A Few Favorite Things

I have approximately a bajillionty big projects I need to be working on, and naturally that means Procrastination has shown up at my front door with coffee and distractions. I welcomed her in and we’re totally hanging out, pretending we’re ostriches with our heads in the sand about said projects and looming deadlines. So as I imbibed in my umpteenth cup of joe, I decided now would be a good time to share a few of my most favorite things.

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1. Here’s the Thing Podcast with Alec Baldwin. Where has this been all my life, and why am I so late to the game? First of all, if Alec Baldwin could come to my house and read recipes to me every night I might actually fall in love with cooking.  He has the best voice in the history of all voices. Second, he is an incredible interviewer. Each episode is  exceptionally conversational and off-the-cuff, and he has a way of asking the exact question I’m thinking in my head. Some of my favorite episodes are the interviews with Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Julie Andrews and Jerry Seinfeld. Click the link for the website, or find it on iTunes. You won’t be disappointed.

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2. Bluetooth Wireless Headphones. I’m not talking about the robo-earbud-necklace that everyone walks around wearing — because ew (and also, I don’t talk on the phone) — but just regular ol’ wireless headphones. Mine are blue like these, and I love them because I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have dropped my phone when running on the treadmill. My hand catches on the earbud wire that’s connected to the phone and knocks it to the floor. Cannot tell you how often this has happened. These have been a joy to work out with, and I can go from machine to machine and leave my phone on the counter in one place and still listen to my podcasts or audio books. Which brings me to…

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3. Audible. I’m addicted. Like, addicted. I have resisted audio books for ages and ages — how on earth could I possibly listen to a book and not highlight or underline or get distracted? Then one day it hit me that if I can concentrate enough to listen to a podcast, I can listen to an audio book. Amazon has a 3-month free trial for Prime members, and I signed up…and I’m basically going to pay for this the rest of my life. So far I’ve listened to three books — Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert; Accidental Genius by Mark Levy; and The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I will be honest and tell you I haven’t finished Accidental Genius, because it’s narrated by Bronson Pinchot and unbelievably, he is absolutely monotone and quite boring. I truly cannot bring myself to finish. The other two books, however, are narrated by the author, and that has been a delight. I LOVED both books fiercely, and honestly not sure if I would have as much just reading them. Listening to Elizabeth and Shonda (first name basis because: BFF’s) read their own words was captivating and I listened to both in the span of 2 days each. Warning: each book has some language and definitely some beliefs I don’t agree with, but neither detract from how fun it was to readlisten. Also, you can press a button and bookmark anything said which is awesome.

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4. Burt’s Bees Renewal Firming Night Cream. This came recommended by a friend of a friend, and I think I love it. It took me a minute, because it’s pretty thick. But it takes just a few minutes to soak in and has a very pleasant smell. I’ve used it faithfully for about a week, and have to admit I do notice a bit of a difference in my skin the next morning. If you’re over 40, this is breaking news, and now I want to buy it in bulk to bathe in every night.

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5. Cadbury Mini Eggs. Because it’s getting close to Easter, and these are already out in stores. And because my darling daughter put some in a little Valentine’s present for me and now she’s my favorite. There’s no link. Just get thee to the grocery or Walmart so you can stock up and enjoy.

Okay friends. Those are a few of my favorite things right now. Except I don’t feel procrastinationally-fulfilled enough, so I think I might need a game of solitaire on my phone or a quick episode of something unfulfilling and mind-numbing. Oh look, squirrel!

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25 Things to Be Happy About (Part Three)

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When I was in college I picked up a little book called 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. It’s simply hundreds of pages of stream-of-consciousness lists of things that make you happy. When life was stressful or I was feeling blue, I would just pull out that book and smile like crazy. And I would take a red pen and make marks next to the things I really loved and different marks next to the things I really liked and other marks next to things I hoped to experience.

Things like:

  • mason jars
  • the cool underside of a pillow
  • hearty stew in white bowls
  • late Sunday brunches
  • dandelions and buttercups

See? It’s the perfect little book to let your mind wander and help you to exhale, even just a little bit.

Even now, every once and again my mind starts keeping a running tally of things that make me smile — silly things like the first few chews of bubble gum and the names of Northeastern towns like Kennebunkport and Montauk, and finding one last chocolate-covered caramel in your Sea Salt Caramel gelato. And after a while that tally in my head gets too long and I’m reminded again of that sweet little book.

Because while I give thanks and express gratitude to God all the time for most things, sometimes I forget to just appreciate the little things that bring a smile. You know, the small, seemingly insignificant things that help you enjoy life.

So I decided it was time to write part three in this very inconsistent series. (You can read the first post here and the second one here.) And in no order of importance whatsoever, here are 25 things that make me happy:

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  1. kids singing the Veggie Tales version of “9-to-5” at the top of their lungs in the car
  2. singing along with them
  3. pink lady apples crisp and cold from the fridge
  4. the smell an empty coffee bag leaves in the kitchen
  5. gray and yellow anything
  6. a full water bottle with ice and fresh-squeezed lemon
  7. school lunches made the night before
  8. new batteries in your wireless mouse
  9. accidental snort-laughing
  10. accidental snort-laughing in public
  11. accidental snort-laughing alone in public
  12. your husband’s smooth dance moves
  13. a new phone case
  14. liquid laundry softener
  15. warming hands on a hot mug of tea
  16. peanut butter granola
  17. thinking about someone and they suddenly call you
  18. freshly manicured short, red nails
  19. finding a favorite item at the grocery store is buy-one-get-one free
  20. exquisite candle jars with exotic scent names like elysian garden and saijo persimmon
  21. white, coral and turquoise in the spring
  22. the voice translation Bible
  23. pinterest
  24. singing along to music while running when you’re sure no one is around
  25. being totally alone in your house, even for just a little bit

What would be on your list?

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