Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Good morning, Dear Readers.

There’s a distinct crispness in the air that promises the impending doom of winter. It’s a time to get moving or get hibernating. The Boy and I spent Sunday ripping out the rotten wood from the front garden and replacing it with new landscaping ties. It was frustrating, exhausting work and I’m really glad we waited until this late in the growing season to do it, as I was sitting on my day lilies for part of the time.

We both have next-to-no experience doing this kind of thing, but by the early evening we were almost finished, saving the $1200 I was quoted by the landscaping company. It cost us $200 for materials and a lot of sweat equity. As frustrating as it was, I think it’s great to do these kinds of projects together and realize that we won’t kill each other under times of high stress. Good to know!

Here’s what’s making the happy list this week:

1) 300 Sandwiches. Have you heard of this blog yet? It’s causing quite a stir. To summarize, a woman’s boyfriend poses a unique challenge–make me three hundred sandwiches and I’ll propose. The result is a gorgeous tribute to the simple sandwich. Who knew there were so many wonderful options for something so basic? The controversy arises from those who feel the woman’s quest sets feminism back to the 1950’s, but c’mon! It was a joke, people. His comment was tongue-in-cheek and she thought it would be fun to make three hundred sandwiches and blog about it. The fact that she’s a decent writer, an amazing photographer/food stylist, is a writer with the NY Post and is smoking hot may have something to do with all the haters. Ignore the hype; enjoy the fruits of her labor.

2) Disney Meets Ed Hardy. Tim Shumate’s art is so fricking cool! Even though I don’t have a tattoo myself, I love tattoo styling, and his concept of Disney princesses as tattoo pin-ups is freaking brilliant. He has lots of other cool stuff, too. Very talented artist. Fair warning: clicking on his site could cost you money, but it’ll be money happily spent. Anyone who offers free shipping to Canada is okay by me.

3) Shelter Pups. Even though I’m a cat person and proud of it, I grew up with a dog–a yappy, thoroughly loveable Sheltie named Casey. So I completely get how dog lovers would fall for this idea–send these folks a pic of your pup and they will send you a customized stuffed animal that looks as close to the real thing as possible. Sure it’s expensive, but imagine the work and time that go into these. And all proceeds help dogs in shelters. Talk about a unique Christmas gift for the dog lover on your list!

4) Chicks Who Kick Ass. Even if you’re not into muay thai like I am, you have to admire Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu. This diminutive American (she’s just over five feet tall and weighs 105 pounds) has spent over a year training and fighting in Thailand. Her original goal was fifty fights, but she’s long surpassed that and is now working her way to one hundred. She fights her way through injuries, fear and disappointment, learning a lot about herself and life along the way. And she posts a video of every single fight, which is awesome. Brit Emma Thomas is also training in Thailand. You can read about her experiences here. Both women bring vulnerability and heart to the art of muay thai.

5) Vanilla Spice Nuts. When The Boy and I first started our healthy eating plan, I wanted a sweet snack that would still be reasonably healthy. This Cooking Light recipe was the winner. It is good–very good–and easy to make. I highly recommend portion control.

That’s it for this week! I’ll be posting again on Wednesday and Friday. Please tell me what’s making you happy, or let me know what you think of my finds. I’m always happy to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. ctina2day

    Thanks for the always interesting read Holli!! The sandwich looks amazing and I love the idea of how her blog began. I love sandwiches but they do tend to get mundane. But not anymore..lol. And this weekend I will be trying Vanilla Spice nuts. As always a pleasure to read 🙂

  2. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks so much for your comment and welcome to my blog! I’m really glad you enjoyed my picks. You will LOVE the vanilla spice nuts–the macadamias are the best.

  3. The Boy

    I was thinking today how good it feels to have the garden work done, and how awesome it looks. Typical guy, right? We’ll complain about working out, then admire our muscles. But as stressful as the work was, I’m happy with the result. And saving $1000 is a nice bonus.

    I’m not a big Ed Hardy fan, but that Shelter Pups idea is brilliant!

    My Happy List is always topped by the brilliant author of this blog. In a distant second place is the big to-do list I have. For some reason, having a long list of things to do feels good. It feels great to cross tasks off the list, but sometimes it feels even better to ignore it. I believe Douglas Adams said something about loving deadlines… especially the ‘whooshing’ sound they made as they sped by. I can relate. 🙂

  4. Holli Moncrieff

    Aw, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you’re happy with the garden…I am too. I wonder if we’ll feel the same way when all the rubble is out of the basement? Somehow I’m thinking that yesterday’s project was just the warm up act.

    And thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad I always top your happy list. And of course you always top mine. It would be much easier if I could just blog about that every Monday.

    Give the Ed Hardy thing a chance. That was just my take on it…it’s not really Ed Hardy. It’s super cool. And I’ll be wearing it soon. 🙂

  5. Jenn W

    I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you for that Shelter Dog link. I’m now trying to justify spending $125 on a stuffed Spatula! (I’ll probably be spending $125 on a stuffed Spatula….)

  6. Holli Moncrieff

    Ha! That’s how I felt about the person who first posted the Tim Shumate stuff. I’m $87 poorer.

    It’s easy to justify Shelter Dog purchases, though. Think of it as a donation to help other dogs.

    Welcome to the blog, Jenn. Thanks for the comment. It means a lot.

  7. Lisa

    I would like to marry the 300 sandwiches lady.
    That is all.

  8. Holli Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I’m sure she’s fielding a record number of marriage proposals due to all that yumminess. Maybe that’s why she closed comments to her blog.


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