My favorites list has gotten a makeover throughout the years. Now, I cherish the things that keep me sane and happy, and that recharges my mommy mode.
After becoming a mom, things changed in a ways I hadn’t anticipated. I got excited about finding the perfect baby bag or picking out the fridge that met my aesthetic desires as well as my family needs.
I never understood before why mothers spent so much energy selecting mundane stuff like appliances…until I started doing it myself.
My younger, child-free self favored stuff like a cute pair of heels or oversized earrings. While I can still appreciate those things, my favorites list (like my life) has gotten a huge makeover.
Here’s the list of my current mom favorites.
Bellabeat Leaf Smart Jewelry
Health and fitness is a challenging area for me because of several reasons. I can’t find a good time to work out (and I need consistency). Working out at home without interruption is hard. And the places I would prefer to work out at are far away and super expensive.
Maybe I am too demanding, making too many excuses. But I know I really need to get my act together.
In comes the Bellabeat. This little beauty is fitness jewelry like none I have ever seen or owned.
I have used fitness accessories before (Garmin Forerunner and another smaller model), but I hated the bulk of those watches on the wrist and the sweatiness resulting from the use of those awful rubber wristbands.
I randomly came across the Bellabeat 2 years ago and have kept an eye on it since. And after using it for a few months, I have zero regrets.
The Bellabeat is a small leaf-shaped tracker that is meant to be pretty inconspicuous…unless you’re admiring how beautiful it is. The makers of the tracker want people to think it’s just a pretty bauble.
Its versatility is also awesome, because you can wear it on a necklace, wristband, or as a decorative clip that slips onto pockets, necklines, or waistbands. I just love that there are multiple ways I can use it to spice up my outfits.
But it is more than just a pretty face–it is jampacked of several useful health and wellness features. The tracker accurately records my daily step count, monthly menstrual cycle, and sleep data. You can manually set alarms to remind you to get up and move, or to take a pill.
There are meditation options within the app as well as a way to track water intake. The app also calculates your stress using all the data collected, both automatically and manually entered.
The Bellabeat has improved my sleep, reduced my stress levels, and improved my activity levels. It is by far my favorite gadget right now, and I’ll be sure to link to an upcoming post that goes into more detail about this tracker and how I use it to accomplish better self-care.
My kindle is second on my list. It used to be first but recently got nudged out a bit by the BellaBeat.
Every avid reader should have a kindle.
It took me a while to invest in one because I am kind of minimalist in my way of thinking. I would prefer to have only the bare essential needs and wants, rather than be overwhelmed with having a ton of items. So because I already had a phone and tablet, I reasoned that I could just use those devices to download my books (like I was already doing).
My brother was actually the one who convinced me that it was a great idea. He had the original kindle model for many years and was absolutely a die-hard fan. He brought up some key differences with a kindle versus using the app on the phone or tablet.
First off, the kindle, specifically the paperwhite, is much easier on the eyes. While phones, tablets, and computer screens can cause eyes to get very tired over time, the paperwhite was designed to be as easy on the eyes as an actual book.
He didn’t need to bring up any additional points–I was already hooked just based on that single one. This is because I have suffered from serious migraines and light-sensitivity my entire life. Anything that is easier on my eyes is a win in my book.
The second point was the kindle reader being solely devoted to one thing…reading. There was no temptation to surf the net, check emails, respond to messages, etc. while being on it. It truly replicated the original reading experience where you can just get lost in a good book without trying too hard. Almost like you are taking a mini-break from the noise of the world.
This was very important to me because reading is one of the things I prefer to do without any interruption. Getting truly invested in the characters and their stories is a lot of fun, and anything that takes me away from that is a bit jarring. It becomes a bit difficult to get myself back to that place of “book zen” if I am bothered by phone/tablet/laptop notifications.
Third, and last, was the perk of walking with hundreds of books in one little light-weight gadget. At the time, I was traveling at least once a month for work. While I traditionally don’t have a lot of time on my hands when I am at home with my kids, my “me time” increases exponentially when I am away.
Having my Kindle handy was perfect, because I could get through a book or two in each trip, without having to walk with their heavier printed versions in a small carry-on. If you’re like me, avoiding check-in is #travelgoals.
I have an older model of the e-reader. But now they have a waterproof one with twice the storage of the original one. Check it out here on Amazon.
Shacke Pak Packing Cubes
As I mentioned before, there was a period in my career that I was doing short trips once a month. I have done plenty of traveling over the years–packing is an art, and I love to see a perfectly organized suitcase.
I purchased the Shacke Pak packing cube on our last family vacation. It has been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and I really wanted to try it out on one of our biggest trips.
First off, the bright blue color is gorgeous. I love things that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. I purchased the blue and black cubes, and the color is just as pictured on the site.
Second, there is a card that comes with the cubes that provide some guidance on packing. Based on how long your trip will be, it advises how many pieces of each article of clothing to walk with, and it tells you which cube to look for which clothing. So, for example, the small cube is meant to hold underwear while the larger cube is meant to hold larger items, like pants.
Because I traveled often, I did tweak the numbers a bit based on what I knew I most likely would need. But it wasn’t too different from their recommendations.
The next best thing about the cubes was that it kept everything neat and organized–not just while travelling, but also throughout the entire trip. I just took out the cubes I needed and kept them in the hotel room drawers or closet.
And then I just accessed the ones I needed to get dressed each day. Because different types of clothing was assigned to specific cubes, I knew at a glance which cube was needed. And even if I was in a rush and didn’t refold an article of clothing, I could throw it in the cube, zip it up, and maintain the appearance of neatness.
The cubes are definitely a winning purchase in my book.
LabGear Designer Lap Desk
I have a full-time job and also run a business part-time. I spend a LOT of time on the computer.
My home office area needs some work. I rushed to purchase some furniture that just doesn’t work well in the space, neither for storage nor aesthetics. And since we don’t have money trees lying around in the yard, it will take me a while to re-design the space.
When it gets too uncomfortable to sit at the desk, I work on my bed with my laptop. But doing that can be hard on my neck and back, not to mention the fact that laptop gets way to warm on my legs (which can really wreak havoc on the internal components over time).
So I finally caved and bought a lap desk that I had been eyeing at Office Depot for a few months–the LabGear Designer Lap Desk.
From my first use I knew it was a perfect idea. First off, it raised my laptop higher up, which was a bit easier on my back and neck. Although not to the ideal, it was still an improvement.
Second, no more hot laptop on my legs. The desk provided the perfect surface for the laptop to self-cool. I am pretty sure that purchasing this table has extended the life of my laptop.
Third, it was much more comfortable to work using the desk. The padding underneath was preferable to the hard laptop, and I could adjust the shape of the cushion to my liking.
On top of that, it dulled any micromovements that would normally be a bit jarring to my focus whenever the laptop wobbled on my bare legs.
Another benefit I hadn’t even thought about was using it to raise the laptop higher on a traditional desk. You know that your laptop or computer screen is at a perfect height when you can maintain a neutral (relaxed and straight) neck position while working on it. Laptops are notorious for encouraging poor posture because, unlike with computer screens) you typically can’t raise and lower a laptop screen relative to the keyboard.
When I use the laptop desk on a regular desk, it lifts the entire screen to a more neutral position. It does affect positions of my hands and shoulders but it works well if I am using the computer mainly to watch videos and tutorials, without requiring much typing.
Eventually I will purchase a separate wireless keyboard to help keep my arms and shoulders comfortable for typing while using the laptop bench. Also, technically you could just purchase a laptop stand/riser. But, as I said before, my belief is that less is more.
Audible App Subscription
This is last but definitely not least on my list. I use Audible almost every single day. This app has changed the amount of time I can spend with a good book and makes mundane tasks that require little-to-no attention much easier to complete.
A good friend of mine first introduced me to it. She listened to it religiously every single day. I had absolutely zero interest in it at first.
It reminded me of when voice transcription first came out for computers or those audiotapes. I figured it would be just someone reading a book to me in a dry monotone voice.
Boy was I floored when I actually heard one of her audible books.
We pretty much love the same types of books, which is about all things fiction. The first series I listened to was Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout (which I highly recommend by the way!). It was comedic and action-packed, keeping your interest from the very first line.
I was not prepared to hear the story told in the varying voices of the characters. There was such personality invoked, proper timing and inflections. It was very easy to drift off into the story and truly connect with each person and animal.
After that, I happily went down the Audible rabbit hole.
I have listened to a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Audible and their vocal artists never fail to deliver.
Hundreds of audible books later, I have discovered other favorite series beside Zombie Fallout, including the Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor (for you history buffs) and The Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin’s (for die-hards of the Armageddon genre).
I listen to audible while I am cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, and trying to fall asleep (using its sleep timer function). It is such an ingrained part of my daily routine that I cannot believe I hadn’t even considered it just a few years ago.
If you’re a busy mom like me, who just doesn’t get to read as much as you would like, Audible is definitely the way to go.
This completes the list of my top 5 favorite things.
What about you? Are any of these favorites also on your list? Comment below and let us know.