Things we’ve loved this past year

The best purchase we have been enjoying has been TSA Pre.  I didn’t appreciate how much I would appreciate it.   Similarly, I continue to be delighted to take toll-roads with a toll tag for the city nearest us.

Having a battery that can fuel a phone or laptop during travel has been really great.  I’ve also been able to occasionally help out fellow travelers.  We have bought several Anker products (amazon link) and have been very happy with all of them.

This kit to make a music box (not sponsored) is probably the coolest kid’s present this year.  Even after the music box has been created, it provides hours of fun choosing different songs.

DH wants to give a shoutout to this guy who organizes boxes of electronic components (I guess the actual organization is done in China, according to the box, also, not sponsored).  DH is in love with a box of resistors.  It brilliantly stores resistors on labeled sheets of paper in little plastic bags in a little box.  If DH hadn’t stumbled on it online, he would have done what all of his former labs have done and bought a fishing tackle box or cabinet and sorted them that way.  This is much more compact and it’s much faster to find things.

This backpack from Tom Bihn (not sponsored) has made traveling much easier.  I’ve stopped taking my own bag and use DH’s backpack instead.

Last year I suggested that DH buy me some bras, figuring he’d get something to his taste (Sorry!  The TMI was only in my brain though :/.).  Instead he went to a department store and got boring but very supportive bras in my size that cost quite a bit more than the kind I used to pick up for myself at Target.  Things I would think of as Grandma-style or for women with larger busts than what I have.  And… it turns out that’s what people (my shopping buddy, my sister… though to be fair, I WENT bra shopping with my shopping buddy and did not get this kind even with the lady at the bra store measuring me and hard selling) have been meaning when they’ve been telling me I need better bras for my clothing to fit better.  So… lesson learned.  Pay more for better bras and better bras aren’t ones that look fancier, but ones that have more coverage.  And how is it that DH is better at buying women’s underwear than I am?

While we’re on the subject of women’s clothing, I got some amazing tights from Target online.  The brand is A New Day (not sponsored) and all of the tights I got from them have been crazy amazing, from the plain black, to the patterned, to the super soft super warm fleece lined tights that are warmer than a lot of pants.  No tears yet! 100% recommend (and we don’t get any kickbacks from Target!)

What things have you loved this past year? What purchases have made your life easier or better?

20 Responses to “Things we’ve loved this past year”

  1. Steph Says:

    I discovered bras that fit last year and it’s been ~~magical~~.

    This is going to sound weird, but I invested in better laundry baskets and it makes doing laundry so much nicer? I let my mom talk me into cheap canvas ones with cute messages on them when I moved a few years ago…the straps came loose or fell off, they were weird to carry and held too much. I bought 2 (now I’m up to 4) of the stackable ones from the container store and it’s been much easier to keep up with laundry. They’re nice to carry, which makes a big difference when you have to go up and down to the building laundry room, and the stacking means they don’t actually take up extra floor space compared to the canvas ones.

    I need new fleecy tights, so I’m going to have to check the AND ones out! I like HUE tights for regular wear, but I’m still struggling to find fleecy ones that I like.

    • Steph Says:

      oh! and also if you’re worried about bra cost, check the manufacturer’s site or Nordstrom Rack for seasonal colors on sale. Most of my bras are funky colored because those cost 2/3 or half what the basic colors cost!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      ooh, I remember when our cheap bought-for-college-at-a-back-to-school-sale laundry basket finally fell to pieces no longer fixable by duct tape and we upgraded to an actually nice laundry basket (two, technically). It makes a LOAD of difference [pun not intended, but appreciated nonetheless].

  2. teresa Says:

    Along with the external battery a multicharging cable so I can charge several devices at once at night when traveling

    Wireless phone chargers at home/in the car

    Bone conducting headphones! because I have giant ears and have never found an earbud that while stay in if I’m not sitting completely still, and I don’t like over-ear headphones (plus they would presumably be disgusting if worn to exercise). Bonus that they let you hear everything around you still. Probably my favorite thing I’ve found this year.

  3. Debbie M Says:

    Hmm, the purchase I have most appreciated has been my house. Even with gentrification and high property taxes, it’s paid off and more affordable and bigger than the apartments I would have been in instead. Of course I didn’t buy that this year.

    I haven’t bought much this year. But what I’ve most enjoyed (besides, you know, food, utilities, petrol, replacements for used up stuff) has been stocking up on media I want to use over and over. I finally made a list of things I’m looking for I keep in my purse and now I check for those things when I go to thrift stores and used book stores without risking re-buying something I already have. I got:

    * games – “Betrayal at House on the Hill” (exploring a haunted house), “Welcome To…” (a roll-and-write game making a 1950s suburb), and for the future: “Endangered” (save an endangered species; Kickstarted, due next summer) and “Wingspan” (create a bird sanctuary; I’ll be buying it later this year when it’s available again, supposedly early December)

    * detective books – Smilla’s Sense of Snow (wow, good writing, learn about Greenland and Denmark), Blood on Snow (interesting set up), and some Mrs. Pollifax (silly fun–old lady decides to become a spy), Phryne Fisher (also silly fun, 1920s young lady becomes a detective in Australia), Mysterious Benedict Society (super smart kids save the world), and #1 Detective Agency (nice and smart lady in Botswana starts her own business) books

    * romance book – a prettier Pride and Prejudice

    * western books – some Louis L’amour books (great characters and interesting situations)

    * a movie – the 2nd “Jumanji” (super fun watching grown actors play against character as kids playing video game characters; warning: cartoonish graphic violence)

    * graphic novel – “Motor Girl” volumes 1 and 2 (just the daily doings of a young lady and her imaginary gorilla best friend; warning: PTSD themes)

    I also got a blank plastic corrugated sign for my Greta Thunberg costume, hoping I can re-use it for real protests. They are at Home Depot with the “for sale” signs, if you’re interested. I’m sure dry-erase markers would come off, but probably too easily. I’m hoping Sharpie ink will come off with alcohol, but I’ve been putting off trying it. A re-usable protest sign, small enough to carry on the bus, would be super handy.

    Also, I tried a bunch of different flavored yogurts on clearance and on sale and decided I’m probably buying only Noosa (and Ellenas from Seattle) in the future–the flavors are made out of actual food and so delicious. (Though mostly I’ll just flavor my yogurt myself.)

    I also was introduced to a new local crepe restaurant, so I don’t have to go to Europe anymore, ha ha!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have a blank plastic sign from when someone kept stealing our senate candidate signs. I hadn’t thought about alcohol and reusing it though. Great idea.

      I have not read a Mrs. Pollifax in AGES. I think I went through them all (or all the ones our library had) back when I was in middle school or high school.

      • Debbie M Says:

        The last ones aren’t as good as the first ones, but I really do like about the first half of them. (I haven’t figure out the cut-off point for me yet.) She has other novels that some people like even more. Your library may or may not have them anymore. :-(

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Looks like our local library has 18 mrs. pollifax books (23 counting audio etc.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m scared to try the two available electronically though given one is a safari and one is the Middle East and even 21st century authors fall into 19th century imperialist traps with those two parts of the world.

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Bravo to DH for spending the money on the right kind of bras that are good for you! Good job. I do wonder how he figured it out.

    I have purchased some tank tops from A New Day at Target and they’re amazing too. Do you have any pilling with their fleece lined tights? I might put those on my list.

    I just bought a second power pack for our emergency kit and travel needs. PiC and I have been sharing one but as we do split up and go different places at times, we do have need of our own pack. I went back to Anker after being silly and buying a different brand one that was cute and podlike but stopped holding a charge well after a year.

  5. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    “And how is it that DH is better at buying women’s underwear than I am?”


  6. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Robot vacuum. It made me rethink all my upstairs storage and I run it at least twice a week.

    Also the zillion hooks I added in the phase 2 entryway remodel. Swim bags in the summer, backpacks during school, everything hung up neatly: it’s great.

  7. First Gen American Says:

    I also don’t know how I lived without TSA precheck. I was being stubborn because I had to use my own money to buy it and I use it for work 99% of the time.

    I planned on spending money on my back pain issues this year but really haven’t carved out the time and wonder what’s stopping me focusing on my health. If anyone can help answer that question working moms everywhere will be eternally grateful.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My problem was that I thought I’d have to drive to the city to get it and appointments were 3 months out. When we found out you can do walk-ins at airports that made it super easy.

      I cannot answer your question either! If I could I would have a lot of superficial things fixed up like skin tags and I’d see an ENT for the persistent ear problem that my GP told me to put lotion on (it didn’t help).

  8. undine Says:

    After I went to Nordstrom’s and saw that all they had for business attire was skinny jeans and crop tops and long flowing dresses that belonged at Woodstock, I went to Target and got some of their A New Day sweaters and pants. Best decision this year.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      !! Bad call, Nordstrom.

      Important question: Do the AND pants have pockets? (My Target Merona black pants from a couple decades ago are still fine, but I rarely wear them because they don’t have pockets!)

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