Posts in stuff I like
#reverb15: faves

Still doing some #reverb catch-up. I'm excited to share some of my favorite things of the year with you. I always learn from people's favorites lists whether it's books, movies, skincare products, t-shirts, music, whatever.

Columbia fleece in Blue Macaw: This wasn't new to me but I hadn't been able to wear it last year because it was too small and so I was able to rediscover it once I lost weight this year, which made me really happy. It's so warm and soft and in my favorite color, blue.

Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind: I played this album on repeat. Songs from it are littered throughout my monthly playlists, particularly this Summer.  Something about it just connected with me: the lines from Wilder Mind and the way that Marcus Mumford delivers the linesstill affect me, particularly that pause before "if you want": You can be every little thing you want nobody to know/And you can try to drown out the street below/And you can call it love/If you want

Laura Geller Color Drenched Lip Gloss in Milk Shake

Rich Argon Colour Protect Shampoo: I got a sample of this and really loved it. I've been using it as my travel shampoo and when it runs out I'll have to seek out a full sized bottle. It smells great and I like the consistency of it.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Dry Oil Mist I read a ton of lists of the best Hair Care products and this seemed to be on every single one. I love how smooth it leaves my hair and that it helps to fight the static of the winter.

Amazon Fire Tablet: I only recently got this when it was on sale on Black Friday. I wanted something that I could use when I didn't want to take my iPad Mini with me. So far I like how easy it is to borrow and get Kindle books. The biggest drawback is how quickly the battery drains, though it does charge really quickly.

Lore Podcast with Aaron Mahnke: I discovered this while teaching podcasts this semester. I was instantly enamored. I love the way Mahnke paces the stories of folklore he covers and even when I know a lot about a subject he covers, I still find something worthwhile in each episode.

I can't find a link to this Coach wristlet. My sister-in-law gave it to me and though I used other purses and wallets this year, I always come back to this one. I love the color palette and it holds everything I need except my phone. However, I do have a tendency to forget it on tables and in bathrooms, so I have to be careful to remember it or keep it attached to my wrist.

Tek Gear capri workout leggings: The ones I have are sold out, but these are similar. I lived in these this summer, really comfortable, breathable, cute.

Words on a Coaster coaster by Raygun: I stumbled into this store when I was in Kansas City this summer, and I wanted to buy the whole store but I just found the coasters really funny so I snagged a couple that now sit on my side tables.

Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates: I'd watched a few episodes of this off and on before but this year, I watched whenever I could.

#reverb 14: stuff and things

Still playing #reverb catch-up and I'm skipping a few of the prompts to speed things along and because I feel like I begin to repeat myself. Still, I'm a week behind, which I'll just carry into the new year like I did last year. For this post, I'm combining two prompts. Purging | What did you get rid of this year? Physical things you tossed out or donated? Or did you purge a bad relationship, job, etc…?

As I mentioned before, M and I made conscious efforts to purge toxic negativity from our lives. I have realized that some relationships are not worth an effort, especially if you are the only one contributing that effort. I've also realized that more than half of people's bullshit is not even close to being about you and you have to determine where the limit is of what you can manage of other people's crap. My threshold is quite low these days. Nothing makes me more furious than others trying to make me responsible for their mistakes, crazy, or poor decisions. So yeah, purging all that. And trying to avoid those kinds of relationships before they begin.

One of my biggest accomplishments in purging was finally clearing out what M and I called "the room of requirement" the spare room/office full of boxes I never unpacked. As much as I moved throughout my childhood, there always seemed to be a section of a room, a cache of boxes that went unpacked, or got labeled into plastic bins that were stored. Now the room is holding stacks of clothes I'm in the process of purging, but it's at least more usable than it was. You can actually walk into it now and turn around. I wish I'd taken a before and after picture, but then again, maybe not.

What products have you discovered this year that you love?

2014 STUFF

Stuff and Things | Things that seemed frivolous but now I'm obsessed:

a milk frother, I have the Starbucks Verismo milk frother and M has a fancy Breville one. Both are so worth it for chai tea, for hot chocolate, for an added bit of something good in your coffee. Love it!

Alex and Ani Scent 7 Hand Cream, I only have a little bit of this left because I accidentally stepped on the tube. I didn't realize it had fallen off my shelf. I love the way this smells and how soft it makes my hands feel without feeling greasy. You can bet this is on my birthday wish list.

Makeup & Skin Care:

Vichy LiftActiv and LiftActiv Nuit I've been using both of these since the summer. I got them both as part of a Glossybox and I honestly don't know whether I look more "youthful" or not; I'm only 36, after all. But I do like the way my skin has responded and the way it moisturizes without adding oil to my face. I also like that I don't have to use a lot of it.

Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio in Hyperfocal Eyeshadow trios are tough for me because I usually end up liking one or two but not all three colors. But Smashbox's trios have become a fast favorite of mine. I recently got this set and like the way these colors work together, the grey in particular.

Philosophy Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash I like that I can use this every time I shower and I feel like it has made a big difference in the oiliness of my skin. M likes it, too, and she is very picky about her face wash.


Chi Air Expert Classic Tourmaline  Ceramic 1 in Flat Iron This is the year I discovered how to use a flat iron to wave or curl or add volume to my hair. This is a life-changing thing, well at least a style changing thing.

Because of that, I discovered the importance of protecting your hair from the heat. I don't use the flat iron every day and never without using thermal protecting spray. I like this one from Redken.


Sweater Weather Wallflower or candle from Bath and Body Works, unfortunately this is only a Fall scent but it is my absolute favorite candle. It smells like Fall. I can't describe it but I am obsessed, strangely obsessed with it.

e-Cloth Eyeglass Cloth, No matter what I do, my glasses are always smudgy and dirty. I have glass cleaning cloths everywhere, my car, my office, my bedside table. My favorite one is the e-cloth eyeglass cloth because you don't need spray or special chemicals to get your glasses clean. I just run some water over my glasses and use the e-cloth to clean my glasses. It works amazingly well and I never worry about it scratching my glasses or smearing the smudges worse.

Planners to make you LOOK organized, even if you aren't

I have two confessions: I am terrible at being organized, and I love school supplies: notebooks, pens, post-it notes, planners; I'm obsessed. Classes begin next week and some of my friends' kids and relatives are heading to college for the first time. As a college instructor, I'm asked often for advice. Here's what I'd say to college freshmen, and even returning students: 1) Ask questions. When something seems confusing for you, or you aren't sure how to proceed, or if you just need further explanation, ask questions. Ask your professor to elaborate or explain that you don't fully understand a concept, or instructions. While you can rely on your classmates' for a lot of information: what pages to read, when is the assignment due, where to find resources, you can't always assume that they understand course material any better than you. So, if you remain unsure, ask your teacher. It's what we are here for, to help you build your knowledge and expand your understanding. 2) Show up. Show up to class (duh!) but also extra study sessions, to additional lab hours, to office hours (please, students visit your lonely professors who set aside time to talk to you, and while you're at it, bring them coffee). Show up prepared. Do the reading, writing, worksheet, researching that has been asked of you. When we see you are trying, we are more willing to help you along. 3) Find a time management plan that works for you. I will tell you that I'm still trying to figure how to prioritize and organize my time. It's a lifelong process, and I'm not great at it. But, I write down deadlines both in a calendar and in apps and it makes a huge difference to see visibly what I have going on and when. I'm super impressed with students who color code, highlight and organize their schedules. I may try do some of that myself this year. Whatever it takes for you to remember deadlines (here's where the syllabus and schedules become important for you) and details, use it.

Inspired by all the back-to-school planners I see advertised, I'm sharing some of my favorites.


1. Vera Bradley 2015 Student Agenda includes a notes area, stickers, schedules, conversion tables, and holidays $18

2. 2015 Original Student Calendar  developed with college students in mind includes a budget/expense planner, week-at-a-glance pages with extra room to write, space for phone numbers, test/essay results, and goals for the term. Also, for the eco-conscious, it's printed on recycled paper. $11

3. From Day to Day, 2015 Open-dated so you can start the calendar whenever you want, includes blank pages for doodles and plenty of room to write and plan, available in blue and white, $28

4. Kate Spade Set the Stage 17-month 2015 Agenda monthly and weekly calendars, laminated dividers, contacts section, interior pockets, sayings at the beginning of each month, hardcover with elastic enclosure $36

5. Gold Foil Confetti Paper Source Planner  Monthly & Weekly pages, confetti design carries over to inside pages, beautiful design $30

6. 24/7 Planner  Open-dated, includes notes section, sturdy cover, available in blue or white $30

7. Customizable May Design Notebook in Chevron & Navy. May Designs provides a customizable notebook both inside and out. You can choose colors and designs for the soft-canvas cover, and a variety of styles from monthly and weekly agendas to coloring books. The agendas also include a page for to-do lists. Depending on the level of customization and personalization, agendas range from $18-$22. The one shown here with an academic agenda of months & weeks as the inside pages would be $22.

8. Lilly Pulitzer Agenda 2015 in Multi Hot Spot. I couldn't have a list of planners without including a Lilly Pulitzer design. I see so many of my students carrying these. The one pictured is the large agenda with monthly and weekly calendars, stickers, designs throughout and a horoscope page $28

9. Sarah Pinto 2015 Academic Calendar includes monthly and weekly views, notes pages, contacts section, 3 year snapshot view for future planning $ 20

10. New York Public Library Student Calendar includes weekly and monthly grids, ability to organize by quarter or semester, contacts pages, a directory of NYPL Internet resources, publications, weights and measures with conversion tables, holiday dates for US and Canada and quotations  $10

11.Studio C Hot Chocolate Medium Weekly/Monthly Calendar   $17 12 month planner from July 2014-June 2015 including weekly and monthly calendars with a space for notes, colorful and inspiration tabs separate each month, 2 year calendar for reference includes holidays

12. Mead Large Style Student Planner  in blue dots. 12 month calendar Aug-July includes both weekly and monthly calendars with lots of writing space, student reference pages, place-keeper perforated pages,   $8

*None of these links are affiliate links and I received no compensation for linking to these various calendars.

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Because we are housesitting and have a good kitchen to work in where I can experiment with recipes, M and I have been scouring our Pinterest boards for recipes we always wanted to try and never did. Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala was high on that list. We gathered the ingredients from our big grocery shopping trip this week. Well, most of them. We needed garam masala so we headed to a local world market and then decided we'd try the chapati dough as well. When I shared these photos, many people asked for the recipe, so I thought I'd write my slightly adjusted version of the recipe so that everyone can partake in this amazing dish. (I found the original on Pinterest and you can also find it here. It smells so good while cooking that if you happen to be home while it's cooking, you will be hungry the entire day. It tastes amazing. It may be one of my favorite things I've ever made. Ingredients:

4 cloves of garlic (minced)

29 oz tomato puree

1 1/2 C plain yogurt

2 T olive oil

2 T garam masala spice mix

1 T (slightly heaped) cumin

1.5 t paprika

2 t salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1 t black pepper

1 t cayenne pepper

3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, depending on weight and how many people you’re feeding. I used 3 and it made a ton.

2 medium potatoes (depending on size, you could probably get away with using 1 potato)

1 can of chickpeas (optional)

1 cup heavy cream

2 T cornstarch

Instructions: I basically mixed the spices and puree in the crock pot instead of using mixing bowls and then pouring it in.

Mince garlic cloves and put in crock pot. Mix in tomato puree and yogurt Mix in all of the spices.

Cut chicken into large (more than bite size pieces).

Place raw chicken pieces into crockpot and stir until mixed

Peel and cut potatoes into chunks, smaller than the chicken pieces. Stir in potatoes until well coated and mixed.

Cover and cook for 8 hours on low, 4 hours on high. (I did it for 4 hours on high). About an hour before you want to eat, whisk together heavy whipping cream and corn starch (I did use a separate bowl for this). Pour into the crockpot. Add chickpeas, stir, and cook for 30-45 minutes on low. (I used this time to make jasmine rice. You could use basmati or whatever you like.) It will feed about 8-10 people, easily.


photo (12)I calculated the calories using Calorie Count and it came to around 315 a serving without the rice, which is pretty good for chicken tikka, I think.