I can’t believe it’s time for this post, yet again. It’s one of my favorites of the year! I decided to post it a little earlier for you in case you needed some last-minute gift ideas. As a reminder of what it’s all about, I keep a list on my phone of the best products I used throughout the year in anticipation of this day. My only qualifying rule is that everything must have been purchased or discovered in 2019.
More than ever, I tried to be very cognizant of what I included here. All of these products have bettered my life in some way, and are not useless junk that you won’t need in a few months or years. Some of the products I discovered through partnering with the brands and some I found on my own or got as gifts from family/friends.
iRobot Roomba- We technically got this last year for Christmas but didn’t start using it until 2019. As a family with a big dog and tornado toddler, I have to vacuum the house every day or it’s a hot mess. With the Roomba, that takes one thing off of my plate. We have it set to clean at 4 pm each day and the house feels as good as new every evening.
In other pet hair news, Boots sheds a lot more in the winter and his hair is really thick and black so it is very easy to see so our blankets and couches get covered in dog hair. I saw this Amazon pet hair roller on my friend’s Instagram stories and bought it immediately upon seeing how effective it looked. Since then everyone in my family has bought one. It works. And is so satisfying to use.
NamaMat Kitchen Mat (gifted)- The same brand that makes our playmat (Little Nomad) came out with a kitchen mat that has gone viral and sells out every month. The founder, Liz, is a local mom in Connecticut and sent me the NamaMat for our kitchen before they came out so that I could test it. Not only did I test it, but I also fell in love with it. It’s thick and squishy under your feet so washing dishes is a pleasure. It looks like a vintage rug to the point where I get DMs every single day asking where my blue kitchen rug is from.
It comes in grey, beige, blue, or multi-color (limited sizes)/ The best part is that the brand was started by a mom who wanted a better solution to ugly kitchen mats. She made her dream a reality and has become hugely successful in following her dream! The questions I get asked most about it are if the dog’s nails make marks on it (no), if it peels at all (also no), and what size I have (30×72).
Charging Station– We have a corner of our kitchen counter that we use for charging our iPhones, iPads, computers, headphones, baby monitors, and what feels like a million other electronics. The cords were getting OOC so I bought a bamboo charging station to keep them organized and clean. For any other Type-A people out there, you’re welcome. This would also make a great holiday gift!
Equilibria CBD Relief Cream– I have a very weak lower back and throw it out, like clockwork, 2x/year. Last week I did it yet again but recovered in a matter of 3 days instead of a full week like I usually do. This relief cream was the only thing I changed and I swear it worked wonders. It feels warm/cool (like IcyHot) but also infuses CBD into the area for anti-inflammatory healing. I also use it for period cramps and sore muscles. According to their website, it has 3-4x the cannabinoids and terpenes found in other over-the-counter CBD products.
This product was originally gifted for a paid campaign but I have since bought more to replace it.
Kopari Aluminum-Free Deodorant– A friend of mine turned me on to Kopari this fall. I had been a loyal Native-user for years and never thought I’d say this, but I like it better than Native. It rolls on more smoothly, it smells better, and it works a lot better! I never have to re-apply a second time during the day like I often did with Native. I have the light geranium scent which smells incredible, seriously. If you have sensitive skin, it also comes in a fragrance-free option. I’m officially a Kopari convert.
French Girl Organics Lumière Jasmin Body Oil– I bought this all-natural body oil from the goop store in Nantucket this summer, but have really gotten into using it daily since it’s cooled down. It’s now sold out on goop (and Nordstrom) but I found it here. I put it on my arms and legs after the shower and it smells like heaven: clean and subtle jasmine that doesn’t overpower your senses. It goes on smoothly and your skin drinks it up so you aren’t oily for more than a few seconds. The oils are all plant-derived and sourced from a Seattle farm so you can feel good about where it comes from too. This was such a great find that continues to be part of my daily routine this winter and, I would imagine, for seasons to come.
Hair Dance Dry Shampoo– In an effort to make a few more clean swaps in my beauty routine, I did some research when I ran out of dry shampoo over the summer. The spray from dry shampoos always makes me cough, and I thought maybe I could do better. I read a bunch of reviews and articles and Hair Dance kept coming up as an affordable product that really worked. I ordered it for $10 on Amazon and have been using it regularly since then. It oddly looks like a tiny bottle of hot sauce but comes out as lavender-scented powder.
A little bit goes a long way, so I squeeze a tiny dollop into my hands and rub it into my scalp. It’s made with only 5 (organic) ingredients which seems too good to be true, but it really works. I only wash my hair 2/x week and this stuff keeps it fresh looking and smelling in between
Olay Retinol Eye Cream (gifted, on sale now!)– I tested this product for 4 weeks for a campaign last month and can say that it is the best night cream I’ve ever used. I love seeing brands make traditionally expensive products more accessible and Olay nailed it with this one. It goes on really smoothly and I swear I wake up every morning with smoother skin and brighter eyes. I have a very wrinkly under-eye area and after 2 months of using it, I’m seeing a real long-term difference in the texture of the skin there. My derm suggested that I use it every other night instead of every night because retinol, no matter how gentle it is, shouldn’t be used daily. So that’s what I do!
This product was gifted for a paid campaign. Inclusion in this list is not a part of the campaign. I will be buying it when it runs out.
This product was gifted for a paid campaign. Inclusion in this list is not a part of the campaign. I have since bought more to replace it.
ASHA Zodiac Pendant Necklace- Anel gave me my first big charm with my own zodiac sign on it (Cancer) a while ago, but when he gave me a second, smaller charm with Amalia’s (Le0), I started wearing it even more often. As you probably know by now, the ASHA store is directly next to his gym so we pass it every day which has made me fall even more in love with this local brand started and ran by an amazing mama with so much talent. I wear it as a pendant necklace or doubled up for a different look. You can see it here and here.
Shoppe Salt Purse Strap– This purse strap was my most asked-about item on Instagram all summer and I didn’t take off of my favorite bag for months. I saw it on a woman at a restaurant and asked her about it and now that I have one, people stop me on the street every day to ask me about mine. It’s fun and unique and adds a pop of my favorite color to every outfit. Although apparently it’s not that unique and every mom in Brooklyn already has one. I have the thinner Holly strap in hot pink so it’s more of a summer vibe, but they also have more neutral straps. And I love this one that they made in collaboration with Madewell too.
Veronica Beard Jeans– This fall I was at a party and my friend was wearing the most perfect pair of high-waisted button-fly jeans with raw hems. When she told me they were marked down to $78 from $258, I bought them on the spot. The wash is beautiful, they fit like a glove, and they are incredibly flattering. I love how high the waist is (11″) and how chic they look with booties, flats, and even sneakers. I went with my normal size and they were a little snug when I first put them on but after a series of squats in front of the mirror (anyone else do this?), they fit perfectly. Sadly they’re only available in two small sizes now but this pair is the same without the distressed detailing.
Dudley Stephens Park Slope Fleece in Camel (gifted)- I have a dozen (or more?) DS fleeces at this point but the camel Park Slope has quickly become my favorite. I love the shade of camel and how it goes with everything. You can see how I styled it three ways here.
Amazon Nightgown- When this $28 Amazon dress went viral over the summer, I scooped up two of them and pretty much didn’t take them off until September. I wore the blue and white one here and the purple and pink one here.
Everlane Treads Sneakers (gifted)- The description on the Everlane website sold me before I even tried them on: “Designed to be worn every day—and actually made to last. Our leather trainer is the lowest impact of its kind: less waste, less energy, and 54% less virgin plastic. We’ve also offset the emissions we can’t eliminate—yet.” And while their story is great, the product is even greater. They’re comfortable, cool, and versatile. You can see how I wore them here and here.
Birkenstock Rubber Sandals– Anel made so much fun of me when I bought these bad boys this summer but I wore them every single day and he finally admitted they were fantastic and bought himself a pair too. #winning. Did I already buy them in white for next summer? Why yes I did!
Jenni Kayne Flats– I have wanted these calf hair mules for years and years and finally treated myself to them this fall. I don’t know what it is that drew me to them in the first place but they make me feel infinitely cooler when I wear them and because they’re leopard print (aka a neutral) they go with everything.
Sustainable Swaps: Home
Dishcloth Set (to replace paper towels)- I discovered these cheeky dishcloths from someone I follow on Instagram! She reviewed these dishcloths from an Etsy shop called Boldfaced and I knew immediately I needed them. We’re trying to use fewer paper towels in our home and these reusable cloths with song lyrics definitely help. I use them to wipe down counters, dry dishes, and clean floor messes. On top of that, they are 100% natural and printed with water-based inks. I also love this set of three for $3.99.
Stasher Bags (to replace Ziplock bags)- My goal in 2020 is to completely ban Ziplock bags in our home. One way to do this, and the first way we’ve started that move, is by using Stasher bags to store things that we would normally store in Ziplocks like snacks on-the-go, apple slices, and leftovers.
This product was gifted for a paid campaign. Inclusion in this list is not a part of the campaign. I bought a subscription when the campaign was complete.
Sustainable Swaps: On-the-Go
Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup (to replace to-go coffee cups)- My water bottle challenge has really gotten me to think about single-use everything. I recently bought this collapsible coffee cup and keep it in my purse so I can order drinks to-go at coffee shops without using a paper cup.
Produce Bags (to replace plastic produce bags at the grocery store)- We have been using these reusable produce bags for way more than just produce lately. We use them to bring snacks on road trips, to store toys while we travel, and even as laundry bags. I love that they come in multiple sizes for multiple purposes.
Hyperice Hypersphere Ball– Anel always has the best fitness gadgets. He buys them “for work” but ends up bringing them home to test them out on himself and me which is possibly the best perk of being married to a personal trainer. The Hypersphere is basically a vibrating ball that you can sit on or lean on for sore or injured muscles. It is kind of miraculous and also idiot-proof. I like to lean against it while I’m working on my computer for a built-in massage.
Palo Santo Purification Mist– If you’re not into crystals or the “woo woo” stuff I love, maybeeee skip this one because it’s a little out there. Or don’t and you’ll thank me later! I buy all of my crystals, palo santo, sage, and that good stuff from a local brand, Open Heart Apothecary. Luckily for you, the owner, Alyssa, also has a beautiful Etsy shop. I have fallen in love with the Purification healing mist and spray it every night before bed. I even bought a second one for my dopp kit so I can spray it in hotel rooms and rental homes when I’m on the road. It smells clean and delicious and clears the energy of a room without having to light a match. The mist itself is made from just water and essential oils (palo santo, white sage, clary sage, tulsi, and lavender) and she adds charged clear quartz crystals inside the bottle. I can’t get enough of this stuff.
Planet Box Lunch Box– The price on this lunchbox is kind of insane but instead of having a bunch of boxes that you swap out, you only need one with the Planet Box. It’s stainless steel which makes it durable, easy to clean, and machine-washable. It comes with a Bento box with 5 sections as well as 2 food containers that have tops for things like yogurt, soup, and hummus. It also has an insulated carrying bag (made from 100% recycled materials) with lots of pockets for water bottles and utensils. Amalia loves to help me pack it every night for the next day and carries it into her classroom, proudly!
Hatch Light– Amalia had a really hard time falling asleep for a month or two after our move. Sleep has historically been the only thing we haven’t had many issues with when it comes to her so it was hard because it came out of nowhere. My friend who has 3 kids (and who has been through it all) suggested that we get her a nightlight to see if that made a difference. Miraculously, it worked the first night. I couldn’t believe that something so simple made such a difference! The nightlight we originally bought her was cute, but we quickly learned that if we left it on all night, she would wake up super early in the mornings.
I was telling another friend about the situation and she suggested the Hatch Baby Light which is a sound machine (lullabies, white noise, etc) and nightlight that can be activated by an app on your phone. Amalia loves picking the color of the light each night (pink, always). I cannot tell you how much of a difference this one little machine has made in our lives. My daughter gets more sleep and is, therefore, happier and well-rested during the day. And Anel and I got our evenings back.
Backseat Car Organizer– My friend had one of these in her car between the two back seats and I immediately Prime’d one for us. Amalia likes to read books and play with toys in the car and this keeps all of her stuff organized in one nifty little container.
Give a Sh!t Compostable Poop Bags– These dog bags have the best tagline: reduce your carbon paw print… And they’re 100% biodegradable and compostable. The materials they use are ethically sourced and made from 100% plant components. On top of all that, Give a Sh!t donates 10% of all profits to the Soi Dog Foundation which improves the lives of dogs and cats in Asia. I pick up at least one bag of dog poop/day (#glamlife) so swapping to compostable bags definitely adds up to make a difference.
Furbo (gifted)– Anel and I have always talked about putting a camera in the living room so we could spy on Bootsie but we felt like creeps so never did it. Then Furbo reached out about sending us one and we realized that many people who are not creeps do this and we joined that group of non-creeps ourselves. Not only can we see what he’s up to, but we can throw him treats from an app on our phone, even if we’re not home. It makes me feel way less guilty when I’m gone all day.
This product was gifted for a paid campaign. Inclusion in this list is not a part of the campaign.
Skout’s Honor Probiotic Deodorizer Spray– Boots and I go for a long walk/hike/run most days and he’s a big dog. He gets sweaty and, yes, smelly. We randomly bought this spray at our pet store on a salesperson’s recommendation and it has helped a lot with the smell. Most sprays are made with lots of chemicals and Boots hates the scent but he doesn’t seem to mind this one at all. It’s pH balanced and works naturally to prevent itching, dryness, and odor. And it has avocado oil and Omega-3s to give him a shiny coat. The best part is that with every bottle purchased from the brand, a rescue animal is provided with a full day’s worth of meals. Love that!