Monday, January 18, 2021

My Top 20 Products of 2020

Happy Monday everyone! I've seen a couple other bloggers do their roundup of the best 2020 products and I decided to join in. Throughout last year, there were 20 items that I consistently used, including my favorite jeans, blanket, and workout app. Below is my complete list of all the 2020 products I'll be bringing with me into 2021.

TOP 5 BEAUTY ITEMS

Tarte Airbrush Foundation: Light coverage to help with the joys of mascne.

Better Than Sex Mascara: It doesn't irritate my eyes and is nice and thick.

Sally Hansen Gel Polish: I missed getting my nails done so much this year and this was the perfect stand-in.

Silicone Beauty Scrubber: A great way to exfoliate my face, while using my favorite cleanser.

Herbal Essences Shampoo: I discovered this during the second half of the year and love it! It smells amazing and gives my hair the right amount of volume.

TOP 5 FASHION ITEMS

Loft Boyfriend Jeans: I bought these on a whim and practically lived in them any time I went out.

Lou & Grey Lounge Set: When I wasn't in my jeans, I was in this set. So freaking soft!

Sperry Duck Boots: Great for chilly Chicago days.

Kendra Scott Jewelry: My go-to necklace and earrings. Simple, elegant, and matches with everything.

Old Navy Masks: They come in the cutest patterns and are adjustable.

TOP 5 HOME ITEMS

Plush Velvet Blanket: I found this at Costco and it's the softest thing I own.

Velvet Chair from Wayfair: This chair completed my family room and, starting this month, I'm going to use it as an office chair with my new desk.

AOC Portable Monitor: I went between my parents' house and my own most of the year, so being able to bring this with me was so convenient.

Pillow Lap Desk: Working from the couch (or coloring while watching TV) has never been easier.

Nora Fleming Dishes: I didn't have people over as much this year, but it was still so fun to swap out my toppers seasonally. It's the little things.

TOP 5 OTHER ITEMS

iPhone Tripod Mount: This made taking photos so much easier while living alone (and in quarantine).

Sweat App: I started using this a couple years ago with a friend and it's the best. Plus, it made working-out from home so simple.

Monthly Desktop Backgrounds: I love the Everygirl's desktop backgrounds. I change mine every month on my work computer to have a calendar handy.

Johanna Basford Coloring Books: During the stay-at-home order in the spring, I colored in these like crazy.

Fringe Notebooks: These are the only notebooks that I use for work. Whenever I find them at HomeGoods, I buy them all.

Pin for Later:

What were some of your favorite 2020 products?

Monday, January 11, 2021

Christmas in Asheville

This year for Christmas, my family decided to take a mini vacation. In past years, we've done exotic trips like Belize and Jamaica, but due to the pandemic, we decided to stay close to home. After researching the best Christmas towns in the US, we settled on Asheville, NC. It was my first time there, so I was excited to explore. It reminded me of a smaller version of Portland, with its breweries and overall vibe. In order to see a lot of the town, as well as stay safe, we planned out an itinerary that had us both at the cabin and downtown. Below you'll find our complete itinerary and all the fun we had spending the week together.
 
WEDNESDAY 12/23
 
Christmas at the Biltmore Estate: What an incredible place! They had the entire estate decorated for Christmas, with multiple trees in each room, ornate garland, and thousands of ornaments. We explored the shops and grounds before we went inside and then enjoyed the nighttime tour of the Biltmore.

Dinner at Stoney Knob Cafe: This was rated one of the best restaurants in Weaverville (where we were staying) and it held up. The vibe of the restaurant was so fun and the staff was so nice. We almost went back a second night it was that good!

THURSDAY 12/24

Brunch at the Red Stagg: The Red Stagg is in the Grand Bohemian Hotel, which is beautiful. It's full of rustic charm and luxurious accents. The brunch menu was relatively small, but the food was delicious. After brunch, we went to an Olde World Christmas Shoppe where we hunted for the best ornaments.

Wine Tasting at the Biltmore Winery: The Biltmore also has a winery, which is just as lovely as the grounds. We were able to try multiple wines, ranging from sweet to dry, all of which were delicious.

Visit to the Black Mountain Brewery: Our initial plan was to visit a cidery by the same name, but unfortunately, it was closed. We ended up at the brewery instead, which was still fun. It was drizzling outside, so we enjoyed our beer huddled around a heater in the rain.

Snowstorm: Christmas Eve turned into quite the evening. It had started to snow while we were waiting for our dinner and turned into a full-on snowstorm on the way back to the cabin. Our car ended up getting stuck part way up the hill, so my dad and Kenneth had to walk all the way to the cabin to grab our other car. It was an adventure!

FRIDAY 12/25

A White Christmas: The snowstorm the night before created the most beautiful Christmas. It was snowy, chilly, and sunny. The perfect white Christmas.

Christmas Morning: We spent the morning opening our stockings and gifts to each other. It was super relaxed and more low-key than our usual Christmas, which was a nice change of pace. (Also - check out the jean jacket that my sister hand-painted for me!)

Snowy Photo Shoot: You can't have beautiful snow and not take photos, right?

Dinner at District 42: We didn't anticipate a snowy Christmas, so our dinner plans had to change. We ended up at a hotel restaurant, which was a strange way to spend Christmas, but tasty nonetheless.

SATURDAY 12/26

Browsing at the Grove Arcade: Before dinner, we walked around the Arcade, looking through shop windows (they closed early) and enjoying the decorations.

Dinner at Asheville Proper: Such a fun place! It's a relatively new restaurant that specializes in live fire cooking. I'm not a beef person, but I loved my filet. We all really enjoyed the meals that we ordered, as well as the desserts. I had the s'more, which included marshmallow ice cream - yum!

SUNDAY 12/27

Visit to Omni Grove Park Inn: The Inn is beautiful and massive! It was built in the 1900s and they've done a really good job keeping the original charm. We went to their brunch buffet which was, sadly, only okay. My parents had been in the past and it was amazing - I think the Covid restrictions were rough on the buffet. But, we still enjoyed it! (My sister and I also made our first TikTok video before brunch. You can find it here.)

Tasting at the Funkatorium: My sister was so excited to go here because she loves sours. We each tried four different types, all with unique themes. I'm not a big sour person, so this was a little outside my norm. My sister loved it, though!
 
Arboretum Light Show: To end our trip, we drove through the Arboretum lights.

I am so thankful to have had this quality time with my family in such a fun town. I can't wait to visit again in non-Covid times to truly experience the downtown and all it has to offer.