December 2016: Recap + On My Shelves

Just like that, 2016 has come to a close. It felt like a roller coaster of the year, but I will always be thankful for it because it brought me my sweet baby boy. I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store!

1. New Earrings + Scarf - Although you can't see them very well in this photo, Cassie gave me a new pair of earrings for Christmas. I'm obsessed - they're actually the ones I included in my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide! And I told my mom that I wanted a new scarf, and she gave me this one. It was exactly what I had in mind!

2. Alexa Adds to My ACOMAF Obsession - I seriously have the best friends in the world! They gave me such thoughtful gifts for Christmas, and I'm so thankful for them. Alexa gave me this A Court of Mist and Fury-themed surprise, and I freaked out when opening it! The print, bookmarks, candle and pouch are beyond perfect.

3. Christmas with Family - While I always love the holidays, this Christmas was even more special because of our baby. He's still too young to really understand it, but he made everything more fun! I hosted a Christmas Eve brunch for my in laws and spent Christmas with my family - and made so many memories!

4. Visit from My Best Friend - My best friend was in town for the holidays, and she came to visit me while she was here. It was one of the best gifts of all! She hasn't seen my boy since this summer, and he's grown so much since then. But the most amazing part was catching up with her over coffee - talking as if I got to see her every day!

Read 11 Books | Favorites:
Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne
Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
“A good book with chase away the dark.”
Miss Moon by Janet Hill

“In my experience, we tend to see our own mistakes and weaknesses
far more vividly than other people do.”
Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne

“You never became ordinary to me, my love.
You were electric shocks and fire.”
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
December was actually a pretty good blogging month for me! I shared my Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2016 and a round-up of mini reviews for five contemporary YA books. My 2016 Holiday Gift Guide highlighted five types of gifts (Beauty, Decor, Books, Entertainment and Fashion) that usually show on my wishlist every year.

December 15 marked my fifth year of blogging, so I decided to celebrate by looking back at the past five years. Five Years of Favorites: The Obsessions chronicled the things I've been so obsessed with during the past five years. Five Years of Favorites: The Books let me highlight my five favorite books from each year that I've been blogging (+ five honorable mentions for each because #struggle). In Five Years of Favorites: The Blog, I picked five favorite posts from the five main categories you'll find on my blog (Reviews, Discussions, Features, Collaborations, and Top Ten Tuesdays). Five Years of Favorites: The Memories was a tribute to the incredible people I've met and amazing things I've been able to do through blogging. And finally, Five Years of Favorites: The Lessons gave me the opportunity to share five things that blogging has taught me over the years.

1. Must Have Apps: Productivity and Travel by Rachel from Hello, Chelly - I don't have a ton of apps on my phone - just a handful that I use almost every day - but I really enjoyed this post from Rachel. I ended up with a few new ones that I'm going to try, like her favorite package tracker and notes app!

2. Book Blog Post Ideas and Discussions by Lauren from Bookmark Lit - Ever find yourself in a blogging rut and just don't know what to post? Lauren's got you covered! I loved her extensive list of discussion post ideas and walked away inspired to write a bunch more for this year. Now, I just have to figure out where to start...

3. Words Have the Power to Change Us: Mhairi McFarlane by Kelly from Belle of the Literati - I always look forward to a post from Kelly in this series on her blog! I'm a little biased with this one (because I recommended the book that inspired it), but I could relate to her realization that people who care will make the effort.

4. Alexa's Best of 2016 by Alexa from Alexa Loves Books - My favorite thing about the end of the year is reading everyone's "Best Of" lists and recaps. From favorite books to cherished memories, I love it all. Alexa had a fun series of posts that were right up my alley - and gave me a few new things to check out!

Favorite Album: Hamilton: An American Musical by The Original Broadway Cast
I finally caved to the hype and listened to Hamilton in full in December.
And you can probably imagine what happened next... #obsessed

The Crown, Season One (2016), starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith - I couldn't wait for this show to come out and binged it with my parents in early December! It wasn't what I was expecting, though I still liked it. It sent me off a number of Google searches to learn more about Elizabeth (and to find out if Philip really is awful).

My Christmas Love (2016) starring Meredith Hagner and Bobby Campo - I watched a bunch of holiday movies, mostly on the Hallmark channel, the week before Christmas. While they're all pretty cheesy and predictable, this one was my favorite of the bunch. Maybe because I'm a sucker for best friends becoming more?

Grantchester, Season Two (2016), starring James Norton and Robson Green - This is one of the few "old-timey" shows that Nick will watch with me without complaint. I love James Norton as the clergyman who helps solve local murders and mysteries. We watched the season on the last day of 2016 - the perfect end to the year!

Book Outlet Black Friday: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, The Interrupted Tale and The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood

Goodwill: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Book Outlet Boxing Day: The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan, The Fixer and The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller, Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr, The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin and Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

Folio Society from My Parents: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery and Persuasion by Jane Austen

Clothbound Classics from My Parents: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

From My In-Laws: Dinner: A Love Story and How to Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach

From Kelly: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie & AWESOME travel mug!

From Cassie: Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon

From Betty: The Prayers of Jane Austen by Jane Austen

Caved to Kindle Deals: I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi, The Memory Book by Lara Avery, The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

For Review: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman, The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell and No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien


  1. I love the pic with all the stuffed animals! My son has three favorites and often feels the need to hold all of them at the same time :)

  2. December seems like it was a stellar month for you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the present, and I thought it was fitting seeing as how you were the OG Rhys gal ;) I hope you enjoy all the books you got <3

  3. I have some of those Rayanne Thayne books but have been kind of hesitant to read them -- but now I want to because of this post! ALSO YAY HAMILTON. FINALLY! Oh and that picture at the top of your Christmas table? You have got some skills! Sounds like a pretty great December.

  4. I LOVED The Crown. It inspired me to just give in and buy a bunch of books about the British royal family, which I've always been into anyways

  5. That top picture is too sweet!! Awwww!! I bet that candle smells so good and family Christmases are the best :) YESSSSSS HANNAH!!! I finally caved and listened to Hamilton in November! I haven't stopped since. Full blown obsessed. I love it so much. We must discuss! I can't wait to hear what you think of Guernsey too, it seems like such a you book. Rebel of the Sands was fantastic too. Happy 2017!


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