The Happy List is overflowing this month! I can’t even fit everything in that is making me smile these days, but I’ll try! In fact, I got so excited, I even made a video! (Click here if you can’t see it above) These are not sponsored items – these are items I either bought in daily life or products for review that were sent to me in the mail.
1. New photo studio!
I’ll have a separate post on this showing the floor tutorial and such, but I couldn’t wait to show off the first pictures! It’s still a work-in-progress, but I’ve already made two videos there and love the idea of having a designated space to film and shoot still photography.
2. OttLite for the win!
The kind folks at OttLite sent me some nice desk lamps not only for crafting, but also for the new studio. This one is called the Spin and Store Desk Lamp and I use it for my craft table – my favorite feature is the magnifying glass connected to the base. They also sent me two task lamps that are perfect for either side of my light box for still photography! I started using OttLites a few years back, and they really do make a huge difference in lighting. I don’t use any other brand. I do everything from embroidery to painting and it sure is nice to always have a bright clear light that doesn’t give off a yellow cast. I can make sure all my color choices are on point!
3. Two new Mexican Cookbooks!
I’m excited to test my cooking skills thanks to these two new books I picked up! Both feature gorgeous photos, and recipes that cover the spectrum of skill sets – and both are by serious Mexican foodies and cooks! Mexico: The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte is the book on the left. And the other book – Eat Mexico: Recipes From Mexico City’s Streets, Markets & Fondas by Lesley Tellez is the one on the right. And guess what? In couple weeks, I’ll meet with Lesley to make a food video from her book – so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, check out her site, The Mija Chronicles.
I had time to kill recently at the Minneapolis airport and wandered into The Body Shop. I was having a great time until these young clerks followed me – and every time I picked something up, they would say, “Oh my mom looooves that!” Like they were trying to make the product relatable to me as a mom. I could tell they used that pitch on everyone who looked older than a college student. Annoying! I replied, “Oh, too bad, I was looking at this for my daughter, and she is not a mom.” And then they said – “Oh! It’s great for daughters too!” ANYWAY. Mom pitch or not, this product caught my attention. I’m always looking for things to soothe my peepers. This Eyes Cube is cool and refreshing, and serves as a mild brightener too. Here’s a funny story – I’ve been rub, rub, rubbing it under my eyes every day…sooo soothing… and I even featured it in the video I made. While editing the video, Maya watched the scene and says – “Oh my gosh, Mom, you are not supposed to RUB that under your eyes, you’ll get wrinkles! You are supposed to lightly dab it.” So there’s that…
The folks at Costa Farms sent me a questionnaire about my lifestyle, house setting, personality. I sent it in, and they sent me four gorgeous plants to use in my house! I loved that the ones that matched my personality/lifestyle came with the tags “Plants of Steel.” I already have two of them prepped in my photo studio, and I’ll share the full story in a future post – but wow! I love them! And what a great way to find the perfect plants to match your lifestyle – no more guessing! These plants are going to live FOREVER! I just know they will! 🙂
6. Juicy pageturners!
I read about two books a month, sometimes more. Actually I do audiobooks, and listen to them while I work in the studio or do the dishes. These two gave me major feels. The first one is by one of my favorite authors and friends, Patrick Sanchez. He is using an alias name for his new title, Murder With Fried Chicken and Waffles – it’s a hilarious mystery that takes place in a soul food restaurant. And it comes with recipes too, you will laugh and it will make your mouth water! The other book is Sophie Kinsella’s new YA novel Finding Audrey. Another win for Sophie! It’s about teen dealing with social anxiety issues after being bullied at school. The topic may sound heavy, but is presented with humor, love, insightfulness and smartness. I could relate to Audrey’s mom – there is a humorous storyline about Audrey’s brother who is addicted to online games, and the wacky way the mom deals with it – Oh, can I relate (ie: DeAngelo).
This is an ongoing audible experience in my world these days. Sigh. This album is everything. It’s multilayered and emotional. It’s like taking a travel adventure someplace far away and magical where you don’t mind getting lost. My favorite song this week is Queen of Peace. After wearing out F+TM last two albums, I worried if my musical taste buds still had room for her, but wow – a whole new chamber of attachment opened with this album. This is a great playlist to listen to while you work on art, or something for long, uninterrupted stretches of time. Even better with headphones. Give it a try.
OK, a bit of a disclosure – I’m a paid ambassador for MyPrintly.com, and part of the program is that we get to use this service. But that has nothing to do with why I’m sharing it here. Honestly, this isn’t a service I would have considered before working with HP – ink subscription, what does that mean? BUT, now that I’m using it, I can’t imagine life without it! I have an HP 5660 Printer and every time it’s low on ink, it triggers a new set of ink cartridges to be sent to my house. You sign up for a plan that is based on the number of pages you print each month, mine is at $9.99. Think about the savings – not only in the cartridges but also the drive time going to the store. And they send you bags so you can mail back your old cartridges. The reason the price is so low is because the product comes straight from the factory – there is no middleman retailer to mark it up! No more cussing when you run out because new cartridges will already be in your possession!
One of the newer areas of my blog features is test-driving cars! I get a new one about once a month and use them to go into the city and explore! We own a Dodge Durango, which we love, but it is a 2008 model and let’s face it, cars have come a long way since then. So it’s nice to test out these fancy new wheels to check out the fancy features. This Mazda was a favorite – I had it for a week in April and used it to visit my family on Easter, plus visit my friend’s building opening celebration – where I had to deliver a giant glittered frame for a photo booth! It’s nice and roomy, has USB ports right up front, easy to access, GPS navigation and even held a huge glittery frame that I made for my friend’s party!