Cozy up Your Reading Nook – A Book Lover’s Dream


The reading nook. Every home deserves to have one in this chaotic day and age. When the day is done and the stress of the outside world starts to slowly dissipate into the unknown, the last thing we want to do is to try to relax by once again staring at a smartphone screen or watching TV. Instead, you need to rest properly on an emotional, physical, and psychological level.


A good book can help you achieve this and so much more. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon just for you, or a quick reading session before you turn in for the night, letting yourself go to the comfort and serenity of a romantic reading nook with a book in hand can be a truly restorative experience. Here is how to create such a setting in your own home.



Start with the lighting


Aside from mere illumination, lighting in interior design is used to set the mood in the room, accentuate certain features, and help the right kind of vibes imbue the space with that romantic homey vibe. When it comes to designing the perfect reading nook, lighting will play a vital role.


You could just read under the base overhead light that’s already in the room, but that would be a terrible waste of your riding nook’s aesthetic potential. Instead, turn off the chandelier and introduce dedicated lighting for this area. When you’re reading in the daytime, natural light should gracefully fall onto the seating area without making it too hot and without producing a glare from the windows and the surrounding decor, so be sure to balance the light beams with beautiful curtains or natural blinds on the windows.


The setting area is your focal point


Of course, the main spot in the reading nook is the seating area, and this can be anything from a cozy armchair with an ottoman, or even an entire couch other family members can enjoy with you. No matter the arrangement, this piece of furniture should be designed for maximum comfort – meaning that it should not only be fluffy, but supportive as well.


Choose sturdy leather upholstery for skeletal support, and then accentuate with throw pillows and cozy blankets later on. Complete the seating area with a wooden side table where you can lay down your book and other reading necessities.


Cozy up the setting with layered rugs


They are key to creating a reading nook of ultimate coziness (go ahead and write that in stencil on the wall behind it), lies in leaving no surface uncovered, especially the floors. There is a distinct difference between a reading nook with bare hardwood flooring, and one that enjoys the cozy vibe emanating from the fluffiness of the surrounding carpets.


With that in mind, consider positioning your armchair and ottoman on a soft Moroccan, and then layer strategically by putting accent round rugs right beneath your feet to create a cozy landing spot. It’s little accents like these that will make a beautiful, romantic reading nook come to life.




Surround yourself with books


Whether or not you will be able to truly surround yourself with books will depend on the amount of space you’re working with – sometimes, a reading nook is just a chair, a free standing lamp, and a corner. Nevertheless, there is always a way to strengthen that “intimate oasis” feel.


For instance, you can mount floating shelves on the walls next to you and put the books on your reading list on them so that you always have a good read close at hand. If you have plenty of space, on the other hand, then go ahead and position your seating arrangement right next to a grand bookshelf.



Don’t forget about pillows and throws


Now is the time to add the finishing touches to your romantic reading nook. Your lighting scheme is spot-on, the upholstery is not too soft or to rigid, the floors are radiating coziness, now you only have to add pillows and blankets to the mix.


This might seem like a simple task, but bear in mind that these additions can easily clutter up the look, so be frugal in your approach and only add the pieces that will enrich the reading nook in aesthetics and comfort. This can be a single chunky-knit blanket complemented by two accent pillows – one to support your lower back, and one to support good head posture.


The reading nook doesn’t get the praise and recognition it deserves in the modern household, and it’s time we brought this amazing restorative piece back into our daily lives. With these tips in mind, you will have no problem creating a romantic reading nook the entire family will love.





Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”




Finding My Way Home Through Writing

Woman hands drawing or writing with ink pen in open notebook on white wooden table. Bird eye view.


When I was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, New York, my father used to take me to Prospect Park all the time. Each time we’d go, I would sit under the same big oak tree and wonder what my life as a grown-up would be like. My parents were very socially conscious and civil rights activists. They were educated, cultured, and interesting people. They exposed me to all things cultural: art, music, and literature. My father bought me a deck of Authors Cards and I had to memorize each author’s name and recite some of their works, eg. Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems: Foreign LandsMy Ship and IMy Shadow, all from A Child’s Garden of Verses. These assignments were part of my “homeschooling” and these lessons have stayed with me and probably added to my already active imagination, as I imagined my life in the future.

Early on I fancied myself a writer. I would sit at my desk, that my father had built, and type on my little typewriter. I was never really typing anything of note, but I felt like a “girl of letters.” As I tapped away at the keyboard, I wrote stories about people, places and things. I wrote poems and some were published in what was known as the School Bank News, which was a hometown newspaper published by our neighborhood bank. These were short poems about spring, the weather, the seasons, rainy and sunny days. I would watch programs on our  TV about female writers and imagined myself living in the “City” writing, meeting a wonderful man, getting married and living happily ever after….. well, you know, I lived in my little head a lot.

As I got older, I still had a very vivid and keen imagination. I was now writing short stories in my English classes. This all against the backdrop of a burgeoning civil rights movement, with events daily unfolding on our one TV. The Montgomery bus boycott, the emergence of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, the KKK, Birmingham bombings, lynchings, water hoses. All of these events would soon affect my writing. What I wrote began to change from soft musings of my future life to thoughts about the changing times. Soon the authors I would be reading included Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Dorothy West, and Mary McCarthy, a mixture of black and female authors, that helped to enrich and form my thoughts about life and the way I viewed the world. We would suffer many losses in the 60’s. I didn’t really understand what was going on. I was young and at the beginning of everything.

As the 70’s approached, I began to lose my uncles right into the 80’s and 90’s. These were all sad events in my life. I lost my grandmother in the early 80’s and my godfather, too, both while my parents were serving in the Peace Corps. These last two losses I considered to be the greatest at that time as they were the two people I was closest to, especially my Nana, who seemed omnipresent. I would mourn her quietly for many years.

When my father passed away in 2005, my life stood still. I had been daddy’s little girl and he was the one who inspired me to write and write and write. His mother, my grandmother, had been a schoolteacher and she was a published author in her little town of Lowmoor, Virginia. My favorite aunts, Anice and Ailleen, as well as my father, often mentioned how I reminded them of her. After his death, a light in me went out. I would mourn him sorely and quietly up until the day that my husband became ill in December 2007. I’d built up a lot of hurts inside keeping everything in, but the pain from the loss of my dad and others became a “backdrop” pain that never really went away.

So it seems fitting that after the death of my husband Chuck, I would eventually put pen to paper and express my feelings of enduring loss, sorrow and the rebuilding of my life. Only this time, after having lived a full and rich life, I could now share my experiences, advice, and wisdom with others.

When I look at the trajectory of my life and the road that I’ve traveled, full of losses, pain, and quiet grieving, I can see how I’ve arrived at this place. Now that I’ve felt the pain and endured the suffering, I feel free.

This is the road that has led me home.


Yvonne Broady, She is Fierce! Contributor

Yvonne Broady

Yvonne Broady was raised in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BA in Art Education from C.C.N.Y and an MA in Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. After graduation she taught elementary school, was an arts liaison, produced and directed children’s musicals and simultaneously designed jewelry that was sold in various boutiques and department stores across the Northeast. Yvonne also wrote freelance reviews for local papers on fashion, style and New York City restaurants. Her love of people and style led her to produce several cable TV shows. New York Highlights, which aired from 1984 to 1991 was a talk show covering a variety of topics including financial management, male-female relationships, mother daughter relationships, entrepreneurs, spirituality and other themes from a mostly African-American perspective. The second show was The Way We Live. On this show she explored the interior design and lifestyles of people in and around the Tri State Metropolitan area.

After having lost her husband to pancreatic cancer in 2009, and finding herself faced with trying to rebuild her life as she dealt with excruciating pain and grief, Yvonne decided to write a book sharing her experience. Brave in a New World is a story of love lost, grief and recovery. This book offers a guide to those who are experiencing grief and pain after loss. It also explains the variety and complexity of feelings one has when they are mourning. Yvonne Broady shares her journey through the grief experience and how she gradually learned to recreate a new life of her own.

Yvonne Broady has one adult son and resides in New York City.

Connect with Yvonne…, Facebook, Twitter

How I Became An Indie Author

How I Became an Indie Author


After deciding that I wanted to self- publish my own book, it was time to get down to brass tacks. I was very excited to start on my new journey but I had a lot of decisions to make!


Ebook or Print or Both?

After some debate, I decided to do both. On one hand, I am still a tradtionalist who loves to hold a book in my hands. But on the other hand, I love having my Nook with me at work or the car dealership or the doctor’s office. I wanted to give my readers options. If they wanted to hold a book in their hands, they could. If they wanted to read on the run, they could do that too. I did not want to limit anyone.


Which E-book platform to publish with?

For me, Smashwords was the best option. For one, it was the platform recommended on the national segment which validated it for me. Two, I liked the various outlets they distribute your book to. (Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc.) Three, I liked that you could get a free ISBN through them.  I also liked that I could set up a profile and that each of my books would have it’s own page on the site.


Which Print platform to publish with?

There are various print-on-demand platforms out there-Lulu, Bookbaby, Vook Books, etc.I decided to go with Createspace. I had read about it in a magazine article also. I liked that they were hooked up with Amazon, one of the largest online stores on the planet. They lined out, step-by-step, the process of putting your book together. You could obtain a free ISBN from them also. (Print and e-books have separate ISBN’s.) But most of all, I was intrigued by their distribution channels. You could opt to have your book distributed not only to Amazon in the US but also in other countries and also to libraries and schools.



Smashwords has a formatting guide for those who want to go it alone. For those of us who are too terrified of this process, I found my formatter on a list compiled by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker. We have worked on three books together so far. I am currently writing my first novel and am looking forward to working with her again. She is prompt, courteous and has a quick turnaround. Formatting is taking your written content and preparing different files to upload to different platforms. (For example, Smashwords accepts .epub files while Createspace accepts .pdf files.) She handles all of this. Her name is Maureen Cutajar and her web site is



I recently hired illustrator Jeanine Henning ( to draw the scenes for my first children’s book and I am very, very pleased with how they came out.


Book Covers

You can find various cover artists on’sList.  I chose to go with They have an amazing selection of book covers to choose from in several different categories. The prices are fantastic, average low end pricing is $69 all the way up to $100 plus. But the quality you get is amazing. Once you buy a cover, it is removed from the web site and will never be sold again. And they have awesome customer service, Rob is very helpful and friendly. I have bought four covers from them so far. They are a fabulous resource.

As you can see, there are many things to think about to get the process done. It may seem daunting at first, but the end result is amazing. I can still remember the surreal feeling I had when I uploaded my first e-book to Smashwords. Within a few minutes, I was officially a published author. It was the best feeling in the world. I encourage you to join me on this journey and happy publishing.


Carrie Lowrance, She is Fierce! Contributor

Carrie Lowrance

Carrie Lowrance is a freelance writer for hire and author. Since childhood she has dreamed of becoming a published writer. This year she finally made it happen by self-publishing two books of poetry, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise and The Safety Of Objects. She will also publish her first children’s book, Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green) this year. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, baking, and reading. She shares her life with her husband, a one-eyed cat named Colin and a rabbit named Abbey who thinks she is a diva. You can contact Carrie via her author site or her freelance site, She is also on Facebook.

What Would I Regret Not Doing In My Lifetime?

For 23 years I had been a successful Vancouver based attorney, but that all changed three years ago when I found myself barely able to get out of bed in the morning. Doctors ran tests and were puzzled, concluding that I had some sort of virus, short hand for, “we have no idea.” What was clear, as someone who was an endurance runner, running several half and full marathons, I was now stopped dead in my tracks. I decided I had to change my life and so I walked away from my six-figure salary in order to regain my health and forge a new career. I became an entrepreneur focused on helping others live a life of no regrets. Starting my own business, The Peloton Group Coaching Inc., changed my life forever.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be pressing the reset button on my life at the age of 50, but that’s what I did. I now help other people find their own reset buttons. As a Whole Person Certified Coach, who understands the work/life challenges that many face, I learned the tools that enable people to bring their work and their life outside of work into harmony. My business has flourished in helping people learn how to overcome obstacles, negative self-talk and re-shape their limiting beliefs. In helping clients stretch past their limits, together we lay the foundation for achieving their goals.

In stretching myself, I recently became a new author, launching my first book, The Eighty-Year Rule, a guidebook for anyone wanting to create a new life from where they are today. The Eighty-Year Rule is based on the premise that on looking back on your life from the vantage of 80 years old, and having achieved a satisfying and well-lived life, you know you’ve lived a life of few or no regrets. In telling my own story, I hope to encourage others to be the hero of their own story.


My 6 tips on how to live the Eighty-Year Rule:


1. Take stock, what would you regret not doing in your lifetime?


2. Start where you are by writing down the goal you would like to accomplish.


3. Ask, what is the one thing I can do to accomplish my goal?


4. Put together a step-by-step action plan knowing what’s important to you.


5. Take that first step toward accomplishing your goal.


6. Identify if you’re encountering any obstacles and look to re-vamp your plan to get you over any speed bumps, move forward and believe in yourself.


After moving into a new life as a successful entrepreneur, and having faced the ups and downs, I can say that following your goals and dreams and living boldly is the best way to live a life of no regrets. Becoming an entrepreneur, as I did at the age of 50, I am happy to say, I am living the dream!



Claire YeungLife coach, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, and author, Claire Yeung knows a thing or two about life’s challenges, achieving her dreams, and living a holistic, harmonious life. A health crisis in 2012 made Claire realize that practicing law was not her life’s purpose. At the age of 50, she walked away from her 23-year career as a lawyer to become a life coach. Claire draws upon her experience as a lawyer and an endurance athlete to help her clients to overcome obstacles, negative self-talk, and self-limiting beliefs so that they can achieve their most brilliant selves and live their fullest, boldest, richest lives. Claire’s recently published book, The Eighty-Year Rule poses the question, ”What would you regret not doing in your lifetime?” and then provides readers with the tools they need to transform their lives.

Claire holds an Associate Certified Coach designation (International Coach Federation), a Whole Person Certified Coach designation (Coach Training World), a Juris Doctor (University of British Columbia), and a Bachelor of Commerce (University of British Columbia). In additional to running her own coaching business, The Peloton Group Coaching Inc., Claire is a sessional instructor in the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

When not coaching or teaching, Claire can be found running, cycling, kayaking or enjoying a glass of wine in North Vancouver, BC.

To find Claire online: | Facebook|Email:

Twitter: @clairemyeung | Hashtag: #80YearRule | Video


8 Books That Will Change Your Life

The beginning of every year is a natural time to start thinking about the hopes and dreams you have for your future.  This is not about resolutions, which are often tossed out before the last of the holiday cookies, but planning and achieving goals that will help you move forward in the direction of your dreams.  One of the best ways I’ve found to be inspired and informed is through books. Here is my round-up of the most thoughtful, helpful, motivational and inspiring books I’ve read or reread recently.  If you are or want to be a high achiever, these books can help set you on a positive path forward.



Playing Big - Tara Mohr


This book is a great guide for women, who often hide their brilliance behind self-doubt, perfectionism, fear, and other habits that hold them back. Mohr empowers women to use their inner wisdom and be confident in their knowledge and experience. If you want to live a larger, more confident life and move forward with your aspirations, this book will be your mentor.  Mohr will encourage you to own your brilliance and let your life shine.


Essentialism - Greg McKeown

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

If you are caught in the trap of working harder and harder, trying to get everything done and craving balance in your world, this book will speak to you. McKeown makes a case for getting off the hamster wheel and filtering life’s options to select only the best.  Once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, and choose only the best and most important things, you can make your highest contribution towards things that really matter. McKeon reminds us that if we don’t prioritize our lives someone else will. Changing our frame of reference towards only the essential will guide us to a life of impact and fulfillment.


The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins

We all want to know that our time on earth means something. We want to enjoy our lives, feel peaceful about our actions and choices and contribute something of value to the world.  Goins will help you identify and understand your calling so you can avoid going through the motions- working to earn a paycheck and living for the day we can retire.  He contends that your life, when well-lived becomes your calling, and ultimately, your magnum opus.


Coach Yourself to Success, Revised and Updated Edition: 101 Tips from a Personal Coach for Reaching Your Goals at Work and in Life by Talane Miedaner

If you have always wanted to have a personal life coach, but couldn’t afford to spend the money, here is your answer. Miedaner offers many suggestions for ways to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be.  Some suggestions are common sense (Stop Shuffling and Start Organizing, Pay Off Your Debts) but others are less obvious and more empowering (Design Your Ideal Life, Raise Your Standards).  If you are just starting down the path to self-improvement, this is a good choice.


One Big Thing - Phil Cooke

One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do by Phil Cooke

What are you doing well, and not so well? What excites you and what doesn’t? What reflects your genius, calling, and expertise and what doesn’t? What makes you different? The answer to these questions is the key to your success.  If you learn to identify and focus your one big thing, you can standout, communicate your ideas and find success.  This is a short, easy to read book with many inspirational quotes and stories.


The Best Year of Your Life by Debbie Ford

This is a classic self-help book and one of my favorites. Imagine yourself a year from now, feeling that you are on top of your game. What would that look like? What qualities would you need to develop in order to achieve this vision? Ford focuses on behaviors, habits and choices that help you to become the person you hope to be.  I love Ford’s question, ” At the end of the day our life is in our hands. What will you do with yours?”


Living Your Best Life


Living Your Best Life by Laura Berman Fortgang

This is an older book, but it is still wise and relevant today. Berman helps you discover what you really want in life and then offers practical, exercises, check-lists, and concrete actions to help you give yourself what you want. Fortgang operates from the premise that deep down, you already know what needs to change in your life, this book helps you to do the work.


Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J.  Palmer

Parker Palmer is among the wisest people I have ever met. This is not a loud or flashy book filled with actionable to-do items for how to lead a better life. Instead, it is a quiet, reflective conversation as Palmer shares his own stories as examples of how examining your life can to lead you to follow your natural talents and limitations.  If you are willing to do some soul-searching, Palmer can guide you to find meaning and understand your own life.

I hope you find this list useful and helpful in inspiring you to meet your goals this year.

What other books have you found to be helpful as you create your ideal life? I would love to hear about them in the comments.



Michele Meier Vosberg, She is Fierce! Contributor

Michele Meier Vosberg

Michele Meier Vosberg, Ph.D. is an educator, freelance writer and speaker. She is redesigning her life to live more simply, happily and well, and working to help others do the same. She lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin and blogs at

Find Michele on Twitter @liferedesign101 |  Facebook | Instagram