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Lifestyle Books for Parents With Real Lives, Budgets, and Senses of Humor

Posted by Kara Baskin  March 28, 2013 02:00 PM

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I enjoy hostessing. I like sending paper invitations, I like planning menus, and yes ... I even like cleaning my house. Before Andy was born, I had a graduation party for 90 people in a two-bedroom abode and dinner fetes for rogue guests including but not limited to the hardcore elderly and the very vegan. However: The nitty-gritty isn't always pretty, especially with a toddler underfoot. I have thrown more than one soiree that nearly ended in Brian and I murdering one another with paring knives. Which is why I'm tired of elite lifestyle "experts" peddling party porn to parents who cannot afford assistants, access to airbrushing, and detox diets that make a trot through Dean & DeLuca look economical.

Yes, right now there's a glut of books on the market about entertaining and healthy living from celebrities who seem to think that whipping up whole-wheat pasta in Manolos while a silent toddler coos nearby like an obedient pet can be achieved through hard work, luck and pluck, and perhaps an affinity for elimination diets. (My friends and I shared a collective dry heave over this Jessica Alba Honest Life promo.)

Anyway, I wanted to share a few of my favorite lifestyle and entertaining books and sites that are actually, well, realistic.


Susan Spungen styled Eat Pray Love and was the founding food director for Martha Stewart. She's also totally sassy, down-to-earth, and addresses pressing real-people questions in her book like "How to Word a Last-Minute Invitation." She's also a fan of cheap wine. What's not to like? Follow her kitchen-reno blog on Food 52, and pick up her book, What's A Hostess Do?, on April 2.


I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is a treasure trove of quirky, oddball entertaining tips for people with personality. And it's written by Amy Sedaris, brother of David, so it's also hilarious. If you've always wanted to know how to handle inebriated guests, unwieldy children, and misbehaving meatballs, this is the book for you.


I'm dying to get my mitts on Jessica Seinfeld's newest book, The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified, due out in September. Yes, yes, I know. She's Jessica Seinfeld. She's married to Jerry. She has more money than God and kitchen gadgets that most of us only see on Pinterest. However: She's funny. I started following her page on Facebook, and despite initially figuring that she was just an out-of-touch celebrity wife who needed a project, I came to actually enjoy her updates, laugh at her stories, and find her completely easy to relate to. Here's the description: Are you smart enough to dodge a telemarketer yet clueless as to how to chop a clove of garlic? Are you clever enough to know how to forward an email but don’t know the difference between boiling and baking? Ingenious enough to operate nail clippers but not sure what a whisk is? If you are basically competent, then Jessica Seinfeld’s new book The Can’t Cook Book is for you.

In short, it's not a book about nothing. Do you have any favorites? Tell me!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Kara Baskin (@kcbaskin) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and mom to Andy. She thinks Sriracha and garlic make everything tastier. She loves Steely Dan and "Murder, She Wrote." Her More »

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