Any advice from Jennifer Garner might as well be gospel.

By Meghan Overdeep
December 19, 2019

It seems like 2019 was the year of Jennifer Garner, but then again, so has every year since 2004… you know, when the West Virginia native first stole our hearts in 13 Going on 30.

From the quirky lessons in her Denison University commencement speech to the hands-on knowledge she dispenses in her Pretend Cooking Show series, Garner offered up plenty of helpful tips worth filing away.

Jennifer Garner
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The importance of seizing the day

In May, Garner returned to her alma mater, Denison University in Ohio, to deliver a “frank yet uplifting commencement address” to the class of 2019.  In it, the multi-hyphenate shared a wealth of sage advice on everything from the importance of wearing sunscreen to the purpose of life.  Garner warned the graduates against focusing simply on goals, which can get in the way of living in the present.

"At some point, you will realize that there is no finish line to cross. There is no moment when you're just supposed to be happy,” she said. “While you wait for those moments, while you wait for the perfect job, the MCAT score, the engagement ring, your life is happening. Isn't it enough?"

“Happiness is your own responsibility. So, attack it," she continued. "Fight for what makes you optimistic about the world. Find it, insist on it, dig into it, go after it."

Funny is better than sexy

In that same Denison University commencement speech, Garner also gave some advice regarding Halloween costumes. “Go funny over sexy,” she urged the graduates. “Why would you dress like a flirty nurse when you could be a mailbox?”

And she meant it. For Halloween, Garner proved that she’s true to her word by dressing up as a mailbox.  “Live your truth, people,” she wrote on Instagram.

How to make the perfect winter oatmeal

There are a million things we love about her, but Garner’s #PretendCookingShow is definitely near the top of the list. In March, she shared her go-to breakfast, an oatmeal dish inspired by a Taste of Home recipe. Not only does the whole thing take just 10 minutes, it’s also delicious, nutritious, and filling.

WATCH: Jennifer Garner’s Trick for Softening Butter Is Absolutely Genius

The ultimate hairbrush does exist

The 47-year-old has a decidedly lowkey hair and skincare routine, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a few Holy Grail products. In a March interview with InStyle, Garner revealed that the Sheila Stotts Removal Brush is the one product she hoards. She also keeps a stash so that she can give them out to friends when they're over.

"I give these hairbrushes to all my girlfriends," Garner revealed. "I have a store of them in my drawer. If I have a friend come over with a daughter and she’s brushing her hair with one of our brushes, I know she’s going to go home with it.”

Bangs don’t have to be permanent

Garner stunned the world when she showed up to the Save the Children's Centennial Celebration in Beverly Hills on October 2 with brand new curtain bangs. A low maintenance upgrade to any haircut, we were equally impressed to find out that they were actually a convincing set of clip-ins. We love the idea of bangs with a long-term commitment!