”Be kind” Jojo Moyes says when someone asks her what the one thing the breadth of ALL her work tells us at an author reading the other night at Third Place Books in Bothell. “Kindness is an underrated virtue. Be strong, be courageous and if you’re strong within, the world will be a better place.” And just like that, I want to buy all the things for all the people I love for Valentine’s Day. I loved Jojo Moyes’ book “Me Before You” and then “Paris for One” came with me on my last trip when I picked it up at the airport. Holding a signed copy of “Still Me” in my hand I’m frantically ordering “After you” because somehow I missed it and my friend Kirsten who came with me to the book reading says I need to read ”Silver Bay“ too. I think Kirsten is the person who told me to read “Me Before You” in the first place so I know this whole adventure would never have happened without her.
I haven’t been to a lot of author readings, but I entered a contest with Viking Books and won the opportunity to meet Jojo Moyes with a friend and get our books signed. The reading itself at Third Place Books was free and sitting in a crowded room full of women (and a handful of men) all buzzing with love for an author whose beautiful words allow us to check out of the sometimes monotony of our daily lives with exciting adventures of women we’d like to be, was magical. I checked the events list for more authors and sure enough this is a thing: authors read in Seattle at Third Place books. There is even an author reading with some guys who write about Lego and they are bringing Lego models to their store for their talk. Just like that, my guys are probably getting Lego book: the Ultimate Lego Star Wars for Valentine’s Day so I can bring them to the author talk and just like that we have an experience gift and not just a book that might go forgotten on their shelf. Instead of just a gift we have a potential memory and something we get to do together. I’ll definitely be checking the event list more often-meeting Jojo Moyes and hanging out with my friend was such a fun way to spend the evening!
And it’s funny what memory does and how it is so hard to plan things these days as a mom of twins in a REALLY fast-paced world. I never used to have to write things down to remember them, but I’ve become a bit immune to the pop-ups on my phone that remind me of the daily things. I recently received a planner because of a conference I went to and I was worried that its lifespan would be short in my house, but maybe because it’s personalized and there are many pages to write in I’m finding I’m always writing stuff in it and it’s helping me to plan not only my daily life, but my blog and also my writing ideas. When Jojo Moyes said that she has a white-board in her office on her farm (Oh wouldn’t you love to live on a farm?!!) where she plans out her characters for her book when her kids aren’t writing silly messages on it, I thought YES, I do this too! So if you have someone in your life who might need to plan a little more, this planner might also be a great gift.
And yes, you can’t plan for everything-especially facing your fears. Hearing that Jojo Moyes also had a fear of flying was as comforting as reading the “Stars they’re just like us” section in US Weekly. I used to subscribe to that back in the day but now it’s just Sunset, (which would make a great Valentine’s Day gift too.) The other subscriptions that arrive at my house are things like Book of the Month Club (also a great gift because you can pause it if you don’t like the month’s selections or if you have WAY too many books that month to read) and I’m subscribing my husband to Stance’s sock subscription Valentine’s Day too. (Love, if you are reading this-Happy Valentine’s Day!) The kids get Tinkercrate and love it and I get Sephora’s “Play!” makeup box but I don’t think it’s giftable so I just buy it for myself.
I also found a few more kind gifts in Seattle and beyond. The Oceana collection by TOMS helps out whales. Shopping at Moorea Seal in Seattle means that 7% goes back to doing good. Knackshops also based in Seattle curates beautiful locally made things. Seattle Chocolates JCOCO brand gives back a serving of food for every purchase made and has given over 1.5 million servings of food to date. At Kiehls and MAC recycling old containers of product from their stores (10 and 6 containers respectively) qualifies you for free products so if you round up enough old containers you can score your Valentine’s Day gift for free. I am more of an experience gift person so I’ll probably go out for dinner with my family for Valentine’s Day at one of Tom Douglas’s restaurants (probably Lola which we have be going to WAY too much since I went there for an event last fall). They are all really delicious and I love that he and his company are always doing so much for our community. If you’re looking ahead you might want to grab tickets to his dumpling fest in March-these or tickets to Pike Place Market’s Arcade Lights would also make a great Valentine’s Day gift idea.
And for the ultimate Valentines’ gift? I remembered it was Valentines’ Day when Jojo Moyes mentioned a delicious sounding cologne while she was answering questions on stage and I realized I hadn’t got my husband or kids anything yet. I love dreamy scents and I had to know what it was. “It’s spendy” she said and “It’s called Creed in a clear bottle with black on top.” My friend and I googled it immediately and think it’s the Creed Green Irish and it is definitely VERY spendy but I might splurge on the teeny tiny sample vial to see if it makes me fall in love.
Are you shopping for Valentine’s Day? Do you like experiences or actual gifts. And have you ever been to an author reading. And if you want to take a chance on dreaming you might want to enter this contest for a trip to Fiji from CheapOAir. I actually won the trip my husband proposed on decades ago, so I totally believe in taking chances, especially for love and travel.
(PS. As stated before, I won the books and tickets to meet Jojo Moyes and I received the planner from BlueSky to review and as always the opinions and views in this post are mine.)