five star books

I talk a lot about books here on the blog but I realized I needed ONE post with a good overview of my very favorite books to direct people to! You can hear all about why I love a good book on @jennaskitchen Insta Stories today!I should’ve been a humanities major because that is my favorite way to learn… about politics, pop culture, art, music, war, invention, social climates shape an era or story. These stories will transport you to a different time or teach you in a really well rounded way.

These Is My Words – The Wild Wild West from a woman’s perspective (If you like this read Maude next. // A Short History of Nearly Everything – This offers exactly what the title says, it blew my mind!! // What Alice Forgot – If you’ve been married awhile, find yourself taking your spouse for granted, read this. // Daring Greatly – Concepts in this book changed my life for the very best. // East of Eden – A classic and a must. I think of this story and characters within often. // A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – A peek into 1900’s Brooklyn and family life then. // Peace Like A River – 1960s Minnesota all about miracles and the bonds of family and siblings. Beautiful! // The God Who Weeps – This has a Mormonism tilt but it covers how all religions define God and what to make of His true nature based on all of this information. Super fascinating. // David and Goliath. I LOVE Malcolm Gladwell’s style. He is such a craftsman and weaving stories together and finding meaning and thinking in a new way. This will change the way you think about power and advantage.

And more thoughts:

Why do I read?

My mom and dad instilled a love of reading in me. Both of them are ALWAYS reading something. Growing up my dad took long baths each night and read in the tub. He had a book light by his bed and a stack of thick suspense novels. Most nights I’d come in after being with friends and he’d be rolled on his side with the book light illuminating his face. No matter what time I came home. His scriptures for our church look like a crazy person’s because they’re colorful and there’s notes in every margin and lines drawing connections. My mom is constantly taking in new info. Whether its talk radio, articles, magazines, books, seminars, retreats, classes. She is a huge example to me of never being done learning. I admire that so much. We had an entire office of wall to wall books and it’s just a part of my entire life that I cherish and have happy memories at every turn.

When did I begin to love it?

I was really small, probably first grade when I read Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was the first book I remember being engrossed by. When it is revealed that the Trunchbull is Miss Honey’s Aunt I remember audibly gasping. Such a real emotional and physical response that hooked me ever since.

Now I read mostly historical fiction, memoirs, self-help/parenting and novels because it provides me with understanding and insight into life and worlds and situations I would otherwise know nothing about. TV and Movies can do the same (if done well), but reading is the only thing that truly captivates my anxious mind. I can watch a great show and still be running through my to-do list or working on a project while I watch. When I read I am all in. It’s sort of meditative for me in the sense that I am fully present and my mind is quieted from the rest of the world.

I asked my mom why she liked to read a long time ago and she said “There are a million things I do each day that get undone. The house gets messy, the clean laundry gets worn and needs rewashing. I can sweep the same room three times. But when I read it doesn’t get undone.” I totally agree with that now being a mom: progress you get to keep forever!

If you are on Goodreads, you can add me there. It’s a system I started using 10+ years ago and so it has pretty much everything (I can remember) I’ve ever read. I trust the reviews and have friends with similar tastes that give me lots of recommendations. I of course am not reading books without a good review (who has time for that!) but I am in a book club that someone new picks a book each month so I am reading things and genres I wouldn’t normally. Anyway, Goodreads works for me so I keep it up and I am glad I have a reference somewhere! I rate things like this:

5 Stars – Loved it, changed my life. Changed my perspective, paradigm shift, inspired long term change because of reading it. I realize that’s not a very unbias way to rate but I had to have a way to keep track of these types of books!

4 Stars – Amazing story and well written. So many good 4 star books on my list!

3 Stars – Good book. Whether it be the story or the writing.

2 Stars – Didn’t like the story and or couldn’t connect to the writing style.

1 Star – Usually when I feel the book is socially irresponsible, uncalled for content, poorly written, or a waste of my time.

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happy mail!

Sponsored by FabFitFun – get $10 off with “SMALLFRY” here!

FabFitFun sent this fun box last week and I took the last bit to try everything out and share my thoughts for today’s post! Their Fall box retails for over $350 but you can get it for $49.99 + my $10 off coupon. So $40 for ALL of DIS, ready? 

  1. Mer Sea Scarf – no lie this is the softest material I have ever felt. This is a GIANT cozy scarf that also doubles as a cuddle buddy for your bed or a blanket or pillow for a flight. (Retails for $98) I love that its ombre so you can make it different hues based on how you wear it! I’m also wearing the lip crayon here, too!FabFitFun Fall Box
  2. Toreutique Lip Crayon – the most velvety formula that goes on so smooth and the pigment is so easy to build on to get a rich deep color or a nice stain. (Retails for $28)
  3. Private Party Gym Bag – I don’t have a pic of this because this cute girl in my neighborhood is a cupcake fiend and I had to give it to her! She about died. (Retails for $58.
  4. Whish Mud Mask – You all know I love Whish’s oil cleanser so I was excited to try more from this Korean Beauty line. So far so good! ($48)
  5. IMM Jewelry Holder – you can string necklaces or dangly earrings right over the top and use the tray for everything else! ($30)
  6. Deco Miami Cuticle Oil – I have taken a break from manicures and pedicures as an effort to save money this year and so I NEEDED this BAD. ($12.50)
  7. My TagAlongs Hot/Cold Pack – so nice and compact and you can freeze or heat it for whatever you might need. Cramps during that time of the month, icing sore muscles or cooling your head during a headache spell. Love this! ($15)
  8. Molr Charcoal Toothpaste and Toothbrush. If your trying to clean up your beauty care or eliminate chemicals, or have sensitive teeth and can’t deal with the bleach you get from the dentist, this is for you. Charcoal whitens and brightens and I can’t wait to see how it works over time, I’ll be sure and check back in on it! ($43.95)
  9. B-Low the belt Mia Belt. ($108) I love how they styled it on Shopbop, where it is currently sold out!

All of this for $40. I don’t know how they’re staying in business, truly it’s stressing me out, but I am ALL about it. It’s so fun to get spoiled with happy mail. Get one for yourself, send one to a far away friend, brighten your sister’s day. And use “SMALLFRY” for $10 off! 

Pick up your box here!

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mummy donut holes

Lucky for us we have the Six Sisters here today sharing their Mummy Donut Hole recipe from their new book Celebrate Every Season! So cute and EASY for your Halloween celebrating!

This recipe is taken from their new book Celebrate Every Season which has easy, tasty recipes to help you make the most out of the seasons changing, produce in season, and of course all your celebrating! I’m excited really delve into this book as now some of my very favorite holidays are coming! Celebrate Every SeasonHere’s the recipe for the Mummy Donut Holes!

Mummy Donut Holes

Serves: 24 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: n/a | Total time: 20 minutes

1 (1-pound) package white chocolate candy coating or almond bark, divided

24 donut holes

Black gel frosting

Melt ¾ of the white chocolate candy coating in a bowl according to package directions.

Dip each donut hole in the chocolate, making sure to cover entire donut hole with chocolate. Remove from chocolate using two forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.

Place donut hole on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour so that the chocolate can harden (if desired, you can put them in the fridge and they will set up faster).

Melt remaining white chocolate and, using a spoon, drizzle “mummy lines” on each donut hole, leaving a little room for the eyes. Let harden for about 30 minutes.

Place two black gel dots on each donut hole for eyes and serve.

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Weekend Deals

Oh Fall, I love you. It’s a rainy day and I’ve got a girl’s weekend today that I am so excited about! Here’s the deals you should peep this weekend!

Top // Pants // Shoes // Jacket // Lip – Diva by Mac 

Romwe is always so nice to send me items each month and here’s what I’m scooping up to help with my Fall wardrobe. I love using Romwe for those super trendy pieces that I don’t plan on needing for years to come. Even still their quality is just as good as any store you’d shop in which makes their pricing even more awesome! They always fall under a deal category, even full price!

Layered Sweater – this comes in several colors and is SO pretty. Pair it with your favorite skinny jeans or a pencil skirt and heels.

Pom Pom Mules – I could wear mules all year long, I love the ease and the polish. This pair is so fun.

Metal Leaf Purse – Romwe does spot on replicas of Gucci, Stella McCartney and more. If you’re not into fakes, try something beautiful and unique on its own! This yellow one as so much personality I can’t resist!

Asymmetrical Peter Pan blouse – This modern take on a feminine classic tucked into high waisted jeans and heels. Yes.

Embroidered Jeans – This is the perfect example of a great Romwe purchase. I love this trend but I would get sick of them fast. $25!

Contrast Sweater – I love this rust color and the contrasting ties. The fit is super modern and the neck makes it so polished! I am all about these statement sweaters for easy outfit starters.

Ruffled Skirt – I am so sad my skirt is already sold out, I’ll keep my eye out for a restock but this one is similar and so pretty! $10.

Tie front plaid – I live for a plaid, not a flannel, just silky plaid blouse. I’d wear these with leather-look leggings or oiled jeans or a leather jacket, and big messy curls.

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And Jcrew is 30% off today! New Balance sneakers included, beautiful coats, these killer earrings that I need in red and pink:

And Gap is 40% off, when is it not but these are my favorites!

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