03 January 2013

My Favorite Things: December edition

Can I tell you how great you make me feel for a minute, dear readers? Please? Here, have two vignettes.

Vignette the first: In my family, shopping for Christmas is straightforward and foolproof. We each check everyone else’s Amazon wish list, and then buy them exactly those items. Okay, it’s not creative, but everyone gets what they want! And this year, what did my mom want? It so happened that her Christmas wish list was filled with items I’ve written about here on the blog: books, cosmetics, jewelry, even hazelnut hot chocolate. I’ll be honest, in my tiny corner of the world, I suddenly felt like an influential stylista. So of course, I bought her those things, because I liked them and I already said she’d like them too!

Vignette the second: A few days ago, a college friend slash current blog reader posted on facebook that she’s reading Gone Girl. And she’s loving it, annnd she thanked me for the recommendation. Squee! You guys! We are all liking the same things!

So even though we’re already several days into January, I’d like to look back and tell you about my favorite things in December! I’m happy because I like them, you’re happy because you’ll like them too, and I’m happy because you’re happy. Boom!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really been digging:

Grocery deli rotisserie chicken

Hey, remember when I told you about the time my mom nearly traumatized me by having me carry chicken bones to school for some sort of (obvious ill-conceived) gifted program lesson? Honestly, I am still freaked out by chicken bones. The few times I tried preparing bone-in chicken, I ended up getting all hot and nauseated and eschewing whatever I’d just made for a peanut butter sandwich or, more frequently, nothing at all.

But recently I started conquering my fear and discovering, to my delight, that bone-in chicken, specifically rotisserie chicken, is delicious – but ONLY IF I am not the one preparing it. I’ve started meal-planning a rotisserie chicken on grocery day; we eat the thighs and wings that night, which allows me to prepare a more elaborate side dish (that’s where the roasted butternut squash and goat cheese biscuits came in). Then I shred the rest for tacos or stew. Surprisingly, carving and shredding the chicken isn’t so bad after all (probably because most of the icky stuff aside from the bones has been removed already), and bonus: one six-dollar bird can provide two meals for two, plus leftovers.

I think I may be the last person in the world to jump on the rotisserie chicken bandwagon, but if you haven’t yet, join me! (Becca, you mentioned this not a week after I fell HARD for rotisserie chicken... did you try it yet?!)

Kid Snippets

OMG you guys. If you know me in real life, I have probably already tried to convince you to watch these. Even if you know me only from the blog, you’ve already heard me mention these once. But I can’t resist telling you again how much I love these videos. The premise is simple: little skits of adults acting out an unscripted (but prompted) conversation between kids. The result makes me giggle and clap EVERY TIME. Here are some of my favorites:

I imagine that this is Mr. P’s every day.

My current favorite thing to do: say “Sooo, do you want the penguin?” as a non-sequitur at the end of any problem-solving conversation

But really, you can’t go wrong with any of them (so long as it’s Kid Snippets. Kid History is not as funny). I’d show you more, but you can check them out for yourself! No worries, you can spend all morning watching Kid Snippets videos! They’re really the best possible use of your time.

Moonrise Kingdom

Like the rotisserie chicken, I may be the last person in world for whom this is new. I’d wanted to see Wes Anderson’s latest work of art when it was released in theatres, but drug my feet. So when we finally got it at home (thanks to our Flix from the Net provider), I carved out a Friday night to watch it... and did nothing else BUT watch it. Seriously, I don’t ever sit still and watch a movie for two hours straight at home. Ever! So that should be the ringingest endorsement yet. Go, watch it before the Oscar buzz reaches critical mass!

Yeah, Girl, Yeah playlist from Mighty Girl

Maggie Mason is in many ways my style role model – no, life role model. And she can make a mad playlist. This one is designed for getting ready for a girl’s night out, but honestly, I listen to it (via Spotify) when I’m getting ready for work. I don’t know what that means about me that I get pumped for work like most people get pumped for a night out, but there you have it.

This American Life app

Confession: each and every year, Ira Glass asks me – a fiercely loyal This American Life listener – to drop a few bucks their way to cover the cost of providing their excellent radio show to me over the internet. Each and every year, I bite my lip... and do nothing.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that when I found the TAL app, I was a little grumbly about the cost. Three bucks? You want me to pay for this app? The radio show is free. You can stream all the episodes from the website for free on a computer. Pay? Wha? Gahhhh okay fine you can have my three dollars.

I am so, so glad I gave in because this is the BEST APP EVER. No, wait. Best three dollars ever spent on anything.

It’s my own library of EVERY TAL EPISODE EVER, sorted by date, available for me to stream. Plus I can download one episode at a time for offline listening, perfect for my walk to work. In the few weeks I’ve owned it, I’ve probably listened to twenty new-to-me episodes. It’s a gold mine. It makes me – stingy, horrible me – want to buy it like five more times, it’s so good. If you like TAL, it’s a must-have, and if you’re new to TAL, it’s a must-try. Promise you’ll love it.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I mentioned this book in passing yesterday, but in case you missed it, here’s the audiobook we “read” while traveling for Christmas this year. It’s a bit more geeky than my usual picks; I’d make a jab about how of course it is, Mr. P picked it except... I liked it too, duh. It’s a “quest” story, using modern conveniences to solve an old puzzle, mixed with likable characters and philosophical ponderings on technology and progress. Oh, and a very thorough discussion of fonts, which you know I loved. A light read worth reading!

And now for a new favorite thing that I’ve been totally keeping secret…


Received in mid-December by one Mr. P, who was sympathetic to my dying laptop battery on my four-year-old MacBook pro. It’s so fast and light and wonderful – perfect for traveling and the occasions that I carry a laptop to work for a presentation (about once a month or so). Plus it’s great to have a spiffy new computer to bring you the blog each day! If you are in the market for a laptop, and spend most of your time doing the basics (word processing, email, and – let’s be honest – facebooking), you don’t need anything fancier or heavier. Go for the Air, it’s fab!

Finally, we closed out December with:

Dores win the Music City Bowl!

First nine-win season since 1915, baby! We were there in 2008 for the last Music City bowl victory (at the end of a seven-win season, the first in a loonnng time)...

... and we debated making the trip this year, but we had so much traveling alreeaaady that we skipped it. Fortunately instagrammer @vanderbiltu helped me feel like I was there (photo credit 100% to them)!

I think I would volunteer to be the exclamation point.

Oh, Coach Franklin, with your class and tenacity and winningness. You are so on my dream dinner party list. Right up there with Stephen Colbert and Michelle Obama. High five! Anchor down!

What made you happy in December, dear readers? Any good Christmas presents to share? I’m still enjoying mine here in January, so I’ll spill those beans next month!


Miranda said...

I'm sure the rest of your post was nice, but I never made it passed Kid Snippets...still watching

Tina said...

LOL, Miranda - I know! It was my new favorite thing to do for a couple days after she mentioned it the first time... right when I should've been Christmas prepping - but somehow I still feel it was time well-spent. ;-)

Mary Beth said...

Gone Girl was an excellent book! I had a few people warn me not to read it before I got married, but I did anyway! I couldn't put it down. Also, I've been trying to get Alan into audiobooks, but to no avail. They make him sleepy. So instead, we listened to 80s on 8 the whole way (8 hours) to Charleston.

Betty Becca said...

Oh my! My first mention on another blog...how exciting! I read it and thought, "She can't be talking about me!"

No, I haven't braved the rotisserie chicken yet. I'm glad to hear that you're having good results. It inspires me to try it out soon!

Sarah said...

@Mary Beth - I count myself super fortunate that Mr. P likes audiobooks, because I HAVE to have "talking" for long car trips. 80s on 8 for 8 hours sounds like 8 hours of sleep for me!

@Betty Becca - Haha, I should comment on your blog more so it's not creepy when I mention you out of the blue, huh? ;) Good luck when you try the chicken! I don't know that I'll ever graduate to roasting a whole chicken myself, so if you get that brave I'll need some tips!

Betty Becca said...

Umm...I'm so the same way. I read everything in Google Reader, which doesn't lend to good commenting behavior.

You're welcome to guest post on BettyBecca in 2013. Are you up for it?

Sarah said...

@Betty Becca - But guest posting is for real bloggers, not people like me who just dump their brains on the internet! Oh my, I'm flattered :) Sure, I'd be happy to contribute, if you're willing to accept my brand of run-on sentences and self-deprecation on your fancy blog!