I used to live for Oprah’s favorite things magazine issue until she licensed it to Amazon and everybody was getting the list before my little ol’ issue of O magazine even arrived in the mail. Now it’s back on her own website but with affiliate links to Amazon, but I also don’t want to spend $50 for 20 cookies. Even if they are purple.
And don’t even get me started on cashmere joggers. My world is not a cashmere pant world.
Here is my own list of favorite things this year and years past. This is not a gift guide or else I would have opened an affiliate store and launched it 3 weeks ago while complaining about how long it took to make this list.
Cloth and Paper planner inserts – they do the job while being minimalist and beautiful. I have the A5 6-ring punch size, and I put them into a cheapo binder that I had hanging around.
Microsoft Surface – Did I *need* one? No. But I don’t like doing personal things on my work laptop, and after spending 8 hours sitting at my desk, I don’t like adding another hour or so to that in order to blog/surf the web/etc. My Surface (model 7 pro, not made anymore) is lightweight yet has enough oomph to stream video or play some of my less-intensive Steam games.
Lamy Safari fountain pen – I used to love the idea of fountain pens but hated the execution, because they were scratchy or clogged easily. This Lamy pen is inexpensive but writes like a dream. Mine is purple with purple ink because I’m that person.
Laptop stand – my laptop serves as my second screen, but when it was flat on my desk, it wasn’t very comfortable to look from my large screen down to the smaller one. My laptop stand isn’t available anymore (boo!) but I’m a fan of them in general and even if you don’t have a second screen, you should invest in a laptop stand, and a cheap external keyboard and mouse so you’re not hunched over your laptop like Schroeder over his little piano.
Mug warmer – I don’t drink my coffee/tea faster than the rate that it cools down. A mug warmer helps extend my drinking time by about two hours. (Longer than that and the coffee starts tasting old.) You don’t need the high falutin’ Ember brand, especially if you enjoy choosing a different coffee cup each day. I had the Mr. Coffee warmer for at least 10 years before it stopped working. My current model is activated by the weight of the cup.
Space Heater – Our house on Literary Lane is a split level house, and the office and our main living area are on the bottom level on top of a concrete pad. We do not have zoned heating, our thermostat is upstairs, and as we all know, heat rises. That makes for a chilly Kim. If I were to heat the house enough to warm my chilly downstairs feet we’d be in severe debt to the gas company. Enter the space heater. Running it a little in the mornings brings my office to the perfect temperature without having my MIL upstairs burst into flames. I had a little Sunbeam model for 6 years. That crapped out this year and isn’t being manufactured anymore so I upgraded to a Vornado.
Tiny thermometer – This is a sanity check. It answers the questions “Is it cold in here or is it just me?” and “Is it hot in here or is it just me?” A smiley face appears when the humidity is just right.
Brother laser printer – Yes, owning a printer makes me An Old but I’m An Old who doesn’t have to go to her mother’s house to print things. Our model is the esteemed HL-L2340, the venerable workhorse of internet legend that has been with us for so long it has a mustache sticker on it. It does not scan. It does not print in color. But when you push the print button it prints, which is something our old HPs and Epsons had tons of problems with. It looks like the HL-L2340 has been replaced by the HL-L2350.
Barkbox – I subscribed for only 6 months five years ago and I love it. Murphy goes through toys quickly, and having a regular supply of high-quality toys are nice. There are too many treats for one dog to manage, so I share Murphy’s with Sunny, my dog-niece.
Flippy pillow – or a garden-variety triangular shaped pillow. I mocked this thing for years and then I bought one. I use it for my Surface, my Kindle, my phone when I’m FaceTimeing, and under my knees if they’re sore.
Barefoot Dreams beanie – Can I talk to you about the merits of the Indoor Hat? In the deepest darkest months of winter (November – March for me) I’m always cold at night. You know what helps? An Indoor Hat. You don’t want one that’s super heavy, and you want one that can be washed easily. Enter the Barefoot Dreams beanie. Yes yes we all know about the blankets and the cardigans and the socks, but have you heard about the beanie? I own the Mickey Mouse beanie (I know) and if you don’t want to spend Barefoot Dreams money, any hat works.
A fuzzy but not-too-warm sofa blanket – I have a lightweight Berkshire one I bought on clearance for daily use, and for the holidays I have a fancier one from Life Is Good that has a holiday dog print. It really amps the cozy factor for me.
Hammock – Mom bought me a hammock two Christmases ago. It’s the kind that needs its own stand instead of trees and I love it so much. It’s where I live on summer nights.
Cool Ranch Doritos – c’mon. need I say more?
Portable Bluetooth speaker – I come from the Boombox era, so the idea of a speaker the size of a bottle of water that doesn’t require 4 D batteries every 6 hours to operate is heaven. Pick whatever model you want, but I have a Bose Soundlink that goes from the garage to the backyard to the beach and back again while playing my crummy pop music without complaint.
Popsockets – The phones are larger but my hands are still the same size. This keeps me from dropping my phone, and I can even switch in different Popsocket faces as the mood strikes. I have Mickey Mouse. (I know.) I also have the car mount and it’s the car mount that has been the easiest to use.
Raycon Everyday headphones – I’m not an audiophile. I have never been able to tell the difference in quality between a CD and an MP3. I just want to wear wireless headphones so I can watch vanlife and cottagecore Youtube videos while WM is playing videogames. I want to put them on my head when I’m mowing the lawn so people will leave me alone. Raycon does the job and keeps its charge really well.
Neutrogeena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin – been using it for years. They recently redid the formula, but it still keeps my face from feeling like sandpaper.
Color Street nail strips – For plain colors I paint my own but for glitters and fancy designs, Color Street can’t be beat. Used with my own ridge filling base coat and top coat, they last about 10 days. (link goes to my Color Street rep’s page)
Soma Enbliss Bralettes – It’s just the right amount of support without the overkill that a bra with underwire, hooks, etc provides for my work-from-home life.
Kipling bags – I use Kipling bags for work, for daily use, and for travel. They are lightweight and hold up so well I am TIRED of my work and daily use bags but can’t justify buying new ones.
Coiled hair ties – (example) – The earliest hair ties I remember were round elastics with a metal clip in the middle that caught on your hair and big plastic beads on each side that were less than gentle if the hairtie popped out. These are all plastic, and the coils hold your ponytail tightly. When you’re ready to pull it out of your hair, it slides off of your ponytail as if you were in a hair commercial on TV. My hair’s too short for them now, but I still caress them from time to time.
Kenra Blow-Dry Spray – It’s a little pricey but goes a long way and helps me to dry my hair quickly without damage. It smells like a tropical drink.
Not pictured: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
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