When I look back on the items I purchase each year, there's usually a general theme. After college, I spent most of my money on food and cookware, the next year I upgraded my clothes, the next was all about travel. This year, I devoted my time and budget into improving my apartment. I invested in pieces for our dining area and living room I know I'll love for years to come—but still made room in the budget for experiences and a few small indulgences. Here are my favorite purchases from 2018:
IKEA Lantern: Far and away the piece that made the biggest difference in both my dining nook and living room are the IKEA Sinnerlig lights I bought for them. Together they were $160, but made a priceless difference in upgrading the look of each room and drawing the eye up. (You can also purchase them on Amazon here, though they're almost twice the price.)
Kate McLeod 'The Daily' Body Stone: The first time I used The Daily Body Stone, a solid all-natural moisturizer, I loved it so much I wrote a blind email to the founder to let her know. I wasn't even sure if she'd respond, but after a long first phone call and several breakfasts since, I'm lucky enough to call her a friend, and cheer her on as her growing company catches the attention of more and more people! It's truly one of my favorite beauty products—it smells amazing, I love the routine of applying it, and knowing that the ingredients in it are safe enough to eat. My favorite is The Daily Stone, but you can check out her full assortment here.
Year & Day Plates: One of the biggest changes I made in my apartment this year is also one of the least-obvious: swapping out our mismatched dinnerware for a cohesive set we actually love. We purchased bowls, plates, and a serving platter in the color 'Daybreak' from this San Francisco-based company—but my favorite purchase by far are the 'big bowls,' which are the perfect size and depth for weeknight meals. Read more about the swap here!
Spanish class at Beverly Hills Lingual Institute: A few months ago, I started taking Spanish classes at a school in Beverly Hills, to brush up on the language before visiting family in Guatemala this Christmas. Although I'm still far from fluent, I had such a good time attending the classes every Saturday morning—it was a reminder of what a joy learning for the sake of learning is. I'm already planning on continuing them in 2019. I highly recommend them to anyone in L.A. looking to learn a language (they're also so, so nice)!
Cate Earrings: When our team got second piercings from The Last Line earlier this year (which you may have seen on @shopcupcakesandcashmere!), I knew I had to up my earring collection. I was thrilled when we began carrying these edgy dagger hoops in the Shop. Paired with a simple, emerald post in my second left piercing, I finally feel like I have my earring game figured out.
Food52 x Greenpan Pans: I always assumed I was terrible at making eggs. They'd either come out with the whites hopelessly crispy, or the yolks beyond runny. But here's a secret I learned: I'd been using the wrong pan! As soon as I donated my hand-me-down teflon pans and invested in a set of good, ceramic pans, cooking and cleaning became a million times more enjoyable and my eggs come out perfectly over-easy every time.
My trip to Vietnam: I still can't believe I went to Vietnam—the entire adventure feels a bit surreal since it was such an incredible trip; maybe my favorite I've ever taken. We saved for the majority of 2017 to be able to motorbike across impossibly beautiful islands like the one above and get lost in the chaos of Hanoi—it's one I'm certain I'll never forget. You can read about it here!
ILIA Limitless Lash Mascara: Mascara was the last product I swapped in my makeup routine to a natural alternative, because I assumed a natural mascara couldn't possibly work as well as my favorite neon-orange go-to. But this mascara from ILIA is actually the best mascara I've ever used—it grabs every single lash, and makes them look much longer and thicker (without any icky additives!). P.S., I'll be sharing my entire natural routine in 2019!
Sony 43" Television and Apple TV: It's funny that this purchase, which sent me into a small identity crisis, made my "best of" list. But I have to say, I love it. Our set-up—which includes the television, an Apple TV, and Sonos Beam speaker—feels like a home theater. And I thought watching Game of Thrones on a tiny laptop looked good...
LARQ water bottle: As the "world's first self-cleaning water bottle," LARQ solves two major problems. At the touch of a button, the lid releases a blue-light that kills all bacteria in clear water making it drinking-safe, and kills the bacteria that makes water bottles smell icky over time. You can even have it clean extra on "adventure mode" if you're worried your water may be especially, um, bacteria-filled. Is it extra? Absolutely. But it's also my new favorite camping, hiking, traveling, workday companion.
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Honorable mentions: Lilly Brush (a must-have for removing cat hair from my couch), SimpliSafe Alarm System (makes me feel safe!), Made Market Matches (they strike so easily, are long enough for a candle that's burned low, and come in the cutest colors!), Clear (I know Emily already mentioned this, but it is so worth it), and this Smash + Tess romper (I spend an embarrassing amount of time in it on the weekends—it's basically a step up from pajamas, but still cute enough to go outside in!)