2015 Favorites – A Few of My Favorite Things
It’s fun to see and to share some of my favorite products from the past year. Some I’ve had for many years and some I’ve just recently discovered, but all of them have been in constant use this year and I would recommend to anyone. Please share your favorites with me too.
Electric Knife Sharpener
A good, sharp knife is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. However, no matter how great the knife is, it won’t do you any good if you keep it sharp at all times. If you want knife accidents, forget about sharpening a knife. (I’m serious – it’s a proven fact that it’s much easier to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp one.) Once it’s dull, it’s no use to you unless you get it sharp again. My knives that are about 5 years old are even sharper now than when we first got them. If you invest in good equipment and maintain them in good shape they will serve you for years to come. I’ve already shared this sharpener with you in another monthly favorites post, but you know what? It deserves to be on the list of yearly favorites too, because it makes THAT much of a difference.
Godiva Salted Toffee Caramels
Oh, my. This candy has become my favorite chocolate treat. I love salted caramel and milk chocolate and this is the best one. The caramel is so smooth and creamy but doesn’t stick to your teeth as much as most of the other caramels that I’ve tried. I ask my husband to get me some for every special occasion, but we can’t keep them in the house any other times, because I have no self control when I know it’s anywhere in close proximity.
Apple and Hibiscus Tea
I used to prefer black tea, but when I was pregnant with Nathaniel, I drank tea nonstop. It was so soothing for my constantly unhappy stomach. Of course, I didn’t want to drink so much caffeine and end up with a hyper baby, so I stopped drinking black tea and only drank fruity teas. This one is by far my favorite. I love the combination of apple and hibiscus and my favorite thing is that it doesn’t have any spices added. I do NOT like any spices in my tea unless it’s a chai latte. This tea is so smooth and flavorful. Did you know that it’s so hard to find an apple hibiscus combination that doesn’t have other weird things added to it? Whenever we have guests, they fight over this tea and everybody loves the flavor. The only downfall is that it’s very hard to find. I’ve only found it online and it’s not always available. When it is, I buy a whole box with at least 5 packages. In fact, I’m almost afraid to share this with you, because you might buy it out and there won’t be any left for me, but maybe that will help keep it in stock if more people discover how awesome it is.
It’s such a bummer that whenever I find a tea that I really enjoy, they usually stop selling it. I used to buy Twinings Wild Berries Tea and raspberry tea at local grocery stores, but they’re no longer in stock either. What a shame. Have you ever had that happen before? What are your favorite teas?
IT Cosmetics CC Cream
Since I don’t want to put on a full face of makeup every single day of the week, but still want to look nice, I use this CC cream on a daily basis when I want to keep my makeup to a quick 5 minute routine. This smooths out my skin tone, I can apply it very easily, it hides blemishes and dark circles and it even has SPF against those dangerous sun rays. My usual makeup includes this, some mascara and chapstick. It makes me feel better about myself if I have errands to run and I’ll feel put together.
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner
My hair is so dry and I’ve been looking for a really moisturizing shampoo and I finally found one that makes it feel soft and moisturized. I feel like I’m getting a spa treatment every time I take a bath and lather up my dry as a dessert scalp in this shampoo and then conditioner. I really like how it smells too. It’s nice that it’s sold in regular stores like Walmart and Target and not just fancy salons.
This is another tool that makes so many cooking tasks so much easier and quicker. In just a few pulses I can make a whole batch of potato pancake batter, chop nuts, make fresh breadcrumbs, salsas, and even doughs. It even comes with chopping and grating attachments, so I can grate a whole bunch of cheese or carrots in just a few short minutes. If I had to choose only one small appliance for my kitchen, I would choose this.
I can’t even compare this blender to the ones I’ve previously owned. Smoothies, soups, pestos, dressings, crepes – there are so many things that I make in this incredible machine. If you use a blender a few times a year, then you can get away with using a cheaper model. If you make any of these things on a regular basis, the investment will be worth it.
I don’t know about you, but I have such a hard time coming up with gifts to give my husband. The guy just isn’t materialistic and can I say, a
little very picky about the things that he does want. I can hardly ever come up with something to give him unless he has a hand in choosing the particular brand/type/style of whatever I’m getting him. Sigh. Last year, on a complete whim, I bought him a shaving set for Father’s Day. I was skeptical, because it only cost $20 for a razor handle, a shaving gel and 3 blade cartridges. (Scroll around online for coupon codes; I got $5 off.)
Let me tell you, this was one of the best gifts I gave him, because he LOVES it to this day. He was so impressed with the quality of the razor and the blades and he says that the blades last a lot longer that the razor blades he used to use before. Since Father’s Day, we’ve only reordered blades once, and Sergi has to shave very often because it seems he starts sprouting a shadow right after he shaves. I might be exaggerating a tad, but I have very gruff cheeks to kiss the very next day. Even with shaving every day and having very sensitive skin, Sergi really recommends these razors to all guys. I couldn’t be happier either, since he has soft cheeks more often and I scored him a great present that he actually liked.
Nathaniel is such an active little boy and is so energetic. He has never liked anything that is restrictive to him. We’ve tried so many things since he was first born. The Mamaroo, swings, jumpers, infant floor seats, the stroller, etc. He hated them all. If he feels strapped in and held down he will put up a fuss. We had to return all of the fancy and not so fancy equipment that we ever tried because he wouldn’t even last 5 minutes in them. The only one we kept was the infant floor seat and he only liked it when we took off the tray.
His favorite activity of all is being outside. Nothing will calm him better than stepping outside the house. When we bought him this little tricycle, we were absolutely thrilled with how much he loved it. I take him on walks almost every single day, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half and he hasn’t started fussing even once. In fact, he laughs and starts babbling in his baby language, looking around happily with his gorgeous brown eyes. It’s made really well, the tires are rubber, so it rides very smoothly, the handle is very convenient to push and is adjustable to height and has a 3 point harness and a wrap around tray that keeps him in place since he’s still just a baby. This trike is good starting from 9 months all the way up to 5 years old. As he gets older, we can remove the tray and the handle after he learns to ride it himself.
Infant Cart Cover
Ever since Nathaniel was old enough to sit up by himself in a shopping cart, I’ve been using this cart cover. At first, it helped to keep him upright but now it’s mostly great to protect him from chewing on the grimy cart handles because everything.goes.in.his.mouth. Everything. Plus, I want to protect those baby teeth from banging against metal. It’s always in the car with me, so we use it for shopping carts, park swings, and restaurant high chairs. I think it looks really cute too:).
Amazon Prime Membership
One of my favorite yearly purchases is definitely our Amazon Prime membership. We buy things online all the time. We get really great deals, it’s much more convenient than having to run to the store for every little thing, you can find so many more things online, whereas it can be out of stock in the store, you can get your preferred color/style. Plus, you can make wiser purchases because you can do the research before you buy something, read reviews, find the best deals. You also see that total bill before you press “Pay” and decide if it’s a “need” or a “want” and if it’s worth buying. I think I end up buying more things that we actually need and less spontaneous things that mysteriously end up in the cart when I shop in an actual store. You can’t beat 2 day free shipping. Plus, You get Prime Videos (kind of like Netflix) that we love. It’s a great date night activity after the baby is sleeping. We got to watch all the seasons of Downton Abbey – which was awesome! (Which is another favorite.)
What are your favorites things from 2015?
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. This simply means sometimes I recommend a product or service and if you choose to purchase that product or service from my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help to pay a tiny bit for the work I put in to creating recipes and sharing tips with you. I really appreciate your support. Thank you. The main intent of this post is to simply share my experience with you, so if you happen to find a great deal on a product I recommend at a garage sale, anywhere else online, or at a store, by all means, take advantage of it:). I won’t be mad, I promise.
Hi Olga, we’ve had that with teas before. Twinings used to sell a loose long leafed tea called Russian caravan. It was my husbands favourite. But no more. He’s used to the teas in Russia so the only tea he really likes here in new Zealand is really expensive or impossible to get. We’ve got a boy around the same age as Nathaniel. The infant cart cover cover is a great idea! Never seen them so I just wipe the cart with a wet wipe but the cover would be a lot more effective. And I might look into the tricycle idea Dmitri is now turning around and trying to sit up in his pram as soon as we put him in. Scary stuff 🙂
It’s so inconvenient when that happens with tea, isn’t it? Of course, I realize that it’s a “first world problem”, so not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it would be nice if products that you enjoy would continue to be available.
The cart cover is really nice and we enjoy it in many different ways. I hope Dmitri (I love that name) enjoys the tricycle if you decide to get it:).
p.s those chocolates look so dreamy 😍
Oh, they sure are:).
Hi Olga, where can I buy the tea?
I buy it online. If you click on the title or the picture of any of the products, there is a link that will send you to the website.
Hi:) i live in germany and i must see that this is a german tea… we have oodles and oodles of this tea in every store and its very cheap here…. so if u do end up running out…. email me:-)
That’s so great, Lana! I love your country’s tea:). You are so sweet.
Thank you for sharing your favorites Olga! I will look into that CC cream, I have been looking for a good one lately…
You’re welcome, Alina. Look for a coupon from Ulta, if you have one nearby. I can usually find one online and a discount is always nice:).