Saturday, September 15, 2012

Current Craves

I am always on the lookout for fun items for us and our home - whether it be office supplies, clothes, apps, decor, and even books/movies/tv shows we enjoy.  I thought it would be fun to start a monthly sharing session to call out things we are digging or are looking forward to, or items on our wish lists :)

Here's the first installment of our current craves...
1.  Tom's - I've resisted this trend so far, even though the shoes are minimalistic and classic.  The problem has been the demographic I've seen wearing them - these are not my people.  Also (and this may make me sound hypocritical because what am I doing for the world?) but instead of donating a pair of flimsy shoes to a child in some remote village, how about spending some money to install wells so they have fresh water?  How about contribute to some vaccinations so children in 2012 don't die from influenza?    I'm not really selling the shoes, I guess - haha.  I can't deny that they look extremely comfortable and in spite of myself, I WANT A PAIR!
2.  Veronica Mars - SOAPNET recently added this show to its weekend 'Breakfast in Bed,' sandwiched between Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill reruns, and I LOVE it!  Veronica's dad used to be sherrif, but when he accused the richest man in town of murder he was ousted, and became a private investigator.  This job change meant he and his daughter, Veronica, were no longer '09'ers (zip code: 90209) and moved to the other side of the tracks.  Veronica is precocious, brilliant, and snarky, and uses her dad's business and her own sleuthiness (is that a word?) to help solve the shenanigans that happen to her and her friends/classmates.  We've seen a ton of episodes via SOAPNET, but I want to start from the beginning and figure out this Lily/Aaron Echols business!
3.  Farmer's Market candle - This week has been our first taste of fall!  On Sunday we had the windows  and the deck door open to let some fresh air in and let out all the germies that have been cooped up in the house all summer!  I broke out my favorite Yankee scent, Farmer's Market, and am already plotting some Country Baby adventures this fall!  This candle smells like everything I love about fall - leaves, pumpkins, baking, apples, honey, and the other sundry smells that combine when you walk into that open-air barn on a crisp October morning...
4.  BagIt! - This is my go-to app when I'm waiting somewhere in line or have some time to kill between work/school or am waiting for water to boil for dinner. :)  Bag grocery items, avoid crushing the eggs, and then they throw some special challenges in like making sure each bag is at least 60% full or fitting all the customer's groceries into 1 bag as efficiently as possible!
5.  Earbud tin - I found this gem on Etsy the other day and I need it.  I have a pair of headphones dedicated to my work bag (Warning:  #firstworldproblem approaching) and they get all tangled up in the pocket with pens, post-its, my iPhone charger, and my desk key.  So this little tin would be the perfect solution!  Wind the earphones up tight and put them in, safe and sound. :)
6.  Ally Condie's Matched Trilogy - when I finished Hunger Games, Dr. Mo recommended this series as a natural follow up.  It has the same distopian culture as the Hunger Games but in this series, the "Society"controls where you live, what you do for a living, how you spend your recreational time, and for the teenagers - with whom they spend their lives.  On your 17th birthday, a matching ceremony is held, and the face of your future mate flashes on the big screen.  But for Cassia, the matching process doesn't go as planned, and she starts to question everything she knows about the Society and their rules.  

I'm almost finished with the first book, and have already checked out the second from the library.  The last in the trilogy comes out in November.  I love this series so much, and can't wait to find out which path Cassia chooses!  Based on the book covers alone (green, blue, then red, in order - the colors represent the colors of the 3 pills each Society member is required to carry with them at all times.  Green to keep you calm, blue to sustain you if resources are low, and red - still a mystery but they think it's a death pill), it appears she breaks out of her sheltered world and fights for what she wants - makes sense, but I'm sure it just won't be that easy.  The love triangle doesn't hurt, either ;)

  1. Unblock Me:  This was one of the first apps I downloaded when I got the iPod Touch. It’s simple to learn but hard to complete. Whenever I’m running large queries at work, waiting on someone or something, or just need time to exercise my brain, I pull out this app and play. I love how there’s so many possible puzzles with varying levels of difficulty, but all with the same goal and same basic setup. To date, I’ve completed all of the beginner and intermediate levels, and am around 70/800 into the advanced ones.
  2. The Hunger Games Trilogy:  One of the reasons that it has taken me a long time to read “Then They Came For Me” was the growing popularity of the Hunger Games books. I was hesitant to start them at first, thinking they were on par with the Twilight series, but my attitude changed quickly once I started the first book. Kristen was engrossed in one of her school semesters, and had planned on rewarding herself upon completion of it by reading the Hunger Games, so I knew I needed to finish them quickly. I’ve enjoyed stories that have strong, female leads, and love stories where characters sacrifice or endanger themselves to save someone else (*cough*Buffy*cough*) so naturally I became engrossed in the trilogy quickly. I can’t remember the last book I have read where I will consistently get upset and cry over the death of a character, but I have teared up almost every time I have read the book or seen the movie. Even the theatrical trailer evokes strong emotions in me.
  3. Then They Came For Me:  I first heard about this book on an interview with the author, Maziar Bahari, and knew immediately that I wanted to read it. Growing up in the 80’s, Ayatollah Khomeini was the first real-world Big Bad that I was aware of, but didn’t know much more than he was involved with taking American hostages in Iran. The book “Then They Came For Me” is a non-fiction piece about a journalist who was imprisoned and tortured in Evin Prison under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and whose father and sister had also been imprisoned and tortured under earlier regimes, like Khomeini. Iran has always been painted as this mysterious, harsh, and evil place, and now as an adult I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to know more about it from a more informed source, namely a highly-educated citizen of Iran who understands western culture, and even wrote for western publications like Newsweek. Sadly, I am still not finished with the book and am embarrassed with how long it has taken me to read, but what I have taken away from it so far is that the cultural biases and misunderstandings that I had growing up about different are not exclusive to me, and seeing how ignorant even high ranking members of the Iranian government can be makes me question my outlook on other cultures, and how misinformed I have been since childhood.
  4.  Growing up, Cracked magazine was one of my favorite publications. It was a great blend of satire, pop culture, and immaturity (and just dirty enough that my parents tolerated me reading the material.) The online version is much different, as it relies on outside contribution and doesn’t put out parodies like “The Umpire Strikes Back” (or was it “The Empire Strikes Out”? I forget which one was MAD magazine.) By far, though, the most entertaining section for me is their Photoplasty articles, where contributors create images based on weekly topics, like “If Famous Products Were Honest About their Original Uses” or “14 Website Mergers We Wish Would Happen.” Submission quality ranges from something slapped together in MS Paint, to images that could’ve been done by professional graphic artists, to intricate animated gifs; but even the most childishly rendered submission can crack a smile or even send me into hysterics if the message is clear enough.
  5. Tylenol Cough and Cold:  I hate being sick – that tickle-scratch at the back of your throat that signals the imminent upcoming cold is one of the worst feelings in the world. I can’t ignore cold symptoms that interfere with basic daily functions, like breathing, eating/drinking, or listening. Twice a year when winter changes to spring and summer changes to fall I get an ear-nose-throat infection that renders me useless. What I love about the Blue Stuff (as it has come to be known in our house) is the immediate relief that it offers, especially for coughs. Most lozenges don’t help me too much as they take too long to dissolve and don’t suppress the cough that makes my throat sore. Blue Stuff not only stops my cough but it also cools down my irritated throat. I know my wife doesn’t like it, but when I’m sick it’s the first thing I will get to deal with how uncomfortable and inhospitable I know I’m going to be for the next few days or weeks.

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