What’s Making Me Happy: September 2017

I love September. Firstly, it’s my birthday month. πŸ™‚ But secondly, September is a gorgeous time of year in Massachusetts. Maybe that explains why this month was a balance of indoor activities (the new WIP, reorganization / decluttering projects) and outdoor fun. There were a couple lows (ongoing anxiety, plus a dishwasher leak), but in short September was joyful and productive, with much to be thankful for.

In fact, it was such a good month, I had such a hard time narrowing down my list of joys for this Happy post. But that’s not such a bad thing, right? In the end, I settled on five that best represent the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences that made my heart sing. And as always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments!

My birthday book haul from the Market Street Bookshop. Have you read any of these?

September 5th Was My Birthday

I celebrated my birthday by taking the day off from my day job and doing what I love most. So, I had my favorite breakfast (asiago cheese bagel from Panera Bread) and spent most of the morning working on my WIP. In the afternoon, I ran errands and (since it was hot and humid) enjoyed a late lunch of ice cream. (Peach ice cream mixed with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries at Coldstone Creamery, if you’re curious. Yum!) I also learned that Doctor Friend (the friend whose wedding I was in a year ago) is expecting her first baby! So overall it was a happy, productive, and rewarding day.

The best part of this year’s birthday, though? It came right after Labor Day, so I made a long holiday weekend even longer. Speaking of which…

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I Spent Labor Day Weekend on Cape Cod with My Family

September really is the ideal month to visit Cape Cod. Towns, beaches, and other attractions become less crowded; and though the weather is cooling down, it’s still warm and pleasant enough to spend time outside. So I was thrilled that the holiday weekend coincided with a trip to visit my family, and I was happy with how it turned out.

Here’s what we did over the Labor Day weekend. I took a heapful of photos, too, so you’ll see some of them in the slideshow above.

  • Friday: After driving down in the morning, I spent the afternoon with my parents atΒ Scargo Tower, a cobblestone observatory tower in Dennis, and Grays Beach, a beach / salt marsh in Yarmouth with a long boardwalk with spectacular views, especially at low tide.
  • Saturday: Unfortunately the whale watch we’d hoped to do sold out. So we opted for a cruise of nearby Bass River instead, and I really enjoyed it! The 90-minute tour took us downstream to Nantucket Sound and the Dennis Fingers; and we learned a lot about the history of the beautiful homes along the river, their residents, local beaches and wildlife, and boating. We also celebrated my birthday that night with gifts and a homemade chocolate cake.
  • Sunday:Β Thought it was rainy, I drove over to Market Street Bookshop at Mashpee Commons and bought – what else? – more books. (I’d gotten a gift certificate for my birthday, so how I could not? *wink*) This indie bookseller is small but well-stocked on every genre imaginable (including science fiction and fantasy). So if you’re ever in Mashpee, I recommend Market Street Bookshop wholeheartedly.

Me throwing a fake chest of tea into the Charles River during the Boston Tea Party Museum tour. Photo taken by Elise Holland.

I Met Up with DIY MFA Colleague Elise Holland for a Day in Boston

Elise and I had already met at Writer’s Digest Conference back in August, where we shared a hotel room. We enjoyed our time together so much that when she said that she and her husband (who live near Houston, Texas) would be in Massachusetts during the first week of September, I promptly marked it on my calendar. So on the Saturday after Labor Day, I took the train into Boston and spent the day with Elise while her husband attended a conference for work.

First, we went on a tour at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.Β And it’s no ordinary museum. Rather, it’s a lively, engaging series of interactive exhibits and re-enactments where visitors learn and experience what led up to the Boston Tea Party and how it eventually ignited the Revolutionary War. Then we had lunch at Abigail’s Tea Room (also at the Tea Party Museum) and tasted samples of the five Chinese teas that were destroyed during the event in 1773. (Fresh samples, I mean – not the 240+ year old ones in the Charles River!)

After that, I showed Elise around the Faneuil Hall area of Boston, including Quincy Market (a.k.a. Faneuil Hall Marketplace), Boston Public Market, and parts of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. We had so much fun between all the sights, sounds (including some surprise street musicians!), smells, and tastes – and having gorgeous weather helped, too! Even better, it was great to spend more time with one of my DIY MFA colleagues outside of a literary conference.

I’m Listening to For All We Know’s New AlbumΒ Take Me Home

If you’re familiar with symphonic rockers Within Temptation, then you might recognize Ruud Jolie. He’s one of WT’s guitarists, and the mastermind behind the progressive rock project For All We Know. And thanks to a very successful IndieGoGo campaign earlier this year (to which I was more than happy to donate), Ruud was able to release For All We Know’s second album Take Me HomeΒ this month. Yay!

Style-wise,Β Take Me HomeΒ is guitar-driven, melodic, and nicely balanced between the heavier and atmospheric moments. It’s also brighter and more cohesive than For All We Know’s self-titled debut album, though I do miss the darker, edgier sounds they experimented with on some of those older songs. But my favorite thing about the band’s music is still Wudstik’s voice. Gosh is he good, no matter if he’s belting it out or floating on his sweet falsetto.

Check out the above YouTube trailer for Take Me Home to get a taste of For All We Know’s music.Β If you like what you hear, I highly recommend the songs “Take Me Home,” “The Big Wheel,” “Colours,” and “We Are The Light,” which features Anneke van Giersbergen, one of the Netherlands’ most well-known rock singers.

I’ve Been Sipping Be You Teaful White Tea from For Tea’s Sake

Photo courtesy of For Tea’s Sake

When Elise and I visited the Boston Tea Party Museum’s gift shop, guess what we found LOTS of there? πŸ˜‰Β So I treated myself to two new teas, including this gentle beauty from For Tea’s Sake.

Be You Teaful (a play on the word “beautiful”) blends rosebuds and rose petals with ginger pieces and white tea for a delicate, soothing cup. I wasn’t sure how well the ginger and rose flavors would complement each other, but they actually don’t clash too much.Β In fact, the ginger is an undercurrent to the more dominant rose.Β Plus, look at the photo! Isn’t it pretty? πŸ™‚

You can check out Be You Teaful at For Tea’s SakeΒ here. It comes in 0.7-ounce tins as well as taller 1.6-ounce tins.

What were some of the things that made you happy in September? Have you gotten any new books, music, or tea lately? Traveled anywhere special? What are some of your favorite tours or museums, either in / near your hometown or elsewhere?

29 thoughts on “What’s Making Me Happy: September 2017

    • Yes! I noticed that yesterday when I was reading over your playlist for The Mayor. πŸ˜‰ For All We Know has a much different sound than Within Temptation, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re curious to hear what Ruud’s solo songs sound like.


  1. Happy birthday, Sara! I’ve always wanted to go to Boston, it sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Can you believe my daughter’s been there and I haven’t? πŸ˜‚ I hope October is just as great a month for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tammy! πŸ™‚

      Boston is a fantastic place to visit. That might sound a little biased, coming from me, but there’s so much to do there in terms of attractions, museums, and other events. Plus, the city has kept many of its historical buildings and churches, so seeing them mixed in with the more modern skyscrapers and architecture is really a treat.

      I hope you have a wonderful October, too!


  2. Belated happy birthday! I wish fall here was anything like fall there. It does this miserable sweater weather in the morning with gray skies and drizzling rain, and then the afternoon might be so hot that you are ready to burst into flames. Last year we had a beautiful fall, and I thought, “Whoa, I’ve never appreciated how beautiful fall is, this could be a season I actually love instead of hate for being the precursor to winter.” I always thought fall was a cute way of saying the beginning of winter. This year, however, fall is what it typically is here and I hate it. I now remember why fall has always been one of my least favorite seasons. Seriously, we have like nine months of winter here. A week of spring. A few months of summer, and then winter. Oh how quickly this post spiraled into an “I hate winter” rant. Sorry about that. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I won’t be too far behind you on the “I hate winter” rant, Mandie. Once the nighttime temps really drop, then I start counting down the days until spring. And desperately hoping that we won’t get much snow, too. But that never quite pans out. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Belated Birthday! I love Blackbird House! And you might like that it’s set on the Cape. I’m looking forward to Hoffman’s new book coming out in a couple of weeks, The Rules of Magic. I have some family in Massachusetts, so I wind up there occasionally, and I also like the bookstore and restaurant in Wellfleet. (Restaurant upstairs, used bookstore downstairs.) Oh! And I’ve been meaning to tell you that I really enjoyed This Savage Song, which I won in one of your giveaways. I read it at the gym and it was so engaging that I wound up working out WAY longer than I meant to (win win!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Amanda! πŸ™‚

      Funny you mentioned Alice Hoffman. I realized earlier this week that one of my best friends IRL is a huge fan of Alice’s work. So depending on how it goes with Blackbird House, I might be borrowing some of her books in the future. And yes, I noticed that Blackbird House takes place on Cape Cod. πŸ˜€

      What’s the name of the bookstore in Wellfleet? I haven’t been out that far yet on the Cape, but if I am, I’d definitely check it out.

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed This Savage Song! I also had a hard time putting that one down. Have you read its sequel Our Dark Duet yet?


    • I bet sunsets (and sunrises, too) at Grays would be spectacular! πŸ™‚ And the day we were there, there was still enough water under the boardwalk deck at low tide that two kids were catching crabs with their grandparents. I’d never seen it before, so it was interesting to watch them. They tied raw chicken wings to the nets to the nets to attract the crabs – and it worked!


  4. *Waves hand * Hi.
    Not only have I fallen disastrously behind on your blog but I missed your birthday too?!

    Happy Belated Birthday, Sara! Hope this is an amazing year for you ❀

    I'm glad September had more highs than lows for you. Your Labour Day weekend sounds perfect. It's finally feels like Autumn here and I'm trying to embrace every moment of it, going for walks outside every morning, eating pumpkin spice muffins, going to start reading some spooky books.

    Coming back reminds me how much I've missed your beautiful blog posts πŸ™‚

    Hope October is an amazing month for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I accept birthday wishes year-round, Faith. So please don’t feel bad. πŸ™‚ And thank you!

      This part of autumn (when it’s still warm) is the only part of it weather-wise that I like. *lol* I’m not keen on the cold, frost, or anything that means winter is on its way. But I do like pumpkin (pie, scones, cake) and apples (cider, pies, or by themselves), so I’m happy to see they’re back in season.


  5. What a lovely month you’ve had Sara:). I love your photo tour – what a lovely part of the world. No wonder your parents moved there… I love your birthday haul of books, too. I have read ‘The House of Spirits’ it’s an interesting book – magical realism, I believe it is… I look forward to hearing what you make of it. I hope that October is also a wonderful month for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah. πŸ™‚ And I agree, my parents are very lucky to live there. We spent so many vacations there when I was little, and I’m sure that’s fueled that aspiration to retire there – and what sparked my love for the Cape, too. And now that they live there, I’ve had the chance to explore parts of the Cape I hadn’t seen before – and find more reasons to love it. πŸ™‚

      Yes, “The House of the Spirits” is magical realism. And that’s why I want to read it, apart from the fact that I’ve heard amazing things about Isabel Allende’s work. πŸ™‚

      Best wishes for a lovely October for you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Writing Links…10/2/17 – Where Genres Collide

    • Thanks, Mei-Mei! Yes, I did.

      Aren’t asiago cheese bagels delicious? I remember when I still lived with my parents, and when I’d toast one for breakfast, my dad would call them “smelly bagels.” *lol* He couldn’t stand the smell of the cheese!


  7. Happy belated birthday! I’m glad you had fun and that ice cream and tea sounds delicious! πŸ˜€ That’s so cool that you got to through fake tea off of the ship. ^ ^ I didn’t even know you could do that. XD


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tori! πŸ™‚

      Well… maybe “fake tea” wasn’t the right term to use there. *lol* They’re basically boxes covered in canvas to resemble the East India teaboxes that were thrown overboard. I don’t think anything was actually inside them… though the one I picked up was heavier than I’d expected!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy belated birthday!
    I see that we have similar rituals for the birthday day: I used to take a day off as well (back when I had a day job), sleep in, write, and do whatever I wanted to do. When I was younger, I used to skip university classes on that day, so it’s a loooong tradition for me. πŸ˜‰
    It’s great that you enjoyed your “offline” time with your family, meeting friends, and sight-seeing. I hope that my comment will remind you of all those September happenings and put a smile on your face. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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