Category Archives: Favorite Things

My Favorite Things: October 2012

It’s time for My Favorite Things.  For those who aren’t familiar with monthly favorites, this is where I share my favorite non-beauty items of the previous month.  This can include food, clothing, entertainment… you name it.  If you want to see my beauty favorites over at my beauty blog, click here.  I should be putting the monthly favorites post up in the next day or two.

Home-made Pumpkin Butter

I made pumpkin butter for the first time and I absolutely loved it!  I made a relatively large batch, so my husband and I had almost a week of pumpkin goodness.  Other than spreading it out on toast, my favorite use for it was to mix it into my quick oats for fantastic pumpkin spiced oatmeal.  It tasted so good, and I will definitely try it again.  Here is where I got the recipe.  I altered the spices a little because I don’t have cinnamon sticks or pumpkin spice mix.  I ended up using a heaping 1/4 tsp of both ground ginger and ground nutmeg, and a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  It was perfect for me.

Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Bars

Speaking of pumpkiny goodness, these Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Bars taste like pumpkin pie in bar form.  They are fantastic!  I really like Kashi granola bars, and always have them on hand for a quick snack.  The Pumpkin Spice Flax Bars are perfect for Fall and really satisfy that pumpkin pie craving.  Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to have one of these for desert after Thanksgiving dinner, but they may help me to hold off eating pumpkin pie until the holiday actually arrives.  😉

LARABAR

I like snack bars (in case you couldn’t tell) and LARABARS have become a real favorite.  What sets LARABARS apart for me is that they have hardly any ingredients.  They literally are just fruit and nuts, with nothing else added to them.  I really appreciate that I know exactly what I am eating with these bars, and they taste great.  My favorite flavors are Blueberry Muffin and Cherry Pie, but LARABAR has a huge variety including Peanut Butter Cookie, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Key Lime Pie, and many more.

Go On

A new TV favorite of mine is Go On starring Matthew Perry.  Go On is sitcom featuring the character Ryan King, a sportscaster trying to move on from the loss of his wife by joining a support group full of wacky characters working through their own issues with the help of a well meaning, but somewhat ineffectual leader.  Frankly, the show is hi-larious!  I was a psych major in college and have spent a decent amount of time in therapy, so the main character’s resistance to the touchy-feely support group and their idiosyncrasies is both familiar and fascinating while making me laugh.  The writing is intelligent, surprisingly touching, and Go On is a really good show in my book.

Dinosaur Sculpture at the UNC Botanical Garden

Finally, I have really been enjoying photography this month.  My anniversary was in early October, and part of our celebratory weekend was spent at the Botanical gardens at UNC Charlotte.  I took several pictures, including a couple of this crazy dinosaur sculpture.  I even got to bust out the macro lens and get some great close up shots of the plants and flowers.  Macro photography is some of my favorite to both take and look at, so I was very excited to use the lens for the first time.  I got my new camera for my birthday in July, so I’m still trying to learn how to use it.  Switching from a point and shoot to a DSLR is a huge difference, and takes a long time to learn, at least for me.  I had a great time playing with my camera this month, and got some excellent shots.  I plan on posting more of my photos here when I get the chance.

That’s it for my favorite things of October.  How about you, what have you been loving this past month?

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My Favorite Things: September 2012

It’s time for My Favorite Things.  For those who aren’t familiar with monthly favorites, this is where I share my favorite non-beauty items of the previous month.  This can include food, clothing, entertainment… you name it.  If you want to see my beauty favorites over at my beauty blog, click here.

Better ‘n Peanut and Butter Banana Waffles

Oh my gosh, I haven’t had this combination since February or so, and I forgot how good it is.  I am a peanut butter junkie, but since I’m on a diet I don’t want to eat something so high in fat like regular peanut butter.  I eat nuts, seeds, and avocados, so it’s not like I don’t get those healthy fats elsewhere.  I found Better ‘n Peanut Butter about a year and a half ago.  It’s a fantastic PB substitute, with only 2 g of fat per 2 tbl.  It comes in several varieties, including chocolate, but I prefer the low sodium version.  I like to spread it on Van’s Lite toaster waffles, which are great for those counting Weight Watchers points (like myself), and top it off with sliced banana.  This is such a good breakfast or snack.  It’s low in fat and calories, and it tastes so good.

Multi-Grain Cheerios

Sometimes I just want some cereal.  Frankly, cereal can be a dangerous food for me because I can eat a crap ton of it.  I love cereal, especially the sugary ones like Pops, Frosted Flakes, or Captain Crunch.  When I started to try to be more health-conscious in my eating I cut out cereal completely.  After a year or so, though, I missed it.  I have started eating Multi-grain Cheerios occasionally, and really like them.  They are a generally healthy option, have good WW stats, and are just sweet enough to satisfy without crossing over into the sugary cereal category.  I still need to be careful to stop myself from going overboard, but I am very happy to be eating cereal again.

Chia seeds

Ch-ch-ch-chia, ch-ch-ch-chia… seeds.  That’s right, it’s the same stuff that grows into Homer Simpson’s grassy hair, or the fuzzy green body of a pig or a kitty.  Chia seeds are all the rage because it turns out that they are really good for you.  Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and Omega 3, and packed with fiber, protein, calcium, and potassium.  You can eat them dry, sprinkled on food, or your can make chia gel.  Chia seeds absorb water and expand to form a gel like consistency that adds volume to food, without adding a ton of fat and calories.  I’ve been eating them mixed into my yogurt.  They expand in the stomach, making my yogurt a more satisfying snack because I feel more full.  The seeds have a very mild flavor that is hardly noticeable, so they blend into food really well and are an unobtrusive addition.  I’m going to try  chia pudding with almond milk as my next experiment.

Pill Box

Yes, I am a 90 year old woman.  Okay, not really, but I do have a terrible time trying to remember to take my vitamins.  I simply could not manage to take them every day, no matter where the bottles lived.  I tried putting them by the bathroom sink, on my computer desk, in the kitchen.  No dice.  Finally, I broke down and got a pill box and all of a sudden my memory lapses are over.  I put the pill box by the bathroom sink and the days-of-the-week compartments serve as a reminder to take my vitamins in a way the actual bottles didn’t.  And if I do happen to forget when I wake up, I can see that I haven’t taken that day’s pills when I wash my hands throughout the day.  What can I say?  It works for me.

Angry Birds

I have been obsessed with Angry Birds this month.  I have played Angry Birds in the past, but I was never really into it.  Well, I got my husband the new Kindle Fire HD for his birthday, and have discovered that I actually really love Angry Birds.  Something clicked in my brain, and all of a sudden I can’t stop playing.  I love the birds, I love the pigs, I’m an Angry Birds junkie.  Do you think they make a patch for that?  🙂

Hulu

We signed up for a free trial of Hulu throughout September.  Normally, I don’t watch TV.  We don’t have cable or satellite, and barely pick up local reception.  We usually wait for out favorite shows to come out on DVD or get released to Netflix instant.  Watching the Olympics, though, introduced us to a couple new shows, so we decided to give Hulu a try.  I’ve liked it for the most part.  I’ve been able to catch up on Bones, and Castle, as well as a few other of our favorites.  I do wish that Hulu showed How I Met Your Mother, though.  I don’t like having to keep a schedule according to the TV, so I will probably never watch my shows as they are being aired.  Hulu is a cheap alternative to things like a DVR, or other more expensive options.  I don’t know if we will keep it, but I have enjoyed Hulu so far.

That’s it for this past month’s favorite things.  What have you been enjoying lately?

Favorite Things: August 2012

Over at my beauty blog I do a series of posts called “Monthly Favorites” where I share the beauty products that I’ve been especially loving over the course of the month.  I’d like to do a similar thing over here, where I share my favorite non-beauty items of the month.  This can include food, clothing, entertainment… you name it.  So, here are my favorite things for this past month.

Kashi Honey Almond Flax bars

Kashi Honey Almond Flax bars are my favorite snack.  They taste great, are really healthy for you, and are super easy to grab and go if you are on your way out the door.  They are actually pretty filling, not like normal chewey granola bars that don’t dent hunger.  The kashi bars provide a good pick-me-up that gets me through the time between lunch and dinner.  If I’m in a hurry, I can grab one of these bars and a low fat yogurt for a quick breakfast that lasts.

Peach Tea

I have been loving iced tea this month.  My favorite flavor of iced tea is peach black tea.  I used to drink Republic of Tea Ginger Peach iced tea, which was fantastic, but this Stash brand peach black tea is really good and much more convenient.  I’m trying to limit my soda intake and, although I drink a ton of water, sometimes I want a break from plain water.  I don’t need to sweeten my tea, the subtle peach flavor is delicious.

The Hunger Games

My husband, who was counting down the days until it was released, rushed out and got The Hunger Games 3-disc Deluxe Edition blue ray the day it came out.  I really enjoyed the movie.  I usually hate movie adaptations of stories I already know the first several times that I see them.  It usually takes me a few viewings to be able to stop making comparisons and really enjoy the movie for what it is.  I did not experience that with The Hunger Games.  Yes, there are obviously differences between the book and the movie, but I actually really liked the movie from the first time I saw it back when it was in theaters.  I thought that it was a really good adaptation and I look forward to seeing the next two books adapted to film.  The deluxe edition has hours of bonus materials (though no commentary, which makes no sense to me and is a serious oversight) that are informative and fun to watch.  Since I am living in NC right now, it was cool to see footage of them shooting in North Carolina locations.  If you are a fan of bonus materials, this is a good one to get.  The director really explained his vision and there are tons of interviews.

Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall

I’ve been a fan of Adele for a while now, but recently I saw Adele Live at the Royal Albert Hall through Netflix.  She is so charming and beautiful and talented that I fell in love with her all over again.  I really love her music and have been listening to her constantly this month.  One thing that really stuck out to me while watching the DVD is how comfortable and easy going she comes off on stage.  She could be absolutely terrified, but it feels like she’s just chatting in her living room.  I would love to be that easy (seeming) in front of a crowd.  It’s been awhile since I was performing regularly, and my stage fright seems to have returned in the last few years.  These days when I’m up for a solo or have to talk in front of an audience I’m filled with anxiety for weeks ahead of time.  I’d love to be confident enough to just blather to an audience and let my natural charm take over like Adele does in this show.  I really enjoyed it, and her music is absolutely fabulous.

Grimm

After seeing the twentieth commercial for it during the Olympics, I finally broke down and gave Grimm a try.  We got the first season through Netflix and my husband and I both really enjoyed it.  The basic premise is that Nick, a detective with the Portland PD, is a descendant of the Grimms.   All of the fairytales are real, and the monsters do exist as a separate species of beings that walk among humans.  They look like us until they get overly emotional, and then their true form comes out.  Only the Grimm can see them for what they truly are and it’s his job to help the good ones and stop the bad ones, though the line between good and bad is often a gray area.  The show is part Law and Order, part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is really entertaining.  The special effects and makeup departments do an excellent job at creating the creatures, both friend and foe.  Season two is about four episodes in now on NBC, and we are hooked.  Grimm is dark and suspenseful and magical, all rolled into one.  I like it a lot.

Those are my favorite things for the month of August.  For those who follow both my beauty blog and this blog, I’ll be posting my monthly favorites soon over there.  I’m always behind with these things.  😉  I hope that you found something that you like.  Let me know if you try any of my suggestions and tell me what you think.