094 – Amy’s Favorite Things

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Episode Summary

A random handful of some of Amy’s favorite things.


Items Mentioned

Episode 093 – Rebekah Maxner: How to Help Students Who Are Now Reaching Their Full Potential

Key Ideas Podcast – Episode #61: These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Join the Piano Pantry Patreon Community

  1. Lavazza Coffee
  2. Kindle Paperwhite and case
  3. Heather Robertson’s at-home workout channel on YouTube
  4. Spotify Playlists
  5. San Pellegrino Sparkling Water
  6. Vivid Practice app
  7. Meiomi Pino Noir
  8. Notion
  9. Todist
  10. Paprika
  11. Burt’s Bees Chapstick


Episode 006 – Tasks: They’re Not All Created Equal

Episode 048 – Upgrade Your Recipe Management System

Amy’s Holiday Favorites: Recipes, Gadgets, and Music

Friday Finds blog series

Subscribe to Amy’s email list

Send Amy your Tiny Tip!



I’m Amy Chaplin, and you’re listening to The Piano Pantry podcast – a place where independent music teachers like you come every Tuesday morning to rejuvenate, invigorate, and energize their teacher spirit. While I am a bit of a self-admitted workaholic, I’m also passionate about the importance of living life with intention and bringing vibrancy to our whole beings as teachers, whether that be through well-informed teaching practices, practical tools, or delicious low-stress meals despite our tricky schedules.

As we roll into the holidays, including the craziness of the upcoming Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, yada, yada, yada, I thought it would be fun to sandwich last week’s highly informational episode on neurodiversity from Rebekah Maxner and next week’s longer teacher talk episode with a lighter life-favorites episode.

If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for listicles. It is a personality short-form preference-brain thing for me, LOL. Although I’ll admit this Fall has included more listicles than usual with 12 Easy Ways to Save Money on Sheet Music – that’s episode 82, episode 87 – 9 Items I Regret Not Investing in Sooner, episode 92 – Shake Up Your Holiday Performances, and more.

Today I’m excited to share a random handful of some of my favorite things. I have to give credit where credit is due, though. In December of 2022, Leila Viss published an episode on her Key Ideas podcast called “These are a Few of My Favorite Things.” In fact, one of the items I will share with YOU today, I heard about from HER. So, thanks, Leila! By the way, I linked to that episode in the show notes if you want to hear what Leila loves.

We’re going big or going home today as I decided to pair this episode with finally tackling a project that’s been on the radar for several years. You can now find a huge compilation of all of my recommended tools and products in the resources section of the Piano Pantry website. Visit the link directly at PianoPantry.com/favorites.

Right now, there are nine categories, including

  1. Books on Piano Teaching
  2. Marketing & Social Media
  3. Personal Life Products
  4. Business & Email Management
  5. Kitchen Gadgets
  6. Supplemental Repertoire
  7. Digital Organization
  8. Teaching Tools & Gadgets
  9. Studio Organization

I hope you find this collection a fun and useful resource now and in the future. Let’s get started.

As admitted in the intro, I am a bit of a workaholic. If you follow the Enneagram personality types, I’m a 3 with a 2 wing, which in layman’s terms means Achiever, with a proclivity for helping others.

That said, while this podcast is my labor of love, I receive no direct compensation for creating the content or producing the episodes – which I do entirely on my own.

All in all, each episode takes anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, including brainstorming, scripting, recording, and editing – even guest-host episodes. While I enjoy creating this show and love hearing from those of you who have reached out to express your gratitude, I wanted to provide another opportunity for anyone who feels compelled to express their appreciation for this podcast.

So, if this podcast has helped you, I hope you’ll consider becoming a Patreon supporter. You can either be a silent supporter for $4 a month or become an Insider and get bonus support for an additional $3. I would love for you to join me and others, like Tara Mock from Raleigh (big thanks, Tara!), in helping to continue the work of inspiring and energizing our profession.

Visit Pateron.com/pianopantry to get on board.

We’re going for random today so, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things:

Lavazza Coffee

When we lived in Melbourne, Australia, from 2006-2009, we saw a lot of cafes using this Italian brand. I’ve tried several others since coming home off and on, but we always seem to find our way back to buying the same blue 2-lb bag from Amazon. I finally put it on subscribe and save.

Kindle Paperwhite

I am in love with my Kindle Paperwhite. While I’ve had one for quite a long time and am on my second one, I haven’t always used it regularly. At first, I used it mainly when we traveled and still enjoyed reading hard-copy books. Since I joined a book club four years ago and have been trying to read a lot more for pleasure, eBooks have become invaluable. It’s so much easier to catch little snippets of reading time when I can’t sleep at night, when I first wake in the morning, or even when we’re driving places, or I’m waiting for my husband in the car while he shops at Menards – which is a home goods construction store here in the Midwest.

When I swapped my old one for a newer one last year, I was much more particular about the case and found one I love that hits all the points. It has a hand grip in a comfortable location closer to the side than the middle, a mini stand in the middle to prop it up, a magnet rather than a snap, and very little material surrounding the front face.

Heather Robertson’s YouTube Workout Channel

This is the item I learned about from Leila. While I enjoy the variety of workouts on the channel, what appealed to me the most was that she doesn’t talk to you at all or give you instructions or tell you to work harder and do just one more 5 times. You follow her lead, the video is music only, there are audible beeps when it’s time to switch moves, and consistency with intermittent rest.

Spotify Playlists

I’ve slowed down on creating these in the past year or two, but I have always enjoyed creating custom playlists on Spotify. You can make your playlists either private or public so the public ones will show up on your profile page. I have all kinds of great ones if I do say so for myself, including a series of playlists to accompany music-themed children’s books, seasonal playlists – the Thanksgiving one is especially fun by the way – and more.

San Pellegrino Sparkling Water

Yes, I’m very specific here. I’m a little picky when it comes to sparkling waters. San Pellegrino is my go-to. We buy both the smaller cans as well as the bottles. This past summer, I discovered I like occasionally adding a Gatorade Zero sachet flavoring to them. It works better, though, if you drink a little bit out of the bottle before dumping in the powder and shaking. Then, be patient and let it sit for a bit before slowly twisting off the lid. Otherwise, you might get a volcano eruption. LOL

Vivid Practice App

Thanks to the amazing Nicola Cantan and her eye for detail and simplicity, I’m enjoying utilizing the Vivid Practice App as my replacement for Tonara. I cut down the number of students with access to a practice app, though – using it only for families who really wanted it and will use it. I decided it took too much time to add assignments for them not to be looked at. I pair that with a large spreadsheet so I can keep track of what students are doing and don’t have to rely on the app for an assignment history. It’s mostly there for students who need to listen to audio recordings and like using the app to structure their practice.

Meiomi Pinot Noir

This wine has become one of our comfortable staples over the years. I started as a big Merlot girl, but after tasting the Meiomi Pinot, I gave Pinot a second glance. It’s a lovely easy drinker at a price that won’t break the bank.


While I still utilize Evernote, the Notion app has slowly pushed its way into my toolbelt. At first, I thought it might replace Evernote, but I find I like keeping Evernote as a good place for “dumping” articles and things I want to save and using Notion for organizing life. I build my podcast, social media, and email schedules using databases in Notion, track all my reading for the year using a basic table, save all my session proposals, organize the Piano Pantry retreat, and more all in Notion.


This is a task management app that I have only been using for about a month, but it has already done wonders for my sanity. I plan on doing a blog post, podcast episode, or maybe even both on this app in more detail in 2024. I used to use Google Reminders a lot but Google got rid of the reminders function in their Calendar and moved everything to Google Tasks. I wasn’t a fan so I was thrilled to find an option that worked for me and my brain.

Paprika app

This is an app that I use for recipes and grocery lists. It’s easy to import recipes from anywhere, as well as add them in manually. If you want to hear more, listen to episode 48, Upgrade Your Recipe Management System, from December 2022, where I shared more details.

Burt’s Bees Chapstick

I’ve always tried to be careful to not get my lips used to using chap stick constantly but sometimes it’s just necessary in those winter months. Kind of like our coffee, I’ve tried different things over the years but always seem to return to the basic Burt’s Bees Chapstick – no flavors please. LOL

Alright friends, I hope you enjoyed this highlight of some of my favorite things. If you want more, I have four quick recommendations:

  1. Listen to Leila’s episode from her archive – it’s episode 61 of the Key Ideas podcast.
  2. Check out the Friday Finds post series on the Piano Pantry blog that publish roughly every three weeks. To ensure you don’t miss them, follow, subscribe via email to PianoPantry.com/subscribe, or follow me on social media. I’m on Facebook at Piano Pantry and Instagram at PianoPantry Amy.
  3. Check out some of my favorites related to the holidays in a blog post on the Piano Pantry website called “Amy’s Holiday Favorites: Recipes, Gadgets, and Music”
  4. Head over to PianoPantry.com/favorites where you will see a compilation of my recommended products.

OK, friends, so last week, I didn’t really give you a tip; I just shared a little heart-to-heart that I was running out of tip steam with all my tiny tips. Well, that little announcement must have spurred on my brain because, within 24 hours, I had more. LOL.

That being said, if you have a fun little tip teaching OR life related you think would be fun to share, I would still love to hear from you and feature them on the podcast. Just click the voicemail link in the show notes to send me a voice message. If you’re comfortable, include your name and where you’re from, but that’s not required.

OK, so with Thanksgiving coming up and all the cooking that’s going to be occurring, did you know that you can remove odors – from your hands by rubbing your hands on the walls of a stainless steel sink? I do this every time I work with garlic, and it gets rid of it like a charm. It’s amazing!

If it grosses you out to rub your hands on the sink, you can buy a little kitchen gadget explicitly made for this called a rub-away stainless steel soap bar.

I always wash my hands anyway after rubbing them on the sink, and believe it or not, I’m a kitchen gadget minimalist, so for me, personally, the bar is overkill when you already have the stainless right in front of you. But, no judgment here if you prefer a dedicated bar.

How cool is that?!

Thank you for taking time during your busy day to spend time with me here. If you haven’t yet, I would love it if you could take 5 minutes to rate this podcast and write a review to help it become even more widely known to others in our community. You’re the best. See you next week!