PGAV’s Favorite Things of 2017

Paper hand art from Exhibit Designer Carol Breeze's son's classroom

PGAV’s Favorite Things of 2017


 – By April Neal, designer


To do lists, bucket lists, packing lists – I just love writing and crossing off line after line. I’m definitely not alone when it comes to list-making, and one of the most famous of all the list-makers is Oprah and her round up of favorite things. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this list was inspired by the Sound of Music (which, coincidentally, is on my list of best movies ever) and the song “My Favorite Things.” It became the most watched episode of every season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and being in the lucky audience who received every item is a frequently lampooned scenario.


Being interested in retail and products might be why I’m always fascinated by what makes it on to this list. You’d think your average American would not be buying $130 hoodies, $50 truffle salt, or a $40 shower cap, but the items on the list frequently sell out and bring a little fame to some of the smaller companies that make the cut.

While I make no promises of such fame for those listed below, I thought it would be interesting to see what would make PGAV’s list of favorites. I polled a few people in the office and asked what things they loved in 2017. Here, in all its glory, is…


PGAV’s Favorite Things: 2017


General Office Favorite

Allbirds Shoes: mentioned about a zillion times. Maybe we will get a PGAV office swag version?

Teague Peak, Architectural Designer

Overdrive; it’s a service offered by tons of schools and libraries that allows you to check out digital content. Books, movies, music, you name it. Overdrive is free with a library card and operates the same as checking out a physical book.

Diane Lochner, Vice President

The Chanticleer Inn is a lovely B&B in Chattanooga. They serve one meal at the inn and it is breakfast – which happens to be my favorite meal (although many of my coworkers would say every meal is my favorite). On this particular day, I was greeted with the most wonderfully-created and presented carrot cake pancakes. Tiny edible flowers and a wonderful cream cheese syrup put this meal over the top. I am not one to take pictures of my food, but this is in my photo library for a long time to come.

 Carrot Cake pancakes from Chattanooga, shot by Vice President Diane Lochner


Ashley Edelbrock, Architect

KING SIZED BED. Hands down.

Amanda Yates
, Designer

Thanks to #inktober, I finally had an excuse to visit South City Art Supply Co. For such a tiny shop, their selection is incredible; and because they test everything they sell, they have a deep knowledge of their products. I’m a huge fan of their handmade ink, which is cheaper than the big names but just as pigmented.

John Wilmas, Administrative Assistant

My degree. I loved graduating finally and getting my digital cinematography BS degree on Oct 27th

Rosey Masek-Block, Architectural Designer

Civil Life Brewing Company. 2017 repeatedly punched me in face, but Civil Life was always steady. Always there for small celebrations, to help with a disappointment, or just because. Their love for their customers is evident as they are proud of their product, happy you love it, and always try to know your name.

Al Cross, Vice President 

My Apple Watch. I have never worn a watch until now because it helps me find my phone.

Ben Cober, Director of Business Development and Research

Canon Rebel T6 SLR. It helped me capture really incredible shots from my first time in China, the solar eclipse, whale watching, beach camping, mountain climbing, my family reunion, Capitol Hill in D.C., and a mock pirate battle – all experiences and memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

Andrea Rodriguez, Graphic Designer

My favorite thing from this year is hands down the ink-work I got done on my arm. The artist is Stephanie Brown and she’s based out in Chicago, and I was very lucky to acquire this beautiful chrysanthemum piece and become a client of hers. It took three sessions, three fun trips to Chicago, and 13 hours of work. I’m eager for more.

 Graphic designer Andrea Melania Rodriquez Moon displaying her new chrysanthemum tattoo


Josh Rodriguez, Architectural Designer

My Nintendo Switch, since it has given me the chance to experience Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. As a fan of Nintendo, it felt good to see many of the concepts the company has been working on with their other consoles for the last 10 years suddenly bear a sleek, fun, and versatile console as the result.

Tyson Baker, Interior Designer

Michael Ausiello remembers his late husband through their struggles, lessons learned, love, and laughter in Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. Both uplifting and devastating, this book made me literally laugh out loud and shed copious amount tears throughout.   

Andy Struckhoff, Vice President

I think the rest of the world should know about the breakfast sandwich at Nathaniel Reid Bakery.

Jayvn Solomon, Graphic Designer

Treehut Stainless steel & wooden watch: This is a watch for any occasion to add just a little touch of class to your look. It has the look of a fully metal watch which, due to weight, can cause concern. However it’s super light-weight on your wrist.

Sarah Aman, Designer

Moosejaw. Their high-quality gear selection, sassy sense of humor, and great graphic tees are everything I want in an outdoor adventure brand. Who wouldn’t love a company that puts “No Knife, Use Teeth” on all their shipping boxes?

Katherine Conti, Designer

My new Nikon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. The wide aperture allows for a super-shallow depth of field, which creates that deliciously creamy bokeh that I could stare at for hours.

Andrew Schumacher, Architectural Designer

A ceramic fish olive oil cruet that Jason and I picked up on my PGAV GO! trip in Portugal. We loved the teal color so much, we decorated the living room of our new apartment to match the color of the fish.


Andrew Schumacher's Ceramic fish from PGAV GO!


Rachael Havey, Graphic Designer

My favorite thing this year would have to be Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice. I discovered it in winter of last year and it has become my best friend and my favorite place.

Stacey Ludlum, Director of Zoo and Aquarium Planning and Design

I discovered Cyclebar. Indoor cycling that feels like going to dance club! They even reward you with ½ glasses of wine and beer and mimosas. And I, personally, burn at minimum 650 calories every time – even when I “take it easy!” Insane, but is actually, legitimately fun.

Dave Cooperstein, Senior Creative Designer

Old Man’s Journey – I downloaded this side-scrolling puzzle/adventure/exploration game for my iPhone on a recommendation, and became completely absorbed in the whole experience. The story is compelling, and gripping, and moving, and sweet, and heartbreaking… and yes, it made me cry.

Maura Murphy-Pusateri, Designer

A good book: Wonder. We are reading as a family and talk about the different views and how we should really treat people.

Joe Poelzl, Architectural Designer
(and the person who sent me the longest list of favorites)

I really want a DJI Mavic Pro. It came out this past year, but I have not convinced my wife that it’s necessary. 

Jess Burgess, Graphic Designer

I love my silicon baking mats! Nothing sticks to these babies. And because the silicon mat covers the baking sheet, most of the time there’s no need to wash the baking sheet at all. Why haven’t these been a thing forever?

Carol Breeze, Exhibit Designer

A heart made up of the hands of every person in my son’s grade. All of their hands together create a heart that is so big it fills a wall in our home… but in my imagination that heart is even bigger. When I look at it, it reminds me of all the people that offered a hand to us during this difficult year when our hearts where breaking. I imagine those kindnesses held our hearts together. (If that’s too sappy, I really love this Dyson handheld vacuum. It actually makes me want to clean.)


Paper hand art from Exhibit Designer Carol Breeze's son's classroom

Share Button