My favorite purchases of 2020

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Every December I like to write an article that highlights the highlights of the year. Everyone knows that 2020 was basically a giant trash can fire in almost every way, but it’s a few things in the hardware realm that were not disappointments this year. What I am emphasizing in this article has been worn after use and has stood the test of time as a true favorite.

Black Vuori Camouflage Jogging Pants

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Vuori jogging pants

These joggers were the ultimate buy for the 40s / WFH. I bought my first pair in March and ended up with 3 pairs so far. I wear them constantly. Comfortable, soft and cute enough to wear outside the house. I wrote a full review here.

Machines for Freedom Essential Cycling Shorts

Machines for Freedom Essential Shorts

I had been waiting ages for Machines to develop a no-bib option and purchased the essential shorts when they were released this year. They did not disappoint. I have the 4 Machines cycling pants, and these are by far my favorite. They correspond so well and feel good. Some reviewers have criticized the crotch length as it is longer than their shorts. I wouldn’t mind if there was a slightly shorter option, but as you can see in my photos, the 8.5 inch inseam still looks good, even on my 5’3 “frame. You can read my full review here.

Fall athleisure outfit: camo jogging

Harrier Tracksmith long sleeve

My love affair with Tracksmith running tops has been going on for several years now. I’ve written before about how my harrier tanks are one of my favorites in the summer, and their newly released long sleeve harrier quickly hit the top of my list as well. I bought 3 of them and love to wear them on their own for gentle runs, or under layers in cold weather. You can also wear them as a basic t-shirt for a casual outfit. A full review is coming.

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Ultimate SheFit Bras

Finding high-support, non-wired, non-hideous bras in my hard-to-find size (30D / DD) is a never-ending puzzle. SheFit was a real winner when I tried on their ultimate bra this year. While they’re a bit bulkier than some other sports bras, that’s a price I’m willing to pay for true full support. I’ve collected around 8 in a range of gorgeous, limited edition colors, and these are my must-haves for long runs. You can read my full review here.

Other notable purchases

Besides some great finds in the realm of active fashion, I have found some serious winners in other categories. You might like them too.

Smith in the foreground 2

Not all helmets are created equal, because not all heads are the same shape. Finding a brand of helmet that matches the shape of your head is essential for a comfortable ride! Turns out I have a Smith head. Lucky for me, Smith’s helmets also look super cool and come in a great selection of colors. I currently wear the Forefront 2, but I also like the Session, which is a cheaper option but very similar.

Protective lip balm

Not only do I spend a lot of time outdoors training, but I also spend a lot of time at very high altitudes. When you are above 10,000 feet where UV rays are madly powerful, lip protection is non-negotiable. I was looking for high quality sun protection for my perpetually sunny lips, and Protekt came up with the most perfect offer: an effective product with a great formulation. Note that it has an herbaceous coconut flavor (contains coconut oil), so if you’re anti-coconut, you’ll probably want to skip this one. You can find the lip balm on their site here.

I also use Protekt sunscreen which is reef safe, natural, and sweat free. Additionally, when I had an issue with my order, they provided some of the most exceptional customer service I have encountered.

Rails Flannel Shirts

As I embrace my true identity as a mountain town girl, I finally did… I bought a flannel shirt. Two in fact. I found the Hunter Flannels from Rails at Nordstrom and love the super-soft fabric and the perfect fit. That said, they’re insanely expensive, so I bought mine from Poshmark and eBay for around $ 30 each.

Brooklyn Candle Studio “Santa Fé”

Bury me with this candle. I wrote in an article earlier this year about a few of my favorite candles, and have tried others since writing this article. This one is a new favorite. It smells of incense, desert flowers and a mysterious and elegant boyfriend.

As an honorable mention, I love the container for this Allison Kunath collaboration candle, and the scent is also a winner (strong oakmoss notes, scent very similar to the Brick and Mortar “Moss” that I highlighted in an article earlier this year).

Books

I like to read, but I go through phases with the habit. I never read more than this year. And I have the proof: I have kept a list of all the books I have read since 2010. This year I set a new record.

A few that I really enjoyed: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (I hated the ending, tbh), Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and Bad Blood by Jon Carreyrou. Instead of buying from Amazon, consider supporting your local bookstore and / or patronizing your local library.

Original art

This year, I was particularly infatuated with art bought directly from artists. Besides finding the perfect and unique piece, I love supporting a small business and connecting with a real human being who has put a lot of love into their work. The artists I bought this year are Deeann Rieves (pictured), Bethany Hartwick and Beth Winterburn.

Finding some of your own must-haves in 2020? Drop them in the comments.

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