Lululemon Double Roller – For those who have used a foam roller, the first thing to know is that this is not your ordinary foam roller! The ridges massage areas that the typical roller can’t access, plus there’s a removable inner roller that’s firmer and has more pronounced ridges. These are ideal when your tightness is really deep or in bendy places like a hip or shoulder (as opposed to the long, flat expanse of a quad muscle).
I’ve long subscribed to the merits of foam rolling to ease soreness, work out tight spots and increase flexibility. My sons realized the benefits when they began running cross country at school several years ago. My husband thought it was silly, until we convinced him to try last summer when his back was bothering him. Suffice it to say that he’s a convert.
I have my older son to thank for discovering this model. I’ve tried many different rollers over the years, and this is by far the most therapeutic.
$58.00. Available through Lululemon stores and online.
Like many of you, my hands are a in a seemingly permanent state of dryness and often crack. On top of that, I have eczema, which leads to areas that can be itchy, inflamed and crusty. (I know…yuk!) I have a prescription steroid cream to deal with flareups, and I should mention that I’ve hardly needed it since I began using this healing lotion.
I purchased my first tube on a whim (having long been a fan of Burt’s lip shimmers), when I saw it on a display rack at the end of a grocery store aisle － and It did not disappoint. This cream is thick but not greasy and has an extremely mild scent that is more natural than perfume-y. Perhaps I should try the formulation that’s specifically designed to be a hand cream, but this tube has done the trick for hands and body quite well.
Available at many larger drug stores, grocery stores ( a recent check included Walgreen’s, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods) and online for $7.99 for a 6-ounce tube.
Parchment Paper Cupcake Liners － Have you ever baked muffins or mini frittatas only to have them stubbornly stick to the liners－which were designed to make things easy, by the way? Parchment liners are inexpensive and virtually guarantee that your baked goods will peel away with ease.
I purchase the pictured If You Care brand. (Some larger grocery stores carry them; locally Lemon Street Market carries large, mini and jumbo packages for under $2.00 each, and they can be found on Amazon.)
A DIY alternative－You can fashion your own parchment paper liners by cutting 5-inch squares of parchment paper (or 6-inch squares for jumbo muffins). Center a square over each muffin cup, firmly pressing the parchment down around the sides of the cup with your hand and creasing the paper all the way around, sort of like a fan. For perfectly symmetrical pleats, press the paper against the cup’s four “corners” with one hand, then fold and press each corner individually with your other hand.
If you want them to look uniformly symmetrical and extra-pretty, press the paper against the cup’s four “corners” with one hand, and then fold the edges over so that they are facing the same direction. The folds won’t end up completely flat, but they’ll flatten out more once the muffin or cupcake batter is added.
Helpful hint: For evenly dispersed batter and fewer drips, use a large ice cream scoop to transfer the batter from the mixing bowl to the muffin or cupcake tins.
Book: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is historical fiction and drew me in from the opening chapter with vivid characters and unexpected plot twists. At its most basic level, this book tells the story of two sisters struggling to survive German-occupied France during World War II. One sister is rebellious and determined to fight for her country; the other’s sole motivation is serving the war with her family intact despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Having read many books set against the backdrop of World War II, I was drawn to The Nightingale because it detailed a piece of this time period about which I was less familiar. With its historical accuracy and riveting storyline, this book is likely to appeal to those who prefer nonfiction and fiction alike.
✏️✏️✏️ Current favorite quote: My older son is to thank for finding this quote (author unknown), which he texted to me on the heels of a challenging week. There’s such wisdom in it: “Disappointment reveals investment. What a beautiful thing to care, even if you were hoping for a different outcome. Celebrate that always.”
One more thing… I’ve been thinking about a monthly recipe series based on cookbooks. How many of us have a shelfful of cookbooks that we hardly ever use? Do you, like me, have countless pages dog-eared with good intentions? Yet there they sit?
There are some real gems hiding within those pages, so perhaps we should follow through on some of those good intentions. Do you have a favorite cookbook or a favorite recipe (or several)? Please feel free to comment as to any personal favorites and any desire to revisit some of the standouts in the pages of this blog.