As I mentioned on Tuesday, this week I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moments, discoveries and purchases I’ve made this year. While 2020 certainly had a lot of lows with the pandemic, political unrest, racial injustice, and loss (just to name a few), there were a handful of highs + a few things I’m glad to have picked up and learned that I’d love to share. The biggest highlights for me this year have been getting my dog, Reeses, and buying a new home in Dallas! While cancelling my move to Chicago was disappointing, it actually turned out to be the biggest blessing in disguise. We were all so hopeful in March that we would get the pandemic under control quickly, but nine months later and we’re all still at home, social distancing and wearing masks… and there’s still no clear picture of when things will return to normal! So I’m counting my blessings to have stayed in a place where I feel safe, comfortable and am a short drive away from my family and friends (a walk, in some cases). Now that we’ve covered the two biggest highs on my end, let’s chat about my best buys and favorite finds of 2020!
FAVORITE LOUNGEWEAR PURCHASE: Tied between the SPANX Breast of Both Worlds Lounge Bra and LOU & GREY SIGNATURE SOFTBLEND SWEATSHIRT + MATCHING SHORTS. I honestly lived in both these last nine months!!! So comfortable and soft.
FAVORITE FOOD & DRINK PURCHASE: Estelle Colored Glass. I talked more about them in a blog post here, but I’m obsessed! Even though I’m more of a neutrals girl with clothing + home decor, these colorful wine glasses have brightened my mood every time I’ve used them. And I don’t use them just for wine – these babies have held everything from water to eggnog! When I’m allowed to start entertaining at my house, the multi-color set is also a great way to differentiate glasses. PS: Estelle Colored Glass is a Black-owned brand! Such beautiful, high-quality items.
FAVORITE AMAZON CLOTHING PURCHASE: OROLAY FLEECE DOWN JACKET. This purchase was actually made closer to the end of 2020, but I’ve worn it so much already and received tons of compliments! I have the Apple Cinnamon option in a Medium and the fit is perfect. It features multiple zippered pockets (all real – so useful!) side zippers to adjust for a fitted or loose look, and the length is amazing. It’s $160 and so high quality for the price! Very warm too – I wear it on walks with Reeses in the mid to high 30’s and stay warm!
FAVORITE AMAZON HOME PURCHASE: BLACK+DECKER dustbuster. I’m pretty sure I bought this before I got Reeses, but boy has it been a lifesaver lately! She started shedding a lot in recent months, and I have used this dustbuster to quickly clean up areas where she spends a lot of time. It’s a great price and very powerful!
FAVORITE HOME DISCOVERY: The Laundress No.723 Laundry Detergent. I actually learned about this new detergent scent during a collaboration I did this spring with The Laundress, and I have been hooked ever since! My sheets, workout clothes and even Reeses’ toys smell like the most decadent rose garden – well, at least until she slobbers all over them again. The scent is pretty potent, but still subtle and not at all perfume-y! If you’re looking to upgrade your laundry situation, can’t recommend this stuff enough.
FAVORITE FASHION BRAND DISCOVERY: SIKA DESIGNS. This London-based label is actually inspired by Ghana, where it is handmade using colorful fabrics from local markets. I first heard about this brand in June and ordered this dress as soon as I saw it! The colors are divine, and the silhouette is incredibly fun, flirty and flattering. I’ll definitely be ordering more from them this coming spring/summer!
FAVORITE SPLURGE PURCHASE: Golden Goose sneakers!! I already had a couple pairs before this year, but 2020 has been the year of the sneaker for me. It’s what I wear on most days, as I work from home and am always taking Reeses on walks or quick trips outside. They keep me comfortable and looking cute, whether I’m at home or on the go! I’ve received questions about whether I think they’re worth it and whether the trend will last, and my answer is always 100%. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! I really shouldn’t buy any more pairs, but if I were to buy more, I’d get this pair, this pair or this pair!
FAVORITE INSTAGRAM DISCOVERY: Emmanuel Acho – Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. I first discovered Emmanuel Acho in June after the outcry following George Floyd’s murder. He started an IGTV series called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, where he either spoke on a topic himself or interviewed others about racial injustice, the Black Lives Matter movement, systemic racism, and police brutality. Each one was thoughtful and thought-provoking, informative and educational, but more importantly, it explored different perspectives from people of varying backgrounds (from local police officers to celebrities), pointing out the privileges and biases that exist whether you are aware of them or not. These interviews helped me look inward to understand my own biases, but also gave me a greater understanding of the issues on a greater scale and the misinformation out there about the BLM movement, “defunding” the police, and more. Hot off the heels of his popular IGTV series, Emmanuel published his first (hopefully of many!) book – featuring the same title as the series. I prefer audiobooks these days, so I downloaded that version and really enjoyed it! While his book is just one man’s perspective, I found it just as engaging as his video series and highly recommend it. He continues to share new videos on IGTV in this series as well, so be sure to follow him and check those out!
FAVORITE BOOK: tied between Verity by Colleen Hoover and The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. Both books were recs I got from my friends Grace and Becca of Bad on Paper Podcast! The Idea of You is a steamy modern romance novel between a 39 year old mother and a member of a boy band (think One Direction’s Harry Styles) – it is SO FREAKING GOOD. It’s also being turned into a movie! Verity is more of a psychological thriller – lots of twists and turns, and it kept me hooked til the very last page.
FAVORITE FITNESS PURCHASE: It’s a tie between the Peloton bike and tread! I purchased the bike early on in quarantine, and then ordered the tread after I’d moved into my new house late this fall. I discovered they have a pay-over-time option (with no interest!) using Affirm, so I did that for the tread! It’s so nice to pay a smaller monthly fee for a year as opposed to a giant upfront cost. I have the original bike and the Tread+, and have *loved* using both! I haven’t had the tread for long (and haven’t been able to use it in the last few weeks thanks to my ankle issue and being gone for Thanksgiving and Christmas), but I’ll be sure to do a comprehensive review like I did for the bike soon! Even if you don’t have a bike or treadmill, you can use the Peloton app. The app has thousands upon thousands of workout classes, with new live and on-demand workouts added every single day. From yoga and stretching, to pilates and barre (both new!), to strength and cardio classes, all you need is a space to work out and yourself! They even have outdoor running classes (audio only) if you love to run outside. If you’re looking to mix up your at-home workout routine, I highly recommend checking out the Peloton app! My favorite classes lately have been the bootcamps – both on the bike and the tread. It’s the perfect combo of cardio/HIIT and strength, like OrangeTheory and Barry’s Bootcamp!
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Bridgerton on Netflix. This is also a later addition as it just came out on the 25th, but OH MY GOD. This show is exactly what we needed to help redeem 2020 just a bit – thank you, Shonda Rhimes! You can think of it like a more steamy, Gossip Girl meets Downton Abbey show – amazing costumes, beautiful set designs, gorgeous and talented cast, a must-watch love story, and scandal. I loved every minute and pray there’s a second season coming!!
FAVORITE HOME/FURNITURE PURCHASE: Lulu & Georgia Senna Rug. I am OBSESSED with this rug!!!! I didn’t know what kind of rug I wanted for my bedroom initially, but once I’d purchased my bed, dresser and lamps I had a better idea. Because all of the items in my bedroom are neutral, I decided I wanted something with a wow factor to tie it all together (while still being, you guessed it, neutral). When I stumbled upon this rug, I knew I had to try it! The 9×12 size was unavailable at the time, so I ordered the runner just to see if I liked the colors with everything else in my space. Obviously I did, so I put myself on the waiting list to be notified when the 9×12 would come back in stock! It was restocked at the end of October and installed the third week of December. I am thrilled with how amazingly well it works in the space, and love that it is both bold and timeless. Plus, it is super soft and made of 100% hand-knotted wool! It’s out of stock in most sizes again, but will be restocked in every size sometime in January. PS: it sold out within a couple days of being restocked in October, so don’t wait if you want it!