Hello friends! This newsletter is a first for me: Kate’s Greats. I thought it would be fun to do a newsletter dedicated to things I love that I get asked about regularly. The hope is that next year I will repeat this newsletter and will get to see what remains a favorite and what changed in different categories. I was going to attempt to categorize them, but I gave up.
In no particular order…
Kitchen appliance: my favorite kitchen appliance is my fridge. I did a ton of fridge research and knew it was going to be a large purchase. Two years later, I am so happy with what I chose! A lot of french door fridges have to have both doors open to access the drawers in the fridge. The Bosch fridge has a massive middle drawer that stands alone. It holds all of our deli products, yogurt, cheese, and more. It’s huge! Also the sides of the fridge can hold a ton of condiments. And the ice maker is fabulous. Can you tell I love it? Here’s a link to an old IGTV I did back in 2020. Also, if you’re interested in a fridge quasi-deep dive, I also corralled feedback from you all in 2020 regarding fridge recommendations. Over 1,000 of you submitted your opinions on various fridges.
Grocery store: I love Whole Foods. I love that I can shop or get sushi or a coffee. Some things are expensive but I have found the store brand for most items is the same as anywhere else, and the produce is fabulous.
Alcoholic beverage: Winter: Old Fashioned, Summer: Vodka Grapefruit or Steigl Radler
Appetizer: the appetizer that everyone always raves about and is the easiest ever is Cheesy Corn Dip (recipe is not mine). Everyone thinks it is way more involved than it is, and I love giving out the recipe. If I am really in a time crunch, it’s Whole Foods guacamole and chips every single time. It’s made in house and everyone devours it.
Potluck dish: In the summer, it would hands down be Sesame Chicken Pasta. You can make it ahead, and it actually tastes better the next day. Also, it’s perfect cold or room temperature. In the winter, I like to bring a fall salad, knowing I am usually not in charge of the main dish. Basically, I don't want to rely on an oven if I can help it. If I am in charge of the main dish, chili all the way!
Easy dessert: Andes brownies are a huge hit. They are requested at many a family get together, and you use boxed brownie mix!
Ice cream flavor: Moosetracks
Charleston restaurant: Melfi’s, Wood and Grain, or The Royal Tern
Kitchen counter appliance: This would have to be my Vitamix. I am a broken record on this one. I use it every single day.
Kitchen appliance under $10: I would have to say this plastic mini spatula. Perfect for anything that would normally stick to metal.
Skincare item: I have a ride or die, and a new one for 2022. Supergoop Glowscreen has really won the day for me in 2022. I feel like I look five years younger and perfectly dewy, and it’s so light I wear it daily. My ride or die is the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. I honestly don’t think there is a face wash that has done more for my skin. It gets my face so clean but is somehow super hydrating in the process. I don’t know if I will ever change from the cleansing balm. If you're curious about the rest of my skincare and makeup favorites, I wrote a blog post outlining my entire routine.
Book of 2022: The Midnight Library was definitely the most thought provoking book I read. Specifically, the part on the guilt she held onto about an event regarding her cat that she could have never prevented. It got me thinking about the guilt and regret and “would have could haves” we all carry. The American Royals Series by Katharine McGee has been my most enjoyable “couldn’t put them” down books of 2022.
Book of all time:Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist is my favorite book of all time. I have read all of her books, and many of them I read every year. I adore the way Shauna writes, and in this particular book she bridges stories and recipes. I hope to write a book like this one day.
Cleaning product: Last year my mom got me these yellow dust clothes, and they work so well! I love them, and they are easy to rinse and reuse.
Cleaning hack: I would say my top cleaning hack is less a hack and more a miracle combo. Vinegar and water. Works to clean my floors, fridge, microwave…all of it. Some might say the way I wash our outdoor cushions is also a cleaning hack. Mine are over five years old and look brand new!
House hack to serve my family and kids: I think the main thing that serves our family is going to bed with the main living areas clean. If I wake up the next morning to a dirty kitchen and family area, I already feel behind. We make sure the kids help with cleaning the toy room and family room before bed; Nate does the dishes while I bathe Alberta; and I tackle the final kitchen wipe down/anything else I feel I want done before heading to bed.
Splurge item: Two things I will spend good money on are shoes and pajamas. Shoes, because I wear them so often and with so many outfits. Pajamas, because sleep is so important, and I am wearing these pajamas for around eight hours! The cost per wear gets super low if you think about it. I want them to be comfortable, breathable, and hold up well over time. My current favorites are made by Lake Pajamas, Parachute Home (the top runs large, bottoms are TTS), and Mirth (the exact pairs I have are what I linked).
Way to spend a long afternoon with the kids: My favorite thing to do is be in our backyard with my 4-6pm playlist going. If it’s hot and we can set out the water table and I can put out an easy snack and crack a grapefruit radler I am in heaven. I really like being home more than anything.
Gift for someone else: Lately, I have loved giving the AvrynCo wristlet to friends. It is beautiful and practical; I have used a wristlet for years and cannot imagine not having it. **I reached out to Kate Gaffney (owner of AvrynCo and dear friend) and she gave me a code for free shipping! It’s NAPTIMESFREESHIPPING for free standard shipping through Sunday, 11/6 at midnight. US orders only.
TV Show: The West Wing and Friends. In the Fall I tend to rewatch Gilmore Girls and The West Wing. While I cook dinner I throw on an episode of Friends.
Playlist: my own 4-6pm playlist on Spotify is my favorite playlist ever. All the songs make me happy. I listen to it almost everyday and it really has gotten me through the witching hour often. I don’t know if my playlist will be the one for you, but I cannot suggest enough making a playlist to get you through long afternoons.
Musical artist: Van Morrison or Bruce Hornsby.
Gift for a new baby: I love giving the Lands End tote bag with their name on it if I can. It feels practical and like something they will use for years to come. This blog post details the exact bags we like.
Bible verse: This is hard. I would have to say Deuteronomy 7:6-9 and Deuteronomny 8:11-20. I know that’s a lot of verses, and who loves Deuteronomy?! I love this passage because it is all about remembering the Lord. It is easy to ask God for things and then forget Him once you have them. This passage says to remember the Lord. It is a humbling passage. Go read it. It’s really good.
Kids toy:Picasso tiles have likely been the most played with toy in our house. John Robert (age 7) still uses them, and Alberta (11 months) plays with them. They are always out and being used.
Thing to do for rest: Take a hot bath with epsom salt. I dim the lights in the bathroom and play the Peaceful Piano playlist from Spotify. I also love (love love love) to get to bed early. Sometimes the moment the kids get in bed I get in bed too, and it makes me so happy.
Cookbook: If I am totally honest, it’s my own recipe binder! Why? This combines all the recipes from people I love (in real life and online). I print them off the internet or tear them from a magazine and categorize in the binder. I even have a section for recipes I want to try. It feels like a cookbook but one where I use every single recipe.
Product under $15: probably my phone card holder. I have used this for years and love it so much. It's like a loopy case but also holds all my cards. It is what I use in place of a wallet. Two more, both skincare related. This $8 face scrub is the bomb. I use it in the shower weekly and feel so clean and fresh afterwards. TIP: use it in the shower and scrub your chest and neck as well. Speaking of chest and neck, this $8 body scrub is another fave. I have purchased both for years.
Quote: I think about the Annie Dillard quote a lot: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” What life am I building by how I spend my days?
Shampoo: Redken All Soft Shampoo or Kenra Clarifying Shampoo. I love a shampoo that leaves my hair squeaky clean and the Kenra does that for me. For dry shampoo, I am very sensitive to strong fragrance and many of them give me a headache. I prefer the Acure powder dry shampoo. I use it at night and let it soak in as a sleep. I think doing it before bed also helps with my hair volume.
Candle: So recently I have actually discovered Pura and I am sold. It takes scents you already know and love (think NEST brand, Thymes, and Anthropologie among many) and creates tiny bottles of those scents to use in their diffuser. I got one to try last week and Nate has made a point three times to tell me how much he loves it. You can adjust when it diffuses and how strong, and the best part is there is nothing to clean! I was skeptical because I don't love air fresheners but this really works (and smells!) differently than any I have ever tried. (I am working on getting a sizable discount code with them and think I will have one in the next few weeks. I hope so because I love this thing. Stay tuned!)
Personal care item of 2022: has to go to the Oral B pressure sensor toothbrush. Cleans so well and let's me know if I am brushing too hard and damaging my gums. When I first started using it I was shocked how often I was brushing too hard.
Tip to get out the door easier: put as much by the door as you can. Shoes, socks, coats. We keep all of these things by the door.
Kid’s clothing brand: Hanna Andersson hands down. Alberta is wearing clothes that both Scout and Millie have worn. They last forever!
Personal clothing brand: If I look at what I wear the most, I would have to say Lululemon. This is mainly because I live in Charleston and it’s so hot and muggy and the Lululemon tops stand up to the humidity. I have the All Yours Tee in 3 colors, the Back In Action in 2 colors, and the Love tee in 2 colors. I also live in the Align Leggings and these pants. I feel like these clothes make me feel elevated in style but also allow me to do all the daily mom activities with the kids without having large pit stains. The other brand I wear and love the most is definitely ABLE. I have worked with them for almost three years now and love their clothing and their mission. The Chelsie High Rise Jean is my hands down favorite jean (my code NAPTIME gives you 15% off at ABLE all year long).
Amazon find: This is hard! The beloved joggers for clothing item. Y’all know I love these and have worn them for years. Size up if between sizes, and beware the black shows lint more than any other color (they are made of a different material for some reason). The Sleek Socket is truly a game changer for plugging things in behind pieces of furniture.
Season: Spring. I would have said Fall in the past but now I think those first weeks when the sun warms your skin and the flowers bloom is the best. This is also likely because I live in Charleston. Our fall is pretty poor, but our spring is out of this world.
First time parent baby item: the item we have used the most and used with every child is the Ergobaby 360 carrier. It has beaten out every wrap and sling in my book (and we have tried many!)
Thing to do when alone: this might surprise you, but I love to go shopping! My favorite are well curated stores, both secondhand and brand new items. I love a shop where the owner has taken great energy to put out beautiful items.
Go to hostess gift: I have three. A candle, a bottle of wine, or Piedmont Pennies. My favorite candle company is Rewined (they are local to Charleston and make candles in recycled wine bottles. The Cabernet scent is my favorite). The Piedmont Pennies are a new to me this year item and their cheese snacks are addicting. I am gifting these to multiple people for Christmas. The girl who makes them is local to NC and I asked her for a discount code for you all! She gave me one: KATE20 - 20% off all products, one time use per customer.
**Please note: the above links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase through them I make a very small commission. Thank you in advance should you wish to use them!
ANNOUNCEMENT: NTK IS ON YOUTUBE!
Jess and I have been working hard to upload my content to YouTube. If Instagram isn't where you want to hangout, but you wish to see my videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Alright friends, that's all I have for you. I hope some of my favorites become your favorites. Have a lovely month!
If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply click “manage preferences” and click to unsubscribe from the newsletter. (If you click unsubscribe, it will unsubscribe you from any and all NTK emails). I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and don't take it personally.