2018 Book List


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Every year I make a goal to read as many books as my age. I know its not that many yet, but someday when I’m 80…yeah it will be a lot of reading! I probably won’t be able to do much else at that point. Anyway, here’s my 2018 book list. Happy birthday to me! Getting started on my 37 books for 2019…I’d love to hear your suggestions!

  1. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
  2. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
  3. Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau
  4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  6. *Harry Potter All 6 Books by J. K Rowling
  7. *The Chronicles of Narnia All 7 books by C. S. Lewis
  8. Spirits In Bondage by C. S. Lewis
  9. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  10. The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  11. The Baker’s Secret by Stephen Kiernan
  12. The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern
  13. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
  14. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  15. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  16. The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking
  17. Wonder by RJ Palacio
  18. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  19. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
  20. Everybody Always by Bob Goff
  21. Scary Close by Donald Miller
  22. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  23. The Shadow of Death by James Runcie
  24. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  25. My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
  26. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  27. Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro
  28. Casual Vacancy by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  29. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  30. The Eternal Current by Aaron Niequist
  31. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  32. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  33. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  34. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  35. The Road Back to You by Suzanne Stabile & Ian Morgan Cron
  36. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  37. The Broken Way by Anne Voskamp

*  I don’t count the Narnia and Harry Potter books because I read them every year so it’s not like they are new material

British TV Shows


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Yes I know. I quit my job then immediately write a post about television. I promise I have been working on this one for a while. Even before I put in my notice at starbucks.

I am OBSESSED with British TV and I am honestly surprised I haven’t discussed this before now! I wish I lived in the UK. Their Netflix is so much better! I thought I’d make a list for all of you out there who are looking for great shows to watch. Here are some of my current favorites.

  1. Grantchester (really because I just LOVE James Norton)
  2. North & South (is basically the perfect mini series)
  3. Pride & Prejudice (BBC version)
  4. Happy Valley (James Norton again)
  5. Broadchurch (so creepy but so good)
  6. Marcella (another so creepy/good)
  7. Great British Baking Show (they’re just all so nice!)
  8. Sherlock (Benedict. come on.)
  9. Poldark (Ross Poldark. Need I say more)
  10. Endeavor (similar to Grantchester)
  11. The Killing (Danish, not really British, and very scary, but amazing)
  12. Victoria (so perfect)
  13. The Fall
  14. Hinterland (Welsh? The accents took me a while to get used to)
  15. Lovesick (funny and so cute)
  16. Downton Abbey (just watch it all the way to the end I promise. You have to make it to the end!)

This list really could go on and on but these are some of my faves. What are yours? I’d love to know the shows you are into right now!



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“Every single Thursday, I quit something.” – Bob Goff

I have been thinking all week about how to write this, and Bob’s words have been going through my head. “What can you quit today?” I have been feeling this day approaching for a few months, but now that it’s here, it isn’t any easier to put these thoughts down on paper. (or on the computer screen)

It’s Thursday.

So I’m going to quit something.

And that something…

Is Starbucks.

After 14 years, I am walking away. Turning in my green apron. Saying goodbye to free coffee, cheap healthcare, flexible hours, and triple filtered water. But I’m also saying goodbye to so much stress, shifts that are impossible to get everything done, always feeling like I’m a failure, being yelled at by terrible customers about…COFFEE. I’m saying goodbye to cleaning drains, trash runs, Frappuccinos, what size…what size…what SIZE???, 4 am alarms, syrups all over my arms and face and dripping down my leg.

Coco said it best today when we were talking about leaving. “I really just want a job that doesn’t involve windex.”


That’s what I want.

So I put in my notice. Saturday is my very last shift. When I started at Starbucks in 2004, it was a different company. A company that was about customers, and community, and loyalty, friendship and great coffee, and connections. Now it isn’t. I miss the “good old days”. The days when I could know 100 customers in a row, their names, and their drinks. We used to test each other to see who could get the most. I definitely made it to 100 or more on multiple occasions. I miss opening SO many days in a row that we thought we were going to die. Doing shots (of espresso) to try to keep ourselves from falling over. Closing at 11 and playing darts at the bar until it closed at 2am. A store that was a family. People I worked with who knew everything about me, who came over for dinner, who called when we weren’t working together just to chat. When we went out for lunch or shopping, we knew everyone. People would pay for our food, come over and give us hugs, yell across the grocery store “hey honey look its our Starbucks people!”

But it hasn’t been that lately. It hasn’t been that for a while. It has been draining me and I am so relieved that it is coming to an end.

I won’t miss the drive through times. I won’t miss Frappuccinos. Happy hour. (which goes from 3-close and no one is happy so WHY is it called HAPPY HOUR??) I won’t miss very much.


I will miss people. Some friends I’ve made. It was a great company for me to work for, for a long time. I learned a LOT. I grew up.

So now, I am pursuing other things. I’m going to finish my book. (books!…yeah I started another one) I am doing social & digital media as an independent consultant. I am going to make my house an air bnb (come stay!) I am just trying to figure out what my adult job is and where I want to go!

It is exciting.

It is terrifying.

But I can’t wait.


Since it is Thursday.





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for some reason, I kept calling today black friday. not Good Friday. but maybe.

maybe that’s what it really is.


a perfect, innocent man. betrayed with a kiss. sold for silver. whipped. beaten. crowned with thorns. mocked. crucified. killed.

from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (Matthew 27:45)

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33)

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45while the sun’s light failed. (Luke 23:44)

He cried out

The veil was torn

An Earthquake

The tomb.


I know it was good. I know it was the best day. The day that changed all of history. All of our lives. Forever. Gave us life instead of death. Gave us hope. A bridge. A way.

But the sun went out. The Son of God was dead.

That Friday…

It was also black.




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Today started all sorts of wrong.

My Fiddle Leaf Fig tree has not been doing well, so I have been trying to hard to help it. I bought it a warm-mist humidifier and when I got up this morning it had dropped two more leaves.

I picked up the tree skirt and vacuumed up all the needles from the tree, put the tree skirt back and a million needles fell all over my vacuumed floor and clean tree skirt. Fail.

I put Christmas lights up on my front porch and they look so cute, but they KEEP FALLING DOWN. As soon as the tree dropped needles all over my freshly vacuumed floor a noise outside startled me. Most of the lights had decided to give up and fall down onto the porch.

At this point I decided to put on some music as loud as possible because I just needed some Jesus in my frustration. But my speaker, which normally works just fine, would not play the music. It was in and out, every other word. OH MY GOODNESS. I finally just let my phone play the music.

I had to print something to mail for a friend, and it needed to be mailed today. Of course, you guessed it, my printer will not work.

So now it is 11 am. I have cried three times and feel like I have accomplished NOTHING because everything keeps going wrong. I wonder why I even got up this morning. Should I just go back to bed?

I gave up on everything, sunk down into my desk chair and started reading the devotional for todays advent.

“This is the gift that wraps up all the stresses quiet:

I will bless you.

…the weight of everything melts like thinning snow in the heat of His words: “I will bless you.” He will not burden you. He will not break you. He will bless you…”

“So slow down to feel the wind. Listen to the carols just a little bit longer. Linger in the quiet and taste the grace of now, and know that He is good and He is God. Name them in this moment – gift upon gift upon gift – and listen for the echo in everything: I will bless you.



So here I am at noon, with nothing accomplished in my day, but with this reminder now wrapping me up and reminding me that I am blessed. God will bless me. And all my stupid, trivial, annoying things that go wrong don’t really matter. I just need to slow down and breathe.


The Greatest Gift


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I know Thanksgiving was this week, but now that everyone is in the Christmas mood, I wanted to put this out there so you could get it in time. I have read this book the past two Christmas seasons and I think its the perfect way to put your heart and mind in the right space for remembering what Christmas is really all about. Ann has a poetic voice, and the short devotionals for each day leading up to Christmas are beautiful and bring peace and focus to this crazy holiday season. There’s one short chapter for each day of December, be sure to get your copy soon so that you have it in time! I’d love to know what you think!

Weekends & Windscreens: Nashville TN


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Welcome to Music City, the destination of this weekend’s birthday bash is… Nashville Tennessee!

My friend Rachel’s birthday was Sunday, and she wanted to get away for the weekend and have an adventure. We drove through the crazy winding pass from Asheville to Nashville and went straight to Gabby’s Burgers & Fries for lunch. Jon Acuff had mentioned a few weeks ago that they were the best burgers in Nashville, and I wanted to find out for myself. It is an unimpressive location, small, and nothing you would probably take notice of if you were not intentionally looking for it. But, we knew it was what we wanted so we pushed in, ordered at the counter, and sat at the bar in an adjacent tiny room. Amazing. These burgers were perfectly cooked, dripping with cheese, and so tasty. Add to that a perfectly creamy milkshake and your lunch is all you could ask for. I would have to agree with Jon Acuff that they are some of the best. I haven’t had every burger in Nashville so I can’t compare, but I would definitely go back for more!


We rented a quaint little air b&b for the weekend in East Nashville and on the way decided to stop at OMG (Old Made Good) a vintage boutique. We browsed for a while, taking in all the vintage treasures, crafts and handmade goods. A fun little stop.  There was still time in the afternoon so we headed over to Barista Parlor which has long been a favorite coffee shop of mine. Anytime I visit Nashville, I make sure to stop there.  The creamy iced lattes hit the spot and the afternoon drifted away as we were reading/writing/playing video games (…I don’t play video games) …


The Shoppes On Fatherland were close to our lodging, so we perused the different boutiques and unique stores before ending the day with some Mas Tacos for dinner and drinks at The Pinewood Social.

Pinewood Social has it all. Bowling, amazing food, a great coffee shop (Crema) a swimming pool, bocce, table tennis and a comfortable outdoor area where you can sit in the warm night air and order delicious drinks from the bar. Which is what we did. I’ve heard they have the best brunch around, so I’d love to go back the next time we’re in town. I had a cocktail called “Easy like sunday morning”. A cortado (espresso & steamed milk) with Fernet-Branca and Demerara. It was warm and smooth coffee with a hint of licorice and sweetness. So delicious.


Our final day in Nashville we splurged on donuts at Five Daughters Bakery. Famous for their “100 layer” donuts, this is not a treat you want to miss. We shared donuts with flavors of pumpkin chocolate cheese cake, vanilla bean, and glazed cranberry. The cranberry was by far my favorite. Flakey laminated dough, frosted with a sweet frosting and topped with tangy and sour cranberries coated with a sugary glaze, OMG you have to try these donuts.


Not wanting to drive home yet, we spent the afternoon reading Pride and Prejudice sprawled out under trees dropping their red and golden leaves all around us. A perfect end to the weekend!


What are your favorite things to do in Nashville? I’d love to hear about them!

Want more info on Nashville? Check out this book!

Want to know where I’m going next? Be sure to follow my blog to keep up with my adventures! If you have a place you’d like me to visit or a restaurant to review, let me know!

Happy travels!




Weekends & Windscreens: Rochester, New York


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I can’t write travel blogs without blogging about my hometown can I? There are so many things I love, love, LOVE about Rochester, but to keep in tune with my weekend posts, I will simply give you a few things to do if you have a day to spend in the amazing Rochester, New York.


It’s a Saturday morning, so of course the best place to start your day is at the Rochester Public Market.  Stop into Javas or Fuego for some coffee. I never get flavored coffees but at the market for some reason I always get an almond flavored iced latte. Both coffee shops are coincidentally right next to the most amazing bakery at the market, which you will of course have to visit.  At Flour City Bread you will find some of the best granola you have ever put into your mouth, as well as the most  light and flakey chocolate croissants you can dream of. Please. Indulge.

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Wander the different areas of the market and just take in all the sights, sounds, and smells. Don’t smell too hard in the fish area. Yuck! But the cheeses and fresh fruits & veggies and the food. Oh the food. Yes I really just go to the market to EAT. Fresh made empanadas, the best breakfast sandwiches ever, poutine if you’re lucky enough to go when the poutine truck is there… I could go on and on but I’ll let you experience it for yourself.


What else should you do with your day? I mean I could take you to so many coffee shops and amazing places to eat, but for the sake of time, we will narrow it down. You will of course want to have lunch somewhere amazing. I would pick Esan. On the famed Park Avenue, Esan is the king of Thai food. Tom, the owner, is from Vietnam, so it doesn’t really make sense, but he is adorable, and the food is AMAZING. Although it is a very unimpressive looking spot, I promise if you like Thai food, you will love it. Sit outside if you can. Sitting outside on Park Ave is glorious. For people watching mostly. The perfect quintessential Rochester experience.

Right down the street from Esan, is Abbotts which is where you absolutely need to stop for some creamy custard. My favorite is the chocolate almond and it is one of the things I miss most about not living in NY anymore. Luckily they just opened a location in Greer, SC, which is only about an hour away. An hour for the best ice cream ever is definitely not too far to drive.

Now that you are full of thai food and custard, you can hop over to East Ave and take in a matinee at The Little Theater. Opened in 1929, this theater is a gem of downtown Rochester. They have cute little cafe where you can often find live jazz music, art exhibits, and of course movies. This intimate setting makes seeing a movie so unique. Don’t forget to grab a Naniamo Bar for a snack from the concessions stand. The only place I have ever seen these bars, and they are perfection. Chocolatey goodness with creme filling and a nutty crust.

One last stop. You definitely need a late night garbage plate! Founded in 1918, these garbage plates have been a staple of Rochester cuisine for a LONG TIME! Our favorite location to get a garbage plate is from Empire Hots in Webster, but you can find these famous plates at many establishments around Rochester. I know it sounds weird, but please believe me when I say you will find this to be quite addicting and you will find yourself craving one next week. I know I will be.


What are your favorite things about Rochester? I’d love to hear about your travels.

What do you buy when you travel? Souvenirs? Keepsakes? Here’s a great shirt I picked up last time I was visiting.  I usually buy a hand made pottery mug in the blue/green/teal color scheme. All of my mugs “match” but are from all over the world. Every day I drink coffee from a different one and I remember my adventures.

This weekend I’m off to Nashville, so check in next week to see my Nashville post!

Happy travels!



Weekends & Windscreens: Asheville, North Carolina


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Asheville, North Carolina is the place I now call home. Raised in upstate NY, it is a dramatically different place to lay my head, but in this tiny town nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, sunsets, warm weather, and some of the weirdest people I have ever seen, I am now home.

Asheville is unique. Artistic. Hippie. Hipster. Musical. And full of beer. More breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US. If you have a day to spend in Asheville, here are some places you need to visit.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In Ahseville, its also the most desired meal to go out to eat. Lines form at any place that has a decent breakfast and you will often find yourself waiting for a table in the early morning fog. There are so many places to choose from, it is so hard to figure out where to go. For this weekend, we chose Biscuit Head. You can’t go wrong here. Huge fluffy biscuits, perfectly cooked bacon (with different flavors to thing of), gravies of any kind, and a butter/jam bar that you will not be able to resist.

Spend the afternoon at the Biltmore House. It is the largest private home in America and was built by George Vanderbilt as his vacation home in 1895. Boasting 250 rooms, the Biltmore house is nothing to be rivaled and the grounds and gardens are quite exquisite.


Grab a cup of coffee from the newly opened Summit Coffee, before heading over to White Labs for an amazing dinner and some very interesting beer choices. As producers of the yeast that brewers use to make beer, White Labs has many beers made with different yeasts so you can taste the differences. The food is nothing to be scoffed at. It is fantastic. We shared, so we ordered several different things and then tried a bit of everything. Crispy chicken sandwich, soppressata pizza, clam pizza, poutine dripping with gravy, pecan pie, bread pudding, and donuts. All delicious.



Finish your night off with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to catch the sunset, or for something a little more relaxing, check out the Sky Bar. This bar is located on a fire escape, (yes a fire escape), and overlooks the mountains for a perfect view of the sunset, delicious old-timey drinks and a unique atmosphere you won’t experience anywhere else.


Want to know more about Asheville? Check out this book, or better yet message me and I’ll give you a personal tour!

Happy Travels!




Weekends & Windscreens: Charleston, South Carolina


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Let me take you to Charleston, South Carolina.

Palmetto trees line the streets as you enter the city. A horse and carriage pulls out in front of you. A tour of the city with a guide that takes you slowly around the rainbow-colored houses to the clip clop of horses hooves. You turn a corner to escape the carriage and are stopped by thousands of tourists teeming up and down King Street in search of the perfect restaurant or an amazing shopping experience. Pulling away from the throngs of King Street and you will sadly be stuck behind a golf cart. Some aristocrat want-to-be who feels the need to flaunt their wealth by zooming around Charleston at amazing speeds of 25 mph in a cart intended for a golf course not the streets of a bustling city.


In this city lit by gas lamps, and amazing age-old architecture you find yourself dreaming of what might have been, strolling past the houses donning hues of soft pinks and peach, greens, yellows, and blues. Ancient charm oozes out of the stucco buildings. Ornate wooden doors stand proudly ornamented with door knockers that look like pineapples or palmettos. The gardens, hiding behind moss-covered walls, add to the mystery and ambiance of this southern city.

We started off the weekend at 5 Church. God bless this old church and the amazing restaurant now housed within it. Maybe that’s sacrilegious, but wow. From the old stained glass windows, to the ceilings entirely covered in writing, to the angel wing lights above the bar, the artistry of this restaurant is unbelievable. And that’s not even considering the food. We had cheesy poutine dripping with salty, flavorful gravy, $3 mimosas, and a delightful southern breakfast with flaky biscuits, crispy bacon, creamy grits, and perfectly cooked eggs.


If you know me you know any trip is not complete without visits to multiple coffee shops. Charleston is full of enchanting places and amazing coffee. The Rise is hands down our favorite. A part of The Restoration Hotel, it is a beautiful little shop full of white marble and natural light. Sadly, The Rise was closed this weekend for an event, so we headed over to The Harbinger, which is a close second. Although in an odd part of town, very far north on King Street, this adorable shop is owned by some of the sweetest women who make amazing, amazing pastries, snacks, and coffee.


We ended the weekend at SNOB. It stands for Slightly North of Broad, but it definitely feeds the inner snob that, come on admit it, you have. The decor is nothing to write home about, but this established restaurant does it right where it counts. Warm, sweet cornbread brought to your table. Drinks that are handsome, colorful, and delicious. The food is out of this world We ordered butternut squash bisque, oxtail gnocchi with charred corn, cilantro, mole, & feta, a duck breast with a pumpkin custard,a  plum glaze & honey thyme reduction, and pork chops with mushroom farrotto, caramelized onions & apple chutney. Every bite was heaven. We savored each flavor until we had cleaned all our plates and, although full, I wanted to pick up the gnocchi plate and lick it clean. It was the best mole I have ever tasted. Anywhere.



While there are so many things to enjoy in Charleston, this was it for my quick weekend trip! I have many other spots that I enjoy if you want to know more just message me! Or for a great book on Charleston, click here !

Happy Travels!