Wednesday, October 17, 2012

These are a few of my NEW favorite things...

So here's a silly, silly little blog post related to my intention to be aware of the things that I enjoy and am grateful for. 

I have a few new obsessions that I find I need in my daily life.  These are things that were foreign to me a couple of years ago or yet undiscovered or splurged upon.  I have decided to gab about them here, (A) so that I don't get so busy that I forget about them or forget to use them or how much I adore them, (B) so that maybe anyone who stumbles across this blog will find them useful and enjoyable, as well. 

1.  Fels-Naptha ~ the first time I smelled it I was so taken back in time by the fragrance that I began asking family members if my grandma had used it, as far as they knew.  Nope.  Apparently she always used Tide, but the scent is still so pleasant and comforting to me that if the aroma in my laundry room is fading I go shake up my jug of homemade detergent so it can act as an air freshener.  And I'm not even going to go into how well this stuff cleans, deodorizes, and stain removes!

2.  Soft towels ~ I have never, ever splurged on expensive towels.  My grandmother and godmother gave me an enormous, high-quality set when I was a teenager to put away in my hope chest for the time when I would leave home.  Those towels must have lasted a decade.  But ever since they finally bit the dust I have bought the cheapest, rough, junk towels from discount stores, not realizing what a difference a slightly higher quality towel would make.  All of us in this family are sensitive to textures.  You'd think I would have figured this one out, but no.  It only took 20 yrs. before I stepped up my towel purchase and bought some really, fluffy extra big cotton ones.  YUM!  And #3 on this list, the new love of my life, makes drying off after a hot shower or bath extra luxuriant.

3.  Method Fabric Softener ~ So we went from years of the cheap, earth unfriendly detergent and el cheapo fabric sheets to just Borax and baking soda, or just Borax or just baking soda and no fabric softener, on to the popular Fels-Naptha or Ivory or castile soap/Borax/Arm & Hammer Washing Soda recipe for homemade laundry detergent you see everywhere with no fabric softener.  Then I discovered Method.  Oh my!  I can have soft, smelly clothes again without hurting the planet.  AND those soft, fluffy towels are like giant marshmallow puffs with the addition of fabric softener.  Heavenly.

4.  Lavender oil ~  I am always singing the praises of lavender oil so why would I stop now?  I use it all the time, everywhere.  Nothing calms and relaxes me like this scent.

5.  Gavin Rossdale ~ Okay, this is silly, but this voice does for me what lavender oil does and I'm truly addicted.

6.  Bon Ami ~ I have always loved Comet.  My FAVORITE cleaner ever!  Toxic.  No way around it.  Bon Ami is missing the chlorine bleach smell I love (I know that's weird, but it just smells so clean!) but works so great at scrubbing tile grout and baked on pan messes and bathtubs and sinks and even cooking stains and odors from my hands such as beet juice or shellfish and onions.  And it's made in my area of the country, so every time I buy a can I'm buying local.

7.  Pillowcases ~ I change my pillowcase almost every day because I have rosacea.  And fresh, fresh ones, preferably sprinkled with lavender oil (a handy tip from a friend), are just so comfy. 

8.  Boots ~ I have four pairs of boots and that's all I wear when the whether turns cold.  Two pairs of hiking boots, one brown, one black, two pairs of knee highs, one brown, one black.  I love them and I don't like cold toes.  And, oh yay, it's boot season again!  You can keep flip-flop season. 

9.  Crookshanks ~ Our new kitten.  So I used to be a cat person and then decided I was a dog person.  Then we adopted a kitten last summer.  He and I don't really like each other much.  He's an ornery, grumpy, old-beyond-his-years kind of kitty cat, named Puss 'N Boots.  I didn't realize how much I loved him until I accidentally left a window open and he was gone all night.  That was awful and he and I have been buddies ever since.  But still, we pretty much steer clear of each other but for a daily rub down.  A few weeks ago, however, we adopted a second kitten.  We had looked all summer for a 6-toed Hemingway cat after seeing Ernest's home in Key West and all of the adorable polydactyl descendants that live on the property and passed on many cats in our search "the one".  When we saw a car in a parking lot with a free kitten sign and saw one lone, tiny little mouse of a kitten sitting in the open hatch back, we had to stop.  We all decided within seconds that he was "the one" and took him right home.  I LOVE THIS CAT!  I can't believe how much I love this cat.  He's halfway grown now and only gets cuter.  He is the sweetest, most loving cat I've ever seen.  He just plops in my arms and goes to sleep, whether I'm standing, sitting, or trying to fold clothes.  He's just the best and I am so grateful for this silly, little kitty. 

Just look at that cute, little guy!  He's just like a little toasted marshmallow!
10.  Power naps ~  I have always been envious of people who can take naps.  I couldn't.  I barely sleep at night, my brain works so hard at things, so naps have been out of the question.  But lately...not only am I sleeping through the night most nights but I am exhausted around 3 in the afternoon and can lie down, crash, and wake up 8 to 10 minutes later and go on with my day.  I don't know what's gotten into me (Old age, maybe?), but I am loving being able to sleep.

11. Calgon ~  I have a friend who always jokes, "Calgon take me away" when she's stressed.  I remember that line from the old commercials and that blue powder that would turn your bathwater the color of the Caribbean, but I didn't know the stuff was still around.  For Mother's Day my boys gave me a big plastic container of floral scented Calgon.  I only use natural shampoos, conditioners, soaps, eco-friendly detergents and even toilet paper, but since May I have been soaking in whatever possibly toxic ingredients make up Calgon.  So it's become my guilty pleasure.  I'll kick it one of these days, but in the meantime I'm not content unless the arms I fold under my head at night smell like English Garden.

12.  Waking up next to Hubby ~ there is nothing like spending all day, every day with the love of my life.  He's been working from home for about two months now and it's been like a dream.  Some days we don't get much work done and spend the day out gallivanting and other days we work so hard sitting side by side that at the end of the day we realize we actually missed each other's company and hadn't shared a single conversation, but it's okay, because we are together. 

13.  Chai/yoga ~ as close to simultaneous as possible.  Sigh...

14.  Mead ~ It takes us two weeks to get through a bottle, but I have found that it pairs wonderfully with fall.

15.  Horace Kephart ~  He is one of my favorite historical figures and I love learning about his life and explorations.  He loved the Smoky Mountains, and by seeing them through his eyes my love for their misty peaks grows.

16. Himalayan Salt lamps and amber light ~  I've blogged a couple of times about how much I love the glow from these lamps and how warm a room full of them feels.  We are up to four lamps and three votives, now, thanks to a half price sale.  Woo hoo!  We have also added an amber shaded floor lamp and amber crackled glass candelabrum, which goes very well with a burgundy shaded table lamp that is also set up in the living room and gives off that subtle hue when lit.  All I can say is, ahhhh...  

17.  Bookshelves ~ Books in the closet, books in the attic, books in the basement, books on shelves, end tables, they're everywhere but never seem to have a home.  I am not a fan of particle board, but since Hubby started working from home we have bought three small, black, particle board bookcases, the ones you put together in 7 minutes, and they have been a godsend.  Finally, our books can be on display for easy access.  And it's amazing what a case of books can do to cozy up a room.  Should have done this a LONG time ago.

18.  Frasier ~ This show makes me laugh and laugh and laugh!  I turn it on while I'm cooking because the t.v. is a half wall away from the kitchen and, even though I can't always see what's going on, I laugh and laugh.  Last year I watched the entire series this way on Netflix and I don't even usually watch television, other than educational shows. 

19.  Lost ~  Now this was a surprise addiction.  I still don't know how it happened.  I missed the whole Lost hype on prime time when I was cooking in restaurants in the evenings and never even watched any television series much, probably since Seinfeld and Frasier ended, and even then I missed the last few seasons of them because I was busy with newborns and then toddlers and small children.  But my boys had seen Lost on Netflix and begged until we agreed to watch the first episode.  That was all it took.   We watched the entire season as a family within a few months, minus a few inappropriate episodes in the midst of season 4, and are now suffering major Hurley, Sawyer, Kate, and Jack withdrawal.  I get aggravated with myself for being so shallow that I let a stupid t.v. show affect me.  But it was FUN and I'm tempted to do it all over again.  But all the surprises would be ruined.

20.  Adobe Illustrator and 2D graphics tile sets ~ At the beginning of the year I learned to create and manipulate graphics using for my husband's mobile app development.  I loved it, but for an uneducated someone who likes to sketch with pencils and dabble in watercolors, it was difficult to learn and downright nerve wracking to learn in a hurry, as I needed to do.  The end result was passable, but with the program we were using, not the quality we were looking for.  He ended up using my work for rough drafts to show his customers and hiring someone to do the final versions which were amazing.  We knew we were missing something.  Now we have Adobe and it's like a dream to use, but I have also found tile sets that you can purchase, ready-made, to create scenes and high quality graphics.  Copy and paste!  I am still drawing away with that old cursor and prefer to do my own work, but for things like city scenes, vehicles, etc. the tile sets are going really help in the near future.  

21.  Chocolate ~ Oh wait.  That's not new.  The obsession continues.

22.  Ernest Hemingway ~ He makes me sad and he makes me happy.  I love how he was who he was and you could take it or leave it, all gruff and rough on the outside but inside, obsessively creative and passionate about life.  He loved life.  So ironic. 

23.  Think Geek ~  I've been a fan of this site for a long time so this is also a long-running obsession for a dork like me, but definitely worth mentioning.

24.  Old buildings ~ Another ongoing obsession that just seems to grow.


25.  Wine labels ~ Why are they so beautiful?  I've been taking pictures of them and then coming home and sketching them, feverishly.  My handwriting is hideous but I love caligraphy and sketching and painting lettering, go figure.

26.  Steampunk anything~  That is all.

Oh wait.  One more.  Long Hair.  I cut all of mine off in July and have been obsessed ever since with getting it back.  B Vitamins and Mill Creek Biotene H-24 shampoo, conditioner, and Silk Protein Styling Gel and good ol' Tate's Miracle Conditioner, which I use for everything.  It's working.  Phew!  What was I thinking??!  I could hardly get it into a pony tail.  Grr...

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