OK, it's been awhile since volume 1, but gimme a break - life has been a bit busy! I've put together a list of a few goodies that I've recently found/re-found. I apologize that there are no photos, just lots of links. This post would have taken forever if I had to go and search our photos!
#1 oil-popped popcorn. Bri and the kids got me a stove-top popcorn popper for Christmas. First, it's a great gift idea; one of those things that you would never buy yourself, but if you like popcorn, it's a nice treat. Second, we've been eating popcorn almost every night since Christmas (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!). Right from the first time we used it, I knew I would never go back to microwave or air-popped popcorn. And it even gives movie-theatre popcorn a run for it's money! Mostly, we've been popcorn purists and just popping the corn in canola oil and then tossing with butter and salt. I'm sure we will experiment with kettle corn soon. But as a segue into #2, I recently bought coconut oil from Trader Joe's (because it is arguably better than other cooking oils) and we tried this to pop the corn. It was most delicious and highly recommended!
#2 Trader Joe's. Many people have been telling me about Trader Joe's for years. Being a frequent traveller to the Seattle area, I have had many opportunities to check it out. But, for whatever reason, I've never made it there. Until my recent trip to NYC. S&B introduced me to the Trader Joe's in Brooklyn. It was hard for me not to bring home a shopping cart full of stuff! So many interesting products and the majority of it is Trader Joe's branded. My current favourites? Let's see...the snacks. I can't narrow down the list because it's all good! On my first "real shopping" trip there, I spent $60 alone on snacks! A couple of honourable mentions are the roasted seaweed snack (which I seem to buy by the caseload!) and the cranberry oatmeal dunkers (because I love dunking stuff in my coffee). I also like their dried fruit and nut selection; I like trail mixes and they have a really good variety of mixes. I guess I can't really recommend things because it's better if you just go yourself and see the interesting things they have there. Oh yeah, and if you already frequent TJ's, I am always looking for recommendations of yummy things to buy there!
#3 Anthropologie. I don't know that I need to explain loving this store. I have recently bought boots and a top there. I'm not sure what it is about their style and fit, but I constantly get compliments on both the boots and the top! Check out their Web-site and you can get an idea. Better yet, go to the store - it's hard NOT to find something you love in there!
#4 lingerie from Nordstrom. More specifically - bras. I posted a little while back about the revelation of finally finding a bra that fit me. I would hazard to call myself "mammarily-challenged" - it is beyond difficult for me to find bras that fit me (come on ladies! empathize with me, please!). Well, Nordstrom's lingerie department solved all my bra-finding problems. And at reasonable prices! Everytime I need a new bra now, I will go to Nordstrom first. Yes, this is my second shout out to Nordstrom (I raved about their shoes in my first post). What can I say?! Their buyers have their sh!t together! I gave up on department store shopping years ago, but everytime I make a trip to Seattle, I try to make it to either Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack (and apparently now, Trader Joe's!).
#5 good books. I'm making time to read again because it's good for my soul. I had actually forgotten how much I love to read! I started a book club with my girlfriends a couple of years ago, but it only lasted a couple of books. We were mostly all mom's of young kids and we weren't finding time to read. I am only just getting back into it now. Book recommendations are the best way of finding good books to read, too. I used to be able to spend copious amounts of time searching out good books to read, but who has time these days?! So, I'm always looking for good book recommendations. Please! I'm recommending the following 2 books that I've read recently that were recommended to me:
- The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Between Interruptions: 30 Women Tell the Secrets of Motherhood, edited by Cori Howard
The Namesake was a remarkably well-told story. I think I identified with it because the main character is a first-generation American and I am a first-generation Canadian. The story of him growing up and trying to find himself amidst a culture clash of his Bengali heritage and his American upbringing rang so true with me.
The title of Between Interruptions speaks for itself as to why it spoke to me! If you are mother (especially a mother of young children), this is a must read. Now, I can't say that I identified with all the stories (and the great thing about short stories is that you can skip some parts and still continue reading the rest of the book!). But each time I read a story that resonated with me, it brought me to tears.
Oh yeah, and if you are reading your books on your iPad these days, BC Libraries has an eBook service where you can install an app on your iPad and borrow books from the eLibrary. All you need is your library card. I'm not sure if you can download books to eReaders like the Kobo and Kindle because you need an app called OverDrive Console (can you download apps to an eReader?).
The process of borrowing eBooks is still a bit clunky and needs some kinks worked out, but it's worth checking out if you are trying to read on your iPad. Some of the challenges for me were: 1. they don't have the vast selection that the library does, so sometimes you can't find what you're looking for; 2. you can only borrow a book for 3 weeks at a time, no renewals, and after 3 weeks, they yank it from your app automatically (even if you only had 10 more pages to read!); 3. the only way to get a book back is go back to the eLibrary and check it out again, hoping there isn't a wait list and somebody else has checked it out; 4. most books have a wait list.
Having said all this, I've tried eborrowing and I've gone back to the old-fashioned way of going to the library and checking out the actual book :-)