Let’s Play Oprah: December Edition

You guys, it’s here.

It’s giveaway time again and December just needs to CALM DOWN ALREADY because this month’s list of “favorite things” has me so pumped I can hardly stand it.

Who’s excited?





As I’m sure you  know by now, I always say that in my best singsongy Oprah voice. Which  doesn’t exactly make sense because it’s not likely that Oprah goes around referring to herself in the third person in her own singsongy voice…Or does she? I mean, maybe it’s not that unlikely. She is Oprah, after all.  If anyone could get away with it, it’s her.

But that’s all beside the point.

The point is, it’s time to talk “Favorite Things” so let’s not waste any time getting down to it.

Here are my current Top 3 Favorite Things that you must know about right this very minute:

1: Pajama Sets. You know, the kind that match and button down and remind you of your grandpa. I honestly don’t know why it took me this long to get on board, but after years of wearing mismatched sweats to bed, I’ve become a woman who fully embraces the jammie set. Does this mean I’m a grown up? Probably not if I still call it a “jammie” set.

Here’s why I love them: They match, therefore they make me feel less slothful.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here- I spend a lot of time in what we will generously refer to as “loungewear”. I could chalk this up to the writing life, but the truth is that I have a torrid love affair with comfort of any kind- comfort food, comfort wear, comfort zones- give me all of it please.

So if I can be both comfortable and look somewhat ‘put together’ for bedtime, then that’s what we in the biz like to call, “a win-win situation”.


These sets from Old Navy are soft, inexpensive, and festive. I have three different pair and I already can’t decide which one I want to wear on Christmas morning.

2: Giada De Laurentiis Cookbooks. I love to cook and my favorite dishes to prepare are almost always Italian. My happy place is in the kitchen with a glass of wine, some good music in the background, and the aroma of olive oil, garlic, and a hint of lemon mingling on the stove.

My sister used to teach cooking classes, so in an effort to ensure that I have a well rounded education, she gifts me a different cookbook every year for Christmas. By now my collection includes Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson, Martha Stewart, Julia Child, Betty Crocker, Tyler Florence, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Ray, Everyday Food, and well, I could go on an on.

But by far, my most used cookbooks are all by Giada De Laurentiis.

Her recipes are always simple, beautiful, fail-proof, and delicious. Perfect for entertaining or just a regular Tuesday night with the fam.

The two I use the most are

Everyday Italian,


and Everyday Pasta.


The pages of these books are all dog-eared and stained because while many of the recipes I now know by heart, I still reference them out of nostalgia. Or habit. Or a mix of the two, I’m not sure.

Out of all her recipes, the dish I make the most is:

Shrimp Fra Diavlo


with Lemon Spaghetti.


The lightness of the lemon pasta pairs perfectly with the spicy heat of the shrimp dish. I always throw in a little extra white wine in for good measure too, but that’s just me.

3: The Erin Condren Lifeplanner. Last month for my birthday my friend emailed me a gift certificate for Erin’s website (www.erincondren.com) and once I learned I could create my own planner my mind was essentially blown. I didn’t even know that was a thing! As a woman who never outgrew her love of school supplies, planners have become the most recent and socially acceptable outlet for my obsession with paper products.

After using my digital iPhone calendar for most everything (gotta love that “second alert” feature for extra reminders!) I realized that I actually missed writing things down. When it comes to calendars I’ve decided old school is the best school.

So then I went all in and created three separate planners- one for the whole family to reference (for soccer practices, horse lessons, etc), one for my writing, and one for everything else (doctor appointments, classroom volunteering, haircuts, etc).


Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast cross-referencing, color coding, and generally nerding out with all my planners, but eventually it all became too much to keep up with. I needed ONE planner for EVERYTHING. And I needed it to fit in my purse.

All I can say is bullet journal, shmullet journal.

Erin Condren is where it’s at, y’all.

You can create your planner and completely personalize it to your own needs. Needless to say, I was in my glory and I spent far too many hours and dollars on her site. Christmas came early when it was delivered on my doorstep in a great big fancy box yesterday. They put extra effort into their packaging and included lots of fun extras like holiday stickers, labels, and even postcards.


Here is a sneak peak of my planner.


I am already obsessed.

SO obsessed, in fact, that for the December Giveaway I’m going to gift $25 to Erin’s online shop to one of you lucky readers! (It would be super helpful if you stop here to imagine confetti, a small marching band playing trumpets, and a million balloons all being released simultaneously. If this was a movie, this is the part where the music fades in, everything goes slow-motion, and it cuts to the dream reel of you crying happy tears while clutching your new planner to your chest.)

All you have to do to be sure you’re entered to win is enter your email address in the blue lighted bar at the end of this post. If you’ve entered in the past, you’re still in there and eligible to win.

As always, I hope you guys continue to return the favor and share your favorite things with us either by commenting on this post, replying to the email, or using the hashtag #letsplayoprah on social media.

It’s been so much fun hearing about your favorite things! And also a bit troublesome, because I’m discovering too many things that I simply must have. A lot of amazon packages have been showing up on my doorstep and my husband is going to start asking questions soon.

Merry Merry y’all!

9 thoughts on “Let’s Play Oprah: December Edition

  1. Ariel Kostrna

    What!! This planner is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!! I totally saw the marching band and confetti at the point you said you were giving away something so beautiful.
    Ross makes the top of my favorite things this month because saving $$!
    Next would be Pandora because December= Christmas music constantly.
    And then my Clark’s leather boots because I wear them everyday ❤

  2. Melissa Eastwood

    Ok…I love Oprah, but I love you so much more!! I love this game we’re playing because I love favorite things!!! There is a theme here and it is LOVE! So, my love affairs right now are the Avett Brothers (yes, again, and I will warn you by saying they will be on my top three EVERY month. That is how deep my love affair is with them!) specifically “Morning Song” and every live concert on YouTube…Live concerts is where it’s at with them!! Next would have to be Paper Mate medium tip Flair pens. I’m all about office supplies and especially writing utensils!! They are an oldie but goodie. Lastly, Christmas Spirit essential oil mixed with peppermint and orange in the diffuser because, well, Christmas! Thanks for sharing your favorite things and for letting me share mine! Happy Holidays!!

    1. ambersalhus@msn.com

      Melissa, I LOVE that you love (see what Im doing there? 😉 office supplies! I will have to try these pens!

  3. Beth

    OK. First, I’ll about pajama sets. Here’s why, other than the comfort factor. Because when you get up and put your comfy clothes on (yoga pants and a hoody, or your favorite sweater), you are dressed. Then you get into your jammies at night, and it’s not the same clothes you’ve had on all day. Win-Win.

    Second, even if you don’t love a Bullet Journal (because you know I do, pre-printed and I are not BFFs, it’s a planner and planning and so YAY you. Because in the end, that’s where the love is. All, I use a FiloFax and have preprinted monthly and weekly pages that I fill in, and blank sheets that I do bullet journaling on for dailies and other sections, so really, I’m a hybrid planner. Whatever works for you my friend. That’s where the planner peace is.

    Last, (what was the question again?) Oh, right, favorite things. Umm, look. I’m in the second week of finals. I have no idea. I’m loving my Ink Joy pens, my $10 Threshold blanket that I got on Target (originally $15 but on a sale, WIN) that is keeping me warm during this COLD week, and Food Should Taste Good multigrain cracker/chips, because they meet all my allergy requirements and they CRUNCH. #stressfoodforthewin.


    1. ambersalhus@msn.com

      Beth! You are so right! The mere act of “changing” into pajamas has become a ritual that I rather like. Yay for night clothes!

  4. Layla

    Jammies! I L O V E new pjs & haven’t splurged in any in years. My favorite things- binder clips, washi tape, & sharpie fine point (black) pens. I heard a podcast (another favorite thing & free!) recently where they interviewed LL BEAN employees & told stories of the crazy excuses & pathetic, ruined products customers return for replacements. I’m talking a 20 yr old flannel shirt that had been worn to death. ? Anyway, after that I splurged on a pair of #beanboots & we finally have snow.

    1. ambersalhus@msn.com

      Layla, that is hilarious! I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to in the car- thanks for the heads up!

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