27 February 2014

My Favorite Things: February 2014

Ahh, February. The month in which I add another year to my age, the month in which we double-up on celebrating birthdays and Valentine’s even though we’re just emerging from the Christmas-New Years double header, the month in which all those meetings and seminars and outreach events and classes REALLY kick back in, the month in which I need it to stop snowing already, for the LOVE. It’s a month that’s usually so full of goodness, but it comes at me so quick and hard that I have trouble processing it all.

Fortunately, I managed to jot down a few notes throughout the month to remember those new things that especially made me happy. So here we go with this month’s list of favorite things! First up:

Mucinex, Sudafed, Dayquil, Nyquil, Ibuprofen...

Yes. Because at least one member of Team P has been under the weather for most of February.

While I’ve been going on about pillow covers this week here on the blog, in real life I’ve been downing every store-brand sinus-unclogging potion on the market while standing over the humidifier breathing like Darth Vader. Real talk.

Duolingo app

In theory, I’m going to Switzerland this spring. I say “in theory” because I haven’t made any headway on planning the trip other than to download Duolingo and make a half-hearted attempt to learn to speak German. This app makes learning a language into a game, and it’s FREE! Also: OWLS.

I have a bit of trouble with the lack of a lesson – it just sort of throws you in and asks you questions until you figure it out. But once I got over that, I realized it was working. Who knew we had so much learning potential that we were wasting on Candy Crush?

Seriously, I need to get my act together on planning the trip (it’s tricky because, since becoming engaged to Mr. P five years ago, I haven’t planned a single non-business trip). It’s for Lil’ C’s wedding! And thanks to this app, I’ll be able to get all over Switzerland with my mastery of the German language... in theory.

Stylebook app

If Duolingo is the app that most appealed to my intellect in February, Stylebook is the app that thrilled my obsessive organizational side. I think I might do an entire post on the Stylebook app at some point, but until then, suffice to say: Stylebook lets me catalog my wardrobe, virtually. And then I can build and save outfits, and then I can assign them to days on the calendar.

Unfortunately, this app isn’t free, but $3 is a small price to pay for the entertainment it’s provided thus far (because yes, I am entertained by virtually organizing my closet). I’m far from a fashionista, but I am a compulsive organizer with a life goal of dressing like a interesting grownup. It’s like it was made for me!

Orange is the New Black

In keeping with my habit of falling in love with pop culture no less than six months later than everyone else, I recently binge-watched OitNB on Netflix. And hey! It’s just as good as everyone said it was! The masses don’t lie!

Although admittedly, I had mixed feelings about recommending this show because... parts of it are absolutely filthy. Like, I-need-to-go-take-a-shower filthy. But hey, evoking a strong uncomfortable response can also be a sign of greatness. It’s also really amazing at character studies within a stellar ensemble cast. I’m glad I got all caught up and ready for the next season!

Pilot Uniball P-500 pens

Heck yes, I am endorsing a PEN. If you’re as into handwriting lists and schedules as I am, you’ll understand.

Someone ordered these at work, and I have fallen in love with them. I even bogarted one and taped my name on it, so that I will always have one with me. Now I need to order a box to have at home, because using any other sort of pen just will not do.

How does it feel to have a life so detail-oriented and mundane to be in love with a certain kind of pen? Not so bad, actually. Not bad at all.

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Several years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, also by Lisa See. Apparently, Dreams of Joy is a sequel to her book Shanghai Girls, both of which were written after Snow Flower. But the digital copy of Shanghai Girls was all busted and out-of-order, so I just skipped ahead to Dreams of Joy.

The story takes place during the Great Leap Forward in China, and again, it’s another work that’s fantastic at character studies. If you enjoy historical novels, this one is a good one for transporting you to another time and place, with characters that are simultaneously different from everyone you know and yet somehow, relatable.

This Sesame Street-Sherlock mashup video

I admit it. I squee’d.

Plus these links...

I had to resist the urge to re-pin every image on this Pinterest board. Not surprisingly, as it’s called “Neutralicious.”

Do you meal plan? It’s honestly the only way I know how to shop for food and cook. If you don’t meal plan, here’s a great list of tips to help you try it out. (Hat tip to Mr. P who spotted it and sent it to me with the comment, “I’m pretty sure you do all these things already, but just in case...” Correct, sir, and thank you!)

Speaking of cooking, here’s what happened when a bunch of folks held a 1950s-recipe party. That Frosted Ribbon Loaf! Whoa.

And finally, Mr. P and I spent a solid five minutes one night laughing, crying, and pantomiming this series of images. Just click and enjoy.

Happy February, dear readers! Here’s to a warmer, less crazy March ahead.


Christal said...

If you need any help with your theoretical adventures, just let me know. Gah, I really need to get cracking on your email. :-)

Stacy said...

any chance you can start labeling your 'my favorite things' posts? I always find myself searching through your posts to find books to read, apps to 'learn' and shows to watch! I am addicted to listening to books while in the lab - you have great suggestions!

Sarah said...

@Stacy, I need to, I know! I'm so behind on blog organization (and right now if I add new labels, I think it'll screw up my template). BUT I hear you! Will do, eventually! Until then, they're always at the end of the month, if you want to look at the archives by month.