A Few Things I Didn’t Know I Needed

I’ve had a few life-changing experiences in the past 50 years. Finding my soulmate. Becoming a mother.  Discovering a coffee mug that keeps your coffee at the perfect temperature. Don’t ask me to rank these in order of importance. That’s not the point. The point is that coffee is best enjoyed hot sometimes you find the perfect thing that makes your life easier, more enjoyable, and better. Here are a few of my recent life-changing finds.

A Few Things I Didn’t Know I Needed

Graphic: A Few Things I Never Knew I Needed

The Perfect Coffee Mug 

I know you are not supposed to love material things, but I truly love my Ember mug. Can I just tell you how glorious it is to pour a cup of coffee, sit down to work, and pick up the mug for a sip 15 minutes later while it is still the perfect temperature? The Ember mug is a  beautiful, simple mug with a witch-crafty, magical coaster. And I love it with all my heart. This one is a splurge for sure, so be prepared to drop some cash . . . or a massive hint around a milestone birthday like I did. Your coffee dreams will come true.

A Beauty Spatula

If you need to make sure you save all your pennies for the perfect coffee mug, the Every Drop Beauty Spatula will help. Just as the name implies, this teeny tiny spatula will help you get every last bit of your favorite beauty product out of the bottle. For $5, I can get at least ten more uses out of my favorite foundation. It’s reusable too!

No More Chafing!

It’s almost time for spring dresses, swimsuits, and shorts. And that awful, chafing that happens in a hot Iowa summer. If you can relate, you need a stick of Megababe Thigh Rescue. This stuff has the look (and feel) of a deodorant stick and the power of a superhero as it glides on to save your thighs from chafing. Right now, you can get a “Safe from Chafe” bundle that includes two full-size sticks, plus a mini to throw in your bag.

Freshen that Stinky Water Bottle

This one might seem a little “extra,” but the Tumbler Water Bottle Cleaning Tablets are a game-changer. If your kid’s water bottle smells like pond water after a few days in their backpack or locker, just empty it, fill it with warm water, and plunk in one of these tablets for 15 minutes (or overnight if you actually retrieved tadpoles from inside!). The tablets are an effervescent mix of baking soda, peppermint oil, and other food-grade ingredients. When it’s done, you just rinse and fill with water. It’s like Alka Seltzer for your water bottle.

Productivity Timer

Initiating and staying focused on daily tasks can be challenging. Throw in distractions like email, notifications, and bright shiny things and the struggle is real. Enter the Cube Timer. These timers, with time increments from one minute to an hour, have helped me to achieve small productivity wins throughout the day. The cubes have great use outside of work too. My daughter grabs the cube to set the 30-minute option for music practice after school. I set structured time around habits I want to practice, like 20 minutes of reading for pleasure or breathing for one minute. You could also use your smartphone timer, the clock on the wall, or an old-fashioned sand timer, but I like the visual reminder on my desktop.

Laundry Sorter, Marriage Saver

Laundry used to be a constant source of tension in our household. Everyone wears clothes, but I was doing the majority of the laundering. The frustration piled up (pun intended) until we figured out a way to make it easier for everyone to get involved. And by “we” I mean my therapist and me. The Storage Maniac 4-Section Laundry Sorter was a $40 game-changer. Take a look at a single hamper overflowing with dirty clothes and it’s easy to think, “Ugh! I’ll do it this weekend!” Sorting laundry as you go makes it easy to grab one load or for your kid to “wash the jeans” without worrying about your favorite shirt turning blue in the process.

Try Before You Buy

Life is too short to try on clothes in poorly-lit fitting rooms. Online retailers have made trying on at home a great way to save time. You can always buy upfront and return with free shipping (hello, Lands End swimsuit shopping), but then you have to hassle with returns and refunds. Try before you buy charges you only for the things you keep and provides the bag and label or code to return for free.  I like style boxes like Stitch Fix for the ability to set your budget upfront, request certain types of clothing like “Zoom-worthy work from home wear,” and then take a few days to decide if you love the items rather than buying on impulse. I just discovered that Able, a woman-owned, socially progressive, and size inclusive company, has this option too. I can’t wait to try on a few different sizes of the Jones Heel in Raffia

What is one thing you’ve found recently that you never knew you needed?

P.S. I’ve tried almost all of these things as a result of listening to a podcast or being willingly influenced on social media. My favorites include Gee Thanks Just Bought It, Jenn Falik’s The Ultimate Edit, Maddy Gutierrez, and Knox and Jamie’s recs on The Popcast.

Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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