Monday, December 14, 2009

Five Things

So, there's still a little buying time left before what my friend Bella calls "Giftmas." Therefore (ergo), I thought I'd channel Oprah and do a post about five things I love and think you should buy for someone. Anyone, really. Including you.

And no, I get paid by none of these people. And I don't know anything about any of them other than I like them. Oh, and if you have stuff you like, consider doing your own "five things" post on your blog, because I always need new stuff.

Without further ado, here are my five things, with absolutely no common thread between them and in no particular order.

1. Roku - Oh, how I love my little Roku box. It plugs into your teevee, and then connects wirelessly to the internet. From there, the main draw is that you can watch unlimited movies instantly on Netflix if you have a subscription. Mine's only $15 a month. Granted, they're still building their movie and TV show collection, but I was surprised at what I could find on Watch Instantly; I have 63 titles in my queue, and many of those are full, multi-episode tv seasons.

But there's more! You can also download movies and TV shows from Amazon's Video on Demand, and therefore rent newer movies on a pay-per-view basis. Plus, Pandora streams their internet radio service onto your Roku; I'm listening to my "holiday" station through my teevee's speakers as we speak. They're also adding more channels - like Major League Baseball - so there's no telling where the service will go in the future.

I know there are other services like this, but I liked that it gave me access to things I was already using, all in one place. Plus, it's a fairly inexpensive option - just $79-99. It also took me no time to hook up, and I usually suck at things like that.

So, yes, Roku is currently one of my favorite things.

2. Erase Paste - I guess you know that you're of "a certain age" when number two on your favorite things list is concealer.

And yet I love it.

Erase Paste is from Benefit, and a little spendy, at about $26. But it's the best concealer I've found in ages. It's really light, but the coverage is great and a little bit goes a long way. It also tends to lighten everything up, but not in a noticeable way. It is, as I told my friend, like a real-life Photoshop.

And we could all use a little of that.

3. "Come to Me" by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab - I can, and should, do a whole post on BPAL. Let's just say that they're the best, most unique fragrance purveyor on the Interwebs. I can't really do their site justice, you have to go there yourself.

No seriously, go there. I'll wait.

See? Their whole store is devoted to utterly unique fragrances. But they don't just throw together a bunch of oils. They take myths, legends, deities and characters from stories (Lucy Westenra, anyone?). Then, they create oil blends to match the stories. Some of them are truly unique. One of my favorites is called Zombi, which is a blend of Spanish moss, grave dirt and dried roses. Kick ass, no?

So, currently, my Favorite Thing from BPAL is a scent called "Come to Me". I wear it obsessively. It's supposed to be an old voodoo recipe for drawing the male attention, and I do have to admit that it seems to work in that respect. But mostly it's just clean-smelling and sexy and awesome. I love it.

4. Dragon Age - Okay, I've talked about Dragon Age before, but come on! Seriously one of the best video games I've ever played, hands down.

It's "dark fantasy" and yes, okay, a little bloody. (I do love me a good beheading.) But the story! The story is as good as any I've ever seen, and I actually got emotionally attached to my "friends" in my party. The game isn't hard to learn, but it is hard to stop playing - every person I know who's started it has had a hard time putting it down.

If you're a gamer and even if you're not, it's really worth trying it - especially if you like good storytelling. There's nothing like a really good story, except when you're the hero. That's really awesome.

5. Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Ice Cream Maker - You know I had to get at least one kitchen appliance in this list, and this is both one of my favorite appliances and one of my favorite gifts.

I know a lot of people get one of these, make ice cream once or twice, and then never use it again, but I've made dozens of batches. I just keep the inner container in the freezer at all times, and am always ready to make ice cream.

It's super easy to use. You make the custard on the stove, then let it chill (I usually put mine in the fridge overnight). Then, you place the frozen container inside the ice cream maker, put the paddle in and the top on, and turn it on. Pour in the custard and a 20 minutes later, voila. (The ice cream's soft right from the maker, though; you have to freeze it a bit to harden it up.)

I actually have a hard time eating store-bought ice cream now. There's just nothing like the real thing.

It's also less than $75 on Amazon.

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