Here’s a little compilation of some of my favorite things straight from my house–not just random things I found on Amazon, but things I have, things I use OFTEN, things I get asked about, things I had no idea I’d enjoy so much or use as much as I do. If you need some gift ideas or are just wondering where in the world I found a certain thing….here it is…

1. Persian Garden Roll on Fragrance Oil : It’s a less than $10 perfume that I get major compliments on every time I wear it–my mom even asked if I could get her some. Most perfumes give me a headache and sore throat, but not this one, I’ve worn it for two years. Locally I buy it at Healthy Home Market.

2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: I’m usually not a nail polish girl because I use my hands so much, but this top coat finishes like a salon gel (only you can remove it with regular polish remover at home!!) they sell nail polish in the same line, but I often use it with any brand nail polish and I’m still really happy with the results–it looks nice about twice as long if I use this topcoat.

3. Sheepskin Rug: I’ve wanted one of these for years so I could step out of bed onto it. Great on a table, back of a chair or as a rug, warning: your cats and dogs will want to claim it.

4. Milk steamer/frother: for years I had this, which works fine for what it is, but once I got this one, there was no turning back, it’s a great partner for my other favorite thing, the Nespresso and can make steamed frothed milk for hot drinks, or keep the milk cold & frothed for cold drinks

silver lining

5. Jonathan Adler zebra tray: if you follow me on instagram you’ve seen this little tray too much, it’s so photogenic! It got so much personality, it’s either by my bed holding jewelery, or in the family room on the coffee table with loose change or random items, or on the dining room table.

6. stainless steel straws: Chad surprised me with these a few years ago, I had never seen them before, I’m a straw connoisseur and LOVE these. I’m not a fan of the thick plastic straws that come with most insulated cups –its like drinking out of a pipe. –if you are into straws you’ll love these thin pre-bent metal straws that turn cold as soon as you use them.

7. Le Creuset dutch oven: I hesitated to add this. it’s pricey. I went over 15 years of cooking and wife-ing before I invested in one of these life changing pots. I have three different french brands, that are three different colors and sizes and two different finishes inside. This size and style and maker and enamel finish is by far my favorite I use it almost every time I cook dinner. Worth the splurge. Shown in the photo is the Le Creuset 2 quart in my favorite color: fennel (we used this even last night for mashed potatoes, it’s the perfect starter size to see how much you love these, perfect for side dishes and sauces for a big family or for main dishes for two.)

8.  Baker’s Twine! Caroline gifted me with a few bolts of  colored baker’s twine a few years ago and now I can’t live without it. I use it for wrapping gifts, making tassels and making everything prettier. You really don’t need to have a separate bin for Christmas wrapping, just keep some pretty twine and number 10 on this list and you’ll have simply beautiful wrapping supplies at your fingertips.

9. Disco Ball: probably the one thing I own that I get asked about the most. Pictured above is an 8ish inch ball, I also have about a 20 inch disco ball. I found the big one on ebay and they have lots available on amazon too. Put it in the sun and watch the show!

black wrapping paper

10: Black wrapping paper.  YES. If you consider nothing else on this list, consider this purchase–for yourself! Once you try it, you’ll use it for every occasion. Yes, at first you’ll feel like you are wrapping gifts for a funeral, but, it is so pretty when embellished with any color twine, yarn and doilies. I use it almost exclusively now for every occasion, you can write on it with chalk markers (this is how coffee shops get that dark chalk writing on their boards, metallic pens and everything looks pretty on black paper. Plus, it’s thick and forgiving when you wrap so it makes your wrapping skills look amazing.

11. Metallic Paint Pens: these are NOT the same a Sharpie metallic markers, not even close. These pens are miraculous and make your writing or dots look on purpose and better. Also–they look fantastic writing on black paper! Everyone should have a gold & silver metallic paint pen in their arsenal!

12. Fur pillow: Texture is the lost people group of design. We can get so caught up on matching the ‘perfect’ color that we ignore the major role that texture can play. I use this pillow around the house every season.


nesting place book

Lastly, The Nesting Place book might be the perfect gift for anyone who lives in any type of house. Right now on Amazon it’s just over $13 and it’s been the #1 Best Seller in Interior Design since it came out in April. This is NOT your normal decorating book. It won’t tell you the best color to paint your walls, but it will give you the confidence to pick a color to paint your walls.

 And for the mens…


Here are some man picks: Chad’s favorite things from the past year, he’s a manly man, enjoys reading, appreciates good packaging, and likes being outdoors….

man gifts

1. Mantry : So, I secretly got this for Chad without asking him because I wanted to see if he liked it. In the past I’ve done BirchBox and StitchFix for myself, and he’s always asked if there’s any good subscription boxes for men. Yes, yes there is: Mantry.

2. Red Wing boots : There are very few things in life that Chad wants. He’s simple. But he wanted a pair of boots and researched and waited and saved and is convinced he will have these boots for the rest of his life. I kind of believe him. Apparently these boots have a cult following, they even have an instagram hashtag.

3. Tobacco pipe candle : Um, Chad bought this for himself. Need I say more? It cost about a million dollars on Amazon, so unless you have a candle emergency where you need to buy Prince Charles a man candle (mandle) then hold out for finding this one at TJ Maxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls for $8

4. The Heroic Path : Every year we find a book we like so much that we end up buying multiple copies to give away, this year, this is that book, Chad has stacks of them and gives them to his friends. Know a man? Get him this book.

5.God and Guinness : All I know about this book is that Chad loved it. It was historical, and had something to do with God and Beer, two of his favorite topics.

 *affiliate links used in some cases

books of 2014