This summer I ordered some subscription beauty boxes, hit the cosmetic aisles in drugstores, and found all kinds of goodies to change up the same safe skin care and makeup routine I'd been using for years. It's so much fun to experiment with products and techniques I'd never used before. Additionally,
my husband and I have five cats who are always ready to sample any kinds of toys or treats, then sample them some more. I'm also into books, animals, mindfulness meditation, body positivity, and science fiction. And yep, I bought some products from Star Wars x Covergirl and Star Trek x MAC. I love collaborations! My avatar photo is my cat Alice on my desk stretching in the sun.
My husband is a vegetarian, but he still likes the taste of meat, and he loves Boca Burgers. We always have some on hand, and a quick cook in the microwave, a bun, sometimes some cheese, always tomato and onion piled on and some ketchup or other sauce, and he has something tasty and satisfying. He's tried other brands, some cheaper or with less fat or calories, but he always comes back to Boca because they're the best overall.
Stouffer's Satisfying Servings solves a big problem for me: frozen entrees or dinner that just aren't enough, but two would be too much. Sometimes I don't want a big serving, but sometimes I do, and this is perfect for those times. Lasagna is a cold weather comfort food for me (though I love it in hot weather too, especially when it can be microwaved rather than having the over heat up the house!) and Stouffer's lasagna, like most of their frozen foods, is one of the very best.
These are probably my favorite frozen entree ever, and that's saying a lot! I love that they turn out very well from the microwave. The crust is so good, actually flaky like crust should be, and the chicken is big moist pieces. There's plenty of gravy and lots of vegetables, but not so many that you feel like they scrimped on the chicken. They got all the proportions just right, and it's almost as good as homemade or the chicken pot pie in Marie Callender's restaurants. To get in some extra veggies, I often cook some pea separately then mix them in. Green beans would probably be tasty, too. Marie's is so far above budget frozen pot pies that they're almost like a totally different food.
I. Love. This. Stuff. Kraft M&C has been a staple for me my entire life, and although I do sometimes buy different varieties, I love the original most. At times in my life when I've been very poor, one splurge I allowed myself was Kraft brand, rather than a less expensive brand. The couple of dimes extra were so very worth it. There are all kinds of things you can put in it when you want something a little different: cut up hot dogs, tuna, broccoli, peas, green beans, cauliflower, etc. It's a good way for me to get some vegetables, because I don't really like vegetables, but when they're smothered in cheese sauce they are a lot more palatable. I know a few crafty parents who had kids who hated vegetables… so the parents cut carrots into shapes similar to the macaroni and stirred some in, and the kids didn't notice and ate them right down!
Stuffing is another favorite cold weather comfort food for me. Neither my husband nor I need to follow a low sodium diet, but we buy the low sodium variety because we both feel that regular stuffing is too salty for our tastes. Stove Top is the only brand of stuffing we every buy. We eat very little meat, so for us stuffing might be a large part of our dinner, or sometimes our entire lunch. It doesn't need to be cooked with meat to be delicious. I really wonder why anyone would make basic stuffing from scratch when this is available. It always turns out perfectly, warm and fluffy.
American Airlines is, for me, solid and dependable, but nothing special. Their prices are middle of the road, staff is decent, planes are mostly on time. There are other airlines I'd choose first unless I got a really great deal with American, but it's not a company that needs to be avoided, either.
United Airlines is the airline I fly most often for two reasons: their fares are usually the lowest, and of the five airlines that serve my small city's airport, they have the greatest number of flights to important hubs and nonstop flights to other places I want to go. Their website is very easy to use, and staff are always friendly. A few years ago many planes were stuck overnight in O'Hare (Chicago, one of the biggest and busiest US airports) due to snowstorms. The airport hotels were packed and many of us had to make do on the floor or seats at the gate. The crew and extra staff brought us food and beverages from their supplies for the planes, as well as blankets and pillows, and did their best to make everyone as comfortable as possible. What could have been a night in hell was just an inconvenience that now makes for a good travel story.
I was happily surprised to find out that Alaska Airlines flies to places like Hawaii! They are one of only five airlines that serves my small nearest airport, and it's great to know that they can get me to a lot of places with only one stop. They are easy to deal with and always friendly, and those things are important to me.
I used to hate Southwest Airlines with a passion, and urged everyone I could tell to boycott them, for one reason: they were hateful to fat people like me. A counter person or a gate clerk could take a look at a person and tell them they were too big to fit in their seats, so they'd have to buy two tickets. This seemed to happen a lot on flights that weren't very full. Eventually enough big people complained loud enough and made sure lots of people heard that they have now done a complete 180. If a plane isn't packed, they will seat a wide person in a window or aisle seat that is next to an empty seat, and they do it in a kind manner. It makes me feel so good to know that a company will actually listen to their customers and change something. I'm sure they are doing much better financially now. I recommend them to everyone, no matter what your size.
I stayed at the Hampton Hotel on the east side of Portland, Oregon, and I was very pleased. It's newly remodeled and is spic-n-span and very comfortable. Hot breakfast is a big plus, as is a friendly staff. Every one of them that we saw was smiling and acted like they actually enjoyed their jobs! I will stay there again when I go to Portland, and look for them when I'm traveling elsewhere.