Favourite Things: January 2022 Edition

Does anyone else feel confused why My Favorite Things – and The Sound of Music movie in general – is often regarded as a Christmas song? Is it the brown paper packages bit that convinces us it belongs on holiday albums?

Regardless, here is another list of my favourite things, with some Honourable Mentions for good measure.

1. My One LINE A DAY journal

I put this on my Christmas wishlist along with a few links, but John picked this out independently and I am thrilled with his choice. It’s small (I think some reviews online were negative because of the size but, to me, it’s perfect). It’s minimal. It’s classic. It’s well-made. I have really enjoyed filling this in with little details about our days (lots of “Exhausted” and – don’t ask – but from Saturday at 7:15 am “kids burned mug cake; disaster; house reeks of smoke“, but also notes about playdates and sledding and satisfying work negotiations).

2. My hoop earrings

This might sound strange, but a new set of earrings has been a runaway favourite this month. I always ask for earrings each Christmas, and this year John read my blog post about goals for 2022 which included “Buy a set of hoop earrings.”

He went out and bought me two sets and this pair, in particular, I can’t stop wearing. They’re light. They’re unique. They go with everything. I can’t link to them because they came from my favourite Wolfville consignment store, but if I could, I would! I wish everyone had a pair.

Top right pair, because it’s hard to tell exactly what they look like from the picture above.
I realized I had 3 video calls with the same work colleague in the span of a week; twice I had on the same shirt and all 3 times I had the same earrings.

3. Method cleaning spray (esp. Pink Grapefruit)

I’m pretty minimal with cleaning supplies. I try to avoid harsh chemicals and most of the time just use soap and hot water. But when I want a boost (mental and for cleaning power), I spritz on this product. The spray bottle works like a charm (and I repurpose it for other things later) and the smell is very refreshing. Also, per unit, it’s economical. I get this on sale for $3.99 and a bottle lasts me months.

4. Pink grapefruit sparkling water

Okay, I clearly have a thing for pink grapefruit. Ironically I cannot stand the actual fruit, but the flavour of this sparkling water is my fav. I drink about one can a day (relatively quickly, because I know that it can be hard on teeth enamel over time).

Other favourites happen to be the girl in the background + Codenames, a new family favourite!

5. My purple crocs

Okay, John did an amazing job this Christmas. I have been stealing his Crocs for years and these bright purple ones have both kept my feet warmer and comfy, but also are just…fun.

6. Magic bags

I couldn’t talk about favourite things without highlighting something that gets used every single day in the winter.

One day I went to make our bed and I had FOUR Magic Bags on my side – I might have a problem?!

I heat these up any time of day and night and they are little squares of warm gloriousness. It’s not unusual for me to be on a video meeting and have one warm Magic Bag under my feet and another in my lap. In fact I’m sitting crosslegged in an armchair with two in my lap at this very moment…

Note: I refer to them as Magic Bags – which is a specific brand – but I actually own two sets of a pharmacy brand (Life from Shoppers for any Canadian readers). Each set comes with one long and one square; happily, I prefer the squares and the kids prefer the long ones.

7. Dollarstore paper pads

For $1 I can buy 4 pads (80 pages each) of scratch paper.

We use these for everything. The kids write letters to their friends, I make grocery and to-do lists on them, John uses them to take reams and reams of meeting notes.

I almost went into hysterics when our stash was getting low before Christmas and the sweet worker at Dollarama told me they hadn’t been carrying them for a while.

The next time I went back, guess what I found – my beloved scratch pads were in stock! I’m surprised clouds didn’t part to allow angels to descend. I walked out with 8 sets (so 2,560 pieces of paper, I did the math…with a calculator). I do not want to risk a scare like that anytime soon.

I keep them in (and on) my bedside table, in my dresser, on top of the fridge, with my daytimer, in my purse, in the car, on the dining room table, on my desk. Basically everywhere.

8. A treadmill desk attachment

Admittedly, I haven’t had this very long, but I think it is going to become a new favourite. I don’t intend to use it every day (I still prefer walking more quickly + outside), but have really enjoyed the flexibility of working on projects, sending e-mails, or browsing blogs and recipe sites while I walk. It feels productive to be able to pair work or leisure with low-impact exercise.

I’m always amazed when I look at the clock and see I’ve been walking for over an hour. How come when I’m running on the treadmill, minutes just inch by…but walking slowly and keeping my hands and mind busy seems to have the opposite effect?

9. The Anne of Green Gables books

I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy re-reading this series (author background aside). The characters are all familiar, but many of the best details had been long forgotten (I last read the series in 2004, my first year of university).

I’ve found them so comforting. I know there are no abductions or bombs or gratuitous swearing (or any swearing for that matter – which I understand in non-fiction, but really dislike in most fiction contexts) but these books also aren’t afraid to confront the hard – Matthew and Ruby dying, for example; the trials and tribulations with Davy Keith – while celebrating lots of joy.

Just the perfect books at just the time I needed them back in my life.

10. This space…and you!

At the beginning of 2021, starting a website was just a dream that had been bumping around inside my head for years. I had no reason to believe 2021 would be any different from the years before – still dreaming of carving out a space to write and think and create, without actually taking concrete steps toward actualizing that goal.

I did it, and then all of you started showing up and encouraging and supporting, both here in the comments and within the content of your own blogs and web spaces.

honourable mentions

  • Our little office space heater. We don’t use it often or for long, but the basement can get chilly this time of year and a few minutes with the heater on makes such a difference. We have whole-house ducted heating (unfortunately) which means we can’t control zones. This solves the problem of needing to jack up the heat to warm up one small space.
  • My Sprouted daytimer. This was sent to me by planner extraordinaire Sarah Hart-Unger. I wanted to try it but was…noncommittal. I’ve been using DollarStore planners for several years and really enjoyed my previous system using a planner that cost $1.25. Literally. But I haven’t touched my $1.25 planner a single time since I’ve gotten into a rhythm of using the Sprouted planner. It really checks all the boxes for me. Stay tuned for a more thorough overview of how I use it very soon (tomorrow, actually)!
See one of those beloved scratch pads from Dollarama. Never far away. And neither are my AirPods, definitely another favourite. I did not plan on having them show up in so many pictures…they are not “staged” I just have them with me in a little pile of work paraphernalia that migrates around the house.
  • My YETI. This is just the item that keeps giving and giving. It looks brand new but I have essentially used it for 750 days in a row. I use it exclusively for water and I’m like a baby with her security blanket (or, maybe more appropriately, a favourite sippy cup).
  • A Vileda spin mop. First: I hate mopping. Before we recently started getting someone to help (2 hours every 2 weeks, but it’s more like 2 hours/month+ because of COVID), I would mop twice a year. In a good year. But after 6 weeks of damp socks and salt-covered shoes on our floors, I could not avoid the dreaded task of mopping. This was my first time really testing out a Vileda spin mop (I know they have a cult-like following, but I hate mopping…so why bother investing in one? My father convinced me and I caved). I wouldn’t call the experience fun, but it was almost bordering on that (kinda). No streaks on the floor and very, very easy to wring it out with the foot pedal.
  • My ski pants. For almost a decade I used a pair of hand-me-down, oversized snow pants. I hated them. They never fit, I knew I looked ridiculous, but I never managed to find a used set and couldn’t stomach the prices of new ones (which also never seemed to fit when I tried them on). Every pair always seemed too tight/fighted or too baggy. Last year I found a pair of Columbia ski pants at a thrift shop. I think they were about $19.99 which I realize is nothing for sporting goods…but the price almost made me put them back on the rack. It just seemed like a lot of money for pants I would only use a handful of times each year. Thank goodness my better judgement won out. These pants are practically perfect in every way (and I have worn them every single day this month). They are fitted, but not tight. I can bend and move comfortably, and they look…fine (snow pants are never going to be a fashion statement). They are also very, very warm. I wear these on morning walks to school, daily walks around the neighbourhood (still going strong with those 1km+ walks outside each day), and on outdoor adventures with the kids like sleding and skiing (remember; -21 degrees Celcius + windchill) and skating. When I come back inside, I sometimes keep them on to putter around the house – they’re that comfortable. It seems silly to list a pair of snow pants as a favourite, but finding the right gear for physical activity is so, so satisfying.

Your turn – any favourites so far in 2022 – new or old?

Header photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

32 thoughts on “Favourite Things: January 2022 Edition”

  1. New reader! Enjoying your posts. My #1 favorite is an inexpensive milk frother my MIL got us for Christmas. As someone who cannot function without a strong cup of coffee, I cannot believe we went 16 years of marriage without one of these. It makes my coffee feel fancy every day.
    I would love an in depth review of the planner!! I have hopped around to different planners for years and have yet to find one that checks all the boxes.

    1. Welcome. Glad you’ve found my little corner of the internet.
      The planner review is written and coming tomorrow! (Spoiler alert: I really, really like it).

  2. I also love Method cleaning products and use them all the time AND I have a case of that PC brand grapefruit soda water in my pantry as we speak. I’ve tried a lot of flavours and I think that one is my fave.

  3. I also love the Method cleaning spray. We ran out this month so I need to make a Target run to pick some up this week. We had an apple scent which I really liked but I will see if they have grapefruit as that sounds so delightful!

    Top of my list of favorite things is a space heater that I use in my office daily. I actually have the same one that Suzanne from life of a doctor’s wife posted about. Our basement is FREEZING and that is where my office is. Similar to you, we don’t have zone heating/cooling. It is just not possible in an old home like ours (1925) – or it would have been very costly to switch to it, otherwise I think the person who renovated this house back in 2008 would have done that? So a space heater is a clutch item for me. I hate playing in the basement with our kids in the winter because of how chilly it is. And Will at 14 months is too young to understand to stay away from a space heater, so I can’t use it when playing with them!

    Other favorites are our new gas fireplace. It’s been used nearly daily since we had our wood-burning fireplace converted on 1/7. Also, my airpod pros, the pants I got for XC skiing years ago that I stumbled upon earlier this month when going through my drawers (I’m using them for winter running), eating chocolate chips w/ my daily yogurt as a way to make it more of a treat, and the show “Younger” which is kind of mindless entertainment, but so enjoyable for me.

    1. Another vote for the Method spray! I haven’t seen the apple scent, but that sounds amazing.
      Chocolate chips are such a great way to elevate…just about anything. I rarely eat cereal, but if I do I have big cluster granola and add a handful of pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of chia seeds…and a very generous helping of chocolate chips. So good!
      I also love my Airpod pros and use them every day…

  4. About eight years ago, I started with one of those “line a day” memory books. I took it with me when we traveled and was very loyal to it. About four years in, though, the spine broke and I had to start taping it together. I finished the five years and asked my husband for an upgrade that Christmas. Now I have a Levenger one that is larger. The larger size is less portable, but since I haven’t really traveled, it hasn’t been a problem. It also looks brand new, unlike the other one that looked beat up only a couple of years into it. Pros and cons – I love the idea and I love taking five minutes at night to jot down something from the day.

    For Christmas, my best friend sent me a 2022 notebook and I’ve been using it to track progress with my quarterly goals. It’s mostly blank and allows me to create tables and calendars on my own. I like the flexibility, but I wonder if the perfect planner exists that would do all of that for me…I’m probably too lazy to do the research for all that. I’m glad you’re enjoying your planner!

    1. Yes, I’m very hopeful the binding holds up in this book but can see that being a potential issue with something that gets opened 1,825 odd times. Not typical for ANY book. We’ll see. Having a bigger one (maybe with ring binding) would likely be more substantial. Fingers crossed…

  5. Oh my gosh, I LOVE your new earrings! So pretty!

    And yay for Codenames. It’s a fabulous game!

    Thank you for mentioning Magic Bags — I believe you referenced them in a previous post, and I planned to ask about them and forgot. They sound truly magical!

    I think I mentioned the last time you briefly brought up your treadmill desk that I NEED ONE. There are, of course, way too many options. I think my treadmill’s arms/bannisters/handles (why can I not think of the right word?) guardrails??? are slanted, which may make this an impossible goal. But I had a question: does your treadmill desk have a “stopper” or some sort of rubber/silicone strip at the bottom to keep your laptop from sliding off?

    1. Magic bags are magic (they’re filled with some grain and you just heat them in the microwave).
      Hmm. The desk attachment does not have anything to prevent the laptop from slipping…but I’m sure there are other attachments that would?! There were plenty of options on Amazon (where I ordered my attachment from).

  6. I too love your new earrings, I only wear hoops. I have three piercings in each ear and never change my earrings, ever.

    I have purple crocs too, they only get worn to go out to the garage/garden these days, now that I wear barefoot shoes, they give me pain in my achilles if I wear them for too long.

    Your treadmill sounds intriguing, I cannot for the life of me work out what I am looking at in your photo. That kind of thing is not my forte so I am sure it is really obvious……..

    I am a moleskine diary gal, I have been using them for about fifteen years, I buy the one called a weekly planner on a double page it is has a week of diary on one side and a page of lines on the other. I write everything in it, I love it. It’s good when we find something that works for us isn’t it, so glad to hear that you have too.

    My favourite things this month have been my daily walk, the woodburning stove, knitting in the evenings, sunshine and blue skies and doing less.

    1. The treadmill desk is just a solid slab that attaches to the handlebars of our existing treadmill and I can put my laptop on top of it and type/work while I walk slowly.

      Also – I love the fact that all your favourites are not “things” – this is lovely (I mean, I guess you need wood for the fire and yarn for the knitting)…but there is usually far more pleasure in the beauty of nature or our creative pursuits than in any man-made product we can buy from a store!

  7. I had never heard of magic bags, but I realized they are the same as the rice bags I make for my family. I know you aren’t crafty (from one of your previous posts), but I just sew some squares of flannel and fill them with rice.

    It’s so funny that hoop earrings were a new years resolution! I wear hoop earrings every day and have for, well probably 30 years. Like the previous commenter, I also have 2nd piercings that I have hoops in that I never take out. Stainless steel is perfect for that!

    1. I am VERY late to the hoop game. My sister has sleeper hoops and, at least when I was younger, she NEVER took them off.
      I take out my earrings every single night (and when I shower and sometimes when I exercise)!

      I’m not crafty, but I DID make some of these once with old socks and rice. But my boughten ones have lasted for almost a decade which is incredible and I have gotten every single penny out of them. They really are just so, so helpful to me living in perpetual chilliness…

  8. Wow- your husband is a good present giver! I love both the earrings and the crocs. I’m looking forward to the planner post- I also got a new planner and a couple people asked me to share a picture of the inside (I had posted a picture of the cover) but I feel like I’m not really organizing it the very best way. Maybe I’ll get some ideas!

    1. Oh dear. Now I feel all the pressure. I have a “review” ready to post for tomorrow. No promises!

      Yes, my husband really is a GREAT gift giver. Gifts are definitely not my love language, but receiving a thoughtful gift is still always reason for joyfinding.

  9. I love favorites posts! so many good ones, I love my yeti too, one big for warm water/tea and another for coffee. use them every single day.
    I had the one line a day journal few years back and kept forgetting to write it down most days. glad it’s working well for you.
    your zoom call set up looks so professional. 2 years into the pandemic and I still haven’t got one look that I feel myself.

    1. I’m not sure I’ll manage to do 5 years in the journal…it does seem like a big “commitment” even though it’s only a few lines a day (they call it One Line A Day, but there are like 5 lines to each block – haha). But, so far I’m really enjoying it, and I think in other years the fun of being able to have a flashback to the previous year will be a big motivator?
      Hmmm. It must be the natural lighting making my video call look professional? I’m sitting at the dining room table which looks so much better than the basement light in my office. I tend not to use any filters either (occasionally I’ll do the background blur), but as a participant in meetings I actually find it very distracting for some reason? Because people’s features sometimes fade in and out as they move…

  10. OH, I love a good list of favorites… thanks for sharing yours! I haven’t tried the Method cleaning spray, but I use the one from Mrs Meyers and feel it’s a very environmentally friendly option.

    I am also very attached to my space heater. Floor heating and room heaters (supplied via hot water) are very common thing in Germany, so this whole house ducted heating that is normal in the US is like a major pet peeve for me. Beside the fact that the houses – at least here in CA – are so poorly insulated that it’s a huge waste of energy to try and heat the whole house.

    1. I’ve got the space heater on now warming up the office…while I type this while walking on the treadmill (wearing my Crocs and snow pants that I didn’t bother to take off when we got back from our morning walk to school)!
      I think the same place I get Method spray has Mrs. Myers spray too; I might check that out when my Method stash gets low.

  11. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and meaning to comment (mostly to compliment you on your writing, your photos, and your general outlook on life!) but today’s entry finally motivated me to do it for real because I have not one, but two things to say! Firstly, the opening line of your post: YES I do find it confusing that ‘My Favorite Things’ has somehow been pegged as a Christmas song and I am delighted not to be the only one. I have expressed this opinion to friends before and they basically just shrugged, but The Sound of Music is one of my childhood favorites so there’s a chance I’m overly invested in the destiny of its soundtrack. Anyway. I find it totally bizarre that it gets played as a Christmas song, and even maybe slightly insulting? Like, is it because it lists a bunch of material goods (among other things) that are nice? If so, I feel it’s been completely misinterpreted, because it’s not about the material aspect at all – it’s about cheering you up when you’re feeling bad. Sigh. So… my first comment to you is apparently a diatribe about the lyrics in a 60s musical. Ha.

    Anyway, the other thing I wanted to say was that I read a post of yours where you mentioned re-reading Anne of Green Gables a few weeks ago (ish?), and I was inspired to embark upon my own re-read of the series, and I *so* identify with your statement about those books being the perfect thing for this particular moment in life. It feels perhaps a little weird to go into detail here so I won’t; suffice it to say that I’m struggling to find the joy in my daily life (in the midst of a time of life that should in fact be very joy-filled!) after a burn-out-y last year, and Anne’s outlook is truly exactly what I needed. So thanks for that reminder! (I’m also sort of morbidly curious about what I will think of House of Dreams this time around, as an adult – I have a distinct memory of being somewhat traumatized by it as a middle schooler!)

    1. First – welcome! So glad you commented.
      I LOVE The Sound of Music but have never watched it over the holidays
      and always feel slightly sad it’s seen as a holiday movie. Not sure why. And you think it’s insulting. Sad and insulting; we definitely take musicals (and their marketing), very seriously. But really, it is one of the best musical scores ever. And Julie Andrews is just…perfection. So I appreciate, and agree with, your diatribe 🙂
      I’m so sorry you’ve been going through burn-out and that joy has been hard to find lately; I’ve been in a similar position and Anne has felt like a real comfort. To be fair, I only posted the picture of House of Dreams because that’s what I just finished reading when I was writing the post, but it was a bit of a downer and I really missed the light-hearted Anne of the earlier books. But the book definitely DOES represent life – the very real hards we face, but Anne of course continues to look for joy and delight.

  12. I’m interested in the treadmill desk thingy! I have been thinking that it would be nice to have something like that. I don’t think I would want to really “work work” there, but like in the evenings to get some emails sorted or look up things, etc. it would be nice to be able to walk at the same time. I often feel like after sitting all day for work, I hate to just SIT more at night- but then I often have things I need to get done on the computer.

    The One line journal is nice, too! I have a daily page/ journal with multiple lines I fill out every day, but I love the concept of 1 day from 5 different years on one page!

    1. I don’t do much “work, work” there either, admittedly…I am so much more efficient at most work tasks at my desk with dual monitors (+ my laptop). But, it works for responding to e-mails, reading the news, or doing some writing for the blog.
      I am amazed when I look up and see an hour has gone by. I guess it’s a bit sad, because it means I definitely lose a lot of time to my computer screen, but it feels a lot better to have walked a mile or two in that time without feeling like I’m moving much.

  13. The one line a day journals are so fun. I started mine last January and am on the second round now. It is so fun to read what happened a year ago. I almost picked the same one you own now. Is it your first of these journals?

    Also congrats on finding the perfect snow pants. I find it really tough to get the perfect outdoor gear. I am looking for a rain coat for years. Just this morning I came into a rain storm and my fancy coat was soaking wet and I wished I had one. But I refuse to buy one that doesn’t fit perfectly.

    1. This is my first time! I’m loving it so far.
      The right gear is so critical, especially living in climates that have all the seasons. My winter boots started leaking yesterday but I’m determined to fix them long enough to finish out this winter season!

  14. I love reading about planners and journals and seeing what works well because there are SO many to choose from.
    The one line a day journal is such a great idea – I will look at getting one for next year.
    The treadmill desk attachment is so cool! Getting fit and seeing to e-mails – what a win! I use the excuse of not having enough time to skip a workout too often!

    1. The treadmill desk attachments has been great. I use it a handful of time a week and am amazed with how simple, yet effective, it is at getting me to accomplish low-level laptop tasks!

  15. I have that very same One Line a Day journal! I love its minimalistic style, too. I tried using a Line a Day journal last year but then got weeks and weeks behind, and gave up. I’m determined not to do that this year!

    That is such a gorgeous edition of Anne of Green Gables! Those books are prime comfort reading.

    Favorites of 2022 for me so far: Bubly sparkling water, my new coffee table that just makes me so happy every time I look at it, and the little taco truck my mom bought the cats for Christmas. My black-and-white kitty LOVES it and it fills me with such delight whenever I see her sitting inside it.

    1. I don’t know if I’ll manage to stick with it for 5 years…but I’m already excited to get through this year and then get a blast-from-the-past each day.

      Anne of Green Gables are so, so comforting! I’m not sure if they’d have that impact on me if I didn’t have so many memories from childhood tied up in the books/movies.

      Sparkling water is a new fav for me in 2021 (I never drank it before then). A taco truck for cats sounds too adorable for words!

  16. So many wonderful favorites! (Side note: I so prefer the British/Canadian spelling of so many words, but alas, you get odd looks in the US if you use those and are not, you know, British or Canadian…).
    I, too, have ALWAYS wondered why that song is a “Christmas song”. Why? They’re singing it during a summer thunderstorm, for pete’s sake. Also, I was thinking of Julie Andrews last night (completely randomly) and vaguely remembering that she can no longer sing. Which is one of the sadder things I’ve heard. 🙁 It’s my mother’s favorite movie, and I actually used one of the musical pieces in my wedding…you know, for the marriage that is no longer…).
    Also! The pink grapefruit Method is under my sink as we speak. Also, the refill in the bathroom tub o’ extra cleaning supplies. I take it you do not have the refills? They are just so nice to have.
    You know how I feel about Anne so I’ll just leave it at that.
    I love your hoops! Much fancier than the ones I got myself. They’re good for me, though – tiny, white gold, and with posts not the kind that have the very delicate fasteners that are part of the hoop. I’m not good with delicate things… as I am not a delicate kind of person. 🙂
    Finally, I would like to come to your dollar store, please. It sounds like quite the source of amazing products! (I attribute it to the fact that it’s a *Canadian* dollar store. LOL.)

    1. Ha! I don’t know that Canadian DollarStores are anything special, but there are so great finds!
      Everything likely costs more here?! I have friends who have moved here from the US and the price of things still surprises them. More of the European influence.
      I DEFINITELY prefer the British/Canadian spelling. I was quite horrified when Abby came home with spelling from school and some of her words didn’t have “u’s” (for example: honour, neighbour). I’m hoping that the sheets came from the US and it wasn’t something her Canadian teacher had elected to do for reasons unknown.

      Anne books are…great!

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