2021 Favorites

Hi everyone!  Hard to believe it's already the end of a year and the start of another, so today I wanted to share some of my favorites from 2021. These year-end lists are always my favorite to read, so I hope you'll enjoy this and would love to hear anything you've loved this year as well.


Products



When we moved into our apartment and had a balcony that overlooked a pond, I immediately knew that I wanted a cozy chair so I could sit out there and enjoy the view! I searched for a while for a chair in this exact design that wasn't too expensive (some of them are INSANE) and came upon this one. There was a small shipping issue where I missed an entire part of the frame in my package, but otherwise I absolutely love the chair and spend so much time in it. Highly recommend!



As someone who loves to cook, I'm surprised it's taken me this long to get one of these scoop colanders. This has quickly become one of my most-used tools in the kitchen- I use it for everything from making hardboiled eggs to pasta. It's such a handy gadget!




Apple Watch

It's hard to believe I only got my watch this year, because it seems like such a big part of my life now! While it's not the best watch for tracking my runs (I have a lot of GPS issues with it), it has so many features that it's worth it to make the switch from my Garmin. I also love the built-in Activity tracker that motivates me to close my rings every day! The watch also came with a trial of Apple Fitness which was really cool, and I would definitely still use if I wasn't hooked on the Peloton app.



Trader Joe's Beauty Products


I've been a big fan of Trader Joe's for years now, but it was just this year that I started getting into their beauty products. I like to keep my skin care pretty simple, so I've been loving this trio - eye cream in the morning, then at night the  microdermabrasion scrub (maybe every other day) and marula facial oil. My skin feels so smooth and soft now, and occasionally I'll add one of their sheet masks for a special night in!


Movies/Shows

White Lotus


To be honest, I'm not much of a TV or movie watcher. I like to watch reality competition shows and sports, but that's really it! Dan and I started watching White Lotus together earlier this year and it actually hooked me and made me want to keep watching, which is rare for me. I loved how each character was so unique and was cast perfectly. I also liked how it showed us both sides of these luxury vacations- the whiny/inconsiderate wealthy guests and the people who have to smile through it all and continue to serve them.



Drive to Survive

Speaking of watching sports- if you are looking to get into a new sport this year I highly recommend watching Drive to Survive on Netflix to get you in the mood for Formula One next year. Each season follows a full championship year for the sport, and teaches you all about the drivers and takes you behind-the-scenes of each race. My favorite part is learning about each driver's individual personalities, but I love the drama of the race as well. This past season of F1 was really intense and came down to the very final lap of the last race, so I know the new season (whenever it comes out) is going to be incredible.



Apps

Meetup

When I moved to North Carolina and knew absolutely no one, I decided to download Meetup as a way to make friends. There are so many cool groups with varying interests, and I've met a bunch of cool people! I like how I can find people that are into the same things I am, and am inspired to try new activities and get out of my comfort zone.


1 Second Everyday

I've heard of this app before, but decided to finally get it to document my final month living in Pittsburgh and my move! Basically you take a 1 second video for each day, and the app mashes them into one long video. I love looking back on them at the end of the month and remembering all the fun moments I had! I'm also making a separate video with my favorite moments of the year and I can't wait to see how it turns out.



Podcasts

Get Sleepy

This might not be a fun pick, but it was the most practical for me this year! I put on this podcast when I'm trying to fall asleep, and it helps so much. The voices are so soothing and the stories transport me to a magical land where I can easily sleep all night. Highly recommend if you also have issues with falling asleep.



Bad on Paper

I haven't really been listening to many podcasts this year (besides Formula One and tennis ones because #sports) probably due to not having a commute anymore, but this one I just added to my list. As soon as their episodes come out I immediately download and listen, which is how I know that I really like a podcast! They host a monthly book club discussion, which is how I find a lot of my new book recommendations, and also talk about a wide range of topics. One of the hosts recently moved from New York City to Charleston, so it's been nice hearing her experiences of moving down south while I've been going through the same thing.



Books

Brown Sister Trilogy by Talia Hibbert

I dove right into the rom-com genre of books this year, and this series was at the top of my list. Sadly there are only three books in this series, but each one is so amazing as a stand alone book or read together. Each book focuses on one of the Brown sisters who are sassy, smart, and have issues that aren't generally covered in this genre. If you're looking for a fun and easy read to kick off your year I highly recommend checking any of these out!


Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

On the complete other end of the spectrum, this was my favorite thriller that I read this year. It's a very dark subject matter but the writing was so engrossing and the twist was like no other that I've seen before. I've read a few other books by this author now and all of them are amazing but this was by far my favorite.


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This was definitely the most memorable book that I read this year and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about other cultures and some Asian history. I learned so much from this book and really enjoyed the writing! My only criticism of the book was that it could have been broken into separate books. Make sure you devote enough time to really enjoy this book- it's a longer one but full of so many vivid details of Japan that you'll feel transported to a new place.



Other

House Plants


My new apartment has amazing natural light (and is also in a very sunny city) so I've been filling every room with house plants! I'm fully obsessed and want to add even more and learn how to make them all thrive. Next summer I'm planning on having more of a balcony garden as well to replace my old garden at our house, but it's been a very fun hobby! For any locals, I get most of my plants at Garden Supply Company in Apex and love their selection.


Morning Person Newsletter


Earlier this year, one of my favorite blog writers left her job at Cupcakes and Cashmere to pursue a masters degree and also launched her own newsletter. This is the first newsletter that I've ever paid for, and it's the best $5 I spend every month. There are so many amazing recommendations, as well as tips on living a more intentional and happy life. If you're looking to support a creator this year and want to get some awesome ideas of what to read, watch, or listen to every week, check it out!



What are your favorites of 2021?

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