Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Reader Recs: MoominOtter Shares Her Faves


Dear Wendy readers are some of the most intelligent, stylish, super-cool people around (it’s a proven fact), so it’s a no-brainer to feature some of their favorite products. Many of the recommended products happen to be affiliate products, which means I’ll receive a commission on any click-throughs or purchases you make through the affiliate links. As always, I appreciate your support! Today’s recommendations comes from MoominOtter who lives in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley with her remarkably patient husband and four overindulged cats. She divides her time between adjuncting at a local university’s writing department, professional acting gigs, and serving as a children’s librarian. Her enthusiasm for food is off the charts. Check out her recommendations below:

We have four cats, and, like human kids, they quickly tire of most toys. The one they seem to maintain interest in is this colorful, twittering Hummingbird Toy. It cheeps when they touch it, and they toss and carry it around to their furry hearts’ content. It’s not so noisy as to be annoying, but they love the way it “talks.” Their other favorite is this mouse on a string, which they love to chase as it skitters along the floor. Good exercise and stimulation for kitties!

I love board games, but typically my husband and I have different tastes in them. He’s more of a Settlers of Catan/Ticket to Ride sort, whereas I prefer interactive, creative types of games like Taboo and Balderdash. A happy compromise for us is Dixit, a simple, flexible, but very enjoyable for both strategy-game fans and people with tastes more like mine. It features absolutely beautiful, dreamlike artwork, and everyone we’ve introduced to it seems to love it. The premise is that you have cards with wordless images that you represent with a word or phrase, such as “That’s gonna hurt.” The other players, hearing your phrase/word, submit a card from their own hand that best fits it, and then everyone guesses as to the real card that inspired the phrase/word. It’s a great casual game. Expansion packs are also available should you become a devotee.

We are lucky enough to live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where so much great hiking can be had. I wouldn’t go on any hike without my Camelbak hydration backpack. Instead of having to haul around a water bottle, I can simply lean my head down and take a drink with both hands free to climb, clamber, or whatever the hike may call for. They come in a range of sizes and colors.

I am a confirmed tea addict, and, in the morning when I need a bit of caffeine, my favorite blend is Capital Tea’s Cream Earl Grey looseleaf. (It is available in bag form as well.) Its flavor is a heady mixture of blueberry, cream, and that delicious black tea sharpness. I drink it with milk and sugar, but you do you. They ship nationwide and include a cannister in your shipment. I also recommend large tins of looseleaf Ahmad’s Cardamom Black Tea (also available in bags). A simple strainer like this one is all you need to make it, and you can compost the used-up leaves.

Finally, I am a fairly extroverted person married to a serious introvert. This book was a godsend for me in terms of better understanding my husband and other people in my life who operate differently from me. It changed my life for the better and enabled me to have much more harmony in my relationships in general. The author, Susan Cain, gave a wonderful TED talk if you’d like a taste of what’s to come in the book.

Thanks, MoominOtter!

If you have some products you’d like to recommend to the DW audience, shoot me an email at 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. 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.

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9 comments… add one
  • snoopy128 June 30, 2016, 12:17 pm

    I second Dixit. It’s so much fun. We’ve been looking to buy it since playing at our local board game cafe, but it’s often sold out!

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  • K June 30, 2016, 2:12 pm

    I don’t specifically use a Camelbak brand, but my backpack came with a hydration system – it’s just soooo much easier than taking out a Nalgene to drink. I love that I can drink without stopping, if I don’t want to.

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  • va-in-ny June 30, 2016, 2:27 pm

    I’ll second that mouse on a string toy. It’s the ONLY toy my cat will play with. She even carries it room to room (by the mouse, so the wand drags behind her). She sleeps with it and leaves it by the food bowl, dropping it for a quick snack, I guess.

    I have 2-3 on hand at a time, because the little mouse end winds up disintegrating down to nothing.

    I’m going to see if she likes that twittering bird toy 🙂

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    MaterialsGirl June 30, 2016, 3:30 pm

    How do you like the shenendoah? My good friend and her family just moved to Leesburg, so I was thinking of visiting and then hitting up some trails?

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    • MoominOtter July 1, 2016, 7:57 am

      I absolutely love it. Old Rag is a difficult, but stunning, hike if you have a full day to spare. Happy to provide recommendations.

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    Kate B. June 30, 2016, 6:37 pm

    Why oh why did I have to see the tea?

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    • Rangerchic July 1, 2016, 9:46 am

      I feel the same way Kate! I love tea…and I’m going to order some of that cream earl grey tea. I usually just buy the stuff at the store so I’m excited to find a place that sells loose leaf tea that is (hopefully) good!

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  • ChemE July 1, 2016, 8:15 am

    I just bought the book! And my cats LOVE that mouse/wand toy.

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