Tag Archives: gifts

my favorite things: christmas gifts 2013

It’s kind of disturbing that Christmas is a mere three weeks away. There’s no time to wait. Love it or hate it, it’s time to shop for those gifts! Here are my favorite gift giving ideas for Christmas 2013. The best part? You can get them all without leaving the house.


Wicked Witch Bookmark

An Etsy find, I’m giving these fun bookmarks this year along with a copy of the Wizard of Oz


Hand Grenade Paperweight

I own one for myself but what man wouldn’t appreciate such a unique desk accessory?!


Joe Boxer Kmart Christmas Ad

Young, old, male, female, many on my list will get Joe Boxer PJs in support of the daring and controversial choice KMart made in airing my favorite ad this season! Watch it on YouTube.

Happy shopping!

Cat Johnson

gifts for dad

Father’s Day is nearly upon us, and procrastinator that I am, I haven’t bought my gifts yet. But that’s not to say I haven’t seen a few doozy ideas fly by on the internet. Here’s one or two that might appeal to the dad in your life.

Remote Control Beer Opener

A Remote Control Beer Opener. Bet Dad doesn’t own one of these!


BBQ Branding Iron

A BBQ Branding Iron-because what man doesn’t want to play cowboy once in a while?


Remote Control Cooler

For the truly lazy, a Remote Control Cooler

And there you go, 3 suggestions I’m betting you hadn’t thought of for Dad this year. You’re welcome! 😉



gifts for the writer

Deadlines wait for no man. Neither do holidays. So yes, I am one stressed writer as both loom before me, which inspired me to blog. Well, the stress did, as well as a blog post by the brilliantly irreverent Chuck Wendig “25 Gifts For Writers“.

Do you have a stressed writer in your life? Or hell, anyone who works from home. Here is my quick and dirty list of what my personal experience in this area has taught me they would love to receive.

A new mug. It must be big. Giant. Huge. Because I am too lazy to keep going to the coffee pot, or the tea kettle, to refill it. I will however, walk down to the microwave to reheat the contents–hey, I need some exercise, right? One year I saw a mug that said “What deadline?” on it. I didn’t buy it. I have regretted that decision every day since then. Just saying…

A fun new wine glass, perhaps holiday themed, because when it’s too late in the day for caffeine, this particular writer switches to alcohol. Of course, it goes without saying, that a nice accompaniment for the wine glass would be a fabulous bottle of wine to go with it. Possibly with a very fun name. My friend once bought a bottle of Writer’s Block wine. Brilliant gift, if you can find a bottle of that send it on over.

Daytime PJs. You know I’m not getting dressed just to sit in the house alone with the cats and write. Who has the energy or time for that? I will however change from my nighttime PJs to what I call my daytime PJs–some sort of comfy pull-on lounging pants with a big warm cozy sweater. That way I can be comfortable to sit and write all day, but if the man in brown comes a’knocking at the back door bearing gifts in his UPS truck, I can answer the door without feeling embarrassed. Oh, and an update for those who were following the saga of my writing sweater–I bit the bullet and threw out my very favorite holey black writing sweater. But, lo and behold, and thanks to a Black Friday miracle, the store where I’d bought it years ago had a sale and free shipping, and I replaced the sweater with one the same style but in a lovely soft grey. That’s the good news. The bad news is that since getting it, I have spent far too much time and money online buying new lounging pants and a tank top to match it. But hey, it is my work uniform, right?

A throw. While in my chair trying to write, I get hot, and then I get cold. Then I fall asleep. In any event, the perfect thing is a nice BIG soft throw that I can wrap around me when I need, use just to cover my feet if they’re cold, or toss it completely off me if need be–you’d be surprised how much heat 2 cats and a laptop can generate.

And finally (I’m almost embarrassed to write this but I will anyway)–a fake fireplace. Now, if you have a natural gas hookup in the house and a few thousand dollars to hire a plumber to run a gas line, you can install a lovely gas one. If you are cheap, as I am, you can buy this gorgeous electric one at Walmart for $129 with 97 cent shipping. I have to say, my writing lair is so lovely since I bought this thing that I never want to leave it! Yes, we have a perfectly nice real fireplace in the house. It’s downstairs and requires wood like every hour, and cleaning every week, and I’m too lazy for that, hence my totally portable fireplace that turns on with a flip of a switch. It makes me happy. Don’t judge.

So there you go–my suggestions for the writer or any other type of shut-in you may know. Have a wonderful holiday!


how many sleeps til christmas?! part 2 -gifts for the foodie

I had so much fun putting together the post with the list of gift ideas for the writer in your life last week, I decided to make another, but this time for the food/drink lover in your life. So here you go…get out your Christmas lists and credit cards!

Bacon KeychainBACON!

Everyone loves bacon, right? And I heard a horrible rumor that there may be a shortage due to weather and failing crops that were needed to feed the pigs… I don’t know, it’s all too horrible to think about, so let’s move on to the gift for the bacon lover! How about a key chain proclaiming your love for both that someone special in your life, and bacon? Courtesy of Etsy.com and WhiteLilieDesigns.

Lobster Print~

LOBSTER, anyone?

How about framing this print for a unique item of kitchen decor?

A beautiful antique lobster image, printed on a vintage dictionary page from Black Baroque on Etsy. They have tons of other designs as well.


Trader Vic's Book o Food & Drink


I’ve just recently read about Trader Vic’s history and it’s pretty amazing. More than that, so is his famed dark rum which I also just tasted for the first time.rum_dark

Buying this cookbook for my husband was a no brainer and I’m at this very moment holding in my hand the original 1946 printing of Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, available on Amazon, and it is totally cool.

Imagine how happy a gift of a bottle and the book would make the rum/food lover in your life.

Any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them!


there’s how many sleeps til christmas!? gifts for the writer

I keep seeing these Tweets from @santa_claus, things such as the below…

Santa Tweets…and quite honestly, it’s giving me anxiety.

Didn’t we just have Christmas? Wasn’t I just stressed out over having no time to put up a tree like a month or two ago? Apparently not since October is upon us, and then November and Thanksgiving, and then it’s all downhill from there. So in an effort to stay ahead, I already have gifts falling out of my closet where they are dangerously stacked on top of my boxes of promo for next year’s conferences.

So in the spirit of holiday giving and keeping my sanity, I bring you this year’s edition of Christmas gift idea for writers, all found at Etsy.com

My Pen Is Huge print

Typewriter print

Pencil Scarf

Drink Quote Coasters

Writer's Banner & Prompt Dice

Book Purse - Shakespeare

personalized pop

Today’s confession is this…authors (at least this author) procrastinate. I will do anything, including clean the house on rare occasions, to avoid work at times. Yesterday’s procrastinating yielding something very fun and exciting that I figured I’d share here.


I love when food products go above and beyond and this company is off the charts in the cool factor. I’d often seen their bottles on the shelves in the food store. They were different first because they were actual glass bottles rather than plastic and because the labels were always really fun. What I didn’t know then that I do know now is that Jones takes photo submissions from people like you and me and turns them into the actual labels on the bottles on the food store shelves.

How cool is that?? You can submit your photo to the gallery for consideration or you can order custom labeled bottles to be shipped to you. A great idea for party favors for a bridal or baby shower, engagement party, a milestone anniversary or birthday party, or a wedding. A great marketing idea for my books if I upload for instance, my book cover as the label.

For now I uploaded some really artsy pics I’d taken a few years ago. Pictures I’d taken and loved but didn’t have any idea of what to do with them. You can download the label mockup as iPhone wallpaper. You can also share the link and have people vote for your picture. Meanwhile, the people at Jones are pawing through the many submissions and deciding if any are label-worthy. If they decide yes, you’ll be notified and your photo could be on my grocery store shelf.

Below is what I did while not working… Go try for yourself!



…tis the season

Christmas is upon us. I know this because my friend Donna is on her annual pre-Christmas pilgrimage to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx today to buy all the delicacies necessary for her family’s Christmas Eve dinner. You can buy just about anything there. Lamb, goat, rabbit, fresh baked Olive or Prociutto Bread, imported Columbian Gorgonzola cheese to die for, handmade ravioli…see below

Arthur Avenue The Bronx

Being Italian/Catholic, Donna’s family does it up big, with the meal of the 7 Fishes and all. Sigh, now I need to go Google the significance of the 7 fishes…hang on…okay, looks like you can’t eat meat so you had to eat fish, and the reason for the 7 is not confirmed but it could relate to the 7 days of creation or possibly the number of Sacraments. Thank you, Wikipedia. Moving on…

Anyway, the trip to Arthur Avenue signals I have very little time to finish my gift shopping. Yes, that was a confession, I’m not done yet. Luckily I am down to just a few gift certificates and a quick trip to the liquor store and I will be done, but for those of you in a tighter bind, here are a few suggestions of some of my favorite gifts to give.

FOOD- Who doesn’t love a big basket packed full with tasty treats? And unlike the unattractive sweater that you have to wear or risk insulting the giver, food gifts can be easily eaten, donated, or re-gifted at one of the many holiday parties you’ll be attending. I personally like a theme. I’ve put together a ‘spicy’ basket with various fun hot sauces, chocolates I found online that contained hot pepper, and even beer made with chili peppers. Throw in an attractive bottle opener, perhaps a tree ornament or cute cocktail napkins or bowl and Viola! Fun, unique, done! With not much time left for shipping, you procrastinators will have to go to a local gourmet shop or beer importer and buy your basket purchases there.

BOOKS- I’m an author, of course I love books and bookstores are open late during this season and the larger chains even email you 30% off coupons if you sign up. Children on my list have gotten the Eloise books since I LOVE The Plaza Hotel in NY. My nieces have also received a fun book I found “Auntie Claus” about a child who finds out her aunt is Santa. For adults, cookbooks are fun. Amy’s Fork Me, Spoon Me Aphrodisiac cookbook is a great gift, wrapped up with a serving fork and spoon perhaps?

WINE – It’s no secret I buy wine by the name and the label. I’ve gifted wines by the name of Bitch, Fat Bastard, Il Bastardo, Menage e Trios, Old Fart, Seven Deadly Zins, Daddy’s Day Off, Mad Housewife, even Big House (with a sketch of a prison on the label for my lawyer friend)… you get the picture.

Use your imagination, connect it specifically to the person you’re giving it to and wrap it attractively, and even a last minute gift won’t look like it.

As I plot out my day and its errands, I wish you all a wonderful holiday.