Favorites of 2017: Lifestyle & Home

I cannot believe 2017 is almost over and I’m actually really sad about it. Contrary to what I’ve been hearing from other people, this has been the best year of my life. Aside from all the positive things that have been part of my personal life, which I’ll go into more detail in next Monday’s post, I think it’s just been a great year in every other aspect as well. It was definitely one of the busiest, most eventful years of my life and I discovered a lot of great things. I actually have so much to share with you that I’m including a part 2 to this favorites post. Today I’ll be focusing on lifestyle and home favorites, and next week will have another post including the best fashion and beauty products of 2017.

Home
We made some of the biggest renovations to our home this year. In the Spring, we completely changed our landscaping by pulling out plants and trading red mulch for white marble rocks. It’s also looking like a completely different house on the inside, as well. We painted every single wall in the house and I’m in love with the new colors!! The picture you see below shows the shade called Cream in my Coffee by Valspar.
I’ve included my office/makeup room in many posts before. It’s always been one of my favorite rooms, definitely the one I spend the most time in and I’m so happy I finally have it the way I want it. The Cream in my Coffee paint shade shown above went everywhere in the house, aside from the bedrooms. We painted all the bedrooms with Desert Fortress by Valspar, which is just slightly darker than Cream in my Coffee. I’m so happy everything matches now!!

I’ve also been loving my new Ikea Micke desk because it gives me so much more space to work with than what I had before. I used to do all my work on my laptop, but my wonderful IT Technician husband found an amazing deal on an all in one computer last year just a few days after Christmas. Now I do all my work on this Acer Aspire Z3-715 and I love it! I’ve never had any problems with it and I’m obsessed with how much of a bigger screen there is for me compared to my laptop.
Along with the landscaping and the painting, we also got new floors!! We previously had ceramic tiles and I liked them for a while after we moved in. But after living with it for two years, I was dying to take them out. The ceramic tiles were extremely difficult to clean and they hurt my feet so bad! I’ve been wanting vinyl planks for the longest time and that’s finally what we have now. We bought them at Home Depot and ended up going with the Java Hickory color. It’s a bit of a work in progress right now because we still have to add the shoe molding back, but I love the way they look and the way they feel on my feet.
I’ve made it pretty clear on my blog, social media, and everywhere else in my life that I am a total coffee addict. Even before owning a home, I knew a coffee bar was gonna happen at some point. Most people have alcohol bars, I have a fully stocked coffee bar complete with the most delish fresh Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans, a grinder for maximum flavor, and a billion mugs to choose from. I make a visit to this spot every morning and I’m so in love with it!!
This year, I discovered how much I appreciate freshly popped popcorn rather than the one that comes in the bag and gets popped in the microwave. But it’s not always convenient to pull out (and dirty) a new pan to make some popcorn. I didn’t even know air poppers existed until Jacob asked for one for his birthday. I bought this one at Target and we absolutely love it. There’s no clean-up required and you have fresh popcorn in just a few minutes. My mind is blown!!
Another appliance find this year that has been getting much use in our kitchen is this panini press, which we also found at Target. I’m telling you, I basically live in that store! This isn’t one of the expensive ones and it’s worked perfectly fine for us. We’ve been enjoying finding new sandwich combinations and other things to put in there. If you have a favorite panini combo, let me know in the comments!
I’ve talked about the Glade plug-ins so much, I’m sure you probably saw this one coming. I’ve been switching up the scents a little bit and even though I did enjoy the Blue Odyssey scent, Hawaiian Breeze is still my absolute favorite! A new find for this year is the Bath & Body Works scentportables for your car. I really wasn’t expecting these to work as good as they do and I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else again. Right now I have the Vanilla Bean scent, which totally smells like a delicious cupcake, but I also really liked Golden Pineapple in the Summer months.
Another thing that has kept my house smelling yummy this year is candles. I’ve never been much of a candle type of girl, but soy candles have quickly found the way to my heart. The soy candles last so much longer, it’s unbelievable. Target has some really good ones that I picked up on Black Friday, but I’ve also found some really good ones at TJ Maxx. This brand called Scentsational always has the best scents.
Life
Obviously my biggest favorite of the entire year is our wedding. We finally became an official family after five years and a half years of dating. It was only two months ago, but I still go back and look at all the pictures constantly because I’m so obsessed with that day. I married the man of my dreams and I am the happiest girl in the world!
Following our wedding, my second biggest favorite of the year is our honeymoon. We went to the Sandals Montego Bay resort in Jamaica and absolutely fell in love. The beaches were a little rocky for my preference (growing up on the Emerald Coast has spoiled me), but we were amazed by the beauty that Jamaica and the Sandals resort had to offer. It was the best seven days ever!!
I’ve always been in pretty good shape by entire life from being so active when I was younger, but I noticed at the beginning of this year that it had been almost two years since the last time I worked out and spent time taking care of my body. Obviously, the pressure of being a bride had a lot to do with motivating me to get started. I remember loving the 10 Minute Solutions videos years ago and finally got back into it.

This year was my first time ever trying pilates and I absolutely love it! I’ve worked so hard on normal routines that I even had to get some resistance bands for an extra challenge. I love the results that pilates has made on my body and I think it’s so fun to do. I hate weights, I hate sweating, I hate being tired after workouts, and I hate being pushed so hard that it’s a struggle to breathe. Pilates doesn’t give me any of that, it just makes me feel refreshed. I’d highly recommend it if you’ve never tried it before!
I mentioned this in my embarrassing November favorites, but this year was my first time ever owning a smartphone. I’ve stuck it out up until this point and kept my basic phone of five years, as well as an iPod that could only be used on wifi. I got the Samsung Galaxy S7 with Straight Talk and I absolutely love it. We found a good deal for a new phone on eBay and have saved a ton of money with Straight Talk. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical of them at first, but took the recommendation of a good friend and now I will never look back.
Random
These next few items don’t necessarily fit into any other categories, but still needed to be mentioned! For my birthday early this year, I asked Jacob for this mint colored Samsonite hard shell suitcase that I found at TJ Maxx and like a good husband (fiancé at the time), he got it for me. I needed a new one with all the travelling I knew I was going to be doing this year. I’ve never had a hard shell suitcase before, but I love it. I can fit so much more stuff in it and I’m not as worried about it being thrown around. I love having the four wheels and also just looking at its pretty color.
I was introduced to Smile Brilliant this year and was definitely a little nervous at first because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was worried about sensitivity, I was worried about what results it was going to provide, but I decided to go for it. I kept to the routine and got amazing results. I’ve talked about this brand many times before and I highly recommend it. I have collaborated with them twice in the past and will definitely be staying a loyal customer when it’s time to whiten again.
I could kick myself for not having found these ThermaCare heat wraps sooner. I’ve been saying for years how I wish someone would invent a portable heating pad, specifically for that special time of the month, because that’s one of the only things that makes me feel better. My mom picked these up for me and I had no idea that they would have worked as well as they do. Now I make sure I always have them, even when I’m not leaving the house, because they don’t have that typical heating pad scent and you can do anything with them. They’re a total life saver!
I’ve loved St. Moriz for a while now, but this year they released a new fast tanning mousse and I love that one even more. As you might have seen in my full review of this product, I think it provides just as good of results as the original version but in a much more convenient time frame. I don’t sleep in my self tan, so the original one was a big pain to do. With the fast tan, I only have to apply one coat (compared to two) and let it sit for three hours (compared to eight).
I know this was so much to mention, which is exactly why I had to break my favorites up into two different posts. Looking back at all of these things from this past year makes me so happy and so thankful for the amazing year that I had. I’m going into 2018 with a grateful heart and the most loving husband during one of the best times in my life. I hope you stay safe this weekend, have a wonderful celebration, and I’ll see you next year! ♥
~Christina~

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