Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013

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These are a few of my favorite finds I have found this year. I am always sharing about kid stuff and sometimes we need our own ideas! These are products I have purchased this year (or received for birthday gifts from friends and family) that I just love!

Vue Phone Cover by iFrogs

This is something that basically just gets me all giddy. I am the type of person who likes to change things up a lot, and changing up my phone cover brings more joy than it seems it should. Do you remember those Nokia phones--the common phone of about 12 years ago? (wow I feel old right now). They sold face plates for those at the dollar store and I probably had about ten.

This kit comes with the case and then a few different inserts. But it also comes with a template and a punch for your camera. So you can use whatever as your phone cover. Any scrapbook paper...oh yes. Family picture. You bet. Your child's latest drawing or love note. Absolutely! I find the size of this to be the perfect balance of size vs. protection for my phone when I have little kids.

And on Amazon right now this is only 6 dollars--81% discount! Great stocking stuffer.

TubTrug

My mom is kind of the queen of finding random things to buy and try. She ordered one of these from a gardening magazine and said she loved it. So I bought myself one to try out. 

Let me tell you, this thing is amazing! So amazing I think every person who does any type of gardening should own one to make your life easier. I used this for picking weeds (throw the weeds in there as I go), trimming bushes (throw the clippings in as I go), transplanting plants (put the plant in there and then hauling the thing around the yard as I planted them in new places), and picking produce. It is seriously awesome. It is very easy to clean. You could also use it for water. Some people use them inside for toys and stuff like that--I haven't tried that so I can't speak to it, but for gardenign purposes, it is definitely worth it.

Norwex Clothes

I have mixed reviews for Norwex products in general. This summer our fridge broke, so we bought a new stainless steel one. I then found out that you have to use only microfiber clothes on it. My mother-in-law told me the best was Norwex. 

I have a few of their clothes. Some I love, some I hate, and some are "eh." Pictured here--the blue one is the Norwex Enviro Cloth Cleaning Products. This is the one I use on my fridge and I also use it to clean my painted cabinets. It works well. No complaints. No raves. Just nice.

The purple is the Norwex Window Cloth, Antibacterial. This one I really like. I am not sure why, but when I use it to clean my mirrors and windows, they stay cleaner longer. When bathroom day rolls around again, the mirrors aren't as dirty as they usually are. I thought I was imagining things so I did some testing and it is true. I am not sure why. But I like the window cloth and would absolutely buy it again.

I also have the Norwex Microfiber Dusting Mitt.  I like it. I don't buy the claims Norwex makes that it repels dust (I should test that out though...)--I just don't see how you repel dust from landing on a flat surface. Maybe a tiny bit, but not enough to make it so you are dusting less often. I do find the mitt quite convenient. My kids love to use it. It makes dusting faster and makes it easy to do things like wipe the lamp shades off as regular dusting, which I don't do with a rag. So I like it fine. I have a friend who hates hers. 

The Norwex Kitchen Scrub Cloth is my absolute favorite Norwex cloth. If I had only one, this would be it without hesitation. The funny thing is I bought this one intially thinking I could clean my fridge with it, but you can't because it is really scratchy. So I was initially quite frustrated by it. We decided to just use it to scrub stuff in the kitchen. And WOW! It cleans our counter with very little elbow grease. It also cleans Brinley's bar stool seat (we have the Inglesina 2013 Fast Table Chair, Ibisco). To clean this thing with a wash cloth and soap and water is basically impossible. You can get it cleaner, but not clean. Then I take my amazing Norwex cloth and water with very little effort it looks brand new. So I love it.

The Norwex Kitchen Cloth is one I could definitely live without. I actually don't use it. I guess I could...but it is redundant with the other clothes I use--the ones I have for my kitchen already are better than this one is so I just don't use it.


USA Brand Muffin Tin

Ever since we got married, we have been using cheap muffin tins. They recently all but one became unusable due to rusting...For my birthday a couple of months ago, my husband and I decided it was time to invest in a nice one. We went to our local specialty kitchen store and looked at all they had to offer. Then we asked the sales person. She highly recommended this one, which was the most expensive by about 10 dollars. So we debated. Was it really that much better?

Well, I didn't buy both so I don't know, but this one is awesome! This is made from aluminized steel--whatever I cook in there cooks absolutely perfectly. Then it has Americoat on it. So no greasing and things just pop right out. Seriously awesome. We have one other "cheap" pan (but our nicest one we had owned--cost about 15) and when I cook in both at the same time, the food in the cheap one does not come out well at all. So I think I will be buying another one of these and just stick with that.

The down side is it is hand-wash only. But things don't stick to it so it is easy to clean. Another note, you can't use metal knives or spoons to get things out of your muffin tins (seriously news to us). So we bought a Tovolo Scoop & Spread Multi-purpose Spreader for getting things out and we love it.

Blendtec Blender
Remember when I was debating which blender to get this last summer? I asked you all on Facebook and got a lot of recommendations. The most came in for the Blendtec. I was mostly debating Vitamix and Bledtec--and no one said they had one and hated it so I figured either was a good bet. Then people brought up the Ninja. I happen to have various neighbors I was able to borrow these products from to try them out. 

After trying them all, and then some, we went with Blendtec. As soon as we tried it, we were sold. Immediately. After months of thinking and debating, we tried it at lunch one day and bought it an hour later. We have loved it and have not been disappointed. 

Kindle Paperwhite

This was my Christmas present last year. I have long been a "hard copy is the only way for me" person. I love to snuggle up with my book and read. I am an English major! There is no way I could turn from real books for these electronic things!

My mom is also a big reader and had the original Kindle and then upgraded to the Kindle Fire HD 7". So I figured if my mom could enjoy reading on a Kindle, I could too. 

And how!

I love reading on my Kindle. I had tried reading on my iPad and my iPhone and didn't like it at all. But I love reading on my Kindle. I seriously forget that I am reading an electronic device. I love having multiple books I can carry around with me at all times. And I love how easy it is to check books out from the library (from home) and return (automatically). I can get free new books constantly. It was also really nice while I was nursing--it was much easier to have the Kindle open than a book while nursing.

Sleep Cycle App

Last May, my friend Serra and I decided to start running a few days a week early in the morning. I wanted a different alarm than my normal alarm on my phone. I did some digging and came across this app.

I LOVE this app. Super love. With this app, you set a 30 minute window you can wake up in (so I wanted to be up no later than 6:15, so I set my window for 5:45-6:15 AM)--you can also do shorter windows. But the 30 minute window allows the app to wake you up at the best time for you. It senses your sleep cycles and wakes you up at the perfect time so you aren't groggy.

You can also mark things to see how well you sleep with certain factors. Ate late? Exercised? Stressful day? Slept with socks? Slept in a t-shirt? You can customize your variables. It then tells you how you slept and over time can tell you which variables help you sleep better and which impact you negatively. I learned through doing this that in the summer, I do not sleep as well with socks on. I always thought I loved to sleep with socks on, but it impacts my sleep negatively in the summer. For someone as interested in sleep as I am, this app is so amazing. And at this point, my body is so trained to wake up at the certain time each day that I do every day of the week. Love it.

 J Jeans & Things

I don't remember how, but I came across this site this year. I have loved it. The prices are good and they are great to work with. I hate buying stuff online because you never know how it fits. They have been easy to do exchanges with and they have even taken some returns when things just weren't working out. Their selection is constantly changing. 





What about you? Do you have any new favorites this year?

4 comments:

Nikki said...

I also love the USA pans and Norwex.
There's a company called e-cloth that makes very similar (some even better) microfiber cloths without the expensive price. I learned about the comparisons from this lady: http://cleaninup.wordpress.com/honest-norwex-reviews/

Another favorite: the new Shark Rocket (comparable to Dyson digital slim). This is my one and only go to for vacuuming everything in my house! Both are at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you want to do a live comparison, just ask a clerk.

I can't live without my 1Password program either. It stores all the millions of passwords and usernames for every website I use and is a great digital 'vault' for you to store important information. https://agilebits.com/onepassword

So glad to hear you like the Blendtec! I just tried out a friend's Vitamix and was leaning toward the blendtec because of the blade not being sharp and no need for a tamper. Do you know if it does a good job blending greens (for smoothies) at all?

Valerie Plowman said...

Nikki I am glad to hear about the eCloth. I will check out that link.

The Blendtec does a good job with the greens. I would recommend the Wild Side jar highly--it does a better job mixing things. I have both kinds.

Danielle said...

I bought the sleep cycle app. Thanks for that recommendation. Fascinating!!!!

Valerie Plowman said...

I know Danielle! I have loved it.

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