Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Reader Recs: Portia’s Turn

IMG_20141016_095042Dear 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 come from Portia, who is a graduate student in linguistics and really ready to be done with her degree. She lives in DC with “Bassanio,” her partner-in-crime of many years (who uses everything on this list but the water bottle) and their growing collection of plants. When she’s not schooling people on American dialects, she knits and makes pottery (the picture is one of her pieces) and plans to open an Etsy shop one of these days. Keep reading for some of her favorite products.

51VRVDEMX1LHamilton Beach Toastation 2-Slice Toaster and Mini Oven
Over the last few years, we’ve been through a few toasters, and, whenever we get a new one, I’m always a little sad we don’t have a toaster oven. When I found this two-in-one toaster and toaster oven, I was a little skeptical, but it covered the same counter space as our previous toaster and it’s been toasting things pretty well for the last few months. We told a friend who recently got engaged about it – his eyes lit up and I’m pretty sure we know what we’re going to be getting him for a wedding present . . . No timer, so you’ve got to remember to turn off the oven manually, but it’s been solid so far, and very useful!

31d0mxKo2fLSugar Maple Wood Toast Tongs
I don’t have these exact tongs (I bought my original ones at a kitchen goods store years ago), but I love tongs with a magnet on them because I can attach them right to the toaster. Otherwise they get very lost in my kitchen. Well, except for this one pair Bassanio got that ended up being comically large (I think over a foot long?). Anyway, these are a perfect companion to the toaster/toaster oven.

61x7CpzuNzL._SL1500_Camelbak Eddy Bottle
I have a water bottle problem: I usually buy ones that are too heavy or too poorly made or are bad impulse buys near the cashier. A year or so ago, when I was in the market for a new water bottle, my friend was raving about this one, so I gave it a try. Unlike my last water bottle, it doesn’t seem to drip and it’s nice to not have to tip it to drink, especially while running. There is a small problem with the bite valve getting a little gross over time because it’s hard to clean (as many water bottles are), but I bought this 5-pack of dishwasher-safe valves and have been switching them out every week or so, throwing the used ones in the dishwasher with the silverware. I never thought I’d have a favorite water bottle, but this one is pretty great.

We are big game players in my house. As I sit here, I can see 3 board games, 2 card games, Connect 4, and Boggle, and there’re at least 2 others currently in the closet. When we were over at a friend’s house a year or so ago, he brought out this game, Pandemic, and all three of us had such a great time that I got a copy for my parents and one for our place. At my internship last year, I would play every so often at lunch with my co-workers (one of whom was a board game fanatic). It’s a collaborative game that reminds me a little of Risk, except, instead of world domination, your goal is to eradicate the diseases that are threatening to take over the world. Maybe avoid this if the current Ebola situation is making you a little uneasy, but this game has won over everyone I’ve played with so far.

500Avene Cleanance Soap-less Gel Cleanser
I was a little hesitant to recommend any beauty product because everyone’s skin and hair react a little differently, plus my amazing shampoo (Biolage) was already shared. I came to have this facewash by accident, when I went on vacation to Europe about 4 years ago, forgot the oil-free facewash I use for my annoying dry/oily skin, and needed a replacement. This is what the pharmacist recommended, and it ended up being so good that I found it online when I finally ran out. It’s a little more than I usually like to spend on beauty products, but I haven’t found anything better in the years since.

Thanks, Portia!

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

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19 comments… add one
  • Pamplemousse Rose November 20, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Love Pandemic!! I like to say that either everyone wins or the human race loses. Another great board game is Ticket to Ride (in all its iterations and expansions)

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    • Portia November 20, 2014, 3:24 pm

      Ticket to Ride is next on my list of games to buy! Never played it, but I’ve heard awesome things. Can’t get it yet because we have a one-in-one-out policy on games, so I’d need to get rid of one first and I can’t bring myself to do it…

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      • Pamplemousse Rose November 20, 2014, 4:09 pm

        If you get the original TtR, get the 1912 expansion as well. It gives you more/better routes and regular size cards. The mini cards the game comes with are super annoying. We also really like the Nordic Countries version because it’s for 2-3 players and it’s really nice to have a game that my husband and I can play when it’s just us two.

  • Addie Pray November 20, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Oh I’ve always wanted a toaster oven. … But I’m on a spending hiatus! New rule: can’t buy anything for myself until 2015. Though maybe my NEW BOYFRIEND will want that toaster oven for Xmas and we’ll just keep it at my place until HE MOVES HERE. Hmmmm

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  • Portia November 20, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Oh, also, since this is somewhat about me, big news: I passed my dissertation defense! I’m gonna be a PhD!!!!

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    • FireStar November 20, 2014, 3:42 pm

      Congrats Dr. Portia!!

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    • Addie Pray November 20, 2014, 3:53 pm

      That is awesome. THAT IS HUGE!!!!!

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    • Dear Wendy November 20, 2014, 4:09 pm

      Congratulations!! What at an accomplishment!

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    • Pamplemousse Rose November 20, 2014, 4:15 pm


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    • something random November 20, 2014, 9:17 pm

      That’s amazing. Congrats!

      P.S. I think I want that toaster for christmas. Nice list all the way around

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    • d2 November 20, 2014, 9:42 pm

      Yay for you! You must be so relieved to have that behind you.

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    • Portia November 20, 2014, 10:37 pm

      Thanks guys! 🙂 It was such a relief when they came out of deliberation and the first thing they said was “Congratulations!” Sometimes they make the person sweat it out for a few more minutes, even after all that.

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  • Classic November 20, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Your pottery is beautiful.

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    • Portia November 20, 2014, 10:41 pm

      Thanks! I’m pretty proud of that one. 🙂 I’ve been doing pottery for a while and I think I’m hiring critical mass, so it’s time to start selling them to make room for more…

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      • Portia November 20, 2014, 10:41 pm

        *hitting critical mass

      • Astronomer November 21, 2014, 1:56 am

        Post a link when you set up shop. I’m sure some of us (me, me!) would love to buy your awesome pottery.

      • Portia November 21, 2014, 8:27 am

        Oh definitely! I’m glad you guys like it. 🙂

  • Boobs Magee November 20, 2014, 6:14 pm

    I love the pottery piece shown above! So pretty.

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    • Portia November 20, 2014, 10:42 pm

      Thanks! I think I really hit a good groove with that decoration technique.

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