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Favorite Things

Gratitude and Favorite Things

Friends!  It has been a slow week on the blog. For good reason. I’ve been cleaning. And organizing. And running my kids all over the city. And doing laundry.  And cleaning some more. So basically the usual. Ha. But even more intensely this time! Because tomorrow morning I check into the hospital to get knee surgery. Major knee surgery on my left knee to fix an issue I’ve dealt with my whole life. I’ll spare you the gory details (I’ve dealt with years of gory knee details!) and just say that I’m happy and bummed about it all at the same time. So happy to finally be fixing this issue! (On my left knee.. I’ll have to get surgery on the right knee at some point too.) So bummed about the recovery. 10 days of not being able to bend my knee or drive and then a few weeks after that of being able to bend my knee, but no weight on it. So basically a month of crutches. :( Kenny is working from home and covering the kids the first week and then my parents are coming for the week after that. Then I’ll have a couple of weeks on crutches to fend for myself.. good times around here. ;)
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So my house has gone from full on Christmas.
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To full on disaster.

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To organized and clean once again.  Knowing that I won’t be able to really clean much for a month has put me into hyper overdrive and I have seriously made my house shine from top to bottom.  (Favorite cleaning supplies and tips here.)  Which is ridiculous because after two days of me being down it will be a complete disaster again.  But oh well.  I feel better knowing it’s clean.  I have so many projects to share with you all!  And the good news is that I’ll have plenty of time to share them.  Blogging/computer work is basically all I can do for the next month.

So get ready to get tired of me. ;)

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I do have a litte bit of Christmas cheer still lingering!  I displayed our Christmas cards on my shiplap display wall and then put the overflow around my office door.  I usually leave my Christmas cards up through February.  They make me happy. :)  (They are all attached with blue painters tape.)

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Remember the little closet in my mudroom?  (That I affectionately call my hobbit closet.) :)

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You can see how it’s organized here.  I use it to store pool stuff and luggage and I use a laundry basket to corral miscellaneous bags.

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I added this bin just inside the closet door to hold things I need to return.  A return bin!  Such a simple thing but I’m loving it!  I always have returns.. clothes I ordered that didn’t fit the girls, home decor that I brought home and didn’t love, etc.  Now I have a place to put them all together (out of the way) so that when I’m running errands they are all in one spot and easy to grab before I head out the door.  Thought I’d share that idea in case any of you would benefit from a return bin too!

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Speaking of my mudroom, after I cleaned it all out for the new year I laid down this gorgeous new rug!  So pretty.  I love the deep blue and the pattern.  Plus it’s so soft and was on sale!  Nothing like a clean space with a new rug for the  new year. :)  (You can see how I organize my mudroom here.  My Hunter boots are also on sale!)

Couple of other recent favorites..

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I love these reclaimed wood shelves and they are such a great deal.  I’m trying to figure out where I can put them!

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During my crazier than usual cleaning spree this past week I realized it has been way too long since I bought new dishcloths.  I did a little searching on-line and found these from Williams Sonoma.  So cute right!?  They come in lots of fun colors.  I went straight for the black and white stripes and coral.  But you knew that. :)

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My mom gave me and my brother and sister these beautiful glass Gratitude Jars for Christmas.  They were part of Oprah’s Favorite Things on Amazon (did you all see her round-up.. so many fun things!).  They sold out fast but I thought I’d share them because you can obviously use any jar to do this with your family (I’ll link to some other options).  We are all writing down one thing we are grateful for each day this year.  It has been such a fun family activity!  Kenny and I sometimes forget and the kids remind us. :)  I’ve loved reading the sweet things they write down.  I’m trying to decide if we’ll share some of them together once every month.. or maybe in November around Thanksgiving it would be fun to read them together?  Still figuring out the details, but for now they are helping each of us focus on something GOOD every day.  Love that.  BEST gift mom!

Grateful for you. ;)

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I’m also grateful for my fireplace this month because is has been chilly!  I know.. not so chilly to some of you (low 60’s and we are in full on winter mode around here!) but regardless, I love getting my kids off to school and then coming home and putting on my favorite cardigan and turning on the fireplace.  Sometimes I sit here with my computer and work until my back is burning. :)
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For Christmas Kenny and I gave each other this 10 piece Stainless-Steel cookware set.

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These pots and pans are SO beautiful.  And SO intimidating.  Ha!  Seriously though.. I don’t dare use them!  They are still sitting in my cupboards just looking shiny and gorgeous!  I feel like I’ll start cooking with them and let them down.

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Couple of things we’ve been eating on repeat.. made with our old pots and pans.  My favorite Taco Salad.

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And this White Bean Chili Soup.  Perfect to eat next to the fireplace until your back burns.

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And on a random side note since we’re talking food.. I’m loving this new to me microwave bacon!  Seriously.. genius!  I love bacon once in a while with eggs for breakfast but never make it because of the mess.  Not with these babies!  Pop a pouch in the microwave for 3 minutes and done!  Perfect crispy bacon ready to eat.  NO cooking.  NO mess.  I’m a fan.

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{table/similar chairs/fiddle leaf fig/basket/rug}

I’m already really missing our mellow evenings over Christmas break.  I loved just being home together as a family.  My husband can get stir crazy during long vacations, but not me.  Having my whole family home just hanging out together is my favorite thing.  Kole got a chess set for Christmas and none of us can beat him.  We’ve all given up trying. :)

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{family room rug/Ugg slippers/black striped pillow}

The girls and I started watching Gilmore Girls over the break and they are loving it.  I am too.. even better the second time around. :)  We are also loving our new Ugg slippers.  SO cozy and they are 40% off!  We keep trying to squeeze in an episode each night in-between activities but life is busy once again!  Although I don’t think that will be a  challenge for me next month.

Bring on Netflix. And another ice pack. ;)

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I’ve been getting lots of hair questions lately!  Mostly about what shampoo/conditioner I use.  I’ve tried SO many different brands and about a year ago I landed on my favorite. (Part of my shower for those of you who have asked to see it too.) ;)

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I use Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo and the Hydrating Conditioner.  They make my hair so shiny and smooth and I love the smell!  So does my husband – double win. :)  I’ve always loved Moroccanoil but never thought about trying their shampoo/conditioner until the girl who does my hair recommended it.  I’ve been hooked ever since!

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Speaking of hair care, my sweet husband surprised me with this Dyson hair dryer for Christmas.  Crazy expensive hair dryer with amazing reviews.  I was so excited!  I thought it was going to revolutionize my life and take my usual 20 minutes of hair drying time down to 10.  But you guys.. I don’t love it!  It’s VERY lightweight which is so nice, but I don’t feel like it dries my hair that much faster.  And it makes my hair feel a little straw like?  I’m so sad!  I really wanted to love it.  Do any of you have it?  Wondering if it’s just me because I’ve heard nothing but good things about this hair dryer.  I think I’m going to return it.   :(

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But so sweet of him for thinking of my hair care needs. ;)  Pic from our last trip to Utah with shade over Kenny’s face but I wanted to share this favorite sweater I love and keep wearing over and over so he has to take one for the team. ;)

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I was twinning with my niece.  Missing that sweet baby so much right now!  She’s my favorite of ALL the favorites. :)

Well!  I have to go.  I think I’m going to walk up and down my stairs a few times since I won’t be able to do that for a month.

I’ll be back!  A little out of it with LOTS to share.

Get ready for a party.



xoxo, Erin
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51 thoughts on “Gratitude and Favorite Things

  1. Oh Erin! I’m so sorry to hear you have to go through major knee surgery. I hope all goes well and that you’ll be back to running around in less than a month! That way you won’t go stir crazy. I also hope that the family steps up and keeps the house a little less disaster like in your honor since you can’t hop up and clean it for a bit. Thank you for sharing all the lovely items in this post. It’s always so fun to read about the things you like and your honesty if you aren’t a fan. I appreciate that about you! Would love to send you a card, but I don’t have your address! Please take care and let the family take over for a bit so you can focus on recovery.
    Big hugs!

  2. Erin, I wish you the very best with your knee surgery and recuperation!! I will be praying for you to have a successful outcome. Sending lots of hugs, my sweet friend!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. oh, erin, i’m so sorry about your knee! bless you! best of luck! ….and if you care to share….i’m having knee issues myself, so info is good:] ha! looking forward to all the new posts (especially the ones on pain meds, ha!) I know great inspiration will come to you. i love how you always focus on the sunny side, but never pretend all is perfect, (hairdryer, sob). I, too, miss those flowwy days of Christmas vacation; so little was expected, except to just be together. love that you still have some cards up bc it makes you happy. i always keep a wreath in my kitchen window until spring. thanks for sharing, and thanks for being you!! you will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow….

  4. Wishing you a successful Surgery and a very quick and easy Recovery on your knee!
    I love the idea of the basket for your return items! I usually pile them on my counter in the Laundry room and don’t like to look at them. Now to clean out an area to house my return basket.

  5. Good luck with the surgery! Your family will really appreciate you much more …. I know mine did after a couple of surgeries. I look forward to more blog posts while you’re on the mend!

  6. So many prayers for you during your upcoming surgery! I know it’s no fun being out of commission for a little while, but get you some good Netflix shows to binge! The Office is always a good one ;-) Also, LOVE the idea of the box for things you need to return! I usually just leave mine sitting by the door and it drives me CRAZY, so I end up throwing them in my car! We’ll all be thinking about you over the next few days! Please let us know how everything goes. :-)

  7. I was thinking about getting that blow dryer as well but bummed to hear your thoughts. I have thick hair as well. Curious to see if anyone here as tried it out. Thanks for posting about the hair products! Do you think you could do a blog sometime about skincare fountains and products? Would also love recommendations for laundry cleaning products. Thanks so much! Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

  8. Erin,
    Thank you for continuing to share your life with us. I love all of your posts and awesome ideas. Your house is beautiful and you motivate me and complete projects around my own home as well.

    I wish you well with your knee surgery, I will keep you in my prayers! My husband will be having a knee replacement Feb 5th and he is super nervous as well.


  9. Best wishes for a super speedy recovery Erin! I’ll be happy to see more posts from you while you’re down though. ;)

    Take care!

  10. Sending sunny thoughts for your surgery and recovery. Regarding the Dyson blow dryer … I got mine as a gift from my husband too and didn’t like it at all at first. For what it cost I was so disappointed UNTIL I went to their website and watched the how-to videos. There is definitely a learning curve involved. Even though I don’t have straight hair, I was able to watch their techniques and went from being a chia pet to actually achieving the results I wanted and am now loving it! Good luck. :-D

  11. I hope your surgery goes well and you are back on your feet quickly! I love your posts so I will be looking forward to more while you recover(: Thanks for the gratitude jar idea! Great Mother’s Days gift!

  12. Good luck with your surgery and have speedy recovery! As for those new pots and pans they should stay in the cabinet and stay nice and shiny! I too am not a big fan of cooking I would rather clean up the mess! Try to enjoy your down time, you will be running around again before you know it. You seem to have a great attitude about things and that will help with your recovery!

  13. I’m sorry to hear about your surgery, but just wanted to leave a note because my son (12 y.o.) has to have his ACL repaired next week, and he is SO bummed–scared of the surgery but also heartbroken that he can’t play sports for 12 months (he plays four!). We will be sending good, healing vibes to you as well! What is it with knees this week??

    1. He’s young so it’ll be easier on him to recover. Just make sure he does all of his PT and that he does it at home as much as they say to. But make sure that he continues to do his PT after his appointments are done. I’ve done lots of PT (but not because of a surgery) and I know that you must keep doing the exercises. For me personally, I have to always do them because mine are for a collagen defect that I have. My fiancé however had to also have knee surgery because of a sport injury and had to have his ACL fixed plus other things and he also was faced with no sports for 12 months but he didn’t keep doing his exercises past his appointments and he has a slight limp now plus he can tell that he’s not 100% when he plays sports now so he doesn’t play like he did before surgery. Which is odd to me since he played before the surgery even though he had the old injury, he says it happened 10 years before he had the surgery. But he used to play ultimate Frisbee and beach volleyball every week plus golf once a month but he uses a golf cart now more than carrying his bag, lol.

      Also, sorry for the super long comment, lol.

  14. I wish you the best and a speedy, uneventful recovery! I’m sure you will be happy once its done and behind you.
    I selfishly am excited at the prospect of more frequent postings due to your forced immobilization! I always look forward to your postings!! Please write more during your recovery!!
    Just a thought/question….what do you think about music CD storage?? I love how organized you are and learn so much from you. I have a big cardboard box full of music CDs from our single days. I don’t ever listen to them anymore…it’s always Kidzbop or npr on the satellite radio in the car…do you have any suggestions?? Would love your 2 cents!!

  15. I’m praying for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery for you Erin!!
    I love the gratitude jar, such a great gift idea!
    And thank you for commenting on my post the other day it MADE MY DAY!!! :-) as I was home for yet another snow day lol
    looking forward to all the posts to come!

  16. I hope all goes well with your knee surgery. At least your get it over with early in the year. I got a Dyson last October and I LOVE it. I didn’t love it though until I watched some of their videos on how to use it. It is different from other hairdryers because you have to point it at the top of your head and downwards otherwise your hair will feel like straw. Once I changed my technique I have been much happier and I love the 3 speeds and 3 heat settings. It has taken a few minutes off my drying time but it isn’t a miracle worker. I will say once I started drying my hair correctly I started get random comments from people about how good it looked! Give it another chance. Props to Kenny for buying it for you!

  17. Hi Erin,
    I’m praying for your knee surgery and that your recovery will be swift, hopefully not too painful and you’ll be able to appreciate the slower pace of life.
    Take care love Carolyn

  18. Wishing you a speedy recovery from your surgery. I look forward to reading your blog. I also love your kitchen light above your table and was hoping you could share where you purchased the fixture.

  19. Erin, I hope all goes well with your knee surgery and that your recovery is smooth. I’m looking forward to more blog posts while you are recovering! :)
    My daughter has very thick hair and one thing we have found that she loves is the L’Oreal Blow Dry It Quick Dry Primer Spray. We found it at Target, it comes in a small black spray bottle. It protects your hair from heat damage and I swear it cuts the time it takes to blow dry in half! We don’t have a fancy hair dryer and we really noticed a difference once she tried this spray. It also smells really good!

  20. Don’t feel bad about the Dyson hairdryer. I asked my hair stylist about it a few months ago and she told me she has one, but finds that she doesn’t use it that much. She also said she wouldn’t recommend it for my hair (a lot of it and VERY thick) because she didn’t think it would make any real difference. And this is coming from the same person that told me to buy a $125 hairbrush when I asked her for a recommendation when I needed to replace my old one! She instead told me to buy a BaByliss Pro Ceramix Xtreme, which I love and is around 1/5th the cost of Dyson.

  21. Wishing you a fast recovery on your knee surgery! I work for an orthopedic surgeon and they do amazing things nowadays to help speed along the recovery!
    I love that shampoo and conditioner too- smells fresh and works so well!!

  22. I’m so sorry about the knee surgery 😩. A month of downtime! 😳. I am sure Kenny and the girls will take good care of you ! Looking forward to some organizing blog posts! I have to get that shampoo!!

  23. Oh you will be in my thoughts and prayers!
    I just love how cozy your room is all snuggled better the fire !!
    Ok, I’ve heard the same about the hairdryer, especially if you have naturally curly or corse hair ( which I have ) someone old me they were living the dry bar buttercup dryer and my friends has the T3 and loves it!

  24. Hi Erin
    I hope that your Surgery went well and that you have a speedy recovery. Enjoy being taken care of by your family and rest up. Look forward to you being back on deck.
    Shelley (Australia)

  25. Best of luck on a speedy recovery. It is so hard to be down when you have kids in lots of activities. Hoping you get some rest and some binge watching. I love your shower and don’t remember seeing pictures of it before. I have had natural stone in my shower and ceramic tile. My natural stone would often times get hazy looking. Do you use any special cleaners to prevent this?

  26. Speedy recovery for you Erin! I’m glad you had already put away your Christmas decors and cleaned the whole house before your surgery. We just put ours away today because of my dad’s passing and going through the funeral service. I’ve yet to decorate. I like your new mud room rug. Do you throw out your old rugs once it gets dirty or do you have them laundered?

    1. So sorry to hear about your dad Debbie! Sending hugs and prayers your way. I’ve always just vacuumed my rugs or if I can I wash them in our washer. A rug like this one I’ll just vacuum each week and then toss when it gets too dirty. But most of my rugs have held up really well and I keep them for years! xo

  27. We do the gratitude jar in our family too and we read all the notes together (with my family, who also have a jar each!) on New Year’s Eve, while waiting for midnight! It’s a great time to look back over what we are thankful for during the year. We’ve been doing it for a few years and it is a wonderful thing.
    All the best for your surgery!

  28. Hi Erin!! I hope your knee procedure went well and that your recovery is off to a great start. I will be thinking of you and praying for your family during this time of…..adjustment. :D I hope you have a fabulous Wednesday and can enjoy and make the most of your resting amongst all the things you’d like to be getting done! Take care and best wishes as you heal.

  29. I don’t know how you feel about someone recommending an alternative to something you’ve recommended but I hope you’re okay with it!! I looked at the link for the shelves and $89 for them is a little too high for me BUT I have one from Target that looks exactly like yours. Mine was $30 or less for 1 shelf or $60 or less for 2 versus $89 for 2. We had ours in 2 different homes and it’s held up well and is about 3 years old. I’m also sure that someone could probably do it even less if they went the DIY route and stained the wood themselves but that’s not me, lol.

    I’m glad your surgery went well. Make sure you do your PT exercises as often as they tell you too!! It’s so important, lol.

    1. So happy to hear about the Target alternative Trish! That’s a great option. Thanks for sharing it with us! And yes! Starting PT next week! :) xo

  30. Good luck with your knee surgery Erin! I will be sending prayers and good vibes for you. I hope you have a speedy recovery! I had three knee surgeries 20 plus years ago and they told me I needed to have my knees replaced but I was too young so they didn’t do anything! At that time they said knee replacements only lasted 10 years and I was only 38 at the time! I was getting ready to have my knees replaced last year. I got all of the pre-surgical testing done for my right knee and then went in to have some bleeding checked and ended up having uterine cancer. I had to have a hysterectomy and then they couldn’t get the uterus out because it was up so high and twice as big so I ended up having an abdominal surgery as well. It was a 5-week recovery and I ended up having to cancel my knee replacement because my ex-husband had to take vacation in order to care for our totally disabled son. I am hoping to get it done at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Not looking forward to the replacements. I did the same as you though, before I went in for surgery I deep cleaned the entire house, lol. Hope you enjoy your new stainless steel pots and pans. I bought some 30 years ago with copper bottoms and they’ve lasted forever. Don’t be afraid to use them. They will hold up just fine and look as good as the day you bought them!

    1. Oh my word Sue! What an ordeal! I’m so happy you made it through that! My mother-in-law just did a double knee replacement surgery and it was a rough recovery.. so not fun! xo

  31. Oh my goodness Erin! I’m so sorry about your surgery. Catching up on my favorite bloggers posts! Been super busy here in RI with my 3 kids as well! Thanks to you… I use the same hair products for my naturally curly hair! The one thing that has totally helped my world is this new hairdryer I got for Christmas! It is truly amazing. I have thick coarse hair as well. This Has changed my life. Has cut down the amount of time to about 10 minutes. I don’t even use my straightener anymore. It has given my hair life again. I have had about 15 of my friends get it as well. It truly is a game changer. I got mine right on amazon. It’s Revlon salon one step hair dryer and volumizer. It’s around $60.00. Good luck and feel better. Xoxoxo

    1. Thank you so much Jen! I’m looking that up! I actually just shared something new I got in today’s post that I’m loving but maybe I need to try the one you are suggesting too! Can’t have too many hair products right? ;) Thanks for sharing it with me cutie! xo

  32. Hi Erin!

    I am new to the site and really enjoying your website! I hope all is well with you and your family. I wanted to ask you what paint color you used for your black dutch doors? Also, what white paint color are you using on the other side of the black door (on the inside of the house)? I am getting my dutch door shortly and super excited just need to get the paint color right :)

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Justine! Thank you! So nice to “meet” you. :) At the end of each of my posts there is a place where you can sign up for my newsletter and get a free printable with all of my house paint colors. The dutch door paint is the same black we used on the front door. :) xo

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