Favorite Things I Need to Tell You about Right Now

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You About Right Now – Vol. 2

Hey friends! To start the year, I did a post on “Favorite Things in 2017 That I Need to Tell You About Right Now,” and decided that it needed to become a semi-regular series. So I’m back today to share a new list on random finds and new favorite things and trends I’m obsessed with lately. And since my friend Brandi and I are always swapping these kind of ideas back and forth, I’ve asked her to contribute! And like before, this post in not sponsored in any way — I just genuinely recommend it all.

Skecher Go Step Boat Shoes

Amanda: My mom recommended Go Walks to me last summer and while the overall brand has a lot of styles that I don’t like, I am in LOVE with the Go Step style that look like Sperry’s since I bought my first pair on sale last fall. They are seriously one of the comfiest shoes I have ever owned, have never given me blisters and I’ve been able to walk in them long distances without it affecting my plantar fasciitis. I’m currently trying to figure out what pair I want next.

Ebates

Amanda: Ebates is a service that you download as a plugin on your internet browser (there is also an app) and then as you shop online it offers a percentage cash back on your purchases. Then you get a check every quarter with what you’ve made. I heard about Ebates a long time ago, but I always thought that there was a catch of some sort or that it would take too much effort to work. But I was wrong, its literally just one extra click of a button to activate each time. Now, I could see how it would drive someone to spend more money than really necessary, because the site advertises all of the different deals going on with various brands. But I have just used it for purchases that I already otherwise was going to make. When I was planning on buying new running shoes and knew exactly which pair and size I wanted, I went to Ebates to see what retailer had the best cash back offer and made my purchase there. Since July, I’ve made almost $60 back, and my next check will be a bigger one because I just I was able to use Ebates for a plane ticket I recently bought.

If you are interested in using Ebates, use my referral link:

https://www.ebates.com/r/AJAESP?eeid=28187

…and we’ll BOTH get a little extra back 🙂

Mine Design Noted Candle

Amanda: Since the past year or so I’ve been regularly burning candles in my home and my favorite has been this one that I snatched up as on add-on item with one of my FabFitFun boxes. The scent itself is just a light floral scent, but the best part about it is that you can write messages on it with pencil and erase and rewrite as many times as you’d like. It’s perfect for my style and been a fun addition to my home. After I am done burning the original candle, I’ll put votives in it so I can continue to use it. Right now it says “Surviving Not Thriving.”

Kombucha

Amanda: I don’t drink as much pop as I used to (but I’ll never give it up completely), but I’ve always crave the fizz. Kombucha has become increasingly popular recently and after one my friends suggested I try it a number of times, I finally gave it try and now I’m hooked. Kombucha is essentially fermented tea, is really refreshing and is a good source of probiotics. It still has sugar so I don’t drink it everyday, but its become a tasty treat about twice a week or so. I usually buy it at Trader Joe’s and really like the Trader Joe’s brand Pomegranate Hibiscus, Health-Ade’s Pink Lady Apple and GT”s Synergy Trilogy.

JERGENS® Wet Skin® Moisturizers

Amanda: I’m usually pretty skeptical of these kind of products but one of my friends let me try some of her JERGENS® Wet Skin® Moisturizers when I was visiting last fall, and seriously, its so good! It’s official description says it “works with water to instantly lock in moisture from your shower. Skin stays soft and luminous all day, without a heavy, sticky feel.” I’d say that description is pretty accurate. I have really dry skin and now use this about twice a week or so when I’d get out of the shower. It has really made a difference, especially throughout the harsh winter months. I tried the Refreshing Coconut Oil version and am looking forward to trying some of the others.

Erin Condren

Amanda: I talked about choosing a new planner and my new love for Erin Condren in a blog post in January. What I didn’t share is that I first fell in love with these planners when I bought one for my Mom for Christmas in 2016, and then again in 2017. When Brandi was looking for something new last year, I knew these would be a good fit for her too. My Mom and I both have the “Life Planner,” which best fits our needs.

Brandi: Toward the end of 2017, the search for a new planner began. I had tried a bullet journal in 2017 and it was evident I really just needed full monthly views spare pages to put down notes and to-do lists. After lots of researching and asking around, I found Erin Condren and felt like I had hit the planner mother lode. If you saw or talked to me at the end of 2017, I likely tried to sell you on this planner brand because of how low-key obsessed I was am with it. There are 3 main planner layouts and tons of covers, colors and customizations to choose. Truthfully, it took me longer to pick out a favorite cover design and color combination than it did to research a planner type. I finally settled with the Monthly Deluxe and paid for extra notebook pages in the back. Since I ordered my planner, I’ve ordered an academic planner for my sister, a wedding planner for a friend, a plain notebook for work and tons of accessories. In addition to all the planner options, they also have lunch bags, personalized notepads, blankets, throw pillows, wine totes, and so much more. Luckily they’ve started a rewards program so I can earn points on my purchases to put toward MORE PURCHASES!!

This post is not sponsored, but I do have a referral code if you are interested in getting something from Erin Condren yourself.

Podcasts

Brandi: I learned pretty early on that being in a shared work space with lots of other people talking on the phone, I’d need something to help block out the extra sound. Listening to music works sometimes, but at certain times the jamming out and lip-syncing is not conducive to working. That’s when I started looking into podcasts. There are so many options for subjects ranging from things you can learn, talk radio recorded for podcast listening, people recapping television shows, and lots of humor. I started listening mostly to see if I could passively learn anything, but now a lot of my podcasts are light-hearted and meant more for comic relief than anything. They help keep the work day or a car ride lively when music isn’t cutting it.

Here’s my current Top 5:

  1. The Dave Ramsey Show
  2. An Acquired Taste Podcast
  3. The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
  4. TED Talks Daily by TED
  5. The Brooklyn Boys Podcast

Bonus: Game of Thrones The Podcast by Bald Move (when the show is live & new)

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What are some of your favorite things lately?

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You about Right Now

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You About Right Now- Vol. 1

A few weeks ago I saw a lot of bloggers with posts centering around their “favorite things of 2017.” Most of these posts focused specifically on categories of products like beauty, fashion, home decor, etc. I thought it would be fun to do my own list for the year, but with a little bit of a twist 🙂 These lists also started to make me think of two things: the MTV show that was called “Best of (insert year)” or something along those lines where each episode focused on all of the trends, news, phenomenon’s that were big in pop culture that given year.  The second is a similar series “3 Things You Need to Know About” from a blogger I regularly follow (and you should too!)

So this is my “Best of 2017,” covering what trends I was into, random finds and the things I became obsessed with. I should also add that this post in not sponsored in any way. I just genuinely enjoy it all. I actually I think I might make this a quarterly piece moving forward.

Trader Joe’s

I have become a part of the cult and am volunteering myself to be their poster child. Practically anytime someone refers to Trader Joe’s I have to reign in my excited response of how in love I am with that place. I think it’s important for people to understand that I loathe grocery shopping. In college I would always try to convince my roommates to come with me and to this day I’ll call my mom up to chat while I’m shopping which is always a clear mistake because I can’t actually multi-task. Its also taken me a good portion of my almost-3-years living in the DC area to adapt to smaller weekly shopping trips and balancing my grocery budget out with the fact that you inevitably eat out more while living in the city. But Trader Joe’s has changed all of that. I like the environment of the store, its quality vs. price ratio always shocks me and I just really love so many of the products.  Specifically, for someone who cooks for one and doesn’t like to cook, I really do think that doing the bulk of my shopping there has helped me make healthier decisions, explore a bit more with cooking and has cut down on my food waste. Plus, I love that there are so many random finds that end up being new favorites. I could really do an entire blog post this. But until that time some of my favorites are:

Fresh flowers, candles, Black Cold Brew Coffee (in the can), Citterio Genoa and Provolone snack packs, deli fruit and nut spinach salad, beef tamales (the “handcrafted” ones with 2 in a bag), tubs of soup in the deli section, good AND affordable wine, the fresh asparagus/mushroom/onion mix, fresh pre-made vegetable kabobs, almond butter, steel cut oatmeal, frozen asparagus risotto, frozen vegetable stir fry, olive oil popcorn, scone and muffin mixes, whole wheat toaster waffles, chili lime seasoning

Nickel & Suede Earrings

I honestly can’t remember where I discovered these but I am obsessed! These leather earrings are essentially weight-less, come in a few different sizes and shapes, and I think the quality is great. In their original teardrop style I prefer the medium size. The rose gold pair were my first and their leather is a bit lighter than the others which does tend to make them curl a tiny bit but I’ve just stuck them in a book overnight a few times and they were fine. I have always been into big and flashy earrings, but as I get older I really don’t like when they are too heavy and I like how versatile these are with my clothes. Plus, the couple who own the company started it in their basement in Kansas City, and I am always a big fan of a good small business story. I love them so much I gifted three pairs at Christmas this year.

Game of Thrones

I finally jumped on the bandwagon, and spent about three months binge watching the series. I always knew that it was probably something I would like, but for many years none of my friends were watching it and I typically like to have people to discuss shows with. But two of my best friends finally got in to it and practically drug me along with them. I probably would have finished it a lot more quickly but I took about a three week break after watching the “Hold the Door” episode because I just couldn’t deal…

Harry Styles

Half of you are rolling your eyes at me and the other half is nodding in agreement. I shamelessly admit to jamming to One Direction in the car with my roommates in college, but regardless of your sentiment toward the group, don’t condemn Harry as a solo artist just yet. His debut album is SO SO GOOD! Its soulful with more intricate lyrics, in more of a Lumineers and Mumford and Sons type of way, and you’ll realize that being part of a boy band really didn’t do him justice. My favorites off the album are “Two Ghosts”, “Sweet Creature” and “Ever Since New York.” He also recorded a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” that makes me think it should have been his song from the start (and I love LBT’s version).

Filly Flair

This spring one of my best friends turned me on to this online fashion retailer out of South Dakota, and now it is one of my favorites. They have a lot of fun dresses, but they also have a great selection of what I consider staples for mixing and matching. I usually find that online retailers aren’t consistent at being true to size, but this one has been the exception so far. Plus, once again, it started as a small business by a woman entrepreneur, which I love and actually follow on Instagram because she engages with her customers there.

All of the items I have from there are not in stock so I can’t show any pictures from the site and this picture is the only one I have on hand of me wearing something from the boutique… which is odd because I practically lived in a basic black tank top dress from there this past summer. So much so that I regret not buying it in other colors too.

The Home Edit

This duo and their company make their living by organizing (mainly famous) people’s lives… you know the magazine worthy Instagram pictures you see of perfectly curated pantries? Yah, they do that, and then offer tips, tricks and products you can buy on their website. But the real reason I am obsessed with The Home Edit is because of two ladies behind it are HILARIOUS and share my affinity for good grammar. They chronicle their real-life sarcasm and adventures via InstaStories, and last year they finally started to sell shirts with their funny, often-used phrases. For Christmas I received the “Surviving Not Thriving” sweatshirt from my friend Brandi, who is equally obsessed.

InstaStories

Personally, I’d venture to say that in regards to social media platforms, InstaStories owned 2017 across the board. I know it became my go-to for following people on social media over scrolling through Facebook and even regular Instagram posts, which seems to be more of a time suck.

FabFitFun

I LOVE THIS BOX. PERIOD.
Maybe a year ago or so, I decided that I wanted to try out some sort of box service and started looking around at what would be the best bang for my buck and would fit me best. I settled on FabFitFun, which sends you four boxes a year – one for each season. I chose it because: it was the most well-rounded, meaning it covers beauty, fitness, decor, fashion and hobbies; it sends you full-size products instead of samples; and the retail value of one box is typically more then you pay for the entire year subscription.

So after a year of four boxes, I am sold! Out of the four boxes there is only one thing I can remember that I flat out didn’t like at all. Past that, there were maybe maximum 5 or 6 things that just either weren’t my personal style or preference, and so I just re-gifted those items, which was kind of fun to do anyway. Everything else, I have LOVED and there are a few things that I do plan on buying again for myself or as gifts from the original retailers. Boxes like these aren’t for everyone, but as someone who likes to try new things, but doesn’t particularly like to aimlessly shop, this is a fun surprise to gift yourself with a few times a year. Below is what came in the most recent Winter box and were all thing that I loved.

If you are interested in these, let me know because I have 3 starter boxes that I can give away (you would just pay the shipping). I also have this referral link – http://xo.fff.me/hy0DY – which gives both of us a discount off a box if you use it to sign up.

And of course… Miss Sawyer June

Because more than any trend or material thing I’ve been loving recently, Sawyer June and her baby talk have been my favorite thing of all 🙂

Should I make posts like these a semi-regular thing? Let me know!

Linking up with both the Friday Favorites crew (here, here and here) and The Blended Blog.

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Thoughts and Lessons Learned

The Good Stuff: Happy 1st Day of Fall

Take a deep breath friends.
It’s officially the first day of fall.

fall 2

I realize that the “first day” often doesn’t mean much, but regardless, I see it as a mini holiday.
In the DC/Northern VA area, fall is FINALLY starting to show itself. The mornings are crisp and the afternoons have that soft, warm Indian summer bliss. Fall foods and fashion are coming out of the wood work, and now #IwisheverySaturdaywasGameday is no longer a wish. Because, FOOTBALL.

I’m really not a fan of the cold but what I described above is the perfect balance. I think every season has its own distinct feel and smell, and since fall is a transitional season, I think we get the best of each of the seasons put together. Fall is crisp and clean, as well as musty and earthly. I love the balance of the chilly air and sunshine, and adding a few layers as the season goes on.

I haven’t done a Good Stuff list in quite a while and I realized earlier this month that I’ve never done one of the fall season (here are past lists on summer and winter, but lets not dwell on those.)

Let’s talk about the Good Stuff about fall.

The perfect pair of blue jeans. Pulling favorite old hooded sweatshirts off the shelf. Cute fingerless gloves. Big infinity scarves. Layering. Flannel. Colorful pea coats. Wearing my Carhartt. Pairing cardigans with dresses, leggings and tall boots.

Crunchy leaves and watching them change colors. Sumac and maple trees. Little kids at pumpkin patches. Bonfires. The smell of firewood. Roasting marshmellows. Hating to eat anything pumpkin, except for my best friend’s mom’s muffins. Changing over to darker lipstick shades. Setting out new fall candles.

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Seasonal beers. Chili feeds. Hearty soups. Cider. Rich spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Chai tea. Caramel apples. Pecan pie. Fresh apples and corn on the cob. Hot chocolate. Venison from friends and family that go hunting.

College Gamedays and high school Friday night lights. Homecoming. Tailgating traditions with friends. Playing cornhole and redneck golf. Cheering on the Wildcats with the K-State fam. Wabashing. Purple. Listening to Wyatt Thompson announce the games. Watch parties. Playing flag football. K-State’s limestone buildings and the fall foliage.

Post from last year on tailgating...and the adorable Luna as a puppy.
Post from last year on tailgating…and the adorable Luna as a puppy.

Fall decorations and colors. Faded green, mustard yellow, burnt orange, toasted brown, scarlet, plum and all the shades of a finished harvest. Scare crows. Pumpkins. Cornucopias. Pinecones. The overload enthusiasm for fall on Pinterest…

See the start of my Fall Pinterest Board…

A new school year always feeling like the true start of a new year. Back-to-School events. My birthday. Thanksgiving. National FFA Convention and AFA Leaders Conference. Cross country season. Fire places.

TV premiere week. Cozy blankets. Enjoying the last few “sunny and 75” weekends. Corn mazes during the day. Carving pumpkins as a kid. Obnoxious baby Halloween costumes. Making corsages and boutonnieres in my family’s shop for Homecoming season. My Dad’s old buffalo check hunting jacket. Glade pumpkin spice air freshener.

 fall

That’s just a little bit of what I love about fall.

Take note that pumpkin spice lattes, candy corn and Halloween are NOT on the list. According to some that means I’m un-American. #whatever

I am so looking forward to exploring my new city and home during my favorite season.
I suspect in a few months there will be a lot more specific things to add to this list!

What’s your favorite things about fall?

Cheers!