19 for 2019 + 20 for 2020!

I can hardly believe it, but today is the last day of 2019. The last day of this decade! Ten years ago, I was a junior in college. I thought my life would be headed in one direction, and it ended up heading somewhere vastly different. Ten years ago I absolutely never would have pictured this life I’m living now but I am fall-to-my-knees grateful for where I’m at. This has been a challenging, beautiful, exciting, and fulfilling decade and I’m really looking forward to the next one!

At the beginning of the year, I shared my goals instead of resolutions (dubbed the “19 for 2019” list thanks to my beloved Happier Podcast). I wanted to review the list today and share what I accomplished, what I didn’t, and what I decided was better to let go of. Then I’m sharing my “20 for 2020” goals. Looking at this list, I’m excited for all that is to come this year!

My 19 for 2019

1- My #1 goal for 2019 was . . . BABY #2. We weren’t sure if that meant we would actually have a baby in 2019, but we at least hoped to be pregnant even if it meant the baby didn’t arrive until 2020. I’m so very happy that we were able to expand our family and have loved the past 4 months with our sweet little girl.


2- Plan an adults-only trip for Justin and I – Done! We planned and took an adults-only babymoon to the Bahamas and it was just what we needed. It was relaxing, fun, and just a wonderful vacation for us to reconnect and enjoy time together.


3- Update instagram account and create Chatbook for LJ – Not done at all. In fact, I ultimately decided that keeping up with my instagram goals and creating a chatbook was just not a good use of my time. I decided to accept that and move on from this goal and I’m happy with that decision!

4- Select pictures for family photo albums – Ugh, no. I really hoped to have been able to make this happen, but it just didn’t. This is a project that I just need to set aside several hours (honestly, probably days) to do, and I hope to accomplish this in 2020.

5- Plan out family photo albums – Again, zero progress. 2020!

6- Create a master list of my top book recommendations – DONE! I wrote a blog post about my top recommendations that you can find here.

Top Book Recommendations.jpg

7- Replace our ugly brown recliner – I would say this goal is partially complete. In college, Justin spent $20 on a used (and ugly) brown recliner. The recliner was sent down to the basement (which was progress), and then this year we did get a new sectional for the basement. So the recliner has been replaced, but Justin is still resistant to actually getting rid of it so we do still have it set off to the side. Here’s hoping 2020 will be the year we can actually move it out of the house!

8- Write and track our monthly spending budget – This is an ongoing goal, so it’s not really “done,” but we did a pretty good job of this. I’d say there is room for improvement and we’re hoping to keep getting better and better with this.

9- Send birthday cards – Again, an ongoing goal that’s hard to fully complete, but I did sent many cards this year and definitely plan to keep up this habit. It’s fun!

10- Find a local tailor – DONE! I found a local tailor that has done everything from fixing holes, hemming pants, adjusting the bridesmaid’s dress. It’s so nice to have these little projects taken care of!

Baby #2 3

11- Find a reliable, nearby babysitter – DONE! We found a college girl who lives about 10 minutes from us and is great with our babies. She not only watches the kids in the evening if we want a date night, but she also has no classes on Tuesday afternoons so every other week she comes for a few hours to hang out with LJ so I can run errands, make appointments, etc. It’s WONDERFUL and we are so thankful for her.

12- Have house siding washed -Done! Except we got it done for our old house…and now out new house needs it too. Definitely a 2020 project!

13- Find comfortable black heels – The search continues for this one. I looked and tried some on, but I’m struggling to find a pair that is actually comfortable.

14 – Plan our will with an estate lawyer – Done! I have to say, this felt really good to check off the list. It is so hard to imagine the “what ifs” and can feel kind of morbid to talk about what you want to happen in various situations, but the reality is we are going to die some day so we need to have a plan in place. It is a relief to also know that our children will be well taken care of and our wishes are known if something happens to both Justin and I.

15- Invest in buying plastic alternatives – Again, an ongoing goal so never really “done” but I have invested in several items: stainless steel straws, glass containers to store food, thinx, and reusable bags to use in place of ziploc. I recently purchased a shampoo bar (instead of shampoo in a plastic bottle) and I’m excited to see if it is effective. I also put some things on my Christmas list and am really pleased with the alternatives I’ve accumulated this year!


16- Set up accounts for LJ’s future – Done! We’ve set up his 529 plan!

17- Have budget meeting with Justin for each paycheck (roughly 2x/month) – Ongoing, but we have done pretty well with this. There is always room for improvement, and for 2020 we’ve decided to do mini check-ins on Sundays to help keep us accountable.

18- When buying clothing or shoes, look for fair trade, ethically made options – I haven’t bought many clothes because of maternity and now not being quite back to pre-baby size, but I did buy a fair trade purse and fair trade clutch for LJ’s diapers as well as a few other purchases from a shoppe whose mission is to provide fair trade, ethically made products that support survivors of sex trafficking and I’m very proud to contribute to their mission. While I haven’t necessarily bought fair-trade clothing, I have bought a lot second-hand which is at least a very sustainable option and I’m happy about that! And I read The Conscious Closet which gave me lots of ideas for how to make better choices with clothing in the future.


19- Learn more about finances (401K, 403B, investments, etc.) – I did okay with this one. I mostly listened to podcasts and did gain some insight but there is definitely still a lot I don’t know!

Overall, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made! And now, let’s look ahead to 2020!

My 20 for 2020

1 – Plan a dreamy office/reading room. We have a room in our house that is currently used for storage and as a back-up guest room, but it would be the perfect space for built-in library shelves and a cozy reading chair. We may not be able to actually complete the room in 2020, but I want to at least map out our plans and start to budget for it!

2- Select pictures for family photo albums.  Didn’t happen in 2019, but I’m going to try to do this in 2020!

3  – Create family photo albums

4 – Update the Simplify the Chaos website. I really want to change around some of the pages and organize previous posts a little better. It’s a lofty goal for me because I know so little about working with websites but I know I’ll be so happy when it’s done!

5 – Replace basement carpet. The carpet in the basement is dated, worn, and bubbles up in places. Replacing it will make a big visual impact and be a little more functional for us, as the current one has a high pile and is hard to clean. I’m also hoping once we move furniture out for the carpet to come in, the ugly brown recliner doesn’t make it back in the house. 😉

6 – Update book recommendations list. I’m so glad I was able to create a master list of my book recommendations (read my post here), but I need to make sure to update it because I’ve read SO many great books since then!

7 – Get a dip manicure. I know I’m pretty late to the game here, but I’m so intrigued by the nail dipping trend and want to try it out! I love having painted nails but hate when they start to chip and don’t have time to constantly repaint them. I think this would be a fun little splurge to try sometime. 🙂

8 – Invest in footwear with a purpose. I kind of had this goal last year, but I’m modifying it a bit to say: I want to buy a pair of shoes that has some purpose. Either it’s fair trade, ethically made, eco-friendly, or a combination of all three. I’m specifically looking at a pair of Rothy’s or something from The Root Collective. They are definitely investments, so I want to make sure to find something I love and will wear all the time.

9 – Try at least 5 brand new (to me) foods. I am not a super adventurous eater (unlike my husband, who will try anything at least once) but I want to expand and go outside my food comfort zone more. Justin and I have a trip to New Orleans planned this year and I am psyching myself up to try lots of new foods there!

10 – Set up a 529 for Vi. We did this for LJ in 2019, so we need to set one up for Vi now!

11 – Read 60 books. This averages 5 books a month. Lofty for sure, but I like a challenge!

12 – Take a continuing education class. Even though I’m not currently teaching, I want to keep my teaching license up to date and I need to take classes to do that.

13 – Host a big summer party. When we moved into our new house, we knew that we wanted to have it be a gathering place for family and friends. We want to do a lot of work on the house, but we also don’t want to wait to have people over. So we’re just going to do it! We want to host smaller events too, but one goal is to have a ton of people over in the summer and just have a great big party with loved ones.

14 – Update Vi’s room. We kept the nursery very simple and gender neutral, but now that Vi is here, I’d like to spruce it up just a bit and add some girlie touches.

15 – Plan a family staycation. There are so many cool things to do in our area but we get complacent doing the same things over and over. I want to plan a fun family day (or maybe weekend?) of checking out local places we haven’t yet experienced.

16 – Take LJ to swimming lessons. This is a huge one for my list. We have done lessons at the YMCA already, but I’d like to have him in a more individualized lesson.

17 – Create something. I’m not exactly sure what this one will look like, but I’m feeling a desire to stretch some of my creative muscles in some form or other. Vague, but I hope by including this on my list, I’ll be inspired!

18 – Have professional family photos taken. I snap approximately 23428375938 pictures on my phone, but it’s always so nice to have some gorgeous, professional photos taken to document a stage in our lives. This time with little ones goes so fast and I’d love to have some beautiful pictures taken of it.

19 – Actually use my InstantPot. I was gifted an InstantPot like 2 years ago and I’ve used it exactly one time. It sounds weird but I’m kind of intimidated by it.  I haven’t taken time to learn how to use it and honestly, I love my crockpot and use it all the time so I haven’t felt the need to learn the InstantPot. I don’t like to have gadgets around that I don’t use, but I also don’t want to get rid of the InstantPot if it’s something I would actually love once I learn how to use it. So this year, I want to actually put in the effort to learn!

20 – Host at least 4 game nights. Justin and I love to play games and would frequently have friends over (or go to their houses) for game nights before having kids. Now that we have children and many of our friends do too, it’s hard to carve out time for this. I really want to make an effort though, because I think it’s important to still keep doing some things we adults love to do. I hope to host at least one each season (winter, spring, summer, fall) so we’ll see!

Do you have any goals for 2020? I’d love to hear them! May this be our best year yet!

Merry Christmas!

I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas. This season has absolutely flown by!

Today I wanted to share our Christmas card, where we decided to stay true to what our life with two small children really looks like right now. We *might* have been able to get a good picture with everyone looking and smiling, but this crazy blooper reel felt much more like us. 😉


Last year, on Christmas morning, we found out I was pregnant. Now, as I snuggle my sweet little four month old daughter while we both look at the Christmas tree, I am feeling all sorts of happy and content. It’s been wonderful to mostly unplug these past few days and enjoy the time with my sweet babies and our family.

From my family to yours, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy holiday season. ❤


Honestly, my capacity to write a blog post is pretty low right now.

Despite my best efforts to keep the holidays simple, I find that the week before Christmas still has some chaos. Last minute presents. Finishing Christmas cards. Preparing for travels.

Image result for frosty busy busy busy

Amidst all that, we have normal life with a toddler and baby, and we’re trying to finish the last of our guest suite renovation. We had hoped to be finished with this renovation by now, but there were some things that happened along the way that have caused some delays. We now hope to have the bulk of renovation finished on Friday, although it will be at least another month before it’s completely done (we are waiting on a custom vanity top and need new boards for the top of the half walls).


Even though things feel a bit unsettled and crazy right now, I find myself full of anticipation.

Anticipation for the renovation to be done – we’re so close and I’m ready to move furniture back in and decorate!

Anticipation for the look on LJ’s face when he opens his presents.

Anticipation for snuggling under a blanket on my parents’ couch, surrounded by my siblings, watching Christmas movies.

Anticipation for gathering with family around a delicious meal.

Anticipation for singing my favorite Christmas hymns in church (the Christmas service singing is always so amazing!)

Anticipation for celebration.

And it reminds me of all the anticipation that was felt all those years ago, as a young virgin prepared to give birth to a baby who was to be the Savior of the world. May we never forget the reason for this season. ❤

I hope you can find some joy in the anticipation this week!

LJ and the Paci: A Love Story

Well, it’s been over two weeks now, so I feel safe in saying this: LJ is done with a pacifier.


I feel like it’d be hard to emphasize how much of a big deal this is without a lot of exclamations points and capital letters, so I’ll try not to make this post look like an excited middle school girl wrote it, but just know in my head, I’m shouting for joy from the rooftops!

LJ’s love for the pacifier started on day 3 of life when he was admitted to the NICU and the nurses there gave him one. I wasn’t anti-pacifier by any means, but I also wasn’t planning on introducing it that quickly so I had mixed feelings when I walked into the room and saw he had one. If I’m being honest, I was very emotional and overwhelmed at the time – my 25 hour delivery ended in a c-section, my son had to go to the NICU for antibiotics for 7 days (my placenta got an infection because my water had been broken for over 24 hours), nothing was as I expected it to be. I was so hormonal and honestly felt very guilty that I wasn’t with LJ 24/7 and hated that he cried so I was okay with him having this small measure of comfort.


He honestly loved the pacifier from the beginning. He has always taken it super well and it has always been a huge source of soothing comfort to him, so we just let it happen. It was so helpful in getting him to sleep, staying content during long car rides, etc. and we loved it just as much as he did. It never interfered with my ability to breastfeed and he still was able to take a bottle when needed as well.


When he turned one, our pediatrician gently suggested we consider thinking about when we’d like to get rid of the pacifier. Justin and I thought we would address it “soon,” but it was still such a huge help on car trips and at night time that we didn’t make it a huge priority.


Then LJ turned 18 months, and it felt like the right time to wean him. We started slowly reducing its use and eventually he was down to just using his wubbanub affectionately named Edgar (we’ve been through “Gigi” the giraffe and “Patrick” the puppy as well – for us they last about 6 months and then break off because they’re used so much!) at naps and bedtime. LJ was leaving him in the crib and saying goodbye to him when he woke up and we thought “great, we’re almost there!”


Then, his little sister was born.

20190828_094413Oh my, did we see a BIG regression here. First of all, Vi had her own little wubbanub now (a hedgehog we so creatively named…Hedgie) and LJ was all sorts of curious/jealous of that. He loves to steal Hedgie and put it in his own mouth. He’d see hers and it would remind him of his, so he’d run up to his room and grab Edgar. He went from only needing Edgar at nights, to wanting a pacifier almost full-time again and all the other pacifiers came back out. It was really discouraging for us!


We knew that he was dealing with a lot of changes when we brought the new baby home, so we accepted the regression and decided to try again in a few months. I really wanted to make it a goal to be done by his second birthday.


I had a hollow pumpkin (this cookie jar is similar) placed on our kitchen island for fall decor, and throughout October and November I started using it as a pacifier stash. Whenever he would get distracted and leave one of the regular pacifiers (we had these and these) somewhere, I discreetly picked it up and snuck it into the jar (I took a video of it and grabbed some screenshots so you could see). Eventually, I had collected all the pacifiers and he was down to just using Edgar again.

For a few weeks, he carried Edgar around everywhere. We tried to encourage Edgar to stay in the crib (with mediocre success). His second birthday came and I formulated a plan. We were going to go cold turkey. Edgar is technically Edgar #2 (he bit through the first Edgar about 8 months ago and we weren’t quite ready to fully wean the paci at that time so he got another one) but we still had the first Edgar. My plan was to switch the two back so he had the ‘broken’ Edgar that didn’t have anything to suck.


The week after his birthday, we planned to go to Ohio for Thanksgiving and return Saturday night. I figured LJ would fall asleep on the car ride home and we could transfer him to the crib without a pacifier and he’d still sleep. Then when he woke up, there’d be no paci. Simple, right? Well, of course he didn’t sleep in the car and he was very awake and aware when we got home. We had placed Edgar #1 (the “broken” Edgar with no paficier tip anymore) in the crib and he was SO sad. He cried and cried. We alternated letting him cry a little, then going in to soothe and comfort. It was rough and it took FOUR. HOURS. before he finally fell asleep.

We agreed it was super hard to stay strong, but I convinced Justin to try this for three days. If LJ was still this upset after three days, then we’d assume he wasn’t quite ready and try again at another time. We also took away Hedgie (honestly, Vi isn’t a big pacifier fan and never took to it well like LJ did) for that time so there were no pacis to be found anywhere in the house.

The second night and third nights each got better and better though and we knew it was the right time. Honestly, by night 3 it seemed like he accepted that Edgar was “broken” – we talked to him about how he could still have Edgar and snuggle him even without the pacifier and he does. He still likes to go to bed with Edgar and he’ll  carry him around the house and hold him and play with him, but it’s more of a comfort stuffed animal now. We brought Hedgie back out this week and LJ knows it’s Vi’s and not his and he hasn’t regressed to wanting his.

20191212_085945It was a LONG journey with a difficult ending, but I’m so thankful we’re at this point. I’m so proud of LJ for “graduating” this step. And bonus: now that he doesn’t have something else in his mouth all day, his language is rapidly improving (we had hoped that would happen!)

Can you spot Edgar? 😉

Farewell Gigi, Patrick, Edgar, and all you other pacis. You’ve been good to us, but I’m glad to see you go.







Let’s Look: Wrapping Station

Today is the final “Let’s Look” for 2019 and once again I’m linking up with Erika and Shay. This month’s topic is all about our gift wrapping station. Kind of like the pantry post, this is something I never thought I’d blog about, but it actually was kind of fun to plan this post!

I keep all my wrapping supplies in one corner of a closet. It’s certainly nothing fancy, but it is very helpful to have everything corralled together.


On the floor, you’ll see I keep all my wrapping paper in a storage bin that I bought a few years ago from Target. The handle makes it super easy to bring my paper out wherever I’m wrapping. I keep a variety of boxes in all different sizes from various purchases/packages so I have something to put gifts into.


On the shelf, my old pink shower caddy from my college days gained new life as storage for all my little bits and bobs for wrapping – ribbons, washi tape, twine, tags, etc.


I also keep a sturdy gift bag full of various colors of tissue paper. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever purchased tissue paper – this is all just paper I’ve received from my own gifts in the past! When I get a gift with tissue paper in it, I smooth it out, fold it up, and store it in a rough rainbow order. It makes it super easy to find the color I want and I feel good knowing the paper is getting reused instead of just tossed.


I also have a TON of gift bags. Again, I don’t buy any gift bags. These are all bags I’ve received over the years that I’ve kept to use for gifts to others (as you can imagine, I have a lot of bags for weddings and baby showers!) I keep them stored roughly by size – larger bags get stored in one bag, smaller bags in another. I also keep my smallest gift boxes here, mostly because they fit perfectly in my storage box.


I also keep extra shopping bags tucked on the side of the shelf – these are nice to have on hand to transport gifts to an event.

Whenever it’s time to wrap a gift, I just get out whatever supplies I need and bring it to my kitchen table. I do love using gift bags for easy gift-giving throughout the year, but there is something about Christmas that makes me want to wrap every gift. Yesterday I started wrapping some Christmas gifts and snapped a few quick pictures of what my work space looked like.


I like making each gift a little bit special with tags, ribbons, or washi tape so I keep the caddy right next to me so I can grab whatever I need easily.20191210_142808.jpg20191210_14330620191210_144249

My little niece is super girly so so simple glittery washi tape is perfect for her. 😉


When I’m done, it’s easy to just tuck my supplies back in the closet until next time!


Now I just need to figure out where to store these wrapped gifts until Christmas! Usually I keep them under the tree, but since I have a very curious toddler who would tear open these gifts in 4.5 seconds, I need to find another place! 😉

Santa Train!

I love Christmas and doing Christmas-y things, but I never want us to get so busy we don’t really enjoy the season. I’ve been very intentional about just picking a few things to do as a family in this season so we can truly enjoy without being overwhelmed.

LJ is completely obsessed with trains right now (in case you couldn’t tell based on his Halloween costume and birthday party theme). When I discovered that a local railroad historical society puts on a train ride with Santa, I knew this was definitely something Christmas-y that had to be on our to-do list! My parents wanted to come too, so we all got tickets and went this past Saturday.


I had no idea what to expect with this ride, but it actually was perfect for small children. There were two caboose cars and one engine and it just went out the track and back. We boarded a caboose (ours was 60 years old and the other caboose was 100 years old!) and it was all decorated for Christmas. Santa was in ours to start with, and he passed out candy canes and let kids sit on his lap and take pictures. The train stopped halfway through and then Santa left to go visit the other caboose. The ride was supposed to be 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back, but it was a little shorter than that, which was fine by me since it was pretty chilly.


Vi seemed to enjoy Santa . . .


but LJ was very unimpressed ha!


LJ may not have been impressed by Santa, but he was ALL about the train ride! He was absolutely fascinated with looking out the window to see passing landscape or looking at how the cars were connected and how they moved during the ride.


My dad is a history buff and he and LJ were like two little peas in a pod geeking out over the train.


After the train ride, we went inside their warehouse, where they store their engines and had set up a mini Christmas village. There were lights strung up, a few little booths, a little food truck where you could purchase snacks and hot cocoa, and of course, trains. It was a cute little set up! You could go inside their biggest engine, which LJ loooooooooooved. The lighting wasn’t great, so my photos are low-quality, but getting to pretend to drive the engine was a highlight for LJ for sure!

We stayed about an hour in total and then loaded up the car to go get some lunch. Leaving was pretty tough, as we had a strong-willed toddler who was not ready to say bye bye to the trains. Haha! Safe to say it was a huge hit and is definitely something I can see us doing as a little family tradition each Christmas. I’m so glad my parents were able to join the fun too!


Do you have fun Christmas traditions you do with your family/children? I’d love to hear what you enjoy doing each year!

Simplified Holiday Decorating

This year, I am really trying to keep the holidays simple. And one of the biggest ways I’m doing this is by simplifying my holiday decorating.

I’ve accumulated many decorations over the years, and I usually have something Christmas-y on every surface. This year, I scaled way back for a couple reasons. We just moved into our new house in May, and we are slowly slowly making it our own. This means we don’t have a ton of furniture and I don’t have many shelves or surfaces to decorate, particularly that are out of my toddler’s reach (he can pull candle lights off the windowsills and end tables are definitely out!) Plus, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas feels really short this year and we have our hands full with a toddler and newborn so we wanted to just spend a few hours decorating and then call it good.

I didn’t want to clutter up the space I do have, so instead of getting everything out, I chose a few of my favorite decorations to use and kept the rest in storage. I actually love that now there are just a few areas where Christmas decor is concentrated throughout the main areas! Today I thought I’d just give you a little peek into our home.

This kitchen counter feels so festive and makes me happy every time I walk by!


I love seeing this sweet little nativity scene in the playroom and LJ loves to play with it. It’s a great way to start introducing him to the story of Jesus’ birth.


We don’t have a fireplace, but our staircase is a focal point in our entry and living room, so this doubled as a place to hang garland AND all our stockings. Even Scout and Macie get one. 🙂


I wasn’t sure how it was going to go to put up a Christmas tree with LJ, but honestly, after the first day, he’s mostly left it alone. He likes to look at the ornaments but he’s only pulled one off the tree. I have shatterproof ornaments I got several years ago at Target (mine aren’t sold anymore but these are somewhat similar and I actually like their look even better!) for the low branches and we also put the sturdiest ornaments at the bottom. So far, it’s worked well and we’ve had no broken ones!


Outside, Justin hung one row of icicle lights on our porch, I hung a wreath and set up two little trees (my one Black Friday splurge!) on either side of the door. We also have smaller touches throughout the first floor like a festive runner on our table, a few festive pillows on the couch, some holiday towels in the kitchen and half bath, as well as a few candles. We didn’t put any decorations in the basement or any of the upstairs rooms. It’s not much (or at least, not nearly as much as it usually is), but it feels like the perfect amount this year!

My favorite part of Christmas decorations? The way it makes our house feel SO cozy at night.

Did you go all out for decorating or scale back this year?

November 2019 Book Reviews

Another month – another book review! (Side note: how is it already December!? Where was the year gone?)

You may remember that last month I declared I wanted to try jumping in to reading a book without reading the book jacket, and that’s just what I did this month. I really enjoyed all three books I read, and I do think some of that had to do with the “surprise” factor of not exactly knowing what I was about to read about. I think I’m going to keep this up!


The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline

The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good by [Cline, Elizabeth L.]

“The fashion industry creates more carbon dioxide annually than all international flights and maritime shipping combined”. (p. 117-118) This book was full of information regarding the way fashion impacts our world. It was fascinating to me to read about where our clothing comes from, how it’s made, what it’s made of, and how all our decisions regarding clothing has lasting impacts. Some of it was downright shocking – did you know up to 2,168 gallons of water is used to grow the cotton to make a single t-shirt? What I love about this book is that the author isn’t trying to stop us from buying clothing or make us feel guilty for loving trendy clothes. She herself loves clothing and enjoys having a variety of clothes in her closet. But she is incredibly persuasive about being more conscious in our fashion choices. She gives great examples of ways to extend the life of clothes through resale, renting, shopping secondhand (this can extend the live of a garment by an average of 2.2 years!) or if you want to buy new, things to look for on the label or in the company you’re supporting. She also gives tips on how to make the clothing you do have last longer. It was super informative but digestible and not boring. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in making even the smallest of changes towards a more sustainable, conscious closet.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

My sister read this young adult novel and kept telling me that I would love it so I checked it out and it did not disappoint! This novel follows four of high school students and their perspectives and experiences after all ending up in detention together one day.  I feel like a lot of books lately have had a “warm up” period where I have to read 50 or so pages before I get hooked but with this novel, I was hooked right away and couldn’t put it down. The characters are interesting, the plot is intriguing, and the pace is just right. I found myself quickly becoming heavily invested in the mystery surrounding what really happened in that detention and it honestly kept me guessing until the end. I loved it and highly recommend checking it out even if you’re well beyond your ‘young adult’ years! (If you’re a parent of a teen, I would warn that there is some language use that you might not want a young teen to read).

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

This book was – WOW! You all know my love of historical fiction, particularly when it comes to events and people I hadn’t previously known about. I had never heard of the Pack Horse Library Project in 1930s Kentucky and was absolutely fascinated by this take on it. It gave me the same vibes as Where the Crawdads Sing but I enjoyed the story so much more. I loved the strong female lead characters, each with different but complementary personalities. I felt like I knew them all and enjoyed seeing their individual growth throughout the story. There were also a couple very endearing supportive male characters – I got so invested in the mini storylines and relationships.  I thought it was spellbinding and I couldn’t put it down! My only complaints are it got a little long in places (I did skim read a bit when the story started to stall at one point) and there was one character storyline I wasn’t quite satisfied with how it wrapped up, as it seemed too abrupt. Overall I loved this book and would highly recommend it!

I’m so excited for December reading – something about reading by a Christmas tree, snuggling under a blanket, is just the coziest thing ever!