Truly Madly Guilty- Interview with Liane Moriarty’s Literary Agent

Don’t you love how small the world is? I was raving about Truly Madly Guilty this summer, and the next week Ken discovered that his friend’s wife, Faye Bender, is the literary agent for Liane Moriarty (not to mention a number of other authors).  I had the privilege of interviewing Faye and finding out more about literary agents and the writing world. Take a look!

 

Meet Faye, Literary Agent Extraordinaire.

Meet Faye Bender, Literary Agent Extraordinaire.

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Best Pens: International Arrivals

I have a daughter who loves to draw and color, and as a result, I have bought many and many sets of pens, pencils, markers, and paints. For whatever reason, she only uses certain sets (picky about everything in life) and ALL of these sets are from a company called International Arrivals. Now I know not to bother buying any other type of pen. These coloring sets are fun, unique, and great for gifts, too.

 

Our typical breakfast routine....eating while coloring.

Our typical breakfast routine….eating while coloring. And as you can see, she is much more interested in her art than her food.

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Currently Loving December 2015

Here we are with Winter Break around the corner (SAY WHHHHHAAAT!!!??) and so here is a round-up of what currently makes me smile, laugh, and blush with love and affection. Like a cuddle or a kiss, this is what I am currently loving (almost as much as a big smooch and embrace from my loved ones)! Enjoy!

 

2015 Pop Music Mash-up

 

On repeat. On you-tube. On my computer. Not the best sound system, but this hit will make you dance and dance and DANCE!

On repeat. On you-tube. On my computer. Not the best sound system, but this hit will make you dance and dance and DANCE!

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Self Help Books for Kids

Self help books for kids???? Sounds a little new-age-y and crazy! But let me tell you….they are AWESOME! A bundle of self-help-positive-books were given to Tusia for her first birthday (which if you can do the math, is two years ago) by a dear friend, and I find myself enjoying the books just as much as my kids do. They serve as good reminders, and help me have positive discussions with my 3 year old, 5 year old, and myself! So much that I wanted to share them with you all, too! I feel that these books give me the tools and ability to talk with them about being mindful and what really matters.  NAMASTE.

 

The perfect bundle -- how special and perfect is this assortment of books?

The perfect bundle — how special and perfect is this assortment of books? (A lot more unique and touching than a beautiful onesie…)

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Little Circus

Totally biased, but I tend to think my kids are the cutest little munchkins in the world (#humblebrag) and people always ask me where I buy my clothes for them. EASIEST ANSWER EVER: Little Circus! Little Circus is an e-commerce site for kids clothes, toys, and gifts. It really has everything and anything that you want to buy for kids, and better yet, it is created, owned, and operated by my dear friend, Jenna Lonstein. Jenna is a hip, young, fashionable mother of two, who started this company several years ago. (Read on for a special promo code for Josie Girl readers!)

 

Jenna and her gorgeous family.

Jenna and her gorgeous family.

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Currently Loving….

Almost February (and there’s a blizzard coming…. SAY WHATTTTTT?), here is what I am currently loving (other than my husband, kids, parents, siblings, friends, sunny warm weather, cheese, chocolate, peanut butter, granola, and television):

 

The Wet Brush

 

This brush is a miracle worker. It allows you to brush your hair (and your kids’ hair) when the hair is wet (or dry) without tear! It detangles the hair quicker and more easily than any other brush around. Cheap and effective.

 

wet brush

The “wet” brush

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Currently Loving

Now that it is the second week of December (heart palpitations….so much to do! gasp!), I am running trying to whittle down my growing to-do list….so since I am in the listing, bullet type of writing, here are my current loves!

 

1) My mother-in-law’s jewelry

 

I have an insanely generous mother-in-law who not only GIVES me presents but lends me her own jewelry from her personal jewelry collection. I am one lucky duck wearing these drop dead diamonds galore (and my husband is lucky, too, since he doesn’t feel the need to get me my own jewelry).

 

jewels

I was lent some pretty spectacular jewels by my mother-in-law to celebrate her award at the ACC (Asian Cultural Council) several weeks ago. It was a cinderella moment…..and I made sure to return them before my children lost them! (Has happened before – temporarily….nerve wracking!)

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Tabio Socks

Thanks to everyone for all your encouragement and support in regards to Ken becoming a rock star for the day…..Still feeling buzzed and pumped by the experience. Seriously, I am in love with the guys of OAR….and now I can’t stop listening to Peace. On repeat. Ten million times in the last 3 days. Call me obsessed. Watch out, Babers, you have COMPETITION. Anywho, back to reality. That reality, is socks. Yep, socks.

 

My mother’s go-to-present for everyone in the family is socks. Handmade knitted socks, skiing socks, everyday socks, fancy socks, socks, socks, socks, socks. As a result, I am fond of socks. I can never have too many and am always on the lookout for the new, best, prettiest, cutest sock (odd, quirky, and so me). So it was a perfect coincidence when I stumbled upon a sock store in Paris in October (was that really 2 months ago??). And not just any sock store — but a hip, high-end, and luxurious store. Tabio, is considered the hot and trendy sock. The sock is actually made in Japan by a crafts person. They come in all shapes and colors: ultra trendy, thigh highs, as well as models in cashmere, angora, lace, super soft wool. To view the various sock options, go here.

 

socks

One of the pairs of socks that I purchased. Of course, it looks avant garde, tie dye, and artsy. It is the perfect thickness and height (not too high, not too low…Goldilocks a la socks).

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Wind and Willow

Happy Monday! Nothing better to start the week than to look at some beautifully handmade spoons! And these spoons are HANDSOME! Created by Wind and Willow, these are an updated version of your grandmother’s kitchen spoon. They are part wood, and part rubber. The rubber is soft, food safe is easy to grip and comfortable to use. And the colors are vibrant, fun, and cheery. A more modern and chic look to your everyday kitchen needs.

 

Wind and Willow

Wind and Willow

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2014

Mother’s Day is around the corner….literally, 6 days away! So time to get online, double click, and get yo mama some Natori gear! And this year, there is so much goodness at Natori that it is hard to dwindle down a selection. Everything at Natori is on fire right now. Seriously, you could go to www.natori.com, close your eyes, randomly start clicking on items and voila, you would have the perfect gift for your mother. All of the items are beautiful, luxurious, stylish, comfortable, and must have. But since that is not reality, here is my MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE. Enjoy, and special treat: you get 20% off orders of $250 or more with the code LOVEMOM2014 at checkout (through May 11th)!

Happy mother's day!

Happy Mother’s day!

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Wee Can Too

Art from the start. As soon as they can hold on (or eat), give them some chalk.

I am a huge supporter of small companies from Eugene, Oregon. Although I live in NYC, I still feel like a true Eugeneian, and am always so proud of local companies that sell products across the country (and globe!), like Nancy’s Yogurt, Toby’s Tofu, and So Delicious, just to name a few. I am especially in awe of Wee Can Too, a kids art supply company, created by a high school classmate, Sarid Ditton, and her partner Nicole (go South Eugene!). Sarid and Nicole are current examples of exemplary women with a goal and a dream (The Josie Natori of Art Supplies!). Trust me, the products are truly amazing!

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Currently Loving…

Happy last week of January. Can you believe we are almost 1/12 done with 2014? WHOA. Speaking of randomness, here is a random grouping of (random) items I am currently loving…..Enjoy!

 

600 Hours of Edward

I devoured this book over the weekend…highly recommend! It is heart wrenching, thoughtful and an enjoyable overall read.

600 hours

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Strolby

Need a present for the upcoming holiday? Want to support small stores with beautiful products? Then stroll by, Strolby, an online shopping site focused on items sold in Brooklyn (New York) but sold on one platform to people across the country! The site, which is aesthetically appealing and unique, helps local small shops with truly beautiful and original items reach big audiences (so the neighborhood can still feel small).

 

strolby

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Knock Knock Products

Before I get to the post, one quick note: my fabulous mother-in-law Josie Natori will be on HSN launching N Natori Ready-to-Wear and selling exclusive N Natori loungewear styles.  Be sure to tune in!  Times:

Tuesday, 10/29:

2 AM EST

7 PM EST

8 PM EST

The collection is actually already available online at HSN.com here.  Happy shopping! On to the post!

As a compulsive organizer, I rely and *need* to write down and organize my thoughts. Jotting down my errands, tasks (and yes, I do write “Take a shower” on my to-do-list) is an essential part of my day. And not just on any type of paper, but on pads and posts from Knock Knock.

HALLELUJAH!

HALLELUJAH! Thank goodness for all these tools!

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Back to School

Having been a math teacher for 10 years and a student before that, this will be my first Fall without going back to ‘school.’ Freshly retired, (I will still be private tutoring, and of course, writing the blog!) I still love the feeling of buying school supplies, starting a new year, and becoming (more) organized. Here are my favorite supplies slash beauty products slash accessories, for  “Back to School.”

Knock Knock To-Do Note Pad

Knockknock

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AeroPress Coffee

Spending the last few weeks with my parents has reintroduced me to some of their daily routines… such as my father’s coffee brewing.  My father is snobby about his coffee (just like I am with granola, grocery stores, gym clothes, and many many other things).  He now swears by the AeroPress, which he likes even more than the French press. And after comparing them all, I totally agree… I am now a converted AeroPress user! Using an AeroPress is a fast, easy and convenient way to brew excellent coffee. For whatever reason, the pressure heightens the sweetness and body in each cup. It tastes like a barista made it themselves.

Aeropress

The Aeropress. Not bulky. Just a little itty bitty goodness of love.

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36 Hours

Every Sunday, The New York Times Travel section has a column titled “36 Hours” where they highlight all that you can do in a specific city for 36 hours. The popular column helps you create a a dream weekend with realistic and approachable itineraries — ideal for us OCD planners. The Times and book publisher Taschen came together to create a series of books with updated and new versions of the columns– a perfect gift for Father’s Day, an anniversary, a housewarming, or just a token to say I-love-you.

The colorful trio of books.

The colorful trio of books.

Not only are these books incredibly informative and practical, but they are also beautiful and special. Put them on your coffee table to stir up a conversation or place them on your nightstand to read before bed!

On shelf.

On shelf.

I bought three books from the series, USA Northeast, USA Westcoast, and 150 weekends in USA and Canada (which is the whole American/ Canadian series in one book. Ken would point out that buying all three of these is unnecessary.  OOPS!).

West Coast Love.

West Coast Love.

Northeast Like.

Northeast Like.

USA weekend trips!

USA weekend trips!

Below is a sample of 36 Hours from the Times online.  Auckland, New Zealand!

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John Derian

Located in the heart of the East Village, the John Derian Dry Good store is a pot of gold. The moment you walk in, you feel pure happiness, comforted by the luxurious, beautiful, colorful, and happy home goods. The cozy home accessories shop is filled from head to toe with handmade beautiful knicknacks.  You will want to buy everything in the store, even if you don’t have pans for your new loot. I wish that the store was my home.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 8.09.57 PM

 

John Derian decoupage plates in our dining room

John Derian decoupage plates in our dining room

John Derian Company was started in 1989 by John Derian himself. He makes beautiful decoupage plates, paperweights, platters, bowls, trays, dishes, lamps, coasters, and much much more. His whole collection is handmade in his studio by artisans. He also sells linens, stationary, plates, lighting, and furniture from an assortment of collections (prints by Hugo Guinness, vintage Pakistani quilts, Moroccan lanterns and leather poufs, for example).

Outside.

Outside. In love already??

Window

Window with gold sparkle.

Paper weights.

Paper weights. Amazing presents.

Rustic plates

Rustic French plates.

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Running Essentials

In preparation for The Paris Marathon, I completed my first 20 mile run / hobble last Friday. It went remarkably well and now the reality is setting in that Paris is actually happening. GULP.

Friday

After my run on Friday, I needed to eat pizza and stretch immediately. So here I am, the minute after I got home, with my legs up the wall (or stove).  While I look ridiculous, stretching like this helps release toxins.  And the pizza is self explanatory!

OMG

O.M.G. It is really happening. And I cannot wait. LOOK AT THIS DREAM! My GOAL!

The following items are things that I cannot live without on my long distance training runs.

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Orchids

There is nothing more beautiful than a fresh, crisp orchid in the house. Problem is, orchids from florists tend to be expensive – easily between $100 and $200. And if you are anything like me, no matter how well you try to care for the orchid, their life expectancy is a month, 6 weeks at best. So, if you live in New York, the flower district on West 28th street is the best deal in town! Not only are there beautiful fresh flowers for you to choose from (all event planners go to 28th street to get their flowers for events), but they sell the most affordable and beautiful orchids in the city! AND THEY DELIVER!

aisles of orchids

Rows upon rows of orchids in every color, size, and style.

Although most of the stores in the flower district deliver, it also makes for a fun early morning adventure to see all the colorful flowers, holiday plants, and New York Flavor.

my little buddy

My little buddy on our search for the perfect flowers and orchids.

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Instagram Gifts

I am an Instagram junkie. I absolutely love posting pictures and seeing my photographs through different filters and borders. A simple boring picture can become so artsy and beautiful with just the press of a button. I love not only the dozens of filters, but also the concept. It’s like a new-school-made-over kodak gallery. It’s photo sharing in a 2012 way — people (who I allow to view my pictures) can see them if and when they want. And with just one click you can post to facebook or twitter. Awesome for us social media lovers!

CURRENTLY, I am all about finding the best ways to savor my Instagram photos and make real-life keepsakes with them.  So, here are some sites that allow you to create some ever-so-awesome goodies with your shots.

Magnets

fridge

Fridge with HAWT DAWG magnets.

Fridge at the Proskurowski Family household.

StickyGram takes your Instagram images and transforms them into lovely little magnets. You simply create your pack online by signing into your account, and then voila… magnets. Each magnet is roughly the same size as the picture on your iPhone. The magnets come in packs of 9 and costs $14.99. PERFECT GIFTS FOR GRANDPARENTS!

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