Tonight I am sitting down by the fireplace with my hot tea to take time to reflect on the past couple of months and put this curated list of my current favorite things into writing. This is my favorite time of the year and these are my 5 Favorite Things at the moment – December of 2023.
I first tried the Elemis cleansing balm earlier this year when my favorite cleansing balm for years was discontinued. I immediately fell in love – it does cleanse well, but what captured me and kept me was the fragrance, something I usually try to avoid. It is strong I will admit, but it smells like a spa and feels like one too – so much so that I even use it in the mornings as a cleanser and not just a makeup remover. I start by scooping out about a quarter size amount of the product and massaging it into my face. I then follow with a hot, wet, microfiber washcloth and let it sit on my face over the cleansing balm for about a minute or just until the washcloth is no longer hot. Then, I use the washcloth to gently wipe away any remaining product. It feels like a mini spa trip and leaves my skin feeling so clean without being stripped – a major plus for someone with skin as dry as mine! Somehow this single product has managed to be the perfect way to wind down at the end of a long day or gently wake up me up first thing in the morning and after trying this one, no other cleansing balms have measured up. I’m so sure that this will be a staple for me for a long long time that I decided to stock up during their Cyber Monday sale and picked up 4 different scents.
I have always loved having well manicured nails. UV gel has been my go-to for almost a decade now but unfortunatly, I developed an allergy to it last year and have been looking for alternatives since then. I’ve never been a big fan of the look of dip nails on myself and I can’t stand the smell of acrylic nails. I stumbled across the Glamnetic Holiday nails online last month and decided to finally give them a chance after hearing about them everywhere for the past few months.
I should mention that I am no press-on newby – I actually went a full 2 year period of exclusively wearing press-on in college and loved them. I switched back to gel after college for a more natural and understated look, but thats one of the things I love about Glamnetic – they have so many styles that just look so natural and understated but also polished. I have very narrow nail beds and it’s usually close to impossible to find any press-ons that are small enough to fit without me having to re-size them first. So far, this is the ONLY brand I have found that I am able to just match my sizes and pop them on. The biggest selling point to me right now though is that I was able to find my sizing and put them all on in under 10 minutes (7 minutes to be exact!) Each set has lasted me over 2 weeks so far too (at which point I choose to remove them), which is about the amount of time I used to go between salon visits.
Glamnetic also offers so many styles to choose from and they come out with new ones almost every month. They range from natural and understated to loud and trendy. Most of the styles they have come out with recently are almond shape but they are so sturdy that they are easy to reshape without ruining the nail.
When it comes to quick press-on nails, it takes a lot for me to switch from my tried and true Kiss nails. Glamnetic made it easy this year though! I don’t think I will be trying any other brands anytime soon.
If you didn’t already know, I LOVE a good scent in the evenings, especially during the holidays. My husband is very picky about clean burning candles so we always look for those. And I like something other than evergreen/pine scented candles during Christmas time.
I discovered the Williams Sonoma Winter Berry scent last year as a diffuser and fell in love with it. It is the perfect Winter smell that extends beyond Christmas. It is the most elegant smelling Christmas candle that I have come by. With notes of clove and cedar combined with pomegranate and sweet orange, it is truly original.
Additionally, the clean burn means you can enjoy the candle without worrying about unpleasant soot or residue or a steep drop in air quality.
While the Winter Berry Candle may be a seasonal release, its charm extends beyond the holidays. The versatile fragrance and elegant design make it a delightful addition to your home decor throughout the winter months, creating a sense of warmth and cheer that is not limited to Christmastime alone.
4. “Pregnant Girl” Poke Bowl
I call this my “Pregnant Girl” poke bowl solely because of how often I made it when I was pregnant. It curbed my poke/sushi cravings at least once a week while I was pregnant and took virtually no effort to throw together. I still make it once a week as a quick and easy lunch. My husband even loves this one!
Here’s the recipe:
1 Large Cucumber, peeled
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
6 Sticks of Imitation Crab, chopped
Mokoto Ginger Dressing, to taste
1/2 cup Minute Rice
- Start cooking the minute rice while you cut and prep your veggies and crab.
- In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, crab, and ginger dressing. Mix well so that everything is well coated and set aside.
- Remove your minute rice, add to a bowl, and top with your ginger, cucumber, tomato, and crab mixture.
- Finish with your topping of choice and enjoy this healthy easy lunch!
Last on my favorites list this month is the Muraglia lemon flavored olive oil. My husband found this at Williams Sonoma while I was picking up my candle and we both have been excited about this purchase. First of all, the handcrafted ceramic bottles is decorated by local Italian artists and It. is. beautiful. I also really like that the bottle discloses the lemon juice to olive oil ratio. (It is 25% lemon juice!) This bottle was a bit pricier than the Brightland Lemon Olive Oil that we had been using, but we are loving it so far. We mainly use this on baby arugula as a quick salad, or in my Cucumber Chickpea Salad for a quick and healthy lunch.
The whole Holiday season seems to go by faster each year, and this one has been no exception for me. I have been loving all of the extra family time though and have been spending just as much time in the kitchen as ever baking our generations old family recipes. I look forward to taking a moment to reflect on each passing month in 2024 through quick curated lists of my current favorite things here.