I’m a big fan of having the right tools. No matter the task – cooking, getting dressed, shooting – the right tool can make it all the better. So when I find something that I love, I remain ever faithful to it (and likely refuse to do said task with out it). The list below is a big jumble of my favorite things from all facets of my life. Hopefully you’ll find a tool useful in your own life – or someone else’s. I’ve assembled all of them into a handy Pinterest board as well. If you aren’t already using Pinterest, then you’re missing out on a great organizational tool for your life (or your wedding!).
So, here we go – 20 of my favorite things of 2012:
1.Gap City Flats
A pair of these go in my assistant’s bag for every wedding. They are the handiest little shoes – compact and cute. When my feet have had at the reception or when I need quiet shoes for inside the church, these are my go-to option.
2. Emi Jay Hair Ties
As cute on your wrist as they are in your hair. They come in every color in the rainbow and they don’t kink or pull on your pony either. Score!
3. The Sock Bun
My go-to hairdo for all weddings and days where you just have to stretch out washing your hair one more day. (Well, it was before I lopped 8 inches off my locks last week.) Every time you see a beautiful, full bun, I would be willing to bet this is the secret behind it. So, find the orphan sock in the dryer and make a sock bun.
4. Chicco 360 Degree Rotating Hook Chair
This is our answer to the high chair. We have a bar height table, so regular high chairs wouldn’t cut it. Plus there really wasn’t room for more furniture in our kitchen. Enter this little genius chair – it clamps right onto your table, leaving no footprint. With the lift of a handle, you can rotate your baby from table facing to outward facing – making cleanup and loading and unloading a breeze. And, it’s pretty easy to travel with too.
5. Ona Roma Bag Organizer
Throw this organizer into any other bag – a diaper bag, your travel tote, whatever – and it is an instant camera bag. Just big enough to hold your camera body and a lens plus a few essentials. Sometimes I even throw it in the bottom of the stroller on it’s own. Perfect!
6.Gillian O’Malley pajamas
I used to be in love with the modal pj’s from The Gap, but they washed up terribly and pilled. So I moved on. These are cute, soft, and not too warm. Just the right amount of roomy and fun. I’ve found that real pajamas for everyday make me way happier than random t-shirts and old jogging pants ever did (oh, you know you wear those!).
7. Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker
Popcorn nights are a special treat in our house. Hubby has a special knack for yummy popcorn making, and it is one of Ringo’s favorite things without a doubt. (We give him a small bowl of un-buttered and un-salted) My parents gave us this popcorn maker years ago and it is regularly camped out on our counter, we love it so. Makes the perfect amount with no fuss. And every part of it is dishwasher safe!
8. Bissell Spot Bot Pet Cleaner
Speaking of Ringo, he has a bit of a passive aggressive streak and likes to make his presence known with a “spot” here or there. This has been especially true once baby girl arrived. This little machine has saved our sanity, and our carpets. Just put it over the spot, push the button and walk away. Six minutes later – viola! Totally clean. Incidentally, it’s also great on baby spit-up.
9.Cartier Women’s Tank Watch
When it comes to jewelry, I tend to prefer things that are “real” as opposed to “costume”. I’ve tried to wear trendier items, but it never feels like me. When it comes down to it, I reach for my Tiffany Bead Earrings every day because they are comfortable, classic and go with everything. Along those lines, I’ve coveted this watch for years. I visit it sometimes in fine jewelry stores, and one day, I’ll splurge and get it for myself. (Forgive me, I had to put one “dream big” item on this list!) Until then, this onemight be a good stand-in.
The best travel booking site there is. You can organize flight options by agony level, price, time or duration. With a simple click you can see the details on layovers too. Simply the most intuitive way to distill the options down quickly. This is how I quickly quote all of my destination weddings. Time is precious – don’t spend it searching each travel sit individually and comparing options.
11.H&M Kid’s Department
I have an aversion to overly cutesy, glitzy or uber feminine baby clothes. So, when I discovered the fashionable kid’s department at H&M, it was a hallelujah moment. Cute, durable and above all, cheap. 1/2 of baby girl’s wardrobe comes from here.
12.Kashi Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Healthy, yummy, and filling. Everything a cookie fix should be.
13. Food Should Taste Good – Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips
These are one of those foods you can’t believe isn’t bad for you, they taste so good. Which is really the best kind of food. I can put away a whole bag in one sitting if I’m not careful – that’s how good these are.
14. Think Tank Airport International
I invested with this bag early on and I’ve never been sorry. It has weathered every wedding with me – local or destination and still looks barely worn. For traveling it is shocking how much equipment it can hold. I use the lower walls so I can also fit my 17″ laptop inside. The very best part about this bag is that it is designed to fit in the overhead baggage compartment (since carrying on your equipment is essential). Even the small regional jets – it just slides under the seat in front of you.
15. Buxom Mascara
Just an awesome mascara that does it’s job. Plain and simple.
16. Old Navy Flats
When it comes to shoes I usually advocate investing in a really nice pair. However, I bought a pair of these on a whim because they were cheap and cute. They aren’t for marathon shopping trips – but for a trip out to dinner they totally do the job. And, when they wear out, I’m not upset because the price is right for the life you get out of them.
17. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity iPad case
I know what you are thinking – an iPad for a baby? We thought that too. But this clever case makes your own iPad baby safe (read drool proof and shock absorbent) and it comes with apps suited to the infant set. Baby Girl LOVES the apps, and she is actually learning things from them – like animal sounds, body parts and “the itsy bitsy spider”.
18. Moroccan Oil
A magical hair elixir of the gods. Seriously, if you have frizzy hair, this is the fix. I shot in the deep south at the height of summer this year – as humid as it comes, and this kept my curls totally in check.
19. Band Aid Friction Block
As someone blessed with heels that weren’t made for fitting into regular shoes – blisters abound for me no matter what I do. This stuff though, when used preventably, is the fix. Seriously, this is how I wear heels all day at a wedding and don’t go home needing a first-aid kit. I have these little sticks stashed in all my bags, it is a staple.
20. g Diapers
I really wanted to go the cloth diaper route with baby girl. I just couldn’t bring myself to put all those disposables in a landfill. And don’t get me started on the chemicals. Hubby was more than skeptical though of our ability to keep up with laundering the diapers, and I couldn’t disagree. Enter g diapers – a happy hybrid. We can do cloth inserts or flushable/biodegradable inserts, and we love that versatility. They are uber cute and make me feel so much better about the whole diapering thing.