There's nothing quite as satisfying as when a product not only does what it's supposed to do, but then far exceeds your expectations. 2014 was ripe with those kinds of useful purchases. Here are the 10 best buys of last year (that I'd get over and over again).
1. Bonavita 1-liter Gooseneck Electric Kettle - My husband is pretty much a coffee nerd, which I've grown to appreciate. However, when he first decided to purchase this new kettle because of its temperature control and gooseneck spout ("Which allows more control over water flow"), I felt it was simply a waste of money. Turns out I use it more than he does, but for tea rather than coffee. It keeps water at any temperature for an hour, so I have a hot kettle ready when I finish a cup.
2. Trader Joe's Orange Blossom Honey Soap - When it comes to hand soap, this Trader Joe's product is my go-to cleanser. It has a surprisingly luxurious scent, which you usually can't find in a inexpensive bottle of generic soap.
3. Furminator - I spoke about this in a previous Ask Emily, but can't praise it enough. The first time we used it on Luna, I combed off enough hair to knit a small blanket, which was both amazing and terrifying. Since then, the cats have grown to love the process of getting groomed by this fine-toothed comb and it's radically cut down on the amount of hair shed around the house.
4. Apolis Grocery Bag - In case you missed it before, G featured this bag in his holiday gift guide. I never thought I could love a shopping bag, but this tote makes me enjoy going to the market. It's so durable and holds a ton, while also supporting a great philanthropic cause.
5. Wooden Tongs - After we agreed to host Thanksgiving, I soon realized we need a few more serving utensils. However, most of the options I came across didn't fit the style I was hoping to find, until I came across these simple and sleek tongs. The slight bend in the wood creates a natural spring motion and I love the minimalist design.
6. Foot Scrubber - I know some people hate talking about feet, but we're going to go there for a moment, because this is the best $5 you can spend on a simple beauty product. I first showed it here and use it after a shower and the results are equivalent to those you'd get after visiting a nice salon.
7. Magic Eraser - I'm slightly embarrassed to include this on the list, but it's become the most useful cleaning tool in our home. Amber actually introduced me to the product, after I began noticing small marks all around the house following our renovation. Now, G pretty much keeps it strapped to his hip like a gunslinger, blasting any smudge or mark he comes across. I don't know exactly how it works, but it's kept our place looking pristine.
8. Nike Socks - There are a lot of ped socks out there, but these are the only ones that won't slide under my heel after a few hours. It's all thanks to the tiny anti-slip pad placed on the inside heel of each sock. Genius. I wear them with both my sneakers and boots, or just around the house in place of slippers.
9. Tortilla Land Fresh Tortillas - I've actually been buying these raw, uncooked tortillas for years, but I really leaned into them hard during my pregnancy. If I wasn't making a breakfast burrito (for both lunch and dinner), it was a quesadilla or some other wrap sandwich. They take a minute to cook and taste so much better than regular pre-cooked packaged tortillas.
10. QClockTwo - This was our most extravagant purchase in 2014, but it's also my favorite. We had been looking at this clock for a few years and after our successful garage sale, my friend gave me a great suggestion. She said to spend the money on a special item for our new home, something that would bring a fun energy to our space. I consider it a piece of art, but everyone loves the simple functionality.
And if you're interested, here are my best buys of 2013.