Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Favorite Things (#2): Jeans, Mattress Pad Heater, and Mom Products

It's time for another edition of Ten Tips/Tricks/Products/Recipes I love.  These will pop up on the blog at random because I just started keeping a list by my computer and only add things to it that are truly worthy of such a list. So whenever the list is full, I post. So here goes:

Products for Everyone 

1- Colgate Optic White Toothpaste - $3

This is another steal from mormon in manhattan. I tried it for myself and really like it. Think of it as whitening strips, meaning it didn't replace my usual toothpaste (which I also love), but this removes stains that other toothpastes don't. It says it takes a week to notice a difference, but I feel like I notice a difference every time I use it. I use it daily, including when I'm sprucing up before going out.

2- Old Navy Rockstar Jeans - Price Varies - Regular price is $34.50, but I bought at $15

Because I have to buy my clothes in tall, I'm basically limited to online sales. But buying from Gap/Old Navy/Banana is like buying stock--if you time it just right, you can make a killing. The first time I bought these jeans, I paid $15 per pair (I bought two). I bought some skinny jeans from H&M that stretch out so much during the day, they are literally falling off by the end of the day. I fell in love with Old Navy's Rockstar Jeans after wearing them time and time again and seeing how they hold their shape like expensive jeans. I've been preaching about these jeans far and wide, but was widely dismissed (I don't blame any of you--I'm not exactly the pinnacle of fashion). But suddenly I'm having trouble finding these in stock because people a little more known for their fashion sense and who could afford much more expensive jeans are being seen in them, namely Katie Holmes and Blake Lively. Told you so. Note: these run small, so if you're in between sizes, definitely go with the bigger size or even consider going a size up. Old Navy always has sales--I'd hold out for one that is at least 20 or 20% off.

3- Mattress Pad Heater 

I'd say that my favorite thing about wintertime is Christmas, but that would be a lie. My favorite thing about the winter is that's when I get to start using my mattress pad heater again. If you're the type that feels refreshed crawling into bed and laying between freezing cold sheets (my husband), you won't be interested in this. But if you're the type that loves getting into a hot bath, only to wish that hot bath was in fact a bed so you could fall asleep, read on. This thing is heavenly! I got mine from Amazon but they're everywhere. It was a bit of an investment (If you're married, you'll need the dual control option so it only heats your side), but it is so worth it. I turn it on a while before getting into bed so it warms the blanket above me, too, and if you give it enough time to preheat, it really is like getting into a warm bath. I wish I could get away with using it year round because not only does it keep me warm, it relaxes my muscles and helps me fall asleep faster. I usually turn it off once I get into bed so I don't overheat or if its really cold, I'll turn it onto a low setting and leave it on. Sooooo relaxing.

Mom Products

4 - IKEA smocks - Cheap

These are technically called baby bibs with sleeves, but they look just like those smocks kids wear for art class, so that's what I call them. I think a lot of moms already know about these, but in case you don't, they are the bomb. My little guy's been using utensils for a long time because I didn't have to stress about him making a disaster while he was learning. I just put one of these puppies on him and let him go to town. They wipe off easily or you can rinse them in the sink and let them dry. I throw them in the wash each week with his regular laundry (I usually try to take them out before the dryer, but let's be honest, I've forgotten before and they were fine). I've made do with just two, but I'm thinking I want to buy more to keep at the in-laws. Love these.

5 - Meowsic - $27 at Target 

Product Image 
So far, this is the single best toy my toddler has ever had in terms of holding his interest and staying valid throughout time. I'm not gonna lie--it has some cat songs that are really annoying at first, but you eventually get to the point where you know them all and it becomes like white noise. But for how well this keeps my guy happy/entertained, it's totally worth it. Even big kids who come to visit love this thing. It's been a really good way to introduce him to music and now he loves sitting at real pianos to jam for 15 minutes or so at a time. I'd say he's going to be the next Mozart, but he likes to sing when he plays, so he actually sounds more like Little Richard--screaming and all. :)

6 - Exergen Thermometer - $30 or less

This is one of those things that you don't think you need until you have one and then you wonder how you ever lived without it. My toddler went through a phase when he was alternating between having viruses and teething, so it seemed like he was fighting a fever every other week. I don't know what I would've done without this sucker because it made monitoring his fever so quick and easy (it swipes across the forehead for an instant readout). Plus it seems like when you're trying to wrestle your kid using a regular thermometer, what you come up with is often inaccurate. Shop sales and/or Costco and you can find one for a reasonable price (I wouldn't pay more than $30).


7 - Keeping a Water Bottle Handy (Important for Weight Loss!)


I'm going to give credit for this one to my girl Rachel who reminded me of the virtues of keeping water handy at all times. The one thing I loved about working at a desk was being able to keep a water bottle within arms reach and staying freakishly hydrated. When I was nursing, I was also pretty good about keeping water bottles full and within reach. But now that I'm out and about, I find myself going an entire day without drinking hardly any water, let alone the recommended amount. It took reminding myself of all the benefits of drinking enough water (more energy, better skin, flushing toxins out of vital organs, carrying nutrients to your cells) to get motivated to make it work. So find a big bottle that's easy for you to drink out of (I like using a squeeze water bottle because I can drink a lot of water really quickly) and keep it a place that you spend a lot of time in--I keep mine on the kitchen counter. Also, keep some smaller water bottles in the fridge, ready for you to grab when you run out the door. And keep refilling! This one is really important if you're trying to lose/maintain weight because so often we think we're hungry when we're actually just thirsty.

8 - Favicon


Did you know that little box that shows up next to your blog name in browser tabs and Google Reader is called a Favicon? And did you know that you can change it? If you have blogger, the default is a "B," but here's how to change it. I made my own little Favicon in Paint in like 90 seconds. I didn't put much thought into it, so I'm sure I'll change it someday, it was just fun to make my own.

9 - White Chili

I made my mom's white chili again this week and fell in love all over again. If you don't have a recipe you love yet, here's mine.

Tootz’s White Chili
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
½ Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
8 oz. canned chopped green chilies
2 cans great northern (white) beans, drained & rinsed
1 pound mushrooms, washed and cut in half (I only do 8 oz. because hubby’s still learning to love mushrooms. I prefer Baby Bellas in this chili, but white works, too.)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
½ cup whipping cream

-  In a large saucepan, sauté chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink.
-  Add next 10 ingredients (everything but the sour and whipping creams). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
-  Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.

    10 - You Tell Me!

 Products - What jeans do you swear by?


  Recipe Share - What recipes are a staple in your home right now?

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