I take my annual favorites very seriously.

I've been prepping for this post all year - taking notes on my phone as I go along. 

I'm only listing things I've been using for a good chunk of the year, and I've added links where I can find them - mostly from Target and Nordstrom since that's where I did the bulk of my shopping this year.

Ok, let's go.

Entertainment



Olivia Rodrigo - My goodness, this girl's voice is amazing! I love how she bares her soul in her lyrics, and her live performances sound just as good as (sometimes better than) her recorded tracks.

It Takes Two (video game) - This was our couple's game during maternity leave. A member of the dev team was kind enough to send me a copy, and every night after Christian went to sleep, we'd stay up until like 2am playing the game. It was so addictive, and the best part was that you NEED a partner to play the game. It was such a good way to bond during a time that's normally riddled with stress and sleep deprivation (it also helped that Christian was such a good sleeper). Apparently it recently won game of the year as well.

Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) - I'm so late to the party on this one, and Armie Hammer's controversy aside, this was a fantastic movie. The storyline was nothing new or groundbreaking, but the art direction, editing, and costume design were flawless. It's very rare for me to want a sequel from a movie, but I would've loved to see how this one played out as a trilogy.

Knives Out (2019) - Another one that I was late to viewing, but it was a fun story with a great cast. Unlike The Man from U.N.C.L.E., we did not need a sequel. It would've been the perfect standalone dramedy.

NameIsHana - Hana's YouTube channel is fantastic. She's a UX designer whose work spills into her videos in the best way. Every second is like viewing a work of art.

Food/Drink


Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- I had finally kicked my Starbucks addiction to the curb during the pandemic. Then this year they had to go and make this delicious drink, dragging me back into their wares. This drink is like $6 a pop, and I'm ashamed to admit how many I've probably had over the past year. It's outrageous how good it is. Most Starbucks drinks are too sweet for my liking, but the espresso flavor in this drink really shines through, and the oatly oatmilk just sets it off.

Oatly - I'm officially an oatmilk convert. I had tried other brands in the past, but they were all so watery. Oatly is the creamiest, most delicious milk substitute I have ever tried, and now it's a staple in my fridge.

Arugula - This was my favorite summer food. I couldn't get enough of arugula salads this year. Arugula, red grapes, glazed pecans, feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Delicious.

Brussels Sprouts - Last postpartum season, all I wanted was carbs: potatoes, breads, rice, pasta. This time around, all I craved were veggies, and Brussels sprouts were high on the list. I'd roast them in the air fryer and literally only have that for dinner. That's how hooked I was.

True Lime Cherry Limeade - I've tried many drink mixes over the years. For a while I was drinking lots of Mio, until I realized my body doesn't agree with sucralose. True Lemon/Lime mixes are made with stevia instead, but they don't have that weird after taste. The cherry limeade flavor mixed with a can of lime sparkling water was my jam this year.

Kind Ice Cream Bars - I randomly picked these during our summer vacation, and the peanut butter flavor has the perfect amount of sweet mixed with salty. I had to stop buying them for a while because I was eating too many!

Home


Cuisinart Air Fryer - If I had to pick one, single favorite for 2021, it would be this. I hardly even use my oven anymore. This thing is the star of my kitchen. I'm not even sure I'm a good cook; the air fryer does all the work for me.

Smart Outlet - I bought one of these last year for our Christmas tree and pulled it out again this season. It's fantastic. I can turn the tree on/off with my phone without having to fiddle with the back of the extension cord.

SmartDevil Desk Fan - This summer was the first time I had to spend long chunks of time upstairs in our house. During a normal year, I'd be at the office during the week, and the weekends would be spent out and about or mostly hanging out downstairs. Our house gets very hot and humid upstairs. Even when it's cool and comfy downstairs, I'll be in my office space sweaty and uncomfortable. If I crank the A/C to a comfortable level upstairs, then downstairs would feel like an ice box. So I bought this fan in early June to compensate for the imbalance, and it packs a punch for its size. I used it at least 5x/week for months, and it's still going strong. I also love how small it is - fits perfectly on my monitor stand without feeling intrusive.

Folex Cleaner - This cleaner got a red wine out spill of my favorite white t-shirt. Need I say more?

Hydroflask - I drink about 90 ounces of water each day while nursing, so the Hydroflask makes it easy to take sips here and there. The straw lid and boot are a plus and a must. It's always in arm's reach.

Mudbuster - I was cleaning Raven's paws with a baby wipe on muddy, rainy days, and then I finally bought this so she's not tracking stuff throughout the house. It's much easier to stay on top of it now (and way more important these days with the little ones all over the floor.

Personal


Dr. Teals Salt Scrub
- You mean to tell me that for $5 I can feel like I'm at the spa in my own shower? SOLD.

Dior Nail Glow - The is the bougiest nail product ever, but I haven't used another since buying it over the summer. It makes my natural nails look better than they really are. I've gone to the nail salon for manicures and brought it with me because no other dip/gel/acrylic will do at this point.

Cuticle Oil - When it feels like my nails are crusty, I just slap some cuticle oil on them and bam, they look healthy and hydrated (even if they're not).

Plastic Birkenstocks - When I say I wore these almost every day from March-ish until October-ish, I am not exaggerating. They're not particularly cute, but they're simple-looking enough to match almost every casual outfit. I wore them to run errands, walk the dog, on the beach, out to lunch, to church, everywhere! (target dupe linked)


*Honorable Mention

Knix Underwear - I only just bought these in November, so I've only had two cycles to try them out, but so far I love them. I can't properly add them to my favorites list without knowing how well they hold up in the wash over time.



photo source »»

2 comments

  1. Happy New Year Disa! I experienced oat milk for the first time last week for a chai latte order at Starbucks because they were out of almond milk = am also a convert. Have not tried Oatly yet but will add it to this week's grocery list. And same with living in Birkenstocks throughout my entire pregnancy; super comfort over aesthetics for sure lol.

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