Things I Use

Ever had something that’s just made your life better? Me too. These are not things that are necessarily in a category, but they’re just things that have made my life slightly better and as a result, I thought I’d share them. So this is definitely not a gift guide or anything like that.

And I do hope to write a bit more now that basketball is over. That’s what this place is for, it’s more than just Saturday Morning Links.

1. Dental lace. I am definitely one of those people that tries to reduce the amount of plastic that I use, whether that be cups or anything else. I really haven’t done the research to determine whether or not it helps me, but it would seemingly make sense to use less plastic, especially plastic that you put in your mouth. I bought dental lace on a whim, and it’s more than lived up to my expectations. Here’s the deal though, it’s not unbreakable like plastic floss. It will break, but I have found that I am able to hold onto it better  because it is a natural material and it’s not perfect. With plastic floss, I’d tie off on one index finger and then tie off on the other. With dental lace, I’ll just tie off on one finger and then I’m able to hold it in my other hand. I was initially frustrated by the fact that it would break, but it would usually break when I was pretty well done. it’s just as good as floss, it gets the job done (with some adjustment), and it’s probably better for me and the planet.

2. I have can have terrible dandruff and up until a few years ago, I had always used some sort of Head and Shoulders or even something stronger, but then I stumbled on Ethique shampoo bar and it’s pretty great. I can’t say that it absolute solves all of my problems but I can say that it works pretty well. And I initially thought that using a bar of shampoo was dumb, but I’ve found that it lasts a really long time and you use hardly any to get your hair lathered.

3. Like a lot of people, I have always bought too many water bottles, looking for the perfect bottle. I have found one that really works for me, the Camelbak 32 ounce Chute Mag. What makes this great, for me is that the cap covers the spout. That’s something I like. The spout also isn’t huge, basically drink it like I would a bottle of water, which also has advantages, namely, if I have ice in it, the ice doesn’t come crashing down at my face. The cap also has a magnet embedded in it and it connects to the handle, so that solves a huge problem, which is “cap flies in face when drinking”. Like almost every water bottle that’s insulated, it does keep water cold and I haven’t done any sort of test, but it works good enough in the Texas summer.

4. My life has changed since I started using a clothes line. I started using a clothes line when quarantine started, I installed it on the side of my house, wrap it around a post and back to the house again. I’ve never used a clothesline in my life, but for workout clothes, it’s been great. I typically have incredibly smelly clothes after workouts, and letting them dry outside has helped significantly. Not only that, but for laundry and just letting it dry outside, I think it’s better for my clothes.

5. I went on a personal ban against hooded sweatshirts and jackets (except for rain jackets) for absolutely no reason at all. What ended up happening was me trying to find non-logo sweatshirts and that ended me in finding Fresh Clean Tees and True Classic Tees. They are both good and very similar. I did buy a few sweatshirts and I also bought a few t-shirts that didn’t have a logo and didn’t spend a ton of money doing it.

6. Medito meditation app is free and it is actually really good. I got into meditation, maybe close to a year ago. The idea of it sounds quite silly, but the best thing about meditation is that it does two things for me: 1) it makes me be quiet with my thoughts; and 2) it’s helped me be quiet with my thoughts and focus and actually pray better. I didn’t expect either of these things to happen, in fact, I actually expected meditation to be something that just didn’t work, but I have enjoyed it.

7. Shoes are a funny thing and this is something that will take a longer post, but I think I’ve finally found my sweet spot for shoes. Like a lot of people, shoes are something that is somewhat personal. What works for me, maybe won’t work for you, and what works for you won’t work for me. I’ve had a ton of fun with the Saucony Kinvara 11’s and I even bought another pair after putting 400 miles on my first pair this year. Now that football has gotten here, I’ll have more time to get to some shoe reviews shortly. I will say that I’ve run in New Balance, Nike, and Saucony this year.

8. The simplicity of wrist sweatbands are terrific. They are about $10 on Amazon and I don’t know that there’s a brand to recommend, but I use them all of the time while working out. Inside, I use them for obvious reasons and outside, I think I use it more to wipe my nose when it’s cold than for actual sweat.

9. I use Pocket to remember articles, links, Google searches, gift ideas for my wife or kids, pretty much anything online that I need to remember, I use pocket as a virtual bookmark so that I can go back to it at a later point. The downside is that I tend to save a ton of stuff and so I tend to get too much stuff in it and I have to clean it out every couple of weeks. Regardless, it is a game-changer when it comes helping me to remember Saturday Morning Links or things I write for Staking The Plains.

10. Books. Yes, books. I have always loved books and I fell back in love with books this year and there’s more that I’ll write about that at the end of the year, but actual real books and not digital downloads have been a really good thing. I also really didn’t realize that you don’t own the digital download of a book and I didn’t like that. Plus, I’ve sent a handful of books to friends and that’s something we should do more often. I’m really happy that I’ve picked up books again. 

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