I love to hit the ground running in the New Year – the clean slate usually gets me so energized. This week though, I did not find the motivation or rhythm I usually get at the start of the year. In fact, I started writing this blog post over Christmas vacation, and it’s taken me all week to finally hit publish! I’m starting a little slower than I’d like, but finally got my burst of energy today that helped me grocery shop and meal plan, start on my 2019 content plans, and take a look back at last year with this little recap post. It’s like a greatest-hits album of 2018, a year where I accomplished a lot!The Best of 2018.I hit some pretty major goals this year like publishing and promoting my first cookbook (!!!), sticking to my plan of reading 24 books in 2018 (I made it to 29!), did some bucket list traveling (London! Glamping!), finally made over our living room (the BEST before and after pictures) and managed to keep a high-spirited toddler alive while running a business (definitely my best accomplishment).The Book. One of the very best parts of this past year was my book launching in October. It was such an amazing thing to get to share that project after working on it for over a year. I loved meeting so many readers and catching up with old friends and family at my book events throughout the fall. A book tour is a crazy amount of work, and my family members were troopers – everyone pitched in to help with babysitting, my husband endured a lot of microwaved leftovers, and people showed up to support me at every.single.event. I actually have a hard time finding the words to describe the whirlwind of energy that was the last few months, but I’m filled with gratitude for the experience and all of the support!Best of my Reading List. I hit one of my 2018 goals out of the park, and it was my reading list! I had set a goal to read 24 books in a year, and I was just shy of 30 books on New Year’s Eve. I’m going to do a big recap blog post with all of the books I read, and how I managed to do it (having a toddler, it’s a question I get asked a lot when I share books on my Instagram stories!). A few of my very favorites from the past year though were Little Fires Everywhere, Seven Days of Us, Women in Sunlight (probably my most-favorite), The Alice Network, Other People’s Houses, and One Day in December (everything I want in a feel-good book!).
Favorite New Recipes. The most popular recipe on my site this year, by a landslide, was also my favorite — I love it that you guys were as excited as I was about the Cheddar Thyme Potato Leek Soup recipe! A close runner up were the Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Shallot Mashed Potatoes that I made for Thanksgiving, which leads me to believe that recipes with lots of butter and heavy cream are kinda our thing. My very first recipe of 2018 was also a hit, Crispy Panko Brussels Sprout Pasta – yum. You guys loved my meal-prep and easy dinner ideas too! Chicken Enchilada Chili, Sausage and Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers, Spicy Lime Peanut Meatballs and easy one-pan Roasted Shrimp and Veggies were some of the most popular recipes.Favorite Products of 2018. I’ve seen a few other bloggers I follow share some of their favorite products of the year, and I loved this idea because I have a few random things I’m always telling people about that needed to be shared here too! We have been trying to be a little bit more minimalistic and thoughtful with the things we bring into our home (it’s a challenge, we’re also Amazon Prime addicts). So my favorite home products this year were almost all things that we researched in an effort to find an more eco-friendly solution – a few of the winners were wool dryer balls (no more disposable dryer sheets), reusable produce bags (I get asked about these every single time I go to the grocery store, along with my wine-cheese-bread tote!), and our reusable mugs that we bring everywhere. We also got these little bamboo scrapers to use instead of big plastic scrubbing brushes and I wish I had known about these earlier – they’re amazing for cleaning our pots and pans and scraping out baked on food. My other favorite home product of the year was a small spot cleaner we got to keep our rugs and upholstery clean which is a GAME CHANGER if you have kids and pets.
On the kid-front, we have become obsessed with Jane’s learning tower that my husband Ikea-hacked so she can play at our countertops (similar one here!). It’s so awesome to have her up at the counter with us to help with cooking, do crafts, and eat snacks while we’re hanging out in the kitchen. Her favorite toys have been some new things she got for Christmas – SmartMax magnet blocks (I just ordered another set for her birthday!), her play cash register, and a set of dinosaurs that you can take apart and put together with tools. We loved our Mac and Mia boxes for cute clothes and accessories this year, and I’m so happy we discovered Primary for pajamas and basic tops and tunics.
For me, I finally found a pair of denim I love, after a gazillion years of searching for jeans that fit well and don’t stretch out I’m now an Everlane loyalist! I rarely introduce new beauty products into my routing because I’m a creature of habit, but I made the switch to Native Deodorant and loved it, and have been shouting from the rooftops about how amazing the Kristin Ess hair products at Target are (the beach wave spray is straight up magic!).
Oh what a year! I’m so excited for what 2019 will bring, and can’t wait to share more with you as I enter my 10th year of writing this blog – celebrations are in order! Thanks for following along, and Happy New Year!