We’re well into 2018, but I couldn’t let January pass by without hitting publish on my annual game changers post. I’ve enjoyed sharing the standout products, apps & practices the past few years (read 2016 & 2015and wanted to continue on with the tradition.

Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humid Spray: my hair is super thick and wavy and this spray is the only thing that keeps me from going full on Monica in Barbados in the southern humidity. I truly can’t imagine surviving another Raleigh summer without it. Plus, like all Oribe’s products, it smells divine.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara: I had been loyal to L’Oreal’s Voluminous since middle school (!) before a sample of this mascara made me a convert. The curved applicator gives insane length & curl. Pair it with my favorite lash serum for even more dramatic results.

Kule Stripes: if, like me, you’re constantly searching for the perfect striped shirt, look no longer. I prefer the Boyfriend cut which is slightly longer and have been really pleased with the quality.


Mariage Frères Tea: on our trip to Paris last year, we had afternoon tea at the Mariage Frères flagship which was such a wonderful experience. I brought back several canisters of their iconic blends, and brewing a pot of tea has been a part of my morning routine ever since. Their Marco Polo blend is by far my favorite. I use this kettle and found the same adorable tea pot they used in the flagship.

Pillows: conquering my sleep issues was a big focus in 2017 and we’ve both noticed a serious improvement in the quality of our sleep since upgrading our pillows to Pacific Coast’s Down Surround. Less tossing and turning, more restful nights.

Blackout Window Treatments: in the same vein as the above, investing in custom blackout lined window treatments in our master bedroom was a huge game changer. I sleep so much more deeply now. If custom treatments don’t make sense for your situation, there are some attractive retail options out there.

The Defined Dish: I enjoy cooking but become easily overwhelmed with menu planning for weeknight meals. Enter my favorite resource for delicious, healthy, and most importantly, easy meals: The Defined Dish. We’ve especially loved: crockpot chicken tikka masala, mongolian beef stir fry, potato leek soup, and pork chops with mushroom gravy. Most of the recipes are Paleo or Whole 30 approved which I take an 80/20 approach to, but Garrett (who takes a 100% approach to carbs, dairy & sugar) has loved all of these too.

Life 360 App: Garrett travels often for work and is notoriously bad about letting his phone go dead or missing calls which, being the worrier that I am, gets my overactive imagination going thinking of all the harm that could have befallen him (please tell me I’m not alone on this). Enter peace of mind via Life 360 – a location sharing app that allows you to see your loved ones in real time on a map. It even shares the battery life on their phone so I’ve had no more “he must not be answering because he’s dead” moments, which I think we can all agree is a pretty big win.


Unplugging: okay, this might not seem worthy for a list of game changers, but 2017 was the year that I really learned the value of unplugging. After going too hard for too long, I experienced some serious burnout this Fall. Feeling that mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted made me reevaluate my relationship with work & technology and recognize I needed to implement better boundaries. If you don’t put yourself first you can’t give your best to those that you serve.

A few strategies that have helped me below…

Turning Off Automatic Email Fetching: I can’t not read an email once I see that little red icon pop up on my phone which makes it pretty difficult to “turn off” on nights and weekends. Having to manually check for new mail helps me to stay present and not a be slave to my email box even during the work day.

Airplane Mode on Vacations: even if I have an out of office up, I find I still end up responding to emails or spending too much time on social media. Keeping my phone on airplane mode allows me to use my phone to take photos and videos, but keeps me away from other distractions which lets me fully relax.

Deleting Instagram: whenever I feel particularly scattered, spending too much time on social media is usually the culprit. Lately I’ve been doing some “intermittent Instagram fasting” if you will, and deleting the app for a few days at a time to give myself a break from the noise. Try it for a few days, I guarantee you’ll notice a difference!

The E-Myth Revisited: I read this book when I first started my business and re-read it this year. It’s fascinating how different parts of it have resonated with me at different times throughout the life cycle of my (still somewhat nascent) business. If you’re an entrepreneur I’d highly recommend it.

And there you have it, my game changers of 2017! As always, I’d love to hear yours – especially if there are any apps you’ve been loving, I was a little light on that front this year.

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