favorite things: good stuff for real people
I just recently stumbled across Melissa at her blog, 320 Sycamore, and it was just in time. She is having a “Favorite Things” party. I’ve found that some of the “things” I love best, whether they’re books or recipes or gift ideas or beauty products or whatever, come from recommendations from real people who have really used them and have real opinions. When I saw Melissa’s post about this shindig, I knew I’d love to participate. This blog party will be kind of like Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” but on a scale that mere mortals can enjoy.
I am not a gourmet cook. I am only a mediocre cook. But as you probably know, spices can be pricey. A good friend of mine (who is from Milwaukee) told me about this family-owned, Wisconsin-based company years ago, and I LOVE THEM. Their (free) catalogs are great, and come with a slew of real-life, yummy, useful recipes, and their products are reasonably priced and great quality. My favorites are their dressing blends. I use their Greek Seasoning to whip up a salad dressing every week – it only takes a minute and is 100 times better than store-bought. My sister-in-law got hooked on their Sandwich Sprinkle at my house a few years ago, and now keeps it in supply at her house as well. Anything from Penzey’s is a GREAT gift idea if you know someone who likes to cook.
I love a good lipgloss that’s easy to throw on when I’m doing one hundred other things, but I often found that the ones I bought had a weird taste or weird smell or strange consistency or were the wrong color. This one is perfect. Reasonable price, great smell, nice consistency, a bit of tint. I buy several at a time and have them stashed in the bathroom, my purse, and the car.
If you’re like 80% of the moms I know in real life, you make the Starbucks stop a couple of times a week. I love a good, tall skinny latte like the next girl, but we all know it’s not always convenient to make the stop. Plus, if you’ve ever read a book about finances, you know the key to financial freedom is giving up your Starbucks.
A friend of mine once mentioned that she liked Starbuck’s espresso drinks better than their regular coffee, and until then I never understood why I didn’t like a straight-up brewed cup of whatever as much as I did a fancy drink from them. Since then, I started buying their ground espresso and brewing it right in my coffeemaker for our weekend or special-occasion coffee, and it is GREAT! People always ask me what kind of coffee it is when they’re here. It’s pricier than run-of-the-mill coffee, but at around $7/bag, it’s way cheaper to brew it at home than to order up the lattes.
Really, you must know about Etsy, or you must have been living under a rock or something for the past year. Etsy is the portal to things made by real humans, small companies, and nice regular folks who have amazing talents. I’ve bought some ADORABLE clothing items for Maggie there. A few sellers I like (though there are dozens more!!):
Check out my blogroll for blogs I love, that inspire me, make me laugh, or make me relate. There are so many more out there, but those are a few.
If you try one of my favorite things, I want to hear about it! Be sure to let me know. Now it’s your turn – what works for you, what do you like, what’s a great find? I can’t wait to hear what other people have come up with. I’m sure there will be lots of great posts over at 320 Sycamore!