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A Review of The Purple Pillow After a Month of Sleep

I got hit with a Facebook video ad a couple months ago. It was for a pillow that’s unlike any other pillow out there. They likened it to sleeping on the tummy of a jolly fat man.

The timing of this ad couldn’t have been better for the advertiser. I had been struggling with a sore neck for the past three weeks. I’m pretty sure I dinged it when I was working out at the gym. My neck got progressively worse over the next week. My pillow, the highly-rated Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow, felt like it was making my neck even worse. I had several nights in which I reshaped the pillow all kinds of ways, turned it over and over several times, and even tried sleeping without one. I was fed up and grouchy from my uncomfortable sleep and sore neck.

That’s when the Purple Pillow came into my consciousness through a clever ad. It’s an entertaining one that’s worth watching just for laughs. The promise of a cooler pillow with amazing support felt like a silver bullet. I immediately clicked through and read about the product before placing my purchase. At $99, it was almost double the price of the Snuggle-Pedic, so I had some high hopes. They did have free shipping as well as a 100-night risk free trial offer, so worst case was that I would be able to return it if I hated it.

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Every Day Carry [EDC] Series: What I never leave home without

My every day carry

It never ceases to amaze me what people carry in their pockets and backpacks all day, every day. We’re going to start a short series where we profile each of the writers of BwF and what they can’t leave home without. My general philosophy is: better safe than sorry. It definitely shows in my every day carry items. Read on to find out what’s usually in my backpack or pocket!

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A Balm to Prevent Nipple Chafing While Running

I distinctly remember the feeling. After an 8-mile run on a Sunday evening, I stood in my shower and felt a prickly sensation on my nipples as the water ran down my body. Ouch. I looked down and saw that my nipples were reddish and looking raw. On previous long runs, I had worn a tight Underarmour shirt that had zero sway with my movement. This time around, I had on a looser shirt and I paid the price. The running had caused some major nipple chafing.

I knew I didn’t always want to wear a tight spandex shirt to run, so I looked for options on ways to prevent nipple chafing online. Vaseline seemed to be a popular method, but I didn’t particularly find the idea of applying the greasy and oily substance very appealing. I read up some more and came across Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm. They sell what looks like a deodorant stick that you can apply on various parts of the body to prevent chafing.

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The AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella, with Wind Vent: The Perfect City Umbrella?

The AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella, with Wind Vent, Black is a fantastic umbrella, not just at the affordable $15.99 price point.

For some background, I live in New York City, where cheap umbrellas are plentiful. For years, I would buy $7 umbrellas from the local bodega and just replace them if they broke or I lost them. I must have gone through 4-5 umbrellas a year and recently after the last one broke I decided to look on Amazon for an alternative.

If I was going to spend more money on an umbrella, I put together some simple criteria:

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Mount Baker

A Buyer’s Guide for a Novice Climber Part 1

In a few days I’ll be climbing Mount Baker in Seattle Washington. Because this will be my first major climb, I really don’t know what to expect and having scenes from the movie Everest replay in my mind is not very reassuring. With an elevation of 10,781’ Mount Baker is the third highest mountain in Washington State. Let’s hope all those recent weekend hikes in Northern New Jersey and New York will be enough preparation.

Besides preparing physically, there has been a lot of climbing gear that I’ve had to purchase. Thankfully the guides on this climb have provided a comprehensive list of the items I will need. I’ll briefly go over some items and the brand/model I ended up purchasing or renting. Hope this provides some insight when you need to gear up for your first climb. Read More

BuysWithFriends Philosophy 1: Thoughts on making the “right” buys

Vacations = Free Time = Thinking

I’ve been on vacation for the last few weeks in Glacier National Park (pictures forthcoming!). My wife and I got to use our national parks pass right before it expired. We got a ton of value out of the pass. One unavoidable thing about vacations that I came to recognize as necessary evils: gift shops. All those little tchotckes and Glacier branded items probably really help the park’s bottom line. But, I almost never buy anything from them. Quickly browsing or skipping them altogether, gift shops got me wondering about my own personal buying philosophy.

A Buying Philosophy

The act of purchasing something is often personal, emotion-driven, and made with almost zero reflective thought. Many of us largely rely on intuition when making a buy, whether that’s out of habit, cognitive miserliness (our tendency to want to conserve mental resources), or because we don’t often have the time to do in-depth analysis. Usually, we reserve detailed comparisons and note-taking to large purchases of non-perishable items, such as automobiles, televisions, and computers. While these more costly purchases can lead to big one time hits to the wallet or purse, our daily purchases are usually the ones that send us over budget or keep us on track with our savings. So while we can spend too much time over-thinking a purchase, we can also spend too little time and under-think, leading to inefficient spending and regret. What we want to do is strike a balance between analysis-paralysis and willy-nilly spending– since a dollar saved today is many more dollars we can spend down the road (a concept called temporal discounting). To help myself stay on track with making the “right” purchases, I developed a method I call VCR– value, cost, and replacement, whenever the item I want (or think I want) is above a pre-set dollar threshold. While I didn’t realize that I did this almost unconsciously with every purchase, upon deeper reflection and introspection, I was able to figure out that I did have a personal buying heuristic that I employ on a regular basis. Read on to find out more about how I think about buying.

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Seasonal Buys: Summer Purchases and Why I Bought Them

If there was a popularity contest between Summer and Winter in Northeast United States, my money would be on Summer. Even though summers here can be intolerably muggy and incur high electricity bills from the air conditioner, there’s something about its more relaxed pace and its breezy, comfortable nights that beats the bitter cold and long, dark nights of winter. And then there’s outdoor BBQs, trips to the beach, and walking around in sandals.

I’ve been curious about how seasons influence buying patterns. To celebrate these summer months, I decided to reflect on my summer purchases and to think about why I made them, maybe even delve into the “job” I hired them to do.

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A Beginner Runner’s Review of the Garmin Forerunner 235

A few months ago, I decided to run the 2017 Brooklyn Half Marathon with some friends. As a novice runner, there was a lot of work that I needed to do to be able to complete the race. To help supplement my training and provide some data along the way, I started looking for a watch that would be able to track my running speed, distance, and heart rate.

There were a few pieces of criteria that I had when looking for a watch:

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Finding Time: Functional Watches that Represent My Personality

What job does your watch do for you?

I have four watches and each one says something slightly different about me. At one time I had five. About a year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about the Apple Watch. I actually sold my Apple Watch to a family member a few months ago. I stand by all the benefits I laid out in my original post but I don’t think I really understood the downsides of a smartwatch at the time. The biggest issue is that the watch was on me at all times because I wanted to use it as a fitness tracker. This meant that I was tempted to use it for at least a few notifications. But even with the sound turned off (eventually vibration too) and notifications turned to a minimum few, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the watch was wearing me instead of the other way around. Sometimes this meant anticipating the hourly “stand up!” exhortations– other times it meant meaninglessly scrolling through watch apps or looking at the stock ticker on the face.

For my attention’s sake I got rid of it. Many of us are faced with this dilemma daily, especially those who do deep work (Cal Newport’s term for effortful, creative work that requires concentration).

But I didn’t get rid of my other watches. In fact, I found myself wearing them more often, after going for a few months with just my phone for telling time. That didn’t last long. The temptation when you pull out your phone to look at the time is to swipe and look at the other things going on in there. Not the kind of behavior I wanted to turn into a habit.

The watches that I do have are functional and I’ve had two of them for a long time. Many people associate the word functional with “utilitarian” or even “ugly.” That’s definitely not the case with these watches. Read on to find out more about the functional watches I have and my watch wearing philosophy.

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