Happy 2017! To kick off the new year, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things. These are productw I’d buy again in a heartbeat, no questions asked, because they consistently perform. In fact, in many cases, we re-purchased these items for our “home away from home” (aka the boat) because we couldn’t do without them.
Jojoba oil (pronounced ho-ho-ba)
I started using jojoba oil about a decade ago, and it’s one of the only personal care products that I’ve consistently used for years. It’s light, unscented and very moisturizing. In winter, I add a few drops to my daytime face lotion, and at night I pat it on top of my night cream to lock in the moisture. In a pinch, it works well as a makeup remover and for dry hands and chapped lips.
I first found these candles at Anthropologie, but they are sold at many places and are now pretty much the only candle I’ll buy. Voluspa candles are made from coconut wax, not paraffin or soy wax, and come in lightly perfumed fragrances. These candles are low smoke and, unlike many other candle brands, you can burn these for hours without having to worry about an overpowering scent or burning smell. The scent pictured above is my favorite.
Face cleansing oils
Face cleansing oils became popular a few years ago, and ever since I tried my first one, I’ve been hooked. Despite their gentle nature, cleansing oils do an amazing job of melting away makeup – especially hard to remove eye make; they work better than any other cleaner or eye makeup remover I’ve ever used, and I no longer wake up with dark rings of leftover mascara around my eyes. In fact, since finding cleansing oils, I have thrown out all my eye makeup removers.
If you wear light make up, a cleansing oil may be all you need. Since I wear eyeliner and multiple layers of mascara, I follow up with another light cleanser (Purpose facewash) after washing off the oil just to make sure my face is squeaky clean.
I’ve tried all of the brands above and each works very well, but the Tranquil Cleans Off Oil from Mac is my favorite.
Mr. Heater (Buddy) Portable Heater
Our sailboat has a heating and cooling unit that runs off 30 amp electricity, but in early spring and late fall, when we are at anchor with no access to shore power, we lack the power capacity to run our heating unit (or a space heater on DC power).
This little propane heater (whom we affectionately call Mr. Buddy) pumps out a surprising amount of heat and works very well to take the chill out of the air in the morning or at bedtime. The indoor-safe heater runs off of a 1-pound propane cylinder and lasts about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. (It gets so hot in our boat with this heater, we usually run it for 30 minutes at a time and then turn it off.) We always run the heater with a window cracked open, but the unit does come with a built-in low oxygen alarm and turns off automatically if it’s tipped over.
I first came across these Kyocera ceramic knives at Crate and Barrel, but I ended up purchasing this perfect set of three from Amazon for the boat (it comes with a large chopping knife, a mid-sized serrated knife and a small peeling knife…in my opinion, the three most important knives). Everyone who uses these knives on the boat raves about how well they work; they are the sharpest and best knives we’ve ever bought (even better than our more expensive Wüsthof set at home).
The only downside to these knives is that because they are ceramic, they can break if dropped and do stain if you leave pigmented foods on them for too long before rinsing (such as beets), but a swipe of lemon juice helps get rid of the stains.
Philips Sunrise Alarm clock
This sunrise simulating alarm clock is an investment, but Nick and I think it’s worth every penny. The clock uses a natural light to gradually wake you up each morning, starting with a low warm, orange glow all the way to a bright, white light. In case the bright light doesn’t wake you, it also has options for five natural wake-up sounds (we chose chirping birds). We love this alarm clock, especially for dark, winter mornings, since it is a much more natural, pleasant way to start the day (compared to a buzzing alarm clock).
While most chefs swear by wood cutting boards, I love this set of four cutting mats from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They are a great size for chopping bigger items, flexible for easily funneling ingredients into bowls or pots, and the rubber grip on the back means they don’t shift around on the counter. They are dishwasher safe and very well made; we do lots of cooking and chopping and these have held up well for several years. And having four mats available means there is always one clean to use. I liked these so much, I bought the smaller-sized four pack for the boat.
Nick and I carry mugs of coffee to work each day in our work bags and have struggled for years to find a good mug that stays hot AND doesn’t leak. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned coffee from the lining of my purses). We’ve had these mugs for almost a year and are still so impressed with how well they work; I’ve never had a leak and they keep drinks hot for hours. Just like everything else, we bought extra mugs to keep on the boat to keep our morning coffee warm while we are underway.
What about you, do you have any favorite items you’d recommend?