Sunday Stories

A cold, rainy Saturday was the perfect time to read this classic for the first time.  I also watched the brilliant, stylish Kenneth Branagh movie on my flight home on Friday night.  Loved both the book and movie!

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“The Americans” final season coming next month.  Will miss it when it wraps, but that agree six seasons is about as long as even the best series can go.

A new rule of New York City real estate: “When the designer pups arrive, rising home prices may not be far behind.”

Having started my business after age 35, some good food for thought here.

Baking these this weekend.

Now that I reflexively write in APA style for graduate work, I am firmly in the “pro” camp on the Oxford comma

More than once, I have refrained from buying a handbag or other item because it has a logo on it.  Your thoughts?

Have a lovely week!

Techie Holiday Gifts

If you follow this blog or my Instagram, you know that I rarely write much about tech items - mainly because so many other people do so. 

But that doesn't mean I don't love a good gadget, so when my producer at CBS Los Angeles asked me to put together a holiday tech gift guide for his show, I jumped at the chance!  As luck would have it, the segment was scheduled for opening day of "The Last Jedi" - so I set out to find a few fun Star Wars gifts to include with other items.

Like most other things I show on TV or write about here, I am all about things that are practical - stuff that is actually useful in everyday life - and not just flashy.   Here are a few items from today's segment:    

Select Mini 3D Printer V2 from Monoprice

Photo from Monoprice

Photo from Monoprice

Photo from Verizon Wireless

Photo from Verizon Wireless

Photo from Office Depot

Photo from Office Depot

Photo from Bed Bath & Beyond

Photo from Bed Bath & Beyond

A Timeless Gift Idea (Really)

Three years ago, a writer for Better Homes & Gardens magazine was kind enough to call and interview me about my top gift recommendations for the season.

I told her about the "Sewell Family Yearbook" that I had created for the last five years.  Below is the cover of that December issue and clip of that article.  Three years later, this continues to be the gift we make for Scott's family every Christmas!  (Honestly, I don't think anyone would let us stop doing this - not that we would ever want to).

More details here about how this came about and how you can put one together.  There's still plenty of time to get this done.  Even though it can take a bit of time to gather and organize the photos, it is so worth doing.  It lets us relive memories from throughout the year as we put it together - and then enjoy reviewing the entire year with family at Christmas as we sit around the tree.

Happy National Cookie Day!

When it comes to baking, cookies are my thing.

During the holidays, I will definitely bake pumpkin bread a few times, and once I settled on a really good recipe for cream cheese pound cake, I stopped experimenting.  I'm not really a big fan of pies, so never tried to master them.   For some reason, cookies were always easier to make, so I have spent more time over the years trying and perfecting recipes for many kinds.

Today is National Cookie Day, which seems very appropriate to fall in December!  This is the time of year I tend to bake more cookies than any other time.  Not just for guests, but I always tote several containers of decorated Christmas tree shortbread cookies (recipe to come later in the month), Hello Dollies, peanut butter cookies, and other varieties when we go to Tennessee each Christmas.  Since I don't finish my holiday TV tour until about a week before we go home, the Sewell kitchen will be a hurricane of cookie baking activity during that week. 

Here are few of my favorite recipes, some of which will find their way into my Christmas carry-on bag.

My mom made the best lemon bars, but she made only one pan each year - at Christmas.

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These chocolate chip cookies take a bit of planning to allow time to keep the dough in the fridge before baking - but trust me, it's worth the wait.

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If you're in a hurry, these are the world's easiest peanut butter cookies, and they only require five ingredients.

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Happy baking!