Blogging for Books: Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn

I have loved being a part of the #bloggingforbooks community!  The book I choose for this month’s book of the month is a journal that I’ve been so anxious to get!   It’s called the Instant Happy Journal  by the famous Karen Salmansohn from and it’s completely going to change my perspective on life.

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This bright and colorful journal is all about changing your mindset to think about the positive things in your life-what’s giving you joy, what you are grateful for, and what inspires you.  It helps you focus on what’s really important.

This journal is filled with 365 different “happiness prompters” that include scientific studies, motivational quotes, and thought-provoking questions.   These prompters inspire you to notice the joy and gratitude in your own life on a daily basis.

I love the idea of this journal-it makes you more conscious of your thoughts and feelings and gives you the space you need to jot down what’s on your mind and get those feelings out and onto paper.   It’s so good to let it all out and it helps bring things out into the open so you can focus more on what you can do make your life happier!

There are some seriously great prompters in this journal.  Below are just a few of my favorites:

“You can’t control everything that happens to you-but you can control your attitude and how you deal with things.”

“Sometimes you need some time and space alone-except for the company of a bird and a few trees- to sit quietly and try to figure things out.”  This one prompts you do to do just that go sit outside and take a moment for yourself.

Word of the Day:  Blesson-when you are able to view painful lessons as blessings.  This prompter asks you to write down some of the blessings that you have learned from some of those challenging lessons.  

365 days of amazing prompters like these above in this little bright and bubbly journal.  What an amazing gift this would be for a family member or close friend.  I challenge you to buy your own Instant Happy Journal and go on this journey with me.

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

I was given the opportunity to review this book courtesy of Blogging For Books.

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Blogging For Books-Owls: Our Most Enchanting Bird by Matt Sewell

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Matt Sewell is a well-known avid ornithologist, a contributor of the website Caught by the River, and the author of the best-selling books Our Garden Birds and Our Songbirds.  His new book Owls:  Our Most Enchanting Bird is quickly becoming very popular as well.  Matt’s pop-art watercolors of the owl species (over 50 species) are just so fascinating and intriguing.   He captures the beauty of the birds in his own illustrations.  The book is filled to the brim with owls-you have four major categories of the species: Woodland Owls, Tropical Owls, Wilderness Owls, and Desert Owls.

Matt not only gives us his beautiful artwork but also gives us valuable information on each species of the most enchanting bird.   A charming book for any nature lover or bird lover!  I personally love birds-especially owls…they are so mysterious-yet compelling!  This book is a perfect coffee table book as most people would pick it up and enjoy it-for it’s not only a book, but a piece of art!

I received this book courtesy of Blogging For Books in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.  

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Blogging For Books: Rooted In Design by Tara Heibel & Tassy de Give

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My latest book to review from Blogging For Books is Rooted In Design by Tara Heibel & Tassy de Give.   I just love the idea of indoor planting but I’ve never really had the chance to really put some time and effort into it like I want to.  Rooted In Design is a wonderful book consisting of a ton of creative ideas for indoor planting.  Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give (the team behind the successful Sprout Home garden design boutiques) show us how to get started and transform our home into a indoor garden!

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The chapters in this book include ideas for planting on a wall, on a ledge, on the floor, in the air, on the table, in the kitchen, and even undercover gardens like terrariums, or “gardens under the glass”, along with the final chapter The Roots that educates us on the importance of light, water, and fertilizer in indoor planting.  There is also a plant directory that is a excellent guide to have and shows us which plants need low light, part sun, or full sun and how to care for our indoor plants.

I have a ton of ideas now from reading this lovely book and I have already started on my own indoor garden.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post showcasing them!

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I was given the opportunity to review this book courtesy of Blogging For Books.

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Blogging for Books: The Sweetapolita Bakebook-Rosie Alyea

I’ve been a fan of Rosie’s blog Sweetapolita for about a year now.  From my very first glance at her blog…I fell in love!  Ever since I can remember I’ve been baking for my family and friends.  It’s truly what I love to do.  I have quite a few hobbies that I love…baking and photography are my top favorites!sweetapolita 00

So needless to say I was highly anticipating the arrival of her first cookbook….The Sweetapolita Bakebook!!  Boy, what a surprise it was to see all the goodies in this cookbook.  Recipes galore!  Rosie includes her own beautiful photography work with each recipe.  The recipes are easy to follow and contain ingredients that are obtainable.  These sweets are imaginative, super creative, and most definitely will appeal to your sweet tooth!

Rosie shows us how to make homemade sprinkles, the basics of baking and different decorating techniques, yummy frostings and fillings along with recipes for cakes, cookies, and more!

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Some of my favorites that I intend to try out soon include the Coney Island Cheesecake with Cotton Candy Whipped Cream, Chalk-A-Lot Cookies with Edible Chalk, Watercolor Graffiti Cookies, Chalk-A-Lot Cake, Doodles & Daydreams Cake, Toasted Marshmallow Frosting, and Salted  Caramel.

SO much fun especially if you are feeling creative.  These recipes are great to get your kiddos (in my case…my nieces) to help out with.  They can show off their artistic side by helping to decorate the cakes and cookies!

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I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.  

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Blogging for Books: John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography

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John Shaw is a very well known nature and travel photographer.  His photos are simply beautiful and stunning.  He’s one of the reasons why I have such a passion for nature photography!

John has been a professional nature photographer since the 70’s and his work has been published in many publications-including National Geographic among others.  He offers six books and a total of ten e-books.  This book that I received free courtesy of Blogging for Books-John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is his latest book!

Nature, landscapes, and wildlife have a special place in my heart and always will.  It’s so peaceful to go out for a nature walk…even in your own backyard!  You will be surprised at what you find once you start to focus on the little things.

John has a blog {see here} and he also offers e-books and workshops for those interested in learning more about nature photography.

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This book covers some of the basics including what gear you should use (hence, this is a guide to digital nature photography), how to set up many menu options of your camera-including image quality, RAW recording, white balance, picture control, color space, and many more options.  The list really goes on and on!   He also shares a section on Tripods & Heads, Filters, and Flash in the first chapter.

Chapter two is all about Getting Started-including topics on Working in Stops, Exposure Modes, Metering and Metering Patterns, Manual Exposure, Autoexposure & Exposure Compensation, Proper exposure and Histograms, and High ISO.

Chapter three is all about Lenses!  He goes into great detail about certain topics like Depth of Field and Focusing a Lens.  Chapter four is about Composition, Chapter five consist of helpful information on Close-Ups, and the last and final Chapter six is all about John’s gear and his settings, his work in the field, and some great tips on working in the digital darkroom.

I see myself referring back to this book on a regular basis and John’s expert tips and advice will help anyone that is wanting to venture into the art of nature photography-whether you are a beginner or intermediate photographer. This book is also wonderful to  place on your coffee table for a conversation piece for guests.  His photography work is simply the best and anyone who enjoys nature will love his work.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review courtesy of Blogging for Books

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Blogging for Books: Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis

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When we think about Southern food we think about fried and fatty foods and a ton of it.   In Virginia Willis latest cookbook Lighten Up, Y’all she proves that Southern food is not all about fried and fatty foods.  She has simply brought us classic southern recipes that are made healthy and wholesome.  Recipes you can make for your family that are good for them and still just as delicious as ever.  Virginia shows us how to prepare these dishes in a new way, while keeping the flavors intact of some of our most comforting meals that we have loved throughout the years.

Virginia Willis is a French-trained Southern chef, a veteran cookbook author, and a novice on Southern cooking.  Her recipes in Lighten Up, Y’all are a collection of personal favorite recipes that include classics like Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie, Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie, Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy, Beer-Battered Shrimp, and Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake.

Virginia shares an assortment of recipes in her latest cookbook.  From Starters and Nibbles which include recipes for squash chips, a seven-layer dip, shrimp and pepper poppers, barbecue meatballs, and even a baked onion blossom.  Salads & slaws such as grilled potato salad with bacon vinaigrette, apple-raisin-carrot slaw, shortcut chicken pasta salad, and more.

There’s a from the garden chapter, grains, grits, & other starchy goodness chapter, poultry chapter, pork, beef, & lamb chapter, soup & stews chapter, biscuits, breads, & baked goods chapter, and last but not least, is the sweet indulgences chapter.  Throughout her cookbook you can find lots of southern faves and they all are lightened up so that you can provide healthy and wholesome meals to your family and friends.

I have made several of her recipes since I received this cookbook and I have that this is a cookbook that will frequently be used in my kitchen.  The real ingredients in her recipes keep the flavors alive and bursting in the recipes.  I highly recommend that you purchase this book and get to cooking the Lightened Up way!

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You can purchase Virginia’s latest cookbook here.  

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Blogging for Books: Supermarket Healthy by Melissa d’Arabian & Almond-Chocolate Panini

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Healthy eating can be very easy, achievable, and affordable with Melissa d-Arabian‘s book Supermarket Healthy!  In her latest book, Melissa shows us how everyday families can prepare nutritious and affordable meals by giving us tips for shopping in your own neighborhood grocery store and cooking your meals at home. You don’t have to shop at fancy specialty stores to prepare healthy, delicious meals for your family.

Melissa is well known for hosting Food Network‘s Ten Dollar Dinners and the series The Picky Eaters Project, as well as author of the cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners.

For Breakfast…Melissa shows us how to fill our plates with fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates that fuel our bodies with energy.   Recipes such as her Peach Dutch Baby Pancake, Morning Glory Muffins, and Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce are filled to the brim with nutrition to start our mornings off right.

A lot of people say snacking is not a good idea, but Snacks can be a great way to prevent us from overeating throughout the day and if you choose wisely a snack can give you the extra energy you need to get through the day.  Melissa shares recipes such as Warm White Bean and Sage Dip, Grilled Zucchini Pizza Bites, and a yummy Go-To Trail Mix.

Soup and Stews are simple and easy meals that you can prepare ahead of time for your family that are perfect for lunch or dinner ideas.  I’m so excited to try out Melissa’s Creamy Cauliflower “Baked Potato” Soup, her Miso-Wonton Soup, and the Butternut Squash Chili.  They all sound so healthy and filling!

Lunch is a perfect time for Salads, Wraps, and Sandwiches and in Melissa’s 4th chapter she shares an assortment of healthy recipes such as the Kale and White Bean Caesar Salad, a Spinach, Grape, and Feta Salad (I think this one will be my new favorite!), a Turkey Reuben Wrap, and a Fried Green Tomato, Bacon, & Spinach Sandwich.

Veggies Mains are main dishes for vegetarian lovers.   Meals that are filled with veggies and are very nutritious without the meat.   Here Melissa shares recipes for Red Cabbage-Stuffed Enchiladas Verde, Acorn Squash “Fondue”, Roasted Zucchini Lasagna, and Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan.  These recipes are certain to make any veggie lover pleased!

Pasta lovers…you get your own chapter in Supermarket Healthy!  If you love pasta as much as I do…this will be your favorite chapter!  I’m all about the pasta!  From her Slow-Roasted Tomato Spaghettini, Rigatoni with Turkey Meatballs, Deconstructed Lasagna, to her Tuna Noodle Bowls and last but not least…the Broccoli-Ribbon Fettuccine with Parmesan the only problem you will have is deciding which one to try first.  My suggestion is the Broccoli-Ribbon Fettuccine with Parmesan!

There are so many other chapters including Fish and Seafood, Chicken and Turkey, Beef, Pork, and Lamb, Sides, and Dessert.  I challenge you to purchase this book and make affordable, easy, healthy, and delicious meals for your family.

I received some Almond Butter in my Fabulous Foodie Swap package so I’ve decided to use it in one of Melissa’s recipes and wanted to share that experience with you today!  I’ve made the Almond-Chocolate Panini that is in Melissa’s book under Chapter 2: Snacks.  I made this one for breakfast one morning and really enjoyed it!

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Her recipe for the Almond-Chocolate Panini calls for Almond Butter, whole wheat bread, semisweet chocolate chips, and cocoa powder!  Almond Butter is full of healthy fats and protein.  Barney Butter is peanut and gluten free and uses roasted almonds, palm fruit oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and natural coconut flavors.

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This was seriously delicious and so very filling!  Perfect as a snack or you can even make it a morning meal with a side of fruit!  Think raspberries…they go great with chocolate!

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There are plenty of recipes to try out in Supermarket Healthy and I highly recommend this book if you are struggling with making healthy and affordable meals for your own family. This cookbook is full of recipes!  If you feel like this cookbook is something you would enjoy you can purchase it here.

You can also follow Melissa via social media:






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I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review, thoughts, and opinions courtesy of Blogging for Books.  

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