November 22, 2023

My Favorite Things! (Part 2)

Continuing with part two of yesterday's post. Here is a link: My Favorite Things! Part 1: In the Kitchen.

I'll leave this intro as it is, in case you missed it.

I've been meaning to put this post together for months now. I like to do a "favorite things" post once a year--I usually think of it when I'm going about my day and think, "I love this thing". When I really love something, I want to tell everyone about it!

This list is long and varies wildly--from kitchen items to clothes to pet care--so some of it may or may not be relevant here. Regardless, it's fun to make a list of my favorite things. Some of these items have been on my list for years; others are new.

Before I get into the list, I want to note a "life lesson" that I've learned semi-recently and have been trying to teach my kids: quality matters. I've always been thrifty and over the years, I've learned what "real" quality is and isn't. This is why I buy a lot of things secondhand. I can get very high-quality solid furniture for cheaper than the brand new poor quality stuff.

A lot of the items on my list are on the relatively pricey side. This is after years of letting cost be the deciding factor for items we needed. I would buy what was cheapest; and eventually, have to replace it. Again, I'd get something cheap. Over the last few years, though, I've finally understood that it's actually cheaper in the long run to buy a good quality item up front, saving the buy-and-replace routine.

If it's something I use a lot, I'll even pay extra for the bells and whistles, if that's what I really want. I tell my kids to save up for the things they *really* want rather than settling on something that won't meet their expectations. The quality is worth it. I only mention this because a lot of these things were bought after years of trying cheap alternatives. Okay, here goes...

[Most of the links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission if you purchase through the link. I'm not affiliated with any other brands/companies. All of these items were purchased with my own money.]



I became kind of obsessed with these headbands in the summertime. To cover up grays or greasy or otherwise messy hair, I would throw one of these on instead of wearing a hat. They are super comfy, they stay on well, and they're not too hot. I like them for absorbing sweat when I'm working hard on something or just to wear when I'm having a bad hair day. There are a ton of different patterns and colors and they come in packs of four. (When we drove up north to visit Jeanie and Shawn, I thought it was funny to find both of them wearing headbands just like this!)

There are a lot of different brands, but these are the ones I have: Acenail Boho Headbands.

Cuddl Duds Softwear

I cannot even describe how much I love these leggings (and the matching long sleeve tops, not pictured). The fabric is SO SOFT. I have about four pairs of the leggings because I like to sleep in them (although, since I got the 365 Blanket I haven't been wearing pants to bed, haha).

The fabric is super thin and I actually like these because when I'm hot, I don't like my legs feeling like they're sticking together. The pants are thin enough that they don't really keep me warm, but they cover my legs. When I was freezing cold all the time, though, I would wear these as a base layer under my regular clothes. I'm kind of surprised at how much these cost because there isn't much to them; I loved the pair that I had so much that I bought three more pairs when I got a good deal on them one day. I wear a pair almost daily in the evenings; they are my go-to pajamas. 

I do want to mention, though, that they aren't very flattering, haha. They look okay in the picture, but because they are so thin, you can see lots of jiggling from my loose skin when I walk around. I wear them strictly for comfort. (Here is the link to the leggings; and here is a link to the tops.)

Spanx Bra

There is actually a funny story behind this. First, I've never owned a good-quality, nice bra. I just hated the thought of spending so much money on something like a BRA. Especially because I have very small boobs and don't need extra support; I just figured a cheap bra was fine. One day, I went to Salvation Army and had a cart full of clothes. I to the register and paid for everything and when I got home I started cutting off the tags and throwing everything into the washer.

I found a black bra. In with all the stuff I'd just bought. I had NO IDEA how it got in with my stuff! I was thinking it must have fallen in my cart or something and I didn't notice. Anyway, it was a Spanx bra in a size 32 C. Hahaha, I wear a 36 very small B or even an A when my weight is at around 130. The cups didn't look huge though, so I thought I'd try it on. And it fit! Pretty perfectly, actually. Maybe it was stretched out in the band or something, but I couldn't believe how comfortable it was.

I looked it up and it sells for $68 (both on the Spanx site and on Amazon). That is WAY more than I'd ever paid for a bra. But I loved the black one I accidentally acquired so much that I ended up buying one in a nude color. It has made a world of difference in not just comfort, but how clothes look as well. I usually like underwire in a bra, but the black one didn't have underwire--and honestly, I didn't realize that until I'd received the one I ordered (which had underwire). Comparing the two, I preferred the one without the underwire, so I returned the wired one and got the one without.

One of the things that I hate the most about excess skin after weight loss is that it's hard to tuck it in. The skin under my arms (like side-boob area) hangs over the band of my bras--even bras that were meant for "full-coverage" and back fat and all that. While this one isn't perfect, it definitely covers much better than any other bra I've tried. In the picture above, you can see that it doesn't bulge (when I put my arm down, it does a little; it's far less noticeable, though). Anyway, I wish I'd known how much a good bra would change my life! Totally worth spending a little more.

Here is the Spanx bra that I have: Spanx Bra-llelujah! Lightly Lined, Full-Coverage Bra.

Hey Dude shoes

I wrote about these a few years ago, before they became a well-known brand. My kids even laughed when I asked them if they wanted a pair, because they looked like "old people shoes". And now all their friends wear them, hahaha. I love these shoes! I still love my Converse, but I wear my Hey Dudes 90% of the time I leave the house. They are super easy to slip on, very comfortable, the lightest-weight shoe I've ever held, machine washable, and--very cute. I don't care if they look like "old people shoes"; I think they are great.

I have the Hey Dude Women's Wendy style; there are a ton of color options.

No-show socks

I never thought I'd be writing about no-show socks; I had tried so many different brands but not a single one of them would stay up on my heel. I don't know if it's because of my shoe size (9) or just the shape of my feet or what, but I always wanted to be able to wear no-show socks. (I refuse to wear shoes without socks. I like my feet to have socks on 24 hours a day!)

I have to say--I'm obsessed with socks. I like very cushy athletic-type low-cut socks; the thin socks that you can practically see through are not my thing. Most of the no-show socks are made of a thin knit fabric and I just never found them comfortable. I was ordering some socks for the boys when I came across these Saucony no-show ones. I really liked the colors and I was tempted to give them a try. I am so glad that I did!

They don't slide off my heel--that is amazing in and of itself. But they are also a good thickness (they aren't AS thick as my usual socks, but they are pretty close. There is a silicone heel grip that keeps the socks from slipping (I don't notice that it's there; you can't feel it when the socks are on. But it's about the size of a quarter on the back of your heel. I included a picture above.)

Here are the ones that I have: Saucony No-Show Cushioned Invisible Liner Socks.


Sewing Machine

I have a Singer Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine. While I've been sewing my entire life, I still like having a simple, pretty basic machine. This one is perfect for people who are new to sewing but also for people like me, who have been sewing for a long time and don't need all the fancy bells and whistles. Right now, I just noticed that Amazon has an early Black Friday deal on this machine--you get the machine plus an extension table for cheaper than the machine itself! Use this link for that deal. I'm not sure how long it'll be available.


I didn't use a serger until a few years ago. Actually, it was around the time I started sewing masks for the pandemic. I never knew how helpful it would be until I got used to using it; now, I use it on just about every project. A serger is something that you can certainly get by without, but if you enjoy sewing and you have a little extra money, a serger is super nice to have. Again, mine is pretty basic. I would say perfect for a beginner, because I was a beginner with it and I figured it out pretty easily. I would watch some YouTube videos to learn all sorts of different things you can do with it!

Here is the one that I have: Brother 1034D serger. Is a basic model, but it does everything I need it to.

Kindle Paperwhite

This has been on my "Favorite Things" list for several years in a row now. The Paperwhite was one of the best investments I've ever made! Believe me when I say that I was a hardcore paperback person (when I read; I hardly ever read then). I tried reading on my iPad Mini, but it hurt my wrists, hands, and eyes. It was heavy and bright.

The Kindle Paperwhite is as simple of an e-reader as you can get--which is great, because it's not designed for playing games and typing emails and things you might do with your phone. It's meant for reading, and it's designed with that--and that alone--in mind.

I love that it's lightweight (seriously, lighter than most paperback books!), it stays "open"--so I can read hands-free. It's super thin so it doesn't hurt my hands. You can turn the backlight completely off if you want, which is how I leave mine (unless I'm reading in the dark). The screen literally looks like paperback pages when the backlight is off. There is no glare, so I can read it outside (something I couldn't do with my iPad or phone).

And the storage--holy cow. I couldn't get enough books in a whole lifetime to store on it! I have about 150 on there, I think, and it barely takes up any space at all. And the Paperwhite itself is pretty small--I can fit it in my purse. You can adjust the font size and look, if you want, though--so the size of the Paperwhite doesn't change the readability in that aspect. I even read it on the treadmill! I set the font size bigger and put it on a stand on the treadmill.

I love that I can get a library book within 30 seconds if I want. Just search the library site for the book I want, click "borrow", and then "get book" and it's delivered immediately to my Kindle. The books are automatically returned in two weeks. So simple! The charge lasts SO long on this, too. I am a super slow reader and I can usually finish a full book without having to charge it. Because it doesn't have all sorts of features like a phone or tablet, it doesn't need to be charged nearly as often.

I could go on and on about the Paperwhite, considering I read more books since buying it than I had in probably 15 years total before that. I have the 10th generation, but that's not available anymore. Here is the latest generation: Kindle Paperwhite

[Note: If you order one of these, you'll have an option for "ad supported" that is $20 cheaper. I bought one without ad support because I wasn't sure what to expect (ads spread through the book?) but I bought one for each of my kids and tried the one with ad support. I would definitely save the $20 and get the one with ad support! The only "ads" that we've seen are for newly released books. The ads aren't animated or videos or even in color. And they only appear on the lockscreen (like if you set the Paperwhite down for a while). They never appear while you're reading.]

Bedroom "Stoner" Lights

The top photo is of the star lights (they are projected from the "spotlight" you see in the bottom right photo). The space-theme LED lights are on the bottom left. And in the bottom right photo, the green/blue thing is the essential oil diffuser.

Jerry and I call this setup in our bedroom "stoner lights" because when everything is going at once, it's quite an experience to just lie in bed and stare at the lights all over the room. It's super relaxing! Despite the fact that our bedroom looks like a realtor's nightmare, we really love it. With black walls and ceiling, when we close the blackout curtains it is pitch black in there. You can't even see your hand in front of your face! (It's nice for Jerry when working on nights, too.)

Anyway, after hanging out with Luke in his room and feeling more relaxed than ever (his bed was SO cozy and then the lights on the ceiling and the essential oils diffuser going, man... I could have stayed like that forever. When I got home, I ordered the lights that he had. And a diffuser. Eventually, we added a couple of space-theme LED lights on the wall.

So, while it's not very grown-up, it's perfect for Jerry and me ;)  (You do not need a black ceiling or walls for these; they might even look better on lighter colors.)

We have two different "star" projectors, but I'll just share the original one that I love most. The other one is kind of complicated with a remote control and bluetooth and stuff like that. This one is simple--just a few buttons. I do wish you could change the colors, but you have to choose when you buy it--green or blue. Luke had green, so I went with blue. The stars rotate slowly, and the cloudy parts move a bit (or you can opt to keep it still). You can turn on one or the other (stars or clouds) or use both.

The stars projector would be a great gift for kids of any age, teenagers (Noah, Eli, and Noah's girlfriend loved the ones I got them for Christmas last year), and adults that act like children (e.g. Jerry and I). I'm going to buy one for Shelby and Hunter for Christmas (my niece and nephew; Jerry's sister's kids). 

Here is a link to the stars projector. (The one that I have is an older model that is now more than DOUBLE what I paid for it. So here is a different version--same brand--that looks very similar.)
Here is a link to the essential oil diffuser. (With the version I have, you can change the color of the lights by pushing a button to cycle through colors/brightnesses.)
Here is a link to the LED UFO light (there are different designs--we just went with a space theme that happened to be emerging, haha). 


This game is super fun and fast and easy to learn. It consists of only the game "board" and cards. The board is a plastic wheel that has letters surrounding it. In the center is a timer. To play, you draw a card (the cards have different categories on them, like "the great outdoors" or "desserts" or "in the kitchen", etc. Then you start the timer. The first person has 10 seconds to think of a word that fits the category. Even kids who are learning their alphabet could play this! Maybe without the timer, though--the noise of the timer is stressful, hahaha. My mind tends to go blank the second I'm being timed.

Let's say the category is "desserts"; the person might say "cake". So they would press the letter C (which just keeps it in a down position, meaning that it's been used and the letter C can't be used again this round). That person immediately presses the timer button, which passes the turn to the next person and starts the 10-second timer all over again. The the next person might say "apple pie" and press the letter A down, followed quickly by the timer button. Play goes on like this until someone can't come up with a word in their 10-second allotment.

This game is just as fun with two people as it is with several. I would say it would be best for 2-5 people, though. (And honestly, you could even play it solo by trying to finish all the letters without the timer running out.) Anyway, if you're looking for a fun, not-at-all-complicated-to-learn game, this is perfect: Tapple


This is a card game (using a special deck of cards, not the usual playing cards). You deal a grid of 12 cards (4 columns, 3 rows) and each turn, you can swap out cards (following certain rules) with the goal of having the lowest total score in the end. There are different ways to lower your score (including some cards that have negative numbers). It involves a little bit of math, so it's not completely mindless, and you eventually learn to use different strategies. We've played this with the kids (who liked it as well) but mostly Jerry and I play this together. It's a good game! Here is the link to Skyjo on Amazon.


This game is super unique and is perfect for people like Jerry and me who have been together for 24 years and we don't mind a quiet game. This definitely involves a lot of strategy and thinking--you really can't let your mind wander--so I wouldn't recommend it for a social game night. Jerry and I love it though!

There are different versions, but for the one that Jerry and I play most (the original), you lay out a grid of 25 cards--each card has a random word on it--and then set up a card key that matches the layout of the grid. Each card key has squares to correspond to the layout of the cards on the table; and on the card key, some of the squares are highlighted. Those are words that you want your partner to guess. (Your opponent cannot see your side of the key card, so they don't know which words you are hoping they'll guess.)

I'm sure I'm going to make this sound much more complicated than it is, but here goes... on your turn, you look for words that you can connect in some way. Let's say three of your words are: "diary" "dog" and "presents". You might link them via the word "snoop"--it's a long shot, because when you see those words, it looks impossible to connect them. (In this case, I was thinking that you might snoop through a diary, snoop to look for presents, and of course... Snoop Dogg.)

So, you would say just two words to your opponent: "Snoop. Three." And that means that you have three cards that you're linking with the word "snoop". They will then look over the words in the grid and try to guess them based on your clue "snoop". If you cannot come up with much at all based on the cards you have, you might say "Journal. One." And hope your opponent chooses "diary". There are also words that you DON'T want them to guess. So let's say one of those words is "secret". If there is a card that says "secret"--that could possibly fit into the "snoop" category as well--so you may not want to use the word "snoop" to describe the three words if it could lead to them guessing the wrong word ("secret"). There are a couple of words that end the game immediately if they guess them, so you have to be careful about the clues you pick.

You only have so many turns to get them to guess all of the cards, so you want to try to group (connect) the cards as much as possible without making your clues too obscure.

If you like the NY Times game Connections, then I think this is a great game for you! Jerry and I have three versions of Codenames, but this is the one we play the most: CodenamesCodenames Duet is another version; you work as a team of two rather than as opponents. Codenames Deep Undercover is an "adult" version (i.e. dirty words). There are others, too, like Disney and Marvel and Harry Potter. I wish I knew Marvel; Jerry would love that one!


I've never been a big headphones person. I rarely listen to music and if I do, it's in the car. Even while running, I honestly don't mind running without listening to something. I do like to wear headphones on walks and when Jerry is sleeping and I want to listen to a podcast or audiobook (I almost typed "book on tape"--groan) while I cook or do laundry or something.

Anyway, I've bought several pairs of cheap earbuds over the years, hoping to find some I liked, but I just didn't. I couldn't imagine spending so much on a pair of earbuds when I'm not even that into music, but I have a Bose speaker that I use to listen to podcasts when I work in the garage (it's super old, but I love it). The quality is amazing, so I decided to look for Bose earbuds.

I ended up getting this pair: Bose Quiet Comfort II. I LOVE THEM. The sound quality is superb and they are very comfortable. They don't go so far in my ear only to make my ears ache after a while, but they stay in without problem (I think I might have big earholes because I have always had a hard time with keeping earbuds in my ears.

I especially love the noise canceling part of these. I wasn't sure I'd use that feature but I do, very frequently. Even if I don't want to listen to anything, I'll put in the earbuds just to get some quiet in order to concentrate on a blog post. You can adjust the amount of noise canceling power, too--you can set it to "aware", where you can hear your surroundings without problem. On the other end is "quiet" mode, where you can't hear crap other than what comes through the speaker.

I never used to use bluetooth in order to talk on the phone, but since getting these earbuds, I use them for that purpose sometimes--when I have a Zoom appointment or for calling people while on a walk. The sound quality for the calls is fantastic. No complaints. The battery lasts a long time, but like I said--I don't use them a ton.

Anyway, I love these earbuds! They are on a Black Friday deal right now, and I haven't seen them cheaper than this since I got mine a couple years ago (I've been looking occasionally for my brother-in-law). You can find them here on Amazon: Bose QuietComfort II earbuds


The 365 Blanket

I saw this blanket via an ad a couple of years ago and really wanted to get one, but I couldn't bring myself to spend so much money on a blanket that I wasn't even sure I would like. It wasn't a *need*. Still, I would occasionally go to the site and contemplate buying one. After paying off our house, I decided I was finally going to just do it. Now I wish I'd bought it when I first learned of it! 

When I used to babysit Luke and Riley as babies, Becky had these very soft muslin blankets that she used for all sorts of things: a breast-feeding cover-up, a spit-up towel, a swaddle blanket, etc. I wanted one in an adult size so badly--they were so cozy and soft and breathable.

This is one of the baby blankets I loved so much!

The 365 Blanket is basically four layers of the soft muslin baby blankets. I didn't get it for the "365" feature--that it's supposedly the perfect blanket to use 365 days a year--because I didn't really buy into that. Living in Michigan, it's miserably hot and sticky in the summer and miserably cold in the winter. I haven't had this blanket for a full year in order to truly test it out, but it's the only blanket that I sleep with now.

Our furnace was broken all last week and the temp in the house got down to 55 F at night--and the blanket, while thin and breathable, kept me warm. It arrived at the very beginning of September, and it was still pretty hot then; the blanket kept me at the perfect temperature. I have no idea how this works! After Jerry and I fell in love with it, we also got one for each of the kids--they love them as well.

This link goes to the Muslin Comfort site, where I purchased mine. (Again, I don't get anything for a referral--I just love my blanket and wanted to share!) While expensive for "just a blanket", they have different sizes and I think a throw would make an awesome gift. Note: I wouldn't use a sheet underneath the blanket--it's not as comfy and the blanket can't "breathe" like it's supposed to. The blanket is machine washable, though!

Floor pillow

That's a terrible picture on the right, but that's how I like to sit on it.

This is something I got recently when I started working on daily habits. One of the habits I got into was sitting on a floor pillow while reading. [After researching my back issues, I decided I wanted to start sitting cross-legged on the floor at least for a few minutes each day, mainly to improve my posture.]

While I can certainly sit on the floor itself, I like using this cushion when I'm going to be sitting for a while. It's super comfortable and I'm kind of surprised at how well it keeps its shape. Jerry uses it, too, especially when playing his Xbox. It's made out of foam but it doesn't sink in low like a lot of memory foam. It stays pretty stiff, which is what I wanted.

This is the one that I have: Floor Pillow for Adults. I have the 22-inch one (it comes in 24 inches as well). Mine seems to be a good size for me, but if you're in doubt, I'd go with the 24 inches.

Japanese Shower Towel

I can't remember where I heard of this (my money would be on Reddit), but it had SUCH rave reviews and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I've always used loofahs in the shower; I find washcloths to be kind of annoying because they are "drapey"--they get very heavy when wet and I just find them hard to wash with. So why I decided to try out this "shower towel" is beyond me! It's super long--the opposite of what I'd normally look for.

Basically, it's a long rectangular cloth that you use to wash yourself. I can't describe the fabric well--it's exfoliating but not to the point where you can practically feel it damaging your skin, haha. It feels SO GOOD. My skin feels super clean and soft afterward. It holds shower gel really well, despite its size, and a little gel goes a long way. After washing in the shower, I just wring it out (which dries it immediately) and hang the cloth from a hook in the shower (like I did with my loofah). 

I loved it so much that I got one for Jerry too--and he keeps telling people at work that they need to get one, hahaha. He said it was a total game changer, especially when washing your back. (The length is enough to spread out across your back.) I read reviews on several brands, and decided to go with this one: GOSHI Exfoliating Shower Towel. It was on the expensive side compared to others, but I think it is 100% worth it. Each of my kids will be getting one for Christmas--the joys of getting older and more "mature" Christmas blankets ;)

Speaking of showering, I finally found a vegan shower gel that I really like. I used to use Neutrogena Body Clear wash--it has salicylic acid, which is the only way I've been able to keep my back and chest from breaking out in acne. I used to have body acne until I started using the acne wash. Finding a vegan one was difficult, but this one has been perfect--I like it even more than Neutrogena because it smells nice. And it works well! Here is the current one I am loving: Pacifica Acne Warrior body wash. It's vegan and cruelty-free!

Laundry hampers

I'd only ever had one style of laundry basket/hamper my entire life: the hard plastic mesh ones. However, when building my bathroom closet, I didn't account for the width of them when deciding where to put the shelves. I made sure the height would be perfect! But totally didn't think of the width. I wasn't able to fit them both into the closet (we use one for lights/one for darks). I don't know what possessed me to try out these hamper bags, but they fit as if they were made for the closet.

If it's possible to really love a laundry hamper, then I will say loud and clear: I love these hampers. The "fabric" is extremely stiff and has a PEVA waterproof coating on the inside. I thought these wouldn't last long, being made of fabric, but they are SUPER durable and hold up now the same as they did when I got them in March.

These are ones that I have: HomeHacks Freestanding Hamper. Mine are the 100 L size (I also got each of the kids an 88 L one).

5-Year Journal

As you know, I *love* the entire concept of a 5-year journal. It's set up in a way that each page (366 pages, one for each day of the year) is labeled with the date but no year. There are five separate sections (just a few blank lines each) where you fill in the year. Then you write a couple of lines about your day in that section. The next day, you go to the next page and fill in the year again. Etc. For year two, you go back to January 1, and start writing in the SECOND section down the page. You fill in the new year's digits, then write your journal lines. For year three, you go back to January 1 and start again, with the THIRD section on the page.

There are a lot of different styles of five year journals, but here is the one I have. I really like it (the pages are thick and good quality).



That's Chick on the right; not a shadow. Hahaha!

Feeding the pets their "special food" (just canned wet food that we give them once a day; we call it their "special food", which gets them worked up for it) is kind of an ordeal in my house. Phoebe, at 15+ years old, weighs less than five pounds; I want her to get any sort of food/liquid, so I tend to cater to her tastes when it comes to cat food. Phoebe only likes the gravy, no chunks, so I add a tablespoon or so of water to the can and mix it up to make more gravy. Then I spoon just the gravy onto Phoebe's plate. Estelle likes mostly gravy with a few chunks, so I do hers next.

Chick and Duck go crazy for canned food, regardless of how it's served. They eat much faster than Phoebe or Estelle and I was having the problem where they would go after Phoebe and Estelle's food if I wasn't watching like a hawk. I read about these LickiMats on Amazon, and figured I'd give them a try--I was hoping they'd keep Chick and Duck busy long enough to let Phoebe and Estelle finish their food. I got one for Joey, too, because he eats faster than anyone.

I was shocked at how well they worked! I smeared Joey's pâté food all over the mat, and he licked at it for a long time. Phoebe and Estelle finished their food while Chick and Duck were still working on theirs. And they weren't phased in the slightest by a change in serving dish.

These LickiMats are basically just mats made of food grade rubber with different textures; by spreading the wet food around, the pets have to lick at it for a while in order to get all of the food out from each groove. My only complaint is that they aren't dishwasher safe--I have to clean them by hand after they eat. If you let the food dry on there, it's harder to get off, so just make sure to at least rinse it when the pets are done. (I don't have a picture of Joey's here, but it's essentially the same thing--just square and with different texture.)

Here is the link for the cats': LickiMat for cats
Here is the link for Joey's: LickiMat for dogs (Joey's came in a two-pack with different textures. If choosing between the two, I like the LickiMat Buddy one best. It seems to take longer for him to eat his wet food and none of the food gets left behind.

Cat scratcher

PetFusion cat scratcher

This is the two-level scratcher--when it was new.

The first time we bought this cat scratcher, I was sure it was going to be the biggest waste of money EVER. It's cardboard! Why so expensive? Well, we've now bought three (two different styles, which I'll explain). They are fantastic! They last so much longer than the cheap cardboard ones. The first one lasted three years before we bought another. A year after getting the kittens, we bought another--the "jumbo" version that has two levels--and it's just as great. 

However, I will mention that my cats don't use the center part of it (the "bottom" level). It cost more, and since my cats don't use that part, I recommend the smaller one (they are roughly the same size, but the jumbo one just has that lower level as well). The second one we bought is still going strong; the only reason we bought another is to have two for different locations (helpful when you have four cats!).

My cats love these things. It's their go-to for scratching [My usual PSA: Please please don't declaw cats. If you find a scratcher they like, put it in a main living area (they may not use it if it's in an isolated spot), and trim their nails occasionally, they won't scratch up your furniture.] They also like to sleep on top of it.

Here is a link to the one-level: PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge (if you want the two-level one, it's an option on the same listing).

Squirrel lunch box

This is when it was fairly new; I do clean it occasionally, but it's probably time to replace it.

Despite how adorable I think my squirrel picnic table was, it wasn't practical. If you set food out on it, the birds would come take it away immediately. It was also very small--which makes for adorable pictures of squirrels, but it's still impractical. As someone who treats our backyard squirrels like pets, I like to keep food out for them at all times.

When they come up to the door, I always give them a walnut or other nut in the shell. However, I keep this "squirrel lunch box" attached to a post on my back deck. I fill it with peanuts in the shell, which I get relatively cheaply at a farm animal feed store. (If you do feed them nuts, just be careful not to get salted nuts--I just buy raw unsalted nuts--because the sodium isn't good for the squirrels.)

The squirrels bring me so much joy! I love to bring some nuts out on the back deck and hand them out to the squirrels like trick-or-treat candy. They have different personalities, much like cats and dogs, and they're so fun to watch.

Anyway, here is the squirrel lunch box that I use: Zenport Squirrel Lunchbox. It's lasted about five(?) years now. My squirrels are fat and happy :)

Okay, I'm SURE I am leaving out probably two dozen things and they won't occur to me until after this post goes live, but I *think* this is where I'll end it. I have a few favorite apps that I want to share, but I'll do that on another post. I just wanted to get this one up while everything is on sale right now for Black Friday!

I always like hearing what others are loving and their favorite things, so please share yours! You can either post here or I started a Facebook post and you can share there (with a link). Here is the link for the post on Facebook: Favorite things


  1. Wow! What a great post. So many good things here for gifts and for ME. Definitely getting the 365 blanket. Thank you!

    1. I hope you love it as much as I love ours! I'm obsessed with soft comfy things, and bedding is no joke to me. The 365 Blanket is one of the best purchases I've ever made! Please let me know what you think :)

  2. The lickimats are both my best friend and my enemy :) I LOVE how busy it keeps my dogs. At least 30 minutes of keeping them busy time! But ugh the cleaning lol. No matter how much I scrub, there is always food left in the mat!

    You have me super intrigued on the Japanese shower towel and the body wash! I have horrible back acne :( I have yet to find the magical wash that will help! It can be so frustrating but I'm always willing to try something new!

    1. I wish the Lickimats were dishwasher safe! I'm tempted to put one on the top shelf and see if it comes out okay, but they aren't exactly cheap so I don't want to ruin it, haha.

      I had bad back acne, especially as a teen. Once I started using the Neutrogena acne wash, it cleared up (I tried switching back to regular body washes a few times, but the acne would reappear). I don't want to buy the Neutrogena anymore, since it's not cruelty-free, but after finding the Pacifica on I mentioned above, I don't need to! It has worked really well (no difference from the Neutrogena as far as acne goes). I hope that it works out well for you, if you try it! Please email me and let me know--I'll be curious. Regardless of the body wash, though, definitely try out the Japanese shower towel. It's AH-MAZING!


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