January 6, 2018

December 2017: Recap + On My Shelves

Goodbye, 2017! I know there were many hard and horrible things that defined the year, but it's one that I'll always look back on fondly because it was full of fun adventures as I watched my baby become a toddler. Slow down, time!

1. Snow in Georgia - This was an unexpected (but very welcome) surprise in December! It was so fun to see my son's fascination with the falling snow - and his joy when I tried to teach him to catch snowflakes on his tongue. So many sweet memories made! Plus, it was lovely to experience snow while the house was decorated for Christmas.

2. #TreatYoSelf - I went a little crazy during holiday sales! I grabbed: a mass market paperback book sleeve from Book Bubbie, a new wallet from Madewell, a ton of Happy Planner sticker books, subscribed to Darling Magazine, snagged a few cute Rae Dunn mugs from T.J. Maxx and had to get this long-coveted Hunger Games t-shirt

3. Christmas with Family - I didn't take nearly enough photos during all of our family celebrations, but this one is from a delicious dinner with my parents and siblings from a few days before Christmas. This holiday season was even more special than years past because my son is a toddler and was so delighted by everything.

4. A Few of My Favorite Things - I received so many thoughtful gifts from my friends and family, and here are a few of my favorite things: wireless earbuds from my grandparents, an AMAZING Anne ornament from Rachel, a yummy Rhysand candle from Steph, an adorable Audrey Hepburn pouch from Kelly, a gorgeous leather tote from my parents, an adorable mug from Alexa, and an immersion blender from Cassie. My people are the best!

Read 16 Books | Favorites:
Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne
Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie
Far from the Tree by Robin Benwasy
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
“Turn down no opportunity for joy, however small.”
The Perfect Stranger by Anne Gracie

“The older she got, the more human her parents seemed,
and that was one of the scariest things in the world. She missed being little,
when they were the all-knowing gods of her world, but at the same time,
seeing them as human made it easier to see herself that way, too.”
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

“The next time you face a room full of strangers . . . you might tell yourself
that some of them are just friends waiting to be found.”
It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

“Most lives are not distinguished by great achievements.
They are measured by an infinite number of small ones.
Each time you do a kindness for someone or bring a smile to his face,
it gives your life meaning. Never doubt your value, little friend.”
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

 “A well-read woman is a dangerous creature.”
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

 “One cannot live from one day into the next without changing.
It is the nature of life. Small choices are always necessary even when large ones do not loom.
I will change what I choose to change and retain what I choose to retain.”
Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
December was my busiest blogging month of 2017! Honestly, it doesn't surprise me because I always look forward to recapping the year. I'd been planning some of these blog posts for weeks! I started the month with my November 2017 recap, of course. Then, I finally posted my Quick Lit: October 2017, which I forgot I had saved in my Drafts folder.

I posted three full-length reviews in December. The first was one of my absolute favorite reads of the year: The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson. I read it back in June and just dragged my feet on talking about it because it was hard to put my love for it into words. Next, I shared my review of Far from the Tree by Robin Benway for October's Picky Pledge Challenge prompt, "A Book I Bought While Traveling." The third review was for Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for November's challenge prompt, "A Book I Bought Because of the Hype."

Finally, I ended the month with six 2017 recap posts:
I'm excited to see what 2018 has in store for me!
I'm still not caught up on my blog reader, but here are a few of the things I've recently bookmarked:

1. "My obsession with Jane Austen adaptations & retellings" by Kristen from See You in a Porridge - My favorite post from December! I just recently added Kristen's blog to my Feedly, and it's quickly become one I look forward to reading each time I sign in. I share her Austen obsession + love for retellings, so this post was right up my alley.

2. "What Books Represent You as Reader?by Michaela from The Ardent Biblio - This was such an interesting perspective on identifying what your favorite books represent. I love the way Michaela highlighted the similarities between five of her most beloved books, and it made me take a closer look at what my favorites have in common. 

3. 2017 Recaps by Rachel from Hello, Chelly and Best of 2017 Posts by Alexa from Alexa Loves Books - I'm so obsessed with end of the year posts. So, of course, these 2017 recaps from two of my favorite blogs topped my list of must reads! I love seeing what books, movies & TV shows, music and memories made their lists.

Favorite Album: Somewhere in Between by VÉRITÉ
I fell in love with a single from VÉRITÉ earlier in 2017 but didn't know
there was a full album released in June. I made up for lost time in December!

Lady Bird (2017) starring Saoirse Ronana and Laurie Metcalf - This wasn't really on my radar until it was recommended by Jamie on The Popcast. I decided to go see it by myself (excellent life choice) and fell in love with it! For me, it totally lived up to the hype, even though it's not the type of movie I'd typically watch. It was quirky, vulnerable, somehow relatable and so perfectly cast. I honestly think it was my favorite movie of the year! 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) starring Taron Egerton and Colin Firth - When the first movie came out, I was surprised by how much I loved it. We'd planned to see this sequel but missed our chance (and were nervous after reading reviews), and now we're so glad we just rented it. Gosh, this was AWFUL. I wouldn't recommend it at all! I kept hoping it would get better, but even Colin and Taron couldn't save it for me. Ugh. So disappointing!

A Christmas Prince (2017) starring Rose McIver and Ben Lamb - I watched this after I saw everyone talking about it on Twitter... but I was NOT a fan. It was so boring, even by holiday movie standards, and the Prince was not cute. 

The Holiday (2006) starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black - This is one that I watch every year around this time! It's just so happy, gives me MAJOR house envy and makes me want to move to England.

Little Women (1994) starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale and more - It's not specifically a Christmas movie, but it's fitting for the season! This will always be a favorite, even though Amy is The Worst.

White Christmas (1954) starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye - My sister and I used to watch this every Christmas, so it's definitely a very nostalgic movie for me. I think this was Nick's first time seeing it, and he enjoyed it!

The Nativity Story (2006) starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac - I didn't even know this movie existed, but Kelly recommended it to me. I'm so glad she did! It was lovely seeing this story (and Oscar Isaac's face) on screen.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed - My absolute favorite holiday movie EVER! It's become a tradition for us to watch it on Christmas Eve, and I look forward to it every year. TEARS, every time.

Brand New Books: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins, Grace Kelly: Hollywood Dream Girl by Jay Jorgensen and Manoah Bowman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Used Bookstore Finds: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas, Snow Angel Cove, Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point and Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne, Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh, The Viscount Needs a Wife by Jo Beverley, A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, and The Winter BrideThe Stolen PrincessHis Captive Lady, To Catch a Bride, The Accidental Wedding and Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie

Christmas Gift From My Parents: Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

From Laura: Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood

Gifted: The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook by Laura Lea Goldberg, Dinnertime by Ree Drummond and Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

For Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins and If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell

Kindle: The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne, Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak, The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird


  1. That ornament is adorable! Maybe this is the year I finally read Anne — she is so beloved and I feel I’m missing out! Love your snow pics too! We get plenty of snow where I live, so I forget how fun and magical it can be sometimes. I’m finding toddlerhood equal parts amazing and exasperating (as it should be) — they certainly keep us on our toes at this age :)

  2. I cry during It's A Wonderful Life every single time too. When they start singing at the end and everyone is bringing George money and he sees how much he is loved by his friends.

    Okay so Kelly's taste is solid because that Audrey clutch is so fetch. I love it.

    Glad you had such a wonderful December :-)

  3. I LOVE The Nativity!!! I watch it every Christmas and it's so well done. When I saw Oscar Isaac in Star Wars I immediately thought "JOSEPH WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN SPACE" hahaha.

    A belated Merry Christmas for IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS <3


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