January 6, 2021

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020, Helena of Brooklyn Blondedetails on my dining room

Hello! My first post of 2021. I wanted to start it off with some of my favorite things from 2020. I thought long and hard over the following: what truly elevated my daily life or routine, which items got the most cost per wear or cost per use and what made me look or feel just a little bit better.

Lets jump right into it.

My favorite items and purchases from 2020:

Peloton Bike:

I started with what has to be my best purchase of 2020. Keith and I started talking about investing in a Peloton back in January of 2020, but the hefty price tag kept us from making the jump. Neither of us were necessarily bike people, but so many of our friends and our online community kept insisting that the Peloton was different. Shortly after we went into lockdown, we took the plunge and it’s one of the things that got me through the most difficult year of my life. I love how I feel after, I love the instructors, I love that it gives me alone time and I love that when I get off, I feel like I’m a better person. God, that sounds so cheesy, but it’s the truth. I have a longer review (very long overdue) coming, but I had to start the list off with this one.

I alternate my bike rides with workouts from Melissa Wood Health. And I love the combination of the two and I would include her on this list, but she was a 2019 discovery.

FYI: If you choose to invest in a bike, use code SRDFAA for $100 off your purchase.

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Plaid Shacket Winter Outfit, Commando Faux Leather Leggings, Helena of Brooklyn BlondeJacket (wearing a small):  | Leggings: Commando | Belt: Isabel Marant | Boots: Steve Madden

Celine inspired sunglasses:

My Celine ‘Tilda’ sunglasses are my favorite sunglasses that I own, but it’s a style that’s no longer made and pretty hard to find online. I figured I’d have nothing to lose by ordering the amazon  version and they quickly became one of my most worn pairs – especially when I’m with the kids.  I will say, aside from the weight of them, there are some days where I look at a picture of me wearing them and truly cannot tell the difference. Highly recommend if you’re looking for the same look, but for way less.

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Isabel Marant Lecce Belt Outfit, Helena of Brooklyn BlondeIsabel Marant Lecce Belt:

I previously owned this belt in the brown color way and after wearing it a lot, I went for the black. Two of the most worn belts in my closet and I appreciate that they look good with both pants and dresses. Size wise, I prefer the look of the medium over the small.

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | A Few Things (New & Old) That Have Brought Me JoyOushak Rug via Etsy:

I have several rugs in my home, but I’ve realized that my Oushak rugs are my absolute favorite. I find they add so much character to the room, while simultaneously looking luxe yet warm and inviting. Unfortunately, I’m unable to link my specific rugs since they’re vintage, but I highly recommend scouting etsy with the term “Oushak rug” and the measurements you’re looking for. I love this shop (got our living rug from them) and this shop (got our kitchen runner from them), but I know there are so many great sources. It may take a few days, weeks or months, but eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for. While it can be intimidating to shop for a rug on etsy, I have yet to be disappointed by any of the three that I’ve purchased.

Golden Coil Planner:

I don’t want to sound like a broken record when it comes to this planner, but it felt wrong not adding to this list. I’m not the most organized person by nature, but this planner helps me tremendously. It’s completely customizable, so if you’re an avid “to-do” list maker or want a section for your finances, you’re able to find a combination that really works for you.

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Fferone GlasswareFferone Glasses & Vases:

I’ve started to build my collection and while her pieces are certainly an investment, they bring me such joy. As far as the quality, they’re made incredibly well and so durable (I always put them in my dishwasher). In the photo pictured above, I have the wine glasses and the highball glasses (one was used as a vase). I also have this vase in the larger size, pictured in the first photo above and these glasses (not pictured).  For a similar look that does not break the bank as much, I love the Marta collection from CB2 and the glasses from ferm LIVING. 

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Sarah Kersten Ceramic Bowls, Small Business LoveSarah Kersten Ceramic Bowls:

It was this post from Alicia of Cheetah is the New Black that started my love and appreciation for ceramic kitchenware. There’s just something that feels a bit more special eating from something so beautiful. Or drinking your morning cup of coffee out of a mug that you get such pleasure from using. I also love that I’m supporting small businesses. It’s not something I claim to always do, but I try to whenever I can.

Which leads me to the bottom two mugs that I alternate on my mornings:

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Franca Cara Mug, Small Business LoveFranca ‘Cara’ Mug paired with the small speckled dish:

I’ve mentioned my love for Franca several times. It’s the one I reach for most and I cannot praise the feel and the quality enough.

My Favorite Items & Purchases From 2020 | Earl Home Circle Rug, Small Business LoveCircle Mug via Earl Home:

Could these mugs be anymore beautiful? The other ones I love so much and that have bought simple pleasure into 2020. One of my favorite discoveries thanks to Sam of Could I have That? 

NuFace Before & After Results, Helena of Brooklyn BlondeNuFace:

I’m a broken record over the NuFace, but the more I use it, the more I love it for lifting and for subtle definition. Another thing I haven’t mentioned before is that I’ll often use the ELE attachment. I find that it makes my lips look  fuller and my lids look a little less heavy. Again, it’s very subtle, but I notice the difference.  You can read my full post here. If you’re looking to get it for less and don’t mind waiting, wait for the Nordstrom Anniversary sale or one of the Sephora sales. If you’re not that interested in the attachment pieces, the mini costs a lot less and does the same job as the regular.

I say this every single time, but I want to stress that if you don’t plan to use it multiple times a week, don’t bother getting. It requires consistency for it to be worth your money.

Thrive Causemetics MascaraThrive Mascara:

Tubing mascara (polymers that wrap around each individual lash in “tubes”) has been a game changer for my particular eye shape. No more raccoon eyes and I can finally wear mascara on my lower lashes. I’ve tried several, but my favorite has definitely been the one from thrive.

Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlighter:

I was trying to think of what my favorite makeup find of 2020 was and aside from the Thrive mascara, the other thing that came to mind is the stick highlighter from Westman Atelier.  It’s easy to apply, goes on so smoothly and unlike the Kevyn Aucoin, which many of you complained was too sticky, this one is not – I promise! The texture is a dream and  it creates the most beautiful, healthy glow. I also love their foundation stick and their cream blushes (I love the color pouchette), but if I was forced to pick my favorite from the three, it would be this highlighter.

Camel Tie Belt Coat, Winter Style, Helena of Brooklyn BlondeCoat: Zara (old) | Boots: Aquazzura (old)

Polène ‘Numero Huit’ Mini Bag:

I’ve worn this bag quite often since I’ve gotten it. I love the color and cool shape so much and it’s priced  well at $290. I’m actually a fan of so many of their bags! If you’re looking for a bag that’s stylish but that doesn’t break the bank, I highly recommend looking into all of their styles.

A Take on Holiday Dressing | Thanksgiving 2020Shacket: BB Dakota (also comes in sage)  | Denim (old) | Boots: Steve Madden

Celine Box Bag in Medium:

On the flip side, the Celine bag is definitely a big investment. I already own the red, but a black or brown has been on my radar for quite sometime. Initially, I borrowed it from Fashionphile to shoot some content and realized that I really did not want to part with it. It’s such an understated, chic, classic beauty.

Marble Tray Flat Lay, Decorative Items For The HomeMarble Tray:

Such a simple addition, but I find it adds such a nice element. I just ordered another one for my bathroom.

Minted Holiday Cards, Candle Care KitCandle Accessories:

I purchased this three piece candle set from an Etsy shop and it makes me so happy whenever I walk by it. It looks so nice sitting on our console (or anywhere) and makes the art of lighting and burning a candle even more enjoyable. In this case, it’s on our coffee table as I thought it added a nice touch to a photo I was shooting. The marble tray is the same one I mentioned above.

Theragun Mini:

My intention was to give this to Keith for Christmas. But I knew I’d be using it as much, if not more, than him. I don’t have an actual at-home office set up at our home and I’ll often find myself slouched on the couch with my laptop or on my bed and my back definitely pays the price for it! Also, as much as I love the Peloton, I’ll get some soreness in my calfs and the gun really helps that area.

One thing to note: I’ve never tried the regular size, so I cannot compare. I’ve also never tried the amazon version, but I’ve been told that it’s just as good (from people who’ve tried both), but at a fraction of the price! Something to look into.

Dyson Cordless Vacuum, Oushank Turkish Kitchen Runner RugCordless Dyson V11 Vacuum:

I’m not going to lie, I had a very hard time spending over $600 on a vacuum. Our older Dyson was big and bulky and the thought of having a light weight, cordless vacuum was incredibly appealing. I finally pulled the trigger and I’m annoyed that I waited so long! I find myself vacuuming multiple times a day because this vacuum works so well and actually makes it very enjoyable.

Eternity Diamond Ring, Jewelry FindsFaux Eternity Ring:

A diamond eternity ring is on my eventual wishlist, but in the meantime, I got a fake one from Amazon and I wear it way more than I thought I would and always get compliments.

Ring Concierge Tennis Bracelet:

On the absolute flip side is this tennis bracelet that I bought myself a few months ago. It’s something I’ve been lusting after and finally took the plunge. To be completely transparent, I wasn’t going to include this on my list for the fear of coming off tone-deaf (the word of 2020) by having such an expensive, indulgent item. However, I worked hard for it and it’s truly something I’ve been eyeing for years. Since purchasing, I haven’t taken it off. For reference since many have DMed me to ask: mine is 3 carats. One thing to note: Ring Concierge does have a 20% off sale that she runs multiple times a year. Best time to buy anything.

And there you have it! Is there anything from this list that you’ve purchased and tried? Also, in case you missed it and are interested, here are my top Sephora favorites from 2020 and a master list of my favorite baby items.



  • Lenore

    Love this! 2 questions for you…

    1. which polene bag would you get next if you were to get one? they are so beautiful. Its hard to pick!

    2. How do you have such nice decor pieces around with little kids? I have a 3.5 yr old boy and I feel like it bright toys everywhere and my aesthetic has gone to shit.

    Good Stuff!

    • Helena

      Hi Lenore,
      I do love the numero nano style as it allows you to be hands free. If on the hunt for a larger bag, I love the Le Cabas! It’s so hard to pick!

      As far as decor pieces, it’s a constant struggle, I’m not going to sugarcoat. Constantly cleaning up and trying to keep things to a few designated corners – but there are always kids toys and stuff everywhere.

  • Janine

    Omg, I don’t know why I never thought about trying tubing mascara!! I always get smudged mascara under my eyes and sometimes even on my brow bone, since my lashes are quite long – this is genius, hahaha, thanks for putting this on my radar! 😉
    Also, I loved this blogpost, such unique and fun items and I like how this was not the same old that I tend to find on other blogs on repeat!
    Xx Janine

  • Trish Bowell

    I used to want a portable Dyson until I heard that the batteries wear out very quickly, which means a replacement is needed. Old batteries and also the production of new batteries is very taxing on the environment so that put me off.

  • tarun sharma

    I am very thankful.! useful information

  • Aliha Saith

    Impressive collection

  • Jess

    Hi, Helena. I’ve been using the Thrive mascara since you first recommended it, and love the way it elongates my eyelashes and doesn’t smudge. Do you have any recommendations for removing it at night? Unless I really rub my eyes while I’m washing my face (which I don’t really want to do since I’m worried about the delicate eye skin), then it seems like the mascara gets all over my face towels when I’m drying my face. I don’t wear much eye make up other than mascara, so I don’t have a good eye makeup remover in my rotation (willing to invest in one if need be though). I’m just wondering if maybe you’ve figured out a better way. Thanks!

    • Helena

      Hi Jess!
      I know. Removing it can be a little annoying, but what I’ve found works best is an oil or balm based cleanser. I take a little, gently rub it around my eyes and then use a cloth to lightly wipe off. Occasionally, I’ll have to wipe 2x. Not ideal, but for me it’s the price to pay to have mascara that doesn’t smudge!

  • ruhi malik

    Looks you have a nice collection from 2020. I am also planning to buy decorative lamps for my bedroom.

  • Jessica Viteri

    Hello, How long does the peloton discount code work? I tried using it and it says its not applicable 🙁

    • Helena

      Hmmm.. that’s odd! I’lll look into it. Sorry about that!

  • Vacation Saga

    You bought a list of creative things in 2020 especially the accessories and variety of coffee mugs!!

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