Category Archives: Life

Monthly Book Round-Up: March

I’m a bit behind on my book round-up. I always try to do this the first week in April, but with vacation and then just trying to get back into my routine, I completely spaced. And now it’s almost the end of April, and I’m just getting to it.

While spring is finally here (it took long enough!), March was definitely still cold and gross. We had a couple of nice days, but for the most part, it was just yuck. Which meant I spent a lot of time reading. Not as much as I have in the past, but I certainly enjoyed sitting on my couch and reading a good book. I read some books for work as well, so I’ll only be discussing the ones I read outside of work.

Here we go!

david macUnsplash // David Mac


Everything Beautiful Began After – Simon Booy

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor. Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about….and then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.

Verdict: I was kind of in the middle with this book. I loved the story concept. I thought the descriptions and detail in the book was good. But the book kind of let me down. I think I had higher expectations for it (even though it was a $.99 find!) because the reviews were pretty good for it, but I found it just to be mediocre. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate, but probably wouldn’t recommend it.


Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (from Goodreads): For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.

Verdict: I’m a big Jodi Picoult fan. I always have been. And this one did not disappoint. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I work in a field where I’m surrounded by spirituality, mediums, and so on, but this book really struck a chord with me and I couldn’t put it down. It was a bit different for a Picoult story, but a good one none the less.


Survival Lessons – Alice Hoffman

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fifteen years ago, Alice Hoffman received a diagnosis that changed everything about the life she’d been living. Most significant, aside from the grueling physical ordeal she underwent, was the way it changed how she felt inside and what she thought she ought to be doing with her days. Now she has written the book that she needed to read then. In this honest, wise, and upbeat guide, Alice Hoffman provides a road map for the making of one’s life into the very best it can be. As she says, “In many ways I wrote this book to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. There were many times when I forgot about roses and starry nights. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it’s impossible to have one without the other. . . . I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still some choices I could make.

Verdict: If I was going through a health crisis, or knew someone that was, I would definitely recommend this book to them. I had gotten this book when it was on sale. I didn’t realize it was short (under 100 pages) and more of quick thoughts, not an actual memoir, when I bought it. But, I’m happy it was the first thing I’ve read by Alice Hoffman because now I know more about her personal story, and know that she is a phenomenal writer.


Life in Motion – Misty Copeland

To read more on this book, check out my book review that was posted for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club.


Life Among Giants – Bill Roorbach

Synopsis (from Goodreads): An exploration of lives touched by greatness and tragedy in equal measure, Roorbach’s latest novel traces towering Princeton graduate and NFL player–cum–restaurateur David “Lizard” Hochmeyer in his attempt to unravel the tangled conspiracy behind his parents’ murder in 1970. When his parents are killed in front of him at a restaurant, David believes the culprits are connected to his neighbor, the elegant ballerina Sylphide, whose rock star husband also died under mysterious circumstances, and with whom David has fallen heedlessly in love. As David trades a career in football for one in food, his sister, Kate, a tennis star with “tough girl” endorsements, slides into paranoia over their parents’ deaths. It is a soapy and thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts, a sensory abundance that fails to mitigate the sorrows of David’s youth.

Verdict: I had a hard time with this book. The synopsis drew me in. It sounded so interesting. The premise was good, but it was almost too descriptive. And it bounced around quite a bit, which could get confusing. And I don’t get confused easily. Let’s leave it as this. There were parts I enjoyed. There were parts I just wanted to get through. And there were parts that were neither here nor there. Read if you wish. Perhaps you’ll like it more than me.


Help for the Haunted – John Searles

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Verdict: Another book I thought sounded pretty incredible. Thankfully I wasn’t as disappointed with this one. I always love a good mystery/ghost story, and was thrilled to get my hands on this one. While it was a mystery of sorts, it didn’t have as much of the paranormal aspect as I had hoped. But, it was a good story nonetheless, and I enjoyed getting lost in it.

I hope you enjoyed the March round-up! April’s will be here before you know it! Guess I better get reading 😉


(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

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Life in Motion by Misty Copeland – A Book Club Link-Up

I can’t believe March is already coming to a close. How is this year flying by this fast? I’m not complaining though. After the winter we had in New England, I am more than ready to say buh-bye to the winter months.

With it being the end of March, it also means it’s time for SarahOhm.com’s Blogger Book Club March link up! And I’m really excited to share my book with you all this month!

March Book Club

March’s Theme

A biography of someone you’ve been meaning to learn more about

What I Read

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

Synopsis (From Goodreads)

“Picture a ballerina in a tutu and toe shoes. What does she look like?”

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

When she discovered ballet, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. But when Misty became caught between the control and comfort she found in the world of ballet and the harsh realities of her own life (culminating in a highly publicized custody battle), she had to choose to embrace both her identity and her dreams, and find the courage to be one of a kind.

With an insider’s unique point of view, Misty opens a window into the life of a professional ballerina who lives life center stage: from behind the scenes at her first auditions to her triumphant roles in some of the most iconic ballets. But in this beautifully written memoir, she also delves deeper to reveal the desire and drive that made her dreams reality.

Life in Motion is a story of passion and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.

Why I Chose This Book

I first learned about Misty Copeland through the Under Armour ads she recently did. I’m not a dancer, nor have I ever been one (unless you count those few dances I took when I was five). But I’ve always loved ballerinas. Perhaps it’s their exquisite grace, their gentle way of moving, and their ability to tell a story through movement. But when I heard of Misty Copeland, and how she decided to tell her story not only through dance, but through words, I couldn’t not choose this book.

My Thoughts

I enjoyed every moment of this book. How she became a ballerina, where she came from, her struggles, her triumphs, and everything in between. I don’t want to say too much without giving away much of the book, since it’s a biography, but it’s a great read. And talk about a role model. Not just for African-American women and girls, but for women and girls of all races. She had a dream, and a talent, and she pursued it.

Even if you’re not a dancer, check out this book. It will leave you inspired, and perhaps even googling videos of Misty Copeland’s ballets. I know I did.

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Stay tuned for next month’s book club pick, and make sure to check out all of my fellow book club member’s picks too!


Let’s Have Coffee and Chat {3/25/15}

Happy Hump Day my friends. It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve posted. Sorry about that. Time gets ahead of sometimes. And unfortunately, the blog takes the hit.

Since it’s been a couple weeks, let’s catch up!

Lets Have Coffee

If we were having coffee, I would tell you…

WE LEAVE FOR VEGAS IN 4 DAYS.

I’m not excited or anything…. BUT IN 4 DAYS WE WILL BE LEAVING FOR VEGAS. Any questions? No, okay good. Because I’ll just keeping yelling about how we are leaving for Vegas. I can’t even wait for 90s and sun and the desert and cold drinks, and yeah. I just can’t wait. But don’t worry, the blog won’t be dark last week. I have a some posts already lined up and ready to go!

BlogHer is awesome.

I made a great connection though BlogHer with the Blogging and Social Media editor, who also runs the #MicroblogMonday linkups at Stirrup-Queens, and she’s been pushing my posts to the homepage at least twice a month. I even had my first syndicated/original post go live there last week. It’s been so incredible to see people actually enjoying what I write, and I feel very blessed to have something I’m passionate about. In fact, another post was pushed to the homepage today!

If you haven’t checked out Melissa’s blog, you should.

The gluten-free thing lasted about a day.

Then stress set in. And since I’m a stress-eater, I gave in to the carbs. Not like overload, but I ate them. Anyways, after our trip I’ll be back to focusing on the healthier side of my life. I won’t have a choice. It will be time to start trying on wedding dresses and planning a wedding!

We’re finally getting some spring-like weather.

Two weeks ago, it was nearly 60 degrees. Then it dropped back into the 20s and 30s, where we were stuck for like a week. We’re crawling back into the 40s today and 50s tomorrow. Followed by more 30s. But, it’s not snowing and it’s not below zero. So I’m considering this a win.

Butter pecan coffee is back at Dunkin’ Donuts.

I’m beyond obsessed with this flavor. They need to keep it year-round. It’s like drinking spring out of a cup. It’s probably awful for you, but I don’t even care. It’s delicious.

Have a wonderful day!

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Monthly Book Round-Up: February

Another month down, another book round-up. I think I like doing this much more than individual reviews! Sure, less blog content, but this isn’t a blog all about books. And if I wrote reviews for every single thing I read, we would have at least a couple reviews per week.

In February, I read 6 books. Still not a huge amount for me, but better than January. Let’s get right into it shall we.

Book Round Up February

Unsplash // James Tarbotton


Found in You – Laurelin Paige

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Alayna Withers has only had one kind of relationship: the kind that makes her obsessive and stalker-crazy. Now that Hudson Pierce has let her into his heart, she’s determined to break down the remaining walls between them so they can build a foundation that’s based on more than just amazing sex. Except Hudson’s not the only one with secrets.

With their pasts pulling them into a web of unfounded mistrust, Alayna turns to the one person who knows Hudson the best—Celia, the woman he almost married. Hoping for insight from someone who understands all sides of the story, Alayna forms a bond with Celia that goes too far—revealing things about Hudson that could end their love for good.

This is the first relationship where Alayna hasn’t spiraled out of control. And she might lose Hudson anyway…

Verdict:  I first introduced this trilogy in my January Book Round-Up. And since I can’t put books down, no matter how much I don’t like it, I continued to read it. The second book continued to disappoint. I was bored. And I couldn’t wait to finish it, purely because it meant I could read the third one and be done with this series. Seriously, if you do decide to read this, I hope you find it more enjoyable than I did.


Forever with You – Laurelin Paige

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Alayna Withers relationship with Hudson Pierce has tested both her and his ability to trust. They decide that the only way they can move forward together is with open doors and transparency. It won’t be easy for the scarred lovers, but they’re committed to each other more now than ever. Alayna, in particular, has grown through their trials, and has emerged more confident and faithful to the man she loves.

But while the pair is focused on the future, their past shows up again to threaten their fragile bond. Promises that were made are broken, and Alayna learns that Hudson still has very potent secrets—secrets that will tear them both apart. As much as she feels for him, her ability to forgive and forget is tested beyond her limits.

Even though she found the only man who could fix her, a forever with Hudson seems more and more out of reach.

Verdict: The trilogy ended better than I thought it would. I didn’t mind this one and found it to be tolerable to read. Would I recommend this series based on the final book? No. I still don’t recommend it. But if you want to give it a chance, feel free.


Saddled – Susan Richards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (from GoodReads): One day, at the age of thirty-one, Susan Richards realized that she was an alcoholic. She wrote it down in her journal, struck by the fact that it had taken nine years of waking up hung-over to name her illness. What had changed?

Susan had a new horse, a spirited Morgan named Georgia, and, as she says: “It had something to do with Georgia. It had something to do with making a commitment as enormous as caring for a horse that might live as my companion for the next forty years. It had something to do with love.” Every day begins with a morning ride.

This is a memoir about the power of animals to carry us through the toughest times of our lives—about the importance of constancy, the beauty of quiet, steadfast love, the way loving a good (and sometimes bad!) animal can keep you going. It’s a wonderful story for Susan’s (and Georgia’s) fans, and for anyone who has ever loved an animal enough to keep on living.

Verdict:  Despite loving horses, I don’t read many horse-related books. However, when I saw this one, I knew I needed to read it. I know the healing power of a bond with a horse. I could relate to Susan. Not in terms of abuse and alcoholism, but with that unbreakable bond. I really enjoyed this book, and whether you’ve been around horses or not, you will too. It’s more about their relationship than about horses. And if you’re an animal lover, you’ll relate.


The Wedding Dress – Rachel Hauck

Synopsis (From GoodReads): Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Verdict: This was my book club pick for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club. You can read my review here.


Three Graves Full – Jamie Mason

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

“There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

But it could always be worse. . . .

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancé, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn’t necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.

Jamie Mason’s irrepressible debut is a macabre, darkly humorous tale with the thoughtful beauty of a literary novel, the tense pacing of a thriller, and a clever twist of suspense.

Verdict: Meh. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. Parts of it were really good and grabbed me. Other parts were boring and I started to lose interest. The story itself was good. I liked the characters and their interactions. It’s a book I wouldn’t rave about, but wouldn’t tell you not to read it.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, quirky, but still had a really good story. It’s a different look at mental illness and how it can effect a person and a family. It was quick and easy read, and I was happy to end February with it.


Well, there you have it; the February Book Round Up! On to March, and spring!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

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Let’s Have Coffee and Chat {3/3/15}

It’s been about 6 weeks since my last coffee date chat. I think we are well over due.

So grab your beverage of choice, settle in and let’s catch up!

Lets Have Coffee

If we were having coffee, I would tell you….

All about my blog and photography website re-do.

If you’ve been reading the blog, they you’ve noticed the new look. I finally found a design I loved, and that I felt was very me as well as customizable, so I went with it. I found it on Etsy and couldn’t be more thrilled with it. I have a few more little tweaks to do here and there, but nothing too major. I’m in the process of updating all the categories now.

As for my photography website, I’ve been trying to find something very me as well. What I love about my new design is that it already has my colors built into it, and it’s just fun. Plus it blends fairly well with the blog! I’d love to hear what you think of both in the comments!

We leave for Las Vegas in 27 days.

26 if you don’t count the actual day we leave. We can’t wait. I’m excited to begin the wedding planning adventure, but I’m also excited for vacation, and 80 degree weather. But between now and then, I have a lot of other things to get done (taxes, root canal, etc.) Las Vegas can’t come soon enough.

Spring needs to get here…now.

I think we can all agree here. It’s been cold for like 6 straight weeks. Like under 20 cold. We’ve had more than enough snow. It’s March. It’s time for consistent 40 degree weather. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 40s, which will be a nice break, but then back to the cold.

I really want a treadclimber.

Is that random? Yes. It’s random. But I think they look fun. And if I think a piece of exercise equipment looks fun, then it’s probably worth buying. The only downfall? The price tag. I can’t justify spending $3,000 on a piece of equipment when I barely use my $20 a month gym membership. But a girl can dream.

I’m working towards going gluten-free.

I’ve known for a long time that I have a really hard time with food with gluten in it, some things more than others (beer being the biggest culprit). But with some trial and error, and realizing how awful I feel after eating it, I’ve realized that I need to try to harder to cut it out of my diet. I love bread. And pasta. And beer. And I know they have all of it gluten-free, but it’s just not the same. So I’m working towards cutting it out. I know I should just go cold-turkey, but I’m just cutting out the biggest culprits first, and then working from there. I really love this infographic from MindBodyGreen which I find helpful. Today is officially Day 1.

Any suggestions? I’d love to hear them. Boy is it hard. But I know my body, and my skin, will thank me later.

Daylight savings is this weekend.

And I can’t even wait for extra daylight when I leave work. Even when it’s still cold out, it makes everything seem so much better.

Have a great Tuesday!

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SarahOhm.com February Blogger Book Club Link Up!

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of February. I can’t say I’m upset though. It’s been a long month. It feels like we’ve been suffering through the longest winter ever. I guess in a way we have since we’ve gotten a year’s worth of snow IN A MONTH!

Moving on.

I mentioned SarahOhm.com’s Blogger Book Club a few weeks back in a post (and how I forgot about January), and it’s that time of the month where we review our books and do our link up! I’m so excited.

February Book Club Pick


February’s theme

A Love Story

What I Read

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Synopsis (from GoodReads)

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

Why I chose this book

I won’t lie. I had this on Nook already. I bought it for 1.99 months ago, and it just sat there. So when I saw the theme was a love story, I figured, why not? I was drawn to this book because of the pretty wedding dress on the cover, and the title. I mean, I’m getting married and anything wedding-related these days perks my interest.

My thoughts

I enjoyed it. It held my interest. Again, probably more so because of the wedding theme then anything else. But I also grew to love the main character, Charlotte. She seemed like someone I could grab coffee with and talk about life. She’s fashionable. She could help me find my own wedding dress. And I liked the other little stories woven throughout the book, specifically the significance of the wedding dress. I mean, the book is about the dress, but you come to learn it’s so much more than the dress. It’s a both romantic and historic. That’s all I’m going to say because it’s one of those books that it would be easy to give quite a bit away.

It had gotten really mixed reviews. People were sounding off saying it had too many religious undertones, or the book was pushing religion too much.

Now, I’m not a religious person. But I did not find this book to push too much religion. Yes, the characters were religious, but they weren’t going to church every 5 minutes and something about Him was not mentioned every other word. So in my book (no pun intended), this didn’t push religion. It just had religious characters.

Would I recommend this? Sure. Would it be at the top of my list of books to recommend? No. It was…good. It didn’t blow me away. But it wasn’t horrible. Mediocre I guess would be the right word.

3 out of 5 stars. A take it or leave it kind of book.

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Stay tuned for next month’s book club pick, and make sure to check out all of my fellow book club member’s picks too!


 

I Celebrate Valentine’s Day Every Day

First, thank you to everyone who chimned in on my blogging thoughts yesterday! It really meant a lot!

Valentine’s Day is almost here. That special Hallmark holiday that comes once a year where people give gifts and cards to their loved ones to show their love. It seems like each year it becomes more about what to buy than how to celebrate.

I’m seeing a lot more articles written to help with what to buy and what to do for Valentine’s Day, such as 6 Valentine’s Day Dos and Don’ts, The Ultimate Guide to Buying Valentine’s Day Flowers and What Women Really Want for Valentines’ Day.

But not many articles on how to celebrate your love.

I remember when Valentine’s Day was such a huge deal to me. Back when we were in elementary school and we passed out those adorable paper valentines in a box. We made special envelopes to leave taped to our desks, and our teachers made sure we gave a valentine to everyone in class so no one felt left out.

After elementary school, middle school and high school were just confusing.

Did I want a Valentine? Didn’t I? What if I have one? What happens then? What if I don’t have one, but someone gives me something, and I don’t want to be their Valentine? What if I don’t get anything?

Yes. Confusing is the best way to describe those years.

I worked at a gift shop throughout high school and college. And during that time, I witnessed so many people running in the night before Valentine’s Day to buy cards, presents, candy… whatever they could find. That’s when I realized that this holiday was becoming less about celebrating your love, and more about buying your significant other something to physically show them your love, with a material object.

Why I Celebrate Valentines Day

I’m engaged. I have a Valentine for the rest of my life. And I’m madly in love with him.

But I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love. We celebrate it every day.

Sure, I love flowers. I love jewelry. But do I expect it on Valentines Day? Absolutely not.

All I need on Valentine’s Day is a simple text telling me he loves me while we are both at work, followed by a cozy dinner in and watching our favorite movies. Just like any other night.

In my world, love is much larger than a single day. Love isn’t in the material objects you receive. Love isn’t in the cards, the chocolates or the teddy bears.

Love is in that look between you and your partner when you’re together. Love are those words you never have to utter because your partner knows exactly what you’re thinking. Love is enjoying every moment together, no matter how large or small.

Love is enjoying your normal routine, whether you exercise together, go out to dinner often, or just enjoy sitting on the couch and watching your favorite movies over and over.

Love is so much more than a single holiday.

Which is why I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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Cabin Fever.

I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from such terrible cabin fever. Every winter I deal with a bout with it. I think most New Englanders do. It’s cold. It’s snowy. There isn’t as much sunlight.

On the positive side, at least the sun is starting to set a bit later now. At least when it’s out it does.

But after being buried under over six feet of snow in just 2 weeks, I can officially say that my cabin fever has hit an all-time high.

Cabin FeverUnsplash // Breather

I’m not a snow bunny. I don’t enjoy skiing. I’ve never been snowboarding, but I’m guessing I’ll have the same feeling towards it as I do skiing. I don’t mind playing in the snow, but I don’t like getting wet and cold. The only thing I really like about snow is taking pictures in it.

I am thinking about buying snowshoes. Just to give something in the snow a try. Who knows. Maybe I’ll find a winter activity I’ll actually enjoy.

Needless to say, I’ve had enough of winter. I’m over the snow. I’m over the arctic cold that seems to follow every storm (can we say windchills below zero at least once a week?). I’m over wearing eight layers of clothes no matter where I go.

During yesterday’s storm, where we got another 18 inches, all I wanted to do was get in my car and drive somewhere. Now I know that would have been stupid, and not feasible, but that’s how bad my cabin fever was. So I continued to get some work done from home, all while trying to imagine being in a warmer climate.

Cabin fever can be an adventure in itself – think The Shining. Thankfully, I’m not at that point, nor would I ever, but I’m definitely to my breaking point with it. I’m trying to conquer it. I’m trying to get myself into a more consistent workout routine. I’m taking advantage and reading more (if that’s even possible). I’m trying to relax more.

Cabin fever just makes me cranky, with zero motivation. So the above tasks seem even harder than normal. I pretty much either want to:

a) Run around in the sunshine (clearly not happening anytime soon.)

or

b) Sleep until spring. Hibernation sounds like an excellent solution at this point. Now I know why bears do it.

But I’m definitely feeling the burn. And am anxiously awaiting the snow, and the cold, to stop. I don’t think it will be happening anytime soon though. We’re due for another storm on Thursday into Friday, with the potential for blizzard conditions.

Sigh. This is definitely the winter that won’t end. Can we please just have a break from the snow and cold? Like one sunny 40 degree day is all I’m asking for. That’s it!

Is anyone else suffering from horrible cabin fever this winter?

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Monthly Book Round-up – January

Since I seem to fail at doing individual book reviews, I’ve decided I’ll do a round-up of what I read the previous month. Just seems easier. I’ll be doing book reviews for the books I read for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club, but for the rest, it will just be a round-up.

As you all know, I read a lot. I love reading. I have since I was a child. I love escaping into a new world through books. The last few years, I’ve made the goal of reading 100 books. While I’ve come close, I haven’t quite reached that goal yet. So this year, I decided not to set a goal. Mainly so I could get remember why I love to read. That it’s not about reading as many books as possible, but enjoying the process.

I read 5 books in January. One of which was over 600 pages, but well worth the read. I’ve had some books on my Nook since last year that I wanted to read, so that’s what the month of January (and beginning of February) has been about. Here we go!

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The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The Best of Me is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

Verdict: I always love a good Nicholas Sparks book. I don’t like to admit it, but sometimes, you just need a good romance novel and a good cry. This one was good. The love story was reminiscent of many of his previous books, but with a really solid twist. I enjoyed it, and I really want to see the movie now.


 Summer House – Nancy Thayer

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After years of wandering from whim to whim, thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche. The free spirit enjoys running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family’s seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte’s skill with plants is bringing her success, cultivating something deeper with people–particularly her handsome neighbor Coop–might be more of a challenge. As summer progresses, these three women–Charlotte, Nona, and Helen–come to terms with the decisions they have made. Revisiting the lives and loves that have crossed their paths and the possibilities of the roads not taken, they may just discover that what they’ve always sought was right in front of them all along.

Verdict: I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always drawn to anything that has summer, beach, etc. in the title and I figured the cold winter would be a good time to read it; let me escape to a warmer place. But what I discovered was a wonderfully written story of family dynamics, and I loved reading every minute.


Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books— one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Verdict: Okay. I love Jodi Picoult. And I loved that she wrote a book with her daughter. And I thought the concept was so interesting, and totally different. And as someone who was always reading in middle and high school, I definitely could relate to Delilah (although, I wasn’t a loner.) But the idea of “What happens to the book’s characters when we close the book?” – incredible.


The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches–with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Verdict: I loved these entire trilogy. I loved the way this book wrapped up the trilogy. I wish she would write more books, not necessarily for this trilogy just in general. I want this trilogy made into a movie. Seriously, I loved it. And I’m not one to enjoy supernatural-type books. It’s incredible. If you don’t mind putting the time into it (each book is a minimum of 500 pages), then read them. You won’t be disappointed.


Fixed on You – Laurelin Paige

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it. Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

Verdict: Okay. So, this is one of those books that I’ve had on my Nook since last year. I bought the entire trilogy for $1.99. I really liked the Fifty Shades of Grey series (even though I can’t really stand erotica novels), and I’ve read a few other series similar since. Mainly because they’ve been cheap. The first book in this series was… good. Enough for me to move onto the second. If your a romance/erotica fan,  you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t, but liked Fifty Shades of Grey, don’t read it because you’ll be annoyed and disappointed.


And that is my January book round-up! Stay tuned for February!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

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Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club

It’s no joke that I love to read. I’ve talked a lot about my love (addiction?) for reading on the blog before, but now I’m really excited to announce my participation with a really cool idea that my fellow blogger, Sarah Ohm, came up with.

In December, she polled several bloggers who are known for their healthy lifestyle blogs to see if anyone would be interested in joining a blogger book club. She got a great response and Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club was born.

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We have themes for each month, listed below, and at the end of every month we link up. I, of course, being as flaky as I am, completely lost track of time and forgot to read a book for January. I read books, but not a motivational book. Fail.

I had every intention of mapping out every book I planned on reading for this through the rest of the year. But then I realized that’s just not realistic for me. I have about 30 books in waiting on my Nook (yes, I hoard books – I have a problem) and I usually try to read what I have before I purchase more. Some of the books I have would be great for later in the year, but I don’t want to wait to read them either.

There are SO MANY BOOKS out there to choose from. I decided to map out based on the books that I’ve had sitting on my wish list. I figured it’s a good way to pick away at it.

Disclaimer: These are subject to change. I’m just trying to get a schedule kind of laid out for the rest of the year. Also, the links below contain affiliate links. :)

January – A Motivational Book: Missed the mark on this one. Doh!

February – A Love Story: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

March – A Biography Of Someone You’ve Been Meaning To Learn More About: I’m going between Wild by Cheryl Strayed, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Life in Motion by Misty Copeland, or I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

April – A Healthy Living Book: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen

May – A Book About A Hobby Besides Blogging: Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

June – A Biography About Someone You Admire: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

July – A Travel Novel: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

August – Something You’d Read At The Cottage: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

September – A Mindless Read: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Only a mindless read because I read it when I was younger, but want to read it again now that I’m older)

October – A Thriller: Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

November – A Book You’d Bring On Vacation: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

December – An Inspirational Book: The The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

If you have any recommendations for any of the topics, let me know and I would love to hear them!

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