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Monday, December 29, 2014

My Favorite Things of 2014

**This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a credit for my new addiction if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Please see our full disclosure policy for more information.*** 
I am easily excitable, so I get super excited over new products. Once I fall in love, I'm usually a life long customer. As I'm writing this, I'm imagining Oprah's favorite things episode where she gifts all of her favorite things to everyone in the audience. I'm not Oprah, not a billionaire, so my post contains affiliate links. What I am going to do for you is share some pretty awesome information about things that I totally recommend you try. They are 100% Crystal approved. That says a lot, because I'm one picky person.

Of course one of favorite things is Mom Among Chaos. I have found myself spending more and more time working on it. I feel like I'm nurturing a new baby. We're growing and it's really exciting!

My hairdresser introduced this hair wonder to me. I apply it when I'm going to blow dry my hair straight. I use one pump and comb it through my hair. Once I finish blow drying I add more to get rid of any frizzy pieces of hair. This stuff is magic. It is a bit pricey at usually $30 a bottle, but it lasts a long time and is worth every penny. Seaextend Ultimate Colorcare Silkening Oil Treatment by Aquage, 4.5 Ounce.

Another item that my hairdresser introduced me to is the Kenra Blow-Dry Spray. It smells fantastic and tropical. It cuts your blow dry time in half, while protecting your hair from heat damage. A little goes a long way with this spray because it smooths your hair. So, I apply the oil first, followed by the blow-dry spray, use a comb to comb it all through your hair evenly. You will be amazed how smooth your hair looks! Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Spray 3.4 oz.

One of my good friends introduced me to these. I fell in love. Maintaining proper order in the lower regions was always a bunch of work, but not any longer with these little trimmers. These are made for your delicate areas and everything looks, well, in order.  I don't know what else to say, but they rock and are only a few bucks. I even subscribed to these on Amazon. Noxzema Bikini Plus Shave and Trim Disposable Shavers, 3 Count.

If I Stay was my favorite movie of 2014. If you haven't seen it, and love sappy stories, this is a must see. This movie is about a girl that loses her family and must decide if she is to stay or go be with her family. The music is awesome. I can't tell you how many times I listened to it. I am moved every single time. This movie will make you lose your breath for a moment. If I Stay.

I have read so many stories about the holocaust, that this book sat on my book shelf for a good year. I'm so thankful that I finally picked up The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. From the very start you will fall in love with the main characters. It is beautifully written, and timeless.  Here is the Amazon description:

A rapturous novel of first love in a time of war-from the celebrated author of The Rhythm of Memory and The Last Van Gogh.

In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers...

Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit- and the strength of memory.  

Click on the link to purchase The Lost Wife.

I fell in love with Liana Moriarty when I read The Husband's Secret. Her books are shocking and filled with lots of drama to keep you reading non-stop. Big Little Lies was the same! It was voted the best fiction book on Goodreads for 2014.

 Check out the #1 New York Times bestseller Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, called “a surefire hit” by Entertainment Weekly.

"The secrets burrowed in this seemingly placid small town...are so suburban noir they would make David Lynch clap with glee...[Moriarty] is a fantastically nimble writer, so sure-footed that the book leaps between dark and light seamlessly; even the big reveal in the final pages feels earned and genuinely shocking.” —Entertainment Weekly

"Reading one [of Liane Moriarty's novels] is a bit like drinking a pink cosmo laced with arsenic... [BIG LITTLE LIES] is a fun, engaging and sometimes disturbing read” –USA Today


Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beach side community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My final book recommendation is The Rosie Project: A Novel (Don Tillman Book 1). This book is so refreshing! It's another love story, but it's really different. The book is centered around a dorky guy. Read below for more information.

 Now in paperback, the international bestselling romantic comedy “bursting with warmth, emotional depth, and…humor,” (Entertainment Weekly) featuring the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

Stitch Fix
Finally, one of my favorite things of 2014 has been my new love for Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix has a designer send you a box of 5 items based on your likes and needs. They totally take you out of the box as far as picking different items for yourself. You can learn more about Stitch Fix or by reading my previous blog posts.  Read about box one and box two.