Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Goodbye January Hello February

It feels like January was the slowest month ever but also over in the blink of an eye. It was a busy month. Jim kept busy with job interviews and doctors’ appointments. I kept busy with work. Holly kept us both busy with dance. Jim prepped for his Australia trip. Holly had her first ever final and end of semester homework. Then we got the puppy, and the last week is nothing but a blur.

On the personal front, I chose to concentrate on writing in my journal daily as a way to show kindness to myself. I managed every day but three in January and plan to extend this mini-challenge into February to truly make it a habit. My next mini-challenge is to add daily meditation, something I was doing last year but dropped for no good reason. I expect this mini-challenge will wait until Jim returns to Wisconsin.

Things I have been loving lately:

Wake and Bake Hydrating Face Oil

January in Wisconsin lately has been a bit like playing Russian roulette. You know the frigid temperatures are coming but you never know exactly when. This year, January temps went as high as 53F and as low as -11F. This type of weather fluctuations wreaks havoc on my skin, but this little miracle in a bottle has made all the difference. Just a few days of putting a few drops of this on my face morning and night and the chapped redness around my mouth and nose is all but gone. Plus, it actually fights acne so my face is clearer. I have had this product for a while now and was never completely sold on it, but using it this month proved to me that this Wake & Bake Hydrating Oil from Beauty Bakerie really is amazing stuff!

King of Skin Body Butter

I have recently become a convert of Lush’s products, and this King of Skin Body Butter is probably my favorite product of all time. It is expensive, but a little goes a long way and the feeling of it on your skin is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Gone is the dry, itchy skin I get every winter. Gone too are those annoying ingrown hairs from shaving periodically as one does in winter. This little bar has become my new best friend for winter.

Mulled Cider Candle

Winter means candles, and there is seriously no better candle than the ones produced by Chandler Candle Co. Their scents are rich and full and aromatic. Even my husband commented on how good they smell. Plus, they seem to last forever. My favorite scent right now is Mulled Cider, which is just as glorious as it sounds. Honestly, it really does smell like I have a batch of mulled wine simmering on the stove. They are a touch expensive, but I feel these candles are worth every penny.

Cozy Blanket

I received this fuzzy and luxurious blanket by Summer and Rose in a subscription box and fell deeply in love with everything about it. It is so soft; it makes me want to do nothing but pet it. It is heavy, which I absolutely adore. It makes me feel safe in addition to keeping me warm. I love this blanket so much that I refuse to share it with anyone in the family. I mean, I have blankets all over the house in winter, so they have plenty of other options from which to choose. This chocolate brown goodness is mine. All mine.

In addition to all this hygge stuff (which I seem to do naturally because when I look at what to do my house is already set up to maximize hygge without doing anything to it), I spent the month reading. I was a reading machine. I haven’t put up these types of numbers in at least two years if not more. Even better, I only had to DNF one book the entire month. The rest ranged from good to outstanding. If this is a sign of my reading to come, I will take it!

  • Total number of books read: 14
  • Total number of pages: 4,936
  • Total number of hours listening to audiobooks: 0 – this makes me very sad but I have plans to change this in February
  • Most-read genre: Contemporary Fiction – not my usual go-to genre so this is interesting to me
  • Longest book: The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin at 448 pages
  • Shortest book: The Night Child by Anna Quinn at 200 pages
  • % of Books by Female Authors: 85.71 percent
  • % of Books by Authors of Color: 7.14 percent
  • % of YA: 21.43 percent
  • % of New-to-me Authors: 71.43 percent
  • % of Review Copies: 100 percent but I am so close to finally being caught up so this should change
  • Where in the world did my books take me (every earthly location where my books happened to be set): Traveling Through Books in 2018
  • First Lines (every first line of every book read this year and a fun trip down memory lane): First Lines of 2018
  • Favorite books I read this month (in alphabetical order):


Looking ahead, February is going to be its own kind of craziness. Jim is gone until the 18th, so I will be on sole parenting duty for Holly and the new puppy. Holly’s first competition is the last weekend of February, so she has more than several hours of weekend rehearsals to clean and polish her routines before she hits that first stage. Plus, as I type this, my company does not have a finalized 2018 budget and I am supposed to be closing the fiscal month of January, which I can’t do without a budget. January may have been busy, but I have a feeling that February is going to put it to shame. It is time to buckle in for the ride.

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