Bests roundup

Best packaging: Mast Brothers Chocolate, a birthday gift from Nancy.  They are wrapped in thick sheets of florentine papers with clean simple labels. Love.  Oh, and the chocolate was delicious: I had the fleur de sel and salt and pepper dark chocolate. Wow.


Tea of the year: I'm not a tea drinker much, although I do drink herbal tea a few times a month, especially when I need a warm comforting pause in the middle of the day. There's something about sitting there with my hands warmed around the mug, staring off into the middle distance, thinking wandering thoughts.  I'm a big fan of elevenses, with or without a cuppa.  Most often I have the very normal and probably boring honey chamomile. Or lemon zinger, when I'm feeling zingy.

Word or phrase: most often heard around here: amazing.  My daughters use it several times a day. I love it that they are amazed so frequently; it seems a close cousin to wonder and enthusiasm.

Shop: Um, a quick glance at my bank statement would tell you that Amazon is my best friend these days. It has allowed me to be (relatively) ready for Christmas gifting and I even do drug-store shopping there. Runner up: Etsy.  I love supporting independent artists and crafters & buy many gifts and house things there, too.

Car ride: August 2009, from our home to the Adirondacks and back, with G. and the kids.  We've entered a stage of relatively good humor and patient travelers (a far cry from the days of car-seat tirades and she's-touching-me only took us a decade to get here).  This trip was especially lovely, with the journey setting the tone for the entire week.  Runner up: the drive from NYC to Boston with my mom in September.

New person:  Who is your unsung hero of 2009?  Natalie saved the day this year for me at girl's camp by jumping in at the last minute when the camp director was put on pregnancy bed rest (who would have also been fabulous, by the way).  Natalie handled it with grace and enthusiasm and the girls all loved her.  Who was a new acquaintance you were excited to meet? Runners up: It was great meeting Whitney last week and having lunch--I've admired her from afar for a while.  Ditto Leslie, who I finally met at a fundraiser in November.  One of my students handled a painful year with great courage.  And (for purely selfish and vain reasons) my new (& first ever) eyebrow lady Lauren.  I am in good hands.

What about you? A new person in your life this year that has made a difference? A memorable car ride? Do share...