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 · 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!

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!

Lifestyle · Self Care & Books

Fall Vibes and Reading Time

Well friends, we are at the wonderful transition time of year where we are transitioning from Summer to Autumn and I love it. Summer is my absolutely favorite season – I love sitting outside in the sunshine and soaking up all the outdoors time, but Fall is a close second. I love the crispness of the air, the dewey mornings and the cozy reads. I love pumpkin spice and apples and warm baked goods. Give me ALL the lovely Fall things! I figured as we transition I would share some of my favorites to help you get through this in between season that leads us to Fall!

Okay, all of the following have been books I have read as I transition from Summer to Fall and they are perfect for this time of year! I find that I gravitate towards fantasy, mystery, and books with “cozy” vibes this time of year and these books are definitely that!

  • Transitional Books
    • Death By Coffee (1st in series by Alex Erickson)
    • Kings of the Wylde (standalone/1st of duology by Nicholas Eames)
    • Kings Dark Tidings (1st in series by Kel Kade)
    • Legends and Lattes (standalone by Travis Baldree)

Next up, how about some transitional clothing for this time of year? If you took a look at the pictures near the top you would see a few of these items, but I wanted to share some of my favorites as this time of year can be so confusing clothing wise. In the mornings I am bundled up and by the afternoon I feel like i have stripped down to a tank top and shorts!

ALL of these pieces can be found at and I highly recommend checking out their App for GREAT deals as well!

  • Shackets (both shown above in the first 2 images)
    • I am OBSESSED with shackets as you can get all sorts of weights and styles. They are great to take to the office or use as transitional pieces on those chilly mornings when you need something a little more to cover up with.
  • Jeans (specifically more cut-off style jeans)
    • Jeans that are lighter and not “floor length” can provide a great transitional staple! A pair of black denim is not only stylish as well, but can cut as “not jeans” for those of you that might also be teachers and are looking for something comfy as we head into the colder months!
  • Dress (short sleeved)
    • I think that short sleeved knee length dresses are SUCH great transitional pieces! They can function as something you throw on a shacket and some sandals with in the morning and shed that shacket layer in the afternoon. As it gets colder, toss on some leggings and boots and you have yourself a great fall/winter outfit too! This is something that can be used year round!

Those are just a few of my favorite things as we transition into Fall. Expect more cute and cozy things as we continue to transition. I will FOR SURE be sharing lots more of all the cozy things from books to clothes to fall outings so tag along for the ride, It’s sure to be fun!

Self Care & Books

Cozy Night (Weekend) In

One of my greatest joys in life is cuddling up after a long day (or a long week) of work and reading. Whether it’s 8pm in my bed at night or 10am on a Saturday morning, nothing beats a good reading session spent curled up between blankets and pillows with a good book. I love getting new ideas and for this time of my day, whether that’s a new drink or possibly a new baked good, so I thought I would share my go to ways to relax during my reading time!

When I am setting up for my reading time I always start with a beverage. Sometimes I’m lazy and just grab a La Croix or just fill my tumbler with water, but sometimes I like to have something a little extra. If it’s a weekday I have a little different go to than the weekend (because I don’t need to caffeine up at 7pm at night…).

Night Time Beverages

Okay, I love a good a good cuppa as much as the next person, so a lovely cup of this tea in my favorite mug during a night time read is my go to! It is such a smooth peppermint coffee and is great for winding down after a long day. In addition to this lovely cup of tea, I do love a good decaffeinated tumbler of iced coffee with oat milk and a dash of peppermint mocha creamer! Either way, both of these are great for a nighttime in!

Link for Peppermint Tea: Amazon

Weekend Beverages

My weekend go to drinks are a little different than my weekday because I can have caffeine and not worry about being up all hours of the night! My first go to drink is a matcha lemonade. This is a drink that has become a constant for me and is so easy to make. I use a 24oz (venti sized) Starbucks double walled tumbler when I make this drink. I start by filling it halfway with ice and then add lemonade up to just below the lid. I have experiment a lot with different matcha and the best is the barista blend from Matcha Love. This uses a sweetener with the matcha that gives it that Starbucks taste that I crave. I add 2 tablespoons of this matcha, put the cover on without the straw and shake it up right in my tumbler. This drink is packed full of sugar but is truly delicious and great for sipping while reading.

Link for Matcha: Amazon

My second go to is another tea and lemonade mix up. For this I use either a 16oz (grande) Starbucks reusable cup, as it is a very sweet drink. I got the idea for this one from an area coffee shop 3 years ago and I absolutely love it. To start I fill my cup to the top with ice (again, it’s a very sweet drink) and then I fill the bottom with close to 1-2 tablespoons of the above lavender syrup. After this I fill around 6oz of lemondade into the cup. You will then want to steep 2 bags of the Harney & Sons Chinese Flower tea in 6oz of water for around 2 minutes. This tea and the bags will then be added to the lemonade and syrup. Grab your straw, stir it together and you are good to go!

Link for Lavender Syrup: Amazon & Link for Harney & Sons Tea: Amazon

Reading Go To Snack

My go to snack is usually candy or some fruit if we are being honest, but occasionally I get on a baking kick and when I do my go to snack is a scone. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing recipe for scones that was shared with me and I am going to share that on here!

Preheat oven to 425

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1 Tbsp of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbsp of Melted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp of Sugar (for sprinkling)


  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Add cream & mix well
  • Knead 7-8 times on a flour surface
  • Roll out to form 8″ around on either a pizza cooking tray or any tray large enough to hold
  • Slice on pan into “slices”
  • Brush melted butter over top
  • Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of sugar over the top
  • Bake 10-12 minutes (until golden brown)

I enjoy my scones with either some jam/jelly or some lemon curd. My go to brand is Bonne Maman (delicious jams and curds)!

Now, obviously I pair these with a warm sweater, a pile of blankets and my favorite slippers, but I love the small treat of my favorite beverage with some warm scones. I am nothing if not a firm believer in self care and that self care is reflected in my reading time. I think that this time can be crucial to recharging and relaxing after the stresses of every day life. Why not treat yourself to a fun homemade beverage and some scones. The very act of making these things for yourself can be therapeutic! Share your own favorites below, I would love to hear how you treat yourself during reading time!

Happy reading!

Self Care & Books

The Magic of Books & Plants

Home is where you feel loved, appreciated & safe.

-Tracey Taylor

The above picture, the one with all the pretty plants and books, that’s my book room and that’s my home. This is my favorite place, it’s where I go for quiet and to write and I love everything about it. The 2 things that make it all of these things are my books and my plants! These add so much joy to my life and while I have accumulated lots of plants AND books through the years, I can’t help but smile when a new one gets added to the collection!

Currently throughout our house we have 17 plants scattered around, most are on or around bookshelves. While they require attention (watering, cleaning and pruning), they do not require constant attention and they add so much to my life and my shelves. There are several plants that I have found are easier to keep, not as high maintenace and will live through a week you might have forgotten to water…

My favorites/the easiest for me to take care of have been:

  • Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) –SO easy to care for and grows like crazy (fun to add to any shelf).
  • Pilea (Chinese Money Plant) –Another easy care plant, mine never gets direct sun and thrives nonetheless!
  • Spider Plant –This was one of my first and I have had her for over 5 years. So easy to care for!
  • English Ivy — This is pictured in the above shot, and has really taken off. It climbs over and around my shelves but isn’t intrusive in any way!
  • Philodendron –This lovely plant sits by my window but can live out of the direct sun and can last a while if you forget to water! They also grow like crazy and are just beautiful!

Needless to say, I can’t help but encourage everyone to add some plants in their lives and maybe even to their bookshelves/book room. Not only do that add some life to my favorite room, they add a splash of brightness to my life and my shelves! If you have questions about my plants or are contemplating your own plant purchases let me know! I wanted this to be a brief post with lots of plants and lots of room for everyone to think about what they might want to add to their own homes.

Happy reading!