Thursday, December 22, 2016

Give the Gift of Books, Part 3!

A last few suggestions for books - though I could suggest endlessly. Go run to your local mom and pop to give them the business they need - or,  Barnes and Noble has 25% off coupons going now for buying this in store- or get it on Amazon and sent to you over night! Whatever works, there is still time!

Very much answering the new call to downsize, or quit life as we know it and follow your bliss, Home Sweet Anywhere   Reunited after 35 years, this couple sold everything and " with just two suitcases, two computers, and each other, the Martins embark on a global adventure, taking readers..." with them. Who would not be intrigued or inspired for the New Year by this one!

Seven Letters From Paris is a wonderful romp for the romantics on your list. With Paris as a favorite place to read about, this memoir covers a woman at age 40 who loses her job, is in debt and feeling stuck - until she discovers seven letters sent by an old French lover - and decided to fly off to Paris to reconnect with him.

Oprah Magazine said of The Light Between Oceans:  “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page.” We see lighthouses that are isolated and wonder as to the lives of the people who live to care for them. Here is a book that was on the bestseller list for a very long time, soon to be made into a motion pic - about a light house keeper in Australia, and the young wife he brings out, who, unable to successfully bear children, finds an infant a boat that is washed ashore.

A truly unique gift for your traveler, whether literally or from an armchair - or one who is dreaming of it. For your artist or journal, or one who loves reading letters and journal entires. This is a great inspiration. Many of us would love to travel and sketch and note our impressions - this is an inspiration for doing that, or just enjoying what others have done.  FIND IT HERE.

Great for Mom or Grandma:
This is one of a great "cozy Mystery" series by Edith Maxwell. So unique in that the main character is a Quaker midwife, who lives in upstate MA, during the late 1800's. There are several in the series, and they are good, solid, wonderful reads. Find on AMAZON here:


Or try her other mystery series starting with Farmed and Dangerous, set on a small contemporary farm, which besides having an engaging plot, has some organic farming tips and recipes scattered throughout! Wonderful fireside reading.

Great for Dad or Grandpa: Never Go Back is the most recent of the thriller series that had been made into movie after movie starring Tom Cruise. Newsweek said: “A novel of action-charged suspense starring one of the best thriller characters at work today.” You know it's going to be good.

The Troubles is the second in what is planned to be a trilogy from Connie Hambley.  I suggest the second because it's a great read for your horse lover, or those interested in the bridge between and Irish heritage and Massachusetts.

The first, called The Charity, is the story of a young woman's journey into the heart of the IRA. Amazon describes it as: The history and the people of the Irish Republican Army and the strong Irish roots of Boston are used to weave a story that is as compelling as it is timely. The Charity is a crisply crafted thriller.

Beach Plum Island by From Holly Robinson is so intriguing! Here is how B&N describes it: 

“Your brother should know the truth.”
These are the last cryptic words that Ava Barrett’s father says before he dies. But Ava doesn’t have a brother, as far as she knows, so how can she tell him the truth? She dismisses the conversation and dedicates herself to bringing her family together for her father’s funeral. This is no easy task, since her sister, Elaine, has been estranged from the family and still harbors resentment against their stepmother and half-sister, Gigi. Ava, on the other hand, is a single mother who sees Gigi as a troubled teen in need of love and connection. Ava, too, could use more love in her life and finds it where she least expects it. But the biggest surprise of all is that Gigi holds the key to the mystery surrounding her father’s dying words, and joins Ava in uncovering a secret that rapidly unravels the very fabric of their entire family…

See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Books! Give More Books!

A perfect gift that you can get fast and locally, or overnighted by Amazon (if not Barnes and Noble, who will give free expedited shipping on orders of over $75 till midnight on 12/22). Please shop your local Mom and Pop bookstore if you can.  

I'm taking short cuts from my normal way of doing posts just because it's getting so late into December. Click on the Bolded Amazon or Barnes and Noble for each book to go to the page to check for pricing or read more reviews.

Hillbilly Elegy is very timely after our recent election, and has gotten incredible reviews:
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Amazon description: From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

A popular story that was heavily in the news but should also be read, that tells of the heroism of Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed a jet with a damaged engine (due to striking a flock of Canada geese) in the Hudson River on the west side of New York City.

Barnes and Noble says:  Sully's story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through his life, in his military service, and in his work as an airline pilot. It reminds us all that, even in these days of conflict, tragedy and uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for—that life's challenges can be met if we're ready for them.


Barnes and Noble description: The extraordinary New York Times bestselling account of James Garfield's rise from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy, from bestselling author of The River of Doubt, Candice Millard. (Author's note: ALSO A GREAT READ ABOUT TEDDY ROOSEVELT)

James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation's corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield's inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation's future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.

I found this in a local store known for their supreme taste in gifts - and it's amazing I left without it for myself! A really wonderful book - sure to be a HIT!

Amazon says: This collection of over 100 mouthwatering recipes inspired by the traditions of the farmhouse kitchen—with a modern twist—captures the true taste of today's country cooking and brings the fresh ingredients and seasonal flavors of a farmhouse kitchen into your own home. Stuffed full of details on selecting the best ingredients, eating seasonally, and foraging, this book is an invaluable source of information as well as a celebration of modern country living and how to get involved with the land and the food you eat.

Here's a fun read for the right person on your list. Between You and Me is for the lover of the language, the writer, the reader, or that person in your life who is always pointing out your text or FB typos...

Amazon Description: Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.


Amazon Description: THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech--not evolution--is responsible for humanity's complex societies and achievements.

From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in the Kingdom of Speech.

This for a the person on your list who likes international intrigue with a bit of depth.  The newest from David Baldacci, who has published 30 novels (Best know for Absolute Power), all international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. An engrossing story about a lethal assassin struggling internally.

Amazon Description: Will Robie is the government's most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies' advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores.
But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.
To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.

I've seen Joel Osteen many times live and on TV and he's just got that something about him that reached out and touches people. This is his latest, and not a bad thing to give as we start a new year. (Sorry about the obstructive discount sticker!)

Barnes and Noble's description: Your mind has incredible power over your success or failure. THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER offers a simple yet life-changing strategy for erasing the thoughts that keep you down and reprogramming your mind with positive!

More to come tomorrow... See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Give the Gift of a Book.

Time is growing short. I took a week to go help a family member while in the hospital and was not able to write up my usual several posts a day. If I try to research each of these for a hyperlink, price and description, it will be January.  SO, I am going to try something new. I took pictures of several books to recommend, and I may just take a stab at posting them here for you to look up yourself. A kind of visual window browse - it's so easy to google them for yourself and get them nearly overnight through Amazon or Barnes and Noble - if you don't find them at your local mom and pop stores, which I highly recommend supporting!

Here we go! One of a few to come in rapid succession.

Bought this in London, now it's suddenly a movie. Intriguing and good!

Ordered this for myself, just began to dig into it. For all who love Paris or dream of running away to there. A kind of Eat, Pray Love, French style.

For an easy yet smart read, or for the die-hard Sue Grafton fan , the latest in the famous Alphabet Series:

In keeping with popular reads, here's the latest from Dan Brown, who wrote the famous Da Vinci Code, also made into a movie, then made into a series of books (and movies) - which is why Tom
Hanks is on the cover, in case you have been asleep for the last decade or so, ha.

And for a similar kind of reader, another all round people pleaser by former lawyer John Grisham- easy to read, proven.

Since politics dominated 2016, maybe a new Kennedy Bio? This for one we don't hear about often, Kick Kennedy, described as the favorite Kennedy daughter.

A must have for any Bruce lover, but certainly a welcome gift for purists and music lovers in general.

Any fan of the PBS costume drama that took American by storm would delight to receive this. Pull up the fainting couch and unwrap!

A fun and light frolic as the title describes, good for someone age 1 to 100.

This is a great book - helps anyone on the verge of change think out the next 5 years. Whether someone is retiring, going off to school, moving, divorcing, changing their career, staring down middle age, or is at any cross road like that in life would really benefit. Simple, easy, but effective. Go for it!

A very cool book for your artist, illustrations, doodler or appreciator of the topic.

More suggestions to come! Subscribe or bookmark and check back tomorrow!
See ALL my recommendations for books by clicking HERE! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Gift of Books: City of Dreams

With the topic of immigration and the value of those who have come to America from all over the world (actually, it's how all of us got here within a generation or three, if not directly), City of Dreams is a good book to give. 

With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined. It covers unknown and well known people (i.e.; Charles Atlas and Oscar De La Renta)


Friday, December 2, 2016

Give Clos du Manoir Oval Porcelain for Soup, Coffee or Tea Cup

It's all about the oval shape. Very distinctive. These Clos du Manoir dishes are special - classy and chic, simple, minimalist, modeled after a 19th century Belgian dish line. I saw these a few years ago in a fancy home goods store and have given this as a gift... And now I am hunting them down to order for myself.

The quality is high, and they shape unique that it makes a stunning gift all on it's own - looks far more expensive than it is. You can give a dessert plate as well so someone can have coffee with toast or croissants or tea with cookies or biscotti, or they can use the saucer for that. Throw in a decorative cloth napkin and you have a really gorgeous budget- conscious gift!

High quality porcelain - in white or gray, microwave and dishwasher safe!

Photo from

The 13 oz come  for $16.50 each and the most popular 8 oz are $14.50 (priced to order as sets of six on this site - again, look for others to see what you can find). TIP: Must but from this site in sets of six, but google around to find solo cups and saucers if you like. Or get all six and give them in pairs or keep a few and give out solo with tea or coffee and all the trimmings.  

You can buy single settings go both white and gray on SHOPTIQUES.COM, but the prices are higher for it - just like everywhere, buying in bulk is cheaper. Google to find what you want but for $25 for just the gray cup and oval saucer below. Still WELL worth it!  And someone can certainly use the saucer for their snack along with the beverage, so it's not really necessary to buy a dessert plate as well.

Back to the site where you order 6 at a time do have mugs without the saucers for an even more affordable $9.30.
VISIT Maison de to see all the offerings on this one site alone (Google for others). There is a teapot, with sugar bowl and cream pitcher, or you can give a set of double handled oval soup bowls (another MARVELOUS gift idea), or buy as whole place settings.

Another idea - the double handled oval soup bowl: Great given as is, or with a dessert plate for bread. You can add in your own home made packages of soup fixings... or include in a gift basket. The possibilities are limited to your imagination!

I just painted my kitchen light gray so may just order a few gray mugs and dessert plates for me! 

Photo from

Thursday, December 1, 2016

BEST OF MY LIST: Give the Gift of Food

With sales going still tonight, if you want a surefire hit that's more than just a gift card - go for any of these people and palate pleasers. Something you are SURE they can USE!

Always on my favorites list to suggest: Williams Sonoma's croissants. These authentic, buttery, light, flaky and delicious croissants come frozen to the recipient in full size or minis.  

Stash the box in the freezer and pull out what you want for the morning. Let it sit out on a cookie sheet over night, where it rises. Pop them in the oven in the morning and in a few minutes you have croissant to rival any in Paris. Set of 15 plain, chocolate or combo, for $39.  They have added spinach and feta, ham and cheese, caramel and caramel and chocolate! TIP: And today they are 20% OFF 

And now, you can treat someone to 3 months of pastries for $119 or $95 with the 20% off sale. 

PERFECT for Christmas morning, New Years Brunch, birthdays, Mother's Day, or EVERY day!

Every year my dad used to send a ham to each of us kids at Thanksgiving time, and ordered a smoked turkey for the house for Christmas. It was a tradition that the morning we opened the presents, mom would littler our round table in front of the couches with lots of things to nibble on (a tradition I carry on to this day), while Christmas dinner was in the oven taking hours to cook.

Central to the veggies and dip, hummus, pita bread and olives, dried apricots, and such (a middle eastern theme) was a full turkey with brown skin, that tasted incredible It was a smoked Turkey from Smithfield.

I once sent one to a friend who said, it is a great gift to receive food - not just snacks, not just candy, but real food. And something like a ham or a turkey - or on THIS page, a combination of turkey breast and spiral cut ham in varying sizes to fit the designee - not only tastes delicious, but is so easy to serve to people who drop over, bring to a party, or snack on for a week for folks who don't cook.

Another old standard that is great for a reason is sending prized pears and cheese. And Harry & David are the gold standard. TIP: USE CODE GO15 for 15% off at checkout. 

Choose from several combinations.   Scroll through. You can start with 6 pears beautifully presented for only $25 on up to apples, oranges, persimmons, wine, nuts and cheese in ranges from $36-$129 and as you continue to scroll their baskets go from gorgeous to decadent to AMAZING.

The fruit is usually prime - beautifully shaped, perfectly ripened, and delicious and the cheese is just the right balance to them in taste and texture.  A nice six pack of pears and a hunk can last a couple for several days' treat with tea or wine - perfect for a wintry read in front of the fire, before or after board or card games, or to pull out when a visitor pops in for some cheer.

Check out their Pear Crisp for $49, and THESE Chocolate Caramel Covered Pears for $49. Unforgettable and sure to be a conversation piece this holiday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Flashy Bilnky Brings Cheer and Makes for a Party!!

Whether you are from the disco days, dropped acid or did raves - or just like pretty lights, I get things like these and bring them to any party and get asked by everyone WHERE did you get THOSE. So they are a bona-fide HIT, and that's all you need to know to order some yourselves.

Some of these are at bargain prices for a limited time, so order and get them all in time for great stocking stuffers, fun at holiday dinners and parties, or even out caroling in the dark! Light up your world with these - I've tried them all!
Flashy Blinky Rings - the best deal and the best thing evah! Get a whole box of 24 for a little over a buck each and spread the glow, giving them out to people. GREAT for New Years, Great for any party that you want to make instantly festive.

You can get them in hard plastic gems but I don't like those - Get the gel balls or better yet, go for the assorted 24 pack. Press the center and the internal lights flash in three different colors and lasts for days!

You can buy them solo for about $3 ea but they cost less (around $1) in bulk. I always have a box to bring to something and it never fails to make the energy go through the roof! Good clean fun, so simple and costs so little!

I LOVE these gloves - have gotten some all black and some all white in the past and they are a huge hit with kids and teens as well as adults.  Only two days left apparently for this special price - and you can Google for more like these- but I have not seen gloves that have this much of the fingers lit up, so I LIKEY!.. Half off at $7.53 at

Baseball hats - nice in logo loss black with the brim able to light up (and light the face too), Can't tell if you order by color of it they can do all colors, but think it's the latter. For $5.29 ea... check out delivery times and go for it!

TIP: All orders from Dress Lily: use CODE CYBER1 to get $3 off orders of $40 and it goes up from there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FURNOGGIN Hats: A Sure-fire Gift this Holiday!

Whenever I wear these, at least 7 people stop me in an hour or so, and tell me they LOVE my hat. Not gee, nice hat, or I like that - no - it makes people brighten, smile, jump up and down and exclaim... and I tell each and every person, go to ETSY or Google FURNOGGIN - and then I spell it for them, and say it again.  I tell them this fantastic, fun and WARM head conversation piece is only THIRTY THREE dollars. 

It's at times sophisticated and elegant, at others kinda rock and roll, at once bold and yet sweet. You are guaranteed to make friends when you wear it. I have to think that's due in great part to the really lovely bright soul of the person who sells them - Leilani.  The fact that every hat comes with a silver lining is no accident. Just a reflection of the good vibes that come with these and the intention behind them.

They are a perfect fit with my own sense of humor... and yet the reddish one above, which I bought over two years ago, looks as if I'd spent hundreds on it on Bergdorfs.

They are for men, women and I've seen a picture of one on a baby. I don't see those in the Etsy shop, but just write Leilani and see what's possible.

If you have a smaller head like me (which, mind you, is NO representation of the enormous IQ inside), you can fold the brim up and it tightens considerably. Very easy to wash and dry.  All come with adoption papers, and a post card of google eyes that you can set in the brim while you are not wearing the hat... or not! :)

They come very quickly and Leilani is very responsive to orders and queries. I just ordered seven - stock up and give them out for winter birthdays, get a his and her set for an anniversary, get one to take on any trip you're planning to cold weather climes, bring along to wear after skiing as you sip your hot toddy in the bar or a hot tub... give to someone who needs good cheer or is into high fashion... or order just because! 

And don't forget one for YOU!
(or two...)