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2018 gift guide: writer’s block

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gift ideas for writers

It’s that time of year again! Holidays always seem to be the time of year where we feel totally stumped by the people we want to gift. Either they have everything, or they don’t “need” anything. Sometimes it’s a really nice gesture to take a deep look at the recipient’s personality and connect that to any gifts you want to give them. It’s a good tip to keep in mind year-round!

There are tons of different kinds of writers – novelists, journalists, essayists, bloggers, or those who like to journal every day. Show your support for their passion with some of these hand-picked items!

Easy Tiger Literary AF Pen: There’s something about writing with a pen and paper that makes me feel super accomplished, plus removing a computer from the equation can cut down on distractions, increasing productivity and focus. This one from is super heavy duty and features a replaceable ink cartridge, so when they use it up, they can keep on going with this super sleek pen.

Writer Emergency Pack: These are great for both daily writing exercises or to get over a hump in a new piece. Each card provides a tip, situation, or some other way to look at a scene. I used to have these and loved using them to write quick flash fiction pieces.

On Writing Well: This book is a classic for a reason. The style of the book, the timelessness of the advice, and the practical skills make it a must-read for any writer (and that includes people who write anything through the day, be it a text message to your friend or an email to your boss.)

Scrivener: Every writer has their favorite word processor, so they might already have something they’re married to. Even so, Scrivener is widely regarded as the be-all, end-all of writing softwares for writers. Scrivener creates index cards for everything so it’s easy to reorganize, features a robust outliner tool, and basically just provides any feature a writer could dream of. (Plus, the company is called Literature and Lattes. I love that.)

Aquanotes: While it seems like a quirky white elephant gift, these do actually sound pretty useful. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve lost in the shower, and the ability to jot down a few notes for later is invaluable.

Frixion Pens: These are some of my favorite kinds of pens. They’re erasable and come in tons of different colors – there are even highlighters to go along with them. I love using these in my bullet journal and planners, but they’d also be great for outlining stories or mindmapping plot points.

Novel Teas: No secret that I love tea! There’s something about a warm cup of tea or coffee on my desk that puts me in the writing zone. These cute ones are themed to American Classics, so the quotes on the bags could offer some motivation through writer’s block. Maybe they’ll be on the next run of bags!

Tea Press/Travel Mug: Even if your writer doesn’t like loose leaf tea, this travel mug is a must-have. Dani and I both bought them recently, and it keeps your drinks hot for HOURS. My tea was so hot that after an hour, I finally took the lid off to let it cool down, and four hours after I made it, it was still warm and toasty!

Aloe Plant: Or any kind of plant, really, but studies have shown that plants can increase productivity! I have this aloe plant and love the nice ceramic pot it came in. Costa Farms on Amazon has many other different options, including hard-to-kill varieties like pothos and snake plants.

What’s on your list? What’s your favorite tool for writing?

November 20, 2018
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7 lessons from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Posted in Living by
This post contains affiliate links. I received an advance galley of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors – that’s no secret since I’ve raved about her over and over since discovering her about a year ago. Her next book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, comes out this June on Atria Books. I’ll be honest: I was not excited about this book. After all these years I know that I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but one of my favorite things about TJR’s books is the cover art. The minimalism and the symbolism are gorgeous (and they look beautiful on the bookshelf) so when EW debuted the cover, I was really disappointed. I was lucky enough to get a galley, and soon enough I was so sucked in that I had forgotten all about my cover woes. Instead of writing a traditional book review, I thought I’d instead share some of the different lessons the book’s characters taught me.

Potential spoilers are ahead, so if you want to read the book knowing nothing, bookmark this post and come back later!

  1. Poor Ernie Diaz: Career goals can tear relationships apart. There’s nothing wrong with Evelyn’s first husband – an unassuming electrician who helps her move across the country. But sometimes working for your own career goals can take a toll on your relationship (for more than one reason.)
  2. Goddamn Don Adler: What goes around comes around. Don Adler is not a good dude. At all. So even though their relationship looks absolutely perfect from the outside, it’s impossible for anyone to see what’s really happening. Rather than risking her status and outing him for who he is, she instead suffers a career loss, getting blackballed in Hollywood after leaving him. (He seems to get his in the end.)
  3. Gullible Mick RivaSometimes other people get caught in the crossfire when keeping yourself safe. One of the most relatable parts of the books to me was the reality of how the characters behave. Though it’s set on a Hollywood stage, Evelyn doesn’t really seem to make any different choices than many of the people around me (or even myself) would make. Mick Riva plays an integral part in protecting Evelyn and the love of her life and even though he doesn’t seem too hurt or guilty in the end, it’s a good study of how we sometimes have to use each other to stay safe. I especially liked this chapter because it has some second person language, which I always really enjoy.
  4. Clever Rex North: There’s power in pairs. Possibly one of the only other characters in the book with the same drive to succeed as Evelyn, Rex North is her co-star in a smash movie – such a successful movie that the studio orders several other movies starring the couple. To make themselves even more marketable, they marry with an understanding and just like their relationship, the breakup is staged just as well.
  5. Brilliant, Kind-Hearted, Tortured Harry Cameron: The best partnerships might not be what we expect. Potential spoiler alert, sorry! Harry is present throughout the novel as one of the first people Evelyn meets when she moves to Hollywood. From the first description, they don’t seem like they’d be a great match, but he is a great example that soulmates look different than we paint them in our heads.
  6. Disappointing Max Girard: Sometimes when you get what you want, it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. Max was Evelyn’s director early in her career, casting her in a role that helped make her an international movie star. Throughout her entire life, they continued to be in contact here and there, and he had idealized her and put her on such a pedestal that he thought he was marrying the perfect Evelyn Hugo, not Evelyn, the person. He helps us learn that you can’t idealize everything – you’ll only be disappointed.
  7. Agreeable Robert Jamison: What’s meant to be will always find a way. Probably Evelyn’s most successful marriage (aside from that with Harry,) she and Robert are together until his death. They go through one of the worst tragedies possible together, and Taylor Jenkins Reid again introduces words for feelings I’ve had, but could never label: the devastating luxury of panic.

I loved the format of the book – some parts are Evelyn telling her story to Monique, some parts are her actual memoir – and I really liked the character of Evelyn (even though she says time and time again that she is not likable, and she knows it.) Vintage Hollywood isn’t usually interesting to me, but I really enjoyed this book a lot, and it never felt “old timey” since they stuck to her life story rather than her actual career. The most empowering point of the book for me was seeing a woman in charge, getting what she wanted, and protecting herself and the people she loves.

Usually, I’m very good at predicting twists but in this book, I didn’t see the major plot turn coming at all, which was fun. I read this book in one day, just walking around my house, staring intently at my Kindle app, stubbing my toes on doorframes and running into chairs. It’s not a traditional “beach read,” but it’s certainly one you must put on your list for this summer.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo comes out on Atria Books on June 13!

May 15, 2017
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gift guide 2016: wanderlusters

Posted in Living, Travel by

We’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, and in the crunch for wrapping up the holiday shopping lists! If you’re feeling stuck on gift ideas, I’ve put together a week of ideas to help you get inspired. Travel is one of my favorite pastimes, and something I love getting gifts for – planning and going on a trip can be stressful, so this is an area I think a lot of my fellow travel friends prefer receiving things for. (Buying your own travel shower gel? Super boring. Get a fancier one as a gift? More exciting!) Here are some things I’ve seen floating around that would suit any road (or air) warrior.

PurseN Travel Pillow: When I was a couple years younger and just starting to travel, I thought those memory foam neck pillows were so silly. Why not just wad up a hoodie or scarf and use that? Now, however, I find myself jealous of those who walk around with these upon their necks, imagining the comfortable sleep they’ll get – especially as I find myself in window seats less and less. The PurseN pillow in particular has me lusting – it includes zippered pockets so you can tuck away things you want to reach quickly, like earbuds, Dramamine or sunglasses.

The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar: A book about travel seems like the perfect airplane (or road trip, if you love audiobooks like I do) companion, right? Franz Nicolay (you might recognize his name as a member of my favorite band, The Hold Steady) left the band a few years ago and embarked on a tour of Eastern Europe. This book chronicles his journey and give you a little lesson in punk rock at the same time. Read more…

December 6, 2016
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