5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy

The joy of gift-giving has endless possibilities. If I am being totally honest here, I recycle gifts all the time! No, it doesn’t mean I take unwanted gifts or used gifts and “gift” them to some unsuspecting friend or family member. It means, I have realized that I have My 5 Favorite Gifts that I always seem to buy for multiple people throughout the year! No matter the age, budget or occasion, these gifts always seem to be hit for those on the receiving end. The brand or choice of item might change slightly depending on whom it is for, but for the most part the concept of my 5 favorite gifts remain the same.

My 5 Favorite Gifts That Bring Joy To All
Tea/Coffee with a cute mug
Beauty & wellness products
Slippers or cozy socks
Food gift sets

Using these 5 gift ideas as a base for my holiday shopping, I found some wicked cute items and great products. Not only did I buy them for myself, but I can not wait to gift them to those I love. No matter the age or budget, you can find these items for just about anyone on your list! I love to shop for my family. However, when I am happy with the product personally I am even more excited to buy it for someone else! Spread the love, right? Below are the products I am gifting this year!

Forks, Knives and Spoons By Leah DeCesare
This book is insanely funny and I was so lucky to receive a copy from the author herself and fellow Rhody Blogger. First, where was this book when I was in college? It could have saved me from myself and from many player forks. If I am being honest, it is almost 400 pages, about 200 pages longer than most books I like to read, but it was such a good one that I really didn’t mind the extra pages. It is light, yet emotional. Funny, yet serious. And the analogy of branding utensils to certain types of men is really ingenious that I often say, why didn’t I think of that? This book is on my list for all my college graduates and those friends who are just starting out in the dating world or newly married! If you want to check out this book or more from Leah DeCesare you can do so on her Amazon author page and follow her on Facebook.Pukka Tea & Yoga Expression Mugs
I am no stranger to tea and cute mugs. I have way too many of both, but they always seem to get into my cart even when I am not in the market for either of them. I recently was introduced to Pukka tea at The Well Summit that I attended last month. I instantly fell in love with their mission and their quality of ingredients. Organic, fair trade and ethically harvested herbs are just some of the reasons this brand is my new favorite! Their blends of teas are unique and taste even better, this I promise. I am pairing two fun mugs that I recently scored at Home Goods with a box of Pukka Love Tea for a great hostess gift for an upcoming party!Calm-A-Mama Flower Remedies
Wellness is so important to me. Caring for my body in the most natural way possible is always something that I hold in high regard. With so many products on the market, I was so grateful to discover Calm-A-Mama about 18 months ago. The power of the flower is as natural as you can get. These drops are a blend of flower essences and an herbal water extract, or hydrosol. The herbs work on your physical body, while the flower essences support you emotionally. They use all USDA organic, non-GMO and pesticide-free herbs and all their blends are alcohol free! The sleep & immune drops are my favorite and I can not wait to gift this to all my friends! If you want to learn more about these drops and other blends, you can visit the website here.
Trader Joes Rainbow of Honey
I love to give food sets to foodies, especially out of the box items like the Rainbow of Honey from Trader Joes. Sure, you see spices and sauces and even baked goods in a jar, but nothing is sweeter (IMO) than a literal pot of gold in a rainbow of colors! The flavors vary based on where they come from and I’ve tasted all of them and each one stands out for different reasons. Some are sweet, some are floral and some a bit more nutty. Regardless, you can use these jars of honey for so many reasons! My favorite way to indulge is some mimosa honey over brie with a side of grapes! Have a Trader Joes near you, get there and snag one of these sets for you and a friend!Victoria’s Secret Pom Pom Slippers 
Chances are if you are like me, the idea of spending my own money on socks & slippers doesn’t make me thrilled. I mean, the stuff goes on your feet and no-one sees it anyway? However, when I get my feet all cozy into some fluffy socks or slippers I instantly feel better. There is nothing better than relaxing on the couch on a cold winter day with a pair of cute slippers, a good book, some tea and a yummy snack. See what I did there? These pom pom slippers from Victoria’s Secret are so cute and trendy that anyone would love to open a pair of these this holiday. I might have grabbed a few extra pairs for myself as well!As you can see, I can take My 5 Favorite Gifts and can spin them in many ways that bring joy to all the people in my life! Do you find yourself recycling some of the same things to other people because you love them so? When you find something good, why not stick with it and spread the joy to others in the process.

Happy Gifting & Happy Holidays~

Summer Secrets: Are you ready?

I was so happy when I was asked to read and review Jane Green’s new book, Summer Secrets. I was on a kick with personal development books and needed something different to read. This filled that void perfectly.  It really is the prefect beach novel, but you can read or re-read it just about anytime you wish!IMG_3237


“For as long as I can remember, I have always had the feeling of not quite fitting in, not being the same as everyone else. I’m certain that is why I became a writer.”

That my friends is the first two lines of the book. It was meant for me.  I swear it. It drew me in, right then and there. I still don’t “fit in”. I embrace my differences and love to express those feelings through my writing. The book is witty, raw, fun and so easy to read. The words just flow together nicely like colors on a canvas.

The story of Cat is a true one (well not really). But it could be. It’s not an elaborate type of story. Cat’s experiences, her family struggle, her addiction, her divorce, her confidence issues; all can be seen in any one of us. I think that’s why it is so easy to fall in love with her. You feel for her. You see maybe yourself, your mother or a friend in Cat.  If you are looking for a book to read this summer or perhaps a gift for someone, pick this up. You won’t be sorry! I think I need to visit the Jane Green section of my local bookstore. My only complaint is the ending: it ended and I wanted MORE! Hmm….maybe a sequel to what happened? I’ll be sure to tell her PR department to get right on that!


** I was chosen to read & review this book. All opinions are my own and I stand by them.**

Get reading ~ Joy

Lincoln School Book Festival 2014

You know what I like about reading? You don’t have to be good at it. You don’t have to read what your friends are reading. You can read where you choose too. You can get lost in the adventure, romance, history and suspense of a book, all without leaving the comforts of your home. As adults, we love the way a good book makes us feel after we’ve finished it. We laugh, we cry, we empathize with the characters. It invigorates our imaginations. And lets be honest, as we get older we can all use a little spark to our imagination.

It is hard to explain to young children how a book can make you feel. We can tell them that reading is good for them, but until they feel the effects of it they really won’t “get it”. And how do kids learn? They learn by doing. Anything worth doing, is worth over doing. Children will eventually come to realize it’s more about that funny looking monster in the book, or that relatable boy. It’s about how the story makes you feel. What you take away from the book. But as parents, we need to keep the flame burning until that realization happens on it’s own. For some, it happens sooner than later.

A child's book from the 19th century

A child’s book from the 19th century

On October 18th, I was given the opportunity to attend the Lincoln School Book Festival 2014. The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors was held at the Lincoln School here in Providence, RI. From the moment I walked up the sidewalk, I knew the Lincoln School promotes early childhood literacy with a passion. Signs were everywhere with sayings about reading. Teachers were dressed as lovable children’s book characters. There was a storytelling tent set up outside. The crafts were even dedicated to books. All this being said, it wasn’t overdone. It was just matter of fact. They love to read and they are here to share it with you.

RI Book Festival 2014 program

RI Book Festival 2014 program

My son & I had a blast looking at the pop-up bookstore they had. We purchased two books for him to have autographed. We made an amazing craft (which I will be copying again). Listened to amazing stories & songs. Had a delicious pizza followed by a vegan dessert! It was such a blast. It was amazing to see how many children in my community actually value books. Kindles, tablets and Ipads are all the rage. And I get that you can store more books than you could possibly need, but there is something about the feeling of a book’s cover. The sound it makes when you turn the page. The suspense you feel when you wonder what illustration is next.

Landon's pop-up book

Landon’s pop-up book


While the event is over, I urge you to attend next year. It is an annual event and the Lincoln School is already taking applications for authors, volunteers and sponsors for 2015. Follow the Lincoln School on Facebook to keep up with all their events. Now, pick up that book that is collecting dust on your shelf and read. Get lost in it, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. And NO, I won’t hold it against you if you use your Kindle, this time.