These are a few of my favorite things…

Okay … so what started as a few may have turned into a pretty large handful. But regardless, the products and brands I’ve listed below are things I utilize on a daily basis, and genuinely deserve the positive reviews I’m giving them. Do you use any of the items I’ve listed? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Lifestyle

Accessories

These blue-light blocking glasses have been a life saver for me at work. Working in a diagnostic lab, I stare at a bright screen, in a dark room, for easily 75% of my day. After I started this job, I couldn’t figure out why I was experiencing headaches so frequently, and why looking at any screen, whether it be my phone or the TV, hurt when I came home. After one of my coworkers showed me her blue-light blocking glasses and suggested I try them, I realized that that was it! I was hesitant to try such an inexpensive pair compared to my coworker’s (whose cost $150), but I figured $15 wouldn’t do too much damage — plus, they were Prime, so I could always return them if they didn’t work. Long story short, they work! Amazingly. I definitely recommend these guys to anyone who looks at a screen for a good portion of their day, or whose eyes otherwise feel strained.

It might seem silly to write a product review for a hair-tie, but this Lululemon one deserves it. I’ve arguably got the most slippery hair EVER, but these scrunchies hold in place all day. The original one is my go-to, but for days when I want to dress up my ponytail, I have a few of the ones with a bow, too.

My Hydroflask and YETI go with me just about anywhere I do, and that’s not an understatement. I love the hydro company because they were founded in Oregon, and YETI because, well, let’s just face it: They’re pretty freakin’ cute. I’m still pulling for this cooler because I think it looks awesome, but given the price point, haven’t quite made that investment yet! So far, I stick to my 18 oz wide-mouth hydro with the straw lid for my cold beverages, and 14 oz YETI camp mug for hot ones. The camp mug was a gift from my friend, Morgan … and as you can see by my expression, it was mutually known how bad I wanted this lil’ guy.

Opening my new YETI at one of my bridal showers last October

Beauty and Skin

Oribe has quickly become my absolute favorite line for hair and body wash, but it’s high price tag means it’s something I rarely purchase for myself. It definitely makes a great gift, though (Cody, if you’re reading this…). This body scrub and this hair texturizing spray both smell out of this world, and all of their shampoos and conditioners leave your hair feeling like you just left the salon. I’d definitely say the texturizing spray is my favorite product of theirs, though.

This deodorant by Donna Karan is amazing. My stepmom bought it for me as a gift my senior year of college and I haven’t looked back. I’m not a big perfume person, but I put on this deodorant and feel ready to tackle anything. It’s not what I wear for working out, more on a professional/special occasion basis, but when I want a touch of something that makes me smell like a million bucks, yet still not overwhelmingly fragrant, this is the stuff I reach for.

Another product I was gifted, and have since converted to strictly using, is Trish McEvoy’s mascara. I’ve tried both the “high volume” and “lash curling” versions and honestly didn’t notice a difference between the two, but I definitely notice a difference between TM mascara and any other I’ve used! It’s not waterproof, yet doesn’t smudge one bit. It’s designed to be removed with your fingers after getting them wet…and I promise, you won’t pull your eyelashes out! This is the one mascara I’ll dare to apply to my bottom lashes without worrying about looking like a raccoon halfway through the day.

OI received Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Face Primer from Influenster to test and review. This primer is absolutely amazing. I have super sensitive skin, and don’t kind to wear products that feel heavy on my face. The Ole Henriksen banana bright face primer doesn’t feel greasy, lasts all day, didn’t cause any breakouts or skin irritation after two weeks of use, and smells really nice! 10/10 recommend, and there’s a high chance I’ll purchase myself a tube once I run out of this one.

I have super sensitive skin. We’re talking super sensitive. Want proof? Here’s a photo of me from me this past Thanksgiving, when my entire face swelled up (and yes, my eyes swelled shut) after using Philosophy’s GENTLE AND SENSITIVE face wash…which, I (stupidly) decided to try for the first time while we were on vacation in Colorado. My face stayed irritated for the remainder of the trip. It was a great way to make a good first impression with my (at the time) soon-to-be in-laws.

Prior to this trip, skincare was something I tried to somewhat skimp on. I washed my face religiously, but I wasn’t using the best products, more like whatever was on sale. After this experience though, I decided that if there was ever going to be one item of my health and beauty I wouldn’t skimp on, it was going to be the quality of products I put on my face. I started using REN Skincare and have used it daily since. I use the Sensitive line (it only seems fitting), but I’ve heard all of their products are great.

Supplements

I’m not a big supplement person…honestly, I think that a lot of the time, they are a waste of money and unnecessary. And yes, this is coming from someone who is very health, wellness, and nutrition-conscious! That being said, there are a couple that I do find value in, and take consistently.

Turmeric

A natural anti-inflammatory, it’s actually the circumin component of turmeric that makes the herb so beneficial. With the degree of chronic inflammation my body experiences, I made the decision to stop taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), such as Advil, Aleeve, Aspirin, etc. about two months ago. The amount I was consistently taking to experience relief was substantial, and at the rate I was going, the potential of causing long-term damage to my stomach and liver was very high. Increasing my ingestion of turmeric is something that I replaced the NSAIDs with, and I do this through a combination of these pills, adding ground turmeric to food, and drinking my favorite ginger turmeric tea from Trader Joe’s.

Fish Oil

Fish oil has a whole host of benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to improving mental cognition. It’s also a recommended supplement for individuals with chronic inflammation, which is partially why I take it, but at the end of the day, its benefits are too numerous to count. You’ve probably heard that the natural fats and oils found in fatty fish, like salmon, are incredibly good for you. That’s true! So, if someone wanted to consume salmon every day, they could essentially experience all of the benefits inside fish oil capsules without having to take them as an added supplement. In actuality though, salmon is, firstly, relatively expensive, and secondly, not something most people want to eat every single day. To be honest, I don’t think I could ever get tired of salmon…but my husband certainly would! Fish oil pills are a great way to get the benefits of fatty fish consumption without having to actually eat the salmon each day, and also without the calories. While those fatty fish are good for you, they’re substantially more calorie-dense than lean proteins like chicken, turkey, or white fish, and that may not be the best option for individuals being mindful of their caloric intake. You can find fish oil pills almost everywhere, but I opt for the generic brand that New Seasons sells.

L-Arginine

Another supplement frequently used for treating circulation is L-Arginine. I have really poor circulation in my hands and feet, a condition known as Raynaud’s Phenomenon. My blood vessels essentially restrict all blood flow beyond my core with any drop in temperature below baseline…even if it’s still 70 degrees! Not only is the restriction period painful (think completely numb and purple fingers and toes), but the reheating period is even worse! Once those body parts warm up, the blood vessels dilate, my hands and feet swell, and feel relatively like they are on fire. Not exactly ideal. Fish oil can help with this as well, but L-Arginine is considered a natural form of a blood pressure and circulation regulator. I most recently purchased these 500 mg capsules from Whole Foods, but I tend to purchase them wherever they’re the best price.

Collagen

Collagen is All. The. Rage. right now…and for good reason! I use Vital Proteins because it’s the first brand I was exposed to (I think they were the OGs), and also because they sell their basic, unflavored collagen peptides in bulk at Costco, but there are a ton of other brands on the market that I know a lot of people really like. Collagen has a huge array of bodily benefits, and they’re not just hair, skin, and nail related! It’s also incredibly beneficial for maintaining and improving joint, tendon, ligament, and cartilage health. VP’s unflavored peptides are great because you can add them to literally anything…like baked goods, smoothies, hot beverages, etc., but I also love some of their other fun products! The beauty collagen is a great refresher after a workout, or to enjoy on a hot summer day, and the collagen creamer is a fun way to spice up your coffee. The one product of VP’s that I haven’t tried and am eager to soon is the bone broth, which I’ve heard rave reviews about, but have yet to find in stores. If you’ve tried it, let me know!

Food

Ohhhh boy… How am I going to keep this list short? My absolute favorite places to shop for groceries are Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, but 90% of the time, I’m not living on that kind of budget. Items I can exclusively find at either of those stores, I purchase there, but as a rule of thumb, we do our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, Fred Meyer (Kroger), and Costco.

Primal Kitchen is definitely my go-to brand for all things Paleo. Their lemon turmeric and sesame ginger dressings are by far my favorite dressings OF ALL TIME, but I’m also a fan of their (brand new) BBQ sauce, as well as collagen-protein bars. I will warn you though, on that last one … most people are not a fan of these bars, and they’re definitely more of an acquired taste. They’re not one of those bars that taste like a Snickers. The ingredients, though, cannot be beat.

At Trader Joe’s, the items I most frequently leave with in my grocery bag are: Green Goddess salad dressing, bananas (I’ve yet to find a store selling them cheaper than their consistent 19 cents/banana), frozen cooked shrimp, egg whites, and ground turkey. For a sweet treat, I love their dark chocolate honey mints (we keep them in the freezer!), made with only 3 ingredients: dark chocolate, honey, and peppermint extract … YUM!

For the rest of our produce, we shop almost exclusively at the cutest indoor farmer’s market that is conveniently one street down from our new place, the Grower’s Outlet. Cody and I always try to be intentional about shopping locally, so it was a total score to discover this place.

Our Costco staples remain the same almost every time … if we weren’t intentional about that, I think we’d probably end up spending an entire paycheck in one trip! They actually just started carrying my favorite green juice by Suja, which I was pumped about, but aside from that, we stick to: frozen chicken breasts, raw almonds and cashews, this Nuttzo butter, Dave’s bread, organic strawberry jam, cage-free eggs, whatever kind of other meat Cody wants (which is typically ground beef or steak, and my all-time favorite salmon burgers. We used to buy Perrier sparkling water there, but ever since we were gifted a Sodastream as a wedding present (read: best. gift. EVER!), we no longer have a need. Sometimes, Cody will sneak a 24 pack in there … but only if he’s lucky and I’m not watching 😉

Health & Fitness

For mobility & recovery, I swear by Rocktape’s Rockballs (the spikey one, in particular). I also love Perform Better’s resistance bands and this foam roller. I do take baths with magnesium flakes (or epsom salt) on a weekly basis, but truthfully don’t think there’s a real difference between brands, so I just buy it wherever I can for the least amount of money.

My favorite recovery cream is made by Penetrex. It’s gentle enough on the skin to use everyday (I started to get a rash from both Icy Hot and Biofreeze after using each of them daily for two and four weeks) and targets pretty deeply. To be completely honest, it hasn’t really made a noticeable difference with my back in the recent months, but earlier on, it was, and as it starts to heal and become less severe, I’ll definitely return to using it. I do use it on other joints that are achy and find it to be relieving. 

I wasn’t sure which category to put this in, but I settled on this one. I’m not a huge “workout specialty food” person. I prefer to get my nutrients from food in its natural state, and I also don’t like spending my money on powders. That being said, if I am going to use a protein powder, I use Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein. The ingredients are simple, and it tastes pretty good. Smooth vanilla’s my favorite, but I haven’t tried a flavor I didn’t like (besides strawberry!). 

As an aside, I never use pre-workout or take BCAAs after. I’ve never needed it, and if I really need some extra energy, I’ll just have a cup of coffee or a pull a shot of espresso from our Nespresso.

Lastly, I couldn’t finish this post without including my Apple AirPods, simply because I probably use them more than anything else on a daily basis. Working out with absolutely no wire to worry about is a complete game-changer, and one that I know any one who has personally experienced will attest to! I’ve had both Powerbeats Wireless and AirPods, and the pods definitely reign supreme. They stay in securely, provide crystal clear sound (I mean, as clear as you could hope for $160), and have a pretty decent battery life. The one thing I wish I could change? Not LOSING them … but I think that has more to do with me than it does with them.

I could add on to this list forever…and I probably will make additions in the future. But for now, those are my staples. 

Do you use any of the products I mentioned? Let me know how you like them (or don’t!) below 🙂

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