A list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
Hello, friends! You may have noticed that my plan to write a monthly Three Things article hasn’t really panned out (it used to be weekly – you can find them here). I’ve mentioned before that the format of Three Things has been brought over to the weekly VIP newsletter for AOC subscribers so it was hard for me to figure out what to write here on the blog. (Want to become a VIP? It’s easy! Go here to sign up and you will get the weekly newsletter AND access to the subscriber library that is updated regularly with lots of free printables!),
But I did like having a place to list some of the things I’m enjoying, including books, movies, items I’ve purchased or things we’ve done (and I know many of you did, too). So I’m switching it up and starting a new monthly series with a totally new name – THE GOOD THINGS LIST. It’s a generic enough title for me to add whatever is good that month and still gives me a place to list all the things I’d like to share with you that I think you’ll love, too. So let’s get to it!
(As always, some of the links I provide are affiliate links and I receive a small percentage if you buy through them – at no cost to you.)
First up is a vacuum. I know – not very exciting…yet. Let me tell you, though, this little vacuum has rocked our world! It’s called a Black & Decker Lightweight Compact Upright Vacuum and I first read about it on this blog (one of my favorites, btw). When we moved into the manufactured home while working on our farmhouse fixer, we all of a sudden had a lot of carpet to deal with (remember, I don’t like carpet…).
Get this: it actually works really well – it gathered a half canister of our dog’s hair from the carpet in just one part of the living room – and it’s CHEAP (by that I mean it doesn’t cost a lot, not that it’s not well made, ha!).
While all the vacuums around it on the shelf were priced at $80 to $300, this guy regularly sells for just $40. But guess what? It goes on sale – the day we walked in to buy it, it was just $25!! I still can’t believe it – what can you get today that is that cheap but actually works better than a lot of other things you’ve tried?
The only bummer is that it’s not the easiest to find. Apparently it’s only sold at Target and when we went to our Target there wasn’t even a spot for it with the vacuums (no tag or area). We almost gave up and then I spotted one box behind some other vacuums. So if you’re looking for a good, inexpensive vacuum, I’d just head to Target.com and order it there to save you the headache of trying to find it in the store.
Next up are two things I’m enjoying using in our new place that I had bought but had to wait to use (both Brian and I are enjoying using and living with our own stuff again – living without them for 15 months is sure a way to appreciate what you have!).
First is this 2-tier galvanized metal stand that I found from Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart last summer (it’s no longer available there, but this stand is similar and about the same price). I’ve seen these the last couple of years in lots of blogger pictures, usually really nicely styled with hot chocolate or coffee stations or sweet plants and cute kitchen items.
But I really wanted to use it, you know? So I’m showing it to you as it’s actually used – no pretty styling involved. Because we always have this stuff that we like to have near our table – hot sauce, salt and pepper, napkins, the jar of our after dinner chocolate, etc. – and I was looking for a way to contain it so it didn’t take up the whole kitchen peninsula.
And you know what? I think it looks great! It’s functional and makes a potentially cluttered area look organized and nice. It might not win any Instagram awards, but it sure is useful and makes me happy. Think about areas in your home that could benefit from a little”organizing” like this – it’s so easy.
The other thing is the Bubble-Up Brush and rectangle tray from Grove Collaborative. I LOVE using this little brush for big things like cookie sheets and silicone liners, plus the dishes you want washed quickly. There’s a little metal spring thing in the bottom of the Bubble Up and when you add water and a squirt of soap and then push up and down on it, it coats the brush with bubbles. So quick and easy and the brush stays dry in between uses.
The tray is just a nice way to corral things like this next to the sink – any type of platter or tray would do the same. My mason jar with the homemade foaming soap fits right next to it.
I’ve talked about Grove before, usually when there’s a promotion (there isn’t now – I just wanted to share how I’m liking this…) because I order from them often and like their stuff. If you are new to Grove still, you can get a $10 credit on a $20 order when you use this link. If you use Grove – have you gotten one of these brushes? Do you like it, too?
I also have been wanting to share about this lip color I discovered a few months ago. It’s the Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in the Lover color and it’s the first lip color I’ve ever tried that actually lasts almost all day long. And it does it without drying or flaking. And without needing a second tube of topcoat.
As we grow older (a-hem…) our lips tend to start fading and so I’ve really been happy to find something I can apply once in the morning that helps me look like I have lips all day long, whether or not I remember to put on my favorite Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Fig (which I do still like to add on top when I’m going out).
It goes on thicker than I like for everyday, so I blot it to look more natural. But for special occasions I leave it on full strength. The only thing is there aren’t a lot of colors I liked – most are just too dark or too pink. “Lover” was the only color that even remotely worked and I do wish they offered something a bit lighter and maybe browner. Maybe one day!
It’s been awhile since I shared what I was reading with you guys – I think when I listed my favorite books of 2017 was the last time. Guess what? I’ve already read and listened to 8 books since January 1! They haven’t all been amazing, but they’ve all been good. Here are the three I liked best from January’s stack:
The Austen Escape, Katherine Reay. I pretty much like anything by this author – I know it will be a fun, quick, and clean read. Honestly, nothing has been as good as her first book, Dear Mr. Knightly, but they are all interesting and deal with people and relationships that make me think. It’s nice to have authors you can count on.
Moriarty: A Novel, Anthony Horowitz. I listened to this with Brian on one of our road trips (and in the living room when we got home and needed to finish – I always feel like the families of the 30s and 40s who gathered around the radio in the evenings when we do this!) because we like Sherlock and Elementary and Brian has read all the books.
This book was sanctioned by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle family as a sort of continuation of the story, though Sherlock doesn’t make an appearance. There are a few gruesome scenes described that if you’re reading you could skip through and I didn’t know what to make of it through most of the story. I couldn’t figure out where it was going and it was just kind of, meh…until the major twist at the end brought it all to light! That really made the book, honestly. So if you like mysteries and Sherlock, I think you’ll like this, too.
When We Were The Kennedys, Monica Wood. This is a memoir of growing up in the 1960s after the author’s father died (they felt they were like the Kennedys in that way…) and it was a pretty good nostalgic picture of life in a different time. It’s also very small town and illustrates how things have changed forever for small towns like this one in Maine. There were no horrible scenes, no darkness or weirdness, just a remembering of a time I could relate to, which is probably why I liked it.
I also reread The Broken Way because I feel like I need to each year from now on. Just to remember that we’re all broken and God uses our brokenness so we shouldn’t let it undo us or define us.
So that’s it – our first installment of the Good Things List! I’d love to know what you think and what you’d like to see more of – is there anything you’d like me to review or list here?
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