woman with shopping bagsWith the Winter Solstice today, and Christmas and Kwanzaa just around the corner, it’s time for the annual “Last Minute Scramble for the Right Gift.” You know that race, right? It’s the one where you start randomly tossing things into your cart, adding wrapping paper and tape as you sprint for the check-out along with about 2/3 of the rest of the residents of Texas, all the while hoping you can match up the things you bought with the people on your list.

If I’ve caught you before you jump into the fray this weekend (yes, Christmas IS Wednesday!), I have a much more civilized suggestion when it comes to gifts for the women in your life. And it started with a relaxing wander through one of my favorite Austin bookstores.

I was wandering through Book People the other day, and as usual, there were about a dozen books I just can’t wait to read. My budget only allowed me to pick one, so I snapped pictures of the others so I can add them to my “to-buy” list. And then I started seeing books that would be perfect for other people in my life. Before I knew it, my shopping was done and I was sitting in the cafe sipping a cup of spicy herbal tea.

If you’re still looking for gifts for some special women, I have some suggestions that might just be perfect. And they won’t require a single visit to the mall or a big box store.

enegades Write the Rules ImageRenegades Write the Rules

When it comes to reaching people with your message, social media is king (or perhaps, queen) these days. But unlike traditional advertising, social media’s strength doesn’t come from pushing words or images out at people. It comes from engagement, from providing information or entertainment that pulls people in and gets them to share. That difference, it turns out, makes all the difference in the world.

This book is a perfect choice for a woman with story to tell or a product or service to share in today’s electronically-driven world.


My Life Map Book Image

My Life Map

One of the greatest challenges in life can be figuring out what step to take next.  If you know someone who’s heading for big things, this book might be the perfect choice to put under the tree. The authors describe it as an “An introspective fill-in-the-blank that helps readers reflect on their past, evaluate the present, and dream for the future.” I call it an amazing tool I wish I’d found sooner.

I bought a copy of this one myself, to get ready for MomCom 2014, so I can figure out where I want to go, and which speakers or workshops might help me fill in some blanks. But it would be a great gift for any woman (or man) who is trying to fit their past and present into a dream for the future.


Carry on Warrior book image

Carry On, Warrior

How many of us live lives filled with secrets and shame, wearing masks to cover up everything inside?  That was the world author Glennon Melton lived in, until she found her voice and decided to share her struggles, her pain and her discoveries with the world.  And we’re all better for it.

If you’ve read her blog, Momastery, you’ve experienced some of her wisdom and probably shared some tears and laughter along the way. But trust me, the book is even better. Buy it for women who feel strongly and dream big.  (By the way, Glennon is speaking at MomCom in January!)


Taking the Leap book image

Taking the Leap

Pema Chödrön, one of my favorite writers, has a wonderful view of all of us. According to Chödrön, there are three natural gifts we all possess: “…natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. Everyone, everywhere, all over the globe, has these qualities and can call on them to help themselves and others.”

The problem is the bad habits we hold on to. Those habits keep us stuck in anger, addiction and depression. But this slim volume is one of the best tools I have found to step out of those old ruts and onto a new road. Slip this book into a stocking for someone who is ready for a new start in 2014.


Buying a book for someone who struggles with perfection? Consider The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. Or maybe The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond  or The Working Mom Manifesto by Heather Schuck (both Karen and  MomCom 2014 speakers!  Can you tell I’m excited? The truth is, it’s just sinking in that I’m going to meet so many amazing authors!)

For women with looking for creative inspiration, you might want to buy The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life  by renown choreographer Twyla Tarp. Or maybe Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life By Marney K. Makridakis and Marci Shimoff (my current read…and it’s amazing!)

If someone you know has asked for help organizing their home (or their life), The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life by Lorie Marrero is the  book you’ll want to grab. (And yes, yet ANOTHER MomCom 2014 speaker!)

And in case you’re looking for some just-for-fun books to round out your shopping, might I recommend How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet By Robert Zubrin, a light-hearted look at life off earth from a man who knows what he’s talking about (Dr. Zubrin has a doctorate in nuclear engineering and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics.)  You know, after a full day of kids, partners and jobs, a relaxing stay on Mars might be just the ticket!

So what are your favorite holiday shopping tricks to avoid the crowds and the mall? Do you have a secret you’re willing to share? We would love to hear!

Happy Holidays   Merry Christmas  Habari Gani

(PS…I couldn’t end this post without mentioning at least one more gift that doesn’t require a trip to the mall…a MomCom 2014 ticket! Just sayin’ !) 


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