You won’t find raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens on this list, though I'd argue that they are both delightful. Instead, here's a peek at the things that made me happy over the past year (or longer).
I hope you'll read and share your own favorite things in a comment.
On last year’s favorite things list, I saved the best for last. This year, I won’t make you wait.
This family recipe has made many a doubter into an eggnog convert. I’ve tried others that professed to be The Best, but they’ve never come close. I defy you to make only a single batch of it.
Luck steered my husband and me into Nopalito restaurant in San Francisco last spring. WOW! If I could live a healthy life on their totopos alone, I’d do it.
But I don’t need to wait to return to San Francisco because their cookbook had recently been released and, ever since, my husband been earning the title Chef. We have had many delicious meals from the Nopalito cookbook.
Rosemary-Mezcal Paloma Cocktail
Some people live on Mai Tais on Maui, but we lived on Palomas. If we have to have them away from that island paradise (twist our arms), we add our spin – inspired by the delicious version at Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver. We make it with smoky Mezcal instead of tequila and add homemade rosemary syrup. Heaven.
In last year’s favorite things post, I mentioned The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat–and Lose Weight Fast (2014)by Lyn-Genet Recitas. This approach to eating the foods that are right for you is right for me. Whenever I feel off-track with regard to eating (often!), I jump on her 3-day cleanse and lose a few extra pounds while gaining energy.
Both of these books were gifts from my wise coaches.
The Book of Joy
You can’t go wrong when the two main characters are His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Douglas Abrams, the author of this must-read book, brings them together for a week-long conversation in South Africa. Page after page you are reminded of our common humanity.
My copy has a lot of notes and underlining, along with plenty of tabs on the most meaningful passages for me, such as this one: “… if we can discover our role in creating the situations that upset us, we are able to reduce our feelings of frustrations and anger.”
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
I confess to falling for any productivity book or tip, but this one is different.
Duhigg, whom you may know as the author of The Power of Habit, breaks down productivity into eight key concepts. I was particularly drawn to his insights on motivation: “Self-motivation … is a choice we make because it is part of something bigger and more emotionally rewarding than the immediate task that needs doing.” Think about that for awhile.
The best part about this book is the stories he tells to punctuate his points. They will keep you turning the pages.
Gadgets & Apps
I got this Homedics Shitasu Air Pro Foot Massager (with heat) in 2016, but wanted to make sure we used it before I wrote about it. I am not a fan of extra electronic gadgets around the house, so it was a big step (no pun intended) to add this to the collection. But, boy, it’s pretty wonderful.
It’s perfect for after a hike, a night of dancing at Art Biz Breakthrough (it happened!), or a full day of cooking.
I heard about SaneBox on a podcast earlier this year and jumped on it. Now I’m completely devoted to this app that allows me to train the messages headed for my inbox.
If I’ve written the sender personally in the past, SaneBox will likely deliver it to my private inbox. Otherwise, it goes to “read later” or junk, or disappears forever into a black hole (after I’ve trained those).
At Art Biz Breakthrough we’re known to cut a rug or two and music from Jain kept us energized during the 3 days. I discovered this French singer-songwriter earlier in the year and I’ve yet to tire of listening to her.
3 Things from Our Local Running Store (even if you don’t run)
- We can never get enough of Tasc bamboo exercise clothing. Truly, I have lost count of how many Tasc shirts my husband has or how many we’ve given to my brother and our nephews. And they continue asking for more! (Love the sport bras and shirts for women, too.)
- My teenage cousin asked if I always hike in high heels. She was referring to my Hoka running shoes. The Hoka site refers to their “marshmallow, rocking chair, and bucket seat technologies.” Whatever. They are the perfect padding for my tender feet.
- Everyone in my family got a pair Oofos “recovery footwear” this Christmas. There’s everything to love about these flip flops, which makes it feel like you’re walking on air.
One Coobie bra alone will not do because at some point you have to wash it and then what do you do? Wear a different brand? No!
Melanie Kobayashi introduced me to Fabulous Lip Prime on her blog, Bag and a Beret. It’s done the trick to keep lipstick in place instead of running outside the lines, which tends to happen to us women of a certain age.
What are some of your favorite things right now?
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30 thoughts on “My Favorite Things 2017 Edition”
What a fun festive idea! I loved learning about Veganism..Alicia Silverstone’s ‘The Kind Diet’ was fantastic for me. Since then I’ve watched: What the health..and read more specific plant based books but the above started me off.
Eszter: Did you convert to veganism? Or adopt parts of it?
My free solar panels. Here in Connecticut there is a rebate program but even better, the people who did my installation, Trinity Solar, have their own program whereby clients assign the rebate to them and they take care of everything. So far the panels have generated more energy than I use. I am saving a lot because my monthly solar fee (as set in my contract) is a lot less than my electric costs had been.
You are one of my favorite art/educational things! Merry Christmas, Alyson!
Aw, thanks so much, Susan & Mary!
Just found a collections of essays by Ian Roberts – ‘Creative Authenticity: 16 principles to clarify and deepen your artistic vision’. Loving every word.
One of my all time favorite books. I don’t agree with his take on Van Gogh but regardless, a gem of a book.
Robin: Always nice to find that inspiration.
Thanks, Alyson! Hope your holidays are merry and bright! Loved all your suggestions ordered The Plan, I wear Hoka’s too, the best, and by the way, you look fabulous and will forever!
Margaret: Aw, shucks. Thank you.
I think you’re pretty healthy already. My doc (integrated medicine) is the one who recommended The Plan.
I clicked over as soon as I saw the title of this post! I’m a Bert’s Eggnog fanatic! Also, for the past 2 years I’ve been loving my new IPad Pro with Procreate and the Apple Pencil. I confess that a few artist friends have caught this particular tool lust from me!
Hmmm…procreate and Apple Pencil? Sounds intriguing!
Yay! So happy you’re enjoying the nog, Ruth.
I love my iPad Pro, too, but I’m sure I don’t use its capabilities to the extent that you do.
My top favourite for now is the research I’m doing on ghost temples of classical antiquity and their polychromy, believe me it is a bumpy road but the rewais great and very inspiring for my art. The others are watching styling and fashion the way I never did before, plus outings with friends. Happy holidays Alyson!
Gihan: That’s fun research!
This is a wonderful list! And I have made the eggnog a few times….and it is truly epic. I will never forget my skeptical brother saying ‘I must say, that is quite good’.
Thanks for this great post!!
Mary: Yay! I love hearing this!
My needle felted art is selling so well, I can’t keep up. My list includes more needle felt tools and supplies, and an alpaca or three ;).
Summer: That sounds like a “want” list. What do you already have that makes you happy? Maybe it’s the tools and supplies.
Hi ,l love hearing from you!so inspiring!l have mini..schnauzers_they are wonderful,l even paint them,one black one salt&pepper,art is rewarding when someone loves it.
Well, I DO like brown paper packages tied up with strings… but as for my favorite things… these would definitely be on the list:
naps with the beagles!
This year I’ve discovered “grounding” which literally is right in front of us. It’s about removing barriers in our daily lives and reconnecting with earth energy. Proponents say it can reduce inflammation in the body etc. I’m enjoying going barefoot in the yard more! There’s quite a bit of research out there. See http://downtoearthdocumentary.com/ or work by Dr. Stephen Sinatra, The Chopra Center. And it’s available to everyone for FREE! 🙂
I try to spend as much time as I can barefoot although at this time of year it is touch most days in Colorado.
Especially at a beach barefoot with saltwater is so beneficial.
I am happy for all my friends that helped me survive this year. I couldn’t have done it alone.
What a great post. Some of my favorite things are ice skating on lakes, my ancestral holiday tradition of Swedish tea rings, and also those OOFOs! I love the OOFOs!
My Burts Bees Mint and Eucalyptus soy wax candle! It smells amazing and makes me happy when I’m home working on my computer or in my studio. Also my Jack Richeson’s Best Dulce easel, I bought a second easel this year and I am so glad to now have one setup for large work and one setup for small work. My Masterson Sta-Wet palette keeps acrylic paints for weeks with the lid on and nearly days with the lid off, this is wonderful not having to set up a new palette of paint every day…These are a few of my favorite things!
I love train rides. Right now I am barreling on the Southwest Chief to LA then down to San Diego. Visiting a long time friend to continue our 37 yr friend ship. Visited Georgia O’Keeffe’s mountains this afternoon in New Mexico. So inspiring!
Alyson, Thank you for this! The Coolie thing is a real find!!
One of my favorite tools is the Golden Virtual Paint Mixer: https://www.goldenpaints.com/mixer
It is a great way to save on paint!!