I have a confession: I obsessively cyberstalk The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne.
It all started last summer, when I stumbled upon her blog. I instantly fell in love with her smart suggestions, her multitude of jam recipes, and her conversational writing style. She was writing a book about homemaking, biked around Brooklyn, grew strawberries in buckets, and doled out hints for cleaning with baking soda and dumpster diving for furniture. Oh, a kindred spirit! Truly, we were cut from the same vintage dishcloth. I left comment upon comment on her blog and her blog's Facebook fan page. Shortly thereafter, I stepped it up a notch; I found her personal Facebook profile and messaged her. She responded and we became Facebook friends. For months I picked her brain about food swapping, and she encouraged me to start the MPLS Swappers. All this time I have hoped that we would meet someday and geek out together about canning and collecting vintage aprons.
Well, my dearies, cyberstalker dreams do come true. This Saturday, I'm picking Kate up from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, taking her to brunch, and she is attending to the second gathering of the MPLS Swappers. The next day she'll be having a book signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota. The virtual and physical worlds meet in a homemaking extravaganza fit for a domestic goddess! Hooray!
When Kate asked me to review a copy her new book The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on my blog, I was absolutely thrilled. I truly admire Kate's enthusiasm for community, drive to learn, and ability to teach, and couldn't wait to support her effort - and of course, share a copy of the book with a lucky reader.
I consider myself to be a fairly accomplished homemaker with a broad knowledge base. Some beginner homemaker guides or blogs are little too elementary for me. While The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is definitely written for the beginner, I was delighted at the amount of information that I learned from start to finish. Kate covers the gamut from making your own tomato cages to building shelving. She teaches the reader how to sew on a button and remove stains. There are tips for planning parties and buying groceries on a budget. I found answers to many of my lingering homemaking-related questions and learned things I didn't realize I didn't know. And I got a great refresher in basic things like how to do the dishes without wasting water and the best way to fold a fitted sheet.
As I discovered new tricks and tips, I tried them in my home to great delight. I made mental note about things to try in the future and the information to share with friends and family. The more I read, the more motivated I became make my home a home. Now I'm in the midst of an obsessive top-to-bottom organization/purging/home improvement/redecorating project, and I love it.
In addition to being jam-packed with information (and jam-making tips!), The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is fun to read. The writing style is casual and conversational, filled with funny turns of phrase ("botulism blues") and the occasional snippet of colorful language. I felt like Kate and I were sitting together chatting about domestic affairs over tea.
This is a real person's book, a keep-close-at-hand resource for everyday life. There's no judgement, no "perfect", and no pretense, and the information is realistic, approachable and accessible. From practical, time-tested wisdom to uniquely modern-day solutions, this book shares sustainable, creative, and affordable ways to improve every aspect of your domestic life. Kate thoughtfully dispenses loads of advice on how to live richly without spending a lot of money. If dumpstered chairs, makeshift curtains, and DIY cinder block & wood board book shelves are the best you can do, she shows you how to do it with panache. And the money you save on furniture just might allow you to buy some nice organic sheets from one of the suggested retailers listed in the "Sources" section.
To top it off, the visual impact of this book is fantastic. The page layout is simple and clean, creating a creative and breezy feel that I want to achieve in my home. An easy-to-read read typeface is used throughout the book, interspersed with handwritten calligraphy and helpful hand-drawn illustrations. It feels both modern and homespun, a perfect combination of how I perceive Kate's approach. And even the paper feels nice.
In short? I highly recommend The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking for anyone (regardless of gender identity) looking to beef up their domestic skills and become more handy and self-sufficient. Kate empowers the reader to learn, to experiment, and to make their home their own. You'll be amused and inspired, and walk away with actionable ideas that won't eat up too much time or too much money. And with graduation, wedding, and home buying season just around the corner, may I suggest that this book would be a great gift for a college graduate, newlyweds, or a new homeowner.
For those of you in the Twin Cities area, Kate will be in town this coming weekend. On May 14 from 2-4 pm, she will be attending the MPLS Swappers food swap. Tickets are currently sold out, but you could add your name to the waitlist and hope someone cancels. On Sunday May 15 at 2 pm, she will be at Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota for a book signing event. The event is open to the public and dopies of her book will be available for purchase. Be there, or be square!
And now, I am happy to bestow a beautiful new copy of the book upon one lucky reader.
Enter the Book Giveaway
Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is generously offering one copy of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne to a lucky reader.
Monday 5/23: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post following the instructions below. Entry deadline is Sunday 5/22/11 11:59 pm CST. I will randomly select a winner from the comments, and the winner will be announced Monday 5/23/11 in a followup on this blog post. I will contact you if you win to get your shipping information, and Harper Collins will mail you a copy of the book.
- Leave a comment on this post (on the blog, NOT on Facebook), and share what you would like to learn to do around your home. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment so I can contact you if you win.
Optional additional entries (complete as many as you'd like):
- Tweet the giveaway and leave a comment here that you did. Example: I entered the @HipGirls book #giveaway from @eatingfreely, did you? http://tinyurl.com/hipgiveaway
- Follow me on Twitter (@eatingfreely) and leave a comment here that you did
- Follow Kate on Twitter (@hipgirls) and leave a comment here that you did
- Like Affairs of Living on Facebook and leave a comment here that you did
- Like The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Facebook and leave a comment here that you did
Buy the Book and Connect with Kate
If you'd rather not take your chances and would like to purchase a copy of the book,The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is available at bookstores nationwide as well as on online retailers.
Order The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking online:
Ways to connect with Kate:
- Read The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking blog
- "Like" The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Facebook
- Follow The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on Twitter
- Attend a book tour event in a city near you
Good luck, and happy homemaking!
DISCLAIMER: Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, provided me with a free copy of this book to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.
We have a winner!
Congratulations to Candice, the author of comment number 48 and the winner of a copy of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne.
Candice's comment was great, and included lots of things she'd love to learn around the house:
This just made my day! I just moved into my own little apartment and as I cleaned it up for the first time yesterday, I found myself wondering "what's the best way to clean the burners on your stove?", "can you use vinegar on hardwood floors?", "Is there an eco-friendly way to keep your sink sparkly and white?". I'm pretty sure this book can answer all of my questions...and more!
Candice, I will contact you for your shipping information. Harper Design, and imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will be mailing you a copy of the book.