True story that does actually relate to this post:
The summer after my sophomore year in college, I worked as a hostess at a Bill Knapps restaurant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. For the uninitiated (which you'll remain...Bill closed his doors decades ago), Bill Knapps was a chain of family-friendly sit-down restaurants known for its au gratin potatoes, chocolate birthday cake, and servers who were trained to carry a ridiculous number of plates to a table by lining them up on their arms.
In the middle of one weekday afternoon--otherwise known as "the time when no one is supposed to come in so the staff can get ready for the dinner rush"--a tour bus pulled up. Our skeleton staff cursed (I mean, not me, but other people) and moaned (me) and grumbled (all of us) about the hassle during our down time and began running around to set up one of the back dining rooms. The bus people came in, and one aggressive-type man unceremoniously slid himself into a front booth.
"Sir," our manager-trainee told him with as much sternness as someone who looked about 12 and possibly had not yet started shaving could muster, "you have to wait to be seated." Mr. Seat-Himself replied snidely, "Oh, we have to wait to be seated."
"Follow me," I told the group and led them back to the tables we'd hastily prepped. After they were seated, I returned to the front to finish some thrilling task like rolling silverware, when one of the waitresses (her arm permanently scarred from all those hot plates) whispered to me, "Wasn't that Julie Andrews?"
Oh. My. Word. I, a lifelong choir geek and devotee of musical theater who knew every song from A Sound of Music and could even kind of do the yodeling bit from "The Lonely Goatherd," had unknowingly and haphazardly seated Fraulein Maria herself. And Mr. Seat-Himself was none other than Blake Edwards, Julie's big-time actor/director/producer husband.
I was too reticent to ask for an autograph, but I can tell you that Julie/Maria had the tuna melt. I guess that was one of her favorite things...no idea how she felt about raindrops on roses, et al.
Which brings me (you're welcome) to this list of ten of my new favorite things. If you need a snack or something to wash your face with or a refreshing drink or inspiring music or a foodie movie, you might find a game-changer here. There'll be no tuna melts, however.
1. Belvita Dark Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits. I was already a big fan of these whole-grain breakfast/snacking "biscuits." But then they started sandwiching them together with dark chocolate, and my morning happiness quotient went up about 500 percent. My daughters like them, too, and if there's one thing a house with teenage daughters needs in the morning, it's more things they like.
2. Gracelaced. My baby sister is turning 40 this year, and as soon as she sent me a birthday gift idea from this site, I was hooked. Gorgeous prints and greeting cards, recipes, a blog...all in all, a beautiful place to get lost sometime. Everything here is so beguiling, in fact, that when my sister's gift arrived in the mail, even the "please do not bend" request printed on the package was beautiful.
3. Noxema Anti-Blemish Daily Scrub. Fabulous skin is not one of my areas of giftedness, which is why I'm thankful for this cleanser. Unlike similar products that make you feel like you're rubbing your face with coarse sandpaper, this is gentle but with enough scrubbing power to make you feel like you're accomplishing something. Plus, it smells great. In the world of rotten skin, it's the little things that make a difference.
4. Audiomachine. I have to thank my daughter's friend, Caleb, for bringing these next two favorites into my life. Caleb (God bless and keep him...he left a couple weeks ago for Navy boot camp) is a big music lover, and I'll always be grateful he introduced me to Audiomachine. If your life were an epic movie, this is the music you'd want as the soundtrack. Put this long-playing YouTube video on in the background of whatever you've got going on today. You'll feel like you're starring in your own life.
(And yes, I'm well aware your life is not like an epic movie but rather more like a reality TV show with THIS as its theme song...)
5. Bai Antioxidant Infusion in coconut pineapple. Caleb (see #4) also brought these low-calorie, no-artificial-sweetener flavored waters to our attention. Drinking this coconut-pineapple version is exactly like sipping a pina colada on a beach in Maui, except without the calories or the cost of airfare. (Okay, also without the beach or the Maui, but still.)
6. I'm Happy For You (Sort of...Not Really), by Kay Wills Wyma. Comparison and the discontent it breeds are Ongoing Life Issues for me, so I'm thankful (sort of...no, really) to my blogging kindred-spirit Tracey from Girls to Grow for making me aware of this book by putting it on one of her insightful reading lists.
7. Thirty-One purse. My friend Cristina, a Thirty-One consultant of the highest fabulousness, carried this purse--I mean, "Organizing Shoulder Bag"--into Starbucks when we met one day for caffeinated fellowship. I said I loved it. Soon thereafter, she (being a great sort of friend) texted my husband and asked if he wanted her to order it for him to give me for my upcoming birthday. He (being a smart sort of husband) immediately said, "Yes, and how much do I make the check out for?" It arrived on my doorstep shortly thereafter, and how I survived so long in life before I had this is beyond me.
8. The Hundred-Foot Journey. My favorite foodie movie in years. Beautiful, funny, inspiring, and worth watching more than once. Note: you might want to be eating Indian food while you watch this if you like that sort of thing.
9. Pasture Bedtime (A Cautionary Tale), Jenny H. Lyman. Heads up, people in my life who might someday have a baby: you WILL be getting this adorable and brilliantly punny book--and matching clothing from Lazy One--from me as a gift. I promise: this is a very, very good thing.
10. Oreo Thins (Mint). All the snappy chocolate-mint goodness of the famously addictive Girl Scout cookies, but in a version you can pay for in the self-checkout lane at 3 a.m. at one of those 24-hour grocery stores.
So these are some of the newish things I'm loving these days.
What's one of your new favorite things? Share the love in a comment or over on Facebook. And if you try anything from my little list and it changes your life,
I'd love to know about that, too.
**This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.**