Rules of Summer- Book Review

June 2, 2016

rules-of-summer-by-joanna-philbinAuthor: Joanna Philbin

Series: Rules of Summer (book 1)

Genre: YA

Pages: 368

I recently read Rules of Summer, the first book in a series of the same name, by Joanna Philbin. The story centers around two girls summering in the Hamptons. The girls are from two completely different worlds and are there for two totally different reasons.

Isabel Rule is the youngest daughter of the Rule family. She’s kind of a black sheep. She doesn’t fit in well with her older siblings, she isn’t interested in the same things as her peers from the exclusive Georgica Club and doesn’t really feel the love from her parents either. She’s been living in California at a boarding school and this is her first time being back with her family since she’s been away.

Rory McShane is coming to the Hamptons from New Jersey. She’s a pretty good student with two best friends and no boyfriend to speak of. Her family consists of a mom who can’t really take of herself and a revolving door of step-dads-to-be. Rory doesn’t want to deal with her home life nor does she want to work at Mario’s pizza place again. So, when her aunt hooks her up with a gig to be an errand girl for an uber rich family for the summer, she is totally down. If only the Rule’s youngest daughter was such a terror.

Rules of Summer was a very fun read. The first chapter was a little slow though, I think I read one of the pages like three times. But after that, it totally takes off!  Hot guys and surfing, make overs and family secrets. This book has a little bit of everything. It’s not very deep, I’ll admit, but the story does have some heart. As the summer progresses, Rory and Isabel learn more about each other and come to realize that they aren’t all that different. Despite only being in high school, they both want to experience true love, to be understood my their families and to be more independent. Like any YA novel worth its salt, there are secrets, misunderstandings, missed opportunities and mean girls. There were some unresolved issues at the end that frustrated me until I learned that there would be a sequel. I really did like this book and I plan on reading the second one soon.

This book came out in paperback right as the summer of 2014 was kicking off, so here are the hottest songs from that summer to set the mood!

If this book interests you, check out the links below to experience it for yourself!



Isabel’s Bellini

June 1, 2016

IMG_4379Now, I do not condone underage drinking in anyway but I didn’t make the Rules, Joanna Philbin did. Lol, see what I did there? Isabel Rule? The characters’ last na-. Oh never mind.

Anyway, Isabel loves her champagne. This drink is totally yummy and perfect for summer.


You will need:

1 medium peach, peeled and pureed

4-6oz Champagne (cold)

Raspberry or Strawberry sauce/syrup

Pint glass



If you want to easy on the wallet sub the Champagne for Sparkling white wine. Or, for a non-alcoholic version, use sparkling apple cider.



Swirl your chosen sauce/syrup around the inside of the glass.

Pour the peach puree into the glass and slowly add Champagne. Gently stir it with a tall spoon and be careful to not touch the sides.

Mike’s Doritos Casserole

May 31, 2016


Mike lives in tiny shack-like house with a couple of his surfer bros. Joanna Philbin’s description of his place makes you feel gross. Like, if you ever actually went there, you would need to strip off your clothes in the garage and take a shower as soon as you got home. A hot boy does not equal a clean home in this book and just because he lives in the Hamptons(ish) doesn’t mean he has a ton of money.

Enter Mike’s Doritos Casserole. You probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already.

You will need:

Rice 3 cups (I use microwavable Minute Rice)

Water 3 cups

Doritos large bag (not the family sized one)

Velveeta Cheese (1/2 large block or 2 small ones)

Milk ¼ cup

Ground Beef 1 lb

Jimmy Dean hot sausage 1 tube

Bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I like Ragu’s Chunky Sun-dried Tomato and Sweet Basil)

13×9 baking pan or casserole dish, small pot, large frying pan, large mixing bowl, strainer

Oven, stove, microwave


Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In large bowl combine rice and water and microwave per the box’s instructions. Minute rice will take 10 mins.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and the hot sausage together in the frying pan.

While that cooks, cube the cheese and toss it in the small pot with the milk on medium high. Frequently stir this so it won’t burn. It should be very smooth.

All three things should be done at about the same time. Strain the meat and remove the cheese from the heat.

Add the meat, cheese and entire bottle of spaghetti sauce to the rice bowl. (I said it should be big haha.) Mix thoroughly.

Crunch up the entire bag of Doritos, then add it to the bowl!

Mix, mix, mix. Transfer to the casserole dish.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 mins. Remove foil and bake for another 10 mins.

Alternative:   If you want to assemble one day and then bake on the next you will have to refrigerate it and then bake for 25 mins covered and 10 mins uncovered.


This unexpected casserole is absolutely amazing and I double-dog dare you to take this to Thanksgiving dinner this year!