Saturday, September 28, 2013

Favorite Things: 2013

I haven't done a Favorite Things since 2010! I haven't blogged much at all lately, so I was due for something meaty. Here is a round-up of a variety of things I'm into lately.

Here we go:

Being a handy Super Woman: I found this image via a Google search on our model of front loading washing machine. We had our machine repaired last year and the repairmen mentioned cleaning out this filter and I wanted to figure out how to do it. I admittedly waited until Bill was gone (he'd be like what are you doing - AKA, what are you going to break? I knew I had this!). I did it - all by myself! The instructions were so helpful, so I was prepared with a bucket and towels. I found: 33 cents. A dollar bill. An earring. A deflated ballon. A tooth pick. A bobby pin. A button. A pull off a jacket. A screw. Unidentified objects. And a whole lot of gunk. So proud of myself. Hear me roar!
Vinylux nail polish. This stuff is the best. It is nail polish that will give you a gel/shellac manicure done at home. No UV light needed. It dries almost instantly. It goes on incredibly smooth. You can apply several coats (I used three of the color) and it was perfect. No base coat needed. Just one application of top coat. It dries in just eight minutes. It says right on the bottle it lasts for a week, but many report up to two. It comes off easily with regular nail polish remover. I am in love and holding back on ordering new colors. I used Lavishly Loved (pictured via image search). It is a a great neutral, but as I mentioned, it is does need about three coats before the top coat. Available in professional salons (although I got mine on Amazon). Don't forget the top coat.

My iPad keyboard. Bill got this for me a long time ago (at least two birthdays or two Christmases ago). I stopped using it because a little girl I know was known to find my iPad and go toddling precariously around with it. She is now three and by far not accident-free. However, she knows now that without the password, the iPad is useless to her, so she won't take it without my knowing. If she does use it, she usually parks herself in the same spot. I LOVE having the keyboard back. I am typing this post from my iPad - never would do that normally. Love, love. Only complaint is you do have to charge the keyboard separately - bit of a bummer, but no deal breaker.
Keurig. I have had troubles with headaches for years. They have unfortunately evolved into migraines after Elyse was born. I have tried a number of things to eliminate them. I have tried no caffeine to being sure I have caffeine. Several months ago, I started drinking coffee, thinking the daily caffeine might actually help (it didn't, but I'm still drinking coffee!). It has been about six months or so that I've been drinking one cup per day. In August, I bought myself a Keurig. I just love it. I love that I can quickly make myself just one cup (no one else here drinks it). It is great for entertaining because you can have a variety of flavors available for varying tastes. I can put a teabag in the dispenser for  a quick cup of tea. I can have boiling water quickly for a recipe. I can easily make iced coffee or tea. We now have one at work and so I'm doubly spoiled! I can't remember the last time I went through the Starbucks drive-through. I got mine at Costco and have found this is the best deal (it includes coffee to try and a reusable K-cup).
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in rich fawn - I purchased some new Benefit products at Ulta in August. They had a special and I got some free samples. One of them was this eye cream. Have you ever used this stuff? I have enough trouble with powder creasing, I never expected to like it. Well, it lived up to its name - wow. A little goes a long way - just one brush stroke is enough to sweep across the base of my lid. I have used it almost every day and still have plenty left of just the sample size! I love the richness of the color, it stays put and I just use a lighter shade above as a highlighter to finish it off. I will definitely buy this again. My only lesson is to designate one brush for this powder. It is a cream and doesn't work well if you try to swipe it next into your powdery eye shadow.
Olukai Ohana flip flops. These are not new, but somehow I've never blogged about them. I lived in these sandals all summer long the last two years. I have a brown/gold pair and a black/silver pair. Because it is literally the only thing I wear on my feet outside of work, I quickly developed pretty obvious tan lines. It was a little embarassing because you could see them when I was wearing dress shoes at work, but it also secretly made me happy reminding me that it was summertime. These flip flops are expensive, but they are incredibly comfortable. This is my second full summer wearing them. Plus, I got the gold pair on Ebay for less than half the price at Nordstrom. Bill has a pair too and although he'd never been much of a sandal guy - he likes his too!

Jacobsen Vanilla Bean Sea Salt. In August, Elyse and I visited my friend, Ruth, in Portland. We went to a gourmet cupcake shop and Elyse had a cupcake and I had a chocolate chip sea salt cookie. We sat outside eating our treats and I actually went back in and asked about the salt on top of the cookie. It was just amazing! She told me they sold it on-line and it was also sold in some gourmet stores. When we were leaving, I happened to see a fancy grocery store across the street. They had it! It was $10, but I was very excited to try it out. We've been sprinkling it on our cookies ever since.

Scentsy - in Happy Birthday scent. This stuff is a funny thing because a) when it first became popular I was pregnant and I couldn't stand anything that had a strong smell. b) Scentsy is sold primarily at in-home parties. Several years ago, we were on a very strict budget and I stopped going to these parties almost entirely because I would buy things I didn't need and always spend more money than I'd planned. Since then, I have only bought Scentsy at events: fairs, flea markets, home shows, you name it... I generally buy just one scent pack at a time, so spending $5 here and there. My favorite hands-down is Happy Birthday. It smells like warm vanilla cookies and happiness rolled into one. Pumpkin marshmallow is a favorite for this time of year, but really - Happy Birthday works anytime. I love walking into a room and smelling that warm, welcoming smell.

My car. I know I've already gushed about it. Just thought I'd tell you I still love it. I bought it because it was incredibly practical and I was a little shocked I was going Nerdville into the land of wagons, but we are officially hooked. I LOVE not going to the gas station. I love the interior. I love the turbo. I love the moonroof that goes over the front and back seats. I love the bluetooth/sync with my phone's playlist. I love my car. We went to Leavenworth last weekend and I admit it. I missed her. And, the wheels and tint were totally worth the haggling and arguments with the dealer.

Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier. After hosting three birthday parties under my belt, I have realized I need a safe place to store two dozen cupcakes before the big party. I can't believe the lame cupcake holders out there. I have had numerous cupcakes ruined by a lid or sagging tray. I like cupcakes piled high with pretty frosting and most holders out there can't take it. I did a ton of research and narrowed down on this one from Sur La Table. It is awesome. Get it. You won't be disappointed. No more ruined cupcakes. Everything stays in place. It duals as a cake holder. You can use one tray or two. It folds down for easy storage. LOVE.

Dirty Diet Coke. OK, so this is a half-truth. How can I post that I love something when I've never had it? I'm actually coveting it. Bloggers are always talking about how they run to Sonic and get this drink. I had to Google it as I had no idea what it was. Here it is: Diet Coke, lime and coconut syrup. OK, that sounds amazing. Sonic is too far away. I need to make one - stat. Directions here.
Traeger grill. I bought this for Bill five years ago for his 40th birthday. I can tell you that five years later, we still love it. The thermostat broke in May and we were without it almost all summer. Once we got it repaired, we've put it into high gear. Our new thing is buying the take-and-bake pizzas at Costco back in the deli. We freeze them and then when we are ready, thaw them and cook them on the Traeger. It is amazing. We are also having a new love-affair with marinated chicken on the Traeger. It is flavorful, tender, and we scarf it up! Sadly, the grills they are selling now are not the same as the originals, so Bill says don't buy one! We are likely going to have to seriously upgrade when ours dies one day to get something comparable. Do get a digital thermostat. We wish we hadn't waited on that.

Cinderella. This one is from Elyse. She almost always has a "thing". Caillou was all the rage for a while. This Spring it was Dora - Dora songs, Dora show, Dora doll. Then, we eased into Doc McStuffins and everything revolved around having a "check-up". Then it was Pete the Cat and we were reading all the books, singing his songs in the car. Then, it was her "favorite" song "A Thousand Years" - again in the car on repeat about one-zillion times and karaoke in the living room. Now, it is all about Cinderella. She is in love with this movie, dressing up like a "princess" etc. I just upgraded to ios7 on my phone and she was thrilled because it pulls movies from the Cloud and she could watch Cinderella on my phone. She is currently insisting on only the Cinderella stickers for her potty chart. Goodness.

Chalk Painting. Another Elyse submittal. Thank you Pinterest for suggesting writing out words or the alphabet in chalk. Your child traces the letters with a paint brush and water. Elyse thinks this is the best ever and we love she is having fun, it is mess-free and she is learning.

L'Oreal EverCreme Shampoo and Conditioner. I've been using sulfate free shampoo for almost a year now. I first used this shampoo I bought from Amazon. Let's just say, "What was I thinking?" It smelled terrible and I bought a three-pack because it was CHEAP. It was persimmon rose. Rose?! Why would I think I would like rose-scented shampoo? Yuck!! Because I am cheap, I used every drop of all three bottles. Since then, I've tried Pureology, but it is terribly expensive to use for everyday use. I'd read more than once that this L'Oreal shampoo was getting high reviews. I used some at my friend, Jeannie's house and then my friend, Deanna recommended it. It was enough for me to try it myself. I have really enjoyed it. I like the shampoo, more than the conditioner (it seems to leave a bit of residue). But, I still like both, they smell great and would buy them again. We'll see if my hair stylist notices if I'm using over-the-counter products. She has in the past. Maybe I'll fool her by sneaking a Pureology wash in the meantime!

I can tell that it is Fall. I rarely posted this summer and most of it has been pictures. Today, we are cooped up as it is pouring buckets outside as we speak and I am back in front of the computer.

Tell me, what are YOU enjoying?

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