Favorite Things for the Home 2016 Edition
I ask myself why sharing my favorite things would matter and who would give a sh-, but then friends will text me to tell me how much they love my blog posts or how it helps them or how it was what they needed to 'hear.' Thank you friends, for being open enough to read the work's of not just mine, but others. Thank you for being amazing for taking the time away from your daily activities (or lack of) to sit down and read what the world has to say. Thank you for being my friend *cue Golden Girls theme song*
In return, this list was a must. I picked the my most favorite investment this year and am incredibly proud of these findings. This list focuses on home items such as items for self-care, diet, and recreation. And I'd like to start with the one thing I use the MOST (but the list is in no particular order or pattern):
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Eco Lips® Repair Lip Balm in Mango Ginger
One day my husband asked me to pick up a lip balm from Whole Foods, one that's medicated, or will 'repair' his chapped lips. I picked up three, including this one. He didn't care too much for it since the packaging was bulky and made of paper (100% biodegradable & compostable), but I was so fucking fascinated. It also has the push-up method like those pop-up popsicles you get from an ice-cream truck. This lip balm has been my favorite compared to Dr. Bronner's lip balms, Smith's Rose Balm and plain ol' coconut oil. It also received a high rating the Environmental Working Group's consumer guide.
Heather Cristo's Pure Delicious
I saw Heather Christo on Cutthroat Kitchen and in all honesty, I rolled my eyes, but then she won and I was curious. I came across her bio, and this blog post, and then her book. Not just any book. But a allergen-free book. It's basically a cookbook for the royal elimination diet. I could not be more proud. As soon as I got the book, I read through every page, every recipe, every suggestion and tabbed the pages to the point where I had to stop myself (you can kind of see the neon orange tabs on the side of the book). My favorite recipe is the jalopeno and mango chicken sausage.
Dana Shultz' Everyday Cooking
I actually came across the Minimalist Baker's cookbook when I was shopping for cookbooks for my sister-in-law who spent most of her life OUT of the kitchen and recently venturing into it. While there are many great recipes in this book, I actually prefer the text. Is that strange? I read this cookbook, not as a cookbook but as a general book for reading. Good writing, eh?
Vital Proteins™ Collagen Peptides
Like many, we learn the latest trends off of social media, and for me, I usually let them pass by without batting an eye. But when my doctor and nutritionist shares what they use in their own drinks (not affiliated or paid posts), I start getting curious. From Instagram photos, I learned that collagen makes a frothy layer on top of your coffee and that is what I was craving. So I was like, whatevs, totally ignoring the benefits (or disadvantages) and bought a 10oz container of Vital Proteins Collagen as suggested by my naturopath. It's comes from grass-fed and pasture-raised bovines (cows), and has amazing benefits for the skin, hair, bones and joints. A scoop of this protein packed peptides is great for days where you're on the go and can't get all your proteins. I like to use it on days I work out or go to yoga, by adding it to my hot tea or iced coffee with full fat cream.
Bulletproof™ Brain Octane Oil
This last month, I had the opportunity to work in a kitchen for a restaurant that was gluten-free and AIP friendly. Among the pantry shelves, I came across Bulletproof Brain Octane oil. I took a whiff of and read the packaging. Coconut oil it seems like. When I bought the collagen, I gave myself the kick to add this in my cart too. As soon as it arrived, I began making Bulletproof coffee in my Nutri-Bullet blender with Allegro or Equator coffee and Kerrygold grass-fed butter. Not only is this coffee great for days where you plan on going low-carb (which I naturally do because I can't stand how grains and other high-carb foods make me feel afterwards), but it's almost like a creamy latte, frothy too! I made this while my dad was over one day and he laughed at me while holding up his cup of traditional with 1/2 & 1/2 and probably four tablespoons of sugar, "this is coffee," he says.
Dr. Bronner's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
When school got busy and papers and studying needed to happen without interruptions, I would stay at a friend's place in University Village, a small community of town homes for students who are married or have children or those who just simply don't want to live in dorms with teenagers. Sometimes my stay would last a week long, and sometimes I would forget to bring things from home. Before bed, I like to lather my hands with lotion and lotion was the one thing I always forgot to bring. My friend was the health conscious, daughter of spiritualist hippies who lit incense instead of using air fresheners and used coconut oil instead of lotion. That's how I got around to using coconut oil myself and it's incredibly rewarding. Throughout the year, I tried a few brands but always came back to Dr. Bronner's. I also use this oil for cooking, for coffee, for my lips and oil pulling.
Dr. Bronner's Organic Hand and Body Lotion in Orange Lavender
I bought four of these as a gift for some ladies in the Disabled Student Center at UC Berkeley, and eventually went back to get myself one too. Can you imagine the scene of orange AND lavender. Even my husband loves this. The ingredients contain nothing BUT organic oils, xanthan gum and tocopherol. This lotion has a high rating on EWG too, which makes it even more better!
With all my travels this year, I think I am qualified to say that these headphones are one of the best out there. The noise-cancelation is no joke, and I learned this by simply removing them while 938402934092384 feet in the air and immediately putting them back on because the sound of being up in the air was so fucking loud when compared to having these headphones on. Planes, trains, loud spaces, whatever you can think of, these heaphones are there for when you need a quiet space. I even used it as 'ear plugs,' no music, just silence. They also come in a wireless version which my husband highly recommends as well.
Auromere® Fresh Mint Toothpaste
While it's a fair rating on EWG (and I will seek out a better brand), I really love this toothpaste. I tried it once in Portland and thought it was so strange to see a mud-like toothpaste, but what got me was the frothy-ness of it --I guess I have a thing for frothy stuff-- so I finally picked one up this year. In addition to being a pretty 'clean' toothpaste (fluride-free, paraben-free, no artificial colors or bleaches), it lasts an incredibly long time. Have you seen those toothpaste commercials where the actress will pump a sway of toothpaste on her brush?? And then we think it's probably the right amount of toothpaste-serving-size, well this toothpaste advertises that you only need to use very little. There are brands out there that are designed for you to use a lot such as Meyer's soap pumps and watered-down laundry detergent or shampoo, so when Auromere says it's okay to use less, you know you've found a good company to support.
This one actually advertises as a "frothy face wash," no surprise there, AND a little goes a long way! The shelf-life on this baby is 24 months! I have dry skin, but not too dry, and an oily scalp, so on most days my skin is out of balance. Two summers ago, a representative told me about this product, so I bought it —I just finished that tube 18 months later. While it also has a fair rating on EWG, I am satisfied with this product as it has done wonders for my skin.
Nature's Gate® Vitamin E Oil
So for the past few years, I've been using The Body Shop's Vitamin E Night Cream, and found out this year that its rated fair to low on EWG. I really didn't want to toss this cream as I love the smell and consistency, but I knew it would have to happen at some point. After much research, I picked up this vitamin E oil to create my own night cream with coconut oil and shea butter. This oil is great for your skin plus other benefits, but it also needs to be used with caution. Click here for a great article on Vitamin E Oil.
Other things I'd like to add on this list as my favorite things of 2016 are listed:
All-Clad Copper Core Cookware - copper calls for consistent heat and is better than aluminum (while it's not aluminum free, it's a great place to start if you're used to cooking on non-stick cookware)
My most favorite camera: Sony a7R II full-frame and mirrorless
And last but not least, Sadaf Black Tea with Cardamon - not organic but maybe one day