Hosting A Favorite Things Party (And 20 of my $15 & Under Favs!)

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When I taught a holiday workshop this year, I was blown away by how many attendees had never been to a Favorite Things Party. If you’re a newbie, just imagine a cookie swap, but instead of shortbread, you get to exchange everyone’s favorite inexpensive goody! I way prefer this kind of exchange because we’re already overloaded on sweets, and instead of thinking of a million little gifts for friends, you get the chance to exchange things you actually use and love! 

This party is pretty self-explanatory. You set a price limit (say, $10, or $15), then you and your girlfriends get together and each one of you bring one of your favorite things (a brand new one) and you showcase your goodies, then draw names and exchange them. You could also bring three of your favorite things and leave with three, if you prefer.  To keep it affordable, we aren’t talking your favorite gold earrings but your favorite $10 midnight Amazon purchase that has revolutionized your life entirely.

As a total product junkie, I love hearing from friends what they can’t live without. This is a fun way to get to know friends that you are on the cusp of becoming really close with, because you get to see the quirky stuff they are into. You can’t hear about someone’s favorite waxing kit and not become best friends!

I also like to ask my guests to bring one of their favorite things to eat or drink to share. For this, I love making crusty artisan bread with dipping oil, and Dirty Diet Coke (diet coke with a splash of coconut syrup and sliced lime – sooo good!)

Without further adieu, here are 20 of my favorite things, all $15 or less!

Fabric DefuzzerSilk PillowcasesCake Frosting Tools Mrs. Meyer’s Basil SetMezzaluna Knife

Secure Hold Hair TiesCurling IronScalp Scrubber Hair TowelWet Brush

Minimalist Wallet Delicate Disc NecklaceAmazon SunglassesGold Pave HoopsMagnesium Tablets

Essie Fiji PolishGel Nail Top CoatBag BalmKopari Coconut Oil DeodorantMoisturizing Body Oil

For the Home

Finding little gadgets for the home is so much fun for a homebody like me. This Conair Fabric Defuzzer is one of my all-time favorite finds: turn it on and rub it over pilly sweaters or rough sheets to make them smooth and soft again. Also for more comfortable sleep: I’m obsessed with our silky pillowcases, and for under $10/pair, you can’t beat the price.

For the foodie crowd, I bring my best kitchen tools. I get asked all the time about cake tools that I use to make festive layer cakes like Brett’s blueberry cake or Claire’s Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cake – and this tool set is a great kit for starters. The rotating cake stand and frosting spatulas are excellent for getting a smooth, even finish.

Another must-have tool: a mezzaluna knife. I swore by my Ulu knife (an Alaskan chopping knife easy to use with just one hand), but the traditional wooden handle makes it impossible to pop in the dishwasher. The mezzaluna is a modern update: the same ergonomic shape makes it easy to shop everything from grilled meats to herbs, and the handle is dishwasher friendly. To clean up all kinds of kitchen messes, I use Mrs. Meyer’s kitchen essentials in the basil scent. It’s light and fresh and cheery, and it really works to get everything squeaky clean.

Good Hair Favs

I’m a true believer that good hair tools make all the difference in the world. I start in the shower using this scalp scrubber to shampoo, stimulate growth, add volume and get rid of buildup. I like to dry with one of these amazing super absorbent soft towels – coil it up and use the button to secure it while you do your makeup or get dressed. It’s much larger than the typical hair towel to accommodate for longer locks. On wet or dry hair, I love the wet brush – it won’t snag and glides through hair with ease.

To style my hair in waves or curls, I swear by this simple curling iron that’s under $10. New gadgets are always coming out, but I’ve used this iron for over 10 years (insaaane!) and it’s just plain good. Wrap sections around it for looser waves, or use the clamp to produce more polished curls. For ponytails and buns, I tossed all of my other elastics in favor of these hair ties that stay put and don’t stretch out. I never get headaches using these, and you can have a super voluminous pony all day long.

Everyday Essentials

Some of my most used accessories and essentials are super inexpensive finds from Amazon. For example, this minimalist wallet that holds everything with a slim profile, my go-to cat eye sunglasses, and the Magnesium tablets I use to relax muscles and get more restful sleep (under $5!) My most worn earrings are these gold pave hoops – just $13 on Amazon. And I also love this delicate gold pendant to layer with other necklaces or on it’s own.

Self Care

Who doesn’t love getting new self care goodies? Bringing a favorite nail polish duo to a favorite things party is super fun. My go-to shade is always ‘Fiji’ by OPI (I wore this on my wedding day!) always have one in my medicine cabinet for a subtle pink manicure. Top it off with Essie’s Gel Top Coat for long lasting gel manicure at home.

Bag Balm is the New Englander’s Coconut Oil. Eczema? Put Bag Balm on it. Chapped Lips? Put Bag Balm on it. A scrape, cut, burn, broken arm? Put bag balm on it. This Vermont-made salve is infused with lanolin to heal even the most cracked, chapped skin. I rub it on my cuticles (I’m a notorious cuticle picker) and I swear they heal overnight!

More life-changing finds: I swear by Kopari natural coconut oil deodorant. It has clean ingredients and actually works (no stinky pits!) plus it goes on super smooth and won’t leave white marks on clothes. I also love Neutrogena sesame shower oil to moisturize – it’s much quicker than lotion or cream and really sinks in for super soft skin with a hint of sheen.

Do you do a favorite things party with your girlfriends?! I would love to know what you bring and if you plan on hosting one this year!

Happy Holidays, Friends!

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