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Stuff I Like or Copying Oprah

I’ve never really understood the impulse behind telling people what you like in the way that Oprah shouts about her favourite things.  Why should I care that Oprah likes it?  I mean, I’m not Oprah.  Perhaps if I was Oprah, it would make sense to know what Oprah likes, but I’m Melissa and unless she’s doing an episode called Melissa’s Favourite Things, I can pretty much tell you that 90% of the stuff she’s talking about will not interest me in the least.

And yet here I am writing a post about cool shit I found and things I just plain like.

I thought it would be fun to round-up a list of things that people love as we all (well, all of us in the US) drive and sit through Thanksgiving.  So if you’re looking for a distraction during the meal, feel free to jump into the comment section and peruse other people’s favourite things.  Or add your own.

So here are mine.

Mary McCartney’s Food

I am so in love with this cookbook that I’ve considered sleeping with it, tucking my arm around the cover and dreaming of her English pea soup.  The best books always come into your life by kismet.  We had gone into Books for Cooks to see what they were serving in the cafe, and as I was passing a shelf, I pulled a random book out to illustrate some point for the ChickieNob.  But it turned out to be a vegetarian cookbook!  Signed by the author!  With at least 3/4ths of the recipes looking like something I’d want to eat.  So we’ve been cooking our way through the book.  I think my favourite so far has been the Hearty Quinoa and White Bean Soup (Mary posted the recipe here).  I substituted stelline for the quinoa, but I’m going to try the grain in a future batch.  If you’re looking for a cookbook for a vegetarian, you should check out this one because it’s gorgeous.

Robbie Boyd Band

So we were walking Portobello Road, looking for thimbles (please don’t ask), and we heard this guy playing.

And though the ChickieNob and I usually like our music to be just on this side of noise, we were absolutely smitten with the song, dropped money in his cup, and took his card.

When we got home, we bought two of his EPs on iTunes and put them together to create one disc (Autumn’s Flown and Spring Generation).  And now we play this disc non-stop.  Adore is too small a word to convey the feeling in our kitchen on a Friday night, when the three of us are cooking dinner together before Josh gets home, and we have “Spring Generation” blaring and we’re all dancing and dropping sprigs of parsley on the floor (well, the dropping springs of parsley part perhaps is not loved).  Their music makes us so happy.  For the ChickieNob, it’s the first band she’s fallen in love with since the Beastie Boys.  Though she cannot bring herself to use the term “my boys” choosing instead to refer to the Robbie Boyd Band as “my jangly guitars.”

And if I had to choose a song to convey the feeling of Taking Seconds and The Other Man in musical form, it would be “I Won’t Let You Go.”  In fact, I’ve been listening to it in the morning before I start writing.  This was the song that he was playing on Portobello Road which made the ChickieNob and I fall in love with the band:

Mighty Optical Illusions

Who doesn’t love optical illusions?  Pretty much the only type of people I can think of who don’t are zombies.  So if you aren’t a zombie, you’ll probably love Mighty Optical Illusions too.  No?  Then perhaps you are part of the walking dead and you just didn’t know it yet.  If you “like” MOI (that’s Mighty Optical Illusions for those in the know) on Facebook, cool optical illusions pop up in your news feed.  Makes me so happy.

Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

I know there are some who haven’t loved her new book, but I thought it was incredible.  She manages to take a cast of dozens of unlikeable people and make you care about each and every one of them.  It’s a deep exploration of cause and effect, with each action leading to the entire community coming down like well-stacked dominoes.  It was a book I felt like I needed to own vs. borrow from the library; meaning, I will re-read this one again.

The Marrying Kind by Ken O’Neill

The Marrying Kind is unique in that it makes me laugh hysterically and in the next moment, without any schoolmarmish qualities, it makes me think.  “Laugh hysterically” is sort of an understatement.  I tried to read a section of it to Josh while I had tears steaming down my face, and all the words came out as gah gah gah and he had to keep calmly saying, “Melissa, I can’t understand you.  You need to calm down.”  And that’s a pretty amazing book if in reading it, you can’t calm down.  If I had to compare him to someone, it would be David Sedaris (especially the era of the Fuck-it Bucket) meets Carrie Bradshaw and they have a neurotic love-child.

Special K Cereal

I feel the need to qualify the brand “Special K” with “cereal” just because I wouldn’t want you to think that ketamine is my go-to meal.  I feel like it’s a cereal that few think about, that the eye passes over as it travels the shelf in search of Cheerios or Rice Krispies or Chex.  But Special K deserves another look.  It is so delicious and high in protein.  I eat it at least once a day.  It feels sad to admit that.  But it’s true.  And it makes me happy.

Our Groceries

Our Groceries is a free app for the iPhone where you can have the same shopping list on multiple phones.  Our family is obsessed with it, and the twins know to add anything they see we need to the list (and to capitalize each word as if they’re writing a title because I like the list to look orderly and it doesn’t look orderly if some people write in all lowercase and some people capitalize).  We have ours broken down into sections of the grocery store, and when you put the product (such as Special K) in your basket, you tap the entry and it gets crossed out.  And when they’re all crossed out, you tap “clear all” and the list is blank.  Plus, before opening the app, you can see how many items are on the list.  So if it’s zero, you don’t need to stop by the store.  But if you see a 1 or more on the app icon, you can click on it to see what we’re out of and whether it’s worth swinging by the food store.  Plus, it shows up on my phone AND Josh’s phone at the same time, so I can literally watch him walk around the food store and put stuff in the basket and then text him creepy messages such as: “couldn’t help but notice that you just put some sweet potatoes in your cart.  Heavy breathing.  Heavy breathing.  Heavy breathing.”

Martha Stewart Notebooks

If a person could fall in love with a notebook — and I think it’s possible — I would be in a relationship with this orange Martha Stewart notebook from Staples.  The only problem I have is that I thought it would be great to have lots of orange notebooks.  But perhaps I should have gone for a wider range of colours because now I can’t tell the notebooks apart and I don’t want to mark up the covers.  Still — perfect sized notebooks for individual projects.

Kalso Earth Solar Shoes

I have no idea why they’re listed at $130 because I paid under $40 for my pair in the store.  Most comfortable shoes ever.

What are your favourite things?  It feels so good to list them.  And who knows, maybe you’ll tell me about a new band or book or app I would have never found otherwise.


1 Chickenpig { 11.21.12 at 8:17 am }

I loved Casual Vacancy. What an amazing writer she is!

I know a little boy who would love to have that orange notebook, so thanks for that 🙂

I love to dance, cook, and load the dishwasher with my kids. My daughter is very fond of Train…me, not so much, but they are happy bippity boppedity and she is only 4.

2 Sonica { 11.21.12 at 10:27 am }

Ooooooo, I love the OurGroceries app! We have it on Blackberry, but it’s still awesome. 🙂

3 Amber { 11.21.12 at 10:27 am }

I laughed when I read the part about stalking your husband at the grocery store! I love that!

I also want to take the time to thank you for what you’ve put together on your blog. I am new to the blogging world and to ICLW, and I am constantly finding new things just from your website. I absolutely appreciate your extensive blogroll list. Thank you!

4 JustHeather { 11.21.12 at 10:59 am }

I could use a “Laugh hysterically” sort of book, it’s been a while since I laughed so hard I couldn’t get the words out to DH. But I don’t think I’ll be buying it any time soon, maybe when I visit the US next.

There isn’t anything I’m loving right now, that isn’t baby related and most of that is 2nd hand stuff. 🙂

5 Denver Laura { 11.21.12 at 11:15 am }

So what’s the format as I haven’t been sick and stayed at home to watch Oprah for years. Book, music, food, clothing?

I haven’t read a book in a couple of years since I’m deep into studying for my profession I can justify reading anything that won’t put me to sleep.

Some of my favorite things: Aeroshots. Yes I am an addict and I love those things especially since the FDA came down on them for advertizing.

Garaj Mahal is my favorite band even though they’ve broken up. I cried for an hour when I found out.

I love my pj’s from Kohls. They’re thin enough to not get wrapped up on my legs at night but warm enough to walk through the chilly house in the middle of the night.

My Lancome mascara cake. It’s $30 but it’s lasted forever and is more sanitary than the wand versions. Plus I don’t have to pull it out separate from my carry-on when flying. I love the way my lashes feel all natural too. No clumps and no red eyes.

6 Alexicographer { 11.21.12 at 12:07 pm }

Funny, I’ve been thinking about how much I love Envirosax (specifically the Reusable Shopping Bags, not the sling or the mini) and, being a celebrator of Christmas, how I want to put one in absolutely everyone’s stocking. They come in great designs, are phenomenally sturdy, and fold away to nothing (but in a way that doesn’t leave them crinkly, unlike, e.g., Chico bags). Love them.

7 Thebluestbutterfly { 11.21.12 at 12:11 pm }

I have a question about the notebook. Would it fit the standard notion of masculine if a man were carrying it around? Why I am asking is that I would like to give it as a small gift to a man whose favorite color is orange and the picture of it is not very telling.

8 Stephanie { 11.21.12 at 12:12 pm }

Lol about stalking your hubby at the store! I’ll have to remember that in case we ever get smart phones!

9 YeahScience! { 11.21.12 at 12:27 pm }

Oooooh, I love the sound of Our Groceries! So funny about Special K — my mom had to be on Ketamine when she was going through cancer treatments and she says she nearly got hooked on it, it was amazing. But I think it’s best if we all just stick to the cereal. 🙂

10 nonsequiturchica { 11.21.12 at 1:18 pm }

I’m going to have to download the Our Groceries app- that sounds like a fabulous tool for our family!

11 It Is What It Is { 11.21.12 at 1:34 pm }

The thing with Oprah’s favorite things is that she has a team that culls together 500 possible things that Oprah then ‘yays’ or ‘nays’. So, it’s the possibility that there will be something for everyone (and sometimes at an Oprah discount) that is appealing (the 30 day supply of individually wrapped, 90 calorie, 67% dark chocolate treats are one thing from her list that I will be purchasing as gifts (and they are offered at a $14 discount (still spendy, but…)).

It was very funny that one of her favorite things this year was Microsoft’s Surface…she caught flack for tweeting about it from her iPad :))

My favorite things:
My new Stella & Dot wallet http://shop.stelladot.com/style/b2c_en_us/accessories/designer-handbags-wallets/mercer-zip-wallet-black-snake.html.

It just happens to match my new Michael Kors bag, that I also love:

I also love Almay’s oil-free makeup remover pads (which I have used for years).

I love Stonewall Farm’s Maple Chipotle Grill sauce (pour over your favorite meatballs in the crock pot, on low for a couple of hours and they make THE best appetizer): http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/shop/speciality-foods/grille-sauces-marinades/131101.html

Finally, as a quick on-hand gift, I like the Corksicle (also on Oprah’s list this year, but I’ve been a fan since last year, but ): http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/corkcicle?gclid=CNOa7_zY4LMCFad_QgodhScAiw

12 Rebecca { 11.21.12 at 3:02 pm }

HI from ICLW. I have that JK Rowling book on my to read list. Was wondering how good it is. Thanks for telling us about it.

13 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.21.12 at 4:14 pm }

I’ve got Casual Vacancy on my Amazon wishlist, hoping someone in my family takes the hint.

I’m with you on most of the others (Robby Boyd and MOI, especially), except for Special K.

And Our Groceries ROCKS!

Lately, the kids and I are into fun. The band. “Some Nights” and “Carry On” are our current favorites. fun. will perform WITH Of Monsters and Men, another of our favorites, next month in our town. I SO want to take everyone (if the show is all-ages) but tickets are sold out.

14 a { 11.21.12 at 5:36 pm }

I’m reading Casual Vacancy right now! So far, I don’t particularly like or dislike anyone, but I feel sympathetic towards most of them…

I like Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao chocolate chips. They’re my favorite form of chocolate and my favorite snack.

I also like all things buffalo spiced these days…but not too hot. The Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos are yummy.

15 Mali { 11.21.12 at 6:03 pm }

It’s natural. When we love something, we want to share it. I love your list.

I blogged a list about 18 months ago. It included, in short:

– Le Creuset cookware.
– Victorinox knife
– My blue Sequoia handbag
– Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream.
– An e-reader or iPad.
– A selection of my own, personal (home-made) cards
– A picnic basket from my favourite gourmet store, stuffed with many of my favourite foods
– Bottles of my favourite wines
– A safari
Here’s the list in full: http://aseparatelife.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/my-favourite-things/

16 Casey { 11.21.12 at 6:48 pm }

Ooh I just watched that youtube video. LOVE THEM!

Have you heard Pearl & The Beard? You may like them as well. A similar vibe.

17 loribeth { 11.21.12 at 9:01 pm }

I made a list on my blog. : )


Loved the Robbie Boyd video & song. : )

18 Melissa { 11.21.12 at 9:53 pm }

I’ve recently become obsessed with http://www.kickstarter.com
Fascinating new ideas and I love being able to fund great ideas and benefit from it too!!

19 Mina { 11.22.12 at 5:02 am }

Oh what a great idea!
I love fennel. I have recently started to make stuff with it, and all are not mere food, they are gourmet items and quite easily made. Salads with either apples or oranges and pasta scampi with fennel and absinthe, to mention just my personal favourites.

Loved Casual Vacancy too. She is a very good observer of human nature and knows awfully well to describe it.

Online shopping. I really, really love it. So does my credit card company. 🙂

Ovomaltine. Although you might know it as Ovaltine. Kicks Nutella’s jar over and over.

David Lodge. Especially the campus trilogy.

New Tricks, a British tv series. Very entertaining.

20 Anna { 11.22.12 at 7:06 am }

Thanks to everybody for all of the ideas, I am enjoying looking through them between meetings today. Thanks Mel for kicking this off. I have added the books to my reading list and I enjoyed the song too, I felt as if I should be in a sunny field at a folk festival.

21 Katie { 11.22.12 at 3:11 pm }

I like New Tricks too, and I like Mumford and Sons, which you will love if you like that band.

I also love knitting and sewing. I especially like sewing cute outfits for my baby boy. Who I also love to bits.

(I do comment occasionally but this one in particular is courtesy of ICLW)

22 Amy Elaine { 11.22.12 at 6:34 pm }

I am thankful that you shared this list with us – because now I am TOTALLY smitten with The Robbie Boyd Band. Have you heard of Count this Penny or The Head & the Heart? You may enjoy them as well. Happy Thanksgiving!!! 🙂

23 christine { 11.22.12 at 9:29 pm }

That cookbook sounds like a great find! I can’t say I’ve ever found one where I wanted to cook 3/4 of what was in one :). And I’m glad to hear that someone enjoyed JK Rowlings book… I keep thinking about picking it up… So far I like what you’ve written, so maybe I’d like what you’ve read ;).

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

ICLW #38

24 Karen Sanders { 11.22.12 at 11:30 pm }

The only reason I care what Oprah likes is voyeurism. Even if my tastes were like that, I could never afford a $100 pair of pjs. Regardless of my finances, cars of one of my favorite things. I love Mustangs, Corvettes, and a Bugatti. Happy Thanksgiving!

25 FrozenOJ { 11.23.12 at 1:08 am }

I have been wanting to read the new J.K. Rowling book, but have heard so many conflicting things.

As far as my favorites, I love cranberry juice. I would drink it as my main liquid every day but that would get expensive. I love the TV show Psych. And I love Peter S. Beagle.

26 missohkay { 11.23.12 at 2:37 pm }

Certain kinds of people just love sharing what they love with other people. I am that kind of person. I’d rather share a movie I love with someone who hasn’t seen it before than see a new movie myself, for example. And now I can’t think of a single thing that’s new to me that I found worth sharing. I need some new ideas, I guess :/
Happy ICLW!

27 Azara { 11.23.12 at 11:08 pm }

I always like getting a new book tip – I’m going to go google The Marrying Kind now.

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