30 April 2013

My Favorite Things, April edition

Get ready, get set, because I’ve got a lot of words about the things I loved over the last thirty days. Favorite things in April: GO!


By now we’re all aware that Google Reader has dumped us, right? Like a boyfriend that we knew couldn’t be forever because he said “I don’t want anything long term” and yet! Things seemed to be going okay, so maybe he’d change his mind. I mean, sometimes he ignored our needs and wants (“Honey, that’s really asking a lot of me to make you an app”), but it was going well enough, right? So we came to depend on him. Really depend on him. Moved in with him and relied on him to buy all the groceries and pay all the bills and keep the house clean. We don’t know what we’d do without him!

Then suddenly one day he’s all “Yeah... I’m not doing this anymore. Come July, I’m out, Scout.” And we’re left empty-handed, thinking, HOW WILL I READ MY BLOGS NOW? HOW, GOOGLE READER?

Well. Feedly is my rebound boyfriend and he’s pretty great.

I think Feedly had a crush on us all along, but he was just over there being a nice guy, while Google Reader got all the girls. But then Google Reader up and left and Feedly, he’s really stepping up to the plate! Feedly imports everything from the Google Reader relationship, has an app, and is making the website easy to use and better every day (you can pin things to Pinterest from your feeds! Take that, Reader!). He’s in many ways better than Google Reader; the only downside is that he’s not a member of a prestigious family. But who cares about that when he’s great by himself?

If you don’t use a feed reader to keep up with your blogs (including this one!), give Feedly a try! And if you’re also in a bad breakup with Google Reader, let Feedly sweep you off your feet. He’s a doll.

Trader Joe’s

Okay, yes. I know. You and your grandma and everyone you know already shops at Trader Joe’s. I, however, avoided it for years because I thought it had to be more expensive than my usual store. And I didn’t see the point in braving a horrifically crowded grocery store for the privilege of paying extra money.

But I recently stopped in Trader Joe’s – for what reason, I honestly can’t remember – and I discovered... holy moly, their produce is cheap. Nearly everything in the produce department is cheaper than Schnucks, and better quality too. Most importantly: AVOCADOS. Non-organic avocados are fifty cents apiece for perfect quality. I haven’t bought a single avocado from Trader Joe’s that I didn’t immediately want to mush into my mouth.

I’m also in love with the price for snap peas (same price as Schnucks but last more than a day open in the fridge), ground beef (same price as WAL-MART and not brown in the middle), tortillas (cheaper than Schnucks and whole wheat) and goat cheese (less than half the price at Schnucks and... you guessed it... beautifully higher quality).

But after stumbling upon the cheaper prices on things I’d buy anyway, I started to explore those unique items that seem to be the reason most people like Trader Joe’s (inexpensive avocados and goat cheese is probably not quite the draw for others that it is for me). So lately I’ve been enjoying their store-brand simmer sauces, soups, wines, pastas, and... this cereal.

True story: the first time I had a bowl of this cereal, I devoured it and then immediately went back to the pantry and poured myself another bowl. A full bowl. No shame. It was that delicious.

So if you, like me, have shunned Trader Joe’s because you imagined Whole Foods prices with Black-Friday-Shopping-sized crowds... it’s worth another look (preferably on an uncrowded weeknight). The only downside is I’ve now complicated our grocery shopping with two stores, but... I’m figuring out how to resolve that.

Target metallic sandals

Last year I purchased these metallic sandals from Target and I wore them all over the dang place.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Considering I spent all of fifteen bucks on them, and they’re still holding up, I’d say that was money well spent.

But... they are looking a bit shabby. What can you expect, I walked miles and miles in them, to work and through the London drizzle and all over hot New York pavement, plus tearing up a few dance floors. And because Target metallic sandals are my go-to for wedding dancing (they can fit in your purse, yo!), I splurged on a new $15 pair for this year’s wedding lineup.

I’m saving them for weddings the like, and using last year’s pair as daily walk-to-work sandals. So now I have my everyday $15 metallic sandals and my special occasion $15 metallic sandals. And I do not even care if you are judging me for that.

Levi’s Denizen skinny jeans (also from Target)

Remember the great jeggings debate?

Yes, that. That was a few months ago. Why is this something loved in April?

Because, like the metallic sandals, I just bought a second pair of these wonderfully stylish and elastic-waistbanded jeans. WORTH IT, because I can’t find them on the Target website anymore, and they’re the best jeans I’ve owned in a while. They’re ridiculously comfortable, and even when seated, my junk remains firmly in the trunk. I’d buy a third pair but, hahaha, that would be just crazy, right? Right?

The Great Gatsby

Mr. P and I traveled a redonkulous amount in April, and when we travel, we like audiobooks. So in honor of the movie coming out next month, Mr. P chose The Great Gatsby. And not just because Stephen Colbert asked us to.

Mr. P didn’t cover it in his high school English class, and I... skimmed it. At best. Because what small-town public-schooler 21st-century sixteen-year-old is going to be fascinated by the infidelities of private-school-educated thirty-something transplanted Midwesterners living in Long Island in the 1920s? None of those small-town 21st-century sixteen-year-olds. None.

But here’s the funny thing: as an adult who now enjoys historical novels, and as a private-school-educated thirty-something transplanted from my hometown to a new city... well. Even if the characters’ actions aren’t necessarily relatable, at the very least I know what marriage feels like, and what Long Island looks like, and what women were like then compared to now. I listened all the way through the audiobook... and then immediately started it over again from the beginning. If you haven’t read it since high school, it’s worth a re-read.

Pentatonix’s Evolution of Music

And to wrap up this month’s favorites, we’ve got this from the most talented vocalists in the business:

What were your favorite things this past month, dear readers?