My Top 10 Book Recommendations

Featured

I have always loved reading and writing. Once I grew up, got out of school, and began college, reading got put on the back burner. I often question why I put something that I am so passionate about below everything else. I couldn’t find an answer. So, I am on a journey to start reading again in my adulthood– the problem: I am not really into “adult” books. (You know the self help books that everyone seems to be reading and writing lately) So, I am about to recommend my favorite books that I have read in the past couple of years (Because, I am still working on reading 2 books in a year). Most of them, are probably going to make you judge me because I know Jr. High and even elementary age kids reading the same things, but these are the books that actually make me want to read.

1.Because of Winn Dixie

This one HAD to be at the top for me. As a kid, it was one of my favorite movies and books. I re-read the book a couple of years ago and it was still just as captivating. As an adult, this one is very do-able if you have limited reading time. I was reading it for a class one semester and read the whole thing in two days.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, it is about a young girl that just moved to a different city with her dad. She finds a dog at the beginning of the book, which leads her to meet many different people. It is a heart warming novel that even a fourth grader could read if they wanted to. (Disclosure: There are some tear jerker parts of the story, but it is mostly pure joy).

2.The Lipstick Gospel

This is a great book for Christian girls that are college age. (Though it could be read by anyone and any age) It is also a quick read if you are trying to get in a habbit of reading again, this could be a great start.

Its an autobiography about a sorority girl that just went through a hard breakup. She ends up flying across the world to Europe where she meets Jesus. It is by Stephanie Mae Wilson and it is her true testimony. I could read this book over and over again and the best part is that you can get it for free on her website. Visit stephaniemaewilson.com to get the free digital download of the book.

3. The Who Was…? Book Series

Here is one of those books I said that you would judge me for recommending. I love a good biography (especially if it is about a historic figure or someone I look up to) . This series has such a great selection of biographies including Dr. Seuss, Jesus, Harriet Tubman, and Mark Twain. They were written for elementary aged students, so they are very easy to read and include all the important information, some funny facts, and illustrations. These books are right up my alley !

4.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Disclosure: I have not read Tom Sawyer yet. I am sorry. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are some of my husbands favorite books from his childhood. Last year, I wanted to get into some of the classics that I had (for some reason) never read. I figured that I’d start with these since they were so important to Cody. I started with Huck Finn because I had heard more about it, but (half way through) was teased by my husband for reading them out of order. Tom Sawyer is now on my list of must reads this year, but Huck Finn made it into my top 10.

If you are like me and never really got familiar with these books, but I’ll give you a quick summary of Huck Finn. Its about a boy that’s pretty much an orphan (his dads a drunk and only comes around when he needs money ) and his mom died. Huck gets sick of being abused by his dad and decides to run away and fake his death. He later runs into a local slave that he knows, Jim. Jim also ran away to be free. Huck decides to help Jim and they both raft down the river, where they run into lots of exciting adventures. I don’t want to ruin it too much for you, but it really is a great read!

It took me a few months to read. Although it is good, it is a bigger book and because of the way that it was written, it may take some extra time to get through the pages. If you are looking for a great book to invest some time into this one is perfect. (But maybe read Tom Sawyer first since it references it a lot.)

5.The Giver

If you have ever seen the movie, it does not do the book justice. This book is set in the future, which makes every aspect tug at my heart in someway (like, “What if this really happened?” and ” Oh my gosh! That’s pretty similar to this!!”) If you think like that too, then you will love this book. It’s more of a junior high level book, so it may take a little longer to read.

It’s about a future where you really have no choices or differences. (Skin color is not a thing, divorce is not a thing, miscarriage and infertility is not a thing, and poverty is not a thing. ) The government has found systematic ways to get rid of all of these things. (It goes into more detail in the book as to how this started and why the world is this way)

In the book, everyone is assigned their jobs. Some people are nurses, some are teachers, ect.The main character is a boy named Jonah. It takes place around his 12th birthday, which is the age that everyone receives their assignments. Jonah gets a strange assignment that he has never heard of which allows him to begin training under The Giver. While training, he gets to see glimpses of how the world used to be. You’ll have to read the book to find out how he reacted and how he kept this new information a secret.

6. The Harry Potter Series

Here’s another series for ya! I have always loved the Harry Potter series ! I haven’t read it in years, but this series is on my reading list for this year…fingers crossed that I get to it. I feel like this is too popular to have to explain what they’re about. However, I will say that the books are so much better than the movies. The details are better and the characters are more rounded out. Overall, this is a series that I can read over and over again and never get sick of it. The books are super big though, so it will probably take a while to read even one with a busy schedule. (Unless you are a quick reader) .

7.The Life We Bury

We have picked up a new hobby when road tripping: audible. I have a lot of trouble staying focused while listening to books, but I found that a good mystery book will always keep me interested. The next 3 books are all audible mystery books that we could not get enough of.

The life we bury is about a college student (Joe) that visits a nursing home to interview someone for a project. The interviewee turns out to be an ex-convict that got released with months left to live. He was convicted of rape and murder over 30 years ago. As Joe continues the interviews, he comes to believe that the man is innocent and is determined to prove his innocence before the man dies.

8.Safe Houses

Safe houses started my love for audio books. This book switches between 2 main characters. (So it can be difficult to keep up with on audio book) . With this being said, it is a great read that will have you listening to every detail to try and solve the mystery.

One of the stories in the book is based in 1979. The main character overhears a C-I-A conversation that was top secret. It shares her story as she runs from the C-I-A and tries to decipher their code words.

The other story takes place in 2014 . The main character’s parents have recently been mysteriously murdered. She begins to go through her parents things and uncover the reason for their murder.

9.Something In the Water

This book draws you in from the very beginning and has you questioning the entire time. It is so easy to binge read this mystery thriller and I am sure you could re-read it multiple times and find something new every time you read it.

It’s about a couple that finds a lost treasure on their honeymoon and decide to keep it. After this decision, their lives start to get more complicated and the husband eventually goes missing. While continuing to interview criminals for work, the wife begins to take advice from the criminals in an attempt to figure out what happened to her husband and if it has something to do with what they found that day. It is a page turner and you will not regret reading it.

10. Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH

This is another children’s book, but it’s such a good read. I was obsessed with the movies when I was younger, so when I found out that the movies were based off of a book, I had to read the books. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read a lower level book that reminds you of your childhood. Books are supposed to be a great way to escape everyday life and that is exactly what this one did for me.

It is about a small mouse that is widowed. Her son is ill and she heard that her home was going to be destroyed soon. She searches for a way to move her family without exposing her son to the cool air that may kill him. In a panic, she reaches out to the rats of NIMH for help.

This story seems boring or basic, but it spices up when you find out that the rats are geniuses. They have figured out how to create electricity in a hole under a rose bush and have libraries where they all know how to read. You will have to read the book to find out the secret of why the rats are so smart!

Whether you are trying to fit reading into your busy schedule as an adult or you are just looking for a new book to read, I hope this helped you. Lots of these books are easy reads to fit into your everyday life. Thanks for reading along and if you have any recommendations of your own, let me know!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guides for Him & Her. (For the last minute couples)

I am a last minute shopper. I will admit it full heartedly. I will plan the perfect gift for a year, then forget to make the time to buy it until the week before. This one is for all my fellow last minute shoppers. Valentines Day is one week away. If you still don’t have a gift, I have you covered! Today I am sharing some great gifts that have exceptional turn around time (and just so no one feels left out I have included a list for guy gifts and girls gifts) We have no time to waste, so lets get started!

GIFTS FOR THE GIRLS!

1.Jewlery

Anyone could tell you that girls love jewelry. If you didn’t already know that….well, now you do! You also don’t have to go all out spending hundreds on diamond jewelry. Most girls are good with the basics. Just stop at her favorite local boutique, the Kendra Scott store (if there is one near you) or check out @silassisterco & @c.cain_art on instagram (if you are near the Baton Rouge area) to find handmade earrings for a great rate. (and support local businesses) Basically as long as you don’t have to order the jewelry online, you will be able to get any of these pieces before Valentines.

2.Something Casual

Just get her something casual that she’s had her eye on and make a themed date around it. For example: If she has been needing some kitchen stuff, make her brunch, get her a Dash mini waffle maker, some nice serving spoons, and some groceries. Heck!! You could even get her to cook a romantic brunch with you if you think she would be into that.

https://bydash.com/products/heart-mini-waffle-maker?variant=33051212152886&currency=USD&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&gclid=Cj0KCQiA6t6ABhDMARIsAONIYyyUISsXMUNTwV4b0pDsFl5uvCjYDh8z612jEN4r3TkFFTCSf-XsaP4aAo2gEALw_wcB
only $11.99 at Target right now .

3. The Classic : Flowers

If she has work that day or night, go ahead and get flowers, her favorite snack, and (maybe even) her lunch delivered. Show her (and her coworkers) how much you love her. This, along with a dinner somewhere, could be all the gifts that your loved one wants this year.

4. Concert Tickets

So, concerts aren’t really happening right now, but plenty of artists are holding virtual concerts or have recorded concerts on youtube. Set up a cute picnic in the living room, back yard, or local park and spend that whole night jamming out to your favorite artist. You could even throw in a couple of band shirts to make it really feel authentic.

5. Personalized Food

Ha! It sounds weird, but just hear me out! So many people are learning how to do really cute custom cookies now. Find a local or check out @caseycambre on instagram for cookies. You can also get her favorite cakeballs from @candacescakeballs on instagram if that’s more her style. You can pretty much personalize anything you want .. even M&Ms. (Though I don’t think you’ll get those in time for this year’s valentines day).

GIFTS FOR THE GUYS!

Ladies, you can’t expect your man to be the only one buying a gift. Guys have to feel the love too. Also if you are thinking of doing a date, just go ahead and ask if he has made reservations or wants you to before you plan anything. It could ruin the day if you both have a date or whole day planned around 2 different things.

1.Outdoor Gear

I really don’t know a single guy that wouldn’t want something outdoorsy. You can go as small and cheap as a fishing shirt to as big as a kayak. The options are endless.

2. OOni Pizza Oven

Okay, this one is a little bit on the pricier side… but guys can be really hard to shop for! This pizza oven is great if your man is a pizza lover or enjoys cooking. It works so well and is super easy to transport if you want to take it camping.

3. Date night

Guys always plan the dates. You plan the date for once. Make sure it’s somewhere he enjoys eating or go do something he enjoys for the day (like fishing or gaming). Make the day all about him. (Believe it or not, guys actually don’t need much to feel like you love them).

4. Leave a surprise.

What ever you do, DO NOT leave a sticky note in his lunch box or surprise him at work with flowers. No indeed. That is not going to fly. Instead, have all those cute gifts waiting for him when he gets home. Go ahead and make him some bacon roses, have his favorite food and snacks waiting for him and maybe even a nice home cooked meal.

5. Couples Massage

Guys love massages and most likely, he needs one from working and picking up all the heavy stuff. Go ahead and make it a couples massage so you get something out of it too!

Last minute gift buying does not have to be stressful. Let this post spark some creativity and light a fire under you butt to plan the perfect valentines day.

If you need other last minute gift ideas, check out my other gift guides. They are all focused around being last minute or budget friendly! 

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Gift Guide for Boys (8-12)

Featured

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and everyone is bustling around looking for Christmas gifts. People can be hard to shop for, especially if you are trying to find a gift they will actually like. I always have the most trouble buying for the boys and men in my life….what do they even like?! I’ve put together 5 gifts that are sure to be a hit with any 8-12 year old boy in your life.

My first gift idea is a classic…nerf gun. For real, guys never get sick of a good nerf gun. They make so many different kinds, so you can get creative and get one big one or get a set. (Maybe even one for the whole family & have a family nerf war?!)

The next idea is darts and a dart board. Get a set. The boy will like it because it’s entertaining and it looks cool in their room. It also helps with coordination if they practice. This one is under $30!

Next is a little pricier… a lazer tag set. It comes with 4 vests and 4 guns in different colors so you can play as a family or your son can have his friends over for a fun backyard game of lazer tag.

Another pricey but good gift idea for boys is an activity table. This one has 3 table tops with a different game on each one. It comes with foosball, air hockey, and pool. Its a miniature table, so it won’t take up a ton of space in their bedroom, but it will give them entertainment that will last. (I mean how cool would this have been as a kid?!)

The final gift idea is a gaming chair. These are a little pricey, but most boys like to play video games and these chairs make that time so much more fun. Gaming chairs have speakers and a space for your headphones so they can surround themselves in the game and enjoy it alot more. Perfect gift idea for any boy that loves gaming!

Other than video games, gaming consols , or phone gear I think these gifts would be great… pretty much just because most of these can be enjoyed with their friends too. I hope these ideas help when you are thinking of gifts for your son/brother/nephew.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen & 20 something Girls

Featured

Christmas is less than two months away. With it coming up so quickly, I figured I would share some gift guides every couple of weeks to help you with ideas if you are stuck. I have four sisters between the ages of 14 and 21. Sometimes buying for them is so easy, but other times it can be hard because their interests and styles change so quickly. So today I will share five gifts that wont break the bank too much (most will be under $20) and will be a home run with any young woman in your life.

https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdteycxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdtsacxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdueqcxj87

My first option is the new ‘rock’ pop socket. Pop sockets have been popular for a while now, but this new pop socket looks classy and stylish, while still accomplishing the same thing (preventing you from dropping your phone).

https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdv39cxj87

The next item on my list is a belt from Pink Lily. It just recently restocked, too! We all know that Gucci Belts are in high demand in the fashion industry, but Gucci is not what I would call affordable, so this is a cute and stylish alternative that your girl will still love. It looks almost identical and is only $22!

https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdxnicxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdymucxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdyq6cxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdyxdcxj87 https://rstyle.me/cz-n/epdzcjcxj87

Kendra Scott jewelry is a little more on the expensive end, but it is always a hit with this age group. You can buy pretty much any type of jewelry for a good price and it is pretty hard to get something that they wont like. They have so many different styles that you are sure to find something for everyone.

If you are looking for something a little more affordable and you want to support local businesses I highly recommend that you visit @silassistersco or @c.cain_art on instagram for some beautiful handmade clay earrings that are under $10 and stylish.

Fab fit fun boxes are also a really great gift idea for this age group. You could get them the subscription that will give them 4 boxes throughout the entire year or you can also just buy one box per person. It is full of tons of goodies that you can handpick to make the box special for the girl you’re shopping for. You can find these on fabfitfun.com

I hope this post gave you some inspiration when Christmas shopping this year. Thanks for reading along. Have a great week & make sure to follow me so you don’t miss any of my new posts this holiday season.

Christmas Gift Guide for Mom

Featured

Parents in general can be so difficult to shop for. For the most part, I still view it as my parents have more money than me, so they can just buy whatever they want. Why would anything I get them be better than what they already have? Thoughts like this usually lead me to not buy them the original gift that I had in mind so that I can buy them the perfect gift when I find it, which usually results in me not buying Christmas gifts until a week before Christmas. Yes, your parents can usually buy whatever they want, but the gift you get them will still mean a lot for a few reasons: it’s from their child, they may not have even known about the ‘perfect gift’ that you were planning on buying them, and most parents choose to spend their money of necessities, bills, and their children, so they enjoy getting gifts.

Before you stop reading and get sassy with me, I am not skipping Halloween or Thanksgiving. I am not just fast forwarding to Christmas. Fall is still my favorite season for way too many ways to name. I am simply trying to help out some fellow gift-givers find the perfect gift for their mom without having to settle or stress because of time restraints.

Birth Flower Jewlery Collection

Charm necklace: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/ekzr7mcxj87 Bracelet: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/ekzr9acxj87 Layered necklace: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/ekzr56cxj87

The first gift that I wanted to share is a jewelry line on mademymary.com. Made by Mary is such a beautiful jewelry shop. They do so many special things. My favorite collection is the birth flower collection. Each month has it’s own birth flower… similar to how every month has a birth stone. Made by Mary engraves the hand-drawn flowers onto their jewelry in such a beautiful way. (Can you tell, I kind of want one for myself?) You can choose if you want gold, rose gold, or silver and even how many flowers you get, depending on the piece you choose from. Any of these pieces would be perfect for your mom, grandma, or any new mom in your life. Just get it engraved with their children’s birth flowers on it.

Recipe Tea Towel

https://rstyle.me/~cz-b7mSS

I found this on Etsy and it is such a genuine gift for any sentimental mom. These towels use a photo of a handwritten recipe from a loved one and have it printed on the towel. You can choose what style you want to do and if you want to add any special touches. This gift is a really good idea for your mom if you have handwritten recipe cards from her mom or grandmother.

Family Photoshoot

This is one that I have been thinking about for years. Moms love photos of their kids. Especially once all of their kids have grown and it is so hard to get them all in one place at the same time. This is something that I know my mom, grandma, and mother-in-law would all enjoy. You can do this one of two ways: You could do a photoshoot of just the children before Christmas and gift your mom the digital copies or a photobook or you could print a card of some sort, letting your mom know that you booked a photoshoot for a specific time or day after Christmas so the whole family can be there.

Massage or Spa Day

We did this for my mother-in-law a few years back. I went to massage Envy in Baton Rouge and got a gift card with $50 on it, which is good for a one hour massage there. Use google to find a local spa or massage therapy place near you and talk to them about a gift card or a package that you could gift someone for the holidays. A good company will find some way to accommodate that request if they don’t already have something prepared. This gift is a good way to tell your mom that you love her and give her a much needed day away from you, your siblings, and your dad after the holidays.

Barefoot Dreams

Socks: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/emxnx7cxj87 Blanket: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/emxn7tcxj87 Robe: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/emxpcncxj87 Pajamas: https://rstyle.me/cz-n/emxpf4cxj87

A Barefoot Dreams robe, blanket, pair of socks, or pajama set would be such a great gift for any mom, especially if she is home a lot. Get one of these items or get a few and make a gift basket for her. These items are all extremely soft and comfortable. I know for a fact that the moms in my life would be all over the socks and the robes. This is a great, practical gift that your mom will use on a daily basis.

There are so many more gifts your could give your mom this year that she will love, but if you were stuck, I hope reading this gave you some ideas for some Christmas gifts. Happy Holidays!

Budget Friendly Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is less than a week away. Want to know a secret? I STILL don’t have my father’s day gift for my dad or father-in-law. This seems to be my circumstances every year. Every year I either do a D-I-Y gift or a budget friendly one. (Our dads are so hard to shop for.) So, in today’s post, I am going to list out a few cute ideas that I have done before or might be doing this year.

Bacon Roses- Okay, so I did this for a valentine’s gift for Cody one year, but it could be a cute Father’s Day gift. It is super easy and inexpensive. Let me walk you through the process. What you will need: A cheap/cute vase, bacon,a muffin pan, and fake roses. Once you have all your materials, you will roll up each piece of bacon like a rose and put it in the muffin pan.Follow the oven instruction for your bacon. when it’s done and the bacon has cooled, tear the roses off of the stems, place the stems in the vase, and place the bacon on the stems where the roses had been. TADA!

*Not my picture*

Mug- This is for the coffee drinking dads. It works best if you have a cricut. You can really do all sorts of cool gifts with a cricut. Just use the app to create your design. (Personalizing it is even better) Then, using transfer tape, transfer the vinyl to the mug. Such a fun and easy gift. (And it costs next to nothing if you already have a blank mug and extra vinyl laying around)

* Not my picture*

Three Jerks Jerky- This gift is a small, cheap, and cute little gift to say, “I’m thinking of you.” I don’t know any dad that doesn’t like beef jerky. This stuff isn’t normal jerky, though. It’s made from filet mignon. It comes in a few different flavors and runs about $10 a bag. The year we did this gift, I made a cute ‘steak themed’ card to pair with the bag that we gave each of our dads.

*Not my picture*

Themed basket- This one is really good for a hard to shop for dad. You can buy a bunch of small, inexpensive items and throw them in a cute basket. It is also a really good way to personalize your fathers day gift on a budget. One year we did a grill theme. We put a grill kit, some seasonings, and a card together and it turned out so cute. I also did something similar for my dad a few years ago with kitchen items. I got him a new K-cup carossel, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and some oven mitts and threw them in a basket. He loved it and it was all items that he needed. (sweet and practical) You know your dad better than anyone else pretty much. Get creative, grab a few items that he likes, I promise he will love it.

*not my picture*

Custom shirt- I did this for Christmas, but it would be a really cute fathers day gift too. I went to Big Frog in Hammond to get my custom shirt made. My dad loves star wars so, I got them to make me a shirt with Darth Vador on it that said “I am their father”. You could do anything you want though. Think of your dad’s favorite show, think of a cute dad pun, or your dad’s favorite dad joke…something that he would want to have on a shirt. Then go to your local t-shirt company and have it made. (A cute idea that your dad will love and you will also be supporting a local business.) If you are in the Louisiana area, I highly recommend Big Frog. The service is great and the turn around time is so quick…almost instant if they have the style shirt you want in stock. Check out some of their work and policies on Instagram. @bigfroghammond

*Not my picture*

I hope these ideas sparked some creativity in you for a great gift for your dad. Thanks for reading along and good luck! (Especially if you procrastinate as much as me !)