Best Amazon Finds of 2018

I’m not sure what I did before Amazon Prime. It’s become my go-to for everything from dog food and kitchen gadgets, to jewelry, travel essentials and gifts. No more going to miscellaneous stores or waiting a long time for orders to come in – it’s 2 days with a click of a button. I looked back at alllll of my purchases over the past year to give you my best Amazon finds of 2018.

Tt was hard to top 2017’s Dash egg cooker or this compact spiralizer, but this year’s picks included several significant purchases for one reason or another. Whether it was changing the way I pack for travel or accessorizing with trendy, inexpensive pieces, Amazon did it all.

If you’re on the hunt for a good gift for a guy in your life, I highly recommend a Yeti cooler. And while I didn’t list out baby and toddler gifts below, I also purchased little board book sets for several of the nuggets in my life (here & here).

Here are my top picks in no particular order, which I love for all different reasons.

2018 Best of Amazon

Self-Care & Beauty:

1. Acupuncture MatIf you’re curious about what acupuncture can do for you but aren’t into needles or committing to appointments, try this super affordable acupuncture mat. Lay on it for 20+ minutes a day and relax – promise it doesn’t hurt.

[Read more…]

Friday Faves – 1.3.19

Happy New Year! To kick off 2019 and also say TGIF, I’m bringing back a series I started a few years ago but in a new way. Fridays are now for sharing my favorite things – whether it’s blog posts from other people, products I’m loving, shows I’m watching/books I’m reading or totally miscellaneous things I love, read or hear about.

This idea comes from an Insta post I saw a a while back where someone had mentioned this was a great way to support other bloggers and women in business. And I have to say, it was fun to write! I’m one of those people who always has a billion tabs open on my laptop, so this is a way for me to dump it into one spot and come back for it later… while also sharing with you!

I’ll be back with my goals for the year, my favorite Amazon purchases of 2018 and lots more this month. Feeling re-energized for the first time in a while. Bring on 2019!

Friday Faves - 1.4.19

Photo by Oskars Sylwan

Speaking of setting goals for the year, I’m into the “word of the year” approach and am toying around with a few right now. This post gives one example (and is also honest perspective from an influencer who is trying to balance her desire to stop buying so much with the business side of blogging).

Also want to attempt the Happiness Project again… but a less intense version with just one task to repeat every day each month (full review of the book here). One of my favorite podcasts just put out an episode that is essentially the same concept with different monthly ideas to focus on.

My Kauai, Hawaii travel guide came in on top every month of 2018. Making me want to go back – especially to the hotel we stayed at! View my other Hawaii travel guides here and here (more to come).

Ordered this black dress for a winter wedding and think it’s simple enough (but with fun details) to wear again. These earrings (or these!) would be perfect with it. I wish I had this dress in a winter color – there are so many options, but the one I have is light blue.

Apparently it’s Capricorn Season… and every horoscope I read is telling me that this is the year of self-love or that now is the time to find more time to relax and heal. I’m into it.

Getting ready for binge-watching season – a.k.a. frigid January/February temps and snow… What are your favorite shows right now? Just binged Yellowstone, started The Office from the beginning and am always shamelessly watching reality TV (can’t wait for Bachelor to start back up).

On the note of entertainment, aiming to read one book a month in 2019. I ended the year with two great beach reads: Crazy Rich Asians (now a movie) and When Life Gives You Lululemons (Devil Wears Prada spin-off).

Not a mom yet, but loved the realness in this Insta post. My feed around the holidays was filled with perfect-looking families with babies – that’s not always reality and that’s OK.

On the hunt for ginger jars of all sizes and found this guide on where to buy them.

Random new daily activity has been laying on this acupuncture mat – perfect if you want to get some of the same benefits without needles.

Also loving hair accessories (why did scrunchies ever go away?!). This headband is so fun – might need to get the leopard print one.

Planning on making a list to help start a capsule wardrobe approach to how I shop. What are your favorite staples?

Last obsession: dainty gold jewelry, which is nothing new for me, but I’m loving everything from Missoma and Mejuri.

Trying to swap out products as I run out for cleaner options. Right now I’m loving this mascara and this primer, both at Target.

Shop the Post:

Target Holiday Decor

Yesterday’s post was all about fun ornaments for your home & to give as gifts (the sale is still going on – 20% off!) and today I’m back with Target holiday decor… & lots of it. Not only that, Target is having a home sale this weekend, so now is the time to gear up for the holidays with 25% off!

I love having our condo decorated for the holidays. At my mom’s house growing up, we had cathedral ceilings in our living room and would hunt for the biggest tree we could manage bringing home. That’s not possible in the city, but we still do a good job of getting in the holiday spirit over here! This year we are heading away on vacation around the time we usually decorate, so we unfortunately won’t get as much time with our festive decor as usual, but I can’t complain about spending some time on the beach in December.

Read on for my favorites from Target’s holiday decor selection – and don’t miss out on the sale!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

TOP (shop the whole room here):

Merry Xmas Stocking Holder / Garland

White Reindeer 1 & 2 (also in black) / Reindeer Candle Holder

Red GinghamWhite Gingham & Red Plaid Stockings

BOTTOM (shop more from this line here):

Plaid Pillow / Advent Calendar (also love this one) / Letters to Santa

side note: also love this coffee table shown above!

 

Target has SO many holiday decor options that it’s actually overwhelming. Below are several other things that caught my eye!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

Red Glitter Topper Bow / Wicker Tree Base Cover / Advent Calendar

Pom Pom Tree Skirt (also in off-white)Gold Lobster & Crab Ornaments

Nordic Star Blanket / Merry Xmas Garland Banner / Napkin Rings & Napkins

Unicorn Ornaments (& cutest owls!)Station WagonTruck with Tree (ornaments here)

Red Berry Wreath (also this one for 1/3 of the price)

Red & Green Dog Bow Ties / Tree & Penguin Dog Toys

Ornament Gifts from the Anthropologie Home Sale

I love decorating for Christmas – and for me, the best part of it is decorating the tree. Ornament gifts are the best way to think of whoever gave it to you or a special memory that was had. I was an only child for many years and there was always something so special about decorating the tree with my mom with the ornaments she had collected. Aside from getting dressed up for Halloween, Christmas has to be her favorite holiday.

I remember getting so excited about pulling out our ornaments – each year it was like I had forgotten about them and rediscovered them all. There was one Wizard of Oz set she still has that had each of the characters and then a mini version of the book. I would sit there and read that book to myself for hours – the whole thing is even on home video. Ever since then, I’ve collected ornaments and I get that same happy feeling filled with memories as I open up the boxes that have been stored in the attic since the year prior, whether it’s at my house or my mom’s.

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the ornament set above here

Over the years, my mom and I started a tradition that my husband I have also adopted, which is picking up an ornament everywhere you travel. It’s fun to look back on amazing trips we’ve taken in the form of trinkets on our tree. Another thing I do here and there is make ornaments out of photos – we did this with our wedding and a few other special occasions and there are lots of sites to do this on like Shutterfly.

Whether you’re into hunting for your own ornaments throughout the year or not, they make great gifts. This morning, I saw Anthropologie is having a 20% off home sale and now is the time to pick a few up for yourself and as gifts! There are lots of cute ones that can tie in well with the personality or interests of whoever the recipient is. If someone gave me the everything bagel ornament, they’d be speaking to my heart.

Here are a few of my favorites – and you can view the whole collection of Anthro ornaments here. The 20% off sale is for all full-priced home items, which also includes fun gifts for kids, along with hostess gifts and items for your own home!

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the Ornaments:

Dogs / Unicorn / Cheers / Macarons

 Everything Bagel / Palm Tree / Oyster

Camel / Mermaid / Rainbow / Hamsa

Fall Sweaters for Chillier Temps

I love New England because you can truly experience all four seasons here. But I do wish that fall would stick around a bit longer! Give me all of the light sweaters and leather jackets. It feels like we’re quickly moving into winter, especially in the mornings when I’m commuting to work.

Fall Sweaters

The only good news here is that sweater season is here to stay – we’ll just have to throw a jacket over them from here on out. I admittedly only have a few sweaters in my drawers right now because I need to grab my bin at my in-laws’ house, so I’m excited to pull all of mine out, many of which are back in stock this year!

Shop some of my favorites using the widget below, including this popular sweater from last year that is back in lots of colors. These sell out as the season goes on, so grab yours now!

Aside from that, I’ve been loving all things leopard print and with ties in the front. I’m also a big fan of long cardigans with a casual tucked in t-shirt or tank top like this one I grabbed recently. For some reason the green sweater below isn’t showing up in the widget, but it’s so soft and available in several colors here.

Fall Sweaters

Shop these sweaters & more:

Women’s Football Style Picks

It’s a pretty awesome time to be a Bostonian right about now – this weekend we had all four of our professional sports teams playing and now we have the Red Sox going to the World Series and the Patriots giving us another win.

I’ve been thinking about this post since the Pats opening day when I found the best tank top at Old Navy the day before the game. Gone are the days when you have to go to Dick’s or another athletic store to get NFL gear – you can find much better women’s football style items at stores you’d normally shop at, such as Old Navy, Nordstrom or even Free People.

Patriots-Football-Style-NFL-Old-Navy-2

Shop the Look:

Tank (other teams available)Flannel

There are so many other options – shop all of these and even more using the widget below this pic. Note that for most of the items, you’ll find more team options once you click through – it’s not just the one shown in the pic! Also, I threw in a boys’ hoodie because I have this from a few years ago and it was such a good (and affordable) buy – just size up!

Women's-Football-Style-NFL-Style-Old-Navy

More Old Navy Picks:

& Options from Other Stores:

… & one last pic from the Patriots’ opening day. Pin any of these for later or click “get sale alert” in the widgets to get notified via email when an item goes on sale if you prefer to wait!

Patriots-Football-Style-NFL-Old-Navy-2

Acrylic & Resin Earrings

Over the past couple of years, I’ve traded my love for statement necklaces for more dainty, layered options (like this & this) and instead opted for statement earrings. I find that I can wear statement earrings over and over again with everything from a fancy dress to a t-shirt and jeans.

While I used to swear by Rent the Runway for dresses to wear to weddings, lately I’ve been either finding less expensive options from brands like Asos or Boohoo or accessorizing simple dresses that can be worn more than once. While I was on the hunt for fun earrings to go with a black dress, I came across lots of acrylic and resin earrings and fell in love not only with the styles, but also the price points I found.

But the main reason I love acrylic and resin earrings is how lightweight they are. Even if I love a pair of earrings, I won’t buy them if they feel even the slightest bit too heavy on my ears. There are also so many fun colors and styles to choose from!

Here’s a look at the options I have in my jewelry box right now – note that these & these are from Amazon and super affordable! And I’m also sharing several other pairs below at varying price points. My favorite stores & brands for these earrings (aside from Amazon) are Baublebar, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters. Keep on scrolling down to shop wayyyy more options I found as well.

Acrylic & Resin Earrings

Shop these earrings:

Top Oval (4 more colors available, $17)

Multi-Color Hoops (lots of other colors available, only $10!)

Similar Tortoise Hoops / Yellow Gem w/ Blue Oval

Resin Earrings Acrylic Earrings

Shop these & lots more here:

Splurge vs. Save – Gucci, Chloe & Madewell

I love a good sale find, but another thing I love just as much is finding a good designer dupe that’s actually good quality for the lower price. Today I’m bringing back my “splurge vs. save” series – it’s been a while! On the list today is a faux leather jacket, slides and bag.

I have all of the “save” options in very similar styles from last year with the exception of the bag, which is a casual $1850 less than the designer version. The faux leather jacket is so comfortable and I always get compliments on it. This year’s version also comes with a removable hood. And I practically live in both versions of the slides – they are a steal and the furry version feels like you’re wearing slippers!

Shop both the splurge and save options – including links to more stores that carry the items – using the links and widget below. Have other save finds? Share them in the comments, I’m always looking for others to shop!

Splurge vs Save - Madewell, Chloe & Gucci

Shop the Post:

Leather Jacket: Splurge (also in cognac) / Save (hood is removable)

Bag: Splurge / Save (comes in several colors & also small version)

Furry Slides: Splurge / Save (also these under $25!)

Regular Slides: SplurgeSave (more sizes/stores below)

2018 Goals Reset – October-December

Ugh. We’re more than 3/4 through the year and it’s time to revisit those goals I set back in January. In typical Katy fashion, I set them too high. Today I’m taking a look back at what I have done and how I can continue progressing for the next 3ish months.

This time around I’m taking things month-by-month, being a bit more specific and not overwhelming myself with trying to take on too much at once. So far, it’s been helpful to see what I’m trying to accomplish each month because it’s easier to see what is actually feasible.

Goal Setting

PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

Where I’m At: After reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” I decided this was something I could relate to. In general, I had hoped to take smaller steps to get to what I’m trying to accomplish because it’s less overwhelming. I’ve been better about starting a draft blog post or jotting down notes when I think of ideas – but I haven’t been making them into finished posts.

New Goal: Good news – I have lots of half-written posts done. Now it’s time to finish and publish these. And as I mentioned above, my overall approach to goal-setting is going to be about making progress throughout each month without overwhelming myself.

FOCUS ON THE BLOG

Where I’m At: I was off to a decent start this spring, with six blog posts in February and seven in April… but then I lost my groove. I have so many ideas but got busy with freelance writing work (yay!) and the craziness of summer. I also want to be better about promoting content I do write via social. My goal of 100 blog posts in 2018 is LOL at this point… I have 23 down so far.

New Goal: Aiming for 2-3 posts/week from now through the end of the year, which will bring in 26-39 more posts. Even on the low end, I’ll at least close out the year with 50 posts, 50% of my original goal. And on the note above, I want to take the time to promote my posts, particularly via Pinterest using Tailwind, which I hope to have all figured out within the next few months. I also have a big goal of going through a blog redesign before the New Year, but admittedly I need to do more research to understand how big of a project this really is.

PUBLISH TRAVEL CONTENT

Where I’m At: Ok… so I’ve only published one travel post so far this year on Daily Katy. BUT in April, I took on a freelance travel writing gig with TripSavvy.com, which is something I had been looking to do for a long time. Admittedly, it’s taken away from my regular blog content, but the reality is that it is a paying, steady job that I needed to get in a groove with before I could spend more energy on the blog.

New Goal: I still have lots of travel content to finish up and publish, including new recommendations from recent trips to Palm Springs, Savannah and soon Grand Cayman! Aiming to publish one travel guide a month for October, November and December. I’m also playing around with a new travel-specific Instagram, @katyctravels, so follow me there!

LEARN NEW SKILLS

Where I’m At: I still have BIG aspirations when it comes to learning new skills. I have this urge to figure everything out for myself, but just don’t have time to do it all – or at least do it all well. I got a new iPad and the fancy pencil thing that goes with it but have yet to try out the Procreate app that I’ve been dying to learn. I also haven’t taken any photography or editing classes either, but I almost had my first gig shooting headshots, which unfortunately fell through due to scheduling.

New Goal: Not going to set this one too high. I’d like to play around with Procreate to teach myself digital calligraphy when the weather gets cooler, which seems like a good Sunday football activity. Next year I can get back into photography.

GROW MY ETSY SHOP

Where I’m At: Zero progress here. I’ve made a few sales on existing items in my shop here and there, but really haven’t spent much time building out my shop. I did create a few invitations and favors for a friends’ baby showers and as gifts, but haven’t yet posted them.

New Goal: Post what I’ve made! I don’t know why this always seems like such a daunting task. And after that, I plan to add a few new types of items to my shop – potentially a 2019 calendar and to do list notepads I’ve been playing around with. I also plan to listen to a few podcasts about how to best promote the products I do have in my shop, especially heading into the holiday season.

READ MORE

Where I’m At: This one was off to a slow start – but I blame my new-found love for podcasts. I was late to the game, but they are perfect for my short commute! Read about some of my favorite episodes/podcasts here. I had set a goal of reading 12 books this year – I’m at at least 8, so actually relatively on track. Definitely not one a month, but two YA trilogies helped me zoom through 6 books!

New Goal: Back to one book a month starting in November. It’ll be an extra bonus if I can get a third in during October or December, but right now it feels like I have a lot on my plate to start. I do want to publish at least one more book review blog post, which I already have in the works.

DECLUTTER

Where I’m At: I’ve been OK at this here and there and am gearing up to do a big Goodwill donation as I change over my summer to fall clothes.

New Goal: Keep working on this – it’s certainly not one of my strengths but I know it does make me feel good when I have fewer things to sift through when I get ready in the morning.

MAKE SMALL HOME UPDATES

Where I’m At: SUCCESS! This year, I’ve successfully revamped my bathroom (see the full transformation and shop everything here) and our condo’s entryway (coming soon!). After being in our condo for over 6 years, it was time for a little bit of a refresh. The goal was/is to not break the bank because eventually we’ll move to a house outside the city.

New Goal: Next projects will probably be finding a good rug and coffee table for our living room, but this may not happen this year. I’ll be on the lookout – maybe something will catch my eye during holiday sale season.

BE MINDFUL & PRESENT

Where I’m At: The 5-year daily journal and gratitude journals were a fail. Turns out that I’m not good at remembering to do things like this and then it feels incomplete and I stop all together. I did try out the Headspace app a few times.

New Goal: I think this will be a never-ending goal, as we could all use a little more of this in our lives. I would like to keep trying the Headspace app more consistently. And I also want to take time to do things like read a book, get my nails done, etc. – sans iPhone. I’m also trying not to mindlessly scroll quite as much.

TACKLE THE LITTLE THINGS

Where I’m At: I think I’ve gotten a little better at doing things like writing my to do list the night before, but still have lots of work to do in this department.

New Goal: Refocus on small things – picking out an outfit for the following day before bed, not letting dirty laundry pile up beside my bed, responding to emails that only require a couple minutes of my time instead of letting them sit.

 

Off-Shoulder Floral Dress

I spent this past weekend down the Cape for a beautiful wedding celebration for one of my college girlfriends. The forecast wasn’t looking great, but the wedding day was perfect – not too hot and also not raining. The next day we had a party on the beach and while the sun wasn’t out, it was fun to have some drinks on the beach in sweatshirts anyway.

Cape Cod Wedding Ceremony

We only have three weddings this year, two of which are this month, and admittedly I was late to the game with picking out something to wear. I picked out a few options on Rent the Runway but decided to take a look at a few other stores before making a decision. Last year, I found a dress I loved on ASOS from a brand called boohoo. I realized they have their own site – oftentimes with 50% off like they do now – with lots of dress inexpensive dress options and free returns.

I looked through the options and ordered two on a whim for $25 each – and luckily, I ended up loving one of them! I got so many compliments on this off-shoulder floral dress and it was so comfortable because of the stretchy material and the fact that it wasn’t tight on my stomach (I like to eat, drink and dance at weddings!). Note that I’m usually a 2 or 4 but the smallest size available was a 6. I went with it and while I probably could have gone a size down, because of the stretchy material, I had no problem with the fit.

Shop this dress using the links below and scroll down all the way for even more dress picks from boohoo. With the entire site 50% off, now is the time to try them out! And I’d love to hear your favorite places to buy dresses to wear to weddings – leave them in the comments!

Off-Shoulder Floral Dress for Weddings

Shop the Look:

Dress ($25!) / Block Heel Sandals (also in suede, black, nude)

Bag (also in light pink & black) / Similar Earrings (here, here & here)

Off-Shoulder Floral Dress for Weddings