Dear Wendy readers are some of the most intelligent, stylish, super cool people around (it’s a proven fact), so, when a commenter suggested I create a regular feature for them to recommend some of their favorite products, it was a no-brainer and Reader Recs was born. Today’s recommendations come from “Alice” who is a 23-year-old veterinary student living near Madison, WI with her forever-train partner, 2 cats, 6 ducklings, 6 turkeys, and a whole bunch of chickens. When she’s not operating on animals or giving puppies shots, she spends most of her time helping “Benjamin” on the farm growing food and then figuring out ways to eat and store it. She also loves ballroom dancing, yoga, running, knitting while watching Netflix, and spending way too much time lurking on Dear Wendy. Keep reading for her recommendations.
I Think I Can Dress in Teal
I ordered this dress last summer because I had two weddings to attend and wanted something that was really flattering but not too short on my 5’10” frame. This dress seems to defy the laws of physics because I swear it looks amazing on every single body type. It gathers around the waist, which really emphasizes an hourglass shape, and on me it comes to the lower thigh which is perfect for a wedding. I paired mine with nude heels and butterscotch amber jewelry and got so many compliments!
Put ’em Up Canning Instruction book
If anyone has spent any time lurking on Dear Wendy, they probably already know how much I love canning. I taught myself how to water-bath can through a combination of reading books and watching youtube videos. Put ’em Up was my first book and is hands down my favorite for beginners. It is organized alphabetically by fruit/veggie, and has so many wonderful ideas on how to extend the life of your favorites from the farmer’s market and/or garden. I personally love both the pickled sweet peppers, for putting on all kinds of Mexican food, and the spicy dilly beans. (PS: For those of you with some canning experience and looking for new ideas and perhaps a bit of a challenge, I highly highly suggest Canning for a New Generation as the next book you add to your collection)
Contigo Auto-seal (EASY CLEAN) Mug
I got this mug a few weeks ago, and I have used it pretty much every day since then. I am a bit of a traveling mug hoarder because I refuse to throw anything away, but at the same time I’ve always been disappointed in the mugs that I’ve bought. And so although I had heard of these mugs before, I’d never bought one because they are a bit pricier than most mugs and the Amazon reviews said they were hard to clean. This all changed when they came out with a lid that you can “pop” open to more thoroughly rinse and clean all the moving parts. I’m now 100% sold. It keeps my warm things warm for hours and hours, and it does a great job on cold things as well. I’ve knocked it over and tipped it upside down, and nothing has spilled. (It even has a lock that prevents the button from accidentally being pressed!). I got the plain silver so that the color won’t chip off, but all the other ones look really awesome as well. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this mug as a student who moves around all over the place with 100 things in my hands at all times.
Benjamin and I raise our own chickens, and so obviously those come whole. However, even before that, when I would buy chicken from the farmer’s market, they were typically sold as whole chickens. Besides roasting them in the oven, I had very few ideas on how to use them. This cookbook has changed all that and given us plenty of amazing ideas. Each recipe is especially helpful because it includes how to cook the chicken plus a starch plus a vegetable so it’s a whole meal every time, and the recipes are organized by region of the world. I made the Mulligatawny Soup with Apple and Onion Flatbread (the bread recipe alone is worth the book but the curry-apple-lemon-lime-coconut flavors of the soup are just as impressive!) and the Herbe Poule Au Pot with Mustard Seed Potato Gratin, which was also fantastic.
Since I’m a student doing clinical rotations this year, I needed a lunch box that I could carry easily but which could also hold almost 24 hours worth of food at the same time. And, of course, it needed to be nice to look at. I fell in love with this sheep lunch cooler in the large size. It can hold my Contigo mug (which will never spill inside!) plus two big-sized Tupperwares and a few baggies of snacks jammed inside. It’s easy to clean inside and out, and so far the zipper has held up really well. It has a handle and also a shoulder strap, which is fantastic. Besides the sheep design, I’m also totally in love with the radish, bicycle, and the robot (there is even a scooter one for Bethany!). If you aren’t going to be stranded somewhere for 20+ hours like me and only need a light lunch plus snacks, they have a smaller size available.
If you have some products you’d like to recommend to the DW audience, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with links to five recommendations. (Write “reader recs” in the subject line, please). Your recommendations can be from any store or website, but they need to be accessible online — and I would love it if at least two items could be found on Amazon where I am an affiliate. If your list is a good fit for the site, I’ll ask you to write a brief description of each item/explain what you love so much about it.