An unsponsored list of my favorite products

by Sandy L on August 22, 2013

I think I’m going to start posting random product observations on my blog as it seems to be increasingly difficult to find unbiased, un-sponsored product reviews for stuff.   As we’ve just bought another fixer and I’m doing a lot of online research on different products,  I feel like it’s getting  increasingly more difficult because most sites with product review info are just hocking some product for personal gain.

So, here are my observations in no particular order.

My Favorite Beauty Products

GLIDE Floss – It’s great for people that don’t have a lot of space between their teeth. It doesn’t shred like regular floss, but whatever you do, don’t buy the mint flavored glide. It is much more brittle than the unflavored glide and it breaks all the time. Unflavored Glide is the only way to go.

Bobby Brown Foundation Stick – This is the most expensive thing in my makeup bag, but it gives great coverage without me looking like a kabuki doll.  It also isn’t pasty or runny like other foundations. On Amazon it says it’s over $50, but I got mine at an Outlet mall in a beauty store for $22. It lasts forever, so I don’t feel guilty buying it. I definitely don’t follow the chuck your makeup after 3 months rule, so I don’t mind spending a little more on this item.

Cover Girl Pressed Powder – It’s cheap, it was the first thing I ever used as a teenager, and I still think it is the best shine control product out there that is also hypoallergenic.  I have super sensitive skin and this stuff doesn’t do a thing to it.

Dove Soap – Pretty much my whole family has sensitive skin.  Dove is one of the few soaps where it’s moisturizing, gentle enough for babies, but I also feel like it’s cleaning me too. Some of those other brands like caress feel like you’re just slathering yourself with lotion and not getting clean.

My Favorite Household Products

Just bought a bunch of these

Kitchen Stuff.  As a materials person, I love stainless. It’s one of the best raw materials to use for kitchen tools. I hate rusty things that don’t hold up in the dishwasher.  Spoons, pots, mixing bowls, yes, even appliances.  It’s easy to clean, easy to sanitize and does not impart odors onto food. I’m actually thinking the island on my next kitchen remodel may have one of those freestanding stainless steel work tables that restaurant kitchens have. Mason Jars are my second most favorite item.  Polycarbonate is still my plastic of choice for food grade storage. Despite all the BPA hysteria which is totally based on wonky science, this material has the best properties for food storage use. Polycarbonate can last decades and doesn’t have that plasticy smell. It doesn’t stain like Polyethylene and it’s completely transparent so you can see the stuff you are storing. I went a little nuts and bought a bunch of the Cambro containers to put all my food in. In a house that’s 200 years old, you can never be too careful to keep the pests out.  Kitchen supply stores still sell polycarbonate food storage containers, but you’re out of luck for small appliances. I had to resort to tag sales to find a food processor made with PC.  The alternatives crack and shrink in the dishwasher. They’re horrible and who’s to say that plastic is any safer?  I digress and I don’t want this to turn into a toxicology post, so off I go to the next item.

Product DetailsBar Keeper’s Friend – I am in love again. When my new stainless steel fridge was delivered, there were these annoying suction cup marks from the factory that I couldn’t get off my door.  When I called the manufacturer, one of the many suggestions they gave me was to make paste of bar keeper’s friend and water and gently rub the stainless to get the marks off.  It worked when stainless cleaner, baking soda paste, WD40 and a whole host of other things did not.

My I-Pad – My kids are always trying to get a turn using it, but I also use this device constantly for work. Although it’s not perfect, I use it Far Far more than I thought I would.  It’s a purchase I don’t regret.

Picture frame hooks – who invented these things? They are brilliant. You can hold 30 pounds on a tiny little triangle thing. It’s really a clever feet of engineering, despite the fact that you can buy a pack of 50 for $3.

Paint and Primer in one – I’ll admit, I was a skeptic, but it really does work.  There are multiple brands out there, but it is my paint of choice for indoor projects. I’m going to experiment and see if they have an outdoor version because my house is white and has some bare spots and sometimes it’s hard to find the primer section that you just painted when the rest of your house is already white.Product Details

Zout – It’s the best stain remover and I’ve tried them all. Shout, oxiclean, and the others don’t even come close. Be careful though because I put it on my dresser once and it ate the varnish off my furniture.  That made me mad and sad, but it still gets blood out and grass stains and almost anything. The only thing it doesn’t seem to remove is armpit stains.

My Favorite Clothes

The Gap Pullover Sweatshirt – If you catch a good sale, you can get them for $14 and they are warm, comfy and last through a million washings.  My kids live in these sweatshirts and won’t wear anything else.  I’ve been personally impressed that they haven’t faded by now and are such a bargain.  Although I prefer fleece, the young ones like cotton.

 CONCRETENylon Pants from REI – It’s been a while since anyone’s seen my pasty white legs, but when it’s hot in the summer, I can still keep them covered and cool at the same time.  Even if my legs looked like Giselle Bunchen’s, I still would wear these in the summer because the mosquitoes are so vicious.  It’s also easier and faster to keep covered than using sunscreen.  I use REI brand because they have the 34″ inseam option and fit me well. Although they aren’t that hip, I live in these things when I’m kicking around the house or out doing something active.  I also stock up on those thin fitted T-shirts from Target. They’re usually about $6-$8 each. They don’t last more than a season because they get all stretched out, but I like the fit and the weight of the target T’s and for $8, I don’t mind buying a few every season.

Land’s End Slender Suits – Well worth the money and very comfortable, although I was annoyed that when the I bought mine, the swimsuits were on sale, however the tall sizes were still full priced. They do stretch out if you swim a lot in chlorine, so I usually take my el cheapo bathing suit to the pool with the kids and save the nice one for the beach/lake.

LLBean Stuff – They are pricey but their stuff lasts forever and you can return things at any time for any reason. I love their supima flannel sheets. Their regular lower end flannel pilled. It didn’t used to but it does now so I returned them and upgraded for the higher end sheets and haven’t been disappointed.  My husband buys this jeans there and my kids love their PJ’s and slippers.  Their snowsuits are amazing. We received one as a gift and it lasted through 3 kids and still look brand new.  Unfortunately, nothing ever fits me right from this store and it makes me sad that  I can’t buy some of my clothing staples here, but they still made my list because the rest of my family uses their stuff.  We don’t buy everything from here as it’s too expensive to furnish you whole wardrobe from this store, but for those things you want to last a long time, it’s definitely a great place to shop.

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m a little thin on the clothes department. I’m still in search of the perfect shoe. If anyone has shoe suggestions, I want to know. I was using Clark’s but they are not lasting like they used to and the fit gets overly loose over time. Plus, they look like granny shoes.  I also hate traditional running shoes. My toes always seem to get numb wearing them.

What are some of your favorite products? I’m always wanting to know what people’s favorite items are. It’s really hard to find stuff you really love vs just a meh type of thing, so do share.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy August 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I love Keen shoes and currently have 4 pairs, they fit well and are comfy. They are not exactly cute and stylish but I need comfort so I stick with them.

I don’t think you can beat the Otter Box cover I have for my cell phone. I have dropped that baby out of my pocket onto cement at least 3 times and no damage has occured.

My metal mesh colanders from The Pampered Chef are great. When I bought them I thought “I hope I use these” as they were a bit spendy. It seems there is always one in the dishwasher. They have held there shape and have not rusted at all.

I tried Dutch Boy Premier paint and primer combo resently and loved it. The coverage was stellar and I painted two bedrooms with one gallon.

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First Gen American August 24, 2013 at 5:25 AM

Thanks for the tip on Keen. I thought they only carried sandals, but when I just looked they have a whole line of other shoes too. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out. I just bought a lifeproof case and I love it too. It’s sort of like otterbox but waterproof and not as bulky.

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Don August 22, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Great list :)

I know this isn’t quite the same, but I love my car. It’s a Toyota 2010 Camry. It’s not glamour or sporty, and it’s considered an “old” person’s car, but I really do love it!

It’s not that it looks great, in fact I would consider it somewhat plain since it’s just “every other sedan car out there silver”.

It’s the ride that sells me. Unlike my older 2003 malibu, it rides like I’m floating on air and has a solid feeling to it.

Silly huh…, but there you have it…

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First Gen American August 24, 2013 at 5:27 AM

I had a Toyota Camry and it was great. It’s reliable, has good gas mileage and is reasonably priced. It’s not like you’re going to pick up chicks with it, but with cars, I’m more about function. I have a company car right now, so that doesn’t count, but we also have a Honda Element. I can’t believe they got rid of that car. It fits everything. It’s extremely practical.

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Linda August 22, 2013 at 9:25 PM

I love these Bali underwear: http://www.onehanesplace.com/outlet/panties/bali-panties/-24222–1 They fit great and don’t ride up, rub or pinch. There is no VPL when I wear them with my fitted pants at work. The microfiber is comfortable even when I’m sweaty from working out, and stains wash out easily, even when hand-laundered. Not only that they dry very quickly on the line, so they’re great for travel. My mom always told me to wear cotton underwear, and I did for many years; she was so wrong. ;-)

I’m a big fan of Keen shoes, too. I have a pair of sandals that are super comfy, even if they do look rather chunky. In addition to Keen, I’ve found that most Ahnu shoes are extremely comfortable for me, too. They don’t look very dressy, but I wear them to work anyway because I need shoes with lots of cushioning these days.

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First Gen American August 24, 2013 at 5:34 AM

Comfortable Underwear = Sanity. It seemed that all I did in high school was pick my wedgies. That’s when I selected my underwear for cuteness over comfort (and before the days of all these cool synthetic blends). It took me a long time to find a brand that worked and of course it also came from a friend’s recommendation.

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Lola August 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I agree completely on the Glide dental floss – I can’t use any other! I”ve settled on Olay Regenerist face wash as my go-to brand – it has the best combination of makeup removal and cleansing I’ve found.

I’ll also vouch for Pampered Chef products – the vegetable peeler is simply the best ever.

I’m still looking for the ideal work shoe. One of my kids loves Merrells, but I’m not crazy about the look. I do like Keen sandals for being out on the water, and I always have a pair of Keds leather sneakers for casual wear.

Around the house, gotta have WD 40, Goo Gone, and Dawn for taking care of various greasing and then un-greasing situations. Also, I love Sharpie markers and have them in lots of colors. I can leave them out on my desk, now that we don’t have little kiddies around the house.

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First Gen American August 24, 2013 at 5:37 AM

I’m a sucker for P&G products. Dawn, Tide, Cascade. They are the best in their respective cleaning areas in my opinion. WD40, brilliant. You forgot the duct tape. When we bought our new house we brought some bare bones necessities over there and one of them was duct tape. I used it almost immediately. Goo gone is a new product for me though. I’ll have to keep my eye out for it. My kids love Merrells too. The adult version though is so much heavier a shoe than the kid version. I had a pair but they were too heavy.

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Mutant Supermodel August 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Hmm favorites.
Favorite shoes are these flats from Payless: http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=cat10088&subCatId=cat70004&skuId=129465130&productId=70092&lotId=129465&category=&catdisplayName=Womens
They are SO comfy. And cheap! And cute!
Favorite work pants: Editor pants from Express
Favorite laundry detergent: Tide
I love Oxi-Clean so I’m intrigued by your Zout recommendation.
Favorite around the house thing: Magic Eraser
Favorite face wash: Cetaphil
Boyfriend has a favorite shower gel and it’s Softsoap and that cracks me up so much because it’s girly soap but he swears it’s the only thing that doesn’t dry out his sensitive skin.
Favorite underwear: The cute cotton panties from Target. They’re affordable and they hold up pretty well to hot washes and they have cute cute cute designs.
Favorite alcoholic beverage: Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider
Favorite little thing I had no idea would be so handy: A measuring tape keyring

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First Gen American August 24, 2013 at 5:41 AM

Great great list. I do use oxyclean for my whites, but don’t use it in every wash because it does tend to eat away at the clothes. My husband complained about his socks getting holes when I used it liberally so I had to dial it back a notch. Target does have some cute stuff. One of my hipper friends buys a lot there and I’m always shocked when she tells me some cute dress was found at target. Measuring tape key…oh how I lust. I keep a tape measure in my car. This takes it a step further.

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Jacq September 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

My favorite running shoes ever are Aasics. Favorite bumming around shoes came from Lands End I think – they don’t look the greatest after a few years, but they sure are comfy!
LOVE my Danskin NOW sandals – freakishly comfy.
Love my Ozeri scale. Just bought a couple of Cuisinart cast iron pots on sale, love them.
My world was made better when I started using pre-minced garlic in a jar. :-)
Just Dance 4 for the Wii was a great buy.
My Coach poppy wristlet is still holding up great and looking good as new after 3-4 years and much abuse. I think I got that one at a 75% off sale. ;-)
Still love my fitbit. And the roomba, so love my roomba. And kindle. And library membership. :-P

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Sandy L September 25, 2013 at 4:21 AM

Thanks Jacq. Love the suggestions. I forgot about my Le Crueset pots. Bought them at TJ Max on sale and they have been wonderful. We have a Wii that I keep at my mom’s as a treat for the boys. I always thought about getting the just dance games, but I was always too cheap. Mental note. Maybe I’ll ad it to the Xmas list.

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Sally July 26, 2014 at 12:54 AM

I like keen footwear. I have a couple of shoes that are incredibly relaxed, even if they do look rather large. I’ve discovered that most Ahnu footwear are incredibly relaxed for me, too. They don’t look very elegant, but I use them to perform anyway because I need footwear with plenty of support nowadays.

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Nik @ Midlife Finance August 25, 2014 at 12:16 AM

Great and interesting lists. I also the nylon pants from REI. Love to wear it during the summer.

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