28 Years

Today is my last day as a 27 year old (earlier this week, Ella saw the number 37 on something and said, “Hey, that’s how old you are!” I was quick to correct her).

It’s been a great year for me, and I anticipate another good year ahead. I feel really lucky that I’m blessed with a generally happy disposition – life almost always just seems good to me, with many things to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what this next 12 months holds.

Also, I’ve already bought myself a little birthday present (I pretty much consider the entire month of September fair game for buying myself “birthday” gifts). I was at Kohl’s last Saturday buying a bedskirt (guest room now has a bed! Come visit) and I saw a chambray shirt on my way out. On sale. Plus I had a coupon.

I’d already purchased two different chambray shirts in the last four months and returned them both (this one from Old Navy and one from Ross). I put this one on over my t-shirt in the aisle, deemed it good, and brought it home.

And this one I’m not returning. It’d be rude, anyway, to return a birthday gift. I think I’d be very offended if I found out.

Shirt: Kohl’s // Pants: Forever 21 
Shoes: Kohl’s (best $13 I ever spent) // Bracelet: c/o Style Lately

P.S. My blog has been an incredible source of happiness to me this year, which is thanks to you lovely readers. If you’re so inclined, I’d love it if you told me a bit about yourself or linked to your blog so I can come check it out. I so appreciate you reading, commenting, and being all-around wonderful. I hope you know how grateful I am.

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  • Reply smalldog September 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Happy early birthday, and hope the coming year is wonderful!

  • Reply Elaine September 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

    An early happy birthday to you. My blog is not nearly as much fun as yours but here it is:

  • Reply Sarah Summerlin September 13, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Happy Birthday! I'm new to your blog (came over from Freckles in April), but I've already made the paper stars you posted about. And I love them! Haven't posted about them yet, though. My blog is Come visit!

  • Reply Lisa {} September 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Loooooove that chambray top! As in, I might need one. As I'm hoping to be in early labor (currently timing contractions, but only time will tell), maybe I'll actually get to start buying clothes again soon!
    Love your blog. 🙂

  • Reply Katrina Rose September 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Happy Early Birthday! The top looks fabulous on yours. I blog at although it is nowhere near as organized as yours is!

  • Reply Rachel September 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    ALMOST bought that shirt last week and now im regretting it. I guess I'll just have to go back, darn it. Happy birthday!

  • Reply Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy September 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Happy, happy birthday! And you look fab. 🙂

  • Reply Kayris September 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Happy birthday! My blog is

  • Reply wtiger9 September 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Happy birthday! I love the dark chambray.

  • Reply Danielle September 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Happy birthday! I'm a former librarian turned stay-at-home mom who actually lives in Durham too. I've been following your blog for a few years, since my librarian days – love your children's book reviews!

  • Reply Kristin September 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Happy Birthday! Love the whole outfit!! Good birthday gift choice. 😉

  • Reply RA September 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Happy birthday! When can you guys come visit the Philly area so I can pressure you into going to Longwood Gardens and eating crab nachos? Shall I come down to Durham first and hate Duke in person?

    • Reply heidikins September 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm


      This is awesome. 🙂


  • Reply april September 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Happy birthday! I can say that might be the first chambray (why can't we still say denim? is that too 90s of a term?) top I've liked!

    I blog at (and I tweet at @aprilbapryll and since I'm private I can't actually speak to you when I want unless you might possibly want to follow me back??)

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday weekend and birthday month!

  • Reply missris September 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Happy early birthday! And good call on the chambray. It's very flattering!

  • Reply Nicki September 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Your blog was the first that kind of got me hooked on blog reading in general. I first stumbled across Everyday Reading when I checked out your recipe for green calzones on pinterest. I had just started dating my vegetarian boyfriend and was looking for a new recipe– he loved them! I then spent another hour pouring over all of your recipes and laughing out loud at comments about Ella asking for another "cookie" that was actually a round of goat cheese and how that would be the most delicious cookie ever in your book or how you're morally opposed to shortening but you're more opposed to a life without the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Then, last summer I reunited with an elementary school friend who actually knows you and I was so excited! And the reason I found out she knew you? I was describing you and your blog in such great detail that she just knew it had to be you! Anyway, I finally started blogging again myself just last month. I blogged at about 3 years ago when I lived in Taiwan, but now I write at Thanks for all of the great, witty posts! Happy Birthday!

  • Reply Meg C September 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Happy Birthday! I blog at, part mommy-blog and part help-moms-use-their-cameras. I already read a lot, but you've given me some awesome book recommendations in the last year. So glad I found you!

  • Reply Vanessa September 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Happy pre-birthday! After my stalker email you already know how much I love your blog I hope! I have a blog (, but am currently writing a thesis so it's been woefully neglected for a few months now- someday I'd like to get back to it because I think the blog community is pretty great.

  • Reply Shelly September 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Happy Birthday! I bought myself a chambray shirt this week too, I guess I could deem it a half-birthday present since my birthday is in March.

  • Reply Lena September 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Happy birthday 🙂 I like your birthday present and I really enjoy reading your blog. Your girls are just adorable. I blog at but I guess you won't be able to read a lot there because only a few posts are in English.
    I look foward to many posts of a 28-year-old Janssen 🙂

  • Reply Erica September 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    happy pre-birthday! and yes, it would be super rude to return a birthday gift, so you HAVE to keep that shirt. 🙂

  • Reply Katie Walker September 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    happy happy birthday! The shirt looks fantastic on you. I'm so happy I happened upon your blog a while ago, I love all your book recommendations! We're in the last stages of remodeling our home and I have become a huge fan of audiobooks. Although I'm still not sure of listening to them on double time. Anyways, your blog is fantastic. And your girls are adorable (and I love their screen names, from two of my most favorite books ever). I blog at, but nothing fancy-just life with my 4 crazy boy children and the house and other random silliness. Enjoy 28! (I'll be joining you soon!)

  • Reply Breanne September 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Just found you via Modern Mrs. Darcy, happy early birthday! =) I'm a 27 soon to be 28 (in November) and I also consider the whole month to be my birthday month. =)

    Great shirt and you've got me thinking about adding some coral skinnies to my wardrobe. =)


  • Reply Kristin @ Going Country September 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Happy birthday! I started reading here about a month ago, I guess, after clicking over from Leah's blog.

    Thank you, by the way, for the recommendation for "These Is My Words." I requested it from my library after seeing your review of it and I LOVED it. Rare for me to find a book these days I'll read in favor of sleeping, but I did a few nights running to finish that one. I owe you one for that.

  • Reply Lisa September 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I actually don't remember how I first found out about you, but I think it was instagram… someone I followed liked your picture and since we both have a baby around the 10 month age I was hooked. I fell down the rabbit hole of finding your blog, instagram, twitter and then on to Merricks Art blog and her insta too. I love that you're LDS, have a baby the same age as mine, recommend fun books, yummy recipes, fashion (although my legs are not as skinny as yours so some of the stuff I just have to smile at). I really appreciate your ability to be real, positive and not make it seem like you're presenting this perfect blog life. Anyway, I'm going to continue enjoying your fun intraweb life. I don't have my own blog, just not for me. Happy Birthday from Denver!!

  • Reply Katie September 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Happy Birthday! I've been following your blog for a few years now, and love your book suggestions and recipes! Here's a little bit about myself: I love reading! I am currently reading "Dad is Fat" by Jim Gaffigan, "Happier at Home", and "The Child Whisperer". I love baking chocolate chip cookies (there's some in the oven as we speak!), and proclaim to have the BEST cookie recipe ever! I also enjoy writing poetry which I post on my blog Oh, and I love Dirty Diet Cokes, which is Diet Coke with coconut syrup and fresh lime. I hope you have a fabulous day!

  • Reply Sarah S. September 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Happy early B-day!! I hope you have an amazing b-day weekend, and since it's your b-day I won't rush over to your guest room until "next" weekend 🙂 I agree that it's 100% ok to spoil yourself the entire month and looks like you are doing a great job with that shirt.

  • Reply Jessica Pieper September 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Happy Birthday Janssen! I love reading your blog. When I am crunched for time it is always the first place I stop.

    I have LOVED your book recommendations for years! I have you to thank for introducing me to Days of Blood and Starlight (and the resulting pile of unfolded laundry that I ignored).

    More recently I have also come to trust your tasty recipes. Your crockpot chicken enchilada soup is my favorite!! Thanks for all you do and all you share with your readers.

    Jessica —

  • Reply Audrey September 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Happy Birthday, Janssen! I've been reading your blog for some time now….I got hooked by the books. I commented a lot during "awards season" because, like you, I was obsessed with The One and Only Ivan, BOMB, etc. I just finished reading The Girls of Atomic City….because I've been obsessed with all things dealing with the Manhattan Project since reading BOMB. I can't wait for awards for next year…

  • Reply Chrissie September 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Happy Birthday, Janssen! I've been reading your blog for years now, and it's long been one of my favorites. Enjoy 28!

  • Reply Kate Rogge September 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    happy birthday!!! I'm a fellow avid reader and user of parenthesis (and avid reader of your blog as well! It's the first one I check) and blog sporadically (read: rarely…but I'm working on it…tomorrow) at

  • Reply Meggie September 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Happy Birthday! I am a firm believer in the "birthday month" too. Thanks for the rec on Journey yesterday. I am on the wait list at our library and I just may have to stop by a bookstore and just buy it if it doesn't come to us soon.

    I blog about my four crazy boys at
    I'd love for you to read a bit!

  • Reply lauradadomo September 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Happy birthday!! Although I never leave comments, I read each of your post and love both the way you write and your books reviews. Your blog is definitely one of my favorites, and I read many blogs!

  • Reply Saskia September 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Happy birthday! I have you and your sisters on my blogroll and read all your posts very happily.

  • Reply Megan September 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Happy birthday! I'm not really a comment leaver in general, but I do love your blog and have been reading faithfully for almost a year. I've read several of your book recommendations and really look forward to checking out Journey to read with my boys!

    I blog about my family at

  • Reply Lissa Nelson September 14, 2013 at 2:54 am

    I've been reading your blog for about a year now. I love your book recommendations and every recipe I've tried, I've loved. I have two boys, a 3 year old and a 7 month old–the older one is blond and the younger one is a red head. So much of the stuff you write is just how I feel about things so I feel like we have some sort of crazy connection, even though you don't know me at all! Haha…I love how the internet can make you feel like you're totally friends with somebody you've never met.

  • Reply Ocarina September 14, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Happy birthday! I never comment either, and I don't blog…but I love your writing and dry sense of humour. I think I found your blog through some of your maternity posts – my baby is a few months younger than Ani – and now I'm hooked. I'm in Australia…so there you go, you really do have fans everywhere!

  • Reply Heather September 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I hope you have a lovely birthday! I haven't commented before, I found your blog a few months ago when I was up for late night baby-feedings. I have enjoyed reading, thank you! I blog at I am not a "professional" blogger, so don't expect much :). Have a great day celebrating!

  • Reply preethi September 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Happy happy birthday! Hope it's filled with lots of treats. You know my blog, of course.

  • Reply Amy September 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I think I've probably already told you about a million times how much I love your blog , but I will say it again and again if it means you'll continue blogging for years and years to come! 🙂 Thanks for letting me bother you with lots of questions about my own blog. I hope you have a simply marvelous birthday!

  • Reply Jodi September 14, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Happy Birthday! Love the shirt.

  • Reply Tara Gries September 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Happy Birthday! And having also just turned 28 on the 12th, I fully agree with your sentiments regarding September being fair game for birthday celebrations. Birth months should be a thing, not just birthdays!

    p.s. I may be biased, but September really is the best month in my opinion.. just saying 😉

  • Reply Juliet September 15, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Happy Birthday Month! take advantage of it, I'm a December baby and have to share. I'm not really a commenter but I just wanted to tell you that your blog is my favorite. for reals.

  • Reply Little Gray Pixel September 15, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Happy birthday! I'm a fairly new reader, but already a faithful one. Love what you've done around here. I write over at

  • Reply Janet September 15, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    A day late, but Happy Birthday! You blog and friendship also makes ME very happy. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful year ahead. xoxo

  • Reply Jessica September 16, 2013 at 1:59 am

    September is the BEST birthday month:) Happy belated birthday!

  • Reply Lindsay September 16, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Happy birthday! I don't comment as much as I should, but I love your blog and think you are so classy. Whenever I'm at the library and can't figure out what to check out, I pull up your blog to see what you've ready lately. You haven't steered me wrong yet! 🙂

  • Reply runtspickins September 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Happy birthday! I love that shirt and those jeans! I was in Kohl's just this past weekend to look at maternity clothes. I really had to use the restroom though – drinking all this water for pregnancy and all – and the restrooms were OUT OF ORDER! I had to leave pretty quick to go somewhere else LOL


  • Reply haverlee September 17, 2013 at 1:20 am

    WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE??? Ok, that may be a tad dramatic, but seriously. I just found your blog today and I love it. I am a serious booklover too. I just wrote a blog post about how important the library is in our life. I'm going to go pour over your book lists when I have a little more time. I hope you're on! I get a little giddy to compare book lists with people.
    Also, you have a cute simple wardrobe (like me), you're a mama (and a non-nervous mama, you say? High-five.)and you love food. Done. Instant friends. I'm going to look you up on Instagram and stalk you now.

  • Reply Melinda September 17, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Happy Birthday!! We sort of know each other- through Jeannie of course. But a little more? I'm hopelessly in love with living in the Seattle area. I almost have to pinch myself every day because of my dumb luck that landed us here, of all places!!!! I'm a Seattle Sounders fan (Major League Soccer), I coach my daughter's soccer team- I'm also her Brownie leader and I'm on the PTA Executive Committee for my son's school. No, I don't have a paying job right now, but I don't let that small detail stop me from neglecting my housework! I love being outdoors, but hate gardening. I love to eat, but hate to cook. I love running, but hate sweating. I'm training for an Ironman…

  • Reply Rachel September 18, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!!

  • Reply Audrey September 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Happy belated birthday! I'm a terrible blogger these days, but my son's about to turn 2, so I'm sure I'll write something new about that pretty soon. I also have a whole stack of draft posts just waiting to be refined and published, and I swear they'll go live in the next few weeks. I'm determined. So! Check out my blog if you like, but keep in mind that new content is Coming Soon. For realsies. In the meantime, I'm much better at keeping up with Twitter (@sangrialover).

    ANYWAY, I love coming here, especially for your book reviews and recipes. Your blog has brought a lot of literary and culinary joy into my life, so thanks for that. I hope your birthday was fabulous.

  • Reply Meg {Boo Boos & Briefcases} October 15, 2013 at 2:49 am

    I found your blog (by happy accident!) on Pinterest tonight and am already obsessed!

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