If you are new to our community, I started writing my “Favorite Things” back in December of 2007. And each year since then, I (and eventually we) have highlighted some of our favorite things from the past year. Some may be little, some may be lavish…but to make the list, they must bring us joy!
Our Favorite Things is always the post I enjoy writing most each year—and last year’s survey confirmed that it’s one of YOUR favorites to read as well! This year’s post was not only fun for me to write, but I also love that our kids—who are 17, almost 14, and 11 years old—now enjoy contributing each year!
Make yourself a mug of tea, get cozy, and lets have some fun again this year!
If you’d like to take a look back at our favorites from years past, you can do so below:
Debbie’s Favorite Things
1. Hand Crafted Gift Box. Lila Clare jewelry has made my favorite things list before because the owner, Clare, is my best friend from college. This year, Clare put together these beautiful limited-edition gift boxes containing five hand crafted products from women owned businesses. I own a lot of Jewelry, and my Lila Clare pieces are some of my favorites, especially the botanic collection. Use code insiders10 to save 10% sitewide (does not include gift box).
2. Vegan Handbag. These Joy Susan purses are a new favorite! They are 100% cruelty-free faux vegan leather, super soft and come in so many great colors. I love my 2-in-1 Hobo handbag. I use the large size when I will be going out for a few hours because I can tuck my gloves, hat, and a snack inside. For a quick outing, I leave the larger bag behind and just take the purse insert, which has room for my wallet, keys, cellphone, and sunglasses. I also bought a mini crossbody for Mia, which is the perfect tween-size and comes in so many fun colors that she had a hard time deciding!
3. Just Two Words. We love this book by Karen Alonge. Each page of the book contains a tiny two-word mantra and a few brief sentences. Examples include “relinquish control”, “hold lightly”, “speak up” and “press pause”. We keep this book on the dinner table and generally one of us randomly chooses a page and reads the two words and description. From there, we all share an example of what the two words make us think about or what they mean to us. It is a beautiful way to encourage dinnertime conversation.
4. Perfect Fall Jacket. If you know me even a little, you would know that I love to shop. For our 12-year anniversary, Roy and I headed to Cherry Creek to dine on the patio at True Foods Kitchen (a favorite restaurant for sure!) and I saw this Inlet Jacket by Athleta. Knowing that I didn’t need yet another jacket (and would feel guilty buying it), Roy suggested it as an anniversary gift 😊 It is one of my favorite jackets ever! Everything from the color to the weight…to the fact that Athleta comes in my size (XSP) all the way through 3X. The perfect jacket for this perfect Fall we are having in Boulder!
5. A Good Laugh. Our family loves watching comedy together, however, it can be challenging to find stand up that is either “clean-ish” enough for the kids…or has topics they can relate to. Household favorites for us have included John Mulaney and Gary Gulman. This year, we have loved Seth Meyers Lobby Baby*. I think that most people in our community would enjoy this Netflix special in which he talks about marriage, childbirth, becoming a father and more. If you are looking for a good laugh (and who doesn’t need one these days?!) check it out!
6. Clean Coconut Yogurt. Dairy free yogurts have just gotten better and better over the years! My new favorite is Culina Yogurt. These coconut yogurts are super clean and not overly sweet, containing a touch of maple syrup. With fruity floral flavors like Blueberry Lavender, Strawberry Rose, Mango Orange, Bourbon Vanilla (my fav), Plain & Simple (Roy’s fav) and more, there’s something for everyone.
Dr. Roy’s Favorite Things
1. Feel Good TV. Ted Lasso is an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English soccer team. I’m not a huge fan of watching team sports, or shows about sports in general, but to me Ted Lasso* is less about sports and more about the complexity of us humans and our relationships. I love how Ted transforms the lives of those around him with a commitment to openness, love and kindness. I’m a sucker for feel good TV.
2. Minimalist Shoes. While I don’t have any specific philosophical allegiance to minimalist footwear, it turns out they do seem to work well for me. Before my feet adapted to this style of shoe, I frequently had foot and lower back pain and needed expensive orthotic inserts in all my shoes.
After several years of wearing minimalist running and hiking shoes (see last years pick: Altra) I no longer use arch support and can’t remember the last time my feet or lower back hurt. This summer I stumbled upon Lems shoes and currently own three pairs. I wear the Drifter as my go to comfy causal everyday shoe, and the Mesa when I need a something a little more robust and protective. As a bonus, it turns out that Lems is a local Boulder company.
3. Amazing GF Pizza Crust. I’ve now been gluten free for over ten years, and man have the products gotten better over the years. Until this year, I would say that gluten free pizza crusts are barely acceptable but sort-of fill the desire, if you eat them infrequently.
After having fallen in love with Etalia rolls a few years ago (only to find out they stopped making them) I was excited when I saw the Etalia Nudo (plain) gluten free pizza crust. There are very few products that exceed my expectations but this one does exactly that. This crust is attractive, gooey, delicious and even properly folds like a real slice of NY pizza.
4. Hydration Helper. Anyone who has worked with Debbie or me, or who has done one of our group programs, already knows that we are big fans of optimal hydration. I have been through a lot of water bottles over the years and these Takeya are by far my favorites. They come with either a straw lid or spout lid, are leak proof, have a nice handle, and seem very durable. I use the insulated 24 oz. version when I need to keep my drink either cool or warm, and the lighter 24 oz. or 32 oz. plastic bottle when hiking.
5. 2021 or 1984? If you are not already freaked out about the shocking acceptance of censorship (especially in medicine and science), fake news, and the misinformation currently circulating, then crack open George Orwell’s classic to throw some fuel on the fire. It’s frightening what Orwell saw coming all the way back in 1944 when he started writing this. I’m going to read Brave New World next—just for fun 🙂
6. Hippie Muffins. A few years ago, Debbie and Mia created Mia’s Epically Epic Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, and as the name says, they are truly epic. Like all of Debbie’s recipes, they are made from healthy ingredients, but to me they are more akin to a cupcake with the natural sweetness of the bananas and the chocolate chips.
This year, Debbie created a glorious, new muffin and it immediately transported me to my long-haired, hippy days (picture that for a second) back at UC Berkeley. These bad boys are sweet, but also remind me of a time when muffins used to be considered a health food. They are savory and delicious—and also a great way to sneak some veggies into your kids’ diets.
Layla’s Favorite Things
1. Emory Sweatshirt. This year, as a High School senior, I have been completing my college search and turning in my applications. The first application I turned in was to Emory. This school is amazing, the kids there are smart and extremely driven. The campus is just the right size and there is so much diversity, it’s beautiful. On my trip to tour the campus, we bought this sweatshirt and I wear it in hope that it brings me luck. I applied early decision to Emory and is my number one choice. I am hoping and praying I get in. Please say a prayer for me too 😊
2. Mochi. We used to make mochi a lot when I was young and I loved it. It went off the market for a while and it recently made a comeback. Mochi is basically a “brick” of sweet brown rice that you cut into pieces and bake. It’s a combo of both gooey and crispy. I like it plain but my family sometimes makes a dip for it.
3. Frizz Control. This leave in conditioner is for dry, curly hair and it also smells really good. The cream is smooth and makes my curls soft, not crunchy. This product also helps my curls last longer and stay tight for a longer period of time.
4. My Wheels. Since I got my license, it has given me both more freedom and more responsibility. And I have to say that compared to most teenagers, I keep my car very clean. I used to be really scared to drive and it took me a while to build up the strength to get behind the wheel. Having my own car has helped me push past the fear and I was able to get my first job this summer because I was able to drive myself. It also gives me the control to leave parties when my social battery runs out.
Leo’s Favorite Things
1. Sneakers. These Air Jordans are my new favorite sneakers. I’ve never had nice sneakers before. They look good and they are super comfortable. Take a look…they speak for themselves 😊
2. Spikeball. If volleyball and foursquare had a baby, it would be a spikeball. This game is really fun and easy to learn. I play it with my friends after school. I’ve gotten so good that no one can beat me!
3. Pickleball Racket. I love pickleball. This pickleball racket is great because it has a lot of “pop” and it’s sturdy and won’t break. This is another game that I love to play with my friends after school. I’ve also gotten pretty good at this game this year.
4. Family Movie. I am the one in the house who makes all the movie recommendations. King Richard* is a great family movie about Venus and Serena William’s life growing up in Compton and the struggles they’ve been through as African Americans in a traditionally White sport. The story is set through their dad, Richard Williams, who trained them to be tennis stars since birth.
Mia’s Favorite Things
1. Instant Miso. Miso soup is my favorite food to order at restaurants. My mom took me to the store to buy ingredients to make a homemade Miso soup but instead I saw these miso packets. I love them and make one almost every single day. They are so quick and easy to make that I can cook it myself. It’s the perfect amount per packet to satisfy my miso craving!
2. Colored Pencil Set. I really enjoy most kinds of art. Drawing is one of my favorite things to do and I wanted really nice pencils. I searched online and found these amazing colored pencils! They come in vibrant colors and blend together well.
3. Blanket Sweatshirt. My best friend Veda has one of these Comfys and when I made my Chanukah wish list this year, I knew I wanted something warm and comfy…and so, of course, I thought about getting a Comfy! I love that it is a huge, warm, soft sweatshirt blanket. It has a big hood, a fuzzy interior, a soft exterior and a gigantic pocket. I don’t like having blankets on my feet so sleeping in this is perfect!
4. Marvel Movies. Last summer, I wanted to find a new series of movies to watch. My dad suggested that we start watching Marvel Movies* together. I like the Marvel Movies I’ve seen because they are fantasy and have great character development. Some of my favorites are Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Thor Ragnarok (the 3rd Thor movie), Dr. Strange, and Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Goji’s Favorite Things
1. Sherpa Blanket. My family bought this throw blanket for the couch and I like it better than my own bed! I’ve claimed this blanket, and the entire chaise of the couch, as mine!
2. Best.Treats.Ever. My family spoils me with the best food! My favorite are these local Boulder, CO bison treats. They mostly give them to me on hikes and walks and I pay extra attention when they do! They are a good size and they are crunchy and delicious. My mom says I eat too fast to even taste them!
3. Travel Pup. I love this pandemic because my family seems to always be home! But when they do go out, they take me along with them if I wear my harness and seat belt in the car. It’s worth it to be able to go on awesome adventures like swimming and exploring new hiking trails.
If you made it to the end, we’d love to hear from you! Do you have any favorite things from 2021? If so, please share with us below? We’d love to check them out!
*Parents: As always, please preview any shows or movies to ensure they are appropriate for your family.