2013 Favorite Things List

So a certain megaceleb has released their annual list of favorite things again and yet again I look through it & wonder… who is buying this stuff?  Sure some of it looks pretty & could be fun to actually use, but some of it just doesn’t hit me as anything I would be happy if someone gave me.  Sure the intent would be great & I would be thankful, but there are just other things that would be better gifts.

Seriously.  No one wants a chocolate nativity scene.  How does one even eat that? “Wise man or Mary after dinner?” Just seems bizarre.  Wonder if any of her staff pointed out all the jokes that can come from this? I’m guessing no.

Last year I got sucked into some show on how she went about picking her favorite things, so I realize a lot goes into making the list, but it just doesn’t seem realistic unless you live at Harpo.  I did enjoy how she helped to make some small businesses get recognition and gave back advice on how they could improve their exposure or products.

Since I feel pretty safe saying that neither I nor many of the people who stumble across this blog have Oprah’s annual salary, I think there should be a list for those who actually can’t justify spending $225 for a tomato server.  We do just fine passing out food with the cheap silver ones we got at Target.  When is the last time you felt bad about what the tool you used to move food was anyway?  I’m guessing this may be the first time you thought much about it.  Let me just help you out, even if you do…. probably 99.9% of your guest are just happy you are sharing food & are focused on that food.  Probably couldn’t even tell you 2 minutes later what you used to move that food to their plate.  That $225 could provide for 900 meals according to the Food Bank money requests that states they can provide 4 means for every dollar donated.  No clue what stores they are shopping, but betcha Oprah doesn’t step foot in those places in her Ugg boots with the bow ties on them!

So here is my version.  Grated these aren’t necessities either, but they are simply things I love and actually are a LOT cheaper than her favorite stuff.  I promise no $42 containers of tomato soup here.  These are affordable.  Well if you have extra cash, because none of this crap on either list is going to be anything you NEED, they are gifts.

I didn’t get paid to mention a single one of them. The makers of them probably don’t even know there is a blog here that mentions them.  My favorite things are simply just that.  Things I have that I have enjoyed at some point in 2013 that I love and think others would too.  I didn’t get freebies (except part of one, but I can explain that & will).  Sorry I can only wish I could give everyone one of each of them.  So in no particular order…

ALI’S FAVORITE THINGS 2013

Race Charms

 In 2013, I completely my first 5k.  Distance wise it wasn’t a marathon, but to me… HUGE step.  To celebrate I decided to do something special for me.  The shirt was great, but this deserved something more meaningful.  Enter etsy & a shop I have come to love.  The Run Home.  If you enjoy running and are more of a silver than gold girl like me, this is your place.  I have had them make a couple of charms custom for me & every time I have had the best service.  Feel like she is cheering me on.  The charms…STUNNING.  One of those things that is so simple it can go with everything.  She has a lot of items you don’t have to customize that are on my list to get one day.  The ones I do have are hanging there reminding me that I did it and since there are just a couple, I then think of how great it will be to add more.

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They are completely affordable and will make you feel like a million bucks.  Seriously, your dinner last night probably cost more unless you also shop where the Food Bank shops… in which case, tell the rest of us your secrets!

Chalk (in hair) Trend

So fun, so easy, so cheap, so temporary you can change it with your outfits…. so why haven’t you tried it? Chalk up the hair & have fun in life.

much better.

much better.

Fitbit

When it comes to pedometers, I have been obsessed for several years now.  There are probably more days that I wear one than not.  Bad thing is sometimes I end up changing clothes and forget to change it over to the new outfit.  That happens way more than I would like to admit.  It can be an eye opener to see how many steps you take every day.  Plus when setting a goal, you have to know how you are going to measure and see improvement.  Wearing a pedometer is not enough.  You have to be able to compare each day and make sure you are doing better day by day.  Fitbit ROCKS at this!  No longer will you need to jot down your daily totals.  All you need to do is plug it in.  Actually you don’t even have to do that.  It is wireless!  If the computer is on & the charging station is plugged into the computer, it will update your totals!  When the battery gets low (every couple of days or so) you just slip it on to the base & it charges right up.  Ok here is my one confession.  Some how my charging station went kaput.  Still no clue how or why.  What I do know is that their customer service is amazing!  No hassle at all.  They walked me through a couple of quick checks to see what the problem was and then after figuring out it was the base, simply mailed me a new one.  No having to send anything back or waiting.  Easy peasy fixing the issue.  Made me a very happy girl!  So while the actual Fitbit Ultra was not free, the new base I use to charge it up was.  There online tracking system is free to everyone & gives you more information than you even know what to do with.  They offer premium memberships to giving training advice, etc. but there is a lot that comes with the free membership.  When they first came out there was one design in a couple of colors.  Now they have several different designs to fit your budget and style.

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Ssekos

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Yes I am in major love with these cute and comfy shoes.  From the look, to the way the money goes on to assist women attend college, to the artistic feeling you get when you try new ties…. they just rock! I see more straps in my future.  Thankfully this crazy hot and cold weather has enabled me to wear them once in a while so I haven’t had to deal with withdrawals, but they are THAT addictive.  

TERVIS

I know I was late to the party on this one.   While I used to shake my head at the people carrying around the overpriced plastic cups, I now get it.  They are convenient and fit perfectly.  I know that plastic isn’t the most ecofriendly material, but these have literally saved me from going for a quick drive thru run to get a drink for class or to take to the beach.  I just need to locate a glass straw to fit through the  top and I will be good to go.  Thankful to my cousin for springing for my first one, a Carolina Panthers one of course!

Googly EyeS

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Do I even need to explain this one? Seriously get some.  Get the ones with the self stick backs that you just peel & stick.  Share a smile with the world.  Everything is more funny with googly eyes.

Glynne’s lip balm

Lips need love too.  Mine seems to go thru spells of being fine one day & super chapped the next.  While I love the color of lipsticks some days you just want something to make them feel better.  My sister swears by something from the drugstore, but honestly it tasted like wax.  I don’t go for another popular brand because it tingles on my lips.  I don’t want to irritate them, just make them feel better and don’t make me nauseous in the process.  

I was resolved to just suck it up and deal when the perfect solution presented itself.  A local company run by 2 amazing ladies and their 2 dalmations (one may work slightly harder than the other greeting everyone weekly at the local farmers markets) had just the thing! Glynne’s Soaps is known for having incredibly delicious smelling soaps and scrubs, but the real secret is their lip balm line! Feels heavenly.  Light but consistent coverage that last in flavors that are sure to make you smile.  My personal favorite is a tie… blueberry or dreamsicle.  All are all natural and petroluem free and are perfect for stocking stuffers, as long as you plan ahead & get your own as well to prevent them not making it to the stockings!  

Roku

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This little baby has been a sanity saver.  I honestly never thought I could be one of those people who could cut the cable cord and still not feel like I was one step away from living in a cardboard box.  With Roku, channels stream over the wifi right into my TV.  Bonus – massively reduced commercial time.  Instead of 5 or 6 per break, there may be a total of 2 per show!  Love Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Plex for allowing me to still feel connected without the constant dollar drain on my account.  Feels great playing Live 365 or Pandora when I just want some background sound.  Over all this may have been the best change financially ever.  Savings without suffering.

Dole Frozen Banana Slices

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This by far is the best food item found this year.  Dark chocolate discs covered in dark chocolate.  Decadent treat at just 100 calories.  Check the frozen food section for these and keep them handy.  They also have frozen strawberries covered in chocolate.

 

So there you go.  My favorites for now.  There is so much I could go on about, but will stop there.  So what have you discovered in 2013?  Any favorites I should know about in 2014?

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