Monday, January 02, 2012

Top 10 of 2011

Many really great things happened for me this past year. Here are only ten things which, pretty much, changed my life in 2011, in no particular order (except for #1, which is a hundred bajillion times more important than all the rest of the things):

#10. Pinterest

You've heard of it. It's a virtual bulletin board. Yes, it's addicting. I have had to limit myself to five pins a day. It is SO helpful. (How do you think I've remembered most of these things I've listed here?)

#9. H2O Spa Sea Salt Body Wash

After my first shower in our suite at Aulani, I called out, "Carina! This is awesome! It smells like the ocean!" I actually asked the cleaning lady if I could have a few extra samples of it, and Carina gave me a gift of a larger bottle, which I cherish. Honestly: smells like Hawai'i.

#8. Perrier Lime

It started in France: I ordered the sparkling water, and I was HOOKED. With a lime? Even better. Not having to cut and squeeze a lime is just my kind of time-saver, and so voilĂ , Perrier Lime (chilled, por favor).

#7. Febreeze in Gain scent

Clean Laundry is the best smell in the world to me, and Gain is the best-smelling of laundry detergents. Febreeze is the most effective odor-eliminator, and now that the two have combined? THAT'S what you smell when you walk into my house.

#6. Downy Unstopables

They arrived in a box of samples from P&G, and it was love at first sniff. You toss in a half-capful or so with your laundry detergent and it makes your clothes/towels/blankets/whathaveyou smell AWESOME. Fresh. Trust. Try. (But beware, they are pricey; I have to ration mine out, and I prefer using it for towels because what's better than a fresh-smelling towel? I mean, besides a WARM fresh-smelling towel?)

#5. Stride Gum, Nonstop Mint

I'm chewing this most of my life. I've been told that minty-fresh breath is one of my signatures, and this is my go-to now. It makes the most perfect bubbles, consistency and size-wise. I've heard people complain about the rudeness of gum-chewers, yet I prefer to err on the side of not having gross breath.

#4. PVU

It may not look like much to you, but for me, my stress was cut by more than half for two of the trips that I took this year because of the fact that Provo offers daily flights to and from Denver. Sure, unless you're traveling to Denver you have a stopover, but DEN has a delightful airport, and the approximately 45-minute-long flight is a wonderful alternative to the stress of driving to and from SLC, because PVU is fewer than three miles from my house. And Frontier is my favorite airline. Is it more expensive to fly out of Provo rather than Salt Lake? Not always. It was actually about $25 less (than SLC) for my flight to Indianapolis in November.

#3. Tweetcaster

At dinner with Steph and Tina in San Diego during BlogHer, I asked which twitter app Steph would recommend and without hesitation she said Tweetcaster. I like having access to Twitter on my phone via a method other than text.

#2. Tocca Eau De Parfum (Cleopatra)

Wearing this scent makes me feel better about life. It also happens to be the only thing from Anthropologie that fits me.

#1. Cyndi

There aren't words to describe what having Cyndi as a friend means to me. She is such an incredible example of hard work, diligence, love, intelligence, understanding, service, and a million other wonderful things. Getting to live next-door to her is a slice of Heaven. Our kids play really well together -- in fact, our five-year-olds are best friends, a fact which helps life be amazing.

Cyndi has been through a LOT over the past few years, and I've seen her grow leaps and bounds, becoming stronger and prioritizing her family (as well she should, so says me). She's funny and smart and well-read and quick to share a recipe as well as dinner (I get to be the beneficiary of the fact that her kids don't always eat her amazing meals). She has a good head on her shoulders, has sound judgement and is honest and sensible and earnest. She knows the best deals and the best places. She has a strong sense of tradition resulting in the fact that IF my kids ever remember anything about holidays, it will be because of the effort that Cyndi, not I, put into it: from Green Meals for St. Patrick's Day to Dry-Iced Homemade Rootbeer for Halloween, Cyndi makes ordinary days magical and special for everyone around her, not just kids.

Did I mention that she watched my kids while Darin and I went to Europe this year? I mean, who does that?!? "Your five kids? Until the overnight sitter can come take over? Everyday for a week, and feed them and make sure everything is alright? You got it." And when I got the last-minute opportunity to go to Hawai'i, she did it again, without hesitation. Here's the thing, though: I WANTED my kids to be with her. If I could have hand-picked someone to be in charge of my kids if Darin and/or I couldn't be here to do it, she's who I would have picked AND - AND! - she did it willingly.

I hope every day to be able to pay her back, to adequately show her my appreciation for all she's done, for all she does, and for all she is, but I feel like I never could. She's an amazing woman.

Tell me your bests of the year.
What are you looking forward to in this new 2012?


Kate said...

As sister of the gorgeous Cyndi. I'm very envious of all the time you get to spend with her. Someday my child will be able to experience holidays "Aunt Cyndi" style.

Of course then Amelia will probably start comparing my lame holiday attempts with Cynj's. You know things like "why doesn't Lucky the Leprechan come to our house and leave gold chocolate coins and make our milk turn magically green? He does at Cyndi's house!"

Bek said...

great list!! I love flavored sparking water too. Oh, and that cyndi girl is ok too. ;-). Actually, the only reason i am ok with not having her live WITH me is that she lines next door to you, and I like you. You are both all kinds of great. And it's another reason SF will never be as awesome as Provo. My people aren't here. :-).

glad you got to travel so much and do new things this year. It's a new season of your life... Hope it keeps getting better and better.

~j. said...

Kate & Bek - And how lucky are YOU to call Cyndi your sister?!?

I feel like I need to clarify: When I mentioned that Cyndi prioritizes her family, it's just that it warms my heart to see her do it the way she does, because not everyone who finds themselves in a similar situation does that. Does that even make sense?

CKW said...

Oh...*tears* I always feel like WE are the lucky ones to have landed as neighbors to your family :-)You guys are our favorites. (and for the record, you have raised your kids so well, that I barely had to lift a finger to watch them. Your older girls were like helpful mini nannies.)

AzĂșcar said...

Cyndi is lovely. Period.

I've been rationing out that bottle of body wash (you know, the MINI size from our suite.) I want the lotion and the body wash forever and ever.

Anonymous said...

Clean laundry is one of my top 3 smells, along with oranges and my husband. I can't bottle him, but I'll try the Febreeze Gain!

Fig said...

You know what I love? That friends and family members of yours and Carina's will forever have a fantastic idea for a quick, simple, luxurious gift for you.

Your tribute to your friend is lovely. Her blogging during those tough early days was so inspiring. I understood the prioritizing reference.

And I am a forever gum chewer too. Don't care if I AM ruining my jaw, I feel lost and self-conscious without it.

Thanks for so many great recommendations!

Mak said...

Aww- now you made me sad that we up and moved AWAY from Cyndi and her awesomeness in 2011! We/I miss her and the kiddos so much! I agree that my children will probably be resentful that I don't do holidays like Aunt Cyndi *sigh*

The Atomic Mom said...

First time comment on your blog...been lurking for a while:

Best of 2011 -- house not burning down in a forest fire.

Looking forward to in 2012 -- having the baby I'm presently gestating and seeing if the Mayans were right about the end of the world.

Jen said...

So, since one of my best friends in the whole wide world (you know who you are katie kate) is a sister of Cyndi, she must be great.

Hailey said...

Love this list!

~j. said...

Cyndi - YOU are the best.

~j. said...

Azu'car - you know I go smell that stuff when I'm stressed, right? Let's go back, mmmkeh?

~j. said...

Erica - I'm eager to know what you think of the Gain Febreeze. Does your husband smell like oranges?

~j. said...

Fig - do you have a go-to gum? Or favorite flavor?

~j. said...

Mak - we miss you guys!

~j. said...

The Atomic Mom - Welcome! I'm so glad your house was spared! And a new little baby for the new year, how wonderful! Congratulations.

~j. said...

Jen - it's true, she's really awesome. By the way, I was so spastic with my Christmas cards this year: did I send one to you? I'm afraid and worried that I didn't.

~j. said...

Hailey - thank you!