Friday, November 30, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Great Gift Books

Since the Holidays are right around the corner (how is today the last day of November?), I decided that this month's Variations on a Theme will be all about great gift books. These are books that are either pretty to look at, fantastic reads, or collectibles. Mainly, however, they're pretty to look at.

America Again: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't
Stephen Colbert

Book store nation, in the history of mankind there has never been a greater country than America. You could say we're the #1 nation at being the best at greatness. But as perfect as America is in every single way, America is broken! And we can't exchange it because we're 236 years past the 30-day return window. Look around—we don't make anything anymore, we've mortgaged our future to China, and the Apologist-in-Chief goes on world tours just to bow before foreign leaders. Worse, the L.A. Four Seasons Hotel doesn't even have a dedicated phone button for the Spa. You have to dial an extension! Where did we lose our way?! It's high time we restored America to the greatness it never lost! Luckily, AMERICA AGAIN will singlebookedly pull this country back from the brink. It features everything from chapters, to page numbers, to fonts. Covering subject's ranging from healthcare ("I shudder to think where we'd be without the wide variety of prescription drugs to treat our maladies, such as think-shuddering") to the economy ("Life is giving us lemons, and we're shipping them to the Chinese to make our lemon-flavored leadonade") to food ("Feel free to deep fry this book-it's a rich source of fiber"), Stephen gives America the dose of truth it needs to get back on track.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Deb Perlmen

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking. Here you’ll find better uses for your favorite vegetables: asparagus blanketing a pizza; ratatouille dressing up a sandwich; cauliflower masquerading as pesto. These are recipes you’ll bookmark and use so often they become your own, recipes you’ll slip to a friend who wants to impress her new in-laws, and recipes with simple ingredients that yield amazing results in a minimum amount of time. Deb tells you her favorite summer cocktail; how to lose your fear of cooking for a crowd; and the essential items you need for your own kitchen. From salads and slaws that make perfect side dishes (or a full meal) to savory tarts and galettes; from Mushroom Bourguignon to Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake, Deb knows just the thing for a Tuesday night, or your most special occasion.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznik

Orphan, Clock Keeper, and Thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love
Sherry and John Petersik

This debut book by bloggers Sherry and John Petersik is filled with hundreds of fun, deceptively simple, budget-friendly ideas for sprucing up a home. With two home renovations under their (tool) belts, 5 million blog hits per month, and an ever-growing audience since the launch of Young House Love in 2007, Sherry and John are home-improvement enthusiasts primed to pass on a slew of projects, tricks, and techniques to do-it-yourselfers of all levels. Whether an experienced decorator or a total novice, on a tight budget or with money to spend, any homeowner or apartment dweller will find ideas for his or her own home makeovers here. Learn to trick out a thrift-store mirror, spice up plain old roller shades, "hack" your Ikea table to create three distinct looks, and so much more. Packed with 243 tips and ideas—both classic and unexpected—every project pictured was exclusively executed for the book. With more than 400 photographs and illustrations, this is a book that readers will return to again and again for the creative projects and easy-to-follow instructions in the relatable voice the Petersiks are known for. Adding a little wow factor to your home has never been more fun!

Annie Giffiths

Life in Color is arranged by color in a rainbow of beauty. Each chapter, devoted to a color, begins with a short, inspiring essay that explores the qualities, meaning, and symbolism of that color, written in the same warm and lovely voice that guided the reader through Visions of Earth. Color chapters include photographs that are predominantly blue, orange, green, yellow, purple and red. Smaller sections present images in silver, brown, black, gold, white, and "unseen color"—not seen with the naked eye, such as laser, the universe, and microscopic images. Throughout, interesting quotes and surprising short insights in the captions give the reader an entirely new look at the color in the world around us. Chock full of beautiful, amazing, fun images, this eye-pleasing volume is sure to appeal to a wide variety of people, most especially to women. 

Alice Feiring and Samantha Nestor

America’s love of wine has spurred a collecting and entertaining phenomenon. Some of America’s most passionate oenophiles have re-invented the wine cellar as an inviting and beautiful part of the home. True collectors love to share their passion, and this book offers a tour of their distinctive cellars. Created with the help of some of the best designers in the field, these rooms blend luxurious design aesthetics with ingenious storage solutions. The thirty stunning spaces featured include a traditional wood cellar finished with rich paneling and ornate lighting; a cathedral-like space that showcases ironwork inspired by the French Quarter of New Orleans (and has a secret entry from a library inside the house); an inviting living room lined with temperature-controlled wood alcoves behind insulated glass; and an Old World terra-cotta cellar–within a sprawling entertainment center that includes a wet bar, a billiards table, and a tasting room. Living with Wine reveals the details that make the cellars a welcoming place to return–from the materials, artwork, lighting, and cutting-edge preservation technology to the way the space harmonizes with the rest of the house. From the Bay Area to Boston, Napa to New York, homeowners such as Nancy and John Lasseter, the founder of Pixar Studios; American Idol host and TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest; and entrepreneur Rick Ryan share insights into what they collect, why they started collecting, and how they designed their spaces to fit their passion.

Other Great Gift Books
Alexander McQueen: Evolution - Katherine Gleason 
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes - Bill Watterson 
Design*Sponge at Home - Grace Bonney
How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran
Modernist Cuisine at Home - Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet
Provence: Lasting Impressions - Joel Meyerowitz and Maggie Barrett
Smithsonian Fashion - Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
Smithsonian Universe - Carole Stott
Waves - Steve Hawk

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - First!

Okay, this is not so much a "Fashion Find" but rather and "LOOK WHAT I FOUND ON THE INTERWEBS!"

I was perusing through my Google Reader the other day when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an image of the First Family... welcoming the 2012 White House Christmas tree... with Sasha Obama wearing Polka Dot Tights.

Yeah, BOOLEAN is everywhere. Win! (I found the picture on the Mrs. O blog.)

Send your BOOLEAN pictures, links, and whathaveyou to

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Links and Stuff: November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to stuff my face. Noms!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I Read This Week: November 18, 2012

You know who hasn't gone to the gym in two weeks? This girl. Oh boy have my magazines begun to pile up again. Hopefully I get back into the swing of things after Thanksgiving. I'll have to work off those mashed potatoes one way or another... cause nothing is going to stop my from eating them.

Mmmm, now I'm thinking about food. Anywho, onto the reading!

  • I binged on post-election analysis posts from blogs like FiveThirtyEight, the Atlantic Wire, Electoral Vote, Slate, Salon. I would link to individual stories... but I read so many that we would be here forever.
  • Another election binge was of the fun variety. The #DrunkNateSilver hashtag on Twitter kept me giggling for days.
  • Book wise - I'm working on Harem by Dora Levy Mossanen. It's hitting the spot and I kind of wish I had another read-a-thon to attend so that I had an excuse to ignore the world and read all day. 
  • At some point in the past two weeks I finished Pamela Clare's Breaking Point. It was okay.

Friday, November 16, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Spots

I love spots. Spots in fun colors are even better.These tights have a fun layered thing going on with them. That makes them even more exceedingly awesome.

You can grab these HUE tights from Bare Neccesities.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Links and Stuff: November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BOOLEAN: Puppy Dog Eyes

Consider this BOOLEAN post a "Forgive Me For Being and Absent Blogger, Please." I've been neglecting my What I Read This Week updates and also have let my book reviews linger in the draft folder. Life has a way of getting in the way.

Luckily for us all, BOOLEAN season is in full swing. I bought myself a new black wrap dress (I've been craving one for months now), and decided to give the new togs a spin with these tights.

I looked good if I do say so myself. There's something about tights that just makes any outfit (and day) better.

Friday, November 09, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Diamond

I love bold, geometric prints. They allow tights to be zany but, when using tone-on-tone color, they can still be work appropriate. These tights from HUE are perfect.

You can buy a pair from Lord & Taylor.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Links and Stuff: November 8, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

BOOLEAN: Trivia Tights

Monday night I attend pub trivia. By chance, all three ladies on the team wore tights.

Yeah, we're cool like that.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

What I Read This Week: November 4, 2012

You'd think that with an unexpected four-day weekend, I would have read a lot more. Instead, I got wrapped up in catching up on TV shows, watching The Boyfriend play Assassin's Creed 2 (it's awesome!), and generally lolling about.

I did manage to finish the Pamela Clare romance novel I was working on. So, go me! I also got sucked into a few election related blogs, name FiveThirtyEight and Electoral Vote. Other than that, I didn't read too much.

Friday, November 02, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Cloudy Day

Since Sandy passed through the area, we've had nothing but cloudy days. Sad face. Clouds, however, can also make for some really cool looking tights.

You can grab a pair off Etsy.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Links and Stuff: November 1, 2012

Finally, I derived great pleasure from this opinion piece about "My 6,128 Favorite Books." If you consider yourself a reader and/or booklover, this will speak directly to your heart. The footnote at the bottom of the article mentions that the author is writing a book about books. I cannot wait to read it.