Saturday, December 17, 2011

Favorite Things 2011

favorite things 2011 button

Posting at Melissa's "Favorite Things" party last year was one of my first posts ever.  After a year of blogging, it's exciting to be doing another favorites post.  I feel so worldly-wise and experienced now... (not too worldly-wise to still be a wholesome role model to my six children--don't worry ;) ).

Anyway, here are some of my favorite things that I've discovered this year.  Rest assured that I am well-versed in what's fundamental about life--aware that the best things in life aren't things, etc., etc., but let's face it--there are consumerist things that nonetheless bring a smile to your face and make life easier and better.

Those are the kinds of fripperies my list is all about.

So, with no further ado:

1.  I love Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme. 

It not only nourishes my winter-ravaged hands, but it smells like an Almond Croissant--another of my favorites.  Mmmmmmmm.  Also, it is the perfect size to fit in my cup holder in my car so I can slather some on at a stoplight when I'm driving my kids around.  For some reason, my dry hands seem to bug me the most when I'm driving.  Or maybe I just don't stop long enough to pay attention until I'm staring at my fingers gripped around my steering wheel...
Burt's Bees Beeswax Hand Creme, Almond Milk, 2 oz.

2.  Taco Time drinks and ice.

The Taco Times near where I live have Coca Cola Freestyle machines, which basically allow you to have up to 100 different soda flavor options.  Plus, their ice is the perfect ice--easily crunchable without being too small and meltable.  My favorite is a raspberry Sprite with extra ice.

3.  The Goodwill.

I really, really love the Goodwill.  My most recent finds were brand-new tartan fleece Gap kids slippers for my little boys for $2 each.  Last month, I scored gorgeous almost-new black leather knee-high riding boots for me for just $20.  Whenever we  need something, I check there first.  80% of my clothes and my kids' clothes come from thrift stores--and I think we dress pretty well most days :).  The only downside is that I think I may have ruined my children's enjoyment of shopping retail forever.  We all have a hard time paying mall prices after shopping at thrift stores so much.

4.  I already blogged about Joe-joe's here, but they are still a favorite.
I am not an Oreo's lover, but I love these.  That Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are only available seasonally makes them all the more desirable somehow.  I dipped them in chocolate for a fairly low-fuss offering at a cookie exchange last week, and they were a total hit.  I think Santa might give our kids extra presents if we put these out this Christmas :).

5.  Ulta is my new favorite place to shop for beauty products.

They actually have the full line of all the drugstore products (like my favorite cleanser, Neutrogena's Pore Refining Cleanser, which Walgreens has inexplicably stopped carrying).  Their salespeople are really knowledgeable, too.  You leave feeling like you got department store pampering and attention for drugstore prices.  I will need to not go there too often, since I really like nice beauty products.  Sigh.  It is a weakness...

5a.  Neutrogena's Pore Refining Cleanser.

I have larger/large-ish pores on my nose, and this cleanser keeps them clear and makes them look smaller.  I use it at night and in the morning.  My 16-year-old son uses it, too and he has really nice skin (especially for a 16-year-old boy).
Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser

6.  My Microplane Grater/Zester

 I love all things lemon, lime and orange.  However, I used to dread making anything with citrus peel or zest, or just omit it from recipes entirely, because it was such a pain.   It would take forever to get the 2 or so teaspoons of peel, and I ended up having to chink out the last bits of peel from my grater with a toothpick because it would stick mercilessly.  No more!  I just made a double batch of lemon bars, and I grated all the lemon peel in maybe 3 minutes.  The peel comes right off with a gentle tap on the side of your bowl.  Hot dog!  It is super, super sharp, though, so you have to keep the included cover on when not in use and store it somewhere little prying fingers can't touch it.

Thanks for visiting and letting me share my favorites with you!  I hope you'll stop by Fundamentals and Fripperies again sometime soon!


  1. Hi Erin. I found you through 320 Sycamore! I picked up Burt's Bees Hand Creme today! I love it! I have 4 boys, and I spend a lot of time in my car, and I notice my dry hands in the carpool lane! Merry  Christmas to you and yours! Liz @ Fresh Plate

  2. I love almond anything so now I need to find me some Burts Bees hand cream!  Thanks!  Stopping over from 320 Sycamore.  Merry Christmas!

  3. You are the second person today I have heard good things about the Taco Time drink machine from. Guess it's time to visit Taco Time and get some Mexi-fries and a drink!

  4. I've never lived somewhere with a Trader Joes, but I'm pretty confident it would make my top 10 too! Also, love that soda & ice machine :) Happy holidays to you!

  5. We are SO on the same page, Erin! I love me some Jo-Jo's! And the Bert's Bees. And the drink dispenser (we have one at Qdoba here). Great list!

    My friends and I exchange our "favorites" at Christmas every year. I'll have to blog about the goodies I got this year. :)

  6. I love thrift stores like Goodwill.  I have also started frequenting estate sales.  At first, I thought... hmmm... but you find some really cute things.

  7. melissa*320 sycamoreDecember 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Hello, Erin! Congrats on your 1st year anniversary :) I so wish we had a taco time out here...isn't good ice the best? That cleanser looks like something I need to try~thanks for all the recommendations! Merry Christmas!

  8. Yes, Shelly--please let me know what your favorite are. I always think those lists are fun. And friend favorites exchanges are the best!

  9. Hi Candice! Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. It is true that one person's trash is another's treasure. I am a really picky thrift shopper and just get things that are really good quality and pristine/almost pristine. I can afford much nicer clothes for myself and my kids if I thrift shop than if I buy everything new--I think that is the real motivation for me :).


Please feel free to comment. I love to read what other people think!