My Favorite Things

Image by Irina from Pixabay

In the spirit of the holidays I wanted to share some really good things–books and not-books–that I have discovered in the past year or so. Maybe something on this list will bless you as they have blessed me!*

For music people:

If you are a person of my age who’s been involved in music, chances are you have cassette tapes of old performances that you can’t listen to anymore. This converter is basically a tape player that plugs into the computer via USB and creates an .mp3. (Or whatever file type you want.)

For Christmas:

We inherited a Christmas village years ago with those light strings that you have to poke up through the bottom, and which are very unstable. This year we found this pretty gold ribbon, which looks like wrapping ribbon but is embedded with LED lights, to use in its place. Hurray! Also, my 13-year-old wrapped himself and his bass clarinet in it for his first Christmas performance at school. So there’s that. 🙂

For foodies who are tired of the price of groceries:

If you’ve been following along, we’re almost 13 months into my daughter’s diagnosis of celiac disease. (FYI, celiac is an autoimmune disease, not a food allergy.) We’ve been looking for lots of ways to cut costs–and mostly, to avoid having to buy flour at $3-5 per pound. Here’s an Instagram reel I made with my top 5 hacks of the year.

And along the way, we also discovered that you can pretty easily make your own vanilla extract with some vodka (or bourbon/whiskey) and vanilla beans. (Vanilla liquor does an especially good job.) We have stopped buying vanilla altogether. Anyway, here’s the most recent set of vanilla beans we bought. We use these beans twice and the vanilla extract is just as good the second time!

For organization: we like this set of bookshelves, which helped us in our teenager’s far-too-small bedroom.

(Guys: skip to the next paragraph. Seriously.) If you’re a generously-endowed woman who needs good support, this one is for you. I’ve been trying sports bras this year… and this is my favorite. By far. (I know. I really don’t believe in TMI.)

And if you’re someone who struggles with muscle and joint issues, this Tiger Balm “red extra strengthis what I’ve been using for twenty-odd years. It’s way better than the “ultra” version that you can find in stores and it smells cinnamon-y, which is way better than the muscle rubs I experienced before my massage therapist told me to start using Tiger Balm. My husband and I keep one in the car, one in the computer desk, and several on backup in our bedroom. And it goes in our “pharmacy” whenever we pack for a trip. We ALWAYS need it.

And of course, books! Here are six books I read this year that really stuck with me, but which I have *not* otherwise featured. There is great variety here–some heartwarming, some very emotionally raw and demanding–and even one nonfiction book.

Thanks for journeying with me! Have a happy holiday season, and for 2023 I wish everyone who follows along on this crazy journey of mine a peaceful spirit and joy where you are right now.

*Note: this post contains affiliate links