Holiday Gift Guide

If you're like me, and you have no free time and only about $0.86 in change at the bottom of your purse, Christmas shopping can be stressful. In order to avoid panic-shopping on December 22nd, and last-minute DIY gift ideas that would inevitably be a disappointment, I've started my gift search much earlier than usual.

Whether you're shopping for your mom, grandpa, best friend, that co-worker you've never met but picked for Secret Santa, your soon-to-be in-laws who don't seem to like you very much, or your sister who always out-gifts you every year and frankly you're sick of it, here are a few of my favorite picks (and websites) for this years season of giving.

Also everything here is under $70, which means you'll still be able to afford groceries and your heating bill when you're done.

   BINU BINU SOAP  : $18-$20   PERFECT FOR : People who wash their faces and/or bodies. All-natural, fragrance-free soaps made with essential oils.   Binu Binu

BINU BINU SOAP: $18-$20

PERFECT FOR: People who wash their faces and/or bodies. All-natural, fragrance-free soaps made with essential oils.

Binu Binu

   CORD TACO  : $29 (for set of 5)   PERFECT FOR : Anyone with a phone (everyone). 100% leather, and 14 color options.   This Is Ground

CORD TACO: $29 (for set of 5)

PERFECT FOR: Anyone with a phone (everyone). 100% leather, and 14 color options.

This Is Ground

   COMBINATION TOOL  : $22   PERFECT FOR : People who have walls in their home. Made with tempered steel and solid brass.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

COMBINATION TOOL: $22

PERFECT FOR: People who have walls in their home. Made with tempered steel and solid brass.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

   AMBER & MOSS CANDLE  : $18   PERFECT FOR : Yourself, honestly. But also anyone who likes things to smell nice. Soy wax and a 40 hour burn time.   P.F. Candle Co. .

AMBER & MOSS CANDLE: $18

PERFECT FOR: Yourself, honestly. But also anyone who likes things to smell nice. Soy wax and a 40 hour burn time.

P.F. Candle Co..

   BOOK DARTS  : $10 (for set of 30)   PERFECT FOR : People who can read. Made of brass, and much better than folding down the corners of the page.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

BOOK DARTS: $10 (for set of 30)

PERFECT FOR: People who can read. Made of brass, and much better than folding down the corners of the page.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

   WOOD PHOTO CALENDAR  : $30   PERFECT FOR : Anyone using the Gregorian calendar. Made with reclaimed wood and your very own photos.   Artifact Uprising

WOOD PHOTO CALENDAR: $30

PERFECT FOR: Anyone using the Gregorian calendar. Made with reclaimed wood and your very own photos.

Artifact Uprising

   ENAMELWARE CUP  : $32 (set of 2)   PERFECT FOR : Your friend that loves camping and also everyone else. Enamelware steel, also comes in Teal.   Best Made Co.

ENAMELWARE CUP: $32 (set of 2)

PERFECT FOR: Your friend that loves camping and also everyone else. Enamelware steel, also comes in Teal.

Best Made Co.

   COPPER BODE CLOCK  : $70   PERFECT FOR : People who exist in linear time. It's minimalist, copper, and what else do you need, really?   Country Road

COPPER BODE CLOCK: $70

PERFECT FOR: People who exist in linear time. It's minimalist, copper, and what else do you need, really?

Country Road

   AEROPRESS BUNDLE  : $60   PERFECT FOR : The coffee lover in your life. Kit includes an  AeroPress  coffee maker, coffee filters, and a mug.    Able Brewing

AEROPRESS BUNDLE: $60

PERFECT FOR: The coffee lover in your life. Kit includes an AeroPress coffee maker, coffee filters, and a mug. 

Able Brewing

   RECYCLED WINE GLASSES  : $9-$10 ea.   PERFECT FOR : People who drink beverages. Choice of Olive or Clear and honestly you should just get one of each.   Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

RECYCLED WINE GLASSES: $9-$10 ea.

PERFECT FOR: People who drink beverages. Choice of Olive or Clear and honestly you should just get one of each.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

    K     INFOLK TABLE COOKBOOK  : $35   PERFECT FOR : People who like nice things and good food. Filled with 85 recipes, incredible photos, and stories.   Kinfolk

KINFOLK TABLE COOKBOOK: $35

PERFECT FOR: People who like nice things and good food. Filled with 85 recipes, incredible photos, and stories.

Kinfolk

   RAGG WOOL CAP  : $32   PERFECT FOR : Anyone with a head. Choice of two colors, and it's made in Colorado so you know it's warm.   Topo Designs

RAGG WOOL CAP: $32

PERFECT FOR: Anyone with a head. Choice of two colors, and it's made in Colorado so you know it's warm.

Topo Designs

No You Don't Need to Clean Your Apartment (and Other Tips For the procrasting Writer)

As a writer, there's nothing better than actually wanting to write: to have a thought or a direction, to sit down at your computer (or typewriter if you're going to be that guy), and start typing furiously, the words spilling onto the page with a grace and finesse even Kate Middleton would envy.

But, if we're being honest here, that almost never happens. Instead, you end up staring at a blank screen for several minutes until you remember that you should probably alphabetize your books because they're getting out of order. And you only have a few apples left so you should most definitely run out to the store to pick up a couple more. 

I think everyone who writes anything has those moments of feeling uninspired, tired, or just plain over it. Unfortunately when you're up against an impending deadline the whole waiting-to-write-until-you're-in-the-zone thing isn't always possible, and learning to write when you just really don't feel like it is really quite a struggle. 

In the perfect example of seemingly-productive procrastination, while trying to write a screenplay this past weekend I, instead, came up with a list of dos and don'ts for writing up against a deadline. From someone who is wonderful at coming up with well-timed excuses, here you go:

Dos and Don'ts for the Procastinating Writer (An Autobiography):

  1. Just do it (I realize this isn't super helpful, but it's probably the #1 rule of writing things). I know how terrible it is to spend an hour writing something and only have several clunky, awkward phrases to show for it. But just get through that and you're on track to actually coming up with those interesting thoughts we all know are in there somewhere.
  2. Don't watch an episode of The Office (or read New Yorker magazine, or watch Manhattan for the third time this week, etc.). "But I'm researching!" you might proclaim. "I'm studying this film so that I can have a better understanding of story structure, character development, and dramatic irony." That's all well and good, but by episode 12 of The Office that's a much more difficult case to make. You're fooling no one with your Netflix binge, get back to work.
  3. You don't need to clean your apartment, you and I both know that. You did the dishes this morning and took out the trash after lunch. Since when do you scrub the toilet anyway? Since you had a deadline coming up in Screenwriting class...
  4. We know you love Grandma, but now's not the time to give her a call. It's 3am for goodness sake, the woman's asleep. I'm absolutely an advocate for keeping in touch with your wonderful family but using your older sibling or your father as a form of procrastination? How dare you.
  5. Do drink lots of water. I'm no scientist, but in my experience of attempting to pull all-nighters or sit still for 6 hours to finish an assignment, water has always been there for me (how sentimental). Coffee won't keep you awake any more than someone standing behind your desk shaking you for a few hours will, and energy drinks just make you crave Bugels or Corn Nuts or some other strange snack from the only open convenience store. Water is your friend (and if you want to look extra cool drop a few lemon halves and fresh raspberries into your Nalgene and everyone will think you're on some kind of trendy Beyonce detox diet).

Also don't write a blog post...I'm getting back to work now, I promise.

Autumn, At Last

It's finally fall. A time for pumpkin-flavored things, mildly puffy coats, and premature Christmas decor aisles at a craft store near you.

I've been an Autumn Enthusiast for most of my life - a serious title that comes with serious responsibilities - and every year, as October approaches, I can't help but get childishly excited about the months ahead. A list of reasons behind my obsession with this particular quarter of the year, and, surprisingly, only one of them has to do with food.

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