Best purchases of 2021

When I thought about the things I purchased in 2021 that bring me joy, I instantly came up with like 5 things (and then a couple more to make it ten.) I am not a frivolous shopper by any means. When I buy something, I (usually) have put a substantial amount of thought into what I want to buy and why. So the list of best purchases is rather short but packs some punches (looking at you, Peloton and iPhone).

1. I did it. After contemplating both the investment and the question of whether I could still pull off a pair, I finally invested in a new pair of Dr. Martens*. I used to have a pair, 25 years ago *gasp* that I loved fiercely and that I had worn until they fell apart.

At some point, I had mentioned to Tanja that I had been thinking about purchasing another pair of Dr. Martens. As she very well knows, I don’t make purchase decisions lightly. This was no exception. If I am honest, I had been to Dr. Martens stores and had tried on boots quite a few times over the last few years (without ever buying them). How’s that for really taking a long time to make up your mind?
So, when I was down in Southern California and met up with Tanja, she mentioned that there was a Dr. Martens store at the mall and suggested that we could go and at least have a look. I mean, sure, we can take a look!

Well, I did not count on the emotional persuasiveness of my own mind (and the encouraging and complimenting remarks by my friend and the young saleswoman). When she noticed how pleased I was with the shoes, she asked with a knowing smile, if this was my first pair of Dr. Martens. I don’t think I had laughed so much in a while. I explained to her that in fact, these were going to be my second pair and, oh, why didn’t she just ring them up for me.

I don’t think I have to mention how much I love them, right?

2. These Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Bowls* were a total impulse purchase, which is rare. But I guess you can’t sweat a $5/bowl purchase when you smile every time you eat your oats or soup out of one. Haha.

3. I finally bought a few house plants this year (like the fiddle fig) and I’ve been enjoying a bit of a greener space. Unfortunately, our apartment is pretty dark and I have to be mindful about which plants will have a chance to thrive, not just barely survive here, but so far they’ve been faring pretty well.

4. If you feel the cold (during the colder months) like me, then Hottotties’ velvet-lined leggings* are for you. I’ve been wearing them like it’s my job ever since we entered the cooler season.

5. I bought three 25 lb bags of organic rye flour* in 2021, as I have continued to bake my own sourdough bread every week throughout the year.

6. In the spring, we upgraded to the new iPhone*. We’re usually people that use their phones until they really start to go down in performance. We hadn’t had an upgrade since the iPhone 7 and it definitely felt like a splurge.

7. Early in 2021, coffee filters for our Chemex coffee maker, of all things!, were in scarce supply. I could not figure out why but was lucky and very pleased when I got my hands on a Coffee Sock*. Not quite as convenient, but definitely more environmentally friendly, and best of all: they don’t need repurchasing so often.

8. This was an Instagram ad that I fell for and I am so glad I did: Pro Hair Ties*. You can adjust the circumference (depending on hair thickness) and they have an “easy release clasp” so you are not ripping out hair when you pull them out.

9. One of the best nutrition items I’ve started purchasing this year was Flaxseed Meal. I knew that it is good for you, I had previously purchased raw flax seeds, but didn’t know how to use them (other than in occasional baked goods). Turns out, raw flax seeds are hard to digest and besides, flaxseed meal is MUCH easier to just throw into all kinds of dishes without you even knowing it’s there. I add it to my sourdough bread, mix it into my oats, and throw it into smoothies and other meals as well.

10. I am sure you know I have shouted this from the rooftops because the best purchase of 2021 was the Peloton* bike. It brings me joy on a daily basis and as I said to a friend, if I have to be addicted to one thing, I am okay with it being a piece of exercise equipment that keeps me healthy, motivated, and connected with like-minded people.

What was one of your best purchases last year?

* #notanad, This is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated by the brand or anyone else for linking the websites.

  1. You had the biggest smile on your face when walking out of the DocMartens store!
    But I have had the biggest smile on my face since you got the Peloton !!!!

    1. I cannot tell you how much joy the Peloton – and riding with you – brings me every single day. And thank you again for the gentle push re: the Docs :)

  2. How fun! I do love seeing what purchases people get and find worthwhile.

    And Happy New Year!!!

    1. Happy New Year! And yes, I always love to see other people’s purchases too :)

  3. I am a frugal sort, myself, but I received two gifts for Christmas that I have used daily since then and now I’m wondering how I lived without them. One is a heated vest. It gets cold here and I walk the dog three times a day and I would never have ponied up the money for it myself, but it is an absolutely lifesaver on days when the dog wants to play in the snow. The other is a towel warmer and it’s so frivolous and silly and WONDERFUL.

    I hope you’re staying warm!!

    1. Oh, a towel warmer. That sounds absolutely divine and wonderful!


    What a great purchase that was. I have never bought Doc Martens and always wanted to. Maybe when I’m a senior citizen, I’ll finally realize that dream!

    Okay, those hair ties look genius. I might have to go for some.

  5. I’ve been trying to get into plants too! We got a Monstera and I’m so impressed I’ve been able to keep it alive thus far. Is a fiddle fig supposed to be OK in dark spaces? If so, that’ll be my next purchase!

  6. I didn’t buy this last year…it was a 2020 purchase, but I love my Yeti. I actually use it for water (I found it kept my hot beverages TOO hot), but I use it every single day. It’s a gorgeous teal that makes me happy, it definitely helps me drink more water, and after two years of heavy use it looks brand new.

    Trying to think about 2021 and best purchases…I didn’t buy that much that didn’t relate to the house?! My husband bought me a pair of hoop earrings for Christmas that I had listed as being a goal for 2021 (I’ve had pierced ears for 20 years and yet have never had a set of hoops!)…and now one this set of earrings almost every day. Love, love them.

    Love flaxmeal as well – I used to be a HUGE kick making homemade Aussie bites, these delicious GF treats from Costco that are incredibly delicious and call for ground flax. If you’re ever on the hunt for a new sweet energy snack, I highly recommend making these!

  7. Ahhh yes, your Peloton! I am so very happy you splurged on that this year. Maybe 2022 will be the year I take the plunge. MAYBE. I am happy with my knockoff bike but I dreeeeeam of having a gorgeous Peloton in my apartment.

    I love the story of getting your second pair of Doc Martens! How fun!

  8. This was fun! I love those bowls, and what a good price. I just checked and they have some at my Target- I might have to get a set for myself!
    I love ground flaxseed. i actually have a chia/ground flaxseed mix that I’ve been using in all sorts of things, including as an egg replacer for cookies.
    Glad you got that Peloton! I don’t have one, or any plans to get one in the near future… but maybe someday.

  9. Oh gosh I loved Doc Martens when I was in HS. I think I had 2 or 3 pairs in HS? Glad you found joy in adding them to your wardrobe again!

    My best purchase, which was technically purchased by Phil since it was a bday gift, was my Air Pods. I have tiny ears canals so it’s hard to find ear buds that fit, but the apple ones fit great! I’ve worn that on runs and then have never fallen out. It’s so nice to not have to deal with cords! And I use them every day for work calls now, too.

  10. HaHa that Dr. Martens shoe story is hilarious, Glad you finally splurged. I bet every time you wear them now you also think of Tanja and you time together. What a fun thing.

    I usually wear my shoes also until they fall apart. The last time that happened was on the last pre-Covid trip to Oslo. So every time I know wear my boots I remember that trip.

    I think you had some really fun purchases. And most of them didn’t come up here unannounced. Following a long consonantly I think I have all seen them before.

  11. The way you are with those doc martens is how I am about every purchase too! I obsess and think it over and mull it about until I can confidently make a purchase. I’m glad for it, but def indulge in impulse purchases every now and then too. Those bowls are awesome and a great purchase! You had some great buys in 2021!

  12. I wish I were frugal but I am 100% a frivolous shopper :/
    I still have my dr. marten boots from high school (bought in ’96 at Haight street because they just had to be LEGIT to my teenager self, ha) but they need some TLC. I wore those suckers every day in high school after I didn’t have PE anymore so I wouldn’t have to bother will all the lacing.

    1. I think my Dr. Martens back from the 90’s could still be at my parents’ house – I have to go look when I visit again :)

  13. I wish I could be a Docs person but alas, I cannot pull it off. Sigh. I’m more of a running / hiking shoe / clog type person. :)

    LOVE that the Peloton, flaxseed, and flour made the list with your iPhone. Isn’t it fascinating what makes us happy? :)

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