Over the past year or so, I haven’t been able to invest as much time in my blog due to various reasons. As a result, I am super behind on recapping my monthly favorites, one of my favorite things to do on here. In fact, I published my December 2022 Favorites just within the past couple weeks (yep, you read that correctly!). Therefore, I have decided to do seasonal favorites instead of monthly favorites for the first eight months of 2023. Since these posts will cover a longer period of time, I have divided them into three categories: favorite purchases (also includes gifts), favorite experiences, and favorite simple joys (miscellaneous things including new snack food discoveries, etc.). Today’s post is my Winter 2023 Favorites, which covers January, February, and the beginning of March 2023.
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Favorite Winter 2023 Purchases
Lilly Loves Disney Popover
My Lilly Pulitzer popover in the Lilly Loves Disney print was one of my favorite purchases from early 2023! (Technically I ordered it the last week of 2022, but it didn’t arrive until after New Year’s, hence why I’m including it in this post.) Despite wearing Lilly Pulitzer for years, I didn’t own one of their popovers until this purchase. I quickly realized what all the hype about Lilly popovers is! They’re great for being comfy while still looking cute and put together!
This style is called the “Skipper Popover,” and fits true to size, but I sized up to a medium for a looser fit! (I typically wear an extra small.) This popover is great for fall days where you need more than a regular long-sleeved shirt, but not a thick jacket. It’s also perfect for cooler early spring days.
The Lilly Loves Disney print is absolute perfection, and I’m glad I got this popover while it was still available on shopDisney. I also have zero regrets about getting multiple items in this print! (Check out this post to see what I got during the initial release of Lilly Loves Disney in March 2022.)
I got the Nespresso Vertuo Next machine in early January as a belated Christmas gift from my parents and love it! After having the same Keurig machine for five years, I decided it was time for an upgrade. I still wanted a single-serve pod coffee machine for various reasons, so I did some research (including an Instagram stories poll) and determined that Nespresso truly is a step above Keurig and worth it! Because I wanted the option of both coffee and espresso, I went with a Nespresso Vertuo machine, and the model I got is called the Next. It came as bundle from Target with the Aeroccino milk frother, so I can also make lattes at home! Although my Nespresso hasn’t completely replaced my Starbucks trips, it’s nice to have the option to make a latte at home.
It was a bit overwhelming when my machine first arrived because some of the instructions were confusing and I couldn’t figure out how to even open the machine head where you insert the capsule! But thanks to Nespresso’s amazing customer service (which is available 24/7 btw), I was able to video chat with a rep who helped me through machine set-up and brewing my first cup!
I love that Nespresso brews coffee with foam on top (crema), and my sprinkle handle glass mug from the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck shows this off perfectly! I want to do a more detailed post soon with the pros and cons of Nespresso vs. Keurig, as well as the different Nespresso options.
Little Words Project x Sweethearts Bracelet
All the heart eyes for this Little Words Project x Sweethearts bracelet that I ordered from their limited edition collaboration. It was the perfect accessory to wear to a Galentine’s Party with my Bible Study girls. I’m about all the pink and heart shaped things for the entire month of February! And I honestly think this adorable XOXO bracelet works for year-round wear! Anything with “XOXO” reminds me of Gossip Girl, one of my all-time fave shows!
Lilly Pulitzer Kristen Dress in Me and My Zesty”
I bought my first ever Lilly Pulitzer Kristen Dress during the January 2023 Sunshine Sale. It’s so comfortable and easy to pull on, and perfect for church, brunch, dinner out, or a more casual social event during the spring and summer. You can dress it up slightly with wedges as well. When shopping the sale, I was specifically looking for items in the “Me & My Zesty” citrus print, and the Kirsten popped up as an option in a style I liked at a good price. I definitely plan to add more Lilly Pulitzer Kristen Dresses (like this one) to my closet in the future!
Lilly Pulitzer Runaround Skort
My other purchase during the January 2023 Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale was a Runaround Skort. Luxletic Skorts have been a go-to item for me in recent Lilly sales, because I love them but can’t justify paying full-price for athleisure. This particular Luxletic skort was one of the items released on the second day of the sale. It caught my eye because the style is different from any of my other Lilly Luxletic Skorts, and the print’s lavender colorway is very unique. This Runaround Skort definitely got a lot of wear during spring and summer 2023, including breakfast in downtown Swansboro during a beach trip!
Cath Kidston x Care Bears Overnight Bag
When Cath Kidston had a sale on their Care Bears collection in February, I took the opportunity to purchase the Foldaway Overnight Bag I had been eyeing. (As much as I loved this collection, I had to show restraint during the initial release in November 2022.) This bag conveniently folds up into a zippered pouch for space-efficient storage when not in use. Then when you are using the bag, the zippered pouch snaps into the interior of the bag as a zippered compartment.
Note that due to some changes in the company, Cath Kidston is now sold on NEXT.
Disney 100 Little Golden Books Boxed Set
I got this Little Golden Books boxed set commemorating the Disney 100! It features 12 Disney Little Golden Books, including “Mickey Mouse’s Picnic.” This classic was reprinted specifically for this boxed set. I distinctly remember this book from my childhood. Before I even received this boxed set, the catchy “what a wonderful day for a picnic, what a wonderful day for lark” refrain came rushing back into my head. Then when I got the book and re-read it, the other details of the plot that I had forgotten about over the years quickly became familiar once more. I remember as a kid thinking the chocolate cake Minnie Mouse made for the picnic looked so delicious, and the same is true as an adult!
“Mickey Mouse’s Picnic” alone makes this collector’s set worth it, but the other 11 books are also great. It includes 101 Dalmatians, one of my favorite Disney movies! In addition, the box is made out of the same linen-like material of a coffee table book. No flimsy paper or cardboard box!
American Girl Care Bears Sleeping Bag Set
With American Girl briefly re-releasing the original six historical dolls for their 35th anniversary almost two years ago and the resurgence of interest in American Girl on social media/ online communities among millennials like myself, I’ve really rekindled my interest in American Girl recently! I don’t intend to become a full-fledged adult collector like many of the #agig community. But I did buy a 35th anniversary Felicity and Samantha back in 2021,. Then in 2022 I got some of the Stoney Clover Lane x American Girl pouches and a puzzle of the original six Pleasant Company American Girls. and lately I’ve gotten a few of the accessories sets from the 80s and 90s historical lines with childhood nostalgia—think Care Bears, Book-It!, and character lunchboxes with matching thermoses!
In February 2023 I had a $10 reward for American Girl that was about to expire. So I used it to buy a couple accessories from Courtney’s (the 80’s American Girl) collection. Although I consider myself a 90’s kid born in the 80’s as opposed to a full-on 80’s girl like Courtney, quite a few items in her collection make me nostalgic. One such item is the Care Bears Sleeping Bag Set. It includes a doll-sized sleeping bag and pillow with the Care Bears characters and logo, and a mini plush Care Bear. The mini bear along in this sleeping bag set made it worth buying! I’m also glad I snagged the Care Bears Sleeping Bag Set this winter, because a couple months later American Girl replaced it with a Strawberry Shortcake Sleeping Bag Set.
American Girl Pac-Man Lunchbox
I got Courtney’s Pac-Man Lunchbox Set in the same order as the Care Bears Sleeping Bag. I wasn’t into Pac-Man or really video games in general as kid (aside from playing Donkey Kong on my brother’s GameBoy and 1080 Snowboarding on his Nintendo 64). But this set is so nostalgic for me because I had at least three character lunchboxes with a matching Thermos in this style during my early elementary school years in the early 90s: Sesame Street, My Little Pony, and Trolls! In addition, my school lunches consisted of the exact same “formula” as Courtney’s lunch: sandwich, snack food, fruit (usually an apple, sometimes a banana), and dessert! Also, the wrapped sprinkle brownie brings back fond memories. I didn’t really eat this specific type of brownie, but it reminds me of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies and Swiss Cake Rolls that I ate a lot growing up!
Sarah Flint Petal Pink Sacchetto Flats
In February I added a new pair of Sarah Flint shoes to my collection: the Sacchetto Ballet Flat in Petal Nappa! I have the Sacchetto in two other colors, but this petal color really makes me feel like I’m wearing actual ballet slippers! I never took ballet growing up, but always thought it would be fun. So these shoes are a way I can live out my aspiring ballerina fantasies.
Fun fact: actual pointe shoes were the inspiration behind the Sacchetto flat, and when Sarah Flint first released this style two years ago they did a collaboration with the American Ballet Theatre! If you have a narrow foot like me, you will want to size down a half size in the Sacchetto.
Shop all Sarah flint here, and save 15% on your first full-price purchase with code SARAHFLINT_CCLIZ.
Styling my Sarah Flint Petal Sacchetto Ballet Flats during a trip to the Carolina Inn.
Closer look at the Sarah Flint Petal Sacchetto Ballet Flats.
American Girl Pizza Hut Book-It Set
I’m still not over the fact that American Girl now considers my childhood (the 90’s) an historical era. February 2023 marked the released of Isabel and Nicki Hoffman, American Girl’s 90’s historical twins. Their story takes place in 1999, and though they are several years younger than me, I am still closer in age to Isabel & Nicki than I am to Courtney. They’re fellow millennials, whereas Courtney is Generation X. My absolute favorite item in Isabel & NIcki’s collection is the Pizza Hut Book-It Set! This brings back so much nostalgia! I vividly remember picturing the Pizza Hut personal pan pizza I would earn while reading for Book-It as an elementary school kid in the 90’s! Luckily I loved to read anyways, so the free pizza was just the icing on the cake!
When American Girl had a double points promo on Isabel & Nicki’s launch day, I had to get the Pizza Hut Book-It set! I still have my American Girl of Today doll I received for Christmas 1995 (back when the 90’s were contemporary and not historical!). I actually got her out of storage at my parents’ house towards the beginning of this year, so this Pizza Hut set will make a fun addition to her collection! (Fun fact: my cousin had an American Girl of Today doll who looked very similar to mine, so we made them twins. I like to say that we had the original American Girl 90’s twins.)
American Girl did an excellent job with the Pizza Hut Book-It Set. In addition to the personal pan pizza and Pizza Hut box with the 90’s logo, there is a replica of the Book-It certificate that 90’s kids like myself would receive to exchange for free pizza, and a Book-It button. There’s a red Pizza Hut cup that looks exactly like the ones you would receive if you ate inside Pizza Hut in the 90’s, a spatula, and very realistic parmesan cheese and red pepper flake shakers. Finally, there’s a mini copy of Super Slumber Parties, one of the “American Girl Library” books the company published during the 90’s.
Walt Disney World Sweatshirt
When shopDisney had a sale and free shipping promo, I ordered this Walt Disney World crewneck sweatshirt with the classic Mickey Mouse logo. It’s so incredibly cozy, and perfect for when I need something heavier than a long-sleeved shirt, but not as warm as a Sherpa pullover. shopDisney actually still has this sweatshirt in grey and white in large sizes, as well as in yellow in a wider range of sizes.
Disney World Pink Long-Sleeved T-Shirt
At the same time I ordered the Mickey Mouse Disney World Sweatshirt, I spotted a really pretty light pink long-sleeved t-shirt with Mickey Mouse on the front and the vintage Walt Disney World logo down one sleeve. I couldn’t justify buying it at the same time, but shortly thereafter it was on sale and I had an additional 20% off code. So I went back and got it at that time! The color is called “Piglet Pink,” which I think is so cute!
Favorite Winter 2023 Experiences
My best friend and I started off 2023 with a relaxing low-key New Year’s celebration. She came over on New Year’s Eve and we ordered pizza, watched the movie “New Year’s Eve” (a tradition of mine on New Year’s Eve), then watched the Times Square ball drop and made a toast. Then on New Year’s Day we went to Starbucks, watched a movie, and played Tapple. This was pretty much identical to the New Year’s celebration we had to ring in 2022. I consider 2022 a “bookend” year-it literally started and ended the same way.
I am so over feeling the need to go out for New Year’s, and love having a cozy night in to welcome the new year. Not having to worry about crazy drivers on the road is a huge plus too!
Carolina Inn Visit
In February 2023, The Carolina Inn invited me to a delicious dinner and to share their recent lobby refresh on Instagram. This historic hotel has been a landmark in the heart of UNC’s campus for 95+ years, yet their interior architecture and design is constantly evolving! The Carolina Inn’s desire for this 2023 lobby refresh was to preserve the era in which their building was crafted but evolve to reflect the identity of guests for the generations to come. In addition, they wanted to create contemporary gathering spaces that are warm and unique for all generations to unite. The new lobby decor definitely struck me as warm and inviting! I could imagine myself curling up on one of the cozy couches with a good book!
And speaking of books, one of my favorite details of the lobby refresh was the various coffee table books scattered throughout the lobby! I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as too many coffee table books, and the selection in the Carolina Inn lobby includes topics ranging from Kenan Stadium to Vogue! Another touch I loved was the long table and chairs with a chic Monopoly game set up that guests can play!
Learning how to ice skate was on my bucket list for 2023, and mission accomplished only six weeks into the year! In February 2023 I went ice skating for the first time ever! I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to skate without hanging on to the wall on this first outing. Stepping on to the ice for the first time was a bit terrifying, and I did cling to the wall for dear life the entire (very slow) first lap around the rink.
But at some point during the second lap, I became confident enough to skate without holding on to the wall. And by the end of my time on the ice, I was barely using the wall at all. I even skated all the way out to the middle of the rink and I didn’t fall once! I officially love ice skating, and can’t wait to do it again! And glad my bestie could come along with me.
Also, the rink we went to is inside the same Sportsplex where I had multiple swim meets at growing up, including regional championships my senior year of high school. That was my final meet as a competitive swimmer, and was 20 years ago the same month I went ice skating. Other swimming milestones also happened in this building: breaking 30 seconds in the 50 yard freestyle for the first time ever, and racing the 500 yard freestyle for the first time.
There was actually a swim meet happening at the Sportsplex the day we went, and it brought back so many memories! I remember seeing people in the lobby who were there to ice skate years ago when I was in swim meets. And now I was one of the people there to ice skate who saw a swim meet going on! So in addition to the excitement of learning to ice skate, this outing was overall a “full circle” moment for me!
Rameses’ Birthday Party
The Carolina Women’s Basketball team had “Rameses’ Birthday Party” as one of their gameday promotions in February 2023. During this game, a handful of other mascots from around North Carolina joined Rameses and Rameses Jr for shenanigans during time-outs and a pick-up basketball game during halftime. Wool E. Bull from the Durham Bulls, Homer from the Charlotte Knights, and a few other minor league baseball mascots. I went to this game with my dad and brother, and was really excited to get a picture with Rameses Jr (aka RJ) before the game.
Buns Burger Restaurant in Chapel Hill
After the Rameses’ Birthday Party basketball game, my dad, brother, and I walked to Franklin Street (main street of downtown Chapel Hill that border’s UNC’s campus) and had dinner at Buns, a popular burger restaurant. My brother and dad had been here multiple times before, but it was my first time. There are several specialty burgers you can choose from, or you can create your own. I got a turkey burger with various toppings, and it was delicious!
Valentine’s Dinner at Vin Rouge
On Valentine’s Day 2023 I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Vin Rouge, a local French restaurant, with a couple friends!
This was my first time eating there, and they had a special Prixe Fixe menu for Valentine’s Day. I’m usually not a big steak eater, but I chose the Filet Mignon for my entree because it came with green beans and potatoes and sounded like the best overall entree option. It was sooo good. The chocolate torte with sea salt and mousse for dessert was also amazing! I’m typically not the most adventurous eater, so this was a good reminder that it’s fun to branch out and try new things sometimes.
My Draper James Elle Plaid Skirt originally featured in this post made an encore appearance for Valentine’s Day.
My BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) discussion group had a fun Galentine’s celebration where we enjoyed snacks and fondue, and took pictures in in fun heart-shaped glasses.
Hello Kitty Cafe Truck in Raleigh
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck came back to the Triangle at the end of winter 2023. This time it was at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh. This particular visit to the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck was quite eventful, as aI got in a wreck on the way. Although it wasn’t my fault and no one was hurt, it still shook me up! I probably had to wait close to an hour for the police to arrive, but luckily my car was still safe to drive, so afterwards I still made it to the Hello Kitty Cafe truck to get a picture and pick up a couple things. Fortunately the other driver and her insurance was very easy to deal with, so my car was fixed within a couple weeks after the accident.
Favorite Simple Joys
White Chocolate Marshmallow Crispy Treat m&m’s
The White Chocolate Marshmallow Crispy Treat m&m’s were technically a limited edition flavor for Easter, but I tried them in late February shortly after they first appeared in stores. I wanted to see if I liked them so I could buy more bags before they sold out. This was a smart move, because I loved them! They are white chocolate m&m’s with a crispy rice center, essentially a Rice Krispy treat in m&m form!
Trader Joe’s Valentine’s Day Cookies
I’m not sure if the Trader Joe’s Valentine’s Day cookies were new for 2023, but this was definitely the first time I ever had them. They are heart-shaped chocolate shortbread cookies covered in chocolate with pink and white sprinkles.
Target Favorite Day Valentine’s Day Trail Mix
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, then you know I have a weakness for Target’s Favorite Day brand seasonal trail mixes. This year was the first time they’ve done Valentine’s mixes, and they didn’t disappoint! The Strawberries & Creme Trail Mix included sweet creme almonds, heart-shaped coated pretzels, valentine’s m&m’s, confectionary coated sweetened cranberries, strawberry flavored pink shimmer coated pretzel balls, and cookies with pink & red sprinkles. Then the Valentine’s Love Monster Trail Mix included candied peanuts, raisins, pink & white swirl candy chips, chocolate chunks, and m&m’s.
I really thought I took pictures of both of these trail mixes before I ate them. But I can’t find them anywhere in my camera roll! Hopefully both of these trail mixes will be back for Valentine’s 2024. In the meantime, you can view pictures of the Strawberries & Creme Trail Mix on this blog.
Harper Collins Children’s Book Happy Meal Toys
Loyal readers of my blog and followers on Instagram know that I like to get Happy Meals at McDonald’s. Sometimes it’s because I simply need something quick to eat, and the portion sizes of a Happy Meal are much reasonable than the rest of the McDonald’s menu. However, sometimes I actually want the toy in the Happy Meal! (My newfound enjoyment of Happy Meals as an adult actually started back in November 2020 when they did the Mickey’s Runaway Railway Disney World ride toys.)
In February 2023, McDonald’s did mini versions of Harper Collins Children’s Books in their Happy Meals. These were super cute and featured some beloved characters from my childhood, so I collected these for the nostalgia. Pictured here is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a classic! I also got a mini Paddington book from this same promotion.
Thanks for reading my very long overdue Winter 2023 Favorites post! Stay tuned for my Spring 2023 Favorites coming soon!
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