Updated: Aug 15, 2022
I'm not talking raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but brown paper packages filled with these things? Yes, indeed! Perhaps an odd way to show gratitude, but I wanted to roundup the brands and products that have either made my life simpler, healthier, or at least more interesting over the years.
Read on to see my go-to's from the kitchen and garden to the things that live on my bathroom shelf — this is a list of staples around our house. Beware this is a little bit on the girly side of a blog post, but no doubt some helpful products for everyone! I try to use affiliate links and discounts for you when I can. Enjoy!
Favorite Kitchen Things
If you know our family, then you know our best work is done in the kitchen — it's where we come together to spend time making memories.
Caraway Pots + Pans
Something we have totally fallen in-love with in the kitchen is our set of Caraway Pots + Pans. They are non-stick, non-toxic and they even come with their own storage option. We feel good about the fact that they are keeping our cooking healthy, they work wonderfully and bonus: they are so aesthetically pleasing! Use that link to get 10% off.
We love trying new things and a great way we found to do that is using a subscription to Hello Fresh. That link will get you $40 off! Not one single meal has been anything but delicious! If you've been debating trying it out, I say go for it! You can do it for a couple of weeks and pause at any time. I found we learned several cooking hacks and recipes that we now use in our weekly rotation for dinners!
Another thing that I will subscribe to from time-to-time are the smoothies from Daily Harvest. Such a great way to get your fruits and veggies in. They are delivered in individually freshly frozen cups right to your doorstep ready to add milk or water, blend and enjoy! My favorites are the Mint + Cacao, Dragonfruit + Lychee, and the Mango + Papaya. That link will get you $35 off.
Favorite Comfy Things
Having worked from home for the past several years, I'm constantly on the lookout for easy-to-wear items that allow me to be comfortable and productive.
Universal Thread Shorts
For the longest time I was stuck in a yoga pants rut and then realized, "Ah yes! I live in Texas." Don't get me wrong, stretchy leggings will always have their place in my wardrobe, but these Linen Mid-Rise Shorts with pockets really do it for me. I have the green and grey and they are so versatile for around the house or errand running.
Something I've been wearing for years now are these Vegan Leather Reef Sandals. At this point, they're just a shoe I can't live without. They have great grip, support and they go with everything! I swear they even improved the arches of my feet. Originally I got them for a boat shoe for Canyon Lake since they are essentially waterproof and I just totally fell in love.
Never underestimate a good pair of pajamas! I love a good set of flannels especially during winter. I've had my Aerie Flannel Pajamas for over a year now and they are great quality and super comfy cozy! One of my favorite Rainey family traditions is how every year on Christmas Eve, we open our Christmas Jammies from Kyle's Mom. She is the Queen of holiday cheer!
Favorite Skincare Things
Since I was a kid, I've had a slight obsession with all things skincare. Before I found the brands I'll list below, I would spend what seemed like hours on the beauty aisle reading hard-to-pronounce ingredients, hunting for products that were good and good for my skin.
This brand is everything and has been part of my daily routine for about five years now! I feel 100% confident in each product they've launched because it's all organic, non-toxic and I have tried and loved them all. Primally Pure was introduced from a gal I consider a business role model of mine, Jenna Kutcher. The first product I tried was the natural Geranium Deodorant and haven't looked back since! If I had to narrow it down to my top three products, it would be the Cleansing Oil, the Clarifying Cream, and the Fancy Face Serum. Use my code CHRISTA10 for 10% off or CHRISTA20 for 20% your purchase!
It would take something very extreme to convince me to use any other makeup brand now that I've found ILIA Beauty. You may have noticed the non-toxic trend in the products I recommend and if not, well now you know and this makeup line absolutely fits that profile. Over the years, I've tried several that were semi-good for your skin but still didn't measure up in functionality. My favorites include the Super Serum Skin Tint — I actually use Paloma ST9 as my foundation because it's not too heavy and has SPF 40! Next up is the Multi-Stick in Dusty Rose for both lips and cheeks (again, I love a low-maintenance look). Last is the Liquid Light Highlighter in Soft Gold for that natural, yet magical looking glow!
Favorite Essential Oil Things
Lavender is definitely the oil I use the most. At the end of the day, I love diffusing it before bedtime and adding a few drops to the wool balls for drying my laundry. Another laundry hack is to add your favorite oil to a spray bottle and give your hanging clothes a quick spritz to help remove wrinkles and leave slight scent to enjoy while in wear.
Eucalyptus is another I keep on repeat in the diffuser. I like it because it seems to both energize and calm at the same time. Perfect for adding to your bath or shower with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut. A simple but great combo when mixed with lavender if you're really wanting that spa vibe.
Any citrus oils are the perfect pick-me-up to have going in the morning or during your work-day, but I especially love Citrus Fresh because it's a blend of Lemon, Grapefruit, and Orange. All of which are also great on their own to give that hit of clean energy without having to clean your house!
Favorite Garden Things
With our newly-found share obsession for gardening, here are a few things we keep handy to make things effective and enjoyable.
I mounted these clippers along with a handheld spade and rake to this magnetic tool holder on the wall of our back porch and it helps us scatterbrains avoid losing them. They're no-fuss and have held up great for a couple of years now, great for harvesting okra or trimming your tomato plants.
Having a wand with multiple modes not only makes watering easier, but also makes it so you're able to keep from overs praying the leaves of the plants which can cause mold and all sorts of issues in your garden. This also comes in handy for watering our goats and chickens.
Last but not least is this Cloning Gel which makes propagating (starting new plants from cuttings) an absolute breeze. I love using my accordion vase propagator and putting it in the window to water and watch for roots to appear telling me it's time to put them in soil.
Favorite Craft Things
I'll be honest, hobby-type activities beyond gardening are a bit low on the priority list, but when I do find the time these are a few things I like to get creative with!
There are a million things you can do with a pressed flowers. This flower press is super affordable and I've used it several times to create thoughtful gifts and activities for my loved ones. I've used it to enclose flowers in these glass frames for a decor gift and even decorated Easter eggs with tiny flowers one year. Next up, I'd like to decorate a cake with them!
If you're thinking this is just for kids, take a look at some of the fun and beautiful options for paint by numbers these days. I also tried out the Let's Make Art water color subscription and I absolutely loved how it guided you to mix colors and create a beautiful piece in no-time with the Live video tutorials by Sarah Cray.
This vintage looking label maker is what I used when I did my pantry overhaul — you can see more about that in this blog post. You can choose the tape color and it's honestly a little therapeutic to hand-punch the lettering. It creates such an intentional and timeless feel to your labels. My personal tip on labeling is to keep it simple and to avoid labeling things that are obvious. For example, I didn't label the nuts in my pantry because in the glass jars you can tell right away what you're looking at — this also allows me to change them out without worrying about redoing the labels.
Favorite Local Things
We have absolutely fallen in love with the Texas Hill Country and the simple living it offers. It's nice to enjoy our farm animals and gardening, but we also like to venture out for good food and wine as much as possible.
Spring Creek Gardens - Spring Branch, TX
Often on weekends you can find us hanging out or buying seeds, plants or tools at Spring Creek Gardens. We love this place for the amazing greenhouses, friendly staff and constant innovation. So far they've put in wine dispensers, a coffee + pastry shop, potting barn for classes and seminars, and rumor has it a restaurant is on the list. It's located in Spring Branch, Texas and love supporting this local business — especially during the holidays for pumpkins carving and picking out our Christmas tree every year.
Piatti Italian Restaurant & Bar - San Antonio, TX
This Italian eatery has been my favorite restaurant for a while now. The atmosphere at Piatti in La Cantera is so approachable yet elevated you can be dressed to the nines or in athleisure wear and feel right at home either way and has a down-to-earth menu and price points to match. Their cocktail list is just right and I'd advise you not leave without ordering the bread and oil as well as the parmesan fries with aoli or any one of the ravioli dishes.
Ab Astris Winery - Stonewall, TX
Near Fredericksburg, Texas is a family-owned winery that produces handcrafted vintages called Ab Astris Winery. It was suggested by a friend and I can't wait to go back. As if the massive oak trees surrounding you weren't relaxing enough, you don't even to stress about what to order first because they'll automatically start you off with a tasting lineup while telling the story of each wine and what it pairs well with. You can also enjoy charcuterie and live music if you time it right. It's the perfect stop before a shopping trip in Fredericksburg.
On the note of local, you may want to check out my blog post on What It's [Really] Like Living In The Texas Hill Country.
All in all, I hope this roundup of my favorite things has been insightful or at least intriguing. I'm always open to feedback as a blogger and entrepreneur, so feel free to share your thoughts with me on all things Arrange. Thanks for being part of this thing I'm growing!