10 June 2011

Current Favorites: A New Syndicated Column

When unable to think of an interesting Facebook status, I will occasionally update with my current favorites (I like to think of myself as the poor college graduate's Oprah). Thus came the idea for a new segment on the HPG blog.  This is also a testament to my indecisiveness and inability to choose concrete faves-- they are always changing.

Let the first round of favorites begin!

1. Food

Salted Sweet Caramels                                  
After discovering I loved pretzel M&M's, my MIL recommended the above chocolates from Vandewalle's sweet shop... and boy was she RIGHT. Salt brings out the sweetness in desserts and makes for a delectable treat. 

     Iced White Mocha from Starbucks 
To further my Starbucks addiction, I switch from hot to iced beverages during the summer and find the White Mocha to offer the best combination of sweetness and coffee. Here's the "Jamie" version: Iced Grande 2 pump, nonfat, no whip white mocha-- delish!

Tofu Pad Thai
Rice noodles, peanuts, lime, scallions, tofu, and spices... Perfect.

2. Fashion

Dexter - Loop Twisted Wedge (Payless)
     Kassidy Huarache Sandal (Payless)
Who doesn't love a good wedge shoe? And since you can't keep this 5'11" frame out of heels these are both a must for my summer wardrobe.  Sadly, I own neither pair (the bane of unemployment until the 20th then bills to take care of... boo to adulthood), but they're on my wish list.

  Ring Strap Sleeveless Knit Dress  
Embellished Sleeveless Top
I received these two amazeballs pieces from Lane Bryant as early birthday presents: my husband got me the dress and my mom got me the top. There were a few other pieces-- like the World's Most Comfortable Crop Pants-- but these are definitely my faves. Also, I got the dress in a deep purple, not black, because the consensus from my shopping buddies was a big "WOW!" when I stepped out of the dressing room in that color.  The best part? I won't have to stop wearing these clothes come Fall.

For all things accessories...

Francesca's Collections
 Charming Charlie's
For the woman on a budget (or the woman who just loves to purchase purses & jewelry on a consistent basis), these shops are where it's at. They both have clothes and shoes as well, but since my clothes shopping is greatly limited by my size, I'll focus on the accessories.  Francesca's has great BoHo style and is the place to find statement earrings, necklaces, and rings.  Charming Charlie's has EVERY style, affordable prices, and is sorted by color so you can shop easily for that new coral top you just bought for the season. I warn you, when you walk in the door of CC the first time, you will gasp at the size and variety of the place... heavenly.

3. Fun

Sarah Jarosz - "Follow Me Down"
I heart Sarah Jarosz. This album is beautiful, from the fast-paced "Anabelle Lee" to the haunting "My Muse" and is worth every penny on iTunes or Amazon. Sarah is a young singer/songwriter with an old soul, talented in a number of instruments in the guitar family, and writes in the styles of bluegrass/folk/country. Such a beautiful, soulful sound...

Ke$ha - "Blow"
Yes this is the second time I've posted a Ke$ha song on my blog, and I should know better than to listen to music by someone who substitutes a dollar sign for the 's' in her name-- but I can't help it! Her songs are catchy, and she can actually sing (heard her perform live at the Billboard Music awards). She might be on the ridiculous end of the spectrum, but I've shed a lot of calories to this song.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

This is a great young adult fantasy adventure novel with one of the more horribly creepy villains I've come across in YA Lit, and three different yet dynamic and layered main characters.  Loving it.

Amazon Kindle
And I've been reading the book on my Kindle (a Christmas present) and I'm more and more enthusiastic about this device as the months progress.  It's convenient, easy to use, stores a TON of books, and I love all the options for text size, annotating, and playing games.  Plus I never have to worry about losing bookmarks (this happens to me more than it should). For you old school book lovers, the switch will be an adjustment-- still is for me-- but it's worth saving the storage and money-- did I mention all pre-1923 books are FREE?!  I'll never get rid of all my hardcovers, but I like having the option of a tangent as well as a digital library that saves space.

4. For the deeper side of me...

Long Walks
On my seemingly never-ending quest toward weight loss, my husband and I began walking.  It's become an almost daily activity of ours. Walking, talking, enjoying the beautiful open spaces in our area (we live near a nature preserve and a little out of the way of civilization)-- it's been therapeutic.  Though we haven't walked anywhere near a beach, I chose this photo as a foreshadow of the new life awaiting us in California. You bet your ass there'll be long walks by the beach.

Coffee Talk
Can you believe I found a coffee talk photo with "marriage" on it?! How perfect is that!  One of our favorite past-times is journeying to a local coffee shop (or Starbucks), ordering a latte (or macchiato), and discussing... well... EVERYTHING. Our plans for Cali came to be while sipping coffee, as well as choosing an apartment, working on our webisode series, purchasing a minivan, and all other manner of creative & life-altering conversations.

Though I don't cook all the time, I find myself more and more dissatisfied with restaurant food and their prices, and am turning more and more to my cookbooks for a solution. And honestly, there's nothing like creating something beautiful and delicious from scratch.  As my skills and courage with recipes progress, I'm loving the idea of me as a grandmother chopping, simmering, and baking away in my kitchen for children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren (God willing).

What are you LOVING at the moment??


  1. I'm into reading. I think about reading when I'm unable to read and all I want to do is cuddle up with a cup of coffee and the current book I'm reading. Also I've been taking 3-6 mile walks in forest preserves, tho it's been so blah lately. I planted some tomatoes and herb plants along with lavendar and have very much enjoyed not killing them.

  2. Way to have all these "Green" hobbies! No wonder you're so skinny-- 3 to 6 mile walks communing with nature... sigh. A great way to spend summer.

    P.S. I killed my basil :(