Buys on Amazon
We buy a lot of stuff on Amazon each month. This is a highlight reel of our purchases every month. If you want to generate your own report, check out this post.
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.
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.
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.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with various types of breakfasts, hoping to find the sweet spot between something that tastes good, is easy to make, and gives me the nutrients and energy to start my day off right. In this post, I’ll be sharing my “go-to” breakfast that I eat at least 4-5 times a week.
The centerpiece of my breakfast is the English muffin. My preferred brand of choice is Vermont Bread Company’s Organic & Natural English Muffins. I’ve tried all the different varieties (Whole Wheat, Golden White, Honey Wheat, Multigrain, etc.) and my hands-down favorite is Spelt. Spelt is species of wheat that’s been around for a long time and known for being an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. Its taste is not as distinctive as whole wheat, so it becomes a nice canvas for whatever I put on top.
I ran my first half marathon last year. Before last year, I had never run a race longer than 3.1 miles. I put in a good four months of training and even hired a running coach to guide me. I was very proud and loved the experience. But one thing I didn’t like was the pain I endured in my feet and ankles towards the end of my training. I had a nagging pain right under my right big toe that wouldn’t go away and after some 5+ mile runs, my ankles would always be very sore. During my training last year, the pain became unbearable at certain points that I had to take a week off before I could start again.
This time around, I resolved to approach training in a smarter way. I did some research on injury prevention and came across a fantastic book by Crossfit San Francisco founder and physiotherapist Kelly Starrett. It’s called Ready to Run and I can’t emphasize how impactful this book has been for me. In many ways, it’s not only helped me to become a better runner, it’s helped me to rethink the way I move and live my life everyday.
One of my favorite parts of autumn and winter is that it’s tea-drinking season. During the warmer months of summer, I rarely crave any warm drinks (except coffee), but the moment it dips below 50 degrees, I’m all about the tea.
One of my favorite teas is Rishi Turmeric Ginger. It’s got a yellowish tint with an herbal, spicy flavor and makes for a great nighttime drink since it’s caffeine-free.
These are the ingredients:
I typically get about 2-3 steeps out of a bag before the flavor runs out, and since it’s caffeine-free, I don’t mind refilling my mug with hot water over and over again.
I went away to the Catskills with some friends this past weekend. While I was eager to explore the outdoors and enjoy a break from city living, I also knew that a new episode of Game of Thrones would air on Sunday night. I didn’t want to stream it on my iPhone or laptop. I wanted to enjoy it on a TV. I knew the AirBnB we were staying at would have a TV, but there was no mention of a streaming device with HBO Now.
While I own an older Apple TV and Google Chromecast, I decided to buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick. For $39.99 (for the standard non-voice remote), it seemed worthwhile not having to deal with unplugging them and untangling them from the mess of wires behind my TV. Also, I wasn’t sure Chromecast would reliably stream HBO Now. I was also interested in getting a device that would let me stream Amazon Video without using my laptop. So how did it go?
Audible is the audiobook service offered by Amazon. I’ve been using Audible almost daily for the past couple of years, and I can sincerely say that it’s been a life changer.
A little bit about the service and what you’re actually buying with a membership:
I’ve always felt that reading books is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. I keep a running list of books that I want to read, constantly scour for new books on blogs and book review sites, and ask people if they’ve read anything interesting or helpful recently.
After spending most of my life wearing cheap cotton socks, I’ve become an evangelist for wool socks. Starting with Smartwool and Wigwam socks from CostCo. a couple years back, I immediately felt the benefits of wool socks. They were more durable, odor-free, and kept my feet warmer than cotton socks. In New York, where I live, the winters can be brutal, and having the right socks on can be a huge boost to daily comfort.
Last year, I stumbled upon a brand called Darn Tough. Based in Vermont, Darn Tough was conceived in an effort to keep the family-owned Cabot Hosiery Mills in business. They specialize in making high-quality socks and they also offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee. All you have to do is fill out a form and send your socks back and they’ll replace it, no questions asked (I have a couple socks on their way because my dog chewed holes into them — update 12/14/15: see the end of the article for what happened).
Retailing at $15-20/pair, Darn Tough is not cheap. However, if you factor in durability and the lifetime guarantee, I think it’s a pretty fair price. I opted for the Merino Wool Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks in black. I thought it was a good-looking sock and the length seemed just right. Here’s the mix of fabric: