Chicago, Hammock Reading, Garage Sale, Little Free Libraries, Currently Reading, Library Love

Chicago, Hammock Reading, Garage Sale, Little Free Libraries, Currently Reading, Library Love

Hello!

I’ve been a bit MIA on my blog lately because life has been buuuuusy 🙂 I’m hoping to get back to regularly posting on here ASAP!

So what have I been up to? So much!

Chicago

My husband and I spent 24 hours together (without our children!) in downtown Chicago and it was AMAZING. We took a stunning boat ride, shopped on Michigan Avenue, ate a romantic dinner, stayed in a GORGEOUS hotel room, and so much more. I absolutely loved every second and him and I had the very best time together.

Jon and I ❤️

Most beautiful city ❤️
View from our gorgeous hotel room on Michigan Avenue
Nighttime view from our amazing hotel room
If you know me in real life, you know my obsession with my last name. I collect anything that says “SHARE” and seeing it hanging on a massive banner at Watertower Place made me so happy! Felt like a personal welcome, lol ❤️

And of course, I woke up early the following morning to get a bit of reading in before the day began. Always to best way to begin the day, especially while on vacation! I’ll have a full review of this book (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend By Katarina Bivald) posted soon 🙂

Lazy, Hammock Reading

Now that we are back home, I’ve been doing lots of reading on our hammock!

Garage Sale and Little Free Libraries

I had my annual garage sale this past weekend and I LOVED IT. Hands down one of my favorite traditions and I SO missed not doing it last year due to Covid.

Giving away books for free was such a fun experience. People were so THANKFUL and it truly made my heart so happy.

Once the sale was over, I was still left with TONS of books. What better way to share books than to put them in Little Free Libraries? I drove around and filled 3 different Little Free Libraries with both adult and childrens titles. It felt so great to do this! I hope all of those books eventually will find happy homes 🙂 If you have never donated to a Little Free Library, I highly encourage you to do so. Such a wonderful way to share books.

The 3 Little Free Libraries that I stuffed with my books:

Currently Reading

I haven’t really been blogging but I most definitely HAVE been reading! I’m currently reading The Mothers {Genevieve Gannon} . I’ll have a full review posted as soon as I finish!

Goodreads Synopsis of The Mothers {Genevieve Gannon}:

Grace and Dan Arden are in their forties and have been on the IVF treadmill since the day they got married. Six attempts have yielded no results, and with each failure a little piece of their hope dies.

Priya Laghari and her husband Nick Archer are being treated at the same fertility clinic, and while they don’t face the same time pressure as the Ardens, the younger couple have their own problems.

On the same day that Priya is booked for her next IVF cycle, Grace goes in for her final, last-chance embryo transfer. Two weeks later, both women get their results.

A year on, angry and heartbroken, one of the women learns her embryo was implanted in the other’s uterus and must make a devastating choice: live a childless life knowing her son is being raised by strangers or seek custody of a baby who has been nurtured and loved by another couple. 

Library Love

Last week, I received the most lovely piece of mail from my favorite local library (the same library where I was a total celebrity Library Hero):

How sweet is that?! Thank you so much, Indian Trails!

Speaking of Indian Trails, they have officially rolled out their Summer Library Adventure! Click HERE to learn more about this wonderful summer reading opportunity and to access registration information.

I actually stopped by Indian Trails today…

…and picked up these 3 books (2 for me and 1 for my daughter. She’s been on pins and needles waiting on the newest Baby-sitters Club book to be released)!

Thanks for letting me share a bit of my personal life with you today! I’ll be back later this week with a review of an AMAZING, MUST READ book!

What have you been up to recently? What are you currently reading?

Xo,

Jenny

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

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4 Fantastic Books I Recently Bought

4 Fantastic Books I Recently Bought

Last week my family and I took the most lovely getaway to Galena, IL. You can see pictures from our beautiful trip HERE.

We had rented a house right on the water with a massive wrap around porch. The whole scene was just begging for someone to read a book there! I happily obliged 😉

I came home refreshed, relaxed, and of course with plenty of souvenirs. Somehow 4 new books came home with me!

Fantastic Book #1:

We spent one morning visiting Dubuque, IA and the very best part of that morning was visiting the most wonderful local bookstore. River Lights is such a charming bookstore and the beautiful lady working and I had the most lovely conversation discussing books. When we left she told me that she enjoyed our visit…so did I 🙂 If you are ever in the area, I HIGHLY recommend visiting this charming bookstore!

Dead body in front of the thriller section!

When I spotted Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years on the shelf, I knew that I wanted to purchase it…I absolutely love supporting independent bookstores, especially one as wonderful as this.

This book has been on my TBR list for what feels like forever. I started reading it on our last night of our amazing trip and I finished it a few days ago. I’ll have my review posted for you soon!

How stunning is this cover?

In Five Years {Rebecca Serle}

Goodreads Synopsis of In Five Years {Rebecca Serle}

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

Fantastic Book #2:

When I see a sign like this…I get very, very excited.

Obviously I knew I had to visit and that amazing store did not disappoint! I could have spent hours in that store, omg.

So many rooms and so many nooks all covered in books! A dream!

I had posted this on Instagram:

I saw Primates of Park Avenue on the shelf and I was reminded that I had wanted to read it when it first came out. It reminds me of The Nanny Diaries which I LOVED when I read it almost 20 (!!!) years ago! I’m a bit nervous because I usually HATE reading memoirs (even if they ARE written by Michelle Obama. You can see my thoughts on her book HERE) but…I do think this one sounds great???

Primates of Park Avenue {Wednesday Martin}

Goodreads Synopsis of Primates of Park Avenue {Wednesday Martin}:

Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe.

After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the other mothers’ snobbiness at school drop-off when she compared them to olive baboons. Her obsessional quest for a Hermes Birkin handbag made sense when she realized other females wielded them to establish dominance in their troop. And so she analyzed tribal migration patterns, display rituals, physical adornment, mutilation, mating practices, extra-pair copulation, and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought-provoking, and hilariously unexpected.

Every city has its Upper East Side, and in Wednesday’s memoir, readers everywhere will recognize the strange cultural codes of powerful social hierarchies and the compelling desire to climb them. They will also see that Upper East Side mothers want the same things for their children that all mothers want: safety, happiness, and success;and not even sky-high penthouses and chauffeured SUVs can protect this ecologically released tribe from the universal experiences of anxiety and loss. When Wednesday’s life turns upside down, she learns how deep the bonds of female friendship really are.

Intelligent, funny, and heartfelt, Primates of Park Avenue lifts a veil on a secret, elite world within a world: the exotic, fascinating, and strangely familiar culture of privileged Manhattan motherhood.
 

Fantastic Book #3:

Driving home from Galena, we stopped in Rockford, IL for lunch and my husband suddenly spotted the MECCA.

He immediately turned into the parking lot, dropped me off, and took the kids for dessert so I could have time to browse all by myself. HELL YES. It was AWESOME in there. I must get back there asap!

One of my favorite Bookstagrammers/bloggers, Jenna Stop Reading, absolutely LOVES this book and has convinced me that I need to read it. I LOVED Gabrielle Zevin’s Young Jane Young so I’m excited to read this one (if you haven’t read Young Jane Young, you must! HERE is a link to it’s synopsis and my review….one of the very first blog posts I ever wrote!)

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry {Gabrielle Zevin}

Goodreads Synopsis of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry {Gabrielle Ziven}:

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. 

Fantastic Book #4:

While at the Half Price Books Outlet, I randomly came across this book on the clearance shelf. I had never heard of it but think it sounds great! And it was $1.00 so…

Lost and Found {Carolyn Parkhurst}

Goodreads Synopsis of Lost and Found {Carolyn Parkhurst}:

A gentle satire on reality TV, as a mother and daughter face numerous challenges both on and off the show. As the game escalates, tensions mount, temptations beckon, and the bonds between teammates begin to fray. The question is not only who will capture the final prize, but at what cost?

What do a suburban mom and her troubled daughter, two recently divorced brothers, a pair of former child stars, born-again Christian newlyweds, and a couple of young millionaires have in common? They have all been selected to compete on Lost and Found, a daring new reality TV show. In teams of two, they will race across the globe – from Egypt to Japan, from Sweden to England – to battle for a million-dollar prize. They must decipher encrypted clues, recover mysterious artifacts, and outwit their opponents to stay in play.

What starts as a lark turns deadly serious as the number of players is whittled down, temptations beckon, and the bonds between partners strain and unravel. Before long the question is not only who will capture the final prize, but at what cost.

Have you read any of these 4 books? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Xo,

Jenny

Click the images below to order the books through my Amazon affiliate link. When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, X
o




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

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Scenes From Our Gorgeous Getaway to Galena, IL {Pictures}

Scenes From Our Gorgeous Getaway to Galena, IL {Pictures}

My family and I went on a 4 day getaway to beautiful Galena, IL. Who knew Illinois could be so pretty?! We rented the most GORGEOUS lake house (think Chip and Joanna Gaines style). It was STUNNING, massive, and right on the water. PERFECT. We shopped at gorgeous boutiques, ate delicious food, played many rounds of Uno, went on a 3 mile hike (where a snake slithered right up to my foot!), roasted S’mores, and enjoyed this special time with just the 4 of us. Here are some snapshots that I took of our lovely trip 🙂

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my personal life with you today. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a post all about the books that I purchased while on my trip (I bought 4)!

Have you been to Galena, IL? Highly recommend. This was our 2nd trip there and I cant wait to return for a 3rd!

Until next time…

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!*

*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)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

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

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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The Most Amazing Bookstore I’ve Ever Visited (Pictures and VIDEO)!

As a book lover, a book blogger, a book reviewer, and an overall book ADDICT, I’ve been to my fair share of bookstores. I love everything about bookstores….the peaceful tranquility I feel the moment I step in the door, the delicious smell of the books, the beautiful covers of pieces of literature lining the shelves. I have been to some AMAZING bookstores but I think this gem of a bookstore might just be my most favorite.

Hiiiii!

On our recent trip to Tennessee (that would be the trip where we were trapped on top of a mountain with no power and little food…you can read that full crazy story HERE), I came across the most amazing bookstore I have ever visited in a totally random way!

My husband has a MoonPie obsession. Yes you read that correctly…MoonPies. What is a MoonPie you ask? From Wikipedia:

moon pie, stylized as MoonPie,[1] is an American confection, popular across much of the United States, which consists of two round graham cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in a flavored coating. The traditional pie is approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. A smaller version, called a mini moon pie, is approximately half the size, and a double-decker moon pie of the traditional diameter features a third cookie and attendant layer of marshmallow. The five main flavors are chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry, and salted caramel. Orange and coconut make seasonal appearances during the Mardi Gras parading season.

Jon absolutely LOVES them.

So picture it: The 4 of us were driving along through Pigeon Forge, TN on our way back to our cabin in Gatlinburg when suddenly Jon literally yelled “MOONPIES!!!! AND A BOOK WAREHOUSE FOR MOM!!!!” and made a sharp turn into a parking lot. I looked up at the sign that caught his attention and sure enough…we were at a building which apparently housed not only MoonPies but…BOOKS?!?

I’ll admit, I didn’t have very high hopes when getting out of the car. I mean, how random! MoonPies and…books? Like, how do those 2 things even go together???

The Most Amazing Bookstore I’ve Ever Visited

Once I walked in the door of the MoonPie General Store and Book Warehouse, I was pleasantly surprised to find a LOVELY bookstore to my right! My husband found a LOVELY selection of Moon Pies to his left! A building truly made just for us 🙂 Naturally we each took a kid, said good bye to each other, and set off to explore in opposite directions 🙂

My first impression was that I was greeted with a very nice and lovely bookstore. I was happy to explore! Little did I know what I would eventually discover!

Paula Deen!
Dolly Parton is everywhere in this town!

My daughter and I walked around and happily poured through the stacks. Everything was GOOD when suddenly…

The true most hidden gem of the entire experience…

THE BASEMENT.

When I walked down those stairs, I was expecting a few shelves of clearance books. I was most definitely NOT expecting…THIS.

True or false…I gasped when I got to the bottom of the staircase. True. 100 percent true.

Oh. My.

I’m still not entirely sure how MoonPies and books go together but I’m so here for it…???

I could have spent HOURS in that basement! My true version of heaven! Some of the books organized, some of the books unorganized, some books are brand new, some books are used, all of the books AMAZING. Literally THOUSANDS of treasures down in that basement. A book lover’s DREAM.

I told my daughter that she could pick any book from the store and she chose this one (from the upstairs bookstore):

I chose this one! I’ve been hunting for Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding for over a year and can’t seem to get my hands on a copy. I finally was able to find another one of her titles so I grabbed it (from the basement)! Can’t wait to read it!

And I should probably mention the other half of the massive upstairs building dedicated to…MoonPies?!?

My husband was in absolute HEAVEN and bought lots of MoonPies as souvenirs.

2 days after our initial visit, it was a very rainy day (which later turned into snow which would be how we got stuck on that mountain). What is better to do on a rainy day…than to go BACK to the hidden gem of a bookstore! You KNOW I did! However this time, I went STRAIGHT to that basement. Perfection.

I didn’t end of buying anything on that second trip but I absolutely LOVED walking around. Jon bought more MoonPies 🙂 Chocolate, chocolate mint, strawberry, and vanilla. Some full sized, some mini sized!

3 weeks later and our pantry still contains LOTS of MoonPies. He stocked up!

If you are ever in the area, this place is a MUST visit! HERE is their website where you can learn more including the many other products they carry and it’s exact Pigeon Forge address. When we go back to Tennessee (which we absolutely will one day…maaaaabye just not during the winter), I will be sure to set aside an entire afternoon to walk through this store alllllll by myself. Scratch that…I will be sure to set aside an entire afternoon to walk through THAT BASEMENT alllllll by myself!

If my husband and I ever decide to renew our wedding vows, I kind of feel like this would be the perfect venue for us amongst the Moon Pies and books, lol! It’s like this random pairing of goods was created and housed together in a building especially for the 2 of us! Perfect 🙂

Do you like MoonPies? Have any of you been to the MoonPie General Store and Book Warehouse? What is the best bookstore you have ever visited?

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!*

*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)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*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.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

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

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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I Was Stuck On A Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Hiiiiii!!!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. My family of 4 spent 9 days in Gatlingburg, Tennessee. We rented a log cabin on the top of a mountain. It first it was beautiful and magical…and then we got stuck on it during a blizzard!

Traveling during a pandemic can be done as long as you have clear expectations of what you are willing and are not willing to do in terms of your safety comfort level. Our family drove 12 hours (no airplane), stayed at a private log cabin (no hotel room), wiped down the entire cabin with Clorox wipes upon arrival, brought our own pillows, only ate outdoors at restaurants, didn’t do any tourist attractions, stayed away from all crowded areas, wore masks EVERYWHERE, etc.

Our 9 day trip can be broken down into 3 distinct categories: 1. Serene Mountains 2. Snowy Mountains 3. Stranded on a Mountain.

The beginning of our trip was peaceful, beautiful, and wonderful.

Our log cabin was BEAUTIFUL. It was completely private and quite literally on top of a mountain. It had an indoor pool (!!!), 2 hot tubs, a pool table, a fireplace, 2 balconies, and a Christmas tree! It was gorgeous and it smelled absolutely divine.

In the master suite. My husband refused to get in this one (!) but the kids and I loved it, lol!
Hanging on the refrigerator in our cabin!
Jon and I snuck outside to enjoy a peaceful few minutes in the rain. It was as glorious as it looks.
At one point, I looked down from our master bedroom loft and found my daughter just peacefully reading a book. PROUD MAMA.

We went on a family hike each day and saw some absolutely gorgeous sights! Hiking to the top of Laurel Falls was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip. The long hike up was BEAUTIFUL but there aren’t even words to describe seeing the waterfall at the top. Truly one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. I cried! If you are ever in the area, this is absolutely a must do. Stunning.

When you hike to the top of a mountain, you reward yourself with a snack. Best apple of my life!

We also loved driving (and walking) through Cades Cove. Two separate times deer came right up in front of our car! Such a fun way to spend an entire morning. So much history there, we loved going into the log cabins and old churches.

Wild turkeys just strolling along the road next to us. No big deal.
When you see a random waterfall on the road as you are driving, you pull over! Gorgeous!
Oh hi, deer.
Saw deer, immediately pulled over! So, so cool.

I found $90 cash in the bathroom at Cades Cove! I waited and waited to see if anybody was going to come back to look for it but nobody did. I was hesitant to turn it into the visitors center considering it was cash and anyone working could have taken it. My wonderful husband had the lovely idea to put it in one of the Cades Cove donation boxes and that’s exactly what we did (after already having donated our own money hours earlier). It felt great to know that the $90 went to such a wonderful cause although I so wish the owner would have come back for it. Either way it wasn’t my money to spend and it feels good to know it went to a wonderful cause 🙂

The first 6 days of our trip were spent in lovely weather. We ate outside! We hiked up mountains! We drove to Asheville and visited the Botanical Gardens!

Gatlinburg Nature Trail
Gatlinburg Nature Trail
Reading with my girl. Happy.
Paula Deen Store!
Wherever I go, I find the Dunkin’…

And then on Day 7…

SNOW.

Our loooooong and steep driveway
Grill at our cabin
Bear proof garbage cans at our cabin

Like….blizzard out of NOWHERE. I’ve never seen anything like that before. The snow just kept coming and coming! We played outside and it was honestly my favorite part of the entire trip. It was POURING on us! At one point I wrote “MOM” in the snow and 2 minutes later it was all filled in. Craaaazy. I LOVE SNOW and this snow was STUNNING. Felt like a such a bonus to have this happen while we were there…almost like 2 completely different trips in 1!

Had the weather forecast predicted this blizzard, we would have left a day or 2 earlier than planned just to ensure that we would be able to do the 12 hour drive but it legit just came out of NOWHERE.

So we played in it and sat in our hot tub on our balcony while it fell. At this point in the trip, the snow was still exciting.

Jon and I 🙂
Christmas Eve. Snowy perfection!

We went to bed that night wondering what this was going to mean for our ride home the next day ….and then in the middle of the night our power went out. IT. WAS. FREEZING. Our cabin must have been 50 degrees by early morning. It was so incredibly cold. Thank goodness for warm robes and a gas fireplace! I brushed my teeth and packed our stuff all by the light of a flashlight. The power was out for a total of 7.5 hours. The MINUTE is came on I very literally RAN to the coffee maker and made the absolute fastest pot of coffee of my entire life. I was so afraid that the power would go out again and I needed this pocket of time to make a pot of coffee! Being stuck on a mountain with no power, no car, and no food…scary. But no coffee??? TERRIFYING.

5:00 AM. FREEZING.

Our driveway was absolutely massive, steep, and covered in ice. Jon tried to back our AWD SUV down it and…this happened.

Shit.

So that’s when things started to get a bit…interesting. Our car was stuck, we were stuck, and our food supply was quickly dwindling. Instacart wasn’t delievering, restaurants weren’t delivering, local grocery stores weren’t delivering. Grubhub, Ubereats, Door Dash…NOTHING. We desperatly tried and tried to place orders but soon after they were placed, they would get canceled. Yet we kept trying because we very literally had no choice. Roadside Assistance and all local towing companies were completely backed up. Cars were literally stuck EVERYWHERE! Blocking streets, blocking mountain paths, blocking everything. We very literally couldn’t leave and had absolutely nobody who could help us. So thankful that the cabin management company allowed for us to stay an an extra night. We truly had no way to leave!

Stuck on a mountain.

We basically spent all of Saturday on our phones trying to find someone to help us with our car and trying to find ANYWHERE to deliver us food (all with a HORRIBLE Internet connection)! We placed Instacart order after Instacart order and restaurant order after restaurant order and they all would inevidbly just get canceled. At this point we were tired, hungry, and feeling pretty helpless.

Our kids…omg our kids…they were WONDERFUL through all of this! They kept themselves busy while we tried to figure all of this out. We played Go Fish, Uno, and Family Trivial Pursuit to pass the time all while still trying to find someone on our phones to help us. I taught them the quote “You can’t always control what happens but you can always control how you react”. It was a perfect time for a life lesson!

And then…HOPE! After 2 days of searching, we finally found a pizza restaurant that agreed to deliver to us! We watched and watched the GPS as the car got closer and closer to us and when it was 1 minute away…it encountered a truck blocking the street and couldn’t get through. The delivery driver turned around and we were once again left hungry, frustrated, and exhausted.

About an hour later, we received a notification that another restaurant was coming (at this point we had placed multiple orders with multiple restaurants and would have gladly accepted ALL of them if need be) and….

THEY CAME!!!!

Our excitment was short lived though. Our order was for Jon S. and we received an order for John L. At this point, all we could do was laugh and dig in to John L’s food. Let’s just say that John L. had apparently placed a VERY different order than Jon S….but by this point, nobody cared. WE HAD FOOD. I don’t eat anything spicy and I hate rye bread. Corned beef with spicy mustard on rye bread??? YES PLEASE! I literally ate every last crumb. John L. wherever you are, I hope you enjoyed my turkey on whole wheat…

Once we ate, everything seemed better. Yes we were still stuck on a mountain but we were stuck on a mountain with a bit of food and power. However, we had no toothbrushes because I had thrown them away when packing by flashlight that morning. Does anyone else do that? Every time we go on vacation, I always throw our toothbrushes (and shower loofahs) away before we return home! Usually when I do that, it’s ok because we go home the same day. This time however, I maaaaaay have done that a bit prematurily. Oops.

Garbage that we couldn’t take outside because the bear proof garbage cans were locked…and the lock froze!

The next morning the very first thing we did was to search for a restaurant to deliver us both breakfast and lunch at the same time. The roads were a bit clearer by this point, it was no longer Christmas, and we continued to put a massive tip on our order. WE FOUND A RESTAURANT TO DELIVER TO US.

1 hour later and we had ice cold scrambled eggs, soggy pancakes, brown banana slices, and strange looking meats. It was one of the most delicious meals of my entire life and I was thankful for every single bite!!! I will never, ever take food for granted ever again.

We spent the entire morning once again on our phones trying to find a towing service to come and help us to get our car out of the ditch. A few claimed that they would get to us…as soon as they could. It did not look promising. Jon spent time scraping 1/4 of the massive driveway with a tiny windshield ICE SCRAPER because there wasn’t a shovel anywhere to be found. It was nuts!

If you know me in real life you know that I always try to find the humor in every situation. The snow shaped like a penis outside of our cabin made me smile!

By this point, we were slowly starting to accept the fact that we would be spending another night when suddenly…our angel showed up. A random man who was driving around the mountain with his Jeep and a towing rope just looking for people who needed help. WE NEEDED HELP! Him and Jon worked together and somehow were able to get our car OUT. There was a tiny few seconds where we thought Jon’s car might roll over down the driveway with him inside of it but I’m skipping over that part because it was terrifying. Bottom line…the car was OUT and now safely at the BOTTOM of the driveway.

The ditch where our car was. I think our tires might have mud permanently on them from now on!

It was 3:00 pm. Jon wanted to be home for work in the morning which left us with only one option: leave as soon as possible. NOT ideal to leave at 3:00 pm when you have a 12 hour drive ahead of you but we had no choice! The kids and I scrambled to repack everything while Jon walked each piece of luggage down the sheet of ice that was our ridiculously long and steep driveway. It was insane.

Once Jon loaded the car, he had to help the kids and I make our way down the ridiculously icy driveway. It was scary.

Our car ride home was LONG. Longest car ride of my entire life. When we walked in the door of our house at 2:30 in the morning (exactly 12 hours after we left because there was a time change), I was so thankful to be safely at home.

Looking back on our time in Tennessee, I am choosing to remember the amaaaaazing 3/4 of our time there! I’m also feeling very blessed in knowing that our situation in that cabin could have been much, much worse. We had each other and that was all we needed (although heat, lights, COFFEE, and food were all very much appreciated).

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of my personal life with you today! Obviously you can tell that I spent time reading while in Tennessee. I read an AMAZING book on this trip! It was almost 400 pages, I devoured it while in that cabin, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’ll post my full review of it here on Wednesday!

As for now, I’m currently reading this book. It’s about people who rent a luxurious cabin on top of a mountain, get snowed in without power, and then start DYING. Thank GOD I started reading this once I safely got back home, reading this while stuck on that mountain would most definitely NOT have been a good choice, lol. Crazy to think that I actually DID have it with me in my suitcase! Thankfully it remained unopened until I was safely back in my own house with lots of power and lots of food 🙂

Happy New Year!

Xo,

Jenny

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Our Amazing Return Visit To Spring Lake, Michigan

2 months ago our family took the most lovely vacation to Spring Lake, Michigan. We rented a cottage literally on the lake and we spent a week frolicking in the water, playing in the sand, eating delicious food, and quarantining ourselves in the most wonderfully safe way. Before we even left, my husband had booked us a return visit over Labor Day weekend and we literally counted down the days from the second we got home until this last weekend. Read all about our first trip to Spring Lake HERE.

I mean…how could we NOT want to return when this was our backyard???

(For another video of this gorgeous view, check out my video on THIS POST)

I spent this last trip reading The Lies That Bind {Emily Giffin}(affiliate). It was the only book that I read while I was there and finished about 2 hours before we left to come home. I will have my full review posted later this week!

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I present to you…the best meal of the trip. Village Baker PERFECTION. We ate there not once, not twice, but THREE times over a 2 day span. IT’S SO DELICIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL THERE. One of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Absolutely love it there.

2 eggs, cheddar cheese, grilled Asiago cheese scone. And heaven. Little bits of heaven sprinkled in throughout. Omgggggg…..

We found a gorgeous bike trail in Hart, Michigan. Stunning bike ride AND every street sign has a heart on it?! My dream town 🙂

Back at our cottage, my husband and my kids spent hours fishing and caught so many fish! My choice: The Lies That Bind > squirming, bloody fish.

Meanwhile…

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My favorite Amazon product traveled with me!

Early morning reading by the lake while everyone else was still sleeping. THE BEST.

View from outside the kitchen window. So breathtaking, right? See that chair and table? Still set up from my reading scenario the previous day. LOVE.

Wouldn’t be a vacation without me noticing the local library as we drove past, lol.

I saw these earrings in a gorgeous beachside boutique and I think they might be the best thing I’ve ever seen. The Golden Girls! The Clintons! Donald Trump! Rebecca and Jack Pearson! Macaulay Culkin! Meghan and Harry! Justin Bieber! The cast of Friends! Justin Timberlake! Beyonce and Jay Z! Taylor Swift! Omgggggggggggg

Kim and Kayne! I WAS DYING.

Love this sign so, so much.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. IT’S NOT HARD, PEOPLE.

This was actually our 6th visit to beautiful Michigan and each time we come, we fall more and more in love with the picturesque beach towns, the gorgeous water, the friendly people, and the delicious food. 2 years ago, Jon and I came for 4 days all alone while my parents watched our kids. It was quiet, relaxing, and lovely! You can read about that trip HERE.

During that trip 2 years ago, I came across the cutest coffee mug in one of the stores in Grand Haven. I even took a picture with it:

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I’m not sure why I didn’t buy it but that mug has literally haunted me for the past 2 years. When we were shopping in downtown Grand Haven this past July, I was determined to figure out which store I found it at and to see if by some miracle they still had it! I described the store to another shop owner in the area who immediately told me where the shop was located. I was so excited! I went straight there…and discovered that half of it is now a dog products store (??) and the other half is now a toy store…and although they DID randomly have tons of mugs, none were mine. I even sat there and went through EVERY. SINGLE. MUG. BOX. in search of my special mug. Nothing. The man working gave me the name of another store down the strip which had bought lots of the goods from the store when it was divided up. So….I dragged my family to yet ANOTHER store in search of my mug. Found the store, did not find the mug. I went into a bunch of other stores on the strip in hopes that THEY might have it and…nothing. I was brokenhearted but accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Fast forward 2 months later and we were in the brand new to us town of Pentwater, Michigan (side note: LOVED THIS TOWN). My daughter and I were walking through an adorably cluttered store where you literally had to look evvvvvvvvverywhere because there was so much to look at. I spy old school trolls (the BEST) on the ceiling!

So her and I were walking along when suddenly…

I grabbed her arm and just stared. She followed my eyes and exclaimed, “CUP OF HAPPY!” This mug is even more beautiful than the original and so much more “me”. Totally meant to be. SOLD. I have happily used it every single day since we’ve been back.

Best, happiest souvenir. Literally brings me such joy when I use it! Totally worth the 2 year wait.

Thank you, Michigan, for once again providing our family with the very best memories. Already trying to figure out when we can return!

I hope you had a lovely long Labor Day weekend! I’ll have my review of The Lies That Bind posted later this week!

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)*

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

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

*Follow me on Instagram*

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