Absolute Faves || White Noise Machines

I swear by these white noise machines below. I grew up with a fan in my room and while it helped keep me cool, it also helped me fall asleep by cutting the sounds of the crickets and frogs when I lived in the countryside.  Later in college rather than get a fan, I noticed a friend had one of these and asked him what is that?!?

That’s right, its basically a fan sound simulator.  Don’t laugh if your not familiar with it, it works for me BIGTIME.  I own two of the Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine’s.  They have been making these since 1962 and probably still will be making them in 2262 if were still around on this pale blue dot.  🙂

One of mine sits by the door to our bedroom, it cuts the sound of the TV in the next room.  The other I’ve moved all around the house sometimes to cut sound when I’m just on the laptop and trying to work on a project.

The other one I’m linking to below was a big deal on Kickstarter.  It’s basically the digital upgrade to my trusty analog version above, complete with Bluetooth pairing and calibration via your phone.

Bloomberg profiled it a few days ago here:

If this white noise machine can’t get you a good night of shut-eye, nothing will.

 This 16-ounce white noise machine uses a real fan instead of prerecorded sound, and it comes in a knit-wrapped round shape that blends in with just about any environment at home or on the road. The Snooz uses an app that easily pairs over Bluetooth to adjust the fan speed, program automatic start and stop times, and calibrate for nurser

Worth getting if you struggle with sleep or focusing because of background noise.  Worked for me.

Absolute Faves || Standing Desks

Standing Desks have been in the news for a number of years and I’m an advocate of them. Yes, I too have read the articles (for the record I don’t believe sitting all day is as bad as smoking but the research clearly show’s it is pretty bad!), but I’ve also logged a lot of 14-16 hour days at a computer screen working and if you haven’t had to spend 40, 50…hours a week in a chair at a desk, trust me it takes its toll on you. Seriously, you get eye strain, your neck hurts, your back hurts, your posture suffers, it’s cumulative and can be painful.

I switched to a standing desk while working about 4 years ago and though I thankfully haven’t had to spend as much time in front of a computer over the last year I can tell you, I will never use a seated desk for long periods of time again if I can help it. I am more productive standing, more engaged, and better focused on my work when I stand. My posture’s better, my neck doesn’t hurt anymore, and I just get more done. Beyond that, you burn more calories and it’s just better for your health.

Having said that I’m not against sitting at the desk altogether, and that’s why today’s standing desks are even better than in the past. Many of them will raise up and down so if you’re like me you can sit and stand while you work.

I tend to stand up at my desk when I’m typing a lot and multi-tasking. If I’m doing a lot of typing, watching a webinar, or just need a break from standing I’ll sit, even occasionally put my feet up.

A desk is pretty much a desk. A big flat surface, but there’s two I’ve used and can recommend.

The first is from Focal Upright. My advice is only to get one these if you can expense the thing because it’s expensive. It uses a hand crank to raise and lower it. This below was my workstation basically back in the hedge fund days. Is it overkill? YES. But I was spending 16 hours a day there basically.

The second I’ve used is the Uplift standing desk.  With it, on most models, you just press a button and it adjusts the height for you.  A lot of the standing desks will come with or without the desktop because once you start to pay several hundred dollars for the frame, it’s assumed you’ll want to customize wood used for the surface to match the rest of the room.

A third consideration might be Varidesk.

Worth getting one if you are stuck behind a desk for more hours than you’d like. Also, studies have shown that standing rather than sitting for 6 hours per day burns about 54 calories per day.  If you eat the same, that’s about 5 1/2 pounds you possibly lose.  Not bad!


Absolute Fave || 23 and Me

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done. 23 and Me. No blood needs to be drawn, you basically just spit in a cup and send it in, a few weeks later, you start getting the results. Beyond Fascinating.

I learned WAAAAAY more than I thought I would, and over a year later they continue to update the findings and reports as the data comes in.

“What can your DNA say about your health?

Learn more about your health, traits, and ancestry, with a package of 75+ reports that only the 23andMe service offers.”

Absolute Fave



Absolute Faves || Waboda

My family loves these Waboda Bouncing balls. Their motto is, “Keep Life Fun” and these balls turn any place into a playground.  The Moonballs bounce crazy high but are still soft enough that if they bounce into something it’s usually ok, and the water balls are crazy fun as they bounce on water.

Absolute Fave


Absolute Faves || Extra Long Cables

Simple lifehack here. Most phone’s come with a default 3 to 4-foot cable (the default apple cable is 1 m or about 3.5 feet) but I like to have at least one cable that is extra long. This goes for my apple devices and even my laptop USB-c charging.  The reason is obvious, you want your phone or laptop or whatever the device is to charge but you still want to be comfortable while using it.  Sometimes if you just have the default cable this is all by impossible.

My personal favorite for the iPhone is the Anker PowerLine 6 feet cable but I have a friend that prefers the 10-foot version of it.  They also make micro-USB versions of the cables as well.  I’ve mentioned on here before that my experience with Anker batteries has been good and that’s true with there cable’s as well.  (especially the double braided nylon)

Side Note: Anker’s recent foray into earbuds has been met with great reviews as well.  A friend of mine got some Zolo Liberty Wireless last month and raves about them.

Anyway, today’s Absolute Fave is Extra Long Cables.  More luxury than necessity but a good luxury to have.  🙂

Absolute Faves || Sugru Moldable Glue

Sugru Moldable Glue is Genius and It works.  I break a lot of stuff, and this has paid for itself over and over.  

Absolute Fave



“The world’s first moldable glue that sets strong by turning into silicone rubber”

Absolute Faves || Sleep Masks (Not just for night time but for Naps too!)

Though they won’t appeal to everybody, I have found sleep masks hugely helpful in falling asleep faster and also staying asleep. My preferred use though is for occasional 20-30 minute naps where I couldn’t block out the light with curtains or a closed door if I tried.

If you have a problem falling asleep or are a light sleeper and occasionally wake up, sleep masks are definitely worth a shot.  You can usually tell within about two weeks if they work or not.  The first 3-4 days, they take a little getting used to or at least did for me.

I’ve tried a bunch of these and I settled on the Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss. It’s got about 10K reviews on Amazon and for < 15 bucks I found it paid for itself rather quickly.

The other one I’ve tried is the one that Tim Ferris and some other popular bloggers have recommended.  It’s about 10 dollars more:  Sleep Master Sleep Mask. This one is better made IMO, but a little heavier.  I think it’s all going to come down to personal preference.

As long as I’m typing I’ll weigh in on earplugs as well.  I don’t use earplugs for sleep.  I prefer to listen to audiobooks or podcasts to put me to sleep but I do occasionally use earplugs at cafe’s, on plane’s, and while trying to get work done during the day if it’s super noisy around me.

Like many others, I’ve found Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs to be the most comfortable that I’ve used and also have the best seal. The trade-off is pretty well known. There white and get a little dirty over prolonged use and they are a little sticky compared to the more traditional silicone ones.  Beyond that there all about the same to me.  You kind of get what you pay for here. (The little yellow ones work but after an hour they will start to hurt my ears.)


Absolute Faves || Audible

This has paid for itself so many times over.  I’ve subscribed to the 2 books a month plan for 13 years now.  We’ll before Amazon bought them.  The added some new free channels as well lately if you’re a subscriber that includes original series, comedy, news, and more (Ted talks, meditation, authors, etc.)

Absolute Fave

Absolute Faves || Chillbo Baggins Inflatable Loungers

Chillbo Baggins. My family first saw these over in Bali last year.  Locals were selling them at the beach and they seemed like a big hit, but we went for lounge chairs and beach towels.  A few weeks later, we saw locals again selling them in Thailand and I rented a few for a few bucks for the afternoon.

Family loved them!  Extremely, easy to fill up, easy to deflate, no tools necessary.  It takes up almost no space and was better than the lounge chair or the beach towels. I don’t own any yet myself but will by years end.  Great to take to music festivals, camping, picnics, the beach, use the backyard, or just to inflate for the kids at home.

Absolute Fave.