Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best of 2007

So I love blogs that list the author's favorite products. After reading, I always end up trying one of the items listed. I've read 'best of' lists for parents, for name it. I wanted to come up with a little "best of" column for the year 2007. These aren't necessarily new products to the scene for 2007. They're new products to Mr. Pete or me this year. These are products, big or small, that enhanced our lives this year.

Swiffer if You Hear Me
Number 10: The Swiffer
I'm sure you remember this post about how Swiffers changed my life. If only I had purchased a Swiffer before we moved from the holy awfulness that was our linoleum floor in our old apartment. But now, with the expanded square footage of pergoish flooring we have all over our first floor, I have developed an even stronger relationship with our Swiffer. Just remember, the Swiffer is safe for laminate and tile flooring. The wet Swiffer is not safe for hardwood floors. The dry Swiffer, however is great for chasing dust bunnies. The handheld Swiffer is great for those dusty spots (like the 100+ year old banister in my front hallway) and great for the car too.

These Shoes Were Made for Standing
Number 9: Dansko Clogs
Just so you know, this is not going to be all about buying a new house. Other things have happened this year. Crazy things. Like (well some of this is last year too) how I spent 8+ weeks in physical therapy for two separate injuries that prevented me from getting my run on and joining Mr. Pete for the Chicago marathon. Don't worry I've learned my lesson. I can't wear two inch or more high heels to work when I'm on my feet 7 hours every day. This year, I discovered Dansko clogs. They are semi-fashionable but they really keep all ten pigs (including the two little ones...they're always squished in heals) and my feet happy.

I Was Itching for Some New Lotion
Number 7: Curel Continuous Comfort Moisturizing Lotion; Fragrance Free
I've never been a big Bath and Body Works girl. Don't get me wrong, that stuff smells great. I could tell you about a really scary story about a high school student who named the sent I was wearing as I was assisting him during class one day. But I won't. I have super sensitive skin. It's the kind of skin that dries up and falls off every winter. It's the kind of skin that my students call chronically "ashy." Anything that touches my skin in the winter time leaves a mark. Jeans that rub, a school bag that touches my hip bone, turtleneck necks. Yes, people turtleneck necks. This stuff: priceless. I first heard about it here and it's made dry Midwestern winters much more bearable. No pun intended.

She's Witty, I'm Not
Number 6:
Speaking of Curel. The first place I read about Curel was here. I'm an avid reader of the blog Amalah and she writes a weekly column for Alpha Mom called "The Advice Smackdown." Right now I'm debating with myself how I should punctuate a blog column. I'm going to trust that you won't judge me for putting quotation marks when underlining or italics are in order. This home grown beauty diva gives real advice on products she tries out in her test kitchen. She's a Sepphora junky who is not afraid to be thrifty. She's the reason I own Smashbox Primer. But that's a whole other entry.

It's not Jiffy
Number 5: Real Popcorn
Cindy, my best friend's mom, made the best popcorn in the world. My mom had long abandoned making popcorn on the stove top so, during our movie night's at her house, I inhaled this stuff. Mr. Pete and I have started making popcorn from scratch this year (if you can call making popcorn "from scratch"). We just put enough oil in the bottom of the pan to cover the bottom and drop in a few kernels while the oil heats up. Once one of the kernels pops, we drop about a fourth of a cup of kernels into the hot oil and cover with a lid. Voila, marvelous popcorn.

That Really Chaps My Lips
Number 4: Burt's Bees' Wax Chapstick
One of the worst things in the world is chapped lips. It makes me cranky.
OK, so this isn't one of this year's top finds. I found this lip treatment years ago. It takes first place followed closely by Lipsaver by Aveda. I love the minty fresh emollient texture of this great gloss. The best part? It leaves your lips looking shimmery and shiny. A great no maintenance lip treatment with some class. I keep one in my gym bag, one next to my bed, and one in my purse. Seriously. Who wouldn't trust this face?

Soak, Relax, Repeat

Number 3: Lush Bath Bombs

Buying a new house yielded all kinds of rewards: privacy, space, and a bathtub. This year, the first round of parent/teacher conferences, I asked Mr. Pete to run the tub. My bathtub experience has been revolutionized by the power of Lush Bath Bombs. They're these effervescent, sweet smelling bombs of relaxation. I've tried Sex Bomb, Green Party, and All that Jas. Don't judge my choices. They're all great.

C'mon Baby Light My Candle
2 Molly's Soy Candles
I bought these candles as Christmas gifts last year as part of a fundraiser one of my coworkers was doing. I doubled my order this year and ordered them for almost everyone on my list. I like these candles because they have a strong sent (but not obnoxious), they burn forever, and they're easy on the wallet. My favorites so far have been Holiday Cookie, Eucalyptus, and Lavender Mint. They are not the most attractive candles I've seen. They come in jelly jars with printed labels, but they smell so good.

This Ol' Juke Box
Number 1: The iHome Table Radio for iPod

This one speaks for herself. This is a great space saving music blaring device for hours of tune enjoyment. If I could recommend a few tunes to listen to on your Table Radio, I'd recommend the Snow Angel album by Over the Rhine, anything by Maroon 5, Paolo Nutini, or Mika.

I'm taking recommendations for the Best of 2008 list. I gladly accept free samples and words of wisdom. Happy New Year!

Lots of love,

Stinky Pete

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Wish I was a Little Bit Taller

Conversation overheard at Michael's today:

Grannie: What did you eat for snack after school today?
Lil One: A chocolate Christmas tree, a bag of Combos, some Cheese Puffs, and a Coke.
Grannie: Oooooh Grannie doesn't like it when you fill yourself with all that junk. That's waaaay too much food.
Lil One: But I was hungry.
Grannie: Well you can choose different snacks. And that's waayy too much food.
Lil One: But Grannie, I'm tired of being small. I eat a lot so I can get big.

Yeah me too.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Trying to be Friendly

I made a trip to the gym tonight. The gym and I have a love/hate relationship in the winter. I hate HATE to go to the gym and to change into cold clothes that have been in my car all day. I think I'd rather spend an evening with Ann Coulter (she just seems plain mean). So I muster up the energy to go, to change, and to workout. I even have to workout without my IPod because I left it charging at school. I'm thinking, 'ok, it'll be fine without music. You can be present with the people around you.' AT THE GYM.

A little context took me a few years to use the weights at my gym because I felt like there was always a swarm of meat heads hanging around. Now I just blare a little Amy Winehouse and ignore the grunting and sweating. Today, of course, I don't have my IPod. I also picked out a pair of shorts and a shirt that were just a little too tight (hence the reason I'm at the gym, duh). So when I walk out into the weight area, I take a peak in the mirror just to wiggle around a bit and to make sure I'm not a walking wedgie. This dude (you know who you are, dude in a green baseball hat) basically calls me out for looking in the mirror. Here's how it goes:
Rude dude: Checkin's yourself out in the mirror, huh.
Me: Yeah, I'm just..[mumbles something inaudible even to self]
Rude dude: Checkin yourself out, huh huh huh
Me: Hey, every body looks in the mirror
Rude dude: huh huh huh
Me: lifts weights uncomfortably, looks for chance to drop weights on dude's foot

I walk over to the other side of the gym. In between sets, I'm pausing while I doing some reclined lunges (or something) and Rude Dude returns.

Rude Dude: D'you find a mirror on the ceiling?

At this point I'm thinking A) he must be in high school B) maybe this guy just has some lousy game C) I will never go to the gym without my IPod again. Forget being present....

I do a little steaming and lifting and imagine what I could say if I were really bold. I imagine asking him if he's trying to be friendly and take the appropriate measures to educate him in the proper way to interact with others. I think about using I statements. He is still lurking around near by. I think about using cuss words. I think about super gluing his top lip to his nose. I think about showing him God's love. I think about Mr. Pete getting in his face. And then....

He apologizes. He says:"Hey, I'm sorry if I embarassed you, I was just play'n." And then I said, "It's OK, you're fine." What kind of answer is that? No superglue, no cuss words, no God's love, just some awkward wierd whatever.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


This was a VERY productive weekend. Mr. Pete and I spent most of Friday night cleaning our house. It just needed a good deep cleaning and some straightening and now it feels great. Saturday was packed: we bought our Christmas tree and did some Christmas shopping. For those of you who living in the Tri-state, it's worth the drive to Findlay market for Avoc's tree sale. We spent most of the afternoon raking leaves and planting bulbs and then we shopped until close to 11 PM. We accomplished a ton, shared a small cup of gelatto, and watched a movie. I still feel relaxed. I love it when you have a full weekend to choose what to do and I also love choosing to do things that can "check things off" the list.

We even went to church this morning with some friends. We're hoping to see this. It should like it will be great. Check it out.