New year, new
me things! I’m joking, of course, but isn’t that sort of the case with a new year and a renewed intention to make the very best purchases to upgrade, refresh, or improve your life? Let’s just say there was no shortage of “upgrades” around here from a newly organized utensil drawer to lofty pillows to a ladylike coat. And, a recent collaboration certainly helped with some kitchen refreshes at the start of the new year. I can’t imagine any other month this year will be as indulgent!
See this year’s sartorial additions here.
- Monica Vinader “Groove Chunky Knot Ring” – I tried on this ring at Nordstrom in Chicago back in December. It reminded me of an heirloom piece and the textured finish is unique. I didn’t splurge on it at the time (mostly because I didn’t want to pay Chicago sales tax) and found it on sale right after the holidays.
- Madewell “Signature Poplin Oversized Straight Hem Shirt” – This oversized shirt has a flattering, feminine shape with well-placed buttons that aren’t too low or too high. I especially love it paired with shorts and Birkenstocks. I went with my typical medium, but I bet a small would have fit, too.
- Madewell “Gianna” coat – My weight has been fluctuating and my favorite winter topcoats are a bit snug right now, so I wanted an oversized one that I would make me feel pulled together and less bummed out that my other coats don’t fit. I’ve been ordering all sorts of wool coats to try this year and haven’t been thrilled with any of them until this Madewell coat. It has an oversized menswear-inspired drape, but it doesn’t look overwhelmingly big — so long as you go down a size; it runs very large. The “woodrose” color is more of an elegant mauve in person.
- Bembien “Alba” shoulder bag – This is my first Bembien purchase and I bought it on sale with an additional percentage off to bring the price down to the $160 range. That might be steep for the quality of this bag and I absolutely would not recommend a Bembien page at full price. I brought it with me to Florida and used it for four days straight. It already had some of the finished leather worn away in some spots. I do like the style of the bag and the woven leather and braided strap, but I can’t in good faith recommend it. It’s a bummer because I really wanted this to be the type of bag that looks even better when worn in.
- Phoenix Down pillows – We stayed at the Intercontinental in Chicago last month. I was absolutely smitten with the down pillows they had and peeked at the tags so I could order a new set for our home. I bought the “medium” loft and they’re perfectly squishy and soft. I’m all for splurging on nice bedding.
- Target fluted ceramic trinket dish – No notes. Just a cute little trinket dish for $5.
- SpaceAid bamboo drawer dividers – Our utensil drawer was an absolute nightmare — until now.
FOOD52 – SPONSORED
I had a wonderful opportunity to promote Food52 — a company I adore (it owns Schoolhouse after all!) — in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving last year. The payment was in the form of a gift card, which I used to purchase a few practical items that I needed and to upgrade some of our basics. So, while the items listed below were gifted, I wanted to share what I selected and my thoughts on each in case you’re also looking to overhaul some of your kitchen items.
- Mepal salad box – At the beginning of November, Food52 had sent over a gift with a few pantry staples, a wooden spoon, and a 15 oz. Mepal food storage container. I hadn’t heard of Mepal before and it turns out that it’s a Dutch brand that specializes in kitchen storage, lunch containers, and unbreakable dinnerware. In any case, it was adorable and it got me curious about the brand. One of the things I decided to buy was the brand’s salad box for the days I actually need to work at the office and bring a lunch along. There’s a second compartment under the lid for cutlery and a smaller included box for dressing. I’m quite fond of this.
- Nordic Ware aluminum loaf pans – The nonstick coating on my other loaf pan was starting to flake off and I didn’t think risking my health was worth it to continue using them.
- Dreamfarm fold-flat whisk – This whisk is great because you can twist the handle to make it flat, taking up less space in a drawer.
- Peugeot 5″ salt and pepper mills – This felt like such a luxurious upgrade to the grocery-store salt grinder we’ve been using, and they’re pretty to look at. I went with the “natural” version.
- JK Adams reversible carving board – Oh my word, I can’t even begin to describe the frustration we felt carving our first Thanksgiving turkey last year. The bird was sliding around our plastic cutting board (which wasn’t even big enough for the turkey) and it was too juicy — even after letting it rest — for the channels to contain even a portion of the liquid that was spilling onto the floor instead. It was a whole thing. I vowed that either we were never going to host Thanksgiving again or we needed a better cutting board. I haven’t done another turkey yet, but I’m optimistic about this carving board that has a deeper well and — the best part — an indent to nestle the bird so it doesn’t shimmy away.
- Dansk “Bistro Cafe” flatware set – Using the gift card toward a flatware set felt like such a splurge, but it was also such a welcome upgrade. We had been using a Walmart flatware set that I bought for my first college apartment — two decades ago! This Dansk set makes me feel like such a grownup! The handles feel sleek and the pieces have a night weight to them. I picked the 43-piece set that includes eight settings and serving ware. I’d like to add a 20-piece set when it comes available again to bring the collection to 12 settings.
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