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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I got knocked on my feet by the stomach bug on Sunday night. As I watched the Seahawks kick tail to make it to their second Super Bowl ever in franchise history! my stomach rumbled like a freight train, and about 20 minutes afterwards, I lost it. Quite literally.

After spending all Sunday night in full-on sickness (so bad I even fell off the bed and knocked over a lamp and got a huge bruise), I did absolutely nothing yesterday but lay in bed and sleep. (And watch Property Brothers and Love It or List It.) And as I drifted in and out of consciousness, my amazing husband (who had the stomach thing just the night before me), took care of every single little thing, including laundry. He’s pretty incredible.

Now that I’m fully rested and able to eat something more than Saltines, I feel like throwing caution to the wind today and sharing a few of my favorite things right now! I’m just so happy I’m not sick anymore, I had to share the joy with the world.

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1 – BIRCHBOX

I have seen other bloggers write about their Birchbox subscriptions and been intrigued, but never was ready to pull the trigger until now. And so far, I’m a fan.

What it is. Birchbox is a monthly subscription to a selection of beauty/grooming/skin care/etc samples. For just $10 a month, you get four to five samples of products that are either well-known brands or emerging ones. They are sample sizes of each product, so you can try out a ton of new products without committing to a full-size product and realizing after two tries your skin or hair hates it, or it just doesn’t work for you. There are boxes for women and men (men’s are $20; would make a great gift!) and include everything from skin care to makeup, and sometimes non-beauty extras.

The Shop. If you decide you love any of the products and want a full size of it, you can shop online and receive points for every purchase. You also get points for referring friends to Birchbox. Collect enough points and redeem them for any purchase.

What I Love It. There are many reasons this has been so fun for me:

First of all, a box of beauty products in the mail!

Second, I live in the mountains where purchasing beauty products is limited to what’s available at the grocery store.

Third, I’m closing in on 41 now, and $5 grocery store skin care isn’t going to cut it anymore. Times past when I’ve upgraded to something more than $9.99 at CVS or whathaveyou, at least half the time I’ve thrown away the items after less than a week of using them because they make my skin break out, or I hate the product completely. With Birchbox, I’m able to try something new without committing to an entire full-size product, which will always cost more than the $10 I paid for the box.

Lastly, it introduces me to products I would never have otherwise tried. I’m not a habitual Sephora or Ulta shopper, so if it’s not Neutrogena or L’Oreal, I’m ignorant.

You Should Try It Too! If you’re interested in giving Birchbox a try, you can do so by clicking right here! You can cancel at any time with no cancellation fees. Basically a win-win.

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2 – STITCH FIX

Have I written about Stitch Fix before? I can’t remember. But it’s like Birchbox in that it’s a monthly subscription, too, but it’s for CLOTHES! And, it doesn’t have to be monthly…you can schedule it to arrive anytime…be it every five months, once a year, Whatever you want! Unlike other bloggers, I have not taken any pictures of what I look like in any of the items, because I simply cannot find any poses that don’t make me look awkward or constipated. So I am sparing you.

What it is. First you go online and answer tons of questions about your personal style and what you like/don’t like in regards to clothing. Then for $20 per box, you receive five items of clothing ranging from pants to shirts to dresses to accessories. Try on each thing in the privacy of your own home, and you have three days to decide whether or not you keep it. For any item(s) you keep, your $20 goes towards the purchase of that item; send back what you don’t want in the prepaid envelope. Then go online and fill out a questionnaire about what you kept, what you are sending back, and why. Pain less.

What I Love It. Again, I live in the mountains. If I do get to the Big City to shop, I pretty much only have time to swing by Target, Old Navy or Kohl’s. And that gets really boring and puts me into a significant rut.

I have to say — Stitch Fix has sent me items I would have completely overlooked had I been in a store — and turns out I love them and keep them after all. It’s opened me up to things I would have otherwise passed over. Also, I don’t do the monthly subscription — I end up requesting a box every other month or so. Doing it that way for me makes me spend less, because I’ve always kept at least one thing each time. I just can’t help myself.

You Should Try It Too! If you’re interested in giving Stitch Fix a try, you can do so by clicking right here! You can cancel at any time with no cancellation fees. Basically a win-win.  You can also select your price point for clothes — from cheapest possible to high-end. Your call. (Side note: they have pretty lengthy wait times right now due to popularity, so if you’re interested in getting started, I’d sign up now!)

3 – MATTE GOLD BALL EARRINGS

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please pardon the selfie.

I found these earrings over Christmas at Francesca’s Collection…they are matte gold large ball stud earrings, and I have worn them basically every single day since I bought them. They are perfect for everyday wear; they add just enough pizzaz to spruce up your blue jeans without being too dressy for your Old Navy quarter-sleeve top. (For example.)

Sadly, Francesca’s doesn’t have them online, but these are the closest I could find. (They’re from Etsy and I can assure you I paid nothing close to the cost of these.)

4 – OLD LADY WALLET

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the grab-n-go. just darlin’.

After four years with a folding wallet that would rival George Costanza’s, I decided it was time for an upgrade.

I bought this wallet at Target (see?!) over Christmas and I LOVE IT because it’s easy to grab for those moments you’re running into the coffee shop for your afternoon drip with two shots. (For example.) It’s big enough to hold my phone too, so if I’m doing a grocery run I can just grab this instead of my entire lip-gloss filled purse. There’s plenty of slots for credit and gift cards, receipts, everything. And that front part is a pocket too. It does not have a checkbook  holder in it, which is perfectly fine with me because it’s 2014 and who writes checks for things like groceries or coffee anymore? You can get it here.

Alright friends. That’s all for now. I was going to try to come up with another thing to end on five, but I’m feeling a bit woozy and think it’s time to eat something and get some more Gatorade.

Don’t forget to tune in next Tuesday when we start the A Beautiful Life blog series, with guest posts from some of My Most Favorite People. It’s going to be so awesome.

Have a great Tuesday!

(Please note: I was not compensated for this post, and my opinions are truly my own. However, if you do sign up using one of my links for Birchbox or Stitch Fix, I do get referral credit, which is just lovely.)