Who needs the holiday season to share their favorite things? Um, clearly not us – we are ALWAYS looking for new things that make life just a little more fun (or maybe parenting just a little easier? :-)). We thought it’d be fun to each collect a few of our favorite things we’ve discovered over the last year and share them with all of you. We decided it could be anything – a web site, a cool hair product, a new store, a kitchen appliance. ANYTHING! Some of the things on our list might not even be new – they are just new to one of us in the last year. We’ve asked our Smarty party for each lady’s (or gent’s) lists, and ta da! Here are they are! Have fun checking them out and don’t forget to share your own favorite finds of the year in the comments section below.
Jo Malone Cologne – There are so many fragrances to choose from that everyone can find a signature sent. You can mix and match different scents and layer them on top of each other to get new scents. Simply fantastic. Every time I wear my favorite one, someone always asks what I’m wearing (drives my friends crazy). I personally love the Pomegranate Noir and the Nectarine Blossom and Honey. Wear them alone or together. I smell my wrists all night long. ($60 – 30ml/ $115 – 100ml)
Lipstick Queen – This line of lipsticks was created by Poppy King. She was a woman that was obsessed with finding the right lipstick for everyone and anyone. I always buy something then get in the car and realize it’s awful. An Ulta associate referred me to this line because I wanted to wear a red lipstick but was a little scared. I bought the Discovery Kit ($48) that features 3 lipsticks that all look amazing! The best one is “Medieval” that is the red that everyone can wear, even me. ($22)
Shock Top Honey Crisp Apple Wheat Beer – This beer is a hybrid of Belgian Wheat Beer and sweet cider and it is delicious! They also carry a line of Belgian Wheat (similar to Blue Moon), Raspberry Wheat and Pumpkin Wheat. This has become by go-to summer beer because it’s light and crisp. Perfect for a day at the beach and it even comes in cans that you can take to the pool. Harris Teeter carries it too! ($8 – 6 pack)
Louis Vuitton Rings – “Gamble Ring” – I just purchased this “Gamble Ring” ($310) in Las Vegas last weekend and I’m OBSESSED with it. This ring has a gamble theme that playfully mixes Louis Vuitton signature azur with a dice motif. The best part about it is the jewels that come on the ring. I found one that had a dark blue stone one one side and a deep yellow stone on the other. Just happened to be my son and daughter’s birthstones so it was a no brainer for me. Check out their ring collection on line. They vary from the $300-$500 range but are well worth it. They are simple but trendy and definitely eye catching.
Lean In. Women, Work and the Will to Lead – By Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) – Someone sent me this book and it sat for awhile. I finally picked it up and can’t put it down. The book talks about why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has staled, explains the root causes and offers compelling solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential. This book has BEYOND motivated me. It’s a MUST READ for all women. (Amazon, $13)
Erin Condren Life Planner – You’ll see a funny theme in this list – for a bunch of bloggers, we sure are hooked on our paper planners! My favorite is Erin Condren. Smarty Lauren Melillo introduced me to Erin’s amazing line of personalized paper products. The life planners are SO MUCH FUN to create – they are truly customized and designed by Y-O-U. Each page is colorful, lively, and just makes me happy. Order customized photo stickers to really decorate your calendar (this is the best part – each birthday, anniversary, vacation we have planned has our picture stickers in my calendar!). Also check out her super cute line of paper products. You’ll be hooked. Promise.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I am an avid reader, so this is BIG for me to pick my favorite book of the year. It was kind of a tie between this and Where’d You Go Bernadette, but Wonder won. It’s just the sweetest story that can appeal to all ages. There are so many quotes in this book I want to memorize and repeat to my children over and over.
Nourish and the Whole Tulip – Nourish is a vegan/vegetarian meal service delivery and the Whole Tulip is a sister duo who take the mystery out of healthy eating and living well. Nourish’s food is unbelievably good, local, organic, healthy and delivered right to my door. The Whole Tulip has given me the education and tools to make the right food decisions. Both are life changing!
Bobeau Asymmetrical Fleece Wrap – this was a Christmas gift given to me by one of my BFFs, MK. It is like having a big hug wrapped around your shoulders all day. The asymmetical line is so flattering, and the button is a game changer. I never feel like I am fussing with a cardigan that won’t stay closed. It’s cozy, warm enough but not too warm, and the opposite of bulky. It also comes in tons of colors.
Lékué Microwave Pasta Cooker – My mom gave me this microwave pasta cooker for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure it was the best gift I got. She knows me so well. It cuts pasta cooking’s time in half. Place pasta and water in, stick in the microwave for 9-12 minutes, and voila! Dinner is ready. It’s also great when you are making a pasta casserole dish since half of the time is in boiling the water!
The Mom Agenda Desktop Planner – YES, I still use a paper planner and I’m so proud! I love it. It allows me to be a sane mom, wife, and employee. There is a space for MY events and appointments at the top and at the bottom invidicual sections for my children and husbands schedules. The Momagenda keeps me so organized and I could not live without it! It’s my 3rd or 4th year with one of these! (I have the Momagenda – desktop – leopard)
The Dizzy Pig -Raging River Salmon Rub – The best you’e ever tasted! Makes my salmon better than any restaurants!! My husband and I are totally addicted to this. We served it to our Supper Club this year and they all raved about it. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed. My mouth is watering just writing this. Guess I will be making salmon tonight!!
T3 Bespoke Hair Dryer– Bought it off Ebay before Christmas. I believe its an older model, but I have to tell you this hair dryer rocks!! It takes me only 5 minutes, (yes, 5 minutes, I timed it) to dry and style my hair completely. Totally worth the money I spent and works so much better than my old one. This is what they say about it “the highest quality, imported Tourmaline gemstones, known to impart optimal ionic, infrared heat, are molded through the patented T3 process.” I’m sure the new T3 hairdryers are awesome, but this one off ebay for $70 is great for me!! Total time saver!
My Pink Electra Bike – I got my Electra last year for my birthday to cruise to the park with my kids and ride around the neighborhood. Of course I choose pink as it is one of my favorite colors! Here’s one I have. (Isn’t it so cute!)
Mine doesn’t have all those beautiful fenders and details that Electra is known for which made it more affordable, but I love it just the same. It is so easy to ride and just fun! I got this from BikeSource at Park Road Shopping Center. If you’re looking for a cruiser, I’d get this one!
The Mom Agenda Desktop Planner – As hard as I tried to use any and the calendar apps on my smart phone, nothing beats the feeling of writing it down on paper and checking it off! The Mom Agenda is broken down into both weeks and months. It also has a spot for your to do list below each day. It has helped me juggle both my business and professional life (almost) seamlessly. Like Elizabeth, I also love the leopard desktop.
Amazon Prime – I know this is probably old news, but Amazon Prime is basically the best thing that has ever happened to me (besides my husband and daughter, of course). I have all of my diapers, wipes and baby food shipped to me on a schedule – FOR FREE! No late night runs for diapers. Plus, I save 20 percent on diapers by subscribing. It is the only way to go as a Mom.
Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo – I have often been labeled a shampoo/hair product snob. It is something I have really loved to splurge on in the past…But after becoming a stay-at-home Mom my favorite Bumble and Bumble products just weren’t in the budget. I just discovered the Organix brand at Target and I am hooked. It is somewhere between $5 to $11 but has the feel of a high-priced shampoo. I am especially loving the Keratin treatment and coconut scent. MMM.
Reboot with Joe Juice Cleanse – I have loved making green smoothies for a couple of years now but just jumped on the juicing bandwagon. I wasn’t up for spending the money on a new juicer so I found one on Craigslist. I know, a little gross but nothing a little Clorox Bleach wipe couldn’t handle. I have loved doing this 3-5 day juice cleanse to jumpstart clean eating.
Tom’s Wedges – I’ve been looking for a good desert bootie for awhile. I love the look but haven’t found a pair that is cute, comfortable (aka Mommy approved) and not insanely priced. A dear friend recommended these wedges and I wear them every day. I am normally not a Tom’s lover but these hit the spot for me. A little bit of a splurge but worth every penny.
Lululemon Hot Towel Yoga Mat . You guys knows I’m obsessed with yoga and this mat makes my “downward dogs” more doable in 100 degree heat.
The Bed Head Curlipops Curling Wand. It makes this frizzy haired girl look like I have “beach waves”. Dry hair, put into a high ponytail at the top of the head, use the wand to finish the edges with lose curls, take pony out and use fingers to smooth. Boom!
Instagram. Because it makes me look significantly better than I actually do.
My Keurig Coffee Maker and it’s partner in crime, Breakfast Blend K-Cup. I can’t live without these two items. I’m not kidding, I will shrivel up and die.
The Fit Radio app. Free and fabulous. I use this app to boast my workout music like the rockstar I think I am. Fit Radio plays mashups of all sorts of music to the pace of your run. You never get bored of a tune because the mashup is constantly switching to new and hot beats. Just when you think you’ve heard enough of Mackelmore, PINK starts in your ears. Your run is never dull.
Vitamix. I’ve wanted this for four years. I’ve never wanted an appliance this badly in my life. Finally got it, and now I’m fully on board. You can make ANYTHING with this machine. Worth every penny. I hope to be bikini ready by summer with all of the smoothies and juicing that I’m going to do.
Dyson vacuum cleaner. I now know why Susan has a crush on James Dyson. Love.this.man.
Bourbon and Boweties bangles. These are going to take the QC by storm this spring. I love me a good bracelet and these are super fun, fashionable and won’t break the bank. They come in all sizes and are meant to be worn stacked and up higher on the arm. The only store in town that carries them is the Cheeky Bean, but I’m pretty sure this will soon change.
Unite 7 Second Leave-In Conditioner. Got mine at Blo Blow Dry Bar on Selwyn & Colony, and I’m forever hooked. This stuff is magic for fine hair that tangles easily.
NoseFrida – Yes, the nose sucker thing that I swore I’d never use! After my two week old was admitted to the hospital with a viral infection the NoseFrida was the only thing I could use at home to help keep him clear. It’s amazing how much snot a two-week old produces. And I promise you- no snot goes in your mouth. In a converted believer!
Women’s Head Gloves – It is downright frigid this winter. I thought I escaped this by moving from the Midwest! To help stay warm I found these super cute and functional gloves at Costco (although they didn’t have them on their site! The link is to Amazon). Head gloves are smug and stretchy and have smooth surfaces specifically on the index and thumb pads so you can still be a do-it-all mama and use your smartphone. These are great for everyday use and would be ideal for a run as you can still mess with your iPod while breezing through the chill.
CartWheel App for Target – I frequent Target at least twice a week. I have the Target application which is good to help locate products and check out their weekly specials, but the CartWheel application allows you to either enter the name of a product or scan it to see if there are any special deals or discounts. At the register, the checkout person simply scans the code on your phone and the discounts are taken off. Cha-ching.
30 Day Shred – Now that baby number two has joined us, it’s time to reclaim my pre-preggo body. I miss my FlyBarre compadres and plan to return; however, while I’m on maternity leave I’m burning it to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. These 20-minute workouts are short enough to allow me to workout and shower between feedings, but long enough to get my body moving and pulse racing!
ELF products – ELF (Eyes Lip Face) offers a great line of makeup at super reasonable prices. I don’t get all my makeup from them, but there are a few things like brushes and even my bronzer that I found and love. Shocker, you can find them at Target as well as online.
Rowenta Delta Force Stick Vacuum – If you have hardwoods, you’ll love it. My kids leave a trail of crumbs and dirt everywhere they go. Our dog sheds like it’s her job. I heart my Dyson but it lives upstairs, which is fully carpeted, and I don’t want to lug it down a few times a week. If I was Oprah, I would give one to everyone I know. “Everybody gets a stick vacuum! Everybody gets a stick vacuum!”
Dry erase wall clings – Love these. You could use for chores (have one for each kid), menu planning, etc. I like that you can change it and that you don’t poke holes in the wall, which makes my husband nuts.
The Essential Bra Top (aka – the best “wear under anything” tank top ever – under a sweater, under a cardigan, under sheer clothing, under a button down, etc.) – Initially, I just bought one of these and then loved so much that I bought 6 more. At first you’ll think, wow this is tight. And then you’ll L-O-V-E the fit and you’ll want to wear it under everything – or by itself. I just can’t love these enough. And you know you can return VS items bought online to the store, just sayin’…
Kenra dry shampoo – Us dark haired gals have to be picky about our dry shampoo because everything shows up in dark hair! This stuff rules.
Roku – We may be the last family in Charlotte to ride the Roku train however, we’re on it and we’re never getting off.
Home manis and pedis – I gave up salon manis and pedis. Who has the time to spend 1 hour in a chair every week or two? Who has the money? I do my own. I got the Essie base coat, top coat and colors and Target.
[1 coat of base coast, 2 coats of polish, 1 coat of top coat = mani and pedi done and you have something to do while you’re gorging on Roku programming]
Domino’s Pizza app for my iPhone – My kids would starve and I would be in a mental institution without my weekly night (or two) off from cooking. I can easily order pizza for delivery before leaving the practice field and a hot meal will be delivered to my door soon after we arrive home. Plus, the leftovers make a great school lunch the next day!
Room Planner app for iPad – My kids have been busy redesigning their rooms and our house on this free 3-D CAD app from Chief Architect. Easy to use, very powerful and a great time suck for the kids.
Aroma Rice Cooker – My trusty old rice cooker of fifteen years died this past year and I replaced it with one that not only cooks rice, but has a delay timer on it also. Now I can make rice any time of the day and have a fresh pot of rice at dinner time.
Crayola Tracing Pad – Continuing the theme of ways to keep kids busy, each of my kids got a Crayola Tracing Pad for Christmas. They use LED lights and are MUCH improved over the earlier versions they had that used D size batteries and always had dead batteries after a few days. The new ones are smaller (size of an iPad) and more efficient using AA batteries that last forever. There are loads of free tracing templates online from Crayola also. The kids LOVE them and use them quite a bit.
Microsoft Surface Tablet(s) – I liked the first one so much that I bought another one for the kids when they went on sale for Christmas. The native handwriting recognition is incredible and it works just like my other Windows PCs at home with a full version of MS Office too.