My Favorite Things (Or “Stuff I Would Totally Buy Someone If I Hadn’t Already Bought It For Myself.”)

December 18, 2013


How’s your Christmas shopping going?

Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty much done shopping.

Mind you, I haven’t exactly started shopping either.

But, I have very few presents to buy as my family no longer does much of a gift exchange.

You see, we spend the majority of the year buying ourselves presents, so that by the end of the year we’re all too poor to buy each other presents, so we just sit around eating cookies and getting sloshed on cheap wine. (Okay, that’s what I do. I can’t really vouch for the rest of my family.)

Seeing as I’ve been spending the year buying myself stuff, I thought I might share with you some of my favorite things that I’ve bought this year. Kind of like how Oprah does, except my list doesn’t include a three-hundred-dollar throw pillow with a hand-painted picture of my pet on it. Although I kind of wish it did. Now that I think about it.

Fitbit Zip


I know I’ve already mentioned my somewhat unnatural obsession with my new pedometer. Which is weird because I’m not usually the type to go bonkers over a gadget. But I’m telling you guys, this thing is no ordinary pedometer.

Not only does it keep track of how many steps I walk each day, but it also syncs up to my computer and my cell phone, so I can get all these charts telling me how many steps I’ve walked per hour and how many more steps I need to walk to reach my goal and probably how many steps I’ll need to reach the Moon by Tuesday.

I’m not a workout fiend by any means, but I do have this strange competitive streak that only comes out when there are charts involved. Basically, I want to WIN ALL THE CHARTS.

And, well, not to brag or anything, but I’m totally WINNING ALL THE CHARTS.


Picture 4

20,000 steps in one day, you guys! That’s like a million miles. (And by “a million” I mean “almost nine.” Same-same.)

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100


As I mentioned before, I’m not really a gadgety person. Mostly because buying a new gadget means I’ll probably have to read an instruction manual. And I hate reading instruction manuals because I hate being told what to do. By the second page, I’m all, “Who do you think you are, instruction manual? You’re not the boss of me!” And then I stop reading, and I never do find out what all the buttons do.

So basically I will use every electronic device I own until it dies a slow, painful death and I’m forced to upgrade.

I had my old Cannon point and shoot camera for over seven years. That thing took a beating. It had been covered in rice paddy mud, dropped on the Great Wall, and regularly doused in beer. And I took way more food photos with it than is really natural or recommended.



And then this summer, the camera stopped focusing properly so I was taking a lot of photos that looked like this:

That is a piece of cheese. I swear to you.

That big blurry thing in the middle is a piece of cheese. I swear to you.

And then the next thing I knew I was in the camera store, buying a seven-hundred-dollar camera. Which is funny because I don’t remember having a spare seven hundred dollars to spend on a camera.

But I have no regrets, you guys.

Probably because my new camera takes some of the prettiest food photos around. And it’s impossible to feel regret while taking beautiful photos of ooey gooey cheese.



My new camera also has absolutely no instruction manual. Well, apparently, the manual is “inside” the camera. I have no idea what that even means. Either way, I haven’t been forced to read anything telling me what to do.

Granted I should probably read something telling me what to do as I have no idea what half of the buttons are for. There may even be a button specifically for cheese photos that I don’t know about. I should probably figure out where that button is. And then go find more cheese.

BOC Women’s Semie Boots


As you probably already know if you read this blog, I have something of a boot problem.

Boots also have something of a problem with me. In the fact that they very rarely fit over my muscular man-calves and size-ten-slash-eleven feet.

And, while I could bemoan this fact, it’s usually a good thing that I don’t fit into most of the boots I try on. Because, you guys, I’m poor. And, more importantly, I’ve only got so much closet space.

Every once in a while I try on a boot that magically slips on my foot like Cinderella’s glass slipper. Minus the glass. And the slipper. And, you know, the prince and stuff.

These boots were those kind of boots.

I swear when I put them on angels started to sing. Which is weird because I was in a hunting store. You don’t usually picture angels singing in a hunting store.

And then when I took them to the register and discovered they were on sale, even more angels started singing. (These were different angels, of course. The previous angels were the “Holy Crap These Things Actually Fit Me” Angels. These other angels were the “We’re About To Spend Some Money Up in Here” Angels.)

While these boots are not exactly the practical water-proof, winter-proof, Michigan-proof boots I had set out to buy when I entered the hunting store looking for boots, I have found them to be surprisingly versatile.

They look equally cute with jeans as they do with long skirts. Even if I have to wear two pairs of socks to keep my feet warm.

And they make me feel like a cowboy every time I put them on — a cowboy with two pairs of socks on, but a cowboy nonetheless.

Cost Plus World Market Extra Large Bangles


The first time I walked into Cost Plus World Market, I fell in love.

This store sells everything from blingy jewelry to pretty Japanese pottery to international snacks to wine to glittery unicorn ornaments.

2013-10-19 10.26.42

So basically everything I could possibly want in life EVER.

And since my first trip there I haven’t allowed myself to go back because, yes, I will totally spend my entire paycheck on Japanese sake cups I will never use, thankyouverymuch.

Luckily, I managed to score some super sweet things on my one and only trip there – like the red and gold bangles pictured above.

I usually don’t even glance at bracelets while I’m shopping because the same God that made my man-calves made my man-wrists and I know I’m just in for a world of hurt caused by trying to jam a bunch of tiny-ass bracelets up my less-than-tiny-ass arms.

But I spotted a little tag hanging off these bangles declaring them to be “extra large” which got me all excited. Now, I’m not usually the type to get excited about having to buy extra large anything. But just the fact that extra large bangles exist was exciting. Because one-size-fits-all is a LIE, you guys.

Miracle of miracles, I was able to slip them on my wrists with very minimal shoving and grunting. They were even loose enough to clink up and down my arm the way bangles should so you can annoy everyone while looking pleasantly exotic.

All the angels started to sing this time —  the “Holy Crap These Things Actually Fit Me” Angels and the “We’re About To Spend Some Money Up in Here” Angels and the “I’m Never Allowed Back in this Store Again” Angels.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter


I read a lot of books.

Like, a lot.

But I have a super crappy memory, so when people ask me what books I’ve read that I recommend, I’m always like, “Umm, there was that book about that girl. And the guy. And something happened. The title was something like ‘The Something of the Something.’ I think. Does that help?”

Farm City is one book that I read this year that I can actually remember reading. Probably because it was the only book I read this year (or, really, ever) that made me both laugh out loud and want to raise chickens in my backyard.

Yeah, I have to say that doesn’t happen much.



I realize this one might be a bit tricky to wrap.

But when you think about it, Michigan has pretty much something for everyone.





Beautiful natures.


Giant pies.


Chocolate cheese. (I still have NO IDEA what that even is.)


And, well, me!



And out of all the things I spent a heck-ton of money on this year, moving to Michigan has probably been one of my favoritest.

I was visiting family this past weekend, and everyone kept asking me how I liked Michigan, and I kept on saying I liked it, and they kept on getting this dubious look on their faces like, “You? Really? Michigan?”

Of course, there’s a little part of me that’s worried that the only reason I’ve liked Michigan so far is because it’s new and a change, and I like things that are new and change-y, and that in about a year or two I’ll be bored and want something even newer and more change-y-er.

But, until then, I like it.

Possibly even more than my new pedometer. And definitely more than a throw pillow with a picture of my pet on it. I think.

 What’s your favorite thing that you bought for yourself this year?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On December 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm Priya said:

    Aww, you’re too kind to yourself. And a $700 cam? Girl, you be ballin’. Crap, now I want one. I’ve bought quite a few things for myself this year, mostly due to insanity and ignoring the fact that I shouldn’t buy these things but sometimes my fingers have a mind of their own as they type away the credit card number and hit the checkout button.
    Priya recently posted..5 Mistakes I Made On My Trip To London (With Pictures!)

  2. On December 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    My favourite things that I bought for myself this year were plane tickets. And bus tickets. And train tickets. Huzzah! And also a blender, but my mum threw out the insurance slip I’d purchased on it and then proceeded to break it a couple of years later. She then denied throwing out the insurance slip. She totally did.

    Also, PLEASE tell me that you bought that glittery unicorn ornament statuette type amazingness in the photo?
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Places I Lessthanthree: Oxford

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm Sally said:

      Sadly, I did not buy the glittery unicorn. Probably because my basket was already ridiculously full of other stuff I didn’t need. I really need to get my priorities straight.

  3. On December 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm Briona said:

    I haven’t done very much ‘me’ shopping this year thanks to having done too much – make that WAAAAAAYYYY too much – in previous years. So for now, I shall just have to live vicariously through the shopping of others. Loving your pedometer/tamagotchi!

    BTW I’m not very up on American shoe sizes, so I had to Google them. Turns out that an American 10/11 is a European 41-43, which just so happens to be the average shoe-size here in Spain! For real! So your boot problem could easily (if a little expensively) be solved by booking a flight over and running riot in the shoe shops.
    Briona recently posted..On being appreciated

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm Sally said:

      WHAT? FOR REAL? There is a place where my feet are not considered monster-size??? I NEED TO GO TO THERE.

      • On December 22, 2013 at 8:15 am Briona said:

        For real! As a US 7.5-8.5 (I’ve got those sizes down now – yay me!), I am used to being at the larger end of the scale in the UK – damn those people with their cute 6.5s! But when I came to Spain, I discovered that my feet are actually quite SMALL! Spanish ladies seem super proud of their big feet. I’ve had many a student put their feet on the desk (as you do) to show me their size 43s, aka US 11s. You should so come here, not just for the shoes of course. The food, wine and sights are also pretty awesome. 🙂
        Briona recently posted..Thirty years of language learning

  4. On December 19, 2013 at 12:11 am Eileen黃愛玲 said:

    Money well spent! 🙂

    I bought books and started to read again. Which is good because I like to write. Those two things go hand in hand.
    Eileen黃愛玲 recently posted..Why I’ve decided to connect to my Jewish heritage.

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:22 pm Sally said:

      Oooo, books are the best! I’ve been trying to borrow books from the library lately to save my money (so I can buy more boots). But every time I show up to the library, I have no idea what books to get. Do you have any recommendations?

  5. On December 19, 2013 at 12:37 am Sally said:

    Lovely!! I’m glad you’ve made a lot of quality purchases this year, including 1 relocation across the world.

    I’m still laughing that you said “natures” though I’m sure that is grammatically correct, somehow. Maybe. It’s not like I’m an English teacher or something.
    Sally recently posted..The 10 Stupidest Things I Did While Living in Korea

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm Sally said:

      I find the longer I teach English grammar, the more I enjoy breaking grammar rules. I guess this is my way of being a bad ass. Some people get tattoos. Others drive motorcycles. I make uncountable nouns plural BECAUSE I CAN. (I also overcapitalize. I’m obviously out of control.)

  6. On December 19, 2013 at 11:47 am Ceri said:

    Love this. 😀 I didn’t really do much spending on *stuff* this year though I may look to your list for inspiration next year. I mean, I want a unicorn. And a giant pie. And CHOCOLATE CHEESE. (Whatever it is.)
    Ceri recently posted..In Defense of Vanilla Sex

  7. On December 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm Deb said:

    I can think of two things that I bought this year that have been life altering – one was a TUMI backpack on wheels. I have traveled about 21 weeks this year and I’m not sure how I did it before I got this backpack. I realize that I was carrying a very heavy messenger bag, loaded with all my computing needs and it was hurting my shoulders and back. It was an expensive purchase, but well worth it. The second thing that I just got is a new tablet computer. I’m totally loving on this thing – loaded a bunch of apps I use all the time and some new business-oriented ones and I AM IN LOVE with it. Don’t tell my husband, he may get jealous.

  8. On December 20, 2013 at 9:26 am Sine said:

    Oh, I so love it when you make me laugh and you did it again! I’d say my favorite thing I bought for myself this year, even though I claimed it was for the kids, is our new cat. It didn’t officially cost anything either as we adopted it from the cat rescue place, but still, it did come with some costs, not the least of it food, because this cat can eat – we should have named him Garfield. And perhaps I’m beginning to regret it a teensy little bit by now because he wakes up at 5 every morning and proceeds to wake up anyone he things might feed him (so, everyone), and you can’t keep him in any of the rooms because he’s learned to open all the doors.
    Sorry to blather on all about my cat but I seem to remember you like cats. I’d post a picture here if I knew how to do that:-)
    Sine recently posted..Life in South Africa: The Unannounced Playdate

    • On December 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm Sally said:

      Cat blathering is not only welcomed but encouraged on this blog! I’ve been trying to decide if I should get a cat. I really, really, REALLY want one but I am kind of freaked out about committing to one since I never know how long I’ll be in one place. So until I decide I can just go ahead and live vicariously through your cat comments.

  9. On December 21, 2013 at 5:42 am Liz Nicols said:

    So enjoyed reading this..after a long hot day at work (saving $$ to travel) this was a feel good write..loved it..oh and what have I bought..a new pillow not one but three but none make me want to rush to bed and catch some zzz!!I bought a plane ticket to Brisbane to see my son for a pre 30th birthday. Had a fabulous time with him all to myself. A pair of Keens sandals to walk and swim in. never have I paid so much for footwear but certainly was money well spent. Climbed The Acropolis and walked 100’s of klms with arthritic feet..look fwd to more of your quirky blog posts..cheers from Tasmania

    • On December 25, 2013 at 10:55 am Sally said:

      I’ve been thinking about buying a pair of Keens. I always buy cheap flip-flops and kill my feet walking around in them (or look terribly unfashionable and walk around in sneakers). But I’ve heard great things about Keens. Maybe that will have to be a 2014 favorite thing!

      • On December 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm Liz Nicols said:

        Re Keens Sally You can get really good colours now. Mine are like a sneaker but have holes along the sides and a sandal back around the ankle. Filled in toe tho which us good for uneven cobblestone streets everywhere in Europe.Happy travels. Oh and they werent that expensive really $139 Aus cheers liz

  10. On December 29, 2013 at 12:34 am Carmel said:

    A one-way ticket to Mongolia was probably my favorite purchase this year! 🙂
    Carmel recently posted..BACK TO (COOKING) SCHOOL


  1. I was going to write about my solo winter camping trip. But instead I wrote about a pee funnel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge