June 21, 2018

not so cool stuff

Happy Summer Solstice, my friends. We love our solstice and equinox celebrations around here! Up above are some bookmarks given to my kiddo, which I have purloined, given to us from my mom in law - she got 'em when she was in NYC recently. Cool Japanese cats! Rad.

OK, now for the not so rad. I am so outraged about what is happening in our country. I have been for some time. THIS sums up my feelings pretty well.

Here's an article on how you can help fight family separation at the border.

Here is a fantastic list of links and websites to check out.

And here's an article from Gabrielle Blair - this is an EXCELLENT summary of the situation. As an attorney (non-practicing, but I'm still a member of the Washington State Bar), I'm horrified. As a mom, I'm horrified. AS A HUMAN BEING, I'm horrified.

Also, let me make this request - this is my very small place on the internet. My happy place of books. I try to bring some book joy to others through my boxes and book suggestions.  If you are indeed living in an Everything In Our Country is Awesome realm in your own imagination, you need to please refrain from spreading that delusional state on my blog or my Facebook page.

I'm not finding it possible to engage in polite civil discourse on this topic. Because you can't argue with crazy. And what's happening is wrong in EVERY WAY possible for a thing to be wrong. If someone really wants to 'debate' these issues, have a peek at what this immigration attorney wrote HERE - and then have yourself a good time.

I wish most heartily that if there are folks who endorse and support the policies of anyone who think what is happening to these children is acceptable (about 1/3 of our country, but that's 1/3 too many)....well what I wish is that such people would just give my blog and social media outlets a wide berth.

Books will not be our common ground. There is no common ground to be had with evil or those that support it.

I will not further debate with these types of individuals about whether or not what is happening to these children is ok. (*SPOILER ALERT, IT IS NOT OK.) And from here on out, if anyone feels a strong need to spread their dystopian agenda, they will have to find another outlet in which to express those opinions - because I will not tolerate it here. I have to protect my blood pressure.

This statement on Twitter is the most succinct reflection of my inner thoughts. If it offends anyone out there.....I really don't mind that at all.

If you have the ability to donate, here is an organization worth your time.

AND.......breathe. I've been trying all week to calm myself down. Haven't been successful. 

If you need a moment of zen, check out these links.

John Derian's house ~ I would so love to see his shop someday. His wares have an aesthetic that jives with what I try to do with my boxes - random, cool little treasures that look like someone found them in the back of an attic. Remember that phrase - because I just described a theme I'm going to make into standalone boxes and a subscription - Back of the Attic boxes....

Making this chocolate banana bundt cake as soon as I can.

Amazing snippets of Shakespeare appropriate for our times.

Some DIY summer projects to try. (I probably won't try any of them ha, but you might)

A kitchen inspired by Japanese tea houses.

One of my FAVORITE cookbook authors, Diana Henry, has a new book out.

I'll be making this stone fruit tart when a dear friend who is gluten-free comes to visit, later this summer.

A round-up of 25 favorite children's books from Wit & Delight.

And that's it. There's no cool book of the week this week. If you want to check out my summer surprise box for grownups, it'll be over on my Instagram later today.

June 18, 2018

Teen Summer Box Reveal

Happy Monday my lovelies! I wanted to pop in today to let you know that I have five boxes up for grabs for my teen summer boxes. As always, I show & tell more of the content for boxes for the kids - because I'd want to know about what my child was getting in the mail, so I'm always more upfront about those boxes. I don't have a picture of every last thing, but you can refer back to this post to see the other items. It's all very summery and fresh - these milk carton shaped sheet masks are DARLING and come in different 'flavors'.

SO cute right?

There's also going to really darling sea glass note cards, fruity lip gloss, and the prettiest vintage-style lace headbands. Head on over to my Instagram profile to catch a video peek of the headbands! They are LOVELY.

And as you can see, these bath bombs are also part of the party - they smell amazing and are wrapped like pastel pieces of tropical fruit. I made this box to suit MY inner teen - your actual teen might not be into these things but I know my almost-teen would be, so shhhhhhh she's getting one of these too!

I had a few books in mind, but ultimately went with 'Love & Gelato' by Jenna Evans Welch - it comes highly highly reviewed in the 'clean' section of Amazon's YA fiction romance department. I've read most of it, and it's very charming and sweet. I have some other books that I'm also really excited about for teens, but I'll save that for another box. I'll drop this hint for you - a Time Traveling Teen Box will be happening at some point.

This box is just right for older tweens and young teens!

I hope you like the look of this cutie - It's light, pretty, summery and fun. And to remind, there are FIVE left, and these are $29 plus shipping/handling, U.S. and Canada orders only.

Also! Later in the week on Instagram, I'll be announcing my summer box for adults and taking pre-orders. :) Have a wonderful start to your week, and let me wish you HAPPY SUMMER a few days before the solstice! xoxoxo

June 8, 2018

cool stuff i like

Happy Friday to you! I have to share about a super fun thing I'm participating in over on Instagram. It's a #12daysofannestagram challenge, and it's glorious to see such an outpouring of X-treme Anne love! One of the prompts a few days ago was to share something you'd love, if you already adore all things Anne - and my choice was 'The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook', which was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery's granddaughter, Kate Macdonald. It's a BEAUTIFUL book, with so many recipes that will seriously make you feel like you're sitting smack in the middle of Avonlea. If you love Anne, you neeeeeeeeed to check this one out.

Also worthy of checking out this week:

Just made this dessert last weekend. LIKE A LEMON CLOUD.

Did you all know about The Austen Project????? Have I been under a rock??? And where are the last two books??? Thoughts and insights please, if you've read any of these.

Julia and I just watched this movie and it. was. great.

Do you have a kid super into slime? You should know about this website.

Ok this was just the cutest thing I've read in a long long time.

Making asap.

The NY Times Summer Reading lists.

Prairie dresses!!!!!!! I got the H&M version, oh yes I did.

The history of David Austin roses. And a lot of the care tips were totally opposite of what I thought.

Cool Book of the Week: Even though my focus is shifting here due to my book surprise boxes and the growing up of my kiddo, I still see things that I love for the tiny tots - and since it's been all Anne all the time around here lately, I thought this sweetness needed to be shown. 'Anne's Colors' by Kelly Hill is so darling and adorable, and the embroidered art style pictures are totally engaging. I would have gone for this in a hot minute if I had a toddler aged kiddo. I would definitely give this as a gift! There's one about numbers as well, which is equally charming. Pair them with each other and bam, cutest present ever!

Have a lovely weekend! It's supposed to rain, so I think after all the sad happenings in the news this week, I'm going whisk Julia up and go see 'Ocean's 8', which is supposed to be totally great.


June 3, 2018

summer surprise box for teens

Hello hello hello! It's JUNE! I got to thinking the other day......and came up with this summery confection of a box. No, this is NOT my seasonal summer box for grownups - THAT box will be my July box. (a few of my seasonal subscribers wanted their summer box in June - I got you guys covered!)

This box here is just a little bee I had in my bonnet. If anyone is interested. I'll also be doing a summer adventure box for kids that I'll talk about later in the month, as well as a new type of all year round box I'll be offering. If you're keeping track, that roster currently includes Cozy Teatime, British Box, Anne of Green Gables, and Moomintrolls.

Ok so this teen box! I just got inspired. When I was between the ages of 11 and 13, I read every Harlequin Teen Romance book I could get my hands on. When I got to college, my roommate had literally CRATES of romance books that she would pass up and down the hall. I read all of those too. Those were some hilarious bodice rippers, I tell ya. And then......I just stopped with romance novels. But I do love a cute love story, always!  So I put together an idea for a box for the 7th thru 9th grade set - any kids older than that will probably look at this stuff and chortle, because kids these days are SO JADED and OVER IT, AMIRIGHT LOL. My daughter would die if she could see how I was writing this.

The books I'm showing (choose one! I couldn't choose!) are categorized as CLEAN, according to Amazon - as in nothing goes beyond hand holding/kissing and no inappropriate language. Both are summer romance stories specifically. In the first book up at the top of the post, the meet-cute happens in a BOOKSTORE. The other story takes place in Italy. Both are the type of book that would have made my teen heart swell with joy. I speed read 'Fifteenth Summer', and it's ridiculously delightful - the boy actually used the word "peckish" when he got hungry, and the girl wears vintage clothing and reads 'Little Women' once a year, every year. I WANT TO ADOPT THEM.

I always show & tell more about the kiddo boxes - here's the gist, one of each item:

SHEET MASKS packaged in the shape of flavored milk cartons.

LACE VINTAGE STYLE head wraps/head bands

BLUEBERRY Japanese gum


FRUITY lip gloss



Got a young teen girl with a summer birthday? Got a young teen girl who needs a care package at camp? GOT A YOUNG TEEN GIRL? This box might be for you.

"But Melissa! MY teen is into vintage. And mysteries. Please give me a slightly different summer escapist read for my teen." Alrighty! 'The Moon Spinners'. Only with a more cool retro cover that fits into the color scheme I have going on up above ha ha ha.

($29 for this box, plus shipping & handling. US and Canada orders only.) If you want one, message me here with your email, or at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com with your email, or PM me on Instagram, with your email - the key phrase is that I need an email address, ha, so I can invoice you! And let me know which book to put in! XOXO

May 25, 2018

inside the anne of green gables box!

Ahhhhhh more Anne of Green Gables surprise box goodness to talk about today! And some FUN NEWS down below that you are going to be extremely delighted about. I'm showing & telling a bit more of the box contents, now that my first batch has been mailed - and if you missed the announcement on my Instagram - I'm going to be offering the Anne boxes all year round - because I love Anne that much, and I had no intention of having this box only being a flash in the pan and disappearing.

If you're just now hearing about my Anne of Green Gables surprise boxes, please pop over to this post, where it explains a bit more about what's inside, and what the book style looks like!

Also - this post isn't showing everything in the box - not shown are the darling bookmarks, stationery items, and pencils. Oh actually I'm re-using last week's Cool Stuff post lead photo - here it is again showing some of the postcards:

So just to recap - the Anne surprise boxes will have a BOOK - you tell me which title in the series you would like - and I have some paperback editions that I'm using that have the prettiest cover art! Also included: some Anne fabric, darling washi deco tape that seems very Anne-esque, a gorgeous postcard, an Anne pencil, lemon-raspberry candies, fruity herbal teas, a bookmark and stickers! (I'm not charging nearly enough for this box, lol.)

The Anne boxes are $31 plus shipping/handling, U.S. and Canada orders only. If you'd like one, email me at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com or leave a comment down below, and I'll send you an invoice!

But I also have to share THIS DOSE OF COOL: there's an amazing contest going on hosted by anneofgreengables.com - the official site of the original Anne of Green Gables movies! This post is not sponsored, but they got in touch with me and asked me to share their news, which I'm delighted to do. You can enter for a chance to win a digital copy of the entire Anne of Green Gables collection at gazebotv.com.

The last day of the contest is May 31, so there are 6 days left to enter this Anne contest and win a free digital copy collection. And I'm totally thrilled to discover GazeboTV from Sullivan Entertainment - so. many. movies. 'Road to Avonlea', 'An Avonlea Christmas', allllllllll the Anne movies with Megan Follows, and scores of other movies and shows. There's a movie version of 'Jane of Lantern Hill'!!!! Guys? I'M ENTERING THIS CONTEST MYSELF, ha ha. You need to check this out!

Ok I'm giddy from all this Anne goodness. I've had my foot on the gas pedal pretty hard with the Anne biz, but when someone wrote to me after getting a box for her daughter, I knew it was all worth it:
"Your package was amazing!! It brought her so much joy and excitement and delight.
Honestly, she will remember this box for the rest of her life. It was already her favorite book, but this box was very special."
 So yeah after reading that, I CRIED. Anne has been so personally meaningful to me, and if I can share that in any way with others, why yes I will cheerfully sit packing and wrapping up Anne boxes alllllllldayyyyyylong. #annefan4life