This blog is always a work in progress, and I recently had the idea to combine some of my more random posts into a single “favorite things” post to make it all more interesting…at least, I hope so! So here you have it! These are a few of my favorite things these days.
1.Thrift store shopping. Obviously. Here is the latest haul from this weekend:
J. Crew, Old Navy, and Tranquility&Mayhem shirts for Husband that fit him perfectly for $4.99 each. They need a quick bath and nice iron, but I am so glad we found these! Good quality and he will get lots of wear out of them.
I picked up this “Jack” label light coat for $7.99 and just love it. It’s well-worn and a bit pilly, but I really don’t mind. It is good quality, looks great on and I’ll be living in it until the weather warms up.
About a month ago, Husband saw this standing globe at Goodwill priced at $125. He has a thing for maps and globes, and he really wanted it as it was in good condition, but passed on it due to the high price. We went back today and it was still there, only this time the price tag had been removed! As his birthday is right around the corner, I asked if he wanted me to give it to him as a birthday present and he said maybe depending on the price. So, I casually asked how much it was going for and the lady, after checking with someone in the back said, “$60?” Done! Husband LOVES it, and I think it’s pretty enough, so it was a good deal for a nice birthday gift even if it was on the pricey side for a thrifted item.
I know I’m insane. But you guys know how much I love 1970s housewares. These two-tone terrycloth towels are so iconic of 1970s bathrooms that high-end stores like Anthropologie have been reintroducing the style. Well, I don’t care enough about them to buy from Anthropologie, but I’ve had a really soft spot in my heart for these things that seemingly every grandma had in her bathroom at one point or another. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but these are cherry red, with a lighter red contrast. I got a set of four for…I don’t even know how much because I didn’t care! They need a good bath by nature of being from a thrift store, but otherwise are in great condition for originals!
Again, I know I’m crazy. The first thing Husband said when he saw these was “Wow, those are really ugly.” I know. But I love them! They’re for the collection!! As I’ve mentioned before, I have an extensive collection of late mid-century stoneware and glazeware mugs and dishes…and while these are objectively strange by themselves, they will look delightful in the collection. And they’re handmade!
Speaking of stoneware, these aren’t vintage, but I was really charmed by them. They’re really solid, well-made stoneware bowls that to me look both vintage and futuristic– like bowls that Luke Skywalker would eat out of at his Aunt and Uncle’s house…well, before the…you know, the incident. 0_o. $1.99 each wasn’t a waste!
2. Eating healthy! I’ve been on an at-home, whole-foods-vegan kick for a few weeks now, and I’m really loving it. Yes, I have days where I still eat out (SIGH despite my best Lenten intentions), but I’ve been really conscientious about what I’m consuming and I’m finding that as the days get lighter, the easier it is for me to embrace food that’s good for me, and say no to foods that I just don’t need in my life every day (looking at you, cake).
On that note, I made the BEST OATMEAL OF MY LIFE last week, and brought it to work every morning:
Oh man. So, I discovered that if you cook oats as a ratio of 1:1:1 oats, rice milk and water, they become incredibly creamy and slightly sweet. The rice milk gives it this rich creaminess that you’d swear was from milk of the bovine persuasion, but it isn’t! I topped it with this delightful mix of stewed fruit that I also can’t get enough of:
I took prunes, dried apricots, raisins and sultanas and put them in a pot with some water, cinnamon and two star anise pods and then let them simmer until everything was nice and soft and jammy. Then I removed the star anise, added a small drizzle of maple syrup and ta-da! All done. Just scrumptious!! I can’t recommend this combo enough, especially with a sprinkle of coconut sugar on top.
I also cleaned out my fridge, which is now cleaner and emptier than it has been in a very, very long time. Yes, this is empty for me! But it’s full of healthy snacks, Husband’s homemade kombucha, and the makings of many healthy meals, so I have to keep this good thing going.
3. Teatime. As always. As usual.
Last weekend I checked out Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi from the library and read in a few hours. It’s a graphic novel about a young girl’s experience of the Iranian revolution. It’s beautiful, but heartbreaking in many ways. I’m glad I read it, it reminded me of Marzi, another graphic novel that I love love love and have mentioned before in one of my book list posts.
Of course, I read it while enjoying some “Earl Grey de la Creme” tea that’s new in at Trader Joe’s. I’ve had another version of this made by a different company which was unfortunately named “Creme de la Earl Grey” (unfortunate because I think the French grammar there is atrocious, but what do I know, I don’t speak French) which was SO INSANELY delicious. It had a very sugary-sweet, creme brûlée aroma while not having detectable sweetness on the tongue. Just delightful tea, scrumptious with a little maple syrup and milk. I was excited to try this version, and it wasn’t quite as delightful. TJ’s blend is much heavier on the bergamot, so it tastes more like a mildly vanilla-scented Earl Grey. Still, I liked it a lot. Also, I used Grandma’s Blue Onion teapot for the first time in years.
I love this teapot, and I’ve been keeping it safe since Grandma moved out of her home and into assisted living in 2012. The last time I used it, she was alive and we were enjoying tea together. She told me that she bought this pot at Gump’s, downtown off Union Square, when she was young. She really wanted a teapot, and this one cost $8– GASP! She remembered thinking, “Eight dollars?! Yikes, how extravagant!!” She laughed about it with me, remembering. I’ve been afraid to break it. I really don’t want anything to happen to it, but I also know that she’d be sad to think it wasn’t getting any use. So I’m using it, and remembering her with every breath I take, every little special ritual, as the one year mark approaches on the 13th. “Don’t be sad for too long, Fessie,” she said. I’m trying not to be.
4. Relaxing media. Mostly of two types:
I have no kids, and yet, “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” series by the BBC plays so often on my TV you’d think we had a passel of children who enjoy it. We don’t, it’s just me! Sister and I enjoyed this series so much as children, and when I moved in with Grandma at 18, we went to Costco one day and I saw they had it on DVD. “Get it!!” she insisted, and bought me the whole set. The stories are, naturally, heavenly and the artwork is beautiful, but the music! Oh, the music!! I think some of these are on YouTube if you’ve never seen them. Just give them a listen. They main reason I put them on is to have their soft chatter and gorgeous music in the background while I fold laundry, write in my journal, or read.
Another thing I’ve discovered that is meant for background ambience is a YouTube channel called ASMR Rooms: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoXQCYOw5–9PlQ74JVIEmw
Sorry, leaving the ugly link. Anyway, it’s this amazing channel of animated scenes with beautifully curated fantasy soundscapes meant to be used as white noise or just ambient sound. The girl that does them is so talented, and one the main reasons I love her is that she heavily emphasizes the world of Harry Potter in her creations– she has some scenes from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and other fantasy worlds, but she is extremely dedicated to Harry’s magical world most of all, and has over thirty soundscapes for it alone.
Here is a scene from the Gryffindor common room! My favorites are The Gryffindor Common Room, The Ravenclaw Common Room, Dumbledore’s Office, The Hogwarts Library, Waking Up at Shell Cottage, Waking up in Hogsmede, and Christmas at the Burrow. There are many, many more, so check them out! They are so fun to put on while reading or sipping tea.
5. My kitty.
This old girl turns…seventeen this year? I say that with a question mark because I’m not entirely sure of her age. She was rescued by Husband’s family and lived with them for her entire life as an outdoor-sometimes-indoor kitty until a few years ago when we adopted her. She’s been enjoying her retirement in the Bay Area as far as we can tell. This little feral thing, often grumpy and unpredictable, has mellowed so much in her old age and is now very, very blind. But she’s developed a sweet, affectionate nature that I didn’t think possible a few years ago when we first took her. I’m so glad she’s come to live with us, and that I’ve been able to befriend her. While Husband is clearly her best friend in the world, she doesn’t seem to mind me as much and has recently taken to curling up next to my head at night to sleep when, for years, she wouldn’t even sleep in the same room as us. I love having her around, even when she gets a case of the grumps. Pets are so good for the soul.
It has been YEARS since I kept a regular journal. Back in late 2014, I started writing to Grandma and we became pen pals, exchanging multiple letters a week. I still have most of the letter she wrote me, hundreds and hundreds of them. But the thing is, I stopped keeping a journal when I started writing to her because I couldn’t bring myself to document my daily life in two different ways. After she died, I had no one to write to anymore, and I’ve finally decided to start another journal. I chose this one because the cover art reminded me of the flowering English countryside, and strangely, our time in rainy Shrewsbury, which was whimsical and full of spring flowers despite the gloomy weather. I’m really loving it. It’s so satisfying, and I love having journals to look back on later in life. So that’s a fun new thing I’m really liking.
Gosh, this post got very long! But that’s it! A few of my favorite things right now. Love to you all, and hoping you are having a restful weekend.