Saturday, June 21, 2008

Things Without Which My Quality of Life Declines*

How embarrassing, most of this is very Trader Joe's-centric. They are not paying me, I assure you!

- Almond milk. Dairy gives me a headache, and cow's milk contains enough sugar that I need to take insulin when I drink it. The taste of soymilk grosses me out, and it usually requires insulin as well. Almond milk has a consistency similar to that of cow's milk, tastes delicious, and the variety I buy (unsweetened vanilla flavor) contains so few carbohydrates that I don't need to take any extra insulin with it. Cheapest (of course) at Trader Joe's.

- NeilMed nasal rinse. No, really. I have constant sinus problems and lots of headaches. This little squirt bottle with its packet of salty powder combines with warm water to provide immediate, long-lasting relief. I'll admit to feeling oddly humiliated the first time I bought it. It seemed sort of archaic or barbaric or something, buying some device with which to shoot saltwater up one's nose. Like, next I'd be sticking leeches to myself. Well, half an hour later, when I could see again, focus on my work and participate in human conversation, I got over the weirdness. (Yes, it's the same concept as a neti pot, but I'm told the stronger pressure of the squeeze bottle provides better results.)

- Trader Joe's Mango Honey Shaving Lotion. Leaves your skin smooth and happy, smells wonderful. Best $3.99 (!!) I've ever spent, y'all.

- Trail mix. Rather than buy it pre-made, I buy the individual components and throw them all in a big jar. This makes for better variety, not to mention it's more economical.

- Almond butter. Raw is sweeter and has a better texture, but roasted is great as well. Cheapest at Trader Joe's. It goes in my cereal, on toast, and sometimes directly to my mouth with a spoon.

- Speaking of cereal: Cereal. Appropriate for any meal and/or snack. I like cereal a whole lot. Truthfully, I feel a bit insecure without cereal (and milk, naturally) in the house. No, really. Makes me a little panicky. WHAT IF WE STARVE TO DEATH?

- My SIGG water bottle (I have the one listed as #2). I know, right? How very Los Angeles. But this thing is excellent at keeping drinks cold, its screwtop ensures zero spillage, it can be attached to a backpack, it holds a really decent amount of water, it means fewer plastic bottles floating around, and it does not make the water taste weird the way so many bottles do. Each of us has one; they have toddler-sized ones with cute toddler designs on them.

- Baking soda. Keeps the fridge smelling clean when H. goes on one of his kimchi-purchasing binges. Keeps the freezer smelling clean when H. goes on one of his fishing trips. Poured down a cloggy drain and chased with boiling water, it gets the ancient plumbing clear. Mixed with water into a paste, it makes a mask that leaves your skin soft and clean. Mixed with a bit of water and a squeeze of lemon juice, it makes a stomacheache better. Oh, and if you run out of toothpaste, just wet your brush and sprinkle a decent amount onto the bristles. Magic.

- Redken Water Wax. I have lots and lots of baby-fine hair with a crazy amount of volume and wave. (Not curls, mind you. Because that would make things easier.) On the one hand, it will hold a style pretty well. On the other hand, unless cut very, very, very short, it requires a LOT of work. (In fact, I didn't put my blowdryer and flat iron on this list just because it makes me seem like a bigger jerk [oops], but the truth is I do not leave the house without having at least blown my hair dry.) Anyway, I've tried many, many pomades, waxes, gels, sprays, etc., and this wax is all I need. It makes my hair all rumply-defined-cool, it smells great and the tub lasts a long time.

- Trader Joe's Kitchen Cloths. Wait, let me explain. They're kind of like chamois cloths for the kitchen. They absorb roughly eighteen trillion times their weight. They clean up everything nearly instantly. They're kind of a dream when you've got a toddler who regularly creates various and sundry messes around the house. My only beef with them: the really appallingly bad colors. But after using adorable-yet-nearly-totally-non-absorbent kitchen towels for years, I can forgive that.

- The Uniball 207. So smooth, so black. Writing with this pen is a lovely experience. I am so serious.

*Excluding the obvious: coffee, insulin... like that.(...she wrote, with a pervasive sense of Western capitalistic guilt.)