Things I’m loving lately



Great gift ideas | Such the Spot

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I’m back with another post chock full of my favorite things. Several items on my list this time would also make fabulous holiday gifts/stocking stuffers.


1. Tivo Roamio OTA — Perfect for people who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV, the Tivo Roamio is a DVR that is compatible with digital HD antennas. We cancelled DIRECTV  in September because we wanted to make more room in our budget for giving. Still, I wasn’t entirely ready to give up my favorite shows (namely Scandal and Survivor) and I most assuredly did not want to miss out on watching the Arizona Cardinals kick some major bootie this season. This little Roamio was the solution. When we let DIRECTV go, our DVR went with it and until the Roamio hit the market, there weren’t any DVR’s that worked with antennas. This one does. We’re able to record shows that our antenna picks up and watch them at our convenience (plus we can fast forward through commercials!).


2. Katarina yoga pant by Yummie by Heather Thomson – Yummie by Heather Thomson was one of the sponsor’s of the Social Media on the Sand conference I attended in October. All of the conference attendees were given a $100 gift card to purchase some of Yummie’s shapewear and try it out. I used my gift card to purchase this pair of yoga pants as well as a pair of black leggings. I absolutely love them both. I definitely notice that my Yummie yoga pants hold everything in a bit better than my other pairs. Even so, they’re not the least bit uncomfortable or constricting. They have a high waist that forms a bit of a ‘v’ shape at the top (and nicely controls the dreaded muffin top). They’re snug all the way through the hips and thighs and loosen slightly at the calf. I find myself reaching for these pants all the time. The leggings, too, are constricting without being uncomfortable. What I love most about those is that they offer more solid coverage than the cheapie pairs from Forever 21 or Target.


3. Pixi shea butter lip balm – This lip balm was one of the products that recently arrived in my Birchbox. It goes on smooth and offers moisturizing color without a sticky finish. I’ve switched from my other lipsticks to using this one almost exclusively. I’m definitely going to be ordering more before the one I have now runs out.


4. The Invention of Wings — If you’re in need of a good book to read, you need look no further. This is an amazing story about an unlikely friendship between two young girls. Sarah is a privileged white girl born into a family that owns slaves.  For her birthday, she is gifted a slave girl by the name of Handful. I won’t go into the storyline so as to save that pleasure for you, but I will say that Sue Monk Kidd masterfully entices the reader with poetic prose and a timeless story of love and sacrifice.


5. Unbroken — I know I already shared one book, but I have to share this one, too. Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian and World War II POW survivor. This book tells his amazing life story. Angelina Jolie is producing a movie based on the book that will be released next month. I’m not normally a fan of nonfiction, but this story truly captivated my attention and my heart.


6. Macadamia Oil Flawless — This was another Birchbox find. Used in place of shampoo and conditioner, this is one pretty amazing product. It’s similar to a mousse. You massage it into your hair and scalp while you’re showering and let it remain on for about five minutes before rinsing it away. The beauty, though, is that it continues to function beyond just cleansing. The manufacturer claims that it also will replace your styling products and I found that to be an accurate claim. I used just the one squirt in the shower and proceeded to blow-dry my hair straight without using any additional products. It even cut my drying time. I would be afraid that if I used it exclusively, my hair might start to have a bit of oily build-up, but I’ve used it occasionally with great success. I plan to buy a travel size version so that when I’m out and about I can get by with just the one TSA-approved bottle in place of a slew of others.


7. ZAQ Dew LiteMist Essential Oil Diffuser — I’m fairly new to using essential oils, but I’m loving the addition of them in my life. I bought this diffuser from Amazon a few months ago and have been using it consistently ever since to diffuse oils for various reasons. I diffuse lavender at bedtime for a soothing environment and and immunity blend whenever I suspect one of us is coming down with a cold. I’m super happy with this particular diffuser. It’s easy to use, efficient and inexpensive.

8. Vanilla Beans — If you’re anything like me, you probably never would have thought to order vanilla beans from Amazon. I’m here to tell you, though, that you ought to. Buying them in bulk is infinitely cheaper than paying the arm and the leg that the grocery store charges. I order a new set of these every time my current stock gets low. They keep for about six months when stored in a dry, airtight space. Added bonus: they make your mailbox smell fabulous when they’re delivered!


9. Lavatools Thermowand Instant-Read Thermometer — If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you might find yourself needing an instant-read thermometer. I love this one because it works just as well as models that cost upwards of $90 (this one is priced right around $25). I use it for bread baking, meats and candy. It was a steal and has made many of my kitchen tasks much quicker.


10. Lowepro Flipside Camera Bag — I bought this camera bag before our trip to Hawaii. I already have a 3ANNIE’S bag that I love, but I wanted something that would be more suited for hiking and this one fit the bill. It offers great protection for my equipment in a backpack format. The design is brilliant and allows for easy access while the user is outdoors. I adore this bag!


  1. Meat thermometers are a MUST for grillers. We have an excellent one by Thermapen.

    I read “Unbroken” several years and really appreciated the hero’s courage and perseverance. I don’t think I want to see the movie though. The violent images in the book were already too “real” in my mind.

  2. Yes on Amazon! I find myself comparing prices often while grocery shopping, so I know what to buy in the store and what to order. Sesame oil is usually cheaper for me on Amazon, as well as coffee pods, and specialty flavorings.

    I’ve not yet read Unbroken, though it has been in my possession for years. I thought about giving it to Annabelle. Too violent? She’s read The Hunger Games and Divergent series.

  3. Good assortment of things! There are a few of these I’m interested in trying out sometime. And amen on the online-purchased vanilla beans! I made homemade vanilla extract last year for some Christmas presents. I couldn’t have done it with grocery-store-purchased beans. I mean, I suppose I could have, but come on — on a pastor and teacher’s salary, at those prices it would’ve been like handing out gold. My amazon-purchased beans were perfect and affordable. :)

  4. I’m toying with the idea of the Vanilla Beans right now. I have seen them lately on a bunch of recipes I’ve pinned and haven’t been able to find them at an affordable price here. Love Amazon, but I didn’t think to look for them there!

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