Favorite Things

These are some of my favorite products! I would never recommend something I don't love or use myself (currently or in the past). Throughout my blog, I mention several items regularly, so I've included many of them on my list. If you have questions about any of them, please feel free to ask me.

Since I have so many running things on my list, I made a whole separate post about those. You can find that here: My Favorite Running Things.

I also made a separate page for my favorite books and media.

(The links on this page are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy them through this link, I get a small commission for recommending them. Like I said, though, I would never recommend something that I didn't truly love and use myself.)

This is the scale that I do my Wednesday Weigh-ins on. I used to have a Health O Meter scale that I loved, and it lasted me over 15 years. It was so accurate and consistent, and I hadn't found another that I liked nearly as much. It finally died in early 2017, and Jerry (my husband) saw how devastated I was (over a stupid scale). He told me I should pick out any scale that I want, no matter how much it cost.

I ended up getting this professional medical scale. It cost an arm and a leg, but the quality and accuracy is exactly what I would hope for, and I'm sure I won't ever need to buy another scale again. I love that this comes with a cord to plug it into the wall, too, so batteries are optional.

This model isn't the exact model that I have, but mine is outdated (from 2013), so this is a newer model. I love love love my Garmin, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to run for the long term. It's a great motivation to me to see my distance and pace. If you're not familiar with it, it's a GPS running watch--it will show you, as you're running, your distance traveled, your pace per mile, your heart rate, elevation, and a few dozen other things (you choose what you want to see on the watch face). It is VERY worth the money!

I am obsessed with this water bottle (well, it's a "vacuum insulated stainless steel tumbler, if I'm being precise). I bring it with me everywhere I go (my meds give me a dry mouth, so I drink a ton of water). But I love water bottles, and I've even tried convincing myself I need a new one because I saw a very cute Tervis one (same sort of stainless steel as this one--it just had a cute design on it); but I liked the quality of this one better, to be honest. Tervis is expensive, but I think this one is nicer.

So even though this is likely a knock-off of Tervis, I actually like it much better. The lid and straw are much better quality, which is what stopped me from impulsively buying the Tervis one. But anyway, I love this tumbler because it keeps my water cold for the longest time--I will go to bed with ice water, and when I wake up, there is still ice in it.

The tumbler is the perfect size--not too small, not too big, and it fits in the cup holder of my car. It's super easy to clean. There is no condensation to ruin my furniture. It's great!

I bought this in 2003 to keep track of my body fat percentage, and I've been using it ever since. I doubt that it's 100% accurate, but as far as being consistent and as accurate as these sorts of gadgets can be, I think it's great. I've noticed a correlation between my exercise and my body fat percentage, and it's nice to see the BF go down even if my weight doesn't. It's a neat little tool!

When I was injured in 2015, I did a lot of deep water running. I had to buy a belt for it, and this was the most recommended one to use. It works really well--you strap it around your middle, and when you go in the deep end of the pool, the belt holds up so that you are neck-deep in the water.

You then mimic a running motion under the water, and your head stays in place. It's great exercise for someone who is injured or who doesn't want the wear and tear on their joints. I am not a fan of swimming, so this was a good compromise for me. You can also wear it to do water aerobics in the deep end--it'll keep you from sinking ;)

I feel kind of silly even including this on here, because everyone seems to have their fancy watches that keep track of steps, calories, heart rate, sleep, etc. I still prefer this little guy. I don't like to wear a fitness watch of any sort other than when I'm running (and then I like a Garmin). But this little clip can just hook onto my underwear and stays invisible all day. It keeps track of steps, and that's about it. I got it for $50 several years ago, and it's still going strong.

This little contraption intimidated the heck out of me when I first saw it. I was new to loose leaf tea, and totally confused. But it's very easy to use, and it makes loose leaf tea a breeze to make! You just throw your tea leaves inside, and pour in your boiling water. Let it steep for 4-5 minutes.

Then you set the whole thing on top of your tea cup, and the tea pours out of the bottom (straining out the leaves) right into your cup. The leaves stay inside while all of the tea flows into your cup. To clean up, you just rinse out the leaves (I rinse them into the garbage disposal) and clean like you would any other dish.

The tea steeps much better this way that it does inside of the little steel balls or even the bags. This is totally worth the money.

When I broke my jaw and had to live on a liquid diet for six weeks, this thing was a Godsend. I chose this blender because it crushes ice really well--it rotates forward and then backward to dislodge any cubes that get trapped in the bottom and don't crush well. This thing works perfectly--just like you'd expect from a blender! It's still going strong seven years later.

I have to admit, I always thought rice cookers were kind of dumb. I am the master of cooking rice on the stove, so why use a rice cooker when the stove worked so well? Once I tried it, though, I realized how useful it is. I love being able to just throw the rice and water in there, and then not even think of it until it's done. I don't have to watch for the water to boil or to set the timer or anything. Nothing beats my stove top rice, but the convenience of a rice cooker is really nice!

This is so nostalgic for me! My parents had one of these when I was a kid, and my brother and I loved to watch it work. And then when my kids were little, I bought one and they loved to watch it. Recently, we had Luke (my baby nephew) over, and my kids showed HIM the cool popcorn maker. It's so fun to watch, but it really does make awesome popcorn. You flip it over when it's done and use the dome for your bowl.

This is the leash that I use when I take Joey for a run with me. It looks like an ordinary leash that you wrap around your waist, but it works really well! It has a tight bungee in the leash so that it doesn't snap your back in half if your dog darts after a squirrel or something, hahaha.

There are two handles you can grab if you need to pull your dog close for minute. The waist part is totally adjustable, and could accommodate very large sizes, I'm sure. It's super comfortable to wear, and even though Joey isn't the most well-trained dog on a leash, this makes it more enjoyable to take him with me!

I wrote about this when we first got it, and I had put the whole thing together while the cats helped. (Actually, this one that I linked to isn't the same exact one that I bought--for some reason, it looks absolutely identical, but it's almost $50 cheaper! I have no idea what the difference is. Here is a link to mine, so you can check it out for yourself, but I'd get the Go Pet Club one and save the money.)

I was very skeptical of it because of how cheap it is for cat tree--usually, cat trees are hundreds of dollars, even for small ones. But this one has been really nice! The quality isn't the best of the best; but I have had four cats at one time, and they all used it. Estelle is very rough with it (clumsiest cat ever) and Joey has jumped up on it trying to get to the cats. It's held up really well! Very worth the money.

My brother had the coolest hammock when we ran Ragnar Florida Keys. He set it up at one of the major exchanges and took a nap for a few hours. I finally got one for myself when we decided to go to my sisters property up north.

I was super intimidated by it--how on earth do you set this up?!--but once my brother showed me, I couldn't believe how easy it was. It literally (and I mean that literally) took about 90 seconds to set up. You just need two trees that are fairly close together (the straps accommodate different distances, but you don't want them to be super close together).

The hammock is super comfy, and Jerry and I easily fit in there together (we also had Luke in there with us for a little bit). I spent a lot of time reading in the hammock. I love it! I wish I had a good place to set it up at home. I did buy a set of straps--the hammock comes with everything you need, but my brother suggested getting the extra straps because they make set up even easier and they allow more weight on the hammock. They weren't too expensive, so I got those as well. (Here is the link to the straps that I bought)

I have a confession: I have a minor obsession with these fruit snacks. My favorite treat in the evenings, for about the last year, has been three packages of these fruit snacks (there are only 8 in each package). Considering I have two kids, I've tried about a thousand different types of fruit snacks over the years, but none of them sucked me in like these. Even though the carrot shapes resemble a penis more than they do a carrot, the texture and flavor of these fruit snacks are SO good! My favorite are the purple, followed by the yellow and then the red.

I discovered this product ages ago (circa 2003?) when it was just the original True Lemon and True Lime flavors. This is nothing other than crystalized lime juice. It's not sweetened at all, and it tastes just like you squeezed a lime wedge into your drink (or wherever else you would use lime). Each packet is the equivalent of one lime wedge. 

My go-to drink is a vodka tonic with lime. While I was losing weight, when I was feeling snack-y sometimes, I would pour a glass of diet tonic water and add two packets of True Lime. It made me feel like I was having a cocktail, and I'd sip it slowly. The tonic and lime are bitter, so it took away any sweet cravings I had. The True Lime has a long shelf life, so it was convenient to have this instead of fresh limes. I even bought this in bulk (500 count!) Hahaha.

When I was at a Runner's World event in 2014, we were given a goodie bag with several sponsored products in it. I'm not usually a big fan of bars unless they are sugary and contain a lot of chocolate. So, I didn't even taste these right away. But when I did, I was blown away. They are SO GOOD. 

They're very small, but about the size you'd expect for only 100 calories. The Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favorite (of course) but I also love the coconut almost as much. Banana Nut and Dark Chocolate Cherry are also delicious. They're on the expensive side (roughly $1 each), but for a healthy and yummy snack, they're worth it!

Ever since losing weight, I am cold all the goddamn time. It drives me crazy! I also have Reynaud's syndrome, which is where my feet (and sometimes fingers) turn a translucent-white color and become completely numb (yet painful at the same time). On the days where I just can't get warm, even with my thick wool socks, I curl up with this heating pad. 

If my feet are the problem, I wrap it around my feet. I also have back problems (a bulging disc, bone spurs, scoliosis and arthritis) and the heat helps tremendously. It's the perfect size to cover my whole back from my shoulders to my butt. Usually, with heated blankets, I crank it to the highest setting. This thing, however, heats up so much that I usually leave it on level 1 of 8!! Sometimes I'll set it on 2, but that's about the highest I'll go. It's powerful, and I love it!

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