2015: A Year of Compassion

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

At the end of each year (in the calm between the Christmas and New Years storms), I always find myself reflecting on all that has happened in the past year and eagerly looking into the new year. This is because I'm creative and unique. I'm certain that nobody else does this. ;)

2014 was an exciting year for me: I completed a triathlon, moved in with my boyfriend, got a cat, and quit my job after over 3 years as a software implementer to focus on writing! It was also an exciting year for rejoyce: I started writing book reviews and sharing book recommendations, sharing my mom's recipes, and created my 101 in 1001 list.

But, as the officially state word for Wisconsin says: FORWARD. (I don't know if this is actually the official state word but it's emblazoned on a long wooden table at the Starbucks next to the Capitol building, so probs.)

This photo is not of Wisconsin.
What will 2015 bring? What should I do? What shouldn't I do? I find it exhausting thinking of all the different "life-changing" options the next 365 days hold.

Should I drink 8 glasses of water a day? Stop swearing? Finally stop biting my nails? Randomly give up meat? Or gluten? Or candy? Should I actually only consume kale?

Like a typical ex-athlete, I also struggle with fitness goals. Should I run two times a week? Or work out two times a day? Run a marathon? Do another tri? Complete an ironman? Yoga every morning? Become a yoga teacher? Stretch before bed every night? Successfully do one pull-up?

Phew. The questions are tiring, and those don't even cover personal relationship, financial, or professional development goals. Not to mention how many books I want to read!
(Both photos by Stephen of Sanibel beaches.)
I like goal-setting (see: 101 in 1001 list), but do not like the idea of mapping out your life plan, as it often leads to let-downs, and also hinders spontaneous opportunities. And, as much as New Year's Resolutions could lead to good changes, I will likely eat way more candy than kale in 2015. Also, if the previous 26 years are any indicator of the future, my nails will, sadly, continue to be bitten.

So, I decided to toss concrete resolutions aside and focus on one theme for the year: compassion. Specifically, I hope to widen my circle of compassion.

Compassion might seem simple, but I think it's a more complex and layered topic than it initially looks. I've done a little research: I watched this TED talk on Expanding your circle of Compassion and this one on Why Aren't We More Compassionate?, and read this article written by a struggling writer which encourages praying for everyone (even strangers) as a way to find peace within yourself.

I admit I have a lot to learn regarding compassion, and even more to learn about actually applying it to my life, but I think it's a nice focus for the forthcoming year. I'll leave you with a quote:

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security." - Albert Einstein.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to 2015! xx

DIY: NYE Bauble Necklace

Monday, December 29, 2014

My youngest sister, Janice, got me a very creative Christmas present: everything I needed to make a Simple Bauble Necklace in this SLOABN youtube video. Still, even though she condensed it down to a 5-minute tutorial, I was unsure if I could do it.

I'm not crafty! My twin sister, Becky, was always the crafty one. I was always the nerdy one. But, it turns out that when everything is handed to you with a bow on top, and there's a youtube video with awesome detailed step-by-step instructions, miracles can happen. And it's that time of the year for miracles, amirite?

So let's talk about how you can take a bowl of beads and transform it into a cute bauble necklace, perfect for adding some sparkle to NYE. (I mean, champagne is probably actually the perfect way to do that, to be honest. But just go with it.)


1. Beads! Our end-product necklace had 48 beads on it. I think it could have had 60, but we had a limiting factor (we didn't buy enough pins!) which brings us to...

2. Head pins. You need 1 per bead. These were our limiting resource, as we only had 48. I think 48 is sufficient but a necklace with ~60 beads would probably look nicer! Also you thread one of these through every bead, so they need to have a big enough "end" that they don't slip right through. We sadly couldn't use our blue beads because the pins were too small/holes on the beads were too big.

3. Wire Cutter Pliers & Needle Nose/Round Nose Pliers. Necessary. And no, I didn't already own these - I also got them for Christmas. My sister got me a Jewelry Tool Set with all this (and more) for only ~$10.

4. Jump Rings. We bought these in a pack of 85 and that was more than enough. You need one for every 2-3 beads.

5. Large Chain. To tie it all together.

6. Toggle Clasp. For connectivity. I used a Tiffany-style clasp.

You should be able to find everything at Michaels!


1. Make Each Bead Its Own Charm. Do this by threading a head pin through the bead, cutting off excess pin, and then using pliers (round nosed worked best for me) to make a little loop. This step takes the longest.

How the "charms" should look:

Note: there is one blue bead. That's the ONLY blue bead the pin fit in! So, we ended up only using green, black, and sparkly white. (we didn't use the pearl white beads in the final product, though I think a bauble of entirely pearl white would look nice!)

2. Use Jump Rings to loop together beads. We made "baubles" of 2 beads and 3 beads. We were able to just pry the jump rings open with our hands, but in the video she recommends getting even stronger jump rings that you need pliers to pull apart. That would take a lot longer! (Though undoubtedly make a more durable product.)

3. Chain together Baubles by connecting Jump Rings. We did a pattern of 3 beads > 2 beads > 3 beads > 2 beads, and so on. You just link the first jump ring to the second, and the second to the third, etc.

4. After ~6-7 inches of bauble is made, link to chain.

5. Attach chain to Toggles at the end. 

6. Wear and Enjoy!!

Trust me when I say I am an amateur DIY-er. As in, I don't own a hot glue gun, amateur. But I did this with my sister, thought it was quite fun, and am pleased with how the necklace turned out! I actually can't believe I made it! Next time I might try to make one with 100% of one color bead (like sparkly white, maybe). Though, I am feeling the unofficial Slytherin theme of the one above. (ha!) I'd love to see your finished products if you try it - just tag me on instagram so I can see them! Go forth and bauble. :)

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tomorrow Stephen and I drive to Milwaukee to fly to Fort Myers (and then drive to Sanibel) to spend time with his family for Christmas! As always, we have quite a few things to wrap up (including presents) before our holiday travels begin.

First and foremost: tonight we drop Tywin off at a friend's apartment! That's right, my little boy is spending the holidays with another family *sniff*sniff* But seriously, we are so grateful my friend Melissa and her husband agreed to watch him. You know what they say, it takes a village :) Fingers crossed he is a well-behaved kitten, as we've raised him to be.  I only hope their lamps don't have any dangly switches, because he's taken to knocking ours over lately. May they accept my early apology for the potential desolation of their Christmas tree.
photo by Stephen that captures his inner essence
From Sanibel, I'm flying to the 'burgh (HOW ABOUT THEM STEELERS? Playoffs, baby.) to hang with my fam and go to a wedding on Saturday (yay!) and then I'm back in Madison for the New Year. New Year's Eve can get a lot of hype with crazy parties and anticipated midnight kisses, but it is our five-year anniversary (of dating) so Stephen and I will likely do a relatively low-key date night. I can't believe it's been five years! More importantly, the new year will also mark the 4-year anniversary of this blog! (kidding about the more importantly!!) (but it really has been 4 years.) I'm very thankful for everyone who's been reading rejoyce from the very beginning - and for new readers too! I've been doing a lot of thinking about what the ideal direction of this blog is, and I hope 2015 brings nothing but improvements :)

I am not sure how much I'll be blogging over the "holiday break" because I will probably be too busy stuffing my face with pie and whatnot. But I will likely be instagramming throughout (I can never resist a pie pic) - so feel free to follow along! Wishing everyone a wonderful and relaxed end to 2014 - and an amazing start to 2015! :) 


p.s.  I really enjoyed this A Cup of Jo post on being single over the holidays - which refers to NYE as "the most dreaded of holidays." Even though I'm in a relationship, I can totally see where she's coming from. NYE = way too much hype.

p.p.s. I forgot how much I love business books! I just started reading Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and I can't put it down.


Weekly Favorites: Have a Festive Weekend

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy (almost) weekend friends! For those who are traveling holiday-style this weekend, stay safe. For those who are shopping frantically, stay sane. For those who are eating 15 candy canes a day (just me?), stay legit.

Here a few of my favorite links from around the web this week! (And, as all of my weekly favorite posts go, this just means I found them this week. Could be, you know, months old at this point ;)

1. How awesome are these Rifle Paper Co. covers of Little Women,Heidi,A Little Princess, and Anne of Green Gables? BRB need to go read all four of those books ASAP.

2. This Jewelry Gift Guide is spot-on. I especially love the simple gold studs. (And all are under $50!)

3. Into vs. In To: this is probably boring for everyone but me, but it's my blog (muahaha.) But really, I edited our January magazine at my internship this week (phew) and spent some time figuring this one out. (I also ran into this one and this one. Grammar is fun, amirite? No? Okay.)

4. A Candy Bowl is Never Overkill (word, homies) and more tips for holiday entertaining. Though I am a big proponent of year-round candy bowls.

5. "North Korea is not funny. It is hard to imagine a comparable comedy emerging about quirky Islamic State slavers or amusing and 'complicated' genocidaires in the Central African Republic. The suffering in question is happening now, as I write." I thought The Interview looked like a stupid movie, and wasn't surprised it got canceled. But this article gave me lots more to think about regarding the terrible situation that is North Korea.

6. Add Norway to the list of places I want to go to! (It's worth clicking through the whole slide show.)

7. Speaking of Norway, did you know Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory Star) Hates Frozen? I liked it overall, but think she has interesting points re: feminism. (Anna and Elsa do have incredibly tiny noses and incredibly big eyes!) My actual biggest gripe with the movie was such a small cast; I like more characters. (I'm also twice as old as the target market I suppose ;)

8. Speaking of Frozen, ICYMI, this is the best Frozen headline ever.

9. I'm going to a holiday party tomorrow night, and if the best Christmas song of our time at least 15 times, I'm going to be disappointed.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend-before-Christmas! xx

Wordplay Wednesday: Tis the Season

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Can you believe it's one week until Christmas Eve!? There's (oddly) no snow on the ground in Wisconsin (not complaining), so it doesn't quite feel that close to me. Growing up, I always said my favorite holiday was either Christmas Eve or Easter. I think I thought this made me super original and artsy. (Truly, the original hipster.) (Not even close.)

But I really do love Christmas Eve! My family always goes to candlelight service at Church where we sing "Silent Night" in the dark and try not (or try, depending on the year) to drip wax all over. This year I'm heading to Florida (to spend the holiday with Stephen's family!), so it will be a sandy Christmas rather than a white one :)

This week I wanted to share 5 fun words to sprinkle into conversation at the upcoming holiday gatherings:

quixotic - adj. 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) resembling or befitting Don Quixote. 2. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable.

From Google: exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic of impractical

While my mother was reasonable about her expectations, my father always had the quixotic idea that all 30 of our extended family members would get along perfectly at Christmas; he was always disappointed.

conflate - verb (use with object) 1. to fuse into one entity; merge.

From Google: combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.

"You're conflating two separate things," Ashley drunkenly said to her great aunt, "just because I'm not married doesn't mean I can't have a baby."

insouciant - adj. 1. Free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant.

While Max constantly fretted about the next topic of conversation, Matilda maintained an insouciant attitude all throughout the Christmas Eve dinner, completely unconcerned with the opinions of her in-laws.

lurid - adj. 1. gruesome; horrible; revolting. 2. glaringly vivid or sensational; shocking 2. terrible in intensity, fierce pasion, or unrestraint.

One good thing about being stuck at the kids' table is avoiding my uncle's annual lurid tales.

titillating - adj. 1. arousing or exciting in an agreeable, often sexual way.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I spent most of my time sitting in my cubicle pretending to be listening to music, but actually listening to the titillating office gossip.

That's all for this week :) Oh, and quick a personal note in case the holidays got you stressed: Some people might find sending Christmas cards easy, I am not one of those people. I'm trying to accomplish my goal of sending 25 out this year, and it's been tough! We also just don't have a tree. We thought about it, but just put up one strand of lights instead. I know being a so-called blogger and not going all-out full-fledged balls-to-the-wall with holiday decor is unheard of, but you know what, I think it's important to prioritize and also realize that you're doing the best you can! Wishing you all a relaxing week leading up to the big day.


p.s. If you're looking for shopping ideas: my Shop Small Gift Guide, All Book Gift Guide, and the best experience gift I've ever given (not safe for vegans ;)

The Best "Experience" Gift I've Ever Given

Monday, December 15, 2014

If you're like me, tis the season for wracking your brain for what to get for people for  Christmas. Stephen is particularly hard to shop for, as first off, boys are harder to shop for than girls! Also, this will be our fifth Christmas together, and neither of us really like things all too much; we much prefer experience gifts. ( I'm even more minimalistic after recently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up & Everything That Remains)

Last year I got him an experience gift that I fear I'll never be able to top: a butchering class!

My friend, Elizabeth, had done this with her boyfriend and highly recommended it, and I was fresh out of gift ideas, so I figured I'd give it a go! The Underground Food Collective is this awesome organization in Madison that has a butcher shop, does catering, and also runs Stephen's favorite Madison restaurant, Forequarter. (Try as I may, I can't come up with a favorite Madison restaurant, but Forequarter is definitely in the top five.)

They offer the occasional class, and I signed us up for the Whole Hog Break Down. I'm so glad I did!

No, we did not have to kill the pig. The class started with our instructor, Johnny, showing us in about 20 minutes what we would spend the next 2 or so hours doing: butchering half of a pig.

It was so fascinating to learn where the different cuts of meat come from. This is likely common knowledge for some of you, but I had no clue where  bacon, pork chops, or even ham came from. I mean, I knew they came from "pig" because I have a 5 year-old knowledge of where food comes from, but other than that I was clueless!

The pigs we used came from Roller Coaster Farm in Wisconsin. Our instructor told us an interesting (but disturbing) fact: the Roller Coaster Farm pigs we were butchering had been alive for ~12 months, and with most pork we eat, the pigs were only alive for 3 months! During that time, they're essentially just force fed for slaughter. Isn't that sad? I am a carnivore, but since moving to Wisconsin I've thought a lot more about where my food comes from than ever before. The restaurant scene is very farm-to-table here and I love that about it.

Butchering is WAY harder than one might think -- it's very manual. It involved a using a saw to cut through bones. I pumped iron for years (as an ex-collegiate athlete) and still had trouble with it.

To make pork chops, Stephen used a hammer and chisel thing to pound through the bone:

By this point, I was just snacking on the sausage, snacks, and beer they had for us. Oh yeah, they had snacks and beer! If you do any event in Wisconsin that doesn't have beer, you're doing it wrong ;) But seriously, nearly all the 5k's I run here even end in a complimentary beer. It almost makes running them worth it. Almost.

At the end of the class, we each got to take home 8lbs of meat!!! We wrapped it and weighed it. We took home a sirloin roast, a tenderloin roast, some pork belly, some ribs, and a bunch of pork chops. DELICIOUS. We bought a cheap cast iron pan from Target so we could season and seer the chops on the stove and then stick them in the oven (and by we I mean Stephen). It's the best pork I've ever had.
blurry pic, but the only one of both of us!
The class was $169 a person, and so worth it (especially considering the ~16 lbs of delicious meat we took home!) They also offer a Sausage Class for $99 a person - I have friends who went to that and really enjoyed it as well!   I highly recommend getting this gift; it's an enjoyable and educational way to spend an unforgettable afternoon.

Tywin Update: 2 Months! (and Weekly Favorites)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Can you believe we've had Tywin for 2 months? I, personally, cannot. It feels like we always had him and like we just got him.

He is good at being held!
He is a cute, rambunctious little guy with a passion for closets, strings, FOOD, drinks, the washing machine (quite the infatuation), eating and scratching my yoga mat, jumping into the fridge, jumping into the dishwasher, and meowing up a storm when he wants us to wake up.

Oh....and hair ties! He loves carrying around my hair ties, and even plays fetch with them. Like, legit fetch. Stephen or I throw it, and then he gets it and brings it back. Times 1000.

Why aren't you throwing it?

Lest I paint too pretty of a picture of him, he's had his moments too. He occasionally misses the litter box (not too often, and he's always in the general vicinity), he has broken not one, not two, but 3 coasters, and has broken 1 wine glass. (I was gifted this amazing wine glass by my friend Jess and am now diligently protecting it from the wrath of Tywin.) He is insanely curious. I mean, I'd obviously heard the saying "curiosity kills the cat" before but Tywin, stop trying to eat the damn thumb tacks off of the bulletin board for the love of all things holy.
and seriously get out of the fridge :)
Overall, we love the little guy! Don't have plans for the weekend? Go get a cat!

He loves his Krinkle Bag and I love my essie blanc polish.
If a trip to the humane society isn't in your future, here are a few fun links from around the web for weekend (or workday on Friday) reading:

1. Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Sue the Franchise you go, girls! I did have to chuckle at the fact that they are deemed the "Buffalo Jills" though.

2. How "polish" got its name, the French manicure isn't actually from France, the first acrylics and more in this intriguing History of Nail Polish (I admit, I'm basically obsessed with the stuff.)

3. I'm linking to This Gift Guide not just because it's fun but mainly because I need to know if anyone has used the Japanese baby foot mask. Does it work!?

4. Ryan Anderson (NBA player) dealing with girlfriend, Gia's, suicide. A very moving piece in Sports Illustrated worth reading (even though it's long).

5. Emma Watson is single and I'm just wondering why the article didn't address the OBVIOUS question: Is Rupert Grint single!?

Happy weekend, friends! xx

Why is Santa fat? Addressing the most pressing question of the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I don't mean to be mean to the poor guy, but let's be real: Santa Claus works one full day OF THE YEAR. We all know his elves are the overworked interns actually figuring out who gets what, building the toys by hand, managing the lists of naughty and nice in gigantic Excel spreadsheets (The North Pole is clearly way on top of its technology game. How could it not be when most children want a cellphone, laptop, iPad, or iPod under the tree – amirite?) So, Santa presumably has 364 days to do whatever the heck he wants; but, what does he do? Based on pictures, one answer is clear: not exercise. But why not?

Santa being constantly portrayed as fat actually adds a number of considerations to his otherwise entirely believable annual routine:

1. Could Santa ever conceivably fit down ANY chimney? I don't think I could fit my left thigh into a chimney these days. But this element of the story is made even less believable by his size.

2. A sleigh flying full of presents for 6 billion people seems slightly impractical, but now they are also lugging around a large, round man? At this point, I'm wondering if reindeer do everything they can to avoid that job. Maybe Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, et al. drew the short straws? Are there reindeer unions?

3. Why do we leave him cookies? It seems if there's one thing he has enough of, it's cookies. Some scientists calculated that Santa Claus eats 38 billion calories Christmas Eve. 

Yet, sure as the fact that people will trample one another on Black Friday over a television set, Santa Claus will be perpetually portrayed as being overweight. But why? To answer this question I turned to the ultimate source of truth for all things: the internet.

Let's go back to a time pre-tweets and blogs and even televisions: 1822. What does one do without the constant distraction of screens? Read poems, of course. A poem is anonymously published (and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore). The famous poem introduces St. Nick arriving at a house on Christmas eve via a flying sled and 8 reindeer, going down the chimney, and filling up stockings. It also mentions children dreaming of sugar plums. The poem, of course, is A Visit From St. Nicholas commonly known as its first line, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

This poem includes a few St. Nick's physical attributes:

"He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself"

So that's it? A poet said he had a little round belly and he was forever portrayed as chubby? Not so fast. This wouldn't be a part of American culture without a role from a corporate giant. 

That's right, different illustrations emerged of Santa over the years, but in 1931 Coca Cola enlisted illustrator Haddon Sundblom to whip up some cheerful looking Coke-drinking Santas for Coca Cola ads. And thus began 35 years of Sundblom making original Santa Claus paintings for Coke, imprinting a fat, jolly, white-beared, big-belted Mr. Claus into our holiday season for, well, ever:

So, yep, Coca Cola is even responsible for making Santa Claus fat. Thanks, Coca Cola! Tis the season for over-indulgence, my friends. Pop open another soft drink and have a Merry Christmas!

Gift Guide #2: Booking It

Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm back with another gift guide, and in the name of one of my favorite hobbies (reading) I thought it would be fun to do all books this time. My other favorite hobby (taking photos of my cat) isn't as gift-able. If you're planning on giving everyone on your list a kitten (solid plan), no need to read further.

I like giving books for a number of reasons, not only do I like receiving them (I got this fun stack for my birthday!), but also they are way easier to pick out than clothes for other people (stop debating what size shirt your cousin wears) and also (bonus!) so easy to wrap. I'm a bad wrapper* and vouch for all book-shaped items as being pretty much the easiest. I am good at curling ribbon though. If only I could monetize that bizarre scissor skill :) Without further fun facts about my holiday skills or lack thereof, the right books for everyone, categorized (somewhat):

For the girl who wants to stay on top of all the popular movies, loves a good memoir, and appreciates a good"beach read" any time of year:

1 Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trailby Cheryl Strayed
I ranted and raved about Tiny Beautiful Things and although I haven't tackled Wild yet, it's on my list and I'm confident it will be awesome. My mom read and enjoyed it, and Reese Witherspoon (!) is in the movie. A must read!

2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemptionby Lauren Hillenbrand
Another soon-to-be blockbuster! I plan on starting this one tonight (have the book!), but the preview I saw for the movie nearly brought me to tears. From the same author who brought you Seabiscuit, comes a tale of strength and heartbreaking endurance as a former Olympian turns prisoner of war.

3. Bossypantsby Tina Fey
See adamant reasoning here. I love this book. Another reason: this book is less than $8.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)by Mindy Kaling
For those who have already read Bossypants. Funny and heart-warming. Under $10! You'd feel weird getting a $9 gift card, right? But a $9 book? Perfect.

5. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"by Lena Dunham.
This one's for the edgy girl who devours Cosmo's (the magazine and the drink) and doesn't mind sex scenes. My full-fledged book review here.

6.Yes Pleaseby Amy Poehler
I know, I know another memoir. But I said FOR THE GIRL WHO LOVES A GOOD MEMOIR so you should have seen it coming, homie. I have not read this book, but it's only a matter of time, and I'm sure I'll love it.

7. The One & Only: A Novelby Emily Giffin
I am not above a beach read or "chicklit." Proof: I have read the first 6 Emily Giffin books! But have not read this one (her seventh). If your friend (or you) has not read Giffin yet, then definitely go with Giffin's first book, Something Borrowed.  I've enjoyed all 6 of the Giffin books I read, but still think her debut book is the best. She also often has characters from previous books make cameos in later books, so it behooves you to read them in order. I would be excited to see The One & Only under my Christmas tree!

For the Boy who loves sports, can't get enough of the stock market, and has exceptional culinary skills (these are obviously good for girls too, but the above 7 are likely a tad girl-only):

8. Open: An Autobiographyby Andre Agassi
If the boy loves tennis, this is a must read. Either way, it's one of the most powerful autobiographies I've read. More of my thoughts here.

9. One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Marketby Peter Lynch
If your boyfriend is constantly talking about the stock market, and you're pretending to listen, get him this book! He'll be so impressed. Stephen really liked this book. One big thing Peter Lynch recommends is listening to the women in your life for market tips. (He accredits some of his success to his wife's observations in super markets, etc.) So, even though I've never read it, I endorse it. (Bonus: Wikipedia Peter Lynch and pretend like you know who he is.)

10. The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counselby Benjamin Graham.
If he's into the stock market, and already read #9. Or maybe particularly into value investing (as Stephen is.) (Future post idea: my take on what value investing is. A laughing stock for those working on Wall Street, I'm sure. Too bad most of them aren't avid blog followers.)

11. The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guyby Bill Simons
The first book I ever saw Stephen read. He's going to kill me for this:

12. Sunday Soup: A Year's Worth of Mouth-Watering, Easy-to-Make Recipes
I bought this for Stephen a few Christmas's ago, and we love it. There's something so relaxing about actually making soup on Sunday, too. (We are secretly 70.)

13. Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes
This book is beautiful. Perfect for the chef that has mastered the basics and is ready to move onto the more obscure underground kingdom. (Like me!) (hahahahaha. Sorry, I clearly like my own jokes a little too much.)

14. Outliers: The Story of Successby Malcolm Gladwell
If you know someone who hasn't read this, it's a great gift! Interesting studies on success, and famous. Great for new grads who are exiting school and realizing reading for pleasure is a thing.

That's it! I hope you enjoy my picks. If you're thinking of getting someone a $20 gift card, but want to get them something more thoughtful, but just don't know what, you can't go wrong with a book**! Even many people who don't read a lot read occasionally (when traveling, for example), and I'm sure they'd love to have something new and fresh in their personal library.

Any books I missed that you think should definitely be included? Happy gifting, friends!


p.s. My shop small gift guide.

*And a pretty good rapper.
**Many are cheaper than $20, and make you look more thoughtful. Win-Win.

{Note: this post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase a book through a link here, I receive a commission with no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own. Es}