My Favorites of 2020

I wanted to end the year with something FUN. I noticed that a lot of my favorite internet follows have been curating lists of their favorite things of 2020 and since I LOVE “favorite things” I decided I needed to make my own list! I’ll be honest, a lot of these things might have been featured in my Friday Favorites posts over the year. I’m not going back to look. Instead I went through most of my purchases this past year and took note of everything I used and loved and wanted to share. I’m also including my favorite books and tv shows of the year too. Head’s up, this is going to be a long post!

Favorite Fiction Books
I read 138 books this year and 115 of them were fiction. I love the joy and escapism that comes with diving into a great book. Lighter romance (as in, not the erotica type) is my favorite and my list shows that the haters to lovers trope is clearly my favorite. I read a lot of light love stories this year, desperate for the happily ever after. I actually read less YA than usual (37), but five of them still made my top list (and one middle grade, a genre I almost never read (4 this year, if you were wondering)).

Favorite Nonfiction Books
I know I say this all the time, but I am such a slow nonfiction reader. I love the idea of nonfiction, but when it comes to doling out how I spend my time, I’m almost always going to choose to jump back into whatever fiction book I have going. But this year I really tried to take time in the early mornings and late evenings to read a little bit of nonfiction here and there. I still didn’t get through nearly as many as I would have liked (I have hundreds of unread nonfiction on my shelves just waiting for me), but I gave almost every one I finished a very high rating. If it can hold my attention enough to get to the end, it’s a good book!

I’ve always loved candles, but they were typically reserved for October-December when I really wanted that extra boost of seasonal cheer. This year, however…I kind of lost my mind searching for new ones to fit my every mood. It became a bit of an obsession trying to pick out the perfect scents for each area of the house that I spend time in and then making sure before I light that particular candle I’ll be in that spot long enough to truly enjoy it. It’s basically nonstop babysitting, properly taking care of candles. But I’m addicted to it. And in a year where I basically never left the house, I found immense joy in them – the ambiance of a flickering light, but also the power of scent to change a mood.

  • P.F. Candle Co. Smoky Cinnamon Special
    I had this candle lit during October in my reading area and I was addicted to it. It had such a strong and intoxicating scent. I purchased a second one, but it was December by then and it didn’t feel quite right, so I’m saving it for next fall. It’s not even currently for sale anymore, so it must always be a seasonal release.
  • Ranger Station Leather + Pine
    While I don’t particularly think this smells like leather or pine, it has an incredibly fresh winter morning scent to it that I adore. It really fills a room too. I loved it! As an added bonus, the glasses are designed to be cleaned out at the end and used for whiskey (or whatever).
  • Apotheke Charcoal
    This is not marketed as a Christmas candle, but actually has a really wonderful smell reminiscent of the holiday season. I also love the black wax – it’s a nice change from the mostly glass jar white wax candles I typically burn.
  • Frostbeard Bookstore
    This wasn’t a new discovery in 2020, but it might be my all time favorite candle. I love the scent, so, so much. I always burn it at my desk when I plan on writing for a long time.
  • Novelly Yours Joshua Templeman
    This isn’t a new scent for me either, but it’s also one of my all time favorites. I originally bought it for the novelty because Joshua Templeman is the leading man in The Hating Game, one of my favorite books. But I ADORE the candle and keep going back to purchase another every time I finish one.
  • The Burlap Bag Baked Bread
    Again, not a new scent this year, but I love it. It genuinely smells like a fresh yeasty loaf of bread. I’ve never smelled another candle even the tiniest bit similar. I like to burn this one in my bedroom at naptime!
  • Forget Me Not Candle Co. Midnight Bonfire
    Bonfire type scents are one of my favorites because they’re great in summer and they feel equally as fitting in winter. This is a new one I picked up and I love it! Shepard thinks it smells like bacon. It really has a distinct smoked scent, but I love that smell!
  • 7th Street Salvage Picket Fence
    I almost forgot this one because I haven’t burned it since early summer. It’s only sold seasonally, but I ADORED it. It was such a wonderful scent for the season. I’ve liked all the candles I’ve gotten from this company and particularly enjoy their unique jars with recycled wood tops.
  • DW Home Sugar Cookie
    Okay, so this was a candle I bought last year but didn’t have time to light. I brought it out this Christmas for the family room and was amazed at how strong of a delectable vanilla scented throw it had. I usually get DW Home candles from HomeGoods or Marshall’s, so be on the lookout next year for this scent to come back! They usually have it in fun Christmassy styles.

Nail Polish
I’ve never been a nail polish person – and definitely not on my fingernails. I’ve only had a manicure once in my life before my wedding and I hated the experience. But this year I just needed something different and special that I could do for myself. Painting my nails seemed like a good and inexpensive thing to delve into. And boy, did I! Like most things in my life I found extreme joy in coordinating my nail colors with the seasons (I also only burn seasonal scented candles and use seasonal mugs and drink seasonally flavored drinks now). And now that I actually take care of myself, giving myself mini manicures every few days, I love looking at my nails! It’s a tiny thing, but it brings me great joy.

When you’re home all the time you start to really appreciate all the little comforts that make your space more welcoming and warm. Especially through the long and cold Wisconsin winters! My favorite touches to any room are switching out blankets and pillows with every season or holiday. Basically any excuse to always pick up a new throw or pillow that catches my eye! I’ve gotten a couple new blankets in the last month or so that I’m totally in love with.

  • Dreamothis Sherpa Weighted Blanket
    I believe I shared this in my last Friday Favorites post a few weeks ago, but it was out of stock at that time. It’s back – for now! Only in this teal color, but I happen to think it’s the prettiest of the ones they had originally. I first got one in a purplish pink color that I use on my reading chair. But I loved it so much I got another for my bedroom for nap time. Then each of the boys got one for Christmas. Then I ordered one for my goddaughter. I LOVE them. They’re so warm and cozy, but not as suffocatingly heavy or slippery as other weighted blankets I’ve tried in the past.
  • Pottery Barn Throws – All of them, any of them
    So I was listening to a podcast about a month ago where they were talking about some of their favorite gift ideas and they spent quite a while discussing the benefits of gifting people with Pottery Barn throw blankets. Apparently they are recognized as being really high quality throws. I started obsessing about this possibility, especially as it was starting to get really cold in the house and we don’t really have any good “winter” blankets. I also really hate how unwelcoming our family room seems and decided the reason this is is because I don’t decorate it with piles of cozy blankets and pillows the way that I do the living room, where I spend the most time. So I bought myself two – one is plaid knit on one side and faux fur on the other (it was on clearance, no longer available), and the other is the Cozy Pom Pom Throw. I adore them both. So do all the pets. And the boys. And it REALLY makes me like the way the family room looks and feels so much more. There’s another one that I was looking at over and over and over again and is on a huge one day sale today, but I’m trying to restrain myself. I also LOVE the look of this one, but doesn’t look very practical for sharing with hairy animals. Similarly, the edging on this one is gorgeous! From my somewhat limited experience, I really do think these are pretty great!

Skin and Body and Hair
Since I didn’t have much else to do, I decided this would be the year I’d finally start taking care of my skin. It started early in the pandemic when I took a selfie of myself and was horrified by the big wrinkle I had between my eyebrows. I’ve since been religiously applying night cream and doing masks every week to try and keep on top my wrinkles before they become so obvious everywhere! I’m definitely no skincare expert, but these are some products I started using this year and really have enjoyed.

  • Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
    My sister-in-law gave this to me last Christmas and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, but it seemed expensive, so I kept it around. Then I started using it this summer – just slathering some on before my moisturizer in the morning. I’m still not even quite sure what it is or what it’s for, but I’m convinced it helps! I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase when I run out, but my skin has enjoyed it this year!
  • Olay Regenerist Retional24
    This is what I chose as my night cream. There are just so many options out there, it’s overwhelming. But this one seemed to work great and didn’t make me break out the way other creams have in the past (and the reason I never used them long term before).
  • Soap & Glory Heel Genius
    This was the only foot product I’ve ever used (I’ve tried them all) that actually fixed the skin on my feet. Well, this and starting to use a foot grater, which is possibly my favorite thing of all time.
  • Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Buttercream
    I’m not big on lotion, but I picked this up during a sale and actually really like it! The smell is quite nice too.
  • Versed Back-Up Plan Acne Control Body Mist
    Here’s a fun one for you – and possibly TMI (lol). But when I started biking so much this summer I found myself breaking out on my chest quite a bit. I happened to see this at Target and decided to try it out. And shockingly, it worked super well. It’ll last forever too and is so easy to spray all around your back or front.
  • Bliss Mint Chip Mania Facial Mask
    I really like face masks that you smear all over your face (as opposed to sheet masks, where I question how much they actually help anything, plus are always freezing cold and slimy). Earlier this year Target had a big sale on all Bliss masks, so I got a couple different ones and this is definitely my favorite. It legit looks like putting mint chocolate chip ice cream or frosting on your face, but it smells so good and seems to really improve my skin.
  • Aveda Cherry Almond Leave in Conditioner
    I haven’t done much of anything with my hair this year – nobody sees me! But because of the lack of attention – and haircuts – it was getting very hard to keep combable by the middle of summer. So I gave this a shot, massaging some into my hair right out of the shower. It worked really well. Now that it’s been another long chunk of time since the one pandemic haircut I got, I think it’s time to pull this back out again. Tangles are the worst!

I LOVE jewelry, but I haven’t had much reason to wear it this year. It felt a little silly loading up on jewelry when nobody ever saw me. But I did try to pull myself together a couple times a week and it was always fun to remember how much I love so many pieces in my collection. I didn’t add many new things this year, but I have two recommendations!

  • Made by Mary Moonstone Necklace
    I’ve hated gold jewelry all my life – until this year. I suddenly kind of love it. I don’t like MIXING metals (other than my white gold wedding rings), but I really like the way gold jewelry looks better with a lot of my more jewel colored tops. Anyway, this moonstone necklace is my favorite gold necklace. I love it so much. It’s the perfect size, length, and has such a pretty chain. They also have a couple other colors. I got the orange one for my best friend for Christmas. My sister-in-law introduced me to Made by Mary – she loves their rings. I’ve picked up a few rings for myself in the last few years and have been highly impressed with everything I’ve gotten. With some Christmas money from Greg’s grandparents, I ordered myself this necklace (with seven blooms for the seven people and animals I’ve spend so very much time with this year!). It shipped yesterday and I’m SO excited for it to arrive.
  • RQP Studio I Trust in the Lord Unicorn Wax Seal Necklace
    Greg gave me this for Christmas and I love it SO MUCH. I’ve been wearing it every day. I’ve purchased a couple other wax seal necklaces from this company over the years and have always really liked them (though I always get a heavier chain from amazon that doesn’t feel so breakable). But this one is my favorite. It’s just so ME.

I’m not sure that I have specific clothing items from this year that stand out as my absolute favorites, but I do have two SOURCES of clothing that I bought almost exclusively from this year. It’s tough finding plus size clothing that are both flattering and cute, but these two places continue to come through for me.

  • Stitch Fix
    I highly recommend giving Stitch Fix a try. It’s been the main place I’ve gotten clothes for the last five or six years. The more fixes you get – especially if you stick with the same stylist – the better curated the selection. My stylist knows me so well and always sends me the greatest things. My favorite way to shop these days, though, is the actual Shop collection with ever changing options of things that will interest me. I love it. Many of the items are definitely more expensive than your regular department store prices (much of my sewing money goes to buying myself clothes!), but if you have a hard time finding clothes like me, it is SO worth it. I’ve been very, very happy with them.
  • Fabletics
    This is my new favorite place to buy leggings. There are SO many styles (and tons of options in plus sizes), they seem to have a lot of great sales and deals – at least around the holidays, and they fit so well! I’ve gotten a handful of pairs in the last few months and I genuinely love them. The tops? Not really for me – I’m not going to be walking around in a sports bra or crop top anytime soon. (Though they look really cute if you can pull it off!) But the leggings are amazing. I especially like the styles with side pockets!

Other Wearables
Here are a couple other things that I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this year!

  • Crocs
    Yes, I know. Not stylish at all. But…nobody sees me. My feet are the worst. I wanted something I could put on very quickly when I had to take Annie out and all the better if it could get dirty and cleaned up quickly. I got some regular bright green crocs in spring and wore them all summer. Then I ended up getting furry lined ones to use as house shoes this winter and I honestly think they’re fixing my plantar fasciitis. When I wear these shoes all day I almost have no pain at the end of the night. I can’t remember the last time my feet have felt this pain free. Four years ago, maybe?
  • Ililily Face Masks
    I tried so many different styles of face masks at the start of the pandemic and this style is by and far my favorite. I only have two of them that I switch back and forth wearing (remember I only go to one store once a week, so I don’t have a HUGE need for a ton of masks).
  • Baleaf Thermal Helmet Liner
    This has been a lifesaver in keeping me out biking through fall and into winter. It looks ridiculous – like a swim cap. But it’s mostly covered by your helmet and actually really will keep your head and ears warm. I wouldn’t bike in these freezing temperatures without it.

TV Shows
Okay, I watched a lot of tv this year. A LOT. I won’t recap any of them because this post is already getting crazy long, but here are the ones that stood out to me as being really worth watching!

  • Robbie
  • Succession
  • A Million Little Things
  • PEN15
  • Manifest
  • Outer Banks
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
  • The Resident
  • The Good Doctor
  • The Rain
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Sneaky Pete

Random Quarantine Purchases
We bought a lot of bigger ticket items this year in lieu of going on vacations and to try and improve our lives since we were all home all the time. I’d say almost all of those purchases were worthwhile, except perhaps the trampoline, which was the most expensive and the least used. The novelty of trampoline jumping wears off when you have one in your yard. Especially when you break your arm on it and then never want to go on it again… But everything else was great. Here are some of my favorites!

  • Bear Hybrid Mattress
    Greg and I had been using the same pillow top mattress since we got married and it was so lumpy. I’m always in pain (thanks, fibromyalgia) so we finally decided to get a new mattress. After weeks of research, this is what I picked. I’m very happy with it!
  • Hoover Pet Max Vacuum
    We’d also been using the same $50 vacuum cleaner since we moved into our Columbus apartment nine years ago. It was time for an upgrade and it was AMAZING what a difference it made. We do have hardwood floors in our whole house, but the area rugs get so dirty from the pets and kids, so it’s nice to have a more heavy duty cleaning method!
  • Frigidaire Retro Mini Fridge
    Earlier this year I converted my “writing desk” – that was basically just a dumping ground for random things – into a big drink making area. It was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever done with a small space in my home. But I really wanted the area to be complete with a small fridge where I could store my creamers. Which sounds kind of ridiculous, but we were also having a ton of problems fitting everything into our regular fridge now that we were all eating a lot more food at home and going out to grocery stores a lot less often so I was always trying to be stocked up. This fridge was the perfect solution. Now we keep all our extra drinks in it and it’s freed up tons of space in the main refrigerator.
  • Char-Broil Grill
    I’ve been wanting a new grill for years and with everything that happened this year, we decided it was time to finally get a new one. I did SO much research (I feel like I did an entire month of nonstop research on all this new stuff, most of which was purchased in May!) and then ended up just getting the same one my brother has and recommended. No complaints!
  • Priority Turi Bike
    I think I did more bike research than any other after a couple of months of daily biking on my old beach cruiser and desperately wanting something better. The biggest issue was that nobody had bikes in stock anywhere to even try out, so I had to base such a huge decision only on what I could read about it. I finally took a gamble on this Turi bike from a very small Brooklyn based bike company and then had to wait four months for it to arrive. But I LOVE IT. I haven’t had a ton of opportunity to ride it yet because – snow and ice. But I can’t wait to get back to my daily sunrise rides on my new wheels in spring!

Random Food Purchases
I bought so much food online this year! I used to depend on going to a variety of grocery stores – it’s one of my favorite things to do – to find unique new things. But that was not really a safe or responsible option this year, so I just ordered a lot of random things to try out.

  • Luxardo Cherries
    This is a luxury purchase for sure. Not to be shared with your children – they won’t appreciate it. They’re meant to be put in cocktails where you’d only have one or two at a time. I used them as an ice cream topper. And they are incredible.
  • Dorothy’s Comeback Cow Cheese
    This was a middle of the night facebook ad purchase. And it is hand’s down the best brie I have ever had in my life. I’ve bought it multiple times in the last six months and have gifted it to many. I also saw it at the Sun Prairie Pick ‘n Save once, so you might be able to find it locally as well.
  • Bushwick Kitchen Bees Knees Salted Honey
    If you want something AMAZING to accompany your cheese, get this honey! I’ve been eating it all week on a cave aged gouda. The combination is absolute perfection. But it would also be fantastic on brie!
  • Don Chilio Chile Crisp – Jalapenos
    So this is a totally random purchase that I am completely addicted to. I first bought the habanero variety and they are SO spicy. The only thing I’ve used them for is stirring into queso and I only use the tiniest amount. I loved the idea, though, so I asked for the jalapeno ones and got them for St. Nick’s Day. I ate the whole jar in a week and am almost done with the second jar I ordered for myself. On their own they’re kind of a weird thing. But I’ve mostly been eating them on toast that’s covered in cream cheese. Just spread some jalapenos on top, make sure you get some of the oil from the bottom of the container because that’s what’s actually spicy, and then add a bit of flaky sea salt. It’s amazing. My second jar didn’t have much oil in it, so I added some because it’s the best part.

Coffee and Tea
Let’s end with my favorite collection of beloved things – everything new I’ve gotten for my tea and coffee area!! I love it all. It brings me so much joy. I use that area multiple times a day. I bond with the boys over each day’s new drinks. I’ve experimented with every random coffee recipe I’ve seen online. It’s just so much fun!

  • Gator Pour Over
    This continues to be my favorite method for making coffee. I’ve tried them all, seriously. I think pour over tastes the best, has the easiest clean up, and is basically fool proof. BUT it’s not conducive to serving more than one person at a time, so I only use it when I’m making coffee just for myself. Which in normal life would be all the time, but in pandemic life is only a few days a week.
  • Cosori Electric Gooseneck Kettle
    Okay, this isn’t new this year – my mom gave it to me for my birthday last year. But I use it like 3-5 times a day. It’s incredible. This is how I heat the water for my pour over coffee, but it’s also how I heat the water for all the tea I drink. It only takes a minute or two to heat to the perfect temp.
  • OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
    I got this from my in-law’s for my birthday this year and it’s so great! I was just using a cheap grinder before that constantly made huge messes. This one is SO much better. I only use freshly ground beans for my coffee so I love having the freedom to pick what type of grind I want and only the exact amount I need for that brewing method so my coffee tastes the absolute freshest. This is another thing I did a TON of research on and this grinder is at the top of so many charts as being the best grinder out there (without paying an arm and a leg).
  • OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker
    I bought this with my birthday money. I did a lot of research, but mainly bought it because it was new, had amazing reviews, and matches the grinder that it’s sitting next to on my table! I really wanted the ability to brew a larger quantity of coffee at once since the boys like to drink it with me (and I’ll hopefully eventually be able to resume my friend coffee mornings!), but I also wanted it to still TASTE GOOD. Comparable to my pour over. And this is the best I’ve found.
  • Nespresso VertuoPlus
    You might be wondering why I need a Nespresso when I already have a pour over and a drip brewer (and a Moka pot and a cheap but very annoying espresso maker and multiple french presses). But…I like having a fast option. Especially for espresso. Which isn’t my favorite type of coffee, but I do really love using it for iced drinks in summer. I got this on major sale earlier this year and I actually really love it. It’s so much fun watching all the froth appear at the top of the mug! Despite my extensive mug collection, I always use a glass mug with the Nespresso because I love seeing the colored stripes of coffee and cream. 🙂 And yes, it tastes worlds better than Keurig k-cup coffee – which is how I started my coffee journey a few years ago.
  • Nespresso Aeroccino
    So this came free with my Nespresso. I wouldn’t have bought it on my own because I had two other milk frothers already (I thought I had lost my first one, so I bought another, and now I have three). But this is the one I use right now. I LOVE being able to froth my creamer or milk before adding it to my coffee. I also love that it heats it up so the whole drink stays hot a lot longer. I used to use a cheap hand frother which works well too – it just doesn’t heat it up.
  • Bayka Floating Shelves
    This has nothing to do with coffee itself, but they are the shelves I picked out to hang on the walls above my coffee area. It’s where I keep my tea and syrups and sugars. And they look really, really nice. I love them.
  • Spinning Tea Storage
    I used to store all my tea in a drawer. It was such a mess that it really stopped me from actually wanting to make tea. But now I store it in one of these where it’s so easy to find what I’m looking for and looks cute to boot! Mine is black to match my aesthetic, but I can’t find that one anymore.
  • Farmhouse Tabletop Mug Rack Tray
    I love this thing. I purchased it from Antique Farmhouse, which is a deal site with curated things that are only for sale for a couple of days – but do eventually come back. I’m so happy I found this when I did because it’s my favorite way to display my top six seasonal mugs. And I use the tray portion to hold all my nespresso pods. It looks great, is very functional, and matches my coffee area perfectly.
  • Brandywine Coffee Roasters
    This is hands down my favorite coffee roaster. I almost exclusively use their beans because they are SO GOOD. It doesn’t even matter what roast you pick, I guarantee it’s going to taste amazing. I love the uniquely designed bags and I especially love that they’re constantly releasing new blends. I’m stocked up for awhile because I bought a 12 Days of Christmas variety pack from them, but I’ve got my eye on this 2021 roast!
  • Bixby Vanilla Creme Brulee Coffee
    I gave up artificially flavored pre-ground coffee awhile ago, but when I saw this creme brulee whole bean option I just had to give it a shot. And it’s amazing!
  • Twinings Buttermint Herbal Tea
    I’ll drink pretty much any tea that isn’t black (lol), but have heavily leaned on minty flavors this year. This buttermint tea with a hint of vanilla is my all time favorite. I really do buy it in six packs from amazon so I always have it on hand. I also recently saw it at Woodman’s, if you need a local option.
  • Oatly Barista Edition Oat Milk
    I’ve been trying to stay away from regular creamers (like Coffee Mate or International Delight) now that I drink a lot more coffee than I used to. I do still use more pure ingredients only creamers (like Chobani), but I wanted to try something with more nutritional value. My friend recommend this one and after checking multiple stores with no luck I ended up buying it online since they are shelf stable until opened. I’m so glad I did because I really love it! I don’t alway use this, but it’s perfect for a latte. I froth it (it froths SO well) with a bit of flavored syrup and it tastes fantastic.
  • J.T. Cooper Flavored Syrups
    I’m such a sucker for great packaging and design and these grabbed me the second I saw them. They’re really great if you want to make coffee shop drinks that would typically use syrup. My favorite is actually a sample size I got of the Grenadine. I mixed it with a sample of the single origin chocolate and combined with a rich coffee and frothed oat milk it made the most delicious cherry mocha! Cherry mochas definitely feel like a February seasonal drink, so I’m going to have to order a large bottle of it soon!

Well, congratulations if you made it to the end of this insanely long list of all my favorite things of 2020! I was feeling bad that I never got around to making gift guides this year – I had so much fun doing it last year! But this kind of doubles as a gift guide for your future use! Or if you just want some ideas of tried and true items that might brighten your day – or your life. Thanks for checking it out!

A Guide to all the Gift Guides

Every year I look forward to all the unique gift guides that various websites and companies release. I’m a gift giver by nature and am ALWAYS looking out for the next greatest treasure. Both for others and myself! I decided it would be really fun this year to create a couple of guides composed of basically all my favorite things. What makes my guides unique is that almost every single item I recommend is something I own and love or something I’m hoping to get in the near future. This is the most tried and true groupings of gifts you will ever find!

Gift Guide for Those Who Love Rainbows

I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I am OBSESSED with rainbows of color. I think I could have added about a hundred different things to this guide, but made myself stop at sixteen.

Gift Guide for the Coffee Enthusiast

I only started drinking coffee two years ago, but it’s become quite a passion! In the last six months or so I’ve really been venturing out and making the most of my coffee drinking experience.

Gift Guide for the Bookworm

I love to read and I love bookish things. Grab a couple of things on this guide and you’ll have the perfect gift for the reader in your life!

Gift Guide for People Who Love Great Food

I picked out my favorite kitchen and food related gadgets, as well as my favorite sauces and treats. Everything on this guide is trued and true and high recommended.

Gift Guide for People Who Love Their Pets

I love my pets and I love to spoil them! This is a great collection of items I’ve purchased for my cats and dog, as well as a few fun things for myself.

Gift Guide for Women Who Deserve Fun and Unique Treats

I needed a catch all guide for all the fun things I needed to recommend that didn’t fit into the other categories. Most of these things I own or have used as well, with a few more things I’m coveting. All of these gifts would be perfect for the woman in your life that deserves something special.

Gift Guide for Those Who Love Rainbows

1//Evereve Harriet Isles Melly Plaid Scarf $20
Always hunting for a fresh and fun new scarf to get through the dreary winter months? This rainbow option is gorgeous!

2//Evelyn Henson Confetti Hearts Mug $20
I bought myself this mug at a gift shop in Charlotte and am IN LOVE with it because I am obsessed with rainbows and hearts and mugs. It’s delightful!

3//Craft a Life You Love by Amy Tan $12
A rainbow of creative inspiration for the artist/maker/dreamer in your life. 

4//MOMA Color Wheel Umbrella $50
I stumbled across this the other day and thought it was gorgeous! If I had a more regular need for an umbrella I’d definitely buy it for myself.

5//Kendra Scott Adjustable Bright Mix Gold Bracelet $78
This is on my own wish list this Christmas! I adore rainbows, but don’t yet have any rainbow jewelry. I came across it randomly and instantly fell in love. I own many other Kendra Scott bracelets and they are of excellent quality.

6//Rainbows Happen Coloring Book $12
I’m pretty sure I need this in my own life. Coloring books are great for kids and adults alike, but coloring rainbows might just be the best for everyone. 

7//Pipsticks Rainbow Sticker Set $21
Pipsticks is an amazing resource for incredibly unique and fun stickers. I’ve purchased many in the last few years and use them in my planners and journals. The rainbows are of course my favorites, but there is such an eclectic range of stickers you’re bound to find something for everyone on your list.

8//Eyes Forward Heart Open Journal $15
A Lisa Congdon creation that would make any rainbow lover swoon.

9//Library Card Pin $10
Anyone a collector of unique enamel pins? This rainbow library card is so sweet!

10//Modcloth Chasing Rainbows Glitter Socks $10
Modcloth is one of my favorite places to shop for cute and unique clothing. They also have a lot of great accessories like these fun rainbow socks! Be sure to search for rainbows on the site to find a plethora of matching rainbow tops, pajamas, rompers, and more! 

11//Rainbow Unicorn Stamp Set $24
Unity Stamp Co. is where I buy almost all the stamps I use for the tags I put with my dolls over at Heartstring Annie. They have a great selection of rainbow stamps, but also any other stamps you could possibly want! They release new stamps all the time, the sales are great, and the selection is amazing.

12//Diamond Cosmetics Rainbow Nail File $1
A super cheap and fun little stocking stuffer for the rainbow lover!

13//Petite Checklist Journal $9
This little beauty keeps showing up in my facebook ads and I need to have it. So pretty! So inspirational! So full of rainbow delight!

14//The Honaker Homemaker’s String Art Prices Vary
I found this amazing string art maker at a craft fair last year. I’ve purchased two of her signs (a rainbow and a “CREATE”) and they’re both the perfect additions to my sewing room. I love how many signs creates in rainbow colors, but the rest of the signs are wonderful as well. 

15//Love Big Magnet $5
I recently discovered Lisa Congdon and fell in love with all of her rainbow art creations. This cute little magnet would be a really sweet stocking stuffer or addition to another gift.

16//Heartstring Annie Rainbow Haired Dolls Prices Vary
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least include a link to my own colorful creations! I’m (clearly) obsessed with rainbows and have found a lot of fun ways to incorporate that colorful flair into most of the dolls I’ve made in the last few months.

Gift Guide for the Coffee Enthusiast

1//Cosori Electric Kettle $70
My mom gave me this for my birthday and it just might be the best kitchen gadget ever. It is WELL worth the splurge pricing. I specifically wanted it for quickly heating the perfect temperature of water for my pour over coffee, but the entire family now uses it daily for tea as well. 

2//Pour Over Coffee Dripper $20
While I only started drinking coffee two years ago, I’ve become quite a connoisseur! Of every coffee making method I’ve tried, this is by and large my favorite. It’s the perfect size for a single mug of coffee and cleanup is an absolute breeze. It’s cute too!

3//Brandywine Coffee Roasters Coffee – Any Flavor! Prices Vary
I am obsessed with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. I’m a sucker for unique packaging and I’m a recent convert (because of them!) to properly harvested and roasted small batch fresh coffee beans. I’ve enjoyed every bag of coffee I’ve purchased from them.

4//Smart Coffee Warmer $25
Do you like having a mug of coffee next to you, but need to actually set it aside while you work on things and always wish it wouldn’t get cold so quickly? This seems like the perfect solution. I’ve added one to my own Christmas wish list. 

5//Onyx Coffee Advent Calendar $120
I have a small obsession with advent calendars and am always really excited to see unique ones pop up each year. While I wasn’t ready to splurge on it this year, I am greatly coveting this holiday selection from Onyx.

6//Handheld Milk Frother $15
I love this thing! My favorite way to use it is to whisk up the creamer in my mug while I’m waiting for my pour over coffee to finish dripping through the grounds. It’s just this tiny extra step that really brings your everyday coffee to the next level. Cleanup is really quick too, with just a quick spin under the faucet. I love that this particular one comes in different colors. (I really love color – can you tell?!)

7//Peppermint Bark K-Cups $12
I don’t use my Keurig as much these days, but I always come back to it for these peppermint bark k-cups every holiday season. They’re my favorite of all k-cup options!

8//Salted Caramel Sugar $5
Do you love adding that tiny bit of extra joy to your daily cup of coffee? This is the perfect sprinkle of sweet and salty to elevate all the flavors in your mug. 

9//Mint Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans $11
I was very recently introduced to the awesome taste and quick pick me up a chocolate covered espresso bean could deliver. I of course immediately went out searching for a better variety and came across these. They are AMAZING. If mint isn’t your thing, has a wide selection of other flavors to try as well.

10//Olympia Coffee Holiday Blend $20
I’ve heard rave reviews about how sweet and creamy this limited release holiday coffee is. I hope to try it myself!

11//Christmas Morning Candle $12
I find this candle every year at my local TJMaxx and Marshall’s stores. It has the most scrumptious coffee scent – and it’s the perfect non-offensive scent to keep lite around the house at Christmastime. 

Gift Guide for the Bookworm

1//Frostbeard Studio Bookstore Candle $18
I have an unhealthy obsession with bookish themed candles. I’ve purchased from many companies and this has been my all time favorite scent – by a mile! I buy it again and again and light it up anytime I’m going to be at my desk for a long period of time. It makes me so happy!

2//I Saw Her At the Library Art Print $26
I have a large framed print of this next to my favorite reading chair and it makes me so happy. It encompasses all my book love in such a sweet picture. Society6 has many great bookish art prints if you search around. This is another of my favorites, also on my wall.

3//The Hating Game by Sally Thorne $10
This book did come out a few years ago, but it’s buzz just keeps on growing and is in the process of being turned into a movie. If you have anyone on your list who loves a great rom com, this book is for them. I ADORE it. One of the sweetest and most swoon-worthy books I’ve read.

4//Novelly Yours Joshua Templeman Candle $15
I haven’t yet smelled this candle (it’s on my list!), but it would be the perfect accompaniment to a copy of The Hating Game, my favorite books of all time!

5//Read Like a Girl Tote Bag $20
Out of Print has a fabulous array of bookish totes and they often have great deals and sales around the holidays. My favorite tote bag is of a library card (in multiple colors!), but I’m really digging this Read Like a Girl print as well.

6//Quills Coffee Inkwell Blend $15
A fun little play on words in a themed bag of coffee would surely be appreciated by any reader. I haven’t tried this yet myself, but it sounds delicious!

7//Literary Bookmark Set $14
These bookmarks are so cute! They’d be a lovely gift for anyone who had a strong appreciation for the classics. 

8//Atomic Habits $16
Who couldn’t use an approachable guide to building better habits? This all encompassing book would be perfect for anyone who has even the tiniest desire to better their lives.

9//Book of the Month Subscription $15/month
I’ve tried out a bunch of book subscriptions in the last few years and this is the only one I stick with. As much as I love the surprise aspect of other services, my chances of loving the book were pretty slim. I like that you can choose your own BOTM book each month, or skip a month if nothing appeals to you. Well Met and Bringing Down the Duke were two of my favorites from this year. (Affiliate link above.)

10//Out of Print Bookworm Socks $12
I love these socks that celebrate a love of reading AND rainbows. I’ve purchased them from Modcloth, but they are also available at the Out of Print website (along with a ton of other great bookish items).

11//Bibliophile $17
This is a gorgeous book for any book lover on your list. Great topics, book lists, and beautiful illustrations. It’s one of my favorites!

12//Read Harder Book Journal $12
This would be a great book tracking journal for anyone who wants to be more challenged in their reading life. Pair it with a good book and you have a fantastic gift!

13//Pride and Peppermint Tea $15
Prefer tea? Novel Teas has a great assortment of bookish themed teas in unique book shaped containers. If your gift recipient happens to have a favorite book with an accompanying tea in its name, that would be the perfect gift.

Gift Guide for People Who Love Great Food

1//Tex Mex Cookbook $20
I can’t say enough great things about this cookbook. If you like Mexican and Tex Mex food, just buy it. Everything in it is so delicious. 

2//Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook $18
This is the second cookbook recently released by my favorite food blogger. I’ve marked almost every single recipe in this book as something I want to try. The few I’ve made already were winners with every member of the family. It’s a great cookbook.

3//Presto Salad Shooter $40
This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It’s called a salad shooter, but I actually use it for cheese. Freshly shredded or grated cheese is going to taste ten times better than the bagged variety with added chemicals. You can shred an entire block of cheese in just seconds. I love it!

4//Mezzetta Habanero Hot Sauce $15 for 3
I’ve probably tried hundreds of hot sauces in my adult life and over and over again I come back to this one. If you love spicy food, this hot sauce is THE BEST. 

5//Dirty Dick’s Hot Sauce $7
It took me awhile to come around to liking the sweet and spicy combination on a taco and now I can’t have enough of it! I especially love this sauce on regular beef tacos.

6//Maldon Sea Salt Flakes $6
If you don’t have a bowl of Maldon sea salt flakes permanently out on your counter, you are not truly living. I’m serious, these incredible salty flakes enrich literally everything you eat. My favorite way to use them is sprinkled on desserts, but they’re also perfect for finishing off meat, french fries, and more. 

7//Salt Cellar $14
You obviously also need a salt cellar to store your sea salt flakes. I prefer these wood ones with a swivel top, guaranteeing they can always easily be covered, but they’re also very easy to open. 

8//Victorinox 6 Inch Chef Knife $39
This is my tried and true knife that I use every single day for cutting meat. I do sharpen it with a cheap hand sharpener every once in awhile just to make the chore go more smoothly, but it’s the perfect size for my hands and always works so well.

9//Victorinox Paring Knife $17
Of all the knives I’ve ever bought, this has been my favorite and stood the test of time. It’s the absolute perfect size for basically all your non-meat cutting needs. It’s perfect.

10//Reusable Grocery Bags $15 for 5
Buying a couple sets of these particular reusable grocery bags has been life saving for me this year when I go on bigger grocery runs. I always use them in stores that require you to bag your own items – it saves so much time when you don’t need to fight with those ridiculous plastic bags. They’re also incredibly strong and can hold a massive amount of food. 

11//Better Than Everything Bagel Spice $9
Not all spice companies are created equally. I love experimenting with blends from various companies and can very quickly tell the difference from something cheap and something of quality. This is a fabulous blend of everything bagel seasoning (with a few surprise ingredients!), but be sure to check out all the rest of their spices too. 

12//Mini Whisk $8
Other than my tongs and my garlic press, this is probably the most used – yet totally random – kitchen gadget I own. My favorite thing to use it for is mixing up lumpless glazes and sauces, but it’s also perfect for eggs or anything else that needs a quick stir. 

13//Zyliss Tongs $15
Not all tongs are created equal! I’ve had two sets of these tongs and they’ve lasted at least ten years! I use them almost every day.

14//Dulcey Blonde Chocolate Baking Feves and Crunch Pearls $32
This is quite possibly the best chocolate treat I’ve ever eaten in my life. If you can get your hands on it – DO IT. The downside is that buying directly from their website comes with an enormous shipping fee (because it’s the most reliable, they say), but I love them so much I needed to share.

15//Smokin T’s Smoked Tomato Sauce $8
I first tried this at the State Fair and loved its unique smoky richness. You can use it as a sauce, marinade, or dressing, but my favorite way is to simply eat it with tortilla chips. I love the “With a Kick” version, but there’s a non spicy variety as well. 

16//Glitterati Eleganza $18
For the person who loves having just a tiny sweet treat here and there, this is the perfect solution. I purchase these to add as little thank you gifts to all my Heartstring Annie orders. The Eleganza mix is my favorite, particularly the amaretti flavor (you can also buy just a bag of those!).

17//Instant Read Meat Thermometer $22
Everyone needs a good instant read thermometer. I love mine for quickly checking the temp on meat. This particular one comes in many different colors!

Gift Guide for People Who Love Their Pets

1//Made by Cleo Cat Collars $16
This is the only place I buy collars for my cats and has been for years and years. So many great styles, always fresh inventory, and a lot of personality for your little kitty. 

2//Blueberry Dog Collars $14
This is the brand of collars I always buy for Annie. With her size and long dark hair, I never want her to be mistaken for an aggressive boy, so I pick out the girliest of collars for her. I love all the floral ones, but she switches to holiday styles in fall and winter. 

3//Grounds and Hounds Sunny Spot Coffee $15
This coffee company gives 20% of all their provides to help save dogs in need. AND they make incredible coffee! I drank Sunny Spot all summer long as the best cold brew I’ve ever tasted. I also really love the Good Boy dark roast.

4//Silver Paw Pet Tags $33
Have you noticed that your pets’ cheap dog tags need to be replaced again and again? While I had a rough time shelling out $33 when I bought this tag for Annie, it has proven to be of incredible quality. Two years after I purchased it, it still looks brand new. 

5//Ireland Dog Necklace $54
How cute is this gold dog necklace?! It would be such a sweet gift for the dog lover in your life, especially if their dog looks similar to this little pup! Local Eclectic is an awesome site for unique jewelry of all kinds.

6//Mudpuppy Dog and Cat Puzzles $17
I think these puzzles are just the cutest thing! If I’m going to take the time to sit down and work on a puzzle, I’d want it to be filled with cute little animals.

7//Just My Catitude Mug $12
I love this sweet little cat mug! Modcloth is such a great website for so many cool finds.

8//Best Friend Stamped Tag Necklace $113
I have always really loved wax seals and was so excited the first time I realized people made them into necklaces. I have a small collection now and this is one of my favorites. It’s the perfect representation of how I feel about the bond I have with my Annie. 

9//Corgi Mug $14
Anthropologie always has the cutest mugs! Oftentimes you can find great styles with dogs or cats on them as well. 

10//BarkBox Subscription Prices Vary
I did a trial run of this over a year ago and was amazed to see they were the first toys Annie has ever played with that she didn’t completely destroy within a day or two. In fact – I’m not sure she’s ever destroyed a single Bark Box toy she’s received – and she plays with them all the time. We have one of the biggest subscription sizes with an extra toy and a couple of different bags of treats each month. I’d be buying these things in the store anyway, for a much lower quality, so I really think the subscription box is worth it – especially if you have a dog who loves to play! (Affiliate link above.)

11//KitNip Box Subscription $20/month
So I picked this up as a lightning deal a couple of months ago just to see if my cats would enjoy it. Keep in mind, my cats are 14 years old and haven’t been super interested in toys in years. But these toys? They LOVE them. It’s fun to get them a little treat each month – I think it keeps them young!

Gift Guide for Women Who Deserve Fun and Unique Treats

1//Mantraband She Believed She Could Bold Bracelet $35
I LOVE Mantraband bracelets. I’m a huge believer in the power of words and the more you see them and say them to yourself the more you will internalize and live them in your daily life. Having a mantra right on your wrist is the perfect way to carry a special message with you. I own several, but my latest favorite is this bold variety. I have this exact mantra in silver and gold and wear one of them almost every single day. Mantraband bracelets are very high quality while also being meaningful and relatively inexpensive.

2//Baked Bread Candle $16
I am always researching new candle companies, looking for unique and delightful scents. I picked a Baked Bread candle because it sounded so different and tasty. I admit the initial yeasty smell was pretty weird, but once it’s lit up it smells divine! It’s one of my most treasured candles that I only light when I know I can sit right next to it and savor the scent.

3//In THEBALM of Your Hand Greatest Hits 2 Palette $32
The packaging for this company never ceases to awe me. I love a good packaging and these vintage-esque drawings with funny names bring me so much joy. This particular palette looked most appealing to me with colors I tend to wear most often in blushes and eye shadows.

4//Cricut Maker $349
I got one of these for my birthday and it is AMAZING. I haven’t had a ton of time to explore all that it can do quite yet, but I love having exactly what I need for awesome crafty projects right in front of me.

5//Lug Double Dutch 3 Bag $85
This is THE perfect travel bag. It’s a little big for MY everyday needs, but I find it to be fantastic every time I head out on a vacation. There are so many compartments, it’s lightweight, it’s high quality, and it can hold and shocking amount of things. I love it.

6//Minted Notebook $16
I love a great notebook and can always use more. Minted has a huge selection with so many different color options in almost every style. They can also be customized to be a planner, address book, or regular journal. I want them all.

7//Floral Monogram Ornament $10
For a bit of whimsy, I love these floral monogram ornaments. They’d be perfect for a tree, but also completely appropriate to hang on a wall. 

8//The Bouqs Co. Flowers Prices Vary
Bouqs has all the flowers I never knew I wanted. So many gorgeous bouquets that you’ll never find in the grocery store!

9//Too Faced Christmas Star Face and Eye Palette $44
This looks like so much fun! Adorable Christmas packaging from a great makeup company in a huge variety of colors. Great value too.

10//Thai Lemongrass Spray $13
As far as universally liked scents go, I think fresh lemongrass is hard to beat! I love spraying this relaxing scent in my reading areas.

11//Woolrich Blanket Prices Vary
It is COLD where I live. Every year we’re piling on more and more blankets, fighting over the ones that are the coziest. I picked up two of these this year and they’re just like snuggling in a fluffy marshmallow. My cats are obsessed with the one on my bed and fight for prime seating on it every single day.

12//Lisa Leonard Stacking Rings $60
I’ve been a fan of Lisa Leonard jewelry for many, many years. My current pieces that I wear most often are a set of stacking rings with Caden and Shepard’s names on them. They’re unique and bold and a perfect fit. I’m especially happy with Lisa Leonard for rings because she has such a huge variety of sizes. My fingers are very (ahem) large and I have a pretty difficult time finding rings that fit at any other jewelry stores.

13//Charmed Candy Studs in Mint $45
Local Eclectic is a fantastic source for really special jewelry. I love looking through their newest designs. Their rings are actually my favorite, but don’t typically come in my size. I keep getting caught on these cute little studs too.

14//Stitch Fix Prices Vary
I get about 75% of my wardrobe from Stitch Fix. I have a hard time finding clothes that fit in stores – plus who has time for that nonsense?! Stitch Fix has become an essential way to add great items to my closet. (Contains an affiliate link.)