Dana came up with this idea, inspired by Oprah, and I was instantly on board because who doesn’t want to be like Oprah? She is a force for good in this world!
So here’s my list. You may notice that they all come with links. That’s because we want our Favorite Things list to be a two way street: we share things we think are awesome with our readers AND support our favorite businesses by giving them love on the blog. Dana and I get nothing but the satisfaction of knowing we brought people together, which really makes us happy. Win-Win-Win!
Listen, I am serious about my coffee. SERIOUS. And I will tell you there is not much good coffee in this world. Most coffee is passable. So when I say this is the best coffee ever, I’m not foolin’. Door County’s Christmas blend is everything good about the holidays. We buy it on October 1 and drink it straight through til New Year’s. I can also vouch for their hazelnut, breakfast blend, harvest blend and French roast. If you like coffee, try the Christmas blend. You won’t be sorry.
Goat Milk Stuff
We’ve had this company listed on the resources page of the website, but they need a special mention. This is a completely family run enterprise out of Pennsylvania. PJ is the mom and with her husband and kids, they raise and milk the goats, make the soap, cut and cure the soap, run a store and a website, plus multiple blogs and podcasts. They’ve been on the Dr. Oz show and here’s why: their soap is pure and healthy, a giant chemical-free step away from store brands. In our family, using this soap has meant saying goodbye to eczema and acne, and we need less lotion in the wintertime. The bars are huge and last a good 4-6 weeks. I recommend the problem skin pack for first timers, especially with skin issues. But my current favorite is the cranberry spice. And oh my goodness, the lotion stick in Pink Sugary is divine.
Old 2 Chic
In the category of “Wish I’d Thought of This”, one of our school moms, Erin Mathews, has started a business finding and refinishing wooden frames and furniture from garage sales in Sun City. This is a stroke of brilliance, because Sun City is a retirement community that has existed for over 60 years. You know, back when furniture was made out of wood? She scores these pieces at ridiculous prices and then turns them around with her chic sense of repurposing at wonderful prices. She made these for me to hang between the kid’s rooms for messages and a place to display their work (so I can find the door to my refrigerator again…).
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Old2chic
Six months ago, I made the full time switch in my car to this nationwide Christian station after Kate was becoming a wee bit too enamored of Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Shea and I enjoy music, so I was reluctant at first. I like Church music as much as the next person, but I can’t do heavy organ and choirs all the time. No fear, this is a rock station, with a bit of pop and hip-hop mixed in. Honestly, who knew? No commercials and no politics, completely listener supported and an 800 number for anyone needing prayer. Love, love, love, especially when my kids are belting out this song.
Shabby Shoe Signs
Disclaimer: Karen and Jim Shoemaker, the owners of this company, are my sister’s-in-law…sister-in-law’s… parents. But that means I can personally testify that they are wonderful people with incredible talent. Their signs are wood, handmade, handpainted and cute as can be. Not MDF. Not canvas prints that look like wood. The real thing. They have lots and lots of suggested signs on the website, but she is very willing to try and accommodate any quote. And the family signs are such great keepsakes. Just in time for newlyweds, new parents, and Christmas.
Think Dirty and Skin Deep
Hold on, now. These companies have created apps for your phone that allow you to shoot the bar codes of your favorite cosmetics, lotions and personal care products. Then the app tells you how “dirty” they are—as in cancer-causing, hormone disrupting, reproductive system affecting dirty.
Think Dirty is located in Canada, with 12,000 products in their database and a way to add products that have not been graded for review. They are iPhone only at this point, but assured me that an Android app is coming.
Skin Deep is a product of the Environmental Working Group here in the US. They have 72,000 products and a way to add info for products that have not been graded. They are iPhone and Android compatible.
This is the kind of intelligent consumer information we should have at our fingertips. I already see women shooting barcodes in Target and walking away from stuff that comes up dirty. If enough of us walk away from products, companies will be forced to get cleaner.
And if you think your Loreal, Aveda, Desert Essence and Herbal Essence are clean, think again.
The Truth About the Nutcracker
Kate’s dance company, Dunamix (Temecula, CA) does a Christian interpretation of the classical ballet. This year’s performance is December 21 at 2 and 6 pm at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore. Another disclaimer: haven’t seen it yet. But based on this year’s recital and the rehearsals I’ve been seeing, it’s going to be one of my favorite things right after Kate and I go see it!