Bookish Questions

I saw these questions months ago on a couple of my favorite blogs and decided I had to jump in too.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Trade Paperback > Trade Hardback > Mass Market Paperback.

Amazon or brick and mortar?

Brick & Mortar when possible, Amazon more often than not with living in a small, rural town.

Locally owned bookshop or big name chain store?

Locally owned bookshop when possible.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Bookmark. Dog-ear only if absolutely necessary.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

By author.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

Keep. If I must, I prefer to donate books that I no longer have room for to the local library.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

If I can, keep, if it gets torn or squashed, I discard it.

Read with dust jacket or remove it?

Read with it.

Short story or novel?


Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Collection. I like the consistency in tone, style and voice.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

I stop when I’m tired, but try to make it to the end of a chapter if I can.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Once upon a time. I love a good fairy tale and happily ever after.

Buy or borrow?


New or used?


Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?

When buying books, I tend to have read reviews of them, or had them recommended to me, but some of my favorites have been found by just browsing through the stacks. All sources have their value.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

I find it easier to leave a book world behind and enter a new one when there is a tidy ending.

Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?

All of the above. But I love reading after dinner and before bed. Or on a sunny afternoon in the backyard. Or on a snowy winter morning. Basically, I just enjoy reading.

Single volume or series?

Both. Not every book should become a series, but it is fun to revisit the same characters again when there is a strong enough pull.

Favorite series?
Harry Potter of course! Growing up I also really loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and The Mitford Years.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
I’ve read some great books with 2018 publication dates. Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti came out May 22. Rush by Lisa Patton came out August 21. From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein came out May 8. I adored I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel that came out on September 8.

Favorite books read last year?

There were so many books I read and loved in 2017! I think my favorites were probably Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors, Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell, The Lucky Few by Heather Avis, and For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.

Favorite books of all time?My two favorite books that I read for a class and have stuck with me are To Kill a Mockingbird and A River Runs Through It. Both were read my junior year of high school and both profoundly impacted how I see the world, plus led to some of my favorite literary quotes.


Happy Birthday William

Happy birthday to my handsome husband! To celebrate another year of life, I thought I would share ten things I love about him.

1. You have the best laugh and most joyful, handsome smile.

2. I love your passion and enthusiasm for your students and issues that you care about.

3. I love your deep love for our sweet Mavis Jane.

4. I love your heart for travel. You have taken me on so many more adventures than I would ever experience without you, and you make each experience rich and joyful.

5. I love your gift as a chef. You keep me well fed and I so appreciate it!

6. I love how you encourage me to slow down and be present. It’s a skill that is so lost in our world, but your constant reminders to enjoy the moment are such a blessing!

7. I love your work ethic in your profession, in your health, and in our relationship. You are so diligent in everything and I love that about you.

8. I love your encouragement to me becoming the best version of myself in every respect. Your own work ethic rubs off in your encouragement of those around you, and it’s such a gift for you to inspire others.

9. I love your thirst for knowledge. Whether it is though reading, learning a new language, watching documentaries, or exploring new places, you are always seeking to continue growing and learning, which is so inspiring!

10. His sense of humor, even when it’s at my expense.

William, I love you so very much and hope this next year is your favorite yet! May thirty-three be full of adventure, abundant love, laughter and deep joy. You are my favorite 😘

A Weekend in Montréal

William and I love to travel and explore new cities, and this weekend as an early birthday celebration for William we decided to head Northeast to Montréal.

We left on Friday morning and got into our hotel that afternoon. We stayed at the Intercontinental which was such a convenient location and fun hotel. After checking in and freshening up we headed towards McGill University to walk around and stretch our legs after being in the car for about seven hours. There was some fun shopping and restaurants near McGill, so we stopped in Roots, M.A.C. and Aerie and grabbed a tasty dinner. McGill has some beautiful buildings and were hosting a fun concert night for students in one of their campus parks.

Saturday we spent the day exploring old Montréal. We started with breakfast at Olive et Gourmand where I enjoyed a tasty dirty chai and an amazing fruit, yogurt and homemade granola bowl while William enjoyed some ricotta & honey on toast alongside his coffee. The weather was beautiful and we spent the day just walking down picturesque streets, enjoying the French-inspired architecture and spending time along the water. We saw so many brides and wedding parties over the weekend and it was fun to see the different styles of each couple and which beautiful buildings they each wanted to feature in their pictures. William and I both bought winter hats while in old Town, and both were made in Canada, his in Toronto and mine in Montréal, which was fun!

For lunch on Saturday we found a fun pizza place with an extensive menu and I enjoyed the best gluten-free pizza I have ever had. We sat on the terrace and shared a bottle of prosecco over our two pizzas, and reminisced about when we did the same in Puglia a couple years ago. My pizza was a clam pizza that was incredible, and William’s had mushrooms. We were both quite satisfied with our choices!

Before heading to supper we stopped at our hotel’s absinthe bar and had fun absinthe infused drinks. I had an absinthe and tequila based margarita, and William had an absinthe and gin based Moscow Mule.

For supper on Saturday we went to a restaurant called Brasserie701 that was delicious! We enjoyed delicious escargot as a starter, William had beer and a burger, and I had some delicious red wine and the scallop risotto. The scallops we’re the best I’ve ever had; they were cooked perfectly! For dessert we had crème brûlée and enjoyed the beautiful restaurant and the fun people watching.

Sunday morning started with a stroll up Mont Royal which was beautiful, even if it was straight up hill. When we reached the top, the views of Montréal were gorgeous and we enjoyed spending time in the sunshine enjoying the view and people watching. On our way back down we enjoyed the little lake and how much easier the trek down was than the exertion used to reach the to

fter we descended Mont Royal, we wandered toward Schwartz’s Deli, and caught a turn in the Grand Prix du Montréal, which was fun to see all the bikes hurtling around the bend and be part of the crowd gathered to cheer them on. We had lunch at the Montréal institution of Schwartz’s Deli and then continued to wander and meander around the neighborhoods near old town and downtown. We enjoyed grabbing some drinks at Saint Bock in the Latin Quarter and loved those street and their vibe. We grabbed dinner in Chinatown, but opted for Pho instead of Chinese, which was delicious and perfect for the cool end of a long day. Is there anything better than delicious soup when you’re a bit tired and cold?

Monday morning we were up and headed home, but spent much of the drive talking about how we’d love to go back again. On our next trip to Montréal, if the weather isn’t quite so lovely, we have a list of museums we want to visit, but the weather this trip was too idyllic to spend much time inside. It was a fun weekend exploring and falling in love with a new city while enjoying some amazing food and the very best company. William makes every day fun, but I really do love traveling with him and experiencing new adventures.

Have you ever been to Montréal? What should we do next time we go?


The world, and I, have changed so much in 17 years. Yet, I can still vividly remember so much of that crisp and beautiful Tuesday in September.

I was in seventh grade at the local Catholic high school for grades 7-12. We had just moved to Minot, North Dakota from Lakeridge, Virginia in May. Dad went from working at the Pentagon to commanding a missile squadron.

First period was band, where the teacher was auditioning us for chairs and McKayla and I were competing to see who would play the school’s one available oboe, and who would have to change instruments. Second period was life science, where all we did was watch the devastating news pouring in, and see as the second plane hit. The first plane hit while we were packing up in the band room during the bell between periods.

I don’t remember the other order of my classes, because after second period, the whole school gathered for impromptu daily mass in the gym. Then we had adoration and the rosary. Followed by the counselor breaking us into mixed grade small groups to talk through our emotions for the day and keep us from watching the news cycle. It was meant to protect us from seeing it play again and again, but they were images you couldn’t escape, and still can’t.

Seventh grade is the only year I went to Catholic school. I lived on the Air Force Base and school was in town 30 minutes away on a clear summer day, nevermind the deep snow days of winter. Add on to that the heightened security the base remained under and an average day took three hours to get home. That Tuesday we were on the bus outside the gate for close to ten hours.

Friday, September 14, someone jumped the fence on base and we went into lockdown. It’s also the morning I got a phone call from D.C. where my friend Ive had been battling her brain tumor since we were in fourth grade. She passes away that morning at the same time I had been listening to Unanswered Prayers on the radio.

Seventeen years is a long time. There are college kids now who have never known the world as it was pre-9/11. They don’t always understand why we pause each year to reflect and remember. The school William & I both work for is hosting a memorial today, as they always do, especially in honor of the friar in their order who was one of the first to die seventeen years ago. He was the chaplain of the New York Fire Department and was attending a victim as the world was literally consumed in fire and he was hit with falling debris.

On a day when the Catholic Church is in torment, and I am fighting through my frustrations and disappointments in leadership corruption in my faith, I reflect on the immense good and healing my faith has brought me. I am grateful for that year of Catholic school and how they handled guiding us on a day that forever changed the world. I am grateful for people like Father Mychal Judge and the teachers and staff at my school in Minot. I am grateful for people like Mister Rogers who remind us to look for the helpers in times of tragedy.

There isn’t really more to this than a reflection on my thoughts at 5 a.m. on September 11, 2018. I’m 29 now instead of 12. I’ve moved often, and engaged in rich experiences, and other than tighter security measures on the bases I grew up and on flights, the events of 17 years ago haven’t effected my life directly like they did for so many people who lost the ones they love. But that day is forever etched into my memory, and today, as every day, I will try to love everyone I meet well because you never know what their story is or what kind of day they’re having. I will choose kind and service today, as always, and try to bring light into the world.

Fall Staples

I adore autumn! The crispness in the air and the morning fog in the mountains that rises through the trees changing colors before our eyes. I love watching college football (Roll Tide!) and the Steelers play. I love all the flavors of fall and the beautiful colors of the flowers and produce. I also love the change on what I reach for in my closet.

Fall to me is about staple fabrics and pieces. Sure the trends and cuts may change year to year, but every fall I reach for the same types of clothes.

I love flannel and regular button-downs. They are cozy, but can be made to look polished if you wear the right fit, or relaxed if you go a little looser.

I love chunky sweaters and scarves.

I love light jackets and beanies.

I love long-sleeved dresses and booties.

I love deeper lipstick.

Black nail polish makes me excited for the cooler weather.

What staples do you reach for annually?

Quotes About Love

A couple weeks ago I shared some quotes I love, and today I thought I would share some quotes about love that I love.

This excerpt from A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway was one of the readings at our wedding.

At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

Our officiant also read the poem, The Art of Marriage by William Peterson at our wedding.

The little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, and understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which to grow.

It is finding room for things of the spirit.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

I love this piece of scripture from the book of Hebrews.

Brothers and sisters:

Let mutual love continue.

Do not neglect hospitality,

for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,

and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,

for you also are in the body.

Let marriage be honored among all

and the marriage bed be kept undefiled.

Let your life be free from love of money

but be content with what you have,

for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.

Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,

and I will not be afraid.

I also love this Irish blessing that was read at our wedding and sung at my parent’s wedding.

May God go with you and bless you,

May you see your children’s children,

May you be poor in misfortune and rich in blessings,

May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

May joy and peace surround you both,

Contentment latch your door,

And happiness be with you and God bless you Evermore.

May you live your life with trust and nurture lifelong affection,

May your lifelong dreams come true for you, move ever in that direction.

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together,

May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.

May the joy of living for each other trip a smile from your lips,

A twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,

At the end of the life heaped high with love,

May the good Lord embrace you

With the arms that have nurtured you,

The whole length of your joy filled days.

May the gracious God hold you both

In the palm of His hands.

And, today, may the Spirit of Love

Find a dwelling place in your hearts.

When our marriage was convalidated in November, I love the readings we chose for that too. We did the same reading from Hebrews that we had done at our wedding, and added readings from Ecclesiastes and Matthew.

The reading from Ecclesiastes was:

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

The reading from the Gospel of Matthew was the beattitudes:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Another prayer that speaks to love in a powerful way and has always resonated deeply within my soul is the prayer of St. Francis. I prefer when it is sung, but even spoken I find it immensely powerful

O, Lord, let us be instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O, Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

In my relationship with William, we love the quote from Star Wars, where Princess Leia says “I love you,” and Han Solo responds with “I know.” We have hand towels that say it.

We also love the song In My Life by The Beatles.

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life– I love you more


What quotes about love do you love?

How Do You Cozy?

I loved the prompt from The Blended Blog yesterday, and thought I’d jump in a day late with my own answers.


  1. I LOVE my L.L.Bean slippers year round! They are so warm, soft, and definitely cozy!
  2. I love these new super plush blankets on our bed from Kate Spade. They are impossibly soft and feel so nice against your skin.
  3. I like a thicker, plusher pillow.
  4. I love so many warm beverages and it depends just as much on the time of day, as the time of the year. I love hot tea, coffee, chai, apple cider, homemade cocoa… I just love a good hot drink!
  5. I have a robe I use after the shower or while doing a face mask.
  6. My favorite snack foods are popcorn, chips & dip, apples with caramel dip, or veggies and hummus.
  7. I prefer a good TV series binge. Movies are fun, and I love them, but there is something about a TV series that I find more compelling at the moment. We just finished a binge of Grace & Frankie, and they need to get season 5 out yesterday! I need to know what happens next in their world.
  8. I prefer to lounge in leggings than PJ pants, but enjoy PJ pants in the winter.
  9. I tend to go for the couch, but we have a really comfy chair that is perfect for curling up in with a good book!
  10. I love sweaters most, but have remembered the love of a cozy hoodie over the last year.

How do you cozy?