Remember Oprah? Of course you do. I used to read almost all of her book club suggestions, and, I admit, watch her show at least twice a week. I miss Oprah. And I miss her Favorite Things show. You know, the one where she would give away all this great stuff that she declared she just couldn’t live without to everyone in the audience, leaving us at home drooling with envy?
This is my version of a favorite things show. Because this is my blog, and I’m obviously, like every blog writer, a little narcissistic and think someone out there will care, even if it’s just my mom. (Hi, mom!)
Anyway. As I was working around my house this week I was thinking of all the little details I love and appreciate. They aren’t necessary for survival, but they are a few of my favorite (material) things that make my life a little easier or bring a smile to my face. And I figured that if I like these things, others might to. So without further ado…
Things I Could Live Without…But Don’t Want To
- “From the Library Of…” Stamp: This is probably the coolest thing I’ve owned since my Beanie Baby collection went out of style in the sixth grade. I can’t even tell you how fun it is to stamp your name in the front of a new, crisp book, and I love the idea that someday someone else will open this book when it’s not so new anymore and see the little piece of history I left there, since I know I love finding stuff like that in the used books I buy. My parents gave me my stamp for Christmas. They purchased it from StampXpress on Amazon. It sells there for $29.95, and is available in 12 different designs and colors.
- The Elements of Style By Strunk and White: I really can’t say enough good things about this handbook. Like the cover says, I do take it with me when I go anywhere to write. Both informative and witty, this little guy is filled with sage advice and reminders about those rules it’s easy to get confused or forgetful about when you’re neck-deep is a project. Every writer and college student needs to have this book! I got my copy for $9.95 from Barnes and Noble, but there are also hard-backed and illustrated editions, and it is usually available at any book store worth its salt.
- Magnetic Bookmarks: One of my pet peeves is how traditional bookmarks always fall out of my books. It really grinds my gears because I get very intense about my books, and I hate losing my place. I know this is a very “first world problems” situation, but it truly does make me grumpy. Magnetic bookmarks to the rescue! These handy little works of genius are a tad on the expensive side, usually coming in 4 or 6 packs for around $5, but they are totally worth it because they never fall out of your books! They’re available in many varieties at Barnes and Noble, but I’ve found them other places as well. (Strangely, there aren’t many listed on the Barnes and Noble website.) I keep my spare ones on my calendar, otherwise I lose them or the cat eats them.
- Storybook Planner: A really good planner has always been the keystone to my organization. I can’t use my phone or computer as one because I am not tech savvy enough, and also I hate the idea of being so tied to my electronics that I can’t go a whole day without them if I want to. And this year I found my favorite planner yet. I bought this cute planner from the Etsy shop Storybook Journals, where they upcycle storybooks as spiral-bound planners and journals. These would make great gifts for bookish friends, and I plan to get my next journal here as well. (PS: I think she’s done selling the school-year planners, but I believe she makes planners that start in January as well, so Christmas gifts are good to go!)
- Journaling Bible: I know not all my readers share my brand of faith, but if you do this is the coolest Bible I’ve ever seen. I’ve had it for about two years, and it’s so useful! Sermon notes, quotes, thoughts, prayers, bible study notes, all recorded next to the corresponding passage. It’s everything I’ve learned all in one place, along with the most important text I’ll ever read or need. So useful. Journaling bibles can be found in a variety of translations and designs, but mine is the English Standard Version (ESV) standard black hard-backed version, which sells for $23.09 on Amazon. They can also be found in Christian book stores such as Crossway and Lifeway, and I have seen then in Barnes and Noble as well.
- Wunderlist iPhone App: This one is a freebie, and I love freebies. As much as I don’t like keeping my schedule in my phone, I do love list apps. I am a huge list person. I make lists for everything: groceries I need, chores, improvements I’d like to make to our home, gift ideas for family and friends, books I want to read, things I want to write about, name I like for future babies, personal goals I want to achieve, people I need to write letters to…the list of my lists could go on for days. This is the best list app I’ve found. It’s easy to use, has a clean design, and is available for all Mac products, so if I put a list on my phone, I can access it on my iPad and laptop as well. So convenient.
- Bathtub Book Caddy: Is there a woman in the world who doesn’t love lounging in a hot bubble bath reading a good book or a stack of magazines? I didn’t think so. My rack is the Teak CrossTub Caddy from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which sells for $39.99. (I have to give a shout out to my hubby, here. This was one of my Christmas gifts from him last year, and it wasn’t even on my list. Big husband points to Tyler for knowing me so well!)
- Magnetic Spice Jars: I do so love magnetic things. And these are huge space-savers for us, since we seem to have a propensity for apartments with tiny kitchens. We buy them at World Market, where they sell for $1.99 a jar, and come in red, green, silver, and aqua. (The links are for sets of six, but they do sell them individually in the store.) We put them on the side of our refrigerator, but I’ve also seen them hung on magnetic wall strips above stoves and sinks. I believe Ikea has a version of these bad boys as well, but I like the color options of these, as you can tell.
- Joy of Cooking Cookbook: When we were first married I had very few clues how to do anything around the kitchen. My mother had tried to teach me over the years, but I was just too busy reading books and being a general Dolly Daydream. So she sent me this cookbook a few months after our wedding as a last-ditch effort to save my budding housewifedom. Filled with everything from how to pick fresh fruits and veggies and make a proper pic crust to what to serve at any type of party and common substitutions for basic ingredients, this book has been my lifesaver more than once. Plus, it’s actually very well written and enjoyable to read through. It sells for around $30 at various places, all of which are listed on the official Joy of Cooking website.
- Prince of Wales Tea: This is another World Market discovery. I am a black tea fanatic, and this lightly flavored tea is smooth and mellow, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or a last evening cup. Though it’s produced by Twinings, I’ve only every found it at World Market, where it sells for a cool $3.50. It can also be acquired through the Twining’s website.
So there you are. Were I to governess the VonTrapp children and sing to them during a storm, these are the items I would be singing about. And probably schnitzel with noodles as well.
(Note: Nobody paid me to do this, and I don’t get any commission or discounts from any links clicked on or items bought because of this post. These are all just things I really do love and wanted to share.)