My Favorite Things 2015


If you’re hopping over from Brooklyn Limestone – welcome!  I was so excited to get an email from Melissa at 320 Sycamore, asking if I would participate in her 2015 Favorite Things blog hop with 11 other bloggers.  I immediately said “Yes!” and am so happy to share some of my favorite things for this holiday season.  

Plus, it’s fun to feel like a bit of a kindred spirit to Oprah.  Did I ever tell you I got to go to an Oprah Show taping?  Not her Favorite Things show, but her birthday show (which she shares with my mom, and is how we got to go to the show).  

I know what you’re thinking, “Did you get any free stuff?”  YES.  1) Cake.  2) A couple of free nights at a Hilton Hotel anywhere in the world.  It was pretty amazing, and I was happy to check it off my bucket list.

These gifts are all over the spectrum, and are things that I have and love and I think you will love them as well.  This post contains affiliate links and you can see my privacy policy here.

Luminara Candles
I spotted one of these Luminara candles in a local shop that I adore (Fleurish Home), underneath a glass cloche, and my first thought was, “That’s not safe, having a candle burning under that thing.  You could start a fire.”  That’s how real this candle looks.  And you can set them on a timer.  Or even use a remote.  I love these (and enjoy putting them underneath glass cloches in my home).

Monogrammed Cutting Board:
I received one of these monogrammed cutting boards as a hostess gift last year and absolutely love it.  It was such a thoughtful and personalized gift, and is something I didn’t have.  I love anything monogrammed, and I pull it out for cheese and crackers when we entertain – it’s such an eye catcher, isn’t it?

Frasier Fir Wax Melts
The shop that I mentioned that has the Luminara candles, also smells amazing, especially during the holidays.  Enter Frasier Fir Wax Melts.  I have been holding on to these and itching to use them, but didn’t want to do it before Halloween.  Now that Halloween is over, I have started using them, and they make my house smell deliciously festive.  Even my kids have been commenting on how good the house smells.  My 17 year-old son asked to put a wax warmer downstairs so that he could get a whiff (no problem, anything to help dampen the “teen spirit” smell that pervades down there).  

Long story short, if you want your home to smell amazing, these are the ticket.  I’m stocking up on them so my house smells amazing all season long.

Wax Warmer
I have been making a bit of a switch from candles to wax warmers, and this one is perfect to go along with the Frasier Fir Wax Melts.  And it’s pretty too.

I received a Fitbit for Christmas last year, and I’m hooked.  My friends (and now my parents) have them too, so we’re always in competition for steps.  Suffice to say, my parents are  retired and highly motivated, so they give me a run for my money.  In using the Fitbit, I’ve found that I’m much more conscious of my activity and make a point to do things differently to incorporate more steps in my life.

Cowboy Studio Continuous Lighting Kit
I just finished my daughter’s room makeover as part of the Fall Edition of the One Room Challenge, and have to share a mind-blowing tool in my photography arsenal.  This CowboyStudio Lighting Kit is a game changer, and the best part is that it doesn’t break the bank – it’s less than $50.

My daughter’s room gets morning light coming in through the windows that face the backyard, and is a beast to photograph.  I pulled out my CowboyStudio lighting, and was blown away at the difference it made in the quality of my photos.

It’s the difference between this:

Compared to this:

Game changer, I tell you.  I highly recommend it.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens
While we’re talking camera equipment, I have to throw in this Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens.  I don’t actually have one, but I have swiped my dad’s and have been using it lately.  

I have a 50mm f/1.4G (which is great), but since I don’t have a full frame Nikon camera body yet, it sometimes can be difficult to shoot spaces in my home since I can’t back up far enough to get everything in the frame.  The 35mm f/1.8G lens makes it a wee bit easier, and I was able to get some great shots of my daughter’s room for the One Room Challenge when I used it.

Sonos Smart Speakers
In a nutshell, Sonos makes it easy to create a multi-room music system in your home.  We bought two Sonos speakers when we were in our old house, and have them incorporated with the whole house sound system in our new home as well.  Not only is the sound great with Sonos, but you can control everything with an app on your phone – and you can pull music from apps like Spotify, Pandora, or even from your own music library.  

It’s a great way to have the feeling of a whole house system, even if you don’t have one.  Better yet, it’s all done through your wi-fi, so you’re not using up data like you do when you Bluetooth.  

Plus, if you have more than one speaker, they integrate together, and you even have the option of playing different music on each one, which is handy if you have them in different places in your home (also controlled through the app on your phone).

And, Sonos can also be integrated with a whole house sound system – which is what we did in our current home.  Great stuff.

Bose SoundTrue Headphones
If you’re wanting a more personal sound experience, I recommend the Bose SoundTrue Headphones.  I got these as a gift for my 20 year work anniversary (when I worked in the corporate world), and I still use them regularly.  Great Bose sound, and it blocks out the outside noise too.  They come in really handy when I go on my scrapbooking trip and need to block out the chatter, and concentrate on creativity.

OPI Nail Polish
Even though my nails are a hot mess most of the time, I like to have them looking pretty for the holidays, and OPI nail polish is my favorite.  How about these pretty OPI holiday shades?

I have discovered Audible this year, and it’s by far one of my favorite things that I have been using on a regular basis.  I feel like reading a book during the day is a luxury that I can’t afford (and when I read at night I tend to fall asleep).  Listening to audiobooks via Audible allows me to “read” while still being productive.  

I listen while I’m working around the house, while painting, while driving – it’s wonderful!  I’ve finished some great books too, and when you get a great narrator, it brings the books to life.  You can try Audible for free (which is how I got hooked – I dare you not to get hooked!).   Once you get hooked on the free trial, you can go with a gold membership, which gives you a credit for a new book each month (which I inevitably burn right through and then buy more credits).

If you do try Audible, listen to this book, and you’ll see what I mean about great narration (and getting hooked on audiobooks).  I’m still sad that I’m done with this book – it was so good.

Kitchen Papers
I think these Kitchen Papers are just brilliant for the holidays (or any day, really).  They’re cute and make for a quick and easy clean up as well.  Plus, they come in lots of different styles to suit just about any occasion.

How cute are these Christmas ones?

These confetti ones are pretty neat too.  Great for a New Year’s Eve party.

Or you can go with one of their table runners, which are equally adorable – like this chalkboard table runner.

Next stop on the Favorite Things Tour – Clover Lane.

Make sure you check out all of the Favorite Things that these bloggers have selected!

Monday, November 16
Tuesday, November 17
Wednesday, November 18

Thanks again to Melissa for including me in this fun round up.  I hope that you’re able to find something that you, or someone in your life will appreciate.


  • Reply
    Mrs. Limestone
    November 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Oh I love Kitchen papers – so easy and fun.

    Thanks for the lighing set up recommendation. I know I can always use help in that department. Does it all collapse down to a reasonable small size or do you need a good bit of room to store it?

    • Reply
      November 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      The lighting is great – and yes, it does pack up into a nice bag which is easy to store. My only regret is that I didn't start using it sooner!

  • Reply
    Melissa Smith
    November 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Hello Jenny! I need that lighting kit! I have a laundry room with no natural light that I need to take pics of. The papers are genius and the OPI kit is a perfect gift for my daughters. Thank you for sharing your favorites, loving all of these ♥

  • Reply
    Kristin Williams
    November 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Jenny it's so fun reading all of your favorites. This round up is kind of bad because now there are so many things I want! I love the kitchen papers, am thinking about the Monogrammed cutting board for my mother-in-law and I'm always looking for a good book to read. So thank you!

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