I have no clue why I take these annual favorites so seriously, but I do, so here we are!

Food & Drink

Cinnamon Vanilla Chameleon Cold Brew - I know it's winter. I know it's cold outside. I don't care. This cold brew is worth cranking the heat for. The flavor is the perfect mix of cinnamon and vanilla, and I'll be sad when they stop selling it for the season. I've bought countless bottles between then and now.

Espresso Machine
- Late last year, I found myself going out for lattes more often than not. In an effort to cut back on the spending, I bought my own espresso machine in February, and it's been a workhorse for me all year. I very rarely go out for coffee now (especially since finding the aforementioned cold brew), and it's more of a rare, convenient treat while I'm out running errands instead of a daily run. 

Bellwood Coffee - Since I've been making lots of espresso, I've been trying lots of local coffee roasters. Bellwood is the only one I purchased over and over again.

Lemon Berry Kombucha - These bottled beverage companies came for my pockets this year. GT's put their foot in this kombucha! There was one day I went to three different grocery stores looking for it. THREE! Looking for one bottle of kombucha. Try it. Trust me.

Salad Bags - Part of the reason I don't make salads often is because they require so much work and the payoff doesn't match the effort. Bagged salads with all the chopped and cleaned ingredients, toppings, and dressings included make it so much easier to load up on my greens.

Hair & Face

The Doux Mousse Def - I don't try new hair and skin products often. I've reached a point where I know what works and don't care to mix it up. But over the past few years, I've grown tired of always smelling like shea butter and coconut, because that's what so many natural, curly hair products smell like. I started using this styling foam by The Doux, and whoa, I may never need another styling product again. 

Please, God, don't let them discontinue this product. I already buy two bottles at a time because I never want to run out. I can regularly go 7+ days between washes and my curls still look good (or acceptable, at least). The photos above are from day 5, and this includes days where I've worked out. All I have to do is refresh the front and let it air dry. Oh! Speaking of air-dry, my hair dries in 2-3hrs when I use this, compared to 7+ hrs with the heavier creams I was using before. AND the company is black-owned. Period.

Clarins Lip Comfort Oil - My beauty routine is about as low-key as it gets. As long as my face is clean and moisturized, I mostly leave the rest alone. I bought this lip oil on a whim with some Macy's credit that was about expire, and I'll definitely repurchase when it's all used up. The color adapts to your skin's pH, and it's super moisturizing.

Wear & Personal Care

Oura Ring - This is my first piece of wearable tech, having resisted smartwatches because I don't love constantly wearing things on my wrist. More than anything, I love how well it tracks my sleep and steps, and it's so lightweight that I forget it's on my finger. There are competitors popping up on the market, and I'd be willing to give an alternative version a try, but for now, I'm enjoying the Oura ring

Casio Watch - I really don't love wearing things on my wrist, but I found this petite watch from Casio and it's small enough to feel less irritating. It's also nice not having to check my phone when I want to know the time.
Gap Modern Tee - They're soft. They're thick. They wash well. They hug in all the right places. They feel great on the skin. Love these tees. I have one in almost every color at this point.

Velvet Scrunchies - My favorite pack of scrunchies finally wore down to the threads. I bought a random pack for $1 at big lots, and even though they're not as nice as my old ones (they were gifted), they're soft and they don't tug on the hair, so I wear them all the time.

Viv for Your V Organic Tampons - Does this count as a "wearable"? I love the applicator and the sizing options are better than any other I've tried. A true crowd-pleaser.


Standing Desk - This desk really leveled up my WFH game. It's amazing how much more productive I am with a workspace that truly serves my needs.

Logitech MX Keys Wireless Keyboard - I resisted buying this one for a while, not wanting to spend over $100 on a keyboard, but I haven't regretted it and don't think I will. The best part is you can link it to three different computers (Mac + Windows), and switch between them seamlessly with the touch of a button. I also love how you can customize all the different hot keys to whatever functions is most convenient for you.

Contax G1 - This was a Christmas gift to myself last year, and I couldn't include it in last year's favorites list because I hadn't used it enough to be sure I truly loved it. Since I wrote this post 5(!!) years ago, I've bought and sold lots of camera gear. But this acquisition is one I could never see myself parting with. This baby, paired with the 45mm lens? A true work of art - and the photos I've taken with it are truly print-worthy. Literally. It inspired me to make my own photobook. It also inspired me to sing its praises in this article for 35mmc.


Rose & Gin - Zauni was so kind to send me a copy of her book, Rose & Gin. I hadn't read much poetry since college (fun fact: it was my concentration when I studied creative writing), but I was so grateful she sent a copy my way that I had to give it a read. Her words are as beautiful as the cover.

Kindle Unlimited - Every time I go to cancel this subscription, they offer me another 3+ months for like $3. Before I knew it, I'd had a subscription all year. Between this and my library's Overdrive/Libby apps, e-reading has become a regular part of my creative routine. Even though I wouldn't pay $10/month for Kindle Unlimited (because my local library is FREE), it's well worth it for the discounted rates they offer.

The Neighborhood - This show was streaming for free on the Roku app earlier this year, and when you pair an OG like Cedric the Entertainer with another OG like Tichina Arnold, I'm gonna watch. It's fun. It's funny. It's (mostly) lighthearted. It was exactly the kind of content I needed this year.

EEAAO - I hadn't been to the movies since It: Chapter 2 came out in September 2019, and I had no plan to return since there are so many free and low-cost steaming options out there. In case it's not clear, I'm very selective with what entertainment I pay for. But the hype around Everything Everywhere All at Once had me curious, and the majority Asian cast cemented my interest. So one evening, I took myself on a solo date to see the movie, and it did not disappoint. It's one of those movies I'll watch again and again over the years. So well written, and every piece of the story tied into the overarching narrative so beautifully.

Bodies Bodies Bodies - I'm sneaking this one in at the last minute because even though I only just watched it a few weeks ago, I find myself thinking about (and laughing at) this movie more often than I expected I would. The dialogue was peak Gen Z in the best way, and it took so many turns that I didn't know which was was up by the end. My favorite kind of story.

Health & Wellbeing

Hotworx - Who knew that a gym that lets you workout in a literal sauna would be exactly what I needed to jumpstart my new workout routine? I surely didn't. But I'm in that thang sweating it out at least 3x per week, and I love it.

Hyrdojug - I'm pretty sure my Hydroflask was in last year's favorites post, and I still use it every day. It stays by the bed for when I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night (a phenomenon that started postpartum and will apparently never go away). But during the day, while i'm working, I needed something that held more than 32 ounces, because I got tired of constantly refilling the hydroflax. So I bought a stainless steel Hydrojug that holds a full gallon of water, and it's perfect. Thirst be gone!

Time Blocking via Notion - I sing Notion's praises all the time, but this year I created a weekday time-block template to help streamline my schedule and outline which hours are for focusing on which tasks and projects. The goal was to manage my time and energy more efficiently, and while I've got a long way to go, it has really helped me understand what time of day works best for different parts of my workflow. Also, my website and portfolio are both built in and hosted on Notion, and they've served me well this year, so it's worth a mention.