Disclosure: Beautiful Touches received product samples from some of the brands below, to help facilitate this post (which is part of our Gift Ideas and Buying Guides series of publications). No monetary compensation has been exchanged. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).
Enjoy these great titles and fun games. Welcome to the…
2022 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas and Buying Guide: Games for Kids & Books for Adults and Kids
Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes: A Complete Course on Making Clothing for Fit and Fashion
A comprehensive manual on everything you need to know on how to sew clothes! The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes is a must-have resource filled with valuable insight on sewing, tailoring, making alterations, and more. Learn how to take a pattern you already have and adjust it to your unique needs, install a zipper, use notions, and get a good fit out of any sewing pattern for any body type! Whether you’re new to sewing or have experience, expand your skill set and build confidence so you can sew like a pro! Also included is a bonus tutorial on making pants and fitting material, as well as finishing your garments and instructions on detailing to make one-of-a-kind clothes.”
About the Author
“I am a fashion sewing entrepreneur, founder of Dress Forms Design Studio, LLC, published author of Create the Perfect Fit & Designer Joi’s Fashion Sewing Workshop, McCall Licensed Pattern Designer, Craftsy/ Blueprint instructor, clothing patent owner, Baby Lock spokes designer, and expert in fit. My studio is Designer Joi’s Sewing Factory in Sioux City, Iowa.”
Find the Book AND the information on Joi’s fabulous giveaway HERE. Winners will be selected on or around March 1. Book is available at Target, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Michaels, Missouri Star, Tacony, your local fabric and quilt store And more . . .wherever books are sold. Purchase an Autographed Copy.
“The Unspoken”: A Soul’s Reflection on Healing from Abuse, Neglect, and Chronic Pain
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“Yeah, I’ve gone through some rough times in my life, but was it really trauma?”
“You may have found yourself thinking something along these lines, and you wouldn’t be alone. Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes, and on some level, we have all experienced it. The unfortunate reality is that many of us pass off or downplay situations or circumstances in our lives that are, in fact, emotionally traumatic. Left unattended, this trauma can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies, bringing about physical symptoms of pain and rendering us unsafe, anxious, and feeling unfulfilled.
In The Unspoken, author Ashley Haseotes shares her story of hitting rock bottom and finally coming to grips with the reality of her trauma. Suffering deeply and feeling overwhelmed, she becomes debilitatingly ill with chronic migraines and vertigo that leave her confined to her bed for months. Unable to work and take care of her children, lost and disconnected from her life purpose, she stares down feelings of unbridled failure and unsurmountable stress.
Through Ashley’s journey of chronic pain, a breathtaking spiritual healing is catalyzed. Her memoir is a story of walking through the storm to emerge reborn—to be healed. And if you are willing to do the work, you’ll find an opportunity for your own healing woven into each page.
About Ashley Haseotes
Preorder on Amazon
By Diane M. Conn
“The touching of hands. It is a silent sensation, the ultimate expression of what it means to be human. It follows us from the moment we come into the world and our newborn fingers instinctively clench our mother’s … to when we take our first steps … to the everyday act of greeting friends, meeting strangers, expressing our love toward another … to when, as we are about to leave the world, we reach out instinctively for a final moment of comfort.
In a cemetery in Modena, Italy, two 1,600-year-old skeletons were discovered a decade ago in a grave, hand in hand. Originally dubbed the Lovers of Modena, it has since turned out the pair were both male. Lovers? Friends? Brothers? Whatever the case, it only proves this need for contact is as old as history.
I’ve held hands with parents, siblings, grandparents, girlfriends, boyfriends, a husband, a niece, a nephew. I’ve held the hands of friends to comfort them and reached across tables to show love, affection, connection, empathy and safety. Always special. Always memorable.
My mother died by suicide a long time ago, when I was a teenager. I can still remember the feel of her strong hand, firm and warm in mine.
With my phone at the ready, I began taking photos of people holding hands six years ago, while walking the busy streets of New York. After a few shots of couples, parents and children, friends, fingers entwined, I noticed this intimacy of connection always moved me.
Then, during the Covid pandemic, I was aware that such contact was rare for so many. I’ve since read the science about how holding hands is good for the brain (increases oxytocin), the heart (calms it), blood pressure (lowers it) and even pain (reduces it). In addition, feeding our brain with images of connection can have a positive effect on us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Holding hands is good for the soul. What began as a lark has turned into a passion, one that fills me with faith and optimism.
Every time I look through the growing store of thousands of images I’ve now taken in cities around the world, I feel my mood lighten. And having lived with and beside depression for much of my life, I wondered: If these photos that highlight the connection of lives can help my outlook, can they do the same for others? I hope so, and I am excited to take you on this journey.”
– Diane M. Conn
Field Notes from the Life of a Working Photographer
“Photographer and best-selling author Joe McNally shares stories and lessons from a life in photography.
When Joe McNally moved to New York City in 1976, his first job was at the Daily News as a copyboy, “the wretched dog of the newsroom.” He was earning the lowest pay grade possible and living in a cheap hotel in Manhattan. Life was not glamorous. But with a fierce drive, an eye for a picture, and a willingness to take (almost) any assignment that came his way, Joe stepped out onto the always precarious tightrope of the freelance photographer—and never looked back. Fast forward 40 years, and his work has included assignments and stories for National Geographic, Time, LIFE, Sports Illustrated, and more. He has traveled for assignments to nearly 70 countries and received dozens of awards for his photography.
In The Real Deal, Joe tells us how it all started, and candidly shares stories, lessons, and insights he has collected along the way. This is not a dedicated how-to book about “where to put the light,” though there is certainly instructional information to be gleaned here. This is also not a navel-gazing look back at “the good old days,” because those never really existed anyway. Instead, The Real Deal is simply a collection of candid “field notes”—some short, some quite long—gathered over time that, together, become an intimate look behind the scenes at a photographer who has pretty much seen and done it all.
Though the photography industry bears little resemblance to the industry just 10 years ago (much less 40 years ago), what it really takes to become a successful photographer—the character traits, the fundamental lessons, the ability to adapt, and then adapt again—remains the same. Joe writes about everything from the crucial ability to know how to use (and make!) window light to the importance of creating long-term relationships built on trust; from lessons learned after a day in the field to the need to follow your imagination wherever it takes you; from the “random” and “lucky” moments that propel one’s career to the wonders and pitfalls of today’s camera technology. For every mention of f-stops and shutter speeds, there is equal discussion about the importance of access, the occasional moment of hubris, and the idea of becoming iconic.
Before Joe was a celebrated and award-winning photographer, before he was a well-respected educator and author of multiple bestselling books, he was just…Joe, hustling every day, from one assignment to the next, piecing together a portfolio, a skill set, a reputation, a career. He imagined a life—and then took pictures of it. Here are a few frames.”
ABOUT ROCKY NOOK
“We love photography. Everything about it. Whether it’s capturing the candid smile of a child riding her bike for the first time, photographing the grit of Manhattan’s streets, recording an epic sunrise over Half Dome in Yosemite, or shooting a new line of clothes from Milan for the next cover of Vogue, we find it all fascinating, and we love how photographers express themselves through the infinitely variable capture of light, color, and moment. Seeing as you’re visiting our site, you probably do, too.
Rocky Nook is a small, independent publishing company that was founded in 2006 in Santa Barbara with the goal of helping photographers of all levels improve their skills in capturing those moments that matter. We are a small (but mighty!) seven-person team that loves creating beautiful books that help you master the technology, find inspiration, and hone your craft in order to create better pictures. In doing so, we are fortunate to partner with many of the best photographers and teachers in the world.
In 2016, the company relocated to San Rafael, California—just 13 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge—after founder Gerhard Rossbach retired and handed the reins over to Scott Cowlin. Scott is lucky to be joined by a very talented group of publishing veterans and photography enthusiasts. Half of the team is based in San Rafael with the other half keeping our roots alive in Santa Barbara.”
“Test your knowledge of the British royal family—from fun facts like the names of the Queen’s corgis, to the heartbreaking story of the late Princess Diana—with this ultimate trivia book perfect for fans of The Crown or anyone royally obsessed!
From Queen Elizabeth II to Prince George, there’s a lot of news to keep up with regarding the royal family. This fantastic compendium of fascinating facts and stories about the British monarchy will keep you in the know about your favorite modern royals. From iconic weddings, fashion moments, philanthropic events, and the birth of new royals, this book has the latest and most interesting tidbits perfect for any enthusiast. Inside you’ll find the royal scoop, including:
- The official line of succession to the throne
- The royal family’s favorite designers and artists
- Amazing details about coronations, weddings, and other ceremonies
- Jaw-dropping facts about the Crown Jewels
- And much more!”
I Own My Magic: Self-Talk for Black Women
“Practice self-love, embrace mindfulness, and build a positive daily ritual with inspiring prompts, meditations, and reflections just for Black women.
You’re aware of the way you talk to others, but how do you talk to yourself? Is your self-talk in need of a kindness boost? Improve your self-esteem and love the woman that you are with these powerful affirmations. A celebration of Black female identity, this book contains a huge dose of confidence in a small, convenient package. Inside you’ll find:
- Quotes to empower you and fuel you for success
- Reflective prompts that challenge you to live as your most authentic self
- Inspiring words of wisdom on today’s Black female experience
These words and practices of self-care will encourage you to honor your true power, live life to the fullest, and show strength in everything you do.”
The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life
“Transform into your most magical self with this one-of-a-kind, manga inspired self-care guide designed to help you discover and harness your inner power- anime style!
Inspired by the wand-wielding, crime-fighting magical girls in your favorite animes and mangas, The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life teaches you how your self-care journey starts by uncovering the magical girl within.
With fun exercises, journal prompts, and personality tests, you’ll quickly learn everything you need to know about your magical girl self, including your magical girl name, what type of power you possess, and what cute companion will perfectly complement your magical girl journey. Once your magical girl identity is locked in, you’ll learn how to take on the world and continue your self-growth by:
- Discovering your magical girl gang
- Punching fear in the face/defining your monster
- Developing your magical girl beauty routine
- Finding love after fighting crime
- And more!
With gorgeous illustrations and entertaining animated characters, The Magical Girl’s Guide to Life reveals how self-love, sisterhood, and magic go together. Perfect for fans of anime and manga like Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and more!”
Beyond market-driven, Ulysses Press focuses on highly targeted niche groups that aren’t being offered the books they want by the big corporate-owned publishing houses.
At Ulysses, we believe that, as pop culture changes at the speed of the Internet, books have a powerful role to play in the interconnected world. Above all other media, books offer readers a trusted source for information and a vital escape from our highly connected, digital world.”
“Pacific & Court offers full-service customized publicity campaigns to reflect the goals and needs of the author and the book. We craft tailored publicity plans for all genres of books, including non-fiction, fiction, business, children’s books, self-help, self-published, etc. Our strategic campaigns target national and local media, including print, online and broadcast outlets, to secure impactful coverage.”
“What if learning about changing bodies wasn’t secretive or shameful? And what if it could even be inclusive, fun, and, well, kind of adorable? A new kind of puberty guide, You-ology embraces an inclusive approach that normalizes puberty for all kids.
Traditional puberty education only contributes to a sense of isolation and often does not include all kids’ experience of puberty and leaves kids with questions about how puberty will affect their friends and classmates. For curious kids and parents looking to talk about puberty in an inclusive way, You-ology offers fact-based, age appropriate, and body positive information about the physical, social, and emotional changes ahead for all kids.
Colorful illustrations keep the tone upbeat and engaging, while short stories featuring a
cast of diverse characters add relatability and humor.”
Snippy The Crab Adventure Series
By Alison Miles
“Fun and endearing – new children’s character is destined for bookshelf stardom.
Alison Miles’ delightful and exciting Snippy The Crab’s adventure series charts the tales of a plucky little crab who gets into all kinds of scrapes when he decides to explore the world beyond his rock pool.
Delighting her young readers with five Snippy the Crab adventures, author Alison Miles uses the oldest form of story-telling – narrative poetry- to fantastic effect.
The author’s fun, exciting and dynamic tales come complete with vivid full-page illustrations and are bursting with rhyme and language that challenges their young readers and brings added depth to the reading/listening experience. The series is aimed at four- to eight-year-olds and each book is longer in length than most picture books (38-42 pages).
Penned with an understanding that not all children are ready to embark on chapter books at the same time, the author of this beautifully constructed and vocabulary enhancing series is making hugely positive ripples in the literary world. Not only has Snippy’s first adventure – Snippy the Crab’s Deep-Sea Adventure – been acquired by the National Poetry Library but having had no formal training as an illustrator and only drawing on her iPad since 2019, Alison Miles has been nominated as one of Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2021 accepted artists.
Delighting children and adults alike, a bright future lies ahead for Snippy the Crab and his talented creator.
Snippy The Crab’s adventure series charts the tales of a plucky little crab who gets into all kinds of scrapes when he decides to explore the world beyond his rock pool. These exciting and heart-warming tales bowl along with rollicking rhymes and a rich and inspiring vocabulary. Snippy learns a lot about the human world on his travels and children who dive into Snippy’s world are introduced to the wonders of nature under the sea and above it! Snippy’s tales can get a tiny bit scary because he does find himself in some very strange places — like stuck on the lens of a Triton submarine in an undersea cave; stranded high above the beach in a nest of hungry seagull chicks; and dancing the tango underneath a bandstand in the middle of a park! Lovable, kind Snippy makes friends wherever he goes especially when he finds himself in trouble. He is also very brave and turns his claws to heroic deeds when others need help.
About the author:
Alison Miles is a self-confessed lover of the seaside, of poetry and of art and the combination of these passions led her to create the Snippy The Crab Adventure Series of rhyming picture books. She loved the sounds of words as a child and the inner dynamism of their rhythms, whether she understood them or not. She was brought up in Devon and on the Gower Peninsular in Wales where she spent many happy hours exploring the beautiful beaches and rock pools.
Her professional life has been as a music educator and violinist working with children of all ages. As a child, she loved the poems of Hillaire Belloc, Spike Milligan and Edward Lear and her teaching has reinforced her belief that both rhythm and sound engage our senses in a fundamental way.
She has no formal training in art and taught herself to draw when she bought an iPad in 2019. Snippy the Crab books have sumptuous, richly coloured design to appeal to young eyes and minds. In 2021 Alison was delighted to be selected as an ‘accepted artist’ at The Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators’ Competition. Her preferred picture books growing up were ‘Patrick’ by Quentin Blake and ‘Madeline’ by Ludwig Bemelmans. Other inspirations for her illustrations are those paintings which tell a story such as Alfred Elmore’s ‘On The Brink’ and ‘The Last of England’ by Ford Maddox Brown.
Alison feels privileged to be engaged in one-to-one work with children of all ages and is constantly amazed by their eclectic, free-roaming, inquisitive and fantastical minds — qualities which should be championed and encouraged. Education, she feels, should be broad, inspiring and above all creative since the creative arts are a cogent unifying force through which all people can express themselves and find resonance and solace. She hopes the Snippy The Crab series of books will contribute in some small way to that wonderful adventure which is common to us all — childhood. “
The Snippy the Crab series is available to purchase on Amazon:
Snippy The Crab’s Deep-Sea Adventure (published by Popple Press and available in paperback-£6.99) – https://amzn.to/3223kED
Snippy The Crab’s High-Flying Adventure (published by Popple Press and available in paperback £6.99) – https://amzn.to/30jAS00
Snippy The Crab’s Restaurant Caper: A longer length picture book for the developing reader (published by Popple Press and available in paperback – £6.99) –https://amzn.to/30rxwby
Snippy The Crab’s Laboratory Lockdown (published by Wordzworth Publishing and available in paperback £10.99) – https://amzn.to/3wKJYPo
Snippy The Crab — Caught on Camera! (published by Popple Press and available in paperback – £6.99) – https://amzn.to/3qBD3qN
For the Love of Laxmi
“New Children’s Book Looks at Growing Up in a South Asian Household in America
Bijal Shah’s ‘For the Love of Laxmi: Everyday Desi Biases and the Imprints They Leave’, which looks at growing up in a South Asian household in America, is now available worldwide.
In her new book For the Love of Laxmi: Everyday Desi Biases and the Imprints They Leave, Bijal Shah introduces children to Laxmi, a young girl living in a South Asian household who experiences relatable everyday moments and their subtle undertones. Shah hopes to open a conversation for all generations to discuss the everyday remarks and comments girls so often hear in the community that don’t have a lighthearted impact.
Bijal Shah was born in India and raised in the U.S. She has always been fascinated by the dichotomy of being raised in these two cultures – the little bit of holding on, the little bit of assimilation – and everything in between; that’s how Laxmi was born. Writing has always been a huge passion for Shah, but she never thought her first book would be an illustrated book.
“For the Love of Laxmi is a play on For the Love of God – Laxmi is the name of an Indian Goddess known for wealth, prosperity, and good fortune,” Shah said. “The irony in this is when girls are born in a household, they say, ‘Laxmi of the house is born,’ yet she is not really treated that way.”
Shah points to the lighthearted everyday comments that become the seeds of insecurity. Comments such as you run like a girl or if you don’t oil your hair you will go bald are said in jest or habit, but they have a more lasting impact on the way girls and young women view themselves throughout their lives.
“While the words may be lighthearted, the impact isn’t. It creates limitations and unnecessary insecurities. These stories and moments exist in our mothers, grandmothers, and generations before,” Shah said. “I often wonder what they would have been, what their full potential would look like if someone hadn’t told them their purpose was to be a housewife.”
Shah is already working on parts two and three of the series. Each book will cover a different decade of Laxmi’s life and how the comments and judgments affect her life. Shah also hopes to turn the book into an animated series focused on the balancing act of growing up in different cultures and its impact.
Shah said, “I couldn’t love Laxmi more, and I hope you love her too.”
For more information, visit her Website. For the Love of Laxmi is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target.
“Bingo with a Zing!
Our most popular award-winner for preschoolers!
This innovative game encourages pre-readers and early readers to match the pictures and words on game tiles to the pictures and words on the challenge cards. The first player with a full card wins the game by yelling “Zingo!” Two levels of play and several game variations keep the zaniness going for hours!
Learning Skills: Word and Language”
Traffic Jam Logic Game
“Winner of 20+ Awards
It will take more than a little skilled driving to get the red car out of this traffic jam – it will take brainpower. In Rush Hour, a sliding block logic game, you have to battle the gridlock as you slide the blocking vehicles out of the way for the red car to exit. With 40 all-new challenges, ranging in difficulty, players can progress at their own speed. As one of the best logic games of all time, Rush Hour is a must for every household. Learning Skills: Logic and Problem Solving.”
Falling Marble Logic Game
“Multiple award wins, including Toy of the Year!
It’s a maze game. It’s a marble game. Actually, it’s a gravity-powered logic maze game that builds reasoning skills and visual perception. The best part is – it’s fun to play and learn! Use the challenge cards to strategically place towers and create a path for your marble to reach the target. With 60 challenges to test your skills, this fun maze game is definitely a marble run for brainiacs! Learning skills: Logic and Problem Solving”