Favorite Things: August

As much as I am a fan of beauty products, I have many other things that I really obsess over. So I figured this could be more about my favorite things than just beauty products. Maybe a book or two? Food? Clothes? Who knows where it'll take me....

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld, Book, book review


I've been tearing through books recently. I go through phases of reading, reading, reading and then I'll go completely dry and won't touch a book for weeks or even a month. Right now, I'm juggling multiple books. When I do this, I try to choose a variety of categories or themes so I don't confuse them in my brain. Typically this looks one book that's fairly technical, a non-fiction, sci-fi or horror, and finally a fairly traditional fiction/chick lit. Currently I'm working on a Tesla biography (Margaret Cheney's...I wanted to read Wizard but couldn't find it), Book 3 of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and Emma by Jane Austen.

I've adored everything Curtis Sittenfeld has written and her topics are pretty far-reaching. Her debut, Prep, is one of the few books that accurately depicts boarding schools, followed by American Wife (read it immediately), Sisterland and so forth. So when I saw this new book on one of my many layovers trying to get out of the US, I had to get it. I also absolutely adore Jane Austen, so it was the perfect blend. The story is so well done. If you appreciate Austen or have read anything by Sittenfeld before, read this. You won't be let down.

Lakrids Liquorice

Lakrids, liquorice

I'm almost a little embarrassed by this purchase. I ordered a box of five differents kinds of this Danish liquorice and had it shipped to Belgium. Who am I?! I always grab some when I'm at the Copenhagen airport and I plowed through all of that during the Tour of Utah. So I decided I had to have more. I ordered sweet liquorice, salty liquorice, red liquorice, habanero chili liquorice and salty chili cranberry liquorice. They are all my favorites, but I would say the salty chili cranberry is a life changer. Strange, I know. (and they are all gluten free.)

Five-Minute Journal

five minute journal, five-minute journal, journaling

I've written in journal off and on for as long as I can remember. Maybe what motivates me to journal is the same part of me that writes this blog. As a kid, it was the Dear Diary kind of journaling, but as I matured, I wanted it to be more of a place to deal with problems, work through thoughts and so forth. Since moving to Belgium, I've shifted the focus more to the positives than the negatives. Over the past few months, I've been using the Five-Minute Journal, which has you write about 2-3 minutes in the morning and then another 2-3 minutes before sleep. It focuses on gratitude and positives in a way that I really enjoy on a daily basis, and I already appreciate going back and looking at where I was just days or weeks ago.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Sally Hansen, nail polish, miracle gel

I was skeptical when I first saw the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel. We've all seen the promises of chip proof or diamond strength. None of it EVER works on my fingernails. I like having my nails painted but I can't deal with the upkeep and I always manage to chip my nails within like 12 minutes of leaving the salon. There was something about this two-step polish that seemed promising. It doesn't lie...it works. I'm a total fan and have since bought several colors. I head back to the USA briefly this weekend and grabbing a few more bottles is mandatory. I can finally wear nail polish like a grown woman and not look like a kid who tried to peel it off.

Birkenstock Gizeh in Toffee

Birkenstock, josef seibel, gizeh

Shoes and my feet in general have been the bane of my existence for almost a year. Starting last August, I was struck suddenly with extreme foot pain. By September, I could no longer run and my toes had started to misalign. I've now seen more doctors than I can count and I've been diagnosed with an autoimmune form of arthritis. So far, we've handled it with light drugs, custom made orthotics and cortisone injections. 

Thanks to those orthotics, I could no longer wear any of my shoes. I had to invest in shoes that had wide toe beds and a very stiff floor bed. Basically, the most unattractive, unsexy shoes you can imagine. But I went on a hunt and during the Tour of Britain, I found an amazing brand - Josef Seibel - that makes attractive but orthotic compliant shoes. I bought four pairs and lived exclusively in those shoes for the past 12 months. One shoe that I was really missing was a sandal, but most are way too flimsy for me to wear...or too ugly. Yet these Birkenstocks were perfect (even though I don't wear my orthotics with them) and my feet aren't killing after a day of walking in them. I've basically lived in these all summer.

I definitely was not paid for any of these recommendations.