Favorites of 2018: Home & Lifestyle

What a crazy year this has been! I don’t want to say I’m happy it’s over because I never want to wish time away, so instead I’m just thankful for the lessons that I learned. I’m also especially thankful for all the wonderful things that have come into my life within the past year. I have so many favorites to share that I had to break it up into two posts. This first one focuses on all the home and lifestyle favorites. We’re talking family, food, home decor, and any other random things you can imagine!

Family
My first, and definitely most important, favorite of the year are my babies. Our German Shepherd has (obviously) been my favorite for the past four years, but this year we added a little Australian Shepherd to the family. We brought him home when he was just seven weeks old. He was the tiniest puppy I’ve ever held! He was full of fleas when we got him, which also led to some issues with internal worms. But now he’s 9 months, 55 lbs, and healthy as can be!

Our German Shepherd definitely took on the mom role at first, but now they totally act like siblings and are the bestest of friends. They’re always by each other’s side. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect adding another member to the family, but it has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Our house, and hearts, are so complete! ♥
Lifestyle
Another addition in our house is a tandem kayak. We fell in love with kayaking last year on our honeymoon and have been searching for a tandem kayak ever since. We finally found one for sale on Craigslist that was in amazing condition and just couldn’t pass it up. We got it towards the end of the season and have been taking it out any chance we get. It’s somewhat similar, but also different enough from our Gheenoe that we can get anywhere we want on our waters and never get bored.
Puzzles have been another favorite this year that has kept us from getting bored. Me and my husband both work on computers all day and the last thing we want to do at night is look at another screen. So instead of doing more computer work, playing on our phones, or watching tv, we started doing puzzles to give our eyes a break from the blue screens. We get ours at the dollar store and although it may make us seem like old people, it’s actually been a lot of fun. It provides the perfect opportunity for us to relax and enjoy each other’s company. I definitely recommend it!
Speaking of phones, I’m still loving my phone that I included in last year’s favorites. Seriously, y’all. Samsung for the win, all day every day! But I’ve especially been loving my wallet case and Popsocket. I have small hands and the Popsocket makes me feel so much more comfortable and safe. I don’t think I can ever be without it now! I don’t always use the wallet case, but it has definitely come in handy many times when I don’t want to carry my whole purse for a quick errand.
Home
Moving into home favorites, I’ve been obsessed with both of these mirrors. My husband got me a new makeup mirror for my birthday and the oversized mirror was a much searched for purchase from Kirkland’s earlier this year. I’ve wanted an oversized mirror for so long and even though this one has been with me for quite a few months, I’m still just as excited about it as the day we brought it home. It especially looks beautiful with the white Christmas lights I currently have wrapped around it!
One of my favorites last year was the new house paint and while I still am completely obsessed with that, it’s the new wall art in my office that has been exciting. I put together a little gallery wall above my computer earlier this year and it’s been such a great addition to the room. I made the four smaller frames myself (included in a previous DIY post) and although I thought I would’ve changed out some of the frames, I still think they’re super cute!
The mantle of our fireplace has been a work in progress for the three years we’ve been living in our house. If it wasn’t the paint color of the wall, it was the decoration that sat on top of it. I just couldn’t get it right! I decided to really focus on it this Spring and found these fake grass-like planters at TJ Maxx. I actually found one at TJ Maxx and the second one 20 minutes away at Marshall’s. They’re exactly what I wanted and have carried me through all the different seasons.

The mirror and wreath are also my favorites. Arched mirrors are all over the decor magazines and Pinterest. I absolutely refused to pay the almost $200 that places like Kirkland’s and Hobby Lobby were charging. But my patience paid off because I finally found this one at Marshall’s for $40!! From far away, the wreath kind of looks like cotton but it’s actually tiny white flowers. I loveee it!!
Every year we’ve lived in our house so far, we’ve spent time improving the outside. We did some extreme landscaping the first year, last year we switched out all the mulch for white marble rocks, and this year we added cafe lights and an umbrella to our outdoor table. I love the way cafe lights look in an outdoor lounging area and they have actually come in really handy when we’re grilling. We got them on Amazon for a great price ($25 for 50’) and set them up with PVC pipes that we spray painted black. They add a ton of relaxing light to the area!

The umbrella was ordered off of Hayneedle for a great sale price. With the extremely hot Summers that we get, the umbrella has been a tremendous help for keeping the metal table cool enough to touch!
My husband loves gardening and this year he started sunflowers from seeds. This is the first time we’ve ever tried growing flowers from seeds and it was so cool to watch the entire process. Not all of the sunflowers were a complete success, but the ones that did make it were absolutely gorgeous. I loved waking up every morning and seeing the bright yellow face of these sunflowers out the window. It’s just one of those things that makes you smile!
The story of how we decided to upgrade our shower head is actually kind of silly. We changed one of the shower heads in the bathroom that we typically bathe the dogs in because we thought having one with a hose would make the dog bathing process easier. It helped so much! But then we were jealous and had to upgrade the one in our own bathroom. We got this 6” size shower head on Amazon and it’s been such a luxury. Water pressure is a huge shower factor to me because I have such long hair and the settings on this, along with its large size, makes rinsing shampoo and conditioner a breeze!
I definitely bought this portable fan because of KathleenLights on Youtube. She uses one to help dry her setting spray and I thought that was such a great idea. But I also use it in many other ways. For example, I hate feeling like I’m gonna overheat in the bathtub and this is perfect to set off to the side for a little airflow. I got this on Amazon, just like half the things in my life. It charges by USB and has three different settings. I can’t recommend it enough!
One of my biggest fears in life is fire. I’ve never liked fire and I’ve always refused to use anything other than a stick lighter. That’s not always convenient, though, which makes these little tiny Crocs lighters so wonderful. I mainly only use them to light candles because that’s really all I ever need a lighter for anyway. My sister got me this one for Christmas last year, but I’ve also seen them at the Dollar Tree and have bought two or three more since. The only bad thing is that they don’t always last very long and they aren’t refillable.
Food
I don’t know what it was, but apparently I was on a huge food obsession this year. I don’t think I’ve ever included so much food in a yearly favorites post before! Bruschetta has always been a favorite of mine, but it wasn’t until this year that we finally decided to try making it at home (find our recipe here). It turned out to be a lot easier than we expected. The obsession had gotten so bad that we made it multiple times a week. Now I’m burnt out on it and haven’t had it in a while, but it’s still absolutely delicious.

On the other hand, macaroni and cheese has never been a food that I enjoyed very much. That has done a complete 180 in the past year and now I’ve been wanting it all the time. Thankfully I have a sister who has been a macaroni and cheese connoisseur her entire life and has helped me find the most yummy options. The Kraft Three Cheese with shells has definitely been my favorite.
Chocolate is one of my favorite things in the world, as you’ll be able to tell from the next four favorites. Coffee-mate released a new Toasted Marshmallow Mocha creamer this year that is absolutely delicious!! Publix has the best bakery in all of forever and their eclairs are so good! The filling is perfect, but I think it’s the fudgey icing on top that sets it apart from everything else.

My husband got these Jo’s Candies Milk Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams for me at TJ Maxx. I actually wasn’t expecting to become as obsessed with them as I am. Everything about these is just absolute perfection! I just wish they more easily available. With stores like TJ Maxx, you never know when you’ll find something again. So every time I see these in the store, I always pick up at least two bags! Don’t judge.

Ice cream is one thing that’s never been my favorite. It just never seemed to make me as happy as it makes everyone else. Not to mention that I’ve struggled with lactose intolerance, which made me not really care about ice cream even more. I picked up this Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream when it was on sale one day because I was intrigued by its pudding and cookies ingredients. It is definitely the best ice cream I’ve ever had! I still don’t eat that much of it because I always have to take a pill and I really only eat ice cream if it’s in a cone, so these smalls tubs are the perfect size. Between this and the mac and cheese, Lactaid owes me money for all the boxes I’ve bought in one year!
I could probably live off of chocolate and chicken tenders my entire life and be perfectly content. Those have been two of my biggest obsessions since the beginning of time. I’ve definitely eaten way more than my fair share of chicken fingers and I’ve become very particular about the ones I prefer. Foosackly’s is by far the best fast food chicken fingers I’ve ever had.

They’re pretty local to our area with locations only around Mobile, Al and Pensacola, Fl. Not only is the food better than any other fast food option, the brand and company itself is so well structured. It’s very obvious that they care about their customers and their products. They recently opened one exactly ten minutes from our house. That was definitely one of the best highlights of my year!
Kitchen
We’ve had this bread box since the beginning of the year and I still can’t believe how long it took us to finally find one. The search for a decent one took months, but Target finally came through -- as always. This really does help keep our bread fresh longer and it actually fits a lot more in it than I was expecting. It looks nice sitting on the counter and I like the frosted front to somewhat conceal its contents, while also subtly reminding me what’s inside so I don’t forget about it.
Smoothies are the perfect way to start the day...after the coffee has set in, of course. I finally started making smoothies at home this year and quickly realized we needed to upgrade our blender. We decided to pick up this 1000 watt Ninja blender and it has made such a difference. I use this at least four times a week and it’s always performed exactly how I need it to. These are somewhat of an investment, but it’s also saved us so much money this past year and basically paid for itself within the first month!
This probably seems so silly, but this whisk is actually a huge favorite of mine this year. I use a whisk for a ton of different things and this style is the best that I’ve ever used. I picked it up at Tuesday Morning and I’ve been looking for another one ever since. I have no idea what it’s called or what brand it is, but it’s amazing. The fact that it’s open-ended is such a game changer!
I’m definitely not a “destroy all straws” kind of person by any means. I use straws all the time, no matter what they’re made out of. Especially when I’m drinking a smoothie! I try to use reusable ones when I can, but I’m not touching a paper straw. Those are gross. Plastic straws are a little better, but I hate resting my teeth on something so hard. Thankfully silicone straws are becoming more common and my husband picked these up for me at Target.

They’re by the brand Klean Kanteen. The bottom is stainless steel and the top is a removable silicone piece. It also came with a straw cleaning brush, which is actually a big help. I use these with my smoothies all the time. The silicone piece helps protect my front teeth from the cold temperature of the drink, while the stainless steel keeps it chilled.
We made it to the end! Can you believe it? Because I almost can’t! I was really surprised with how many food favorites I had to share. That rarely ever happens. Be on the lookout for part two coming next week with all my beauty and fashion favorites. I’m even more excited about that one!!
If you have any questions about any of the products I mentioned, please feel free to leave them for me in the comments section below.

What were some of your home and lifestyle favorites this year?

XO ♥ Christina ♥

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Comments

  1. I think we are really similar in what we get excited about! Finding that perfect home 'thing' makes me feel like such an adult, but hey! it's the little things!
    I'm sure getting another dog was a huge highlight of your year! They are so much work, but a lot of fun. I haven't thought about getting a puzzle in such a long time-but you are so right! Why do we want to look at screen after being at work all day?! Might be adding that to my next Target run...
    Kristen // www.pugsandpearls.com

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    1. Oh my goodness, decorating is so much fun!! It can be a little stressful sometimes, but it's such a good feeling when you finally find exactly what you're looking for. The new puppy has been one of the best decisions we've ever made. He's so sweet and cuddly, we feel so complete now! I also really like doing word searches or sudoku to help ease my eyes, but that's really just a one person type of thing and puzzles were the perfect answer for what we were looking for. I even had one made for our anniversary with one of our wedding photos. That was a lot of fun!!

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