Because I love reviews, and love hearing others' recommendations about things they have used and liked, I thought it would be fun to write about my own well-loved and well-used things. I hope this way someone will discover a new favorite of their own!
Contigo Travel Tumbler
Keeps my coffee hot for up to two hours, and warm for a few hours beyond that. This is awesome to have when you have little kids and it actually takes you two hours to finish 10 oz. of coffee. It doesn't leak no matter which way you turn it, and here's the best part: little hands aren't physically able to make it work to steal your java.
Pandora Internet Radio
I found Pandora Internet Radio a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend and I have been in love with it ever since. I have literally been listening to Pandora Radio all day, every day, since the day I discovered it. Don't laugh, but I actually have a musical soundtrack to my day: I listen to praise music early in the morning when the boys wake up, then I switch to classical for most of the day. After naptime, I turn to my Jack Johnson station, then as dinnertime and early evening approach I switch to Madeleign Peyroux (if you don't know who this is, you need to go check her out. She's a dream to listen to.)
We have four grocery stores in our little town of 35,000 people, and I've frequented all of them at one time. Trader Joe's is my favorite. And when I say favorite, I mean, I try hard not to shop anywhere else if I can help it. I love shopping here so much that if Trader Joe's doesn't have an item, I learn to live without it. And it's not because they sell grass-fed beef (which they do) or because all of items are high-fructose corn syrup- and artificial preservative-free (which they are), or because their items are cheaper than the other grocery stores in town (which sounds crazy, but that's life in Silicon Valley). Those are great reasons to shop at Trader Joe's, but they're not the real reasons I love shopping there. The #1 reason I shop at Trader Joe's is: I can get everything on my grocery list in fifteen minutes, twenty-five if I have kids with me. The last time I went shopping at a 'normal' grocery store, it took me an hour to get out of that place, and I still didn't find everything I was looking for.
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love wearing sandals. As long as it's above 50°, they're on my feet. I came across this particular brand because I was looking for a replacement for my Birkenstocks. I wanted to find something that was durable and comfortable for walking, and versatile with my wardrobe. I hate having multiple pairs of shoes for every occasion and outfit, so love it when I can simplify to one pair that goes with everything. I also wanted shoes I didn't have to worry about replacing or resoling every two years, like I did with my Birkies. After much research, I discovered Chaco sandals. I love them and have stuck with them ever since. I have a pair of Chaco thongs that have lasted me two-and-a-half years with barely a sign of wear, and then a pair similar to the one pictured above. (Note: these sandals are on the pricey side, so I waited until the end of the summer season to look for clearance sales for the following year. Even if you pay full price, though, it's worth it.)
Here's a woman bold enough to do what no one else dares: cook with butter, and lots of it. I'm not even going to try to say her recipes are healthy, though they can be if you tweak the ingredients a bit. But what they are is GOOD. The old-fashioned, make-your-tummy-rumble-and-your-mouth-water, make-you-not-care-if-your-pants-fit-tomorrow good. And with her step-by-step photos posted with every recipe, they're foolproof.