Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Favorite Things This Week

Perhaps the best week of the year is upon us Americans as Thanksgiving quickly approaches. I have so much to be thankful for that I have to start coming up with my list a week early. In preparation of the holiday, I am taking a page from Claudine's book and reflecting on my favorite things today. As much as we cannot forget to be grateful for the most important intangible things in life, living in the moment and appreciating the small everyday joys can be just as valuable. With that in mind, here is sampling of the things making my day today.

1. Bodum French Press

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Electric coffeemakers will not cut it in a country where you can live for months at a time with just ten hours of power per day. Immune to electricity shortages, the simple french press is every Kathmandu coffee lover's (and caffeine addict's) best friend. Unfortunately, these puppies are not immune to breakage -- we managed to go through three of the cheap ones we find in Kathmandu in as many months. Insult to injury: Nepal's supply of affordable french presses is about as reliable as its supply of power (word to the wise: always have a backup. As a friend remarked, "When in need of a french press, I am willing to pay with my youngest child."). We picked up this Bodum press while we were in the US in September, and its high-quality craftsmanship (no more drippy spout!) and vibrant shade bring cheer to me each morning. Being the vessel that delivers my daily jolt of rich Nepali coffee doesn't hurt its popularity, either.

2. Down Vest

Bonus: Claudine turned me into a fashion model for her photography homework.

The weather is cooling down here, and while our 70-degree afternoons still have me considering short sleeves, the chillier evenings often demand something warmer. Enter down vest. I never understood the use of vests before now -- if it's warm you should not need it, if cold, aren't sleeves preferable? -- but the Goldilocks not-too-hot-not-too-cold versatility of the vest has me wearing it all around town these days. Plus, it gets me one step closer to emulating childhood hero Marty McFly.

Next step: acquire denim shirt.
[photo credit:]

3. L.L.Bean's Wicked Good® Moccasins

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Accept no substitutes! Knowing that without central heating and proper insulation, Kathmandu homes can get quite chilly in winter, I invested in these bad boys before I moved. Have you ever microwaved a cloud and slipped it on your feet? Neither have I, but I am pretty sure I know what it must feel like thanks to these slippers. They were back-ordered for weeks when I ordered last winter. Totally worth the wait.

4. The Sopranos

[photo credit:]

Am I a little late to the party on this one? Yes, yes I am. But, over a decade since its debut, this show still lives up to the hype. We do not own a TV, so we rely on DVDs on my laptop for our television entertainment fix (yes, this is all starting to sound very year 2000 -- what next, tips on hot dot-com stocks?). Sopranos is the latest series we find ourselves speed-watching in doses of no fewer than two episodes in one sitting. For all of you spoilers out there (eyes turn to my little brother who once ruined the end of the movie Seven for me -- Doug, I will never forget), we are only just beginning Season 3, so as Tony might say, "Keep your yaps shut!"

5. OneSeed Expeditions

OneSeed Expeditions

We recently met a former Kiva Fellow in Nepal, Chris Baker, who has continued his deep connection with the country by partnering with Nepalis and founding OneSeed Expeditions. For anyone looking to be more thoughtful about their travel, OneSeed is the answer. The company will not only guide you on amazing treks to the top of the world, but in the process will contribute to microloans for Nepali small-business entrepreneurs. In addition, OneSeed employs best practices that keep funds invested in local Nepali employees and their communities and incentivizes ecofriendly travel every step of the way. Chris and his team are passionate social entrepreneurs working to make sure you have an adventure that will not only change your life, but the lives of others in the process. Book now.

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