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Hello and welcome to my little letter. I’m so glad you’re here! Here’s what’s happening in my corner of the Pacific Northwest.
If ever there was a month to celebrate love and romance, hands down it’s February.
February really should be renamed to National Romance Novel Writers’ Month.
Everything everywhere is dedicated to love, flowers, hearts, candy, gifts, and sexy lingerie.
It’s a consumerism dream come true.
And I’ll admit it: I love the hype and decorating and romanticizing that goes on during this shortest month of the year.
But this year, as I thought about what to say here in this newsletter, and as I went over what I thought would be my go-to subject: all the ways you and your sweetie could show your love for one another, I realized something.
What if you’re alone this month?
What if you don’t have a Valentine this year?
What if you really hate February because it reminds you of a bad or recent breakup, or a loss of another kind.
So I thought I would use this corner of the internet to talk to those of you that might find yourself in circumstances this year that look a little…less lovey.
I’ve put together something I think you might enjoy. It’s something I plan to offer to new subscribers to my mailing list, so you may be seeing it around here again, but I wanted to give it to you guys first ’cause you’re my besties and I love you…each and every one of you.
I’ve put together a calendar for February that will help bring more love into your life. It’s basically 28 Days to Bring More Love into Your Life.
You can click here to see it.
No, I don’t mean this is a daily guide on how to start a relationship with someone. Nor is it about attracting any one person to you at all. It’s more about how to bring more love to yourself. Ideas to help you be good to yourself, to treat yourself, and spend time on you. Because if I’ve learned any one thing so far in this crazy life it’s this:
If we don’t value and take care of ourselves, we can’t truly value and take care of others, either.
So have a look and see if there are ideas from the calendar that you can incorporate into your own life. Don’t make it a stressful thing, I don’t want you feeling guilty about not completing each day’s task or activity. Just pick and choose which activities look good to you, and see if they bring you any more positivity, love, and happiness into your life.
What I’m Reading Now
You guys. Dang.
What am I going to do? My TBR list is growing faster than a speeding ticket.
And guess who just finished a NEW book? The Sultan of Sex herself, E.L. James.
Here’s the info:
Yep, she’s done it again. Only this time, the Princess of Porn has released a romance set in London, called “The Mister”.
Here’s the synopsis:
London, 2019. Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. With his good looks, aristocratic connections, and money, he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone. But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, and estates, and all the responsibility that entails. It’s a role he’s not prepared for and one that he struggles to face.
But his biggest challenge is fighting his desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past. Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?
From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.
It comes out April 16th and you can pre-order a copy here.
Speaking of books I want to read…
Here are the titles at the top of my list right now.
The Boy and His Ribbon – Pepper Winters
The Look of Love – Bella Andre
The Wish Collector – Mia Sheridan
When the Lights Go Out– Mary Kubica
The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
The Controversial Princess – Jodi Ellen Malpas
What I really need is an extra month in the year that no one knows about except me, so I can cram in all this reading and still be able to get all of my extra work done without anyone knowing the difference.
Okay, but that’d be cool if we could do that though, right?
So here I have all of these books on my list and am I reading any of them?
I’m reading one that’s not even on my list, but came as a pre-release so I felt like I needed to give it priority.
It’s called An Anonymous Girl and it’s somewhat of a psychological thriller.
Here’s the premise:
Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.
When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.
Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding.
Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?
From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.So far, it’s been a great read and one that has me questioning my own morality and values. It’s crazy how some of the decisions we make in life, even if they aren’t the best, can be so easily set aside and not thought about again.
This novel is challenging some of those thoughts while also keeping me glued to turning the pages.
Stay tuned for a star rating next month.
For the Love of Music
Music can change your life. Here’s what’s making a difference in mine lately:
Sleep on the Floor ~ The Lumineers
Shine Like it Does ~ INXS (Can we all take a moment for Michael Hutchence please? *sigh*)
Bad Liar ~ Imagine Dragons
Worst Nites ~ Foster the People (Favorite Band Alert)
Into the Ocean ~ Blue October
I’ve been pressed for time lately.
I mean, who hasn’t, right?
So for breakfast, instead of pulling the latest box of cereal out of the cupboard for my girls, I’ve been making them a healthy and super tasty treat.
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
They are going nuts over it. They ask me to make it every night so it’s ready for them the next morning.
Here’s the easy peasy recipe:
1/4 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup of cold, brewed coffee
3-5 Tbsp maple syrup
I scoop chocolate protein powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 cup Almond milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the chia seeds. Mix well and pour into a small mason jar (I use clean jam jars with lids). Fill halfway to 3/4 of the way full and then add the chia. Put the lid on and then shake well. Place in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, mix well with a spoon (some of the chia will have settled to the bottom, be sure to incorporate that as well) and top with sliced bananas or coconut flakes and serve.
Seriously, it’s so good. And I don’t actually mind giving my teens a tiny dose of coffee along with all the protein they are getting from this.
Products I Would Give up Coffee For
I love jewelry, but it has to be very delicate jewelry. And this stacked ring from Pure Vida ($20.00) is something I would definitely give up coffee for.
At least for a day, anyway.
Pure Vida has so many cute rings, bracelets, and necklaces, and their prices are really reasonable. This bar necklace is adorable and would look so cute with a white sweater.
You can find them on Instagram, too, where it’s fun to see their products in the wild. Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift, girl!
Look at how darling these mugs from Anthropologie are. And you guys, they are only $6.00.
NOTHING at Anthro costs only $6.00, unless you’re buying a greeting card, and even then, who the hell pays $6.00 for a greeting card?
Clearly I have a coffee mug addiction, but even if I didn’t, how could you resist these beauties? Spring is right around the corner, and these mugs are just screaming warmer weather. Do yourself a favor and pick one of these up before they are all snatched up by some Antiques Roadshow fan.
Okay, you know how these Alex and Ani bracelets were/are all the rage? Well guess what my chicas? Nordstrom has them on sale right now! Here’s my favorite and it’s only $25.20!
They also have another version of this bracelet that says “Naughty” which totally might apply to me as well. Maybe get both and decide which one to wear when you wake up each day.
So, lately I’ve been following the cutest account on Instagram. It’s called Mr. Pokey and it chronicles the life and, incredible, envy-producing, adventures of a hedgehog.
I love hedgehogs. I think they are so adorable. At least in pictures, anyway. I don’t know what it would be like to actually own one, but I’m game to find out! I mean they are just too stinkin’ cute!
And since my love affair with these cute balls of fur has taken on an almost insane level, I’ve been noticing All. Things. Hedgehog.
Check out these adorable items:
Laundry basket / toy organizer / blanket holder.
And OF COURSE I need a hedgehog mug, especially when he’s wearing GLASSES! Stop already, I’m dying.
And look at this hat!
I could probably go on and on, but I’ll stop in case you’re not such a big fan of the hedgehog…in which case, I’m not sure we can still be friends. Unless you like llamas, and if so, come on over and take a seat next to me. 🙂
Apps I’m loving
And now, boys and girls, it’s time for a new segment in the 5-Minute Newsletter. It’s called “Apps I’m Loving” and I hope to feature it here regularly.
This App I found through Tara Thueson on Instagram. She’s a self-proclaimed tech junkie and product tester (uh…sign me up!) and she has great recommendations.
For example, this photography app called TouchRetouch. It’s an awesomely capable app that “gives you the tools to remove unwanted content in your photos” – Tara Thueson.
Cruddy weirdo in your background? This app removes it.
Power lines making a mess of your cute scenery shot? No problemo.
Did you get the cutest beach picture of your kid but want to get rid of the other tourists in the background? Get this app.
It’s not free, but it may as well be. At $1.99 I think it’s well worth it. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to setting up the perfect shot.
You can read more about Tara’s review, as well as a how-to guide, on her website here.
And thank you to my friend, Brittney, for telling me about Tara and all her awesomeness.
I think my 5 minutes is well up now, friends. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’d be honored if you would share this newsletter with a friend (see the “forward” icon at the end of this newsletter), or better yet, if you would share a social media post about this letter.
But what I’d love the absolute mostest in the world is to hear directly from you. And here is my burning question:
What are you having for dinner tonight?
No, really. I really do want to know because lately I have been in a huge cooking rut. So please, bombard me with your ideas!
Happy February! May all your kisses be long ones.
Cheers and Happy Reading,