Last night we said farewell to summer by drawing our names in the dark with the last of the sparklers, and today we’re welcoming fall with a return to the books. And with my guys back to school, I’m counting on more time to read and share a dozen new titles with you, starting with a fresh and budget-friendly approach to party planning that comes just as the shorter days and cooler nights beckon us to gather inside with family and friends. It’s Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, and it’s full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and easy DIYs to add a warm and personal touch to any gathering, make your guests feel extra welcome, and relieve the pressure to be perfect so you can have fun in the process. I like to think of it as decor within reach — aspirational and inspirational, yes, but most importantly: totally doable. Splashy parties with grand gestures and even grander budgets have their time and place but that’s not here: Decorate for a Party is a party where everyone is welcome.
Years ago I went to a lecture at the University of Ottawa by Margaret Atwood, followed by a signing of her then-latest novel, Alias Grace. I was daunted by the opportunity to meet her (I’d seen Margaret and her daughter shopping at Jacob in Hazelton Lanes the year before but had been too shy to introduce myself) and pretty sure everyone around me could hear my heart beating out of my chest as I joined the impossibly long line to the table where she sat autographing books. Inching through Tudor Hall, I rehearsed what I’d say when I got to the front. I’d straighten my shoulders, look Margaret straight in the eye and say: “As long as you breathe, write.” (What cheese!) I don’t know if I’d read that somewhere or made it up but I thought it was poetry. Margaret would see that we were kindred spirits — she the Anne to my Diana! — and a lifelong friendship would begin. “As long as you breathe, write. As long as you breathe, write.” Round and round it went in my head. Finally Margaret was in view — five more people to go! — and a handler took my book, asked me my name, and scrawled it on a post-it note he slapped inside the front cover. Suddenly I was standing directly in front of her and she raised her head to look at me. I opened my mouth and whispered “As long as you write, breathe.” (Nooooooooo!) I felt my face flush beet-red. Margaret blinked, then lowered her head to sign and I was jostled ahead to receive my book from another one of her people. I don’t know if she even heard me, but I thought I’d die of embarrassment. My one chance to speak to slash befriend Margaret Atwood (the Margaret Atwood!) and I blew it. Royally. Continue reading At Home: Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson
Random House Canada sent me a complimentary copy to review, however all opinions are my own.
If I slept with a book under my pillow like my kids, The Sweetapolita Bakebook would be the one I’d tuck under my head and dream about each night. Baker, blogger and photographer extraordinaire Rosie Alyea invites readers to a magical land where playing with your food is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Colour and paint on decadent cookies and cakes with edible paint and chalk, make your own sprinkles and candy clay, and top your cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting — Alyea shows you how in step-by-step instructions even the newest (and littlest!) bakers will want to try. And if you have a few flops along the way, she’s there to remind you she’s had her share of failures too. The teenager who fell in love with the world of cake and confection working at a bakery grew into a multi-talented entrepreneur, mother of two, and author of this most endearing first book where decorating takes the cake. Continue reading The Sweetapolita Bakebook + A Giveaway!