Beliefnet
O Me of Little Faith

I’ve been thinking recently about consumerism and simplicity and the economy and my spending habits (as have, probably, a whole lot of people). I’m not much of a brand-conscious kind of guy — if anything, my loyalty is more often to price than to label. But there are a few specific products that I really like. And just because I think it might bring up some interesting discussion — and because I like lists — I thought I’d list them for you.

Nine Products I Really, Really Like:

1. Clip-on iPod Shuffle: I have the first generation of the Shuffle with the clip. Love it. You can’t find a better player for jogging, bike riding, or whatever. Confession: I rarely listen to music on it. Mostly my playlist is a selection of podcasts. Lots of NPR. I’m a nerd.

2. Starbucks Sumatra Extra Bold coffee blend (bought at Target, brewed at home): Oh, rich, earthy Sumatra. I can’t quit you. I don’t really want to quit you, either.

3. Nikon D40: Nikon’s entry-level digital SLR camera, usually combined with a Speedlight SB-400 and the 55-200 VR lens. Perfect for family pics and just about anything else I need.

4. Worm Factory 5-Tray Worm Bin: Read about my foray into worm composting here. We’re having fun feeding our table scraps to our worms. You know what they really love? Day-old Sumatra Extra Bold coffee grounds.

5. Nike Free 5.0 running shoes: Scientifically speaking, barefoot runners have always had stronger feet. Nike came up with some weird waffley bottom-of-the-shoe technology that simulates running barefoot. So these running/cross-training shoes are extra light and, due to the design, are lots easier on the knees. I did all the roadwork for last year’s triathlons wearing these. And I can tell a difference in the way my back and knees feel when I wear these as opposed to other shoes.

6. GoLite Jam ultralight backpack: Backpacking light is the way to go, and this pack is perfect for a three-day weekend trip. My backpacking buddies roll their eyes at me when I wear it, but they’re jealous because they’re carrying twice as much weight as I am. Suckers.

7. Heated Mattress Pad: Honestly, I don’t know what brand this is and I’m too lazy to pull the sheets back to look. But my cold-natured wife will tell you this is the best thing I ever bought for her, and it turns out I really like it, too. Getting into a warm, preheated bed is a luxury, I know. But man, is it good.

8. Old Navy Canvas Slip-On Shoes: I have a brown pair and a black pair, both bought on clearance for less than $10 each. I wear these almost every day. It has made me insufferably lazy because I now see the act of tying shoes as an inconvenience.

9. ClubSwim Compression Jammer swim trunks: Just like Speedo compression swimsuits, but cheaper. When I first started swimming, I wore floppy board shorts like you’d wear to the pool in the summer. After several weeks of this — as I began to get more serious — I ordered these tight-but-not-too-revealing compression shorts for “real swimmers.” When I first dove in and began swimming in these babies? I was grinning underwater. Way less drag than the old board shorts. I felt like a seal. Yes, I am a nerd.

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So those are nine of the products I love. What about you? What specific products can you not live without?

(Full disclosure: Rather than linking these products to the websites of their respective makers, you’ll notice I’ve linked most of these to Amazon, using links created through their Associates program. Which means if you really get inspired about, say, a mattress heater, then you can head to Amazon from here and buy the product…and I’ll get a tiny commission. Yes, I am a shameless product shill. But I only thought of the shillage after writing this post. For real. I’m one savvy businessman, I tell you.)

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