A list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Hello! I'm so excited for March, are you? Bring on spring - the flowers, gardening, and hopefully warmer weather! The plan for March is to start the bones of the new vegetable garden, try to move along with the foundation fix for the farmhouse (taking a really long time for a number of reasons I'll share later…) - and make our first visit to Austin, Texas!
I have a blogging conference at the end of the month in Austin and Brian's coming along so we can make a week-long vacation out of it. Neither of us have ever been to Austin - or Texas - so we're really looking forward to it. Oh - and we'll rent a car and drive to…Waco! Yep, I'm going to make the pilgrimage to The Silos just like so many others have. But I don't care - I really want to go and see what it's all about. What about you - would you go if you were only 2 hours away?
I heard from many of you that you enjoyed the first Good Things List - I hope you enjoy this one, too, as much as I enjoy putting them together for you!
I thought I'd start off with one of our favorite healthy "fast food" places to eat: Baja Fresh. Just in case you're like me who thought it was just like Taco Bell and never tried it until a girlfriend suggested it for lunch one time a few years ago. Wow, a taco for $3 and free chips and salsa? This is my kind of place!
Everything else is more expensive, it's the a la carte tacos that are around $3, depending on the protein choice. With that you get a large container of the free chips and access to their terrific salsa bar. One Americano taco (flour tortilla with lettuce/vegetables) or Baja Taco (corn tortilla slaw) with the chips and salsa is perfect for me and Brian gets two. So we can eat out for around $10 - and are really satisfied, too.
Do you like Baja Fresh, too?
When we sold our home in 2016, our 15-year-old front loading washer and dryer barely made it to the move-out day. They were broken and making a lot of noise. So I researched and decided on a top loading machine for one main reason: to be able to soak our slipcovers and other large items. Even though the new energy efficient models have so-so reviews when it comes to cleaning, the pros outweighed the cons (plus you can find plenty of reviews of people who say they clean better than anything!).
We had to wait a month for them but they finally came a couple weeks ago. I went with these models:
- LG ENERGY STAR® 4.5 cu. ft. Ultra Large Capacity High Efficiency Top Load Washer with Front Control Design
- LG ENERGY STAR® 7.3 cu. ft. Ultra-Large Capacity High Efficiency Front Control Dryer
I chose LG over Samsung because it consistently rated better with customers (one shared that their appliance repair man said they refer to Samsung as "sam suck" a-hem - no offense if you own the brand and like it, though!). A few reviewers said the front controls would turn on when you bend in to grab the clothes, but I don't see how that's possible when the power's off - and it's off if the lid is up.
So far I'm happy with them - there are options to fill with more water if you want your clothes submerged and it automatically adjusts to whatever load you have. I have seen some soap residue on air-dried clothes, though, so I'm planning on uploading my own cycle one day to see if I can find a sweet spot for most of our items (is that modern technology or what?).
What washer and dryer do you have and are you happy with it?
I ordered some spring-ish pillows from H&M (you may remember that it's my favorite place for inexpensive but quality pillows). They are a dusty green, 20x20" zippered pillow cover from their "conscious" line which is supposed to be sustainable and eco-friendly. And were only $5.99 each. LOVE.
There are a ton of other options, though - look through their pillow offerings here to see if you can find one you like!
February was all about audiobooks - and listening to my new discovery, Wendell Berry's Port William series (I spent the whole month actually reading a Kindle book that I didn't finish until March 4…). I LOVE this series (which if you listen to the Podcast, you heard me talk about in Episode 26's Cool Things) - the simple, easy way he writes of the people and this fictional town just evokes so many wonderful feelings. Joy, nostalgia, heartache, and the pleasures of family and friends. And that there are so many books where you can learn more about the people you meet in each one, I just want to keep reading - it's like binge-reading, ha!
I started with Hannah Coulter, which remains my favorite, so if you haven't read the series before I'd highly recommend starting with this book. Hannah simply tells the story of her life looking back as an old woman and you see Port William and it's inhabitants through her eyes, so it spans many decades and events. The others I've read are:
- Nathan Coulter - I thought this would be more from Hannah's husband's point of view, but it was just a short novel of him as a boy. I didn't really care for this one - it had some unpleasant scenes in it of boys just being mean. And also didn't really seem to tell much about Port William like the other books do.
- Jayber Crow - this is some people's favorite Port William book and while I liked it, I didn't think it was as good as Hannah's story. There are themes of faith lost and found as well as loneliness and the importance of friends over the course of Jayber's life as he looks back.
- A Place on Earth - All the other books were written in first person from the title character's point of view, but this book is in third person, so you get to meet a lot of people and see into their lives and loves. This takes place in the 1940s and had the only story that I've teared up over so far - it was a thing I didn't see coming at all. Which I guess is just like real life sometimes.
Brian and I also listened to Michael Crichton's The Great Train Robbery together, which isn't a novel - it's actually a true story of an incredible event: the first robbery of a moving train 1850's London. I just love stories that seem like fiction but are true - makes it that much more amazing.
We've been watching Longmire since it's second season when it was on A&E and were so glad when Netflix picked it up. It's been just as good. We've started watching the sixth (and final I just read!) season last week - while I'll be sad to see it go, it seems to be winding up it's stories and is a good place to end. Do you watch this?
We also saw Black Panther last week and enjoyed it a lot. I'm not sure it's that much "more" than other Marvel movies as I read, but it was good and nice to see African culture portrayed positively in a movie. If you've seen it, what did you think?
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List! I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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