Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Favorite Things '12 (aka What I'm Thankful For This Year)...

It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, right? Oprah already released her Favorite Things list for the year, so I don't think it's too crazy to move mine up a little this year. Besides, with Halloween officially behind us, stores have long since replaced their pumpkins with plastic Santas, and sales will be following suit. Admittedly, I try pretty hard to make this list about a variety of things-- not just the material-- but this year it leaned a little more traditionally, as I mostly just took cues from my rarely used Pinterest board...

Muubaa Alexis Drape Suede Jacket (as seen on Up All Night). I love me a good leather jacket. Seriously, I am the Emma Swan in my circle of friends. But after awhile, all of the leather jackets start to look alike, and certain designers start using a faux leather to appease PETA or whatever, and I just want something different. I fell in love with Reagan's (Christina Applegate) fall frock a few weeks back and scoured the internet to find it-- and now that I realize no American retailers have it in stock for me to try on (and looking at the price tag), I'm searching for a copy cat. 

Novelty candy stores. Dylan's opened up at The Grove, and though it's completely overpriced and out of my way, I am a sucker for filling those plastic bags with the weirdest combo of dark chocolate malted balls, chocolate covered cookie dough bites, gummy cola bottles, sour gummy cola bottles, and sea salt caramel chews. And then there's the time capsule candy, the international candy, the seasonal candy, the giant cookies, and the marshmallow shooters.

Napoleon's Macarons. Cupcakes were the "it" dessert a few years ago, and then came cake pops, but now it's macarons, and at first I wasn't psyched to get on-board with what I saw to be a slightly healthier sweet craze. But this brand in particular knows how to do them right! Fluffy and crisp on the outside, the creamy filling is thicker than a Double Stuff Oreo and always fresh. The Intense Chocolate flavor tastes like you're eating a truffle, but the simple Almond reminds me of marzipan and therefore has a soft spot with me. If you invite me to your holiday party this year, expect a big box of these as my contribution (I never show up without a baked good!). Besides, they're willing to deliver!

Sutton Place Hotel beds. I was up in Vancouver twice this fall for work-- both times spending 8+ hours on sets and then rushing back to write up articles based on interviews I had gotten that day or other news items breaking around my visit. This may not seem like a lot of work-- or even very stressful-- but it's an adjustment from my usual "lounge on the couch in PJs" work-style. Besides, whenever I'm in a hotel, my routine is thrown out of whack. But I could not be more thankful for the amazing mattresses and super soft comforters of the Sutton Place Hotel. The hotel is beautiful for a lot of reasons (and their weekend Chocoholic Buffet is not to be missed, as well!), but it is the little things that give me the most excitement, and the comfort of passing out into what felt like a cloud...well, I should have stolen the mattress tag so I could have bought one for myself at home!

Collector's Edition Television DVD/Blu-Ray Sets from Childhood Faves. About eight Christmases ago, when I was in college, I saw an ad on television for The Carol Burnett Show DVD collection from TimeLife. It was one of those special QVC type orders where they were advertising limited production and limited time to scoop up the ones they did have to offer. I called in my order, but it never went through. My credit card was never charged, and I never received anything. I didn't run, yelling 'Scam!' through the streets (I wasn't charged, after all), but I did mope about my loss for awhile. I wanted those skits more than anything. Then earlier this year I received a press release stating that a new Collector's Edition featuring 50 episodes and Carol's Favorites was coming to DVD. The episodes were remastered where they could be. They featured song and dance numbers I had never seen, a handful of celebrity guests, and the full, original air-version of classics like "Mama Plays Sorry" and "As The Stomach Turns" and "Gone with the Wind." Growing up, I had only seen these cut down for television specials, but now not only could I watch them whenever I wanted, but I could appreciate them as they were always intended to be seen! Similarly, Friends was just released in a special edition Blu-Ray featuring brand new documentaries, producer's cuts of episodes, and other commentary about everyone's favorite sitcom. I am a sucker for a quiet weekend in, marathoning things that never fail to make me laugh, and these are two of the best for that! 

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. I hate to clean. Seriously, no one dislikes that task more than I do. I know it can be a good work out, and blah blah blah... But with these, cleaning is so easy it's almost a game. I bought a pack on a whim when my usual shower cleaner was out of stock, and after doing only half the wall, the difference was both uncanny and a little disgusting. Seriously, I had no idea I had let it get so out of hand. But these little make-up looking sponges remove every fleck of dirt, grim, and general dusty, musty, old-ness. 

Madison Chandler. I'm thankful he's as self-sufficient and well-adjusted as he is. I can go on a business trip and leave him home alone, with my neighbor checking in on him twice a day to change his food and pee pads, and know that when I come home after two days or a full week, he won't have torn up the house or turned feral. I'm also thankful he's such a good sport when it comes to posing for photos-- no matter the location, costumes, props, or amount of shots I make him take because I don't like how *I* look in the end result.

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