I use Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker because I’m a lawyer…you know we follow the rules, and copying isn’t cool. It doesn’t hurt the checker also helps me with my abuse of commas and dangling prepositions.
It isn’t a secret that I love reading, the holidays and gift giving. Much like Joey-loves-Rachel’s-Trifle (What’s not to love?) I figured I’d mash them all together into a little holiday gift giving guide for everyone on your list (or yourself).
For the Reader
So your friend likes to read and you want to give them something they’d enjoy – and you don’t want them to think your tastes are pedestrian. Wrap up one (or two) of these and rest assured they’ll be thrilled:
This book won the Pulitizer for fiction and you guys, it is just a fascinating tale. It is well written, compelling and makes you want to find out what happens next. The book is divided into two distinct parts, and when the first one ended I was so sad- how could anything top that? Luckily I kept going and I discovered the second half, while totally different, was worth my continued perserverance.
The first of a trilogy (the hottest new thing in literature, amirite?) this book reminds me Stephen King in the The Stand and some of his earlier writing. A little gory, suspenseful, long passages that keep you interested despite the extra words. A well written tale that leaves you wondering what will happen next- and ordering the second book despite the length of the first.
Love history? Love sweeping sagas, historical fiction, well written tales of love, adventure, war, heartbreak and more? Yeah, you’ll like this. Scratch that, you will love it. Ken Follett (author of the wildly popular Pillars of the Earth) began this novel as World War I was kicking off. It is the first of a trilogy (drink!) this book will leave you sad that the third book isn’t released yet.
For the Chef
Everyone has the friend who loves to cook or bake and if you would like to continue to be on the receiving end of delicious food, look no further:
Ah, Smitten Kitchen. She writes an awesome blog and her cookbook is divine. It has become a go-to for me when I’m preparing dinner for two or having company over for dinner. The mustard milanese is the stuff of dreams.
This is for the baker in your life. Your homemade pizza is about to become legendary. The photography in this book is gorgeous, the recipes are mouth watering. My boss gave this to me last year for Christmas and it was the best work gift I’ve ever gotten.
For the Parents
Maybe your friend is about to become a parent, or you have a cute kid in your life that you want to send a holiday package. These books are cute for kids, fun for adults.
This awesome box of books contains a family favorite, “But Not the Hippopotamus” and other fun reads. Boynton’s books are cute, funny and short. Kids like how they sound, parents like that they don’t take a year to read.
This boxes set of books (written by a local Chicago author) are amazing. Little Hoot (an owl who just wants to go to bed!), Little Pea (he just wants some veggies for dessert!) and Little Oink (why does he have to be so messy?) all want to be like their friends…but their mean parents are forcing messy rooms, late bedtimes and candy for dinner on them. Sure to bring a smile to your face, and the artwork is adorable.
I have partnered with Grammarly to help promote their new plagiarism checker. I was compensated for my writing and have been enjoying a free trial of their premium software. My opinions have been and always will be entirely my own and I am not paid to publish positive comments. Anything that can help me polish up my writing skills is going to be something I endorse!
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Thus far this week has been just terrible. I hate to use my blog to complain but this week was the kind that you want to scrub out with a big fat pencil eraser until there is a hole in the paper. Remove all memory of these days. Forget that all these things happened, mostly small, but oh so many, that pile up and turn every day into one where even going to bed doesn’t change your outlook on the day ahead.
Big picture: everyone is happy and healthy and doing ok. B and I are fine, Gracie is doing well.
But I’m exhausted. I have no goodwill or merriment in me. I even contemplated listening to Christmas music to help myself out, and I’m a firm Turkeys Before Trees kind of girl.
I’ve mentioned that I now take public transportation to and from work on the days I go into the office. It is a finely orchastrated schedule of affairs. In the morning I walk to a bus to a commuter train to a shuttle to my office. On the way home I catch a suburbuan bus that I take a very long way to the top of the El (our subway system) and I take two different lines to get back to a stop near my house and then I walk. On Monday, after a long day in the office, I stood in my usual vestibule to await the bus. As I saw it pulling up I went to walk out as I always do. But the doors were locked. I’ve worked in my office building for years and being locked in has never been a problem. The time it took me to jiggle the doors, look around wildly, fish out my key card, determine that a tiny strip of new metal on the door frame might be an interior key card reader, and get out to the sidwalk….the bus was pulling out of the parking lot. I’d missed my orchastrated ride home. It was an ominous start to the week, that was for sure.
On Tuesday I worked from home but Gracie goes to the other family in the nanny share’s house. I left my house a few minutes late to pick her up, jogged to the El station only to discover…I’d left my wallet at home.
And on and on on my week went, just like this.
I have nothing insightful to say about any of it all, other than to hope that I’m on an upswing. That I don’t forget anything important next week or burn the turkey or break a plate. I’m hoping this week was just a blip in the radar. And if not….well I’m sorry you couldn’t find any chocolate at the grocery store. I seem to have eaten it all.
Thing Number One: Pretty Wreaths!
I’ve documented my love for holiday decorating more than a few times over here. One thing I love is wreaths (big statement, no table space required) and a sorority sister of mine, Jamie, has started her own Etsy store selling wreaths made with the ever popular decorators mesh and burlap. I have tried working with both (results: less than spectacular) and found it to be pretty difficult. That just tells me Jamie is really talented.
She hasn’t asked me to post this, or given me anything for free, but I wanted to pass these along because I think they are awesome. If holiday decorations and independent sellers are your thing, well, match made in heaven!
Thing Number Two: GoldieBlox (Part Deaux)
Last year, before I knew I was having a baby girl, I wrote an article for the Curvy Girl Guide on GoldieBlox and its kickstarter. Fast forward 11 months- GoldieBlox got its funding, is sold in stores and is now competing for a chance to have its awesome ad air in the Superbowl:
Awesome, right? You can vote for it here.
I’ve seen some criticism of GoldieBlox- girlifying something to make it appealing, countering the pink aisle with another pink toy…but I think if you dig a little deeper you’ll see at its core, the toys are made to be appealing to girls and boys. It is a combination of reading and STEM subjects, the stories include male characters, and for all the pink parts, there are blue and green parts too. The toy is aimed at combating a girl-specific issue (the lack of women becoming engineers) so if the ratio of pink to blue isn’t 50-50, well that is something I’m willing to say “eh, no big deal” if it means another girl isn’t intimidated by math like I was. (Through no fault of my parents who tried mightily to help me overcome my math-deficeits). The reason I didn’t go to medical school? I got intimidated in chemistry, and dropped the class halfway through the semester, decided law schcool was just reading which I was good at, and what is done is done. Perhaps I’d have made that choice later, for different reasons, and maybe being a lawyer is my calling…but I will admit that the my inability to hack it in the STEM subjects is a huge “what if” in my life…..i
Blogging and social media have brought a lot of good and some bad into my life. For instance, blogging has led to the abuse and overuse of chevron, pumpkin spice, the word “Blessed”, and an odd infiltration of sponsored content into every day lives. But for all of the annoying things it has led to good things too…like better family photos. No longer do you have to sit in front of a backdrop awkwardly posing with your family- photographers and families now get out and about, taking pictures in natural settings and capturing real moments. Well, for most of us it captures real moments…photos in fields with “random” velvet couches and clusters of balloons are not really natural but you catch my drift. Blogging/social media might not be responsible for this movement out of the studio and away from awkward poses, but it has given people an easy way to share their photos, reminding all of us to capture the moment.
I’m glad that blogging has pushed me to learn take photos of my family (even if they are not professional grade), to have professional photos taken and to generally get a snapshot of where we are in life. Even if I don’t pose us on an couch in a field of flowers (no..thanks) or have artfully staged maternity photos (double no thanks) I have photos to look back on. Recently my very talented aunt was in Chicago and took some family photos for us. I’m so happy with them- I can’t wait to have a few framed in our house. You know, on my gallery wall. Thanks blogging!
And I know…Gracie’s hat is a bit too big. That is what I get for ordering things without measuring her tiny little noggin.