The 15 Things I Bought Last Year that CHANGED MY LIFE

featured, JOY

Okay, that is a very dramatic headline, but I’m not messing around with my emotion toward the items below. These are not things I’d be like, “You know what you should try?” These are items I will passionately advocate for EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE YOU until I finally wear you down enough that you buy said items and, most likely, revel in their glory and go on to live a joyful, fulfilled life with all the riches you desire because YOU LISTENED TO ME.

If you want to start resurrecting a statue in my honor right now, it’s no problem.

And looking over the list, quite a few of these are on the expensive side, but I think that kind of goes with last year. We moved and there’s nothing like getting rid of all of your crap to make you rethink cheap-o purchases, which has always been my MO. And I’m so happy we invested the extra money! Most of these are things we use every single day and I’ve since realized how nice it is to have things that do what they actually are supposed to do instead of sort of working.


1. I’m not sure I can fully explain the way I feel about my Nespresso machine. For years, I was a hard core Starbucks gal, but then one of my friends made me an almond milk latte with this magnificent foam on top from her machine and I was a convert (you have to try it with this New Barn Barista Almond milk! ????).

It’s on the pricier side, but I figure it’s worth it for something I use every day and love so much I’m contemplating bringing it on my ski trip. Is that weird? I feel like it’s weird, but kinda don’t care…

2. Did you gals know the is back!??! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think Ryan Gosling leggings and Samantha Jones t-shirts that made you instantly cool girl.

She’s now called the Clash.ish and her stuff is awesome. Literally, the only thing I asked for this Christmas was her Ms. Hannigan t-shirt, which, spoiler alert!, I got and am wearing as I write this because I AM SUCH A COOL GIRL.

3. Okay, ready for boring but incredibly useful? These Bose Noise Masking Earbuds are LIFE-CHANGING. Someone in my life snores a lot and after trying everything we were at a loss. And then these earbuds came out and saved the day.

They’re not regular earbuds; they only pair with the Bose app, which plays soothing sounds, designed to cut out noises. They took a little getting used to, but now I can’t sleep without them because they mask noises just enough. It’s not that you can’t hear anything, it’s more that everything sounds more muted and not as noticeable (I can still hear the kids if they wake up in the middle of the night).

Again, it felt like a lot of money to drop for earbuds you can’t even listen to music with, but my sleep has improved so much, it was worth every penny.

4. If you hang out with me over on Instagram, you’ve seen my best clothing buy of the year many, many times – this pink jumpsuit from Nooworks. I know what you’re thinking – how often can a gal wear a pink jumpsuit? Turns out, many, many times. It is so comfortable, it’s easy to throw on, and it makes a statement without a lot of effort.

5. I love fashion, but I’ve never known much about make-up. I pretty much learned how to do a smoky eye before my wedding and then just did that every time I put on make-up. School drop off, coffee with friends, Academy Awards, all deserving of a smoky eye, in my book. Then I found Glossier, HALLELUJAH.

They are known for their natural-looking make-up that’s easy to put on and relatively inexpensive. What I like best, though, is there aren’t a ton of options. They have one concealer (that is AMAZING and light), one brow option (so easy), one item for your cheeks (I like Puff), and then I’ll throw on some highlighter (I usually do Halo) and I’m good to go. It wasn’t like I had to try a million things – most of their products work like they say and I look WAY less Crazy Pants at school drop off. ????

6. What kind of jeans do you gals wear? I’ve always been pretty cheap with mine, I just couldn’t imagine spending $100 on something I could get for $30. That is until I tried this Madewell version, which changed my wardrobe. They haven’t stretched out at all, which was my biggest complaint with less expensive jeans (I’d get droopy drawers, big time) and I wear them multiple times a week (this length seems to go with everything). And they’re 40% off right now!

In fact, I’ve been so happy with them, I ended up recycling my old, cheap skinny jeans (Madewell turns them into mattress filling) and bought this pair of skinny jeans over Black Friday, which are now the only ones I wear. Yes, you can call me the Marie Kondo of Jeans, if you must.

7. We travel quite a bit and for years I have tolerated difficult suitcases. To be honest, I didn’t know they were difficult. I assumed that dealing with suitcases that didn’t roll or zip very well was just part of the adventure. IT IS NOT.

My husband bought me this suitcase last year for my birthday and outside of it being so GORGEOUS I want to live in it, it’s easy to roll, has tons of pockets to organize your travel life, and just feels like they thought of everything. It’s a grown up suitcase, ready for grown up adventures.

8. Along with the new suitcase, my husband also splurged on these packing cubes (yes, he is a doll). Every time I open my suitcase, I’m all “WHO IS THIS PERSON AND HOW CAN I GET HER LIFE?!?” They make it so easy to find things – I don’t have to tear apart the entire bag to find my earbuds – and can I tell you how lovely it is to have a place to put dirty laundry? The joys of being an adult!

They’re so helpful I bought the kids a less expensive version at Target to organize their duffel bags when we go on trips. And then my mom loved them so much I bought her a set. And then I felt like all my sisters and friends needed a set so that was everyone’s Christmas gift and I WILL ORGANIZE YOUR LUGGAGE IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO. #kondokaraoftravel

9. This one is kind of an eye-roller, because everyone in the world talks about their Vitamix blenders, but THEY ARE AWESOME. We were using my blender from college (that thing was a champ), but it got to a place where it sounded like it was being murdered every time we turned it on so we finally broke down and went big time. I am so glad we did.

Everything everyone says is true. It’s easy to clean, blends to perfection, plus it takes care of onion chopping and all sorts of other tasks that no one should be required to learn.

10. We’re about to get intimate here, but how’s your bra? This one is a bit of a cheat because I discovered the wonders of a good bra years ago, but since ultimately this is a list of things I won’t shut up about, I feel like it can take an honorary place.

You gals, GET A GOOD BRA. They are expensive, but I can’t tell you how much it will change the way clothes fit and how you look. I only wear this version from Natori. It’s not the sexiest, but it holds the gals in place and lasts forever (plus, they are almost always on sale at the Nordstrom half-yearly sale!).

11. I am one of those people who cannot for the life of me keep my car clean. I can keep on top of the house okay (although some of my Stories beg to differ), but our car is almost always a disaster. One of my friends very subtly recommended this car trash can and it has made a significant difference. I’m not saying it’s clean enough I’d offer you a ride, but it’s no longer so terrible I feel like burning it makes more sense than cleaning it.

12. Red lipstick is kinda my thing. I love a pop of color and the drama of a red lip and pretty much only wear this one color that weirdly looks good on everyone (it’s Revlon Colorburst 240 and it’s also at Target!). The only thing is I can never find them when I want them (all the time) so this year I went big and bought a whole bunch of them and stashed them everywhere. I have them in my make up bag, car cup holder, purses, basically everywhere. And at only $7 a pop, it wasn’t a huge investment, but has brought me an overwhelming sense of joy that can only come from looking like a hottie pants at drop off.

13. For years I have been walking around with my socks halfway off in my shoes because I didn’t know there was another way. NO MORE. My sister made me buy these no show, Van socks and they work! Seriously! They stay up all day long! The other no-show ones DO NOT. I know because I have a drawer full of every brand under the sun and am going to recycle them all (at H&M) and only do the Vans version FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

14. My favorite Christmas gift this year was a subscription to The Book of the Month club. I love books more than just about anything (maybe even more than shoes? DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!) and BOTM does what it says and sends you a book every month. But, here’s the brilliant part – you get to pick the book, but from their five favorites. Basically, they do all the leg work and find the best books out this month and then you decide which one (or all) of them you’ll get. So much fun and so little stress!

Also, I’m going to be posting what I read every month so be sure to follow me over on Instagram to keep up!

15. This last one is another Very Adult one, but, last year, I bit the bullet and got rid of all my plastic Tupperware and went with glass. It was a relief because 1. I know it’s better for our family and 2. Where did all our lids go?!?!? I had 47 bottoms and then 33 lids and none of them matched and I was LOSING MY MIND.

I went with a couple of sets of these glass ones from Amazon and I truly love them because they all have lids (weird, I know) and you can take something out of the fridge and put it right in the microwave, plus my sisters have stopped guilting me. Not about the microwave, but BABY STEPS.

Okay, now, your turn! What item did you buy this past year that was an excellent buy you can’t shut up about? I need to know!!

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Photos by my other favorite thing, MILOU AND OLIN PHOTOGRAPHY.

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