Monday, December 21, 2015

Favorite Things 2015 (Plus an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!)

Welcome to my fourth annual Favorite Things post!  I love writing this post every year to share things I've collected and loved for the past 365 days.  Each year, I kind of make a mental list of the things that I want to include in this post.  (Click these links to see the 2012, 2013, and 2014 posts.) Most of these I already own, some I just want to own...but they are all products I think are just the best of the best for this year!

Let's get to it!
Sheex - Once you own a set of these sheets, you will never want to sleep in anything else again...seriously.  They are the softest, silkiest, most durable sheets ever.  They do take a little bit of getting used to.  The fabric is kind of like stretchy yoga pants - imagine sleeping in a pair of Wunder Unders every night. :) But man, once you get used to them they are amazing. We've only invested in one set so far but I'm looking to buy #2 soon!

Redken All Soft - I've always been a big Redken fan (my love for Anti-Snap is well-documented on this blog), so when JCPenney ran an amazing sale on Redken liters a month or two ago, I took a chance on All Soft Shampoo/Conditioner.  I had read great reviews, and they were definitely right!  I've never had a shampoo/conditioner leave my hair feeling so soft and healthy.  I've even had several people comment on it.  In all fairness, I might just have that awesome pregnancy hair going too...we'll see in a couple of months.  But I definitely noticed a difference when I started using this! (If you're getting the liters, go on and get these pumps for the bottles too to make your life a little easier.)

I got the All Soft Cream too, but have only used it once, and the jury's still out on it...I made the mistake of putting a little too much on my roots, and it made my hair extremely limp/oily for a few days.  But I can see it being amazing if you just concentrate on your ends, or if you have really dry hair.

Gelish Nail Polish - Love, love love this gel polish!  It makes it so easy to give yourself a gel manicure at home.  I have the Sally Hansen Pro Gel starter kit that I use with this...from what I've seen, it's the cheapest way to get the LED light and the other polishes you'll need to cure the Gelish (and it works great).  More than likely, I'll replace the Sally Hansen base coat and top coat with the Gelish base and top coats when I run out.  Gelish comes in a ton of colors and is incredibly durable...I normally get at least a week and a half worth of wear out of it when it's on my hands, and up to 3 weeks when it's on my toes.

ELF Mineral Primer and High Definition Powder - This is another set I had read a ton of great reviews on before I actually purchased.  These two are probably the highest-reviewed items that ELF has, and they are both super inexpensive!  The Mineral Primer goes on under your makeup to kind of smooth out and prep your skin for foundation.  The day I bought it, I just happened to be in Sephora too, so I did a little test...I put Smashbox Primer on half of my face and ELF Mineral Primer on the other half.  By the end of the day, I could tell very, very little difference in the results!  The High Definition Powder goes on over your makeup to set everything.  It evens out the last few imperfections in your foundation and makes your makeup last longer.  Both are everyday products for me now!

Gas Buddy - Ok, this might not be a product, but it's definitely one of my favorites this year (and it's free!).  It's an app that tells you what gas stations have the cheapest gas in your area.  You can either use your phone's GPS or plug in a zip code to see the cheapest gas stations.  There's no telling how much money this has saved me over the years!

Keurig Rivo - When we went to the beach with friends a month or so ago, the condo where we stayed had one of these...and I absolutely fell in love.  If you're a Starbucks addict, you might want to consider this machine.  I can tell very little difference in a latte from this and one at Starbucks!  It makes espresso and froths milk for your drinks.  It comes with pods just like a regular Keurig, but they are specially designed just for this machine.

Batiste Dry Shampoo - This is yet another product I researched (probably a little too much) before I bought it...I read so many dry shampoo reviews before buying this, and the majority suggested this one.  It's available at so many different drug/grocery stores, and it really does work incredibly well!  I am an every-other-day shampooer now (if you haven't tried this, do hair is so much healthier now!), so this is what I use on the off days.  A word of caution to dark-haired girls though - only spray little spurts of this in your hair if you don't want gray hair.  It's really powerful!

Uggs - So I'm about 10 years late to this bandwagon, I know.  But y'all.  Why didn't anyone tell me these are the most comfortable shoes on the face of the planet?  I have the classic short (and FYI, they're on sale at this link right now!)- I just wanted something I could slip on for preschool drop-off or for a quick run to the grocery store. I might just wear these all season though.  (Plus, pregnancy bonus, they stretch a little so my swollen feet still fit!)

Silicone Baking Sheets - This is something that's on my wish list this year.  I usually use parchment paper when baking, but just using that (expensive) paper once and throwing away seems like kind of a waste.  Why not get something that is reusable and does the same thing?  I love my silicone bake wear, so this is the natural next step!  The ones I have pictured/linked above come highly recommend and the price is great too.

Amazon Cloud Drive - I actually learned about this service when I was asked to review it on the blog a few months ago, and it has quickly become one of my favorite things.  If you are a Prime member (isn't everybody now?) and you aren't at least using the Prime Photos backup, you're missing out.  Prime members can back up unlimited photos to Amazon's Prime Photos Service for free!  The organization is really simple (it allows you to organize everything by date taken or upload date), so I can see every picture I've taken in one view.  Plus, there's an iPhone app that backs up your phone pictures too.  I upgraded our service a few weeks ago to unlimited files on the was crazy cheap (I scored a year of unlimited file backup for $5, compared to $60 a year I was paying with another service), so I'm currently in the process of switching everything over from our old backup service to Amazon.  But the pictures I already have on there are definitely the most important files...I'm so glad I have them all backed up and all in one place now!

Baby Feet - This is another product that I've read rave reviews about and is on my wish list.  It's a deep exfoliation peel for your feet that is basically the equivalent of getting a pedicure in a salon.  Each treatment is a little expensive, but if you compare it to getting a pedicure, the price is really not that bad.

eMeals - I've been an eMeals fan since I started using it a couple of years ago.  This summer, I let my subscription run out though...I was right in the middle of the morning sickness that would.not.end., and my last priority was cooking (if you know me, you know that's not like me at all).  I went a few months without it and finally realized how valuable the service was!  Each week, they send you a meal plan and grocery list.  Here's how I use it: when the list comes out each Wednesday, I go through (on my eMeals app) and "favorite" the meals I like.  Then, when I'm planning my meals for the week, I go through my favorites list (which is constantly growing) and pick the meals that fit what we want/what we have on hand each week to put on my menu.  It then builds a grocery list for you in the app that lets you add/remove items.  It seriously couldn't be easier to use!  If you cook at home a lot, I'd highly recommend it.

Garnier Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream - This was another product I learned about through one of my blog reviews that has become a staple for me.  It's a night cream that I now use each and every night.  It makes your skin feel so incredibly soft (not really all that greasy, like a lot of night creams).  When you wake up in the morning, your skin is moisturized and just feels healthy.  I can tell a huge difference if I go to sleep without it!

Olay Pro X Facial Brush - I've used this for about a year now and couldn't be happier with it.  If you've ever wanted a Clarisonic but haven't wanted to spend that kind of money on it, this is the perfect solution.  It's inexpensive and does the job of a Clarisonic really just as well.  The brushes have held up extremely well (I'm still using the first one I bought).  This really makes your skin feel clean and smooth.  I use it every night in the shower!

Bentgo Box - Noah takes his lunch to work almost every single day, so this is something that gets a lot of use around here.  It's a lunch box that has perfectly portioned sections for each part of your meal.  It includes an elastic band to keep it together and utensils.  It's so durable too - Noah's probably used this for at least a year and there's almost no signs of wear on it!

Now, as a thank you to y'all (since you guys are one of my favorite things, too!), I'm giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to one of you!  No sponsors on this one, just my way of saying thank for sticking with me throughout the years.

Enter with the widget below.  I'll close entries on this next Monday night (the 28th) and randomly pick a winner the next day.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!  And while you're entering giveaways, check out a few awesome sponsored ones that are running on the blog right now...

Enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card with LG Appliances - ends 12/31/15
Enter to win a $100 Walmart Gift Card with Elizabeth Arden Fragrances - ends 12/31/15
Enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card with Vitafusion - ends 12/31/15
Enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card with Marie Callender's - ends 2/29/16

*No purchase necessary. Sweepstakes open to US residents age 18+.  This sweepstakes is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Amazon, or Google.  Winner will be notified the day after giveaway ends (via email provided in Rafflecopter) of their prize.  Winner must claim prize by responding to that email with a valid address where they will receive their prize code.