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Books – September 2022

Book reviews for the month. I had some really good ones, and two not so much. I have a few Christmas books that came in that I cannot wait to get to! I am sure I will be breaking them out in the next month or so. I did listen to one of them this month, but it was only Christmas-y because it took place on a Christmas tree farm. Do you have any good fall books you have read/looking forward to reading? I would love a few suggestions!

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Love on the Brain

I absolutely loved this one! Maybe even more than the Love Hypothesis, which is really saying something…because that book was fantastic. I love bad ass women in science, and Bee was so quirky and funny. Levi was a great male character in this book. I felt like there was a little mysteriousness to him, and he really ended up being a stand up guy. I loved Bee’s twin sister and her assistant. They were hilarious and added some fun to the main plot. I LOL’d several times throughout this book. I will say, I could have done without some of the woke talk in the book. I feel like authors love to throw in some wokeness in their writing and it just isn’t needed in the story. I cannot wait for Ali’s next one!

Bottom Line: Read it!!

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

The Perfect Couple

I didn’t realize this was part of a series, but it makes sense since it is supposed to become a series for TV soon. I have read so many Hilderbrand books, and yet I still have a decent backlog of her older stuff to read. I really enjoyed this one, I couldn’t put it down! I really wanted to know what happened, and I saw everything coming except the big thing of who done it! I liked how the book went between the present investigation and the past leading up to everything. Every character was fantastically interesting.

Bottom Line: Read it!!!

The Sweetheart Deal by Miranda Liasson

The Sweetheart Deal

This is a take on Romeo and Juliet, which was quiet fun, as I love some family drama. The premise is also faking a relationship, which tends to work well for me. I loved Leo and Tessa as characters, and loved seeing them try to save their family businesses together. This is the first in a series, as I am guessing we will see perhaps Tessa’s sisters or Leo’s best friend in future books? I hope so! It was just a fun read that I finished rather quickly. I absolutely loved the ending.

Bottom Line: Read it! You have a morph of fake relationship/second chance romance/enemies to lovers thing going on.

**I received a copy of The Sweetheart Deal from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Do I Know You? By Emily Wibberley

Do I Know You?

Publishes January 24, 2023

I really loved the premise of this, a married couple struggling in their 5th year, pretending to be strangers on an anniversary trip to try to save their relationship. I found it very realistic, as Graham and Eliza tried to navigate how to get back to how they were. I really liked that the chapters switched back and forth from Graham’s POV to Eliza’s. It drew me in quickly, and I felt like I got to see what each side was struggling with. This was a sweet read, sometimes the marriage in trouble trope is hard. This is a great reminder to always date your spouse. I liked this better than The Roughest Draft that I read last month by the same duo.

Bottom Line: Read it.

**I received a copy of Do I Know You? from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Arsenic and Adobo by

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, #1)

I do love a cozy mystery from time to time. Especially closer to fall. This was a fun read. I think the author might have gone overboard on all the food descriptions. It was a little maddening at times, and pulled me out of the story. It was more of a distraction, than anything. I also think Lila wasn’t the most likable character. She had two guys falling all over her, and I am not sure that she deserved either of them. But otherwise, I enjoyed this. Made a good palette cleanser.

Bottom Line: Read it.

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison

Lovelight Farms (Lovelight, #1)

I absolutely loved this book! While it takes place on a Christmas tree farm, it isn’t an overly Christmassy book. Though, I never mind lots of Christmas cheer in my books, but if it isn’t your think, you could still enjoy this one. This is a fake relationship/friends to lovers trope…and I am here for it. I just loved Lucas and Stella!!! The build up and pace of the book was perfection. You get fun and a little steam. There is also a little bit of a mystery going on at the farm, which kept it interesting. I cannot wait to read the next one!

I consumed this on audiobook, and I really loved the narration. It definitely added to the enjoyment of the book.

Bottom Line: Read it!

**I received an audio copy of Lovelight Farms from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Last Housewives by Ashley Winden

The Last Housewife

WTF did I just read? This book is so messed up. I know sometimes that is a good thing, if that is what you are craving, but this is just….I don’t even know? I will say that I read it super fast, because I did want to know where it was all going to go. But the content of the book? It is about a cult and making women be submissive to men with sex torture. To each their own if you are into that. And its not even a “trigger” for me, I don’t really care about trigger warnings in books. But I felt like the book wasn’t done very well. There was no big twist. And most of the story was Shay wanting to tell Jamie about her and her past, so it loses some of its edge that way. And the chapters that are in the present as they are investing what happens to Laurel, anytime Shay gets near danger she magically gets out. It is so unrealistic to me.

Maybe it is by design from the author, but I also couldn’t care about anyone in this book. I didn’t even feel bad for the victims. I especially hate Shay, our main character. The only one with redeemable qualities was Clem.

Bottom Line: If I didn’t have to finish this one, I wouldn’t have. I would say pass.

The Grace-Filled Homestead by Lana Stenner

The Grace-Filled Homestead: Lessons I've Learned about Faith, Family, and the Farm

Well now I just want to move on some land, grow a garden and play with goats! I want a grace-filled intentional life.

I received an audiobook of The Grace-Filled Homestead and really appreciated that the author read it. I enjoyed consuming this on audiobook, it felt like that author was just telling me stories about her life in my car. It kept me entertained.  I hope then released, it will come with PDF of the recipes and such, as that is hard to put to use from an audio copy.

Bottom Line: If you are interested in becoming more self sustaining, homesteading, farm house living, etc, read it!

**I received an audio copy of The Grace-Filled Homestead from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Second You’re Single by Cara Tanamachi

The Second You're Single: A Novel

Publishes January 31, 2023

I just couldn’t finish this one. Our main character Sora is so judgmental, constantly making comments about what people eat, wear, their body size. It is quite the disservice to put a midsized character in a book, and make her a total bitch. She is constantly talking about bacon, it is so cliche. I am tired of the healthy at any size movement that is going on right now, it should be unhealthy at every size for our country and the relationship so many of us have with food. I just can’t tolerate reading anymore of this garbage. Sorry.

Bottom Line: Pass

**I received a copy of The Second You’re Single from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Currently Reading

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

The Blue Bistro

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!! It is dreary and there is a slight chill in the air here this morning, I mean, a chill for it being 70 at 7am….but fall is coming!!!! AND FOOTBALL IS HERE!!! Man, it was so nice having games on the TV last weekend!

I need to share our trip to Fairhope/Daphne/Mobile we took a few weeks ago. Dropping this picture of Zoe and I here. I could live on one of the houses that runs along this street with this view everyday for sure. So breathtaking.

I started this post last week and never got the chance to finish. I really want to get back to posting every Friday. I just love sharing things I am loving, and little bits of life thrown in. The last few weeks have been crazy. This week has been the week of appointments. I was chosen as a room mom for Zoe’s class. I had a PTO meeting followed by a room mom meeting this week. Then had a chiropractic appointment after. Wednesday I got my hair done. Thursday I had another chiropractic appointment, followed by another doctor appointment. Today I am hoping to have a lunch date with two dear friends I have not seen since March 13, 2013. We went to lunch together at Ashley Mac’s, I went back to the office and my boss said we should head on home and try to hit up the grocery store on the way. That it might be a few weeks before we were back in the office. A few weeks. LOL.

new hair who dis

Zoe also started year 4 of dance this week!!! And she rocked her gymnastics class. They were working on sticking landings from the spring board and my girl was perfection. She had three parents come up to her after class telling her how amazing she was. The amount of pride shining through her smiles and thanks you….ahhh my mama heart was bursting!

I mentioned above I went to the chiropractor twice this week. I started back last Monday. It had been 12 years since I had been to a chiropractor. I started going to one when I was in elementary school for headaches, then various activities in my childhood kept me going to keep me aligned. They got me through a really bad car accident in high school. And now I return because I just don’t feel great. My upper back in tense AF, my lower back hurts and my hips. Goodness my hips. Ever since pregnancy, I have daily pain in my hips. Turns out after x-rays that one hip bone is sitting a lot higher than the other. A lot higher. I couldn’t believe the pictures! No wonder why I am in so much pain. It has finally caused pressure on my lower back. I say all this to say….living in pain is common in our late 30’s and beyond. However, it doesn’t make it ok. If you are struggling with something, don’t wait like I did. I cannot tell you how life changing just a few visits have been. I know I have to go a lot right now…but in a few more weeks I will level out to a more reoccurring appointment for maintenance. I am never going to get off track with that again.

Favorite Purchase: I had this blouse on my wish list during nsale, but of course it was gone before I could shop. I was casually walking around after a doctor appointment a few weeks ago, and this was just sitting front and center on a rack in my exact size, just waiting for me!!! I scooped it right up and rushed to the fitting room. It was everything I wanted it to be, the perfect fall statement blouse! I cannot wait to wear this when the weather chills out. The sleeves are ballooned, but come in at the wrists, so I find that it is flattering. I love Free People for the quality.

I also ordered these sneakers. I have had my eye on them for months now. I went shopping with my SIL last week and saw a similar pair in stores and couldn’t stop thinking about them. I did some major digging and found these for a major discount compared to what they are being sold at in boutiques. SCORE! These are going to go with everything.

I currently have my eye on this moto jacket. How cute is this???? Would work perfect for super casual, but you could also dress it up a little bit. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

Favorite Podcasts: I love Just Ingredients as a podcast, and the information she shares on Instagram as well. I highly suggest her podcast, any episode. But I especially suggest her most recent one with Josh Axe. It is amazing. I really want his book now.

I also really love Healthy with Heather Brown. Heather is a local Birmingham blogger who shares lots of wellness, health, faith, family and meal prep hacks. I really love her energy and have been following her for years. She launched this podcast last month and I haven’t missed an episode yet. I also found my FWTFL coach through her.

Speaking of Faster Way to Fat Loss…my coach took off over the summer from new clients (she has still been amazing for all existing members!!) She is offering her first round for fall that will start Monday, September 12. If you are looking for accountability and to break the cycle of crazy diets…I highly suggest her!!! Here is my link if you are interested. I can talk for hours about how amazing FWTFL has been for me. If you have any questions, let me know. I am glad to share any information.

Favorite Recipe: I shared this on my Instagram stories, but wanted to drop it here too. This Banh Mi Bowl is amazing, easy to throw together, and health.

Favorite Fall SB Order: Trust me on this! The key is ordering a tall so that you have the perfect amount of sweetness! I had an amazing drink, and didn’t blow my macros for the day! Yay!!

Favorite Funnies:

Linking up for Friday Favorites! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Amazon Favorites

Some more Amazon favorites with Tanya. A mix of new and repurchases.

Biotin Gummies

I had Covid back in July, and the only major symptom I had besides a sniffle for a few days….is hair loss. It is still falling out like crazy!! I ordered these vitamins on recommendation from my hair stylist. They taste good and I have noticed some growth with my hair and nails since I have started taking them over a month ago.

Kindle Oasis

Chris got me a Kindle for my birthday. I have been reading books on my iPad for years with the Kindle app, but that is really all I ever do on my Ipad, and I like the size and weight of this better. Plus, you can read this in the tub or by the pool without worrying about it getting wet. It also has a better screen to read outside in the sun.

Kindle Case

I love the look of this one. It has a handle to hold it with, the natural back shape of the Kindle for grip and you can prop it up. Perfection.

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh

The Love of my Life

Enjoyed this book, here is my review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this one, and it kept me guessing the entire time. This isn’t a suspenseful thriller, but you aren’t sure what to think about our main character Emma and what has happened in her past and why she lied. I spent most of the book coming up with theories, and I was wrong on all of them. I found all the side characters fascinating, and this book was easy to read quickly because I just wanted to know more.

Unbleached Parchment Paper

Why purchase bleached when you don’t have to?? This one is precut and the perfect size for toaster ovens, air fryers, smaller pans/amount to cook. I just double up on my large pans if I am making a greater quantity of something.

Protein Powder

This is a repurchase and one of my favorite tasting protein powders. Grass-fed protein and minimal ingredients makes me happy. Chris and Zoe love it too!

No Tie Laces

I got these for Zoe’s sneakers since we aren’t quite at the independent shoe tying phase just yet.

Bouncing Ball

Zoe’s gymnastic class uses one of these about every other class to build leg muscle. I got one for her to use at home to build muscle…and let’s be honest…burn off some of that five year old energy. She loves it!


Zoe needed something brown for a color day at school, enter the leopard dress! This fits so cute and Zoe absolutely loved it.

Ballet Shoes

Zoe grows out of her ballet shoes about every three months, ordered a size up for the new season that starts tonight! We have tried so many different brands, and this is our absolute favorite.


Books – August 2022

I made a goal on Goodreads at the beginning of the year to read 52 books, one for each week. I ended up hitting that goal in July, I am currently sitting at 60 for the year! Wow! It definitely helps that I often listen to audiobooks while I work during the day, and sitting in carline waiting for Zoe. I had some great reads this month, so lets jump in!!

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

The Hotel Nantucket

What is up with Elin and writing about ghosts and other super natural things? I usually don’t enjoy books with those elements, but I have to admit….I have enjoyed Elin’s versions. This was a delightful summer read. I love all the characters, and man are there a lot of them between the hotel staff and some of the guests we really get to know. I loved all the descriptions of the hotel, the foods, and hearing some names of other people and places we have come to love on the island through previous books. This just makes me want to pack a bag and check into The Hotel Nantucket.

Bottom Line: Read it!

Built to Last by Erin Hahn

Built to Last

Releases October 18, 2022

Former child stars with a history are thrown back together for a reality home renovation show. Dig in for some entertainment! I really enjoyed getting to know Cameron and Shelby, both from their past and current lives. We have some great side characters in their best friends, and Shelby’s dad. There are so many fun and sweet moments throughout this book, some personal growth in our characters, and who doesn’t love a home renovation?! I have read a previous Erin Hahn book that was YA, and quite enjoyed it even though that isn’t my favorite genre. This is her debut into romcom and I hope she continues on this path! The banter and chemistry were fantastic.

Bottom Line: Read it!

**I received a copy of Built to Last from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

With Love from Wish & Co by Minnie Darke

With Love from Wish & Co.

This was so cute, and a delight to read! It takes place in Australia, where a professional gift buyer makes a huge mistake with one of her best clients. Then starts to fall for said client’s son! You get the perspective of every character in the book, which at times I had to think about whose head we were in, as there is no indication when it switches besides a little present box picture. I liked getting every POV though. I felt like there could definitely have been more character development, the book is rather light and predictable.

Bottom Line: Read it! Would make a great palette cleanser.

**I received a copy of With Love from Wish & Co from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Something Wilder

I devoured this Christina Lauren book, as I do all their books. I definitely feel like the book focused more on the treasure hunt than the relationship between Lily and Leo. That sort of makes me sad, because it made it not as good as most CL books. It was definitely still enjoyable though; good banter, chemistry, and well paced. The whole treasure hunt theme was fun, and it definitely kept me engaged. I just felt like we didn’t get to really connect with our main characters as we have in their past books.

Bottom Line: Read it!

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley

The Roughest Draft

I am not sure how I feel about this one after reading it? I finished it rather quickly, it is quite readable. However, I am not sure that I really connected with either of the main characters. They are rather unlikeable. I lost all respect for Kat when she agreed to write the novel as an ultimatum from her fiancé. Like seriously?? Also, there is so much emotional cheating in this book, which I am not a fan of. We spend the first half of the book not really knowing exactly what happened between Nathan and Kat, and when we find out, I am not sure how I felt about it. I went in thinking this was going to be a romcom, but it was more a book about love than a romance. And it was all while the two authors were writing a book about divorce, but also writing about their own feelings in the book…about divorce?

Bottom Line: Based on my review, you are probably thinking pass. And I couldn’t blame you. And yet…it still had my attention and I read it rather quickly.

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh

The Love of my Life

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this one, and it kept me guessing the entire time. This isn’t a suspenseful thriller, but you aren’t sure what to think about our main character Emma and what has happened in her past and why she lied. I spent most of the book coming up with theories, and I was wrong on all of them. I found all the side characters fascinating, and this book was easy to read quickly because I just wanted to know more.

Bottom Line: Read it

Moments with God for Women by Our Daily Bread

Moments with God for Women: 100 Devotions for Reflection and Renewal

Each devotion gives you a passage to read from the bible, then it connects the passage with a story or message. It then gives moments for reflection, then a moment for renewal/prayer. I really liked the layout of this. It is perfect for any woman who is busy, and only has a few moments to dedicate each morning to quiet time. This devotional was very grounding. Would make a great gift!

Bottom Line: Read it

**I received a copy of Moments with God for Women from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Lifegiving Home by Sarah Clarkston

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

There were so many good nuggets that I took away from this book about being intentional and pouring life and love into your family. Thank you Tanya for recommending it to me! I enjoyed that each chapter was set for a certain month and gave you all the seasonal/cozy feels. It was written by a mother and daughter and was beautifully done. I have a few other books of Sally’s on my TBR and can’t wait to get to them. I sat with a notebook while reading to write some of the things I wanted to remember since I got this from the library.

Bottom Line: Read it.

The Cookie Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

The Cookie Bible

Call me the cookie monster. I can pass on cake and some other treats. But cookies? We all have room for a cookie, right? There are so many recipes in this book! There are classics like chocolate chip and oatmeal, and some that I can’t wait to try like Pecan Freezer Squares and Brownie Doughnuts. Some of the recipes require some pre-planning and are a little fancier than dump in a bowl and bake. I am sure that anyone who reads this will find their new favorite cookie in these pages. The pictures have me drooling and planning my next baking day!

**I received a copy of The Cookie Bible from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson

Meet Me in the Margins

I couldn’t get into this one, so I quit pretty early on. I may try again one day.


Amazon Favorites

Linking up with Tanya to share some of our recent Amazon purchases. If I am being honest, our usage of Prime is a lot less frequent than it used to be. I am combing June and July in this post. There are a lot of school supplies for Zoe in this.

Molly Suds Laundry Detergent

I have been using fragrance free laundry detergent for years because of Chris’s sensitivities. Over the last year, I have really been cleaning up the products we use. Trying to eliminate endocrine disrupters, bad ingredients, things that alter our hormones, etc. This is one of the best laundry detergents you can get. The powder lasts for 120 loads, so it is actually more cost effective than many things you can purchase at Target/Walmart etc. Plus, if you have a fancy laundry room, you can drop the powder in a pretty container.

If you like a clean scent to your detergent, they make a peppermint one that is fab.

Protein Powder

You guys, have you ever actually read the ingredients on protein powders from Target, Walmart, Publix? They are all garbage. Not a single one of them sold in stores was without nasty ingredients that do us more harm than good. I have been trying out a few cleaner options and have really liked this one. It is much more affordable than the other two I tried and liked…so it is in my regular rotation. I mix this with various different fruits for a delicious protein packed treat to hit my macros.

Hemp Hearts

Hemp Hearts are an amazing way to get some added protein and omegas into yogurt, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, salads, etc. If you have never tried them, they have a light nutty flavor. Delicious!

Memory Making Mom

Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home

Major sale alert!!! This book is under $5 as I am writing this post up!!!

This book is full of ideas and encouragement for moms who want to make the best memories with their kids. It isn’t always about doing everything, but choosing what is special and important to your family, and building traditions on that. I sat with a notebook when I read chapters from this, taking notes on how I want my family to look, ideas for different holidays and traditions, key lines of inspiration and thoughts from the author. One of my favorite lines was: “You never know what traditions your children will treasure the rest of their lives.” I know I have certain memories from my childhood that I hold onto and try to recreate for my daughter. I hope that she has the same. This is written by a Christian author, but you do not have to be Christian to take away good points from the book.

Stove Guard

We got a new stove awhile ago, and it didn’t sit in our counters quite like the old one. Enter these! They make it look seamless and works great to block things from building up between the stove and counter.

Glass Top Wand

Grabbed these to clean said new stove.

Shower Gel

Restocked our favorite shower gel. I also like the lavender scent. This brand uses essential oils to scent their products, no nasty hormone disrupters.


We grabbed this for Zoe before we went to the beach this summer. She outgrew her old one weight-wise and this was perfect for her. She said it was comfortable and it allowed her to move her arms more than the other style we used to have.

Unicorn Ice Packs

Zoe chose these ice packs for her lunchbox. They had some other really cute designs like pineapples, mermaids, fairies, space shapes and dinosaurs too! These are a great size and I would use them in my lunchbox as well, if I was still going to the office.


Zoe chose this Bentgo box. Again, there were plenty of cute designs for any taste. I am hoping to get creative with her lunches this year. Send me all your recommendations or accounts you follow on Instagram for inspiration!

Nap Mat

Zoe had the same napmat all through daycare. It lasted 5 years. The velcro no longer held, and it was getting really lumpy. It was washed once a week for 5 years, so its understandable! We decided to get a new one for Kindergarten so she can actually carry it without it falling open. Her school will nap until December and drop naps when they come back from Christmas break. She is excited about the “big girl” design of this one…compared to the fairytale one she used to have.

Ticonderoga No.2 Pencils

Zoe’s school supply list was very specific with brands. Crayola crayons, markers and colored pencils, pink pearl erasers, and these pencils. I wanted Zoe to have some fun colors, so I thought this pack was perfect! I somehow ended up with 2 packs of 20 instead of 10, I am not mad about it.

Primary Composition Notebook

Required, but make it cute. The theme of our school shopping.

We needed a few of these, so we got a pack of fun colored ones too!

Dry Erase Markers

The teachers requested this specific color and brand in a 4-pack. Of course, none of the stores had black four packs. Probably because everyone around here needed the same thing!