Angela’s Favorite Things for 2018

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Several years ago, I decided to start a year-end post where I shared my 10 Favorite Things. The point is pretty simple: I recall 10 things I purchased or used that I would recommend and tell you about them. I started this back in 2014 and you can also see my picks for 2015 and 2016 and 2017.

You should probably know that I’m not a big shopper. I tend to mull over purchases, even small ones. I prefer space over clutter and I don’t buy stuff to have more stuff. Therefore, if the item has made my list – it’s passed a rigorous process!

In no particular order, here are 10 items that I purchased and/or recommend from the past year.

Item #1: Garmin Fenix GPS Watch (Amazon) 

This is one of those huge splurge items I pined and pined and pined for and finally bit the bullet. I absolutely love this watch. In addition to tracking my running pace, time and distance – it has a ton of added features. For instance, it can read my heart rate (on my wrist!), predict my 5K pace, track my running cadence, and let me know if my training is productive or not. This watch also works for other sports, too – such as swimming, biking, Nordic skiing, and weight training. I really can’t say enough good stuff about this watch. While the price doesn’t make it the most budget-friendly option on the market, it would make an incredible gift for the avid runner (or would be worth saving your pennies for!).

Item #2: YNAB

I have tried many different budgeting tactics over the years including spreadsheets and apps… but YNAB is above and beyond them all. Instead of projecting your income, you only need to worry about the money you actually have in your account. There is no moralizing about purchases – you get to decide what’s important to you. YNAB syncs with your bank and mobile which means it’s incredibly easy to stay up on your money. Simply put: it’s the best budgeting system I’ve ever come across. It’s also free for the first 34 days. I recommend you read my post about my experiences with YNAB if you’re considering it! Why not get started for the new year?

Item #3: Spireside Candles (

I discovered this small, Charleston-based candle company deep in some Facebook comments about an unrelated topic. Someone had mentioned the candle company that had “Disney inspired” scents and that’s all it took – I needed to see for myself. Since then, I’ve purchased a few scents. I really like Pirate’s Revenge and Sea Witch. These scents are different, unusual, and inspire the imagination. They are not cheap, but make a fun splurge gift (for a friend or yourself).

Item #4: Phone Stand (Amazon)

So this turned out to be one of those small purchases that made a big difference in my life! For less than $10, this little stand was just what I needed to prop my phone up. I like to listen to podcasts or watch Netflix while I work or pay bills or take a bath or whatever, and this one is perfect. It can hold it either portrait or landscape orientation and there’s a hole in the back that you can thread a charger through. This would make a great little gift or stocking stuffer!

Item #5: Chest Lamp (Amazon) 

Both of my kids participate in cross country and with evening practices, headlamps are a must. However, I have one kid that seems to really struggle with running with one. He’s constantly messing with it, and it distracts him from putting his full focus on running. I noticed one of the dads in our group was showing up for practice with a light worn on his chest and I knew I needed to investigate this option! I ended up buying this one for less than $20. It’s rechargeable, too.

Item #6: HydroFlask (Amazon)

I bought my first HydroFlask this year (thanks, 50% off REI sale) and I just LOVE it. I swear it not only keeps my cold water cold – it makes it colder. My son loves borrowing it for his soccer practices, so I may just have to buck up and buy him his own.

Item #7: ClickList 

OK, I know that ClickList isn’t an item that you can buy in a store or online, but I feel that this handy service has definitely made my life easier in 2018 and is worth mentioning. My Fred Meyer store launched this online ordering system a couple years ago and I’ve used it about once a month ever since. While the convenience has been the main benefit for me, this year I’ve noticed an uptick in ClickList-exclusive coupons and offers! I like placing orders on particularly busy weeks, when I’m juggling kid sports, work, and errands.

Item #8: Wine Tumblers (Costco) 

Earlier this year, I found this set of wine tumblers at Costco. Guys, they’ve been amazing. I love them because I tend to be a klutz and have broken more than my fair share of wine glasses in the day! I also love how “campy” it feels having a glass of wine in one of these puppies. They are also great for keeping your cold wines cold and hot wines (like mulled wine!) hot!

Item #9: Seriously Good Freezer Meals, by Karrie Truman (Amazon) 

One of my blogger friends, Karrie Truman (Happy Money Saver) released her very first cookbook this year! I am so proud of the hard work and success Karrie has had, and her book definitely belongs on my list this year. In addition to many family-friendly recipes, this book packs an impressive amount of tips, tricks, and information about prepping freezer meals. This book would make a wonderful addition to your cookbook home library or for a friend. For an idea of the kind of recipes you’ll find, see the Blueberry Orange Smoothie Kits Recipe I blogged about as well as the Coconut Cashew Basil Curry Chicken Soup recipe.

Item #10: Open: An Autobiography (Amazon) 

One of the things that I’ve loved about being part of a book club (for more than 10 years now!) is that the group often selects books I wouldn’t have on my own. Take for example Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. I know little to nothing about tennis or his world, so I wasn’t super excited to read the book. However, from the early chapters I was completely intrigued about what it takes to become truly great in this sport. This book is very well written and engaging. Also of note: we read Shoe Dog this past fall, which is Phil Knight’s autobiography. Our club also greatly enjoyed that pick, and I feel it’s worth mentioning too.

So there you have it! Ten completely random, unrelated items – but items that made some sort of impact on my life in the last year. I’d love to know if you own (or have used) any of the above items. I’d also love to hear what items would grace your own favorite things list for 2018? Leave a comment below!