In my merchant days, my team and I would spend many, many months developing product for our customers. First we would travel the world to identify trends, Paris, London, Barcelona, New York, LA…Then those trends would have to be culled down to the most important, the ones we believed in and would design into. We worked pretty far ahead of delivery and I would sometimes get confused about what year we were actually living in because our work was focused on future seasons in future years.
Once we agreed on the trend direction, the buyers would create line plans that supported the direction of their business and the designers would start sketching while researching fabric, color and trim. Eventually, the sketches chosen by the buyers would be made into samples and we would have a sample review to pick the best of the best. These would be the items we would manufacture and deliver to the stores.
I always coached my buyers not to settle. When they presented their choices to me, if I felt they were wavering, or perhaps if I had a different point of view, I would ask them if they loved it and why it deserved to be part of the assortment. They might say, “Yeah, I love it.” But do you love, Love, LOVE it? And somehow, over the years, it became a bit of a joke between me and my team. The love, love, love question or comment was the final confirmation that they believed in the product they were buying.
Today, I’m Sharing the Love…for products, for blogs, or whatever I think could be a great thing to pass along to you. I did a similar post, King Arthur Flour Favorites, that was a more carefully curated assortment of items that merchandised beautifully together…This is not that. Today, I’m simply sharing a completely random assortment of things that I love, love, love betting on the possibility that you’ll love them too!
Scrub Daddy– You may have heard about this if you watch Shark Tank. I was intrigued by the pitch, so I bought one. Turns out, it’s the best non-scratching scrub sponge I’ve ever used. We cook/bake a lot around here, so there’s a lot of dishes. This makes doing them much easier. So much so that I always make sure I have back stock. I used to buy them individually, now I buy the 3-pack.
(I have to tell a quick side story here. A million years ago, when I was single and completely immersed in my career, I went home to visit my family. I met a high school friend for dinner one night. She was a stay at home mom and I remember her asking me what my favorite cleaning products were. That topic had never come up in conversation with my “20 something” career minded friends and I really didn’t have much of an answer for her. In those days, my cleaning regimen was pretty basic. I was barely home long enough for my apartment to get dirty lol! I remember thinking our lives had become very different. And now?…I’m blogging about sponges. Go figure :)
L’annine Hand and Body Cream– My sister gave me a couple of tubes of this one year when I was complaining about dry hands. L’annine is different than any other hand cream I’ve tried. I love it because a pearl size dab of this light weight lotion works into my skin quickly and leaves them soft, hydrated and satiny smooth. It’s neither sticky nor greasy and it’s long lasting. I actually feel like it forms a barrier between my skin and all the things that dry my skin out. The tubes are small, but a little goes a long way. (I have another great hand cream that pairs well with this, but it’s either been discontinued or reformulated. I’m currently investigating and will hopefully post on it in the future.)
Lock Laces– For those of you who are looking for a good shoe lace alternative that’s great for kids whose laces endlessly become untied or loose, great for the athlete with a similar issue, or maybe for a person who suffers from arthritis and struggles with these kinds of tasks. We’ve tried lots of different solutions and these are the best! So many of the cool colored laces that come with athletic shoes these days are either too long or they don’t stay tied properly. These hold up to lots of wear. Best price I’ve found is on the manufacturer’s website. (At the time of this posting 10/9/15, they are running a 3 pack bundle for $19.99 with free shipping.)
Bark thins– Here’s the problem…I love, love, love these too much :) There’s a few flavors, but the dark chocolate almond is my fave. Snacking chocolate is right! It’s hard to eat just one thin. But it feels healthier because, you know, they are thinner than your average chocolate snack ;) You might find them at your local grocery store; I’ve found them in bulk at BJ’s. Yeah, that’s right. Bulk. Enough said.
Oreo Thins– I don’t know if you’ve seen these yet or had a chance to try them. I happened upon them this summer and I love them. They really are thin! It’s a totally different texture experience than a regular Oreo and we really enjoyed the new option. They’re sort of like Famous Chocolate Wafers filled with cream. Because they’re thinner than the original, they have a few less calories…though I feel like they should have even less; they seem so light and airy. Anyway, you know my philosophy on “thin” snacks (see Bark Thins above :)
Parchment Baking Cups– Sometimes I don’t use liners. Sometimes I use decorative liners. Liners not only make pan clean up easy, they serve as insulation and recipes bake up differently with and without, so I use them more often than not. If I want my baked goods to release from the liner without leaving lots of cake, muffin or other batter stuck to the wrapper, I use parchment baking cups. You can see them in action in Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins and Dutch Apple Pie Muffins and Pumpkin Muffins with Nutella Cream Cheese Swirl. Love ’em!
Cake lifter– I have this one in yellow. I probably bought it at a craft store, but you can buy them online and probably wherever Wilton is sold. I like this one because of the easy grip non-slip handle. I use it for lifting cakes; it’s particularly useful when making larger layer cakes (you know, the kind where you need to ask someone to help you and you each have two spatulas under the cake trying to lift it without the cake cracking?) I also use it to scoop and move chopped vegetables or fruits off the cutting board, or anytime I wish I had a giant spatula to move anything from one place to another. Sometimes I use it to cut scones or biscuits and for scraping excess flour or dough from my work surface. I love a good multi-tasker, but I couldn’t live without it when moving cake layers around.
Metric Wonder Measuring Cup– I think my sister that gave me the hand cream gave this to me as well. (She buys the best practical gifts.) I’ve had it for forever and I use it a lot. It’s adjustable to any measurement up to two cups. I haven’t had to use the metric measurements, but it’s nice to know that they’re there if I need them. I use this cup for all the sticky stuff that you hate to scrape out of a traditional measuring cup, like peanut butter, shortening, honey, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream… you get the idea. Just adjust the center tube down to your desired measurement, fill it up with your ingredient, then push the bottom up and everything gets plunged out cleanly.
Finally, I have two blogs that I’d like to mention. First, is Cleobuttera. I originally found her via this cake. When I found out she had just started her blog about a month or so after mine, I felt a kindred spirit. Someone else out there was taking this journey too!!! Then you get into the blogosphere and realize that there are a LOT of new bloggers out there. But, I found a connection with Tasbih and I’ve followed her ever since. (She’s also a big fan of Mel’s yellow cake, so I know we’ve got similar tastes!) Her photos are a visual feast and she makes the most incredible things like this Imploding Chocolate Bomb. But she also makes food that’s just simple and good like these Unbelievable Chocolate Chip Muffins. They are next on my list to bake, and I’m confident they are going to be fabulous!
This blog is not a food blog. It’s called, ” Worms in My Salad.” (I told you it wasn’t a food blog :) and it is written by a friend of mine, Amy, who is just starting out on her blogging journey. At first reading, you might think this blog is solely about her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer and all that life brings with that. As you read her posts, you’ll find that she’s about as transparent as you can be about the ups and downs of dealing with a life jarring revelation and what it’s meant to her and her family. If you stick with her though, you’ll find that what she’s simply writing about is her philosophy and approach to life and how important it is to keep a sense of humor through it all. Sure, there’s plenty about surviving, but regardless what life brings to her doorstep, she never stops living life…fully and completely. She’s an amazing and beautiful person and her inspiring, provocative and humorous blog is well worth the read.
And so concludes my first installment of Sharing the Love. I hope to share more in the future, but I promise not to share unless I truly “love, love, love” it!
(There are no sponsored or affiliate links in this post.)
Tasbih @ Cleobuttera
Saturday 10th of October 2015
Oh my God Ramona! What a wonderful surprise to find that you've included me in your "love, love, LOVE" list!!!! I'm so humbled, beyond honored and deeply appreciative of your kindness. Your post has been resting in my inbox for a couple of days, hardly having any time to read it, and just when I got around it, I gasped when I saw my picture here. I seriously had to squint my eyes to make sure that I'm seeing things right :D Thank you so much Ramona; I'm so touched. If there's one thing that I'm thankful to blogging for is getting to know amazing people like yourself, but I have to admit you're my favorite.
Saturday 10th of October 2015
When thinking about some favorite things to share with my readers, including your blog was a no brainer. The effort you put into it is so apparent and I just wanted others to be able to appreciate all the fantastic things you do! And the gasping? I gasp every time I see one of your new posts! It's always a "wow" moment and I'm always excited to see what you'll share next!
Friday 9th of October 2015
Aawww, she love, love, loves my gifts! ~ the sister.
Friday 9th of October 2015
Yes I do! Aaaaalllll of them! (and the sister too!)
Friday 9th of October 2015
I am deeply honored that you included my blog on your list of recommendations. I'm so honored, in fact, that we should bake to celebrate...Or you can bake, and I can taste-test....whichever you think works best! ;-) Your encouragement and support were the catalyst for my new adventure, and now I can't imagine my life without posting every ridiculous misstep I make along the way. Thanks for laughing with me and for understanding why I blog and why I hope to achieve.
Friday 9th of October 2015
I'm just happy to have the opportunity to share the good stuff that exists out there, whether it's a kitchen tool, a snack or an inspiring blog. And I'm always up for baking/celebrating...I'm hoping to make the big event next week :)