My Favorite Things 2016

I’m so excited to share some of my favorites from this year that would make great gifts this Christmas. The list ranges from wardrobe to kitchen items to beauty products and even a DIY project.

‘Tis the season my friends. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Does that question make you break out in hives? There’s always so much to do around the holidays so I’m hoping today’s post of all my favorite things this year can help you stress less and enjoy the holidays more. So far, all I have is a list, a few things picked up and ordered our Christmas cards. Still lots to do but my trusty list has it all spelled out so I’m on my way.

I have a big list of kind of random things that I am totally loving this year and I thought I would share it with you just in time for Black Friday shopping. I have some beauty favorites I discovered this year, kitchen items I can’t live without, fitness essentials and my favorite, incredibly easy DIY project I’ve done this year. See, completely random but I love hearing everyone’s favorites this time of year. Full disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means if you click through and buy something I recommend I may get a very small commission. No extra charge to you but it helps me run my site. Business done. Onto the fun.

Sally Hansen’s Big Kwik Dry Top Coat

My Favorite Things 2016
I love painting my nails but they always take so long to dry then I go to bed and they get all smudged as I sleep. Not much makes me angrier in the morning then waking up to ruined nails that I spent so much time trying to dry the night before. So I decided to give up the fancy top coat I was using for a quick dry one and I haven’t looked back. It dries in a few minutes and leaves a nice sheen. And no smudges people!!

R&B by Lush

My Favorite Things 2016
I am completely and utterly addicted to this stuff. I went into Lush for a shampoo bar and some bath bombs a few months ago and I got to talking to the salespeople and they insisted I take a sample of R&B. And who am I to turn down a free sample? It’s a hair moisturizer and it smells like heaven. I run it through my hair before drying it and throughout the day on my terrible, little flyaways.

It may seem a bit pricey but I literally use not quite a dime sized dollop on wet hair and the smallest amount possible to tame my flyaways. I definitely recommend using a small amount first then add more if needed as it can look greasy if you apply too much. It keeps my normally dry hair looking silky smooth and the smell you guys. When Hannah helps me get ready, considering she’s three that means every day, she always insists on smelling my hair and says “oooh, mommy your hair smells pretty.”

Penzey’s Spices

My Favorite Things 2016
So I have to admit I’m kind of a spice snob. I’ve been using Penzey’s Spices for years and hands down my favorites are their cocoa powder, cumin, vanilla beans, extracts and roasted garlic powder. The spices are so much more flavorful and fragrant than store-bought varieties. I also have their salt shaker and pepper grind set which I totally adore. They have fun sets that would be great for gifting to any foodie friends.

Cold Brew Coffee Pot

My Favorite Things 2016
I’m one of those weird people that drinks iced coffee all year long. I just prefer it and I usually drink it first thing in the morning while I’m still home so I’m not out in the elements. I’ve found I prefer cold brew as it’s less acidic and doesn’t upset my stomach as much.

I was making my own cold brew coffee with this method but that got to be a little annoying with the cheesecloth so I asked for this cold brew coffee pot for my birthday. Total life changer. All you do is fill the filter with coarse ground coffee then fill it with water, put it in the fridge and coffee is ready in the morning. So much easier than my original process. Plus, it’s pretty dang cheap right now at 40% off.

USA Pans

My Favorite Things 2016
I’ve talked about these pans in the past but I thought it was worth another mention this Christmas. I love that the corners are square rather than rounded. It makes for cleaner lines and perfect squares when cutting brownies or bars. OCD much? I always try to support US made products and as the name suggests, these pans are made in the USA. They are also nonstick and super easy to clean.

Vanilla Bean Paste

My Favorite Things 2016
Let me tell you my friends, this vanilla bean paste will change your life. Ok, so maybe I’m a little overly dramatic but this stuff is seriously delicious. I used to add to my baked goods often but when we moved it was really hard to find. Well, I recently found this at Wal-Mart of all places (in the cake decorating section). It is packed full of vanilla beans which provide so much vanilla goodness to all your treats. I especially love it in frosting.

Pioneer Woman Line

My Favorite Things 2016
I love just about everything in The Pioneer Woman’s line (also available at Wal-Mart). I picked up a few cloth napkins and this pretty little bowl for photography props. The bowl is gorgeous and just the right size. The cloth napkins aren’t the best quality but they are really fun and festive.

Blanket Scarves

My Favorite Things 2016
So blanket scarves are all the rage and I finally jumped on the band wagon. I picked this one up at a local craft fair but I have seen them all over the place for really reasonable prices. I love these and this one and this one too. They are so warm and cozy and I just want to live life wrapped up in mine. Plus, there are lots of fun ways to wear them here.

Ryka Tennis Shoes

My Favorite Things 2016
I was having some major foot and ankle pain while working out earlier this year. I go to Jazzercise which has some major cardio involving lots of quick movements and my heavy Brooks ghosts were not working for me. After some research, I landed on Ryka’s for my dance cardio needs. They even have a pivot point on the bottom which means you can make quick movements with ease.
My Favorite Things 2016
They are super flexible and most importantly don’t cause me any pain. These are officially my work out shoes for life.

S’well Bottle

My Favorite Things 2016
This is another favorite I’ve mentioned before. I received a S’well bottle for the birthday after pining for one for months. I must have freezing cold water at all times and this bottle totally does the trick. I have the larger 24 ounce bottle so I don’t have to refill as often. I use this when I work out, throughout the day and keep it with me pretty much everywhere I go. They seemed a little pricey but for 24 hours of cold water, I’m totally in.

Wax Buffalo Candles

My Favorite Things 2016
These are my new addiction. Wax Buffalo candles are pure soy and hand poured here in Lincoln, NE. I’m all about supporting local merchants and this is my official favorite. My favorite this time of year is Pumpkin Spice Latte and my overall anytime favorite is Blood Orange. I have a few other scents that I haven’t bought before (hello Rosemary Mint and Armitage Street) on my Christmas wish list.

Plus, if you’re local there are a few shops in town that carry them or you can order online and pick them up for free. Yay for not paying for shipping! If you aren’t for Nebraska, don’t worry. All of their scents come with a X instead of the Nebraska outline.

DIY Tile Coasters

My Favorite Things 2016
I love a good DIY and these tile coasters are one of my favorite projects I’ve done this year. We were given some tiles from Joel’s grandparents house before it was sold and I wanted to do something fun and special with them instead of just having them sit in a drawer somewhere. I looked around on Pinterest and found this fun way to turn tiles into coasters.

I printed my 4×4 prints at Persnickety Prints and they are great quality and printed on thick paper which is very water resistant. The project basically consists of modge podging photos to the tiles, coating in more modge podge and putting little felt pads on the bottom so they don’t scratch your surfaces. Easy, personal and super customizable. They would make a really fun gift for friends and family.


I discovered Hoopla this year, a free audio and ebook app that allows you to “check out” books from your local library and it has totally enhanced my reading game. As you may remember, I set a New Year’s resolution to read 1 book per month. This may not seem like a lot but I was barely reading anything last year and well, I love to read so that made me sad that I wasn’t doing it for myself. Well, I’ve read 25 books so far this year so definitely surpassed that goal! Partly in thanks to the app Hoopla.

Whenever the kids aren’t in the car or doing dishes or folding laundry I’m listening to a book. I also want to mention my favorite book of the year, I Let You Go. It was seriously so good and I could not put it down. If you love twisty books with crazy twists, this one is totally for you.

So there you have it folks, all my favorites from 2016. I hope you were able to find some fun things for a loved one, or yourself this holiday season.

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