A Few of my Favorite Things
I’m a big believer in finding joy in the little things in life: a hot mug of coffee, a new pair of earrings, a stack of fresh library books, a Colts victory.
A vacation to Maui would be great, but if that’s not in the cards, I really believe that taking time to enjoy the small, everyday pleasures is a must.
In that vein, I thought it would be apropos to tell you a few things in life –– both big and small –– that make me smile.
On a frigidly cold February night in 2009, my sister Michelle and I drove down to Columbus, Ind., to check out a tiny 7-week-old bundle of fluff whose name already had been chosen: Lilly.
The first time I held her, she immediately started gnawing on my jacket button –– the first of many times she decided to “taste” some of my things, most notably a cell phone and two pairs of sunglasses.
We drove home with Lilly, a golden retriever, sound asleep in the back seat and embarked on the journey of raising a puppy. It wasn’t our first experience with a dog –– we grew up with a stubborn, shaggy mutt named Dasie –– but it was the first time where we’d have to do all the work.
She definitely tested our patience on more than one occasion. We may still bear scars from her needle-sharp puppy teeth.
Now, nearly three years later, Lilly’s puppy behavior is (mostly) a thing of the past. She never fails to make us laugh, and it never gets old walking through the door after work and seeing her run to me with her tail wagging.
A few of her favorite things include watching over the front yard for squirrels, chipmunks and the neighbor’s cats; scanning the backyard for bunnies; chasing street hockey balls down the hallway; exploring the neighborhood on walks; stealing socks out of the laundry basket; napping on the couch; making friends at pet events like Mutt Strut; and quietly willing us to drop food scraps while we’re making dinner.
Lilly is definitely spoiled. She has more toys than we can count and a variety of collars to ensure she’s outfitted according to the seasons and holidays.
We’re lucky to have such a loving, curious, loyal and friendly furball in our lives.
I always enjoy catching people off guard with my sports knowledge. I may look like the kind of girl who roots for a team based on its colors or because the quarterback has a cute butt, but that’s far from reality.
In recent years, my love of sports has brought me frustration much more frequently than it has happiness.
As an IU, Colts and Chicago Cubs fan, that’s been all too apparent. As a native Wisconsinite, I also casually follow the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers, which, fortunately, have had more recent success.
I’m not entirely sure what ignited my love of sports, but I’m sure years and years of watching my sister play softball, from Little League to the NCAA, has something to do with it.
In our house, it seems like we’re always either watching a game or watching recaps of games on SportsCenter. In the fall, it’s all about playoff baseball, college football and the NFL.
In the winter, we’re glued to IU basketball games and, really, any college basketball contest.
In the spring, in the midst of filling out brackets for March Madness, we count down until Opening Day, hoping and praying that maybe this is the year the Cubs break the Curse of the Billy Goat. When the Cubs schedule comes out, we always see if we can catch a game in Cincinnati or, as was the case this past summer, Milwaukee.
With the college basketball season underway, I’m super excited to see that IU is moving in the right direction from its losing ways the past three seasons.
And with new management in place, I have high hopes that the Cubs will field a team that will be competitive come next fall.
Because I’m tired of waiting till next year.
This love of mine is a big change from sports. I’ve never counted how many bottles of polish I own, but it’s in the triple digits, without a doubt.
My love of polish started a few years ago after I painted my nails fairly regularly for about a month. It occurred to me how much I liked having my nails painted and how much it can transform and “complete” your look. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do so and a simple way to keep up with trends in the fashion world.
I have a weakness for any shade of purple, vampy burgundies and “ugly-pretty” colors like army green.
For aspiring home manicurists, I have three pieces of advice. One, use a fast-drying top coat. It will change your life. Two, practice really does make perfect, especially with your non-dominant hand. And three: Nail polish, though it may get goopy, never goes bad. To revive an older polish, use a few drops of nail polish thinner –– never polish remover –– and shake. Add more if needed. Your polish should be as good as new.
It’s a safe bet that I’m constantly plotting my next shoe purchase. I’m a huge sucker for wedge sandals and versatile styles with a twist, like anything leopard print or, one of my latest acquisitions, a pair of cranberry suede heels.
One of my former co-workers once said I have a thing for “statement shoes.” I think that’s pretty accurate. Like nail polish, shoes are an easy way to add some interest to an otherwise plain outfit.
I learned to read at a fairly young age, and it’s a pleasure that’s stuck with me ever since. When I was younger, I couldn’t get enough of the girls in The Baby-sitters Club, the mysteries unraveled by Nancy Drew, the thrills created by R.L. Stine in the Fear Street series and the antics of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield at Sweet Valley High.
My tastes now are fairly broad. I love chick lit, historical nonfiction, general fiction and, occasionally, thrillers. I don’t really have a favorite author, but I enjoy Bill Bryson, John Grisham, Stieg Larsson, Elizabeth Berg, David Sedaris, among many others.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit that in college, I really looked forward to coming home from a day of classes and making a frozen pizza. Or maybe a delicious cup of ramen noodles with a side of ice cream.
Nowadays, my culinary interests are somewhat more sophisticated. I’m not eating caviar every night, but the days of ramen noodles are, thankfully, over. I’ve discovered that I really do enjoy cooking and baking. I’m not always successful (I recall the brownie macaroons that ended up in the trash), and I do always seem to make a mess.
Last month, I gave our oven a good workout with a few batches of calorie-filled goodies.
So there you have it –– a little about me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to paint my nails.