Books I’m Loving Lately

In an effort to scroll Instagram less this year, I launched myself on a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. As of today, I’m 21 books in, which means I’m ever so slightly ahead of schedule. Though I normally read more than the average human (who-according to google-never reads), I’m being more intentional about it this year. Less social media, more books. Less TV, more reading. I’ve read a pretty broad range of books so far, and while they haven’t all been gems, here are the highlights!


The Dirty Life: A memoir of farming, food, and love. A writer who lives in NYC falls in love with a farmer. They move to New England to homestead with one plan: to grow and raise everything to feed their community. Kristen Kimball’s writing style is lovely. Reading this book made me want to plant my garden immediately and get chickens, a jersey cow, and a pair of clydesdale horses.

The Light Between Oceans. Set in post-WWII Australia, this is a novel about a lighthouse keeper, his wife, and the lengths we go to protect those we love.

Present Over Perfect. Shauna Niequist is one of my favorite authors of all time, and this is my favorite of her books (followed closely by Bread and Wine). The tagline says it all: leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Not based in any truth at all, this is a fun and engaging story about a fictional secretary of Winston Churchill in London during the war.

How to Celebrate Everything and Dinner: A Love Story. Both of these memoir style cookbooks are so much fun to read. They contain easy to follow recipes with normal ingredients and a healthy amount of encouragement to develop and protect our family’s rituals.

Have you read anything really great this year? I have 31 books to go before New Year’s Eve, so any recommendations are welcome! I’d love your suggestions for novels, especially. It seems most of the ones I’ve read (not listed above) have ranged from trite and cliche to dull.

5 Tips for Surviving Winter

Happy first Saturday of 2017, friends! It seems like most of the country is experiencing colder than normal temperatures, and might have even gotten a bit more snow than is typical. Three cheers for winter!

Winter and I have a love/hate relationships. On the hate side, there’s the cold weather, the cold wind, the cold snow, the cold ice. You can’t escape it; winter is cold, cold, and more cold. On the other hand, winter is so cozy! Its pace is slower than the frenetic go-go-go of summer, and it encourages us all toward our hermit-like tendencies. Even though I’m an extrovert through and through, I don’t hate that aspect of this colder and darker season. I love snuggling in to watch a movie, making homemade pizza, and going to bed early. I love enjoying my coffee by the fire the next morning, and I love having an excuse to stay home and cancel plans occasionally (hello, snow days!).

If you’re having a hard time finding the joy in winter, here are 5 tips just for you!

Start an outdoor winter hobby. Fresh air is good for your health, for your mood, and for your body, so get outside! Even when it’s cold, bundle yourself up and breathe some fresh air for a minute or two. Our favorite winter activity is snowshoeing (Bob has Tubbs snowshoes and loves them), but you could try skiing (downhill or cross country), ice skating, or plain old hiking. With warm enough clothing, you’ll barely notice the biting wind and cold temperatures.

Sun lamp and essential oils. Maybe a little hippy dippy for some of you, but I swear by my sun lamp and (more recently) diffusing oils. Might it all be in my head? Yes. Do they make me feel better, happier, and more content with being indoors so much? Yes. Final verdict: worth it. I have this sun lamp and this diffuser, and they’ve both been great.


Vitamin D drops. If you live where the sun rarely shines in the winter, I can’t say enough great things about these Vitamin D drops. They work better for me than a vitamin pill, and I can tell a noticeable difference in my mood when I forget my drops in the morning.

Light a candle. There’s something delightful about lighting a candle–its soft, warm glow, the lovely scent wafting through your house. Something about a candle whispers cozy, cozy, cozy and it does wonders to lift my mood.


Find some community. Nothing makes the winter seem long and lonely like trapping yourself at home for 3 or 4 months. Even though it feels like a lot more work in the wintertime, find people to spend time with-go to church, invite friends for dinner, talk someone into joining you for your newfound outdoor pursuits. It will always be worth it!

What do you do to make the winter more manageable? I’d love to hear!

If you’re interested…a January trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and an easy, comfort food idea for a dinner next week.