Bookish · Lifestyle · Self Care & Books

New Year, Same Me (Kinda…)

I am NOT big on New Year Resolutions, but I love making goals for myself as we head into a new year. Each year they change a little, but I try to make them attainable and things that will make me happier. It’s always nice to start fresh with a new year and new goals!


Now, I meant to post this a few weeks back, but soon after January 1st, I took a trip down to Florida with my family and with that trip I took a bit of break from social media and posting in general for a little while! I am back now and we are in full swing, so here are a few things I will be focusing on this year:

  • Health:
    • This year I wanted to focus on my health more. Last year was a tough mental health year for me and it caused me to be less healthy in what I eat and how I work out. I started Noom (which has been amazing), and have also been doing yoga daily. In addition to those, I do Zumba once a week and we just invested in a new stationary bike that I am excited to use at home. Investing in yourself and your health – whatever aspect of it, it might be – this should be your top goal each year (in my opinion).
  • Devotions/Bible:
    • I am so bad at this one and so I try to adjust it each year to help motivate myself. I try to do some journaling and devotions in the morning each day, including my 3 Years of Joy journal from Ink and Willow. This is just a lovely way to start my day and adds to my mental health journey – starting the day the best way possibly.
  • Water:
    • This might go under health but I kind of make it its own goal… I am VERY bad at drinking water throughout the day so I motivate myself in many ways. I have a water bottle that shows me where I should be and when throughout the day as well as several 40oz tumblers I have been using to keep myself motivated. In addition to that I have an app on my watch and Noom that hold me accountable to drink water each day!
  • Reading:
    • Last year was such a BAD reading year for me. This was in part to my own mental health journey and focusing on that, as well as trying to figure out what made me happy to read. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked but I read a fair amount. My goal this year is to get to 100 books by the end of the year. This is entirely possible!! I got to 85 last year and that was after a very slow start! I also discovered that I love cozy mysteries, adult fantasy and historical fiction more than I originally thought. On top of that I read quite a few biographies and memories this past year that I loved, so I am looking for more to take on in 2023!

WHEW! I think that’s everything – thanks for following along on that! I am so excited for 2023 – last year was more of a rough year for me, but I learned a lot from it! I look forward to 2023 and the lessons it will bring as well as the JOY in store!

Bookish · Reading

Book Goals 2023

Blank. Slate.

I am someone who likes to set up goals at the start of the year – though never anything that is completely life changing. I like to set up a reading schedule, or workout schedule, for myself to set myself up for success in the year ahead!


This year ahead, after a rough mental year in 2022, I am setting myself up for success to start out this year. My reading goal on Goodreads this year (2023) is going to be 100! It is a lofty goal, considering my goal last year was 40 books but I am excited for it! I just got into cozy mysteries over the last few months and I am feeling rereads this year, because why not. I am so excited for all of these reading endeavors and can’t wait to share my journey along the way!!


I am also not one for TBRs but I thought I would share my January TBR with you all as well!

  • Death by Cafe Mocha (will finish up – started in Dec.)
  • Death by Hot Chocolate
  • Death by French Roast
  • Checked Out for Murder (will finish up – started in Dec.)
  • Death on the Shelf
  • Scornful Scones
  • Savage Sourdough
  • Cheddar off Dead (will finish up – started in Dec.)
  • Legends & Lattes

WHEW! That’s a lot but those are all such short and fun reads! These cozy mysteries are such a mood in winter and I would read them all day if I could.

I think that’s it for now my friends – happy reading and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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!

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!

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!

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!

Bookish · Lifestyle

Finding Your Style

Do you ever wonder if you’ll ever find your style or if you are just regurgitating what everyone else is posting or buying? This is something I grapple with not just with clothing but with books. It took me too long to find my style so I thought I would share mine as well as how I found it (both clothing and books).


Why not start with my clothing style? This has evolved and changed over time and it’s something that I have so struggled with. I have gone from sporting event shirts and jeans, to dresses, to dELIA’S catalogues, to fast fashion and to everything in between! I finally in the last 2-3 years have come to my own in my clothes. I feel comfortable and confident in my clothes which is something that I haven’t felt until recently. I love a flowy pant as much as I love a graphic tee. If I had to label my style as anything I would probably call it “Hobbit Chic” because I am all about looking cute and being comfortable!

How did I get to the point where I found clothing I like though? Well, it was A LOT of trial and error. Two issues I had when shopping and choosing outfits in the past were picking cheap clothing or just copying what I saw other people wearing. That didn’t work for me. I have a 5’2″ athletic build and a lot of what I was seeing was on models close to 6′ tall, their body proportions are vastly different then mine! When it came to cheap clothing, I have nothing against finding a deal, but picking quality pieces makes a difference. Instead of cycling through clothes that were constantly falling apart or incredibly thin, I started by investing in some quality basics and that’s what made the difference. Almost all of my shopping happens at https://jeanmaries.com/ (and their app), but honestly you can’t beat going into a small boutique and getting some custom help! Jean Maries does an amazing job of helping me find things that fit my body and personality, so I would highly recommend finding a small boutique near you and asking the sales associate for some help. They’ll love helping you and you’ll feel so good by the time you leave!

I thought I would share a few inspiration pieces and things I actually have in my own closet below. But this is my general closet make-up/style. I definitely have some bright colors thrown in, but I love earth tones and burnt orange/mustard colors as well!


My reading style has definitely changed and evolved over time as well. It honestly was very similar to the process I went through with clothing, but with books. I actually grew up hating books, similar to hating clothes. My hate of books was based in my dyslexia, so I feel like I had a good reason when I was younger! As I grew up I started to develop more and more of an interest in reading. This interest started with the Trixie Belden series and grew through high school with the Twilight books. Throughout college I devoured dystopian novels and by the end of college I had discovered Bookstagram!

Now, I love Bookstagram and all book themed social media, but I found myself reading and buying everything that everyone else was. I muddled through this stage of my reading for the last 6 years, until this year. This year I took at 4 months hiatus from bookish social media and bought and read what I felt like buying and reading. This has forever changed me! Now I am reading and loving the things I actually enjoy!

So what’s my reading style then? Well, I am a mood reader through and through, but I have found historical fiction, adult sci-fi and fantasy are my go tos! Bookstagram (and bookish social media) pushes a lot of Romance and YA and those are things I thought I enjoyed until I started to branch out and find my bookish “style”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think those are great genres, but they are not my bookish style. I think it’s important for us to know ourselves and not just follow the crowd. Sure, experiment, read things outside of your comfort zone, but it’s always nice to have your own bookish flare!

Here’s a look at my bookish style:


There we go – that’s all! This might be interesting to you, or you might find it a useless read. Either way, it was fun to write and share my journey as a person!

Bookish · Lifestyle

Fall Trends & Reads

Honesty time, I love clothes. My collection of clothing rivals that of my books and that’s the truth! I love mixing and matching my clothes to my moods and the seasons. I try to keep myself from wearing the same thing too many times by switching up what I wear and mixing my pieces of clothing too! I find that some things work, while others, well, not so much… But in the process it’s been fun to discover my own style! With this I thought I would share some of my favorites heading into the Fall as well as some of the more popular trends, but with a twist – each outfit is paired with a book that I think would be a cozy Fall read!


Vest/Black Skinny Jeans

One trend that 100% love is the vests! Vests are HUGE this Fall and I love the chunky knit vests the best. They are so cozy and can be worn so many different ways with so many different shoes. If you grew up in the 90’s you might have PTSD from some of the not as attractive sweater vests that are parents put us in, but NO MORE. Now we can style them so many ways while looking cozy and cute for the Fall! Take a pair of black jeans, some ankle boots and you have yourself an adorable outfit, ready for work, school or maybe just a cozy day at home!

So what book am I pairing with this cozy outfit? Death by Pumpkin Spice! I love a cheesy mystery book so much and this one is so similar to Hallmark Mysteries! This would be the perfect book to take on the go or curl up with and read on a chilly Fall day.


Shacket/Faux Leather Leggings

Another of my favorite Fall trends is the shacket. Do I own 8 shackets? Yes. Do I still want more? Also yes. I love how comfy and versatile they are! You can throw it over a hoodie, a graphic tee, cropped top or whatever your heart desires. One item I love to pair my shackets with this are my faux leather leggings. These look so sharp for the fall and are honestly ridiculously comfortable. As far as footwear goes, you can’t go wrong with a pair of white or off white sneakers. I have loved pairing my white sneakers with everything from leggings to dresses this past year, they are so versitile!

What to pair with this comfy Fall outfit? Legends & Lattes! This book is adorable in so many different ways. How can you not love a fantasy world with a coffee shop?! I mean seriously, this book is the definition of a Fall read and is a must as we head into the crisp/cool air of the Autumn!


Bright Colors/Ballet Flats

I don’t understand it, but here we are, bright colors are in this Fall. You can still wear your favorite Fall tones from the mustards to the browns, but bright colors have worked their way into the mix! Another hot item are ballet flats, and while these are not my cup of tea, they would pair nicely with a pair of brow work pants and maybe a pink top like above! Browns and pinks are going to be a noticeable trend, as they are mixed and matched in multiple ways!


So what do we pair with some fun Fall brights? Love on the Brain! This adorable rom-com is the perfect transition from Summer to Fall. If you want to hold onto the rom-com reads of Summer but you’re ready for that Fall transition, pick this one up. It’s adorable and will leave you swooning for more!


Be on the lookout for more posts like this as I break down some of my favorite and the most popular trends as we head into Fall this year. So many fun options to choose from, you can’t go wrong!

Bookish

Deck Your Shelves with Bookish Merch…

Last week I shared my go to gifts for that book lover on your list that can be found easily on Amazon. This week I want to share some of the amazing small businesses you can support when gifting to that book lover (or yourself) this Christmas! Some of these are on Etsy while others have their own sites.

Here we go – I am going to break it down into 3 categories for you and they are bookish apparel, bookish accesories and bookish products for your home!

Bookish Apparel

The first amazing shop I want to highlight is Bookshelf Tees (tap for link). This amazing lady is an army wife with a passion for bookish merch. While I absolutely love her stickers and pins, her shirts are to die for! She has bookish tees and sweatshirts but also just came out with a line of Marvel apparel that is absolutely amazing! Here are just a couple of my favorites from her shop:

Next up is another great bookish apparel company and that is Blissfully Bookish! This company is absolutely fantastic and makes some of my most favorite bookish apparel out there! They have a very wide diversity of books and genres represented so there is sure to be something for everyone on your list! If you love joggers there are also a plethora of amazing (and cozy) joggers available in the shop! Here are just a few of my favorites:

The final bookish apparel company that I have grown to love is Get Happy Tees. I stumbled upon this shop through some friends on Instagram and I am so glad I did! They have some very fun and quirky tees that are exciting additions to anyone’s bookish wardrobe! On top of tees, like the other two businesses, they have several other great products in their shop like stickers, hats and keychains! Here are a few of my favorite shirts:

Bookish Accessories

Moving into one of my favorite things ever, bookish accessories! The first in this group of bookish items to add to your Christmas list is a bookmark from the incredible team over at VectorEngraving on Etsy! They make some of my most favorite bookmarks and they are wooden and fandom based! These bookmarks are incredibly detailed and would be the most fun bookmarks to gift! In addition to bookmarks they have other amazing wooden products. Here are a couple of my favorite bookmarks:

Another useful bookish item to add to purchase this Christmas would be a wooden book holder from Highland Concepts! I do not own one of this amazing companies holders, but I did receive one a few years ago and have loved using it every single time I flip a book open. It’s a great way to keep the book open and not worry about my finger slipping out while reading!

The Bookish Home

Finally, if you are looking for a ways to make your home more bookish this Christmas, look no further, I got you! First up is Sylvan Design Co. and their amazing art prints and pieces for your home! I am particularly a big fan of their Lord of the Rings collection! This collection feels cozy and modern and yet vintage and I love it so very much!

Once you have the feel of a bookish home with some art, it’s only fitting to add good bookish smell to your home as well! There are SO many bookish candle and wax melt small businesses that I love, but I stumbled upon JD and Kate Industries this last year and I absolutely fell in love with their candle designs! They make some of the most beautiful and amazing candles! They are sure to make any bookworms heart melt. Here are just two of the awesome candles they have (mostly based on the classics:


Hopefully that is enough to get you started with your Christmas shopping and perhaps your own list! I would encourage you to consider doing some Christmas and holiday shopping with some of these amazing small businesses this season. I would also encourage you to buy early, especially when shopping small, to ensure your order arrives early enough for the holiday season. Just a quick reminder as well, I own my own vintage book shop (perfect if you have a vintage book lover on your list)! You can check it out at Just Around the Book if you want some amazing vintage and used books!

Good luck with your shopping and happy reading!

Bookish

Never Too Early for Christmas Lists…

Before anyone comes at me saying “it’s not even Halloween let along Thanksgiving yet” I know, I just like to be prepared! (Also I love Christmas more than anything…) Being a book lover and all around bookish person I decided to put together a great list of things other book loving introverts (or extroverts) might also love for Christmas! So whether you’re looking to add to your Christmas list or maybe hoping to purchase for someone else you will be able to find something!

First phase of this list includes cozy things that any bookworm would love for the perfect night of reading. Every book lover needs blankets, mugs and tea (trust me, I know) so I went on a hunt to find some of the cutest items in this category! (Just click on the title for each item to be redirected to that link…)

Weighted Chunky Knit Blanket

Okay, I am going to start with the most costly thing on my list, this $150 blanket from Amazon. There are only 60 reviews on this blanket but they are all stellar! I have been on the hunt for a weighted blanket for a while now that checks off all of my boxes. This one does that! It’s not only a weighted blanket, but it’s big enough (twin sized), it’s knit, it’s a cooling blanket and it’s aesthetically pleasing! I am an anxious book worm so I was VERY excited to find this gem to add to my own Christmas list. I envision many nights sitting in my bed with this hefty and lovely blanket wrapped around me!

Cute & Practical Mugs

A cozy night of reading isn’t complete without your favorite cup of hot tea (or maybe decaf coffee)! And if you are going to have a cuppa you mine as well make it a cute cup!

First up, this ADORABLE $18 dog coffee mug! I am a sucker for impractical and adorable mugs and this checks both of those boxes! This mug has an adorable topper as well as a small spoon in the shape of a puppy paw! It’s a 14oz mug so the perfect size for a night time cup!

The other mug ($17) is fantastic as well, as it’s not only geometrically appealing (with a lovely handle) but it also has a tea strainer that can be put in or taken out. This is great if you love a good loose leaf tea like myself but don’t like dealing with strainers that are not a part of the mug. This mug is also a 17oz lidded mug!

Loose Leaf Nighttime Tea

I am a huge fan of a good nighttime tea and Harney & Sons makes some of my favorite teas! I love their breakfast blends of teas and this one is a new tea to me. A good decaf cup of coffee always hits the spot, but nothing soothes and relaxes like a warm cuppa at night! The description of this tea is fantastic as well. If you need a tea to wind you down after a long day and give you a good night of sleep this seems like the tea for you! The only issue you might have is falling asleep while you read!

Christmas Reads

Okay, there are A LOT of amazing Christmas and holiday themed books out there and I can tell you that a lot of these are on my current book list for Christmas as well! Each book will have the link to Amazon next to it, but here are a few indie bookstores I support as well:

1.) The Christmas Bookshop (click title for link)

The nice thing about this book, and all of the books I am about to share via Amazon, is if you have someone with a Kindle on your Christmas list, this is a great way to surprise them and gift them something that can instantly be delivered to them. This book is centered around a woman looking for a job and takes one at a bookshop! What’s not to love!

2.) Window Shopping

If you have ever read any of Tessa Bailey’s book you know they are higher on the steam chart and from what I have hear this book is no exception. The only difference from her other books? It’s a standalone Christmas/holiday novel, so what is not to love about that!

3.) Dashing Through the Snow

What’s not to love about a Hallmark style Christmas book from Debbie Macomber? This book is completely adorable and hilarious and will have you laughing and swooning while you read it! This is one on my Christmas list that I actually have read but do not own. I listened to the audiobook a few days back and it is work the read!


My hope is that you can find something on this list for that book lover in your life (or maybe yourself) as we head into the holiday season! These things come from my own personal Christmas list and I spent hours searching and scouring Amazon for the perfect additions to this book lover’s list. There are other small shops out there that have amazing gift options as well, so be on the lookout for that blog post in the next 2 weeks! Remember to buy early this year and to support small businesses as well this Christmas!

Happy reading (and shopping)!