My Favorite Things of 2013

2013 was my year to simplify.

I had a big event to plan, and I wanted as much time as possible to still enjoy the good things in life–family, friends, relaxation, travel.

Looking back, I can easily pinpoint my favorite things in each of these categories: Time Savers, Good Reads, Must haves, Favorite Places and Favorite Nostalgic things, visit this website.

Time Savers

Meet Sweeper. I didn’t know how much I needed Sweeper until he was working in our home. Sweeper is our iRobot Roomba, and seriously the best time saver for our house full of dogs. I typically would vacuum with my Dyson every day, and now, with Sweeper, I set him on a schedule to either run during the night while we sleep or during the day. The dogs get along great with Sweeper. Even Maggie, our afraid-of-the-Dyson dog, can be laying down and have Sweeper bump into her.  Sweeper saves me 3-5 hours per week. He works great on both our hardwood and rug covered areas. Seriously, I love Sweeper.

iRobot Roomba 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies

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Wunderlist is my new favorite app.  It’s a to do list app and website. It syncs between all devices and the web. You can make sub tasks, set reminders, add notes. It’s how I get things done. No more forgetting my grocery list at home. And I can invite Matthew to the list so he can add grocery items as he thinks of it. Love this app!

Mint is an oldie but a goodie. It continues to be my financial manager of choice. I’ve written about it before, and the same holds true.

Tripcase was another popular app on my iOS devices this year. It saved me a few times when flights were cancelled (found out through the app before they announced it).

Amazon Prime. THE biggest time saver for us. Seeing as we live 45 minutes from a large city, we do the majority of our shopping online. I first signed up for Amazon Prime when I was a grad student and got a discounted rate. Now, I eagerly pay the $79 membership fee for the free 2 day shipping. (Side note: Over the holidays we also fell in love with Amazon’s incredible customer service. A few deliveries were late, and a quick chat with Amazon, and they offered to give us a free month of Amazon prime OR an Amazon credit.) I’m a loyal Amazon follower now and forever. In addition to their fast shipping, their prime instant video blew me away. Included in your $79 yearly membership fee is access to tons of streaming movies and TV shows.

Good Reads

This year I read a few books and blogs that really spoke to my core. Reminded me to keep dreaming, keep doing stupid things, keep writing my own story.

Lara Casey‘s blog is my most often ‘saved for later’ and favorited blog in my reader. She inspires me. Her transparency and authenticity are refreshing. Her joy and gratitude are infectious. Her marriage and mothering are heart warming.

Two of my favorite books, ever, were also read in 2013. The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton & A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.


Must Haves

I have naturally stick straight hair. So when I was told that a curling rod (not iron) could keep a curl in my hair for days on end, I was a bit skeptical. But this skeptic is now a believer! This specific curling rod has changed my life hair along with this list of good hair loss shampoos. I can hold a curl for 4 days (with dry shampoo in between).

With plenty of adventure and travels in 2013, our GoPro Black was a great investment! It’s sparked a bit of a video creating fire in me–one that I hope to continue in 2014.

GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition

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Don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’re in the middle of a Polar Vortex here in the Upper Midwest. We had -26 today with -42 wind chill. When I had to venture out to our mailbox (confession: I drove the 1/4 mile down to it), I was sure to put on my new favorite footwear that keep my feet toasty warm (dare I say it, better than my Uggs).


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 Favorite Places

Celebrating our engagement here eating the best ever gnocchi. Celebrating my 30th birthday here was certainly a highlight of the year. Actually, multiple trips to Sundara Spa happened in 2013. Repeating that trend in 2014! Getting married on the shores of Lake Superior was certainly a favorite location. Honeymooning here in Kauai and spending most of our time at Tunnels Beach.

Favorite nostalgic things

These dahlias will forever remind me of my mom and my wedding. They were the most gorgeous, creamy, dinner plate dahlias I’ve ever seen. We ordered these from here and easily grew them in a Zone 4.


My favorite song of 2013.

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What were your favorite things in the past year?