White texting my best friend, Courtney, this morning, it occurred to me that I should write something with a more upbeat tone. She gave me the idea to note some of my favorite things, and so I shall, Courtney! Thanks for the suggestion.
1. Really good spinach dip. I think a good spinach dip can make or break a restaurant or party. Not too cheesy or watery…just the right combination of spinach, artichoke, cheese and possibly spice. I am more a fan of hot spinach dip, but at a Super Bowl party once, I had cold dip that I could have inhaled the entire batch… I think I left a little for others, not too sure. 🙂 Here are a few places to check out:
Columbia, SC: http://www.harpersgroup.com/
Boston: http://www.hillstone.com/ (Houston’s)
Chicago: Still working on finding it…
2. Really comfortable work-out clothing. I don’t think I need to explain this one. I will give the credit, though, to my boyfriend, who introduced me to Under Armour. Just try it, you’ll see why once you start your routine… http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/
3. Soft sheets. I would recommend going at least 300 thread count or higher. I have a bit of a fancy for new sheets (and towels for that matter). I usually stick to 2 basic colors, white or deep red, but you can pick what you like. TJ Maxx usually has marked down Ralph Lauren sheets or www.thecomapanystore.com ALWAYS has an amazing selection. Don’t ever go cheap on sheets. Sleeping is the one time you are rewarding your body- make it count.
4. A really full and spicy (maybe even chocolaty) red wine or a buttery Chardonnay. Right now I am taking a little hiatus from the drinking game, but if I chose to have some wine with dinner, these would be my options. Once, while having dinner at the Capital Grille, the waitress took a liking to our table, and she kept bringing samples of wine for me to taste. I was a big fan. I’d name some brands that I like, but I don’t want to discriminate.
5. Fresh seafood. I don’t think I need to explain this one. You know when you’ve had fresh seafood vs. frozen and thawed out.
6. Good “butt” jeans. My personal faves: http://www.1921jeans.com/ and http://www.truereligionbrandjeans.com/ Nothing relaxes a girl more than when she is comfortable and FEELS sexy.
7. High heels. I think last I counted, I had about 50 pairs of high heels. Of course, most of them I have not worn or seen, as Chicago likes to keep winter 9 months of the year, but I have them! I don’t care if its a boot, sandal, stiletto, sling-back, or traditional heel- I’ll wear it. My favorite are a pair of tan leather pep-toe mary-janes (I believe they are Steve Madden). They almost look like ballroom dancing shoes. They are old-world and fun..and go with everything. When I figure out how to put pictures on here, I’ll post one of them! I get more compliments in these than any other shoe I own. I recommend keeping your eye out for a pair!
8. A perfect-fitting blazer. Mine is a navy, pin-striped Calvin Klein. It matches my dress clothes and looks sharp with a pair of jeans. This is a staple in my wardrobe, and I don’t think it will ever go out of style.
9. A good spin instructor. I had the most AMAZING spin instructor once, and then he moved! He could get the group moving 100 MPH, without even realizing it, because he was motivating you the whole time. Yelling things such as “you can do it,” “believe in yourself,” “put everything that is bothering you into this workout and release it as the workout stops,” you know the drill. It was those positive affirmations that kept you thinking about becoming a better YOU, and not the fact that you would probably be sore for a week after class. He played fun, upbeat music (sometimes even Broadway tunes), and he would sing to us! It is probably the most annoying class in the world, if you are not someone who can let-go and have fun, while you work out, but if you can go with the flow- he was the best. Brian, I miss you! If you find that instructor (of any exercise class) who can inspire you, while they exercise, hold on tight. When they leave, going to other instructors is like getting the imitation store brand of a product; it works, and is fine, but it’s just not as good…and you feel like something is missing.
10. A really good book. Nothing takes away stresses and daily this-and-thats than the company of a good book. I read pretty quickly, so it’s expensive for me to have this habit- and I have no idea where a library is close to me, but I love to read. I love to escape and get involved in the characters adventures and/or feelings. You get to have a movie in your head and do all the casting yourself! My biggest annoyance of reading, thou, is when the book ends. I always want the story to be longer than it is- and want to know what happens next. I also can’t stand when an author I finally decide I can read anything by, changes his tune or writing style. David Sedaris was my FAVORITE author…and then all of a sudden his books became less funny, and then his last was flat out horrible. I am actually in the market for a new book. Hmm…
11. A hot bath. I can take a bath any time of day, for any reason. I love to sit in the hot water, close my eyes and just relax. Relaxing is hard for me, and besides reading, this is the only other activity that allows me to do so. Bath salts or Epsom salts are AMAZING if you have access to them. I know they sell Epsom salts for $1.99 at a drug store. I highly suggest picking some up. It’s like a miracle soak. Epsom salts help with sore joints, bruising, stress, etc. If you can find a salt with a eucalyptus or jasmine scent- heaven.
Well, that is all I can think of for right now. I’m sure I will think of more and add to this, but everything on this list has my highest respect- and best of all- gives me a smile. Have you ever sat down and thought about things that make you happy? Thanks for the suggestion, Courtney, you put some sun into this very foggy Chicago day.