Yep – it’s that time of year … time for the CMteam’s Favorite Things (aka The Enabler List). Here are some of the products that made our lives just a little more awesome in 2011. We’re pretty brilliant consumers, if we do say so ourselves — good luck getting through this post without developing a Wish List of your own … or just forward the article to your husband and let him know that THIS is what you’d like for a gift this year! 😉 Enjoy!!
Nikkor 45mm f2.8 PC-E (Tilt Shift Lens)
This lens represents a turning point in my photography. It slowed me down considerably (manual focus only), allowed me to see my subjects in a completely new way, and helped me to begin defining my style. I find working with it mentally and creatively exhausting — in a good way … it really pushes me, and shot for shot, I get more portfolio worthy images out of this lens than any other.
Amazon Prime and Amazon Subscribe & Save
I’ve had Amazon Prime for years, but every year my life seems to get a little busier, and every year I find myself deeming it even more indispensable. Birthday Party this weekend? No worries, I can have a gift here tomorrow for a $3.99 shipping fee (SO worth it!). Two day shipping on just about everything else is totally free. If you tend to procrastinate on gift buying, if you find yourself too busy to run out to the store multiple times each week, if you are an instant gratification kind of person … Amazon Prime is for you.
I’m also addicted to Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Program, which doesn’t offer the fast shipping benefits of Prime but is nonetheless fantastic for household staples — for me, that’s diapers, Caffeinated Crystal Light, Caramel Cappuccino K-Cups, GoGo Applesauce, and SimpleHuman trashcan liners … just to name a few of our many subscriptions!
This stuff is ah-mazing. I don’t like heavy liquid foundations and am not a fan of the mineral makeup usually but this is the exception. It helps reduce those dreaded age lines (not that I have any but, you know, if I did 😉 ) and it’s the perfect foundation for a warm, humid climate as it keeps you from being all shiny.
I love this phone so much — mainly because of the camera. It is with me always, and I have taken so many amazing photos with it that I never would have taken otherwise. Siri kind of rocks too. She’s getting better at recognizing my voice and dictating my text messages and e mails for me. I don’t think I’d make it through the day if you took my iPhone 4S away.
Starbucks Application for iPhone
I love the Starbucks Application. I don’t even need my wallet anymore. I just enter my gift card information and each time I go I open the App on my phone and they scan the barcode.
Magic Bullet Deluxe
I have been trying to eat healthier and this was money well spent. It makes shakes and smoothies in seconds and a million other things as well. I have fancy expensive blenders but this is so much more convenient with easy clean up.
Think Tank Airport International 2.0
I don’t know what I did without this bag for so long. At home, we don’t have a lot of room, and this holds most of my gear (that I use regularly). I also use it when I shoot weddings. I love that I can lock it closed, and lock it to something if needed, and I love how much I can fit in it. It is well constructed and sturdy, and allows me to arrive at weddings looking put together and professional, instead of lugging 3 or 4 bags that hold all of my lenses, cameras, flashes, cords, cards, batteries, etc.
ProDPI Deep Matte Paper
I’m obsessed with this Fuji paper from my favorite lab. It’s thick, luxurious and gorgeous. The matte finish works really well with how I work and what I shoot, and my clients have loved their prints on this paper. I rarely print anything on any other kind of paper, business or personal work.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
I’ve heard that bread makers are wonderful gadgets, but I don’t have room to store one. I’m most definitely not a baker (or even a cook really), but this bread making technique is so easy and foolproof. I love it, and I have all of my friends convinced that I am a bread making, domestic goddess. Shhh, don’t tell.
I think rentals just went up to $1.06 a night, but it’s still the best deal out there. There are ten of them within four miles of my house, so I am always able to find something I want to see.
I love them. I have them in both black and brown. They’re comfy, and the leather is really nice. I love them with jeans and with leggings paired with a long sweater.
Nikkor 105mm Macro Lens
My 105mm 2.8 macro lens from Nikon. I love my macro lens so much! This thing is sharp as ever, and I mostly use it for all my macro shots, but I love that I can use it for a portrait lens too!
It doesn’t matter if it’s 0 or 100 degrees outside but I am always freezing. A great sweater to easily throw over any shirt is a must have for me and this is my current favorite. I love the knitted material and comfortable fit in a casual style.
Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board, is in my opinion one of the best websites out there. I love having all my photography and home decor inspiration along with recipes and crafts that I want to try all in one place. Any time I need a boost in my creativity I head on over the Pinterest.
I feel like I am the only person on the CM Team who doesn’t have Starbucks coffee flowing through her veins. Here’s my dirty little secret: I don’t really even like coffee. I am totally addicted to tea though – hot, iced, sweet, plain, whatever… I love it! One of my favorite places to buy tea is Teavana . This year I added a new fave to the list of many teas I just adore from Teavana. It’s the Slimful Chocolate Decadance Oolong and it’s just delicious!
Alzo Wireless Radio Shutter Release
After years of shooting with a tiny little infrared remote (and of course dealing with the innate downsides of an infrared remote), I bought the Alzo wireless radio shutter release this year. The Alzo is big, it’s clunky, but it works perfectly. Every single time, thru walls, without interference of ambient light. The Alzo remote is sheer perfection in a somewhat clunky package with a long antenna. I don’t care how it looks though because I love it and I love the images I can create with it.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Pencil in Coffee
My search for the perfect brown eyeliner is over. Estee Lauder Double Wear Pencil in Coffee, where have you been all my life? This is the first and only eyeliner I have ever used that stays in place all day and does not smear or smudge. The coffee color is just perfect my eye color and skin tone. I can apply lightly for everyday wear, or apply heavier for a more dramatic look.
Frye Women’s Paige Boot
I love these boots. They go with EVERYTHING!! I am wearing them today with my black skirt to work.
My Contax 645 Film camera and 80mm lens
Having this bad boy in my bag is really pushing me to shoot creatively. I love everything about medium format.
Urban Decay Naked Palette
This one just makes me feel pretty. The colors are perfet and having the palette just makes it easy to keep track of!
I cook with this several times a week! It maintains heat perfectly and evenly (a must for serious cooks!)…and I love that it cleans up so darn easily because of the porcelain enamel.
If I had to pick one utensil in my whole kitchen that was the most used and my fave, it would be this knife! I am pretty certain that if you have ONE good quality knife to work with in the kitchen, cooking seems like less of a chore!
Magic Bullet (no, I’m not kidding)
I am kind of a foodie snob…I like very high quality products that I know will be around for the next 50 years. I buy for the long term and typically avoid “gadgets” BUT the Magic Bullet is so darn awesome! My son loves smoothies and even he can use this without my help. It also helps me avoid pulling out my “big dog” food processor when I have smaller jobs like making pesto. Seriously, kind of cheesy but so versatile!!
Love, love, love being able to get to my emails, calendar, check weather, look for a recipe, store images from my portfolio, hop on cm, internet shop, etc, etc, ETC wherever i am.
One of my boys has sensitive skin as well and the California Baby line works really well for him. I also love the way the kiddos smell fresh from a bath, snugly and ready for bed.
Not only do I love the Keurig for my daily coffee (current favorite, Starbucks Pikes Place Roast, with chocolate almond milk and caramel creamer, mmm) but it make a fantastic toddler distractor. My youngest knows the entire routine for making a cup of coffee and when he’s on the edge of a meltdown, I just ask “Want to make coffee??” Crisis averted.
I’ve always wanted a pair of real cowgirl boots. When I saw these boots during a recent trip to Nashville, it was love at first sight. My husband asked me where I would actually where these and my answer was “everywhere”. I love wearing them with skinny jeans and a fun top or with a dress and leggings.
1154 Lill Custom Handbags
I absolutely love 1154 Lill custom handbags. You can completely customize a purse/bag by choosing the style and fabrics. My favorite style is the Andi.
Matilda Jane Clothing
I absolutely love Matilda Jane clothing for my girls! The pieces are unique, adorable and keep my girls looking like ‘little girls’. The best part is that my girls LOVE wearing their Matilda Jane outfits. I even bought a dress for myself this past season!
We don’t have cable in our house so this is used all the time. We can stream Netflix, watch those hilarious Youtube clips, and even a rent a movie from itunes when we are too lazy to go to a Red Box on Saturday night. Another thing I love about it is that you can share music and pictures from your computer with it. My kids love to watch all the videos and pictures we have captured and it only takes a click of a button.
These aren’t the cutest pair of socks, but they are very practical. I am not much of a slipper girl so these keep my feet warm instead. They are made with Merino Wool that is super soft. They also don’t make your feet sweat-yuck. I never wear shoes around the house and in the winter I live in these. I have also worn them out in the snow and they kept my feet toasty. Apparently, they are great for hiking too.
Kicker iK501 Dock
I love, love, love music! When I am cleaning, cooking editing, etc. I like to have music on. I don’t like pulling cords to hook up my iphone to speakers. This is the perfect solution. It is convenient, has amazing sound quality and charges my iphone. Now, my phone is almost always fully charged.
27 inches of pure love. This baby makes my life so much easier and gives me major cool points (need ’em)
BOB Unisex Revolution Dualie Color
This sucker is so light and easy to push. My kids love it and it has room + pockets for everything. I also love the shades that pull all the way down in the front for our hot Texas summers.
Maggies Blend Votive Candles
oooooh they smell soooo yummy. Maggies is a fantastic eclectic store that you must stop in when you visit The Woodlands. I don’t live there anymore, but these are hands down my favorite smelling candles. I want to eat them. You can order them online!!
Purses are my weakness and I always find myself faced with the photoshoot dilemma: do I bring a purse in addition to my camera bag or lug my huge camera bag around with my wallet and phone in it after the shoot? Enter my Anthropologie solution–an adorable purse that can fit both my camera body, two to three lenses, as well as my wallet and phone. And I love that it makes the perfect carry on when I want to bring my gear with me when I travel.
These are a must have for cold winter nights when I’m up editing. I think I have poor circulation because my editing fingers are always freezing! (I don’t have these exact ones, but they’ll do)
Cupcake Bare Escentuals Natural Lip Gloss in Cupcake
I love lip gloss and this is my go-to. I think I have three or more because I love to keep one in the car, one in my purse, and another with my makeup.
best 59 cents i’ve ever spent. i cart all my photography stuff in these bags. i use them as my grocery bags (and they don’t break) … only 3 bags for a family of 5 … can’t beat the price!
What are some of YOUR favorite things or best product finds of 2011? Let us know in the comments!!