Entertainment

Top 5 Christmas Movies

Okay – let me preface this blog post by saying I am either a 12 year old or a 95 year old when it comes to my taste in Christmas movies. I love Christmas movies so, so much from the newest and star studded movies to the classics! This list is purely the movies I love most and why from number 5 to number, so enjoy and share your favorites below.


Honorable Mention

First up, how about an honorable mention? This movie isn’t for everyone but I love A Christmas Story. I can’t think of another movie that has such a special place in my heart. I remember this movie being on a marathon the day before Christmas and just sitting and watching it with my dad. While it doesn’t quite make it into my top 5 it is a must for the nostalgia alone for me!


#5 – Christmas Vacation

This amazingly funny movie is my husband’s and mine favorite movie to watch together. Although it’s not my favorite Christmas movie it is full of hilarious one liners and fantastic acting. If you love the Vacation movies or need something funny to just throw on this holiday season this movie is a must. I always put it on when I am stressed this time of year and need something running in the background. It’s like The Office during the year for me, but my Christmas go to!


#4 – Spirited

Well, here’s a new one to add to the mix! Seems strange that a movie I watched 2 days ago for the first time would be in my top 5 but it is! This story and the music was beautiful and is easily one of my new Christmas favorites. As someone who loves musicals this checked all my boxes for a good musical as well as a good Christmas movie and I love it so much for that! Be sure to check it out and if you have Roku there is a temporary deal for 3 months of Apple TV for free!


#3 – Arthur Christmas

I am LITERALLY Arthur from Arthur Christmas and I love this movie so stinking much! This is one of those animated movies that is full of adult humor but it’s written in a way that makes it funny for kiddos and adults alike! This one is a classic and full of all the Christmas spirit and will make you “believe” again! I highly recommend this if you have kiddos at home but want a movie that will make you laugh and feel all the Christmas feels!


#2 – The Santa Clause

The NOSTALGIA of this movie is unreal! As a 90’s baby this is one of my all time favorites and I remember sitting with my siblings and watching it year after year! Now watching it is so incredibly nostalgic for me with all the 90’s cars, and foods and things – it makes my heart so happy! In addition to all those, there are some subtle Home Improvement references too, and I love them!


#1 – White Christmas

And now for not only my favorite Christmas movie, but also my favorite movie of all time, White Christmas. This movie literally has everything from acting, to music to dancing, it has it all! It is a beautiful story with beautiful acting and everything in between. If you have never watched this movie it is an absolute must around Christmas time and will pull on your heartstrings with it’s tie in to WWII as well as the music around it!


WHEW – okay, time to go watch more Christmas movies (I am watching Arthur Christmas as I type this). Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your’s! Have a very merry season all!

Bookish · Reading · Self Care & Books

Cozy Reads for the Cozy Season

I was recently introduced to cozy fantasy books novels and I have not turned back! I read one last month and fell head over heels in love with it. I immediately started looking for more and so fare have found one, but hope to find more!


How about introducing you all to the book that started it all for? That book is Legends & Lattes and I am OBSESSED WITH IT!

I actually saw this in a friend’s story at the tale end of the summer and didn’t really think about it. In October I was looking for a fantasy, but not one that was going to require to much thinking on my part. I wanted something fun and light hearted and this was it! From the first page to the last page I felt like I was being held by a warm blanket. The story is dreamy and full of coffee and baked goods and what more could you want?! To add to the charm of the coffee and baked goods is an underlying love story and some lovely friendships! If that hasn’t sold you, I don’t know what will, but you need to check this book out today! I know I this is going to become my go to, feel good read and I cannot wait to read it again!!


The next book, per Amazon, that was recommended to me was Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea and I cannot wait to pick this one up too!

From the reviews I have read and either the author note in the book, this is just like Legends & Lattes. I was so relieved to read that and a lot of the reviews for this book make it seem like another perfect cozy fantasy! I don’t know if this is a recent genre, but this I can already tell this is going to be something that I go to when I need a pick me up this winter! I cannot wait to share more from this genre as I discover them, and if you have some be sure to share those as well!

Lifestyle

Jacquie’s Winter Favorites!

Continuing my favorites with a Winter blog consisting of all my favorites! While it’s not winter yet, we certainly are feeling the Christmas spirit here with music on the radio and Hallmark channel starting its annual countdown! I figured with the Christmas season coming and a time of gifting ahead, I would share some of my favorites.


First up, I adore fun cardigans and this one is no exception! This cardigan is possibly the most classy looking piece of clothing I have ever owned and it is so well made! I wore it for the first time this week and the amount of compliments I got was unreal. It has the richest colors and is such a thick knit. It’s amazing! This cardigan is from the brand Vertigo and I picked it up from Jean Marie’s boutique. If you are looking for a lovely cardigan for a Christmas celebrations or a gift for a family member, this would be so perfect!


Tumblers are always a go to! These can be such a great gift and there are so many on the market to choose from – which can make this so difficult to find the right one. Thankfully for you all, I have bought WAY too many tumblers and I have found one of my favorite by Simply Modern! This water tumbler/coffee tumbler is so versatile and would make the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one on your list. This is the Forest color found on Amazon and while it’s a great color for Christmas, it’s also a good color for anyone on your list, daughter, son, mother, father, brother, sister, friend – you name it! This tumbler can be used for hot and cold beverages and has interchangeable lids for that!


My friends, if you have not tried C.C. Beanies you are missing out! These beanies are incredible and so cozy! I currently own 3, but I hope to accumulate more this year during Christmas. They come in so many colors and styles and make such perfect and thoughtful gifts. Giving someone a beanie or gloves always strikes me as incredibly kind and thoughtful. These beanies can range anywhere from $15-$25ish and have such a great longevity as hats. I have one C.C. Beanie I have now had for 4 years from Jean Marie’s and it is in fantastic shape!


Okay – if you love peppermint mochas this is the coffee for you this holiday season! I got this coffee last year, but they must have improved it because this year it is the absolutely perfect blend! My mom and dad are the sweetest people ever and gifted me this coffee as an early present this year! They were lucky enough to find it at TJ Maxx for $8 but you can also purchase it at Joffrey’s online store as well (along with all of the other amazing winter/holiday/Christmas blends)!


Last but not least, I am such a fan of silk scarves lately! These make such great headbands or accessories for bags. These are so inexpensive, but again can make such meaningful and beautiful gifts around Christmas time. To add to that, they are the perfect way to jazz up any outfit! This one I purchased off of Amazon and is so incredibly intricate and pretty. If you are looking to give someone a lovely gift this year and not spend an arm and a leg, this is it!


Whew, okay! That is my roundup for Winter favorites and things that would make the perfect gift this holiday season. Good luck with the busy days and weeks ahead this holiday season!!

Bookish · Reviews · Self Care & Books

Joy in Everyday Life

I was fortunate enough to be sent copies of Choose Joy (a coloring notecard book) and The 3-Minute Journal of Joy from Ink and Willow! These lovely books could not be more perfect for me as I rebranded my Instagram and blog as “A Lifetime of Joy” this summer!

Both of these would be fantastic Christmas gifts as we head into the season, but more than that they are perfect if you are looking to celebrate simple joys in life!

First up, Choose Joy! This is the lovely book is full of 24 cards that are able to be colored and sent via mail! I started using them this weekend and honestly I have a few that I will be sending to a few friends in the mail. Things I really like about this book include, the simplicity of the coloring, the perfect quotes for spreading joy and the fact that I can actually tear these out, mail them and share the love! I colored 2 over my weekend at our family cabin and I can’t recommend this lovely little book enough. It is calming to color but to color quotes from Brene Brown and Charles Dickens and so many other great people makes it such a great experience! This fantastic book is out now and can be ordered by clicking the title in orange above!

The next item I received was The 3-Minute Journal of Joy! It’s no secret that I love journaling and writing and putting my thoughts down on paper, but sometimes I struggle with consistency while doing this. This journal is set up to share things that make you joyful and ways you spread joy, but it’s set up for 3 years of journaling! That means by purchasing this journal it’s almost like you get 3 journals. I love this concept on looking back year after year at the things that bring you joy! What a great way to make you grateful but also remind yourself of all the things that have brought you joy! This journal is available for preorder now but clicking the title in orange above!

So thank you again to Ink and Willow and I hope you all check these out and enjoy them as much as I already am! These are beautiful gifts for yourself or a friend so be sure to check them out!

Entertainment · Lifestyle

To Watch DWTS or Not To…

Well, I have been a faithful watcher of Dancing with the Starts (DWTS) for years now and I have seen it through many ups and downs (thought it has felt like more downs lately). For now I am going to just post about my thoughts on this season as it’s at its half way point and the move to Disney+ and playing live there on Monday nights.

First thought – the move to Disney+ was genius on the part of the producers. They eliminated the need for commercials and the definite end time which was an issue when it aired live on TV. This has really freed up time constraints for the show, even though they still have a set “run time” for each episode, it’s a bit more flexible. This is something that always bothered me with live TV because it felt so rushed, so that’s amazing!

Okay, I am going to balance out that positive with something negative… the hosts. Tyra was not my favorite host the last few seasons, she seems confused 90% of the time and has a hard time listening to the “people upstairs” in her earpiece while reacting on the floor. The one thing Erin and Tom had going for them is they worked well together, but because Erin interviewed for sports she had that component down. Some of the questions that Tyra asks feel so off and not in touch with what’s going on, so they brought in Alfonso Ribeiro to balance her out this year. As a DWTS veteran and someone who has worked with Tyra I thought there would be an improvement, but somehow they are more cringey working together. We’ll see if that chemistry and questioning improves with future seasons, but my judgement is still out.

Finally, the themed nights are SO much better than they used to be I think! With it being on Disney+ I think they have more liberties and freedoms as far as what they can do. There have been dance lessons in between, short team dances, fun packages and so much more! In addition to that there is more time spent talking and getting to know each contestant in these looser time constraints. You really start to get to know who these people are and I love that.

WHEW – okay, that’s it on my thoughts on DWTS that nobody asked for. But here you go and I am sure I will have more when the season finishes!

Bookish · Reading

Music to Read By

Music Playlist on Spotify:

Can also be found HERE.

How about some music to read by on this Wednesday? Little known fact about me, I actually went to school for Music Education, not only that but I LOVED to teach my kiddos about music history and movie music while I was still an educator. I am a FIRM believer in the power of music not just in our daily lives but also in our reading lives! When you have a good playlist, nothing can stop you from reading.

While I love to also have TV on when I read, I think it’s great to have an instrumental playlist going while you read as well (not at the same time as the TV obviously…). Some people can handle the noise and some cannot, so if you want to test out if this is something for you, I always recommend trying instrumental music first. Some movie/film music can be best for reading! If you put on a whole album of a film score on you seriously can’t go wrong!

I believe a good playlist has waves to it, it does not remain static, so this playlist reflects that! While it has its smooth moments there are also jarring moments of classical and film music. I highly recommend not skipping any of these songs but letting it move with you as you work your way through your book. You might be surprised how much you enjoy the changes!

Lifestyle

OOTD-Midwestern Cowgirl

I thought it might be fun to break apart my outfit of the day or “OOTD” once in a while! I always love to shop deals and I think once you find your personal style, no matter what it is, it can be so empowering! My style really changes with my mood and the season, but one thing that stays true is my love for neutral colors. Though I love neutrals I push myself with color from time to time and stray from my normal beige, taupe and grey. Today’s outfit, though full of color also kept my safety net favorites in tact!

So basically, I got these new cowgirl (boy) boots and I wanted to wear them and then I was like, HECK we are going full country!! So I went full country with them! I’m going to break apart the pieces of this outfit (minus the leggings because you can get good leggings anywhere).

This adorable dress was bought on SUPER clearance from Jean Marie’s summer stock (around $15). It’s a gorgeous Mud Pie dress that I thought would transition perfectly into Fall and I was not wrong! Its so cute with the embroidery on gingham and makes you want to go square dancing or maybe have a picnic!

Next key piece to this midwestern cowgirl’s outfit, was the boots! These have been on my list since the end of July when I started to see them creep into other influencers closets and feeds. This particular brand is by Yoki Fashion and I again got them through Jean Marie’s ($58). I can’t tell you how much I love these boots! They are incredibly comfortable and with the slight heal, they give this short girl a little height!

Once I had the boots and the dress set, I knew I was going a cowgirl direction so it was time for some fun accessories!

  • I got these gold rimmed, pearl centered earrings a few weeks ago and I am absolutely in love with them. They are large enough that they make a statement, yet dainty enough to go with anything.
  • The necklace is SO unique as it has 3 gold hoops wrapped in a tan leather strip. Not only does this necklace give major boho vibes, but it’s also adjustable!
  • Finally the hat! I got this hat as a Christmas gift a few years back and have been really into wearing it this year! I am a hat person through and through, but many brimmed hats like this end up being too large for my head. Not the case with this one – as it fits perfectly!

Okay – this is definitely not going to be a daily thing for me, but I would love to share at least one of my outfits once a week. A huge part of this blog and my instagram are now fashion and I wanted to incorporate that in some way!

Lifestyle

Jacquie’s Fall Favorites!

I’ve decided to make this a seasonal thing, and as we transition into the seasons I am going to share some my favorites (not before – because God knows we are already forced into seasons too early). I did a post similar to this during the summer and it was so fun to write and share seem of my favorites, from fashions to reads. I thought I would do it again, so here we go!


Did I discover a new kind of apple this fall that I absolutely love? You bet your butt I did! I stumble upon the SweeTango apple at Aldi last week and I fell in love! It’s like a mix between a Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apple and I love it! If you love apples and fall fruits this is a must and you have to check it out! Here is a LINK and a little more about it, but you can’t go wrong with this one! This is a new fall favorite to me and I can see it making a really good carmel apple, or even sliced and dipped into carmel!


I cannot emphasize this enough, the Oat Milk brown sugar creamer by Natural Bliss is INCREDIBLE. First off, I am actually lactose intolerant and I have always hated almond milk but I adore the taste of oat milk, flavored or not. This creamer is heavenly and pairs just as well with coffee as it does with a nice hot chai tea. If you are going to try a new creamer this Fall – this is your creamer!


Everyone loves a good dupe, right? Well these jackets by Zenana are an AMAZING Free People Dupe! The Free People quilted jacket will run you $198, while this amazing Zenana jacket will run you just $78 from Jean Maries. I personally own this jacket and I am obsessed with the style, fit and weight of it! It is perfect to wear as a jacket on its own, or even a shacket like piece as we transition to winter later on! I am a bit fan of the colors and acid wash as well, you just can’t beat this dupe!


I love the look of the Chelsea Boot and have owned several variations of them through the years, but these off white Chelsea Boots from Corky’s are to die for. They are so comfy and made so durably! My pair was purchased through Jean Marie’s but I am sure you can find them through other small boutiques!


The Lurella Fade color lipstick is a whole 90’s/fall mood! I am not one that wears a lot of lipstick, but when I do I love fun colors like this! I happened upon this by accident through a live sale on the Jean Marie’s shopping app and I thought – why not?! I am so glad I did because it is one of my new favorite colors. Its like a purple-y/brown color and it’s so fun! The compliments I get when I wear it always come pouring in!


Are you looking for a cozy mystery series to devour this fall? I was and I scoured the internet until I found the perfect one for me, Death by Coffee. This series is cheesy and adorable and full of mystery. I am currently on the 3rd book, Death by Pumpkin Spice and loving it so so much!! If you want to get the vibe for it before picking it up, thinking Hallmark Mysteries and it is right up that alley. This will be perfect for a rainy fall day at home! I am currently reading through the series on my Kindle, but honestly you could go to the library, the Kindle route or even grab the paperbacks as they are fairly inexpensive as well!


This amazing reading (tablet) pillow was a bit of a viral sensation at only $19.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond! If you had a coupon it was an even better steal. While I don’t think it necessarily is as structured as the image makes it look, it is soft and does the job! The softness alone is a win for me as I love a good cozy pillow, even if it is just for my books! While they no longer have the above pillow style in stock, they have one with another type of fuzzy material available HERE if you want to check it out! This would be a fantastic gift for a reader as well!


Whew! Okay – I think those are all of my “favorites” so far! I love each of these items and own or use each of them, so I can promise I have loved them! Also, I am not sponsored in any way by any of these companies, I just don’t believe in gatekeeping and feel strongly about sharing amazing products. ENJOY!

Bookish

At Home Library

This summer I worked really hard to get things in order in our house, from my clothing to my books. I was not super happy with how things were organized overall and I just wanted to overall everything and started with my clothing and got very immersed in ways to organize my books along the way.

Originally my books were organized by genre, but I was looking to mix this up. I decided, after puzzling over it and talking it through with my hubs, that I would go in and organize by author last name. I spent hours (over a few days), taking books off of my shelves and reorganizing. I talked to several people on Instagram who also organize this way, but with the added component of also sorting by genre. This is something that I really didn’t want to do, as I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just going to the same genre area on my shelf but really looking at my books to see what I had available. Something I struggle with as a reader is just getting stuck in one genre and since I have made the shift I have noticed myself reaching for so many different books instead of the “same old, same old” when it comes to genre.

With my new organization I knew that I wanted to keep track of my books a little better as well. I was sick of not knowing exactly what was in my collection and I felt it was time for a change. I did some research and actually ended up using an App I had paid for and bought a few years back, BUT it had some great updates and made it more useable for what I wanted. I went with the Apple only App BookBuddy ( https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bookbuddy-my-library-manager/id395150347 ). Things I really like about this at home library app are that you can create not only categories and tags, but you can also scan books in and out of your library if you choose to lend them out. Now, I very rarely lend books out because I have been traumatized by the few times I have and they were returned in ruins, but this is a nice feature for sure! It took me a several hours (5-8) to scan each and every book into my library, as the app does have a nice scanning feature. If for some reason you have a vintage or older book you can also look that up via the app, or manually add it if you would like which I loved!

My last step was to emboss my books. I went back and forth between stamps, stickers or an embosser and I went with a customized embosser from Etsy. This ran me around $35 but it was so incredibly worth it! This also took a fair amount of time and if I didn’t have tendonitis from playing cello and typing so much before, now I do! (The hand/wrist pain is my own fault because I am stubborn and wanted to just get it all done at once.) On each title page I took my embosser and pressed it into the page. What I love about this vs. a stamp or sticker is that it is a little less “obvious” but still provides that “proof of ownership” in each and every book. I can’t recommend emoting your books enough, not only does it just look classy but it’s a great way to keep track of all of your amazing books!

If you are feeling not particularly happy with your at home library or book organization as we head into Fall I can’t recommend getting in there and organizing it enough! This gave me not only the motivation to read more but gave me a chance to look through all of my books multiple times and sort through what I needed and what I could give away and sell. This is such a great experience and such a fantastic way to go through your books. I would highly recommend doing this in shifts and going through your different stages of sorting and not tackling everything all at once. I think if I had tried to do this all at once I would have TOTALLY given up! Good luck!

Lifestyle · Self Care & Books

Tea Time is the Best Time

Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot cup of coffee in the morning as much as the next person, but tea has always held a special spot in my heart. I love a good iced tea, some tea with lemonade and a nice steaming cup of tea just before bed or on a chilly morning. Tea has been an integral part of life since high school when one of my friends introduced me to my first cup of tea!

I thought I would share a few of my favorite straight teas, as well as my favorite combinations! Whether you like sugar or a strong cuppa I got the fix for you to curl up with book and enjoy!


First up is one of my favorite drinks from Biggby Coffee about 5 years ago! They had the genius idea to create an Arnold Palmer of sorts, with this Harney & Sons Chinese Flower tea. It was incredible.

Here is what you need to make this tea:

  • 16 or 20oz cup
  • Boiling Water
  • Ice
  • Lemonade (my favorite is Simply Lemonade)
  • Lavender Syrup (I love Monin but there are lots of others)
  • Harney and Sons Chinese Flower Tea

And here’s the process to create that:

  • Fill your cup with ice.
  • Boil water.
  • Once water is boiled put 2 tea bags in a mug and fill (steep about 8oz for the 20oz cup and 6oz for the 16oz cup for 5-8 minutes).
  • In your cup of ice, add 1-2 pumps of lavender syrup.
  • Add tea to the cup.
  • Top off with lemonade.
  • Mix it all up and enjoy!

This is a very refreshing tea, full of flavor and perfect for a spring/summer day. Or if you need a pick me up in the winter, this would do the trick for sure!


On to probably my all time favorite drink, matcha lemonade! I adore matcha lemonade and it took me a while to get the Starbucks-ish “recipe” figured out. This was not beaus it’s hard to create, but because I couldn’t find a matcha I loved for this. After A LOT of trial and error I found Matcha Love on Amazon and it was perfect!

Here’s what you need:

  • Lemonade
  • Matcha (I recommend Matcha Love Barista blend but you can use what you prefer.)

How to make:

  • I like to take a 16 or 20oz cup and fill halfway with ice.
  • Next I fill to the top with lemonade.
  • If 16oz add 1 TBSP of Matcha if 20oz at 2 TBSP.
  • Put lid on, cover straw hole and shake for 20-30 seconds.
  • Put the straw in and enjoy!

This is such a light and refreshing drink and whether it is summer or winter it is a go to for me! I love it on the weekends as my sugary treat while I read and unwind from the stress of the work week!


How about some classic tea? I remember the very first time I tried Irish Breakfast Tea and I was hooked! I had the Twinnings Irish Breakfast tea in college for the first time and I was hooked. Since then I have updated how I enjoy mine so no instructions here. Let me just say, you CANNOT beat oat milk with sugar mixed into this tea. It is delicious and caffeinated and PERFECT for anyone trying to go for tea instead of coffee in the morning. I 10/10 recommend this if you want to give tea a try!

Here’s what you need:

  • Irish Breakfast Tea (I like Twinnings but anything will do)
  • Oatmilk (I honestly love the Aldi brand the best!)
  • Sugar (any kind you want and however much you want)

Again, it’s delicious and perfect for a chilly morning in the fall or winter. I can’t recommend it enough if you are hoping to cross over from coffee to tea.


Last but not least is a new one for me – an Apple Pie Chai and some delicious honey! I am late to the chai game but I love the “spiciness” of it. If you have ever had any kind of chai you know what I mean by spiciness, as chai has a delicious spice taste to it because of the tea leaves. If you have never tried chai, the Apple Pie Chai from The Republic of Tea is a great place to start! I also usually don’t like honey in my tea, but Chai Spice Honey is amazing in this chai tea. If you want a warm and cozy fall drink this is it!

Here’s what you need:

  • Chai (I love Apple Pie Chai)
  • Honey (check out the Chai Spice Honey!)
  • A splash of milk if you want it!

This is such a great fall/winter drink! It is cozy and delicious and sure to warm you up on a cool day!


Okay – that’s what I have for you friends! Go out, make tea, read a book and enjoy life!