Just a Few of My Favorite Things in 2017

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a “What I’m Loving” post but here it is. At the end of the year it’s kind of fun to look back and think about little things that gave me great pleasure during the year, so here we go!

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

I recently discovered these lip oils by Clarins and I LOVE them. My favorites are mint and honey. They are a bit pricey but they just feel so darn good and they last a really long time – I’m still using the first one I purchased during the summer. This year has been really dry in my geographical climate, I mean like ZERO moisture in the air crumble up like a cracker dry and my lips along with the rest of my skin have been suffering. These lip oils look beautiful, no color really but tons of shine and deep, long-lasting moisture. Can’t recommend these enough.

Calm. com 

I think they won an app of the year award. And well done them! I love this app for guided meditation and I’ve tried a lot of them. I wanted to work on my meditation practice this year as a way to deal with stress, anger, frustration, all those bad feelings that happen when you are a human being but don’t want them to take over too much of your life. Tamara Levitt is the voice of calm.com and what a lovely soothing voice it is. A  nice sense of balance, not too much talking but enough to help a student of meditation learn. This year they added sleep stories, which are just that, stories narrated to listen to while you fall asleep. In addition, calm.com offers breathing tools, timers for non-guided meditation, a free and paid for features, and screen views with sound and or music. I used just the free app for several months but then paid for the full version and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend paying for the full features and get your meditation on.

Republic of Tea Peppermint Bark



I’m a coffee person. It’s probably part of my genetic code, my DNA strands, my blood on a cellular level.  I love it, love it. But I’m also trying to be more aware of health and trying to switch to tea and other healthy alternatives. This particular type of tea isn’t the MOST healthy ever, especially after I add a bit of sweetener but it’s heading in that direction. And truth is that I drink more water when I drink tea so that’s plus for me because I’m a bad bad water drinker. I’ve discovered a distinct appreciation of mint teas and this one has been a seasonal favorite.

Breaking Ballet


I’ve never been good at online programs of any kind. I get bored, distracted, and I’ve never been good with self-reporting accountability. But I’ve learned a lot about being able to work with online programs that have great communication, allow for questions and answers, and have a place for real-time accountability and an ability to support others and be supported. The online program Breaking Ballet fits that bill. I had the opportunity to email the creator of the program, Sarah Aspinall, and she’s great. Sarah is knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive of adult dancers. The workouts are serious but fun. They are doable as a single good long workout or to work out 10 to 15 minutes at a time. I’m going to dance again and I’m going to continue with Breaking Ballet as a method to help me train and get conditioned for dancing my way into 2018.

Find my post on my Breaking Ballet experience here.

2017 was pretty good to me, I traveled, I watched some crazy good ballet, I enjoyed some tasty eats, I played a lot, laughed a lot, I got to spend time with amazing friends, and I started working on my favorite research topics again and found a lot of joy in my work.

And these are a few of my favorite things… how about you, what were your favorite things this year?

What I’m Loving in January

January in this part of the world is winter time and although here in California, winter means having to occasionally wear real shoes, I do enjoy winter travel, best of both worlds so to speak. My December trip to Japan inspired the purchase of a new jacket. The Uniqlo brand – a Japanese company, how’s that for coincidence – has immediately become a favorite.


The jackets are SO LIGHTWEIGHT, it’s incredible! And warm, so toasty warm!  It really did pack down into a bag just slightly larger than a can of Diet Coke. When packed down, it fit into the pocket in the side of my backpack that is sized for a water bottle. I loved the jacket so much I decided to splurge on a vest for ballet class; it is a perfect layer to start out a winter day ballet class.

I’m also loving the Believe Training Journal from runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. Even though it is written for runners with just a bit of imagination, it’s easily adaptable for any physical training, including dance! I still want to write one specifically for the dancer but for now this training journal is working out wonderfully as I re-enter my dance training.

Believe Training Journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas

It’s a great journal but I still need a planner. I’m loving this new planner by a millennial start up company. The Passion Planner gives an opportunity to be creative and self-inspiring while organizing and scheduling life in the way that I often need to if I have any chance of getting things done.

Some additional photos as asked for!

passion planner

I’m also spending time listening to David Bowie’s final album (do we still call them albums?). Isn’t it still shocking that he’s gone?! His last gift of music is pretty incredible – dramatic and lush, as always, pure Bowie. I’m also watching all of my Alan Rickman movies. Sense and Sensability has always been a goto film for me because of him and Emma Thompson. Another immense loss for the world, how I loved Mr. Rickman. And the final season of Downton Abbey is upon us. I don’t have television service so I actually have to wait until it comes out on DVD so as I wait I’ve been reading The Countess of Carnarvon books, Lady Almina and the Read Downton Abbey and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. Both great reads while I wait for my pre-ordered DVDs to come from PBS – yes, I still like having something in my hands vs. the downloads, someday maybe I’ll get onboard with downloading movies.

Happy January!!