Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(More) stuff I like

Hello there! I have high hopes that this is the last frigid day we’ll see here in Indiana – am I crazy to hope? Maybe. But it gets me through cause I’m looking forward to the 40’s next week! Break out the flip flops!

So I’ve mentioned once or 25 times I’ve been doing lots of laundry lately. Seriously the most fun thing EVER. I was reminded of a couple products I love while doing all this laundry and there’s a couple others I’ve been meaning to mention for a while.

I love hearing little things that people have around the house that work (and don’t work) for them. Some of these are spendy, some are pretty cheap – all I love. First up the laundry stuff, cause you know. That’s all I know right now.

Have you tried these little pellet things? They are little tiny bursts of smelly stuff:

Unstopables review

You pour some into the washer with the dirty clothes and they really make them smell amazing. Way better than any softener I’ve tried. We love pulling out a towel a week after washing and having it smell so fresh. We use a little more than it says to and don’t use them on every load, but they really do work well. The aren’t cheap – a big bottle costs about $8 if I remember right, but it will last a while.

Sometimes I can be a lazy launderer (some would say smart launderer) – especially with the kiddo’s clothes. They’re still so small so I sometimes will wash them all in one load. I put one of these in with it and they soak up any colors that may bleed onto other things:

Color catchers review

Sometimes they come out the way they went in – pretty white. Sometimes they’re really dark so I know they’ve done something. They’re fine to throw in the dryer too, so no need to pick them out of the washer. Let’s be honest here though – you still can’t go washing a red shirt and white socks together, but even then it does help. You know, if it happens “by accident.”

OK, enough about laundry.

We upgraded our phones a while back and I also upgraded my case. My husband first started using the Mophie case a while back and I was always so jealous of his constant fully charged phone. It’s basically a case that charges your phone:

Mophie charger review

And I don’t know how I ever lived without it. My phone would die at least once a day before. Part of the reason was it was an old phone, but part of it is that I just use my phone a lot. I’m on it all day long checking emails or social media stuff for the blog. These aren’t cheap in general but if you’re like me it’s worth the investment. They come in different charging amounts – I think one charges the phone 50 percent (it’s the cheapest), one does 80 percent and one does 100.

It’s also extremely helpful when traveling. Like this past weekend in Chicago – I was able to take photos all day and I just flicked a switch to charge the phone when it was low. You do need a special charger (that comes with it) and we have other devices that use the same charger, so that hasn’t been a bit issue for me.

Speaking of phones, a few of you recommended an app to me years ago and it kind of changed my life. I blogged about my desire to move from a night owl to a morning person a couple years ago and many mentioned this app – it’s called Sleep Cycle and it’s amazing:

sleep cycle review

So the app monitors your sleep patterns. It can tell (somehow) when you’re in a light sleep or a deep one. If I set my alarm for 7 a.m., it will wake me by 7, but sometimes if it notices I’m in a lighter sleep before that (you can set it for the time before 7 that you want – with 10 to 30 minutes before I think), then it wakes me up when in that lighter sleep state. So it may wake me at 6:35 or 6:45 or if I’m crazy tired it may just wake me at 7 cause that’s when I need to be up.

Does that make sense? From the very first morning I used it I was SHOCKED. I used to reset my alarm literally five or six times every morning. Now, 90 percent of the time I’m up when this wakes me. It is truly fascinating. It also keeps a record of your sleep so you can see what kind of night you had. It really is very cool.

I’m not sure if this one is available for androids or not, but on the iphone I believe it’s only a dollar. Let me know if you try it! (Here’s a link to there site.)

Finally, a little thing that’s helped to keep our kitchen sink less cluttered. A few months ago I saw a blogger talk about a drying mat in her kitchen (I can’t remember who it was) and I kind of thought maybe it would be a waste of money for me. Then I saw a stinking cute one at TJMaxx and stood there thinking, am I just wanting this because it’s CUTE or because I’ll really use it?

I figured I’d try it out because I have a habit of leaving clean dishes in the right side of our sink forever and never putting them away. They don’t dry well, they get wet again when I wash or rinse other stuff and then I end up washing them all over because I feel like they’re not clean.

SO. I bought the cute drying mat:

polka dot drying matdrying mat review

And I use it all. the. time. Every day. I actually tend to wash a few dishes instead of putting them in the dishwasher now. It’s nice and big so it holds way more dishes than the side of our sink, and they dry a TON faster. It also folds up and snaps shut so it’s easy to store away under the sink.

This one is the Harman brand and I got it for $2.99. I see them at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods every time I go in now. Love it.

So there you go, a few little things that I use daily that I’ve really come to love. Do you use any of these? Any great products you’re loving lately?

**You can see another list of stuff I like from a few years ago here. I still use every one of them. :)

31 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to try the unstoppables but didn't want to pay the price, I'm going to next time I get detergent, since now I know they are actually worth it, thanks!

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  2. I use the laundry scenting crystals except I use the ones from Purell because they are substantially less expensive. I LOVE Shout Color Catchers! I use them all the time because I often find myself with just a little bit of laundry that I need to do so I end up mixing colors. I have not had one color "incident" since I started using them. I have a drying mat that I use all the time just because it is pretty easy to just wash up a couple of things rather than waiting until the dishwasher is full and ready to go. Thanks for the info on the charging cell phone case. I had not even heard of anything like that!

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  3. I also had wondered about the unstoppables and if they really worked. It's always good to hear from a person who has actually used the product...will have to try:)

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  4. I haven't tried that "flavor" of unstoppables yet. I've only gotten the blue ones (not sure the flavor on that one) and I LOOVE them! Especially for sheets and towels! So yummy! I get them at BJ's. They cheaper and they sometimes give a coupon. But if not Walmart has a big bottle that's cheaper than grocery stores at least.
    I wash all laundry except sheets and towels in cold water because I'm a lazy launderer so I've never used the color catchers.
    I need to look into that iPhone cover for the hubs. He's got the fancy phone here! :)
    I WILL be buying that app and the dish dryer (I'm also a lazy dish washer! :P)
    Thanks for the suggestions!!

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  5. That app sounds awesome but can't seem to find it for android. Bummer. If anyone knows of an equivalent android app, let me know! Thanks!

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  6. That app sounds awesome but can't seem to find it for android. Bummer. If anyone knows of an equivalent android app, let me know! Thanks!

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  7. Been using the sleep cycle app for 2 years and the dish drying mat for 3. Love both!

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  8. Love these! I also wish that app was for Android too, it sounds great! I would love to try that dish mat as well, will keep a look out. Keep these posts coming, great ideas:)

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  9. I just downloaded the app and I am REALLY looking forward to using it! Also, drying mats are the bee's knees!

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  10. I use the Purex Laundry Crystals and mixed them right into my homemade laundry detergent (http://www.openconceptorganizing.com/2013/12/diy-laundry-detergent.html). I only use one bottle per batch of detergent so it doesn't leave a super strong scent behind - but I'm sure adding another bottle would do the trick. Either way, they work great as a general laundry softener. I also love my dish drying mat, but mine is not as cute as yours! Think I'll go look for something cuter :)

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  11. OMG! This sleep cycle app intrigues me! I'm guilty of oversleeping. I'm going to go investigate. Thanks!

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  12. My hubbs uses the sleep cycle thing. He is that person who can't wake up in the morning despite 5 alarms being set at various locations throughout our house. I usually have to get up and turn them off :) It;s so neat to look at hte sleep cycle thing and see how much sleep you get, the type of sleep etc. When our son was a newborn it was crazy how that app would say we were so sleep deprived!

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  13. Is the Sleep Cycle working to change your sleep pattern? I have tried everything to change from Night Owl to Morning Bird and nothing seems to work. I can get to bed early but nothing happens when I close my eyes, iykwim. So I finally drop off after midnight, just as if I had stayed up and gotten something done. What I hate is that I feel like I waste so much of the morning, either sleeping in, or fumbling around in my fog.

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    1. Marti I'm not sure. Well...I guess I should say yes. I wake up on my own early on weekends now and before that would have NEVER happened. So that has changed for sure!

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  14. Ohhh I am downloading the sleep cycle app right now! thank you!

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  15. I am a huge fan of otterbox defender cases for iphones (though yours sounds awesome for the power factor). Why am I such a big fan? Because my mother has the weirdest accidents and would definitely have destroyed her iphone by now without it. She slammed it in the trunk once, it's been run over by cars twice, and she even dropped it in a pot of hot sugary goo while making candy during the holidays. Oh, Mom.

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  16. Love the wash scent idea but I don't think I've seen it in the UK yet.

    Android users can use SleepBot which does the same thing and it is free. It also records your movement and sounds overnight which is quite interesting.

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  17. Thanks for sharing - these are all great and I can't wait to download Sleep Cycle on my ipad. I've never heard of it!

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  18. I first saw a drying mat at HomeGoods last summer and I was intrigued so I picked one up. I love it! I use it all the time! I'm thinking I need a second one because I can't live without it while it's in the wash!

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  19. I love my drying mat and like others, keep my dishes washed as it's so easy to use. My kitchen sunk looks so much better.

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  20. Question about the drying mat: What is it made of? Do you hang it to dry, after it has been used?

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    1. I think it's cotton? I just leave it out on the counter and it dries fast.

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  21. I have a son in college who hates doing laundry, and I've found that Shout ColorCatchers and Purex UltraPacks help simplify the laundry process for him--eliminates the sorting and the detergent measuring. (Now if he could just find something that would fold clothes for him, he'd have it made!) I've looked at the pretty drying mats a number of times, but I'm trying to form a new habit of having my dishes washed and put away before I go to bed every night - so I've passed them up for now.

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  22. My daughter has used the sleep cycle app but, even though I would like to, I can't because I have a latex mattress and it has trouble recording your sleep if you don't move much through the night (which you don't tend to do on latex). I am glad I saw that on my daughter's iPod before I bought the app for my phone. She really likes it though. I am very keen on that drying mat! So cute too. Just might have to pop into HomeGoods and look for one. I haven't used those scent things in the wash as I have kids with allergies and eczema and can't use anything other than detergent made from nuts hand harvested by trained squirrels (just kidding! but it feels like that when you are trying to find stuff that doesn't affect them! ha ha). The latest thing I have tried that I am nuts about has nothing to do with home. It is a facial cleanser by Ole Henriksen called African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser (you can get it at Sephora). Oh my gosh, I love this stuff. Nothing has ever made my pores look so much smoother, I kid you not.

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  23. I have tried the laundry additive fragrance crystals, and found the scent to last for weeks, just as advertised. I especially enjoy using them on my bedding. My only question when using a product like that is whether or not it is healthy for us to be breathing in artificial scents so much of the time? Of course it would be counter-productive for the manufacturers to place a warning on their labels, so I guess we'll just have to wait for a couple of years to find out if they are dangerous for us.

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  24. I love those color catchers too - but here's a tip. Place it inside a lingerie bag before tossing in the washer. One of mine ended up INSIDE the pump on my washer. I don't know how this happens but I remember years ago a baby sock got out of the tub into the pump. Fortunately I was able to remove the color catcher sheet from the pump and unclog it but it required a little time, effort and cleaning up a mess. (there were some other small misc items in the pump too!)

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  25. I've had a drying mat for awhile now...love it! In fact mine is in the wash and I keep telling myself I need to buy another one so I can rotate! I have to try the Downy pellets....I love good smelling laundry (and I have a 14 year old son...enough said!) I have 3 of my favorite things by my kitchen sink to make doing dishes a little more pleasant. One is my favorite Mrs. Meyers dish soap in Lemon Verbena. I know it's a bit pricey for dish soap but I love the smell and it puts me in a happy mood! I also have the Lemon Verbena hand soap because I have to match...right? And finally I just bought a bottle of Trader Joe's Moisturizing Cream (Extra Dry Formula). With all this snow and midwest cold my entire family has dry hands and this stuff does the trick!

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  26. I have a drying mat too and love it! Because I have it, I'm much more inclined to do my hand washing - it's the little things that make our lives easier. I downloaded Sleep Cycle just now and will begin using it tomorrow morning. We'll see...I hate mornings. Maybe that will change. :)

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  27. Love this entire post (and your old one too)! Thanks for turning us all on to these products! I love my drying mat too! I checked out your older post as well. I was unable to buy the towels at Meijer.com as they are out of them. I couldn't find them anywhere else.

    Love your blog!

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    1. Thanks Lacey! I think they were clearancing them out when I wrote that post and then readers bought the rest of them out. :) I still have those towels and love them, sad they got rid of them.

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