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.
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).
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.
- 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)!
- 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?