April's Favorite Things

You've heard of Oprah's. Well, here are mine:

My jogging stroller...
...is quite possibly the best piece of baby gear I own.  I started using it when Jack was just 6 weeks old, and my ob cleared me for exercise again.  We're still using it on a weekly basis.  It would have been a lot harder to get back into shape without it, and I love being able to take Jack along with me during exercise.  It's got oodles of pockets, baskets, and compartments for stashing stuff.  Mine is a Babytrend, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend this specific one.  It's not a top-of-the-line model, but it works well enough for me.  It's great for running a trails, but it's definitely not maneuverable enough for shopping in small stores.  It's also a pain in the ass to get in the trunk of my Altima, but if you run and have little ones get some sort of jogging stroller!!!

Since Jack has been born, I have tried almost every sort of wearable baby carrier on the market, and the Hotsling has been the best.  It's quick to put on and insert the baby, once you practice a couple of times.  They come in a great variety of patterns and colors, and it's not so expensive you can't own more than one.  They pack down small to fit in the diaper bag.  Best of all, they keep baby close and secure. They are good from infancy to over 30 pounds.  AND they're machine washable!
  • They come in sizes, and it can be tricky to get the right fit.  I prefer it to the ring slings, though, which are adjustable but harder to get situated on your body.  
  • Once your kiddo gets to be a certain size (waaay before he hits 30 pounds) the sling is a terrible pain in the shoulder.
This is my second favorite baby carrying apparatus.  It's more cumbersome to put on than a sling, but once the kiddo is bigger, it is way more comfortable.  It has a belt that distributes weight to your hips as well as your shoulders, so it's amazingly comfortable, even with a heavy kid, even for multiple hours.  The Ergo is also machine washable.

Athleta's Online Store:
Here's a deviation from baby gear for you.  Once I had Jack and lost most of the baby weight, I went in search of a wardrobe makeover.  I needed clothes that were machine washable and dryable, didn't show dirt, were comfortable and didn't require ironing.  To top it off, I wanted items that were casual but stylish and young-looking but not too young-looking.  Basically, I didn't want clothes that said, "frumpy," but I didn't want anything that said, "slut" either.  This turned out to be a tall order... until I found Athleta.  Their clothes are geared towards active women and are truly stylish as well as practical.  They ain't cheap, however.  I usually wait for sales or gift certificates to make my purchases there.  One word of advice:  Athleta sells clothes under their own label and clothing from a few others.  From my experience with purchases, stick to the Athleta label.  Their quality is superb.

Moving Comfort Undies:
Yes, they are pricey, but they are the best panties I have every worn!  I have some of the regular variety and some thong.  They are all amazingly comfortable.  They don't show panty lines, even with my tight yoga pants.  And with the thong ones, I even forget I'm wearing a thong!  Downside:  They say not to put them in the dryer.

Zia Face SPF 30:
So, I did more than my share of sun worshiping in the early 90's.  If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be, "For godsakes, put on some sunscreen!"  I wouldn't have listened, though.  Now, I do the best I can to minimize the damage.  Zia's SPF 30 is the only one I've found that is truly non-greasy.  I wear it on my face every day, and it doesn't seem to exacerbate my post-thirty-year-old acne.  Speaking of which...

Olay Total Effects Cream Cleanser Plus Blemish Control:
It's a mouthful, but it's the only thing I've found that really works.  I never had acne as a teenager, so imagine my surprise and dismay when I started getting it after I turned thirty.  Acne at thirty is different than teenage pimples, because it typically comes with normal or dry skin instead of an oily complexion.  I use this Olay stuff once in the morning and once at night to clean my face and the acne has all but disappeared, even during PMS.  And, it won't break the bank like a lot of skin treatments out there.

Ravenswood Vintner's Blend Zinfandel:
I was not a Zinfandel fan until I tried this.  It's like nine dollars a bottle at the grocery store, and it is damned good.  I can't tell you what fruits it has hints of or whether or not it's oaked or whathaveyou, but I do know I like it.

Jujube Diaper Bags:
I am in love with jujube's bags.  I am an organization and small container freak, and I'm pretty sure the person who invented jujube is somehow related to me.  There are all these different diaper bags with numerous little compartments in each.  Some of them are machine washable.  There are not only diaper bags but wallets, lunch bags, etc.  You can get each bag in a variety of prints.  All of them come with light-colored interiors which I didn't realize is completely awesome for finding things.  Currently, I am coveting their large beach bag called the "Wannabe," which comes with a built-in cooler pouch for snacks, straps on the outside for a towel and, yes, BACKPACK STRAPS!!  I am in bag organization heaven!

This is an Austin yoga studio with several locations in the area.  Every time I walk in there for a class, I am instantly relaxed by the warm spicy smell of the place and the genuine pleasantness of the people there.  Yoga has taken me to a new place, both physically and mentally.  I have found levels of relaxation I didn't know existed and heights of contentment with myself I did not think possible.  I think I finally know how religious zealots who preach to everyone feel.  I really think everyone on earth could benefit from yoga if they'd give it a chance.  Maybe I should start going door to door...

Banana Republic Timeless T-Shirts:
Okay, so it's a stupid name, but I finally understand why I would want to pay eighteen dollars for a t-shirt.  They come in round or v-neck, and they are just the right shape - not too tight or too loose.  They don't show your belly button, but they don't look like a tent, either.  I have a long waist, and these are actually long enough to cover me without looking like a dress.  They are machine washable and dryable and don't shrink in the wash AT ALL.  The colors stay true and vibrant wash after wash, and they are really really soft.  They're tagless, too.  I have four of them.