I haven't done a Favorite buys post in ages. Partly because there have been fewer purchases over the last year, or so I thought, but I find I've quite a few things I'd like to share with you all as really good purchases. These are items I've used long enough now to really appreciate how well they work. I always find it very helpful to know what someone else has found helpful or useful or might be a product I've looked at and wondered about but didn't know if it was worthwhile.
Here's my list of new purchases, and a couple of reviews of past purchases that I've shared before, but think is worth repeating because they are still high on my list of favorites. I'm including images and links to the items. Amazon items are all Associate Affiliate links. None of the non-Amazon items are affiliate links.
I was in the midst of two big projects last January. One was to paint the master bathroom which I began in January. Then I was determined to freshen the kitchen and I determined it would be the kitchen island, which really did need a coat of paint. Alas, I had not realized how very wobbly it had gotten until I started to move it outdoors...at which point it fell into pieces. I was all for putting it back together again, but John took one look at it and said 'Nope. It's done." He insisted we order a new island which we did. I'd used and appreciated my old one though it wasn't the size that I'd wanted. John insisted I get the size I wanted this time around.
When we put this together, we left the towel bars on the ends off. I have never found them handy, and children always seemed to knock their heads on them. No regrets over not putting them on. I've been so very happy with this purchase. So happy in fact, that we plan to order a second one and will place the two side by side on the wall where the freezers are at the moment. Why? Because it's cheaper than a huge cabinet base and countertop to go in the same place. As well I think if we decide to put shelves above it, we'll have more the look of the big hutch I wanted in that space.
John asked if I had any other items I hadn't been happy with when we bought the island. I thought of the heavy Cuisinart Waffle Iron that always overflowed or made terrible waffles. Lana and several others highly recommended this Presto waffle iron. I love it! I've never had it overflow even once and it's not a back breaker when I have to pull it off the shelf to use it.
I transferred silverware to the kitchen island drawer and got it off my counter where it had been sitting in a jar for ages upon ages. I had a traditional flatware tray and it fit. Not well, but it worked. Then someone shared this flatware tray on Instagram.
I was won over quickly by the slim lines. I ordered one immediately and can tell you honestly it holds easily 8 place settings and then some. Because it is slimmer, I am able to fit all my kitchen knives behind it in the same drawer, which mean I can keep them out of reach of little hands and helps to eliminate crowding in the other drawer where I keep kitchen utensils.
If your kitchen space is limited and your drawer space is cramped, this tray is well worth trying. It really does save space!
I've had refillable k-cups in the past and liked them well enough, but when we decided this past autumn that coffee was one huge chunk of our food budget, I decided to go back to filling k-cups at home. I ordered these and am very happy with them.
Eventually we gave up filling k-cups because of the constant mess. Then John suggested after we sailed through a box of pre-filled k-cups in less than 3 weeks that I could fill them and put them in our k-cup drawer. Emptying and filling them myself might mean far fewer messes to clean up. But I wanted to easily distinguish between decaf and regular coffee. I thought I'd get a different color.
I ordered this set most recently. They are quite a bit bigger and quite a snug fit in my Keurig, though the box assures me these fit the same machine. For my money...Give me the first lot. I'm going to go back and look again at what's available and see if I can find something more similar to the size of the first ones but in a different color so we can tell them apart. In the meantime, we're prying these out of the machine.
I love using a spatula in my kitchen. By spatula I mean what some people refer to as 'scrapers'. When you see the picture, you'll know just what I mean. I find them incredibly handy. The link goes to the set I ordered but not the color I ordered. The photo below is the color and not the set.
I'll quickly slide out of the kitchen and into the bedroom. I wanted new pillows for my bed this autumn. I don't buy throw pillows as a rule. I buy pillow covers. They are so much better priced, and I find that often enough I have a throw pillow the size I want on hand already anyway.
These velvet pillow covers came up in a search one day and I was smitten with the idea of velvet for autumn and winter. They are very well made, sturdy (and currently overstuffed as I really needed a larger size). I'm very happy with them just the same. The zippers are holding up well even though I'm abusing them. They are very well priced, coming in pairs. The colors are rich and true.
I ordered the pumpkin orange ones to use on my dark teal spread for the cooler months. In summer, I have coral but I'm seriously considering ordering pale pink for this summer...and I like these so much I'm thinking about making an order for two more sets for the living room.
Our big purchase this year was a set of chairs for the living room from Ashley Furniture.
We have been so very pleased with them. The seats are firm, but not hard. The upholstery has held up really well. It hasn't pilled or pulled. The kids can't resist jumping on the furniture even though it's not allowed in any of our homes. My concern was that the cushions would be quick to wear down, lose their height, etc., but they haven't at all. They've held up really well. The chairs came with a five-year guarantee of free replacement if we had any issue with the cushions.
When John's back was hurting him so, he was applying heat. NOT the right thing to do for sciatica. We both are aware now that ice is the best thing for it. But at the time, he wanted two heating pads to go on two different places on his back. I found this one and ordered two of them. They are extra-long, a full 24 inches and so nice! Nicest part of all is that now we have two, we can both have heat if we're hurting, lol. Not for sciatica though. We have ice packs for that.
John also bought this small TENS unit to use here at home. He's a big proponent of using TENS and since the chiropractor he visits uses it as well, he's convinced it's the best thing ever. I've tried it after pulling a muscle lifting the little one. It is helpful.
Now let's get into the personal things.
I went into the new year looking to have a better skincare routine overall. I started with how I cleansed and moisturized. I mentioned what I was doing in this post here on the blog. I've changed a few things since I wrote that post, but I have not changed the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. I kept mine in the fridge over summer, but it's cooled enough this time of year I can keep it in the bathroom. It's not at all necessary to keep it in the fridge mind you but it's very refreshing.
I spent some time using Farmasii products. The item I used was the Aqua line. It was lovely but my skin didn't respond as I wanted it to. I often felt my skin was tight at the day's end. I did use the Vitamin C and Hyaluronic serums with that product but the results were just not good for me. And frankly the product line was pricey and didn't last as long as I'd have liked. I was finished with the bottle of moisturizer within 3 weeks. I wasn't generous with it either. No, that particular line wasn't for me and I refused to pay out more big bucks to test other lines.
I went right back to Cetaphil soap, the serums and the knock off Cetaphil type moisturizer I'd been using. Still not happy with skin care.
As of this month I'm trying a new product line from e.l.f. and so far I'm quite happy with it. I'll tell you more when I've had a longer testing period.
What I did discover from Farmasi was a lovely foundation that never leaves my skin feeling taut and dry. Did I need a new foundation? I did not. I was given this bottle, but I'd definitely buy it for myself. I really like the way it makes my skin look slightly dewy but never greasy.
Did I give up the Laura Geller Baked Balanced and Brighten Foundation? Not at all. I use it often. It just depends on how much time I want to take with my makeup and what the weather is like. I love the Geller product every bit as much as I did when I first started using it.
What I did change was the Primer I use under my makeup. The e.l.f. Mineral Primer was silicone based. My foundations are water based. I learned very quickly that the mineral primer caused the Farmasi VFX product to separate and look spotty. Katie was the help with this issue.
She found a water based e.l.f. Matte Putty primer that I have been using since and it all works just fine. The Laura Geller product goes over this product in a lovely way. I think this must be very close to what the Spackle product from the Geller site is like. It's got a tacky feel when applied that really grabs foundation, but it does not leave the skin feeling tacky at all. Once the powder or the liquid foundation goes on it just feels like skin.
Last, I ordered myself what my Brit friend calls a 'dressing gown'. Truth told I've wanted one for ages upon ages. I've had some lovely housecoats in my lifetime but lately finding anything pretty that didn't look frumpy or made me feel overheated has been a big issue. I saw this robe and fell for it hard.
It is true to size. I ordered a 2X which I typically do when ordering dresses and gowns just so I have the extra room in the hip area. Has a tie on the inside so that the robe doesn't constantly slip off. It's got weight to it but it's not flimsy and neither is it heavy. For me it's the perfect weight to wear here in the house on a chilly morning and evening.
The pattern is absolutely beautiful, and the colors are rich and bright. I think I wanted this robe so much because it reminds me of a silk wallet one of John's former co-workers brought me when she traveled to China on a business trip. I loved that wallet so much! And when she went back a few years later she brought me another one in a different color wave.
Frankly this gown makes me feel a bit luxe.
I don't see the color gown I ordered (the one pictured above is the one I bought) available at this time, but if you're interested and just not keen on the colors keep checking back. They had at least 10 colors when I ordered. Right now, they have just three.
A more recent purchase is this pair of slippers.
I think they are soooo pretty! And they do match a color in the gown. I'll tell you though that I got mine half price in the store. I didn't pay what they cost on the website. They have a rubber sole with non-slip treads, so I feel comfortable wearing them on tile and carpet.
One item I wanted for Christmas this year was a leather purse. I told John what I wanted in late August. He told me to look around and see what I could find. What I found was this purse at Duluth Trading Company.
It was on a great sale. I got it for less than half price. Mind you, it was still quite pricey. I was worried it wouldn't be big enough to suit me but it's plenty big. And it's heavy. I can see why they call it a Lifetime Leather. It's just lovely, it really is. It's no longer available but if you're looking for a quality leather bag do check Duluth Trading Company for their selections. They seem to rotate what they have available.