Favorite Things


Jessie: In New Hampshire where the ground is covered with snow and the birds flit merrily round the feeders throughout the day.

I am an inveterate list maker. I have lists of knitting projects, recipes to try, movies to watch, tasks to finish. I have a Ravelry account for my knitting, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video queues and a recipe box on Epicurious. Amazon’s Echo helps me to wrangle my grocery lists.  I pin all sorts of visual lists to my Pinterest boards.

But although I am always up for digital lists of all sorts I find myself scribbling lists on sticky notes and in whichever notebook I have to hand. Writing lists by hand allows me to indulge in my passion for fountain pens as well as for notebooks and papers and I always enjoy encountering lists I had made in the past. They serve as a diary of sorts, a kind of snapshot of a moment in time and often remind me of things I had forgotten.

Just this week I was planning a gathering for friends and needed to sort out a menu so naturally I reached for a pen and paper to start a list of menu ideas. I grabbed a notebook I keep in my nightstand drawer, a little A5 number with a cheerful Hello Kitty cover that my husband brought back for me from China a couple of years ago. As I thumbed through looking for a fresh page my glance fell on another sort of list entirely and one I cannot for the life of me remember writing, or even my reason for doing so.

It seems to be a list of favorite things. Just reading it over made me smile so I thought I would share it with you. Here are a few of the items listed:

  • Bento boxes
  • Fair Isle Socks
  • Vintage convertibles
  • Cardinals
  • Silk scarves
  • High ceilings and long windows
  • Fountain pens
  • Champagne
  • Brick sidewalks
  • Cashmere
  • The Atlantic
  • Fireplaces
  • Extravagant hats
  • Window boxes
  • Sparkling glassware
  • Louis Armstrong music
  • Plump goldfish

So what I am wondering dear readers is what would be on your list of favorite things? Do we have any shared loves? Writers, do you scribble down lists here, there and everywhere too? Does any of it ever make it into your writing?

32 Thoughts

  1. Oh, good! Love lists, all kinds. Heads up –
    Miquelrius color-coded notebooks
    Clair Fontaine notebooks
    fountain pens
    Ink & Volt planners
    Quo Vadis journals
    Papermate gel pens
    Smart wool socks
    stained glass windows
    the first green buds of spring
    autumn air

    1. Oh Kait, we share some favorites! I love Clairefontaine paper! I use Rhodia notebooks to begin my books because I love the covers and the paper! I love gel pens and fountain pens and Ink and Volt planners! I have been considering Quo Vadis notebooks for some time but never made the leap. I am delighted to hear they are worth a try! I’ll put them on a list!

      1. I use the minister Quo Vadis because it has space for Sunday events, and I love the side dashboard that I can use as a check the box planner. Dovetails wonderfully with the greater goal arc of the Ink and Volt. Ah, paper, the opiate of the writer.

  2. I love to make lists also. Some of my favorite. things:
    Wide-ruled notebooks
    My family and friends
    The first book of a new series

  3. What a lovely list! Yes, I’m also a big list maker. Let’s see. Favorite things:
    The beach (any beach)
    Dark chocolate
    Energel pens
    Striped socks
    Sparkling glassware
    Cross-country skiing
    Dark rich coffee
    The smell of sunshine on line-dryed laundry
    The light patterns made by antique windows

  4. Mine tend to be “what I need to do today and I won’t be able to get free wifi so I have to write it down” or (sadly) “These are the edits your proofreader missed:”

  5. Love the lists! I do it all the time. It may be hereditary, since my father used to write notes to himself (he had terrible handwriting!) on 3×5 cards, using different colors of ink for each subject, and keep them in his shirt pocket. At least I don’t go that far!

    My favorite things:
    farmers markets
    eating something I’ve never tried before
    traveling to new places, and revisiting favorites
    Victorian architecture (the gaudier the better)
    gel pens and clean white pads
    a stack of books I’ve been looking forward to reading–and the time to do it!

    1. Farmers markets! Lovely! I tend to color code my lists. I actually have color coding for a lot of things. I have color coded sticky notes and flags on my electronic calendars and pens to use with my paper planners. It sounds a bit obsessive but it really does help me to know things at a glance and to notice if I have imbalances that are getting me into or out of trouble.

  6. I see that red and black theme in your lead in photo! Yes to lists. I have lists for everything! Sometimes that even includes things to NOT do like allow myself to be volunteered for something! Every once in a while I need to consolidate lists or re-think them! My goals list keeps me on track. My shopping list unfortunately doesn’t keep me from impulse purchases. My bills list makes sure I pay my bills. Balancing the checkbook takes precedence on the to do’s. Favorite things-too many to fit in a list but they fit into writing and every day life!

  7. I make lists constantly. It helps keep me organized. My favorite things, in no particular order:
    My family
    Working out
    Virginia Beach
    Key West
    All things Hawaii
    The Caribbean
    The ocean

    I’m sure there are more, but that is what comes to mind off the top of my head.

  8. Ooo, favorite things!

    Fancy pens and paper ( I don’t use them once I buy them, but I love looking)
    The smell of baking bread – or really baking anything
    The balsam-cedar candle we buy every winter
    Fresh snow (as long as I don’t have to go out in it)
    A primo cup of tea
    Good chocolate
    A roaring fire
    A good book
    The smell of dry leaves in autumn
    Fall foliage
    Being on a sailboat on calm water

    1. Oh Liz! I love fancy pens and paper too and used to feel like I shouldn’t “ruin” them with my wretched handwriting. Over the past couple of years I’ve been working on improving the legibility of my writing and have made myself go ahead and use the good stuff. I am so glad I did! I truly believe all the little stories we tell ourselves about our worth add up. If I tell myself my writing isn’t good enough for the notebooks I love, what does it say about my opinion of the value of my writing? So now I make a point of using the best materials all the time.

      I also love a good crunchy autum leaf smell!

  9. Hi Jessie,
    Some of my favorite things:
    My Wizard of oz collection
    Vintage collectibles
    Letters from my parents to each other,
    before they got married.
    Bird feeder in my front yard
    😊 Have a great day!

      1. I have letters my parents wrote to each other during WWII before they were married, too. They are so sappy they’re a bit embarrassing to read! But that now they have both “gone ahead,” maybe I’ll haul out the letters and see if any fictional ideas rise up for me.

  10. Oh, Jessie, I am totally with you on champagne and cashmere – and beautiful notebooks, which I hate to use – and thank you for Rhodia notebooks – how have I never seen these before?
    In no particular order –
    sunlight sparkling on water
    black cats
    Vera scarves
    tea shops
    ballet slipper pink
    vintage sportscars
    Thank you for the fun!

  11. Starting a new book by a favorite author
    Disney movies
    the beach
    hanging out with good friends
    thinking of my favorite things on a Monday, which makes me smile as I head out the door to work. Thanks. 🙂

  12. Oh, what fun! My favorite things
    –Time with family
    –A clean house with everything in its place (so rarely achieved)
    –A dip in a heated pool at the end of a long writing day
    –Ice cream, pretty much any kind in any form, gelato included
    –A movie and dinner date
    –A view of the water
    –Curling up on a comfy couch with a book on a snowy day
    –Cheese and crackers and wine
    –Staying up late and sleeping in
    –The march of the seasons
    –Traveling, particularly cities, particularly if we can stay in an apartment for a couple of weeks

    1. Cheese and crackers and wine! SOme of my very favorites too! And I also love staying up very late adn then sleeping in the next morning! Once my youngest goes off to college I plan to rarely go to bed before 1 am. I love the quiet of the world so late at night and find I do someof my best writing in the wee hours.

  13. These are a few of my favorite things:
    Dark chocolate
    Old musicals, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
    Dogs, especially Corgis
    Hot bubble baths
    Beatles music
    Royal Albert’s Old Country Rose fine china
    Rock Hudson, Doris Day comedies
    I Love Lucy
    Hot cocoa
    Harry Potter
    French toast
    Vintage jewelry
    My Kindle

  14. What fun to read these lists! Thank you Jessie for this post. Most of the lists we write around here are grocery store lists and a list on a post-it that we have in the car for errands, so nothing gets left undone. Favorite things for me include:
    Early morning neighborhood walks
    Sunrise and sunset, so beautiful!
    Hugs from Grands
    My quote journal. I have filled up quite a few!
    Family and friends
    Our public library…my favorite place to go
    Books and authors…I so appreciate you each one who write

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