The name’s Mommy.

Okay, Melanie. First a dog mom, then a human mom. But like every other multitasking woman trying to be everything, I’m more than a mom. I’m a gift-giving, goal-oriented go-getter. And a grown woman who still needs help from her husband, Grandma and the occasional bottle of wine in order to make it seem like I sort of have my stuff together.

This blog is a reflection of my professional self, and, it took some time to shape it into something presentable. Hopefully, this site appears organized, thoughtful and seemingly put together. I’ve tried to package it nicely in spite of the messy, creative process that lies between every sentence and behind each idea. To be as clear as the translucent wrap that covers each gift basket I arrange, I can be a basket case when it comes to managing my own semi adult existence. I know first hand how difficult it is to navigate life as a new mom. Heck, I remember how hard it was to manage life, work and my shoe collection prior to having my son. I could barely keep myself together, let alone taking care of a puppy, then a baby? It’s a lot to handle. Rewarding, amazing, incredible and worth it, yes, but definitely not easy. And totally exhausting.

I remember showing up to events as a busy single gal working multiple jobs. I’d be wrapping my friends’ bridal shower presents in the car on the way there. I’d powder off the sweat dripping down my forehead as I drove barefoot because my heels weren’t exactly safe for operating a vehicle. The pressure of running late made me stressed and worried my friends would find me immature and ridiculous. Most cards got shakily signed at stop lights using a pen I found under the front seat. If I was lucky, the sun hadn’t yet dried up the ink. Sometimes, my mom would come through in the clutch to remind me to check a friend’s registry well in advance! It’s only years later that I’ve finally figured out how to wrap presents ahead of time and not give myself a heart attack the day of a party.

I’m a transparent, genuine person, which is why I’m sharing the truth behind my process. It takes hard work to be a civilized woman doing her best to appear sophisticated and mature.

I’m not trying to put on a charade that I’m an expert here. I’m saying that if you’re a mess, and you’re here looking for some advice on how to be less of a mess, you have come to the right place. Because, who better to provide friendly and helpful guidance than a real person who can honestly acknowledge the impossible expectations we put on ourselves and each other? A woman who can speak frankly from the heart about how difficult it feels to balance any of this mom stuff? Not even just mom stuff, but feminine, girly, wifey, working woman, everything stuff? I’m not saying I know everything. I’m saying, I know a couple of things that I’ve learned from making mistakes, and I’d like to share them with you, girlfriend, or guy friend. Everyone is welcome here. And hopefully you can relate to some story, blessing, challenge or gift idea I’m talking about.

These self-deprecating confessions aren’t to say that I haven’t always been a thoughtful and quality gift giver. I just had the bad habit of taking on too much, trying to do too much, and nearly passing out wrapping Christmas gifts at 3am on Christmas morning. It’s not that I would procrastinate. I would just have these crazy ideals and expectations for myself and the presents I gave to others. I had a vision of what made a gift presentable, personable and perfect. Giving one gift wasn’t enough. I had to package it with three other mini-gifts that fit into a gift theme, which helped make the overall present complete. I owed it to friends, family and acquaintances to give them something special. Sure, I went on a tchotchke binge for a few years, but I later realized the importance of balancing personalized gifts with functional, practical and purposeful uses.

More about me: I’m a journalist turned teacher who’s always been a writer. I have published four gift books with Skyhorse Publishing targeted at women experiencing various life milestones, including joining a sorority, getting married, having a baby and of course, yes, balancing life as a teacher. That’s because most all of my writing is inspired by personal experience and appropriately, my books have aligned with my own life events. If you check out any of these books, please take the time to write a review. I feel weird asking for things back, but I would really love to hear from you, and I feel like it would do one of my super cute books some good if it had more than two reviews on Amazon.

I should also mention that after illustrating all of my own books and remembering how much I love crafting and creating art, I started an Etsy shop that offers printable DIY coloring books, greeting cards and downloadable prints.

You can learn more about me by visiting my personal website. I write under my maiden name, Pellowski, but I personally became a LaPlaca when my husband and I tied the knot back in 2017.

Thanks so much for visiting Gift Book Girl – I hope to see you back here and I wish you all the best in your gift giving experience.

Happy Gifting!