Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun, and Other Things No One Knows the Rules To by Theresa Julian

Humor Expert At It Again!

Theresa Julian’s newest book, Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun, and Other Things No One Knows the Rules to is a natural third book in her series with the The Joke Machine and 101 Hilarious Pranks and Practical Jokes. Like the Joke and Pranks books, illustrated by Pat Lewis, Calling Dibs, illustrated by Kim Griffin, is a funny, punny guide on “who gets dibs on the last slice of pizza” and “who’s ‘it’ when two people call ‘not it’ at the same time.” The book was written with 8-12 year-olds in mind, but anyone who wants to connect with kids and nostalgic adults will laugh-out-loud at Theresa’s rules and game challenges.

Theresa, critique-partner, writer-friend, and fellow triplets-mom, is getting good press! Time for Kids magazine featured her “How to Write Funny” advice and Highlights for Children Magazine asked her to share some “tips and tricks of the trade.” So cool!

Published June 29, 2020

Connect with Theresa on Twitter @Theresa_Julian, Instagram tm_julian, TikTok @thefunnyu


What is a Rain Garden?

In my last post, You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Create Green Landscaping, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, I mentioned wanting to build a rain garden. Before writing the article, I had no idea what it was, and now I have two ideas where one could be planted in my yard. I love the idea of building a garden that uses water run-off to nourish native plants. According to Family Handyman, ” a rain garden nurtures the land in your yard and protects the environment by channeling rain water and runoff from gutters into a rain garden planted with deep-rooted, colorful native plants.”

A rain garden is basically a plant pond, that is, a garden bed that you plant with special deep-rooted species. These plants help the water rapidly seep into the soil, away from your house and out of your hair. You direct the rainwater from the downspouts to the garden via a swale (a stone channel) or plastic piping. The garden captures the water and, when properly designed, drains it into the soil within a day. You don’t have to worry about creating a mosquito haven; the water drains before mosquitoes even have time to breed.

If there’s an especially heavy rainfall, excess water may overflow the rain garden and run into the storm sewer system. Even so, the rain garden will have done its job. It will have channeled water away from your foundation and reduced the load on the sewer system. A rain garden also reduces the amount of lawn chemicals and pet wastes that may otherwise run off into local lakes and rivers. In some communities, the runoff problem is so big that homes with rain gardens qualify for a tax break! Call your municipality to learn your local policy.

Click here for the materials and steps needed to build this sustainable garden.

What a great family project?!

Fabulous Flooring, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

How are flooring and a throat on fire related?

I learned enough researching finishes for “Fabulous Flooring, Timeless and Trending,” published in the December issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, that when Hubby and I were in London, I could tell the type of distressing done on our hotel’s wide wood plank floors. I highly recommend the St. Ermin’s Hotel, which is in walking distance to Westminster Abbey, not just for the wood floors and stylish rooms, but for the service.

When I woke up in the middle of the night with my throat on fire, I knew I had strep throat. We were supposed to be touring the city that day and taking an overnight ferry to France the next, so I needed to see a doctor asap! What to do? 

The concierge was as helpful as could be! He called doctor’s offices, found one nearby, and scheduled an appointment. I was in and out with an antibiotic in hand. Amazing!

Hon, have you ever gotten sick on vacation? What did you do?


Holiday Gift Guide, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Holiday Gift Guide

In preparation for writing “Ideas to Take the Guesswork Out of Gifting,” I took a day off. Well, not really, but window shopping at a bunch of stores didn’t feel like work. I’d never written a Gift Guide before, so it was a challenge to think of people’s ages, stages, and interests and figure out what kinds of holiday gifts would be well-received.

That reminds me, hon–I have more holiday shopping to do!


Small Business Saturday, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Thanksgiving’s around the corner…

…and so is Black Friday, the official start to the holiday shopping season. The second article I wrote for ELS is “Small Business Saturday Turns Ten!” which talks about the inception of SBS and what some local towns have planned. In Summit, NJ where I work at a children’s boutique (What do we sell the most? Think lots of kids’ dressy outfits and matching pj’s!), there’ll be carolers, a horse and sleigh, hot chocolate, and more, throughout the season. Tell you what, hon–feeling a holiday spirit makes all difference whether you’re working or shopping.



Style Essentials For Every Season, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

The November issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine is out!

While I was doing research on classic clothes, guess what I found? Clothes that were designed for British and French militaries which became popular when soldiers returned home. Truly functional to fashionable! Camouflage is certainly a print that’s worn by U.S. soldiers and also stocked in stores. The most interesting info was how men’s watches transformed from pocket watches to wristwatches (future post for sure).

Fall 2019 Halloween Decor, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

The second article I published in the September issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine was “Fall 2019 Halloween Decor.” You know what’s funny? Seeing one of the decorations I mentioned in a friend’s home. (Shout out to Sherry and John who take Halloween to the max!)

Guess what hon? More articles are on the way!

Fall 2019 Bridal Trends Article, Part 2

Hon, you know I love a theme!

In my “Fall 2019 Bridal Trends” article, published in the September issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, I had fun with puns. Wedding themed, of course.

White Wedding–wedding dress silhouettes

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve–sleeves

Take the Plunge–necklines

“Tier” of Joy–asymmetrical hemlines and trains

Icing On the Cake–capes and shrugs

The Right Suitor–men’s suits

Tie the Knot–ties and accessories

With This Ring, I Thee Wed–engagement and wedding rings

And Match Made in Heaven Wedding Decor

Fall 2019 Bridal Trends, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, Part 1

Yay! The September issue of New Jersey Hills Media Group’s Elegant Lifestyles Magazine is out. I wrote “Fall 2019 Bridal Trends.” Why bridal, you ask? Back in the day (before triplets-plus-one), in addition to working in the Bloomingdale’s Training Program as a buyer and manager, I wrote free-lance articles. One of my gigs? Attending bridal fashion shows in Manhattan and writing about them. So fun! Click here to access the New Jersey Hills Media Group website where a PDF of the magazine can be downloaded.

A little bit about the publisher.

Recorder Community Newspapers and New Jersey Hills Media Group are the hometown scribes, the keepers of history and the chronicle of shared experiences in more than 50 communities in northern central New Jersey.

Our 17 community newspapers and 15 online news sites circulate in New Jersey’s “wealth belt”: Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris and Essex counties. Our readers enjoy one of the highest household incomes in the state, and the nation!

Our total paid circulation is 50,954, with additional free circulation of 42,131.

Dedication: This post is dedicated to my mom who would have turned 78 tomorrow. She used to type up my “children’s books” when I was in elementary school and knew I loved to write. As an editor of The Baltimore Jewish Times, she was the first person to hire me to write, assigning me a variety of articles: first person, interviews, research. She was my first editor and a tough one at that. Think lots of red ink!

When I graduated college and moved to Manhattan, she hired me to cover events in Manhattan and write about them. From there, other magazines picked up my articles, and I was on my way. As I circled back to writing Kidlit, she was a reader and cheerleader. She’d say writing fiction was a whole other ball game. Regardless, she always listened and gave advice when it came to communicating with editors and agents.

Guess what Mom? I still need your advice…and a whole lot of cheerleading.

Is Social Media A Must?

My favorite bookends feature a typewriter, books...
My favorite bookends feature a typewriter, books…

...a dial phone, banker's lamp and "book" titled Words and Phrases.
…a dial phone, banker’s lamp and “book” titled Words and Phrases.

There was a time when the term Social Media was not part of our lexicon, when we didn’t debate whether to have a Facebook page, Linked In might mean we were walking arm-in-arm with a friend, only birds Tweeted, Instagram could have referred to grams of instant coffee, cowboys said, “Yahoo,” a (search) engine would have something to do with a car, and hard alcohol was served in Tumblr’s.

Now, as professionals, we must decide which Social Media platforms to use if we want to build up a “platform,” increase our social standing, “brand” ourselves and connect across the internet and with the world.

I’ll admit it, I was resistant to change.  Why?  Because I like to talk on the phone with my friends (gasp), send paper party invitations (really?), look up definitions in my dictionary (scandalous) and synonyms in my thesaurus (what’s that?), occasionally listen to college cassette tapes (the music on my mix tapes are classic!) and (no way!) write letters.

But, since I’ve started blogging I’ve enjoyed “meeting” people from all over the world, making a commitment to myself to write, sharing my various interests, and creating a place where I present myself professionally while still allowing my voice to come through.

It was on Twitter that I saw a post on social media by Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone-The Writer’s Guide To Social Media.  In her post, she compares taking care of your online presence to taking care of your family.  It turns out that Social Media has daily needs just like our families, pets, homes and lives.

Considering that I am an “aspiring author,” having published articles but not yet my books, I’ve wondered if grooming this creature is necessary.  But, when my triplets started college last fall, I decided it was time, my time, to move forward on a path I’ve craned my neck toward for years.

Is social media a must?  You have to decide what furthers your career goals and, for now, I must “feed my craft” however I can.  That means treating Social Media to a healthy, balanced meal with the hope, wish and intention of having a big ice cream sundae with a cherry on top as a reward!

Hon, what are your thoughts on the issue?