I had to go back and look at my favorites posts from previous years to make sure I wasn't duplicating anything on this year's roundup. Unsurprisingly, many of the items listed there are still things I'm enjoying. Once I find something I like, I commit.

A friend and I were recently talking about how we don't do much shopping in the traditional sense. Unless there's a specific want/need, I'm not hopping online or popping into stores just to browse. It's never been my personality. As I get older and my budget evolves (and my family grows), I'm pickier about when and how I spend money. Events and experiences will always be higher priority over tangible things, and that's not to say one is better than the other, but it's my personal preference. So... the list is kinda light this year, but these are the best of the best of 2023 for me.

Hair + Body Care

Naturium Dew Glow Moisturizer - I started a topical retinoid this year, and I haven't been using it long enough to call it a favorite (it can take years to see a big change in your skin), but I have been using it long enough to need a high-quality sunscreen for my face. This one is SPF 50 PA++++ and keeps my skin well-protected from the sun.

Byoma Hydrating Serum - When my skin was dry, flaking, and adjusting to that new rX, this serum saved me. I'm still using it now during the cooler months under my moisturizer. It glides on so smooth; it's fragrance free and non-irritating; I already have two extra bottles under my cabinet because I don't want to run out.

Kevin Murphy Knight Rider - This was an impulse purchase on a random trip to Chattanooga, and even though it's a men's hair pomade, it's the best edge control product because it's not water-based and won't budge when it's humid outside.

Slip Sleep Mask - This was a gift from work that I'd kept in my closet for close to two years before finally trying it one night and never looking back. I can tell I get better sleep when I use it, and my Oura stats prove it.

La Roche Posay Lipikar Balm AP+M - My dermatologist recommended this when she prescribed the retinoid, and even thought my trusted Nivea Creme (in the blue jar/tin) is still my favorite face moisturizer, this one does work better with the rx. It blends more smoothly. It's also great for the body, and it's unscented. After being so sensitive to fragrances during pregnancy, I'll always appreciate unscented body care products.


Outshine Popsicles - The lime flavor tastes like a frozen margarita, and the pineapple ones have actual chunks of fruit in them. On sweltering Atlanta summer days, they were my favorite sweet treat. I was buying like 3 boxes at a time. 

Illy Espresso Blend - I mentioned in last year's post that I bought an espresso machine to kick my coffeeshop habit. After trying many different whole beans roasts, I've landed on Illy for the flavor and availability.

Mentos Gum - I keep this gum in the car, and even though it's nothing special, I keep buying it again and again.


Thiss Digital Planner - I hopped on the digital planning trend at the beginning of the year. When I was in undergrad, I lived by the blank planner they gave us every fall. After graduating, I got away from it and more recently started relying on my phone's calendar/reminders/notes apps to fill any gaps that my brain can't keep up with, but it's not the same as writing things out in a proper planner. And since I'm not carrying physical notebooks these days, I decided to give it a go with my iPad + apple pencil. Even though I wasn't as consistent as I could've been, I liked the 2023 version enough to purchase the 2024 version a few weeks ago.

It has sections for everything you could possibly need. Wellness pages, journal prompts, period trackers, etc. I still use Notion as my second brain, but the act of writing things down can't be replicated by typing it out in a sophisticated database.


Duluth Trading Co. - Like I touched on above, I'm pickier with the things I buy lately - especially clothes. Fabrics feel so poorly made these days, and I need items that launder easily. If it can't go in the machine, it's a no for me. With young kids and a whole host of other adult responsibilities, I don't have time for the hand-wash-dry-clean-only life. Give me thick textiles that feel great on the skin and last for years. Enter: Duluth Trading Company. Their pieces probably won't fit any insta-trends anytime soon, but everything I've bought from there has been a 10 out of 10.

Adidas Samba - And flipping the other side of the coin to the quintessential insta-trend... I held out on these for months before finally giving in. I ended up buying the (pricier) Decon version, made with a softer leather in the heel and a leather lining. The added comfort is worth the premium IMO.

Gap Duvet Wrap Puffer Vest - I bought this vest (no longer available but linking for reference) late last year and after over 12 months of ownership, it's officially a favorite. It's extremely soft, machine washable, and the perfect light layer for those day's when there's just a light chill in the air. It feels so great on my skin that I bought the coat version of it (also sold out).

Rothy's Crossbody - A machine washable handbag????? A thousand times yes.

LC by Lauren Conrad flip flops - Bought these for like $7 at Kohls over the summer and literally wore them down until the logo rubbed off. They're basic, but that means they go with everything.


Seven Days in June by Tia Williams - I read about 30 e-books this year, and this one is the only title I bought a hardcopy of because I needed a tangible version on my bookshelf. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

When I feel lonely, I scroll through Tinder and remind myself what I’m missing. Which is dudes with coconut-oiled beards all posing next to the same graffitied wall in Dumbo with profiles written entirely in emojis. And I remember that I’m not lonely. I’m alone. When I’m comatose from writing and mothering, when I’m hurting too badly to cook, talk, or smile, I curl up with ‘alone’ like a security blanket.

Lizette always wore White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, and Genevieve found the scent overwhelmingly glamorous but also soothing. That was her mom in a nutshell. White Diamonds. And Black drama.

Your creative intuition’s so powerful you can rock any narrative to sleep.

They both had their twisted compulsions, different corners of the same hell.

Across the Spiderverse - The animation was art. The storyline was pristine. It's the only movie I saw in theaters this year, and the trip was not wasted!

Home + Tech

Medify MA-25 True HEPA Air Purifier - I bought very few home items this year, focussing more on decluttering and deep cleaning instead. This includes the air, and the air purifier covers up to 500 square feet which has been perfect for our bedroom. Technically I bought it last year, but I'm using more consistently as of late, and I can really tell the difference.

Sebo Airbelt E3 Canister Vacuum - Bagless vacuums are inferior. After having multiple Sharks die on me over the years, I was looking for something that was easy to clean and repair as needed. This one comes with a 10-year warranty and is one of the highest rated vacuums out there - especially recommended for asthmatics, allergy sufferers, and homes with pets (yes on all three counts for my household). I use it multiple times a week and my carpets have never been cleaner.


My Birthday - I didn't recap this on the blog, but this birthday was one of the best I've ever had. My sweet husband planned a full day of my favorite activities, and ended it with the most decadent dinner for two. It was perfect, and it will be hard for him to top next year! 😜

Greece - I've thoroughly recapped this trip already, but it's still worth calling out that it was one of my best vacations to date.

Cousin's Trip - J and I got the rare opportunity to take some time away together without the little ones, and we did it with two of his cousins and their partners. It was such a sweet getaway, and the best part? I didn't have to plan a single thing. All I did was show up and enjoy.