my best purchases of 2017
Every year I look back at some of the products I've purchased. Some were impulse purchases, others were much-needed purchases and some were just a waste of my money.
Haven't we all been there?
This past year, I have been super conservative with how I've spent my money, but I've also indulged in some items I never thought I would have. Conservative mostly because I was not working and was home with our new son for the better half of the year, but we've also been forking out money for our wedding which is happening in April 2018 and we're finishing our basement.
BUT, there have been a few purchases which I have made that have changed my life! Some for vanity, some for function and others for down right NEED.
Here's the round up!
I'm one of the MILLIONS who have bought this multi-purpose machine. In a nutshell, its a lifesaver and if I don't mind saying so, it's one of the best things to come along since sliced bread. For those of you who love to cook but don't always love to spend the time it takes to get a meal prepped, this is your answer. I recently purchased this on sale during Black Friday ($89!) and since then, I've used it about 7 times. It does everything and it does it much faster. It takes some getting used to and its worth experimenting with recipes but you won't regret this purchase. Some of the best meals I've made in this so far are below:
Coconut Tomato Soup
Spaghetti Bolognese (I think the mix of ground beef and Italian sausage took this over the top)
Chili (I subbed in black beans for kidney beans)
Short Ribs (I would normally serve these on a bed of fluffy garlic mashed but I switched it up and made Ina Garten's creamy parm polenta instead. To die for!)
Korean Beef Tacos
PS - I LOVE the blog, Pinch of Yum and she does some fantastic Instant Pot recipes that are tasty and healthy. You can find them here.
Full disclosure: this was actually a gift from my hubby. He knew I so desperately wanted one (and in this AMAZING colour) so he got me this as an early Christmas present. AND for the record, we got it 50% off.....thanks to some people I know in high places:) The Smart Cookie in me could not imagine coughing up $750 for this masterpiece.
For years, I've been dying for a stand mixer, but I didn't have the counter space (or cupboard space) plus I couldn't justify spending the money. But, with the amount of cooking and baking I now do for our family, I was slowly realizing that I desperately needed one and a lot of the recipes I make require it (and its much easier to use one than go manual). Needless to say, its been an amazing purchase and I just LOVE the copper pearl colour (which, one day, will look amazing in my white kitchen!). Thanks darling for indulging in my obsessions that come in the form of kitchen appliances. I know you benefit greatly from what is created in this magical kitchen:)
I know what you're all thinking: You spent your money on WHAT?!
Yeah yeah, but at the end of the day, as vain as it was, it was something I treated myself to in preparation for my wedding. I have ALWAYS been self conscience of my double chin. No matter my diet or exercise routine, it was never going away. I must be genetically pre-disposed to having one, so I went for it. I had actually gotten one treatment of this 2 years ago, but after having a baby and not exercising for months, my chin was still x2 and I needed to do at least 2 FULL treatments to see the permanent results I was after. It's been 4 weeks since my first treatment and I love it. If you can deal with the swollen, tender and puffy chin for a couple weeks, its well worth the investment in YOURSELF. You're welcome.
If there is one pair of pants I've worn more times than I can count, it would be the Daria Legging from Aritzia. They have been my saviour! Post c-section, they were the only pants I could wear that would gently go over my incision and the only pants I could wear until I was back into my pre-baby jeans. I wear these everywhere - dressed up for an evening out with some ankle boots or heels or dressed down with some Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. These pants are very flattering no matter your shape. They stretch just the right amount but keep their shape extremely well, they wash up very easy (cold water, hang dry) and offer some sex appeal.
Another vanity project, but its amazing how small procedures or products can 100% improve your look.
I had heard about microblading for the past year and wasn't sure about it at first. When I hear tattoo and face in the same sentence, I cringe. But I was one of those people who was just born with very thin eye brows. I never plucked them they were just thin, fair and very deep given my low brow bone. I hated the way they looked. So I heard about a local lady who was licensed and ran her own business, specializing in microblading. I have never looked back. It was the BEST $400 I've spent (and this included the 6 week post-procedure follow up/fill in). Not only am I saving on eye brow pencils at $35 a pop (and can i just say, I was not a pro at this), it has completely changed the shape of my face and eyes. Its low maintenance and results can last anywhere from 2-5 years. Worth the investment if you ask me.
I've never been one to be into the whole essential oils for health aspects. I loved the idea of a diffuser because of how it scented my home. I have always loved to burn candles in my home or when I'm having a bath, but it can get so expensive and at the rate I was burning them, I would be far into the red since each one I bought was $25-$40/each.
So I looked into some diffusers on the market and didn't want to spend a lot of money and stumbled upon Saje Wellness. I loved their brand and they were a local Vancouver company so happy to support. I have fallen in LOVE their products, and have since become obsessed with their Peppermint Halo Headache Remedy oil. This stuff is magic. I used to be the type of girl who would pop an Advil the minute I felt a headache brewing. With this oil, it cures my headache blues and and I feel much better knowing I'm not depending on pills to make me feel at my best.
Another oil I found was the Thymes Frasier Fir scented diffuser oil. I LOVE their candles, and I especially love having the fir tree scent in my home around the holidays. But again, $40 candles can get expensive so I found their diffuser oil at one of the BEST multi-purpose stores I know of in Vancouver - Welks General Store on Main St. I bought two bottles and they will last me likely a few years. A Smart Cookie purchase indeed.
Batiste Dry Shampoo
I have always been a wash-my-hair-daily kind of gal. My hair gets way too kinked up and flat when I sleep, so not having a shower every day was just not an option for me if I planned on looking half decent, unless I pulled my hair back int a ponytail or bun. But this past summer, my BFF introduced me to Batiste Dry Shampoo. I wasn't convinced, but I tried it and I have been in love with the product ever since. Even if my hair doesn't look that great (I have fine hair, straight hair) it did give me the much needed body to get through the day and it got rid of the greasy look, fast. I'm a believer and my Smart Cookie tip? Buy it at Costco - you get 2 full sized cans and 1 travel size for $13!
Homemade Ceramic Coffee Mugs
My family lives near Deep Cove in North Vancouver and I love how this little, bedroom community has thrived the past few years. Not only is it a beautiful spot on the water, but there are so many unique, local shops and restaurants that have moved in (including Cafe Orso and if you haven't had their avocado toast or waffles yet, you're missing out. Get in there IMMEDIATELY!). One of my favourite shops is Sunnyside, Deep Cove where I absolutely ADORE their homemade, local goods. They also have curated cookbooks, teas, candles, terrariums, succulents, kitchen napkins and so much more. I bought 2 of their ceramic mugs a couple years ago and I use them daily! The handle is big, the size is just perfect and the colour (cream) goes with everything.
2017 has been a big year for me for a number of reasons. One of them, is that I turned 40, so I have only NOW (increasingly) become more conscience about how I treat my skin, what I use and certainly how I care for it on a daily basis. I'm lucky that I genetically have good skin like my mom, but I still like to take care of it because gravity will eventually take over.
Enter the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. I purchased one when I got the SK-II Treatment Essence (which was nothing short of a splurge!) and I cannot forget the amazing feeling it gave my skin. It was hands down, the most moisturizing, cooling facial sheet mask I have ever used. I was hooked. Because they are $22 each, I use them sparingly. (once/month) but they are worth it. For a full relaxation, apply one while in the tub and a magazine and door locked so mom can have some peace and quiet.
I first bought these salts at my friends shop in Hawaii, Sugarcane Shop. I've mentioned before that Jill Hatch's little shop offers so many amazing, local products which I would highly recommend. These sea salts are everything when cooking. One of the best, multi-purpose salt rubs I have used on practically everything. They taste the best on grilled chicken breasts and salmon filets. That's all you need! I have the lemon rosemary flavour and its become a kitchen staple for us. So much so, that I've ordered more from Jill in the lemon rosemary and other flavours. A MUST try for those who seek to cook simple meals, packed with lots of flavour. And, if you love to support local.