Favorite things I’ve bought this year

And some that were gifted to me. Kind of a gift guide but not really.

Favorite things I’ve bought this year

📝 Notes from Jenn:

Source request: I’d love to talk to anyone who’d like to share a favorite depression meal recipe.

📜 Published: For Coffee Professionals, The Impact Of Long COVID Is An Existential Threat on Sprudge

A recently published study by Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research and the Monell Chemical Senses Center found that “COVID-positive patients reported a 21 percent reduction in taste intensity, a 47 percent reduction in smell intensity and a 17 percent reduction in oral irritant intensity, when compared with the group reporting no symptoms.”

🛠 Current project: Perhaps I should rename this line as “rabbit hole,” because that’s what it feels like now. I am afflicted with shiny object syndrome and have gone deep into the personal knowledge management (PKM) system hole. Am I making more work for myself, or am I creating a potentially useful resource for my future self? Who knows! (But if you want to nerd out on this, email me)

🔏 Last week, paid subscribers received an essay about protecting your energy, inspired by a recent interview I conducted.

🍩 What I ate/drank/snacked on: Nothing big to share here, but I do plan on making mini (cupcake size) Basque cheesecakes today! I successfully made one that was about 4” wide, and I’m hoping to adjust the recipe for personal-sized ones.

Favorite things I’ve bought this year

As a spin on gift guides that you may seen in all of your inboxes, I present to you, my list of favorite things I’ve bought (or been gifted) this year. It’s a wholly self-centered list, as I’m a big fan of buying things that make you feel good or help make your life easier. Perhaps you’ll find one that will help you! Referral links have been marked with a footnote.

🙇🏻‍♀️ Personal items

For my best friend’s birthday, I got her a massage gun to help with her tense muscles post-workout. She loved it enough that I wanted one, too. Luckily for me, HiDow had a booth at SCA Expo this year and was selling them at a discount. I now have a mini massage gun that I can use without help, and I’ve repeatedly told everyone I know that it was near the top of my favorite things I’ve bought this year.

For personal care items, I have been enjoying Derma B body sunscreen from Korea, this purple shampoo on recommendation from a friend to get rid of the bleach brassiness in my hair, and a bath mitt instead of a loofah (I got this one, but it shrank so much that my next one will be of a larger size).

My car’s tires will sporadically become unbalanced, so I purchased this portable air compressor that can run through my car, and I keep it in my car trunk.

I’ve been in therapy for several years now, but never thought about journaling the sessions. This therapy notebook has been helpful for taking notes during the week and reviewing how I feel pre- & post-session. This one may be cost-prohibitive, so you can also try out free journaling apps instead.

👾 Entertainment

My nighttime routine consists of being on the couch and playing a Switch game, while some procedural TV show runs in the background. I’ve also learned that I am a cozy gamer, as my favorites have been games that don’t involve fighting enemies (ToTK aside).

At the beginning of the year, I purchased Fitness Boxing 2 to get myself to exercise a little more without committing to a gym or class. I find boxing to be a perfect workout for me for many reasons: 1) It’s a full-body, cardio workout; 2) You develop a skill; 3) It doesn’t feel like a workout. As a reward for working out a bunch, I got new workout clothes for the first time in a dozen years. Holy cow, clothing technology has come a long way. I got a Monstera print set from Love Fitness Apparel—sports bra & running shorts—super cute & high-quality materials.

Besides Zelda ToTK, which I feel like everyone played, I really enjoyed Grow: Song of The Evertree & Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles for their general coziness, storylines, and do-what-you-want aspects. With my boyfriend, I played It Takes Two, a really wonderful game that requires the cooperation of two people and features a great storyline and constantly changing character abilities.

Sometimes, I need to do something with my hands while I’m on a call. If I’m not note-taking, then I might be playing I Love Hue Too, the follow-up app of I Love Hue. Because it’s visual-only, my mind is still able to pay attention to the call.

🪴 Gardening

This was the year that my edible gardening paid off! With the help of these City Pickers self-watering planters (technically, I bought the “kids” version, which is the same thing, but it’s teal & has illustrated instructions), I spent much more time maintaining my garden instead of worrying about it. Paired with Renee’s Garden seeds, I’ve harvested boatloads of radishes, carrots, chard, beets, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and spinach.

My brother did a bunch of research and gifted me a Felco 15 pruning shear, which comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s a Swiss company that has an intensely dedicated fanbase. I’ve used it to clip off some of my bird of paradise leaves that died—it cuts through like they’re nothing.

And lastly, this Likha hippo planter brings me joy whenever I see it.

🐶 Dog

Zoey—I love her—but my god, she can rack up some pricey expenses. I got her a new set of bowls from Trot Pets. For her very sensitive stomach, I learned that she needs an elevated feeder and a slow feeder bowl. The magnetic bottoms ensure that she doesn’t knock the bowls around, and the lids have been helpful for storing uneaten meals or taking them on the go to a restaurant.

To keep track of health issues like skipping meals or whatever new skin thing, I use the paid plan of Dog Assistant. It’s customizable and comes with filterable searches so I can pull up exactly when she last got a bath or took medication. This was also the year that I started baking dog treats. To execute the behaviorist’s plan, a lot of training treats were needed, and those calories & costs stack up. So, I bought this pastry mold and now make 400+ training treats in one go! The recipes I’ve tried have limited ingredients (3-4), and the results can be stored in the freezer.

And finally, our family of three all have a matching hoodie from Spark Paws. Both human and dog hoodies are thick and warm. The dog hoodies are designed for broader-chest breeds.


To be honest, I haven’t purchased many new work things. I’ve renewed software subscriptions, and I do plan on buying a MacBook Pro & color-calibrated monitor this month.

I bought Peak Design’s microclutch so I can hold my camera in one hand more confidently & securely. A phone privacy screen protector helps me avoid those public situations of people reading over my shoulder. Authory1 is expensive, but it automatically pulls in my bylines and sorts them. I use it as my writing portfolio now.

I also invested in my systems. Dubsado2 is my CRM and automation system, but I’ve always been overwhelmed by the possibilities of it. And unhappy with the look of my forms. So in comes Dub-Ins3 (this one has a decent learning curve) to make my forms prettier & a 90-min strategy session with Cait Potter to map out my workflows (I left with an intense but actionable spreadsheet that I love!).

And, to wrap this all up, may I introduce you to The Nightcap, from Three Spirit (internationally available), which I picked up at my local non-alcoholic cafe/bar. It is a little woodsy with touches of spice and perfect over ice. Normally, NA spirits need to be mixed, but this one stands well with just ice!

purple bracket, full-width, facing up

👀 interesting reads

The attention and the ad money might be going to different creators or different platforms, but wherever people are supposedly being “authentic” on the internet, the money will follow.
A few years ago, a literary agent told me that “writing books is not a career,” which didn’t quite compute in the moment. Of course writing books is a career! I thought. What this agent meant was: writing books is not the kind of career that’s also a job.
I am a Black woman. I know what generational trauma is. I know what it feels like to be targeted. To be unsafe everywhere you go. I know what genocide is. And I know what oppression is. And all of it makes Palestinians my family even if they were not my family by blood. I know that I am not free if Palestine isn’t free.
artful leaf outlines on left, "plant update" immediately to the right
Unknown plant, possibly a philodendron. I obtained this from the plant swap nearly a month ago, and back then, it had three bright green leaves and one fresh one. As you can see, it doesn’t look great; however, I always find that there’s an adjustment period after getting any new plant. It is actually doing decent! It shed some leaves and is now sprouting a new one!

  1. Referral link gives you a 30-day free trial & $30 for me if you get a paid plan.

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  3. I earn 20% commission if you sign up. If you use Dubsado & are on the fence, my inquiry form is made with Dub-Ins.