My Favorite Things: 2011

"The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things." (Veronique Vienne)

The year is winding down and I thought it would be fun to acknowledge some of my favorite things in 2011.  Below is a listing of old and new finds that I've come to love over the course of the year.

1. The Night Circus
My favorite novel of the year is a whimsical tale of love and magic. The book is beautifully written and the audio version is narrated by Jim Dale. If you only read one book in the new year, I encourage you to make it this one.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Time to say goodbye to Harry Potter and his two best friends. The billion dollar movie behemoth came to an end and it was a bittersweet motion picture masterpiece. Catching the last film is a must.

3. The Lying Game
I'm a sucker for teenage melodrama and ABC family knows it. They had a couple of misses this year, with the Nine Lives of Choloe King, and a slightly lethargic and predictable Pretty Little Liars, but they made up for it with the debut of The Lying Game. My favorite thing about this show...Blair Redford. He's only three year's younger than me. I think we can make this work.  The rest of the cast is entertaining and the twins played by Alexandra Chando are much better than the other pairs of double trouble popping up on tv lately.

4. Game of Thrones
I'm not a sucker for high fantasy, or any type of fantasy for that matter, but HBO has this way of sucking me into shows that otherwise would have never made it on my DVR dance card. This show had me hooked from the first episode. Drama. Suspense. Murder. Sex. All the makings of a great tale. I loved it so much, I bought the first book and actually started reading it.

5. Vampire Diaries
TVD is hot, hot, hot. After a very lackluster second season the writers finally got it right with the third. The character's are more complex, the stakes are bigger, the body count higher and the sexual tension between Damon and Elena is enough to drive a girl crazy. Plus, "Ripper" Stefan is so much more interesting than the blood free version.

6. Snowville Creamery
So it's not a flashy TV series with a huge marketing campaign, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve one. This is my favorite milk, made local and fresh and used exclusively in Jeni's Ice Creams (which you may know is on my longstanding list of faces). And I just recently discovered they have chocolate milk! Yum.

7. Trader Joes Everyday Seasoning
I use this seasoning, like, everyday.  It's a great blend, it's cheap and it tastes great on chicken. 

8. iPad
I could never create a list of my favorite things without including my iPad. Soon it will have more accessories than I do. When I can't carry around my MacBook the iPad and a wireless keyboard does the trick.  I use it to write, play games, listen to music and watch movies. The only thing that would make it better is if I had actually paid for the 3G. Apps of the Year: HBO Go and Netflix on Demand.

9. Nordic Track Treadmill
I bought a treadmill and turned it into a make-shift treadmill desk. Now I have no excuse for not getting my 10000 steps in. I'm surprised at how much I love this thing. The speakers, the fan, the bouncy floorboard and belt that gives me an extra spring in my step.  The perfect thing to get me off to a good start in the new year. Plus it is super easy to write and walk at the same time.

10. Piada Italian Street Food
I've talked about this place on Facebook a lot but in case you haven't heard, this is one of my new faces for fast casual dining. It's Chipotle Italian style with endless combinations and flavors galore. And it's expanding all over the city. I expect one to open down the street from my in the next few months. Good for my happiness, not so good for my waistline. 

11. GoodReads.
I love this site. I check in multiple times a week, and use it to keep track of books I want to read and share info about books I've read. One of my small pleasures: reading reviews from friends about books we have both read. Did they love it or hate it as much as I did? Friend me, I don't mind. And yes, I own 85% of the books on my TBR list.

12. Addicted to Love, Florence and the Machine
Best cover ever!! I love this sultry song and could listen to it over and over again. Yes, I know Adele had an amazing hit this year with her 21 CD, but I love Adele, and knew it would be great, but this CD with Florence and the Machine caught me by surprise. 

Top "Fails" of 2011

Hulu Plus
Talk about wasted money. No more shows or movies, at least none that you really want to see.

Netflix Cluster you know what. More headaches that I can count. You have to screw up pretty bad to loose 800,000 customers in less than 6 months.