Five Favorites

Today I’m linking up with Mama Knows, Honeychild to tell you about five of my favorite things! (Don’t be thinking Sound of Music here!)
1.  Yves Rocher
yves rocher
No, I am not on their payroll, although I would do a sponsored post for them is a second if I thought I could get free things.  Because I buy stuff from them through the mail EVERY MONTH.  I don’t really wear makeup except on the most special of occasions (maybe I’ll blog about that some time too).  But I anoint myself liberally morning and night with beauty products from Yves Rocher–it’s my one self-indulgence and I’ve been indulging myself for close to 20 years, off and on.
I think I first discovered the company in one of those get-so-many-free-things-it’s-too-good-to-be-true ads in a magazine, and then I was hooked.  Because although their deals seem too good to be true, they ARE true.  Shopping with them brings me a constant supply of free samples, sales, and fun gifts.  Pretty much all of my luggage came to me as free gifts from Yves Rocher.  I’ve also got coffee mugs, blankets, and a lot of jewelry.  And their products are great!  In fact, I think I’ll do another five favorites post on my five favorite products!
Finally, it’s a French company and when you call customer service (they have good customer service, by the way, and they give you three months free credit automatically!), the people all have French accents.  So that’s pretty cool.  I’m always tempted to speak to them in French but then they might start talking really fast and that could be embarrassing.
2.  Hanna Andersson
hanna andersson
Buying clothes at Hanna Andersson is my only indulgence on behalf of my kids.  I’ve always been happy to dress my kids in consignment sales finds, hand-me-downs, gifts from relatives, and the occasional necessity grabbed at Wal-Mart or the like, but I make an exception for hannas (as we call them around here).  William spent most of his babyhood in Hanna Andersson clothes and it just kills me that I won’t have those to hand down to grandchildren one day.  Because I totally could.  Yes, they are expensive, but they last forever.
Since I discovered zulily, which often has Hanna Andersson sales, I’ve gone a little crazy buying them for Lorelei.  She loves them to, because she is itchy and they are soft.
3.  Deb
Emily recently introduced me to this shop at the mall.  They have great sales, and they have plus size clothes that are not frumpy.  If you aren’t plus-sized, you have no idea what a big deal it is to find the combination of inexpensive and non-frumpy.  I have, for example, been trying forever to find some capris that don’t look like someone’s grandmother would wear them.  These are the ones I bought last week at Deb:
deb capris
Also, I have a very hard time finding jeans that fit correctly.  I’ll spare you the details. 🙂  But I found a brand at Deb that does.
4.  Janice Holt Giles
I just posted about Janice Holt Giles in my What We’re Reading Wednesday post, but she deserves more than that.  My mother introduced me to her books years and years ago, one summer when we were visiting the library, and I think I read them all.  Hers are historical novels, with that sense of place that is so important to me as a reader.  Many of them are part of a series in that the characters are related to one another, but they can be read separately.  I think The Believers, which is about the Shakers, is my very favorite.
I am a terrible library patron.  Invariably, I start off with the best of intentions, then forget to turn in my books, run up a huge fine, and am banned until I pay it (or wait until the day when I can be forgiven by bringing in cans of food or school supplies).  Right this minute my card and William’s card are non-functional, but we still have Lorelei’s!  So I’m not a regular visitor to the library, but every summer we try again, because of summer reading.
And every summer I look to see what Janice Holt Giles books, long out of print, remain on the shelf of whatever library we are visiting, and I check some out.  We went to the downtown library last week, and I was rewarded with this:
act of contrition
This was published posthumously in 2005 (Giles died in 1979).  I haven’t started it yet and I hope I like it!
5. South Knoxville Urban Wilderness
I hope y’all aren’t tired of hearing about this yet because I intend to plug it every chance I get.  It’s getting national recognition and if you are local and don’t take advantage of it you should be ashamed.  Here’s just one picture (more to follow) of our walk in the wilderness last weekend:
And that’s the end!  Check back next Tuesday (yes, I am a day late!) to see more of my favorite things.

We were in Alabama over the weekend . . .

. . . but not to watch the big game. 🙁
No, we were in Mobile, at Spring Hill College, to visit Emily, our oldest, for Family Weekend.  Emily is a Junior, and some of us have attended the weekend each year, but this time it seemed especially important for us to be together, since she has not been with us during the recent trials and tribulations.
John in particular felt nervous about leaving our new home considering what happened the last time we went out of town, but I convinced him, and we took Lorelei along as well.  And we had a great time.  It was the nicest weather we’ve ever experienced at Spring Hill, which was a balmy 102 the first time I set foot on its campus!  The highs were in the 70s and it was sunny but breezy.
There are some planned activities that are part of the weekend but most of our fun was spontaneous:  A trip to Target to shop with some of our gift cards at a place with a lower sales tax, dinner at Felix’s Fish Camp, dessert at Yolo–where we were surprised with free cupcakes to go with our frozen yogurt, afternoon coffee and cider at Carpe Diem, visiting the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception downtown.
The highlight of the trip for Lorelei–who hung on Emily like an affectionate parasite the entire time we were there–was probably spending two nights with Emily in the dorm.  But for the rest of us it was certainly the two hours we spent at the Book Nook, the little used book store in the basement of the college library.  Emily told us she had a surprise for us on campus.  What can I say–she knows what we like!
I started at one end and made my way mostly around the whole store.  We each had our own approach.  John was looking for all new books.  I was replacing the classics–not all of them, but the ones I just KNOW I will be wanting to read again–The Canterbury Tales, David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, to name a very few.  Emily was replacing some that she had lost and finding others that had been on her list to read.  Lorelei was poring over picture books, mostly about animals.
Soon the four elderly ladies and the one college boy who volunteer at the store noticed we were getting quite a big stack of books.  They were hysterical, by the way, talking about books and politics in their Alabama accents and teasing the boy who they said works there because they are so good looking.  It was kind of an intellectual Steel Magnolias vibe.  Of course I told them why we needed all these books, knowing instinctively that they would understand the tragedy of our loss.  In the end, we had a plastic container (which they gave us, and had the young man carry to the car) about three feet long and two feet deep full of books, which they sold to us for half-price–$75.  It was a good afternoon in a good weekend.
And everything and everyone at home was fine when we came back. 🙂

In the campus Grotto

At Felix’s Fish Camp

Lorelei thinks she’s a college girl

Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Chapel on campus

A beautiful morning on campus