Even More Stuff I Recommend

1.      Predator Olde Zinfandel – Don’t let the “Zinfandel” name throw you here – I know the connotation and what you are thinking right now: she is recommending a box of wine? Hardly. This has a deep, smoky flavor – great to pair with dinner straight off the BBQ or a hearty pre-dinner drink. It’s on the wine list of a few classy Charlotte establishments and my family and I enjoy it so much we tracked down its birthplace this year during our annual Napa Valley excursion. At $16 retail it’s hardly going to break the bank but it certainly isn’t off the Wal-Mart shelf either. Treat Yo Self!

2.      BirchBox – Ladies, Christmas morning comes every month on the 10th. For $10/ month I get a box of designer samples sent to my house, customized to my liking. Color treated hair, normal skin, classic makeup, sporty style – I filled out a beauty profile and the samples they send are amazing and usable (i.e. I never get blue eye shadow). La Mer (YES!!), Kiehls, Smash Box, Oscar Blandi, are among the brands I’ve received. Great way to try out super pricey products before you take the plunge and buy a full size. Happy Easter, Merry Christmas! (www.birchbox.com)

3.      Hobo Double Frame Clutch – I love this more than any purse I’ve ever carried. Worth the splurge, I can pretty much fit all essentials into this wallet that I can dress up or down, shove into a purse or carry as a clutch. My only regret is that I don’t have it in more colors. It’s just held up so beautifully I don’t have an excuse to buy another yet (but when I do, I would just love one in Spring Green).

4.      131 Main Wild Rice Salad – Umm…yum. The hit of any summer party, I’ve never brought it to a BBQ where I haven’t been asked for the recipe or received a marriage proposal. Note that it really does need to chill overnight to get the rice to take on the curry flavor. The cranberries and golden raisins are a sweet surprise. And use more olive oil than directed – I add it to taste right before serving.

5      Volcano Capri Blue Candle – My place smells amazing. Girls, light this up and you would think you are shopping around Anthropology (that is what they burn in their store). A little on the pricey side (seriously, there are “designer” candles?) but I’m all about ambience and I am realllly relaxed and feel so clean when this is burning. I had a habit of lighting all of the candles in my place when I walk in at night and I’ve pretty much limited it to just this one these days.

6.      9 Round – So. FUN. Fitness is a huge part of my life – I love trying a new workout routine almost more than I love eating wedding cake. Almost. I was starting to get bored with my athletic conditioning class so I looked into 9 Round, 9 rounds of tabata style boxing moves. Gloves and everything. I feel like one tough chick. Like Hilary Swank style, only no dude haircut. My legs, which I’ve always hated, are slimming down in a HURRY. Watch out boys, I’m gonna work these drumsticks this summer!

7.      Kate Somerville Clinic-To-Go Resurfacing Peel Pads  – Wow. I got these for free at a Neiman Marcus event I went to – had no expectations, but these made a lasting impact on my skin (even just the samples). Cleanse your face and then follow up with one of these buffing pads packed with Lactic Acid and soothing Myrtle and Sage Leaf Extracts – your face will feel tingly fresh and look like you just slept for 14 hours. What a nice relieving treatment!

8.      Alabama Shakes – Great. Music. Just was turned onto them when I was at South by Southwest this year – so glad to have heard them pre-summer as I can already hear them playing on my patio in the middle of July. Blues rock with a really unique sound that hasn’t been tired out. You’ll never hear these guys on pop radio which is just….nice. Album comes out in April. Yes and please.

9.      Q International Chlorine Shower filter – My daily shower is a healthier experience for having one. First, chlorine is bad for you and our water supply has plenty of it in there. So not only is my hair and skin taking a beating every time I rinse off, the heated chlorine turns into a gas I’m also ingesting. A double whammy. Grab one of these and have a little more peace of mind when stepping into what should be a relaxing and healthy daily chore.

10.  Trader Joes Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate Almonds – A weekly staple in my TJ run. Just a small handful before bed, and I’m totally satisfied. The only TJ sweet that I swear by.

11.  Sleep Cycle App – I love this thing. For an overachiever such as myself, I tend to wake up and immediately check “how I did” sleeping. The iPhone app actually measures your sleep state for the entire night – awake-to-deep sleep, it senses your movement throughout the night. The alarm then wakes you in your lightest state of sleep, which means you wake up feeling more rested than you would if you were just taking a crap shoot with an old school bed side alarm clock.

12.  Toms Aviators – I love the mission of Toms – BOGO-for-someone-in-need. However, I’m not really a big fan of the shoes (a little too hippy for me), so I LOVE that the same deal applies with the eyewear as well. My Classic 302s are H-O-T. I’ve always been a Ray Ban aviator fan, but these are just as nice, heartier (sunglasses get pretty beat up in the abyss of my purse) and actually serve someone other than just me.

13.  Bevello – For those of you fashionistas in the Carolinas, Bevello is a “must visit” little boutique. Multiple locations, with multiple price points there is something for everyone. Great jewelry, colorful pieces and trendy-yet-classic lines, you will not leave that place feeling out of date. My favorite place to shop in Charlotte (outside of the newly opened Lilly Pulitzer).

14.  Upstream Mussels pot – I’ve tried to make this list as national as possible but I live in Charlotte for a reason. I love it here. And because I love food, I have to share the single most amazing menu item I’ve ever had in my life: the mussel pot at Upstream. I don’t even like Mussels – you will never hear me order them anywhere else. So who knew that when these came out the first time years ago, I would crave them weekly? The broth is a smoked tomato base that I for the life of me I will never be able to figure out how to replicate. Come to Charlotte, I will treat you. And I may or may not dab a little broth on my wrists 😉

15.  Starwood Hotels – I travel quite a bit. There is no better preferred membership than Starwood  (W, St. Regis, Westin, etc.). I’ve always been upgraded. I always have a bottle of wine waiting for me, always have a reliable car service and their beds are dreamy. The St. Regis cookie assortment will knock your socks off.

3 thoughts on “Even More Stuff I Recommend

  1. Pingback: Lipstick Makes Everything Better » Make Up Monday Sharing My Space (Stuff Meg Recommends)

  2. You have such great taste! I love the recommendations. I’m already a fan of Predator, Birchbox and TJ Dark Chocolate Almonds. My daughter has the Hobo Double Frame Clutch in red and she loves it. If I go out and buy one, I know she’ll say, “Mom, why are you trying to copy me?” Now I can tell her, Megan recommended it! Lol.

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