Several years ago, back when my fibromyalgia was so bad that I couldn’t work, I did an extensive search for something to help me read and journal comfortably while sitting in bed and on the couch.
Like many of you, I found that the couch or bed was the most comfortable place for my body during the day. (Let’s be honest. It’s the most comfortable place anytime, right?) The problem was that I would end up getting a lot of headaches, and neck and back pain when I would try to read, journal or use my laptop. Through the help of my massage therapist and chiropractor, I realized that I was bending my neck and upper back down too far to see what I was doing.
I tried holding my book up higher to read, to keep my neck and back straighter, but I just didn’t have the strength in my hands and arms to physically hold the book that long. On the few days I did have the strength to hold the book up, I’d end up with worse upper back pain from holding my arms in one position. After a while, I just stopped reading altogether. (Mind you, I love to read! I’m on track to read a book a week this year.) Of course, that strategy just wasn’t possible for writing or using my laptop.
I figured out that if I propped up two throw pillows on my lap, I could get the book at about the right height. I’d still have to hold down the pages, which wasn’t totally comfortable, but my neck, head and back sure felt better. I actually measured the dimensions of those pillows and set out to see if I could find something that would work.
I actually found all sorts of things. Hard things. Uncomfortable things. Things that were ugly and utilitarian. Things that I didn’t want to have sitting out in my living room all the time. Bulky and heavy things. Sure, they were the right dimension, but other than that, forget it!
Then I found the BookBuddy by Amanda Crawford Designs. *Hallelujah!* It was beautiful, soft, and had features I hadn’t even dreamed of! I could use it for reading, writing, and using my laptop! I had to have it!
I use my BookBuddy so much that Scott calls it my “EverythingBuddy.” I even take it in the car with me to hotels or friends’ houses when I travel. I haven’t gotten around to taking it when I travel via airplane… but I just might on the next trip. I literally use this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I seriously can’t live without this thing! I’m using it right now as I write this blog post! (Click any photo to see the image larger.)
The BookBuddy is designed as a lap pillow with a “ribbon-lock system” and removable acrylic lap desk. Four ribbons cross the BookBuddy to help hold things in place so that you don’t have to. Each ribbon has an adjustable fastener that allows you to make it as tight or loose as you need it to be, accommodating any size book or laptop.
The pillow distributes the weight of your laptop or book making it nearly weightless and protects you from hard edges and laptop heat. It also brings the height of what you’re doing up to something more ergonomic – making your neck and back much happier. The acrylic lap desk gives you a hard surface when you need it, like to keep your laptop from suffocating, or when you need a writing desk.
As you can see in the photos, when I’m using my laptop, Ellie, I use the corner ribbons to keep her secure. The ribbons are in exactly the right place so that they don’t interfere with me, the keyboard or the trackpad.
When reading, the vertical ribbons hold your book in place. If the book is large enough, you can even tuck the pages under the corner ribbons. I remember trying to read the Harry Potter books before my BookBuddy… HA! Talk about uncomfortable! After I got my BookBuddy, I started reading some of those big books that I’d never been able to hold before. You can also use one of the BookWorm Page Weights to help hold down the pages on these big guys. (Click the image at right to see it with a BookWorm.) Doesn’t this look a lot more do-able?
When you want to use the BookBuddy as a writing desk, just slip the corner ribbons over the tabs on the outside of the acrylic lap desk and you have a lump-free desk. Since I use my BookBuddy with Ellie so much, I just leave the corner ribbons on the top of the acrylic. They really aren’t in the way. This is also how I have it when I’m using my iPad. No more “iPad thumb” from holding your iPad! I have my iPad in a case that allows me to prop it up.
The more you use your BookBuddy, the more things you’ll find to use it for! I seriously need one in every room in my house. I find that I’m always wanting it and it’s in a different room! Amanda Crawford Designs makes them in so many gorgeous fabrics and colors that I know I’ll be able to find one that matches each room’s decor.
Things I do with my BookBuddy:
- Writing this blog post!
- Using my laptop
- Eating, when not at the dining room table =)
- Working in bed or on the couch
- Using my iPad
- Writing in my journal
- Playing cards with Scott
- Writing thank you notes
- Paying bills
- Opening mail
- Updating my calendar
So what are you waiting for?
Contest closed September 16, 2011. Thanks to Amanda Crawford Designs for sending a BookBuddy to the winner! (YAY!)