Best Purchases of 2020

My favorite buys of the year

It should come as no shock that my favorite purchases were items that made at-home life significantly better. (And, yes, I did buy a TON of loungewear including a pretty perfect and inexpensive sweatsuit from Old Navy that I’m not mentioning here because you’ve probably seen a lifetime’s worth of loungewear recommendations this year.)

Meanest greenest pizza from the cookbook
  • What It Is: Half Baked Harvest’s Super Simple cookbook
  • How Much It Costs: $17.99
  • Why It’s Awesome: I’ve been following Half Baked Harvest for quite a while and love almost everything she cooks. And the photography! Tieghan takes all the photos herself and is quite the food photog. It is impossible not to drool. The recipes in this cookbook are, indeed, super simple but look SO fancy! I knew this had to make the list because I’ve never cooked so many recipes in such a short amount of time – the pace at which I tore through this cookbook is the best testament I can give.
  • What It Is: Mole from La Guelaguetza
  • How Much It Costs: $32 (plus shipping) for all 3 varieties.
  • Why It’s Awesome: There are so many things you can do with these sauces (check out their website for inspiration) and their version is probably the most authentic I’ve ever had with nuanced spices taking it so far from one-note. It’s pretty much the easiest way to take your Taco Tuesday to the next level. Each jar makes a lot of sauce so this will last you a while. Also, I was able to support small business with this purchase during a time when so many are struggling. I really focused on and enjoyed discovering small, local businesses this year. My other top pick is Hot ‘n Saucy.
  • What It Is: Olive & June Nail Stickers
  • How Much It Costs: $7.50
  • Why It’s Awesome: Fun nails are one of those tiny things that can really brighten up your day. Salons may have been closed due to COVID, but I almost never get professional manicures anyway. The exception is when I treat myself to a gel mani before a long vacation so I don’t have to worry about chipping while I’m away. Usually when I do that, I spring for some simple nail art. With these stickers, I get that same nail art vibe without the price tag. One package will cover several manicures so it doesn’t matter if your non-gel, at-home nails only last a weekend.
  • What It Is: Disney+
  • How Much It Costs: I did the bundle with Hulu and ESPN+ so it cost $12.99/month but you could do Disney+ alone for just $6.99.
  • Why It’s Awesome: I caved when Hamilton started streaming and the viewing of that alone pretty much paid for my subscription, but it’s also nice to have access to all the Disney/Pixar films and Nat Geo movies. And there are some great Hulu originals that I may not neeeed but are certainly nice to have. Perhaps in a traditional year I wouldn’t care to have all these streaming services, but in a homebound pandemic year, why not – give me allll the content.
  • What It Is: Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • How Much It Costs: $18 for a 4-pack of 18-oz bottles
  • Why It’s Awesome: It’s widely acknowledged that Duke’s is the best, but I haven’t had it in years since I moved to the North. And then a lightbulb went off…Amazon! Why did I not figure this out before?! This is also what I’ve resorted to doing for my favorite bbq sauce, though I haven’t been able to find that for such a good price. NOTE: Pictured here with a great cookbook I got for my bday [that I highly recommend] that happens to have been written by a girl I went to school with.
  • What It Is: Schweid & Son’s Burgers
  • How Much It Costs: $12 for 4
  • Why It’s Awesome: It’s always good to make your own burgers or get them from the butcher, but this is the best pre-packaged burger I’ve eaten. NOTE: There are several varieties and they’re not all created equal. Specifically, the custom blend of chuck brisket and short rib is the one you need to get. Other blends are cheaper but not the same. This blend is packed with so much flavor and such perfect texture (I think that’s the short rib talkin) you would never guess it wasn’t homemade. Also, the patties are quite sizeable for packaged burgers.
  • What It Is: Garlic Twister
  • How Much It Costs: $19.95
  • Why It’s Awesome: It’s plastic but somehow minces garlic so perfectly in seconds. I don’t know how it does it. This is magic and the best kitchen hack ever.
  • What It Is: Peloton Digital
  • How Much It Costs: $39/month if you have a Peloton bike/tread or 12.99/month if you don’t
  • Why It’s Awesome: Our building pays for our Pelotons so I never had access to the app. I used to think I was fine just using the bike but when our bikes were locked up during COVID, I started the free trial of the app so I could gain access to all the other workouts and stay active. When my trial expired, I immediately started paying $12.99 for the service because there’s no way I’m giving up all the extra workouts and the motivation from their amazing instructors. I absolutely love the runs. Even now, when we have access to the bikes again, I’m not willing to give up the app!
  • What It Is: 2021 Planner
  • How Much It Costs: $19.99
  • Why It’s Awesome: It’s always easier for me to stay on track when I write things down and see them in an organized, holistic format. I’m using this planner specifically for blogging so I can spread out posts appropriately (flighting a week between book reviews, for example) and make sure I’ve always got something on the horizon. It’s also a great way for me to track ideas. This one is a GREAT size with both monthly calendar view and a weekly plan (which I’m using for concrete schedule and planning/to-dos, respectively). I’m also color coding everything, which is something small that’s bringing me great joy. Not all planners are created equal and this one is packed with tiny details that make it ideal for how I operate.