Best Purchases of 2020

Hi everyone! Today I have a fun post to share- my best purchases of 2020. I usually try to do some kind of roundup like this at the end of every year, and found some fun categories to use from the Beautiful Mess podcast (you can see all of their picks here!). I hope you enjoy seeing some of the random purchases I made this year- some directly caused by COVID and some before that was even a thought in my mind! PS- if you want to see my best purchases from 2019 you can find that post here.


Something that felt like a major upgrade

Pots and Pans


Lately I've been feeling like I'm getting to that point in my life where I'm upgrading things that I got back in college for "adult" versions. A year or two ago I threw out all my old knives to get nice Wusthof ones, and this year I got rid of my pots and pans (which were probably really unsafe to use since they were chipped and scratched up). I decided on this set after some research mostly because it had all the sizes I needed in one kit, and I loved the look at it. After seeing good reviews and getting a coupon code I never looked back and love these! I want to get even more from this brand since these are such high quality.



Something that was a good distraction from 2020

Paints


I actually have two answers for this one- the first is a bit of a healthier distraction, which is watercolor paints! I've always enjoyed art and took a watercolor class last year, but decided to pick it up again this year. I started my own Etsy shop for custom house paintings and signs, and have been painting every day in December as one of my goals this month. For supplies, I got this paint set which is beautiful, and have also been playing around with watercolor pencils!


Local Alcohol

The other purchase was maybe not as healthy, but definitely more fun, which is local alcohol. One of Dan and my favorite activities to do pre-COVID was visiting breweries or wineries. Since that's not a safe option anymore but we still want to support these local businesses, I've been trying to do curbside pickups at a few of my favorite places in the city. The ones I've been getting most often are Cinderlands, Eleventh Hour, North Country, Pittsburgh Winery, and Wigle Whiskey. These have all definitely made staying in a lot more enjoyable!



Biggest splurge

Exercise Bike


This is probably the stereotypical answer for this year, but I bought a piece of exercise equipment once gyms closed down (and ended up cancelling my gym membership after they opened back up). After looking at different models and debating the Peloton, I decided to go for a Schwinn IC4. A few things went into this decision- for one, the up-front cost was much less than a Peloton. Plus- if you get a digital membership to Peloton it's $12.99 per month, whereas the monthly membership cost with a bike is $39. Even though I don't have the stats and community the Peloton bike offers, I still get all of the same classes for less than half the price monthly! Definitely worth it to me, and after weekly use of the bike for almost six months now I can definitely recommend this bike, along with the shoes I got as well!



Something amazing under $20

FloorPops


For this category, I'll be sharing three different things under $20 that were all amazing to me this year! The first one are the floor tiles that I got for my bathroom (you can see them here!). Each box is only $13 and covers 10 square feet which I think is a great deal. After having the floors installed for almost six months, they still look as good as new and I would highly recommend them for a cheap floor solution.


Piping Bags


Next up is something that came in handy during all of my Great British Bake Off bakes- a piping bag set. In the past I always used a plastic baggie with the corner cut out for piping, which did the trick but was never amazing. These have definitely upped my decorating game and I really like this set! It's pretty inexpensive at just over $7, and comes with two silicone bags that are super easy to clean, 12 nozzles, and three scrapers. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well these have held up and hope to get more into cookie/cake decorating next year.


True Lemon


Finally, and this might be a bit of a wildcard, but I've been LOVING True Lemon! I like having lemon water (or as I call it- spa water), but it seems like every time I get a bag of lemons they always go bad too quickly. I can just keep these little packets of crystalized lemon in my cabinet and grab one anytime I want a little spa water, and they also work really well in recipes as well! There are other flavors available from the company too, so I think I'll branch out next time I order.



Honorable mentions 


Dagne Dover bag


This purchase kind of seems laughable at this point, but it also goes into the category of "upgrading things I had in college". Since I had three international trips planned for this year (joke's on me...) I decided it was finally time to get a good travel backpack that could also double as a work bag (haha, back when I commuted to work). After some research I landed on this brand, which has sleek bags with ingenious storage. Even though I only got to use this for work a handful of times and haven't been able to travel with it yet, I absolutely love it! There's space for my laptop, tons of pockets to separate cords and devices, and other features that make this a great bag. Plus- I love the look of it! Hoping that in 2021 it will get a lot more use.


Bluetooth Speaker


I was hoping to put this in my under $20 category, but it was just over when we bought it (now it's only $15 though!) so I have to put it here instead. Dan surprised me with this little speaker so that I could sit outside in our hammock and listen to music while I read. Besides that, it's also been great for camping trips, sitting by a fire, or even listening to music in the shower! The speaker holds a charge for what seems like FOREVER, is really tiny but has great sound, and is really sturdy. I love it!


Electric Kettle


I had to look back at my purchases, because it feels like I bought this kettle years ago for how much I use it! But-I did buy it in January of this year so I'm really happy to mention it in my best purchases of the year. In the past few years, I've gotten more and more into coffee and have started making pour-overs pretty much every day. This has taken that experience up a notch because now I can control the temperature of the water, hold that temperature, and also control the flow of water since the kettle has a gooseneck. Besides a coffee setting, there are also different temperatures for tea, so this gets used daily for my morning coffee, afternoon tea break, and nighttime sleepy tea!



Charity

This wasn't a category in the original list, but this year I tried to prioritize giving more than I have in the past. Throughout the year, Dan and I have looked up different groups that we could give to, and I wanted to highlight some of my favorites from the year!
  • Marine Mammal Center - The Marine Mammal Center advances global ocean conservation through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.
  • Movement for Black Lives - The Movement for Black Lives is made up of over 150 organizations that coordinate actions, messages and campaigns. Organizations like: Black Alliance for Justice Immigration, Blackbird, Black Lives Matter Network, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, Blackout Collective, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, Dignity and Power Now, Freedom Inc, Southerners on New Ground, UndocuBlack Network, Law4Black Lives, Black Movement Law Project, and many others.
  • Wildlife Conservation Society - WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.
  • ASPCA - Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law.


What are your best purchases of the year?

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