My Favorite Things

I enjoy quality objects. And I prefer to own as little as possible and so I try to scrutinize every single object I own to make sure I am getting full value out of it. When I do buy something I typically take a long time to research what I want and then spend the time to get a really great deal on it.

So why make a list of things I enjoy? I suppose I just want to be like Oprah. Actually, the few things I really enjoy are things that I feel like most readers would also enjoy. You can be assured anything on this list I actually own and would readily purchase again. Not only that, take comfort in the fact that whatever item appears on here has been well researched as something that provides true value. Have you ever taken the time to consider which purchases you have made over the years that have over delivered on their promises? Feel free to let me know in the comments if there are any must have items that you would recommend to all of your friends.

I love to read. I read a lot of blogs but also a ton of books. I primarily read non-fiction and I really enjoy the business/self-help/personal finance field. I’ve written specifically about my favorite books of all time here.


2013-03-13 17.13.49 1981 Centurion Road Bike
This $20 flea market find has been my go to source for entertainment and travel for years. This steel framed beauty lives outside and seems to ride even better with its basket and all my gear.  I’ve literally put 2,000+ miles on this bad boy and it still has plenty of life left. I’ve had dozens of more expensive bikes but I keep going back to Rusty Red. I’m looking forward to racing in it for the first time this year.

 Pilot Mechanical Pencil
Seriously, one of the top items on the list is a pencil? No, The Pencil. I’ve had the same pencil for 11 years. Well, technically I’ve had two because they sent me a free new one when the first one died after seven years. I’ve used it daily almost the entire time and what makes this one unique is that you shake it to advance the lead.  I’ll eventually write an entire article about the benefits of having a nice pencil.

Nite Ize Carabiner
I received this as a little gift one year for Christmas; but strangely I’ve fallen in love with it. I only carry three keys but it is a great lightweight minimalist key chain that works well for running or any other activity.

So simple but so effective. I had a troubling habit of breaking or losing sunglasses of all types. That is, until I discovered the joy of a small piece of fabric that works wonders. I now keep my croakies on my sunglasses at all times and don’t have to worry about ever putting them down. I enjoy both the neoprene flat and the thicker cloth style.

 Nalgene Bottle
I’ve carried the same 32oz Nalgene for over 10 years and a few years ago we bought three widemouth 16oz. We use them daily and they seem to last forever. I hate buying bottled water but I always like having water with me wherever I go. We keep a Britta in the fridge and fill the bottles up from that. The widemouth bottles are much easier to clean than the small mouth ones.

2013-03-14 14.39.27 North Face Hot Shot Backpack (2002 vintage)
This backpack is awesome. Again, this thing has been with me across oceans and visited over 30 countries. It’s mid-sized, light and has just the right combination of straps and pockets. The quality seems higher than the new packs that are being made. Ebay would probably be the best source to find a vintage pack. I’ve carried it 1000s of times and I’m amazed at how little wear it shows.

 Sony Radio
I love sports. I enjoy keeping track of local college and professional teams. Years ago, I would spend hours in front of the TV every week watching any and every game. Now, I actually spend a good bit of time outside working on projects or building things. I enjoy listening to the games and in my area AM broadcasts all the best content. This little radio gets all the games, rechargeable batteries last forever and it is light enough to take anywhere.

KC-slate-06-lg._V386898778_ Amazon Kindle
I love to read and I enjoy traveling. I’ve owned several Sony, B&N, Apple and other e-readers but I’ve settled on the Kindle. The battery lasts forever and works well for local library books. It is thin and light and has allowed me to get rid of the bookshelves at my house.


 11″ Macbook Air
I remember rocking the Toshiba Protege 2000 before ultralights were cool. What I enjoy about the macbook is how well it’s made and its premium feel. There are tons of other awesome laptops out now, but the macbook tends to hold its value better than all other computers. I’ve been able to get used ones on sale, resale them after keeping them for a year, and still make a little profit.

Patagonia Stand Up Shorts
The best shorts of all time. They have been around for decades and they last equally as long. Expensive but last forever. I actually bought my first pair prebroken-in on ebay because I wanted to make sure I enjoyed them. Huge pockets and 5” inseams are great for travel, work, and casual pants.

  BCG Shorts
I wear these bad boys every day. I have a few different colors and I rotate them as they get dirty. The impressive part about these shorts is the large pockets for athletic shorts and strong elastic. I enjoy the mid length and the first thing I do when I get a new pair is cut out the built in underwear. I don’t know if I’ll ever own another style of athletic shorts.

 Banking: ING Direct/Capital One 360
I’ve been a long time ING user and evangelist. And since the buyout with capital one I have waited to see if there will be any major changes. I can say that so far the acquisition has gone better than expected and all the old features of ING are still present. The thing I like most about this banking is the ability to do sub accounts. This may sound trivial but it makes it so much easier when automating savings and having “virtual” envelopes. I like having my paycheck direct deposited then having it send money to each sub account automatically.

 Auto Insurance
I have had insurance through several different companies over the years but I keep going back to Geico. I like their web interface and easy to adjust service options. While the advertising is incessant, I certainly understand because so many people are overpaying on their coverage because they are too lazy to get a new quote or change. I recommend Geico for quotes even if you don’t plan on changing coverage because it is easy and it does give you information and leverage with your current provider even if you don’t switch.

 Life Insurance
After my wife and I bought our first house and had our first baby we decided it was time to finally get our life insurance set up. We initially went through a whole life agent and bought our first term policy. It was reasonably priced at one of the oldest insurance companies. What we didn’t realize was exactly how much we were getting overcharged for the type of coverage we needed. We went through Zander insurance and purchased our 20 year level term. We plan on being financially independent before the twenty years are up but it is nice to have in place at the moment. Lastly, when comparing cost, calculate the entire 20 year cost of the plan vs. its monthly cost.

Others that almost made the list:
Apple TV 2 w/ XBMC
New Balance 990 Series
Rainbow Sandals

Now I’ve shared my favorite things; what are your favorites? What are the products you can not live without?

14 thoughts on “My Favorite Things

  1. I read this list and immediatley thought “NERD!!!” Just kidding- I am nerdy too! I don’t like to own very many items either…too much to take care of =)

    • I know, seriously, who put a pencil at the top of their favorite things list? Dave Ramsey would be proud. Yeah, I actually own very little and I’m working to own even less. I have noticed I’ve started to get nicer and higher quality items recently just fewer of them. It is a little trickier with the new baby but we are managing pretty well.

  2. I might rip off this post idea. I was just talking to a friend last night about what things I’d really want to hang onto if it came down to it. The list is very small and quite strange. My favorite thing is actually a piece of broken bottle that I use as a candle holder. I found it on the beach and the glass is all worn and bubbled. Don’t know why but I’ll keep that thing no matter what!

    • It was interesting for me coming up with the list. It was even funnier looking at the list in whole. What I realized is how few things I actually have purchased or received over the years that I really like. I’m looking forward to seeing your list in the next few weeks.

    • I got the original Nook the day it came out and then I had a nook color for a while also. They were both pretty sweet devices. I’ve have some friends with the simple touch glow that really enjoy it. I think the kicker for me is the nook it a lot more difficult to use with my library’s digital collection. I like the hardware though.

      Yeah, I never really thought I would own a macbook air but I’ve realized (for me) that it actually has the lowest cost of ownership of any newer type computer. I’ve had cheap laptops I’ve purchased for $200 and after a year they would drop to $150 or so but with the Airs I’ve found you can snag a used one on ebay for around $450 (get a great deal when you buy) and then use it for a year and resale it for $550. At first I didn’t like the mac software but I’ve realized I spend 99% of my time in a browser so it hasn’t matter as much.

      I love that bike. I’m sure I’ll get rid of it someday but 10 speeds of steel frame glory is hard to part with (and 40+ lbs can take a beating for a roadie)

  3. Cool list. If Holly thinks you’re a nerd, I’m right there with you (but she already knows that about me….). I especially love the AM radio one. Nothing I like better than working in the yard or garage with a baseball game in the background.

    • I love it too. It is funny because I have the fancy phone and wireless bluetooth speakers and all but I still end up using the little radio all the time. It is also nice because it is cheap and light I can cruise with some jams while I ride my bike and not have to wear headphones.

    • The radio might be my current favorite! I love that thing. And it also happens that the Braves are off to a great start to the season!

  4. One of my favorite things is my iPhone 2G (the first iPhone to come out). It was given to my by my father when he upgraded (hence, I didn’t pay for it!). It still runs fast, though can’t get new apps – but I don’t mind. Phone, text, email, web browsing – pretty much all you need.

    And I don’t get data for it. Only WiFi. Great little phone.

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  6. What a great idea to post your favorite things. As I go down the path of living with less, I often ask myself what I really need and love. Thanks for the thoughtful post!