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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

things i’m loving lately: november/december edition {and a giveaway!}

Starting out with one of the very best things – coffee!  I recently learned about HiLine Coffee and I was totally excited to find this alternative to Nespresso brand capsules.  They fit Nespresso machines just as the normal capsules do, but they are recyclable, cheaper than Nespresso brand capsules, and (in mine and Ben’s opinion) taste way better.  (That’s right – I brought Ben over to the dark side.  Yay coffee!)  Since we loved them so much, I reached out to the good people at HiLine to see if they would be willing to share some of their awesome products with my readers.  They agreed and provided a generous prize, so please head on over to the giveaway page for a chance to win some HiLine capsules for yourself!  And of course, if you don’t have a Nespresso machine yourself, maybe you can give them to a friend who does and then they can share with you :)

My old immersion blender got partially melted in the dishwasher two years ago and somehow I made it through all of last fall/winter (i.e. soup season) without replacing it.  Pouring hot soup into the food processor and having it slowly leak out = no bueno.  As soon as I started craving soup this year, I vowed to find a replacement before I got cooking.  I read tons of reviews, compared so many features, and finally opted for this Cuisinart model. I am so glad I decided to upgrade a bit here.  The stainless steel won’t be dishwasher melting anytime soon, and I especially love having the whisk attachment.  Now I don’t have to lug out the mixer every time I want fresh whipped cream and this makes it in about 15 seconds.  I’ve been on a major roasted tomato soup + grilled cheese kick for the past month, and the blending attachment has been fantastic so far.

A blog reader/internet friend pointed me in the direction of an Etsy jewelry shop OhKuol several months ago and I’ve been eyeing their beautiful pieces ever since.  The day after I got my boards results, I had a mini Etsy shopping spree and bought a few pieces of jewelry from this shop.  I love everything I bought but I think these grey druzy earrings are my favorite of all.  Every time I wear them they get lots of compliments.  The shimmery sparkle of druzy stones is just hard to beat, and I kind of want them in every color.

Okay, so this lip balm.  I am so excited about it that when I first tried it out a couple of months ago, I wanted to do a “things i’m loving” post right then just so I could tell you about it.  But then I’m like, “Annie.  It’s just lip balm.  Settle down.”  Two months later, I still love it so…it’s time to share.  I used to be  big fan of the Philosophy lip shines, although the flavors could be hit or miss.  It seems maybe they are steering away from selling those individually and I’m not about to buy a big gift set just for lip gloss, so I started looking at other options.  This Sugar Fresh lip balm had some of the highest ratings and tons of positive reviews so I decided to give it a try.  I’m sold.  I don’t like lipstick, lip liner, etc. so this is perfect for me.  It is moisturizing, has a clean fresh scent (but not much taste), feels light and adds a hint of color without being too much.  I have a feeling I’ll be adding one of these to every Sephora purchase until I have most of the shades.

Because I am a super cool and exciting person, the highlight of my day earlier this week was when the pair of slippers I had ordered finally arrived. I’ve had my eye on these printed slippers from Boden for quite some time.  I don’t really do black Friday shopping (::shudders::) but I did snag these online from the comfort of my own home.  My eternally ice cold feet have been remedied.  Comfy, cute, and I love them.

After I finished my boards, I finally was able to do some fun reading for the first time in months.  I had come across this book, The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg on NPR Books and decided to give it a try.  I didn’t know what to expect but this was a very twisted suspense/mystery that kept me up late many nights racing to find out how it would end.  It reminded me a lot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I also loved (well, in whatever way you can love a book about a rather gruesome crime, I suppose) and this is also set in Sweden.  Only after I finished this did I learn it was one in an ongoing series.  I will definitely be reading more from this line of books.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova- oh, what to say about this book?  It tells the story of Alice, a professor at Harvard who begins experiencing odd lapses in memory and is eventually diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.  This story is many things – heart-wrenching, terrifying, bittersweet.  And though I certainly wouldn’t classify it as happy in any sense, it is still a book I would recommend to anyone and everyone.  Even though it isn’t a pleasant thing to think about or imagine, it certainly lends a perspective that everyone could benefit from pondering a bit.

Knitting-wise, I’ve been up to all sorts of things lately and have really loved all the projects I’ve completed recently.  Of them all, I think these baby leg warmers I made for Caroline have been my favorite.  I mean seriously, I’m already obsessed with her cute little toes and add the fun colored stripes on the chubby toddler legs? It’s just too much cute.  I posted this photo on Facebook when I finished them and a few friends quickly requested that I make their babies each a pair as well.  I’m going to be starting those pairs soon and can’t wait to see more of them on even more cute baby legs!  For anyone who is a beginning knitter, this is a super simple and easy project, made even easier with this self-striping yarn from Knit Picks.  And if you’ve never knitted with double-pointed needles (DPNs) before, this is a good reason to try them out.  Really, they are not complicated and they only take a few days to make – promise!

Lastly, next week my oven is going into overdrive and I’ll be all about the holiday baking.  I have a feeling I’ll be using some of these awesome free printables from Paper Crave and to jazz up my Garnish packaging.  My favorite time of year!

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with any of the products or companies mentioned above, and they don’t even know I’m writing about them (except for HiLine, because I asked them to share the love with my readers.)  I’m just sharing things I love with you, because I love them!

  • Kerry Cooks

    Wonderful post Annie – I love these little peeks into your life. Those baby legwarmers must be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

  • mary doman

    LOVE the jewelry shop! thanks for sharing!!

  • Misty Wagner

    i love all of it! I love when you share things you’re loving! I need the slippers!!!!

  • Amelia

    Awwww… I love Caroline’s sweet leg warmers. Absolutely adorable! I am on the same page with you regarding the Cuisinart. Kevin bought one for me a couple years ago (same as above) and its so handy! I use it to froth my milk for lattes in the morning and it does make the fastest whipped cream ever. This can be dangerous at times.
    The earrings are super cute too.
    Side question…. Please tell me you own a vitamix? If not, I really hope it’s on your wish list this year. It makes the smoothest soups, smoothies, nut butters, ice cream, etc.

  • annieseats

    I don’t yet, but I definitely want one. When our current blender bites the dust (which they all do eventually), that will be my next one for sure. I have a smoothie for breakfast almost every morning so I need one!

  • Lisa Eirene

    Pretty earrings!

  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Ashley Bee

    I always end up checking in here when you do one of these things, but I love it! I need a new immersion blender (a chunk of carrot got caught in mine and it mysteriously never worked again) so I’ll have to add this to my List of Things to Buy When I’m Employed.

  • Alyssa

    Hi Annie! My thoughts exactly on Still Alice and lipstick, lip liner, etc. What color of Sugar Fresh lip balm have you found works for you? Based on pictures, we have similar hair and complexion, and I assuming whatever looks good on you will look ok on me!

  • http://www.feelingfoodish.com/ Marie

    I love druzy too and i can relate about not liking lip color that is too harsh! I’m going to Sephora soon so the Sugar Fresh will be on my list. Looking forward to adding your book picks to my reading list..Happy holidays!

  • Angela

    I love these posts.

  • annieseats

    Yay! I’m so glad :) They are fun to write!

  • annieseats

    I bought the shade pictured here, rose. I love it and it works well for my complexion/coloring. I think almost any of them would work on most people though, because they are so sheer.

  • http://solittletimetoblog.tumblr.com tcbucky

    Ah! Don’t put the Cuisinart immersion blender into the dishwasher. I submerged mine in water not long after I got it and it had water in it forever!

  • annieseats

    Just the blade, not the entire thing! The blade is detachable and fine to be washed. The cleaning instructions are included on Amazon and state that the attachments are dishwasher safe.

  • misssophisticate

    That lip balm is everything! And so is the immersion blender! :)

  • Cara

    Agreed … these are awesome and I always look forward to reading them :) On a side note I just discovered a book this evening that you may be interested in…”My Life from Scratch…starting over one cake at a time.” by Gesine Bullock-Prado…I just ordered it tonight (but it received awesome reviews) and she has a series of cookbooks on pies, cakes, and cooking with sugar that look really good. Is it weird that when I discover something with baking/cooking I think of you and your website? You really have taught me how to cook and bake and I am so appreciative of your website and the time you put into it!! :)

  • annieseats

    Interesting! I actually received her first cookbook (Sugar Baby) for a review and giveaway a year or two ago but unfortunately, I couldn’t recommend it so I never did the giveaway. I tried several recipes in the book (some even more than once) and they were all failures. It seems like maybe not enough recipe testing went into that book and it was more about the photos, which are beautiful. I was so disappointed because it looked gorgeous. I think the more recent book is about pie. I haven’t checked out that one because of my disappointment in the first, but I think pie is a bit harder to mess up so maybe that one is not so bad :)

  • Heather R

    My fiancé just took his veterinary boards before Thanksgiving and he has rediscovered reading too! Congrats on the major accomplishment!

  • Laura

    Love the sweet leg warmers….too cute and the earrings. My sons killed 3 blenders before I broke down and bought a VitaMix; have had it 3 years and so far they haven’t been able to destroy it! Love to knit slippers–Bev Galeskas Felted Clogs in all sorts of fun colors & am going to try (pattern not by BG) Duffers Revisited; they will knit up quicker and could be nice in warmer weather. If you haven’t tried wool slippers for the tootsies….nothing nicer! Thanks for your blog.

  • Shannon

    Congrats on passing your boards! I recertified this year – such a relief to see that passing score!

    Love that lip balm – it was a Sephora birthday gift a few years ago and I’ve been addicted ever since. And thanks for another great Etsy store recommendation.

  • Emily

    I also have that exact same immersion blender and the processor bowl attachment lid will get water trapped in it when you wash it that will never come out…I love the immersion blender but I ended up having to throw the lid out (and order a new one) because it started to grow mold inside. For such a good immersion blender, it’s not the end of the world but I wish they would make it water-tight.
    That coffee looks great — I’ll have to try it!

  • Steph in Lex

    I love the legwarmers and the nail polish! My son is almost exactly Caroline’s age and he actually always wants nail polish whenever he sees it on me… ;) I feel the same way about my kids’ toes–adult feet totally gross me out, but their feet and toes are just the cutest things I’ve ever seen!!

  • Cara

    In a weird twist of fate (after I read your response), the site I ordered the book on cancelled the order! haha Thank you for letting me know about Sugar Baby-you are rights the pics are gorgeous and were almost enough to get me to purchase the book. Also, I read Still Alice last year and couldn’t put it down. Happy Holidays :)

  • Sue

    love it. My high school friend has a Etsy jewelry shop, called glass elements. It has some very classy glass jewelry. Check it out. Santa is bringing me a wide-angle lens for Christmas. I’m so excited to get creative. Any new camera equipment on your list?

  • annieseats

    Oh, I see. The chopper/processor part is the one attachment I doubt I’ll ever use anyway, so that doesn’t bother me too much.

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    There is some many great things on this post. I love the earring and slippers. And I needed some new books.

  • Lorena

    Annie I’ve been following your blog for over 3 years. Love it!! Thank you for sharing your creativity! I wish I could make those leg warmers for my baby but he’s a boy..

  • annieseats

    Lorena, check out the link for the yarn I used. They have several color combinations and many of them are perfect for baby boys. I’m getting ready to knit a few boy pairs for my friends’ babies!

  • Natalie

    I loved Still Alice, it was very thought provoking. Her next book, Left Neglected, was really good as well. I really want to try the Sugar Fresh lip balm- I keep hearing how great it is!

  • Lauren M

    Hi Annie, I know this post was done last year but I am now in the market for an immersion blender. Just checking to see if you still recommend the cuisinart model you mentioned in this post. Hoping you still like it as much as before:) Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Hey Lauren!
    Yes, I still absolutely love my immersion blender! As I think I might have mentioned, I have no need for the chopping attachment so I can’t speak to that (actually just threw it out during our move) but I use the blender and the whisk parts all the time and it is still as good as ever. Definitely recommend!