my favorite items from 2017.

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I love that everyone is sharing their resolutions-- keep them coming! I love seeing what others value, what they hope for, and their goals for the year. I believe sharing them online makes everyone feel more connected and accountable.

One of the main resolutions I have seen this year is to cut back on spending. It's natural after the gift-giving holiday season to feel like you want to trim the spending habits. It's something I am always conscious of in the new year. The hard part is that companies have their biggest sales in January! It's so tempting to buy something for yourself!

With all of the emails, social media influence, and in-store sales it can be nearly impossible to resist that "must-have" item. I found the past couple of months that I have completely curbed my impulse buys. Before scarcity or price was what made you swipe that credit card with sweat appearing on your upper lip-- oh, the thrill!! But now it's possible to find almost everything on the internet and more often, for a cheaper price.

I am sharing all of this because as I review budgets for 2018, both personal and professional, I want to reflect on the items I purchased or received that were the most valuable of the year. They're not a flashy outfit or even expensive, but they made life a little better.

Bunk beds for Lillian. After a rough go at the toddler bed transition, Jesse and I decided it was time for Lillian to get a new bed, mostly for us since one of us would lay in her room with her as she fell asleep. I would always fall asleep in there, cramped in the toddler bed and one day I said to Jesse, "enough!!!". With so many options- twin bed or full bed- we settled on bunk beds. It's a given (to me, at least) that kids have bunk beds in life. It's a rite of passage. I have the fondest memories of my sisters and me in our bunk beds.

We got the coziest sheets and comforter and pillows for Lillian and honestly, it's my favorite place to take a nap. It was not an inexpensive purchase- a bunk bed set, two sets of sheets, comforters, six pillows because I am crazy, and blankets. But it has brought so much peace to our night time routine and has brought so much joy to our family as we watch Lillian navigate the ladder and play on the top bunk. We can't wait for sleepovers with cousins!

SD Memory Cards.  2017 was full of opportunities to improve my photography skills and I jumped at the chance to snap photos. Full SD memory cards are such a pain but when I think about them, they make me happy.

Cuyana bag and cosmetics case. In the fall I received a travel tote from Cuyana. I loved the simplicity of it, but most importantly I loved the functionality of it. The bag is much larger than my other bags and solves the annoying problem, which Jesse can't stand, of having three bags for a night away. It fits everything and is so chic. For Christmas, my brother gifted me the Cuyana cosmetic travel cases and they are the perfect size and I love carrying the smaller one in my purse.

Garland from the San Francisco Flower Mart. You're probably thinking I am crazy. And I totally am. But I LOOOOOVEEEEE the garland I picked up in early December from the flower mart. It is beautiful, flatters our original built-in cabinet in our dining room, was so festive, and is so fragrant. Walking into our dining room always made me so happy to see this beautiful garland. I think I purchased it for $30 and even though we took down all of our Christmas decorations, I am not ready to part with this! It still smells so good!! I can't wait to buy a handful next year!

Amazon Alexa. Not only is this one of my favorite items that we have had in our home, it was the number one gift that we gifted this holiday season. I love how easy it is to play music at our house. We always have music on. I am pretty sure it's because I grew up in a busy household and I like the white noise. Well, and Lillian also loves to listen to music and dance!

Trolls Holiday on Apple TV. I can't even count how many times Lillian watched Trolls Holiday the past few weeks. It's only twenty minutes so I don't feel bad popping it on for a bit while I do a quick task.

Potterybarn rug for our living room. I really love interior design but sometimes the price tags of items are hard to stomach, especially when you have a very active toddler running around. But investing in a good rug from Potterybarn (similar version here) made all the difference in setting the scene for our living room. It's big and has a pattern so it hides toddler life. It was a big investment but I know that if I had bought something cheaper I wouldn't have liked it and gotten another cheaper rug, essentially spending more than a nice rug.

xo,

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caroline curran