This post is about a few of the items in my life that I really appreciate. It’s the stuff that I find myself using quite regularly or that I need to turn to in cases of sickness or emergency.
- Wool socks. I can’t say enough about wool socks. Living in Canada, my opinion is that they are absolutely essential for comfort in the winter months and even to put on before bed on the cool summer evening. I’m not talking about acrylic or cotton. I’m talking about a high percentage of lambs wool or merino wool and a bit of stretchy stuff like nylon and Lycra. There is a huge difference between wool and acrylic and cotton. Wool remains warm even when wet. Cotton is worse than useless when wet. You can buy wool socks in various thicknesses and heights, from no see-ems to all the way up to, and even over the knee. One of my favourite brands is out of Vermont and is called ‘Darn Tough’. These socks are 100% lifetime guaranteed. In damp weather, wool socks are essential. I always bring wool socks with me when travelling, even to the tropics. On an aircraft, when the floor is cold, put them on. In Cuba we had a day of rain and the weather chilled down. I wore my capris with wool knee-socks. Cute! Heading out into a snowy day, thick wool socks will keep your feet toasty. If you haven’t tried wool socks yet, give them a try and then let me know.
- Burts bees lip balm. It’s the best lip balm that I have ever come across and it has peppermint in the original flavour which brings a nice tingle to the lips. It is expanding into different colours and flavours. In fact, one time I had a bit of a mishap with a coloured one…Trying Something New ?? (age 38) 💋 which was pretty funny.
- Coconut oil. I use coconut oil to remove my make up, to slather on after a shower, to soften my bath water, to sooth a rash or a razor burn and to cook with. It is even my sunscreen, providing a natural SPF of 5. (I also use a shirt, hat and sarong on long days in the sun.) I am not much for commercial sunscreens but, will use them in a pinch. I just don’t like how they feel on my skin. There are recipes for natural, coconut oil based sunscreens with a much higher SPF due to the addition of various oils. For example: carrot seed oil has SPF 38-40; red raspberry seed oil has SPF 28-50. I keep little decorative pots of coconut oil in the bathrooms and a large pot by the stove. It is wonderful stuff. If you have a sore ear, lay down with the sore ear up. Put a small lump of coconut oil at the opening of your ear and it will melt and drip into your sore ear. Keep it there for about 20 minutes. This is always helped me relieve a sore ear. An Ayurveda teacher who spoke at the ashram that I wrote about here: Ashram Rant 🕉 told us to put a bit of coconut oil, at the opening of your nostrils and then just gently sniff it in and it will melt and coat the inside of your nose. This will help with relieving dryness there especially in the winter months or in arid climates. One last treat is to use coconut oil in your coffee. Just stir in a teaspoon along with your cream. Now taste the exotic smoothness of it. So lovely.
- Carabiner Hook. I was in the army for a number of years and wrote about it here: I’m In the Army Now … 🔫 The army is a great place to learn about good gear that makes your life just that much easier, especially when you’re living in a state of panic for weeks on end. Have you ever thrown your keys into your briefcase, backpack or purse only to later have to completely empty it in order to find them? With a carabiner hook on your key chain, you can simply hook your keys onto a belt loop, bra strap, backpack strap…you get the idea. Solved.
- Refillable Water bottle. I take a full bottle of chilled water with me almost every where I go. In Australia, I would have perished without my Nalgene water bottle, even though the water was hot when I went to drink it. We’re Not in Canada Anymore…this is Oz (age 28) 🦇 Saves having to buy a drink when I feel thirsty. I keep home-filled bottles of water in the car in each cup holder too. This saves money and helps with the plastic trash problem on the planet and in our oceans. Another good trick though, is to find a public bathroom, wash your hands and then collect water in your two scooped hands and drink from your hands. Another alternative is the LifeStraw http://lifestraw.com/ with a LifeStraw you can drink bog water and still be alive to tell about it. I learned about LifeStraw on a TED talk. Awesome product.
- Sarong. Going to the beach? Take a sarong to sun-bathe on. They are so pretty and not so absorbent as terry cloth towels. They therefore dry much faster and are much lighter weight. I learned about the benefits of beaching with a sarong while in Mexico, which I wrote about here: La Cucaracha Report – Mexico 🇲🇽 We had done a long beach walk from Sayulita to San Pancho. When we got there, little 4- year-old Leo was pooped and I laid him down on my red sarong after he drank the coconut water from a freshly cut coconut. He had a lovely little nap under a palm tree. I then walked into the little village to buy another one for Dean and I to sit on. I still have the yellow one today, after 13 years and a bit of mending now and then. It has so many wonderful memories absorbed in it, I can not part with it. A sarong is also a very useful sunscreen or a light blanket to shield against over air-conditioning (don’t get me started on that!). In the photo above is my son, Leo, in Nicaragua being sun-screened with my sarong. (La Cucaracha Report from Nicaragua 🇳🇮) Of course, it can be used as a dress or a skirt or even a shirt, if necessary.
- Tick spoon. We came across this wonderful little tool when we lived in Virginia (which I wrote about in Prune Juice & Pregnancy (age 33) 😳), where we became quite aware of ticks and their habits and dangers. Here is the website for the tick spoon https://www.tickedoff.com/ We have used it several times to get a nasty tick off of us and our dogs and it can be added to your key chain or carabiner and then clipped to your backpack.
- Manduka yoga mat. I had worn out several yoga mats before I finally got fed up and decided I needed to invest in a better quality one. The Manduka is that. It is guaranteed for life. https://www.manduka.com I’m liking these guaranteed-for-life products. I have two of these mats, the lighter weight one for travel which I used for 500 Yoga Teacher Training which I wrote about here: Ashram Rant 🕉 and the heavier one for home and studio. In the picture I am doing pincha mayurasana (pincha my WHAT??! ha ha) forearm-stand variation on my lighter-weight green one. There is not a single nick in either mat after hours and hours of yoga practice. Namaste to that!
- Cast-iron pans. A guy I worked with when serving tables which I wrote about here: A Simple East-Coast Life told me of the benefits — added iron to your food– and flavour to be derived from cooking in cast iron. I knew about the flavour because Mom had used cast-iron at The Camp ⛺️ to cook up a feed of fish and a feed of bull-frogs (yep!). Lots of butter or lard and you’re all set. Coconut oil works well in curries. Making sure your pans are well-seasoned and oiled is essential. We found all of our cast-iron pans at yard sales. They were slightly rusty but not beyond a good scrubbing with steel wool and then re-seasoning. Cast-iron can also go outside on the fire and can be used in the oven for baking or to melt cheese on something under the broiler. They are heavy pans which do require maintenance (oil after use), but, they are oh so good. We also have a gas range. Couple cooking over gas flame with the awesomeness of cast-iron and it’s a real winner.
So, that’s it for now on my good gear items…Thank you for stopping by. ~M