Ringing Endorsements: Volume IV

singing bowl mamasteIt’s been quiet here on Mamaste. But that’s because I feel as if I have to save all my best stories for mom.me.

Also: life. In addition to juggling eleventy-billion deadlines this past week, I spent the previous week preparing for our annual Dia de los Muertos party.

And on top of that, I’ve spent hours upon hours since my last post making faces at Emily in an attempt to make her smile her BIG smile… the one that is almost as big as her entire face.

I love that smile.

Still, I managed to stumble upon a few things I think you might enjoy.

1. MasterChef Junior. Michael and I watch MasterChef religiously. Mainly because it is ridiculous, and only gets more ridiculous as time goes on. So the show is obviously awesome in its own right. Then, last year, the network introduced MasterChef Juniorand our brains exploded from the cute. The best part about this show—beyond hearing an 8-year-old say she’s been cooking since she was 2—is observing how supportive all these contestants are of each other. Flavorwire says it more eloquently than I ever could, so you should check that out.

2. Deep-Fried Ravioli. Last night, I taught my inner peace workshop again. Then I went out for beer with my OMies and we went to a bar I had never been to before and, whilst there, I tasted a delicacy I have never tasted before: deep-fried ravioli. Someone on Twitter commented that deep-fried ravioli sounds like a revelation. And yes. Yes, it was. Maybe this is something I need to do more often.

3. FrozenI’m not sure whether I should be recommending this movie or cautioning you against it. Actually, you probably all saw it long before I succumbed to the phenomenon that is Frozen, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. (I finally watched it because I had to write a gift guide for fans of the movie.) To be honest, I’m not quite sure what has made this particular movie such a sensation. But the earworms that are “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go” just. won’t. leave me. Also, I guess it’s a cute enough flick.

4. Bird BoxOh my god you guys, I didn’t think I was going to like Josh Malerman’s Bird Boxbut the creep factor slowly built, page by page, until it consumed me. In this book, people lose their sanity—becoming homicidal / suicidal—after seeing… something. We don’t know what. And so, people start walking around wearing blindfolds and they lock themselves up in their houses, patching up the windows with blankets and mattresses and wood until the streets are empty of everyone but these unseen creatures. We enter the story when the mother of two children decides to leave the house that has been their sanctuary for the past four years and travel, blindfolded, along a river to the vague promise of a possibly better life. I read the first quarter of the book one night and, the next night, I stayed up for hours reading the rest of it. And then I was afraid to go to sleep, because what if I could never open my eyes again?

5. Stitch Fix. The first time I tried Stitch Fix, I was underwhelmed. Then again, I couldn’t really blame the service’s personal shoppers for not finding clothing that fit me correctly. Between the time I scheduled my first order and the time I actually received it, I found out I was pregnant, and my belly was already starting to expand just a bit. But recently, I decided to give it another go. Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You fill out a personal style survey online and then, based upon this, a personal shopper puts together a package of goodies and sends them to you by a specified date. This time around, I kept two out of the five items they sent me (whatever you don’t want can be returned in a prepaid envelope included with your shipment): an infinity scarf and a super-soft, long-sleeved shift dress that made me feel sexy as hell. Which is a tall order these days. I’m a fan of Stitch Fix because they send me stuff I may not have considered on my own. I’ve already scheduled my next shipment.

6. World Market. Back when I was a products blogger for Nerve, I became obsessed with home decor. Possibly because the gig coincided with first time home ownership. I developed a deep love for Pier 1 Imports and HomeGoods and the home decor department of Target. Now, a World Market has opened up fairly close to us, a store that had previously only been accessible to me online. It is like Pier 1 but way cheaper, plus they have coffee samples, so basically it’s like heaven. We recently picked up some stuff there to take our Day of the Dead decor to the next level.

7. Make Wine With Us. Back in June, as an anniversary gift to Michael, I purchased a series of winemaking classes through Make Wine With Us, located in Wallington, NJ. I figured it would be a great gift because, way back when, while researching a story about New Jersey wines for Inside Jersey, we ended up doing something similar at California WineWorks in Ramsey, and it had been a wonderful experience. Make Wine With Us is more moderately priced, and the guy who runs the place is a hoot. The winemaking class we’re a part of now is a large group, and we don’t always work with the grapes we’re necessarily gonna go home with in the end. But they do let you sign up to make wine with smaller, more intimate groups, and it’s something we’re definitely considering.

8. Erin Motz, One Bad Yogi. I first tried yoga at a local gym. Then I practiced sporadically at home, using DVDs. Finally, I became a member of two yoga studios, and that’s now my favorite way to practice. I never really got into the online yoga video scene. Whenever someone asks about online yoga instruction, though, I point them to Erin Motz, a self-proclaimed “bad yogi.” Her YouTube videos have completely charmed me and, if you sign up for her yoga challenge, you get a new video in your inbox every damn day. These videos are perfect for beginners, or even for more advanced practitioners who are looking to review the basics (and honestly, we could all do with a bit of that).

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