Tuesday Tunes: My Favorite Things
I recently read an article on holiday entertaining. It suggested having a “Favorite Things” party, where everyone brings and shares a favorite item with the other partygoers. The gifts don’t have to be expensive– just something you really love: a simple kitchen gadget, a fun nail polish, or a special tea. Well, since my December is already fairly busy, I won’t be able to host such a party this year. But, it did give me the idea for this post.
During this time of giving and entertaining, I thought I would share some of our favorite things—a few ideas for easier entertaining as well as suggestions for gifts or stocking stuffers. It’s an eclectic list, but hopefully a helpful and fun one as well!
I would love to hear about your favorite things, too!
Elvis’ Christmas Album
Growing up, it just wasn’t Christmas at my house until we heard Elvis crooning one of his upbeat tunes or beautifully moving gospel hymns from his 1957 White Christmas album. I was able to find the entire album on YouTube. So, you can sample his delightful voice here. 🙂
I discovered Smartwool socks a number of years ago. I love them for their comfort, fit, style, and quality. These socks are so warm and never itchy! And, you can’t beat the company’s guarantee: “If for any reason you’re not satisfied with your Smartwool product, please return it to us within two years of purchase and we’ll make it right.”
Back in 2015, Farmguy and I went to Greece with some friends. On our first day there, our travel mate, Barbara lost her footing and did a face plant on the asphalt road where we were walking. It was bad—lots of blood…everywhere. Unfortunately, none of us had any tissues or extra clothing to help stop the bleeding. I did happen to have a small purse, but the only absorbent thing in it was individually wrapped pantyliners. So, poor Barbara had to wait, sitting on the side of the road, with pantyliners stuck to her head, shoulder, and leg until help arrived. Her eyeglasses were broken and she needed stitches. All I have to say is the people on the island were wonderful! Some nice folks stopped and took Barbara back to the hotel. There, a first aid person cleaned her up, and the lady at the front desk recommended a physician in town (and disposed of the soiled pantyliners). From the time the accident happened until Barbara was stitched up, sent to the pharmacist for antibiotics, and had her eyewear repaired was about an hour and a half. By noon, we were having lunch and enjoying a glass of wine—which we ALL needed by that point. I have to say, Barbara was a trooper and DID NOT allow this unfortunate incident to deter her from having fun.
Anyway, when Barbara was at the pharmacy, the pharmacist recommended a cream called Elicina. It’s made in Chile from a substance secreted by snails. I know—you’re probably thinking…ICK! But, it’s just like any other cream—nothing unusual at all as far as appearance or smell. It’s organic, natural, and hypoallergenic. And, it has an amazing ability to heal wounds without the wound becoming infected. It was really was quite something. Everyday, we could see noticeable improvement in Barbara’s abrasions. This cream is also great for wrinkles, acne, and it’s the ONLY thing I’ve found to lighten brown spots on my face from sun exposure (I spoke with my dermatologist about this, and she said it was okay.).
Burt’s Bees Chapstick
If you like minty, moist lips that aren’t too glossy or waxy, then this is the chapstick for you! I LOVE it!!! It’s definitely the best chapstick I’ve ever used. I have it everywhere: in my purse, nightstand, glove compartment…..
Charcoal Wine Stopper
Farmguy and I discovered this neat and functional wine stopper when we were in Bordeaux. In the past, in an attempt to make our wine last longer, we used a stopper with a vacuum to remove the air from the wine bottle as to not leave extra air that would oxidize the wine. But, what we realized was that in removing all the air from the bottle, we were also removing the characteristics that we smell while enjoying a glass of wine—all the lovely fragrance or nose. So, this charcoal wine stopper works by neutralizing the oxygen and keeping the wine fresh and the fragrance intact for longer. These filters last for about five years. Cheers!
Stainless Champagne Stopper
I LOVE this stopper! Normally, if you open a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine, you really need to finish it within the day, or it will go flat. With this nifty little gadget, you can open a bottle of something fizzy, even if you only want one glass. Just pop the stopper on, and it’ll last approximately 2-3 days.
Artful Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
With all of our devices these days, something always needs cleaning, especially if children are also using our phones, iPads, and computers. These microfiber cloths are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing to use. I also found cleaning cloths for eyewear.
Pottery Barn Blanket
We’ve had one of these blankets for years, and they’re so cozy and warm. Perfect for cuddling up with a good book and your favorite pet on a cold, winter day.
Roederer Estate Brut Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine (Made in the traditional Champagne method)
Wine Spectator magazine just announced their 2017 list of the best wines in the world, and this sparkling wine from Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California was ranked #25 out of 100 wines. Not bad for about $25.00 at your local grocery store. Farmguy and I had it over Thanksgiving and really enjoyed it. It’s my new favorite sparkling wine these days. It’s perfect to serve to guests as an apéritif, especially during the holidays.
Farmguy’s mother told us about this anti-inflammatory gel years ago. It’s an arnica gel and works great for aches and pains. It’s not greasy or smelly. It’s an all natural, homeopathic remedy that is amazing. I’m not kidding. You’ll feel relief minutes after applying it. We always travel with it and keep it stocked up at home. I wish I had a dollar for every person we’ve told about it. Once, while on a cruise, a physician that we’d befriended fell and hurt his ankle. We gave him a tube of it, and he liked it so well that he shared that he planned to start using it in his practice. It’s really wonderful!
Silvie Granatelli Pottery
Silvie Granatelli lives just down the road from our little cottage in Meadows of Dan, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. She creates the most beautiful and functional pottery. Drinking a cup of coffee from one of her mugs is almost an artful experience. She’s wonderfully creative and brings beauty to our everyday world. I really admire her work, and I think you may as well.
Nordic Care Skin Repair Cream
Living on a farm with lots of critters, I wash my hands A LOT! So, I need a really good, moisturizing cream that will keep my hands from cracking in the dry, frigid conditions of winter. This cream is fantastic!
Farmguy’s assistant gave us a food gift from this company a couple of years ago, and it was fabulous—fairly reasonable and very high quality. If you’re looking for a special appetizer or dessert, or if you don’t want to cook a holiday meal at all, this is a great place to consider. The crab cakes are delicious (and go well with the Roederer Estate Brut sparkling wine)!
The Republic of Tea–Ginger Peach Decaffeinated Tea
This is my favorite nighttime tea. I enjoy a cup every evening after dinner. It’s the perfect ending to the day as the ginger and peach combination creates a lovely fragrance and a relaxing experience.
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
I discovered this skincare line when we were in Bordeaux. The hotel where we stayed had samples of the mask as well as a few of the other products. I tried and really liked everything. Anyway, when I got home, I ordered the mask and a couple other products. So far, I’ve been pleased. Most all of the Caudalie products contain resveratrol which is a compound found in grapevines. According to the literature accompanying the product, Resveratrol causes the skin to become firmer and more sculpted—which is a good thing when you’re in your forties, like I am. 😉
TUFFY Dog Toys
Bizou and Dash love these toys so much!! The toys are well made and come in all kinds of colorful shapes and sizes. Dash’s favorite is the frog, and Bizou’s favorite is whatever Dash is playing with at the time. While these toys are very high quality and tough, they’re not completely indestructible. So, it’s always best to monitor your pets when they’re playing.
Wine Documentary Film
If you like history, wine, geography, travel, and food, then this is the film for you! Farmguy and I have watched it many times and never get tired of it. It’s simply beautiful! All you need to do is pour a glass of wine, set back, and enjoy!
Thank you for reading my list!