Monday, March 15, 2010

A few of my favorite things

So in light of the horrendous weather this winter and my subsequent mental and physical suffering from not being able to get out and run I finally broke down and used my "hair money" to join a pool. It did the trick! Boy do I feel better - the whole "process" of driving, getting into and out of the pool is a bit of a drag (I really hate locker rooms, esp. cold ones) but wow, what fantastic exercise. It's been about 4 weeks and I can see/feel a difference (albeit slight), and now that I can combine it with running it keeps things interesting for me. Since I do run and swim on the same day often times, I am actually starting to entertain the thought of "triathalon" in the back of my head but there are two problems with that

1) I don't think they would let me just borrow a bike, pretty sure I'd have to actually buy one
2) I don't think they'd they'd let me stop in between each segment and eat Pop 'ems and play Scrabble on Facebook like I do now between my morning runs and afternoon swims.

So I don't know. I'll have to ponder this more. For now I need to just settle for looking and feeling better. Well, except my hair of course. Which is a bit of a fright these days...

But ANYWAY - until I can hunt down a waterproof iPod, I have only my own thoughts to keep me company while swimming. Which can get very dull let me tell you. But there have been some instances where I had a good train of thought going and I have decided to share my mental list of the best things in my possession. I mean, don't you just love it when things WORK? When they actually do what they are supposed to do? I feel like cases of that happening are too few and far between - but there are times when you feel like you actually finally got your money's worth (and I do want to hear about everyone else's list of faves!! but I will plead for that more at the end). Regardless, here are mine:

1) My Dyson vacuum cleaner - what an amazing piece of machinery. This thing sucks up anything and everything that is on your floor or any other surface it gets close to. Seriously this thing practically inhaled one of the kid's winter coats. I bought it several years ago and it continues to work with no issues - with little or no effort on my part. Everything just feels so much cleaner after it is used - probably because everything IS so much cleaner. In a house with three dogs, two kids and a man it is a "must have" item. Very pricey, but worth every ever-lovin penny.

2) The Butter Boy - I love my Butter Boy. He is the best invention for corn on the cob since people decided to eat corn on the cob. I bought this little gem as an afterthought at one of those kitchen outlet stores and boy am I glad I did. The top of his little head pops off right at the seam of his smile and lo and behold there is a stick of butter in there (that you load from the bottom) - and the upward curve of Butter Boy's grin perfectly form fits to an ear of corn - so you can butter your corn with no mess or fuss at all. He's fantastic and I can't wait for summer so he can be locked and loaded and ready to go once again.

3) Member's Mark Dutch Oven - I am so glad I decided to get this, it is the most useful pot in the kitchen. It has completely changed what I think about cooking and has opened up an entire array of possible meals. For someone who struggled with the idea of putting anything on the table more complicated than a chicken patty this is a huge statement. I know dutch ovens can be pricey - but I didn't have to shell out too much for this one comparitively speaking. And as far as I can tell, it works just as well as it's more expensive cousins. So get to Sam's Club and check it out!

4) Under Armour - For any of you out there that also sweat on a regular basis, I think you'll agree that there is a reason you have to take out a second mortgage to purchase any of this stuff because it is honestly amazing. To start with, wicking sweat or no, it is so incredibly comfortable - which when you're running non-stop for over an hour is a very big deal. Now I can vouch for the Cold Gear stuff because of my outside running adventures this winter - it is an incredibly thin layer that does indeed keep you warm. I am not sure about the Heat Gear, I really haven't put it to any big test yet. I am also interested to hear if anyone has tried the shirts that do both heat and cold - you turn it inside out to get one or the other. I'm not sure if I believe that but it is Under Armour after all and I pretty much believe they can do anything. I am also interested to hear if anyone has tried their running shoes. I really believe in this brand but I buy my running shoes at a running store which does not carry them - which gives me serious pause about their viability. So if anyone has any thoughts there - please share them!!

5) My North Face snow boots - What an incredible difference in your opinion of snow and honestly winter in general when your feet are warm and dry. I don't know how the folks at North Face did it but I have stayed outside for hours with my feet completely immersed in snow and wet and my feet felt like it was any old spring day. So along these same lines I have to also commend my Columbia winter jacket which is also pretty amazing but not as amazing as these boots. But since moving to Budd Lake, which lately has been akin to living in the Arctic Circle, I broke down and bought real winter gear and I am sooooooo glad I did. Wouldn't survive out here without it.

6) iPod + iTunes - and I only use it for music. But what an amazing device and online store. Is there anyone out there who doesn't like their iPod? Now if I could only find one that works underwater...

7) Lawry's Seasoned Salt - say what you will but this stuff is great. I got the inside tip on it from the Pioneer Woman (whose cookbook is my current fave) - she uses it in almost everything, and I've gotta tell you, she's absolutely right about it. It actually makes Walmart brand boxed mashed potatoes taste good. Enough said.

8) Last but not least all my Levi's jeans. I have done some serious research on jeans, I have tried on every single brand Kohl's has to offer in women's AND juniors (remember...unemployed...have to fill my days somehow hahaha) and I have actually purchased jeans that are over $125.00 - twice! (One pair from Nordstrom's one from Bloomingdales - 5 years ago but still...) - nothing but nothing beats Levi's. They are comfortable - before and after washings - and they are the jeans that I pull out of my closet over and over again. They just plain fit.

So those are a few of my favorite things. Pretty much covering the categories that rule my life these, cleaning, exercising, shovelling snow...but whatever the case, like I said, it's just nice when something you spend your hard earned money on actually works. That just makes me happy.

And yes, I did think of all this while swimming.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear about other people's favorite things. So please! Comment here, on FB, wherever - I want to know! So worth sharing...