My friends! I can hardly believe this crazy year is almost over. I’ve been doing so much reflecting over the past few days, and while there were a lot of horrible things that happened this year, I’ve also been trying to focus on good things that happened. So, as a fun way to close out this year on JP, I wanted to share a big list of some of my favorite products and things this year! Everything will be linked below, and I’ve split it up into categories so it’ll be easy for you all to find what you’re looking for. Also, I linked my discount codes that I have for some of these products, so feel free to use those if you’d like to try them out.
I hope you love this guide as much as I do, it was so much fun to put together!
I figured it was fitting to start off the guide with FOOD! Since I spent so much time in my house this year, I discovered lots of new snacks, meals, and treats that I love! Here they are!
- Blake’s Seed Based Bars: Discount code-JULIA20
- These bars are absolutely perfect. They’re so tasty, come in the most creative flavors, and they’re the perfect light snack to have between classes or as an afternoon pick me up. My favorite flavor is the S’mores!
- Soozy’s Grain Free Cookies
- These little cookies are so tasty, they’re the perfect sweet little snack, and they’re gluten free, grain free, and dairy free!
- Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Bagels
- Oh my gosh, these are TO DIE FOR. When I was little, I lived and breathed for Einstien’s pumpkin bagels during the fall months. It was my favorite Saturday morning tradition to get a pumpkin bagel toasted up and watch Disney Channel. These gluten free pumpkin bagels from Trader Joe’s are the absolute best, and I can’t believe that after five years of being gluten free, I only discovered these now!
- Charcuterie Boards
- One of my best discoveries of 2020 is…charcuterie boards!!! We started making them during quarantine, because it was a fun way to spice dinners and appetizers up. Here’s a few of my favorites that I made this year!
- One of my other favorite discoveries this year is Jot! Aside from being the sweetest brand on the planet, their product is absolutely fantastic. Jot is an ultra coffee that can be made in 30 seconds! I’ve liked coffee for a few years, but I rarely made it because it took so much time to make it in a pot. With Jot, I drink coffee every single day and absolutely love it! The flavor of the coffee is so smooth, not bitter but still strong. I like to pair it with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk to make an iced latte! Yum!
- Joseph Joseph Rubber Spatula
- I’ve used this spatula every single day for 5 years now, and I firmly believe that there is no better spatula on the planet. I use this one to make my oatmeal bowls, to bake, and to mix just about anything. My favorite thing about this spatula is that it wipes bowls and pots absolutely clean, and it makes everything so easy to clean.
- Healthy Human Life Tumbler
- I’ve used this tumbler for about 5 years now, and I love it! I love the color and how it keeps my drinks cold. It was great this year to bring to classes! This tumbler comes in a lot of different colors too, but this blue is my fav!
- Marble Platter
- I recently got this marble platter from Sur La Table, and I adore it! It’s great for bloggers because it’s small, but still gives you the marble background for food photos. It’s also gorgeous and I love the way it looks on my counter!
- Branch Basics : Discount Code- JULIASPLATE
- This year, I got to work with Branch Basics on a few posts, and it was one of my favorite collaborations of the year! I love using these cleaning products, especially right now, because I’m cleaning my house/surfaces so much. I love knowing exactly what’s in the products and knowing that they’re safe for me and my family!
- Cocokind Skincare
- I absolutely love this company and their products! My favorites are the Rosewater Toner, Oil to Milk Face Cleanser, and Glow Essence Spray!
- Lululemon Biker Shorts
- 2020 brought a lot of online shopping for many people, and one of my favorite finds was this pair of biker shorts from Lululemon! This was the first thing I’d ever bought from Lululemon, and I love them for stationary biking, lifting, yoga, and even just wearing around the house.
- Fabletics Leggings
- I just ordered these leggings on Black Friday, and I LOVE them. They’re so comfortable, soft, and flexible. I’m not a big legging wearer typically, but I really love these!
- Francesca’s Platform Sandals
- These shoes were my GO-TO shoes all summer long. They took a little while to break in, but after a couple of weeks they were so comfy and a fun way to dress up an outfit! I linked a similar pair here!
- Just The Good Stuff by Rachel Mansfield
- This is no surprise, but one of my favorite cookbooks this year is Rachel Mansfield’s Just The Good Stuff! I love it so much that I’ve been baking/cooking through the entire book! Check out my hashtag #JustTheGoodStuffOnJuliasPlate to see what I’ve made so far.
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- This is in no way related to food, but I read this book for a cultural heritage class this year, and it became one of my favorite books. It’s a long one, around 1,200 pages, but it is SO worth it. It’s such a fascinating, emotional story, and it kept me engaged the whole time.
- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
- This year, I read the Jesus Calling devotional every day, and I really loved it! It was a great way to start my day everyday, and I loved reading through it with people that are close to me!
- M&Em’s Boutique
- This year, I’ve been trying to support local businesses as much as I can, and one of my favorite places to shop for clothes in my hometown is M&M’s boutique. They have everything, from clothes to accessories, to shoes, to gifts, and I have never gotten something from there that I didn’t love. You can shop online too!
- Blackberry Market
- Another hometown favorite, I love going to Blackberry for lunches and coffee. They’ve also recently expanded their gluten free dessert options, which is SO special!
- Tyrie Frances Photography
- If you live in the midwest, you’ve got to check out @tyriefrances for all things photography! Tyrie and I have been friends since kindergarten, and she took some photos for me earlier this year and then again in October for my family before we moved. She is so fabulous!
- 205 Coffee Bar
- This is my favorite coffee shop in my college town! I love going here to study, chat with friends, or just to think. I always get an oat milk hot chocolate or an iced oat milk latte! Plus, their owner is the kindest person.
- How I Built This NPR by Guy Raz
- This was my “most listened to” podcast of 2020! I find entrepreneurial stories to be some of the most inspiring, and I love hearing the stories of large brands and companies. Such a good pod!
- Just the Good Stuff by Rachel Mansfield
- I loved listening to this podcast this year-so many awesome guests and inspiring content! I always look forward to Monday mornings when new eps come out!
- Ali on the Run Show by Ali Kiefer
- For running, this is one of my favorites! I love keeping up on the running world with this show, and there’s always great guests and inspirational content!
- I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein
- Another running favorite! I’ve been listening to Lindsey’s show for a few years now, and it only gets better! I love keeping up on my favorite runners through her show.
- I’ve followed @erinliveswhole for a few years now, but only this year did I really start to discover her recipes and content! I adore her Instagram page, but also her blog and YouTube channel. She has a lot of content on how to build a blog as well, which I LOVE!
- Another favorite that I discovered this year is Elizabeth Moye from @hellospoonful! She also has a YouTube channel, which is so fantastic! So many good recipes and helpful tips.
- I’ve loved following Rachael’s Good Eats for a few years now, but this year especially, I loved her at-home workouts and Ebooks!
- I love Jenné’s content on her Instagram and YouTube. Her recipes are amazing!
- My favorite for all things recipes and helpful tips! I’ve loved every single recipe I’ve made of Rachel’s! Plus, I love hearing her story of how she built her brand and works so hard.
- Angie’s been a favorite for a couple of years now! I love her food content and recipes, but I also love her eating disorder recovery advice and writing, I find it so helpful and honest. She is truly changing lives.
- I absolutely love Peyton from Choosing Balance! Her recipes and photos are gorgeous, but I mostly love her sweet personality and positivity; always cheers me up to watch her stories and see her posts!
- Kendall’s recipes are so gorgeous, and I love her creative meal ideas!
- This was one of my favorite tools in 2020 (before Covid, at least!) I used this portfolio for interviews, career fairs, and meetings! I love the fun blue color too! I linked a similar portfolio here!
- You all know I LIVE for my planners (I actually use three to keep my life organized: one for school, one for JP, and one for to-do lists). I use a classic academic planner, and I think it’s great, linked a similar one here!
- Three Tier Cart
- This year, I’m living in a house, so I have a full kitchen, but I use this cart to store other things in my room and I love how much space it saves! I got it in the gray color and it’s perfect for the neutral colors in my room.
- Canva was probably the most helpful tool I’ve used this year in terms of building my blog/Instagram! I also used it a ton for work in my other jobs at school. It’s so easy to make graphics, logos, menus, etc. I also used Canva to design my Ebook this summer, and it was completely free, which is amazing. I love it! You can also listen to the story of the company in this episode of How I Built This!
- White Plates
- You can get these anywhere, but I use these white plates for almost all of my food photos!
- Apple Photo Editing
- This year, I switched from using VSCO to using the Apple editing software to edit my photos for JP. I’m so glad that I did! I’ve learned so much more about how to edit and fiddle with light/brightness/saturation to get photos exactly how I want them, instead of just using filters like I did before. I’ve also heard that Light Room is great for editing food photos.
- This year, I got a black nightstand from my brother that he used in his old college house. I painted it white, and now I use it for most of my food photos! It also doubles as my nightstand at school, so when I need it for pictures, I just move some things around, slide it over to my window, and then move everything back; It saves so much space! I don’t have a specific link for this one, but I’m sure Target and Walmart have similar alternatives!
- Blogging Information/Tips
- I found so much information about building blogs and working with brands on @hellospoonful, @erinliveswhole, and @apaigeofpositivity. These three women share so many helpful tips, which is really amazing because it can be hard to find tips and tricks about this business!
That’s all I’ve got for now! I hope you all love these favorites and find some things you want to try out. Let me know if you do! I love you all and I’m grateful for such an amazing year of blogging. I’ve got big plans for 2021, and I’m so excited that you’re along for the ride. Happy New Year!