I thoroughly enjoyed Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan & Janel Laban. I was actually surprised at how quickly I devoured such a thick book!
The photographs by Melanie Acevedo are stunning and the topics really applied to me, engaging me and pushing me to read just one more page before setting the book down. Once I could tear myself away, it was an easy book to come back to again and again. As I read through the ideas and tips and browsed the photographs, I was able to think about what I liked and what drew me in, what might work in my own home and how I could apply the suggestions with my own twist.
I loved pages sprinkled throughout that offered very practical advice on things like organizing as well as the more whimsical treasure trove of decorating ideas. I would recommend this book to anyone with a space to make a home — whether it’s an apartment, a small home like mine or a grand house. There’s something for everyone and it’s really all about making your house your home.
Read more about Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home here. Or take a sneak peak at the inside of this beautiful book!
I received a complimentary copy of Apartment Therapy Complete and Happy Home from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
Our trip to New England involved a lot of driving (Southern Virginia to Northern Vermont = 11 hours). But it was SO worth it. We hadn’t had a vacation in years, and our last one was incredibly busy. This time, we just enjoyed ourselves and the beautiful weather.
We drove from Virginia Beach to Vermont where we were able to stay with friends, then headed over to the southern coast of Maine for a few days where we saw five different lighthouses. Then it was back to Vermont for a few days before heading home to Virginia.
The trip was full of Vermont cheese, local maple syrup, cliff walks, mountain hikes, and time spent together — no demands, no expectations, no stress.
I recommend it!
A few photos from our favorite places in Vermont:
Deer Leap Trail:
Photos from the southern coast of Maine. We stayed in Wells and visited South Portland, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and more:
On our way home, we drove Skyline Drive and hiked White Oak Falls trail. The entire area was encased in fog, which made the drive difficult, but hiking in fog is wonderful.
M is for Manger is a delightful children’s book for the holiday season written by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley, illustrated by Claire Keay.
As it goes through the letters of the alphabet, M is for Manger features a piece of the Christmas story for little ones — from the Angel that came to Mary to the Zillions of stars in the sky.
I really enjoyed this little alphabet primer all focused on the true Christmas story. While my little one won’t be joining us in time for Christmas this year, I expect next Christmas this will be a much-loved book in our house. The illustrations are simple and adorable, while the letters and rhyming provide a great rhythmic read that children will love. And, of course, this book teaches the story of Jesus’ birth — the center of all of the Christmas celebrations in our house. I love that each page tells a piece of the story and provides the Scripture reference where you can point children when they begin asking more questions as they grow a little older each holiday.
I definitely recommend M is for Manger for all those with little ones in their lives!
I received a complimentary copy of M is for Manger from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
I’m trying to enjoy this season of pregnancy (as much as I can with the incessant nausea still sticking around at 19 weeks…). But one way to view our wonderful January 22 due date is as a deadline of sorts.
There are the obvious pre-baby projects like setting up the nursery that need to happen, and there are those projects that I think will be helpful for our new rhythm and routine of life when it changes forever in 2016.
A few things on the list:
- Pay off my truck
- Purchase a second baby-friendly vehicle (this might not happen until after baby, but we can start looking once the truck is paid off)
Get a new roof (before hurricane season!)
- Wood floors installed throughout the house
- Remove sliding glass door in dining room, install french doors
sun room, nursery closets, front porch, nursery closet doors
- Paint shutters, front door, trim
- Install shelves in the
pantry, study and garage to enable us to organize
- Organize study, books and sewing/craft stuff, purge anything unnecessary,
cull 1/4 (roughly 300) books!
Organize clothes and purge (both Husband and me)
Organize pantry/laundry items, store breakables on high shelves
Organize, purge, put away breakables in dining room
- Start some new habits:
one full load of laundry from hamper to drawers each day, 15 minute cleanup at the end of each day
- Set up and decorate the nursery, organize baby items
- Turn the study into a study/guest room
- Make some freezer meals!
- Clean up/organize the barn before baby and winter
dog door and fenced area for Ginger
- Prepare for winter: buy firewood, purchase/set up electric buckets/stock tank heaters, enclose barn entry, install sliding stall door, fix fireplace damper
- Go on a REAL vacation!! (Our 5th anniversary is coming up and we’re combining that celebration with a final pre-baby trip, heading up to Vermont to view the fall foliage.)
The goal is to get all of these things done before November. Then November, December and January can be spent keeping up with work (the busiest time of year), enjoying the holidays with family, and resting at home before Baby arrives. I have visions of spending the fall/winter curled up on the couch with a good book, a roaring fire and a warm blanket. (Maybe not the reality of the last few months of pregnancy, but a girl can dream!)
You may (or may not) have noticed I’ve been conspicuously absent from this space. Except for a few book reviews, I haven’t had much to say this summer.
The delay was for a good reason though, I’ve been dealing with things like morning sickness for the past few months =).
So happy to announce that coming in January 2016, we’ll be welcoming our first little one!
I’m 18 weeks, still feeling sick most of the time, but extremely excited. We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, and we’ve decided to wait and be surprised come January. That makes some parts of pregnancy a little tricky (we don’t want to call our baby “it” after all), but also makes me so excited.
So this summer has been full of a lot of survival. Laundry didn’t get done, the house didn’t get cleaned, the dog didn’t get bathed. But I managed to survive (and eat a ton because I was ALWAYS hungry), we got through our first summer at the farmer’s market and even got a new roof put on the house. I’m hoping that as summer winds down and we move into fall, life will find some semblance of normal again (wishful thinking?) as we tackle a few more house projects and prepare for our new arrival.
I was drawn to read Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason because of it’s historical time period is of interest to me, and of course I love horses.
Brianna O’Leary feels the pressure to marry well to secure the future of her family’s horse farm on Long Island, but her biggest dream is to attend college. Her sister, Colleen, is happy to marry, but her standards are high and exacting. Then a former stable hand and a distant relative come to the farm and turn the girls’ lives upside down. What will happen to the farm? And will Brianna ever be able to go to college?
I admit, I cringed a bit about reading a book about horses. Mostly because I know enough to know when the author doesn’t. I was delighted to find that this novel had just enough about my beloved animal without focusing too much on it. So there wasn’t much room for error — smart author!
I did like the way the time period was used as such a critical part of the book. That should always be the case with a historical fiction novel in my opinion. That said, the plot was a little weak and the characters a bit contrived. It was delightful to read, but I didn’t feel that it went very deep and some of the characters never really seemed to mature throughout the novel. For me, it was a fun one-time read rather than a classic I will return to again and again. But for a debut novel, I would say Irish Meadows shows great promise and I’ll be curious to see what else Susan Anne Mason writes!
I received a complimentary copy of Irish Meadows from Bethany House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore is engaging, entertaining, and interesting.
Desperate to solve her parents’ murder case, Abby Hart reveals her connection to the crime that shaped a community in Long Beach, California. But the implications might be more than she bargained for: homicide, drugs, the state governor… Meanwhile, when private detective Luke Murphy learns that Detective Hart has as much interest in the case as he does, it sparks a renewed commitment to learning who killed his uncle so many years ago. But will the path to truth put both of them in danger?
Drawing Fire, the first case in Cantore’s Cold Case Justice series is definitely worth the read for suspense lovers like me. The plot is interesting, with a few twists and turns. The suspense is definitely there (unlike some other books I’ve read recently that are labeled “suspense”). The characters are layered and their lives involved and interesting. They are relatable and you definitely want to root for them.
Cantore’s 22 years’ experience in the police force ads an element of reality and grit to her writing. She not only understands how to write, but even the procedural and behind-the-scenes police moments ring true to life.
I received a complimentary copy of Drawing Fire from Tyndale House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
Other books I’ve reviewed by Janice Cantore: Abducted
I selected Not by Sight by Kate Breslin because I am interested in the WWI era, especially the “home front” so to speak. While the plot was rather simple and not entirely original, the characters were interesting and I did learn about the time period (which is always my litmus test for historical fiction).
Grace Mabry is determined to do her part to support her brother and all the other boys fighting overseas in WWI–even distributing white feathers of cowardice and eventually joining the Women’s Forage Corps, where she learns what hard work really is. Meanwhile, mysterious Jack Benningham is doing his part for the war effort, even if it includes perpetuating his reputation as a philanderer, until things go terribly awry. As Jack begins to heal and Grace comes under suspicion the two learn to grow in courage and in truth.
I think my favorite part of this book was learning about the Women’s Forage Corps, while I had heard of the Women’s Land Army, I had never heard of the WFC. So this was definitely an education for me. I also enjoyed the historical context of the suffragette movement in England and the references to shifting classes (the wealthy trade class, wealthy American girls in search of titles, etc). Historical context is definitely the strong point of this novel. I came away with a better understanding and more knowledge of real historical fact than I had going into it.
The characters were enjoyable and amusing. Grace Mabry was someone worth rooting for. The plot was probably the weakest element, and while it wasn’t terribly original or exciting, it did keep my attention.
I would recommend Not by Sight for anyone interested in sweet stories and WWI historical context. It was a quick read and easily could be finished in a weekend or even a long day by the pool as summer winds down.
I received a complimentary copy of Not by Sight from Bethany House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
I thoroughly enjoyed flipping through the pages of this high quality plant design book. Rooted in Design by Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give is great for perusing for ideas, reading closely for instructions, and displaying for guests.
The book covers all kinds of indoor planting ideas and tips and well as inspirational photos. Even if you don’t own a home, there are wonderful suggestions that can be utilized in rental spaces as well.
Want to take a peek inside? Click here!
My favorite design suggestion was the moss wall, and it even came with instructions on how to pull it off in a reasonable and practical way (hint: don’t use live moss!).
I’m sure I will be displaying this book on my coffee table for years to come, and I’m definitely planning on taking on the moss wall project to add a little “life” to my dining room!
I received a complimentary copy of Rooted in Design from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.