One Simple Criterion
What items would you immediately replace with the exact same model if you lost them?
No shopping around to see what else is out there. No hesitation. Just go out (or, more likely, go online) and buy an exact replacement.
For Kim and me, these precious few things meet that criterion.
Check them out, then drop a comment with your favorites things.
Chris' Favorite Things
For women's stuff, jump straight down to Kim's favorite things.
My Shorts Trifecta
I wrote a whole post about my three best men's shorts, so I'll keep this short.
- For sports: Luluemon Pace Breakers. Comfortable, durable, handy phone pocket in the lining, simply the best. I have three pairs.
- For at-home comfort: The Icebreaker Cool-Lite Momentum shorts. The first thing I do when I get home is change into them. I'm wearing them as I write this.
- For everything else: Outlier New Way Shorts. Durable, stain-resistant, odor-free, chafe-less, and nice-looking. I wear these every day and don't get tired of it.
As for what I read on it, it's a mix between books about places I'm traveling to (for example, Trevor Noah's Born a Crime was an awesome intro to South Africa), fun stories (currently, Ballad of the Whiskey Robber), and non-fiction books on whatever topic I'm currently interested in or researching for my life exciting blog, The Zag.
Probably my favorite book in the past 10 years was Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman.
Fellow bookworms might find a "sledghammer" amongst my 15 favorite books that change your thinking on various different topics
Icebreaker Anatomica Merino Wool Tank Top
I found it on the sale rack at an Icebreaker outlet store (hence the weird color). Or maybe it found me because it seems like destiny.
Since we've been united, we've been inseparable. I rarely wear other tank tops because, like everything that's merino, it's so comfortably weather-regulating and it never gets stinky no matter how hard I try.
If You're More of a T-Shirt Kinda Guy
If you prefer to keep your guns under wraps, give the Outlier Ultrafine Merino t-shirt a go. It's replaced my Icebreaker Sphere t-shirts as my favorite because it's silkier, sturdier, and looks nicer.
Outlier gear's crazy expensive, but it's also crazy good, so it's a worthy investment even if you're not crazy rich.
GE Extension Cord
On my popular minimalist packing list post, I can see which items readers are most interested in based on the links they click. The most popular items are my shoes, pants, and bag.
What I don't understand is why they overlook my secret weapon: my extension cord. I use the thing every day and take it with me wherever I go because it's just so darn useful for reaching distant plugs and for turning one socket into three.
Why hasn't this caught on? And why don't more people travel with extension cords? I don't get it.
Whatever. It's your loss if you don't get one too.
Get one here on Amazon or at your neighborhood hardware store.
Could There Be Better?
Do you know if it'd be possible to get a lightweight retractable extension cord? I feel like I don't need such a heavy-duty cord if I'm only using it for my computer and small electronic devices.
CamelBak Chute Mag 750ml/25oz Water Bottle
My CamelBak water bottle is the newest inductee into this exclusive favorite things list.
The spout is the ideal size for chugging from when I'm super thirsty, the handy magnet keeps the cap from hitting my face when I'm drinking, and the size is perfect for backpack side pockets and car cup holders.
To keep myself accountable, avoid wasting time, expand my second brain, preserve priceless memories, and more, I write down everything I do. I call it lifelogging.
Back when I started lifelogging in 2015, I used a basic notes app. In 2016, I graduated to Evernote to better organize my evolving note-taking process. Then, in 2020 I discovered Roam.
With its daily notes and bi-directional links, it has exactly what I need for spinning the web of my second brain.
Well, not exactly. The lack of CMD+F to search is annoying and the mobile app isn't as smooth to use as it should be.
Even so, for meeting the needs of my most beneficial habit, Roam is head and shoulders, knees and toes above any other note-taking app I've come across.
Kim's Favorite Things
My turn! Here are my favorite things with a common theme of health, food, and fitness.
My Engagement Ring
I sure as hell hope I never have to replace this one.
After Chris romantically proposed to me with a dollar store ring in June 2019, we spent months deliberating, researching, and figuring out how to come up with the perfect engagement ring. And we nailed it. I couldn't be happier with the delicate and simple design.
Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack
The name "City Adventurer" couldn't be more appropriate for my Lululemon backpack because it's the perfect combination of sporty and city. I use it almost every day.
Why I love it:
- Pockets. Lululemon has thought of all the details including a small side pocket to keys separate, and a bottom compartment for shoes.
- Laptop Friendly. The built-in laptop pocket perfectly fits my Macbook Air, so I don't have to carry the extra bulk of my laptop case.
- Style. I can wear it around the city or on a hike. The black goes with everything. Chris' sister has the same backpack and is just as in love.
Check it out at Lululemon.
Lululemon Fast and Free Tights
I love my Lululemon Fast & Free Tights so much that even though they aren't cheap, (~$120) I own three pairs. They are my go-to workout pants and the ones I recommend to everyone.
- Material. The thin, quick-drying, sweat-wicking "Nulux" material. It also never pills, so my pants look good as new even after six months or a year.
- Pockets. I don't worry about my stuff falling out and jangling around thanks to the pocket sewn into the upper thigh for my phone and the small waistband pocket for my keys.
- Fit. They stay where they're told and keep everything in without feeling too constrained.
- They aren't see-through.
Check them out at Lululemon.
Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Face Powder
I don't wear much makeup but when I'm feeling shiny, I use my Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed powder.
I've been using Clinique products since high-school (thanks Mom) and this specific product for over six years. It doesn't clog my pores, has a small and compact container (with mirror), and isn't tested on animals.
Check it out on Amazon.
UE Boom Wireless Speaker
Since I got it nearly two years ago, I haven't had a single issue with its durability, sound quality, and size. The only issue is it's a bit heavier than some other travel speakers, (~550g) but I'm happy to take on a little bit of extra weight for the reliably strong sound it pumps out.
Check it out on Amazon and read the reviews for yourself.
Wusthof 16cm Chef's Knife
I hate having to finely chop onions and garlic with a dull, crappy knife as much as I love cooking, so I bring my Wusthof chef's knife with me wherever I go (unless I'm traveling carry-on only).
And if some airline were to ever lose it, I'd buy a replacement ASAP. I like how light it is and it feels pretty much like an extension of my hands by now.
Check it out on Amazon.
Zojirushi 16oz Travel Mug
My Zojirushi travel mug is proof that our guide to how to pick gifts even better than Santa really works. Chris bought it for me a couple of years ago and I've been using it religiously ever since. It holds in heat (or cold) for hours, doesn't spill, and has a lightweight and sleek shape. What's not to love?
Check it out and it's nearly perfect reviews on Amazon.
Both of Our Favorite Things
These items are so fantastic that we both consider them to be must-replaceable.
Patagonia Nano Puff Packable Jackets
Kim and my identical Patagonia Nano Puff jackets make for a prisoner's dilemma type of situation.
I'd prefer Kim not wear hers when I wear mine. Kim would prefer I not wear mine when she wears hers. But neither of us will give in to the other, so end up both wearing them at the same time, looking like some nerdy couple from the Amazing Race.
They're just so practical—light, warm, packable, and versatile.
Their only downside (other than looking the same) is they do get stinky. But they dry so fast that we can pretty much wear them straight out of the washing machine.
Why We Love Patagonia: Patagonia prioritizes sustainability by using recycled materials as much as possible, making top-notch products that last forever, and offering free repairs even if the damage was completely your fault (like when Kim tore hers when she fell into barbed wire while dodging a mud puddle on the Paramo del Sol hike).
- To make pull-ups easier, I strap a band to a chin-up bar so the elasticity helps me up. This helps me work towards one-armed pull-ups or do strict muscle-ups.
- To make pull-ups harder, I strap the band to something near the ground or have Kim stand on it, then loop it over my neck. That way the band's resistance pulls me down.
That's just one example. Kim and I are constantly inventing and finding new ways to spice up our workouts with our bands.
Check 'em out on Amazon.
Instead of using wasteful plastic wrap to cover onions, avocados, or half-eaten bowls of salad, we've been using beeswax wraps.
These wraps are pieces of cotton that have been treated with a thin layer of beeswax. They're pliable when slightly warmed (from the heat of your hands) and form to whatever you're trying to wrap. They last for over a year, clean easily with a bit of soap and water, and come in handy especially when you have a variety of sizes.
They also make great gifts!
You can make them on your own or buy them online.
Check out the ones we use on Amazon.com
For household items, here's another good gauge for what belongs on this list of our favorite things:
For us, only one product meets that criteria:
Our SodaStreams meet one of four criteria from my research into what makes a guaranteed good gift: They solve a problem.
Actually, they solve two problems:
- Eliminating the bad feelings we used to get from buying plastic bottles of sparkling water at the store.
- Reducing the number of times we need to go to the store and haul back heavy bottles of bubbly H20.
Tatami mats would join our SodaStreams in the exclusive club of things we own in both Vancouver and Cape Town if we had to furnish our places in both cities. But since we rent furnished apartments in Cape Town, we sleep on the beds provided rather than our favorite Japanese-style floor mats.
So our tatamis are like our family and childhood friends: things we most look forward to reuniting with when we relocate from Cape Town to Vancouver every year.
They provide flexibility.
I can easily move my bed to another room if I’m in Kim's doghouse or want to set my alarm to wake up early without disturbing Kim. Plus they are way easier than beds to move from storage into our new Vancouver apartment every year.
They give us sleeping space.
Kim and I have our own beds, but can put them side-by-side to converse and canoodle. It’s the best of both worlds.
They give us living space.
For low-income bloggers like us, the ability to fold up our beds opens up a huge swath of floors otherwise occupied by a big bulky bed.
Most importantly, they give us great sleeps.
If you're still not sold on tatamis, see my story of how I fell into sleeping on the floor (and eventually dragged Kim down with me.) Or watch the video:
Chris' Favorite Things
- Icebreaker, Lululemon, and Outlier shorts
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- Icebreaker merino tank top
- GE extension cord
- CamelBak Chute Mag water bottle
- Roam Research
Kim's Favorite Things
- Engagement ring
- Lululemon City Adventurer backpack
- Lululemon Fast and Free tights
- Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Face Powder
- Wusthof chef's knife
- UE Boom speaker
- Zojirushi travel mug
Both of Our Favorite Things
What Are Your Favorite Things You'd Immediately Buy Again?
Other readers would love to hear what your favorite things are and Kim and I could always use some gift ideas for each other, so please share your favorite things in the comments.
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