2023 was one of the hardest years for me. It was challenging in so many ways and I think it took a major toll on my spirit. It was still filled with a lot of wonderful and great things, which is what I’m trying to focus on here! It’s one of the hardest parts of life, in my opinion, that good and bad things are just always happening. It’s so easy to let the “good” be overshadowed by the hard, so I’m happy that this exercise had me reflecting on the past year in a positive light!!

Here are my favorites from 200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020, 2021, and 2022.


While it’s a little weird to call this a “favorite,” my health was certainly a positive thing over the course of 2023. I had multiple serious health scares throughout the year and it made me reflect on how I definitely take good health for granted. Ultimately everything is fine, which is the greatest gift and something to really celebrate.


Mike and I kind of spontaneously planned a trip to Copenhagen at the beginning of 2023 and it was one of the best things we ever did. Saying I was obsessed would be an understatement. We had SUCH a great time. It was the perfect getaway for us– we relaxed, we explored, we drank and ate. This was truly a highlight of my year, even though we were only there for a few days. Here’s my full post on our Copenhagen trip if you want more specific details on what we did and where we went.


After seeing the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge on social media at the end of 2022, we committed to the challenge for 2023. While we didn’t quite get to 1000 hours, we learned a lot from the challenge and it changed my whole perspective on parenting, honestly. If you’re interested, I could do a longer post about this. The gist though is that it’s a totally different lifestyle. It’s not easy, which is what makes it a great challenge and I would highly recommend it to any parent who wants to shake up their family’s routine in a positive way. I only counted hours where Jack was with us (aka I wasn’t tracking hours from daycare, preschool, etc.) and we were over 700 hours which doesn’t feel like a lot and also does feel like a lot when you really sit down and think about it. We spend a lot of time inside and this got us up and out of our house. We were happier, our house was cleaner. We slept better, we had more fun.


A bit of a frivolous favorite…. the Celine sunglasses! I hemmed and hawed over this purchase forever and then I just went for it! These sunglasses sparked so much joy for me. I originally purchased the tortoiseshell and then my mom and sister got me a black pair for my birthday, too. Love, love, love. It feels kind of dumb to splurge on an accessory, but also I love that I can wear these every day. It’s not like a dress I’m going to wear every once in a while.


After years of searching for the right location, I finally found the perfect office space. I had actually toured this particular space a year before and waited too long to commit– someone else scooped it up. When they were ending their lease, the property reached out to see if I was still interested and YES I WAS. I have zero regrets, besides not starting the lease earlier, but everything happens for a reason. I was able to work with Clare who helped transform the space into the perfect office for me. In my dream world, I would have the time to work out of there every day, but right now it’s serving me well when I have childcare lined up. Having a separate space to work out of is incredible, especially since I’ve worked from home for a decade. I love the mental separation so much. (I’m going to do a full post sharing all the details of the space in the next few weeks!)


A random small purchase, but these Amazon tank tops have been a go-to for me throughout this pregnancy. I wear one every day. With leggings under sweatshirts, with jeans under sweaters, or even just paired with pajama bottoms when I’m home. They come down long enough to cover my bump and I really just like having the extra layer. It reminds me a bit of the camisoles we wore in middle school in the early 2000s and I’m kind of wondering why I ever stopped.


In 2023, Jack fully transformed into a toddler. We got a peak of it towards the end of 2022, but he bloomed into a toddler this past year and it was…. nothing short of incredible. I do find toddlerhood to be extremely challenging, but, honestly? I think I like it even better than babyhood! It’s actual magic watching your child turn into their own person. The personality. The humor. The communication. The things that make him him. It’s the best! I could gush on and on forever about this. But I’ll just share one of my favorite parts. He is thriving at daycare and his preschool– it’s wild to me that he has this little world that I’m not privy to. But we are always running into his buddies throughout town and he’ll call out their name in the grocery store with “that’s my friend!”


My lack of desire to cook is probably the one area of my personal life where I wish I was better. If I was giving myself a report card as a mother/wife, this is the area where I’d write “needs improvement.” Don’t get me wrong, I feel very lucky to have a partner that LOVES to cook, but I do like to contribute at least a little bit in this department. Cooking dinner once a week felt like a good place to start. While I’m not perfect, I have been making the effort and, dare I say it, I even enjoy it a little? Some weeks are a fail– from either not getting around to it or picking a recipe that just doesn’t work, but I keep going for it and I’m not giving up! Here are some of the meals that have been big hits.


We’ve lived in our neighborhood for five years this summer (!!!!). We have met so many great people in town and in our neighborhood, but 2023 was where I feel like we really hit our stride with finding our community, our little “village.” Between the pandemic being over and Jack having more activities and just getting to know more people, we have found actual friends! It almost feels like an impossible unicorn that you’ll never experience and then one day, you realize you do have those friendships all of a sudden. When the couples get along and the kids get along, it almost feels too good to be true. We had our friends come over for an impromptu hang out on NYE and we were all saying how lucky we felt.


I could not do a 2023 favorites without mentioning redecorating our house! It was a big decision for us– we never planned on being in our house long term but the housing market has had different plans 😉 Redecorating is a huge financial undertaking, everything adds up so quickly, and since it’s redecorating and not necessarily remodeling, you’re not really going to be getting back much on your investment for home value. BUT, we live here and we will probably live here for a while, and making it feel like our home was important. I have to say, it’s been worth it so far. We had some hiccups along the way, but everything is finally done and I couldn’t be happier. It just feels more like our home now. We redecorated our living room, dining room, and primary bedroom and then completely remodeled our second bathroom upstairs– our designer knocked it out of the park.

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I would love to read a post on 1,000 Hours Outside and read everything you wrote earlier in the year about it! I think 700 hours is a lot and sounds amazing! Well done!

Theresa Magliozzi

Yes, yes me too! I’d love a post on this. I started it last week but then keep forgetting to open the ap.


I would love to hear more about 1000 hours outside and would love to see a post about remodeling your bathroom!


You definitely influenced my purchase of the Celine sunglasses and 10000% was worth it! One of my 2023 fav buys for sure and can’t wait to wear them all spring and summer long!

Abby Bledsoe

I love this post each year Carly! I have been following since 2012 and truly feel like we have grown up together in a sense. Wishing you more wonderful things in 2024.


I would love to hear more about 1000 hours outside, especially doing it with young children.


I’d love a post on 1,000 hours, especially making it work with a toddler! Any suggested supplies/clothes, activities, routines, etc! Our family did so good spending time outside in the summer. We’ve struggled since Winter started though!

Carol W

Your living room is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Do you have a source for the bamboo look side table? The one with the pitcher of white flowers. Or maybe it was a one-of-a-kind find.?