Our Amazing Getaway to Spring Lake, Michigan

As soon as the pandemic started, my husband immediately began researching lake houses that we could rent.  We wanted a place where we could safely socially distance from others and give our kids wonderful memories.  After months of searching online, he found us the perfect cottage located in Spring Lake, Michigan.  We booked it and immediately I started writing out my list of what to bring in my new Erin Condren planner.  I actually laughed and grabbed my phone to snap a picture when I realized what the very first items were that I had just written. These were clearly quite high on my priority list of items not to forget!  Eventually this entire page was filled with things to bring once I had those first 3 items written down, lol.

And somehow those 3 items morphed into this:

We stopped for lunch in one of our favorite towns…Saugatuck, Michigan.  (Although indoor seating was available at restaurants, we always chose to eat outside at the restaurants we went to).

We arrived at our cottage and the view from our new backyard literally took our breath away.  Perfection.

Catching frogs!

On our very first morning there, my daughter and I woke up before anyone else and snuck outside to read with a view.  I ended up doing this every single morning we were there and it was just as peaceful and blissful as it looks.

Eventually my son woke up and joined us.  American Dirt for me, Babysitters Club book #2 for my daughter, and dinosaur and Elmo books for my son.

So, so happy.

We drove past this hotel and I immediately thought of The Sun Down Hotel!  AHHHHHH!  THIS is EXACTLY how I pictured that hotel to look, even down to the sign.  Such a better image than the one on the cover of the book based upon the descriptions written.  The cover of that book is GORGEOUS but this is such a better representation of how I imagined that hotel to look as I was reading (you can read my review of The Sun Down Motel HERE).

My daughter and my husband fishing!  The view from our dining room window.  So amazing, right?!

Bike ride through a gorgeous forest…

Traveling during a global pandemic definitely was a strange experience.

Obsessed.

Cherry picking!

There was a swan family and a duck family who came to visit us each day.

After being in the lake all day, it felt great to take a shower and feel pretty 🙂

Fact: lobster rolls are in my top 5 favorite foods of all time.  If there is a lobster roll on a menu, I will never even consider ordering anything else.

I brought my laptop thinking that blogging by the lake would be such fun!  This picture would be the exact spot that my computer sat from the moment we arrived until the moment we left.  Never even opened the bag, lol.

Dirt road leading to our private oasis.

One afternoon we sat down to an outdoor restaurant and this was my view.  Ummm YES PLEASE.  As soon as the order was placed, my daughter and I literally JUMPED up to go and check it out!

Oh it was so lovely!  I didn’t take any pictures inside because I was trying not to touch my phone but I could have spent hours upon hours in there.  It was amazing.  We didn’t have nearly enough time but both her and I did manage to each find a treasure to buy.  I was excited to find a book by the same author as The Housekeeper which I really enjoyed (read my review HERE).  My daughter bought a present for my son which he loved!  I had such a nice conversation with the man working and I promised that I would come back!  If you are ever in the area, you need to check this place out…

Pontoonin’!  Always drinking hot coffee, even in 90 degree weather 🙂

So handsome.

I read 1 page on that boat.  Literally 1 page.

My husband took this video and I had no idea…

 

“I’m crushing this!!!” LOL

And now I present to you the most delicious meal of the trip.  Goat cheese, strawberries, walnuts, maple balsamic vinaigrette, and added grilled chicken breast.  OMG.  I loved it so much that I went back a few days later and ordered a second one to go to have for lunch the following day!  Here is a link to the restaurant if you are ever in the area.  DELICIOUS.

Lake lunch 🙂  Day 2 of THE SALAD.

Perfect magnet in a cute Grand Haven boutique.  #truth

Cutest coffee mug from one of our delicious breakfasts.

6 mile family bike ride.  Best bike ride of my life, it was so beautiful!

My family totally indulged me when I yelled “I SEE A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY!”  The 3 of them immediately pulled over to wait for me as I turned my bike around and headed straight back to this little gem:

None of the books caught my eye but for about 20 seconds I debated taking this bookmark ONLY because so many of you ALWAYS call me out for folding down the pages of books, lol.  BUT…then I remembered that I love folding those pages so I left the bookmark right where I found it to become a treasure for someone with better book manners than I 😉

After 6 miles we were SWEATY and desperately needed water.  We found a local farmer’s market and immediately asked where the water was.  The lady watched our 4 faces fall when she told us that there weren’t any vendors selling water!  We accepted our fate and started shopping for other things.  A few minutes later, she quietly told me that she had 3 bottles of water for her personal use but that I could buy them off of her!  DONE.  Wife and Mother of the year when I presented those bottles to my family!  As we were leaving the market sipping our delicious water, the farmer’s market organizer asked where we got them.  I answered “black market” 🙂

We left with fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, honey sticks, a loaf of bread, and the most delicious water anyone has ever tasted.  Delightful.

And suddenly it was our last day of our perfect getaway.  As my husband and I sat on the beach watching our kids SO happily frolicking in the lake, he pulled out his phone and booked us a return trip for Labor Day weekend!  YESSSSSSSSS!  Best husband and father.  Countdown starts NOW!

And now…we are back home.  Breakfast on our first day back included farmer’s market blueberries and also a mug that I bought from one of my favorite restaurants that I have ever been to 🙂  If you are ever in the area, my whole family and I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant!  This beautiful mug with it’s beautiful memories will make me smile for many years to come.

Michigan cherries have been turned into Illinois muffins!  My husband and my kids say they are the best muffins they have ever had!  Mama for the WIN!  🙂 🙂 🙂

AND I have quite successfully recreated my new favorite salad down to the homemade salad dressing!  NAILED IT!

Thank you all so much for reading about our adventure!  We had the very best week filled with the very best memories.  Socially distanced perfection!

Thank you for allowing me to take a break from talking about books to share a bit of my personal life with you 🙂  As you can see I have been doing lots of reading…and I have 2 book reviews to write and publish for you ASAP!

I hope you all had a wonderful week filled with love and books!

You can read about our trip to Michigan that we took last fall (without our kids!) HERE.

Xo,

Jenny

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

My #2 Must Have Book Accessory

I once posted about my #1 must have book accessory of all time and I still stand by that product and statement that it is #1!  I very literally use that product EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Today I present to you my #2 must have book accessory!  I first saw this product a few weeks ago when another book blogger whom I follow was using it.  My very first thought was: what a waste of money for such an unnecessary product!

But then I bought one.  And I LOVE IT.

It’s an….interesting looking product.  I think it actually looks a bit naughty, lol.  It’s totally not! 

For YEARS I’ve struggled with reading while drying my hair.  I always wanted to but I could never get the book to lay flat enough while I was using both of my hands to dry and comb my hair.  I’ve tried to use my cell phone, other books, etc. to put weight on books but could never figure out a good solution, especially for paperback books.

Problem solved.

Eating while reading?  No problem.

The one and ONLY complaint that I have with this product is that the rubber material that it is made of seems to be made of some type of HAIR MAGNET.  If you shed thick, dark hair like I do, you might want to consider a darker color weight (this brand has various color choices).  I chose clear because I thought a big dark object on the page might be distracting….but random hairs is also proving to be quite distracting (and gross, lol).

After I finish drying my hair:

Ew.

I mention this all the time but the older I get, the more minimalistic I have become.  I believe our society is filled to the brim with unnecessary products…but this…well, turns out that this isn’t one of them.  I LOVE THIS PRODUCT SO MUCH!  The possibilities are so endless!  Cooking from a cookbook, pumping with a breast pump, eating any meal, reading while on vacation, etc.

Do you have a weighted bookmark?  When do you find yourself using yours?  I’ve had mine for a few weeks now and I’ve found that drying my hair is my absolute favorite way to use mine.  It pains me to think of all of my missed reading opportunities over the years because I couldn’t find a good hands free solution to keep the book open!

Click the image below to order the exact weighted bookmark that I have directly through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Coronavirus Quarantine Life

Hi Friends!

How are you doing during this Coronavirus quarantine?  We are doing well, staying HOME, and trying to do all that we can to avoid exposure to this crazy virus.

I am usually VERY strict about lighting seasonal candles only during the appropriate season.  This quarantine has thrown all of those rules out the window!  Loving going through all of my candles with zero regard as to which season they correspond to!  Burning my all time favorite Bath and Body Works Winter Candle Apple as we speak 🙂

Last week my husband took my kids on a bike ride and my son fell asleep in the bike trailer.  Every time!!!  I was waiting inside (DAMN BROKEN TOE 3 MONTHS LATER) with open arms and an open book! My daughter took this picture, I love it.  He slept on me for over an hour like this!  FYI…the book I’m reading in this photo is Wake of the Sadico By Jo Sparkes (affiliate)!  I’m still reading but plan to finish this weekend (hopefully today).  I’ll have a full review and GIVEAWAY for you next week!  Stay tuned…

Reading side by side with my daughter one night last week.  The best!  I really, really hope that she will always and forever love books as much as her mama does…

My precious vintage Marshall Field’s teddy bear in our window (Marshall Field’s I MISS YOU) is hopefully providing smiles for people out walking during this quarantine.

Happy Passover to those celebrating!  We had such a lovely virtual seder with my family!

What are you currently reading?

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

Book Blogging During a Quarantine

Omg you guys loved my last post!  I’m so glad!  That post is now officially one of the most viewed posts ever on this book blog! 🙂 I really hopes it helps those of you looking for a good book to read during this quarantined time at home.  I’d love to hear which ones you read!

As for us, we are doing ok here and social distancing from the outside world. Homeschooling, playing outside, READING, and spending time as a family.  This quarantine is scary…I now officially have 2 friends who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Our family is staying HOME and I hope you and your family are as well.  As of now, the return date for school is May 4 but I truly don’t think that the kids will be going back this school year.  Crazy.

My view from this morning.  My daughter was working on a self guided coding lesson for one of her school assignments today (super cool) so I had a bit of time to start working on this post!

And my current blogging situation.  Blogging under an umbrella (so I can see my computer under the sun) while sitting on my hammock as my kids are jumping on their trampoline.  It’s a GORGEOUS day here today!  Feels so wonderful to be outside. Our current plan is to stay out here as long as possible!

In other news, a few days ago my children set up a “library” on their bunk bed where they laid out books and I had to come and “check them out”.  Once I made my selection, my daughter typed my name and the book title on her computer, handed the book to my son, and he was in charge of “swiping” my library card.  They LOVED doing this and obviously I was proud that of all of the places, they created a library.My library card:

I’m currently reading this book, I’ll have a full blog review up when I finish!  This was one that I had never heard of but I spotted it on the library shelf and it caught my eye.  I love when that happens!

Aaaaaaaand this has nothing to do with books but TIGER KING.  Have you watched???  My husband and I watched all of them over 3 days.  It’s crazy and unbelievable and insane and weird and totally messed up and AWESOME.  Thank you Netflix for releasing this gem at the most perfect time!

Stay safe everyone…

Xo,

Jenny

What are you currently been reading?  Have you watched Tiger King?

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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Quotes to Live By and 4 of My Favorite Quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing

I have a very special place in my heart for quotes. I LOVE quotes. I am constantly writing them down or adding them to the self created “quotes” folder on my phone! Years ago I had entire notebooks where I would write down my favorites. I’m constantly taking pictures with my phone of quotes I see while in public. My house is decorated with inspirational sayings!

My most recent blog post received an overwhelming amount of comments on both Facebook and Instagram. Clearly people love Where the Crawdads Sing just as much as I do! What I DIDN’T mention in that post were the 4 quotes that I took pictures of with my phone while reading so I would remember them. I often will take pictures of quotes that touch my heart while I’m reading.  Anyone else do that?

**I used my extremely subpar photoshopping skills to block all other language and cropped out all page numbers…no spoilers here!**

This is just a gorgeous quote and deeper meaning into life:

Interesting perspective on how we treat others:

The power of words is spectacular:

And then there is this. Not inspirational, not motivating…but…holy hell is this fascinating (and super weird and super creepy, lol):

So now you know THAT little random tidbit.  You’re welcome 🙂

Did you read Where the Crawdads Sing? Any quotes that stuck out to you? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

The following quote has been my absolute favorite for as long as I can remember. It was even my “senior quote” when I graduated from high school! It has truly applied to every single stage of my life and continues to do so:

“I always knew I’d look back on the times I had cried and laugh but I never knew I’d look back on the times I had laughed and cry.”

Love. It.

Be sure to check the blog on Monday…I’ll be having a giveaway for an ADORABLE book!

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? I’d love to hear what it is in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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I Broke My Toe!

Unfortunately this might just become a new series here on my blog!  You can read last year’s first installment of “I Broke My Elbow” here, (insert face plant emoji).

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know all of this because I’ve been updating my Instastories like crazy…it has kept me entertained!  God bless Instastories.

See this railing in my dining room?  I used to love it.  Now it scares me.

Here’s the short version of the story:

Railing + pinkie toe + trip to the ER + x rays + getting home from the ER at 10:43 + 22 girls at our house at 11:00 for my daughter’s birthday party +medical tape + ugly boot + frozen peas + orthopedic surgeon + more x rays = 6 weeks of boot wearing, medical taping, icing, and elevating until my next appointment with my orthopedic surgeon for more x rays in March.

UGH.

Emergency Room selfies that I had sent to my best friends:

Even my beloved Dunkin’ coffee couldn’t keep my tears away.

Thank GOD for frozen peas!  Regular ice packs won’t work since I broke the tip of my pinkie toe and the ice packs won’t stay put.  Frozen peas for the WIN.

I basically spent 2 straight days in bed.  It was awful!   I finally told my husband that I needed to get out of the house and I needed to go somewhere to make myself feel better.

I took a shower (FYI shaving your legs with a broken toe is hard), I drove straight to Dunkin’ to get coffee, and then I took myself on a much needed trip to the library (aka my happy place).

Hobbling (!) silently through the stacks was EXACTLY what I needed.  Just being in the library surrounded by books gave me such a sense of peace.  Some people would go to a bar and drink in a situation like mine…I just go where the coffee and the books are 🙂

I try to find the silver lining in situations and this situation most DEFINITELY has a silver lining.  I checked out a library book that day and because I’ve been spending so much time icing and elevating my poor toe, I’ve already finished it.

Hands down one of my top 5 favorite books I’ve read.  EVER.  In my entire life.

Omg this book.  It was so beautifully written, I literally devoured it.  Literally couldn’t put it down.

I can’t WAIT to share it with you!  Full (beyond glowing) review coming later this week!  Any guesses??????

As for my poor toe, it’s very sloooooooowly healing.  It still hurts just as much but the bruising is SO much better.  It was so disgusting when it first happened!  It’s still black and blue but doesn’t look nearly as frightening.

I would say it’s taking “baby steps” but…more like “baby hobbles”.  UGH!

Here are my beautiful best friends and I over the weekend.  We were celebrating Amy and Beth’s birthdays!  Trying my best to hide my ugly boot but not really succeeding, lol…

My orthopedic surgeon promised me that I’ll wear high heels again “someday”.  Someday better get here quickly!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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Thanksgiving and My Birthday Weekend

Thanksgiving 2019 began exactly the same way every Thanksgiving of my entire life has began…watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv! Oh how I love watching the parade all warm and snuggly on my couch. I have memories of watching the parade with my parents when I was a little girl, alone when I was living in the city after I graduated from college, with Jon and our dog when we first got married, and now all snuggled up with Jon and our kids.

The Radio City Rockettes was the only time in the 3 hours they weren’t snuggled up against me on the couch 🙂

Pro tip: DVR the parade the night before so you can pass all of the commercials (except for the ET Xfinity commercial…loved it)!

Matching shirts for my kids:

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 19 family members at our house. I put a leaf on everyone’s plate saying “I am thankful for____.” Everyone filled them out, I bought a photo album for them, and each year we will add new leaves to our family album. An official new family tradition that I officially started and will be in charge of each year! At one point during the night I was in the backyard with Jon (he was smoking a turkey and a prime rib) and I happened to look into my house through our back windows. The sight of my extended family together eating and laughing in my home made me instantly tear up! There’s something so profoundly beautiful about growing up going to holiday dinners at other family members’ houses and then one day being the adult hosting in your own home with your own family. So special.

Matching turkey necklaces for my kids and their cousin:

I forgot to turn on the oven to cook the corn casserole and I forgot to take the beautiful fruit bowl out of the refrigerator but nobody cared.  Being together is what the holiday is about and my wonderful family so enjoyed all being together.  I loved hosting everyone and watching as memories were being made inside of our home.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

And just as soon as Thanksgiving ended, it was time to celebrate my birthday!

My birthday this year fell on a Monday. My family and I celebrated the day before.

I was woken up by both of my children kissing me on my cheek and whispering “Happy Birthday Mommy.”

Perfection.

Apparently my kids each picked out the wrapping for my gifts. My daughter picked out exactly what I would have chosen for myself, beautiful pink flowers. Nailed it!

Aaaaaand my dinosaur obsessed son picked out….

Amazing 🙂

My husband bought me a full year theater subscription to one of our favorite theaters! There’s nothing like watching live theater and now we have unlimited access to seeing all of the shows there as many times as we want for a year! We bought this a few years ago and it was so amazing. This year’s show lineup is fantastic and includes my favorite production of all time…The Sound of Music! Can’t wait for our year of fun date nights…the first one is in 2 weeks, we are seeing Oliver 🙂

After I opened all of my gifts, the 4 of us went out for breakfast to one of my favorite diners and we all colored pictures until our food came.

We then drove downtown and our first stop was to the filming location of my favorite tv show…Shameless! I have wanted to visit the Gallagher house for years and it was the perfect day. I had to pay the homeowner $5.00 to let me take a picture on her porch…worth it!

Kevin and V’s house is actually 2 doors down!

So freaking cool. While I was there one of the neighbors came out and asked if I wanted to take a picture with him or with Frank, lol. 2 other groups of fans also came to take pictures on the porches while we were there and we all discussed and pointed out places on the property where specific scenes were filmed. Such a fun experience!

If you don’t watch Shameless, WATCH SHAMELESS. You’re welcome.

Our next stop was Chinatown! Another place I have been wanting to visit for years! We had the best time walking through the stores, eating a delicious Chinese lunch at one of the top rated restaurants (Joy Yee), and exploring the grocery stores which are so culturally different from our own.

Frogs for sale at the grocery store:

If there’s a book store in the vicinity, I’ll find it even if I can’t read any of the words, lol!

I loved this piece of furniture so much!  I did NOT love how insanely expensive it was.

My favorite animal: peacocks. They are so fancy! I spotted this beauty on a random wall as we walked past.   Gorgeous.

We came home, sang happy birthday, ate birthday cake, and I was given gorgeous flowers hand selected by my kids.

A perfect, perfect day.

My birthday gift to myself is this gorgeous laptop tote (<—- affiliate link)! I’ve been wanting it ever since my favorite YouTuber Jeana got it. It’s the perfect size and it’s so beautiful! Now when I go into the library with my laptop, book, notebook, coffee, oatmeal, keys, and phone…random strangers hopefully won’t ask if I need any help, lol.

Birthdays are strange. As a kid, I absolutely loved them! The parties! The gifts! The cake! As I got older they started to lose their luster a bit as the age I was turning creeped up up up. Somewhere the joy of the day turned into focusing on the number of the age I was turning and those numbers weren’t so young and exciting anymore. Another year, another year older. Ugh.

And then 6 years ago one of my dearest friends passed away and suddenly everything changed.

All of the sudden my birthdays started to feel special to me once again. The sobering reality that my dear friend will never again celebrate a birthday, will never grow old, and will never again experience any of life’s beauty hit me and it hit me hard. Suddenly growing old felt like such a precious gift and one that I will never again take for granted. Yes that number goes up up up…and I’m so very thankful that it does. I feel blessed to celebrate another birthday and even more blessed to be celebrating surrounded by so much love.

I miss my friend fiercely, especially around this time each year.

Birthdays (and life in general) should be celebrated. I look for the beauty in the day to day and it’s always in there somewhere! This past weekend was truly a beautiful weekend filled with love, family, delicious food, Gallaghers (!), presents, and laughter. Next weekend will include more birthday celebrations with my parents and with my 3 best friends.

Truly thankful for it all.

Dunkin Donuts Gift Card Giveaway Winner:

Congratulations Mistysbookspace!  Email me your address within 48 hours (bookcoffeehappy@gmail.com) and I’ll toss a gift card in the mail for you!  Enjoy 🙂

Thanks so much for allowing me to share bits of my personal life with you.  You can read about my last year’s birthday celebrations here.

My next blog post will be book focused! What I’m currently reading, the books I recently received, and more 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

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**Dunkin Donuts Gift Card Giveaway**

Today is my birthday and to celebrate, I’d like to mail someone a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card 🙂 What’s more fun than hosting a birthday giveaway?!

If you have been following me for any length of time you know that Dunkin’ is my all time favorite coffee…and I’d like to buy one for you! Or if you don’t drink coffee (the horror), I’d like to buy you a doughnut, a bagel, or anything else that you love 🙂

To enter, just leave a comment below saying something that will make me smile. I’ll randomly pick a winner and announce it in Wednesday’s blog post. Be sure you check back because once I post, the winner will have 48 hours to email me their mailing address before I will choose a new winner. Once I receive your mailing address, I’ll toss a $5 gift card in the mail for you 🙂

I hope you are having a beautiful day today!

Happy Birthday to me AND to my girl Britney Spears 🙂

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for all of YOU!

Writing this blog has very quickly turned into my favorite hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and my love of all things books (and sometimes life) with you! Thank you for reading, thank you for interacting, and thank you for sharing my little corner of the Internet with me and with others.

We are hosting 19 family members for dinner tonight and my house already smells so amazing 🙂

I hope you have a beautiful holiday today spent with those you love! I’ll be back soon with more book reviews, book discussions, and little tidbits of my life. Until then, I’ll be soaking up spending time with my most favorite people while celebrating one of my most favorite holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends 🙂  What are you doing to celebrate?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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