Tuesday, January 31, 2017

No Spend February: Introduction and Preparation

If you follow this blog and have read my Resolutions post, then you know I plan to do a No Spend Month this February 2017. This means that I will go on a spending freeze throughout February. For a calendar month, I will spend on needs, not wants. In this blog post, I will detail my inspiration, thoughts, rules, preparation, alternative activities, objectives, and check-in plans.

I just got into watching YouTube videos sometime last year, so I was not aware the No Spend Month was the popular thing to do for January. When YouTubers started to announce their intentions at the end of December or January 1st, I wouldn't have had time to prepare, let alone decide to actually take on No Spend January. Of course, I had to research this topic further first. The YouTube channel Jamie's Simple Life inspired me to do this kind of challenge. This is my first No Spend Month/Week/Anything, so I like that February is the shortest month of the year. I am a spender and I expect this to be a difficult challenge for me.

Usually, you read about INJFs being all-or-nothing. And that certainly is true of me in many ways. But, INFJs are value-driven individuals and I believe in moderation. In other ways, I don't do extremes. I don't diet, for example. I don't often deprive myself of anything I want, allowing for at least a little. I consider this challenge to be extreme. It doesn't feel like something I would normally be drawn to. I'm up for it though.

The No Spend Month is personal and I have set my own rules. I plan to pay rent, utilities, bills, laundry, doctor's appointments as well as buy medicine, contacts, and groceries using "new" money earned during the month. I will not purchase anything extra for the 28-day month. I will also not direct any money towards saving for anything else during these four weeks.

I do plan to go into the month with a bit of "old" money. I have $21 in cash in my wallet that I am allowed to spend. If (when!) I spend this little bit of cash, I will not consider it a failure whatsoever. I want a little money just in case something comes up or I really want or could use something small. In addition, if I want, I am permitting myself to use the two gift cards that I've had in my wallet for years now, a $10 gift card to Applebee's and a $25 Walmart gift card. These are my only exceptions.

In addition to not spending on extras, I plan to spend a bit less on food. My grocery budget for the month is $100, which is $25 a week. I love to eat and didn't want to go crazy spending on food just because I cannot purchase anything else. In the store, I want to mostly add fresh vegetables and dairy products like milk and cheese to my basket. I would like to limit meat, prepared foods, pantry items, and ice cream for this month.

For the majority of my groceries, I plan to patronize my local grocery store, Giant, that I can walk to each week. I am limiting myself to a single Target run all month long. One. With a short list of only food items in hand. That week, my combined total at Giant and Target will not exceed $25. Sometimes, Target is cheaper as well as easier to get to. If we get a lot of snow (it's snowing as I type this), it might be quite the trek on the unshoveled sidewalk to the grocery store, which is a block further than Target. To help avoid temptation, I deleted my Cartwheel app icon from my phone's home page. This Target discount app remains under Apps icon though, making it just a step less easy to access. I will try to stay off of it until I am planning a shopping trip soon. I replaced this shortcut on my home page with ibotta, the cash back app.

Trying to make this challenge a success, I have prepared for weeks now. Well, I stocked up as much as I could it being the season when my income is at its lowest. I have replenished makeup including purchasing a new CoverGirl mascara at Target when it was 30% off on a Cartwheel discount. In the last few weeks, I bought a bottle of conditioner, a month's worth (which is two packets) of my hair conditioning treatment, and many bars of Dove soap for the shower. I stocked up a bit on many paper products such as toilet paper, paper napkins, paper towels, and paper plates. Plastic products too, like snack and sandwich zip bags. I have more cleaning products like dishwasher detergent in my cabinets. Also, I have bought a little more wine than usual lately and saved most of the wine I received as a Christmas gift. No, I'm not considering Chianti a necessity for this challenge. I have even bought food pantry items, especially more expensive ones like my two different kinds of olive oil, so that I can more easily stick to my grocery budget during the month. I counted eight boxes of pasta. Yes, eight. I buy it when it's on sale! This challenge is an opportunity to use what I have.

In addition to stockpiling, I have also prepared by having informed many of my colleagues, friends and family about this challenge and will continue to do so. That way, my friends know not to make plans to go out with me yet. I still plan to entertain in my home. I have a girls night in at a friend's house scheduled this Saturday night as well. Additionally, I ordered pizza from a small business on a Friday night in January to get it out of system for awhile. Cutting costs (and calories), it was only a medium pizza with half pepperoni, but I savored it.

Having done a pretty good job preparing overall, I am still not as ready as I would have liked to be. I simply wanted to have more of many items. I am low on: cleaning products I use weekly like Windex and magic erasers, the personal care item of toothpaste used two to three times a day, the beauty product of powder used every morning, the baking supply of cupcake liners as well as food staples for me such as seasoned croutons, dry roasted peanuts, and granulated sugar. Plus, I am completely out of chocolate truffles! I can buy more food, just not the other things, unless I spend that "old" cash. My work shoes will need to be replaced soon, but hopefully they will either last or I can somehow do without this particular pair until I receive my order placed the morning of March 1st. Another thing I wished that I would have done was to go shopping at my favorite store HomeGoods recently. I haven't been since the middle of December and have been itching to go all January.

Since I do not own a vehicle, I no longer visit stores, restaurants, and coffee shops often. However, I do browse websites all the time. In attempt to diminish temptation, I will try not to check the websites and emails of my favorite retailers nor my Amazon wishlist. I also removed my Amazon app from my phone's home screen, replacing it with the calculator. I plan to replace this virtual window shopping with alternative activities. The main thing I would like to do is to blog more. I would love to publish 9 posts in February. I have so many book reviews and other posts to write! I would love to do another home tour. In addition, I am going to read more. In fact, I plan to add a book to my already full Winter Reading List. I have already purchased the paperback on the related topic of living well with less and will likely dive in on the 1st! I will reveal this book in a post soon.

I hope to get a lot out of this. First, my objective is to add to my savings. I am not comfortable with posting large numbers on the internet for safety reasons, but I hope to hit a particular savings goal of a portion of the $1,000 emergency fund, which is Dave Ramsey's 1st Baby Step. Even though I have never read nor listened to Ramsey, bloggers and YouTubers who I follow love him, so I know what he basically recommends. 

A second thing I hope to get out of this challenge is a life lesson. I want to truly appreciate what I have. More than repeatedly focusing on the next thing again and again and again. In this never-ending cycle, there is not a moment when I simply feel content. As an INFJ, I don't like, I obsess. And I am constantly obsessing over the next thing or two I plan to purchase. When I have money, I spend it. Specifically, I am a reward spender, meaning that since I work hard, I deserve the things I want. Also, I desire everything to be just so. After this challenge, I want to be able to spend less and I think practicing sincere gratitude for my current possessions is a starting point. Furthermore, I want to be less materialistic and more concerned with what truly matters in life. Many Americans tend to be live to work, when many Italians work to live. 

Third, I want to be excited about savings. I haven't been enthusiastic about it before. I don't believe that as a result of this challenge, I will transform from being a spender into a saver, but I do want to gain a greater interest in saving money. They say there is motivation in "snowballing" your debt, but I'm not there yet. These three changes will serve me well in life. I feel it is time for all this.

I will practice being frugal for February and show you how in blog posts throughout the month. Because I'm apartment poor, paying down debt and on a budget prior to this challenge, I will also share a few of my personal frugal tips which I hope you find inspiring, not advice you normally find out there. For some added accountability, I will take you along with me, sharing my progress, temptations, and busts. I may even snap a picture of my "grocery haul" and name each product in a caption, similar to what is done on YouTube. I don't plan on posting an update on a particular day of the week, but you may expect fairly regular check-ins. I predict that my No Spend Month will be a success. Wish me luck!

Did you do a No Spend January? Or are you with me for February?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Simple Pleasure Sunday: White Tulips

I love having fresh flowers at home. Looking forward to spring already, I picked up a bouquet of tulips at the grocery store last Sunday. I find white ones elegant. In fact, this is the second time I have featured white tulips in a Simple Pleasure Sunday post. Check out the first one here.

I arranged them in a tall clear glass vase and then topped an accent table in my living room.

I moved them to the dining room table for a little dinner party Thursday evening. 

Today, to keep them around a little longer, I cut the stems short and arranged them in a clear glass bud vase.

I like this balanced arrangement more than I thought I would. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Simple Pleasure Sunday: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Prior to shopping, I always check out my local grocery store's circular sometime on Friday or Saturday. In this research, I noticed a coupon for a carton of Turkey Hill ice cream for $1.88 when you spent at least $25, instead of the sale price of $2.50. So while I was patronizing Giant on Sunday, I picked up a paper circular. Ice cream was not on my shopping list, but since I couldn't find the wedge of parmesan cheese I usually buy and for which I had a Catalina coupon, I decided to purchase the ice cream in its place.

I will likely reveal my favorite ice cream in a future Simple Pleasure Sunday post, but when I buy whatever is on sale and am not using the ice cream for a milkshake, my signature ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough. I love it. In the store, I will often choose the brand based upon the lowest price that week, and usually that price is $2.50. I think that my favorite brand of this flavor is Breyer's, which is quality. I also like the contribution from Edy's and Friendly's. The Turkey Hill variety I just purchased is decent. Out of Pennsylvania, Turkey Hill may be a local brand. Unique, it's not the traditional vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough. Instead, the carton says it is brown sugar and molasses flavored ice cream with dark chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookie dough. It tastes like a rich, decadent cream base to me and has a lot of dark chocolate flecks, which is a tasty combination. There are not many spheres of dough in this flavor though. Nonetheless, it is delicious. It doesn't last long around here!

Sometimes, I like a little ice cream as dessert following a meal. I served myself a mini sundae which included a couple of half scoops in a small ramekin from Crate & Barrel topped with Hershey's chocolate syrup, whipped cream and store brand chocolate (or possibly rainbow) sprinkles. This is the store brand whipped cream which isn't light and buildable, but creamy and ready to slide down. Even though I often gravitate towards the generic choice for many items, I always seem to prefer Reddi Wip and should stick with the name brand for this particular product in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream so far and look forward to it as a dessert option for the rest of the week.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reflections on 2016 and Resolutions for 2017

My custom-designed 2017 planner from personal-planner.com.

As it seemed to be for many, 2016 was not my best year. Life was tough. And, alas, it continues to be. I don't want you to worry about me though. I am confident that I can deal with whatever life throws at me as I am emotionally intelligent and simply fierce. I don't even want to hate the past year because those obstacles provided personal growth and strengthened relationships, both positive outcomes. 

My Resolutions for 2016 were:

1. To work on my blog more often.
Fail. I only posted 61 times last year when I tend to average about 100. Life I said, life was tough, and I suppose that many times, I didn't feel the time was right to compose an inspiring blog post. I resolve to blog on a regular basis in 2017 though.

2. To entertain more.
I did frequently act as hostess. Not only did I start having this one friend over during the week more often, it evolved from wine and cheese to wine and dinner. I still kept it simple. As I gain confidence, I will add more and more. I am so happy that this is now one of my habits and furthermore, I am becoming the woman I want to be.

3. To have fresh flowers in my home more often.
I succeeded in this resolution. I did purchase fresh flowers at the grocery store every once in a while and will continue to do so. Red roses are my signature fresh flowers at home. 

I also adore white tulips, dark pink tulips, gladiola, and sunflowers.

4. To fit into my current clothing size better.
Over the year, I did get down to 152 pounds! At that weight, I did fit into my clothing comfortably. 152 is only a couple of pounds from my goal weight of 150. During the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, however, I did gain five pounds. Since then, I have lost two of those pounds so far. Regarding weight, I have a goal rather than a resolution this year. 

I am optimistic about 2017.

My Resolutions for 2017 are:

1. To eat more elegantly.
I already sit at the table for lunch and dinner, sometimes even use a cloth napkin, but rather than standing up in the kitchen, I would like to take a seat for breakfast as well.

I would also like to exercise portion control instead of piling food on my plate. If I took a photo of my plate and posted it on Instagram, I wouldn't want to feel like a pig! For each meal, I could think that I should make my plate pretty. If you follow me on Instagram @theitaliagal, then you might have noticed more pictures of my dinner lately. I do not want to eat until I am absolutely stuffed anymore.

Most if all, I would also like to eat more slowly, savoring each bite, rather than shoveling it in. I could try putting my fork down after three bites. While taking it slow, I could additionally remind myself to practice good manners and posture.

2. To drink more elegantly.
I drink red wine regularly, but don't consume a lot at once. In fact, I tend to stick with a glass and a half of wine in the evening. What I would love to do for 2017 is impose a strict limit of two drinks per day. No matter what. If I have enjoyed two glasses, then I do not need to finish the small amount in the bottle at home nor succumb to peer pressure to drink more with a date or with friends or family while out on the town. When it comes to alcohol, I am a lightweight, so I don't favor feeling out of control whatsoever. While entertaining, I wish to enjoy the drink I'm serving, but still desire to be a good hostess.

As I often feel lethargic after two glasses of wine, at home, my unofficial limit would be my usual glass and a half or a quartino. This measures about 7 oz. rather than the 5 oz. in a single glass. A quartino is also about 1/3 of a 750mL bottle of wine. Instead of keep pouring some more from the bottle into my glass, unsure of how much I have had since I may begin sipping wine to unwind soon after work or while making dinner and already feel mellow, I could pour a glass and a half into a carafe from the start and then pour from the carafe into my glass. After I finish that and still want more, I may have half a glass, reaching my two glass limit. I want to enjoy my simple pleasure yet maintain my composure.

3. To blog more frequently.
I realize that you've heard that before. I want to develop the habit of working on my blog at least five days a week, not necessarily publish. This time last year, I realized that I needed to write, or at least start a post, which is the most difficult part for me, in the morning. I often compose blog posts in my head while I am getting ready for the day each morning. I should "strike while the iron is hot." My energy and creativity remain low each evening, particularly starting around 7:30, but I could still edit text or photos at that time.

In addition, rather than trying to publish 8 or 9 times a month like I attempted last year, for 2017, at the beginning of each month, I would like to set a goal of certain number of posts each month. I plan to mention the number I want to shoot for as well as upcoming topics I plan to write on sometime in the beginning of the month. I realize that I need to spend a little less time on my hobby at times. Other times, I may need to catch up or I simply feel inspired. Regularly checking in and readjusting would be the best this year. In my planner, I could add completing a specific post to my weekly to do list. I could even break down tasks for each blog post, assigning a small step such as taking photos on a certain day.

I still hope to publish a post sometime on Sunday throughout the year, hopefully one falling into either my Simple Pleasure Sunday or Signature Sunday series. When I follow a blog or YouTube channel and the creator doesn't post on their normal day, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. Like my Monday wouldn't be complete without a video chat with Jennifer, The Daily Connoisseur, for example. I want you, reader, to know what you can expect from me. Plus, it keeps me accountable to my audience.

4. To write a to do list for the next day in my planner every evening.
I would like to incorporate this into my evening routine. I predict that I would be much more productive when I have items to check off. I have already developed habits, doing certain chores on certain days. These items would go on the list first. Another benefit of this resolution would be more sound sleep since I am getting things off my mind before I head to bed.

5. To show myself grace.
In terms of chores and beauty treatments, I truly became more productive over 2016. I know that I will continue to put pressure on myself to get more done, but I will also attempt to give myself a break. Rest is important. In addition, if I choose to do something out of the ordinary, then I may not be able to accomplish a routine task as well. This sacrifice is warranted. It's okay not to do it all.

In addition, I will try to not let my INFJ perfectionism make me procrastinate or not even begin a task at all. Whatever I am doing does not have to be perfect. Concerning blog posts, my readers have always appreciated me being real in the past. And I highly value authenticity. I want to think, "good enough is good enough." My last post on a signature nail polish of mine is an example of this idea. I kept delaying it since I only managed to capture a single decent photo of my Christmas manicure. So, I intended to paint my nails again and then take more pictures prior to posting. With this resolution in mind though, I just got it done with what I had. This post is far from perfect, but it's done and I published as normal on Sunday. What I have done is far superior to not even trying at all. I don't want to hold myself back from living life any longer. I plan to frame this beautiful reminder...

Card/art available at etsy shop RoseHillDesignStudio

A resolution is something you keep forever, but a goal is something you hit and it's done.

My Goals for 2017 are:

1. To accomplish No Spend Month during February.
I will go on a spending freeze in February. Planning to pay rent, utilities, bills, doctor's appointments as well as buy medicine, contacts, and basic food such as fresh vegetables and dairy products using "new" money earned during the month, I will not purchase anything extra for the 28-day month. I plan to go into the month with a stocked pantry, wine cabinet, and bathroom cabinets as well as a limited amount of "old" cash that I am allowed to spend. The objective is to add to my savings. I also hope this challenge will teach me a few things! I will practice being frugal for February, sharing my tips, progress, temptations with you along the way and immediately afterwards. I will elaborate much more on this goal in multiple posts from late January, throughout February, to early March. I may focus on some sort of goal for a month every few months. I'm thinking more lifestyle ones rather than any more financial ones.

2. To weigh 150 pounds.
My goal weight has been 150 pounds for awhile. In order to hit this goal, I need to lose 5 pounds, which I would like to do so by my April 15th birthday. I plan to accomplish this by making healthy food choices, keeping portion size in check, eating slowly, and walking often. I will also write down my latest weight loss goal and the dinners I plan to prepare each week in my planner.

What are your resolutions and goals?

I hope you have a very happy 2017, achieve everything you set your mind to, and have a life full of simple pleasures.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Signature Sunday: Nail Polish: An Affair in Red Square by OPI

I have five signature nail polishes and I will continue to reveal each one in a post.

Check out the previously featured polishes in this short series:
1. Style Hunter by essie
2. Mademoiselle by essie
3. Red Hot Rio by OPI

Feeling festive, I painted my nails with my go to shimmery red polish for Christmas. It was perfect. This stunning shade is called An Affair in Red Square. In the bottle, this OPI nail lacquer is a rich red with red and golden shimmer.

However, you do not see the golden shimmer on the nail, which I happen to prefer. Mostly a neutral red, I would say it is a tiny bit more cool-toned than warm, which I also prefer. It is a deep red with generous shimmer, which is gorgeous in the sunshine.

If you are looking for something glamorous, the perfect Christmas manicure, or a romantic option for upcoming Valentine's Day, then I would highly recommend this polish.

Among the polishes I consider my signature, I have one more polish to go! Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Simple Pleasure Sunday: WoodWick Candle

I celebrated Christmas with my dad's side of the family in Delaware on Sunday, January 1st. One of the highlights of this gathering is a white elephant gift exchange. Each person who brings a wrapped gift draws a number. Next, the player who drew number 1, selects a gift, unwraps it in front of everyone and keeps it. Each following player may either steal anyone's unwrapped gift or open a new one. With our rules, there is no limit on how many times a gift can be stolen. If your gift is stolen, then you take another turn. At the end, the person who drew number 1 may steal anyone's. So, you want number 1 or a high number. I only had number 7 out of 20-something, but actually lucked out. The first gift I opened was a thermos and a gift card to Dunkin Donuts. My dad had number 8 and stole it from me, lover of DD that he is. That next gift bag I chose contained a candle and a sign. I managed to hold onto them until the end of the game. I have already donated this sign to my mom's antique stall...

I truly love my candle though. It is the Cafe Sweets Trilogy from WoodWick. The scents are layered. First, you burn through Vanilla Bean, and then Caramel to reach Biscotti. The three different colors of wax are stacked in a tall clear concave glass jar. It comes with a wooden lid.

I have never had a WoodWick candle before. I knew that when you burn the wick, it makes a crackling sound like a fire would. Never having dreamt of a home with a fireplace, I just haven't purchased this brand before. This particular feature is nice and cozy, but what I really adore is the scent. So far, I love the vanilla bean. It smells so delicious. The fragrance fills the room. I don't have the strongest sense of smell in the world and when I burn it, I notice it all the time. 

I will definitely purchase more WoodWick candles in the future. ...maybe even this specific candle! I have always been drawn to food scents. Plus, the warm colors work with my home decor.

I like to burn it in the evening, but I will also light the candle during the day on one of my days off. Burning a candle is such a simple pleasure, especially in the winter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Winter 2016-2017 Reading List

Due to the lack of light, I am indoors more during the winter than any other season. For that reason, I decided to place eight titles on my reading list, rather than about four. It would be nice to stay in with a good book, all cozy. Also, after a French fall, I did seek Italian-themed books and selected two of them for this list.

Michelle's Winter 2016-2017 Reading List:

Rare Objects: A Novel 
by Kathleen Tessaro
or at your local library.

I heard about Kathleen's Tessaro's new book, Rare Objects, from this blog post by the hostess of the humble bungalow. I, too, have read the author's previous novel, The Perfume Collector and loved it. In fact, it was my first title on my Kindle. This new novel is a work of historical fiction set in 1930s Boston. As you can imagine, life was a struggle during the Depression. I have already read it and enjoyed the story, just not as much as the other one. I borrowed the eBook version from my library and I recommend that you do too.

Only in Naples: 
Lessons in Food and Famiglia from an Italian Mother-in-Law 
by Katherine Wilson
Available on Amazon

Having decided that I wanted to be in Italy at Christmas (if only in my daydreams), I am currently reading the Kindle edition of Only in Naples. This is a memoir about an American woman in Italy. Even though I'm reading it slowly during the busy holiday season, it's good so far. 

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club 
by Marlena de Blasi
Available on Amazon

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club is another title from an author who I have previously read and that I discovered from a blogger, this time: Shannon of The Simply Luxurious Life. Find her recommendation in this post. Four Italian women gather to cook, eat, drink and talk in a once-a-week ritual and then begin inviting the author. I still remember parts of her previous books, including about her spontaneously deciding to have her hair dyed 'the color of hot copper pipes' and then her husband spotting her in a piazza and being struck by her beauty, not knowing about her sudden change nor even realizing it was his love at first. Anyway, the author loves to cook, so there are recipes included. I anticipate savoring this Kindle book ...and possibly one of its recipes.

How to be Chic in the Winter: 
Living Slim, Happy and Stylish During the Cold Season 
by Fiona Ferris

I adore Fiona of the blog, how to be chic, so I always look forward to her books. I loved How to be Chic in the Winter: Living Slim, Happy and Stylish During the Cold Season. This lifestyle book details ways to live well during the cold, dark season. To even be enthusiastic about it! I always like to celebrate the joys of each season myself. I will definitely be writing a review of this wonderful book on the blog. Again, I purchased the Kindle edition.

Financially Chic: 
Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget, Learn to Love Managing Money, and Grow Your Wealth 
by Fiona Ferris
Available on Amazon

Yes, it's another book by the same author. I just have to read everything that Fiona writes! This one is called Financially Chic: Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget, Learn to Love Managing Money, and Grow Your Wealth. Even though I am a gal on a budget, financial books are simply not among my favorites. I'm sure that once I start reading it though, I will love it. If anyone can get me to read more about finances, it would be Fiona. It is true that I am rather frugal and minimalist, but I am still a spender rather than a saver and admit that I have a lot to learn. Hopefully, this book will help.

Thirty Chic Days: Practical Inspiration for a Beautiful Life
by Fiona Ferris

Thirty Chic Days: Practical Inspiration for a Beautiful Life was on my Summer 2016 Reading List. I savored reading this lovely book back then. In order to give it a proper review, I started to reread it during the fall, but it was a trying time in my life and since I wasn't concentrating, I stopped and vowed to begin again during wintertime. I truly love this book and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.

Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living like a Parisienne 
by Sarah Lavoine
Available on Amazon

I discovered Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living like a Parisienne from fellow Francophile Shannon of The Simply Luxurious Life. This was originally a recommendation in a This & That post and then she proceeded to share her favorite takeaways here. I bought the hardcover and flipping through it, it looks like a dense book, full of fun. I would love to learn how to create a more French lifestyle, especially adding a Parisian touch to my home.

Edge of Wonder: notes from the wildness of being 
by Victoria Erickson
Available on Amazon

On Pinterest, I adored quotes from Victoria Erickson. She is able to articulate a feeling about a life situation in a masterful way. Or give advice about a topic regarding living well. These are things you don't read everyday. This prompted me to install her book Edge of Wonder: notes from the wildness of being on my list. This book of prose is out of the ordinary for me. I will let you know what I think. I hope to be as captivated by the supposedly emotional and passionate writing on life as the reviewers were on Amazon. I will be also reading this on my Kindle.

What are you reading? 

I would love any recommendations as I have a couple of books in mind for the spring, but need at least a couple more.