The polar vortex, along with record-breaking frigid temperatures have resulted in 10 snow days in the past two weeks. Stir crazy and cabin fever don’t begin to describe the current situation. Normally, I don’t mind being cooped up in my own house, but that’s when staying home is my choice. Snowed-in is different.
Being homebound does have its advantages though. (Trying for a “half-full” attitude here). The time indoors has allowed me to appreciate the true comforts of home. I am adding these to my list of favorite things.
Comfort #1 — Head bands and pony tails. The hair goes up and off my face immediately upon getting home. Admittedly, not my best look but I’m home and it’s comfortable.
Comfort #2 — Sweat pants or leggings. At home, an elastic waist is mandatory. The second thing I do when coming through the door at the end of the day is change into comfy clothes. These are also known as “little clothes” in our family, according to my father-in-law.
Comfort #3 — Slippers. My husband calls them my “work shoes.” Working from a home office, slippers are definitely my preferred foot ware. I wear slippers more than any shoes in my closet. (Not admitting to the number of shoes in my collection).
Comfort #4 — Make-up free days. If it’s truly an at-home day, I take full advantage of the chance to skip the make-up. On partial at-home days, I opt for partial make-up which typically means eye-liner but no mascara.
Comfort #5 — Afternoon tea. At exactly 3 p.m. everyday for as long as I can remember, my eyelids get heavy. If anyone checked up on me at this time of the day, they’d be sure to find me sitting in front of my computer screen with my head bobbing. To combat the fatigue, I brew a strong cup of tea … green tea, following doctor’s orders.
I could probably add a few more to this list. What would you include on your list of favorite things in your home sweet home? Please share.
Even when shopping for flowers, I’m looking for the best deal. Admittedly, I was a bit late to the game in purchasing flowers for our cottage this year. A cool, late spring and surprise vacation to Ireland put me a week or two behind. I set out last Friday on a quest to find flowers to fill my pots, and the best deal.
First stop was Talma’s Celery Farm, a small family-owned flower spot with what seems like an endless amount of greenhouses. Typically, they have the best prices to be found and incredible selection of hanging baskets and fillers for pots. Strolling through the greenhouses, the hanging baskets were positively amazing, and at 3 for $30, the prices could not be beat. I picked up 3 baskets, even though I only have hanging space for two. The selection of flowers for pots was rather slim, unfortunately. I picked up as much as possible, but not enough.
To fill all of my pots, a trip to another flower source was required. Local choices include Walmart, Menards, Home Depot and Meijer. I opted for Meijer, which had an impressive collection of flowers on a visit earlier in the season.
At this point, Meijer’s selection was rather slim, too. I managed to gather enough odds and ends to fill my pots. One good thing about waiting to buy flowers, prices are reduced.
A few years ago, I challenged myself to filling my pots and hanging baskets for $100. It was rather late in season then, too. The result was some of the most beautiful flowers I’d planted in years. I ended up a bit over $100 this year. I’m optimistic my pots will flourish into a gorgeous display this year, too. I’d love to hear about and see your flowers this year. Please share your photos and best deals in comments.
I have done a few posts in the past highlighting some of my favorite things. From wine, to make up, clearance tags and most recently podcasts, I’ve shared a variety of things that strike my fancy. I’ve decided to follow this theme more often. So, you can look forward to frequent lists, reviews and suggestions of goods and services I encounter in my daily life.
One of my favorite past times is shopping. Awhile back I wrote of my love for a good deal, including a handful of tips for shopping clearance items. (Check out “My Favorite Things — Clearance Tags”) I recognize value and I’m willing to pay for quality, but most times I’m able to find what I’m looking for on sale.
The mission to find the best deal is a bit like a treasure hunt. There’s something about the satisfaction of finding an item marked down 50% or more. And, when you find such deals, it’s not something you can keep to yourself. Returning home from a sale shopping adventure, I can’t wait to bust open the bags and show off the amazing deals I landed.
Finding incredible deals has become a point of pride. So much so that when I receive a complement on something I’ve purchased, I’m quick to point out the sale price. People typically respond in disbelief and a desire to go shopping to get such a deal, too.
My most recent purchase pride point came in the renovation of the kitchen at our cottage. We committed to a strict budget for the project, which prompted me to be on high alert for the very best prices. My husband was impressed in the purchasing of new appliances.
I went to our local Sear’s Appliance Store on my quest to buy a new dishwasher, oven/stove and microwave. I am proud to report spending a total of $1,209.85. All three items were on sale, of course. The best deals to be had were on the microwave – $159.93 and dishwasher – $399.93. These prices were offered on display models. Upon inspection both were in perfect condition and being cleared out for new models. Selecting both was an easy decision. The oven/stove was an in-stock item, also on sale at 35% off the regular price at $649.99. There were cheaper models, but based on ratings and reviews, Samsung was the best choice.
I am a big fan of podcasts. Some might say I’m obsessed. On headphones or on my handy little portable speaker, a podcast is almost always playing. Someone talking in my ears has replaced the sound of music.
I could blame my oldest daughter for my latest obsession. A few years back when picking her up from law school for a holiday visit, she introduced me to “Serial”. The NPR podcast series was red-hot at the time. After consuming a few consecutive episodes, I was hooked.
The attraction to podcasts can probably be traced back further. As a child, we all loved to have a story read to us. Podcasting is storytelling at its best. I have a renewed love of a story and appreciation for how many stories there are to be told.
Podcasts are not new. They started as an outgrowth of Apple’s iPod. It was an effort to bring original programming to MP3 devices. Back then, getting access to most podcast shows was a pain, not nearly as easy as it is today. Listening to your favorite shows no longer requires the laborious steps of downloading to your computer, plugging in your iPod and then transferring.
Smartphones have made it easy to access podcasts and has grown the audience by leaps and bounds. New apps allow the opportunity to listen to shows directly. Cars equipped with Bluetooth connections play audio from smartphones through car speakers without plugging in.
The popularity of podcasts is definitely growing. Edison Research says podcast consumption is surging. People listening to podcasts every week listened to an average of five programs per week. I count myself in on these stats.
Certainly, room to grow the audience. Asking my journalism students, who has listened to a podcast recently … or ever, only a few hands raised in response. Forcing them to choose a show to give a listen, I heard lots of positive comments about talk versus music in their ears. Perhaps the audience of podcast listeners has grown, just a bit.
The library of podcasts on my phone continues to grow. Here are a few of my top three current favorites. I highly recommend adding each to your library and giving talk versus music a try. I’m eager to hear what you think. If you’re a podcast listener, I’d love to hear what’s playing in your ears.
#1 Reveal –
As stated on its website — “The Center for Investigative Reporting’s award-winning journalists hold the powerful accountable and reveal government fraud and waste of taxpayer funds, human rights violations, environmental degradation and threats to public safety. We consistently shine a bright light on injustice and protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
Their mission is noble — “We engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling to spark action, improve lives and protect our democracy.”
Launched in 1977, the organization has been serving as a watchdog for more than 40 years. Voice of REVEAL’s podcast, Host Al Letson takes his job seriously and it shows in every broadcast.
This episode: “Across the country, criminals are arming themselves in unexpected ways. In Florida, they’re stealing guns from unlocked cars and gun stores. In other places, they’re getting them from the police themselves, as cash-strapped departments sell their used weapons to buy new ones. On this episode of Reveal, we learn where criminals get their guns and what cars can teach us about gun safety.” – REVEAL
This episode: “While covering Sunday’s “Rally Against Hate” in Berkeley, California, today, Reveal host Al Letson witnessed a man being attacked by a group of protesters. The man was balled up on the ground, fending off blows from several people. Al jumped in front of the batterers, protecting the man from further injury. On this special episode of Reveal, Al talks about what happened and how the battles between right- and left-wing protesters are playing out.” REVEAL
#2 – How I Built This with Guy Raz
Guy’s voice alone will reel you into this podcast. His interviewing style and genuine curiosity about everyone’s success story is infectious.
As described on website: Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.
“Jerry Murrell’s mother used to tell him, you can always make money if you know how to make a good burger. In 1986 — after failing at a number of business ideas — Murrell opened a tiny burger joint in Northern Virginia with his four sons. Five Guys now has more than 1,400 locations worldwide and is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America.”
Jenn Hyman got the idea for Rent the Runway in 2008, after she watched her sister overspend on a new dress rather than wear an old one to a party. Jenn and her business partner built a web site where women could rent designer dresses for a fraction of the retail price. As the company grew, they dealt with problems that many female entrepreneurs face, including patronizing investors and sexual harassment. Despite these challenges, Rent The Runway now rents dresses to nearly six million women and has an annual revenue of $100 million.
#3 The Daily
This daily rundown of current news is a great way to stay informed on the latest happenings. Part of the New York Times news network, The Daily is hosted by seasoned journalist Michael Barbaro. The 20-minute podcast focuses on a top story of the day, bringing in the reporter who covered the story for an insider view. This leaves the audience knowing a bit more than most people. Each episode ends with a brief rundown of other news you need to know. Worth 20 minutes of your day.
Serial – best of the best
If you haven’t listened to a podcast yet, best place to start … Serial – season 1. There are 12 episodes. Trust me you’ll want more when done.