When I first started blogging way back in 2011, a consistent reader favorite was my sometimes-weekly, sometimes-monthly round-up of articles I was enjoying, books I was reading, and things I was loving. I called the feature Weekend Reads.
After a years-long hiatus, I briefly brought the feature back at the end of 2017 and called it “Life on the Other Side”–for life on the other side of the computer screen. You see, relationships are super important to me, and I find that I connect best with bloggers and authors who share little glimpses about their real lives with their readers.
After a years-long hiatus again, I’ve decided to bring the feature back monthly. I hope you’ll enjoy your first 2020 installment of “Life on the Other Side” with books I read, articles I enjoyed, and things I loved in January.
I read five books in January, and this book was my favorite. It’s one of the best I’ve read in a long time. I don’t normally gravitate toward fiction, but this one may have re-ignited my childhood love with the genre.
Before We Were Yours contains multiple heavy themes—no doubt—but it is infused with hope. The writing is superb, and the storyline is beautiful.
By the climax, you won’t be able to put the book down.
I especially enjoyed the book’s setting, as I grew up in the South, currently live in the South, and I spent five years living in a suburb of Memphis (the main setting for the book). The scenes of the Mississippi River and Mud Island weren’t hard for me to conjure up in my head because I’ve been there many times. I’ve also vacationed on Edisto Island twice, and the author’s depiction of the tiny beach community are spot on. One of the scenes even took place on Jungle Road, where I stayed.
In a fiction rut or reading rut in general? Pick up this book!!
Other books I read in January:
How to Introduce Your Child to Jesus by Jessica Smartt
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
Radiation Nation by Daniel DeBaun and Ryan DeBaun
Escape by Carolyn Jessup
To check out all of my book reviews, visit my “Book Reviews” Story highlights on Instagram.
So I technically started wearing daily contact lenses toward the end of 2019, but they deserve a mention all their own.
When I went in for my annual eye exam in the fall, I told my doctor that my eyes were seemingly rejecting my contact lenses, which I had been wearing for more than two decades. She did some kind of tear composition test and determined that my tears are 100 percent oil! (Tears are supposed to be 1/3 oil, 1/3 water, and 1/3 mucous.)
Because of this, she explained that it was virtually impossible for me to keep my contact lenses clean. She suggested I transition to daily contact lenses or wear glasses full-time.
I walked away from her office that day with a two-week trial of daily contact lenses and the thought that I wouldn’t invest in them and would try to just make a two-week lense work.
Instead, I fell in love with the comfort that daily contact lenses offer.
I decided to order a years-supply (with the intent of wearing my glasses part of the time and making the year supply stretch out to two!), and I haven’t turned back.
If you want to try daily contact lenses, I found a company called Hubble Contacts that sells them online. You can get 15 pairs for $1 trial of their own brand of contact lenses, or you can get 20% off your first order on other brands of contacts. Click here to check out Hubble.
I LOVE these pens! They are so colorful, and the colors don’t bleed! I use these more than any other pen I own. They make me so happy! Sometimes, it’s the little things.
Since we moved into our current house a year and a half ago, I’ve had a hard time with the light from our neighbor’s garage streaming through our bedroom window at night.
I had room darkening blackout curtains on my list of things to purchase for a very long time, and I finally purchased some with Christmas money in early January.
Y’all–what a game changer!
I am sleeping so much better with them, and I don’t see our neighbor’s light at all!
I am loving it! My favorite products so far are:
Flawless in Five – the concealer and volumizing mascara (both included in this set) as well as the dew skin tinted moisturizer with SPF are my favorite products in the set. I also LOVE the tinted brow gel.
I’ve also been using and loving the Countermatch Skincare Regimen (which is ON SALE NOW through February 25), which includes:
The sale price for this regimen is $179 (a $20 savings!) PLUS includes a FREE Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream ($39 value!). The 6-piece set (including the eye cream) normally sells for $243 when bundled together, so this is a savings of $64! Get the set with the FREE product here.
If you combine my bonus with this (see details below!), you can shave another $15 off the set–making it a $79 savings!
Remember to get it by February 25, as the free product will no longer be available after that date. Get your set here.
The other skincare regimens are also on sale! Read more about them in the links below, and get them before Feb. 25 to take advantage of the free product!
Sign up for my health & beauty newsletter by clicking here. I will be sending out different tips, tricks, specials, coupon codes, and free gift offers each month!
My February gifts are:
Orders $100-$150: $10 cashback (via PayPal or Amazon gift card)
Orders $151-$200: $15 cashback (via PayPal or Amazon gift card)
Orders $201 & up: $20 cashback (via PayPal or Amazon gift card)
For more information on how to secure your bonus, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for my health & beauty newsletter by clicking here.
I have read the entire Bible before, but it’s been a very long time since I read the entire Bible in a year. I am not a huge fan of audio books because I am a visual learner, but I decided to give the The Bible in One Year 2020 with Nicky Gumbal plan on the YouVersion Bible App a try, knowing that in order to fit it into my life, I would need to listen to it.
Y’all, I am loving it so far! I’ve listened to Genesis, most of Matthew, Job, many Psalms and Proverbs, and I’m currently in Exodus. Listening to the Bible while I’m making breakfast, cleaning the kitchen, or doing the laundry has become the favorite part of my day! It’s not too late to get started. I encourage you to give it a try!
Favorite Songs in January
2019 was an excruciating year for me. (Read more about why here.) But in the midst of the ashes, I’ve seen Jesus work so much beauty in my heart. He has released me from fears, and He is redeeming and restoring what the locusts ate. I’ve had the song “Rescue Story” by Zach Williams on repeat. If you’re local and see me raising my hands behind the steering wheel and singing my heart out, it’s probably because “Rescue Story” is playing on the radio. Listen to it here.
Other songs I loved in January:
“Better” by Pat Barret
“21 Years” by Toby Mac (Have tissues ready for this one!)
Links I Loved
“You can know it all you want, but until you’ve got to pick up that cross that you can’t carry, and He picks it up for you and carries you and the cross, then you know.”
Outlawed Grief @ The Gottman Institute
“Sometimes, we outlaw our own grief, failing to give value to our feelings; seeing the tears as intruders that must be defended against. But grief is not on a timetable and doesn’t always run on schedule. Sometimes it even leaves the station, only to double back and park again. And stay.”
Jessica Simpson Speaks Out About Childhood Sexual Abuse for the First Time @ Yahoo! Entertainment
“The other side of fear is beautiful.”
Brene´ Brown Top Tip: Assume Others Are Doing the Best They Can @ The Growth Faculty
“It turns out that we assume the worst about people’s intentions when they’re not respectful of our boundaries: It’s easy to believe that they are trying to disappoint us on purpose.”
Until next month’s “Life on the Other Side,”