A few things I’m loving these days.

1. Elbow length sleeves. (Followed closely by three-quarter sleeves.)

This length has always read as classy to me. I always feel a little better-dressed and a little less what do I need to finish off this outfit?, whether I’m wearing nautical stripes or plain navy or coral with a collar.

whole bean coffee

2. The local decaf.

I adore coffee, but a few years ago my caffeine tolerance vanished overnight. Can I tell you how embarrassing it is for a former coffee snob to have to order the decaf?

If you, like me, were to find yourself needing to abstain from the caffeinated stuff, you would soon discover how demoralizingly few the options are. Most coffee shops have ten varieties of regular and one of decaf. And I love to try new coffees, so the decaf gets old.

That means when I’m on the road, I always try to find some good local decaf—the kind I’m not already drinking every day at home.

This month I was on the road and I got to bring home a new to me Counter Culture Blend and it made me very, very happy.

iphone wallet collage

3. My iPhone wallet.

I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful and charming Emily Lex of Jones Design Company last month, and I noticed that she never went out with a bag. She only had a little wallet that held her phone, her driver’s license, and a few debit cards.

I’ve been halfheartedly looking for one of these for years, but never found something I actually liked at a price I wanted to pay. I assumed Emily’s was expensive (because it looked nice, and she has great taste) and was surprised to hear she found it on Amazon for less than $20.

Emily and I have different iPhone models, so I couldn’t order the exact same thing, but after 5 minutes on Amazon I found this iPhone wallet and I love it. Mine holds six cards (more than I need!) and has a slot for cash. The wallet came with a separate cell phone case with a magnetic backing, which makes it easy to pop the phone in and out of the wallet. (When I want it in the wallet, the magnetic backing holds it there. But if I want to take it out—to take pictures, or take my phone on a run—it pops right out.

I’m extremely happy with my $9.99 purchase, and if I needed any validation I’d found a winner, two friends have seen my new wallet, begged me to text them the link, and ordered it on the spot.

(I’m so glad Emily posted about her wallet. Go check out her post here about the iPhone case that changed her life.)

4. Cheap expensive wine.

I was just at Lucky’s and told the eager-to-help employee that I wanted a full-bodied red for less than $12 a bottle. He pointed me to the $5 display at the front and said, I know it seems too good to be true, but you can’t do better than this right now. 

I’ll take that.

Book of the Month club review

5. Book of the Month Club.

I’m a new subscriber to this service and I love it. Every month a panel of five judges each chooses a book the love; subscribers pick one from that curated list and get it shipped straight to their door with free shipping. It’s a fun, convenient, and affordable way to discover books you might not find otherwise.

If you’re not interested in any of the selections, you can skip that month. (Although I looked back through their monthly selections for the past year and that wouldn’t have been an issue for me.)

book of the month club april 2016 selections

They have a special deal going on this month that’s much better than the one I signed up with: get 50% off a new 3-month subscription with the code APR50. That means you get 3 new hardcovers for $7.50 each, which is pretty darn fantastic.

This a great month to start because the selections are amazing: there are 3 books here I’m considering for inclusion in this year’s Summer Reading Guide, and you know I’m picky!

If you’re not sure what to get, subscribers can order additional titles each month for $9.99 each. (Free shipping is always included.)

6. Liquid smoke. 

I’ve been using this copiously lately. $2 a bottle, Cook’s Illustrated-approved.

tulips 2

7. Tulips. 

Whether they’re growing in my yard or bought at Trader Joe’s, these are my favorite. Not pictured: last fall we added pinks and purples to the mix (although we’re still waiting on the yellow ones to bloom, which is strange). Maybe the purists think that riot of color is tacky but I don’t care.

What are YOU loving these days? 

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Leave A Comment
  1. Yay for elbow length sleeves! Doing an inventory of my closet a few years ago, I realized that I apparently hate long sleeves. I never thought I had a 3/4 sleeve preference, but the evidence was staring me in the face.

    Your wallet reminds me of my beloved key ring wallet from high school and college. (It wasn’t designed for a cell phone, but I sometimes shoved that in the middle too.) It eventually fell apart, and I think it was actually damaging my car because it was too much weight on the keys, but not carrying a bag was fantastic.

    Lately, I’m into National Geographic. My husband is a devoted fan, and I’d always mean to read, but usually just be frustrated by them piling up around the house. Now I’m enjoying flipping through them with the kids. It’s opening us up to conversations and ideas that just wouldn’t come up otherwise. I’m finding that a well-curated collection of interesting news is good for me too. I eliminated magazine subscriptions a few years back, but this has me thinking that I’d like to start again. It would be good to get out of my news bubble.

    • Anne says:

      That’s good to hear, but I remember that last year the yellow blooms followed pretty quickly on the heels of the red. I’m hoping I just need a little patience and that the yellow ones will make it!

  2. Sue says:

    Different varieties of tulips bloom at different times. So you can have tulips blooming longer by planting a variety!

  3. Suzanne says:

    What?! No link for the wine??? I would love to know what it is. I’m not a wine drinker but I do but it to cook with and I have heard you should always buy what you’d drink.

    I can totally relate to the decaf situation. I find myself getting cafe Americano in most places because usually the single decaf offering looks and tastes like beige water. I don’t know why most people assume that decaf drinkers want mild (or worse, weak) blends. Sigh.

    • Lori says:

      “Beige water.” Exactly! And that is the perfect term.

      My tolerance changed too, and it IS tough. One of my favorite employees in our local shop actually teases me about having to order decaf since he knows what a snob I really am about coffee. All in fun and what else can you do but laugh…and search out a GOOD decaf!

    • Anne says:

      I don’t remember but it was but it doesn’t matter anyway—-it was one of those “we have to move 50 cases before the weekend’s over” fire sales and probably won’t happen again!

  4. Spring gives me so much energy which always puts me in a better mood, so I am loving so many things right now. I am loving several podcasts: What Should I Read Next, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Simple Show, and Relevant. I am loving being able to read and exercise in sunny 70 degree weather. Books I’m loving: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Anne of Green Gables series.

  5. Jamie says:

    Other people’s babies, spring blooms everywhere, neighbor love, Power Music 1 app for fitness music (this took a ridiculous amount of time and a call to customer service for me to figure out, but I’m so glad I did it), slow but steady progress on goals, garage sales, and community. Always community.

    You’ve got me interested in iPhone wallets…

  6. Elena says:

    I need to check out those iPhone cases. I have a 6+ so I hope they have that size.
    As for elbow sleeves – can’t agree with you on that. They’d (and have) annoy me everytime I bent my arm in and get bunched up in the crevice of my elbow!

  7. Julia says:

    Gotta love some two buck chuck from Traders! Their cabernet is just as good as some $15 bottles I’ve tried. And thank you for the coupon code to Book of the Month! I’m looking forward to reading No One Knows. ☺

  8. Amanda M says:

    I have been looking for an iPhone wallet FOREVER. Ordering this one today! Love the price!

    Also joined the Book of the Month Club earlier this week. So exciting! I can wait to get my first book in the mail!

  9. Debbie says:

    A stash of favorite recorded books from the library in the car so I’m not tempted to listen to the news has been such a mood-lifter. Neil Gaiman reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a glittering experience and brought a kind of secret delight to errand running.

    Checking for new blooms every day in the garden is a favorite rite of spring, and the reward to my tuber and bulb experimentation in the fall.

    A few extra special books: The Little Paris Bookshop and Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust.

    And Farrow and Ball paints . . . project planning.

  10. Meghan says:

    I am a devoted coffee drinker, and when I was pregnant and not drinking caffeinated coffee, a dear friend sent me her favorite decaf roast from where she’d lived in Maine. It was great — because the coffee was delicious AND because of the sweetness of the gesture. (Rooster Bros. Coffee, and they ship.)
    Otherwise, I’m loving my kids’ sudden friendship that’s come with the youngest getting a bit older (he’s 3) and aftercare Wednesdays, when I have until 3pm all to myself. And Susan Cain’s book Quiet (and the podcast), as well as the concept of an “anchor day” — picked up from Osheta Moore in this post on The Art of Simple: http://theartofsimple.net/managingschedule/

  11. Susan says:

    I applaud your ability to get by with a tiny clutch. No hand lotion, lip balm, tissues, coin purse, etc etc? Perhaps my need for a shoulder or across-body bag stems from the fact that I don’t have a car! My life is blessed with walk-ability and good mass transit.

    Your bag is darling, by the way. And the tulips are lovely.

    Can you share with us the types of wine (region/grape/year?) thanks!

    • Anne says:

      The tiny clutch is for when I only need a tiny clutch. And then I drop it in my big tote when I need everything else, which is probably half the time.

  12. Emily says:

    Great call on the elbow sleeves. Just got a dress from my Stitch Fix box with elbow sleeves and it was the only keep. Love the idea of the iPhone wallet.

  13. Julie R says:

    My husband bought me some coffee from Ghost Town coffee roasters for Christmas, and I am totally hooked. I haven’t tried their decaf, but I’d bet cash money that it is amazing. If you’re willing to order coffee from Montana, you should give it a try.

  14. Erica says:

    I just bought one of the iPhone cases Emily Lex posted about on her blog. I am always trying to run out of the house with as little as possible. So much so that I usually hand my ID to my husband and ask him to carry it in his wallet. This drives him bananas. He wonders why I have numerous purses in varied sizes if I never want to use any of them! I’m hoping this new case will solve all the world’s problems. Well, I’m being dramatic – I’m hoping this new case will solve this very “first world” problem that I have.

    Also, I’m excited for a new blog to follow. Thanks for sharing Emily’s post!

  15. liz n. says:

    Thomas Coffee makes a great decaf, and it’s available online. They’re also an environmentally-conscious company.

    Although I do love tulips, irises are the flower that signal spring for me. Growing up, Mom had hundreds of them planted all around the house. Before the house was sold, I dug up several dozen so that I’d always have Mom’s irises blooming in spring.

  16. Elbow length sleeves always remind me of the people in my life I respect most- so I completely agree with your sentiment about them! There’s just an elegance about them. I’m transitioning, or at least attempting to, my wardrobe into a more adult-centered style, and I’m on the lookout for quality shirts of this shape.

  17. 3/4 length sleeves are a life saver for me! I’m 5’10” so it’s always hard to find long-sleeved shirts that cover my wrists. I realized I just ordered 3 new shirts from NY&C…all 3/4 length and all striped haha. I guess know what I like!

    Also thanks for the Book of the Month code!! I had my eye on this subscription box but was waiting for a good deal. I just signed up today : )

    • Anne says:

      Um, anything I think can take it? Anything remotely barbecue-y works, obviously. We cure a lot of salmon around here and it’s amazing in that. And it’s a nice addition to many marinades. I’ve been surprised at how well a little bit goes with fish.

      • Lori B says:

        My husband used to work at a plant that made liquid smoke. Trust me, you really, really do not want to be eating that stuff!

  18. Ana says:

    Haha! I get so annoyed by these in-between sleeve lengths. They may LOOK classy but they are not practical for me! If its cold (and it IS right now), if I have 3/4 sleeves I have to wear another layer on top. If its really hot, I certainly don’t want my elbows covered. When its warm but not too warm, I don’t mind but it makes a LOT of my tops only good for a few weeks in the year. It is near impossible to find dresses with true full sleeves BTW. when I find one, I snap it up.

  19. Sara K says:

    I have several tops with 3/4 length sleeves. I haven’t been as successful in finding elbow lenth, but I love them when I find them!

    I am not a coffee drinker, but I recently had to switch from my beloved English breakfast black tea to my (also beloved favorite, but usually afternoon only) jasmine green tea. It took some time to adjust, but I am mostly happy now. I miss the taste of the black tea though!

    And now I’m tempted to buy a clutch like the one you have (I found one for my Galaxy Note 5 with good reviews). I carry a compact crossbody bag by Baggallini, but sometimes I just want to take the essentials!

  20. Donna says:

    I am really loving tulips and I am not really a flower person (gasp!) Flowers usually die in my care. But I am considering picking up a bunch of yellow daffodils since April is the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month.
    I am not coffee drinker, but
    I’ve been consuming my fair
    share of lattes lately. The
    coffee art draws me in. Ha!
    The book of the month club sounds amazing! I will definitely be looking into it.?

    I am also really into

  21. Tish says:

    Tulips are my favorite. They remind me of my grandmother. They used to mean that Spring was here but this year not so much. It was 29 degrees last night! I replaced my coffee with a London Fog (decaf earl grey tea, a shot or two of vanilla syrup, steamed milk with some frothy foam on top. EXCELLENT!!

  22. Corby says:

    I’m loving my red wine right now in particular Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah, audio books for long car rides, vegetarian cooking (trying to do 3 days a week), homemade lattes (decaf espresso from Sprouts market is not bad). Of and a bit more daylight and the return of baseball….Go Angels

  23. Brenda says:

    Lately I have been trying my hand at blogging since you make it look easy! I have been waiting for the local Iowa tulips to bloom. I am thanking God that I can still drink coffee, but some of the places your readers suggested might convert me to decaf. You have some wonderful followers. Oh, I almost forgot…I am really enjoying some of this years new garden and gardening books.

  24. Christina says:

    Green tea made with my new metal thingy for putting loose-leaf tea in. (I was just estimating how many tea bags that thing has saved.)
    Leggings, muck boots, and the same shirt over and over! Because I now live in a place where you can wear the same outfit every day and no one cares.
    A hat that I thought was too hipster, but turns out is perfectly light-weight.

  25. I’m loving my phone wallet, also. I have an LG, and I like that my phone isn’t exposed to the world when I’m using it. I haven’t being able to bring myself to use the slots, though. When I use my grocery list app, I feel vulnerable to having my cards and money out in the open for long periods of time. Maybe, one day. I am loving getting back to working. I’m loving working from home, even more. the freedom is amazing.

  26. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    Thank you so much for mentioning and linking to the post about you giving up caffeine. I am seriously considering quitting again. I know I can survive quite fine without it because I’ve given it up when my three children are new babies due to their intolerance, but I definitely enjoy the ritual aspect of coffee first thing in the morning or soda with pizza (a rare treat all by itself). After a weekend of too much caffeine I can feel the aftershocks for days affecting my mood and as a homeschooling mother of three I just can’t afford that part of caffeine. My biggest dread is the initial caffeine withdrawal headache(s). 🙁
    My current love is sunshine!
    Your posts are a delight!

  27. Katie Roper says:

    It is so freeing to go out without having to worry about a purse! I started this habit when I got a case for my phone that just flipped open in the back and could fit two cards: my id and my debit card. When I moved into married student housing and was given a card to open my front door, I had to get something a little bigger, which came in the form of a wallet. Its not attached to my phone, but is small and slim, easily fitting into my pocket, fitting several cards and cash, if I need it. It is wonderful! I’m not sure how I’ll ever remember to bring a diaper bag with me when I have kids.

  28. Have you ever tried Caribou Coffee? I am so caffeine sensitive that I can’t even tolerate the decaf, but it is amazing. When I spent a semester in Virginia a friend sent me a bunch of grounds to enjoy down there, but fresh ground is best! (it’s a Minnesota thing primarily but they do have the odd location here and there, and target should at least have it online).
    Right now we just bought our first house after two years of no dishwasher and three stories between us and the shared laundry room and I am luxuriating in now having both right at my fingertips!!!

  29. Javi says:

    I am loving the almost 2 gallons of cambucha we made last week! I haven’t had a coffee in almost 15 years. I love the smell, but I hate the taste.

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