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Favorite Things of 2017

    Today I’m joining a group of bloggers as we share our favorite things from 2017. Melissa, from 320 Sycamore, is hosting and she has the whole lineup right here (there are so many great gift ideas in each of the ladies’ posts!)

    I am notorious for calling everything my favorite. A new song, the current season, a show I can’t stop watching. I guess I just get very excited about little things easily :) So when I was asked to come up with a list of my very favorite things of 2017, I instantly had a list in my head. These are the things I talk to friends about in real life, they are the things I share about on the blog, they are the things that have brought me joy this year (and likely, will continue to far beyond 2017!).

    On my list are a random assortment of things that range from free to expensive. I’m hoping you’ll find a thing or two on here that either you love too, or are new to you.

    So let’s jump right in:

    We’ll start with an easy favorite that I use all day every day.

    iPhone WALLET CASE

    I carry my phone with me everywhere I go and it’s nice to have it protected by this canvas/leather case. Also, because I’m out of the diaper bag stage of mothering, I can just grab my phone and my keys and head out the door. I wrote a post about this case and answered questions about the versatility and practicality of it right here.


    When we went to Nashville this fall, I forgot a bag (see? I’ve grown so used to just taking my phone along!) and found this perfect little cross-body leather bag while shopping in Franklin. It is made by Able – a company I adore and have a few other bags from. This saddlebag is big enough for my phone, keys and a lipgloss, which is basically all I need.  Able is running a great Black Friday sale starting Thanksgiving night (up to 30% off!) so it’s the perfect time to get one of their beautiful leather bags.


    barre3 attitude
    Of all the things I’ve talked about this year (to anyone who will listen!), it is barre.

    I was a ballet dancer when I was younger and so discovering a workout that incorporates the movement of ballet with pilates and yoga has been the absolute best. It is a workout I can do from home (read about how I do that here) and I’ve recently started going to a local studio a few times per week, which is not only good for my body but so good for my mind and soul as well.

    I realize that not everyone loves barre the way I do, but the bigger lesson for me has been to find the physical activity that you love and do it.


    Another very favorite from 2017 has been understanding the Enneagram. This is a personality typing system that has been absolutely life-changing for me. Truly … I don’t say that lightly. It is just a tool, but it has brought so much clarity about why I do and think the way I do, what my core needs and desires are and it puts words to how I approach the world in a way I was not able to do myself. Since taking the initial assessment to find out which number I am (I’m a 9 in case you’re curious) I have read countless articles and descriptions, watched videos, listened to podcasts and read a few books on the subject. I particularly appreciate the Christian perspective from Marilyn Vancil’s book, Self to Lose – Self to Find and the excellent overview in The Road Back To You. My newest (still unread) enneagram book is called The Sacred Enneagram.

    If you are interested in learning more, this podcast has a great overview. You can take a thorough assessment here, and you can read more about the Enneagram on this website.


    Let’s bring it back down and talk about makeup. You know that question, “if you were stranded on an island what one makeup item would you bring?”? Well, my answer has always and forever been mascara. I have long, yet very fair lashes and look 12 years old without eye makeup on. I have tried (and loved) lash extensions less for the lengthening feature and more because it meant I didn’t have to wear mascara (see my review here). Since going back to my natural lashes, I’ve also gone back to my tried-and-true mascara, L’Oreal Voluminous in black brown. It’s thick, dark and works so well.


    I wrote a list of 40 things I want to accomplish before I turn 40 next year and buy a le Creuset was at the top of my list. My goal is to bake my own sourdough bread and you use a large dutch oven to do so. Well, instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy pot, I found this one in a lovely color and can’t believe how many times I’ve used it so far this fall (never once for bread, unfortunately. Let’s just say I have issues making a starter …) See all of my 40 by 40 list here.


    I found a new-to-me Instagram account called @halfbakedharvest and after scrolling through her photos and watching her mesmerizing cooking videos, I bought her first cookbook, Half Baked Harvest. You guys, get this one. It is beautifully photographed and the recipes look delicious. Nearly every single thing has cheese in it (my love language). Oh, it’s just so wonderful.


    Not that my photos are anything as gorgeous as the ones in the cookbook, but I have found a very helpful app for making my camera photos look much better than they actually are. I wrote all about how to use the apps in this post, and they seriously make such a difference. A little brightening, some adjusting of contrast and a tricky retouching app cleans up photos to make them instagram-ready. I use the Afterlight App for regular editing and the TouchRetouch App for erasing items from pictures.


    blink camera on entry table
    Speaking of cameras, these little security cameras are ingenious and make us feel so much safer leaving our house when we travel. They are wireless and connected to an app on my phone so when movement is detected, I’m notified right away. The video quality is pretty fantastic (even in low-light situations, like at night) and they are much less expensive than a full on security system.

    You can use code JONESDESIGN17 for 15% off your order over $150 (that will get you a set of two indoor cameras!).


    We bought this Lounge II Sectional from Crate & Barrel right before Christmas last year and it has proven to be my favorite sofa ever. It’s a little scary to invest so much into a massive piece of furniture and yet I will wholeheartedly say that this deep, cozy sectional has been worth every penny. The light color has held up well, the cushions hold their shape and it still calls to us every evening to come sit and stay awhile.


    My favorite novel of the year is Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. I’m partial to a historical fiction and decided to give my WWII novels a rest and try this food novel. Turns out, this has some WWII in it, but with a whole different twist. It is smartly written, the characters are so likeable and I love the combination of food + history.


    My favorite podcast of 2017 is Emily P. Freeman’s new podcast called The Next Right Thing. Emily has the most peaceful talking voice with wise words and helpful prompts for those of us who crave direction in our lives. Each episode is about 15 minutes and you’ll leave feeling thoughtful and empowered to choose the next right thing.

    For a full list of podcast faves, click over to this post.


    My list would not be complete without including plants. I have become a full-blown #plantlady in 2017 and I just can’t stop. Fresh greenery looks good in any and every room and brings color, texture and life. Here’s a post I wrote earlier this year with tips for choosing and keeping alive indoor plants.

    Honorable mentions: The Seattle Seahawks (always), these UGG slippers (I wear them everyday), my finished studio space (see it here), this leather pillow, Candy Crush (oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’m admitting my late-adoption of this pointless, yet totally addicting game), gel manicures, this sunless tanner starter kit, and my current t.v. obsession, The Paradise on Netflix.

    Whew! See what I mean? I have many favorites.

    Do you share love for any of these same items? What is on your list of favorites for 2017?

    Don’t forget to visit Melissa at 320 Sycamore to see all of the lists of favorites!

    32 thoughts on “Favorite Things of 2017”

    1. How’d you end up liking The Sacred Enneagram? Trying to decide between it and Self to Lose for an upcoming trip! (Already read Road Back to You)

      AND Love Emily Freeman, too. I’m afraid I’ve gotten more people listening to her than to following Jesus.

    2. Instead of lash extensions, it sounds like you could get away with just having your lashes tinted. It’s quick and cheap, and it lasts for months. That’s what a couple of my friends do during the summer so they don’t have to wear mascara.

    3. We have been looking for a sectional & I value how much you & your family seem to love this Crate & Barrel sofa! I have a couple of questions: What color did you choose? Did you choose the regular 29″ seat depth? I think you chose the “regular” configuration? Thanks so much in advance!!

      1. We do love it. My sister bought the same one (in the gray color) and my best friend just ordered one this weekend, too!

        We have the Taft Cement color and the standard 29″ seat depth. It is very deep and comfy.

        1. Thank you so much for getting back to me…one last question (sorry!) There are so many configurations. It looks like you ordered the standard 3 piece unit w arms on each end?

    4. I immediately purchased the leather and canvas phone case and L-O-V-E it! Thanks for always sharing reasonably priced, fashionable items. I have purchased many of your suggestions over time, with no regrets!

    5. Great list! I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to the Next Right Thing! I have never tried a podcast before and this one is so wonderful, I feel no others will live up to it! It has made me actually look forward to my commute to and from work each day, which is no small feat. Thank you for sharing!

    6. Ohmigosh, I loved The Paradise and was heartbroken to learn that no new episodes are being produced. Apparently I’m not alone – there is a Facebook page to bring back The Paradise! I found a good replacement, though – try Poldark on PBS. It’s my new favorite!

    7. That’s hilarious! I say the same thing alllllll the time about my lashes. I’m so fair that without eye make up, I look like a 12 year old. :)

    8. Emily,

      Plants!!! Wish I could show you mines. Thanks for all of the little treasures you’ve found. You just made my morning and Christmas shopping a lot easier. Have a fab weekend.

    9. I loved Delicious! Thank you for the recommendation! I wish she had more novels, but have you read her memoirs? I just read Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, and she has such an interesting (nearly unbelievable) life!

    10. Love your list of fun things! I appreciate you doing it year after year, I find some of my greatest finds on it :) I loved having my iPad on my wall in the kitchen for a while. I am in a remodel so it is coming down.

      Wondering about your open shelving, where did you find your wood???

    11. Ummmmm Everything! LOL All things Green for sure! Also loving the Eneagram heading on a girls trip this weekend and we are all taking a quiz together, should be fun. St Tropez starter kit is the bomb! Love your book recommendations and always add them to my Goodreads list. Same with the podcasts. Love my Dutch Oven! Adding Barre and Cameras to wish list and will just keep pining over the couch for a while. LOL Love your lists especially the 40 by 40! I just turned 40 and I think that is fab! My list was a Full marathon by 40! I love #40 goals and think everyone should have them! Can’t wait to see the checks getting marked off this coming year!

    12. Use my Pioneer Woman chef knife (available at Walmart for around $12) everyday. I have been giving them as gifts to all my friends and family who like to cook.

    13. I love L’oreals Voluminous mascara primer. I haven’t tried the mascara yet, but I plan on buying some soon to go with the primer. I love my cast iron dutch oven. I wish it was that beautiful green you have as green is my favorite color. I have never made sourdough bread, but I have baked no-knead bread in it, and it bakes up beautifully.

    14. I had a really rough time trying to make a sourdough starter at home too! I caved and ordered a sourdough starter kit from King Arthur Flour. It was great! You still have to keep it “alive” but SO much easier (and less stinky) than starting my own. Give it a try!

    15. oh my goodness, thank you for the dutch oven option! I have been pining away for one for a while now! I adore your style and approach to life! Thanks for sharing these highlights with your readers. I absolutely adore Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, The Next Right Thing – it’s like a cup of hot tea for my ears! ha!

    16. Hello Emily! You always have the best finds! I especially love the app and book recommendations. I am a fellow Voluminous lover — I just picked up the new pink one to try because many people had it in their favorites this year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    17. Chrissy at Organise My House

      Love the wallet case, and the greenery (I’m a sucker for all things green as well!)

      My favourite exercise that I’ve found this year has been PiYo by Chalene Johnson – my friend introduced me to it a couple of months ago and I’m smitten! – just in case you want to try it as well!

      Thanks for sharing x

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