This past week Oprah Winfrey announced seventy-two items that she absolutely loves on her 2014 Favorite Things list. As only Oprah can get away with (and still be seen as the woman who can relate so well to her fans) many of the items are beyond the reach of the average person’s budget. Like dog beds that are in the price range of $445-$710 (hypoallergenic, of course—in case it’s your dog with the allergy problem instead of you). She does have some less expensive items on her list, like her book What I Know For Sure; it’s only $25.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater. I’d put my own book, if I had one, on my Favorite Things list, too! I actually admire Oprah Winfrey and find her to be a classy gal who has had to endure, among other things, the media’s morbid fascination with her weight. Still, I couldn’t help but see her favorite things and think that I had at least ten favorite things that everyday, practical people could actually buy for themselves or a loved one without having to finance them through a two-years-same-as-cash deal. Besides, I always wanted to write my own version of Rodgers and Hammersteins’ My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. I even invite you to sing my list if it puts you in a cheerful mood.
In no particular order:
Costco Chocolate Chip Cookies. For the record, I can’t remember a cookie I didn’t like, but chocolate chip has to be my favorite. Emily and Erin do a great job whipping up homemade cookies from scratch, as does my mother-in-law, but if it’s going to be store bought I love the chocolate chip cookies from Costco. For one, they’re big, so I can get away with saying I only ate one cookie. They are soft and have those big, chunky chocolate chips in them. They never last very long at our house.
Holiday Printed Paper Towels. Simple? Yes. But some reason I love to pick up a roll of Bounty at Halloween or Christmas with the cute little holiday designs on them. Sometimes I have to settle for just getting the printed napkins, but either way they both make wiping countertop messes more fun somehow. It’s the little things…
60-Second Instant Nail Color. I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to painting my nails. This product lets me paint my nails and get on with life sooner without the risk of smudged polish. Of course, a gel manicure from the salon is even easier, but when I’m going to do them myself, quick-dry is the way to go. Plus, it’s a bargain compared to Oprah’s nail colors on her list—a set of nine polishes for $144. Although hers are vegan. (Why does nail polish need to be vegan? Who eats nail polish?)
Speaking of non-vegan…
Wurstmarkt. Wait, you say…a sausage supper made the list? Let me tell you, this is no ordinary church dinner. Held the first Saturday in November at Immanuel Church for over 70 years now, this meal is one you can write home about. As I’ve mentioned before, my home church is located in Ferguson, Missouri, where a lot of unrest has taken place. There was talk of cancelling the event this year due to the protests, but they ended up holding it anyway. Attendance was down from years past, but the important thing was that they carried on. The sausage, the mashed potatoes, the pie…yes, Wurstmarkt definitely makes the list.
My Nike Running hat. I bought this hat several years ago and it makes running in the cold possible for me. It’s just a plain, black hat made from lightweight, moisture wicking material—definitely not sexy, but it keeps my ears warm and holds the heat in by my noggin. Last December we ran the Hot Chocolate 5K run in a “feels like” temperature in the single digits. Between the little hand warmer packets I stuck in my gloves and my hat, I stayed warm the whole time. Can’t run without my hat in these Missouri winters.
My Keurig K-Cup Brewer. For years I saw these at Bed, Bath and Beyond and thought they were ridiculously wasteful. Then I got one for Christmas two years ago. As the only coffee drinker in the house, it’s perfect for me, because generally I only drink a cup in the morning and sometimes one in the afternoon. I love that there are tons of flavors to pick from. My favorite seasonal one is the Pumpkin Spice. When I top the coffee with some whipped cream, a squirt of caramel sundae sauce and cinnamon sugar I can close my eyes and actually pretend I’m at a Starbucks. Blissful!
Nike Structure 16 running shoes. I discovered these little gems about two years ago after coming off a foot injury that sidelined me almost two years. I am an over-pronator with a high arch, but thanks to these shoes, I was able to run and train for four half-marathons without re-injuring myself. This is coming from the person who tried cortisone shots, as well as prescription and non-prescription orthotics. They’ve since retired the Nike Structure 16, and have moved on to the newer generation, the Nike Structure 17; I give both these models the credit for allowing me to continue running. These are probably one of my more expensive “favs”, but in the long run are definitely cheaper than doctor office visits and being in pain.
My crockpot. Insert your brand/size crockpot here, but I think crockpots are God’s gift to busy families. There’s nothing like the feeling of putting your roast and veggies together in the morning and being greeted with its delicious aroma when you get home from work. All you have to do is take out the cooked food and it’s chow time. It’s like a little magic genie makes dinner for me when I’m not home. Also good for cooking up chili and soups, the crockpot is the absentee chef’s best friend. What’s not to love?
My tablet. I have a middle-of-the-road Samsung Galaxy. It is awesome. Before that, I had one of the first generations of the Nook offered by Barnes & Noble, which is an unfair comparison. I liked reading on that device, although the screen was not lit and you could only read BN book formats on it, but on my newer tablet I have apps for both Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble, so I can read either format on it. Plus it’s color. And I can play Candy Crush on it and actually see the little candies on the screen, which is much harder to do on my phone (an LG Optimus that I also enjoy).
Air Wick/Glade room freshening candles. Oprah’s list had a four-pack of holiday candles for $240. Let me offer you a more affordable option. Go to the air freshener aisle at Target or Wal-Mart and pick up either Air Wick or Glade candles. Offered in seasonal scents, they burn cleanly, last for hours and are quite the bargain at a couple bucks apiece. If you’re like me and love the scent of lemon no matter what time of year it is, you can get them on clearance after the season is over and have scented candles on the cheap. Get a little crazy and mix it up—burn pumpkin candles in April and cranberry ones in August.
So that’s it, ten of my favorite things. My list may never be printed in my own magazine or talked about on the radio, but I won’t go broke enjoying these finer things in life. There were several other favorites I had to cut, like gel pens and office supplies to narrow it down to only ten items, but I humbly realized that I’m not Oprah, so I don’t get to have 72. I also don’t have Oprah’s clout to save you 10% when you use the “DRAGONFLY” discount code. If money remains an obstacle, remember there’s always the free favorite things in which we can all agree, beginning with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.