My Favorite Everyday Things.
This is a list of things that improve my daily existence… it’s self-serving because I realized that we can trade— you can tell me YOUR favorite things, and I will get all sorts of recommendations to improve my life.
In no particular order.
My skin gets insanely dry in winter. My face and hands particularly… I have tried EVERYTHING, and for me, castor oil is miraculous.
FYI– it is incredibly sticky and goopy and does not spread easily. BUT it has TOTALLY resolved my skin… AND it doesn’t make me break out AT ALL… ZERO<– that’s the miraculous part.
I get a giant bottle and then decant half into a large pump container that makes dispensing easy and mess-free.
To me, it tastes better. But more importantly, it means I don’t have to make coffee in the morning.
We rotate two large 44oz stainless French press containers… (dishHULK kept breaking the glass ones)… In the summer we keep them in the fridge– my favorite!
Below, the black container is an airlock for storing coffee– it has a plunger-type lid that seals up once you push all the air out… great for any food you want to limit exposure to air. Mug was from my brother, here’s the same message, different font.
Collapsible drying rack.
I hang a lot of stuff to dry… this one folds up nearly flat, but has SO MUCH hanging space! I store it standing, on the short edge, next to the washing machine.
I don’t own winter boots anymore. What I do now, is wear my regular rain boots WITH neoprene socks… I got the low cut ones, (they come in different heights)… I take out the boot’s insole in winter— then there is plenty of room to put the neoprene socks right over your normal socks.
FACT: no winter boots I’ve ever owned keep my toes as warm as neoprene– NOTHING.
The extra bonus of rain boots is you can tuck your pant legs in and go through any amount of snow and slush– since there are no laces, nothing seeps in.
ALSO! They complement any outfit!
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Curved shower bar.
To me, a normal shower bar is a violation against basic human decency… I LOATHE being near the shower curtain. The extra inches on a curved shower bar make a huge difference.
I bought these headphones for our trip to Hawaii… I hesitated because they were expensive and I wasn’t sure I would get that much use out of them after the plane ride. But turns out I use them ALL the time.
The excellence of noise-canceling cannot be overstated — vacuuming, cooking, doing dishes, cleaning… all the stuff that is noisy and boring is much improved if you are listening to a good podcast! Also, not being connected to your phone with a cord is a radical improvement!
Sun protective gear.
There is no sunscreen that I can tolerate. No matter what it is, I can FEEL it on my skin; even after showering and scrubbing… and yes, I have tried all of the Japanese/Korean/we-promise-you-will-love-this… LIES.
I would rather look like a freak.
Fortunately, I excel.
The hat I’m wearing above is great because it’s stretchy and fits OVER the super-chunky headphones— excellent while gardening; plus it holds its shape when I throw it in the washer.
Yes, I am wearing sun gloves.
And if you think it cannot possibly get EVEN MORE AWESOME, below is my newest swim shirt with face protection… the straw hat is old, the ribbon is mine/added, I had to jab holes in the hat.
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Baking soda and bentonite clay.
I used to wash my face with just baking soda— I love very scrubby things…. but in the last few years, I started using bentonite clay to make our toothpaste, and now I use the same mixture for my face wash; the clay makes it less-scrubby and cuts down on my tendency to sandblast my face with overly-enthusiastic scouring.
I get this large bag of clay and make one big container, 50/50 mix with baking soda… then I fill a small container with the mixture and add some peppermint oil to make toothpaste… if you google this, you’ll see lots of options to complicate the recipe.
FYI: it is NOT anything like traditional toothpaste, so if you try it, give yourself time to get used to it– fwiw, I have come to MUCH prefer it.
For my face wash, I have another container that I can operate with one hand… (don’t add peppermint!)… fill your palm, add water, make mush, wash face.
This is a new acquisition for me… my brother convinced me– I got the same as him, the least-expensive Oralb.
Here is my report:
I have been living in the Stone Age.
Although, for the record, my first reaction was— this is way too much vibration in my skull… so I ordered another with extra speed-options. But the low setting was the same on both, so I kept the cheaper one.
I still think it’s too vibrate-y… BUT my teeth are so super squeaky clean that I will never go back.
This outfit, below.
This is it— my peak.
It’s been a good run.
The plaid cape is a new-to-me vintage acquisition, and when I opened it, I was like… YUP— here it is: what I will be wearing every day for the rest of my life.
My sunglasses are here… SO MUCH do I love them, I ordered two more pair on Black Friday, (they come in a bunch of colors)… They are totally flat, which pleases me; PLUS $25 is cheap enough that if I lose or break them I won’t be upset… they are nearly identical to these $400 Celine.
Now, for my own satisfaction, I will enter into the record, past evidence of my excellence-in-capes and RIGOROUS ATTENTION TO PLAID.
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Now it’s your turn.
WHAT THINGS IMPROVE YOUR DAILY LIFE THAT OTHER HUMANS WILL FIND USEFUL?
December 13, 2019 @ 11:06 am
Darn tough socks. They are warm, don’t wear out, and if they get a hole, you can send them back to Vermont
Helen Glenn Court
December 13, 2019 @ 2:48 pm
Yes yes yes yes. Darned tough socks are the best. Best best best. Darned tough. Have I made myself clear?
December 13, 2019 @ 11:12 am
That last pic, of your plaid outfit?
GLORIOUS. ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS.
I never want to set eyes upon another pair of clothes ever again. I am ruined.
Lauren Z. (another one)
December 13, 2019 @ 3:11 pm
…ANOTHER LAUREN Z?!?! Preposterous!! But I am with you on the plaid-outfit sentiments. Also that plaid bow-shirt? Yes please!
December 13, 2019 @ 11:19 am
Glass drinking glasses. They are glasses right?! I can’t do anything else. Even my water bottle is glass! Funny thing is I used to sell Tupperware a million years ago!
Dianne E Averill
December 13, 2019 @ 11:24 am
Let’s start with Color Street nail polish strips. OMG how have I lived so long and not known about these? You get a professional-looking manicure in about 5 minutes and can go right downstairs and empty the dishwasher and it doesn’t smudge or smear. Really, who has two hours to sit and get their nails done?
Lipsense lip moisturizer is another amazing product. Not waxy or greasy and keeps my lips from being chapped all winter. Where was this product when I was in elementary school and used to have a plastic bag of Vaseline in my pocket?
After my business moved from a larger office to a smaller one, we had a lot of leftover desk accessories like baskets and file holders. I have repurposed these into racks for the full-size freezer we keep in the garage. It lets me store bags of homemade meatballs upright, and keep all kinds of stuff separated, especially frozen veggies and fruit that ends up in a lump.
My final “can’t live without” is Overtone. This is a hair color that’s not a dye. I am very very allergic to chemicals in hair dye, but hate my gray. Overtone is pigment that is delivered to your hair in a thick conditioner. It comes in purples and pinks and greens and oranges AND in ginger and light brown and dark brown and real colors. It’s amazing and, for me, covers all the gray. It leaves my hair soft and smelling wonderful, and it’s healthy and good for my hair. And it lasts in my hair for more than six washes, and fades slowly.
December 17, 2019 @ 9:44 am
Yesssss on the overtone! I used to be married to a hairstylist, so every class homedude went to i ended up getting until that bastard broke up with me two hours after putting in pink balayage extensions i did not want. By the time I got them pulled out (it took a minute, i was in shock) it had become part of my brand.
Overtone to the rescue! And some legit quality henna from JustforRedheads.com
So henna ginger roots, overtone pink ends, some groovy color spill in between.
Cindy W Johnson
December 13, 2019 @ 11:30 am
Fun list! You convinced me to order an electric toothbrush. This is a silly thing but I have enjoyed my bag tote handles so much. How many grocery bags can you carry in one trip? THIS will exponentially increase your record number. Tote -a-sack https://www.amazon.com/TotASak-Grocery-Bag-Carrier-PACK/dp/B07DY1DBXS/ref=sr_1_18?keywords=bag+handles+for+plastic+bags&qid=1576254551&sr=8-18
December 13, 2019 @ 11:31 am
Za’atar spice powder. The only thing in the kitchen is eggs and rice? Make a an omelet, and saute the veggies/onions in za’atar powder. Need a snack? Put it on your fresh popped corn instead of salt/butter. Some seasoning on that very boring chicken breast? Za’atar. I don’t know why, but it just makes me happy on a weekly basis.
Size small dish washing gloves. Size 7, flocked lined as sold at my local safeway, and opening a new pair makes me look forward to plunging my hands into a bowl of grimy dishwater.
Second Darn Tough Socks, though if too many people start to like them will they stop with the guarantee??
December 14, 2019 @ 1:23 am
Miriam, you’ll probably like this : https://ottolenghi.co.uk/recipes/zaatar-cacio-e-pepe
I haven’t tried it yet, as it’s eleventy million degrees in Sydney Australia atm, but it looks good. Specially if you’re a za’atar lover.
December 13, 2019 @ 11:56 am
Quoddy slippers. It’s all I wear inside my home. They won’t smell because it’s real wool and not a synthetic. And there warranty is amazing. https://www.quoddy.com/products/womens-fireside-camp-slipper
December 13, 2019 @ 12:15 pm
My most favorite recent find was Dove Soap with Moroccan Argon Oil. OMG! It smelled divine. I have really dry skin, and I used to work as an aesthetician, so was aware of, and tried many, many skin care products out there. I didn’t use it on my face, but showered with it every day, and kept a bar in my soap dish. THEN THEY DISCONTINUED IT IN BAR FORM!!! Why do they do that? I read all these favorable reviews on Amazon, and they still did it! It is now only available in a foaming mousse only, which is not my preference as the container does not fit in my shower niches, but at least it’s available. A bar of soap is such a simple, elegant, transportable, magnificent thing to behold.
My second most favorite find are rubber kitchen gloves by Casa Bella. THE BEST! They last much longer and are stronger than other brands.
My third favorite thing is Butter London Horsepower Base Coat for nails. I have very weak nails and most nail strengtheners turn my nails yellow. This one does not have all of the nasty ingredients in it, but works very well.
December 13, 2019 @ 12:24 pm
I’m lacking in my list of favorite things, I guess.
Mostly I like things that I (we) create the bestest. Sadly, I cannot share a picture here of my latest favorite creation for all to feast their eyes upon.
Merry Happy Christmas Holidays
December 13, 2019 @ 12:39 pm
A suggestion for sunscreens if you are still interested in trying one, is LaRoche Posay. They are a bit pricey, but an excellent product. You are a very smart lady for staying out of the sun, and a physical barrier is always the best protection.
Hope you and Paul have a Joyeux Noel, and a happy 2020!
December 13, 2019 @ 9:23 pm
Yes on that sunscreen! My derm recommended it and now it’s all I use. Every. Single. Day.
December 13, 2019 @ 12:59 pm
Ooohh, what a great post! For me: Pyrex custard cups for mis en place – endlessly useful!, matching/labeled/alphabetized spices, real (not digital) cookbooks, a cut crystal jam jar without the top for pens next to my reading chair, cocoa butter for my cuticles (decanted into pretty little jar next to pens), needlepoint (the grid thing is meditative 😊), rocking and swiveling patio chairs, cotton quilts!
December 13, 2019 @ 1:02 pm
Co-signing on bentonite clay. I use it as a facial mask on my ridiculously sensitive, eczema-prone, combination skin. It’s a beast on acne pimples and blackheads for me. I mix a little with water ( some people use ACV) to make a paste, and apply. Let it dry, and remove with a wet warm wash cloth. Pat dry and use a little witch hazel as a toner, then moisturize.
Castor Oil is a magic elixir for my eczema flairs. A little dab on a rash relieves itching, and helps to clear it up.
Hot Oil treatment
Mixing it with jojoba oil, or Olive oil, Rosemary and lavender essential oils (or EO of your choice) in a glass bowl, heated for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Apply to hair with a brush (like you would hair color), cover with a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes or longer. Shampoo out. Works for when I can’t use a creamy conditioner ( hair is braided or in locs).
December 13, 2019 @ 1:04 pm
I’m surprised the soda stream didn’t make your list. It’s been a godsend for me- the only way I will drink water!
My only 2 other recommendations are culinary in nature.
1) a good set of knives. Nothing compares. I implore anyone to spend the money!!! We have Shun Classic.
2) a Myer lemon tree. I don’t know… Watching these beautiful lemons growing in your kitchen is just a treat. Plus I preserve them to add in all of my Moroccan cooking.
December 13, 2019 @ 1:06 pm
Another sunscreen suggestion – JUST IN CASE you’ve never tried Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock – once it’s on, it feels like NOTHING. (At least to me. Your mileage may vary.) Being a translucent redhead, I’m a connoiseur of these things. 😉
December 13, 2019 @ 9:46 pm
Sometimes I use it as a makeup primer…great stuff
December 13, 2019 @ 1:06 pm
Apart from the essential minutiae – Clothespins, reusable storage bags, giant IKEA totes, Burt’s Bees lip balm – I rely on the following:
Vitamin E oil – cheaply had most anywhere, hydrates the way other products can’t, and absorbs QUICKLY.
A drying line above the kitchen sink – you could substitute a towel rack if a line seems too tacky. I refuse to use sponges which are actually petri dishes for bacteria growth, so prefer a dish rag (washable, durable, I can make them out of fabric scraps) and need these to dry completely between uses. Hence the line. I also use those plastic net pot scrubbers that roll up like a tube sock – plastic is bad, but I can wash these in the dish washer and they last forever.
Target brand unscented cat litter. Low dust, doesn’t track too badly, works great.
December 13, 2019 @ 1:10 pm
I am concerned about the clay and hoping there is no flint or silica in it, because it is not good for you to inhale that stuff. As a potter who acquired COPD from sweeping clay floors in a huge studio for years, I just wanted to check into this.
December 13, 2019 @ 1:17 pm
My salt pigs! I put “salt pig” on my Christmas list last year and received *four* of them. I use all four–for Kosher sea salt, fine sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and flake salt. So much easier than rooting around in the pantry for the right kind of salt.
Also, my Aeropress coffee maker. Smoothest coffee ever.
Our weighted blanket. Cats also love it, for some strange reason, so be sure to get one with a cover that kitty claws can’t penetrate.
December 13, 2019 @ 5:44 pm
I got my husband an aeropress for Christmas this year & I’m always so happy when people say they love it. What grind coffee do you use, I’d yu don’t mind me asking?
December 13, 2019 @ 1:58 pm
Heated seat warmers. It’s gotten colder here and it’s nice to sit in a warm seat (and know that it’s not warm for some icky reason!).
December 13, 2019 @ 2:27 pm
Borax – We have a rescue sanctuary home for geriatric, special needs and hospice pugs (16 of them currently), and we have lots and lots…..and tons of gross laundry. Borax makes sure no matter how bad and smelly it goes in, it comes out fresh and clean and odor-free!!! Now I just need a fleet of washers and dryers.
Collagen Peptides – Your hair, skin, nails and aching joints will thank you if you slip a scoop into your coffee or protein shake one to three times per day. Tasteless and low in calories, stuff REALLY works!!!
In a similar vein – Silica, take a couple silica tablets twice a day and your hair and skin and nails will be strong and beautiful!
NutPods Coffee Creamer – Absolute best tasting non-dairy, low calorie, keto, vegan, paleo, whatever creamer – HANDS DOWN! And I have tried them all. Only 10 calories per tablespoon. Made with a blend of coconut and almond cream….it always tastes just like real cream. Sometimes it looks weird (kind of separates in the coffee in some batches) but that has no effect whatsoever on the wonderful creamy taste. You can also use it to substitute for cream or half and half in your cooking. I can’t praise it enough and I buy it by the case every month from Amazon. Also comes in flavors….but I prefer the original plain.
Fancy Cat Fountains – https://thirstycatfountains.com/shop/ This is my favorite artist, but you can search on Etsy and find quite a few people that make them. I abhor ugly pet bowls, but I must scatter them all over the house and outside because many of our dogs have severe mobility issues. These look lovely in any room and come in any style or color you could want. They will also do custom work if you have a particular theme or style/color in mind. I like to shop their “seconds” and find beautiful fountains with slight flaws in the glaze, for a deep discount. I also like to put things in mine like pretty stones, ceramic bits, glass marbles, etc. as long as it is non-toxic and waterproof, go for it. The dogs LOVE them and they keep the water fresh. My blind dogs can hear the water and find the bowls easily. Cats go crazy for the trickling, falling water.
Shoe Horns – How did I ever put on a pair of shoes before I discovered “old man” shoe horns?! They make putting on athletic shoes and any full backed shoe SO EASY and no more rolling down the heel of your tennies trying to put them on! A little thick around the middle or have arthritis or just sore from your killer leg workout? You will love how easy a shoe horn makes putting on your shoes. I even brought one to leave at the gym for everyone to use.
December 13, 2019 @ 2:30 pm
Bar Keepers Friend-a cleaner that makes everything shiny! I use it on pots, pans, my bath tub, the weird laminate counter top I have that stainless steel bowls scuff. I recently used the liquid version too, for polishing old copper hardware and they were transformed into shinning beauties!
On the polished note, also Top Brite polish is a small company in NH that makes the best polish. It smells and requires a little elbow grease, but it makes things shine so bright! I use it on jewelry, hardware, etc. I used it on my copper hardware after a round with the liquid Bar Keepers and it gave an almost mirror like finish.
My other go-to that I also like to gift is a magnetic cell phone holder for my car. It was like $6 on amazon and it holds great! Super easy-don’t have to mess with weird arms to hold it in place. I guess it interferes with wireless charging, but that’s not a concern for me.