Category Archives: Oprah

Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things List

Sadly, one of my bucket items will never be accomplished; I will never receive amazing, free stuff from Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show. I loved that show. It was so fun. It was an afternoon I always looked forward to as I would race home from school. It was joyful and awesome. I always imagined myself in the audience, freaking out and screaming when she announced that we would all go home with t-shirt sheets or a new line of facial cleanser, “You get cleanser, and you get cleanser, and you get cleanser!”   I loved the fact she gave away so much stuff. It got me thinking what stuff I would give away to an audience if I could. I started my own list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” – items that I have used and loved for a long time. So here they are. Here is my own “Liz’s Oprah’s Favorite Things” list. They are all “Liz tested, Liz approved” and they are all under $50.00, most under $20.00. For what it’s worth, I really do love the following items.

-Talenti Pistachio Gelato. It is seriously amazing. I could easily put a pint away in one sitting, no problem. (Locals, you can get it at the Washburn IGA) blog 1

-Boru Vodka. A few years ago, the trio entered a “Best Bar Band” contest that Boru sponsored, and we ended up in the top ten. Because of this, we were sent some amazing swag including a case of Boru vodka. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Named after the first king of Ireland, it can be tricky to find. (Luckily for locals, you can order it at The Snug in Washburn.)

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-Blackwing 602 pencils. The best. Google it. They make me want to write things by hand.  The eraser comes out, so you can extend the life of your pencil, and the flat end keeps it from rolling.  Also, the graphite is amazing! June 2011

-Neutragena Healthy Skin Enhancer. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s totally make-up, but it also contains sun screen, moisturizer and retinol. I’ve used it for years, but after a few months, I noticed fewer lines on my face. It comes in a pump and lots of shades.

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-Clinique Kohl Shaper for Eyes. My favorite shade is black coffee. These are so cool, because the liner goes on like butter BUT the coolest thing is that there is a sharpener in the cap so you can always have a nice, focused tip. My friend Marcie turned me onto these a few years ago and I have never looked back. The best.

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– Any and all jewelry by Poca Adams. Poca is a silversmith in the Washburn/Bayfield area, and she uses basalt from Lake Superior in most of her designs. My favorite are my sweet pair of earrings, hand hammered hoops with basalt. She finds the stones herself on the beach. Added bonus? Her earrings are lighter than you would think. Check her out on facebook.

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-Sock It To Me socks. They are the best socks around (unless you are skiing, and then I would go with SmartWool) They are fun, funky, and fabulous. They have a great fit; they stay up under your knee without cutting off any circulation, and they breath while keeping your feet warm. They are a little costly (about 10 bucks a pair) but totally worth it. I like to keep them for days when I need a little boost of fun.

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-OPI nail polish, specifically, “I Am Not Really a Waitress” If you are a woman who has ever painted her nails, or gotten her hair done in a salon, you are most likely familiar with OPI. Super fun colors, and even better, super creative and quirky names for the colors. It doesn’t chip or crack and you can even get by without a top coat. I don’t wear nail polish that often, but when I do, it is always OPI.

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– Goslings Ginger Beer. This is amazing stuff. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t alcoholic, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work really well with vodka. It isn’t too sweet, but the ginger isn’t too bitey either, which means a perfect Moscow Mule is on the way! (Goslings, vodka, fresh mint, and simple syrup if you like, but it doesn’t need it.) Serve it in a mug if you want to be traditional. Also, enjoy it alone out of the can, on a hot day or after a workout. It is delicious!

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A Confession


I started watching Game of Thrones on Netflix, and so far so good.  Lots of sex and violence, it’s my kind of series. However, everyone I talk to about it asks, “Did you read the books?  OMG, you have to read the books.”  They mean well, but really, are they kidding me?  There are hours and hours of episodes to get through.  Why on earth would I read the books?  I barely have time to watch them, let alone read them.  There is laundry to do, toenails to paint and Facebook to troll.

I have a confession to make.  Truth is, I hate to read.  There, I said it.  Wow, that was a weight lifted!  I feel so much lighter.  No.  I don’t read.  Anything.  Ever.  I hate reading.  The last book I finished was never.

People like to stereotype me as a “reader” just because I teach high school English.  I think that’s grossly unfair.  Just because I teach Pride and Prejudice doesn’t mean I’ve read it.  Please!  Although I have seen both the BBC mini-series with Colin Firth and the movie with Keira Knightly so I do feel competent and quite an expert on the topic.

Why on earth would I voluntarily read a book when I can just watch the movie?  Seriously?  All that back and forth with the eyes…so monotonous.  Get me a remote and a vodka and I can happily knock through a classic in two hours.

I know it’s “cool” to read.  Apparently, it has been for a while.  Some of my smarter, erudite friends who assume I read are always offering suggestions for new titles I should check out.  I always feign some excitement.  I can usually fake my way around that conversation with, “Not yet, but I ordered it.  I can’t wait.”  Or if someone starts down the plot path, and are expecting some feedback, I can answer with, “Nope – stop  it!  Don’t ruin it for me, I haven’t gotten there yet.  Spoilers!”

The worst is when they reference previous novels the author has written, as if I had read it or am even familiar with the author.  “Did you read Rachel Kushner’s new one?  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  You’ve read her first novel, right?”  That is a sticky question, because not only have I not read it, I don’t even know the title.  They haven’t made the movie yet.  Come on Hollywood!  Catch up!

When I had knee surgery, my “friend” Michelle gave me a copy of “Cleopatra’s Memoir” and I almost slapped her.  Some friend.  That thing has like thousands of pages.  As if I would ever have the time, inclination or wherewithal to actually read it.  Also, turns out the movie starring Elizabeth Taylor was from a completely different book.  I had to totally tap dance my way around that conversation.  Weeks later, when she asked about it, I used words like “profound” and “epic” and, for a brief moment, I thought I saw a flash of doubt in her eyes.

When I absolutely have to read a book, I usually read the first chapter, the last chapter and then a random chapter in the middle.  That is the most important one, because then you can reference random plot points in conversation.  That’s what’s cool about literature.  You can always B.S. your way around metaphor and meaning.   For example, “Yeah, sure, the green light at the end of the dock was important, but what about when Gatsby shows Daisy all the custom-made shirts in his closet?  I thought that was profound and epic.  Think about it – not only is it his costume, like he’s pretending/acting to be someone he’s not, but it’s like his armor too.  Right?”   Also, on a side note, I liked the movie with Redford more than the DiCaprio.

As a high school English teacher, I assign a novel each quarter that students have to read outside of class.  Four books a year.  That’s more than I have read in my entire life.  (At the end of every quarter, I have them do a power point on the novel, so I don’t have to read any of papers.  Also, I give them a list of books that I probably should have read by now, so I can get more familiar with the plots.  I consider it great time management – a teacher’s best tool.)  I also have many, many, many, many, many students who blow off reading the book and just watch the movie.  They have a special place in my heart.  While other teachers may bitch and moan about those kids, I embrace them.  When they look me in the eye, boldly lying to my face, I smile with pride.  You go little slacker!  You go!  I love these kids so much, that often, on tests, I will write questions just for them, things that the “smart” kids wouldn’t know because they read the book – questions like “What color was Gatsby’s car?”  The kids who saw the movie would know that.  I would know that too, because I never read the book.  When the smart kids ask me about the validity of the question, I can shoot back with something about it being profound and epic and that it clearly represents his desire to better his life.  They lurk off feeling stupid, and I wink at one of the kids who got it right, as if to say “I know, right?”

Sometimes the movies of books are dull and seem pointless.  I always assume it was because the book was dull and pointless.  When asked what I thought of “Beloved“or  “Life of Pi,” I can honestly say, “I thought it was kind of flat.”  Half the time, people seem relieved that I have been so honest and brave to share that opinion, and sometimes friends whisper, “I thought so too – I didn’t get half of it.”  While I’m on the topic, can someone who actually read “The Life of Pi” tell me what was up with the flowers and the teeth on the island? Because in the movie, it seems like something that was really profound and epic, but still left me wanting more…

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Filed under Books, Humor, Movies, Oprah