One of my favourite months of the year has arrived, and with it, my latest batch of recommendations!


Our Brand Is Crisis: The story: there’s a presidential election coming in Bolivia, and two of the contenders have brought in American consultants (and former competitors) to help with their campaigns. As an actress, Sandra Bullock can really do no wrong in my mind, and I found it interesting that this role was originally written for a man, and changed to bring in Sandra. A caveat: you have to have at least a passing interest in politics to enjoy this.

Spectre: I watched this film in our local cinema’s brand-new AVX theatre (which was awesome), and you can find more details here.


Wonder by R.J. Palacio: This is about a ten year old boy with a facial deformity, told from different perspectives. I considered reading this to my class (I’d be fine with my seven year old hearing it) except for a couple of references to suicide, which I would have to reword for Grade 2/3s. If your kids (or students) are a bit older than that, this is definitely a powerful book to share.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll: This is one of those twisty-turny-suspense books that you often find me recommending. If you’re a Gone Girl or Girl on the Train-lover, check it out.

Blue Bloods Cookbook by Bridget Moynahan and Wendy Howard Goldberg with Chris Peterson: If you’ve ever watched this show  (which I have – every single week!) you know that each episode would not be complete without the weekly family di)nner scene. Bridget Moynahan, one of the stars of the show (and one of my favourite actresses collaborated with Wendy Howard Goldberg, the wife of the executive producer, to create a Blue Bloods-themed cookbook. Filled with classic Irish and Italian recipes, beautiful photography, complete menu ideas (e.g. St. Paddy’s Day, Easter) and behind-the-scenes notes, this is a great choice for the cook on your Christmas list. I even plan to try some of the recipes! (Apparently star Tom Selleck and I have a lot in common – he’s not a veggie fan either! (Note: I received a copy of this book free for review.)

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: This book is a visit with a very honest, vulnerable, girlfriend who happens to be the writing queen of Thursday nights. All it took was a comment from her sister (“You never say yes to anything!”) to inspire her to do exactly that for a whole year. And you know, if you’re going to drop names in your book, one might as well be Kerry Washington.

The Night Before Christmas: A Brick Story by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Amanda Brack: The traditional story brings back wonderful memories for me, as my Dad used to read it to my brother and me every Christmas Eve before we went to bed. Instead of the classic illustrations though, Brack has done these with Lego, making it very appealing for kids. I even found myself drawn in to the detailed scenes. If you’re looking to add to your Christmas book collection, this is a great choice. (Note: I received a copy of this book free for review.)


The Shoebox Project: 

What about helping a local woman who could use a boost?

This holiday season, Canadian charity The Shoebox Project for Shelterssupported by Dream, once again encourages Canadians to think inside the box with the 2015 holiday campaign: It’s What’s Inside That Counts. Since 2011, The Shoebox Project, one of Canada’s fastest growing charitable organizations, has assembled and delivered thousands of special Shoeboxes in over 72 communities across the country to women who are experiencing challenging times during the holiday season. 
The Shoeboxes are filled with both basic necessities including shampoo, toothpaste, socks, and gift cards, and little luxuries such as make-up, nail polish, and skin care products to help these women feel confident and special during trying times. The approximate total value of the products should be $50. (No time to shop, assemble and deliver? Baskits will do it for you!)
The donated gifts have been caringly crafted and assembled by Canadians from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NL, and are brimming with an assortment of personalized items designed to help women feel valued and cared for by their community.
From a small initiative started in the homes of sisters-in-law Caroline Mulroney Lapham, Jessica Mulroney, Vanessa Mulroney, and Katy Mulroney, The Shoebox Project has flourished into over 30 chapters across Canada and the U.S. Click here to find a Shoebox Project drop-off location near you.

Sick Kids Get Better Gifts:

For the person on your list who has it all!

A Get Better Gift is a way to give friends and family meaningful gifts, while also giving to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), supporting the patients, families and work of the Hospital.

These gifts have been well received by many people, including some very thankful sick children and their families:
·         Holiday Cooking and Baking Supplies: Cooking and Baking lets children find comfort while creating their holiday treats with the love and support of their family and friends, $20.
·         Stocking Surprise: For children, there are few things as exciting as waking up to a holiday stocking filled with surprises, $30.
·         *NEW GIFT* Water Therapy: Pool time is naturally therapeutic for kids of all ages. Water therapy also allows for easier movement to exercise after treatments and during rehabilitation, $40.
·         Holiday Meal for a Family: For our young patients, most family meals take place at their bedside during their hospital stay. This gift lets a family enjoy a holiday meal together – and a break from hospital routines, $45.
Visit their new website at for a full list of gift ideas at a range of price points.

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