I’ve decided that I REALLY like being a work-from-home girl at this time of the year.

I’ll be honest with you — last week was a tough one. Coming down from a few days of Thanksgiving celebrations during which I was surrounded by my family (plus our pets), it was hard to get back into the swing of things, especially when I tend to spend so much time alone in my home office. Add in a lot of rainy weather, a few frustrating personal situations, and the general bummer that I’ve always felt between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (doesn’t everyone feel that?), and I just wasn’t feeling my best. Things are off to a much better start this week, not only because I’m feeling great about work, but also because life is a lot more festive around here after our Sunday of holiday decorating!

When I worked in a big office building in downtown Manhattan, we had doses of holiday spirit here and there — beautiful decorations near the front door, a string quartet that would play during lunchtime in the lobby every Friday — but there’s something extra special about spending my work days in my own little wonderland. Matt and I LOVE the holiday season, and after we went a little crazy with decorations last year for the first December in our new apartment, we upped the craziness a tiny bit this time around. As I write this, I have a glimpse of the decorations in our main room, PLUS we picked up this slightly  tacky little guy for my office.


(I’ll spare you the rest of the photos of our decorations for now. If you’d like me to post more about them, let me know in the comments below!)

With this time of year also comes lots of gifting! As you can probably guess, I’m a big fan of buying books as presents, and since my corporate gig was in publishing, I’m also used to getting plenty of requests for recommendations. I’ve decided to share with you five of my favorites from the last few years. Any one of these would make a great gift…or a great read for you if you’re planning to curl up with a book this holiday season!


#1: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen: I love anything this author writes, but this is my favorite of his novels. It’s a hefty book at over 600 pages, but it’s completely engaging and perfectly written. I read it over a holiday break in college, and I would recommend you do the same!

#2: The Mothers by Brit Bennett: Along with many of my former colleagues, I was lucky enough to read this book a few months ago, and ever since, I’ve been itching for it to hit stores so I could recommend it to everyone I know. This is a really special read about female friendships, love, and race. The writing is stunning and I can’t wait to see what this author does next.


#3: The Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen: On a MUCH lighter note, I breezed through this book on our honeymoon in June, and it was so much fun. It’s pure pop culture and froth, told through the interesting perspective of Bravo producer Andy Cohen. If you or anyone on your gift list is a fan of celebrities or a (closeted) Real Housewives fan (like me), this is a great choice! I recently read Andy’s more recent book, Superficial, but I preferred the Diaries.


#4: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: Markus Zusak is best known for The Book Thief (another complete game changer of a book), but I always like to give a shoutout to I Am the Messenger. I’ve given this to a few non-readers in my life who have all raved about it.


#5: Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: I read this for the first time when I was in high school and have continued coming back to it every few years since then. There are so many coming-of-age stories out there, and this is by far my favorite. Plus, it takes place at a boarding school, and who doesn’t love that?

(I haven’t included links to buy here, because I’m a big believer in buying your books in whatever way makes you most likely to read them! That being said, if there’s an independent bookstore in your area, don’t forget to check out their selection this holiday season :))