Reading & Reviewing · Reading Challenges

Reflections on a “Food” Memoir

I recently devoured the food memoir “Life from Scratch: a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness.” by Sasha Martin.


I picked up this memoir a few years ago with the inclination I would read it sooner rather than later, we see now that it was later. With that said, It could have not been read at a better time in my life.

How many times have you picked up a book to read that looks to be about one thing but once you begin reading it becomes something slightly different than what you expected? For some this is very frustrating; for others though, it is an intriguing exploration. I fall in this latter category, and was pleasantly enveloped in Sasha’s life story.

It’s a ‘food” memoir with lots and lots of messy, yet beautiful layers. A story about a woman that survived abandonment, estrangement, dealt with trust-issues, and struggled to see who she really was after all these issues weighed her down; to become a woman that loved fiercely, found strength through adversity, and was able to forgive those that abandoned her so long ago. Through all of the ups and downs her one true positive, her fondest memories as a child and what helped her become grounded as a wife and mother was her love of cooking. This “food” memoir is a life spent remembering the comfort of food of the past, finding adventure through creating dishes during a time of personal restlessness, and being satisfied with how the Global Table adventure brought family, friends, and strangers into Sasha’s life to help her heal and be happy with her present day.

This quote from the book sums up everything for me.

“And perhaps that’s been Mom’s secret all along: her brutal common sense that slices through any and all notions of what “should” be. From our living room kitchen back in Jamaica Plain to this global table, it’s about getting our fill. Not just of food, but of the intangible things we all need: acceptance, love, and understanding.”

Community · Personal Life

8 Acts of Kindness & Encouragement

Music Store Etsy Banner(1)


It has been close to a month for some and as few as two weeks for others that we have been advised to social distance ourselves. Even though we have to social distance I believe there are still ways we can connect meaningfully and make a difference in others lives during these trying times.

Listed below are a few ways I feel one can show acts of kindness and encouragement:

  1. Buy groceries for the elderly in your community that are more susceptible to the virus.




2. If you live in an apartment building set out a box of books in a common area so others can take or leave a book to read during this time.




3. If you have the means, financially contribute to food banks in your area or pay someone’s rent or a bill of some kind because they can’t work from home in the type of job they hold.




4. Find ways to virtually encourage friends and family in your life with live chat.




5. Walk your elderly neighbors’ dogs.


dog walking


6. Bring back the art of writing letters through snail mail and write to friends and family and/or write lovely notes for your neighbors letting them know you care and if they need anything to reach out.




7. Make a meal for someone that is in Quarantine, of course take precautions in delivering it.


Cook a meal1


8. Place a prayer box or bucket outside your house on a fence or table for people in your community to place prayers in so you can pray for them.


prayer box


Please help me add to this list in the comments below. I always enjoy learning of ways we can share kindness and encouragement towards others in the world

Personal Life

What I Am Hoarding During COVID-19

Welcome to 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis! Everyone is dealing with this pandemic in different ways, but one thing people are doing similarly is hoarding items they feel will make them safe and prepared as we are told everyday to self-isolate in our homes, learn the art of social distancing (physically), and try and stay well. Because let’s face it, it isn’t a matter of IF we get COVID-19 it is a matter of WHEN we will get it.

I recently watched (The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do) about how Covid-19 attacks the body and the lasting effects it will have on it when one recovers. This video alone, peaked my Fear more than all the news I have consumed in the past months. In this video it talks about our lungs and how they are aggressively attacked during the infection, but it also talks about the lasting damage it will have after the fact.

Not everyone will agree with what I am hoarding but hear me out. I am a HUGE believer in herbs and super foods helping minimize everyday ailments and illnesses. **No they should not take the place of medicine but they should always be considered a supportive helper in the fight.**

So I went down the research rabbit hole and began investigating if the super food I swear by for my chronic migraines and TMJ could alleviate some of the damaging affects COVID-19 could potentially create within the lungs.

Let me introduce you to: Turmeric!

10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin – Focus on benefits 1-3.

Turmeric is Being Touted as an Effective Herb to Keep Coronavirus at Bay

**NO turmeric is not going to save me, but I do believe my lungs will be happier with me in the long run for taking precautions now rather than later. **

How do I consume Turmeric:

  • Hot Tea!
  • Indian food
  • Herbal drink shots
  • Jamu Drink




So Yes, Turmeric is what I will be hoarding during this time of uncertainty.

Personal Life

Do I Hear Crickets?

It has been a long time since I have blogged regularly. I’ve tried several times to come back to blogging but seem to let it fall to the waste side after some time. I love talking and sharing the things I enjoy with others but writing it all down in paragraph form seems very daunting at times.

I think my last post on this blog until tonight had to do with 2017 goals, WOW!

It is now three months into the year 2020 and we are learning how to social distance ourselves from one another to slow a viral pandemic from infecting everyone.

So what have I been up to for the past 3 years? In 2018 I quit a job that had lost its lackluster. I basically began some type of Social Distancing that year briefly. Later in the year I began socializing and volunteering in things I missed and enjoyed. Until recently volunteering and traveling with friends had taken over my life. Volunteering was rewarding yet very stressful at times. I also, took a step out of my negative comfort zone and started counseling. Counseling for the past 10 months has been the best thing I could have done for myself, I’ve learned so much about why I behave in certain ways, an how to correct such behaviors.

Some of my Favorite Discoveries in the past few years:

  • I love a good cup of hot tea
  • My 2nd favorite way to consume a book is through an audiobook.
  • I have experienced lots of rewarding travel adventures with friends and family.
  • I have grown a lot in my faith
  • I journal in more ways now than just bullet journaling. I actually have taken a break from bullet journaling and expanded into faith and travel journaling.
  • I have fallen in love with the cozy mysteries sub-genre.

I hope to make writing a habit again and come here to write down some fun memories, share my faith journey, discuss tea and books and whatever else comes to mind that I think needs to be shared.



Personal Life

My Goals for 2017

It is a new year and we all want to think this is the year that we aspire to step outside the box, try something new and be able to say at the end of the year that all was successful. I have set myself some goals that I hope help me find routine, experience new places in Europe, and fall in love with different types of genres throughout literature.

Reading Goals:

  • I am hosting the Read Through Bookshelf Challenge 2017. It is basically reading the books that are already on my bookshelves and not buying more until I have read through several and donated the ones that got 3 stars or below and/or I do not find I would recommend to other book lovers. I will be using the hashtag #ReadBookshelves2017, if anyone wants to join in with me on this challenge.
  • I am not hugely worried about my Goodreads goal this year because the challenge is my biggest concern but I did set my goal at 25 books and that is very doable.
  • Extra reading breakdown is:
    • Read 5 Short Stories collections
    • Read 3 Non-Fiction novels
    • Read 10 Graphic Novels
    • Read some world news daily


Travel Goals:

  • Travel to at least 3 different countries this year.
  • Take more weekend day trips around Germany
  • Photograph and blog more about these adventures.


Personal Goals:

  • Start Grad School in the Fall
  • Continue finding outlets to be creative


Blog | Social Media Goals:

  • Post content on a schedule. I am thinking possibly Sunday and Wednesday for now that could change later.
  • Share and engage on social media. I tend to not do this enough.
  • Write more about the things I love, basically be more open on my blog.


The Any Book Book Club Goals:

  • Find some adventures to engage the group in. Maybe a trip or something bookish.
  • Find new ways to advertise to the community about this wonderful book club.



Personal Life

Year In Review | 2016

A look back on the year of 2016.



  • I read 32 books towards my goal of 35 books.
  • I read a total of 8,438 pages.
  • My average rating was four‘s
  • I read very few Young Adult novels and I read more Fantasy, Graphic Novels, and Literary Fiction.


  • Places I traveled with Donald were:
    • Berlin, Germany
    • Potsdam, Germany
    • Rudesheim, Germany
  • Places traveled with my sister when she came to visit in July:
    • Rothenberg o.b. Tauber, Germany
    • Rudesheim, Germany
    • Soufflenheim, France (Pottery)
    • Strasbourg, France

Sadly, I did not blog about these adventures in 2016, The good thing though I can always blog about it in the future!

Personal Life and Creativity:

being #creative is not a #hobby it is a way of life #wayoflife #creativity:

  • I abandoned my book blog Between Library Shelves to start this blog so I could broaden what I blogged about. So far, I am enjoying the content I am posting.
  • I began to bullet journal as my main way to keep track of my planning, goals, and lists. It has been so much fun.
  • Donald and I celebrated two years of marriage.
  • Donald accepted an extension with his job which means we are in Germany for another two years.
  • I have met some truly wonderful people while living her in Germany that I will call friends for years to come!

The Any Book Book Club:


  • The book club made it to its 1 year anniversary successfully.
  • We took our first Literary trip to Paris , France where we had a blast and created lots of memories.
  • However, several of the most frequent club members PCS’d and I grieved the loss of them, and I feel it affected the book club for several months.
  • We have a logo too thanks to Brian Cline!
Personal Life · Secret Santa & Book Swaps

2016 Christmas Haul

The Postman Brought Me & My Family Wonderful Gifts!

Sorry this post is going up so late, I have no excuse really except procrastination, but hey that is one of my goals this year to work on and become a more consistent blog poster. But that is in another post.

This post is about all the great things me and my family received for Christmas! I participated in the The Broke and The Bookish Secret Santa again this year, I also, participated in the 12 Days of Christmas Swap over on and of course the family and I received gifts from our loved ones. So I will start out with the Secret Santa and end with family wonderfulness.

The Broke and The Bookish Secret Santa (#TBTBSanta)

My secret Santa was the lovely Conny @theliteratigirl  (IG);

Her gifting was spot on! I loved everything and began using several of the stationary items right away. She individually wrapped everything, the presentation was inviting and I cannot not say enough good things about this package. Funny thing the odds that I could meet her in person is quite likely since we do not live that far apart from each at this time. *Smile*

What was in the package?

  • Dog treats for my puggle, Kenzie, which she gobbled up in no time.
  • Berliner Brot, she made herself and included her Grandmother’s recipe in the package so I can try and make myself someday.
  • Stamps that have to do with reading, that I will be using in my bullet journal throughout the year.
  • She created and bound a personal library notebook so I could keep track of all the books I have in my personal library.  (I am slowly adding my books to it, and loving the concept.) I also, got a small calendar for my purse, and notebook to rate and review my books as I read them. SO THOUGHTFUL!!
  • The books I received were:
  • Lastly, I received a patch to sew on something and some chocolates.

Thank you again Conny for being an AWESOME SECRET SANTA!

12 Days of Christmas Swap hosted by

My swap partner was Brandi Leistikow. Blog:

I really enjoyed receiving gifts in the mail from her every so many days. This swap is basically you receive 12 wrapped gifts that equal the value of $40 -$50 and send to your swap partner. I can’t wait to find out what she thought about things I sent to her. I have used several of the her gifts already and enjoying them all.


What I received:

  • A giant candy cane which was devoured soon after it was opened.
  • Some maple candies that was also devoured over the weekend. Yes I had a sugar high!
  • A very cute bookmark, I love owls!
  • The Vaseline creme brulee lip therapy that is getting lots of use since winter has rolled into Germany.
  • The smoothing body lotion is getting lots of use to at this time.
  • Socks! cause they rock.
  • A super cute mug that I have been using to drink hot cocoa.
  • Fairy lights.
  • Books:
  • I received another package that is not pictured here that came after all the rest and it was more socks!

Thank you Brandi for being my swap partner it was nice getting to know you.

Christmas Haul from Loved Ones!

And last, but certainly not least, I received wonderful gifts from my loved ones! I am also including what my hubs received from me and family, and what Kenzie got for Christmas in the photos below.

What can I say we all had a lovely Christmas!

December 2016 was a wonderful time. I met two new fellow bloggers, spent time with friends, and Skyped with family and was spoiled beyond measure!

Tell me about your Christmas haul in the comments below!


Year’s End | Top 6 Books of 2016

This year was a pretty good year for me reading wise. I didn’t read that many books but I would say I read more variety than I have in the past. Interestingly, I read very little Young Adult fiction and more Graphic Novels. I also, read a fair share of Literary Fiction and Fantasy. I was just shy of making my Goodreads reading goal of 2016 which is not bad. Next year my reading goal is something completely different but I will talk about that in another post.

So without further ado, lets get on with my Top 6 Books of 2016!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of  Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling – I know most people could not truly put this book down as a favorite of 2016, because most have read this book many many times. Well I am not one of those people; I have been reading this series through for the first time for a year now, and of the books I have read this is my favorite so far.

Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – Again, I feel I am late this book series, but hey I hear the third book has not come out in years so maybe me reading it late will mean I do not have to wait so long for the 3rd to be publish. I loved this very large book, I breezed through it and did not want to put it down.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – What a wonderful fantasy/folklore story that is frightening, intriguing and wonderfully written.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Let’s just say I cried, and that is rare when reading books.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – I have had my eye on this author for awhile and recently was shopping in a bookstore here in Germany and came across Britt-Marie Was Here, his latest novel, and thought what the heck. I loved this story, it was relate-able, funny and super sentimental in how this character unknowingly touched so many other characters lives in either cantankerous or spectacular ways and how these same people shaped Britt-Marie’s character growth throughout the story. Now I know I want to read all of Fredrik Backman’s novels.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – This book with its synopsis that pulls you into an apocalyptic story that is intricately overlaid of many years spanned, intertwining several lives that remarkably cross paths in the most unsuspecting moments and the conclusion that was as shocking of a twist that I didn’t suspect, but realize as soon as revealed as the ah ha moment. I will read again for I know there are many clues throughout the story that I missed.

So there they are my top 6 books of 2016!  Let me know in the comments what your favorite books were in 2016 and why.



In The Christmas Spirit | 2016


What were your fondest memories of Christmas growing up?

Me? I loved decorating the tree, participating in the Statesboro Jaycees’ Empty Stocking Fund, and spending time with my family. This year I am miles and miles away from my family, so my husband and I are trying to create our own traditions and memories for years to come. So this year we went on a search for the perfect real tree (per request from the husband) and found out that we are not the best at picking the perfect tree once getting it home and finding that it is just a larger version of a Charlie Brown tree. I will say it has character that I am trying to stifle and cover up with lights, ornaments and garland. The hub’s says, “my non-existent rest of the year OCD is rearing its ugly head,” funny I have to agree with him. In my defense, I want to decorate my home at Christmas time, as well as all year-long in a way that brings me joy and comfort.

So, I shopped this year for those fun but perfect pieces of decor that caught my eye. A few of these would be the silver and white deer, the centerpieces that boast candles, cinnamon sticks, and pine cones. I already had a good collection of Christmas gnomes so they too are on display. As I decorated, I found myself enjoying the process and my OCD simmering to a slow burn. I found my creative flow; and I feel in the end the tree with the gaping hole in the center, tree lights that tested my sanity, the ribbon bows around the deer necks, hunting down all the ornaments I bought from trips scattered around my house (organized chaos, or maybe just chaos), fairy lights that gave me a fit to untangle, LED candles that didn’t want to stay on, and presents wrapped under the tree; that I  wholeheartedly accomplished the right level of Christmas joy and comfort for me to be proud to  say I have decorated a house to make it feel like a Christmas home in a country that I never thought I would feel completely happy living in.

Traditions that the hubs and I have started here are:

  • Advent calendars of some capacity – This year the hubs got a beer advent calendar and has been enjoying tasting craft-style beers throughout Germany. I also, sent my niece and nephew (that love to read) an advent calendar of books, and it has been a joy seeing them open them through photos.
  • Christmas gnomes– I try to buy a new one each year, this year I did not have to do that because my really good friend gifted me one on my birthday. Instead of Elf on a Shelf in our house we have gnome on the roam.
  • Collecting ornaments from our travels – Several of the ornaments above are from my travels since living in Europe. I have one from Paris when I went with several of the TABBC bunch for a literary trip to Paris, I have a Night watchman ornament from Rothenberg o.b. Tauber, and one from Strasbourg, France. I can’t wait to collect ones from my travels this year also.
  • Visiting Christmas markets – We try to visit at least one new one each year. This year, we visited a very small, but crowded one in Boblingen, Germany.

Merry Christmas from me to you!