The best measuring spoons.

Measuring-Spoons.jpgWe’re hardcore OXO fans. What’s not to love about their appealing and friendly design? We have their bowls, kitchen tools, measuring cups, and more. OXO is Simple Human’s long-lost cousin

. This week, though, OXO experience a sad day in history; I found a measuring spoon I like far more than what OXO offers.

Why are these spoons better? Simple, it’s dual-sided to fit both in narrow containers like spice jars and any other larger container. Instead of two sets of measuring spoons, we now have one. These spoons are color coded and there is no ring to secure the spoons together. It’s magnetic! I’m in love.

Check them out here on Amazon for $10.99 a set.

Best carry-on suitcase.

I’m picky about suitcases, especially carry-ons. It took me two years to find the right one. I’ve bought and returned so many suitcases that it’s now a running joke in our house: any time there’s a large box on our porch, Scott jokes that it’s my next failed suitcase.

For ages, I eyed my husband’s Int’l Tumi carry-on. The $600 – $800 price tag is more than I am willing to pay for any suitcase. Thus, my search began and two years later, I’ve got a carry-on I can fit into for a seven to ten day trip.

Here is the run down of a handful of the carry-on suitcases I tried. I looked at many other brands in stores, but all had the same point of failure. Read on.

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 10.44.07 AM Northface Duffel (No Wheels)

If you’re willing to go wheel-less, this is the bag for you. It’s more spacious than any other carry-on. I was able to squeeze nearly twice the amount of clothes, shoes, and toiletries into this bag than any carry-on including my husband’s Int’l Tumi.

Downside here is the weight. I’m 5′ 3″ and athletic, but the constant pressure on my shoulder(s) makes travel uncomfortable if not miserable. The bag has backpack straps which helps, yet the weight is still too much for me.

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 10.45.03 AM.pngNorthface Wheeled Duffel

This pales in comparison to it’s wheel-less cousin above. The hardware added to include wheels makes this bag anything but spacious. It’s bulky and out of balance — too much hardware for too little space.

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 10.46.37 AM.png Eagle Creek Tarmac Carry On

I love Eagle Creek. My full size suitcase is Eagle Creek’s Tarmac AWD 30. Their carry-on version of the Tarmac just doesn’t cut it. Like so many others, the interior compartment houses too much of the suitcase’s hardware.

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 10.47.21 AMTumi Int’l Two-Wheeled Suitcase

This is the suitcase my husband has. The two wheeled version has more space than any four wheeled Tumi carry-on. This suitcase is a winner, but at a high price point around $600. What makes this a winner is that unlike all of other wheeled carry-ons I looked at, this one has a simple interior design. The interior doesn’t have hardware taking up a good fourth of the cavity. This suitcase is almost a winner, but the price is too high.

Tumi Four Wheeled Suitcase

I can no longer find this one online. It’s like this one, but a lower price point. It’s bulky, the interior houses far too much of the hardware which takes up valuable space in the main compartment. Features like the plastic caps on every exterior corner are unnecessary and add weight and bulk. It’s narrower than many of the other rolling carry-ons I tested or looked at in stores. This is a Tumi fail.

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 10.48.20 AM.png Travelpro Crew 10 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter

And we have a winner. This suitcase has it all. Limited hardware sucking up valuable packing space in the main cavity in the suitcase. It’s lightweight (lighter than the four-wheeled Tumi carry-on). It’s $150. It’s expandable.

 

Key Failure Point

The failure point of most of the carry-ons is the amount of the hardware present in the main compartment of the carry-on. That coupled with excess builk in fabrics and compartments within the suitcase make for a carry-on with less space. Never trust the volume measurements of a suitcase; you must see the suitcase to know how much it can hold.

Happy travels!

 

No-leak Nalgene travel containers.

Outside of finding a suitable (read: spacious) carry-on, TSA’s liquid requirements are the most challenging part of carrying-on. Travel size versions of beauty products only sometimes cut it. Either they have excessive packaging and are bulky or the product simply doesn’t come in travel size. Worse, you buy a travel size and it doesn’t last through your trip. Sad day.

Enter Nalgene’s low cost, leakproof bottles. These bottles are life-changing. I’ve traveled three weeks without running out of any product. At an average of $1 or $2 per bottle, these are an absolute steal. No more Ziplocs and odd size bottles. No more wondering if it’s TSA approved. Stick with the 2 oz. wide- and narrow-mouthed jars; they will carry you through your trip, trust me.

There are narrow- and wide-mouth bottles. I recommend the wide-mouth. They’re easier to clean. Presumably the narrow-mouth bottles are better for liquids like oils, however I’ve not found a significant benefit the narrow mouth.

Couple these with masking tape and a Sharpie and you’ll have customizable travel sized, leakproof containers that will last years.

Wide-Mouth jars Narrow-Mouth jars Travel Jars
Wide-Mouth.jpg Narrow Mouth.jpg Jars.jpg

Coffees I love (updated periodically).

When I lived in Brooklyn I fell in love with coffee. I’m picky. Super picky. Gimme Coffee at Lorimer and Grand opened my mind and tastebuds to a whole new world of warm bevvies.

I drink my coffee black. If I can’t drink it black, I don’t like it one bit.

My very uneducated description of the kinds of coffee I like is “not burnt.” 🙂 Starbucks, Lavazza, and your generic “we sell coffee but don’t know what type” coffee shop all sell burnt tasting coffee. Most coffee connoisseurs scoff at this description. I think it is an inclusive, comprehensive way to describe my preferences. I think, but have yet to confirm, that another way to say that I like not burned, clean tasting coffee is to say I like “bright” coffees or those that have high acidity or “sweetness.” Interestingly, in 90% of cases the coffees I like are from Africa, usually Ethiopia.

Thus far, here is my list of winners:

Gimme Coffee Honduras Capucas Mejia Familia

Gimme Coffee Kenya Rukira

Gimme Coffee Ethiopia Wotona Bultuma

Stumptown Ethiopia Mordecofe

And here is a table of these coffees. It’s my effort to discern what variables indicate that I’ll like a coffee. (Sorry, can’t load the table here so you have to click through to the spreadsheet.)

 

Body Nutritive Serum

When I can’t sleep one of the things I do to fill my time is scour Amazon for highly rated products in niche categories. I typically don’t even need the product, but the power of reviews and the endless maze that is Amazon is a combination I can’t resist.

In a late night search, I found Body Nutritive Serum. Most of the reviews talk about it being a great tanning product. I use it to moisturize, not fry my skin. Each to their own! The reasons I like it:

  • I feel beautiful when I use it. What woman doesn’t want to feel beautiful?
  • It smells good.
  • It feels amazing on my skin.
  • It’s natural.
  • It lasts a while.

That’s it. Awesome product. Give it a try!