A Few of My Favorite Things

A few days before Christmas is the perfect time to share some of my favorite things with you: business and personal tips, recipes, online email classes, and products I love.

Skip the famous eggnog recipe at the end at your own peril. Merry merry!

©Annie Salness, Candy Cane. Oil on gesso board, 8 x 10 inches. Used with permission.

©Annie Salness, Candy Cane. Oil on gesso board, 8 x 10 inches. Used with permission.

Tech and Online Stuff

IPhone Class

Emil Pakarklis offers loads of info in his complimentary video tutorial for hacking your iPhone camera: 7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features That Every Photographer Should Use. I learned a ton and I didn’t even get to all of his lessons.

Later’s IG Email Class

Later.com is an online service that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts. They also have a fantastic free e-mail course on using Instagram for Business and regular tips via email when you sign up.

It’s totally worth it to learn more about taking advantage of Instagram. Check out their blog, too.


Seize The Year Calendar

You gotta have a wall calendar by Neu Year to see the rhythm of your year. I heard about this find via Jane La Fazio who I believe got turned on to it by Patti Digh. This wall calendar is uber functional and attractive.

The clincher is the way the months run into one another instead of being compartmentalized. Oh … and the biggest twist of all: one side is vertical and the other is horizontal.

I also love that this calendar isn’t too stiff, which means that it uncurls easily when you take it out of the cylinder. I’ve wrestled with wall calendars previously for weeks trying to get them to lie flat.

Sharpie Pen Stylo

Oh, Sharpie fine point writing pens, how do I love thee?

We’re all familiar with the traditional Sharpies that come in multiple colors and tip widths, but I use these babies for everyday writing. I’m addicted. I’ve been addicted to other pens before (like this Sharpie), but I don’t see this love affair ending anytime soon.

I buy them in bulk, give as gifts, and make sure they’re everywhere I am.

©Peggi Habets, Disconnected. Watercolor, 30 x 22 inches. Used with permission.

©Peggi Habets, Disconnected. Watercolor, 30 x 22 inches. Used with permission.

Grapefruit Cleaner

Ever have something that made you want to clean MORE? Me either! Until I discovered Method’s grapefruit all-purpose cleaner.

If you like the smell of grapefruit, you’ll want to give those counters a good clean at least once a day – just for the aromatic high.

Frasier Fir Smelly Stuff by Thymes

Grapefruit is perfect most of the year, but for the holidays, it’s anything in Frasier Fir by Thymes. It started in the diffuser, but now I can’t get enough of it everywhere else.

Oils, sprays, and candles. I’m crazy for this scent!

Strange But True

I just have to share this one.

Oil Pulling

I used to bleach my teeth. No more. For at least three years I’ve been using this nutty ninja trick to whiten my teeth. It’s called oil pulling. <That article says it won’t whiten your teeth much, but I have had a different experience. It also makes my teeth feel dentist-clean.

A couple of times a week, on a good week, I put about 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth and swish for 20 minutes (this is a great time to hop in the shower).

When you’re done swishing, spit the oil in the trash can so that it doesn’t clog the drain. Brush your teeth as usual.

Instructions will tell you to use 2 tablespoons, but that’s crazy unnecessary and may just make you gag.


I’ve been gluten-free for more than ten years, so all of you GF people can count on these being safe.

Moosewood Cookbook’s Lentil Soup

My mother calls me “The Bean Queen” because I’m such a fan of legumes. Very little comfort food makes me happier than the lentil soup recipe from the original Moosewood Cookbook.

It says the herbs are optional, but do add them. I left them out for years and discovered that they’re a delightful addition.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sauce

I came across this scrumptious cheesecake recipe in a Bon Appétit magazine back in 2005 and it is a true crowd-pleaser. The pecan crust makes it naturally gluten-free.

Drizzle on the bourbon sauce or skip the cheesecake and just inject the sauce into your veins. It’s THAT good!

©Kim Smith, Here Comes Santa Claus. Oil on gesso panel, 6 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

©Kim Smith, Here Comes Santa Claus. Oil on gesso panel, 6 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips

After being on The Plan (bonus favorite thing!) this past summer, you’d think I’d be sick of pumpkin seeds, but I still say they’re magically delicious.

So, when I saw these tortilla chips at Bed Bath & Beyond, I grabbed a bag on impulse. Only later did I learn that they have honey. (I could swear my bag had cinnamon, but the ingredients list online doesn’t say that.)

Try them with plain hummus.

Bert’s Eggnog

I’ve been making eggnog converts out of my followers for years with this family recipe. You don’t have to believe me. Just try it.

This is what we sip as we open packages on Christmas morning. Yes. I said morning. Breakfast of champions!

Your Turn

Please share your favorite things from 2016 in a comment.

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