January 2, 2024

My Best Purchases of 2023

Emme Parsons Stretch Boots one of the Best Purchases of 2023These TOTEME boots were a favorite buy from 2022. This COS coat (which is sadly sold out) and this pleated skirt (runs TTS) were definitely favorites from this year. The grey sweater, another favorite, got an entire dedicated post. 

My Best Purchases of 2023

This was a fun list to put together and reflect on. A few weeks ago, I published  The 12 Most Worn Items in My Closet on my substack, but this list is slightly different. It’s a mix of beauty, fashion, and random miscellaneous items that make me feel great, make my life easier in a way or give me a nice dose of joy. 

Emme Parsons Stretch Boots

When I look back on my outfits from the last several months, chances are that I am wearing these boots in most of the photos (example here and here). I initially got the black, and after a few weeks of wearing them, I had to get the brown. I love the combination of the slimmer square toe with the 3.25” heel height. They remind me a little of the Celine Madame boots I could never get my hands on, but more classic in style. The leather is soft and buttery, and considering the heel height, they are very comfortable. They’re also incredibly well-made. I’m very hard on my shoes, especially with the amount of walking that I do. Typically, I’d already be at my shoe-repair man, asking him to fix my heels and spruce my shoes and boots up, but not with these. They are still in impeccable shape, which truly is astounding. They run true to size.

Naghedi St Barths Large Tote

Whether I’m on a beach vacation or traveling into the city, my Naghedi tote gets so much wear. It’s durable, lightweight, fits the world and is aesthetically pleasing.

Jenni Kayne Saturday Suit

The Varley Double Soft set was one of my favorite discoveries of 2022. This year, it’s the Saturday sweatshirt paired with the sweatpants from Jenni Kayne. After having it on my “to try list” for quite some time, I ended up ordering the oatmeal color, and I have the grey on my current wishlist. When I’m home, it’s what I want to wear. It’s soft, feels so nice on the body, and washes very well. I wear a size M, and it’s nice and roomy but not in a crazy oversized way. PS: If you ever want to splurge on anything from Jenni Kayne, my code HELENA15 gets you 15% off any purchase.

Jenni Kayne Cotton Fisherman Sweater 

It’s kind of annoying to add this sweater because A) it’s pricey and B) it’s currently sold out in a lot of colors (I really want the sold out navy), but it wouldn’t be fair to not include. It’s the sweater, in black, I’ve been reaching the most for and admittedly, the quality is significantly better and more luxe looking than my sweaters from Everlane, H&M & J.Crew. Obviously, that’s what you’d hope for the price, but sadly, not always the case. I wear a size M.

Proenza Schouler Bronco Boots one of the Best Purchases of 2023Full details for all three outfits. This Theory skirt is another favorite. 

Proenza Schouler Bronco Boots

These are the most beautiful boots that were a welcome addition to my assortment. They’re modern, minimalistic, and classic, and I have no doubt they will stand the test of time. I sized up 1/2 a size. 

Sézane Brut Denim

I know I’m not the only one that goes through phases of being so fixated on one particular item, and in my case, it’s these Sézane jeans. I was trying to pinpoint what I love about them so much, and I think it’s the fact that they remind me of an updated 90s style. Not too skinny, not too wide, and a great shade of medium blue. I can picture Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy or even Princess Diana wearing them. Sizing: they run very small. I sized up two sizes.

The Erborian CC Creme, the forever favorite P50, Heaven Maven beloved brushes: the Yves Durif and the Mason Pearson some of the Best Purchases of 2023Pictured here are a few of my favorites. The Erborian CC Creme, the forever favorite P50, Heaven Maven earrings that I’ve been wearing more than any others, and my beloved brushes: the Yves Durif and the Mason Pearson.

Erborian CC Creme

If I were to pick a 2023 MVP in the beauty department, it would be the Erborian CC Creme. It’s what I wear most days when I need SPF paired with a light dose of color that also tones down redness. I use the color Clair. 

U BEAUTY The Return Eye Concentrate

Last year, my MVP in beauty was the U Beauty Super Hydrator, one of my all-time favorite beauty products. This year, it’s the U Beauty Return Eye Concentrate. It’s my favorite eye cream for hydrating, whether under makeup or on its own. On the topic of U Beauty, I adore The Super Tinted Hydrator and love using it when I want an insane dewy finish without the SPF. PS: My code HELENA gets you 20% off if you’re a first-time buyer, but occasionally (usually around Black Friday and the holidays), it also works for returning costumers. 

Victoria Beckham Satin Kajal Liners.

Possibly the best pencil liner that I’ve ever tried. The formula is silky, the colors are rich and pigmented, and it applies and lasts like a dream. It works beautifully in the water line or on the lid. 

Makeup by Mario SoftSculpt Transforming Skin Enhancer

This was a purchase completely influenced by all of the internet. Initially, I was underwhelmed with this product, not fully understanding its point. It’s not a blush or a bronzer, but the more I used it, the more I started to love it. Some days, I use it instead of bronzer; some days, I use it in addition to bronzer. Now, I’ve hit the bottom of the palette, and I will most definitely repurchase. As the name suggests, it brightens and wakes up the entire complexion and enhances the skin in a pretty way.

OUAI Detox Shampoo

I recently finished my first full bottle, and another one has already been purchased. I use it about once every week to ten days, especially after I oil my scalp, and it does the best job at getting all the grime out. One thing to note: I only use it on my scalp, not the rest of my hair. Otherwise, it can be drying, especially if your hair is color-treated. I follow it up with a second shampoo (not the OUAI Detox) and conditioner.

Agent Nateur Lash Serum

While this serum won’t give you the quickest or longest lash results, it is a lash serum I feel good about using. The ingredients are very clean, something I’m not typically super crazy about, but when it comes to the eye area, we should be. There is zero irritation, and my lashes are definitely longer and more lush after using an entire tube. I’ve recently repurchased a second tube.

Le Labo ANOTHER 13

Technically, this wasn’t a purchase but a Christmas gift, but one on my list. It’s become my go-to fragrance (I had a sample before receiving the whole bottle) for that clean pheromone rush. Clean, citrusy, a little piney. From their site: “It’s composed of ambroxyde, a synthetic animal musk, making ANOTHER 13 an addictive dirty potion blended with other carefully selected ingredients such as jasmine and moss – which give it spike and shine.” 


Earlybird Gummies

Dare I say these have been my MVP of 2023? I’ve tried many gummies before, but what’s great about these is that each gummy contains both THC (2.5mg) and CBD (12.5mg). It’s not a lot, but it’s enough. It depends on the time of day and what else I’m doing, but they’re mild enough that I don’t feel compelled to give you guys a “proceed with caution” warning. I don’t find them too strong, but if you decide to try them, start out with half first and see how you feel and go from there. They’ve been compared to a hug for the nervous system and I fully agree with that description.

They really chill me out, but never in a sleepy/groggy way. There’s no weird gummy hangover.

I don’t really have a favorite flavor. I like them all but I should warn (especially after my best friend texted me how she didn’t enjoy the flavor), that they don’t taste like candy, but like THC mixed with candy. It never bothered me, but just a heads up!

Magnesium Supplements:

Earlier this year, after chatting with my doctor and reading several articles about the benefits of magnesium, I started incorporating these into my nightly routine. Let me tell you guys, they have been a game changer. I’ve been sleeping better; I feel less hormonal and, overall, generally more patient. At one point, I ran out, stopped taking them for a month, and noticed a significant difference. Do a quick Google search and read the reviews if you’re skeptical.

Hulken Rolling Tote

Where has this tote been my entire life? Also, one of those “Why didn’t I think of this?” products. Their slogan is “schlepping made easy,” – they’re not kidding. I’m a big schlepper, between lugging boxes to the post office, frequent grocery shopping without a car, and bringing miscellaneous things to our studio when we have a project to shoot. These totes have been a godsend in every sense of the way. They’re easy to use and very durable. I own the medium and large, and they both come in handy, but if I were to pick one, I’d go with the larger of the two. Even if you don’t live in a walking city, these would be handy for airport travel, especially with little ones.

NextMug Self Heating Coffee Mug

I purchased this mug as a gift for Keith, but unfortunately for him, I claimed it as my own. Initially, I had my mind set on the more popular Ember mug, but after reading through dozens of reviews, I found that this one had slightly better reviews and was lower in price. Now, I wonder how I ever lived without it. To have the ability to drink my coffee hot (or piping, as per the settings) is such a beautiful little luxury that I love so much.

Flameless LED Tea Light Candles

One of my more random Amazon buys that’s become one of my favorites. I use these lights whenever I’m hosting or want to add a little (fireless) ambiance to the dining room table. They’re just so pretty! I add them to mercury glass votives or these glass ones.

Pique Electrolytes

I’m a huge fan of these electrolytes from Pique. We see a lot of the brand on social media, but from someone who has never partnered with them, I’m just genuinely a fan. I like a lot of their products, but it’s these electrolytes that have recently made me get a reoccurring monthly subscription.

The description says that the ingredients, including ceramides, hyaluronic acid and minerals help contribute to healthier, dewier skin from within. While I’m not entirely sure if that’s 100% accurate, I really love how adding a packet to my water makes me feel. I feel more hydrated, Less headache-y and yes, I do feel like my skin benefits as a result. It also makes the water taste so refreshing and delicious.

LMNT Electrolytes

In the same vein as the Pique Electrolytes, these have been a game changer in my water drinking routine. I first heard about LMNT on various podcasts that I listened to, and curiosity got the best of me. Now, I don’t want to be without them. Their entire science-backed-concept is that our body needs more salt, with none of the other garbage, for many reasons. I’ve noticed I feel less foggy and get way fewer headaches. Technically, you can add a pinch of (good) salt to your water, but I enjoy these.

Japanese Knife

Melissa, of Baked by Melissa cupcakes, is one of my favorite follows on TikTok. She cooks and prepares many recipes (unrelated to cupcakes), many of which have her chopping using a particular Japanese knife. The exact knife she uses is now sold out, but this one is very similar and my recent favorite kitchen tool. It feels great in the hand and is wonderfully sharp, making chopping significantly easier and more enjoyable.




  • aditya

    thats really nice information thanks admin

  • Brooke Hagel

    The Hulken tote is one of favorite buys of the year too! I can’t believe it took me so long to get one. A must have for a city girl.

  • EaseToLearn

    Useful blog for selecting the best product. Thanks for sharing.

  • Francine

    Hi Helena,

    Love this round-up of faves!

    I was thinking about my faves realizing that most/all were more strategic purchases than random fast fashion. (I’m trying to be more intentional in 2024 and kicking off the new year with a DRY January – no new purchases!) Two merino wool V-neck sweaters from COS, belts from Dehanche and Heaven Mayhem, thrifted men’s black tuxedo, men’s 501s (SO much better than women’s, just go up two sizes) and La Ligne Marin sweater. Everything is being worn repeatedly!


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  • jack

    I love a good shopping recommendation, and your list for the best purchases of 2023 is spot on! I’m intrigued by [specific item] – definitely considering it for my next buy.

  • Jack

    Thank you for sharing your list of best purchases! It’s always fascinating to see what items have made a significant impact on someone’s life. Your selection reflects a diverse range of products, from practical gadgets to indulgent treats, showcasing a well-rounded appreciation for both utility and enjoyment. It’s evident that each item holds a special place in your heart and has enriched your daily experiences in unique ways. Your insights into why each purchase stands out highlight the value they bring to your life, serving as a helpful guide for others seeking similar enhancements. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and I’m sure many readers will find inspiration in your recommendations. Thanks again for sharing your top picks!

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  • Nusaiba

    Thanks writer, These insights have made a significant impact.

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