2012 Favorites

A little secret – I love watching YouTube videos when I run on my treadmill. Since I am training for a half marathon, I’ve been watching a ton. My favorites are health and beauty related. Recently, a lot of my favorite channels have posted a “Best of the Year” video featuring favorite products and tips. I thought I’d do my own spin on it with a home/DIY twist. It gives a nice snapshot of what I loved in 2012.

I’ve paired it down to ten categories that encompass new purchases, ideas and tips I have acquired one way or another for the home in 2012.

Our Concrete Home’s 2012 Favorites

1) Vessel

Re-caulking the bathroom
I found this white owl vase in the amazing and magical Target Dollar Bin section. I swear I find so much good stuff there. I love this vase. Plus, the white owl on the white countertop camouflage our toothbrushes and toothpaste very nicely.

2) Organizing supplies

Recycled Jars for Storage: One of my 2012 Favorites

2012 was the year of the glass container at our house. I really learned to love reusing food jars. In the kitchen, the I can stack three jars in a row nicely. The wide mouth openings make it easy to measure out ingredients and with labels on our top staple goods, I know when items are running low. It’s funny how much money I would have saved in the first place if I just did this from the beginning instead of buying special plastic containers.

3) Art piece

Black Keys poster for Nate

You may remember this poster from our May favorites. I bought this limited edition Black Keys poster as a 10 year anniversary gift for Nate after we went to the concert with friends. I love this for so many reasons. The artwork is rad, the concert was amazing and the of course the 10 year anniversary was very sweet.

4) Linens

Summer Bedroom Update
Our new bedspread has been a godsend. The polyester blend doesn’t wrinkle plus it seems to repel cat hair. I had a major issue with our old cotton one constantly looking worn and dirty. This Cynthia Rowley Duvet Cover (which I bought on clearance at Home Goods) is almost a dupe for the West Elm Pin-tuck Duvet Cover. I had been waiting for a sale to buy the West Elm duvet, but I am glad I took a chance on the Rowley poly-blend instead.

5) Free

Driftwood walnut
Over the summer, I picked up a bunch of walnut shells that washed up on the shore when we stayed at Sea Ranch for my Dad’s 60th birthday. I love anything beachy, but these shells just scream Northern California to me. Maybe someday I can figure out a better way to display them, but for now I keep them in a little jar in the front room with my other treasures.

6) Gadget

DIY Irrigation System

When I installed our new garden drip system, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the extra $30 on a timer. I figured it would be easy enough to manually turn on the system a couple of times a week. I soon realized that my plants and I would be a lot happier to have the system be automatic. I bought the Orbit Digital Timer because it was highly rated. It’s super easy to program and the dial allows me to easily turn it off during a cold front. I love it and glad I decided to buy it.

6) Color & pattern

Bright Color and Patterns: One of my 2012 Favorites

Our original beachy color scheme for the house got a few more kicks of color and pattern this year. Yellow and purples in the bedroom, navy and fuchsias throughout the house and of course more turquoise everywhere. I can’t wait to add some more.

7 ) Tool

iPhone 5: One of my 2012 Favorites

Surprisingly, my favorite tool wasn’t found at a home improvement store at all. My iPhone 5 out-shined all the competition. Besides the convenience of internet on me at all times (very handy for price checking), my new 8-megapixel and HD video recording camera has really made documenting projects and daily life so easy. It’s nice to have a decent camera on me all the time that fits in my back pocket. I’ve noticed a huge upgrade in quality and quantity of my photos since getting it.

8) Cleaning Supply

Baking Soda & Vinegar: One of my 2012 Favorites

I started using many more natural and basic cleaners in 2012 as well. This goes hand in hand with #2 as a way to really reduce the chemicals in the home. Vinegar and baking soda were the big standouts. I use them pretty much everywhere, but I have found especially in the shower these two are better than other cleaner I have used hands down.

9) Idea I loved and recreated

Reusing Warhol Campbell's Soup Can: One of my 2012 Favorites

The blog Young House Love did this post on turning a Warhol LE Campbell’s Soup can into a pencil holder. I thought it was such a simple, but modern fix that I was inspired to make my own. I made two pencil holders for my office at work and get compliments on them all the time.

10) Store(s)

TJ Max ( and Home Goods): One of my 2012 Favorites

With my new job, I am in a totally different part of town from my last one. Now I am a lot closer to suburbia including Home Goods and TJ Maxx which I frequent on my lunch break. I can’t believe the variety of stuff I pick up at these stores. Everything from home decor, garden supplies, clothing and even food. I appreciate that variety a lot especially when I have a small window of time to shop.

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What about you? Did you have any stand out purchases or ideas for 2012? I’d love to hear about them.

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