My Favorite Things in 2021

We spent most of the last year either in lockdown or trying to navigate the process of re-entering the world again while a worldwide pandemic was still happening around us. It’s been a weird year and while it felt very short when looking back at my photos, it also flew by all too quickly. In *checks calendar to confirm what year it is* 2021, I stayed at home more and as a result, I didn’t shop as much and kept coming back to the small things in life that brought me joy. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and made my mornings special with a magazine and a cup of coffee. In the Fall, I started working again after a long period of funemployment. Still miss those days of having no plans but I am so lucky to have found a job that I am passionate about and love.

Here are some of my favorite things that got me through the last year. As I was writing up my list I noticed it looks very different than previous years. I shifted away from a materialistic lifestyle and lived a very simplified one in every aspect. When we realized that we weren’t going anywhere, I purged a lot and put most of my other items in storage. Even with going back to work, I try to keep this simplified theme going in every aspect of my life. Has the last year inspired you to live without clutter and a less busy schedule? Let me know how you simplified your life this year in the comments below!

CONAIR HAIR DRYER BRUSH

All of my other hair tools are sitting in my linen closet collecting dust because this is the only hair tool I use anymore. Perfect blow out every single time!

InfinitiPro by Conair Knot Dr Dryer Brush

blog post: here

CLAIROL SHIMMER LIGHTS

I go through products a lot because I have the platform that allows me to have the opportunity to work with different brands and try new things. But this is one product I keep coming back to again and again because it keeps my blonde hair free of brassy tones and protects my color.

Shimmer Lights Shampoo
Shimmer Lights Thermal Spray
Shimmer Lights Mask
blog post: here

OUTLANDER SERIES

I brought the book Outlander on vacation in August and read the whole thing in less than a week! I had to Amazon Prime the second one for next day delivery so I had something to read on the plane ride home. It’s been such a wonderful series to get lost in the last few months.

VITAL PROTEIN COLLAGEN

I love love love Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. I can feel a difference in my body when I don’t take it right away. It’s such an easy way to make smart healthy decisions first thing in the morning.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

blog post: here

UGG SLIPPERS

Finally treated myself to a pair of real Ugg slippers this year. My slipper collection is getting a bit out of control but I needed them when I saw that they came in pink. And it was about time…

Ugg Slippers

K-DUO

My most used and favorite item this year. I’ve also started to gift the K-Duo to family members because I love ours so much.

Keurig K-Duo

blog post: here

LULULEMON BELT BAG
It’s a recent purchase that I didn’t think I would use that often but now I don’t know how I lived without one….

CANVAS STORAGE BAGS
I have tons of these to store extra pillows and blankets. Seriously these things are a game changer. Just placed an order to get more to help me get organized for 2022.

PAJAMA SET
Another impulse buy this year because these pajamas are SO SOFT. I’m slowly buying these in every color.

Friday Favorites 12.3

This week was back to work after a nice long Thanksgiving vacation. It was a fun weekend to spend time with the family watching Hallmark Christmas movies, doing some shopping with my mom on Black Friday, and enjoying turkey leftovers as much as possible! We wanted to enjoy a mid-week date night so we walked downtown to watch the tree lighting at City Hall and walked around to see the little pop-up shops. With the large crowds, we decided to come back another day to fully enjoy it because this year the Christmas Village set up is bigger than ever! Since it can’t be date night without a meal, we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, Pub & Kitchen for dinner. We both got a cocktail to celebrate almost getting through the work week! Going into the week, we knew our work schedules were going to be super busy so to give us something to look forward to on the weekend, we made plans to decorate our house for Christmas this weekend. And if you cannot tell… I AM SO EXCITED!

So let’s get started and talk about my favorite things this week.

I’ve been enjoying 30 minutes of “alone time’ after work before J gets home. I usually curl up on the couch and watch an episode of Paris in Love or Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip on Peacock. It’s the perfect show to watch because it requires zero brain energy and is very entertaining. SPEAKING of Housewives, you must watch Housewive & Shah Shocker on Hulu if you follow the Jen Shah drama. I binge-watched Catherine the Great on Hulu one weekend because I love this show so much.

I love wearing a full face of makeup but I hate taking it off at night. Ugh, it is a struggle! I recently just finished using Maybelline Satin Liquid Foundation which I have used on and off for years. Luckily, I had a bottle of Maybelline Super Stay in my vanity that I’ve been using ever since. Wearing a mask most of the day because of work, I’ve found that using a full coverage foundation stays on the face better than a sheer foundation. Also I have been using this moisturizer every morning under my makeup and I notice my face looks brighter with daily use. At night I’m still using my retinol and dab a few spots of this moisturizer around my eyes since that area can be sensitive.

When we got back home from my parents house we came back home to an empty fridge and not much in the pantry. So on Monday after work I had to walk to the grocery store so we could eat dinner that night. This week I made barbeque chicken, stuffed peppers and quesadillas for dinner. Not that fascinating I know but it’s so nice to have options again!

I love visiting my parents because of how close they live to some of my favorite stores! We stopped in at Hobby Lobby and picked up a few things for the house before stopping at Homegoods and it’s dangerous when I walk in the front door! Hobby Lobby has an entire aisle dedicated to Grinch decor and I want all of it! Our Christmas plans are still up in the air so I delivered my parents Christmas presents when we were visiting at Thanksgiving to be on the safe side. I got my mom a butter ornament as a joke gift that I let her open early because we always joke about how much butter we use when we cook.

  • I keep a semi-full closet full of clothes at my parents house as well as a bottle of my favorite perfume so I don’t have to bring it back and forth.
  • My favorite Tarte eyeshadow palettes were on sale with Black Friday deals. Now is the time to stock up!
  • The windows at Macy’s are all decorated for Christmas!
  • The gin and tonic cocktail I had at Pub & Kitchen on our date night. Just thinking about it makes me want to have another!
  • Shared some festive stocking stuffer ideas here.
  • Last week I shared some gift ideas on the Blonde Rosie Facebook page. Keep an eye out because I’ll be adding more.

Ways to Slow Down

For the past few weeks… months actually I keep saying that the next week will be easier or that next weekend we won’t have that many plans. Then the next week arrives and we are full steam ahead trying to do it all. I’m sure I am not the only one who is trying to balance work and life right now and it is only going to get busier with the holidays around the corner. Being back to work means that I need to create new routines to help me relax and recharge on the weekends. 

Here are a few ways that I slow down during the week to allow my body to rest and be able to conquer that long and never-ending to-do list.

Sunday Brain Dump

This has been a lifesaver for me because it only takes 5 minutes and I can make a list of everything that needs to get done and have an idea of what is coming up that week.  Once everything is in my notebook, I schedule tasks and events on my paper and digital calendar linked to my phone. My digital calendar is composed of mostly reminders to do things so I can stay on task each day and not feel overwhelmed doing a lot of things on one day.

Theme Days

Over the last few years, I have committed to only cleaning the house on Tuesdays. By doing it once a week, it keeps everything in good shape so it’s not that much to clean the next week. On Sundays, I love going to bed with the living room pillows fluffed on the couch, an empty laundry basket, and fresh sheets. When you just think about all of the chores to do around the house, it can feel like a lot. But by doing a few things each day each week, it’s all doable. Reminder to run your dishwasher before bed each night. Your future self will thank you!

Saturdays are for Errands

During the week, I make a list on my phone of things we need to buy, stores to stop at, and such. If I can do all of my errands in one trip so I can be home at a reasonable hour on Saturday, I am in a much better mood. Sundays are for relaxing and Saturdays are for socializing so I like to get all of our errands done early so I can feel like I actually have a weekend. 

Fitness

I’ve debated over getting a gym membership for months now but for now, working in my bedroom works for me. I tell myself that I will work out for just 10 minutes at night before bed because that is when I have the time and what works for me. Most of the time it goes longer than 10 minutes but it’s not as daunting when I say it will just be a few minutes of ab workouts or lifting weights. 

Set a Reminder for Bedtime

I’ve talked about this routine before and it is what has helped me the most since going back to work. I’m in bed at night at a certain time each night and my body looks forward to it every evening. It doesn’t matter if I’m watching tv or reading in bed, as long as I’m in bed, my body knows it’s done for the day. 

Self Care Is Important Too

I’m not kidding when I set up reminders for basically everything going on in my life. That includes a reminder to take a bath on Sunday evening before bed, a face mask on a Wednesday, and a quick polish change on Thursdays. If it’s in my calendar, I’m more likely going to set time aside for myself, and taking care of yourself is important too! 

About that busy holiday season….

If you are planning to travel to visit family, pack early so it’s one less thing you need to worry about. I’m doing my Christmas shopping early and dropping off items at Thanksgiving already wrapped to make the gift exchanges easier. We have so many holiday traditions in the city we love to do so I already created a calendar invite and invited J to see the Christmas tree lighting and walk through Macy’s Christmas Village. It’s on our calendars so we have something fun to look forward to and it won’t feel rushed. Decorating the house for Christmas should be fun so I’ve already started the deep clean for when we take down the fall decor and start putting up the trees! It may seem daunting but plan ahead. Your future self will thank you for it!

Friday Favorites 11.12

Happy Friday, friends! The Holiday season is here everywhere you look but I’m holding on to our fall decor for just a bit longer. Last weekend I did a deep clean around the house so it will be easy to put away the fall decor and bring up the Christmas boxes. I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving at my parents house in North Carolina. Our tradition is to start putting up Christmas trees as soon as the pumpkin pie is cut. My mom goes all out for Christmas and needs all of the help from her elves that she can get! We will put on a Christmas movie like A Christmas Story and eat pie while we flock trees around the house. It’s one of my favorite traditions! I got a bunch of errands done on Thursday since I was off of work. Christmas shopping is basically all finished so now I just need to wrap and place them under a tree. I’m trying to be as proactive as I can to get everything done so I can enjoy the holiday season. I’ll be sharing some gift guides on my Facebook page to give you some ideas. I forgot how much planning needs to go into the holiday season when I’m working and don’t have that much free time LOL! Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Our tv has been set to the Hallmark channel since November 1st so it’s been Christmas movies every day. On Sundays, we have been watching Succession and I’m loving watching this family drama unfold. Be sure to catch up on Dopesick on HBO. I also started watching MAID on Netflix late last night and WOW. I had read a lot of good things about it online and it’s a show I think everyone should watch but be prepared to be emotional.

Recently just picked up Chi x Barbie Silk Infusion and Chi x Barbie 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray that I found at Target. It looks like the hair products are no longer in stock but I saw a ton at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Did I buy these products just because they are Barbie? Yes. Yes, I did! A few years ago I made the switch to aluminum-free deodorant and just finished this one and will definitely be repurchasing. I don’t notice the difference and it’s just healthier for your body so why not make the switch?

I wanted to share an easy recipe that makes a tasty dinner in 5 minutes. The other night I heated up a bag of Trader Joe’s fried rice, towards the end I cracked two eggs in the pan and let them fry, and thawed some frozen fish to mix in later. It felt like we were eating take out but it was cheaper and a bit healthier.

As I mentioned, I just finished all of my Christmas shopping because I’m trying to get ahead of the game. While I was out running errands, I also picked up this garland for under $3 and this flocked garland because when I went to buy it last year, they were all sold out. Be sure to buy Christmas decorations early because they are going to sell out quickly.

I’m sure I am going back to buy more, but I picked up two Hallmark Christmas cards to send to our families. Browse their website here if you know of anyone who loves the Hallmark Christmas movies because they have the best gifts for anyone on your list.

The stores are READY for Christmas! Lots of great gifts and holiday decor at TJ Maxx and Homegoods.

The Hallmark Channel Christmas movies are so bad but bring me so much joy.

Starbucks red cups are here!

Ed loves to be in my lap any chance he can now that I go to work every day. That includes when I’m reading the newspaper in the morning or on a work Zoom call.

Most importantly, RED TV will be on repeat in this house all weekend.

Friday Favorites 10.22

Not sure why we thought it was a good idea to make a car service appointment at 8am six months ago. Yikes it was a struggle to get out of bed but happy we did it! After we dropped the car off we went out to breakfast and got back home early afternoon after errands. It was a nice mix of super productive around the house and writing lesson plans while making time to relax. This weekend will still be an early start to the day but only because we have a busy weekend planned!

So excited that Succession on HBO is back! This season is going to be so so good.
Binge watched season 3 of YOU on Netflix in three days and did not expect that ending!
We are watching Dopesick on Hulu because we have been following the drama unfolding with Purdue Pharma the last few years. It’s insane it took them this long to be shut down.
I’ve been making friends on the internet because of needing people to talk to about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills especially part 2 of the reunion.

Desperately need a haircut so for now I’m using Loreal Elvive Dream Lengths shampoo and conditioner to keep my hair long and healthy.

I’m still trying to balance working during the day and coming home with enough energy to make dinner. Trader Joe’s meals have been a lifesaver this week. On Monday I made TJs fall zucchette pasta with autumn harvest sauce for national pasta day and it was soo yummy! I’m a big fan of the ravioli and potstickers for tasty meals when I’m lazy. Also salad kits are my go-to for lunch this week because they are so easy to make. Made cookies to bring to school today for one of my students birthdays. I love baking for other people 🙂

Being able to wear the clothes in my closet again!
I’ve been wearing these shoes to work on repeat.
Reading the newspaper while I drink my coffee in the morning is my new favorite way to start the day.
Trying to enjoy the sunshine when I get out of work while I can with a walk or run after work.

Friday Favorites 10.15

This week has flown by so fast that I blinked and all of a sudden it was Friday. I’m still adjusting to working and balancing other responsibilities but I am sure I’ll adjust… soon! I’m looking forward to a relaxing and fun weekend. This weather is a little odd because it feels like summer but I reallly want to start wearing my fall sweaters. Not much going on for me this week besides work but I have really enjoyed working again. Spending time in the classroom has become the highlight of my day!

I stayed up past my usual bedtime to watch this weeks Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion live and while texting my friends because the drama is going to get good. Don’t have much time for tv lately but I am rewatching Bones for some white noise while I unwind at night. On Sunday, we saw the new James Bond movie and it was a really good way to end the Daniel Craig chapter. No spoilers – but you will not be ready for the ending!

I recently finished my far of Botanics Simply Calm with cannabis sativa seed oil Hydrating Overnight Mask this week. It’s a really thick moisturizer that a little goes a long way and lasts forever. I use it once a week during my pm skincare routine to keep my face hydrated and feeling soft. For now, I’m using my Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 night cream but need to use it every other day because my skin is sensitive. I love love love my Trader Joe’s Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer.

Spontaneous decision to get lunch at a pop up at Love Park on Saturday
The Harvest Festival in Dilworth Park was the best way to get into the fall spirit
Walking around the art show in Rittenhouse Park on Sunday
Our mums and pumpkins on our front stoop
Seeing a movie and getting popcorn on Sunday made me believe we are going back to normal
Our tomato plant is still giving us delicious tomatoes
I want to complain but I am secretly loving this warm weather lately
Working on fun projects at school with my kiddos
Decorating my classroom has been a challenge but it’s looking so much better
These pajamas I bought over the summer are so soft and perfect for lounging after a long day
Caffeine. Lots of caffeine this week!