Stuff We Like: Recs from Our Purchase Histories

We really enjoy putting these posts together and see what we’ve bought and appreciated lately – and seeing what you’ve found useful, too! This month we’re looking through our purchase histories online to make some :.

Tara: I got a T’GAAL pencil sharpener and I love it soooo much.

T'GAAL Multisharpener for different dized pencils T’GAAL Adjustable Pencil Sharpener, $18

My Prismacolors don’t break anymore, because I sharpen them on setting 1 or 2, but the higher settings are great for my Polychromos pencils.

Sarah: Oooh, that’s nifty! That reminds me of my magnetic seam allowance clip, which helps me align fabric when I’m piecing a quilt.

Madam Sew Seam Allowance Ruler and Magnetic Seam Guide, a tiny metal box that has a magnet beneath to grab onto the stitchplate of the sewing machine. it has a bumper that helps guide the fabric toward the presser foot to maintain seam allowanceMadam Sew Seam Guide Ruler and Seam Guide, $13

Such a tiny thing but life changing. It comes with a ruler with holes to drop the needle through so you can set the seam allowance guide. It’s available at Amazon for $13, and from at $18. 

Amanda: A Mr. Coffee Single Cup Iced and Hot Coffee Brewer!!

Mr Coffee Iced and Hot Coffee single serve machine tower in black with an insulated tumbler, a coffee cup, a filter basket, and a scoop in front Mr. Coffee Iced and Hot Coffee Maker, Single Serve, $36

Also I was gifted a yeti mug and I drink so much more water because it keeps the ice from melting and keeps my drink super cold.

I am famous for leaving half empty seltzer cans around the house because they warm up faster than I drink them.

A White enamel yeti tumbler with a narrow bottom to fit in a car cupholder with a silver band at the top and bottomSarah: My local hardware store has a whole Yeti section (and another similar brand I can’t remember the name of) and frequently has the collection on mega-whoo-damn sale. Especially around Labor Day, Columbus Day, Appliances Are On Sale Now Day – I might get one for a member or two of my household for the holidays.

Also: shopping at the hardware store now is like shopping at an old variety store -remember those? There are SO MANY ITEMS I’d never thought of and are super useful.
Bonus for me: I’m in Maryland, and the only state that loves its flag more than Maryland is probably Texas, so I can get the MD flag (and the Old Bay logo) on quite literally anything that is made of solid matter. (Still looking for Maryland state flag condoms, but I haven’t give up hope.)

Lara: If just South Africa stuff is okay, I can recommend Bluebird Coffee Roastery. They are hyper focused on single origin coffees and small batches. It’s more expensive than grocery store coffee but it has opened my eyes up to what coffee can be. The service is fantastic and the coffees are even better.

I can heartily recommend spending the time to find a coffee supplier and method that bring joy to a morning routine. Game changer!

Sarah: OH YES. I once tried a coffee at Montana Coffee Traders in Whitefish, and ordered bags of it for years afterward. Their Organic Dusk Til Dawn coffee is so delicious.

Shana:  I bought a lot of candles in the past month. My two favorites were this Grumpy Sunshine candle from Bright Side Candles. 

Grumpy Sunshine Candle on a pink label with white candle beneathGrumpy Sunshine from Bright Side Candles, $35

I have to admit that the Age Gap candle smells SO good (it’s Cedarwood and Oakmoss) despite it not being my favorite trope.

I also liked When in Doubt, Relax from posh candles.

Elyse: I’m always kind of suspicious of celebrities products but shut the front door this stuff works.

Jackson Galaxy Pet Solutions Peacemaker, Bully, and Self Esteem in dropped bottles with teal green labelsJackson Galaxy Ultimate Peacemaker Set, $75

We started using it for foster cats with food aggression or anxiety and it actually worked. The Bully formula calmed down the aggression and the Self Esteem helped with kitties who were anxious. Basically it just kind of helps create harmony.

We also had good luck with this for kitties and there is a dog formula also:

Purina Pro Plan Supplements in a black box with a picture of a cat at the top Purina Pro Plan Calming Care Veterinary Supplements, $33

Shana: Oh, I thought of another one! I bought these earplugs after hearing them recommended for sensory sensitivities. Basically, they help take the edge off annoying sounds at the high and low end of the spectrum without decreasing overall sound volume. So when you talk, you don’t get that weird muffled echo of your voice in your own head that often happens to me with regular earplugs. Maybe that’s just me?

FLARE AUDIO Calmer, translucent ear plugs with a tilted tiny handle on the top to remove and insert them kind of looks like a kidney with a tail Calmer by Flare, $30

It’s like taking an edible for my ears. I love using them when I work at an elementary school, because I can have conversations and hear kids who need me, but the high pitched screaming or throwing toys is just rounded off enough that it doesn’t bother me. I do feel like the sizing is a little more finicky than Loops though. And I tried some of the other Flare products, and I wasn’t a fan. Ships from the UK.

Sarah: How do they compare to the Loops that you have?

Shana: I love them both!

I use Loops when I’m dealing with very loud noises in an environment where I don’t care about talking too much. Most recently that was at a fireworks show and a concert. I think Loops are less likely to fall out, so if I’m out and about and going to be jostled I use Loops.

Also they are cuter than Flare, imo. But if I’m somewhere where I’m going to be talking a lot or watching tv I prefer Flare Calmer for less sound distortion. I also like to use them to reduce annoying mechanical noises (it’s leaf blower season here).

Sarah: Oh, God. Leaf blower season. Oh no. I use Loops for loud environments, too – concerts, outside spaces, the mall, Target.

Speaking of Target, I did some household upgrading and cleaning recently – it’s fall! It’s the Jewish new year and the start of another school year, so it’s an annual thing.

I bought new shower curtains, and they were a big upgrade:

 A purple waffle weave shower curtain on silver shower curtain rings Waffle Shower Curtain, $19

I bought this one in purple (above) and cream, and they look great, and are very easy to wash and get clean. It comes in a bunch of colors, too.

Since I gathered myself into a MUST CLEAN CLOSETS furor, I have bought two sets of these plastic bins: one for the linen closet and one for the pantry:

Utopia pantry organizer, 16 bins in two sizes. In this picture the bins are a light blue Utopia Home Organizer, 16 Bins in two sizes, $34

I recently borrowed a home organizing book from the library written by people who have a pretty popular show or podcast or something, and it was so silly: pictures of celebrity homes that they’d organized? I didn’t believe for a second that everyone pictured lived in homes that looked like they were staged for sale (why do staged homes look like aliens with a serious fondness for grey and matching everything live there? Freaks me out) but the one tip I got from this book was to gather similar items into containers.

I hadn’t realized that gathering all the similar supplies together into a single container (like the ingredients we use for salads, or for making poke) means that it’s a lot easier to see when we need more of something. In the pantry, all the bagged flours and baking supplies fit in two of the large organizer bins, and the smaller ones hold all kinds of travel sized supplies in the linen closet. And because they’re clear, I can see everything easily.

Our closets aren’t very modular and have very deep shelves with space between them, so I also got these metal shelves:

Perforated metal shelves with thin legs and rubber tips on the bottom The ones pictured have folded sweaters on them. Two pack of mDesign Metal Closet Shelves, $26

These shelves are 8.95″D x 13″W x 5.87″H (22cm x 33cm x 15cm). In addition to the linen closet, I have some under my bathroom sink in the cabinet (which is also large and deep and has no shelving) and in the kitchen in the “desk” portion of the countertop (why did 90s kitchens come with weirdly limiting desk spaces? It’s so weird).

They’re extremely versatile. The ones in the kitchen create a charging station with wireless pads and cords for everyone’s phones and devices, and the shelves in the linen closet are turned so the narrow side is facing front, and they’re perfect for the plastic bins pictured above.

If you’re a longtime reader of the site, please take a deep breath: Freebird went to college this fall. (I KNOW I DON’T UNDERSTAND EITHER.) One of the most useful things we bought for his dorm: this power strip.

A black power strip surge suppressor with 12 outlets and 4 USB ports and a 6' cordNuetsa Surge Protector with 12 Outlets, 4 USB, $17

Y’all, I was watching YouTube video tours of the dorm he was moving into and taking note of how some students had organized their spaces, and the shopping list was no joke. He really likes this power strip (and the dorm had very specific rules about what kind of power strips are allowed, which this one fits within) because pretty much everything he needs to charge will fit.

And, since we will be visiting Freebird and renting a car while we’re there, I bought this universal car mount for cell phones and tossed it into my luggage so I always have it:

A phone in a car mount that's attached to the dashboard by a big suction cup, plus an inset picture of the same mount with an attachment designed for the air vent Car Phone Mount for Car Windshield, Dashboard, or Vent, $15

I set it up so that it attaches to the air vent, because i didn’t want to deal with adhesive suction cups on a rental car. We have used the phone mount on two visits to see Freebird, plus a family vacation where we were driving and navigating a lot. It’s very handy, very cheap, and very easy to tuck into the corner of our luggage for easy access.

This is still one of my favorite purchases this summer:

Beurer BR60 Insect Sting and Bite Relief Healer a white oblong device that's about palm sized with a blue button and a blue ring of light around the button
Beurer Bite Relief, $25

Biting insects are still out, especially at night when we take the dog for one last stroll before bed, and if I can use the Beurer on a bite in the first few hours (which I will absolutely notice because I am so allergic and so itchy) it stops the itching, and stops the bite from becoming a big swollen mass (I have skeeter syndrome – did you know it had a name?). I love this thing so much. The heat lasts for about 6 seconds, and it’s so effective.

Susan: I am really obsessive about colour-coding my plans, and I found multipens that let you pick what colours you want in them!

A black pen with polka dots and a white clip Uni-Ball Style Fit Customisable 5-Colour Multifunction Pen, $6

A black pen with a white clip and sliders that allow you to pick the ink colorPentel Sliccies Customisable Multipen, $5

I have both types and so far I prefer how the Style Fit writes, but the Sliccies (what a name) have a wider range of colours

Sneezy: Pilot and Muji makes these too!!!! I think Pilot makes different barrels so you can choose how many colours you want, and I was always happy with the colour selection from Pilot.

The gold pen from this set remains my favourite sparkly gel pen!!!!

I might have gushed about these before, but I absolutely love these:

A bottle of deep blue ink with a blue label SKB Fountain Pen Ink – $27








Add Your Comment →

  1. Sarah says:

    I love Seattle based Lighthouse Roasters and both their single origin Kenyan (which is bold) and their single origin Ethiopian (which is smoother than any other coffee I have ever had) are wonderful. Their customer service is great, too.

    I have been drinking single origin African coffees for most of my life and this small roaster has The Best I have ever had.

  2. Beckett says:

    I second the Beurer Bite Relief. I bought a second one, just to make sure I carry one with me when I go out!

  3. Neile says:

    Strangely, we live in Seattle which is home to so many coffee roasters but order our coffee from Whilloughby’s Coffee & Tea in CT. A friend who lived in CT for many years got us hooked on it!

  4. LML says:

    My new favorite thing: ErgoFoam Foot Rest – Premium Under Desk Footrest for Lumbar, Back, Knee Pain. It is soft on one side for bare or stocking feet, and if you flip it over, you can rock it with your feet. Following years using wooden footrests, I was hesitant about a foam footrest and want to share my pleasure with this dense foam design.

  5. SB Sarah says:

    @LML you have saved my lower back, because I’ve been looking for a better footrest. Thank you!

  6. I’m not a coffee drinker, but a lot of my favorite teas come from New Mexico Tea Company in Albuquerque. I was introduced to them by my kid’s college roomate about 8 years ago, and I’ve been ordering from them ever since. Since I can’t do caffeine, I order their both decaf black teas, as well as a bunch of different rooibos blends and herbal tisanes.

  7. LML says:

    @SB Sarah, I’m glad, because I’ve gotten several helpful ideas from these posts, and it’s nice to have something useful and interesting to contribute. Do notice that there are two heights available.

Add Your Comment

Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.

↑ Back to Top