Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, loves!

Look at me sliding in here on the last day of the week with a quick post because I made you a promise last week to be here at least once a week the rest of the year.

Well, I didn’t fail this week, so go me!

This week has flown by! Of course, everything this time of year flies by. Now that we are in November, we are officially into the part of the year where we have an event or thing every weekend until after the New Year, which means very little free time, but a lot of fun in the books. These events and traditions ae among our favorites of the year, and we look forward to them all year.

Because I’m short on time due to having zero time, I did want to throw a quick Friday Favorites at you. Just a few of the things I’m loving most right now. I love to share those with you guys because who doesn’t love things that they love, and who doesn’t want to share the love?!

That said, here you go!

Gratitude

This week’s Friday fave is not a material possession or even a tangible possession. It’s just something that I’m loving right now. It’s easy to forget to be so thankful and filled with gratitude sometimes, but nothing is better than remembering that no matter how many negatives, bad days, difficult people, difficult moments, stressful situations, etc. you might be dealing with right now, you always have so much to be grateful for. I know that I’m blessed with such abundance, and I’m so appreciative of that even when I’m annoyed or irritated. You guys…gratitude costs you nothing, but gives you so much.

The Best Running Shoes Ever

I love to run, and the weather is finally nice enough I can run outside a few times a week without choking on the humidity (Florida problems). However, when I run on the pavement, I’m prone to shin splints. The treadmill isn’t so bad, but the outdoor situation is bad for my legs. I’ve gone through about 3 million pair of running shoes looking for the best ones, and hands down my very favorite are my APLs (that’s Athletic Propulsion Labs). I love them because they are not only the most comfortable shoes EVER and they’ve completely eliminated my shin splint issues, but because they are beyond cute, too. They’re so cute, in fact, that even my 1-year-old daughter has a few pair now. Our favorites are the Women’s Techloom ($225) and the Techloom Bliss ($200) (and in all the colors).

SPANX Faux Leather Leggings

But, really, though; I detest pants. I dislike them in every capacity imaginable. I prefer dresses, but sometimes you have to put on some pants and call it a day. These are the ones because they don’t feel like pants, but they do make you feel instantly slimmer and amazing. If you don’t have a pair (um, or 9…but I really love them, okay???), get them now. They are only $98 and they are the best non-pants pants ever.

Clinique’s All About Eyes Rich Eye Cream

If you’re struggling with puffy eyes (and girl, you know you are), this is for you. I’ve been using this cream for a few weeks now, and even my husband has noticed how much brighter my eyes look. The puff is gone – even when he and I got a collective 2 hours of sleep one night last week while our sweet Charlotte was up all night vomiting everywhere (he has bedroom cleaning duty and laundry duty when that happens, I have shower and shampoo duty…followed by hair blow dry duty because our kids are high maintenance little assholes sometimes…they might get that from me, but no comment). Seriously, though, get this. It’s magic, and it’s only $54.

Date Night

If you aren’t regularly dating your spouse – and I’m talking at least once every two weeks – it’s time to make some changes. You need that time to connect. You need that time to focus on one another, to look one another in the eyes and to carry on conversations that aren’t interrupted by tiny humans, to just be young and in love without distraction. I love date night, and it is a Friday favorite. Tonight’s date night includes some of our favorite couples, our favorite brewery our friends just opened, and the knowledge that we will wake up tomorrow with cheeks sore from laughing. Best life, you guys.

 

What are some of your Friday favorites this week?

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, loves!

This is a beautiful day! First, it’s Friday. And that’s always something I love, but it’s also my grandmother’s birthday, and I’m celebrating with her. In person. How many people get to say they’re hanging out with their grandmother on her birthday approximately a century after her birth. I have my husband with me. I have my four sweet babes with me.

My heart is FULL.

The only thing that would make this 5-day weekend better would be coming home to find out that our parents finished up the final details in the upstairs bathroom while we were away (they are so sweet to stay in our home for us when we travel…and they’re always doing little things for us…and since we are finishing up the remodel, I’m just throwing it out there…in case they’re reading. Just saying. No biggie.)

{These were taken when Craig and I visited in November without the kids…she is always making funny faces in photos and cracking up. Maybe that’s why she and our sweet Carter-man are the very best of friends!)

Really, though, what an amazing trip.

And it is a trip. The kids are here. It’s not a vacation with little people.

But, I won’t complain because they are excellent little travelers. They always fly well. We always receive so many compliments in the airport about their excellent behavior. We always know they’ll behave in hotels and restaurants. They’re a little judgmental about rental cars – but that’s probably my fault. I’m a neat freak and rental cars are never up to my standard of clean.

To be able to surprise my grandmother for her big birthday is something very special to me. We’ve been making it a point to come to Texas to see her every 2-3 months. It’s a quick flight from Florida, and she is my favorite person in the world. We alternate trips with the kids and just ourselves, but they would never be okay with missing out on cake.

Anyway, I’m just so excited to be here with my amazing, beautiful, special, wonderful, spectacular grandmother on her birthday with all the people I love most in the world – and I’m still bringing you my Friday favorites. As always, I promise they are super random, but still my favorites.

{How blessed are we that my own grandmother gets to spend so much time with our sweet littles even though we live 1,500 miles apart? How blessed are we that they love her so much, and that she gets to see them grow up? And how blessed are we to be able to make this trip so often throughout the year so she doesn’t have to miss out on this time?}

Mornings

My favorite part of the day. I just love the new start, the quiet time with a cup of coffee. Coffee as a whole. A little quiet time alone with my husband to start the day. I love it. It’s my favorite part of the day. Followed very closely by bedtime. Perhaps it’s just the whole thing about quiet that gets to me?! Oh, and I like my coffee black.

The Open Sunroof

Before I was a mom, I always drove a convertible – and then I had a hundred kids. So, the next best thing is a great big sunroof, and it always has to be open. I love the fresh air and the sunshine when I’m driving. Seriously, it’s my favorite.

The Phrase “I love you for no reason”

I have no idea how or when it started, but our sweet Charlotte and our sweet Carter – the twins – like to tell us this. “Mommy, I love you for no reason!” “Daddy, I love you for no reason!” and it melts my heart. Every single time. I cannot even with that saying, especially when it comes with a darling little hug and those sweet little voices.

People Rocking Their Lives

I just have this thing for people who are living their best life and making the most of what they’re doing. I love it. I love to hear the smile in people’s voices when they’re so happy with where they are in life and what they are doing and how things are going. It’s such a beautiful change from all the complaints and the pessimism of the world – and it makes me smile.

Spending Time With My Grandmother 

How truly blessed and fortunate are we that we get to spend this kind of time with a woman who has lived a century? How blessed are with that she is with us – and sharper, wittier, and funnier than ever – to get to know her great-grandchildren. Our kids get to spend time with the woman who has been my favorite person on earth since the day I was born, and the twins are like 95 years younger than she is. That’s amazing. It’s so amazing.

One of the things that make my heart so happy since she moved herself off the farm and into an assisted living facility last summer the staff and their kindness. Anytime we visit, they are always so good about remembering us, and they are always so kind to tell us how lucky our grandmother is to have so many visitors despite how far we all live. She never goes more than six to eight weeks without someone making the trip from California or Florida to see her between myself and my brother, my cousins, my parents, and my uncles.

What breaks my heart is when they also share that some of their residents haven’t had that many visitors all year and their families live in the area. Some have no visitors at all. I am grateful every single day that we are able to book a flight and see her anytime we want.

You guys…if you are so fortunate to have a living grandparent – get up and visit. Don’t make excuses. I cannot tell you how amazing it is. How many stories my grandmother tells us from her own youth and from her own days as a young woman. She’s so hilarious, and she’s such a wonderful storyteller. There is nothing quite like listening to her tell us the stories of her childhood and her life, and to hear her sharing those stories with the kids – or to go into her room and find her watching baseball – she is a huge Orioles fan – or watching Tiger play golf (she’s so disappointed in his performance in recent years) or catching up on football with Craig. She’s an amazing lady – and I wouldn’t trade this time with her for anything.

This is a woman who is so gracious, so elegant, so classy, so beautiful, and so funny. She’s active and loves to be outside, in the garden, on the farm, taking classes, volunteering in her church, leading prayer, taking care of animals, reading a book while she drinks her coffee on her porch – she likes John Grisham novels and such. She’s a woman who calls us to ask if we can bring her some beer when we visit so she can have one in the evening, and who is so impatient with “old people” as she calls them – even though they are probably 20-30 years younger than her. She cannot handle that they don’t take care of themselves.

She’s spectacular. I only wish you could all spend a little time with my grandmother. I promise you that you will never meet a more beautiful person inside or out. And that is my Friday favorite every day.

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, loves!

I love a good Friday, especially when it’s one that’s about to go into a super exciting weekend – and that is this one. It’s also extra exciting because tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. He’s turning 36, and he is aging so well. I’m so proud of the man he’s become – the best husband, the best father, the best friend. He is everything good in my life, and I’m just thankful every day that he picked me. Or that I picked him? Or that he tolerates me? Either way, I’m happy about it!

Because it’s Friday, I thought something fun would be just right. So, that means we’re going to do some Friday Favorites. They’re not all categorized or sitting pretty in one niche. They’re kind of all over the place, but they’re my favorites. So, I’m sharing.

My absolute favorite designers

I get this question from readers sometimes, and even from people in my ‘real life’ looking for some advice on which designers are the best. I mean, it’s such a personal opinion, but I do have some suggestions that work for me – and might just give you some sort of guidance on what to look at when you’re shopping for designer pieces.

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Handbags – hands down, Louis Vuitton and Prada. I bought my very first LV when I was 19, and I currently have five. I don’t buy many handbags, if we’re being honest. I don’t have the time or the inclination to trade them out every single day, so I tend to choose neutral bags that go well with everything and never go out of style. LV is where it’s at for me. I have two Speedy 30s, an Alma, a Mini Pochette, and a Neverfull GM. The Neverfull is my go-to – I bought it in 2014 right before the twins were born so I’d have a massive bag to carry all their stuff. It’s basically a piece of luggage I can carry every day, and I’m not mad about it.

In terms of clutches and evening bag – I’m all about Prada. The same for my wallets. I love a Prada wallet, and that’s all I carry. I’m considering a Double Medium. I have been thinking about a more structured bag for a while, and this one continues to draw my attention. We’ll see, but I can’t help but think this will be my next bag.

Business wise – I love Kate Spade. I have 7 or 8 Kate Spade totes. The very structured tote. I use them exclusively as a laptop case. I hate traditional laptop cases and their lack of appeal, but I need my laptop and my iPad when we travel, and Kate Spade makes a great structured tote. It’s also cheap, so I buy them in almost every color so I always have a fun one to choose from. I also have a couple of Kate Spade diaper bags. I bought my first when Addison was born, and I still use that same one every single day to carry the twins’ lunch boxes and stuff into their VPK class every morning.

Shoes – hands down, Manolo Blahnik. My husband gifted me my very first pair in 2005. We got married that year, and they were under the Christmas tree. I still have them. They’re timeless and classic, and I think I have something like 20 pair at this point. I also love Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and Stuart Weitzman. In terms of everyday shoes, Tory Burch is my favorite because they are also timeless, classic, and they’re super affordable. You can ask for much more than a pair of sandals you can wear to the pool, the beach, travel, Disney, and every day wear that last 3-4 years and only cost $200. Talk about a bang for your buck.

Sunglasses – I don’t have a very specific favorite brand, but I will tell you that my least favorite is Chanel. I know…but every single pair of Chanel sunglasses I’ve purchased are total trash at this point. The lenses scratch SO easily – yet no other designer pair I own has the same issue – the color fades, and the logo discolors. Biggest waste of money ever, and I take excellent care of my sunglasses. My favorites have to be Givenchy, Gucci, YSL, and Ray-Ban. They seem to last a million years. When I’m spending $400-$500 on sunglasses, I want them to last longer than a year or two (sorry, Chanel).

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My absolute favorite snack

Okay, so I get this a lot, too. My favorite go-to snack in life is either a protein ball (I like to use steel cut oats, mini chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract in mine) or Vanilla Greek yogurt topped with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and the Publix-made granola in the produce section. You’ll never find me without one or the other.

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My absolute favorite thing about my husband

Since it is his birthday tomorrow and all….and this is an easy one. He doesn’t complain about anything, and I’ve never had to ask him for help with anything. For example, since the day we had our first child, he just changes diapers. I’ve never had to ask him to do laundry or to straighten up or to cook or to stay with the kids when I want to go anywhere. He doesn’t consider parenting a job or an act of babysitting, and he’s totally in 100 percent no matter what. I have zero complaints when it comes to him, and I feel so grateful for him when other wives say their husbands are ‘babysitting’ or ‘watching’ the kids while they do something, or when their phones ring incessantly because their husbands don’t know where to find their kids’ stuff or what to feed them or how to do this or that, or whatever.

I never take for granted that Craig will never complain about parenting or cooking or bath time or diaper time or homework time, or that he will never act like it’s my job to do those things and he’s just stepping in for me. I also never take for granted the fact that both me and the kids never have to question his love for us because he shows it every single day in his acts of service and his affirmations. He’s a total keeper – and I know it!

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My aboslute favorite go-to drink

Coffee. Water. Sangiovese. In that order.

Though when I’m more casually drinking something alcoholic, I prefer Pellegrino and Grey Goose. I’m not one much for mixed drinks (but I do like a nice Pinot Gris when I’m drinking white wine, a bloody mary or mimosa if we’re morning drinking or a Miami Vice if I am doing something mixed).

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My absolute favorite thing to buy when I shop

Flowers. I’m a sucker for fresh flowers in my home all the time. I can’t keep real plants alive to save my own life, but my fresh flowers and I know that we have about 5 to 7 days together before they die, so there are no expectations. So, I always have an array of fresh flowers. I don’t have a favorite – specifically. I do love peonies, but they’re so darn hard to find around here even when they are in season. Otherwise, my favorites change depending on the season.

Right now, for example, I have two vases of gerber daises and a vase of white tulips in the formal living room, a vase of white roses in the kitchen, a vase of colorful roses on the breakfast nook table, two vases of pink tulips on the dining room table, and another vase of pink roses on the fireplace. I like my flowers white first and foremost, but other colors depending on the season. Right now it’s all about soft pinks and whites. In the fall, I will buy a lot more yellow and orange and white. During the holidays, I will do red roses. Either way, I loooooooove to buy fresh flowers. They just always make me feel good and happy. And that’s what I love.

 

So, there’s my Friday favorites this week. What are yours?

Friday Favorites: 4 Easy Ways to Make A Statement When You Have No Time

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Sometimes you just want to make a statement. Sometimes that statement is a big one. Sometimes it’s a small one, and sometimes it’s just the icing on the cake.

I love cake.

When it comes to style, we all make our own personal statement. Mine is borderline lazy. I need to feel put-together and well-dressed, but I don’t have much time most days. With a business to run, a husband to make out with, and four very cute kids, sometimes I have about half a second to make myself look as good as the kids (whom I spent an hour dressing meticulously…except for Ava. Ava dresses Ava. Please give Ava credit for Ava…I don’t want any of that!).

The secret is simple – own all the Lilly Pulitzer because it’s fun and pretty and feminine and because it takes a half second to throw on a dress and cute shoes. But when I don’t have the kids with me, it’s more of a game on kind of situation. I still like simple. I like monochromatic looks with a pop of color. I like simple ensembles with great accessories. I’m a classic kind of girl, but I love to make a statement.

It’s not always easy to figure that out, but sometimes you can make a big statement and a massive style impact with one item that’s so simple it’s underrated. Trust me – with no time and a great deal of vanity, I know a thing or two about making a statement. That’s why today’s Friday Favorites are all about the simplest ways to make one.

Statement Jewelry

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A long strand of pearls knotted at the bottom is one of my favorite ways to make a statement. It’s classic, but it’s also fun and fearless. Since I don’t typically wear much in the way of jewelry, it’s big for me to wear a statement piece. My jewelry all has meaning to me, and I keep it very simple.

You’ll know I’m making a statement when you see me in my pearls or when you see me in big, colorful earrings. The secret with the earrings is I like to keep them cheap. I don’t care if they break, I don’t care if they’re trendy and I never wear them more than once, and I don’t care if they get all kinds of messed up in the ocean or in the pool – but they do make such a fun statement when the rest of my look is simple.

I love Bealls Outlet, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Target for statement jewelry. Let’s face it, the cheaper the better when it comes to things I won’t wear often!

Statement Shoes

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Again, I’m a sucker for a classic nude pump, but sometimes I like to make a statement. Anytime I have no time or I don’t feel good in anything (you know that week every month, ladies), I gravitate toward black. Black skinny jeans, a black sweater or tunic, a black top with a black blazer. All black.

But I like to mix it up with these gorgeous sometimes red, sometimes fuchsia, sometimes pink and gold heels I found at Bergdorf’s two or three years ago. They are the one pair of shoes I receive the most compliments on, and I love them.

I love these with all black, and sometimes I love to really make them pop by adding a scarf to the mix. My mother-in-law saw the scarf in the photo a few years ago and decided it was perfect for me – and she was right. It was made for these shoes with the same colors, and pairing them together makes everything stand out.

If you can make a statement, do it by choosing one color on the top and bottom and adding bold accessories. Bright shoes are great. Bright shoes and a secondary bright accessory are everything.

My Manolos in the photo are old, but I am in love with these, these, and these.

Statement Lips

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If you know me at all, you know I go nowhere without a bold lip. Statement lips are my serious go-to, and how much easier does it get than throwing on a shade of red or pink or whatever color you prefer? I get so many compliments on my lipstick I’ve had to give out the designer and the color names so many times I can virtually recite the URL to each page on Nordstrom’s site.

People love a bold lip, but I think most people are a little intimidated by it. They want to try it, but they can’t get past the concept that a bold pink or bright red has no place on a Tuesday morning dropping the kids off at school. I beg to differ. A bold lip is everything.

Confidence

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Ladies, listen; you can make the biggest statement of all by just being comfortable in your own skin. At the risk of being just a little TMI-ish right now, here I go. When my monthly visitor (to whom I am so appreciative of because the Good Lord knows a fifth baby or another set of twins would actually kill me) is in town, I’m a mess.

I’m emotional. My feelings are easily hurt (read: I’m a big bitch) and I swear I gain 48 pounds of bloat (48, 3, whatever). I feel unattractive, I have zero confidence, and I’m not my best version of my best self). I can put on my favorite outfit anytime this week and feel horrible in it, receive zero compliments, and feel gross.

I can put it on three days after my visitor is gone for another month and hear a half-dozen compliments in one night – and I swear it’s my confidence. I suddenly feel much prettier, much happier, and much more like myself. Maybe it’s because I’m actually smiling and happy and appear to others as a normal human versus an angry dinosaur with an attitude…I don’t know.

All I know is you have to have confidence. If you don’t feel 100% perfect in something, take it off. You’re never going to pull it off without the confidence to rock it. I don’t care how trendy, fashionable, or overly-worn by every single supermodel, celebrity, or Instagram fashion blogger it is. You don’t feel good in it, no one thinks you look good in it.

And that’s all I’ve got for you on this gorgeous Friday. I’m off to get my 95 percent silver hair done, and then it’s a fun-filled weekend with my little (huge) family – and I can’t wait! What are your weekend plans, and what’s your favorite statement piece?

Friday Favorites: 5 Things I Always Have At Home

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Happy Friday, friends!

I love Fridays. It’s amazing how that’s changed over the years, though. Before kids, we loved Fridays because it usually meant we were boarding a flight to one of our favorite cities for a weekend away, or it meant date night, or it meant we got to sleep in like crazy the following morning.

Fridays changed a big with kids. It became spur-of-the-moment Disney evenings. It became long weekend getaways without so much wine-drinking because it was more hanging with the kids in the pool or a lazy river somewhere. These days, my idea of a dream Friday is the one we have planned tonight.

Not. A. Damn. Thing.

Seriously. I’m tying up my loose ends, finishing my weekly deadlines, picking the kids up, and we are coming home. We are going to play outside. We are not going to rush the kids to bed. We are going to stay up later than usual with them. We will grill dinner on the deck, sit down and watch the kids run rampant, and we are going to be in the moment doing nothing more than enjoying our sweet life.

We don’t get many moments like that because we are so busy all the time, but I’m so far off topic right now I’m sure I’ve lost you. It’s FRIDAY! I love Fridays, and I love alliteration, and I love so many millions of things, so I’m starting a new series to share with you all; my Friday Favorites. Whether it’s recipes, cocktails, trips, tips, advice, tricks, photos, books, or stuff, I’ve got so many favorites – and who am I to withhold the best things ever from you all?

Today’s Friday Favorites is all about my house. Five of my Favorite things we always have in our house. Seriously…you won’t find a day in which we don’t have all of these at all times. You’ll note coffee is not on the list, but it’s a given. It’s like a toilet. You won’t find any of our bathrooms without one, and you’ll never find a lack of coffee.

These five items are things I can’t live without. I use them every day – or at least want them on hand every day in case the desire strikes.

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Fresh Blooms

You probably see a lot of photos of flowers on my Instagram feed, and it’s because I adore them. I once read that having live plants in the house makes it feel more like home, it makes it more personal, and it increases the quality of the air (I have no actual idea if that’s true or not). Since I don’t like “stuff” I choose to decorate with fresh flowers.

  • They make me happy
  • They’re so pretty
  • They’re so elegant
  • They smell nice

You’ll find fresh flowers on my master bedroom nightstand (not my husbands, though), in the master bath, on the entryway table, on the island in the kitchen, on the formal dining room table, and on the family room fireplace mantel – at all times. I’m obsessed. I know.

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Wine – Red and White

Every day is a reason to celebrate.

And we have four kids.

So we keep lots of wine. We love red and white, so you’ll always find some Sangiovese, Chianti, Malbec, or a Pinot Gris in our house.

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Cherry Tomatoes

I might be a little obsessed with cherry tomatoes. We might have had a moment a few months ago in which I had some that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, we parted ways, and they weren’t in my house for a few months. We’ve since rekindled our relationship, so you’ll find about 4 packages of cherry tomatoes in my house at any given time. Why? Because they are delicious on everything.

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Lemons

Lemons – a kitchen staple. I use them to minimize my pores (with a cotton ball, a little freshly squeezed lemon juice works wonders for my sad pores). We use them to cook. We use them in our sparkling water. I don’t know where my lemon obsession came from, but I love fresh items with which to cook (though I kind of suck at cooking), so it’s just one of those things we always have, we always use, and we get a little freaked out when we don’t have a few on hand.

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Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask

I cannot live without this. Between this and the occasional use of lemons on my face, my pores have never looked better. And since they’re honestly a lot like crop circles on my face, I cannot even begin to put into words what this miracle mask has done to my pores (I pair it with Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer for flawless results). A lot of the charcoal masks I’ve tried are difficult to remove, not entirely comfortable, and many irritate my skin. Clinique’s charcoal mask is silky smooth, washes right off, and it leaves my skin looking and feeling vibrant.

What can’t you live without at home? Which items make you feel all out-of-sorts and crazy when you run out or low? I’d love to hear!