The Happy Desk Lunch

Categories: Cookbooks, e-books, Health, In the office, Live By the Book, Recipes

The thought of bringing your own lunch to school or work probably conjures up some pretty unpalatable images for you – a soggy turkey sandwich, someone else’s microwaved fish slowly heating up in the office kitchen, or just plain old PB&Js crumbling over your keyboard as you work through another lunch break. But this week, Workman is taking a step back to reflect on lunch with the help of our new ebook, Bring Your Lunch! by Califia Suntree.




The concept behind Bring Your Lunch! is one that all of us busy adults can easily get behind. Bringing your lunch can save you money (at least $25 a week – that’s $750 a year!) and is way healthier than those last minute dashes out to the greasy pizza joint across the street. And Califia offers tons of thoughtful, inspired, and downright delicious recipes to ensure that the lunchtime doldrums never set in.




To get in the spirit here at the office, we sent everyone at Workman some tips and tricks from Bring Your Lunch! as well as a few great (and easy!) recipes, including the Prosciutto and Provolone Sandwich with Fig Jam featured below (click to enlarge).


BYL Prosciutto and Provolone Sandwich


On Monday, those who had brought in their lunches gathered at our big table downstairs for an indoor picnic complete with a red and white checkered tablecloth, fresh flowers, and two types of homemade lemonade! For every day that employees bring in their lunches this week, they are entered in our raffle to win some swag from our friends at BlueAvocado and a gift certificate to Whole Foods. Employees who bring their lunch every day this week are also eligible for Workman Wellness Points as part of our wellness initiative.




Every day this week, we have been gathering at lunch time for more indoor picnics and on Friday we will celebrate one more lunch together with desserts and a drawing for our raffle prize winner!

Who knew bringing your lunch to work could be so much fun!

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#ReadWomen2014 – Carol McD. Wallace

Categories: News

If you’re positively alit with anticipation of Downton Abbey Season 5, you’ll want to read the book that inspired Julian 9780761171959Fellowes to create the character, Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham: To Marry an English Lord, by Carol McD. Wallace and Gail MacColl. After the New York Times published a piece about books Downton Abbey fans would enjoy, the creator of the hit PBS series responded with a letter to the editor. Julian Fellowes wrote, “In your very flattering article about books that might please fans of “Downton Abbey,” I was sorry that one title was missing: To Marry an English Lord.” The letter went on to read, “It occurred to me that while many people knew about the arrival of the heiresses, not much was known about what their lives then became, trapped as they were in a way of life that many of them would outlive.” To Marry an English Lord tells the stories of the American heiresses who invaded Brittania and swapped dollars for titles. For those who clamor for more when each episode of Downton Abbey ends, this book may be just what the doctor ordered.

In our continued support of the #ReadWomen2014 social media movement, we interviewed author Carol McD. Wallace about this book, Downton Abbey, and more!

Q: What discovery surprised you most while researching this book?

A: I’ve had a lifelong obsession with weddings (comes from growing up across the street from a church, I think) and I was astonished to find out how closely the most of the weddings of the American heiresses in To Marry an English Lord resembled the way we still get married in the U.S., with the religious ceremony followed by a reception, the bride in a white dress, the bridesmaids in similar dresses, the wedding gifts, the bouquets, etc. etc. I actually got so wrapped up in this that I wrote a book about it, called All Dressed in White, which came out in 2005.

Q: Who is your favorite Downton Abbey character and why?

A: Violet, Countess of Grantham, of course, same as everybody else! I think we all love her because she says the things we all wish we could say, and gets away with it! Also, who wouldn’t want all the punch lines?

Q: What sparked your interest in English aristocracy?

A: I actually don’t know, but I can tell you that when I was still in grade school I researched and wrote a massive report on British heraldry, so that interest has been there for a very, very long time.

Q: If you weren’t writing about dukes and heiresses, what would you be writing about?

A: Remember that To Marry an English Lord was first published in 1989 so I’ve had lots of time since then to cover other subjects. The most profitable was a series of baby name books (back before baby names were all on the Internet) so I was immersed in that for several years.   I also studied art history at Columbia University  from 2003 to 2006. The research for my M.A. thesis  became a novel (published in 2011) called  Leaving Van Gogh. It’s about the last two months of Van Gogh’s life, narrated by the doctor who tried to help him before he committed suicide. What it has in common with To Marry an English Lord is the nineteenth century, which I don’t seem to want to leave. Ever.

Q: Who are your favorite female authors?

A: Well, that would be a long list! Just off the top of my head, I’d say Hilary Mantel, Edith Wharton, Colette, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Jane Gardam. And of course Jane Austen.

Q: What are you reading now?

A: Beside my bed is Middlemarch which is fun because each time you reread a big novel like this, you are also revisiting yourself, the last time you read it. And on my Kindle, the new Tana French novel, The Secret Place. Very hard to put that one down.

For more information on Carol, visit her site here and here! And don’t forget to spend the year at Downtown Abbey with the 2015 Page-A-Day Calendar and 2015 Engagement Calendar, available now here.

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#SummerReads – A Visit From the Goon Squad

Categories: News

Happy Friday! If you’re having a tough time accepting that summer is over, we’re with ya. In the spirit of extending summer, we’re adding one last book to our summer reading list: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Read Workman employee Jacquelynne Hudson’s thoughts on this book below!


Q: What was A Visit From the Goon Squad about?

A: A novel about the evolving lives of people in the music industry. A startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

Q: How/why did you decide to read this book?

A: This book was chosen by members of my book club.

Q: When and where do you read/did you read this book?

A: On my iPad mini, usually on my commute to and from work.

Q: What’s next on your reading list?

A: Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore.

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#SummerReads – The Little Friend

Categories: Fiction, Friday Reads, Reading

Even though we’re heading into the last weekend of summer, there’s still plenty of time to get lost in a good book. Workman employees have been sending in their summer reading lists and we’re sharing one today: The Little Friend by Donna Tart. Read below for a summary and a Q & A with Liz DeBell, who submitted this book.


The Little Friend is about a girl named Harriet whose mother retreats into herself, after Harriet’s older brother is found murdered in their yard. Harriet decides to get revenge on the person she believes killed her brother. It’s about life in a small town in the south, about boredom and ennui that kids feel during the summer and the escape found in a book, and about family dynamics (Harriet’s, as well as a neighboring, notorious family that lives on the seedy side of town and has a well-deserved bad reputation — for instances: they make meth).


Q: Did you like the book, and would you recommend it?

A: Yes, and yes but with reservations. In typical Donna Tartt fashion there are no neat resolutions to be found at the end which can be frustrating after 500 pages.

Q:  Which character from the book would you want to hang out with in real life?

A: Harriet who is nine years old and a complete bad ass.

Q: How/why did you decide to read this book?

A: Loved Donna Tartt’s newest book, The Goldfinch.

Q: What’s next on your reading list?

A: I’m currently reading Provence, 1970. Then Eleanor and Park. Then Lush Life.


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Important Moments in Waffle History

Categories: News

Ever heard of obelios? They were savory flat cakes that Ancient Greek bakers cooked between two hot plates, and they are the oldest known ancestors of the modern waffle. Jumping to the colonial period, Thomas Jefferson was not only one of our country’s founding fathers, but a pioneer in waffle history: in 1789, he brought a waffle iron from France to America, reviving the Dutch settlers’ tradition of the “waffle frolic,” a social gathering centered on the gridded food. Jump ahead some 250 years and you come to another great waffle milestone: right now. Yes, we are in the midst of what you might call a waffle renaissance, wherein people are looking beyond the classic breakfast-made-of-batter to discover what else can be waffle-ized. The possibilities are endless: Waffled mac and cheese. Waffled cookies. Fawaffles. At the forefront of the movement is Daniel Shumski, the author of Workman’s new book Will It Waffle?, who this week turned the studio of Good Morning America into a regular waffle frolic. Check out the video here:


For more waffle history, not to mention recipes for everything from waffleburgers to waffled grilled cheese, seek out a copy of Will It Waffle?.

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A Perfect Scorer Looks Back on Senior Year: A Different Kind of Senioritis

Categories: Education, Guest post, News

Whether it’s their first year of school, their last, or somewhere in the middle, summer is winding down for students everywhere, and the new school year will bring new challenges. Ada, the new Up Your Score: SAT Guest Editor, is attending Stanford University in the Fall. Read this look back on her senior year of high school, as she prepares for the next chapter: college!

One thing that no one tells you about senior year is that by the time summer rolls around, you will be a pro at small talk. From the check out lady at the grocery store to the all those people you haven’t talked to in years but run into at graduation parties, there is one line of questioning that every high school senior comes to expect: what are you doing after graduation?

UpYourScoreSAT_cvr 2015 mech 1pp.inddThe stock answer to the senior-year-question is simple: insert college and major here. Indeed, I dutifully chirped “Stanford University, environmental engineering” countless times. But while this is the easy answer to the after-graduation question, I think that a lot of seniors are asking themselves a bigger question throughout senior year, about who they’ll be after high school, and the answer is more complicated than college choices.

As senior year progresses, relationships change. Your friends apply to different schools in different states. As everyone begins to go in new directions, certain relationships crack under the pressure of change while others grow stronger, even as new opportunities approach. There are the awkward days of acceptance letters, where everyone wants to know who got in where… but no one wants to ask. And then there are the lasts—the last time you will see your lab partner, the last test you take, the last time you have to awkwardly encounter an ex-best friend or former flame. And after those lasts come the even tougher ones—the moments with close friends and family.

But the goodbyes aren’t limited to people. Like many teenagers, I had a full schedule of activities in high school, partly because I enjoyed and even loved them, and partly because I knew it wouldn’t look bad on a college application. Now that my friends and I aren’t worrying about which activities will look attractive to colleges, the old reasoning falls away, and there are choices to be made. Is it worth playing sports so you can put it on a future resume? Starting college means preparing to enter the working world in just four short years. What activities do you still love? And is that enough to continue participating? Should you think about just moving on?

When it comes down to it, the tough part of the classic after-graduation question is knowing how to move on. It’s easy to pin the stresses of senior year on the pressure of perfecting the last draft of a college essay or raising a standardized test score. In reality, there are plenty of ways to make a strong college application and there are plenty of guides to beating standardized testing (I should know, I had a great time working on Up Your Score). But there are less sure-fire handbooks on how to handle the other pressures of senior year. There is no simple guide to leaving the people and habits that have made up the majority of your life so far.

The symptoms and side-effects of these pressures are often called “senioritis.” In part, it might mean studying a little less for those final exams or blowing off the occasional homework assignment. But it also means figuring out which parts of your paper-perfected college-applicant-self you’re actually going to bring with you to campus.

So what am I doing after graduation? I’m still figuring that out. But I’m OK with that.

For more about Ada, visit the Up Your Score Facebook page here!


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Wednesday Cute: Robin Williams and Koko

Categories: News

This week’s Wednesday Cute video is in honor of the beloved, comedic actor Robin Williams. Watch his heartwarming meeting with Koko, the Gorilla here.


At that meeting, Gorilla Foundation staffers say, Williams made Koko smile for the first time in six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, had passed away at the age of 27.

“Not only did Williams cheer up Koko,” a Foundation spokesperson said this afternoon, “but Williams similarly seemed transformed — from a high-energy entertainer, into a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy, who also happened to be really funny.”

RIP, Mr. Williams.

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Comics and Cosplay in a Galaxy Not So Far Away

Categories: News

I’ve been a comic book reader for 21 years. I’ve attended a few local NJ cons, as well as the New York and Chicago ones when I was younger. I’ve always entertained thoughts of attending the Shangri-La of cons – the San Diego Comic Convention –  but I never went so far as to purchase the tickets. Let’s just say I was overjoyed (and danced a little jig) when I was asked to work at the Workman Publishing booth this year.

Our booth was located in the Lucasfilm Pavillion with other companies who make books, shirts, skateboards, and key chains featuring the Star Wars world.


It was the perfect place for us since were debuting our new line of Star Wars Workbooks. We brought a few hundred copies along to give away (we were also looking to sell a few).


I shared one image of the freebies on Instagram and Twitter, and the stack started dwindling. It was hard to turn away requests to take more than one, particularly when those requests came from adorable kids.

We kept busy in the booth with people browsing our wares and some author signings, including Chris Alexander, author of Star War Origami , who signed books and taught folks how to make origami light sabers.


My colleague Moira and I were on our feet for 10+ hours every day, so in between promoting our books and ringing up customers, we had to find ways to keep energized and focused. I tried some yoga, which was only partially successful. Here’s the “before” photo:


I’m kind of glad there is no “after” photo. Ouch.

I also set out to take photos with various cosplayers over the course of the week. For the uninitiated, cosplay is short for costume play, i.e., getting dressed up in an awesome outfit. Since it was a comic convention, I knew I’d see tons of superheroes. I wanted pictures with my favorites.


Zatanna (looking like she just leaped out of the DC Comics Fandex):


Supergirl and Power Girl (who you will learn is actually Supergirl from a parallel earth, if you read the Fandex):


Now, I know you’re thinking: I’m just getting photographs with pretty ladies in costumes. Well, you’re partially right. Here I am with a good friend dressed as Harley Quinn:


But that’s not the only reason I wanted to take pictures. These people are awesome. The time and effort they put into their costumes is remarkable, as is their enthusiasm once they’re at the show. And that enthusiasm is contagious.

Not every cosplayer sets out to complety recreate their fictional counterpart. Some of the fun is finding ways to reinterpret the characters. Here, we have a Batwoman who is actually dressed as a bat-woman, ready for the ballgame, along with a vintage Rosie-the-Riveter—style Wonder Woman. The lady in black and blue is doing something that’s referred to as Rule 63, which is when you dress as a character of the opposite gender. In this case, she’s a female Nightwing.


Cosplay isn’t limited to comic books either. TV stars like Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama could be found…


…along with amazing yet obscure characters, like Kuato from the 1990 film Total Recall:

Or, going back to that Rule 63 concept, a Freddy Krueger who is slightly less scary than the classic Freddy:


Some cosplayers went as themed couples. There were plenty of Batman & Robin duos, but by my favorite was this pair of hard-to-find characters, Waldo and Carmen Sandiego:



Moira got into the fun as well, tracking down a Darth Vader who was surprisingly huggable:

photo (23)

And a few moments of each day, I managed to get away from our booth to do some shopping of my own. I tried to limit my spending, but I couldn’t resist some Con exclusives, like this variant cover edition to the Monster Motors comic by Brian Lynch and Nick Roche, or these limited edition Blu-rays from Fox which came with lithographs. (The shirt and Blu-rays from Scream Factory was an unplanned impulse purchase, but I couldn’t resist. I love those guys.)


For five days, I was in a truly odd and wonderful world where I got to talk to hundreds of people, sign some autographs, and catch up with old friends.


Fingers crossed, I’ll be back next year. And this time, I’ll be ready.


– Randy

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#SummerReads – Love and War

Categories: Fiction, Friday Reads

Good afternoon, readers! This summer an English teacher/mentor of mine sent me one of her favorite books, as she believed it was one I would enjoy and that I could take lessons from – Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion. Not only is it challenging intellectually, it is also a perfect summer read.Jeanette_Winterson_The_Passion

The Passion takes place during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), and is told from the perspectives of a simple French soldier who religiously serves Napoleon all the way into the depths of the Russian cold, and a young, strong headed Venetian woman who works in a casino and has seen how gambling transforms from a thrill, into a game of luck or death. Both characters learn what it means to be in love, the thin line between passion and obsession, and how both can consume you fully.

I have always enjoyed novels where the reliability of the narrator can be questioned, and The Passion unexpectedly became a story that, by the end, I wondered if any of it was true. Winterson utilizes history to shape who her characters are – Henri, the French soldier, dedicates all of his love and admiration to Napoleon. He realizes, however, his passion is undeserved, as he sees how the war destroys cities and violently ends men’s lives only for Napoleon to treat such tragedies as replaceable and insignificant. Villanelle is born and raised in Venice, however throughout the novel she is depicted as having mythical qualities and there are elements that indicate something unreal about her and Venice itself. Despite reference to actual historical events, Henri’s narration continually leaves open ends where the reader would only naturally wonder if the stories being told were real or made up.

There are many impactful descriptions and reflections throughout the novel regarding love, pursuing the heart’s passion, and faith. Winterson’s mixes fantasy with reality, as well as immersing the reader in a tumultuous history and making us believe in the lives of Henri and Villanelle.

Enjoy readers! – Luriel

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Wednesday Cute: Charlie Says “Sorry”

Categories: News, Wednesday Cute

It’s Wednesday Cute time! This video went viral this past week and you don’t even need to watch it to know why. When Charlie the Beagle decided to help himself to his human sister’s stuffed animal, heartbreak ensued. Charlie quickly realized his mistake and attempted to apologize in the cutest way possible. Watch his adorable apology here!




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