I love new things. Routine and Sameness and Consistency make me weep inside. I need change and newness consistently in order to really thrive. I have been known to say that the only thing in my life I’m consistent about is my inconsistency. This means that I frequently have new favorite things that I absolutely love SO MUCH FOREVER more than anything in the world until oh-look, something new! I’m always on the lookout for new music, causes, bathroom and kitchen products, boyfriends (kidding) (mostly), projects, fashion, experiences and places.
While this can occasionally cause a bit of irritation for friends and family in my life who are more tried and true and steady-eddy, it means that I’m always discovering new things. I thought I’d share a few of my current favorites.
This website and smartphone app is so cute. I mean, you can tell it’s gonna be cute just by the little guy with the big S on his shirt and the goofy grin. But it’s also cute because you get to decide the mood you’re in and Songza picks a playlist for you based on it. It’s your own personal “Music Concierge”.
For example, if you log in on a Saturday evening, you’ll get options for music based on A Relaxing Weekend, Eating Dinner, Hosting a Cocktail Party, Cooking, or Pre-Gaming with Friends. Once you click on one, you’ll be given further options.
For the sake of this explanation, say we click on Hosting a Cocktail Party. We’ll have our choice of further options. Are we in the mood for International, Vocal Standards, Oldies, Electronica or Jazz? Mmmmmm, let’s click on Oldies.
What pops up now are three playlists carefully cultivated. We can pick one of three: Swinging London, Smooth Rockabilly or Chess Records. There’s a little description under each category for us to choose the best option.
Instant playlist. Totally free, totally customizable, and totally cute.
If you’re not into the whole picking a genre by mood/time of day/activity, there are other options for straight up playlists and genres too.
It’s more fun and interactive than Spotify or Pandora. I won’t stop using either one of those music services, but I really like this option added to the mix. Plus the app is free on your smartphone, unlike Spotify.
2. Maple Extract
Maple Extract. I mean, really. Want maple coffee? Done. I recently made a Maple Spice Rice Milk Latte AT HOME with this extract. I’m like a barista and stuff.
I heated rice milk and maple sugar on the stove over medium heat, added a small amount of fresh-brewed really really strong coffee, and a few teaspoons of maple extract.
So. Good. I love maple-flavored anything and everything, so this stuff is like heaven-juice to me. Other uses include frosting, homemade maple vegan baileys and oatmeal.
3. Lime Crime Magic Dust in Circus Girl Yellow
I’m not even sure if you can still buy this particular product anymore, but I love it so so much. A few months ago I got my hairs did, and I had yellows and oranges and blondes and sort of autumn leaves colors. I naturally wanted to match my eye shadow to my hair, and I’ve recently had a crush on all things yellow, so I’ve been looking for a yellow eye shadow. Finally, I just googled that shit and Lime Crime came up. I had never heard of this company, but they’re mostly vegan (and currently reformatting all the products that weren’t vegan to be vegan) and fairly affordable (this one was on sale for $6) and have fun colors. Like bright yellow!
I’m forbidding myself from online shopping for myself any more this year, but when I get around to forgetting that I can’t really afford to buy random make-up purchases and realize all of a sudden that I NEED a rainbow’s array of eye shadow colors, I’m heading back to Lime Crime.
4. Travel Blogs and Price Alerts
I’ve been reading travel blog recently. A lot. I wasn’t just bit by one travel bug; it’s like there was an infestation when I was born and I am covered. I’m always dreaming of somewhere else. There’s so much of the world to see, and I want to see it. I’m sort of cultivating travel plans for next year, and have come to depend on a few sights for inspiration, advice and deals.
BootsnAll—a website (based out of Portland!) that showcases personal essays, round the world trip planning advice and flights, and forums.
Matador Network—This is an interactive online travel magazine with inspiring stories and awesome photos.
Kayak Price Alerts—I use Kayak for price alerts. They offer an interactive map that’s fun to explore, but I find most flight deals are gone by the time I click on them. Still, the price alerts that I get are enough to keep me from getting too disheartened by the rising cost of airline tickets—I’ve seen round-trip tickets from Portland to Dublin for under $500 and to Italy for under $600.
Vayama Interactive Travel Map—Vayama is strictly an international fares sight, and they recently rolled out a map similar to Kayak’s. It’s a little more user-friendly and fun, though. I like to come here to see where the current best international deals from Portland are.
I went through some old photos from my trip to Turkey in 2009 the other day. Oh my, that place was amazing. Here’s one of my favorites:
This is me and my friend Shelley after we were flooded out of our tree house and had to evacuate in the middle of the night in Olympos. Hot tea never tasted so good. Ask me for the whole story sometime, it’s a good one.
5. Hansen’s Mini Club Soda
First of all, I just love mini-versions of normal-sized things. It’s so adorable I can’t even stand it. I also love soda water. I love anything with bubbles, but a girl can’t drink champagne all the time (or so my boss tells me. KIDDING!). So I love club soda. Trader Joe’s recently started selling six-packs of 8 oz. mini club sodas. They’re a dollar or two cheaper than at my Whole Foods, so I’m way stoked. Occasionally I’ll use them in a cocktail at home when I’m entertaining (perfect size!) though usually I’ll have one when I’m not in the mood for an alcoholic bev but want something cold and bubbly and refreshing. A squeeze of lime or a dash of peach bitters and things get real fancy.
6. Philosophy Eggnog Body wash
Guys. Oh, guys. Remember how earlier I said I’m grounded from online shopping for the rest of the year? This is one of the reasons why. I friggin’ love Philosophy. This eggnog shampoo/body wash/bubble bath smells JUST LIKE EGGNOG. Oh lord. I also, if you must know, have this flavor of lip gloss. I don’t even know what to say. My lips taste so good. I may or may not have bought several other flavors of lip gloss while I was on their site. Bad Janessa. It’s just so good. If you live near a Sephora, head down and smell Philosophy’s stuff. Then buy it. Or, you know, if you don’t want to be self-banned from shopping, maybe it’s better if you stay away.
** Please note, I paid for all my favorite things in this post out of my own pocket. These companies don’t even know I exist. I just like them and want to share them with you.