A Few of My Favorite Things {July 2014}

posted by Andrea | 07/2/2014

favorite things july

Here are a few of my favorite things for the month of July… and as always, be sure to check out some of my favorite things from past months.

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored in any way; however, some of the links below are affiliate links — which means I may get a VERY small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase through my links. However, I hope you know that I’m only promoting the products below because I use them EVERY SINGLE DAY in my own home and life! Read my full disclosure policy for more information.

Collapsable Cooler Bag

cooler bag

I’ve been wanting to add this to my list of favorite things for several months now — but I felt bad because the company I got this bag from is now under different management and their website is REALLY hard to navigate (their prices have jumped too). I looked to see if there was anything similar on Amazon.com but I didn’t find anything.

However, we’ve been using and LOVING our Invite.L collapsable cooler bag for a couples years now, and since it’s summer time, I figured it would be a good addition to my Favorite Things list. Also, the pictures below are from the Invite.L website since the ones I took didn’t really showcase all the features that well.

This cooler is just the perfect size for a 9″ x 13″ pan, it has a bunch of inside pockets for smaller items, bottles, cans, silverware, etc. and (the best part of all) the top closes with a draw string so you can stand tall items up instead of laying them down.

inside the cooler

drawstring closure

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 2.20.13 PM

It’s light-weight, easy to fold down for storage, and I always get a bunch of compliments on it every time we take it somewhere.

I originally thought it wouldn’t be very insulated, but I was wrong. I simply put a few large ice packs inside (you can also put ice cubes inside) and our food stays cold for hours. I’ve been really impressed by how well this cooler bag performs as well as how it has held up to frequent use over the past couple of years.

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Homemade Jam

I’ve grown up on homemade jam as both my mom and grandma make multiple varieties every summer. In fact, I didn’t even realize you could buy jam or jelly from the store until I was in middle school :)

I knew that when I was “out on my own” (married or not), I would most certainly continue making homemade jam because it really is quite simple to make and tasted SOOOO delicious! Plus, we can get such inexpensive and delicious fresh Michigan berries from local farms throughout the summer.

For the last 8 years, I’ve canned several different flavors of jam on a regular basis. I worked it out where I only can each type every other year — so last year, I did enough strawberry, raspberry, and triple-berry jam for at least 2 years. This year, I’m planning to do some strawberry-rhubarb jam and maybe some sweet pepper jelly (SOOOO good).

I’ve already shared my love of home-canned jam here on my blog — but if you’ve never tried it before, I think you might be surprised how simple the whole process is. In fact, you could make freezer jam or even microwave jam if you really want to start small!

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Martha Stewart iPad Case

ipad case

I did actually get this case via a giveaway a couple years ago… however, it is by-far the best iPad case we’ve come across for our needs.

We had 2 different iPad cases before getting the Martha Stewart case — one of which we immediately returned because it was awful. We never loved our other case either, but it was better than nothing, so we kept it until the Martha Stewart case showed up on our door step.

One thing we all love about this case is that it easily stands up vertically or horizontally (and actually stays put even if you bump it a little).

I also really like that it’s a “smart case” so it automatically turns on when you open it and off when you close it. This is especially nice when Nora is using it. Also, look at how little she looks in these pictures of her back when we got the case!

One other cool feature is that the strap that closes the case can attache to a car headrest so you can use it as a TV in your car. We actually already have a TV in our car so we don’t use this feature, but it sure would be nice if you were planning a long road trip with kids!

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Huggies Clutch ‘n Clean Wipes Pouch

clutch n clean

When it comes to diaper bag essentials, the one thing that has always annoyed me is the hard travel wipes container. Our hard travel wipes container never seems to hold enough wipes so I was constantly refilling it — and also, the hard case always took up so much room in the diaper bag. So after getting annoyed with our hard case, I started using the soft plastic full-size wipes containers as they held more wipes and were more flexible. However, those were always so big and bulky — and I couldn’t refill them.

Wipes Collage.

So when I first saw the new Clutch ‘n Clean refillable, flexible, travel case — I immediately purchased it. The $3.99 for 32 wipes was a big rip-off in my opinion, BUT the fact that it met all my other travel-wipes needs was enough for me to pay the extra price :)

I’ve been using and loving this clutch for a few months now and ALWAYS get questions about it when we’re out and about.

I love that is has snap-able wristband that you can either wear on your wrist, clip to the shopping cart or stroller, or hang from just about anything. This pouch would work with any brand of wipes, and I’m guessing you could even put reusable wipes in here.

I will most definitely be including this little clutch in all future baby shower gifts from now on — probably with a jumbo pack of extra wipes along with it!

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Behr Paint

behr paint

As many of you know, I’m right in the middle of painting our soon-to-be-finished mudroom… and although I’ve shared my love for Behr paint before, I’ve never officially included it in my “Favorite Things” list.

I’ve used Behr paint for pretty much every painting project I’ve done in the past 8 years — and that’s A LOT of painting projects!

After renovating 2 different homes and painting everything from walls and ceilings to kitchen cabinets, hardwood trim, plastic, tile, particle board, and even brick, I can confidently say that Behr paint has exceeded my expectations every time.

I realize that I would most likely be happy with other brands of paint — but I just haven’t had a reason to switch. I’m so happy with Behr’s performance and their prices are much more reasonable that other quality paints. I also love that they have $5 rebates on all their paint every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this post shares some of my favorite Behr paint colors.

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That’s all for me this month.

Make sure you check out my previous months’ favorite things — and feel free to share some of YOUR favorite things in the comments below!

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14 comments

  1. Jen

    07/02/2014

    I’m pretty loyal to Behr paint, myself. Painting is such hard work and takes so much time, even if you have a good system, that to risk using a cheaper paint is just not worth it to me. I need to know that I’m not going to have to waste money and redo a job, so I just go with Behr regardless of the cost.

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  2. Rachel

    07/02/2014

    I’m in Southeast Michigan and am looking for the best place to get a variety of berries. Would you mind sharing your favorite places to get local berries?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m way over in West Michigan — so my picking places would be a pretty far drive for you :)
    You can use this website to find all the local “pick your own” berry places around you though!

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    Marianne Reply:

    I live in Southest Michigan area I highly recommend Whittaker Berry Farm in Ida Mich, they have their website under that name for address and phone number. They are a u-pick place with gorgeous berries, and best of all their pesticide practice is run by the Michigan State Agriculture Department, so no harmful chemicals!! I went and picked 30 pounds this year to freeze and make into jam. They provide you with containers too!!

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  3. Amy

    07/02/2014

    Are those jarred lemons? Mmm, what do you use those for? They look beautiful too :)

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha, no! they are peaches :)

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  4. Kristin @ The O.C.D. Life

    07/02/2014

    I must get one of those refillable wipe pouches. That is genius and very much needed in my household. XOXO

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  5. ShellyL

    07/02/2014

    For once, I had one of your items before you wrote about it. The Huggies diaper wipe container is great! I bought one for my diaper bag and one for the car. I can use these even after potty training. Big kids always need to wipe their hands and faces on the go. I think it would make a great gift , too and I have an upcoming baby shower so that plus big wipes will probably be her gift. Great list as always! Can’t wait to see the mudroom!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha!! that wipes container is great isn’t it — I’m also giving it as a gift to a new mom next week :)

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  6. Brandy Wright

    07/02/2014

    I love the collapsible cooler idea. I’ll definitely be looking into them!

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  7. joy

    07/02/2014

    We apparently go to the same strawberry farm :-)

    I found a similar cooler from Thirty-One… It holds 2 9x13s, a crock pot or a veggie tray. Keeps stuff cold all day even in a hot car.

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  8. Amy

    07/04/2014

    I just bought the Huggies clutch n’ clean after seeing it as one of your favorite things. Thanks for the great tip! It will go in my beach bag later this summer. It is the perfect size since my kiddos are teens. I don’t really need wipes, but they are handy every once in a while….especially on the go.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well good to know this is helpful for teens as well :)

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  9. Meg

    07/07/2014

    I always love your favorite things posts! I have also been in love with Behr paint since we bought our first house 22 years ago! We had a flood a few years ago and I was really upset when I found out the painter didn’t use Behr paint for the new wall they put in. Live and learn!

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