Book & Wine Wednesday! Last Minute Gift Buying for your Book and/or Wine Loving Friends & Family!

Book & Wine Wednesday Special Feature

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I will be the first to admit that I haven’t finished my holiday shopping. I usually get a pretty good head start with most of my family, and then get distracted and fail to complete my shopping promptly and have to suffer through going to the mall around the holidays.

So, if you have not finished your shopping, or thinking about grabbing a little something extra, I bring you the first Reading Sara Book & Wine Wednesday Gift Buying Feature! Bonus: you can still use Amazon Prime and get everything in time!

For your niece: If she loved The Fault in Our Stars and all of Rainbow Rowell’s books, she would devour Everything Everything, by Nicola Yoon. I devoured it, too, so you may want to sneak in a quick read before wrapping it. Everything Everything is a great coming-of-age story about a girl who learns to explore her world inside her head and outside, and, because it’s YA, it includes a lovely love story.

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For your crafty, travel-loving friend: Paris Coloring Book by Min Heo. I picked up this bright orange Paris Coloring Book in San Diego over the weekend. I can’t wait to color everything from Notre Dame to baguettes to the Seine. Pair the book with some beautiful colored pencils and you will be giving your adventure-loving friend hours of relaxation and dreaming in the coming New Year.

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For your work BFF: She’s the one who listens to you complain and always has a hug to give you. I recommend a badass book for this badass friend. The book, You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero is a great confidence-booster and reminder to her that she is totally awesome.

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For your sister who graduated in May and has not quite figured it all out yet:  Adulting: How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps, by Kelly Williams Brown. Adulting is a must read for any out-on-their-own-for-the-first-timer. I went to college with the author, so am biased toward her brilliance, but truly wish I had a book like this when I was 22! It is full of creative wit with sound advice.

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For your single brother: I am a huge Aziz Ansari fan, and I bet your brother is too. Help him out with Ansari’s newest book Modern Romance. Buy the hardback, not the Kindle version of this one!

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For your Mom: I think it is a fact that all women over 55 love Robert Redford and they especially loved him in the movie Out of Africa. I recommend treating your mom to the new Paula McLain Book, Circling the Sun, reviewed by yours truly here, and the Out of Africa movie for a girl’s night in. Throw in a bottle of bubbly, recommended here, some popcorn and chocolate, and you are in for a special evening!

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For your Sister-in-Law: I have a sister-in-law who is the absolute best and very much like a real sister to me. If you are as lucky as I am, you will want to get her something special. For my birthday, she bought me the complete Jane Austen Book Set from Penguin. Trust me, your sister-in-law (or real sister) will love this gift. They are so beautiful and a perfect decoration for her shelf, and (obviously) classic books to pick up and read when she needs her Jane Austen-fix. She will be surprised and delighted to find a thoughtful gift like this under the tree! Jane Austen, the Complete Works can be found on Amazon.

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For your boyfriend/husband: If he has not read the Song of Ice & Fire Series by George R.R. Martin yet, the entire set is a great gift that will last him months (this is that Game of Thrones thing that all of your friends keep talking about…but the books, which are great). If he has already read them, spruce up his collection with these pretty ones!

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For your BFF: Almost Famous Women: Stories, by Megan Mayhew Bergman. First of all, the cover itself told me that this would be the next favorite book of mine. I will post a review of this one soon, but in the meantime, I plan to give it to some of my favorite women this holiday season!

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For your other BFF: Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton. This book came out in October and is an incredible compilation of stories that will inspire and astound you. Grab a favorite bottle of wine and read the book together!

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For Your Book Club: You all worked hard this year! Don’t forget to treat your group to something special for the next meeting! I recommend California Sparkling Wine, made by One Hope. Every bottle provides 15 meals to a child in need…So you are drinking a beautiful bottle of bubbly, talking about great books, and helping kids eat…seems like a pretty good deal to me!

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Good luck with your holidays! Don’t forget to buy yourself a book (or two or three!).

Book & Wine Wednesday: Adult Coloring Books (obviously with wine)!

Book & Wine Wednesday: Adult Coloring Books (obviously with wine)!

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Unless you have been living under a rock this past year, then you know that adult coloring books are all of the rage. Admittedly, I first heard about them from my mom – so wasn’t entirely convinced of the cool factor (no offense, Mom!), though I completely supported her doing them as a meditative experience. After a couple of other friends started raving about their coloring books, I decided it was time to get on the bandwagon. I am so glad that I did.

In case you have been living under a rock, I will fill you in and try to convert you: coloring books are totally in and totally awesome right now. The Secret Garden, an Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book is #6 on Amazon’s Best Seller List for 2015. It’s sequel, Enchanted Forest, a Inky Quest and Coloring Book is #10.  Another coloring book is #15, and Balance, the one I chose, is #20. Adults love coloring. Maybe some of this has to do with the goal to unplug from technology and try to get some stress relief from our daily lives and computers (though of course you are likely to see people’s art on their Instagram and Facebook accounts – and here on my blog). If you are not ready to convert yet, you might be interested to know that George RR Martin is overseeing a project for a Game of Thrones themed coloring book (coming out in October of 2015) – tagline “All Men Must Draw.” This coloring book craze is a thing – and I do not think it is going away anytime soon.

I bought the book Balance by Angie Grace, she has a series of similarly titled books such as Centered, Whimsy, and Cool. Balance was the first, and honestly, what I was seeking through this coloring experience.  There are many other options (if you are also into this and can give me recommendations, please do!), but some seemed a little too detailed or specific. In addition to the book, I also bought new gel pens in many colors so that I could really let my creativity fly.

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Before I show you my current drawing, I feel that I need a huge disclaimer: I am NOT an artist! I do not color inside the lines all of time.  I do not even really understand what colors harmonize together. But guess what? That doesn’t matter! So, please don’t judge, I do not expect my husband to hang these masterpieces on the refrigerator anytime soon, but I love it!

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I have not had the opportunity to color every day yet, but have found myself drawn mostly to find “Balance” when I come home from work. I have been around people all day, faking being an extrovert, and am finally able to sit at my dining room table and have some peace and quiet. I am keeping my hands and mind busy, while taking a break from reality and the world around me. It is the perfect opportunity for unwinding. In addition to that, it is utilizing a different part of my brain than I use at work (which will hopefully lead to positive long-term great memory!)

I have also found drawing to be a great break from reading. It trains your mind in a different way. I let my mind wander for a bit, and then bring it back to the moment. It really is a quiet, meditative time to focus on something mindless (in a different way that is much more restful for me than watching mindless television). I love reading, and reading relaxes and inspires me also – but sometimes my eyes need a break.

Curious about something else that is great about adult coloring books? No one is telling you what colors to use, this is not paint by number – it is your creation. Sometimes I find myself using darker and deeper colors, other times I grab the glittery pens. This ability to express my emotions, whether I am conscious of it or not, is actually quite relieving. I do not overthink it, I just draw.

Wine Recommendation: Coloring and Wine go together like peanut butter and jelly, my friends. It is still hot here in Denver, so tonight I am drinking a white wine that I have had chilling for the past two weeks waiting to drink. As you can see in the picture above, it is the Honey Beast 2014 Roussanne from Paso Robles, California (2 hrs north of Santa Barbara). Here is the description from the back of the bottle: “Delicate yet robust, Roussanne has a well-deserved reputation for being a difficult grape to grow. However, once you taste the Honey Beast’s golden liquid, you’ll be drawn in by the full-bodied texture, honeyed richness and distinct apricot flavor. Drink it now, or age if for the next 4-6 years.” Yeah, thanks, I’m going to drink the golden liquid now.