Throughout the years, I have been enamored with Oprah’s favorite things. Recently, I feel it’s more of a novelty, but I remember when she used to give things out on her show. You get a car. You get a car. You get a car! I can’t do that, but for the advent season I thought I’d share some of my favorite things. These are things I currently do or did in the last year. Many of these favorite things will include links for promotions and discounts! As opposed to making a new blog entry each day, I’ll keep updating this one. Enjoy!
Below, I have the full list for your viewing pleasure. Thank you again for reading.
December 1, 2021
I’ve been on Weight Watchers on and off since last July. I’ve been consistently on it since July this year and have taken it more seriously over the last 2 months. I’ve tried a few other programs since then, but I can attribute at least 15 pounds of weight loss (and counting!) to Weight Watchers. If you do the program, you will lose weight. With that said, I wasn’t consistent because it was very difficult to stick to it. I think that things have changed since they changed their points system. I get points for eating healthy, drinking water, staying within my budget and exercise. Adding points to my weekly balance is now fun and takes the burden out of feeling like I’m only supposed to eat less. There is also a ton of support on the app as well as skills to help you long term. I believe those skills would be invaluable to anyone that feels stuck in their weightloss journey. If you’d like to try it out, use the link below. https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=4993
December 2, 2021
The Bible Recap
My best friend, Jasmine, and I have been reading short excerpts of the Bible on a daily basis. We will finish reading the whole Bible by Jan 1st. The Bible Recap makes things different by having someone, Tara Leigh Cobble, go over what you just read. This has been invaluable because she makes even the most boring parts of the Bible seem amazing. I would encourage you to look into this if you’ve never read the Bible, have been jaded by reading the Bible, or would like a new perspective. http://www.thebiblerecap.com/start
December 3, 2021
Up to the BEat Fit
This YouTube channel is amazing! I love Gina B and her passion for dance, walking, and nutrition. I’ve been walking at home for years, but needed a change. When you’re getting back into exercise, you want something that’s doable and works. Her exercises are just that. Most of all, they are fun. She incorporates walking with dance. You’ll be burning calories, enjoying great music, and learning some cool basic dance moves. My favorite is the Mama Mia video. https://youtube.com/c/UptotheBEatFit
December 4, 2021
I’ve been using this app on and off since it first launched. I would use it at home and at the end of sessions with my clients. Over the last few years, this app has EVOLVED. I used it a lot more during the pandemic and they were gracious enough to give clinicians access… I needed it for sure. It’s important to take care of yourself if you have the responsibility of caring for and treating others. There are modules for sleep, meditation, movement, and focus. I currently use the app for sleepcasts. These are calming stories with ambient noise to promote falling asleep. There’s a meditative wind down in the beginning. I’m usually knocked out after that. My favorites are Moon and Mars Buggy. Anything with Yohannes and Kessonga are great in my book. Use the link so we can be buddies on the app and zen together.
December 5, 2021
I love ANIME!!! It’s my ultimate escape.They are not cartoons. They are animated works of art… full of mature themes without the lewdness. I get my fix with Crunchyroll. It’s a subscription service like Netflix that specializes in anime. I have a few shows I’m following, but I’m excited about Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The second season just launched today and it was hot!
December 6, 2021
Yes…I’m not drinking alcohol anymore. However, there are still things in the beer community that I will stick with and this is one of them. Untappd is basically a beer social media. You make friends and rate beers. I use it to keep track of every beer I’ve had. I also use it for networking. It’s fun to informally talk about beer and learn about new brews. This is user friendly for anyone to use. You do not need to be an expert in any way. Whenever I’m at a brewery or area, I friend everyone nearby. It’s so cool to learn more about the area and people through beer. They also hold beer festivals which have the hottest breweries. As you track beers on the platform, you get discounts and promotions for beer related services. I really love this app. Most of all, I can use it alcohol free because there are so many new non-alcoholic breweries and Untappd knows to send those promotions my way. Please friend me!!!
December 7, 2021
S&B Golden Curry
When my family and I went to Japan, one of our favorite foods was Japanese curry. No offense, but it’s my favorite curry. While there, I bought a bunch of curry from Coco Ichibanya. If you find those here, please let me know. When I ran out I needed something reliable and easy to obtain. Enter Golden Curry. This curry is so good and is very easy to make. While you all are making “who knows what” with your turkey leftovers, I froze some turkey as my curry additive. This curry is perfect vegetarian and slathered over a breaded cutlet of your choice, Katsu. Even if you don’t give Golden Curry a try, I encourage you to go to a local, reputable Japanese restaurant to give Japanese curry a try. I haven’t met a person that hated it.
S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix, Hot, 7.8-Ounce (Pack of 5) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HHI3OD2/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_A9BZ365NZ369RE97PJBA?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
December 8, 2021
Murray’s Cheese Classes
During the height of the pandemic, I still wanted to do something that quenched my foodie thirst for new experiences and fine foods. Thankfully, I came across various remote guided tastings, including the Murray’s Cheese Classes. I was so excited to see these classes offered virtually, because I always wanted to go to their classes in NYC. This means you’ll be able to enjoy this in states other than New York!!! I did a few classes and they either had the cheeses paired with cocktails or wines. Even if the cheese pairing isn’t alcohol related, you can opt to purchase a beverage guide that helps you pair cheeses to your preference. The classes were very informative and fun. They were also recorded, so you could either participate live or at your convenience. The packaging was nice and the customer service was excellent. I highly recommend this for a remote girls night out or long distance date.
December 9, 2021
I don’t remember how I came across this service, but it’s awesome. Udemy offers thousands of classes. It takes it a step further because many of these classes offer certifications. With these classes and certifications, you can enrich a new hobby, start a new career path, or just learn. Learning is fun. Over the course of the year, I have bought classes in programming, Reiki, shiatsu massage, and Japanese fluency. These are definitely works in progress, but that’s completely fine because all the classes are self guided. Udemy might be a good resource when you are trying to figure out your new year resolutions. Look out for the sales!
December 10, 2021
I feel a little bad listing this because it’s local to Brooklyn, but my list would be inaccurate without missing this bakery. When I lived in Nashville I was crazy about the Cupcake Collection. I moved to NYC and it took me months to satisfy that void. One day, I asked a friend where to get a cake for a birthday party and he said that the only place to go was Mia’s Bakery. He was absolutely correct. Before I went to purchase my first cake, I bought a few cupcakes to test out the place. I was hooked!!! The red velvet cake is naturally a crowd favorite and is amazing there. However, the Mac Daddy has to be the tres leches cupcake. It’s moist and the flavor is perfect. All of the cupcakes are great. Surprisingly the incredible flavor translated to the cakes as well. I haven’t had the tres leches cake for fear that I would devour the entire cake. We have had multiple flavors without any disappointments. I really enjoy the Oreo cake. It tastes like Oreos, not some other nonsense you usually get in “Oreo” flavored cakes. If you are ever in Brooklyn… Please, please, please drop by and get a tres leches cupcake or red velvet anything so I can live vicariously through you.
December 11, 2021
Camp Kinda was a saving grace during the summer. My kids are homeschooled and we essentially do “schooling” all year, but incorporate lighter lessons during the summer. Camp Kinda offers daily content for school aged children during that time. They also offer support during the regular school year. I really like them because they have empowered me to create my own lessons as well. Please check this site out and register for their next camping session!!!
December 12, 2021
I’m not a fan of subscriptions, but I love the quality of this brand. If you’re a member, the deals are amazing. I first started getting interested in this brand to revamp my collection of fitness clothing. However, I recently learned that this brand is also my new favorite for vacation and airport wear. The clothes are comfortable and cute. Their winter selection is awesome. I can choose from looking warm and snuggly to showing a little skin. They also have clothing for men! If you’re not into online shopping, they also have many stores across the country. In fact, I made my most recent purchases after seeing how cute they were in person. Join the club!
December 13, 2021
***Feminine Product and some TMI***
This one is for the ladies and men that are in touch with what the ladies are going through. Like my dad… He used to follow me in the feminine products aisle ( aka baby aisle, aka condoms aisle, aka Depends aisle, aka aisle women are stuck in from birth), and pry about my preferences so he could get something for me or simply embarrass me. Well… Daddy… the options have changed. I first learned about these in college and I believe they were called Diva cups. Fast forward, these things have become a mainstay for me because I figured out the best time to use them. I’m on my period for mad days and around the end, there’s this weird period where I’m on, but not on… You get me? I found these times frustrating because the flow was too unpredictable. Softdics give me the flexibility to have something that’s carefree and can hold up whatever happens in those last days. Granted, you need to be comfortable with your body and what comes out of it for this to sit well with you. As for me, I love them. Its claims on the box have not failed during my specified time. I highly recommend giving this product a try.
December 14, 2021
Universal Studios Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando Premium Season Passes
We are ending this week with a double feature. My vacation spot of choice this year was Florida. I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Disney this year and watching Disney Vlogs, but this entry isn’t about that. Today is about two season passes that are worth every cent if you use them correctly.
Let’s start with the Universal Studios Resort’s premium season pass. Yes… it’s expensive, but I promise you it’s worth it if you’ll be there for a vacation and go at certain times. The real discount from the free ticket and or free admission to Halloween Horror Nights. If you use that perk, you break even if you go to both parks twice. Essentially, I broke even the second day I used it because I got a free hopper ticket for my family member, I went to both parks and I got a free Express Pass (skip the lines) for most attractions after 4pm each day. The amount of money I saved is crazy because there are other perks like discounts on purchases, free photopass, discount tickets, and free premier parking.
The other super saving sludge is the SeaWorld Orlando Premier season pass. This one is cray cray because you get 6 free guest passes to SeaWorld and can use your pass at any of the other affiliated parks like other SeaWorlds, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Sesame Place. You also get discounts on purchases, free photopass, discount tickets, and free premier parking. The other benefit is that they have random “passholder only” extended hours and discounts on packages at their food festivals. These food festivals are EVERYTHING. I mean… some of the best theme park food you’ll have and the bar is not low nowadays.
There are so many other perks that it’s worth checking them out. Yes they are expensive, but DO THE MATH. If my family is going to either of those places, I get the Premium pass and they get the basic season passes or use my guest passes.
Another loosely related splurge, that you must do, is getting that RIP pass for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando. Hands down, that’s the best way to do that event… The only way I would ever do it.
December 15, 2021
One Year No Beer
This Fall, I had some health issues. There wasn’t a direct correlation to my drinking habits, but I had a feeling that the alcohol had to go. I read about a few programs online because I knew I would need support. Alcohol was a major aspect of my life from consuming my hobbies, to being my go to for stress relief and celebrations, and being part of future career plans. I didn’t relate to AA and my story was different from a person that would identify as an “alcoholic.” I found One Year No Beer and knew it was the program for me. It fits my needs and met me where I was. After more than 60 days into this challenge,I am blown away by what this program is really about. It starts out as a way to stop drinking, but it evolves into a life changing program. My life is changing and I now have a support system of people whose lives are changing as well. Many of you may be doing a dry January and I can get you a free month of this program to get you through it. I’ll be doing it too! We’ll be goal friends. I’m also starting a blog series that has my daily reflections of my journey.
December 16, 2021
ModelCo Lash Bond Eye Liner
I love lashes. I occasionally get my lashes done, but prefer falsies most times because of the gaps I get. I’m not on top of getting the fill-ins. I also use falsies during times I need a fill in. I didn’t like the traditional method of applying eyeliner then gluing the lash on. I also tried the magnetic lashes. I found a brand I loved, but it was so difficult to remove from my lids. That made me uneasy. For the last year I’ve been using ModelCo Lash Bond Eye Liner and won’t turn back. It’s an eyeliner that you apply the lashes to. I apply the eyeliner like normal and pop any falsies right on. It has worked for me everytime.
December 17, 2021
Fasting with Sumaya
So… I loss about 30 pounds since the pandemic started and tried a lot of things to get that weight off. The post detailing my weightloss journey is coming once I get to my goal weight. I’ve loss a total of 15 pounds with Sumaya’s guidance. This may not sound like much, but I’ve done these challenges around holidays. I’ve made it through holidays and birthday celebrations without gaining weight. You’ll be reminded of how hard that is in a week or two. LOL. Independent of Sumaya, I think fasting is a great way to lose weight and get blood sugars under control. Fasting has also helped me recover faster from illnesses and has helped me get in tune with my body and it’s needs. Sumaya’s challenges just kicks it up a notch because she provides the support, guidance, community, and encouragement needed for this lifestyle change. I love her Facebook support group and her app. I recommend going all out for your first try. You may fail, but she personally contacts you and helps reorient your priorities and goals. I’ve abandoned ship many times, but it still worked and she never gave up on me. Thank you Sumaya for everything.
December 18, 2021
Mixers are important. Even in this NA AF life, I love a good adult drink. To me, an adult drink means that it quenches the palate and satisfies the taste buds. Fevertree offers the best mixers, whether you’re pairing it with vodka or a crafted non-alcoholic spirit. Honestly, I prefer to drink them on their own. My favorite flavors are ginger beer and grapefruit.
December 19, 2021
Ritual Zero Proof
I believe I put the cart before the horse yesterday. I mentioned non-alcoholic sprits. Honestly, that sounds like an oxymoron, but follow me. From what I’ve read and experienced, these solutions are made to smell, taste, and even feel like sprits. If you’re not accustomed to a flavor map I’d check out this link. That link is for beer, but you can google flavor maps for various types of alcoholic beverages and food. Essentially, this company mimics the flavors that we are accustomed to appreciating in gin, tequila, rum, and whiskey. For example, the rum alternative is described to have flavors of, ” warm vanilla, toasted spice, bitter orange, toffee, caramel.” I have to caution that I wouldn’t drink any of these spirit alternatives alone. However, they are perfect with dairy-free mixers. I initially felt the tequila alternative was meh, but I promise you that these drinks shine when substituted for alcohol in cocktails. I had a virgin margarita and added the tequila alternative. It was perfect. I highly recommend this brand because it’s straightforward as to how to use them as a substitution in drinks.
December 20, 2021
I started using Bagamour last season. I love to accessorize, but I’m not into name brands or material things. I’ll eat my money and go o experiences, but will not spend much on anything that will be trash at some point. I also don’t care for shopping. Thus, this seasonal box has been perfect for me. Before you start, you complete a survey to assess whether you’re a classic woman, everyday woman, or boho chic woman. I get the everyday woman box. Each box comes with two bags, one bag specific to your survey and another everyday “throw everything in there” bag. You also get a few accessories. I highly recommend trying this service out. I also did a video on this box. It’s my first video on my channel, so I’m super excited to break the seal on that. Again, give this box a try.
December 21, 2021
Mazi Puri Puri sauce
Ironically, this was one of Oprah’s favorite things a few years ago. I first learned about this magical sauce at a pizza making class. We mixed it into our sauce and I loved it from the first taste. This sauce has so much flavor and the right level of heat that it’s still enjoyable. The Mazi man makes all of the sauces himself and has a special way in which orders are made. I recommend trying this sauce. I’ve been using this sauce for about 6 years. I put it on everything savory.
December 22, 2021
This is another favorite thing that’s local to Brooklyn. Hands down, this is the best Thai food I’ve ever had. I have tried many Thai restaurants. Thai food is one of my go-tos when I want takeout. To this day, I haven’t found a place that hits the spot like this place. Many have come close, but Nourish Thai kills the game. My go to Thai order is Thai spicy (very very spicy) shrimp Pad Thai with extra beef and a side of Thai Iced Tea. I’ve also tried their specialty dishes and love the sauteed dishes when I’m going low carb. Their curry dishes are also on point. This place is definitely a must try.
Honorable Mentions for takeout and quick service:
December 23, 2021
This is not a gag… I love Irish Spring. I feel so clean when I use it. No matter the type of water, I know I’m going to get the best clean I can possibly get with that soap. Haters talk about it drying you out and… but I don’t care. I love this soap. I ironically don’t do well with other soaps and they burn me. Irish Spring is my old faithful. You know it’s real when you see a bar in my bag for every vacation. This may not make the list for other years, but I had to give it a shout out the first time around.
December 24, 2021
Hi. My name is Claudine and I’m a Disney-holic.
I have been absolutely obsessed with Disney over the last two years. I’ve been going to Disney World since I was young, but my infatuation really escalated during the pandemic. I started planning an ultimate Disney World vacation the January before March 2020. Needless to say it got cancelled in the way I envisioned. After the parks closed and opened again, Disney World vlogs were my refuge for mental health. I would watch All Ears and Disney Food Blog videos daily. I felt like I was at Disney or was at least able to fantasize about being there.To me, Disney World was a magical place where I just felt free and happy. Me and my family have some of our favorite memories there. I think we still talk about the Wishes fireworks show at least once a quarter. I also respect all the meticulous details that go into the Disney parks. I admire Walt Disney and his drive. I watched the Imagineering Story many times and will never pass up an episode of Walt Disney Presents. Yet, I was never satisfied. I felt I needed to watch more Disney World videos, learn more, try more food, drink more drinks, plan more trips. I never felt like I had enough. I was trying to scratch an itch that in some respects was unreachable.
…And then I went to Disneyland. In preparation for Disneyland, I continued to watch the shows mentioned above, but also added new channels to my lineup: Ordinary Adventures, Provost Park Pass, Adventures in Design, and FreshBaked. I planned a full day at Disneyland with the Park Hopper option. However, I recommend making a vacation out of it. There’s so much to do there and the neighboring cities. I couldn’t wait to go to Disneyland and wondered if it could live up to my Disney World experiences. It exceeded my expectations and is now my preferred Disney Destination. Disneyland is smaller, but there’s no shortage of rides and attractions. There were plenty of characters. I felt like I was at their homes. It felt good there. Most of all the food is Amazing. Most of the hype there is backed up. I felt like even when the hype wasn’t backed up in Disney World, I tolerated it because it’s Disney World. I was so satisfied by my Disneyland experience that I haven’t watched a vlog since returning home. I feel so complete that I can wait to go back and experience it again, fresh and excited. If you’re a Disney World fan, don’t count Disneyland out. It’s worth the trip… even for us East Coast people.
Special shout out to Edith for joining me and Arlinton on our first trip to Disneyland.
December 25, 2021
The Bible Project
Over the last 4-5 years I’ve been doing read throughs of the Bible on the Bible app. If you’ve ever done this yourself, you’d recognize that a little help putting things into context could be helpful. With every book of the Bible, I started to watch the complimentary Bible Project video. The content is great, but I also love the animations. I feel looking into the Bible Project would be a great way to learn more about the Bible and fundamental principles of the Christian faith. They even touch on some controversial topics such as heaven not being a place… Another thing that’s exciting about the Bible Project is that they are also offering free classes.