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Suzanne's Favorite Things 2017

Suzanne's Favorite Things 2017

The slightly lesser known list of must-have items.

Hey, Oprah can share her favorite things so anyone can. 


Dean & Deluca babka. I don't care if you don't know what babka is, you need this and Dean & Deluca have mastered this wonderful loaf of goodness. 

Yes, I said loaf. This is bread, people. It comes in cinnamon or chocolate.

Just. Look. At. It.

Imagine how good it is and then trust me when I tell you it's better than that.

If you have a Trader Joe's nearby you can go there and grab a loaf of chocolate babka. Theirs is very good. So good that I had to quit buying it. But if you really want to splurge for a Christmas morning treat then head over to Dean & Deluca and order up some yum.  

These apple pie truffles from Shenandoah Chocolates in Winchester, Virginia. A creamy apple pie filling covered in white chocolate and dusted with cinnamon. #YesPlease  The only bad thing is that they don't do online ordering so you have to physically visit the store. But it's worth it. They make some mean chocolate, some of the best I've ever had and I've had a lot. And they have a chocolate cafe so there's that.

While we're on the subject of chocolate I can't continue without mentioning the very best chocolate of all:
Sarris Chocolate is located in Canonsburg, PA and is a Pittsburgh area favorite. In Central PA it is known as Gardner's Candy. Their milk chocolate is amazing. I recommend the cappuccino meltaways, but if you have to pick just one thing go for their chocolate covered pretzels. If you're ever in Western PA make plans to visit the Sarris Candies chocolate shop and ice cream parlor in Canonsburg. 

Okay, enough about chocolate.

This next one isn't something you can buy, but someplace you can visit. I'm a big fan of the New England coastline, preferably Rhode Island. I intend to live there again someday but until then I visit the Live Beach Web Cams. Here I can watch the waves from the comfort of my own home. I enjoy watching the people don wetsuits in the freezing cold as they try to catch the meager waves. I enjoy watching the seagulls, the people walking the beach, the dogs with their masters, the families strolling together.... It's blissful. 

Our next one has got me completely obsessed. I cannot listen to this new Michael W Smith song enough. A Million Lights. It's perfect. 

His new album is due out in February and if this song is any indication, I am going to love it. #MWSFanSinceTheEarly80s #FriendsAreFriendsForever #IGetTo SeeHimInConcertNextMonthWithAmyGrant  I know I don't normally hashtag in a blog post,  but it seemed appropriate. 

You may not know that I've had a love affair with lip balm since about 1980. Back then it was Lip Smackers or Kissing Potion. It just had to taste good. Somewhere along the way I realized I probably had a bunch of undigested lip balm sitting in my gut somewhere and should switch to natural stuff for health purposes. I've been on the hunt for yummy tasting natural lip balm ever since. Lemongrass Spa (which I am a sales consultant with, mostly for my own use) has some great ones, but this line I found on etsy is my new favorite thing. Handmade by Kelley at Apothecary321 in California, this stuff has great flavor. I now own a bunch of them and can't pick a favorite. 

Did you notice I went right back to chocolate?

Ha ha ha

Since I'm already there, let's talk about this stuff:

Chocolate syrup with zero calories? And sweetened with stevia and not that nasty aspartame or Splenda?

Find it and buy it. I get mine on Amazon.

You all know I can't have a list of favorite things without mentioning tea.

Bigelow is a brand I usually don't drink but this American Breakfast tea has 50% more caffeine for those mornings when you just can't. They also have some made with honey in it (a friend so kindly mailed me a few samples of it - yum!). Available on Amazon here.  

Let's talk airbnb. If you're not familiar with this think back to boarding houses of old. Same general idea. People have spaces and they let you stay in them. We traveled to Toronto this summer and stayed in a condo right in the middle of everything. We had the entire unit and it cost almost half of what a hotel room in the same area would have cost. Click this link to save money on your first trip. It's a little gift from me to you.

When looking at spaces on airbnb, you have the choice to stay in a shared space (meaning your host will be in the same you get a bedroom in their home) or a separate space. Each host has reviews you can read and pictures of their spaces. I've found this to be an affordable option when traveling and may get to travel more often. 

For those times when you need to laugh, I bring you Fred & Friends. These are the funniest products you never knew you needed. Check out that baby rattle pictured above. Funny! Some of the products may be a little offensive to some of you, but move right on past them and find the funny things. Some of my favorites are Mr Tea and Muffin Tops, both of which I have, and the Food Face plate (which I don't have but I think I need!). Funny and affordable things to use in your home. 

Honey House Naturals makes the best hand balm I've ever used. My fingers can crack and bleed in the wintertime but since using this stuff (which I initially discovered for a quarter at a yard sale -- yes, it was new!) I don't suffer. I love the small tins, they are the perfect size to tuck in my purse. I purchase mine on eBay. 

I've been a fan of Jason natural products for a while. I'm sure there are products out there that are more natural than these, but I love the Glycerine & Rosewater body wash. The smell of it reminds me of childhood and summer days spent at my Nunnie's house. I don't know what she had that reminds me of this (it's not the Jergen's body lotion, which was in abundance!) but I love the fragrance of this so much. I first found it about eighteen years ago and I buy it for myself every few years. It's a little indulgence that I keep just for me. I find mine at the grocery store, but it's also available on Amazon.

Gum is on the list?
Yes, gum is on the list.
I gave up gum several years ago because pretty much all of it is loaded with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or Splenda (both of which I avoid as if my life depended on it). When I came across this brand while shopping at my favorite store (TJ Maxx) I thought I'd give it a try. Check out their website here. They have several great flavors including chocolate mint (chocolate mint, people!), pomegranate mint, cinnamon, bubble gum, and more. 
I. Love. This. Stuff.
I grab it up when I find it (usually at TJ Maxx or Homegoods). The pouches are small enough to fit in my purse and the gum is the same size as Chicklets. 

If you don't know what Chicklets are we can't be friends.

It's good gum, though the flavor doesn't last very long. There's something about "natural" sweeteners in gum, they don't keep the flavor as well as the bad stuff does. But that's okay with me, I'll happily keep my brain cells intact while I chomp on my Pur gum. 

My final entry in the first ever favorite things list is a local shop. My husband and I love visiting The Clay Cup in downtown Altoona, PA. 
It's more than just a coffee shop, it's a place where art, creativity, coffee, and pastries come together to host you in warmth and fellowship. It's a place where you can grab a latte and paint a piece of pottery. Where you can attend an art class and make a masterpiece to share. Where you can pick up some original artwork by the owner, Sarah, who loves to hipsterize (yes, new word I just made up) everything. 

Check out what's available in store or on her etsy page. At The Clay Cup you can also find other wares from local artisans. It truly is the definition of, "shop local." 

I  hope this list has made you smile and given you new shopping ideas. 


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