My best friend came to visit from Chicago last month. A great deal of Chicago/Tucson comparison ensued and it got us to talking about the broader issue of standard of living. In that spirit, I've created a list; the fruit of our conversations and recommendations to each other. This is a list of favorite things that are simple but make life better in their own special way. (Not listed in any particular order.)
1. Baby Spinach Salad. This is a surprisingly satisfying meal on it's own and takes ten minutes to throw together. Add ingredient in order listed and toss:
litehouse red wine olive oil vinagrette
(click here for a cupon)
emerald glazed pecans
2. Aveda Skin Care. I know this sounds infomercialesque, but it's the truth: I used to have a ton of skin products under the bathroom sink just hibernating there because they didn't really work for me. I alternated between two products to do the job of one because neither suited my skin. I didn't break out a lot, but once in a while is already too much. Then, when I went to Elements in Balance to prep for my wedding, they convinced me to switch over to Aveda completely. It was expensive, but I splurged because it was my friggin' wedding I was getting ready for. It's a good thing I did because Aveda skin care is worth every penny. It's the skin on your friggin' face, you know??
3. Goog 411. My current phone is P.O.S., so I don't have internet access. But even a P.O.S. can dial 1-800-GOOG-411 instead of 411 to get the same info for free.
4. Ross. Yes, you gotta dig and you gotta be ready to walk out empty handed sometimes, but once in a while you really do find something fun to wear and well worth the money. Recently, in one hour I located, tried on and purchased four dresses (from $12-$17 each). They've become the staples of my summer wardrobe. Avoid the crowds and go on a weekday.
5. La Paloma Urgent Care. I still don't have a regular physician in Tucson, so I found myself in a pinch when I got pink eye during finals week. My neighbor recommended La Paloma. The building is clean, new, inviting. The staff was hugely efficient and there were no lines. Zero waiting! With our insurance the visit was $30. It was exactly what I needed: lightening speed medical care at the spur of the moment. (That said, I just want you to know that what actually cured the pink eye a week later were honey drops: a few drops of 50% water, 50% honey in the eyes every 4 hours fixed me up for good within just two days, my sister-in-law's recipe :)
6. Purse hooks. Plain and simple: keeps your purse off the table, chairs and ground. Makes a great gift; everyone who carries a purse should have one. I have a friend who makes them herself, ($10 each), but you can also buy them in stores and online.
7. Netflix. A sophisticated selection of movies, they ship directly to your home, it's cheap, ($14/month for two DVDs at a time, unlimited rentals), the stock has weathered the recession awesomely...what more could you ask for in DVD rentals? A tip: do NOT share a queue with another human being, ever. It's a curse I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
8. My Label Machine. Andrew bought a label machine one day, (approx. 35$) and I thought he was nuts. This is a new level in O.C.D. I thought. Now I'm in love. Labeling = knowing what you have and finding it fast. It's a simple way to save time and time is something we're always struggling to find more of....
9. Coffee from Bisbee at www.UniqueCoffee.com. I'm drinking a cup right now. No creamer, just a wee bit of sugar. All I ever wanted was affordable, fair trade, organic, tasty coffee. Safeway doesn't carry much that satisfies said criteria. Old Bisbee Roasters offers small family farm beans and includes a background of every bean they sell on the website: how it was grown, where, what environmental protection methods were used, etc. Most coffee is about $13/pound. Free shipping if you order 2 pounds at a time.
10. Patchouli Lotion. Living in Arizona makes moisturizing a priority, so I never use perfume. Scented lotions do double duty, and this one is my favorite. My mom gave me a bottle for my birthday one year ($10). Some comments
from a professor: "What are you wearing? It's giving me a flashback!"
from the guy at the laundromat: "What is that? It's wonderful--I've gotta buy some for my wife!"
from a colleague at the office: "Smells like weed in here!"