We’re baaaaaaaack! After a lot of fun Holiday merry-making and finally getting to see each other face-to-face, we are back and ready to blog it up in the new year! We even sat down and planned out our posts for the first month. And let me tell you, there is blogging fun ahead in 2014!
But first a brief Christmas tale… About 5 years ago, we had a conversation around the table at Thanksgiving about the products we had used that past year that had rocked our worlds. Based on that conversation, Sarah, our older sister, came up with a genius idea for how we could exchange Christmas gifts with everyone without losing our minds. At that point there were three grandkids in the mix and she wisely realized that if we kept trying to find the perfect item for every person in the family every year we’d stretch our budgets and our sanity to the limit. Instead, she said we should each purchase our favorite product of the year (under $20) and give it to the adults of our same gender.
It’s kinda like Oprah’s Favorite Things, but on a much much smaller scale.
This instantly became one of my favorite traditions. It isn’t stressful because instead of worrying if it’s the exact right thing that the recipient(s) will love, you are actually just sharing something that has made your life easier/ better/ whatever in the past year. And you have a whole year to decide what exactly it might be. The product remains a secret until you hand it out so (at least for me) the excitement builds right up until the reveal.
Two years ago I realized that the acronym for “Product Of The Year” is POTY and thus we now give each other POTYs on Christmas Eve after all the wee ones** are asleep.
Since it’s inception, their have been some fantastic items that have been shared and loved. For the guys there have been a lot of grooming products like power razors…
And preshave oil…
And an all-in-one cleanser.
Ron also supplied some excellent examples of what happens when one doesn’t groom themselves. He purchased perhaps the most amusing POTY of all time –MUGLY. That would be the $1 Newspaper that shows the mugshots of those recently arrested in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The ladies side has also tended to focus a lot on grooming – and some household items. Including hairspray…
And lip balm…
And hair serum…
And dish-drying mats…
And a pastry mat similar to this one.
The POTYs have now built up a small cult following among good friends and family. And since I’ve had a few people ask what this years POTYs are, I thought I’d share this year’s selections here.
Let’s start with the men:
While staying at a hotel on a business trip, Kelly experienced a shower with pressure so amazing that he took the time to write down the name of the showerhead. Turns out that while the Oxygenics Skincare Showerhead is powerful enough to take your skin off (not really, but it is pretty intense if you use it on the highest setting!) it is actually designed to use more oxygen and less water. So it saves water and money in water bills! All that for the price of a POTY?! Pretty rad!
Fix’s POTY was the Swiss Tech Utili-key. As you can see from the picture, this key-sized multi-tool packs a lot of punch. It’s like having a pocketknife on your keychain and Fix doesn’t go anywhere without it.
Rocket’s POTY was actually a Father’s Day gift from Sarah. The Grid-it Organizer keeps all your smaller items easily accessible inside whatever bag you choose. Fix has already used it to organize his backpack.
Once again, Ron’s gift did not disappoint. Back in October, I went out to visit Ron and Sarah for the weekend. While I was there, we went to Pinot’s Palette which is one of those bring-your-own-wine-and-appetizers-and-we’ll-teach-you-to-paint-a-picture places. It was actually a ton of fun to follow the instructor and paint our own masterpieces. When I realized my painting wasn’t going to fit into my luggage to take home, I asked them to bring it at Christmas. And we joked that Ron could use the three pictures we did for his three POTYs.
Didn’t think it would actually happen as Ron wanted to keep his cactus picture and give it to his son, but apparently because it was so fun to do, Sarah and Ron went back again with other friends before Christmas and made this gem…
And the rest is POTY history. Kelly got Ron’s cactus picture, Fix got my painting and Rocket got an exquisite Christmas Story fragile leg lamp portrait painted by his daughter, Sarah.
As for the ladies:
Sarah’s gift was the Herstyler Grande Curls Curling Iron. It makes fantastic somewhat-messy curls in next to no time. While we were all excited to use it, Sarah warned us right away to use the protective “Michael Jackson glove” and to never hold it in our hair for too long otherwise this might happen:
I’ve already tried it out a few times and while the curling-iron-with-no-clamp thing takes a little getting used to, I liked the look of the curls and will definitely use this POTY in the new year.
Bethany’s POTY was the perfect cup of coffee. That is, in 2013, she perfected what she believes to be the perfect cup of coffee and the key ingredient is RAW SUGAR. So she bought us all a giant tub of Florida Crystals raw sugar. But since she felt like this might not be the most exciting thing to receive, she also shared another awesome product she discovered:
The Pixi Lid and Line. This little tube contains a liner, an eye shadow and a blending wand. Just follow the instructions on the package and you can easily create a smoky-eyed look. She got us the Smoky Bronze shade and I’ve already used it and love it.
Just a warning though, you might not want to use them both at the same time.
Juju got us all t-shirts from the pool where we had a membership all throughout our childhood. They say “Great People, Great Pool, Adelphi.” Unfortunately, I neglected to get a picture so. Here is a picture of Adelphi Pool instead:
The best part about her gift was that two days before Christmas, Susanna saw the magnet on Juju’s fridge that said “Great People, Great Pool, Adelphi” and said something like “If that was on a t-shirt, I’d buy it.” Done and done. Juju also gave us some heirloom quilts and beautiful family crystal containers that had been recently given to her. Again, no picture. Sorry Juju.
Susanna’s product of the year was this awesome chopping thing. Does it have a name? Is it a Hachoir? Not sure. But it’s helped Zuni out in the kitchen and I’ve always wanted one and I’m so excited to use this tool!
And finally, my POTY was the Measure All Cup from Pampered Chef. I love this measuring cup because it makes measuring weird things like peanut butter so much easier!. Instead of scraping it into a traditional measuring cup and wondering if you’ve actually filled it or if there is a pocket of air hiding somewhere inside, you push down the inside cylinder to the correct measurement and you can clearly see if you’ve actually filled the space above. Again, with traditional cups you have to scrape them out with a rubber spatula and inevitably you leave some food behind. But with the Measure-All cup, you just push up the inside cylinder up and scrape off the top and you are done. No wasted food. It has really transformed my cooking/baking this past year and I hope everyone else finds it useful.
So that’s your not-so-brief introduction to the world of POTYs. What products have revolutionized your life this past year? We’d love to hear what you love so we can try them out and see if they have POTY-potential.
**for the record, we all buy all the kiddos gifts because, hey, that’s always fun.**