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May 17, 2007

Who says you can't BUY love? Or get it from the TV? Or computer?

One day I was in the car with Faith and I turned to her and said, "You know what? I'm really glad we met and became friends and I think you add a lot to my life, and hopefully I'm a good friend also and all that stuff ... but out of our whole, entire friendship you know what is the best, the absolute best part?"

"Um, no?" she said. "What?"

"You introduced me to Revlon ColorStay lipstick!" I said. "I can't thank you enough! I will never be the same."

When I first got out on my own, the products I used (laundry detergent, dryer sheets, all of it) were either products my mom used or they were items recommended to me by friends. And if I stumble upon something that works, I immediately want to share it with my friends and family ("Dad!! Go buy some Cascadian Farms organic green beans! You will love them and never in a million years buy other frozen beans again! Get the french-cut ones with almonds, they rock!") I get very happy when I find something awesome, even if it is a silly package of frozen beans.

Once I wrote a column way back when that was praising some product or another (probably cat litter, knowing me) and I got some bizarro email from a reader shaming me for "offering free advertising." I just don't understand that at all. I love sharing stuff I find and like, and also I love sharing horror stories about products gone wrong ("Sun In") and because I am often finding happiness in the smallest things, I thought I would share some of my current favorite stuff. You may not agree, because of different folks different strokes and all that, but maybe you will find a previously unknown-to-you gem of happiness, too. Or maybe you will just be looking for the cat picture at the end, who's to say!

Best Stuff that I can think of this early in the morning with only half a cup of coffee inside me ...

Best Lip Color, even though it is sometimes too dry:
Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor -- I use the "sheer" line because I have fair skin and the non-sheer colors look weird on me. My favorite is "Sheer Mocha," it's awesome! Now this stuff takes some getting used to because it does not feel the same way normal lipstick feels. It can get a bit dry and icky if you don't re-apply the gloss regularly. But I do not even care, because I can actually go all day with real lipcolor now and it doesn't leave me even when I have lunch, or end up all over my coffee mug, and you can go on a date and still have pretty lips at the end of dinner and it doesn't get all over the place when kissing and I love it. LOVE IT. Not that I have been kissing a lot lately but you know. I am prepared for kissing when kissing occurs.

Best Tacos:
Rincon Taurino in Panorama City. Carne asada with the red sauce OH MY GOD. So so good. Now I am hungry.

Best thing to do while drinking coffee and not ready to work yet:
Yahoo's Most Popular feature. I love this area of Yahoo ... you get a glance at the news making news in the world. On the yahoo.com homepage, click on the word "Popular" at the bottom of the newslinks. You get at-a-glance headlines, pictures and links to the most emailed and most clicked-on stories for the day. It's a fascinating slice of pop culture, too, seeing what folks find amusing or worthy enough to email to friends, and it keeps you up on the water-cooler chat about what's going on in the world. Then you can click away to your online news of choice or just go get more coffee.

Best shoe shopping in your pajamas:
www.zappos.com ... I was suspicious of buying shoes online since I have weird-to-fit feet. But you can purchase and return no-hassle, it's awesome. Plus, shoes delivered to your house. COME ON. And if you order before 1 p.m. Pacific time, you get your shoes overnight delivery. Zappos is magical!

Best luxury item that I will actually give up other things (such as smoking) so I can afford to buy it:
L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil. The best, most luxurious shower experience on earth, it turns into a creamy body wash when mixed with water. I started giving this to friends as holiday and birthday gifts and now have many people equally addicted to my truly splurge-y splurge item. When I got my bonus at work, I sent every dime this year to my debt... except for the teetiny little shopping spree I had at the L'Occitane store in Sherman Oaks. That was when I also discovered their Supple Skin Oil, which doesn't leave you oily at all and gives your skin a pretty sheen and smells so good! I want to roll naked in it! And I do, thankyouverymuch.

Best invention for getting it together money-wise:
Free Online Banking. If you haven't signed up for online banking yet, stop reading this and go sign up. Go! Most banks offer it free of charge with your checking or savings account. I check my online banking daily and it gives me a feeling of being in control of the ship instead of the ship sinking as I shop for shoes online. On payday, I was awake freakishly early so I logged online, paid all my bills, set up payments for other stuff, checked all my balances and this made my geeky, formerly money-ignorant self so happy. I like being able to have an immediate accountability to myself, always knowing what the charges are and how many of them I'm making. Plus, I pay my bills on time and never have that pesky "mailing" step. You get the added benefit of feeling like a watchdog, making sure there is no financial hankypanky happening. Love you, online banking!

Best Harmonious Pooping Surface:
Expensive? Check.
Hard to find in stores? Check!
The one thing my cats love most? Check check!
Pooping is a big part of the feline schedule at Chez Crazy. They like to poop more than anything else, and frankly they scare me with their rigorous pooping schedule and attention to detail in this area. If you have been reading this here website for any time you know that we have experienced highs and lows in the litter department, but since finding Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract cat litter, even La Soba manages to poop IN THE DESIGNATED AREA most of the time, and all is well. Forget about inner peace and healing the child within and becoming your higher self -- happiness is often just finding the right cat litter. Or maybe that's me, who knows.

Best Thing To Happen To My House:
Mr. Clean and his Magic Eraser. I have switched to mostly green cleaning products (I use the Shaklee line, if you're interested) because ya'll know I want to marry Al Gore one day, I love you Al, call me! and anyway it's supposed to be better for the world and stuff. But I will never give up my magic erasers. I love getting my OCD on with a bad dance CD and a magic eraser in hand ... scrubbing out spots both real and imagined. Al Gore will just have to learn to love or at least tolerate my other guy, Mr. Clean.

Best TV Show EVER Of All Time, as if they were reading my mind and made it just from my nerdy weirdo wishes:
Ok, so one thing you may or may not know about me is that I am OBSESSED with fishing towns, fishing people, boats, and the Bering Sea. The Perfect Storm is one of my favorite books (and movies) of all time. I am also weirdly obsessed with the ocean in general, but specifically cold tempestuous wind-churned oceans are fascinating to me. And weather. And hot manly guys. And big fishing boats, even though I myself am terrified to get on one and will not do it.

I think this started when I was about eight years old and my parents brought us kids out to California on a vacation to visit my grandparents in Orange County. My grandparents had a little motorhome and we drove that summer all up the coast of California (that vacation is also when I fell madly and deeply in love with Los Angeles, but that's another story for another day.) My folks and us kids were staying in hotel rooms when we stopped for the night, the grandparents slept in the motorhome, and during the day we all drove together.

One of the towns we stopped in along the roadtrip was Fort Bragg, California. I remember waking up that morning in the hotel in Fort Bragg and tiptoeing to the balcony to watch the boats come in down at the pier. Our room looked right out over the water and I must have sat there for hours, mesmerized by the fog and the water and the giant boats, unlike anything I had ever seen. Even the air smelled foreign and new to me, and I remember watching fisherman unload a huge, steel boat and then later in the day one man sat on a stool and removed his wool cap while a woman wrapped a towel on his shoulders and started giving him a haircut right there... to this day I can remember the way that town smelled and looked and tasted and I think I was changed forever.

Most of my favorite vacations as an adult have been to far-flung places with small shipping towns (Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Nova Scotia) and I can't get enough of it. In fact, in my fantasies I am in a Perfect Storm Mark Wahlberg-George Clooney sandwich and a nor'easter is brewing and we have to hope they don't go to the grand banks but in the meantime we drink at a local bar and eat fried clams. And other stuff. And there is much need for hand-knit items. And the ocean smells so good!

Me in Iceland, I made Mr. X stop at every quaint fishing village on the island, which is ... MANY stops. Looking for this picture made me a little sad. I think I need to go to Iceland again, re-claiming that vacation spot from my memories, which are all jumbled up with the past and not in a good way. Moving on.

So of course I have watched "The Deadly Seas of Iceland" and "World's Most Dangerous Job: King Crab" and all that a million times. (By the way, these are awesome shows for sofa-knitting, because ... cold fisherman, cold sea, cold! let us knit hats while we watch TV!) But did you know there is a whole reality-ish show on The Discovery Channel that combines every favorite thing of mine? Hot men in manly jobs! Big scary ships! Icy storm-tossed seas! Drama!! Bon Jovi song in the title credits! Deep-sea fishing! Life in peril because of weather!

It is called "The Deadliest Catch" and I love this show more than it is legal to love a thing that cannot love you back.

People, I am not right.

- - -

So that is what I can think of this early in the day that gets my happy motor running and makes life a better place. Sometimes it is the small things that make the difference between sitting in a corner eating your own arm and basic happiness. I'm pretty sure there were times when I Magic Erasered as therapy during my divorce insomnia. I hope if you have some great stuff that makes you happy, you'll share, too, because I am always looking to have more goodness!


Posted by laurie at May 17, 2007 9:20 AM