Roy and I have a joke that the longer we are together the more “like me” he becomes. Sometimes that’s a good thing, other times…. 🙂 So I wasn’t at all surprised when he asked if he could write “Roy’s Favorite Things” alongside “Debbie’s Favorite Things” for 2016. YES…how fun!
I’ve been writing “Debbie’s Favorite Things” yearly since 2007. It is my favorite post I write each year! Thanks to the help of our amazing Office Manager, Gretchen, we were able to transfer previous year’s posts to our new website. What a trip down memory lane! If you decide to check out any of the past years, I hope you enjoy the journey: Debbie’s Favorite Things 2015; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2014; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2012; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2011; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2010; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2009; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2008; Debbie’s Favorite Things 2007.
HERE ARE OUR FAVORITES FROM 2016!
Debbie’s Favorite Things 2016
- iSi Professional Cream Whipper. Last year, one of our clients told us about this amazing kitchen gadget and also gave us a recipe for coconut whipped cream. For a dairy-free family like ours, this whipper is a huge hit, allowing us to make light, fluffy, airy, and simple coconut whipped cream. What a treat! We have topped holiday pies, hot chocolate, our homemade chocolate mousse….and even eaten it straight out of a bowl! It’s a treat all five of us love! If you decide to purchase your own, just a reminder you will also need to purchase the chargers.
Stone Crop Lotion. This fall my brother and I took a trip to Sedona. At the amazing spa, they used Eminence products, which I had loved many years ago. I was reunited with the Stone Crop Lotion. Stone crop is a succulent plant that grows in many different conditions and still can retain its moisture. Similarly it can improve your skin’s resiliency by hydrating it, tightening it, and decreasing and preventing hyper-pigmentation. All that is great, but the wonderful smell of this lotion is enough to draw me back to it every time!
- Fleece Lined Leggings. Do you own that piece of clothing you wish you could wear all day, every day? That’s these fleece lined leggings from Athleta. They are so warm and comfortable! I can hike in them or put on a long sweater and boots and wear them to work. They come in sizes for all….petite, tall, plus, regular and now even girls sizes. I got my first pair on a holiday sale and my second when they went on clearance in the spring. So if $90 seems like a lot for leggings, just keep your eyes open for the sales 🙂
No-Tie Laces. The motto of these laces from U-Lace is “lace once & never tie again.” We’ve bought two pairs for our (almost) 9-year old, who was constantly walking (or tripping) on his sneaker laces. They turn any pair of sneakers into slip-ons (which parents rushing their kids out the door love!)….and come in 60 fun colors (which kids love!).
- Art Portfolios. If you are anything like me, you probably have piles of your kid’s artwork from the time they could first pick up a crayon and scribble! I wanted an organized way to store our kids creations and these art portfolios have been a perfect solution. I decided to buy the larger books (13×19) to fit some of the over-sized projects. I purchased one for each kid and added little labels to outside of each book with our kid’s name and labels on the inside pages for their age-at-creation. Organization excites me!
- Kumaré. I just love this movie! Kumaré is a documentary film about the time filmmaker Vikram Gandhi impersonated a fake guru and built a following of real people. Despite the fact that Kumaré is not a “real” guru (and you know that from the first scene) the message of the movie is fantastic and it is laugh-out-loud funny!
- GoMacro. These bars have become our go-to bars on hikes, while traveling, and for the occasional snack. They are high in protein and low in sugar and have flavors that please us all. The girls love the sunflower butter + chocolate, Roy likes the peanut butter chocolate chip, and my favorite is the coconut + almond butter + chocolate chip. I just discovered the minis and apparently I’ll have to check those out now too!
- Zentangle. In last year’s favorites, I talked about our love of coloring. Not long after that, my friend Pamela introduced us to the art of Zentagle. The Zentangle Method is an easy, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing patterns. It increases focus and creativity and, like coloring, can be enjoyed by both kids and adults of all ages and skill levels. We love the Zentangle for Kids book and also purchased these artist’s tiles and these colored pens for our drawings. (See Roy’s owl and Mia’s cowboy boot to the right.)
Popsicle Molds. This summer we were popsicle crazed! I posted a few of our creations: chocolate fudgesicles & patriotic popsicles and became obsessed with finding the perfect popsicle mold. Now, here’s what I discovered: these popsicle molds are the most sensible and easiest to use but I am head-over-heals for this popsicle mold, simply because the popsicle design sends me right back to my own childhood and the look of the fudgsicles I ate as a kid!
- My Doppelgänger. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ve already heard me mention my love of the TV Show How I Met Your Mother. Over the seasons, all of the main characters doppelgängers (double of a living person) were spotted. This summer, I got a text and picture from one of my childhood best friends that read, “this is you, isn’t it?” I actually had to zoom in on the picture to see if it was indeed me, and that’s when I knew my doppelgänger had been spotted! I found this so funny that “her pose” became “my pose” all summer long! See for yourself…and does anyone know who my “Rocky Mountain Doppelgänger” is?
Dr. Roy’s Favorite Things 2016
- Scanpan. Debbie and I have been on what seems like the never ending search for high quality non-stick, non-toxic cookware. Last year one of Debbie’s favorite things was this ceramic coated pan. While they are affordable and they have held up for the most part, like most non-stick pans, they did seem to fail under high heat. This spring, my brother-in-law introduced me to my new love…Scanpans. They are made of non-toxic ceramic/titanium throughout. Unlike virtually all non-stick, Scanpans can be used at high heat, baked in an oven, and are safe to use with metal utensils. The pans are certainly a bit pricier, but well worth the money considering how often they get used in our house.
- Kombucha. We literally have 10 times as many friendly bacterial cells in our gut than our own human cells. What makes Kombucha special is that it is actually a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY). Though many types of yeast can be bad for our health, the Saccaromyces Boulardi that is in the SCOBY has been shown to have many positive health benefits including improved digestion, bacterial gut balance, protection against antibiotic damage, and fighting off some intestinal parasites and yeasts. I prefer the simple taste of the original plain flavor from GT’s, but for those who want something more exciting, the flavored varieties are also excellent. I hope to start making my own sometime in 2017.
- Life Changing Loaf. One of our cleanse participants turned me on to this gluten free, egg free, paleo “bread” and it has, dare I say, changed my life. I have been gluten-free for almost eight years. While at first I was willing to feed my love of carbs with the more cardboard-like substance known as gluten free bread 🙂 , as I continued to clean up my diet I chose to cut that out. However, I did occasionally miss having something hearty to eat with lox or nut butter. The Life Changing Loaf is a homemade seed and nut bread from the My New Roots website that is packed full of protein and fiber. I usually adapt most recipes to my liking but aside from adding some raisins, this recipe is simply perfect. Although I’m not exactly sure how the loaf originally got its name, when one of my mom’s close friends who suffered from severe constipation thanked me for literally “changing her life” (and bowel movements), I got a hunch 🙂
- Cassava & Coconut Tortillas. Like many Californians, I am a little snobby about my Mexican food. While you can often find decent gluten-free corn products, it is hard to find anything that resembles a flour tortilla. Most rice based tortillas are hard as cardboard, and flavorless to boot. In comes the Garzas family. This Mexican American family really nailed a soft and flavorful tortilla that resembles a real Mexican flour tortilla. Thank you!
- The Untethered Soul. I think I have officially read this book more times than any other book in my life. Each time I pick it up, it feels like I’m reading something new. In short, the book is really about understanding the nature of our mind and our relationship to it. Michael Singer so clearly articulates that we are not simply our thoughts, but something far greater. What this book does not do, in my opinion, is give you the tools to actualize the changes he proposes. Fortunately my next favorite thing is an easy introduction to the “how to.”
- Meditation Practices. I believe the most important tool we have as humans is the power to control our attention. Where we put our attention literally forms our experience and view of life. Unfortunately most of us are not aware of this. In addition, modern life is so filled with distractions that, at times, it seems that technology controls much of our attention. One way to counterbalance this is by developing a mindfulness practice like mediation. For those who are ready to dive in head first, I personally recommend what has worked for me: Vipassana Meditation. With that said, for most parents (especially moms with young children) this may simply be too intense or not feasible. Several years ago, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Choprah launched a 21-day meditation challenge. While it will require some level of commitment, this 20-minute mantra based meditation is a great place to start.
- Coconut Kefir. Since going dairy-free I had given up on trying to replace yogurt because most non-dairy yogurt products tasted like sugar to me. I missed the tangy sensation found in real dairy-based yogurts. But making your own kefir from canned coconut milk and a starter culture takes little time, is easy, and tastes legitimately delicious! I eat it plain, but we add just a little honey or fruit to get the kids to devour it.
- “Crave You”. Wonder Press on Pearl Street makes fresh juices, smoothies and nut milks. The Crave You tastes like a healthy chocolate milk. It is decadent yet light and refreshing, with excellent quality ingredients. I did gasp when I spent $10.50 for my first bottle, so it’s a splurge I don’t do all that frequently…but I enjoy when I do!
- Helping Those in Need. I won’t go into great detail again because Debbie and I have already gushed about this amazing family project in our individual blogs. In short, our family made and distributed 75 bags of food and supplies for our local homeless. Everything about this project makes it one of my favorites of both 2015 and 2016. You can read all about it here and here or watch our 3-minute video below.
- Wim Hof. Wim Hof, also known as the “iceman”, is a true inspiration. He holds about 26 world records, including climbing Mount Everest in a pair of running shorts and running a marathon in a desert without training or drinking any water. He claims to have a method of simple breathing, yoga, visualization and cold exposure that can give you control of your immune, endocrine and nervous systems. As a doctor, I can appreciate that he has dedicated his life to proving his claims through science. Wim had doctors inject him with an endotoxin (which would make most people severely ill within minutes) and proved that it had no negative effect on him. Even more impressive is how he trained 6 others to do the same thing, in only several weeks. I have not yet personally started his program, although I plan to when winter brings the cold to me. Watch this fascinating documentary to learn more.
If you have made it this far, thanks for reading! We wonder if any of OUR favorites were also YOUR favorites? Comment below and let us know the best things YOU discovered in 2016! We love to hear from you 🙂