currently : reading

life-after-life-by-kate-atkinson

Life After Life is one of my favorite books that I’ve read in the past few years. I’ve been recommending it to friends and family since I first read it, and last week I decided it was time to read it for a second time. If possible, I loved it even more.

Without going into too much detail, Life After Life is the story of a woman born in England in 1910 who, every time she dies, comes back to life. Each time she is reborn, so to speak, there are nuanced differences in the story – small changes that have just enough of an effect to lead her down a different path.

The one caveat I always give with my recommendation – to enjoy the book, you need to not question why she keeps being reborn and just accept that it happens. It’s not about why this happens to her. It’s about what happens to her.

And, if you read it and love it, Atkinson wrote a companion novel of sorts about another member of the family called A God in Ruins. It’s a completely different story but if you enjoy Atkinson’s writing, I’d highly recommend it.

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giving back

charles-dickens-quote

I’ve worked in the nonprofit world since I graduated college and I’m acutely aware of how important end of year giving is to most organizations. For many, especially small nonprofits, more than 80% of their budget comes from the final two months of the year. In light of that, I’m encouraging friends and family to give back to organizations that are meaningful to them this holiday season. If you decide to do the same, here are a few pieces of advice.

P.S. Today is Giving Tuesday, the perfect time to put these words into action!

Continue reading “giving back”

hostess gift ideas

One of the things I love most is entertaining. Whether it’s family and friends on Christmas Eve, game night, or just cocktails with the girls, I’ll take any excuse to play hostess for an evening. I’ve received some truly thoughtful hostess gifts over the years and thought I’d share a few of my favorites in advance of the holiday season. (These are, of course, in addition to wine and flowers, two go-to hostess gifts that can never go wrong).

jacobsen salt set

Set of Jacobsen Salts, Williams Sonoma, $34.95
I’m a huge fan of Maldon sea salt, but I have gotten so much use out of this set of mixed salts that I had to buy a second set. In addition to regular sea salt, these are infused with lemon, coffee, vanilla, ghost pepper, and a smoked salt to round it all out. I’ve gotten the most use out of the smoked salt and lemon zest salt, but they’re all fantastic.

cards against humanity

Custom Cards Against Humanity Deck, $10
I love Cards Against Humanity to an almost unhealthy degree. If you somehow haven’t ever played, I’d highly encourage it. For one game night, a friend made me a set of custom Cards Against Humanity cards featuring names of our friends, old teachers, and more. My favorites are the one’s featuring “Megan’s apartment” or “Beth’s house.” For those who know them it takes the hilarity of the game to an entirely different level.

marble cheese board and slicer

Marble Cheese Board and Slicer, Sur La Table, $11.95
Massive cheese plates are a work of art, but for a small group of people, it can be overkill. That’s where this cheese slicer comes in. Combine this with a small plate of crackers and extras and you’re good to go.

compartes chocolate bar

Specialty Chocolate Bar, Compartes, $9.95-$11.95
For your friends who have a serious sweet tooth, these chocolate bars hit the spot. Not only do they come in stunning packaging, they’re delicious too. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite, but my top three are probably the birthday cakecereal bowl, and donuts and coffee flavors.

cherry cocktail napkins

Cotton Cocktail Napkins, My Drap, $27
I actually collect cocktail napkins, but this is one of the most useful gifts I’ve ever gotten. These cotton cocktail napkins come on a roll of 50 and simply tear off. They always lay flat and have so many colors to choose from. You need these in your life.

italian dipping oil

Italian Dipping Oil, Dean & Deluca, $42
A college friend came to stay with me for a weekend and left behind a set of her favorite olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Now, every time I use them, which is quite often, I think of her.