Favorite Things 2023 : my friend Jaimi!!

06 November 2023

Welcome to Favorite Things 2023!! We are off to the best start with my friend, Jaimi. 

She is so smart (don't go against her in Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader - really.) and witty, has the best laugh, just knows what is important and focuses on that (see her family below), has a beautiful, incredible faith that has been tested more than you would think was possible and really even shouldn't be alive and that is a story that she may choose to tell one day.

TODAY though - we are having a good time with her as she is sharing her favs. So excited to have her: 

Merry November Everyone! I used to be quite averse to holiday decorations that were sold months in advance in stores, but I get it now, people.  The holidays approach quickly, and some solid advanced planning alleviates a lot of stress.  Let it be known that I did my best to dissuade Melissa from asking me to contribute to this because:

  1. I don’t have a blog, business and I interact almost 0% with social media (I have IG, but I’ve never posted!) and…….

  1.  There are about 1,000 favorites lists out there this time of year curated by women who do this professionally (and I am not one to reinvent the wheel. Give me all the suggestions, and I will gladly take them!)

That being said, Melissa is one of my favorite people on the planet, and since I can rarely think of anything creative to do for her, this post will have to suffice as my gift to her this year! I looked back through her archives (WOW! AMAZING! SO MANY FUN THINGS!), and I think some of my favorites might be weird.  You’re welcome ;)


Hands down, my favorites are my husband and children.  Sorry!  Not for sale!  However, stay with me on this for a second. The last three years of my life have taught me that nothing you buy could ever take the place of the people in your life.  Connecting with those people is top priority.  It’s hard sometimes and definitely takes a lot of work, but the results are immeasurable.  Take some time to find a quiet space in your home and think, regularly, about what you can do to strengthen those ties or mend a relationship.  Space and time are Free.99 but take intentionality.  I am never sorry when I make time to do this.

Off the soapbox now…….


I probably use every one of these things almost every day!

EltaMD - I have never been one to use expensive face products until very recently.  Recently equals me turning 40+.  Cue weird skin problems that I’ve never had before.  My SIL’s brother is a dermatologist and recommends these products without reservation.  I might be deluding myself, but I think I have actually seen a difference in my skin since using them!  I’ll take it!  Start with the EltaMD PM Therapy or Foaming Facial Cleanser, and add from there.

Stance Performance Tab Socks - I choke a little bit every time I buy these because they definitely cost more than your average pair of socks.  But they truly are the best!  Like every other Instagrammer swears!  I wear them everyday to exercise and they have lasted for years.  I just bought my teen daughter some of her own, and it's the first thing she has actively hidden from her siblings so that they can’t borrow them.   

Apple Music Subscription - I choose this over Spotify because of the parental control filters it has, and you can also share it with family members.   We listen to a LOT of music in our home, and it has it all.  Dance party in the kitchen, anyone?

Evernote App - There are a lot of organizing and document apps out there, but for some reason I cannot step away from this one.  I have a yearly subscription and use it all the time.  It’s the thing that replaces your mom’s giant metal file cabinet in the entry hall closet.  One of my favorite uses is that it functions as a place to keep all of my compulsive recipe hoarding!  The possibilities are endless.  

Scribd/Everand - OK.  I’m a little confused.  This app magically changed from Scribd to Everand THIS WEEK, and I still don’t understand why. Conglomerate merger, perhaps? Anywho, this subscription is so random.  I use it for books, audiobooks, sheet music, etc. and it always seems to have the book that happens to be on hold for two years on my other favorite app, Libby.  Combine these two apps with my local library card, and I’m set on audio books and YA novels for the foreseeable future.  Need a rec to get you started after you give your spouse the subscription?  I recently finished Katherine Center’s novel Hello Stranger , my husband is reading The Perfect Mile , and our family listened to the audiobook version of  Lois Lowry’s The Willoughbys (narrated by Artie Johnson) on a recent road trip and laughed our faces off.  


Electric Water Kettle - It’s weird how fun this thing is for me! It replaced our hot chocolate machine because it is SO much easier to clean.  And fairly safe for younger children to use.  And it looks cool so I don’t mind having it on my kitchen counter.  If I need hot water for something (hot chocolate, lemon honey water, Ramen….) it is so fast and so easy!  Great In-Law gift!

RX AM Breakfast Bars - These are a quick grab for those crazy mornings when I have to run out the door.  The Honey Cinnamon PB is my favorite flavor.  Easy to throw in for a Christmas package to a child who is away at college to get them thru finals!


Orgain Plant Protein -  I’m contemplating creating a little cookbook for Christmas for my son who currently lives in Seoul, South Korea.  This would go in a package to him because it’s an easy add-in to recipes (even though I still wonder about what in the world this magic powder actually is…..).  One of our favorites is a chocolate peanut butter breakfast shake: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, ⅓ cup organic rolled oats, 1 cup almond milk, 1 heaping spoon of peanut butter, 1 frozen banana, crushed ice  - Blend for one in the Ninja!


Stanley Aerolight - I got annoyed with my larger Stanley falling out of my backpack side pocket while traveling through airports, so on a whim I found this at the LL Bean Company headquarters store in Maine, and it is the perfect size.  Just about the size of a normal plastic water bottle, and almost as light!  

4 in 2 Apple Charger Cable - Am I behind on this?  This gadget is also super handy for traveling.  I’d say it’s eliminated roughly 72.2376% of the stuff I have to pack for a trip ;)


Minimalista by Shira Gill - GOALS!! I would put this book on my living room sideboard in a flash. Except that Shira is telling me I need to get rid of things.  Which I am on board for.  I devoured this book and immediately started “editing” my entire household.  It will change the way you think about “stuff” in your home.

David Austin Roses - Do you love fresh flowers in your home?  Trader Joe’s is gold for inexpensive but beautiful bouquets, but I don’t have one very close to me.  So I did the next best thing.  Beg my friend to help me plant 47 David Austin bare root rose bushes in my yard a few years ago.  And even if my arms are ravaged after pruning them every year in the frigid depths of winter, it’s still one of things that brings me the greatest joy every May - October.  Seriously, they bloom that long.  The Lady of Shalott variety is one of my favorites - possibly because I might be slightly obsessed with Anne of Green Gables.  A suggestion - just plant one for now!  Ha!  And pick up this Garden Bucket Tool Organizer to help with the pruning.  Makes me feel like I’m a master gardener ;) It would be extra fun to gift a rose bush to your mom and then plant it for her in the spring after they ship.


Self Curler - My 9 yr old can use it alone!  Praise the heavens!

Essie Nail Polish - On trend, inexpensive nail polish for people who don’t have time to get their nails done.  Or who are pianists and can’t play with long, manicured nails (me!).

Target Caramels - Do your neighbors a favor and throw these on the plate of goodies you give them at Christmas. Taste like homemade, but even better because you didn’t burn yourself with hot corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk over the stove.  

Korean Gochujang Sauce - Does your brother think he’s the foodie of the family? Just mine? Well, here’s a fun one to give to the adventurous eaters in your family.  

Turkish Shows - So you’ve exhausted all of the Hallmark Christmas movies of the season.  First of all, congratulations.  That’s an impressive achievement.  Secondly, maybe you just want to change your viewing up for a quick minute during the ridiculous amount of downtime you have during the busiest season of the year!  Covid and really cold winters started me on Turkish RomComs while I exercise on the treadmill in the mornings - they’re goofy and a little soapy, totally clean (the romcoms, not the dramas), zero language, and the sweetest romances.  It’s a real genre, ladies! Erkenci Kus is probably the most well known, but trust me, there are more.  Enjoy!

Well, Merry Christmas Melissa!  Your readers might be questioning your choice of friends now ;)  I hope you can find at least one thing on this list that might make your life easier or a little more fun this holiday season!    I’m excited to see all of the Favorite Things recommendations this year! 

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