Spooky (Adult) books to read this week

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HAPPY MONDAY BEFORE HALLOWEEEEEEEN!

Spooky movies, spooky costumes, and spooky books. I’m here for it! I have rounded up a couple of spooky book recommendations for you to dive into this week.

I will personally be reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and/or The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. Both of these books have been showing up on my social media feeds a lot, so I have high hopes!

A Discovery of Witches / The Last House on Needless Street / The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires / Haunting Adeline / Mexican Gothic / The Book of Accidents / The Final Girl Support Group / The Only Good Indians / If It Bleeds / The Chestnut Man / The Shadows

First of all, the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is so awful, because I am definitely swayed by a great cover. Actually, all the books I’m about to write about have intriguing covers. I have not yet read ANY of these (yet) but based off a search on my kindle app, these looking very promising. I also have never read any of Stephen King’s work (GASP) but it is on my must-do list. My brother is actually a big fan, so even if just to have a book convo with him, I’ll be reading a King book, soon. If you have a favorite of his, let me know in the comments!

The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Not available on KindleUnlimited

19,645 reviews, 4.5 stars

The description of this books sounds wonderful. It is described as “a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight.” (People)

That sounds like it is right up my alley, honestly. I love both of those mentioned series, and, since I’m considered an adult these days, I will be grabbing this book next time I see it in a store. It doesn’t seem to be necessarily “spooky”, though. Even though it did come up in my “horror book” search on my kindle app.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Not available on KindleUnlimited

1, 668 reviews, 4 stars

Book description: “In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the end of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.”

WHAT’S BURIED OUT AMONG THE BIRCH TREES? WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME THE GIRL WENT OUTSIDE? Is it the mom/wife? Or how does that cat read the Bible? I have so many questions that need to be answered, and the only way to get them is to read this book.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Not available on KindleUnlimited

8, 656 reviews, 4.5 stars

This is one of the books I’m going to read this week and I’m pretty excited about it. First of all, the cover is stunning. I love the vampire bite on the peach. Does that mean this book is set in Georgia? I don’t know, I didn’t get that far yet.

The inside cover states “Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do-list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Chareleston women united by their love of true crime. Then James Harris walks into her life during the summer of 1993. He makes her feel things she hasn’t felt in years, but when children on the other side of town go missing, Patricia wonders if he’s connected. Is he Brad Pitt, a Bundy, or something much worse?”

It then goes on to list a slew of titles it’s won, which are pretty impressive, including Goodreads top horror novel of 2020 and Barnes & Noble Best Fiction of 2020.

I cannot wait to read this story and find out if we love James Harris or not. I do love a good vampire, though. Even more if he’s morally gray and broody, but this isn’t romance hahaha

Look for my thoughts on this book in my October reading recap.

Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

Available on KindleUnlimited Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans Click to get a free, one-month trial of KindleUnlimited!

484 reviews, 4.5 stars

Ooooookay, so this one has me a little skeptical after glancing at a couple reviews. I typically avoid reviews until after I read a good, because people love to throw spoilers in the reviews, and nothing makes me want to rage more than a spoiler. I hate them. #teamnospoilersever But this book seems like it might be a bit intense on a dark sexual level, but maybe I’m wrong. This is a vibe I got from a review and then I stopped reading it.

Oh, and there’s a novella it’s recommended to read first. Satan’s affair. AND there is also a warning that this book ends on a cliffhanger and the next book isn’t out until January, so be warned of the cliffy if you decide to try this book out. It’s on KindleUnlimited, so I’ll probably give it a shot. Keep an eye on my End of Month Book Recap posts to see when it makes its appearance.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Not available on KindleUnlimited

16,598 reviews, 4 stars

I’ve seen so much about this book online, I’m surprised it has 4 stars. 4 stars is really great, but I just assumed because it was so talked about it would be a 4.5-er.

This is my second book for this week and I’m so excited! It’s so beautiful in real life. The cover is great, the inside has a gorgeous comic book type page. It’s just wonderful to look at and I hope it’s equally as wonderful to read.

The back cover says “After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. Noemi is an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamourous debutante, more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and not afraid: not of her cousin’s new English husband, a stranger who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Noemi’s only ally in this inhospitable place is the family’s youngest son. But he too may be hiding a dark secret. As Noemi begins to unearth stories of violence and madness, she is slowly drawn into a terrifying yet seductive world-a world that may be impossible to escape.”

In the words of Spongebob, a true king, “I’m READYYYYY!” I cannot wait to read this book. It’s smaller than The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, so maybe I’ll start with it. We’ll see.

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

Not available on KindleUnlimited

803 reviews, 4.5 stars

“Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father- and he has never told his family what happened there. Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have- and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures. Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania. Now, Nate and Maddie’s graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And now what happened long ago is happening again…and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic. This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family – and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.”

I wanted to make a helpful blog post for anyone looking for a great, Halloween read, but all I’m doing is making my own TBR list longer than it already is. I am definitely going to be reading this book. It does chill me a little bit, and might be too much for me. I struggle with child abuse and such, it is just too heavy for me, personally. But I want to know what happens in this book so I will probably still give it a go. It’s another 4.5 star read, so it has to be good.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,422 reviews, 4 stars

This is by the author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, so if I like that book, I’ll be reading this book as well. Okay, I just read the description and will 100% be reading this book.

“Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized – someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.”

I’m mad at myself for making this post the further I get down this list. THIS BOOK SOUNDS GRIPPING. I want to read it NOW instead of my other two…but I cannot do that. When I complete the first two, then we’ll consider this. I’ve got a massive TBR…making book content might not be a great idea for me hahaha

The Only Good Indians by Stephan Graham Jones

Not available on KindleUnlimited

3,529 reviews, 4 stars

The Kindle page has a very long book exert, which I’m not going to retype, but the reviews it has listed are so very promising. They speak of humor and horror, which what better combo than laughs and screams for the week of Halloween? There is no better combo….besides chocolate and peanut butter.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Not available on KindleUnlimited

20,635 reviews, 4.5 stars

Like I mentioned, I haven’t ventured into the world of Stephen King, yet. I have a real serious fear of clowns, and I hold a mild grudge with Mr. King over creating Pennywise. I’ve seen bits of the movie, I see him on my Instagram feed, I saw him when I went to Salem, MA. He’s awful. My brother likes IT, though. Sometimes I’m not sure how I’m related to that guy.

Anyway, about this book…..this is apparently a shorter work of his, a novella, but according to the praise given in the reviews, it is still a masterpiece work by Stephan King. I think I’ll read one of his books soon, regardless of whether it’s this one or not. Just reading his bio, he’s pretty impressive. How cool is it he’s written more than 50 books and they are all worldwide bestsellers? So cool.

If it bleeds seems to contain 4 novellas, but the kindle page doesn’t contain descriptions for me further than reviews, but I’m intrigued. I will be grabbing this next time I see it.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,951 reviews, 4.5 stars

This is now a Netflix original series, so if I get around to this book, maybe I’ll have a new show to try out afterward. I’ve been more into reading than watching tv, lately. Though I do have plans to binge the series You at some point.

“A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man” – a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts – which he leaves at each bloody crime scene. Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery – a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago. A tragic coincidence – or something more twisted? To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues. Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over. And no one is safe.”

This one doesn’t grab my attention quite as firmly as the others, but I am most likely going to read it because if it’s so good they made it into a show, I want to read the book first.

The Shadows by Alex North

Not available on KindleUnlimited

2,559 reviews, 4.5 stars

I got chills reading the description of this book. Like, cool air rushing down your arm, scattering goosebumps in its wake, chill. This book sounds like it has just the right amount of suspense, thrill, mystery, and the perfect gripping storyline to keep me burning through the pages. So, welcome to the TBR, little buddy. I can’ wait to read you.

This is another small-town mystery with a side of murder. So if that sounds like something you like reading, I would definitely add this to your must-read list. We can read it together….I really need to join a book club.

So, now that we’ve all added 11 new books to our To Be Read piles, tell me what you’re reading this week! I’d love to add more to my never-ending list of books. Also, if you’ve read or plan to read any of the books I wrote about, comment and let me know! If you’ve already read them, I’d love to hear your spoiler-free thoughts!

I hope you have a great Monday, read a page-turner of a book, and have the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had in your whole life.

5 Fall Candle Diffuser Blend Dupes

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Don’t have oils? Grab a Fall Candle Dupes Bundle HERE or browse starter kits HERE

Fall is THE season for candles. Or was, until I discovered essential oils and a diffuser with a candle flicker setting.

Let’s set the scene, shall we? The coziest blanket, a festive (maybe spooky?) book, tucked into a chair made straight out of the clouds, a warm beverage, and your diffuser set to candle flicker mode and pumping out your favorite fall scent dupe. BLISS

Pumpkin Spice

  • 3 drops cinnamon bark
  • 3 drops thieves
  • 3 drops bergamot
  • 1 drop nutmeg

Crunchy Leaves

  • 4 drops orange
  • 2 drops clove
  • 2 drops ginger

Pumpkin Vanilla Latte

  • 3 drops stress away
  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 2 drops nutmeg
  • 1 drop ginger
  • 1 drop orange

Cozy Fall Afternoon

  • 4 drops thieves
  • 3 drops orange
  • 2 drops peppermint

Apple Pie

  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 3 drops lemon
  • 2 drops clove

Pinterest is full of amazing diffuser blends. You can find my Essential Oils Pinterest board HERE

5 Things I did that I didn’t realize were signs of anxiety

Anxiety! Everyone feels anxious sometimes. Important meetings, first dates, big events, all can lead to people feeling anxious, excited, jittery, etc.

For a long time, I didn’t realize my anxious feelings were different than what anyone else was experiencing. I knew when it came to social situations, I had what I called “Social Anxiety”, and also separation anxiety, but other than that, I didn’t realize I was just out here living with untreated mental conditions.

I lived with the fact that I could function, go to work, have relationships with people, and I was totally fine. It wasn’t until I had my son, and had postpartum depression, that unearthed the realization of the years of living with anxiety and depression without personally even realizing that it was an issue.

Here are some habits that I have had, for as long as I can remember, that I didn’t realize were tell-tale signs that I had anxiety.

If anything I say in this post speaks to you in any way, I urge you to talk to your doctor or someone you trust about what you’re experiencing. The help is there and it is truly wonderful. Brain meds saved my life, I am still in therapy, and I am still a work in progress, but it all started with a doctors appointment and taking that first step. People often discourage me from speaking out about my mental health conditions, but I will not ever stop, because if I can help a single person feel like they are not alone, sharing my experience is worth it.

On that note, I am NOT a doctor of any sort. I am NOT a mental health professional. I am a mom with the internet, anxiety, a PPD survivor, and mental health advocate, sharing my personal experience and hoping to help others find the courage to seek help and/or treatment. Nothing I say is meant to treat or diagnose, it is me sharing my personal experience and research. Please always talk to a professional with any concerns you’re having.

Biting my lips and the inside of my cheeks

I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. I remember getting scolded for it as a child like I could help it. I am 29 years old and still cannot get myself to stop this habit, even with being aware of it and consciously wanting to stop it.

If you also find yourself frequently chewing on the inside of your mouth or biting your lips, here are some tips from www.healthline.com on Lip Biting.

  • cognitave behavioral therapy
  • counseling
  • relaxation techniques
  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • prescription sedatives
  • mouth guard
  • replacement behavior (chewing gum)

This is a hard habit to quit, at least for me. I have been actively aware of my anxiety for almost 4 years, consistently working with a therapist for 2 years, and I still struggle with lip biting. As the article from healthline states, the first step is awareness, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stop it overnight.

Repetative Actions

There are a few types of Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB) which you can read about HERE. As a nail-biter all my life, I didn’t realize that was a sign of anxiety since it was something I had always done. (Just like the lip biting)

Besides that, I would poke my thigh with my 4 fingers, excluding my thumb, where my arm hung down to my leg. I would, unknowingly, hit my leg over and over again, not even realizing I was doing it unless it would draw another person’s attention or it would become uncomfortable. This is something I would only do in a public setting, always when I would be overwhelmed and standing. When sitting, I would bounce my leg, repeatedly.

I noticed this a lot when I worked in a particularly stressful job that was very detrimental to my mental health. I have not had a consistent issue with hitting my leg since that job.

Excessive sweating

Another link to a Healthline article. SWEATING.

Did you know sweating and anxiety have a love affair? I mean, because what is better than being anxious than also sweaty freakin pits?

So, truly, I am a hot person. I wear flip flops all year long, even in the snow, rain, I don’t care. Flip flops are fine footware. I cannot wear sweatshirts indoors, especially at functions because hello anxiety, but you get the point. I am not solely blaming anxiety for sweating, but the healthline article is very enlightening if you are also someone who maybe experiences social anxiety and excessive sweating.

Again, I don’t remember not worrying about this, as far as preteen/teenage years and sweating go. The ongoing theme of these under-the-radar anxiety signs is that I don’t remember a time where these weren’t happening or weren’t a concern.

Yawning and feeling like the yawn was “stuck”

I saw this on a reel on Instagram! (Another way social media and the internet aren’t all bad. You can learn some good things from it, too) I yawn all the time. It drives my dad crazy, actually. He hates when I talk while yawning, which is probably very rude, but I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I’ve yawned 4 times just writing these last 3 sentences, I guess just from thinking about it (LOL)

Sometimes I feel like I have to keep yawning over and over again because it feels like I cannot get enough air or a deep enough breath. It’s actually always stressed me out pretty bad, as I am very anxious about health-related things, so I was always concerned it was a hint at an underlying illness or issues. Plot twist! It was! ANXIETY!

Here is an article on yawning and anxiety HERE

Brain Fog

Brain fog! Knowing this about myself would have saved my self-esteem from taking many hits throughout my life. I’ve had people saying numbers right to my face and I would turn around to act on the task and everything I was just told would be gone from my brain. In turn, causing MORE anxiety and stress for me, and even caused conflict in some situations where I was blanking. (Example: my job, with my boss, where time was of the essence and me screwing up was a big issue)

This is a really great healthline article (theme of this post is citing healthline) with a lot of great tips for your anxious brain.

These signs of anxiety have been present factors in my life for so long, I didn’t realize they were symptoms of anxiety. I often wonder what life would have looked like for me if I would have sought treatment for my anxiety in my early 20’s, which is my driving force behind sharing my journey.

If you have any similar tendencies, please chat with your doctor or a trusted friend. It’s the first step to dealing with anxiety.

The Books I Loved in 2021 (So far)

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Books are magic. October is magic. What better time to start blogging about books than in the magical month of October?

As I shift into blogging about mental health and my personal journey, I’ll be sprinkling in habits, hobbies and coping mechanisms that I’ve tried along the way. One of my favorite pastimes these days is reading. Actually, from the time I could read, reading was my favorite hobby. I’ve always been a strong reader and always loved escaping in a great book. My 20’s were lacking in time I spent in the pages of a book, and my 20’s were also my downward spiral into hot mess express-ville. More on that another day.

When I was struggling to quit drinking, there was a book I really wanted to read, but at the time, I didn’t care for the idea of buying books. I still had a lot of my books from when I read frequently, and at that point, I had no desire to crack them back open or buy more and have to store them. So, anyway, I didn’t want to buy this book. I ended up begging my dad to buy me a kindle so I could read this book without actually having another book to stack around my house afterwards.

My wonderful dad bought me a kindle, which came with a 3 month trial of KindleUnlimited, and the rest is history. Get your own free trial of KindleUnlimited by clicking Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. KindleUnlimited is worth its weight in gold. It’s cheaper than the cost of most books (ONE BOOK) and it is FULL of amazing reads, some of which we’ll be getting to in a moment. Once I got my hands on that kindle, between KindleUnlimited and being on a fresh sobriety journey, I reKINDLED (LOL) my love for reading and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be reunited with one of my first loves. Books

I wrote a short blog post about my kindle and KindleUnlimited last year, so instead of continuing my love fest here for you, you can read about it HERE.

Annnnnyyyyyyway. It’s good for my overactive brain to get lost in other worlds. I love a book that grips me so hard, when I look up I have to blink myself back to the real world. I love an author who keeps me guessing until the bitter end, but I also like to stroke my ego a little when I can figure out what’s going to happen in a psychological thriller. (The girl in cabin 13…..I did NOT see that ending coming)

I’ll be recapping my monthly reads at the end of every month. Sprinkling in some bookish things throughout the month, I’m sure. But for today’s post, I’m going to recap my favorite reads of 2021 so far. One last fun fact, though, is I now buy real books again. I was a fool to think I’d never be laying in bed, sniffing the sweet scent of literature and crying onto real pages. Though 85% of my reading is still done on my kindle app on my phone.

These are my favorite books I read this year. Not ALL of them. That’s why they’re all 4+ stars. When we merge into monthly recaps, you’ll see I’m not always this generous and reading books I’m thrilled with.

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector, 1)The Collector’s Series by Dot Hutchison

Read on KindleUnlimited

This was the first book/series I read in 2021. This series gets a lot of hate in the reviews, but I really think this was a must-read series. Is it messed up? YES. Are you scared of the authors brain after you read it? YES! But, it is a wild ride, kept me guessing and wanting to know what was going to happen.

The series itself is very sandalone-esque from book to book, but every book ties into each other beautifully. One thing I love when an author is able to do in a series, is to flow their story from one book to the next without blunder, and she does that, while also telling insane stories. I’ll be reading this series again.

The Girl in Cabin 13 by A.J. Rivers

Read on KindleUnlimited

The ending of this book…….WOW. I am a firm believer of no spoilers, so that’s all I’m going to say. Spoilers truly infuriate me so I will forever do my best not to ever be that girl.

This was a good book, a crazy ending, but I wont be rereading. I would recommend it, though, if you like thrillers.

The Sugarlake series by Emily McIntire

Read on KindleUnlimited

OKAAAAAAAY…..I forgot how much I loved spicy romance books until I stumbled upon Emily McIntire talking about her book on Instagram reels. Her series is available on KindleUnlimited and it is GOOD. Very spicy, so if that is not your thing, skip it. But the story is so good, and well blended from one book to the next. Actually, I am SO impressed by her ability to continue the story throughout this series. It is so well written, in that sense, and I really enjoyed these characters.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Not available on KindleUnlimited

AMAZING. This book was such a page turner, I’d recommend this to everyone to give it a try. This was my first Colleen Hoover book I ever read, and from what I understand, this isn’t her typical style, but she NAILED this one. It was unlike anything I had read at that time yet. So good.

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Not available on KindleUnlimited

This book is a must read. I do personally think it could possibly offend or trigger someone who is/was a victim of severe gaslighting and abuse, BUT I think it is a really great message to the masses on the subject.

The story itself is really amazing. The writing is great and overall I would definitely recommend.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Not available on KindleUnlimited

A MUST READ! The writing is mesmerizing. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book. I was only interested because I kept seeing it on Instagram. That being said, THERE IS A REASON this book is all over social media. It is SO GOOD. The plot twist….whoa. I didn’t expect to be so surprised.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Available on KindleUnlimited

A really amazing thriller. I devoured these two books in record time and neither disappointed. There are two more books in this series, which I have no read due to a couple reviews I saw saying it really deviates from the original story, but I have a friend who read all 4 and she said they are so good. I may go back and read the last two. Definitely add the first two to your TBR pile at least.

The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Available on KindleUnlimited

A must read. This book stressed me out. I had no clue what was going on and then the ending was just….wow. This book is very emotional and also touches on maternal mental health, so that could be very triggering for some. Be aware if that is a trigger of yours.

All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata

Available on KindleUnlimited

A GRUMPY CINNAMON ROLL. A GRUMPY CINNAMON ROOOLLLLLLLLLLLL! *Swoon* Actually, let me just add, a salt and peppered, grumpy cinnamon roll. *SIIIIGGGGHHHH*

This book is so fluffy and soooooo so sweet and good. I could ramble for pages over how sweet I found this book to be. The character development, the story, the characters, the setting, I loved it all. If you’re a fan of breezy, mildly spicy, reads then this is for you.

The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Available on KindleUnlimited

Pure fluff, pure sweetness, pure spice. It is so good, so breezy. A great read for anyone who enjoys a good ROM-COM or it’s also a great palate cleanser if you’ve been reading too much suspense or maybe more dramatic romance (LOL it’s coming…don’t worry)

The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose

Available on KindleUnlimited

This is another heavily talked about book on social media, as well as two of my friends RAVING over it. They absolutely loved it. My expectations might have been too high from all of the praise, because I was left feeling a little let down, BUT also, it is a really great book. A real WTF moment at the end. Overall it’s a really great, easy read.

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

Not available on KindleUnlimited

What can I say? I’m a fluffy romance reader. I love it! This book is truly wonderful and I cannot wait to read the next instalment. The book is obviously modeled after Prince Harry and his wife, Megan Markle. It is so sweet, with a hunky body guard and a light, easy-flowing, storyline.

They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera

Not available on KindleUnlimited

I can’t even explain how I feel about this book, besides I think it’s a must read. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever read, and with trying not to give anything away, I guess I’ll just leave it at that. The characters are devine, the story is emotional. It’s a great book.

Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Not available on KindleUnlimited

This book gutted me. The end had me in tears, gave me chills, just ripped my heart out. This left me wondering how the author came up with such a chilling story and, honestly, I’m still disturbed by this book. That being said, I think the author is brilliant, in a terrifying way, and I went on to read another one of her books. (Next)

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Not available on KindleUnlimited

This authors brain is scary. How does she come up with these stories? She is magnificent in the same sense, though. Read this book and read this book STAT. It kept me 100% guessing till the very end. A great thriller and a thorough story with no holes. My favorite.

Zodiac Academy Series by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Available on KindleUnlimited

THE GRAND FINALE. This series IS EVERYYYYYYYTHING! EVERYTHING. I started this book, and thought to myself, no one would ever be obsessed with this AND I AM EATING MY WORDS.

I have laughed, cried, screamed, and have fallen in love with characters and a world that is only beautifully captured in-between the pages of Zodiac Academy.

The sisters who wrote these books also have a beautiful, RAGING, fandom on Facebook. When I finished book 4, I was so torn to pieces, I went SCREAMING into the Facebook groups as fast as I could. I almost messaged the authors on Instagram to tell them that they ruined my life. I found this series in August and am already rereading. Guys….I barely ever reread, let alone turn around and start a book immediately after finishing it. I AM OBSESSED. I’ve dreamed about it, I listen to the author made spotify lists daily, I only frequent Facebook to browse their groups. I have a fictional boyfriend, who can turn into a mythical creature, which I won’t say what because it’s mildly spoiler-ish.

The story, the character development, the emotions, the love, the hate, the bullying, the CLIFFHANGERS!! It’s all so good. PLEASE, if you read it, come back here and tell me how you feel. And make sure you run as fast as you can to the Facebook groups for moral support.

These books get VERY spicy…..VERY, VERY SPICY. Do not read if you’re not into reading scenes so intense your mouth dries out.

Okay, I loved creating book content. I really want to get on TikTok and make a booktok. This just confirmed those desires.

Have you read any of the books above? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Especially about Zodiac Academy…..

Tips to de-stress this October

Stress is a fact of life. It’s basically unavoidable, but there are so many tools are our disposal to help us manage our stress like the QUEENS (and KINGS) we are!

October is my favorite month. The change in the air, coupled with the crispness of the season change, the leaves changing color. It is the best time to get a handle of some amazing skills to handle stress better, especially with the impending holiday season approaching us.

Photo found on Pinterest

1. Yoga

Yoga is a delicious coping mechanism that is so near and dear to my heart, I don’t know how I ever functioned without it. Actually, I didn’t function very well without it if we’re being honest. Fun fact: If I feel like I’m going to have an anxiety attack, I will search for a “Yoga for anxiety” video on either Amazon or YouTube and it never fails to help. Ever.

I discovered yoga through my Apple Watch, actually. You had to do a yoga workout in order to earn one of those badges they offer through your watch, and after that first moment, a grand love affair began.

Yoga is now something I turn to very frequently, especially when my anxiety is high, it is one of the first coping mechanisms I’m turning towards.

I’ve never done an in person yoga class….EVER. I simply search yoga on my Amazon Prime, which includes a ton of workouts, or I search YouTube. So this is a very doable, stress management tool for anyone to try. And it’s also a great workout depending on which video you choose. Click below to start your 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime, which is what I use to search for yoga videos.

I really enjoy Yoga with Julia Jarvis on Amazon. She has really great yoga series available.

On YouTube, I tend to gravitate towards Yoga with Adriene, which you can click HERE for her YouTube channel.

One of my favorite videos she does is Yoga for when you feel dead inside, which you can find HERE. It is more challenging than I would’ve expected, so if you’re still a beginner, I’d try one of her videos for beginners.

I still consider myself a beginner, even though it’s been 2 years now. Again, yoga is one of my favorite tools in my mental wellness toolbox

2. Go for a walk or a hike

October weather is the ACTUAL best thing to ever happen to me. I live for the crispness of it, the colors of the trees, the chill damp of the mornings and the breezy calm of the evenings. If it’s raining, even better! But not for what we’re talking about here.

Sometimes, the last thing you want to do when stressed is head out for EXERCISE. Like, are you kidding me? A walk? When I feel like I’m juggling 27 plates above my head, while my butts on fire? No thanks.

But, hear me out, friend! A breezy 15-30 walk outdoors can do WONDERS for your mood. It can be as easy as walking down your street, driving to a local park or finding a local trail to walk on. Plus, there’s always friendly people to say hello to. I love walking the trail by my house, especially in the morning, and saying hi to all the fellow fresh air seekers.

Now, if walking down the street is bland for you, take a hike! Literally. A quick google search for “Hike Near Me” will bring up some great options, or you can even type “hike” into your maps app on your phone…OR, if you’re trying to be a hiking fool, there are apps specifically dedicated to hikes, which include photos, descriptions and reviews from people who have tried the trails. Iphone users can find the AllTrails app HERE

3. Do a festive DIY project

If its festive, it’s for me. I’ll sniff out festive things all year round, but October kicks of the 3 month long season of me feeling truly ALIVE with festive joy.

October is HERE and I am LIVING for it. For me, personally, the serotonin boost I get from it being October alone is unreal. Seasonal depression, who? Not while I can preoccupy my brain with HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVITIES. (Not to make light of seasonal mood disorders. It is very real and very serious and we will be discussing it in a blog post, eventually)

Here is a collection of some great DIY’s to spark your creative side this month, all found on Pinterest.

Credit// Not Quite Susie Blog

These adorable, DIY yarn pumpkins are such a cute, fun, seemingly easy, craft for you attempt this month. Blog post HERE

Credit // craftaholicsannonymous blog

Any enneagram 7’s out there? Bucket lists make my heart SING. I love adventures, fun, spontaneity, plus make it festive and it’s my actual dream come true. Make this sweet bucket list, and add your own ideas, by using popsicle sticks, which would be fun for couples or families alike! Blog post HERE

credit// simply heather

Last, but not least, this is such a cute and cheap outdoor decor DIY! The colors this blogger used are perfect, too, but you could do whatever strikes your fancy. Find her blog post HERE

Crafting and DIY’s, for some people, are a great way to de-stress, so why not make it festive for October?!

4. Make a cozy beverage

OKAAAAAYYYYY. I love a good bevy. Give me a glorious pumpkin spice coffee drink, a delicious apple cider in a mug (warm or cold, I wont discriminate), anything maple flavored, just give me all the DRANKS!

A drink I love making myself right now is a chaga chia latte! It is SO GOOD and very simple to make.

Make sure you google the benefits of chaga….it is AMAZING! And this latte is so good, even my husband thinks it’s delicious. I found this particular one on Pinterest. You can type in “chaga chai latte” for more to find more recipes.

5. Start a journal

Journaling is a wildly amazing experience. You don’t expect it to be so therapeutic, but then you’re writing your thoughts down on paper and sometimes it is just so wild what gets pulled out of your brain and written on the page.

The Mindfulness Journal on Amazon is the journal I have and I love it. It has very simple prompts, tons of space to write and truly doesn’t require a ton of time to complete. If you are a routine kind of person, it could easily be squeezed in with your morning or nighttime routines.

Journaling is a great way to implement what that graphic at the top of this blog post says…..and “let things go”. It is so freeing to see your words released onto paper.

And there you have it. Such simple de-stressing ideas for this glorious month of October.

If the only thing you take away from this post is the desire to try yoga, I would HIGHLY recommend that be where you start. Yoga with Adriene has 30 day series that are amazing and an awesome way to get introduced to a daily yoga practice. I can’t sing yoga’s praises loud enough.

What are you doing this month to de-stress? Let me know in the comments! I love new ideas for myself, as well.

Encouraging Quotes for when your Mental Health is Overwhelming

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When I was in the beginning of my mental health journey, my sobriety journey, my parenting journey and even my therapy journey, I found myself on Pinterest looking up quotes and memes on the particular subject that was consuming my brain at that given time.

It was nice to feel a sense of solidarity during the beginning of those journeys because, those topics in particular, are difficult to discuss with people when you’re first starting your path to healing. At least for me. I still have most of the memes saved on my phone to this day, which is where the content for this post is coming from. These are the ACTUAL saved content on my own phone which helped me in a dark time.

One great thing about the internet is you can type anything into a search bar, and you’re going to be able to find someone who is going, or has gone, through a similar path. You’ll never be able to convince me that the internet is all bad for that simple fact alone. Strangers on the internet saved me from my own brain more times than I can even count.

Below are images and quotes I’ve saved from the internet, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest throughout the last few years. As I didn’t realize that I’d one day be compiling them into a blog post, I don’t have credit for all of them noted, so if you are the creator, or know the creator, of any of the content below, please message me so I can add appropriate credit where credit is due. And, also, thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating a piece of content that spoke to me so strongly that I needed to save it on my phone to help pull me out of my own darkness.

I have hundreds of these on my phone. I didn’t even realize I had so many, but it was so refreshing to browse through them again. A couple of them ripped up some intense emotion I wasn’t anticipating while writing this blog post, but I should’ve known it would happen. Some of these memes were sought out during times when my brain was a scary, lonely, place and reading them again brought me back to that place of comfort they offered me.

I hope if you’re searching for quotes, memes or gifs for comfort from your brain, that these I’ve shared bring you a little peace. Also, I hope you realize you’re not alone. The stigma around mental health is stifling. If you don’t have anyone in your personal life who understands what you’re going through, it can feel so lonely, but you’re not alone. The internet and social media platforms are filled with those of us who are speaking out about our brain struggles and experiences. Search whatever you’re feeling, I guarantee you’ll find a friend.

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

Brene Brown

If you are interest in reading some personal development books, you can find a list I created here.

Also, I have a couple of quote/meme dedicated Pinterest boards, which is where most of the content above came from in the first place, so feel free to check out the boards below.

Mental Health | Therapy | Anxiety | Depression Pinterest Board

Inspiring | Memes | Motivation Pinterest Board

October Bucket List: for the friend with Anxiety

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Anxiety is a b*tch. I lived so much life not fully understanding what my problem truly was, before coming to realize anxiety was a much larger factor in my day-to-day life.

If you struggle with anxious thoughts and feelings, I understand. I see you! You’re not alone.

As we are barreling towards the holiday season, those of us with anxiety, especially if social anxiety is a thorn in your side, are gearing up for some stress. Because of this, I decided to make some festive bucket list’s for those of us with anxiety.

These are just meant to be for fun, so please don’t take them too seriously, but also feel free to throw in your own October bucket list suggestions in the comments! Gimme alllllllllllllllllllllll the festive or brain healthy October ideas!

1. Say NO to get togethers that you don’t want to go to

This should be a no brainer…..but it is easier said than done. At least for me.

Setting boundaries and honoring my own wants is still pretty new to me. It is so important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, especially during the time of year where we are being invited to a lot of things and have people (cough, cough….family members) putting their own expectations on us.

If you find yourself invited to an event that you know will make you uncomfortable, skip it.

If a friend texts you to hangout with a group of people, which includes someone you don’t find enjoyable, say NO.

If you find yourself strung out, stressed or overwhelmed, cancel plans!

We let ourselves down when we choose to try to make others happy over making sure WE are happy.

So, say no.

Boundaries are hard……we will talk about that in another blog post. I made a note of it πŸ˜‰

2. Go out for a festive day date with a friend!

I love this so much.

Here is a photo from my September day date with my friend who fills my cup.

I leave my hangouts with her feeling good, happy, content. These are things you should pay attention to when spending time with people.

What is your energy like after you leave someone? If they consistently leave you feeling worn out, drained or exhausted, it might be time to rethink how much time you spend with them, or your relationship with them in general.

Leaves are changing colors and beautifully falling from the trees. They are showing us that it is OKAY to let things go. There is no better time than the present to start evaluating relationships.

Some fun ideas to look for are coffee flights at a local coffee shop (that’s what we did!), festive movie showings, wine and candy pairings at a local winery, or if you’re into spooky stuff, grab a friend and go to a haunted attraction! Anything you find fun, paired with a person who fills your soul, is a great thing to get on the calendar for this month!

3. Read a seasonal book or a new personal development book

READING! Ugh, it is one of my favorite things to do, in the name of selfcare.

For me, there is nothing better than getting sucked into a good book, falling in love with fictional characters, traveling through pages to a place I’ve never been. It’s magic….reading is magic. And, of course, October is a great time for magic. So go get lost in a book! I’m working on my book suggestions, so keep an eye out for my delectable recommendations.

If fiction is NOT your jam, personal development is always a good idea. You can find my list of personal development reads HERE Now, this was originally “A year of personal development”, but I ended up regressing and getting waylaid by my own brain, so I’ve yet to complete it. Maybe I’ll try to squeeze them all in before 2022, but I’m enjoying the world of fiction so much right now.

If you’ve got any great October book suggestions, throw them in the comments! Any genre, I love to know what people love, what you’re reading, all of it!

4. Bake a new pumpkin or apple recipe

Okay, baking is not everyone’s jam, so if you’re rolling your eyes at me, I’m sorry. Baking became a therapeutic thing for me when I was first venturing into this mental health journey and especially when I first quit drinking alcohol. I called it creating in the kitchen LOL

Baking is so fun, in my opinion. I love cooking, too, but baking is easier. It’s (usually) slower and more relaxed than cooking, and almost always ends in something absolutely delicious. I’ve definitely failed more cooking recipes than baking.

Pumpkin and Apple are the flavors of the season! And maple, too! Simply type in whatever you’re looking for on Pinterest and BOOM! The ideas are flowing!

I sound like a broken record at this point, but TELL ME WHAT YOU MADE! If you take my baking advice, come back and let me know what you made in the comments! Brownie points if you include the Pinterest link in case I want to make it, too. UMMMMM BROWNIES?! okay…..

5. Purge a room or area of your space

HEAR ME OUT! This may not sound bucket list worthy, but I am telling you, as a human with raging anxiety, that purging even a drawer is so satisfying it’s insane.

For me personally, my house got out of control when my mental health was down the drain. We’ll get to that on here eventually. I remember sitting on my kitchen floor, sobbing, because I was just so overwhelmed by my own house that I could barely function.

One day at a time, one room at a time, HELL….ONE DRAWER at a time, and we’re slowly getting there. Yes, still. It’s a work in progress.

Does your night stand need cleaned out? Do it! Does your garage need purged? What better time than a crisp October day!

It is so amazing what a clean space, even if it is simply organizing your junk drawer, can do for your brain.

So there you have it. A short and simple bucket list for all of us out there with anxiety. October is my favorite month. I love Halloween, the colors, the movies, the candy, the pumpkins, the crispness of the mornings, the clothes, the EVERYTHING. And I also love talking about mental health and helping others step into their own power and regain control of your life.

If you have any anxiety bucket list ideas for this month, let me know! This was just a short list, but all the suggestions are welcome!

A year of self care reading

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2021 marks the year I turn 29. 29 years on this earth, and it feels like I’m only beginning to get anything figured out.

The goal I have for this 29th year is to do everything possible to enter my 30’s as healthy as possible.

A huge part of that is taking care of my mental health. As someone who struggles with anxiety, the last few years especially, I have put a huge focus on my mental health.

I have always loved reading and writing, but in my early 20’s I barely read at all. Now that I am focusing so steadily on my mental health and self care, I have gotten back into reading and have found a love for self improvement type books. This is how the idea for “A year of self care reading” was born!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, I’d LOVE for you to join me on this year-long reading adventure!

I am going to read & reflect on at least one book a month in 2021. There are SO many great books out there and I cannot wait to get started, but also do not want to overwhelm myself. If I commit to some crazy, one book a week schedule I’ll 100% get stressed and quit. (Enneagram 7w8, BLUEEEE/yellow personality. If you follow those things, you know my struggles)

Since there are so many books out there, I’m also not saying this plan of mine won’t change. You can follow me on Instagram @shorthairsandlongnaps as I’ll probably be keeping updates on this in my stories and such. (Plus I’d love to connect with you! Especially if this reading list is something you want to do with me!)

I have a kindle, which I LOVE! But for this I want to read at least half of the books in a physical book form. I think I’ll see if any of my choices are included in my KindleUnlimited subscription (which if you’re a fan of reading, you should try it out!)

Let’s get on with the books now!

So up first, these are the books, as of right now, I plan on reading. Again, this might change and I’m also going to include some honorable mentions in case you’d like to read more or want to skip one on this main list.

12 books – one for each month of 2021

1. Switch on your brain: the key to peak happiness, thinking, and health by Dr. Caroline Leaf

This book showed up on my radar when a fellow oils instgrammer kept posting it in her morning routine. I’ve been thinking of it ever since, even seeing one of my Facebook friends post about reading it, so I figured we’d start with this book.

Also, I feel like my brain really needs switched on hahaha

This author also has a book coming out in March called your mental mess. Sounds like another promising title for myself, honestly.

2. I thought it was just me (but it isn’t) – Brene Brown

Brene Brown quotes are generously peppered throughout the positive pages I follow on Instagram. Some of her words really resonate with me and I cannot wait to dig into her books.

The reason I’m choosing this one in particular to start with, out of her other options, is the title speaks to me. As someone who deals with anxiety and has dealt with postpartum depression, imposter syndrome is a real thing. Whether or not this book touches on it, I have no clue. But I just feel like this might be a great book to have in my 2021 arsenal. Mental health struggles often feel very lonely and I often find myself feeling like no one understands what I’m going through. That’s a very false statement, but it’s the nature of the beast.

3. You are a badass – how to stop doubting your greatness and living an awesome life – Jen Scincero

Another influencer found book from insta. I follow some top notch people on my blog gram. I highly suggest detoxing your social media platforms and following very inspiring people. I don’t even go on my personal Instagram regularly because the people and pages aren’t my speed anymore. Love and light, baby.

ANYYYYYWAY, this book. I saw a picture of one of the pages, read it and knew I needed to consume this book. And I cannot wait to do so. Let’s all stop doubting our greatness because we are all destined for it.

4. A year of yes – how to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person by Shonda Rimes

The author of this book is the creator of Greys Anatomy, which I have to admit I haven’t watched, but this is her story of saying yes to things she’d normally say no too.

I don’t know that it’s so much a self help book, but I like the positive energy that comes from the title and the story I’ve read in the description on Amazon. So we’ll give this a go.

5. Get out of your head: stopping the spiral of toxic thoughts by Jennie Allen

As a person who struggles with anxiety and finds myself dwelling on mistakes and the past, the title of this book was just like one of those cookies from Alice in Wonderland with an “eat me” sticker on. Swap “eat me” with “read me” and I’m in my own little wonderland.

This book seems to be a religion based book, as there is mention of God, so if that’s not your speed you can swap it out with one of the honorable mentions I’m including at the end.

6. Empty out the negative by Joel Osteen

Okay, this is another religion based book. My apologies if that’s not your thing. Again, there’s honorable mentions going to be listed below.

On that note, I’ve been mistyped as very religious my whole life, when in reality I don’t know anything about religion really. I’m still not even sure who I’m supposed to be praying to? God? Jesus? Is there a secretary Angel that screens calls? I don’t know. But I do know that 2020 has had me clinging to worship music for dear life and it makes me feel better when I’m anxious.

This book description touches on holding onto bitterness and jealousy, which lets get rid of all that jazz this year! We hold no space for old, unhealed negativity in 2021.

7. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

This book has mixed reviews, mostly by diehard fans of her first book, it seems. I have not read any of her work, so I have nothing to judge this book on, besides the cover. Which I’m obsessed with. It’s the most beautiful book cover I’ve ever seen in my life.

This book is geared towards women empowerment and I am HERE FOR IT. I cannot wait to read this book.

8. Atomic Habits: An easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones by James Clear

Mannnnn, this one is really speaking to me. One of my biggest realizations the last few years is how many negative coping mechanisms and toxic habits I’ve adopted. Let’s break those bad habits in the new year!

9. Make your bed – little things that can change your life….and maybe the world by Admiral William H. McRaven

I’m going to say right now, I hate the title of this book because I hate making my bed. I’ve made my bed almost 0% of my life. Like why are we making the bed just to go to sleep later? But I appreciate the motive behind it. I also feel like it is a very productive habit to have and that probably sets a great tone for the rest of the day. Which is why it made its way onto this list. I’m interested to see what other “little things” it will suggest to change my life.

10. Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb

Therapy has changed my life. I truly know without a shadow of a doubt I would not be doing as well as I am today without crawling my broken self into counseling. That being said, I’m a fan of this title. The description on amazon has me truly excited to read this book.

This book is written by a therapist and from what I understand is about her experiences as a therapist and also her own person therapy journey. Very interesting.

If you haven’t yet tried therapy, I highly recommend it. Worst case scenario is you don’t like it, so just stop going. But it is truly amazing, life changing and more than just talking. You leave with validation, coping skills and weight lifted off your chest.

11. The body keeps score – brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma by Bessel Von Der Kolk, M.D.

Do a little research on trauma. It’s not always a huge catastrophe of an experience. Even people with great childhoods and “normal” lives experience trauma, but never seek help because they either don’t realize it or believe that they have not had it bad enough, etc etc. Bullying, death, frequent moves and many other normal life experiences are examples of trauma we experience and it has more impact that you (and I) ever realized.

I cannot wait to read this book.

Even if you don’t feel like you’ve experienced trauma, education on the matter is good for everyone, in my uneducated opinion anyway.

12. You’re not enough (and that’s okay) escaping the toxic culture of self love by Allie Beth Stuckey

This is a definite read for this year, because as we embark on this healing journey through books, this sounds like a good reality check that healing isn’t linear. It’s hard. It’s not one of those things that you just decide upon and it happens overnight.

Sometimes we feel like we’re failing because we don’t fit into a box that someone else has made for us. That’s a problem a lot of people need to work on because it’s setting you up for failure from the get go.

This seems to be another Christian based book but I am ready for it. I can’t wait to see this authors perspective and read her story.

So there you have it. A year of self care, self improvement and self love reading. I can’t wait to go on this journey with you in the year 2021. There is so much power within ourselves and we just need to unlock it, step into our full potential and be 100% our authentic selves.

2021 is a year of improvement for me. The last 3 years have been messy, to put it lightly. And I’m ready to see what 2021 has in store for me. If you want to follow along, join me on Instagram. Message me and let me know you’re there for the year of good reading!

Now, onto some honorable mentions. This will be great for those of you who want to skip the religion based books or if you simply want to read more.

Honorable mentions:

1. The self-care prescription by Robyn L. Gobin

2. Good vibes, good life – a real world guide to achieving a greater life by Vex King

3. Super attractor: methods for manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams by Gabrielle Bernstein

4. Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Berne Brown

5. The subtle art of not giving a f*ck: a counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson preorder

6. Present over perfect: leaving behind frantic for simpler more soulful way of living by Shauna Niequist

7. Didn’t see that coming: putting your life back together when your world falls apart by Rachel Hollis

8. You can heal your life by Louise Hay

9. It didn’t start with you: how inherited family trauma shapes who were are and how it ends with you by Mark Wolynn

Also some goals are to get better with my journaling. I have the mindfulness journal and want to be more intentional with using it. I feel like writing things down is a great way to release things instead of keeping them in this brain.

Here is the journal I have!

If you don’t have a kindle, I highly recommend one! This is the one I have and love.

I also really love the free kindle app on my phone, so you can try that out first and you can try kindle Unlimited for free as well with the link below!

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Let’s work on ourselves in 2021!

4 Reasons you need a Kindle and KindleUnlimited

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Hello fellow book loving friend! If you’re new around here, my name is Stephanie and MANNNNN do I love a good book.

I really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly love a real book. The beauty of the pages, the sound of turning a page, the weight of it in my hands, the smell of the paper. It’s so good. It’s so comforting to pick up a great book on a rainy day and leave the world behind to go somewhere else.

But I am here to tell you why you need an ereader. There’s no denying I’m team real book. I mean gaze back up to read my description of holding a book and you’ll see I’m a fan.

Honestly I was ferociously against ereaders for a VERY long time. Refused the even think about owning one. But then my late 20’s hit, home ownership became a thing, motherhood happened and suddenly ereaders were on my radar.

Here is my list of ways my kindle (and the free kindle app) has changed my life and maybe (probably definitely) will change yours, too.

1. Reading on the go

Maybe you’re always channeling your inner Rory Gilmore and you carry a book with you everywhere you go, but I do not. When I am at appointments or find myself in a situation where I have free time, I try to open my kindle app or use my kindle if I’ve brought that along.

I feel much better when I’ve read a book vs scrolled social media in my spare time. We’re so inclined to thumb surf Facebook and Instagram, but I find it more beneficial for my brain if I choose a book to fill the spaces instead.

2. Reading with the lights off

HELLO. If this isn’t life changing in itself, I don’t know what is. Especially in the winter! You can read in bed without getting out of your cozy warmness to turn off the overhead light. I don’t have a light by my bed, so this is huge for me.

I also read books on my kindle app to my son at bedtime or naptime. This is another great life hack for me, because his light is off. I also use the kindle unlimited app a lot for this time in particular. There is a ton of kids books included in this subscription, it pays for itself just at bedtime alone. Plus, it’s so quick to swap books. Seconds and I’ve downloaded the next title and we’re off to reading again.

3. Tracks your reading

I love this feature of reading on my kindle and the kindle app. It tracks your stats on GoodReads. You can set a Reading Challenge, you can see how many days in a row and weeks you’ve consistently read.

I love this info. I’ve seen reviews of people not liking it, but I personally love it and almost find it motivating to make sure I read at least one book to my son or a couple chapters of my own book.

4. You don’t have to store books

This is honestly my number one favorite reason I love my kindle & kindle unlimited. Kindle is obviously digital. Your books you purchase are floating in cyber space in “the cloud” and this results in more space in your home. Clutter drive me bananas. I have a lot of it and I am purging, purging, purging.

I feel like some books deserve a space in your home. Like the Harry Potter series, my beloved Nora Roberts trilogies, cook books and some reference type books. But when it comes to the books I’m consuming on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis, I’m really loving not having a house full of books.

Unless you have a library straight out of beauty and the beast, this is probably very appealing to you as well.

BONUS 5. KindleUnlimited – unlimited books for approximately $10 a month

I can’t recall how much a month this subscription actually is, but I can say that I tried it out for my free trial and never once looked back or regretted the decision to join. It’s around $10 I believe. Which that’s around the price of one book and you can read an unlimited amount of books with this subscription.

It pays for itself in kids books alone, but there are also so many books I’ve read and plan on reading that are included.

Not every book out there is on the subscription, but there is a TON of options.

There’s cookbooks, essential oil education books, children’s books, self development books, romance novels and more. You name it, the genre is probably available.

So this is a short, breezy post about the benefits of a kindle and kindle unlimited. I’ll link my kindle below. It is perfect for me and I absolutely love it. Very lightweight and the charge lasts FOREVER. I also use the free kindle app on my iPhone DAILY. So if you wanted to try that out before buying a kindle, I highly recommend. That is what I usually use when reading to my son at nap time.

You can also try out the kindle unlimited app for free by signing up through this link below! Give it a try! Like I said, I started with the free trial and just never looked back. I love it so much.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

11 Gift ideas for your toddler

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Christmas lists, or shopping lists in general, have always been something I enjoy. So it doesn’t surprise me that this is my second year creating “gift guides” for the blog.

My son will be 3 by the time Christmas Day arrives, and this year is probably the funnest it’s been to shop for him. I compiled a little list of ideas I have for him.

I am not buying him all these things, just including all my thoughts in case it’ll help anyone out.

If you have any ideas that I might have missed, let me know in the comments!

1. A wooden slingshot with wool balls – $15.50

Photo from handcraftedbuffalo‘s Etsy shop

HOW CUTE IS THIS?! I know I’ll be miserable if this once I get pelted with one of the balls, or the dog tries to eat one, but it’s such a cute idea and great for hand eye coordination. Plus, I love all the colors! It’s also very reasonably priced and I love nonplastic items!

This item is no longer available, but if you search  sling shots on Etsy, similar options come up

2. Wooden Initial coin bank – $49.95

Again, how adorable! My son is obsessed with “coins” and this is such a cute coin bank for a little guy or girl. You can even add their name to it if you’d like! This is such a great gift that is also an item they can keep forever.

Coin Bank

3. A wooden balance board – $69.99

There are also a bunch of options available on Etsy if Amazon isn’t your jam. But I love this! This curved piece of wood actually is such a versatile “toy” to have for your kiddos and is a great way to encourage activity and movement, especially in the winter months.

4. Bouncy Ride-on Animal – $25

Again, another great way to be active indoors even in the wintertime. My friend has one of these at her house, so I already knows my son enjoys this particular toy.

There are also soooo many different options besides just a brown horse. They have a super cute shark, a unicorn, bulls, etc.

5. Toddler Safe Scissors – $

Motor skills and a screen-free activity! I usually have a decent amount of scraps from getting my own mail ready for my downline, so I plan to give him mostly that kind of stuff to snip away.

6. Scissor skills and tape skills books

Okay, so for moments I’m feeling a little extra, these will be fun to have when I don’t have scraps for him.

7. Melissa and Doug cleaning set – $20

My son LOVES to help sweep the floor and I’m not complaining! But here he can have his own, cute little set instead of toting mine around. (Which he’ll probably still want to do anyway)

8. Dot markers

Such a fun screen-free activity. My son loves colors and I like the activity books that are out there for these dot markers

9. Dot Marker Books

Blippi. My son LOVES Blippi a painful amount hahah. But there are a ton of great blippi coloring books on Amazon, including this dot marker book!

A couple other options if blippi isn’t your kiddos jam. All three of these are on the list for my son this year

10. Car mat with trucks

I also blame blippi for the obsession with backhoes and excavators, but this is on my sons list this year.

11. Play kitchen

Love choosing wooden options as often as I can and this cute kitchen is what play set dreams are made of! Can’t wait to see what gets whipped up in “the kitchen”.

So, there you have it. 11 ideas for the toddler in your life! I feel like this is a very gender neutral list, but I personally hate labeling toys as boy or girl this or that.

Boys can cook and clean and girls drive cars and use power tools.

What’s on your kids Christmas list this year? Let me know in the comments section.

Also, let’s connect on Instagram! @shorthairsandlongnaps

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