I’m pretty sure I first tried this delicious sauce in an Irish pub a few years back, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. It tastes sort of like if ketchup and A-1 Sauce had a baby, but so much better, and with a bit of a tang from its malt vinegar base. I put it on shepherd’s pie*, or burgers, or whatever, and it makes everything fantastic. What’s your most transformative and and also cheap favorite thing? Please share in the comments.
* I make the best shepherd’s pie. Here’s the recipe—just use three potatoes instead of the two it suggests, and you’re set.
Badedas shower gel used as bubble bath for my tension headaches, Costco generic Zyrtec (a bottle is a year’s supply!), Theo 85% dark chocolate, Ito En green tea, green tea mochi, Bigelow Benefits Lavender & Chamomile tea, Staedtler erasers, Rhodia notebooks, Schneider Slider Memo XB pens (no, I’m not a sales rep for Western European office supplies, but clearly, maybe I should be…), my Powell’s used book habit, Boulder Canyon olive oil potato chips, Suzie’s Saltines, my Crunchyroll subscription, and discovery of jarred eggplant spread that surpassed anything I could make, and thus, means I can opt out of making it myself.
You know, I’ve been looking for a good online used bookstore. Hmm. And what does Badedas smell like? I am an eggplant avoider, but if *you* say something is good, then I must be wrong … ; )
Yaaasssss, Powell’s used book habit! I require a shipment at least every other month. Tried using Strand as I’m a New Yorker and want to support but the Powell’s inventory is always superior.
Mint Cocofloss! It’s outrageously expensive for dental floss, but it makes a daily chore more enjoyable.
Absolutely yes. Love this floss. Worth every penny.
I ordered the Cocofloss because of this thread and it arrived today and I looooove it, thank you for the rec!
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 . Before using it I was getting those wrinkly straight lines above my lip that scream old lady – now they’re gone. I’ve cheated aging & can move on to the next battle. lol
Wait, really??? What’s your application process? Thanks!
I use it twice a day after washing with Cetaphyl. After that comes the rest – niacinamide, moisturizer, oil (at night).
My skin is very sensitive & I’ve add no issue with it after several months, which I consider a victory by itself.
Thank you, Sara! I use Cetaphil and have sensitive skin, too, so it looks like I’m heading to Ulta!
Maybelline makes these little eyebrow pencils – they’re red and come two to a pack and cost a couple of dollars and seriously, they are the BEST eyebrow makeup I’ve ever used.
These pencils are what John Waters uses to draw his mustache on!
In the ’80’s we’d hold these over a lighter to warm them up a bit and then really ink them on as eyeliner!
Muji ‘smooth gel ink’ pens. $1.50 a pop.
Also the Zojirushi insulated coffee mug, which I’m seeing for 25. 99 (close enough?) at Amazon. Keeps coffee hot all day, doesn’t leak.
I swear I’ll stop adding on.
Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50 in the refillable pump bottle, and Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, SPF 50, PA++++.
Both available at oo35mm, online or on Mott St.
Three Christmases ago my older daughter gave me and her sister a tube of that Biore sunscreen and this past weekend, we met up for a girls weekend and laughed when we each pulled out our tube. That stuff is the BEST
Topical CBD for Life rub in Vanilla! Tulsi Turmeric Ginger tea from Organic India! Voluspa candles in cute little tins! Ranch dressing! Jane Iredale Lip and Cheek Stain in True Pink (well it’s usually $28 but you can often find it on sale)! I’ll stop now.
In no particular order…
Jasmine Green Tea
Dark chocolate with sea salt
Almond Butter freshly ground
Tom’s dental floss
Le Labo discover scent
Getting my upper lip threaded
This sounds like a mantra of soothing words to say.
Spiral-bound Rollbahn notebooks (A5 size) and Pentel pens in sky blue and turquoise. The notebook is around $20, but I love the stiff cardboard back and the quality grid paper inside. Plus, the cover comes in a number of colors.
I love office/school supplies… my favorite notebook is Mead Cambridge with a perpetual calendar at the time of each page, just circle the month and date. It about $12 for 80 page notebook, but it makes me so happy.
Also, they discontinued my favorite pencil a couple of years ago, and I haven’t found a new one that makes my happy…the old one automatically advanced the lead, and had a great balance when you held it. I’m open to suggestions.
I just commented and listed my self-sharpening pencil that automatically advances! It’s an Uni Kuru Toga. I got mine locally at the Kinokuniya store, but you can also get them online from Jet Pens.
Thank you. Order placed!
Oh, a big YES to Rollbahn notebooks. They are the best.
Yes, love those spiral bound Rollbahn notebooks. I try to find them on discount but tough!
I just ordered a Rollbahn with a metallic gold cover. I usually prefer lined paper to grid, but sparkly gold will win every time.
A close friend says I am “environmentally sensitive.” Which means I am a fussy PITA. I routinely use an umbrella indoors to block light coming at me sideways, when I am watching telly. Nothing bad has happened to me yet. It makes a huge difference. (Currently I only have blackout curtains in the bedroom. Huge, huuuuuge positive change when I got them. There were 2, so that gets me under the $25. Same with the Costco umbrellas.) … … … When I reach a certain goal for de-slobifying, I plan to get myself a pair of passive noise-blockers. I want over-the-ear kind that you don’t need to charge. Even just my cheapo little foam earplugs make me much happier.
Oh, and I just realized I forgot the best of all – and they are free – though I bet everyone already knows this – I put shoeboxes under my tablet and keyboard holder – to raise them up at the table. Or even on my lap. One box if I will be typing, 2 if I am mostly reading. Ergonomically this makes a huuuuuge difference. It is on my To Do list to get a separate set-up so I can put the keyboard on my lap. Most of our devices can lead to spine problems. I am a total bore on the subject.
Fellow sensitive person here. Light dims, which are mostly opaque stickers that can go over the little lights on various gizmos to dim them. They still allow me to see if the light is on, but really reduce the intensity. So specific but so helpful!
Painter’s tape works well, too. I like blue, but any color would be fine.
Absolutely the best thing – those light-blocking stickers!
My Los Angeles Public Library card costs me nothing. I borrow physical copies of books, and ebooks for my Kindle, music and books on CDs, DVDs in all genres. I have taken art classes over Zoom, for free, with materials provided to all participants by the library. I listen to recorded books on my phone, watch television shows and movies on my laptop or TV. I can get free passes to museums, once I start going to museums again. I read the New York Times online. I can go on and on about how much I love our library.
Lanolips’ 101 ointment multi balm in coconutter, cover girl easy breezy brow gel, my library card/pass, Reddit subs, the birds at my feeder, my bike. Cheap eats like sea salt chocolate, baked potatoes, quesadillas, ramen noodles, Zavida Organica coffee from Costco, my favourite bagels, eggs, Nakd bars
Drip coffee maker for Vietnamese-style coffee, along with sweetened condensed milk (so bad for waistline, though – very, very, very bad). Thermoworks brand silicone hot pads. Goes under oatmeal bowl in microwave to catch boil-over spills and helps enormously with taking the hot bowl out of the microwave. That terrible frozen Totino’s party pizza that I used to eat in high school and college. Yummy. Movie theater popcorn with “butter” from the movie theater. Darn Tough wool socks, which I found out about from the blog (thanks, Kim!). Fancy cocktails out. OXO ice trays with silicone covers. Hmmm. All food-related, except for socks…
Audible subscription where I listen to the Everything is Fine podcast!
My Trade Coffee subscription is first and foremost, because, perhaps sadly, some mornings the promise of a great cup of coffee is the only thing that motivates me to get up and get going. You can fully curate your subscription to your preferences, and all the coffees come from independent roasters around the country that have fair trade sourcing, all of which feels good to support.
I love the coffee subscription idea! Thanks, Elisabeth!
Definitely Libby, the library app. I read a lot, especially during the pandemic, and already own so many physical books. Libby generally has every book I want to read for free and it is the best.
I love Libby and physical libraries! After my last move, I donated a crazy crapload of books to the library and vowed to not buy books again to reduce house clutter and spending.
Libby is LIFE CHANGING. Once I figured out that if I put a ton of books on hold, I am never without a book.
Depends on the library systems. In Los Angeles, Libby is hit or miss. I would say I can find 40% of the books I want to read but there are tremendous wait times on anything popular. I prefer non-fiction and outside of books on race issues and celebrity bios, there’s not much choice. I know the publishers also have made library licensing cost-prohibitive….The book buyers for LA just don’t share my taste in books.
How is Libby different from Overdrive? LA Overdrive user here and I keep seeing ads to switch to Libby
It’s the same thing. Overdrive is the company and they have thier original app and a new app. But both apps/interfaces will show you the same collection from whatever library you are a member of.
Oh, interesting. That sucks. I’m in Seattle and read a pretty evenly split mix of non-fiction and fiction, but I haven’t had that problem here. Usually there’s a 12-14 week wait for the very popular books, which isn’t too bad, especially because they often become available sooner than that. Even Colson Whitehead’s newest is only on a 14-week wait.
For $50 you can get a membership at the Brooklyn Public library & borrow e & audio books.
If you like nonfiction, you might like anything by Eric Larsen (Dead Wake, Devil in the White City, etc).
But I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already read these.
I also enjoyed Empire of the Summer Moon, about the Comanche s.
I agree! Libby in LA is horrible!!! Excuse me while I wait 22 weeks for a book! Agh!
Agree, Marisa. If I want to read a book soon-ish, I usually end up buying it at Vroman’s (my local independent bookstore) or else I have to wait several months. Blah.
Awww. I’m a librarian at a university, not a public library, but it’s 100% the publisher’s fault for long wait times. They make e-books available only under the absolute worst terms. They are regularly 10 times as expensive as physical items and will sometimes have a limited number of “borrows” per copy.
Libraries have to buy multi-user copies of books–we’re not paying the same price you see to buy a single copy on Amazon (please don’t shop there) or whatnot.
One of the very nice LA County librarians explained this to me. It’s very frustrating because of course, the almighty dollar is king. I would object less if the author made more, but I doubt it/
Yesssss! One of my kids gave me her NYPL library card number so I can borrow on my kindle to my heart’s content. Having a good book to read is truly priceless.
Just downloaded Libby thanks to this thread! I’m a long time overdrive user, but Libby seems…cuter? Can some kind soul tell me how to find my wish list (created in overdrive) on Libby?
For the SF public library (and perhaps others), Libby adds new releases around 5pm on Tuesdays. I usually try to log on within an hour or two of that, so I get in pretty early on the hold lists. Often my wait is a week or less for even the biggest titles. SF also ones axis 360, which is another ebook source. Not as user friendly as Libby, and the collections have some differences between them, but it seems to be less popular so new bestsellers are often more readily available.
Thanks for the tip from a fellow SFer.
This came to mind because i just used it- trader joes lemongrass dry oil – rub it on dry feet, slide on socks. This goes a long way to making my feet presentable.
That stuff is INCREDIBLE! I wish they’d make an actual perfume with it.
Bamboo socks! They’re like a hug for your feet.
Two things…Allegro French Roast Coffee––one cup every day helps make me a much nicer person to be around. Lindt caramel with a touch of sea salt dark chocolate. I eat one square per day. I read dark chocolate is good for a person, but only in moderation. I’ve been working to keep sugar out of my diet so I really look forward to one square of chocolate per day. Again, it makes me much easier to be around. Years ago when my mother turned 90 a bunch of us were sitting around chit-chatting with her and I jokingly asked her if there was anything she wanted and went on to list things like tequila and chocolate eclairs etc. She surprised us all by saying, “I would love to smoke a cigarette again. I really loved smoking.” She smoked for about a minute when she was in college. We all chuckled and I said she should smoke if she wanted, but she said she didn’t want to get lung cancer. I mean, seriously, she was ninety. But, because of her answer and her desire and not completing that desire, I made a little vow to myself that if I am fortunate enough to reach the age of ninety with all my mental facilities intact and the ability to raise my hand to my mouth that I will damn well eat an entire bar of Lindt dark chocolate with caramel and a touch of sea salt in one fell swoop. Goals, y’all, goals.
I just polished off one of those Lindt bad boys last week! I’ll pretend I did it for you. 🙂
Too many to list but basically any good tea.
Dry shampoo – I have baby fine blonde hair and spent most of my life washing it daily and being unhappy with it. Dry shampoo makes me feel like I have hair! It doesn’t slide through clips or look lank (quite as much). I think my skin also benefits from the days off from showering. I like the Klorane formulation right now, but also use the Living Perfect (which may ring up slightly more than the $25).
Also, not under $25 but figured no one would see it if I tried to hunt down the post where the Nili Lotan/Target Collab was mentioned but I grabbed these online earlier this week and they fit me perfectly, which never happens! [disclaimer: at 5’2″ they are regular length, not cropped!] The shape seems more “generic jean” than “Nili” but, again, they fit – and seem to be decent quality. https://www.target.com/p/women-s-high-rise-ankle-length-skinny-jeans-nili-lotan-x-target-black/-/A-82817597?preselect=82637587#lnk=sametab
I grabbed the chunk white cable knit from the collection, it arrives today! Considered the cropped green military pants but could not get past elastic waistband.
I ordered them but they haven’t arrived yet. The elastic is only in the back! Even the coolest young influencers are wearing them these days(post-pandemic pants?).
Here’s my report on the Nili L/Target stuff I ordered: I like the black cabled zip sweater, but I think it’s more of a sweatshirt alternative than a nice sweater. I ordered my usual size, XS, and it’s still comfortably roomy with a layer underneath and not too long (I’m 5’6″). It might pill a little. TBD. Some sizes still available.
I’ll also keep the navy striped crewneck, which I’d describe as somewhere between a t-shirt and a sweater. It’s still available. My normal size fit well, it’s soft and a little stretchy and both these sweaters are washable.
I’m returning the blue stripped ruffled collar shirt. My normal size was too big – too much fabric in the back – and the pin striped wide leg trousers. My regular size was too big. The cut is nice, flattering, appropriately drapey and slouchy, but the fabric was very light, something I’d only wear in warmer months. They weren’t worth what I’d have to pay to have them shortened. I don’t have a problem finding high waisted pants I like, but if you do you might want to try these because I think they’re especially well proportioned and forgiving.
Thanks for the detailed report! You are making me feel great about having resisted all of this. I’ll save my pennies for some things on the NL site that I am dying for, like the white wool peacoat (tho cannot see paying $1500 for that, will wait for sale).
Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes for when I am too lazy to wash my face at night (and, yes, that’s – unfortunately – a thing) and Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser for when I’m not! And, also, the huge quart size containers of roasted garlic I buy at a local farmers market and put on EVERYTHING. Looking forward to coming back and seeing what everyone else comes up with!
Blackwing pencils! They are a dream to write with. Even a grocery list.
Fancy bronze die Italian pasta (on said grocery list.)
This might be gross and TMI but mine is Emesyl Nausea Relief. I get migraines that present with vertigo and wild bouts of throwing up. I have all the prescription drugs, ginger everything, and marijuana (works sometimes), but this stuff is wonderful. It’s a nasal spray so you don’t have to worry about keeping it down.
I’m so sorry you’re plagued with the symptoms you described, Kimbersam, but glad to hear you’ve found some remedies.
Upgrading to the no-ad version of Hulu was a game changer. I think it’s an extra $2/month so right under the limit
What do you watch on Hulu? I would love some recommendations!
@sam, Brooklyn 99, Younger, The Biggest Little Farm, Vacation Friends and Palm Springs. That should get you started.
I love this question! Peets Coffee, any blend as long as it’s super strong. Drinking iced coffee out of my glass with a glass straw! (Never going back to regular straws, which I know sounds weird) Earbuds that are magnetic so they click together around my neck like a necklace. Tony’s Chocolonely almond nougat milk chocolate. First it was a case of LaCroix lemon, then Topo Chico in bottles, now Spindrift. Chou chow chili oil. Trader Joe’s: mini chocolate ice cream cones, bulgogi fried rice, and frozen scallion pancakes. My downsized super slim wallet from Thread. Oh my god yes—books from the physical library!
Tony’s Chocolonely is fantastic! My guilty pleasure is the caramel toffee crunch one.
I developed eczema after I hit perimenopause around age 42, which meant that I was on a search for anything…ANYTHING that would stop the itch. I tried them all before I discovered Curél Itch Defense Calming Body Lotion when I forgot my lotion and had to use my mom’s stuff at my parent’s house. It has absolutely saved my skin from the persistent itching, infection and embarrassment (the heartbreak of psoriasis?) that comes from a skin ailment. Turns out it’s endorsed by The National Eczema Association. It comes in a large bottle and it’s cheap!
A&D Original Diaper Rash Ointment for dry cuticles. Better than all the pricey oils and creams I’ve tried.
Prosecco in a pretty flute
A Muzicozy bluetooth eye mask, which you can find all over Amazon. Thanks to perimenopause and pandemic anxiety, I don’t sleep nearly as well as I used to, and lying in bed in the dark listening to audiobooks through my eyemask is so soothing. They’re about $20 a pair.
Gemma, have you been snooping on my texts? Just yesterday I was whining to a friend about my stupid intermittent insomnia and she recommended sleep stories in bed, but I ear buds cause too much vibration and it disturbs my sleep. Whaaa: Listening through an eye mask—where have I been?! Thanks so much for pointing me to this genius invention!
Chocolove Ruby Chocolate either plain or filled with passion fruit. Pilot Juice Up gel pens – they write beautifully and you can get refills (so just a little less plastic in the ocean.) My Uni Kuru Toga self-sharpening mechanical pencil. Bingsu Korean shave ice. Cacahuates Japoneses – it a lightly sweet and slightly spicy crunchy coating so you just can’t stop eating them until the package is empty. My Leuchtturm 1917 notebook.
the ruby choc is very good. First had it around valentines day a few years ago.
Do you think that the sound leaks? I don’t want to disturb my partner while I listen to my bedtime story.
Buying this now! Perimenopause insomnia is kicking my ass right night.
Got one sitting in my cart as I type….thanks!
Brilliant suggestion Gemma!
In the cart for self purchase AND gifting.
Gotham Greens….(not just sold in NY, I’m in Chgo). You know how your salad never tastes like a restaurant salad? These are fresh, crispy greens. I’m not even a salad person, but with these, I can be. Petit Pots – little chocolate puddings in glass jars that are delicious. Everything But the Bagel seasoning. I just realized these are all food lol.
Lumify eye drops, Elta MD sunscreen, La Roche Posey Cicaplast balm, non-fat greek yogurt, sleep mask, ear plugs and my mouthguard.
Loving these suggestions! For me: Penco composition notebooks; Ethique tinted lip balm in sugarplum; Askinosie dark chocolate bars; Heather Corinna’s book on menopause (which I learned about from the ETF podcast, thank you); Good Clean Love moisturizing vaginal gel and lube; Ceramedx products; really good tea, which is under the $25 limit if I buy a couple of ounces or less; used books; good socks
I bought the Ethique tinted lip balm because of this thread and it arrived today — I love it! Thank you so much for the rec!
Salonpas. Ahhhhh, relief.
Where to begin- any loose leaf black or green tea from Upton Tea; Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard; fingerless gloves; Smartwool socks; Dove unscented beauty bar; The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner; Dr Hauschka Lip Care Stick; Turner Classic Movies; fresh flowers; basil and thyme plants; Oxo Good Grips vegetable peeler.
Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato (or is it ice cream? not sure.)
Amen to the Talenti, and the Chocolate Pretzel flavor too!
Can confirm this is the best shepherd’s pie recipe! Sometimes I add a teaspoon or so of garam masala or curry powder to the ground beef too – adds a bit more depth of flavor!
Peet’s Arabian Mocha-Java coffee. 1 lb bag is 17.95. It’s a day changer.
Absorbene Veterinary Linament Gel ($24 on Amazon). Yes, folks, it’s for horses, but it works very well on humans in a pinch (so to speak!). I had the misfortune of pulling a hamstring while in the too-rough ocean recently, and a friend had a bottle of this stuff on hand (I didn’t ask why). It numbs pain very effectively and smells like spearmint. It says for animal use only on the bottle, but the ingredients are all natural and it made the rest of my vacation bearable, though still a bummer.
Just want to say THANK YOU to everyone for the wonderful suggestions/recommendations. I hope this can be become a regular question/post asked every so often.
Omg, I can’t go a day without the yummy citrusy spice Tajin!
I love it on a crisp, cold perfect mid-summer yellow seedless watermelon. On a deck. With prosecco or a marg. It’s SO GOOD.
Ooh it’s really good sprinkled on apple slices!
Biossance sunscreen—clean ingredients, invisible, and doesn’t make my touchy skin break out. A little over $25 at full price, but they have frequent sales to put it under the cutoff. https://biossance.com/products/squalane-zinc-sheer-mineral-sunscreen-spf30
Also Odele dry shampoo, from Target—non aerosol, smells good, works well.
And hibar solid bar blue shampoo and conditioner, to help reduce the mountains of single use plastic in my life. Acknowledging the irony, they go on this self draining soap dish which is plastic, but I haven’t found a good alternative: https://theyamazakihome.com/products/veil-self-draining-soap-tray
Olba’s oil. I drop the oil in my steamy shower and breathe in the vapors.
Tops Docket Gold Legal Pads (I am not a lawyer, but little OCD when it comes to making lists)
Trader Joes Dark Chocolate and Almond Bars, Nutella, Any good Facial Wipes (too lazy to wash my face at night), Peets Matcha Lattes when I am having a hard day (which is a Childcare Center Directly happens weekly) Netflix, HBO and every other video on demain account we get (is that more than $25), Shopping sprees at Daiso and any goodwill. Canning Jars.
So research has shown that spending 40 seconds in nature reduces stress levels. I bring nature to me with a little bird feeder that hangs on my fire escape: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071LG708/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . I bought it in August and now all the mourning doves, finches and sparrows in the neighborhood congregate to dine on the wild bird food I fill it with. Well worth it to see and hear them chowing down!
Awww – what a sweet thing to do!
Mount Hagen instant coffee! I went through quite a coffee journey during quarantine — Chemex; moka pot; Aeropress; finally Americanos from Blue Bottle once we could go out again. At first I liked the routine, and then it started to feel like a chore. I saw a recommendation for this instant coffee online and it has made my mornings so much better! It takes no time or effort to heat water in my electric kettle, and when I add a small spoonful of delicious raw honey, it’s honestly as good a cup of coffee as any other I made in the past year and a half. And it’s practically free. Win win.
I have this coffee in packets. It is premium instant and I can find it in the supermarket.
I love raw honey.
I so relate to this. I bought a moka pot after seeing them recommended everywhere (they’re really cute!) and was so disappointed by how bitter the coffee was despite my following all the tips to avoid that. My Aeropress has been hit or miss. I’m going to have to try Mount Hagen and raw honey now 🙂
Agreed! And weirdly messy and I was always burning my fingers on the little pot. Not worth it! 🤣
Tweezerman tweezers. my weighted Muji mechanical pencil, smoked beef bones from the farmer’s market that keep my dog amused for hours, Cholula hot sauce, Baby Foot masks (so gross yet so satisfying.)
Hulu subscription (access to all my “comfort shows” from my childhood), Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, Hard as Hoof nail/cuticle cream (life changing), a cheapie folding fan I got at the county fair for use during hot flashes (also a conversation piece when out and about), Target Beautifully Soft sweatpants that are like being petted. What improves my life the most for 0$ is my library card. I’ve been reading pretty much half a book a day since the pandemic started, I would be broke if they weren’t free!