There is no better time than now to lose yourself in an epic romantic saga. Isabel Allende’s new book, A Long Petal of the Sea, tells the story of two refugees fleeing Franco’s Fascists. The pair flee first to France and then to South America, specifically Chile which later erupts into its own civil war. Against a meticulously researched and beautifully realized historical backdrop, two resilient souls do more than survive, they hope and strive and love. Read more
After reading Blythe Roberson’s book How to Date Men When You Hate Men, I did two things. I looked up who most of the people she talked about are because I am 47 and couldn’t pick Harry Styles out of a police line up. There are some very handsome young men out there, so thanks for that Ms. Roberson. After my online leering session, I wrote this post. I think a better title for this book would have been Smooching the Enemy but that is just me. The book wasn’t really much of a how to deal with the tension of being attracted to the very people who have been in opposition to you since pretty much the day you were born, as a series of stories about what a shitshow being young is. Which it totally is. Read more
Christmas shopping can be fun. But sometimes it is a desperate, long, lonely slog through crowded stores full of items you can’t imagine anyone wanting. We are here to help with a list of 55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas, with Helpful Categories.
Our categories include: Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them, books for people you want to annoy, books for people you want to impress, annoying toys for kids of parents you can’t stand, necessities for outdoorsy people, necessities for indoorsy people, supplies for glamorous tweens and teens, picture books for kids, toys for kids of parents you like.
Let the Shopping Begin! Amazon said I had to put this where you could see it and that seems totally fair. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them
Japanese Origami for Beginners Kit: 20 Classic Origami Models: Kit with 96-page Origami Book, 72 High-Quality Origami Papers and Instructional DVD. Includes a DVD? Awesome. And if you no longer have a DVD player, use the DVD as a coaster. Or frisbee.
Books for people you want to annoy
Books for people you want to impress
Kindred by Octavia Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. This is the novel you have been looking for, waiting for.
We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is the book everyone did not know they needed. Buy a copy for everyone you love and become the person everyone comes to for author recommendations.
Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives
Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!
Picture books for kids
Beast has been robbed! And so has the whole village. Without tools the villagers can’t put on their legendary Winter Party, so Beast sets off to solve the mystery. Discovering that a stranded Snow Beast is behind the robbery, Beast has to decide whether to help this odd-looking stranger.
Wilma’s parents don’t know quite what to do when their daughter wakes up green and requests bugs for breakfast. At school, Wilma’s teachers are appalled by her unusually colorful antics. Wherever Wilma goes, surprises await her and readers of this irresistibly funny fable. Absurd and action-packed.
Once upon a time there was a Princess . . . who made a pit stop. While the Birds and Beasts changed her tires, her Fairy Godmother told her she was in last place! With just one lap left! She might as well give up! Give up? Not THIS princess! Instead, she hits the gas!
Have you seen Oliver K. Woodman? You’d know if you had–he’s made of wood. And he’s on a spectacular cross-country journey. Folks of all sorts guide Oliver along the way and report back in letters and postcards to his friend Uncle Ray. After all, there’s a lot of road–and adventure!–between South Carolina and California.
A bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.
Necessities for the outdoorsy
(it occurs to me that these gifts illustrate the fact I know nothing about what people do outdoors and that I think it is incredibly dangerous, which it most certainly is)
BEAR SPRAY! Do not go into the woods without it. You know what, don’t take out the trash without it. I used to live on the side of a mountain in La Crescenta and there was a bear that used to wander around the neighborhood. He had a cute name, I can’t remember it. Porkchop? Marshmallow? Rip-You-To-Shreds-And-Eat-Your-Spleen? Something like that… Meatball! It was Meatball.
Necessities for the indoorsy
Let’s begin with the basics. A good robe. This one is unisex so the sizing might be a bit of a challenge, read the comments and answered questions and you should be fine. There are 10 colors to choose from.
crocs makes slippers, they are unisex, they are wide in the toe box which I love and yes, I am wearing a pair as I write this. 11 colors to choose from and unisex sizing. So much better than a hatchet and some bear spray, am I right?
Throw blankets are the life blood of the indoorsy. One can never have too many. This one is 20 bucks and comes in 15 colors and 2 sizes. That’s such a wide range of options, you could probably find one an outdoorsy person likes.
If you are new to the indoorsy lifestyle, you won’t have a backlog of books, magazines, movies and TV shows you are determined to consume before you die. The New York Times Book of Movies is a great place to start. And it smells better than bear spray.
This pretty teapot is only 30 dollars!
You can fuss around with a teapot if you want but if you are going solo on your indoorsy, this tea cup with a built in infuser does the trick. There are many different colors and patterns, I just liked this one. I might buy it. Also, when you run out of tea you can just put booze in it. Or water. Whatever your doctor recommends.
These noise cancelling headphones are so expensive ($349) they make my spine itch but I still really, really, really want a pair.I also want one of these! It’s a Breville Convection oven with an air fryer and it will make toast! It’s also super expensive at $350! But it does so much…
Let’s be honest, I am going to buy all of the indoorsy products, except the slippers because I already own a pair of those. Let’s move on to the kids and whether or not we like their parents.
Annoying toys for the kids of parents you can’t stand
An actual review from a horrified customer, “It’s gift able only if you don’t like the parents. The noise is awful, you can’t turn it down or off when you’re playing with it. I sent it back.” The most common complaint about this toy is that there is no way to turn the sound off or down.
I love glitter glue and my house is coated in it but I don’t care. My ex-husband once said our house looked like an embarrassing romper room. There are people who will loose their minds at the idea of glitter stuck all over their house and/or car.
These little toys get tangled in absolutely everything. It’s as if someone with a hatred of children invented a toy. I hate them. My kids hate them. You should have a wee bit of a grudge against the kid as well as the parents because no one is safe from having to have one of these things cut out of their hair.
Toys for kids you like
My family has had many Connect 4 tournaments and I have lost every single one of them. No matter, this is still a fun game and people of a certain age love to repeat the best advertising line ever, “Pretty sneaky, sis,” when they lose.Crayons are like Lego and books, you can never have too many. Get a shoebox to store them in if your collection is getting out of hand.I loved coloring books but my kids never liked them. If you end up with someone who draws a lot, get a ream of cheap printer paper. For all others, this is a good quality drawing pad and it’s only 3 bucks.
For glamorous tweens and teens
There is a lot here to love. It’s a small, plastic banana. It has hand lotion in it. And there are mangos and red apple versions if you want to make someone a little fruit bowl.Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, envy is.
Weird dishtowels to buy for people you know will love a weird dishtowel
And finally, this!
It’s a bag for snacks! Or lunch or a paperback romance and a can of diet coke…the possibilities are limitless!
And there you have it. Happy Shopping! If you have a category you’d like me to source gifts for, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do!
I need to let you know that I will watch, read and buy pretty much any reimagining of Jane Austen’s novels. I did not engage with the zombie one because I am easily scared but that is about it. So when I found out that Sonali Dev wrote a version of Pride and Prejudice I about sprained a finger pre-ordering it. Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors ticks all my boxes when it comes to reimagining of Jane Austen novels. Read more
I need you to know what a sucker I am for a really good meet cute. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory hits it out of the park. That is a baseball metaphor and alludes to the equally charming sequel to this book, The Proposal. As usual, I will not waste time rephrasing the blurb for this book, something someone far more talented than me spent an inordinate amount of time writing: Read more
Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation was published in 2000. Older Son was five and I was 27 years old. Although I lived in Los Angeles my parents lived in Lodi, where I grew up. Well, I grew up in Manteca but the two are pretty close and when the wind blows a certain way, both places smelled of cow poo. You now often see Lodi on your wine bottle label. There was once a very good Zinfandel that was grown across the street from a Walmart. I had nothing against it but I told the people I was eating dinner with and they all refused to order that wine. Read more
The BBC released Sherlock in 2010. It starred Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. I have watched this series more times than I will ever admit because the number is embarrassing. My favorite character is Mycroft Holmes as played by Mark Gatiss. I couldn’t tell you why because as we have discussed, no sh#t Sherlock, I am not a good critic. Read more
Do yourself a favor and read We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. Her work belongs in your life. She knows of what she speaks. You can open this book to any page, begin reading and instantly want to find the beginning of her thread. Most books aren’t like that. I can open them to any page, read a bit, feel happy or irritated then close the book and get on with my life. Not so with Irby. She pulls me in and keeps me right where she wants me. Read more