I turned 30 last week and it was as wonderful as it could have been under the circumstances. Here in Ontario, we just got locked down again with some of the strictest guidelines we’ve had at any point during this pandemic. I feel lucky that I could celebrate my birthday safely, outdoors with some of my loved ones before everything got really bad again.
As is my personal tradition, I wanted to take some time to share the top 29 things I loved when I was 29. It has been a hard, long, incredibly painful year, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t goodness too. It was rewarding to reflect on the things that brought me joy this year despite all the hardship we were living through. It’s a beautiful practice, and I know that when I’m old and grey, it will be just as fascinating and special to look back on. So without further ado, here are the 29 things I loved most at age 29, in no particular order.
The pink couch | My boyfriend and I stumbled upon this pink velvet couch on Kijiji when looking for a cabinet for him. Little did we know we would find both from the same seller, and…drumroll please…both would be FREE?! Considering how many times I’d searched for a pink velvet couch in recent months, it felt like a sign – and sure enough, not even 2 weeks later I found the new apartment of my dreams where this couch would fit perfectly. It was in mint condition, beautiful, and so comfortable, but most importantly it was a catalyst for change in my life.
Nespresso Coffee Maker & Milk Frother | Mike got me the frother for Christmas and the coffee maker for Valentine’s Day, and combined they have created the most magical morning coffees. I’m not that much of a coffee person, but having this machine makes me feel like I’m having café-worthy lattes at home! And now that I’m a part of the Nespresso coffee pod recycling program, I also feel a bit less badly about the waste being created. As a single person who lives alone, I would almost never make myself coffee since I’d never drink it all, so this feels like the perfect compromise.
Flexitol Heel Balm | If you know you know, but if you don’t know: suffering from dry feet & heels is a pain in the…well, foot. My heels have a tendency to crack, especially when the weather is dry or if I’m wearing sandals (aka all summer). Believe me when I say I had tried EVERYTHING to remedy this, but this cream is the only thing that’s ever worked for me. Such a lifesaver, now I use it after almost every shower.
Always Pan | Worth the hype. 100% worth the hype. I caved when these were on sale in the fall and I have never looked back. In fact, I have retired almost all of my other pans and use this one exclusively on a day-to-day basis. Beautiful, light, easy to clean, non-stick even with eggs?! It’s wonderful. I have the lavender colour and I’m obsessed.
Overalls! | After being influenced by some of my fave folks on the internet, I decided to hop on the overall bandwagon and get a couple pairs of my own. I now have a pair of overall shorts and a white denim overall skirt, and I can’t stress enough how much more fun it’s been to get dressed in the summertime. Overalls make you look more put together somehow, even though they’re just as much work as putting on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Love. Will be buying more, most likely.
Matching Watches | On a whim last year, Mike and I got his and hers matching watches from Fossil and it’s been such an unexpected delight. Every time I put it on I think of him, I love how we coordinate, and the watches themselves are so well-made and beautiful. Believe it or not, I took some convincing to go this route (I had my eye on some other, not-so-matchy designs) but I’m so glad he persuaded me.
Sperry Topsiders | I’d been wanting a pair for years, and I’m happy to report that they did not disappoint. They are such a comfortable and stylish shoe, and I don’t have to worry about them taking a beating. They look even better when they’re broken in and well-loved! As someone who daydreams about having a cottage on the lake one day, getting these shoes felt like a step (lol) in the right direction.
Mystic Mondays Tarot | For our twice-annual retreat this year, my friends and I decided to buy new tarot decks and I chose this one, which I’d had my eye on for a couple of years. The art is stunning, the cards are high-quality and have silver edges (!) and the readings so far have been on point. I love that I got to use these cards during our magical retreat and then take that energy with me afterwards into my everyday life.
OXO Ice Cube Trays | My family made fun of me for spending $20 on ice cube trays, but I do not care. They are worth every penny! Let me extoll the benefits: they come in a pack of two, they’re stackable, they have a cover that blocks out those funky smells from your freezer from making the ice taste bad, they’re sturdy and well made (aka not flimsy, aka not going to crack), and the ice cubes come out in a pleasant shape. I love them.
Daddy-O’s Doughnuts | Literally as I write this my mouth is starting to water. These doughnuts, which we found almost by accident one freezing-cold day this winter, are the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Period. Something about the way the dough itself is made makes them incredibly tasty, plus then they have so many fun toppings and flavours. The rest of their pastries and scones are equally delightful. Can I stop writing this and go right now?!
Madewell Jean Jacket | As I write this list, I am reminded of how many of these items are things I’ve wanted for a long time and finally purchased for myself. I actually don’t feel badly about that – I am a pretty conscious shopper and like to consider purchases for a while before deciding on exactly what I want. And this jacket is the perfect example – the culmination of years of searching for the perfect jean jacket! It also doesn’t hurt that Meghan Markle has the same one 😉
Notion | I cannot describe just how much switching all my productivity systems to Notion has changed my life. I’d tried it out a few years ago and it just never stuck for me, but watching Marie Poulin & August Bradley’s videos really brought it to life for me. I spent an entire weekend fully designing my own setup & system, and have never looked back. I am truly, madly, deeply in love with it.
Wide-Brimmed Straw Hat | Why have I waited so long to get back into wide-brimmed hats for summer?! My very practical Taurus friends were always talking about them, but wearing a hat in summer was something I literally just hadn’t thought about at all since I was a kid wearing Tilley hats! Consider my life changed by this beautiful hat that I bought on a whim and promptly wore daily for the entire summer. More hats!
Home Decor YouTube Channels | I went IN this year on the home decor world. It is my new favourite thing to watch and I would consider myself addicted to several different channels, including Alexandra Gater, Lone Fox, The Sorry Girls, Tasha Leelyn, DIY Danie, Xo MaCenna and more. If you have recommendations, please send them my way!! I need to feed the beast!
You Need a Budget | Technically I was obsessed with this before my last birthday, but I am appalled and confused by the fact that it was not mentioned on last year’s list?! You Need a Budget has changed my life in countless ways and continues to make me happy and bring me peace every single week. It’s a budgeting system based on the envelope method, and while it does take more time than what I was doing before (aka: nothing), the peace of mind and confidence it brings me is worth every minute, and every penny. I am a true convert, but my major caveat is that if you decide to check it out, you need to watch these videos first!! Otherwise, you will get stuck & hate it. Trust me on this.
The Book of Longings | Much like Joyful was my favourite book from last year, this was my favourite book from this year. I found the experience of reading it so transporting, all-consuming, and even transformational. It’s a beautiful, heart-breaking story of the (fictional) life of the (fictional) wife of Jesus. The author imagines what this woman might have been like, given that it would have been very common for a man of Jesus’s background to marry. I absolutely loved it and found it so relatable and interesting.
Unlocking Us | Brené Brown launched her podcast right around the time when the lockdowns first started, and the world rejoiced. Her voice, personality, and humour were a huge part of what helped me get through those first few, incredibly scary weeks. I love the interviews she does, her point of view, and of course the nuggets of wisdom that she shares on every episode. I’m a bit behind on listening because she moved to Spotify (incredibly annoying that they are doing this), but still such a huge fan.
Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Hand Soap | This doesn’t need a ton of explanation, except to say how much I love the smell of this soap. It is such a delicious flavour that when I first discovered it at a friend’s house (back when we could go to friends’ houses), I loved the way my hands smelled so much that I had to get some of my own. Now it’s the only soap I use! Huzzah! I buy mine from Well.ca in the refill jugs.
Carhartt Winter Hat & Mitts | This past winter, I was utterly determined to be less cold than in winters past. It was not entirely successful, since I live in Canada, but investing in this hat and these mitts was definitely a game-changer. The hat is a bit annoying since it tends to slide up over my ears, but I have yet to encounter a hat that doesn’t do that with my hair, so it’s not a huge deal. It’s stylish without trying and WARM, as are the mitts. My hands have been quite toasty in these throughout winter social distancing activities, and for that I am grateful.
Into The Unknown Documentary | I am currently on my second watching of this Disney documentary about the making of Frozen II, and more broadly what it’s like to put together any Disney animated movie. Watching the teamwork, the creativity, the organization, the hard conversations and decisions – all of it is so incredibly fascinating. I love getting a glimpse into how brilliant people manage their work, and this series is such a treat. Highly recommend.
Raneir Pollard HIIT Workouts | Early on in the pandemic, I became someone who does HIIT workouts! I had never been interested in trying them before, but being stuck at home gave me very few options for exercising, and after my boyfriend and I discovered Raneir Pollard, I was hooked! I am less consistent with them now, but I love Raneir’s attitude, energy and personality and he definitely makes working out just a little less painful. Plus, I find that I actually really like the HIIT style and have gone on to discover other instructors that I love too!
Picnic Blanket | I picked up this blue-and-white striped picnic blanket from Indigo last year and it totally improved my whole summer! It’s lightweight, portable, less susceptible to spills and stains than some materials, and most of all it’s CUTE. I love the striped look and it makes every picnic or outdoor reading date that much more special. Definitely plan to continue using this all summer long.
Board Games | Being stuck inside made me really want to invest in creating a solid board games collection, and that endeavour is well underway. So far I only have a few. I started with Bananagrams, which is a family favourite. Then Mike got me Villainous for our anniversary which we have had so much fun playing. And lastly I got myself Dutch Blitz after it took my family by storm! I’m excited to keep adding more games to my collection so that I have things to do during these incessant lockdowns.
My Book Clubs | This year I was particularly grateful for book clubs! Even when we needed to transition everything online, the book club format was still a great contender for socializing. I kept up with one book club I’ve been part of for four years (!) and also decided to start a second one in order to read and discuss romance novels. So far, that one has been incredibly fun and packed with smart, funny women. If you’re not already part of a book club, start one! It’s so fun, and I always end up reading more broadly than I otherwise would on my own.
Fujifilm Instant Camera | Another thing that I’d had on my wishlist that Mike treated me to for Christmas! I have the light pink one (obvi) and it’s been so fun so far to use. For my birthday this year, he got me this Adventures Book for couples, which has spots for instant photos, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving! I’m such a fan of old school Polaroid-looking photos, so it’s such a treat to be able to capture and save some of my own.
Go Clean Co. | Wasn’t this everyone’s favourite Instagram account this year? I am fully obsessed with @gocleanco and everything they post. I bought the ebook, got the full kit of supplies, and have been blown away by how satisfying it can actually be to keep things clean and tidy. It’s a whole new world and I’ve learned so much! The powdered Tide alone has changed the game for me. Go fall down the rabbit hole!
Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club | I will be the first to admit that I have fallen out of my routine with this cooking club program, but I still love getting the ideas & inspiration in my inbox every week. Sara puts together four recipes a week that are fresh, different, and delicious, and sends you all the grocery lists & instructions you need to make them happen. For a while there I was incredibly consistent (it was so helpful to not have to decide what to cook!) and the results were always incredibly delicious. As I write this, I am setting the intention to get back to it soon! Very worth it.
Pink silky robe | This was another item we bought for one of my personal retreats, and it makes me so happy. It is such a soft and silky fabric in the perfect colour, and it even has little ruffles on the sleeves! It’s such a feminine, timeless piece and it makes me so happy to wear around the house.
Quarter Sheet Trays | I love the size and shape of these trays. They’re so much easier to maneuver and wash than my full-size trays, which is great for when I just need to quickly heat something up. I still love my big trays for roasting veggies and the like, but these are so great for everyday cooking.
My new apartment | This one snuck in right under the wire, as I moved in only a week before my 30th birthday. But it needs to go on the list, because I don’t think I could possibly love it any more. It has tons of huge windows, so much light, a big balcony, lots of space, great details, and is in a beautiful house in my favourite neighbourhood. Couldn’t get much dreamier, if you ask me! Feels like such a miracle that I’m here after months (years) of searching, and it came at the perfect time. I feel grateful for it every single day.
I am so delighted by this list! All my favourite things from when I was 29 years old. As always, I’m sure I’ve forgotten things, but this is still a pretty good time capsule of what brought me happiness & peace during a very difficult year. Writing it all out on what is a fairly depressing day is a good and important reminder for me that it’s the little things that can make a big difference. Sending you all kinds of love and joy and delight, wherever you are in the world.