10 Things That Make Life Easier
The world can be a pretty serious place most of the time. Once in a while, it's nice to take a step back and truly appreciate life -- giving thanks for the wonderful people who surround you, and for all the modern conveniences that make life a little more enjoyable.
Adulthood can seem silly at times, like getting excited about the purchase of a new appliance or the feeling of complete satisfaction after spending the day tending to the garden. These seemingly ordinary moments are often depicted in fun memes or silly quotes that make us all laugh because in truth, we've all been there before and we'll probably feel the same way again.
Below is a list of things that make my life easier, from little every day items to products that help me tackle bigger chores. Some of them may seem insignificant or random, but they really do make a big difference. Let's enjoy a fun, lighthearted moment and dive in!
Convection Countertop Oven
When we first moved into our current house, we didn't have an oven. We had a microwave and a crock pot, a slow cooker, and an assortment of pots and pans. I got pretty creative with my crock pot and slow cooker, but we missed actual home cooked style meals. It was pretty exciting when we purchased our first convection oven. Suddenly, I could bake dinners and delicious treats. A year after moving in, we received a stove and I wasn't so keen on it at first. I had grown accustomed to using my little oven, and the space where the stove was supposed to go was the perfect spot for our garbage bin. The larger stove is nice and allows me to cook more dishes, but the convection oven is just faster and more convenient when it comes to baking. We continued to use our little convection oven for four years, and then we replaced it with a larger one. This one is even better! Not only does it cook faster than my large stove, but it also has inserts for rotisserie dishes. I use it every day to make quick lunches and dinners, side dishes, and to broil sausage and hot dogs. Yum!
Shark Steam Mop
Ten years ago, I purchased my first ever steam mop. At the time, we lived in a little townhouse and it made cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors a breeze! Shortly after moving into our first house, I purchased the Shark steam cleaner. These two products were amazing. I was able to clean the entire house quickly and efficiently. Because I used them so much over the past decade, this year we needed to replace them. Enter my favorite purchase and the item that has made my life exponentially easier: the Shark Lift-Away steam mop. This is the fanciest cleaning tool I've ever owned. It's a mop and a steam cleaner all in one! There's a button at the bottom of the handle that opens up the mop section, so I can easily remove a dirty mop pad and slide a new one on, without touching the pad. When one side gets completely dirty, I can flip the bottom and use the other side of the pad, which makes cleaning my hardwood floors fast and simple. There's also a feature for extra steam, so I can blast a stain for easier removal or quickly sanitize a section of the floor. The handle lifts up and out, becoming a steam cleaner all on its own. I use this to clean windows, counters, walls, the shower, sinks, and to steam curtains and clothing. This is a multi-purpose cleaning tool that everyone should own!
Ajax Dish Soap
I've been washing dishes for over half my life and for the longest time, it was one of my most despised chores. I absolutely did not like washing dishes. A few years ago at a family holiday party, I was chatting with my grandmother-in-law. Somehow we got on the topic of washing dishes and I had proudly proclaimed that I despised the chore. She said something that made me stop and think about my own mindset, explaining how she enjoyed doing dishes because it was her quiet time, "No one comes and bothers me while I'm doing them because they don't want to do them. It's actually relaxing to me."
This conversation really struck a chord with me. I realized that she was right and for the most part, no one comes and bothers me while I'm doing the dishes, either. I started utilizing this time to my benefit and over the past few years, transformed doing the dishes from a chore I absolutely loathed, to my time to watch YouTube videos I otherwise wouldn't have a chance to watch. That simple shift in mindset has made all the difference.
Another thing that has helped is the big bottle of Ajax dish soap. There never seems to be an end to dirty dishes, as soon as I get the sink clean and sparkling, dirty dishes magically appear again. The big bottle of dish soap lasts a long time, about two to three months, and saves a lot of money. Plus it smells fantastic!
Steel Wool, SOS, Brillo Pads
My husband has turned me into a semi-hoarder. I used to be a person that loved to just get rid of things, whether throwing them away, recycling, or donating items, anything to get unnecessary clutter out of the house. My husband, on the other hand, looks beyond the present moment and realizes the value of an item, choosing to save it for future use. You can see how these personality types might clash, but we've managed to make it work. Although I sometimes take it above and beyond, amassing a collection of random glass jars, plastic containers, and cardboard boxes.
The steel wool was one such item that my husband asked me to save and it came in handy three years later. A pack of steel wool is often less expensive than SOS or Brillo pads and lasts longer, but I end up using all three. They work like magic when it comes to cleaning stuck on food from pans, charred remains on the stove, weird spots on the wall, and for fixing cast iron pans when it's time to reseason them. There are so many great uses for all three, it's a must-have item for any household.
The library has always been one of my favorite places. Anytime I travel to a new city, I always scope out the local library. I can spend hours just browsing the shelves and losing myself in new and exciting worlds. We used to live in the city and were within walking distance to the local library. My son and I would walk there a few times a week. Not only was it great exercise, but we always came home with a big bag full of books. Now that we live in the suburbs, I'm not within walking distance to any destination. Our closest library is about a 15 minute drive, depending on traffic. This combined with busy schedules has made it increasingly difficult to physically get to the library.
Fortunately, my love of reading doesn't have to be compromised. I downloaded the free OverDrive app and I have access to a multitude of new worlds, thanks to my many library cards. All you have to do is download the app from the app store, sign in using your library card, and you can borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. You can read them right on your phone or tablet, or use your Kindle, and it's completely free! You get to keep your book for 21 days and it's easy to return it, just click the button. You can put books on hold and even recommend titles for the library to purchase. Hoopla is a similar app, but I've found that they often don't have the novels I'm looking for and as for the mixed media, the movie and TV show choices are extremely limited. OverDrive is easy, simple, no extra username and password combos to remember, and a variety of titles to choose from.
Icy Hot with Lidocaine Patches
Icy Hot is my favorite pain-relief tool. They have creams, sprays, patches, and even an electric pulse system. They recently came out with a line of pain-relief that included Lidocaine. This is a game changer! The cream works well and I always have a bottle stashed in the bathroom cupboard. The patches, however, make life much easier. You just pull one out, take the backing off, smooth it over the area, and you're good to go! No worries about having left over residue on your hands that you might accidentally get somewhere you didn't intend. The patches give you instant relief and last all day, so you can successfully accomplish your to-do list. Icy Hot patches were my secret to working 12 - 16 hour days, getting our house move-in ready.
We hear it from our dentist and from TV commercials: floss twice a day for healthy gums. But who has the time or ambition to cut off a piece of floss and try to wedge it in between all of your teeth? A lot time, it gets stuck and then you spend ten minutes just trying to dislodge it without leaving behind little threads. It's difficult to handle and to reach all the teeth. These floss picks make it easy and fun to floss your teeth. They have a long, sturdy handle and enable you to reach into the back of your mouth to hit all the teeth. The pick end is great, too, especially if you have a permanent retainer. They can also double as tooth picks. My family likes the ones with a thicker thread of floss. These are gentler on the gums and leave your mouth feeling clean and fresh.
If you have long, thick hair, you need a hair slinky. It will change your life. Regular hair bands are thin, fragile, and seem to randomly disappear. One minute you have a whole set, blink and you're lucky to find one still hanging around. They break easily and oftentimes you need two or three just to hold your ponytail up. Enter the hair slinky. This looks just like an old telephone cord or wrist key chain holder, but it is an amazing hair accessory.
My hair is long, trailing all the way down to the waist of my jeans, and it is thick. The hair slinky holds my ponytail in place, even during a cardio workout. It also works great to hold a top knot or a low bun. It doesn't break the hair or leave weird indentations when I take it out. It also holds its shape, shrinking back to normal size a few minutes after removing it. I love to wear one on my wrist or stash it in my clutch for on the go. I only have two and I haven't lost either yet.
Forget diamonds. Dry shampoo is a girl's best friend. If you're like me, you probably do not like washing your hair, especially if you have super long, thick strands. It takes a lot of energy that I just don't have most days. Dry shampoo is a life saver. I like to pull my hair up into a top knot and apply it all over my roots before I go to bed. I wake up in the morning with hair that is refreshed and revived, no water needed. I love Not Your Mother's Brand Dry Shampoo. It smells tropical, like you've spent the day on the beach, gives hair added volume and oomph, and doesn't leave any white residue.
There's something about having a sun-kissed glow that just boosts my mood and gives me an added lift of confidence. As an adult, I don't tan as easily as I did when I was a kid. I also don't have the time to lay out in the sun. When I'm outside, I'm usually covered fully, trying to tackle the poison ivy and weeds or I'm playing a game with my son. Going to the salon can be pricey and I refuse to lay in a tanning bed. Self-tanner is my go-to and my favorite is less than $5. I use b.tan i want the darkest possible self tan mousse. It goes on green, so I can see exactly where the product is and make sure that I won't have any weird streaks. I apply it in the evening, leave it on overnight, and wash it off in the morning. When I step out of the shower, I feel like a bronzed goddess. The tan stays for about a week and a half and then gradually starts fading. It doesn't flake off or look splotchy. This is the product I recommend to all my friends.
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