Holy smokes! February is almost over and just like that, we’re two months into 2019! January took it’s sweet time but February was gone in a hot second. I could lie and say February was a busy month for me hence the lack of blogging but in reality it was probably one of my laziest months ever (unless you count binge watching 3 seasons of Jane the Virgin as an accomplishment – then I did stellar this month!).
That’s why I’m sharing my January and February in review posts bundled into one today. Scroll on for a quick review of the books I’ve read over the past 2 months, a recap on how Dry January went, and my goals for March (because honestly, February goals? Who makes goals for months with less than 30 days? Yes, my goodness those excuses!)
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which I may or may not receive a small commission when you make a purchase. Your support is much appreciated!
I Stopped Drinking Alcohol for 31 Days
and Here’s What Happened
Dry January… have you heard of it? Have you ever tried it? Doesn’t ring a bell? Yup, I was in the same boat this time last year. I had no clue what it meant and once I did I had no desire to try it. However, people change and it’s always fun to change things up. At some point in December last year I decided to shake things up a bit and give Dry January a go.
31 days of no alcohol after a season of gluttony and over-indulgence (food, shopping, drinking, etc.) actually sounds like a bit of a relief doesn’t it? In short, it was, but it wasn’t the end-all-be-all life-changing realization that a lot of online articles will do their best to convince you that it is. If you’re an alcoholic then yes, giving up alcohol for 31 days will literally change your life. If you tend to over-consume alcohol on a regular basis or you drink a few too many in the evening on work nights, then yes, giving up alcohol for 31 days will totally change your work-life balance. However, if you’re an average consumer of alcohol who generally doesn’t drink too much [but maybe gets the occasional hangover from the rare over-indulgence at a party or celebration] then no, giving up alcohol for 31 days will not change your life. And it won’t really change your outlook on life, at least in regards to alcohol itself.
What I Learned…
What I came to realize from participating in Dry January was that alcohol consumption is just one piece of the puzzle that makes up our lives. If you change your drinking habits for a month but make no other changes, you may see a small change but you won’t see a dramatic change. Everything you do is interconnected within your own life. Your mind, body, and spirit act as a whole. If one part is imbalanced it can throw the others out of line. That’s because your health and wellness has multiple layers and important factors that make up your overall well-being.
Your body’s wellness relies on things like the quality of your sleep to allow you to awaken each day refreshed and energized, the exercise you do to keep your body moving and healthy, the food you eat to fuel your body, and yes, the beverages you consume. A lack of sleep hurts your body. A lack of exercise hinders your movement. A lack of healthy nutrition increases your chances of disease and illness and an over-consumption of unhealthy beverages and alcohol add to the problems. You can easily see that alcohol is just one piece of the health and wellness puzzle.
So.. Did I Make It?
Let’s circle back to the whole ‘Dry January’ thing. I’m proud to say that I didn’t cheat once nor was I tempted, although it was weird going to a restaurant for dinner on the weekend and not having a drink with dinner. Regardless of the fact that this didn’t have much of an impact on my life it did provide me with a new perspective on the importance of one’s overall physical health and wellness and further supported the argument that it’s all connected. The takeaway? Literally what ‘they’ always say; everything in moderation. Yup, simple as that!
Marching on in 2019
As I mentioned earlier, I blinked and February was over which means I didn’t spend time thinking about goals for February. Let’s skip over my lack of consistency and go right into March. I’m including more goals this month to make up for this past month.
My health goals for March include the following:
- Workout minimum 3 x a week
- 2 cardio sessions
- 1 yoga or pilates class
- NO FAST FOOD… NONE… AT ALL!
- No food after 8:30 pm on work nights
- No food after 9:30 pm on weekends
What do I want to get out of this month’s challenge? One thing: more energy! Can I do it? You bet I can! And I challenge you to do it with me!! You don’t think I’m serious? Check in next month and we’ll see where we’re at 😉
Alright… moving on to the books I read in January and February!
January 2019 Books Read:
1. In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister – My Rating 5/5 Stars
‘In Need of Therapy’ was the first book I picked up in 2019. I’d had it on my kindle app for quite some time and I was looking for a fun read to start the year off on a happy note. One of the main themes in this novel is the importance of communication and realizing that things aren’t always as they seem.
I love everything Tracie Banister writes and this is one more example of why that’s true. If you’re looking for a fun summery read with fun, chaos, and a dash of romance, then this is the book for you. This book is also followed by a fun novel called ‘Izzy As Is’ and I highly recommend you read both of them!
Check out my review for story that follows In Need of Therapy called ‘Izzy As Is‘
2. Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg – My Rating: 5/5 Stars
‘Night of Miracles’ is the second novel in the Arthur Truluv series by Elizabeth Berg. If you haven’t read the first one I highly recommend you go get yourself a copy to read and then come back to this. It’s a wonderful read as stand-alone but the story that comes before it is so sweet and gives a bit more background for some of the characters in the novel that you’re truly missing out if you don’t read that too.
This story was touching and sweet, yet also sad and thoughtful at times. It contains true-life life events and situations and it makes you think a bit about your mortality and the legacy you leave behind. A wonderful women’s fiction novel for anyone that enjoys a touching story about life.
Check out my review on the first novel ‘The Story of Arthur Truluv’
3. The Year of Starting Over by Karen King – My Rating: 5/5 Stars
‘The Year of Starting Over’ is a refreshing take on making the most of all of the wonderful things life has to offer. One of the most important themes of the story is that you should always be true to yourself. You can’t expect someone to fall in love with you if they hardly know the real you and you can’t possibly live a happy life if you can’t be yourself around the people you love.
I would classify this as a women’s fiction novel with a sweet modern touch of romance and I highly recommend it to all. If you’re looking for a fun story that will inspire you to embrace change and love life, then this is the story for you. When I finished this book I was a bit sad that it was over and I’m sincerely hoping that there’s a second book in the works because I’d love to see what adventures lie ahead for Holly!
4. Unraveling the Truth About Love by Addison Cole – My Rating: 5/5 Stars
One of the main themes of Unraveling the Truth About Love is the importance of family and having faith in the people you love. When you love someone you have to trust that they’re the kind-hearted honest person you know them to be, even when external forces are trying to convince you otherwise. You have to trust in your heart and know that you can’t always determine what will happen next in life but you certainly can control how you react to what happens. When the truth rises to the surface the liars are the ones that drown in the riptides and the honest ones are the ones that make it out as winners.
Josh and Riley’s story is so sweet and addictive and you’ll find yourself rooting for them to get through the chaos surrounding them and make things work. Living and working in New York City is a big change for a small-town girl, especially when she’s in love with someone that could threaten to ruin her reputation that’s barely been built. Despite being in a world completely different than her own Riley’s fierce determination paired with her natural talent for design make her a force to be reckoned with and trust me, you want to be on Riley’s team.
I loved that this book was a bit unlike the others I’ve read by Addison Cole because the main characters work in the cutthroat fashion business. Much like all of Addison Cole’s other novels, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it to all who enjoy sweet romances.
5. If You’re Not the One by Laura Briggs – My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Published February 6, 2019 * ARC Received via NetGalley
This one originally confused me because when I received and ARC from NetGalley it had a different title. I can’t recall what it was but the title they went with seemed more fitting for the story. This story has three main characters and they’re all uniquely themselves. All three women come from vastly different families and were raised with different mindsets on love and life. They come together in both friendship and business at an-up-and-coming wedding planning company.
Each of the three women are at different stages in their romantic relationships and it was a joy to watch them all unravel and come together. The overall theme of the novel for me was the idea that true love that’s meant to be will always conquer all and overcome all obstacles. Life is short and is meant to be lived in love. If you’re not with the one you love how can you ever truly be living?
February 2019 Books Read:
1. The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever by Addison Cole – My Rating: 5/5 Stars
The Corner of Heartbreak and Forever is a standalone novel by Addison Cole, the sweet alter-ego of Melissa Foster, known for steamy romance novels. This book is Grace and Reed’s love story and the path that leads to their future together. Filled with drama and life-altering revelations this book is sure to keep you on your toes.
A major theme of the novel is the importance of having open communication and allowing people to tell their side of the story because things aren’t always how they seem. Life is short and unpredictable and we shouldn’t waste our time wallowing in past mistakes because it’s never too late to make things right. Love isn’t always easy but it does grow stronger over time and it gives us the courage to move past what can’t be changed to give our hearts a chance to heal.
I truly loved this story and was sorry to see it end. I’m hoping that this is the first in another series because I fell in love with all of the Montgomery crew and would love to see where life takes them next.
2. Sorry not Sorry by Sophie Ranald – My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I’m usually a happy-go-lucky book reviewer but this one wasn’t my cup of tea. Sorry, not sorry… but I didn’t fall in love with this book. Let me clarify that I truly wanted to enjoy it but I personally thought it was just okay and the overall book fell a bit flat for me. I loved the concept of the dating advice podcast but I didn’t get hooked in the way I normally do with fun romantic comedies. Mind you, there’s some fun bits mixed throughout the story that made it somewhat worth reading but honestly, with the number of fantastic and entertaining books available these days, this one isn’t getting my recommendation.
If the cover and description of the book on Goodreads still leaves you curious, there’s quite a few reviewers that found the story fun and witty and downright laugh-out-loud funny. Perhaps some of you will connect with the character and find the story relatable and entertaining, however this reviewer isn’t one of those gals. And unless there’s another novel that follows in a series, I felt as though there were details left unfinished. That’s fine for women’s fiction but a good romantic comedy doesn’t leave you hanging unless there’s more to follow.
Upcoming & New
I almost forgot! There’s something new I’m testing the waters on and I’m still learning how it works. I was recently approved for the ShopStyle Collective influencer program and I can’t wait to share some lovely shopping inspiration with you! I’m all about affordable fashion (mixed with great high-quality pieces you’ll keep forever) and when it comes to shopping there’s nothing I love more than a sale!! ShopStyle Collective is a great place to find products you love and then get alerts so that you can buy when the price goes down.
Here’s a fun look for your shopping pleasure… a little masquerade theme for your next evening soiree.