"Cheap and easy? That's you, alright." 

Har har har, very funny. 

But really, as parents to a toddler, we don't have the time or money for elaborate dates anymore. We went to a wedding in April that left me absolutely destroyed for the rest of the week. We were out until 7pm at the latest. Oops. Combine with the fact that I'd rather buy Forrest a new toy than "waste money" on a movie or lunch, we like to keep things simple. 

That was the motivation behind this post: not everyone likes dates that end up with a sad, empty little bank account. Some people want to go on adventures that don't cost money, either because they prefer it or it's a necessity. This post is for those people. 

Here are 10 things that Danny and I love doing together that are cheap, relatively easy to accomplish, and perfect for summer. 

1. Volunteer at your local humane society or rescue. 

If you're the type of person who just wants to pet dogs or play with cats all day, listen, you need to be volunteering at your local animal shelter, humane society, or rescue. Sign up immediately; have your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, whoever sign up with you. Together, you can walk dogs, play with cats, and help a great local organization. Do it. 

2. Go hiking. 

Research your local parks and find a great hiking trail. Danny and I love going on nature walks and hikes together. It's something we can't really do with Forrest yet--I can wear him, but an added 24 pound weight while walking isn't ideal--but it's a super fun date. If a little sweaty. 

3. Visit the lake. 

Have a local lake? Go there. You don't need to bring a picnic or throw a party. Just roll a blanket out on the shores and spend some time together, just you, your honey, and the water. 

4. Go for a drive. 

Back in the old days, going for drives was a big deal. It was something people just did. Sometimes, Danny and I just like to pack up the car, grab a drink (coffee is best in the morning), get a snack, and go driving. We'll eat cookies or crackers, or bring sandwiches... and just drive. 

5. Go antique hunting. 

Have a local place you've been dying to visit? Spending a day looking at antiques, even if you don't buy a thing, is super fun; you can learn tons about history from antique shop owners. 

6. Have an at-home coffee date. 

Brew a pot of coffee and clean up the house together. Then collapse on the couch and chat. A date is all about spending time together, so keep the TV off, turn on some music or a podcast you've been wanting to listen together, and enjoy. 

7. Work out together. 

This is a date that Danny and I love. We've both been working on regularly and we are looking forward to being able to work out together. It's way more fun to do cardio with someone by your side and it's way less intimidating to use that intense equipment in the weight room with a partner. 

8. Go to the library. 

It's nerd paradise, honestly. 

9. Volunteer at a local race or event. 

Is there a local 5K or benefit walk? Sign up! Here in Oregon, there is always a 5K, 10K, or benefit walk/run going on, so it's a great opportunity to sign up, throw orange slices to people who are very good at running long distances, and have fun. 

10. Take on a project together. 

For Danny and I, this would be a way to end our marriage (every time we successfully put together a shelf, I really do belief we are more stable as a couple), but for others, taking on a project, like painting the kitchen or redoing the bathroom, is a great way to spend a weekend, add a little value to your home, and feel super accomplished. 

My Top 5 Books of 2017 (So Far)

Summer Goals.png

We're almost halfway through 2017. Considering I've shared a few book reviews recently instead of, you know, my normal content, I thought I'd share my favorite books of 2017 so far. 

I've been trying to get lots of reading in during the evenings. I've been working out regularly and to fill those long 45 minutes on the stair stepper, I find reading to be the thing that takes my mind away. So without further ado, here are my top 5 books I've read in 2017 so far.  Also, here's to being almost exactly 50% through my 2017 goal! 

1. The Lauras, by Sara Taylor. 

This is just a lovely book. If you're looking for a book with a diverse main character, an enigmatic, interesting, multifaceted mother, and a fun road trip based plot... this really is the one for you. I loved this book intensely and was just thinking of rereading it. 

2. The Night She Died, by Dorothy Simpson

When I first started reading this book, I felt very eye-rolly about it. I didn't think I would like it, but I was totally wrong. It's brilliant. It's just a fun mystery! I like that it seems realistic to police investigations. And of course, being set in the 1970s, it's quite fun. You can read my review on Goodreads here

3. If the Creek Don't Rise, by Leah Weiss

Another beautiful book. I love books set in Appalachia; I think it is both an underserved population and also an underrepresented part of the United States in literature. It has a diverse population, which we don't necessarily see in this book, but nothing is perfect, right? This book is beautiful to read. Pure and simple, it's just a beautiful book. 

4. The Fall of Lisa Bellow, by Susan Perabo 

Another gorgeous book. I've been very into crime-based novels the past few months (replacing my Scottish romance obsession in the winter) and this one is no exception. It's a book that is written in such a way that is so peculiar, but also so interesting; also, it's 100% how a 13-year-old girl would react to trauma. I do wish the ending was better, but the writing really makes up for it. 

5. No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens, by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico

This is my only read nerd moment. This book feels so esoteric because, while City Gardens is famous (TONS of bands have played there), ultimately this book is the recollection of, like, friends about being friends at a place they all went to as late teenagers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It's in New Jersey; I know none of these people; I have never even been to New Jersey. And yet, I read this book because music culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s in New Jersey is a weird little fascination of mine. Anyway, it's a great book, if you like oral historical accounts of music (just like in Please Kill Me, that ultimate punk book). 

Book Review: A Merciful Death, by Kendra Elliot

merciful death book review

Another day, another book review. This one is much better than the last one (Camino Beach is honestly my worst read of 2017 so far).

The book this time is A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot. It's available via Kindle Unlimited if you want to read it on a budget! 

Here's the blurb: 

FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…

This book easily falls into the category of being one of the better FBI/procedural books I've read. Often times, you have to suspend disbelief at every step (especially when FBI agents end up solving their own cases or things like that) and, again, FBI agents would never be assigned to a case related to their own family. 

A lot of the reason I enjoyed this book is because it's set just outside Bend, Oregon. Hey, hello, I'm an Oregonian. I live in a small town not unlike Eagle's Nest. I know tons of people like those described in the book. 

Preppers. 

I know a TON of preppers and people who describe themselves as freemen. So on that level, I was really into this book. It does a good job of walking the line between calling preppers crazy (they're not, they just have super specific beliefs and ways of living) and being realistic in terms of what prepping is really about (dedicating your life to something hazy that may never happen). 

I really liked Mercy as a character. Although, there were a few odd moments in regards to food that I'm not 100% sure about. In restaurants, Mercy only orders salads. With no cheese. Is she a vegan? Preppers (and Mercy, spoiler alert, is a secret prepper still) definitely don't fall into the category of vegan, that's for sure; it's not sustainable lifestyle energy wise in the prepping community. She doesn't get dinner the first night in the hotel and instead eats celery, almond butter, and jerky out of a backpack. Is... Mercy ok? Does she have an eating disorder? Or is this an attempt, by the author, to suggest that Mercy is a delicate little lady flower who could not POSSIBLY eat a big, manly burger? Gasp! What would the menfolks think if an FBI agent ate PROTEIN? I started to get a little annoyed by it, because the lines were so stark: Mercy gets salads and apples and celery; the men get burgers and beer and casseroles.

A lot of Mercy's storyline centers around the treatment of women in the prepping community, so WHY would Mercy still be buying the idea that there are foods men eat and foods women eat? And if that's not the case, why doesn't Mercy order a burger or even just a sandwich once and a while? Maybe she just likes salads, but I'm sorry, no one likes eating warm celery, almond butter, and JERKY in a hotel room by themselves. NOBODY. Don't lie to me. It's just a strange characterization and I cannot see where it fits in within the story, especially given Mercy's other traits of preparedness, doggedness, and focus on physical strength and health. Anyone knows that eating a salad with just salsa, tortilla chips, and olives is not a well-rounded meal; there is no protein in that meal. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the plot. For the first time in a long time, the reveal of the "bad guy" felt like an actual surprise. I didn't guess it 1/4 of the way through like usual. I can't wait for the second in the series to come out on June 6. 

Book Review: Camino Beach, by Amanda Callendrier

camino beach review

It's been a minute since I've posted a book review, but I think I'll be posting more in the future. You can always follow my colorful reviews on Goodreads here. Let's get started! 

This book is Camino Beach, by Amanda Callendrier. It's a debut novel and here's a teaser description: 

In this poignant debut loaded with humor, heartbreak, and Southern charm, old friends road-trip their way to solving a mystery and righting a long-ago wrong.

I was attracted purely because of this description, because I love Southern novels; I love road trip stories; and I love mysteries. 

Friends, this book was absolutely none of those things. Note: this review does contain spoilers to the entire nonexistent plot of this book. 

The setting was absolutely nonexistent. If you removed the specific town name, you could plop this novel down in any setting and it would be exactly the same, minus Myrtle Beach. And spoiler alert, they spend approximately 12 hours in Myrtle Beach in one of the most useless and rambling plot lines ever. 

Most importantly, do you want to read a book full of absolutely repulsive characters who have absolutely no conscience or self-awareness? This is the book for you then. 

TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains the sexual abuse of a teenager by a teacher. It is treated like said teenager "cheating" on his girlfriend. It never acknowledges that he was sexually abused by a teacher in a position of power. This is abhorrent. It happens near the end of the book; if it had been "revealed" earlier, I would have put it on my "do not finish" list. I just want to warn you. I didn't like the book before this was revealed, but it made me absolutely sick that I'd obligated myself to review it. 

In 1997, Sarah and Kristen were just two absolutely awful teenage girls in some vague Southern Town. They graduated high school, went on to college, graduated, and went onto equally disappointing lives: Sarah is divorced, lives in an apartment above the bookstore she owns, and routinely treats her next door neighbor/former classmate/best friend, Jack, like absolutely crap; on the opposite end of the spectrum, Kristen is a tiny, blonde former gymnast who married a big ol' slob named Chris (yes, they are both named Kris/Chris) and has three anonymous children that she never talks about except to complain about them. She works some kind of job, but otherwise, buys Jimmy Choos, lives in a McMansion, and drives a Rover. 

In high school, there was a third friend, Roxanne, the only likable one in the bunch. Roxanne was impulsive, self-destructive, and, most of all, fun. However, she disappeared before they graduated and while they did call local boarding schools after her mom (their gym teacher, inexplicably) told them she was sent to boarding school, they didn't do much to find her. 

Except when their 20 year high school reunion rolls around. 

Kristen decides it's time to bite the bullet and find Roxanne. Sarah, our primary narrator, is nervous because she did something "awful" that she is sure is the cause of Roxanne's disappearance. They go on a saga to buy an El Camino because Roxanne owned one. This takes up approximately 1/3 of the book. They buy an El Camino named Elvira. 

Jack decides to join them for the trip to Myrtle Beach, after Kristen's private investigator turns up an address for Roxanne there. We are treated to multiple unpleasant scenes were Sarah is an absolute nightmare of a human to her ex-husband. 

Ok, slight diversion from going over the plot: Sarah got divorced because... reasons? It's never fully explained, which is fine, but she treats her ex like absolute garbage. Why? Because Sarah is a garbage person. There, I said it. Take this character and throw her away; she is a self-centered, obnoxious, mean, vile human being. There is nothing redeemable about Sarah as a character. I do not understand why she has friends or why she received this characterization. She sucks. She divorced her husband because he was slightly resistant to her taking out a loan to buy a bookstore. Listen, do you know how much of a struggle it is to own an independent bookstore? It is NOT easy. I love bookstores and I'd be hesitant too! But this book apparently takes place in an alternate reality where people go to bookstores all the time. Her ex-husband is a professor, a fact that they make fun of every time he is mentioned. That's right, he's the only person in the book who uses his brain and they treat him like dirt. Cool. 

They head for Myrtle Beach. Along the way, they stop in Sarah's college down and Kristen, another garbage person, destroys a college students senior project. Seriously. 

They get to Myrtle Beach and find a hotel that is $60 a night, but also has a bar beside the pool. There are so many awful, useless parts to this book, but the road trip to Myrtle Beach (the only road trip) only takes up about 5 chapters, tops, and is super pointless. 

The next morning, they surprise drop into Roxanne's address. Surprise, it's not Roxanne. It's her mom, Mrs. Wilder, their mean gym teacher. She has no idea where Roxanne is. Cool! They leave, meet Jack's college roommate Bert for margaritas, get drunk in a Mexican restaurant, and then they all get into a massive fight. 

Then, they go home. There is no plot.

This is the part of the novel where I stopped caring. It was so anticlimactic. They literally just go home. Kristen gets a bug in her butt to go check school records; they do and guess what? The school has all their school records. Listen, a records room with your "official record" is a thing that literally doesn't exist. But whatever, in alternate reality where garbage people are allowed to flourish, it's real. It's so exhausting to have this scene. As if there is some giant room in every public school where they keep every piece of banal information about every kid that ever stepped in the building. 

Anyway, they end up finding a sticky note on the back of Roxanne's file with the number of a school that's in, you guessed it, Sarah's college town. They do no research and go. They find Roxanne. She's perfectly normal, living in a nice little house with her daughter, also named Sarah. She is pleasant and happy, but she's not the Roxanne they know. 

Ok, let's back up a minute: throughout all these scenes, we get treated to scenes from high school Sarah. HS Sarah is somehow 400x worse than present day Sarah; she is boring, mean, and absolutely obsessed with herself. So, the entire novel I thought the bad thing she did to Roxanne would be huge: she ratted out Roxanne about drugs or she actually murdered her or SOMETHING. No. Here's what she did: she signed a statement saying that Roxanne had been cheating off her homework to avoid getting her scholarship taken away. 

I'm sorry, but that's not awful. That's barely even bad. That's literally what every teenager would do if they were caught to be helping their friend cheat. Roxanne had been cheating off Sarah; Sarah admitted it; and...?

Anyway, in their meeting with Roxanne, it turns out that's NOT why Roxanne left school. She left because her mom had been messing around with Roxanne's boyfriend. So the principal helped her transfer schools and leave. Cool for Roxanne. She met her current husband, got pregnant, got married. She chilled. Never once does anyone say, "Holy crap, your mom sexually abused a student?" No, they act like her boyfriend Mark cheated on her. These. People. Are. Garbage. 

So, after all that time, the bad thing Sarah did didn't even matter. It's not even part of the story. The only person who cares about it is Sarah because she's obsessed with herself. 

Kristen and Sarah then leave.

Because Sarah is obsessed with her stupid self, she goes to visit the former principal to ask WHY he made her sign that statement. I'm not sure why. It's pretty obvious. They were busting Roxanne, rightfully, for cheating. The principal basically says he just did it to make a point and that it's ok that she signed it because all teenagers do selfish stuff. No kidding, the principal, even though we're supposed to see him as some kind of delusional mean guy, is the only intelligent character in this book; he looks Sarah dead in the face and is like, "people usually grow out of being so selfish, but whatever, you seem like a piece of work." 

Sarah feels enlightened and goes to Kristen's house. Kristen had spent tons of time complaining about her husband; however, when Sarah brings up this past conversation in relation to her talk with the principal, Kristen acts like Sarah is accusing her of something. Listen, Kristen, I know you're a few slices short of a whole pie, but follow along. Kristen ends up getting a new shower head and is suddenly in a better mood, proving that she's an absolutely repulsive, stupid character and Sarah isn't much better. 

So Sarah leaves, feeling pretty low. She calls Bert to ask him to go to the reunion with her and he says no, because Jack made it clear he likes Sarah. Jack is a pushover and while he is pretty obnoxious, he deserves better than Sarah, a woman who literally never thinks of anyone but herself. 

So Sarah goes to the reunion with Jack and proceeds to get drunk within, like, 5 minutes. Then Mark, Roxanne's high school boyfriend who was sexually abused by a teacher, comes up and asks about Roxanne. Sarah, who is awful, acts belligerent and causes a scene; then Jack punches a man who was sexually abused as a teenager by a teacher and they act like he's a hero. Wow, I'm so glad I read this book. 

Kristen and Roxanne then bust into the reunion, dressed to the nines. They all go outside and make the real Camino Beach and get even more drunk in the back of it. It turns out, Roxanne did name her daughter after Sarah (WHY) and apparently had watched Sarah a few times while she was at college because she literally lived in the same town. This is proof that Sarah is totally self-absorbed; Roxanne had been in this sandwich place once while Sarah was there and SARAH DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE. 

Eventually, Jack confesses that, actually, he really likes Sarah. They kiss. It's totally inexplicable why Jack likes her because, again, Sarah is an absolute garbage can of a human being. 

If you want to read a book about the most self-absorbed awful people in the entire universe, go ahead. Read it. I have no idea why it was written. A bunch of boring, mean white women going on an adventure to find the friend they treated like crap 20 years ago. Nothing redeemable. Nothing to learn. Awful people not getting their comeuppance.