I was going to title this page “these are a few of my favorite things…”
but then I realized I have A LOT of favorite things.
I’m the kind of person who likes to try new things,
but when I find something that really works for me,
or something I really like…I have a tendency to stick to it.
These can be beauty items, household items, cleaners (yes, cleaners!), anything!
So here’s the list, in no particular order.
Check back often….my newest additions will always be here at the top!
L’Oreal Infallible® Never Fail Lipcolour Compact. From their website: “Long-wearing lipcolour that will not disappoint. The Infallible® Never Fail Lipcolour’s patented formula offers 16 hours of beautiful, comfortable color that won’t flake off or wear out mid-lip. An intensely moisturizing complex including Vitamin E protects and conditions lips, preventing moisture loss over time. A patented precision applicator and innovative mirrored packaging mean color goes on—and stays on—beautifully.” My review: Wow this stuff is amazing! I was looking for a lip stain, not just long lasting lip color, and I also wanted something that wouldn’t rub off on my drink containers!
Goo-Gone. Speaking of lipstick staying on…the other long-lasting lipsticks that I’ve used (ie. Revlon Colorstay) leave a stain and film on my drinking glasses! Always easy to tell which cup is mine! The dishwasher doesn’t take the residue off, either. I’ve tried all kinds of cleaning methods- dish soap, magic erasers, salt scrub, baking soda & vinegar scrub, make-up remover (works pretty well, but awful expensive for daily use). I finally succumbed to using a drop of Goo Gone and it takes all the lipstick right off! A quick wash with dish soap and my cup is like new! And I no longer wear Revlon Colorstay.
Bath and Body Works- True Blue Paraffin Super Softening Hand Lotion. When we were in Las Vegas for my birthday weekend, my hands were so so so dry and my usual hand lotions were not doing the trick. At all. We stopped in to a Bath and Body Works store and I asked them for their most moisturizing hand creme and this is what they recommended and all I have to say is “WOW”. It works amazingly well. It’s a little greasy when first applied, but it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feel. Love love love it!
Elco Stainless Steel Cleaner which is only available from Sears and KMart it seems. We’ve had stainless steel appliances for well over a year now and I never tried the cleaner that came with our stove, instead I went out and bought a bottle of cleaner from Bed Bath and Beyond (not sure why). Well, today I decided to try the little packet that came with our stove and OMG it works AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING. It completely eliminated any water marks or spots that my other cleaner was leaving behind. I will for sure be buying a bottle of this stuff! Retails for $9.98/bottle.
Arbonne I was introduced to Arbonne about 9 or 10 years ago and really loved their face care line- back then it was called the Nutrimin-C RE9 line. Now it’s simply called RE9. Their products are all botanically based with no animal by-products or products, no trans fats, no mineral oil or petrolatum, no formaldehyde or parabens. PABA free and dermotologist tested. Premium quality for sure. I noticed a difference when I started using their products and somewhere along the way I stopped….well, I’m back to Arbonne. To learn more: www.arbonne.com
Jump Organics Soap I’m always looking for moisturizing hand soaps that I can leave in my kitchen since I’m washing my hands constantly throughout the day. I was recently at a childcare conference and I noticed a couple hours into the day that the soaps in the bathroom were all taken out and replaced with Jump Organics foaming liquid soap bottles. One benefit of drinking a lot of coffee, is frequenting the restroom! So I was able to test their soap out at least three times before the afternoon break. I liked how smooth the soap felt, how rich and moist it was. So I inquired- they had a booth set up at the event to market their product (of course!). I ended up buying three bottles. It is pure organic, mostly made up of essential oils. Very good product and made locally, in Albany! Look them up and tell them someone from the PRO Conference recommended it! Click here for the company website. Update: I had bought several bottles at once, I’d recommend only one at a time because over a long period of time the product becomes really gooey and stops pumping.
A good ol’ fashioned Cast Iron Skillet and the Calphalon Analon Skillet I really enjoy cooking. When Jim and I first got married we purchased a Calphalon Analon Skillet and that was a turning point for me with my cookware. It was 100% non-stick, cooked evenly and it was a dream to clean. But it turns out, we weren’t using it properly and the non-stick coating started to bubble and peel and the pan was no longer non-stick and it was a nightmare to clean. When you spend good money on a quality product, however, it usually comes with a guarantee. The company was kind enough to replace our skillet, but told us that we should never turn the stove dial past medium, or past the 5 setting. That means using a little more patience. Instead of turning the stove on to medium-high to heat my skillet, I turn it to 4 and just wait for the skillet to heat up. So this pan has lasted us about 9 years now and it’s still like new. Recently, however, I was re-introduced to the cast-iron skillet. When used properly- it is also completely non-stick, cooks evenly, and is a dream to clean. The trick is to not cook at too high of a setting (I set my stove to 3) and I also cook with clarified butter. It doesn’t have the burning properties of regular butter because all the milk-fat has been removed. I fry an egg every morning in that skillet. I cook my grilled cheese sandwiches in that skillet. I bake a delicious apple-cake pancake (like the Original Pancake House version) on weekend mornings. Dream to clean. And cast-iron skillets just make everything taste so much better! My skillet is small, however, so I’ve been searching for a bigger one- aiming for a 12″ skillet if I can find one that big.
Yogi Kava Stress-Relief Tea In the cooler winter months I like to drink tea in the afternoons and evenings. My usual tea of choice is the Celestial Sleepytime tea. It has a bit of a spearmint type flavor and it’s very soothing. I think the “sleepytime” part helps, too! But recently, I experienced Yogi tea….specifically the Stress Relief “kava” tea. It is so delicious, almost tastes like a chai tea; quite spicy. But if you need something to calm you down or help you sleep, THIS is the stuff to drink! I’m leery of drinking it during the daytime because it makes me very sleepy. The last couple nights I’ve gone to bed at 8:30, I think as a result of this tea! (Available at Fred Meyer in the natural/organic foods area) I recently tried the Yogi Energize Tea….it takes about an hour to kick in, but it definitely gets you over the afternoon slump! I drank a cup at 5:30pm the other day, when I so badly wanted to just veg on the couch….but I needed to go to the grocery store, so I drank my tea, went shopping, and when I got home at 6:30 I was feeling very alert and focused for about 2 hours. I still managed to fall asleep about 9:30, so it didn’t seem to keep me awake at night. I slept well!
Pampered Chef Food Chopper When I first used one of these, I loved it so much I bought one for my sister, my mom, my mother in law, my friends….it’s a must-have item. I use mine at least 2-3 times a week: chopping apples, onions, carrots, celery, even cooked chicken for salads, olives, peppers, nuts, etc. I love it because you can control how finely you chop everything. It’s so much faster and simpler than using a knife. I love mine so much I have even taken it camping! And I even have a spare in case mine breaks. Whenever I see ‘chopped onions’ in a recipe I get excited- because I chop them finely in seconds, without crying. The Pampered Chef food chopper works awesome and it’s so easy to clean. Did I say how much I love it? (I have seen knock-offs and I have tried them at other people’s homes….get the Pampered Chef model- you’ll be much happier!) Click here for the product website.
Vonage phone service Money saving idea here! We gave Vonage a try about 2 years ago, when we upgraded our internet service to Verizon Fios. We love it! We started out with the limited plan (Basic 500 for $18/mo) but with our 10-year old son calling his friends every day, and my lengthy chats with my mom, mother-in-law, and closest friends, we had to increase our minutes! We now have the unlimited plan for $25/mo (but we were able to pre-pay one year at a reduced rate). I love that it includes Call Waiting, Caller ID, Voicemail and Call Forwarding. Long Distance calls are FREE. And International calls (to select countries) are now FREE also! We have not experienced any problems with the calls…nor any problems with the internet being slow while we are on calls….it all seems to work just fine! And we’re saving a bundle on our home phone! Click here to check out Vonage!
Tupperware Fridge Keepers: Money saving idea here! I have a lot of Tupperware brand favorites. This is one product that I use constantly and it has proved itself over and over. I’ve also attached a link to a tupperware website at the end of this note. I started out by purchasing the 3-piece set. I put fresh mushrooms in the smallest container, asparagus in the medium container, and an almost full box of spring salad from Costco in the large container. TWO full weeks later- the mushrooms were still like new. Same with the asparagus and lettuce. I’ve also tried strawberries and they lasted over a week! The large container also fits about 4 romaine heads from Costco. We’ve saved a lot of money by not tossing out rotten fruits and veggies. This truly does more than double the normal life span of the fruits and veggies. Plus it keeps my fridge organized! The trick: don’t wash your fruits/veggies before putting them in the container- they must be completely dry. Instead, wash before you eat. I love them so much that I bought a 2nd medium and 2nd small size. Click here for the product website.
Aveeno ‘stress relief’ Moisturizing Lotion. I wash my hands probably 20 times a day- and wash dishes at least 5 times a day. My hands get very dry as a result, especially in the winter time! I bought a bottle of this lotion to keep at my kitchen sink and I really like it! I bought the ‘stress relief’ version for kicks- because you all know my line of work, right? But really, it’s a nice lotion that keeps my hands moisturized without being greasy.
Dawn Direct Foam Dish Soap. Money saving idea here! When I first saw the Pampered Chef Suds Pumper, I fell in love with the concept….but my PC suds pumpers kept clogging and I was so bummed, until I saw the Dawn Direct Foam Dish Soap in the store. I LOVE it! As advertised, one or two pumps will do several several dishes. The stuff lasts forever. But here’s the best part- when it runs out, don’t go buy another one….don’t even buy the Direct Foam refill…..just put 2T of regular Dawn dish soap into the bottle, fill the rest with water, and now you have a new full bottle for practically FREE!
Seacret Ocean Body Lotion. Here’s the joke in our house: don’t try anything expensive, because then you’ll really like it and be stuck buying it all the time because nothing else is good enough. ‘Nuff said. My mom was giving her extra tubes of lotion away, Jim told me not to take it for the above reason, but I figured “what the heck…I’ll try it!”. Well, the stuff is GLORIOUS! Admittedly I only use it on my arms, but it does leave my skin super soft, supple and my elbows are the best part- totally soft. When I came back from Mexico (after getting a pretty bad sunburn) I decided to start using it on my chest and back where I was burnt- and it kept my skin so smooth that it never peeled! (My money saving tip: buy it off eBay.)
(more favorite products coming soon)