December 21, 2017 | Alyson Stanfield

My Favorite Things 2017 Edition

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.


Bert’s Eggnog

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

Foot Massager

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.

Inbox Sanity

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)

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Ladies Only

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.

Your Turn

What are some of your favorite things right now?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  

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