Thing 18: Foam Roller

Like so many things on Twitter (and even more so, Tumblr), a 2020 tweet (that did not go viral) had a screenshot shared to Instagram (where it did go viral, before trickling down to FWD:fwd:Fwd Facebook I’m sure). It reads: 

By the time you hit your 30s you should be really aggressive about convincing people to buy one of the following:

  • an air fryer 
  • an insta pot
  • a humidifier
  • a weighted blanket

I humbly introduce the foam roller to this list (though I am not the first). I originally purchased a foam roller for my legs because I run. But woooo boy! Do I love it. Foam rolling can help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation, and increase your joint range of motion. Add it to your warm-up or cooldown. Soreness down, flexibility up, relaxation on max. 

Personally, I use a textured foam roller, but I would not start fresh with one (higher learning curve, very easy to bruise yourself on it). Wirecutter (no longer on strike) has a great overview of foam rollers and some great exercises too. Niharika in San Francisco has one of their recommendations coming her way!

Thing 13: Books!

This is my 5th year of running an online book club (was doing online book club before it was cool). I wrote a lot about it last year, so you can read more there if you like. Rebecca in Cleveland gets a copy of the November 2021 book Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia purchased from the Bookshop page for Visible Voice Books in Cleveland. 

We have one more book to read for 2021: How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith. Smiths’ book, as well as another 2021 pick Kink, made it to the New York Times Notable Books of 2021 list. Essentially, I am a good picker. 

Normally here is where I would release the 2022 Book Club list, but I am not ready yet! Feel free to send me your ideas!

Thing 10: UrbanStems

flowers and a cargo bike

I am obsessed with plants. They add comfort and warmth to a space, and improve your air quality and mood too. While I prefer most of the plants in my life to be potted, there is something timeless and special about getting flowers (*Siri play Only Girl by Rihanna*).  As a lover of giving AND getting joy, I send flowers frequently too—blooms for many an occasion 💐💕💐

In DC, UrbanStems is my quick flower sender of choice. The company started here and still maintains a heavy local presence. In DC (and NYC), UrbanStems provides same day (or advance scheduled) delivery, mostly via cargo bike. Their nationwide offerings are also great, but these will come via FedEx or UPS.

If you have a little more time, I do suggest reaching out to a local florist first. As I’ve suggested with finding an artist, Instagram is also a great place to find a florist. But if you’re still struggling to find availability or someone who delivers, rather than going to Legacy Big Flower and risking quality, consider Urban Stems! 

Jamee in DC got The Filly mini bouquet delivered to her today! Want to try UrbanStems? Get $20 off with my customer link.

Thing 9: Tangle Teezer

brush

I’m a notorious hair abuser: a fake blonde who neglects haircuts and sometimes (used to be often but I swear I am trying) uses hotel shampoo. But I am attempting to do better. And I wonder why no one ever told me to get a better brush. 

My recent move to do better included a silk pillowcase (for skin and hair purposes) plus some new hair serum and the Tangle Teezer. Turns out my whatever brush was ripping my hair out. Very sad. The TT bills itself as follows:

Our prescriptive detangling hairbrushes quickly and gently detangle all hair types with minimum damage, leaving the hair soft and shiny. The long teeth detangle, removing knots, reducing breakage and leaving hair healthier-looking, while the short teeth smooth and leave the hair glossy and frizz-free. It’s as simple as that! 

While this brush is often touted as a wet brush for those with curly/wavy hair, it also does wonders for my fine, silky hair…wet AND dry. Megan in Lakewood gets her own Tangle Teezer to try out.

Thing 7: Rapid Home Tests

I am really hoping this is the last Covid related thing on Favorite Things ever. That said, cheers to the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests. While PCR tests remain most accurate, their turnaround time can be a hindrance for quick checks. Current studies show rapid tests are more than 80% effective at detecting any level of Covid-19 infection and likely to be more than 90% effective at detecting who is most infectious. 

Before attending a group function and a few days after returning from one, I will take a home test. It takes less than 20 minutes from opening the box to getting results. Lately, I am taking 3-4 tests a month for safety and peace of mind. You can find them at most pharmacies (both in store and online), with the cost typically between $7 and $12 per test (the BinaxNOW tests are sold in 2 pack boxes). While this is not super high, it is extremely annoying because many other countries give away rapid home tests are free or sell them for less than $1. Alas, I am still happy this is an option and hope it continues to be more and more available to anyone who needs them. 

Tests are approved for anyone 2 and up, though samples must be collected by an adult for young children. You can even use a version of this test for travel, but it needs to be purchased with telemedicine capabilities. Having a small indoor get together this winter? Consider asking your guests to swab their shnoz beforehand. My only sister is the lucky recipient of a pack of tests.