Merry Holiday Shopping to one and all, my sweet shoppers!
I have missed you so much since we last came together to celebrate Christmas and Capitalism and chat about the products that I think are (1) the best and (2) would probably end up making pretty good gifts.
As I mentioned last year, I’m slightly pivoting my dysautonomia gift guide approach to now be Shannon’s Favorite Things, ala another famous lady from Chicago who will remain nameless for legal purposes (can’t have any lawsuits around here). Here you’ll find products that were great joys in my life this year, even if they were a little dull or a little utilitarian. Not all of these items will make traditionally good gifts, but I promise you, all of these products or services are GREAT, and might just be what you need in your life!
I know this year’s guide is late this year and I apologize, but I wanted to make sure I was pulling together all of the best items. Also I suffer from ADHD. I apologize.
If, after you perused this phenomenal list you still can’t find something for your loved one (or yourself!), leave a comment or hit me up on my socials, and I’ll personally help you because that’s what the holiday season is all about.
Merry happy and happy giving, friends. I’m so glad you’re here.
My Favorite Things
The Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler (40 oz) by Stanley
My favorite things/gift guides aren’t gift guides without a brand new water bottle, OK?
I think the Stanley mugs went viral because of Mommy Bloggers and Influencers in Utah, so when I finally indulged in getting this water bottle and professed my love for it, one of my friends said “now THIS is the most Mormon thing about you.” (Never mind the fact that I spent my childhood in the church.)
But guys, they’re onto something.
It fits in cup holders. It’s 40 OUNCES OF WATER! (Suck it, Hydroflasks!!!) It has a handle!! It comes in cool colors!!!
Stanley, you’re doing great, and even though I already have two of you, I want 10 more.
Vitassium DrinkMix Pink Lemonade
I think I have tried all of the different electrolyte supplements out there. I get really excited with every new one I try, thinking it’s going to change my life and my symptoms and make me a new person, and then I taste it and I’m like— oh, hell no.
I got some free samples of some Vitassium products and over a flare weekend (although at this point, what weekends aren’t flare weekends) tried out the Pink Lemonade and that’s it. I’m sold.
Every electrolyte supplement I’ve tried up until this point has had a really artificial taste and/or has left a really bad aftertaste in my mouth. What I like about the Pink Lemonade Vitassium is that it’s not overly sweet (encouraging me to drink more, more, more) and there’s zero aftertaste.
This is my new rescue drink, and I absolutely love it.
Last year I bought myself an iPad (9th generation) for Christmas and it is my absolute love. It hasn’t replaced my computer, because I will never detach myself from the traditional computer, but I use my iPad for:
- reading e-books
- watching videos while traveling
- pretending to be an artist, scribbling and making weird “art” with my Apple Pencil in different design programs
- streaming shows in my kitchen with the recipe directly next to it—and also looking up necessary cooking info (are you SURE I should be cooking a chicken that long???)
- playing games (puzzles, color by number, logic games)
- taking extensive and very important notes during the book club I’m in (I am the very dedicated secretary)
I fully believe that the second you are diagnosed with a chronic illness you should be handed the tablet of your choice.
Can someone put me in touch with a billionaire to make this dream happen?
JVN Hair Care Products
I feel it’s important to regularly profess and proclaim my love for Jonathan Van Ness. I will follow him and his perfectly coiffed hair to the ends of the earth, and then maybe farther, because he is a perfect angel who makes me feel like I can achieve anything.
I am very much a lazy girl who desires to have beautiful hair, so I was ecstatic when he introduced his air dry cream. Erin got it for me as a gift, and I’m still using the same tube I got last May.
I think there’s a learning curve to his products as you figure out the right amounts of product to apply, how to apply it and when for your hair—but it meets my qualifiers for good hair care which is
- smells good
- good packaging
- if I invest just a bit of time, my hair ends up looking great
Bonus, they have a hair quiz online that helps you figure out exactly the right products for your hair, so you don’t have to pay some guessing game, invest a ton of money, and then live in a land of regret. No, JVN has your back.
Custom Pet Portrait Ring
Almost two years ago, I saw an amazing promotion on Etsy for custom pet portrait rings. I jumped on the opportunity to get rings made of all of my dogs—my childhood dogs Rudy and Peaches, and my dogs at the time, Duke and Casey.
I didn’t end up wearing the rings very often, but after Duke and Casey passed away this year, I’ve taken to wearing all four rings on days I need a little extra love and strength.
I really love this Etsy creator—they have a huge selection of different jewelry items you can customize, and the turnaround is so quick. My rings of my dogs are now some of my favorite pieces of jewelry, and having my boys and girl with me all the time helps me manage the grief.
Casaluna Heavyweight Linen Blend Duvet Cover & Pillow Sham Set
Previously in my life, I only ever picked out duvet covers based on what they looked like. Because who cares how the duvet feels, right? You have sheets that protect you from it.
No way. Not any more. I’m 30 years old, it’s time for soft duvets.
I got this duvet cover and pillow set on sale (paired it with these amazing gigantic pillows) and upgraded my sleeping experience with the softest duvet cover I’ve ever had in my life. It’s cozy, it looks inviting, and I’m happy.
Casaluna Ultra Loft Down Alternative Mattress Topper
While we’re on the topic of beds, let’s talk mattress toppers.
I moved into my own apartment in August and had to buy a new mattress. I ended up going with memory foam not realizing how firm it would be — I’m a girl who’s used to squish pillowy mattresses — and after being uncomfortable for weeks I found this mattress topper and have been so much more comfortable.
Infinity points for being easier to put on than a fitted sheet.
I do not like cooking because:
- I have to stand while doing it
- It’s always so hot in that damn kitchen (can’t stand the heat, gotta get out!)
- I always spend like 3x longer cooking than I do eating
- It’s unfair
- I do not trust myself to not poison myself
My mom found this great company that makes cookware that you can use in the microwave. They have different pots for different sizes and they provide recipes for you to use — but yes, you can do anything from steam vegetables to cook proteins to cook rice IN these bowls in the microwave.
I was completely skeptical at first, and honestly still am sometimes, but they haven’t failed me yet!
Their website has tons of recipes and even feature recipes with Trader Joe’s products, so that’s great.
YouCopia UpSpace 9-Bottle Water Bottle and Travel Mug Cabinet Organizer
You know what you need for all of those water bottles I’ve been telling you to get?
A way to store and organize them.
I got this storage rack this year that fit perfectly in my cabinets and it’s excellent—it’s so much easier to know what I actually have available and now I don’t have to knock everything over to get to the item in the back of the cabinet that I think is there but I’m not actually sure is there.
Clear Multi-Use Bins
I was strongly and firmly against all ASMR until I discovered the corner of the internet where women with beautiful homes would organize their refrigerators and pantries with high end containers and make videos in which they restock their snacks and food every week. It’s a wormhole I fall down on a regular basis and it was the first thing I knew I wanted to create for myself when I got my own apartment.
Turns out, these containers are super expensive. I found some great ones for my fridge on clearance at Marshall’s, but when it was time to organize my pantry, I was struggling a bit.
I found this great deal at Amazon with tons of multi-use bins that organize everything from my pantry to my bathroom to my spare meds to my closet. They’re particularly good in my pantry since I don’t purchase in bulk (keep in mind I’m in a studio apartment).
And guys, life with your foods in highly organized baskets is just a better way to live. I’m serious.
Room Essentials Dinnerware
One of the greatest joys in my life is my collection of super adorable melamine dinnerware from Target that is so cute you wouldn’t even believe it—but it’s melamine. You can’t microwave it. I also feel very protective of it (not that it’s fragile) just because it’s so adorable.
So in order to protect my beloved dishes, any time some heavy duty microwaving takes place, I always rely on that fantastic inexpensive Room Essentials brand plastic dinnerware from Target that you can get for so cheap you’re basically stealing it.
I also have a ton of mini bowls from them that I use when I’m cooking to keep all of my ingredients separate. Nothing will make you feel more like a Food Network chef than having 10 different bowls spread out across your kitchen with ingredients and tossing each bowl into the pan. 10/10.
I aspire to be one of those girls who creates amazing journals filled with photos and knick knacks from travel whether it’s boarding passes or movie ticket stubs or menus or whatever. I was looking for an easy way to get photos printed and really liked the idea of having an at-home photo printer so I got this Polaroid one. The photos that you print have adhesive backs so you can put them directly into journals, scrapbooks, or onto people’s shirts, whatever it is you’re after (don’t worry about it). It’s fun, easy, and now I don’t have to wait like 2 weeks to get photos printed and mailed to me from online services. It’s the perfect gift for teenagers, and people who aspire to be like teenagers.
Metal Wire Basket with Fabric
I’m an adult with ADHD, so I have to create some hacks for myself to keep a clean and aesthetically pleasing home.
My hack for keeping dirty clothes off the floor? Have two laundry baskets.
My first laundry basket is in my closet. It’s a very generic cheap looking one from IKEA. It’s zero frills, not that pretty to look at.
My second laundry basket is out in the open, on display all the time in my bathroom. I wanted one that could fit against the wall very easily and not take up a lot of space. That’s where this guy came in—with a completely flat back on one side.
This basket holds all my clothes, looks nice, and helps me in my goal where clothes stay off the floor. AND IT’S ONLY TWELVE DOLLARS, I MEAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Large Convertible Travel Backpack
When I moved away from my friends and family, I don’t think I considered how annoying it would be to have to travel back and forth to see my friends and family.
I found this great backpack (again, still at Target, because I don’t even know at this point if I shop anywhere else) that can hold everything for several days of travel. The back of the backpack has padding so it’s soft while you’re walking through the airport, and there are so many handy compartments to store all of your stuff in.
This item is no longer available for shipping from Target, but is still available in most stores (including the ones near me) — just enter your zip code on the website to find where it’s in stock, drive there, and snatch it up.
Every Word You Cannot Say by Iain Thomas
In high school, I religiously read two blogs, Post Secret, and I Wrote This For You—both of them were these VERY feelings heavy projects of images and heart-bearing poetry and confessions. I could not get enough. I kept a private Tumblr where I saved all of my favorite posts from each blog and my posts were in the hundreds.
A few months ago, I saw a copy of Every Word You Cannot Say at a bookstore, was intrigued by it, and added it to my To Purchase list. It kept coming up over, and over, and over and finally I looked into it. To my surprise, Iain Thomas was the anonymous writer behind I Wrote This For You. As soon as I found out, I bought that book along with some anthologies of the blog that have been published and my once adolescent heart feels whole.
Daring To Take Up Space by Daniell Koepke
This book was a gift from Erin last Christmas, and it was very intentionally the first book I read in 2022. Daniell Koepke writes so beautifully about chronic illness and being kind to yourself and taking things slow and steady and gently. It’s a short read, but gives you the perfect boost.
And the best part… BUY THINGS MY FRIENDS MAKE!!!
It’s hard to decide who to feature and how to feature them, so this is in alphabetical order…
Amber creates stunning faith based collages that are now the star pieces of my home. She offers prints, stickers, and original collages. My absolute favorite? Sparkle beard Jesus.
Astrid makes encouraging calendars, cute coasters, and colorful notebooks.
Diana just released her first novel, Last Chance Chicago, and I am elated for her.
Jackie creates geometric art entitled with questions that will rock your world. She has original pieces, prints, stickers, window catchers, and free resources for artists.
Natasha just published a beautiful children’s book about chronic illness with the sweetest illustrations.
Olivia hand embroiders names onto the cutest sweaters for newborns and toddlers.
My basically-sister Sara just launched a new business making magazine covers featuring your pet!
And there you have it!
My favorite things from 2022!
Have a wonderful gift giving season, particularly if you plan on giving gifts to me. (Kidding.)
Be safe, wear masks, wash your hands, and remember to get a present for yourself while you’re doing your holiday shopping.