2021 Christmas Mary's Fav Things

Mary’s Favorite Things

 

2021 Christmas Mary's Fav Things

If you woke up this morning with a sense of panic realizing there are just days until Christmas, let me offer some sweet relief—a compilation of my favorite things that I have purchased from my own money, with all details updated and now gathered into one convenient place.

You’re about to discover that my favorite things are mostly practical, which could explain why I prefer to receive practical gifts. A new vacuum for Christmas? I’d be thrilled and delighted. All that to say that no doubt, my favorite things seriously reflect that personal bias.

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This is one amazing steam iron. It is affordable, reliable, and gives me great results consistently. It is comfortable to use and has enough heft to give a good press. Has a super shiny stainless steel soleplate that is easy to clean. The high steam rate blasts away wrinkles through its 400 micro steam holes. Auto shutoff has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions.

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This portable wireless speaker for iPhone, Samsung, and more is just fantastic. It has a 24-hour playtime, 66-ft Bluetooth Range (which I test to its limits frequently) plus a built-in mic. And the sound quality is amazing. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got along without a quality affordable wireless speaker like this one.

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It’s the most amazing thing—one kitchen appliance that replaces seven. That’s why it’s called Instant Pot 7-in-1. The manufacturer has come out with bigger models, and I do have the 6-qt Duo,  but this is the one I have, love, and use almost every day. It’s the perfect size for 2 to 4 people.

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This attractive charging station has 4 USB ports and 3 AC outlets. I use mine what seems like 24/7 because when I work I need so many things plugged in. You’d be amazed if you could see my desk right now. Something is plugged into every port. And I have one of these charging stations on each nightstand in our guest room. It’s the first thing guests mention—how convenient for each person to have their own place to plug-in and charge their devices.

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 My favorite stick vac is powered by a mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery. That’s one of the secrets of this stick vac’s awesomeness. A full charge not only holds power until I need to use it (I can store it anywhere in the house, not necessarily attached to its charger), it has a seemingly endless runtime because it holds its charge until used. I’m talking 30 minutes or longer of continuous use, too. With its replaceable battery and separate settings for carpet and wood, Linx is like an electric broom, dustpan, and dust mop all in one. And super effective against pet hair! This is my go-to for quick cleanups. (Does a great job of that on low-pile carpet, too.)

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Save $110.01

There’s a new robot vacuum in town and eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S MAX , is its name. This robot has renewed my faith that robotic vacuuming is not only possible—it can be amazing.

This little thing is so smart, it knows when it needs to be recharged and finds its way back “home” to the charging dock for a refill. He is only 2.58 inches tall, which means he can go under furniture and beds without getting stuck. We call him Guffy and I believe he’s the best inexpensive robot vacuum out there and I love him.

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In the decade since I  met and fell in love with my first Shark upright vacuum, I’ve purchased, tested, and worked nearly to death (it’s really hard to wear out a Shark) many Shark vacuums because the company comes out with a new model or two about every week, or so it seems. I can say with confidence, there is no better basic corded, upright vacuum cleaner on earth. My stick vac above does not replace this regular vacuum.

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This little sweetheart of a handheld vacuum is the best I have ever owned. That says a lot once you understand that prior to this gem, I had a Dyson handheld, an early Dustbuster, a Bissell model, and a couple of other off-brand numbers. The problems were many, but the biggest one? Runtime. What’s the point of a cordless hand vac that only “vacs” for a few minutes? So annoying!

But then this new Black + Decker Cordless Hand Vac with 16-volt Lithium battery came into my life. It’s the battery! Lithium is just the best thing that ever happened to the world of batteries for so many reasons, but mostly that it holds a charge until used. That gives this cordless vac a fabulously long runtime.

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Save $60.00

My FoodSaver gets a workout every day. Depending on the type of food, I use FoodSaver containers and canisters, plastic bags, and also canning jars to seal food items (this requires the jar sealer accessory). I vacuum seal raw rice, sugar, spices, meat; baked goods (I freeze them first so the vacuum doesn’t crush them), fresh fruits, and vegetables. I even vacuum seal silver flatware to keep it from tarnishing. I vacuum-sealed my Birth Certificate and my Social Security card. It’s a really good thing.

 

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We, coffee snobs, insist on crushing our coffee beans, not cutting them with a steel blade. A burr grinder is a must because it gives consistent particle size for even extraction. Just accept that a grinder with a blade should be saved for grinding spices. The OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a great piece of machinery. Not only does it look spectacular, but it also works really well and is rated highly by coffee lovers of all levels of snobbery.

 

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The dyed-in-the-wool coffee lover you does not want the cheapest coffee brewer. He or she wants (needs?!)  the best and this is it. There are so many things that need to be just right in order to turn out the best coffee at home—water temperature, the way the water pours over the coffee grinds at precisely the right moment; the amount of time required to deliver that first cuppa and on and on it goes. This machine does it all and in ways that are nearly indescribable. Once you have a BUNN, you’ll never go back. Make sure you realize that the decanter is not included, and must be purchased separately. Check Webstaurantore.com.

 

 

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taupe bathtowel set from Lands EndBath Towel Sets

Bath linens—towels and washcloths that are big, thick, thirsty, and ultra-soft. That’s what we want and we want them to stay that way for many years, right? Here they are, from Land’s End. Hint: As I write, a 6-piece towel set is up to 70% OFF, depending on the color when you use code: GLOBE

  LANDS END

 

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Bed Sheets

BedThis Liz Claiborne luxury 600tc sateen wrinkle-free sheet set from JCPenney is amazing. These sheets have a velvety, soft hand, which helps to make them wrinkle-resistant. The fitted sheet has elastic all the way around to create a tight fit on mattresses of multiple depths up to 18″.

One set in size Cal King is list priced at $199. But wait. The JCPenny site regularly offers discount coupons (I’ve been watching this like a hawk and there’s almost always a coupon), plus these specific sheets are frequently on sale. With my first online order, I didn’t have to search or inquire. At checkout, I simply clicked on “coupons” which was right next to the checkout button. Immediately, the price dropped to $93.

  JCPENNY

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If you knew how many pairs of earphones I’ve had in my life and either lost or couldn’t stand for one more minute—you would be amazed. So am I. Several years ago I purchased what might be my last set ever. My Airpods for iPhone, Macbook, and iPad are wonderful. Finally, earbuds (earphones) that work flawlessly. I cannot feel them in my years and these Airpods are super smart. Best thing ever.

 

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My kids gave me a sous vide cooker for Christmas one year, and what a fabulous gift! I’ve learned a new way of preparing meat, poultry, even eggs—and it is amazing. If there’s a foodie on your list, sous vide cooking is almost certain to be in his or her future. This is The Gift!

 

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This is always securely tethered to my handbag. On a recent trip, as I got ready to deplane, I discovered one of my AirPods had fallen out of my ear! People were anxious to get off the plane, but I had to stop the exodus. I just couldn’t leave without finding it. I panicked slightly, then whipped out my tiny flashlight and set it to mega-blast. That thing lit up the area under the seat for rows in both directions! And there it was, tucked into the fold of the seat upholstery material. I would have never found it had it not been for my trusty Olight. So grateful! This darling has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and comes with a mini magnetic dock charger. Fabulous. My favorite!

 

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Oh, how I love this brand in this color (Lincoln Park After Dark)! I’m no pro when it comes to a home manicure, but this polish covers a multitude of “amateurities.” It’s long-lasting lacquer, it’s chip-resistant (follow these steps), and super shiny.

 

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These things look like overgrown tennis balls, made of 100% wool yarn, that over time becomes “felted,” making them especially durable and not at all prone to unraveling. One set of wool dryer balls will last what seems like forever, softening thousands of loads of laundry—no batteries, refills, repairs, or reconditioning required. It’s one [purchase] and done!

 

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I’ve tried other brands of hand mixers and well, no … just no. It’s not the price, as this mixer is right there with other brands. I don’t know why this one performs so much better, but I have my suspicions: the shape and configuration of the beaters. Whatever it is, don’t waste time and money on other brands. I’ve done that for you so you don’t have to. Stick with my favorite. It comes in a bunch of colors.

 

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I have a few kitchen tools, some that I like, not many I love. My 8.7-inch Rolele flat whisk sits at #1 on the Love List. I reach for it the way some folks reach for their iPhones, and by that I mean constantly. It fits in my hand, takes care of every imaginable task in my kitchen. And once in the garden. Shhhh!

 

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Unlike many small, portable clothes steamers, this handheld clothes steamer can be used right side up or even upside down to steam clean! Tilt it 360-degrees and it won’t spill water, but continues to blast out steam. Holds enough water for up to 10 minutes of continuous steam, but is still small enough to tuck into a suitcase. Steam, remove wrinkles, sanitize, sterilize, soften, defrost, and clean any type of fabric. I love this little steamer because it heats up really fast, doesn’t leak, spit, or sputter. It produces massive steam and has an extra-long cord, which makes it so handy to use all around the house.

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If you and/or your gift recipient, like I, pride yourselves on your well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or another piece of cast iron cookware, you know not to come anywhere close to it with cleanser, steel wool, or metal utensils. That makes cleaning the thing a bit of a challenge—unless you have a Ringer. Don’t ask me how and why this works because it is made of stainless steel chainmail. But it does work. And cleans up cast iron without removing the seasoning. And oh, so well.

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I’m an ordinary cook. But don’t tell my friends and family. They think I’m an awesome cook. The truth is I use unrefined organic Redmond Real Salt, and have for at least 15 years. I found it in the gift shop at Salt Lake City airport. The best salt ever. It’ll make you cook like a Food Network rockstar. I buy the stuff by the 10-pound bucket (not as pictured); one bucket lasts longer than two years.

 

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Yes, I love to knit. The right knitting needles turn a tedious activity into a soothing, calming, dreamy pastime. These Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles with their extra-pointy metal tips are truly a dream come true. They’re to be revered, respected, and enjoyed for the fine quality tools that they are. Know a knitter you’d love to surprise with the perfect gift? You cannot go wrong with this collection.

 

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Save $14.72

My dentist insists. Twice a day, WaterPik with warm saltwater. Enough said.

 

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It’s become part of me, that’s how much I use my laptop computer. I’m on my 5th MBP and it’s on its 3rd keyboard. Seriously, I must have a very heavy hand because I go through keyboards the way others wear out socks! I pound holes in the keys. The guys at the Apple store are quite amused.

I know one’s tools-of-the-trade is a matter of preference, and it’s MacBook Pro for me. Can’t imagine going anywhere—Survivor Island or a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is where you will find me quite often (the latter, not that island!)—without my Mac.

 


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