32 Favourite Things

Hello dear friends! I turned 33 this weekend and so it’s time for another one of my birthday lists. I used to be so consistent about these back in the day, but I’m so sad to see that I wrote my last one was when I was turning 30. That’s two years gone! I know it was a hard season for me, and it makes sense that I lost the thread, but I always regret it when I stop documenting things, so I’m excited to pick this one back up.

I was first inspired to do these by Elise Cripe, who put out a yearly list of favourite things and favourite moments each year on her birthday. I always loved them, because they gave us such a wonderful glimpse into her life and some wonderful recommendations to boot. Plus, it’s a wonderful reflection activity, much like my recent ‘what’s saving my life’ post. It’s nice to recognize the good things, and it’s nice to memorialize them for future versions of yourself who will no doubt forget what life looked like these days.

So here we go! My 32 favourite things from the past year, with a few thrown in from the years I missed, if I can remember them. 😉

Bruno! | I cannot believe it, but the last time I wrote one of these I had yet to adopt my sweet puppy. He came to me in the autumn of that year. As of this September 1st, I will have had this constant companion of mine for three entire years, a fact which completely astounds me. He can drive me crazy sometimes, but I truly cannot imagine my life without his goodness, his enthusiasm every time he sees anyone he loves, his sweet cuddles, and his hilariously loud groans when he changes position. I adore him, and I am so grateful he is in our lives.

Mrs. Meyer’s Acorn Spice SoapHilariously, I mentioned another scent of this soap brand the last time I wrote one of these posts, but this is my new favourite (I still love you, lavender!). I cannot describe the smell at all (it doesn’t smell like acorns, I can tell you that much 😂) but it is so sweet and nutty and truly delicious. It makes me happy every time I use it, which is daily.

DaystampThere was bound to be some overlap with my ‘what’s saving my life’ post, but this one absolutely deserves being mentioned in both. I scoured the app store on Christmas Day looking for the perfect habit tracker and probably downloaded 6 or 7 to test out before I found this one. I have since converted several people to using it to huge success, which I consider a massive win. I love how customizable it is, I love seeing my streaks build up for different habits (especially in the year view) and I LOVE that it has a widget on my phone’s home screen so I don’t actually forget about my habits altogether. It is so good.

The Notorious RBG Reading Retreat | In my last favourite things post, I briefly mentioned the feminist romance book club that I’d started in an attempt to make more friends and reclaim the genre of romance. In the time since, we have continued the book club AND officially instated a yearly reading retreat, which is exactly as magical as it sounds! Last year, we had our second-annual retreat on a perfectly sunny, crisp, warm weekend, and spent the entire time in wonderful company, eating great food, co-reading, and re-watching Practical Magic. ‘Twas a dream & I cannot wait for this year’s rendition.

Victorinox Serrated Kitchen KnifeI’ve actually loved these for a long time, but I only ever had one that I’d gotten from my mom as a gift, and never thought to get more. This Christmas I decided to buy one for a friend of mine and picked up a few for us to have at home too, and y’all! I cannot get through the day without using them at least twice. They are just perfectly sharp and can cut anything nicely (including tomatoes), and are also perfect to use at the table for things that a basic butter knife can’t get through.

Donating Blood | I gave blood years and years ago when I was still in high school & university, but after traveling to certain countries I was restricted from donating for several years and then got out of the habit. Now I’m back baby, and committed to donating quarterly! These days, they have a fancy app that tells you your stats (if you’re a nerd like me), they give you great snacks, and most importantly it only takes about 20 minutes and will literally help save someone’s life. It’s rad, and it gives me such a good feeling every time I go.

Tiny Sketchbook | At our Nurture retreat last spring, we had a workshop from Sarah Aranha, who taught us about observational drawing and it inspired me to want to doodle more. I am also quite inspired by Leeandra Cianci’s doodling practice! I bought myself a tiny 4×4 sketchbook from Michael’s, which I love because it’s so easy to fill a page and not intimidating at all. It also makes a very fun thing to do when you’re waiting for food or passing time with someone – I now have several adorable & hilarious collaborative drawings I’ve done with friends & family.

TodoistI’ve actually had an account with Todoist since 2013, but it’s only been in the past year that I’ve really started using it in earnest. I’ve always loved the design and loved using it off and on for my personal stuff, but it was missing some key features I find useful for my work (namely a calendar view)…until recently! Just this week I upgraded to a Pro account and moved all my work tasks into it too, and I’m loving it so far.

YouTubers | I love YouTube and have so many favourite channels. It’s probably my favourite website on the internet, because I just find it so interesting and entertaining and often *real*, which is not something I can say about Instagram most of the time. Right now, my favourite Youtubers are Caroline Winkler (hilarious and thoughtful), Beatrice Caruso (hilarious + fitness-ish), Life of Riza (cinematic and beautiful), and Brian Lagerstrom (delicious + practical). They’re all so different, but that’s what I love about this platform. There is so much creativity here and it inspires me daily.

Striped Hammock | The one I have is definitely not very high quality, but it brings me no end of delight. We will need to find a good place to hang it at our new place here, but that is a high priority for me, lol. There is nothing better than lying in the hammock in the sunshine! Especially if Bruno is closeby and I have a nice drink and a good book. Perfect.

Voice Memos | The past few years have been VERY heavy on the voice memo-ing with my besties. They are such a great way to keep in touch! They are like having a personal podcast to listen to on your walks, with all the best information and details from your friend’s life, or their thoughts & feelings, or their recommendations. I am obsessed with both sending and receiving them, and they are now my favourite way to keep in touch with people.

We Can Do Hard ThingsSpeaking of podcasts, this one’s my favourite of the past few years. I love Glennon, Amanda & Abby so much, and I love that they talk about the real things. I always feel more grounded and sane after listening to them talk about literally any subject, especially when it’s just the three of them.

Tiny Tiles QuiltI made this quilt for my friend Katie’s new babe Roisin and it is definitely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made with my own two hands! I was so proud of how it came out, even in all its imperfections, and watching her play on it was such a joy. It’s such a great pattern and way easier than it looks (just a lot of repetition!) so if you are looking for a pattern, I highly recommend!

SlowpreneurThis is my own thing, but I need to mention it because it has brought such joy, meaning & healing to my life. I started this podcast to celebrate the new philosophy I was experimenting with after burnout & some mental health struggles: that of slowpreneurship. I first thought of the term on my own, but later found out that several very smart people are also talking about this and using it in their businesses. It’s been a game-changer for me, and it really renewed my passion for my work. I love helping people find more calm & intention in how they run their businesses, and I love making a podcast about it.

Hamilton, Ontario | Mike & I moved to Hamilton towards the end of last year and it has truly felt like home right away. It might help that we are living (by accident) literally a ten minute walk from where I lived as a baby and only 25 minutes away from my mom & grandma. Not to mention we are only about 2 minutes away from Donut Monster, which is an absolute delight, to say the least. In short, we love it here and are so excited to explore the city more when it starts getting nicer outside.

Our Apartment | Speaking of Hamilton, I would be remiss not to mention our delightful apartment. It has the most amazingly high ceilings and so much crown molding and herringbone wood floors and so much natural light and a perfect little patio for my perfect little lavender bench. It’s truly the apartment of my dreams and even though it’s old and rough around some of the edges, it’s so perfect for us in this stage of our lives. We love it and can’t wait to keep making it our own.

Souper CubesAnother repeat from this post because I love these things. My mom and I now have cooking days where we make the same recipe side-by-side, and I take mine home in my cubes to freeze. They’re such a ridiculous simple invention, but they actually help me EAT things I freeze, which makes them genius. I have the 1 cup version, which is perfect for freezing single portions of stews or soups to heat up for lunches.

Pizza Night | My sister gave me a sourdough starter for Christmas, and while I am pretty terrible at making sourdough bread, I am quite good at making sourdough pizza dough (because it is essentially foolproof). We’ve created a weekly pizza night tradition where I make a dough with my discard and cover it in as many random toppings as I can find in the fridge. It has been so fun and we both love it. Yum.

Capstone Pattern Co.I’m biased, because Laura is a client and friend of mine, but I truly think her sewing patterns are the best in the world, especially for beginners. Every single detail is carefully thought through and beautifully wrought, and it makes sewing each of them so easy and fun. I have sewn three tops now, including recently the Juniper Tank in a gorgeous raspberry gingham. It hasn’t been warm enough to wear it yet, but I truly cannot wait.

Tiny House Upgrades | Since moving into our dreamy apartment in November of last year, I have been on a mission to make as many small but delightful changes as we can to improve it. We’ve swapped out the showerhead, installed an automatic sensor lightbulb in our closet, re-glued the pot lights that were falling loose, and most recently used a little metal doodad to cover an empty hole in the top of our sink that drove me crazy every single day. I love making these tiny changes, most of which have cost less than $10.

EMKFit VideosMy friend Moni first introduced me to Emily’s video for The Greatest Showman (you heard me) years ago, but I forgot about her stuff until recently. This year I’ve been trying to exercise daily, and now her videos are a go-to for me. They’re so fun, and an excellent workout without feeling like a slog. I obviously am partial to the musical ones, but at this point I’ll try anything she puts out. May I suggest starting with the Mamma Mia one?!

Simple Modern TumblerEveryone and their mother has a tumbler with a straw FOR GOOD REASON. I never cared about to-go mugs or water bottles until this one, which I now take with me absolutely everywhere. There is just something about the straw that makes me actually use it, and I am obsessed with the lavender colour I got.

The Lazy Genius | It is a surprise to nobody who knows me that Kendra Adachi’s work is on this list. I first discovered her through her YouTube series, but have gone on to become a superfan. Her podcast is one of my favourite listens every week. She is just so smart and practical, and I love the way she thinks about life and the world. I never fail to learn something new from her perspective and find it so useful and refreshing.

Friday ThingsSpeaking of smart people I love learning from, I have also become a huge fan of Stacy Lee Kong’s work at Friday Things, both her articles and her social commentary on Instagram. She is brilliant and incisive, and often notices things that I don’t, or puts words to things that bother me. She has her finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture and takes it seriously in a way that I really love, since pop culture shapes the way we see so many things in our daily lives. Her work is important, and she is probably my favourite follow on the internet.

Sip & Sip | For the past two years, Mike and I have been joining our friends in Almonte for what we call Sip & Sip, which basically consists of going down the Mississippi River on inner tubes with tons of refreshments and snacks, for an entire afternoon. It is truly the most relaxed I feel all year and I cannot wait to do it again this summer.

Anti-Depressants | These were a precious thing to me this year, and I do not say this flippantly! I was on medication for just over a year to help support me through a very tough time, and I am so grateful to have had the support when I needed it. My doctor described it this way: you’re out to sea and you’ll still have to work to swim to shore, but the medication will make the swim easier and less turbulent. That was exactly my experience – it gave me a bit of a boost so that I could pull myself up and get back to feeling good.

Thereoke | My friend Julia invited me to take part in her first-annual Thereoke™️ night and it was one of my favourite things this year for sure. Exactly what it sounds like: gather with friends in a private karaoke room and SCREAM into the void while singing along to all your favourite songs. My pick was ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, but there were so many other bangers and it was exceedingly cathartic.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow | This was probably my favourite read of the past year. It’s so charming and fun, such a beautiful story of friendship and play and creativity. I loved it so much and I wish I could play all the games they create! Mike also read it and loved it, which is high praise! Other notable fave reads: Demon Copperhead, The Wishing Game & Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies.

Dawn Power WashWe have reached the era where I care about cleaning supplies and let me tell you, Power Wash is IT!!! GoCleanCo taught me that (contrary to popular belief) it is not just regular Dawn in a fancy spray bottle, it has its own chemical formulation that makes it super sticky to grease and really hard-working. This literally – no exaggeration – got the oil and grease off parts from my CAR with little to no scrubbing required.

Tide Rescue | While we are on the subject, let us also discuss Tide Rescue, which has no right to be so effective on food stains. It is a running joke among everyone who knows me that I literally spill something every single time I eat (embarrassing, but true), and this stuff works miracles even if I just use it to spot clean things. I’m talking wine! Pizza sauce! Avocado! It’s so good.

HamiltonLast summer, I was finally able to see Hamilton (the musical) after many years of delays. I was meant to go in April of 2020, but of course that couldn’t happen. Then I was meant to go in March of 2023, but we ended up getting the chance to go to Kenya to shoot a wedding (!) and our tickets were non-refundable, so I gave them to Sonja & her partner. Finally, last June, my sister Bron and I went and it was SO joyful. I absolutely love every single song, and it was so fantastic to finally see it in person. Yay! I also love the Disney+ version, which carried me through the pandemic years.

Mike | Cheesy but true: I would not have made it through these past few years without him. Mike makes me laugh every single day, even (especially) when I am too grouchy and in my head to be fully present. He is one of the funniest people I have ever met, while also being gentle, sweet, creative, inventive, and kind. He can fix anything, is best friends with my grandma, and has taught me the importance of putting googly eyes on everything. (Yes just like in EEAAO! I cried when I first saw it!) We’ve had some *hard* times in recent years, but I really do think that those times brought us closer together. Currently we’re doing better than we ever have, and I’m excited to see what our future holds.

And that’s all, folks! All the lovely things that made my life better in the past couple years. I love this tradition and I am glad to be back to it after a few years off. It feels like capturing a moment in time of who I was and what I cared about, and I love seeing everything all together like this. Yay for favourite things, and yay for birthdays! Grateful to be another year older, and grateful to be back to feeling like myself again. ❤️

If you’re curious, you can also see my favourite things from when I was 29, 282725242322, and 21.

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