My Favorite Things

I’m kicking off my holiday gift guides early this year, and I thought I’d start with my favorite things. These are items I have and love and use all the time, and many I’ve had for years.

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Some are repeats from previous Favorite Things lists because I tend to be very loyal to products I love, but I’ve got some newer finds in here as well. Any of these would make great gifts for the right person, or perhaps you’re looking for things to add to your holiday wish list!

I tried to include a range of price points, but as with most things that stand the test of time, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and durability. Whatever the ticket price is, my cost per wear (or per use) on most of these items is very low.

My Favorite Things

one // This is the third year this item made My Favorite Things list. I love taking my makeup off at night with this luxurious cleansing balm because it smells divine, and it gently melts away my makeup along with the day’s dirt and grime. It usually goes on sale around holiday time, so keep an eye on it!

two // My current nighttime moisturizer, recommended by my cosmetic dermatologist. It is rich and creamy and keeps my face from getting flaky and dry. You can save 15% if you subscribe at Dermstore, which is what I do. You can delay or cancel at any time.

three // A heavy duty portable charger that keeps you connected all day. I use this whenever I travel, in case I can’t find an available outlet in the airport. It comes with attachments for both iPhone and Android smartphones.

four // One of my all-time favorite pieces of designer jewelry, I’ve had this bracelet for over 15 years and still wear it several times a week. It works with dressy or casual looks and never seems to go out of style.

five (also at Bloomies & Nordstrom) // If I could have only one cashmere sweater in my wardrobe, it would be this one. It’s 100% cashmere with a flattering v-neck, super luxe and soft with the perfect drape. It does go on sale occasionally, so if it’s on your wish list, keep an eye on it as it gets closer to the holidays.

six // There’s nothing quite as luxurious as sleeping on a silk pillowcase. It’s supposed to be better for your hair and face, but even if that’s just a bunch of hype, I love how it feels when I get into bed at night. This set of two is a $178 value for $125. You can also get a single, and here is the King Duo.

seven // I put this delicious detergent in my washing machine with every load of sheets. It smells absolutely divine. (I use regular scent-free detergent and just add a few drops of the Glamorous wash. That makes it last longer, and it’s all you need to get the benefit of the fragrance.)

eight // My go-to tinted mineral sunscreen. I use this every day after my morning skincare routine. It’s best to let it set for 5-10 minutes before applying makeup. It never burns or irritates my skin, and it starts the color correcting process for those of us with dark spots or redness.

nine // I adore these sunglasses — so chic and flattering. Definitely a splurge, but if you take care of them and wear them often, the cost per wear averages out over time. I’ve had mine for several years and wear them almost daily, and they still look like new.

ten // Out with the old, in with the new! I feel like I just broke up with my high school sweetheart. This mascara finally displaced the one I’ve been wearing since I was 16. It separates, thickens, lengthens, and curls like no other single product I’ve tried. If tarte offered auto-order, this would be on it.

eleven // This is the second year in a row these have made this list because I don’t know how I ever lived without them. I use mine every day, and I’ve had them for almost two years. Again, if you consider cost per wear, it’s mere pennies at this point.

twelve // Once you use a microfiber hair towel, you’ll never go back. I even travel with mine now. It’s gentler on your hair than a typical terry cloth towel, and it soaks up the moisture so your hair dries faster. Plus, it wraps up into a turban easily without needing a clip to hold it into place.

thirteen // I love these clear zippered clutches for travel and for compartmentalizing stuff in my purse. I use the largest for my power chargers when I travel or take my laptop on the go, and the small and medium sized ones hold all the odds ends in my purse. Because they’re clear, you can easily see what’s inside, and they’re TSA-approved.

fourteen // I borrowed Cyndi’s Dyson hairdryer when we were rooming together at a conference a couple years ago, and I ordered one for myself as soon as I got home. I thought they were a lot of hype until I tried it, but no hairdryer has ever made my hair as smooth and shiny and frizz-free as this one.

fifteen // Paul gifted me with my Echo Dot for Christmas last year, and it sits by my bed. I can tell Alexa to turn off the bedroom lights, to set an alarm to wake me up in the morning, to play my favorite music, or reorder my favorite coffee. And the digital display means that I don’t need an additional clock by my bed.

sixteen // I finally got on board with packing cubes, and now I get the hype! These worked really well for me on my last trip. I love how they organized the contents of my suitcase, and they do seem to save some room inside as well. If you’re not familiar with how to use them, watch a few YouTube videos for best practices.

seventeen // No single serve coffee maker brews a cup of coffee that tastes as good as the Nespresso. The new Vertuo Plus is nice and compact and doesn’t take up much space on your counter. My favorite pods are the Stormio; I have them on auto-order with Amazon.

eighteen // My all-time favorite Victoria Emerson bracelet, this Alicante cuff goes with just about everything. These go on sale once or twice a month, so be on the lookout for my next post! They make nice, affordable gifts for all the women in your life.

nineteen // I love these everyday ball stud earrings with the caviar beads. I wear them several times a week. They’re classic, but the texture adds interest and catches the light. Lagos is a Philly-based designer, which makes his designs even more appealing to me. I also have this, this, and this, and highly recommend them all.

twenty // The Our Place Perfect Pot and Always Pan make for a Home Cook Duo that replaces an entire 16-piece cookware set. The multi-purpose pans are lightweight, easy to clean, and they look nice on your counter too. I find myself reaching for these more than any other pan in my kitchen.

twenty-one // This charging station sits on our counter, and we all plug in our devices into one place. The short cords keep everything tidy. Ours is several years old, and it’s still going strong.

twenty-two // This magnifying makeup mirror was a Christmas gift from my mom a few years ago, and I’m lost without it when I travel and have to do my makeup in a regular mirror. I highly recommend as a present for someone, or treat yo’self!

twenty-three// This cuticle oil saved my nails. As long as I use it regularly (it’s the last thing I do at night before getting into bed) I can keep a gel manicure almost non-stop. It makes a nice stocking stuffer or addition to a gift bag, and be sure to pick up one for yourself as well!

twenty-four // Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly replacing all of my pjs with Soma Cool Nights sets, and my pajama drawer is now pretty much exclusively Soma. They’re so comfortable and have such pretty prints. They also come in really cute gift-giving sets wrapped up in a bow.

twenty-five // This didn’t make the graphic above, but it’s on sale today, and it is one of my favorite things! This medium-coverage foundation is a moisturizer, concealer, foundation & SPF in 1, and it’s currently on sale for just $19.50 with code BDAY for teamtarte members. (It’s 30% off for non-members, but it’s free to join and get the 50% off.)

I use color 27N, which I just picked out by looking at the descriptions online. tarte has a money back guarantee if you buy a color or formulation you aren’t happy with, along with free shipping and free returns, so there’s no risk in trying it out.

Do you have any of these? Let us know what you think. I’d also love to hear about some of YOUR favorite things!

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15 Responses

  1. I love a favorite things list🙌🏻.. I actually thought the other day I would pick a few of my favorite things that I especially enjoyed during 2020-2021 and do up a gift of them for birthday gifts for my friends.. I figured if I enjoyed them they may too! I also need to break down and get on board with the Soma pjs! I’ve heard so much about them !

  2. Thanks to you we have become diehard Nespresso drinkers! Worth every penny! Also agree on Soma having the best pajamas. So comfortable and a must for ladies over 40. Thanks for this post, I trust your opinion and love new ideas.

  3. Such a great list, JoLynne! I appreciate your commentary on each item as opposed to just presenting a list. I have a few items in my shopping carts already. I also use the Tyler Glamorous Wash just as you do…just a few drops with my usual unscented detergent.

  4. GREAT POST!! Thanks for this list and kicking off the ideas for gift giving options.
    And I just have to say how PROUD I am of you for getting on the compression packing cube train! Um, I’ve heard once you know how to use them correctly you’re a convert! Ahem…. Wink wink. Just having some fun, but I really do agree on the value they bring to packing! Again, thank you for the great post!

  5. Several of your favorites are also my favorites! The Elemis cleansing balm, the Lagos jewelry, Diva Glamour laundry wash ((yes, only a few drops will scent the whole load!), and Our Place pan. I met up with my daughter to celebrate her birthday at Grand Lux Cafe at KoP Mall yesterday and we even discussed how your recommendation made me buy her a Dyson hair dryer for Christmas 2 years ago (she LOVES it!!!). Oh, and we were both wearing our new Victoria Emerson cuff bracelets that I purchases during a BOGO sale. Thank you for the great recommendations!

  6. Thanks for the great post! Your detailed commentary is what sets you apart from other bloggers I follow, and it is so helpful. I just ordered the Tarte foundation– fingers are crossed, since I haven’t found one I really like in at least a decade (and pre-middle-aged skin changes, sigh.)

  7. Great list. I wish I could decide what to get my grown kids and their mates this year. The older they get the harder it is. I never know what they have or don’t have, like the phone portable charger is a great idea, but now a days my grown kids have all this. I am going to check out all these finds of yours and maybe I could put a package together of several for my girls. 🙂 I look forward to seeing more of your gift guides. So glad you are doing them early this year. I’m trying to start now for sure.

  8. Great post! I have been on the fence about wireless earbuds but this may push me over. As for packing cubes …once you try them you will never go back!

  9. Just orders the foundation! 🤞

    Do you take the soma pjs in small or medium? I might bite the bullet and try them this year!

  10. So many great items. Many I have the items based off of your precious recs.

    I am ordering the truffle pouches for sure.

    I love the elta tinted moisturizer. I use that as my foundation and mix in the drunk elephant tinted drops for summer.

    I agree with the makeup mirror and ordered a decent size folding makeup mirror from Amazon. So great! I also love the Dyson dryer based on your rec. what a difference it has made.

    I have the sunglasses in my cart. I similar coloring to you and find that items you like work well for me and my hair is similar.

    Thanks for these lists. It is helping me get a head start since I think it will be hard to get items due to supply chain and shipping delays.

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