Happy New Year, all! January usually comes with a lot of reflection on the past year, and a lot of dreaming and hoping for the new one. How does the new year feel to you? I am ready, but plan to just take things one step, one item on a list, and/or one day at a time and do the best I can with each.
To be honest, I think this past year I was able to stick to the biggest goal I’ve ever set for myself for the first time. If you’ve followed me on Instagram, you know I started working out with a personal trainer and from April 2021- October of 2022, and intentionally added going to the gym 3-4xs a week. This was not easy for me as I had to overcome fears, balance my relationships and work life, sacrifice my free time, and change where I was spending my money – it took so much courage! Read more about my decision and journey in this post. It was an amazing experience for me, and was far more than doing it for a physical transformation and change. Keeping up with this goal still today is something I am both proud of and reaping rewards from a year and a half later.
Are you a goal setter or do you just focus on intentions and take things one day at a time? I’ve typically not been good with goals. And, as hard as it is for me to admit, in the past I’ve always given up on most things within a month or so. One thing I will say that I’ve learned about myself, though, is that I am always thankful for an opportunity to start fresh. Whether starting fresh is the beginning of a new year, or each new month, or at the beginning of a mistake-free new day. Sometimes – well actually most of the time (for me) – it’s hard to add to or change up our thoughts, routines, and/or habits. But I do think that when it’s to better the most important areas of your life, it is worth it. What changes did you make over the past year? How has it helped you grow and change? Last year I would say I held onto the word courage and really tried to live in it. This year, I’m holding onto the word “hope.” Hope for the world. Hope for the future. And most of all, hope in God Who holds it all already in His hands. May I walk faithfully in light of this hope.
On to today’s post of my most used and loved products, clothes, and shoes of 2022. One of my favorite and biggest creative outlets the past 7+ years has been sharing my teacher outfits, summer/weekend outfits, and some snippets of my life on this blog and on Instagram. This side hustle also provides a small income on the side, which on a teacher’s salary, is such a blessing. So, as I closed the chapter on 2022, I thought it would be fun to round up my most used products or most worn clothes through the past year again. (Read last year’s post.) Also, check my Instagram to see many of the clothes/shoes on me via posts in my feed or my highlight videos! (And feel free to reach out on direct message if you have any questions on fit, use, or sizing!)
*This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase from my links, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting my blog!
MY MOST USED BEAUTY:
CeraVe Lotion | Self Tanners – Neutrogena Spray (for feet and hands) / St. Tropez (for body) / Application Mitt for St. Tropez | Welly Acne Patches | Este Lauder Foundation | MD Lash Serum | Benefit Mascara | NYX Lip Gloss (Vanilla Cream Pie)
I started using Welly patches at the urge of my sister. She really sold me on them and I am glad I gave them a try. They’re helpful with active acne, although not as much with cystic ones. The lash serum is my favorite! I’ve been using it pretty much nightly since summer of 2020 and it’s helped my lash growth and sustains my lashes so well. I have used the other 6 products for a number of years now, and keep reordering.
MY MOST USED HAIR CARE:
I added the Dyson supersonic hair dryer and LOVE it. I saved up my Ulta rewards to get a HUGE discount on it, which is the only way to buy/invest. If you’re looking for a great dry shampoo that not only works well but smells nice, Living Proof is it! (Just be sure to shake your can really well before spraying.) I also really love using this hair silkening oil and put it on my ends every night.
MY MOST USED/WORN ACTIVEWEAR:
Adidas Cloud Foam Sneakers | Lululemon Belt Bag / Similar option | Yeti Water Bottle | Activewear Muscle Tanks (I get size S) | Old Navy Flare Leggings (I got a M) / Lululemon Flares (I got a size 6 and felt the 4 and 6 basically fit the same) | Sports Bras (I get an M in these and am a 34D)
Since being in the gym 3-4 times a week, I quickly figured out which activewear things are my go-tos. Since my Old Navy Compression leggings are not available anymore, I can’t reshare those even though I still wear them almost every time I go to the gym (SO glad I got 6 pairs!!!). I WILL however, share their flare leggings, as they’re a fun trend and decent price if you don’t want to “foot the bill” for Lululemon. I also love these sports bras and buy them on sale or at the Outlets. The Amazon muscle tanks are just about all I wear to the gym – they’re SO cute with a colorful sports bra peeking out and you can wear them tied in a knot if you like more of a cropped or tight fit. They come in colorful 3-packs and have held up very well this year. (I lay all of my activewear flat to dry and do not put any of it in the dryer to help it last longer.)
MY MOST LOVED FOR TEACHING:
AE “Dream Jeans” – colors: Black / Blue / Low rise option (Fit TTS, have stretch, non-distressed. Check your AE Outlet for Dream Jeans, too!) | Wide Leg Colored Denim (Size down) | Teacher Tee (runs small) | Jumpsuit (I got a M) | Tiered Dress – MANY colors! (Fits true to size) | YETI 20 oz Tumbler | Picasso Tile Magnetic Cubes | STEM Brainometry Shapes | Floral Dress – more color patterns (Nice and long; runs big/size down) | Homework Stamps – Other customizable stamps, too!
I enjoyed venturing into Amazon fashion more this year to find dresses and skirts for work. I haven’t been disappointed in the quality of these things. This is the first jumpsuit I’ve ever bought or worn, and I have worn it to work quite a bit with a tighter t-shirt underneath or a jacket over the spaghetti straps. I also LOVE this magnetic shelf to put on my classroom white board. It displays my unit books higher and keeps my low board space/trays available to my kindergarteners. And I added these two various block kits to my STEM center and my students choose to use them DAILY. I’m impressed with the attentiveness and creativity they have brought during centers!
MY MOST WORN ON DAYS OFF:
Agolde “Parker” Shorts (I wear my A&F size in Agolde) | Target Ribbed Tanks (Lots of colors – I get a size M) | Old Navy Square Neck Bodysuit (I have the “wish bone” and “peppercorn” colors; I got a Small) | Target Straight Jeans (fit TTS) | Square Neck Long Sleeve Top (More colors! Size up) | A & F Mom Shorts – my FAVORITE shorts! (fit TTS or size up for comfort) | Lululemon Belt Bag / Similar option | Spanx Faux Leather Leggings (available in petite sizes, too) | Busted Knee Skinny Jeans (Fit TTS) | Turtleneck Tunic Sweater – many colors! (Fits TTS) | Soho Small Leather Disco Bag (bought used) – similar styles here and here |
Guys the tank and bodysuit were such summer staples for me with the Agolde and A&F mom shorts! And these are my favorite bottoms that I kept pulling out of my closet this year – the jeans and Spanx. I have had my Spanx leggings for 6 years now and still wear them a lot during our mild fall/winter months with my long tunic tops, duster cardigans, or sweatshirts. I also really like the tunic sweater and have 2 colors in this style. I wear it to work, too!
MY MOST WORN SHOES:
Golden Goose Star Sneakers / Similar option / add black laces here (Also check Poshmark for GG sneakers!) – other similar options here and here | Studded Sandals (fit TTS) – Use code XOJULES for a discount / Also linked some here | Slip on Sneakers | Lug Sole Boots (Use code XOJULES for a discount) / Others linked here and here | Platform Espadrilles | Simple Everyday Old Navy Flip Flops
These styles all work great for me at work and also are ones I wear a lot on weekends or casual Fridays. My favorites from this group are the lug sole boots and the studded strappy sandals for sure! The everyday flip flops are what I wear on weekends around the yard or for quick errands.
MY MOST WORN JEWELRY / ACCESSORIES:
I wear almost all of these daily! I especially have loved my Fitbit at work because it syncs with my phone and I can read any text messages that come in without having to run over to my phone. It comes in handy to set a silent alarm to wake up in the morning, counting my steps all day, and timing my workouts in the gym, too!
MY MOST LOVED/USED IN HOME:
Faux Fur Throw Blanket | Swivel Barstool | Nespresso | Kitchenaid Mixer | Smart Oven (Air Fryer Pro) (we had the old version for 9 years before we upgraded to this air fryer one last year!) | Pyrex 7×11 glass dish | Bissell Carpet Cleaner | Console Table with drawers! | Floating Frame | Silk Pillowcase
You all know I’ve loved having my Nespresso! I waited for a big sale and also joined Bed Bath & Beyond for a membership discount on top of the sale price. That’s the way to go if you’re interested in getting one, too.
I use my Pyrex baking dish and kitchen aide mixer weekly to prep lunches or make dinner. I bake chicken and pork chops at 450 for 20-22 minutes – makes for an easy healthy dinner. Also, for shredded chicken, I take them from the oven directly into my mixer (cover the top with your guard or a towel), and beat on medium until the chicken is shredded. BEST THING EVER!
Also, the throw blankets I mentioned are on our couch – we love the warmth and style. The floating frame has been a great home decor piece that I have on our shelf in the living room. Rather than constantly buying new wall art, I just get on Etsy and print out either an inspirational quote or a holiday message and switch it out to change things up for a new season or holiday!
WHAT I’M ADDING IN 2023:
In 2023 (apart from maybe getting another puppy??!! and finishing up some little things on our house), we plan to get a steam mop for our kitchen tiles and wood floors and also fix up our pantry/cabinet storage with some stuff from the Container Store. (And of course I’m eyeing some new gym shoes! Love the bright pink!!)
TIPS FOR SHOPPING IN 2023:
1. Get on Poshmark! You’ll be amazed at how many new with tags or like new items are listed. You’ll find brands like Abercrombie and Fitch, Lululemon, Steve Madden, Golden Goose, and even high end brands. If you are on the hunt for something specific, just type the name of it in the search! Do your research on the seller by checking reviews and comments, but keep in mind that Poshmark has some good guidelines that help protect buyers, too.
2. Resell for spending money! Spend an hour or two once a month to list at least 5 things that you currently have in your closet in good condition but don’t wear anymore. Poshmark is a great spot to do this! Or, find a resale / consignment shop in your city to bring things to once a month or before every season. Use your earned “closet resell” money as spending money for more current or desirable things.
3. Sign up for text alerts or store rewards! I know that texts can be annoying, but many times by opting in, you will be texted alerts for sales before emails are sent out by retailers. Another great money-saving tip is to sign up for a store’s rewards program. Many stores offer points that translate into dollar or coupon rewards and this can help you save up for something expensive. (Just be sure to watch for expirations on your points! Many expire within a few months or sometimes at the end of each year.)
4. Wait. Make a list. Don’t rush into buying… wait for a sale. Making a list of things you’ve been wanting or needing will help with waiting until the right moment, too, especially before the change of seasons. I like to set goals for myself, then reward when I hit the goals with spending on something I’ve been eyeing or needing. And, let’s say I really want a new, maybe trendier pair of jeans, I’ll wait and hold off on buying during the hot summer until the cooler jeans season comes.
Was there anything that we both found useful or wore a lot in 2022? What are you adding in 2023? Let me know if any of my shopping tips help or have helped you! I’d love to hear.
Thanks for stopping by to read!