Anyway, one of my favorite versions of the year-in-review posts I've come across is the 'best purchases of 2014' list. I love lists like this because I a) am just nosy and like to know what people buy/use/love, and b) want to make educated purchases and not waste my own money on stuff that isn't great. So I decided to make my own list because maybe you're the same way! And also...I just like to talk about stuff that I like, and I haven't done that nearly as much since Millie rolled into town. Too many baby pictures, not enough product reviews, right? Ha. Not really.
So! My favorite 'stuff' of 2014...in no particular order.
Shea Moisture Products
You may recall me waxing poetic about these products back in October. I was initially introduced to the line because it's the shampoo/body wash* that we got for Camilla...but that single purchase quickly turned into...well...this.
I mean, it wouldn't all even fit in one picture. It's a problem.
So that one baby purchase has now turned into nine items (six adult, three baby) and counting...because some of these are already re-purchases because we've used up the original product. I can't help it. If I could offer you one tip for 2015, it would be to buy stock in Shea Moisture because I am single-handedly sending this company to the next level. Or else you could just buy some of their lotion or body wash (my favorite*) and live happily ever after. Your call.
Minnetonka Fringe Booties
So technically I think I bought these around December 29, 2013...but for all intents and purposes, they're a 2014 Favorite Thing. I barely even knew them in 2013. But this year? Oh, I know them well. Probably too well. If you see me in real life (or even in pictures), you probably wish I knew them less well. But like with the Shea Moisture stuff- I can't help it. When something is this amazing, I simply must wear them all the time. They are COMFORTABLE. They are CUTE (in my opinion). They go with EVERYTHING (also my opinion, but it's all I've got!).
|Exhibit A: wear your booties with a long dress on a bench in a field!|
And as an added and unexpected bonus- they are quiet. As in, you can sneak into a room with a sleeping baby and loud floors and NOT WAKE THE BABY. Most shoes (besides slippers...and sock or bare feet, I guess, but those aren't shoes...) can't boast this. Most shoes click (which I normally like, if I'm at work...makes me feel authoritative!). But clicking shoes disturb sleeping babies, so if you want your baby to stay asleep-- get these booties and never look back. (Another added bonus: they miraculously do not get stinky. This is a big deal because I have major funky shoe odor issues (remember this story?) with most of my shoes...but for some reason, these don't. Swoon.) (Also, now that I'm looking at the Amazon page I got that picture from...look at all those colors!! I probably need a pair in gray*, right? Maybe?)
Paul Mitchell Curls Shampoo and Conditioner
For whatever reason, my hair decided to start transitioning from stick-straight to somewhat-wavy this year. After I got over my complete confusion, I decided to try to embrace the new look- this shampoo (and conditioner) helped enormously. It's a few steps backward from the more natural/less chemicals direction I'm heading in general with my body and beauty products, but...well...worth it, I guess. In the short-term, ha. (It's sulfate-free, so that counts for something, right? Maybe?) Compared to the other shampoos I've used in the last year, my hair is definitely wavier when I use this. It's pricier than I'd normally like, but I caught it at Ulta when they had some ridiculous sale + coupon and it was that huge liter bottle, so it really ended up being comparable to what I'd typically spend. I ran out recently, so this is at the top of my list to re-purchase using gift cards I got for Christmas! My hair is already looking sadder with just a few weeks away from it!
I just got my Fitbit for my birthday, so I haven't had it long, but it's definitely one of my favorite 2014 purchases (or gifts, as the case may be). I'd suspected that my job plus new baby minus gym was equaling a pretty sedentary lifestyle that could explain my rapidly growing derriere. The Fitbit informed me that my suspicions were correct. Super correct. I was kinda appalled at how sedentary I've become. But knowledge is power, and now I spend all day taking super long routes to get from my office to the bathroom (up an unnecessary three flights of stairs, down the longest hallway, back down to the bottom floor, then up to the second floor, then across the building to the bathroom way in the back? Sure!) and being more intentional about going on a walk (or three) each day. I opted to get the One instead of the Flex because I am vain and didn't want to be stuck wearing a rubber bracelet that didn't necessarily match all of my outfits every day. I love how small the One is- I usually wear it clipped onto my waistband, but I've also worn it on my sock inside my boot and clipped to my bra. I like how I can get all of the info I want (mainly steps/miles walked, calories burned, and flights of stairs climbed) right on the display, without having to go to the app. Overall, I know that simply walking more isn't going to replace the working out I used to do...but it will certainly help, and the Fitbit plays a big role in keeping me accountable so far!
Rock 'n Play Sleeper
Number one baby 'thing,' hands down. This unassuming little guy just may be the thing I'd run back into a burning house to save (you know, assuming all humans and pets are safe). I can't sing its praises enough. Millie has slept in this every single night since we came home from the hospital. Five months. Right next to me. She will stay in it until she either grows out of it or can talk and tell me she wants to go sleep in her own room...whichever comes first. It's small. It's easy to fold up and move around. It keeps her inclined and cuddled and it can rock and vibrate and it's cheap and easy to wash and I WISH I HAD INVENTED THIS BECAUSE I'D PROBABLY BE A ZILLIONAIRE. But oh well. The best I can do is recommend it to everyone I know that is expecting a baby. Like even if you think you don't need one, get it anyway. Or maybe two. I kinda wish I had two. Fun fact: for some reason, Amazon doesn't carry nearly as many of the good colors/patterns. Also, the pricing on Amazon can be super wonky and variable (some for $47...others that are exactly the same except the pattern is different are $119!). We got ours from Target, the only place that carried this (way superior) pattern. So just a heads up in case you never venture past Amazon for your shopping...it's worth looking around for this one!
Chew Tuff Dog Toys
Yeah, a dog toy. Random, but it seriously made our lives better...
Gotta thank my mom for this one. She noticed how neglected Lola had become after Millie came on the scene, so she bought one of these Chew Tuff toys at Target. It was a turquoise and orange alligator that matched Millie's nursery- our thinking was that all of Lola's toys end up in there anyway (it's her preferred place to play/sleep/be), so it may as well coordinate! Now, Lola has no shortage of toys, but they're all disgusting and ripped to shreds. She has a gift for immediately dismembering, unstuffing, and thoroughly murdering any new toy. Then she plays with the scrap of fabric for the next five years. But these? She hasn't (can't?) destroyed. And what's even cooler is that they (we have two now, the alligator and this penguin) have some 'silent squeak' technology. So they squeak, but mere humans can't hear it- but dogs sure can. I have done some highly scientific research on this, so I can confirm- I hear nothing. Lola hears SOMETHING. It's awesome because we can play with her without the obnoxious squeaking disturbing a sleeping baby. Also if you happen to trip over the toy in the bedroom of said sleeping baby...again, won't bother the baby. But may bring the dog running. At any rate, these are the best toys we've happened upon in a long time. Lola gives them four paws up!
Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation
I know I've been singing the praises of this stuff all year, but that's only because its excellence cannot be overstated. This foundation is basically life-changing for those of us not blessed with gorgeous, flawless skin. I will cut corners a lot of places before I ever get desperate enough to write this one out of the budget. It is perfection. That said, I've heard it's not so fabulous if you have dry skin, so...if that's you, beware. But otherwise, I think everyone should give it a try. And go ahead and buy the foundation brush they sell with it. It's overpriced but it seriously makes a difference.
I'm going to have to stop myself here. "Best" and "favorite" start to lose meaning if there're too many of them, right?
On an unrelated note (because it's not something that has to be purchased), my best webpage discovery of the year was absolutely Budget Bytes. On any given day, there's an 85% chance that whatever I'm eating is a recipe from that webpage. If you're in a cooking rut and/or need budget-friendly-yet-still-healthy-and-tasty-and-easy recipes...this will be like Disneyland for you. I can't emphasize how much I love whoever it is that runs that page. Genius. I would list out my favorites, but there are too many. (That stew recipe I talked about at the beginning of this post is from there, though!) (But seriously, try her crock pot chicken and dumplings.) (And the kale sausage skillet.) (And the taco rice bowls.)
I'd be a terrible person if I put you through this whole long post with no baby pictures as a reward, so here ya go.
I can't remember if I've shared this picture already, but even if I have...it probably merits a second look.
Hope your January is off to a great start...and that you have tomorrow off like me!! Wooo!
*Amazon affiliate link
*Amazon affiliate link