There are lots of way to administer self-care, and not all of them need to cost money. You can take a nap, spend a luxurious 10 minutes stretching, sit in the bathtub and look at TikTok for hours. But also, sometimes it’s nice to get yourself a little something if you have the means. Heck, sometimes if you don’t have the means and do it anyway it still feels nice.
So, here are five things I’ve purchased in the last 12 months that made me feel a little better about life, in no particular order.
1. Flobody Gym
Just before stay-at-home orders were issued in March 2020, I’d bought myself an inexpensive set of resistance bands so I could get a little work out in when I was traveling without having to see any other folks from the same trade show in the hotel gym. Then, of course, I found myself not traveling, and unable to go to my own gym. My friend Jessica recommended Flobody because it’s a full-body resistance workout set that rolls up so it can be stored just like any other yoga mat.
My purchase came with access to a 12-week program that I can watch on Vimeo, and access to more workouts is available with a monthly subscription, or you can buy individual programs. The workouts are primarily Plates and yoga-based, and come with lots of modification options, which I appreciate as someone who can’t really do a lot of jumping thanks to ankles that tend to sprain easily. I’ve done the 12-week program three times now and it hasn’t gotten old yet. Investing in myself a few minutes each day has been a lot more rewarding than I ever would have thought – and unlike going to the gym, where my focus is always on physical fitness, I’ve found my focus with these workouts to be just on getting stronger and feeling better.
The Flobody Gym is $139, and Afterpay is available so you can pay in $34.75 installments with no interest.
2. Vegan Croissants from L’Artisane Bakery
In February I ordered L’Artisane Bakery croissants for a friend’s birthday because I’d heard great things but never tried them. He’s pretty particular, so when I got a text about how great everything was I knew I had to order some for myself too. I ended up getting myself the same assortment I got for him and – hot damn – it was incredible.
Their baked goods ship frozen (shipping is around $10) and you can freshen them up with just a few minutes in the toaster or oven. It’s an indulgence, for sure, but perfect for a special occasion or as a gift. And you can save on shipping by going in on an order with a friend or colleague.
L’Artisane Bakery vegan croissant assortments cost $30 for a box of five, and if you’re in Miami you can visit their retail shop.
3. Cavity Colors Joggers
Listen, if you’re not the kind of person who’s been waiting for someone to give you permission to buy and wear sweatpants, more power to you. I was late to the sweatpants game but I’ll never go back. I bought myself a pair of Killer Clowns from Outer Space joggers from Cavity colors a few weeks ago and have been living in them ever since.
I’ve tried to be a sweatpants person in the past, but always found that the waist was pinchy, the shape was just baggy and unflattering, and for some reason the ankles are always too tight. These are so different. They’re super-soft cotton-fleece, have a flattering drawstring waist and pockets, and ribbed ankle cuffs instead of that tight elastic that feels like a ponytail holder. Oh, and of course the best part is the licenced art work – in my case, from Killer Clowns from Outer Space but I also just bought myself a pair of Howling joggers while I was typing this.
Cavity Colors joggers are $40 and come in lots of styles, plus they make t-shirts, hoodies, and lots more.
4. Daily Harvest
At the beginning of stay-at-home orders, and therefore, working from home, I was eating a lot of boring salads. Upton’s Naturals, where I work, provides everyone with a free vegan lunch every day so I got really spoiled for several years and never had to worry about my lunch. After a few months of hating my lunch every day I tried one vegan meal kit that shall remain nameless, and found it to be really repetitive, boring, and expensive for what you got. Then Jess from Vegan Beauty Addict (a different Jess than the one who recommended Flobody, I am very influenced by Jesses and Jessicas, apparently) posted about Daily Harvest.
I used her $25 off code (here’s mine) to place my first order. You get additional discounts the more you ordered, so I ended up ordering 12 items for an additional $10 discount. I got a variety of Harvest Bowls and Flatbreads and waited about a week for my first shipment. I had the lowest expectations possible, and was totally shocked when the Kale + Kalamata bowl was well seasoned, had great textures, was what I was looking for nutritionally, and was incredibly easy to prepare (you literally just heat it up).
I’ve really dialed in my favorites over the months, and am always surprised by how flavorful a vegan, gluten-free frozen meal can be. Plus, they have incredible customer service so if you ever have something arrive in not-so-great condition or just don’t like something you tried just hit them up and they’ll take care of you. I’ve branched out to smoothies, bites, and lattes and those are really great too.
Daily Harvest items range in price from $5.99 – $7.99 per item, can be delivered weekly or monthly, and shipping is free. You can change your order any time, and can pause any time if your freezer is packed or you just need a break. Use my code for $25 off your first box.
5. uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Technically, I bought this for Tony for Father’s Day last year, but it’s been a real “Homer buys Marge a bowling ball” situation because I use it way, way more often than he does. You can brew cold brew inside the keg using reusable filter bags that come with the kit, or use your favorite store-bought, or other method of brewing. Fill the keg, pop a nitrogen cartridge in, infuse it and give it a shake, and you have nitro-infused cold brew in your own house.
If you’e had nitro cold brew at a coffee shop, you know that it’s generally less acidic that regular cold brew, and has a lighter, smoother flavor. It also usually costs about $5 for a 16oz cup, whereas you can brew and infuse your own for a few cents a glass.
The uKeg Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker is just under $200, and comes with a keg and protective bag, four coffee filter bags, a coffee funnel, and a serving mat.
One Last Thing
I always feel very much like someone in an MLM when I talk about Rakuten, but I’ve gotten more than $650 cash back since I started using it – not to mention all the money I’ve saved thanks to its coupon-finding plug in. So, here’s how it works: You download the app and/or install the plug in on your browser. On your desktop or laptop, you just shop like you normally would, and the plug in will let you know if the site you’re shopping on offers cash back, and also if there are coupons available. For instance, just today I bought a pair of vegan Reebok cross trainers and earned 2% cash back, plus Rakuten found a coupon code that saved me $34.
If you’re shopping on a mobile device, you go to the Rakuten app first, and then use it to navigate to the store you want to shop with in order to earn cash back and find coupon codes. I’d estimate that a good chunk of the $650+ I’ve earned came from shopping on Sephora while in the bathtub. Anyway, at the end of the pay out period you literally get a check in the mail (or a PayPal deposit) for everything you earned back. Last month I got a $94.96 PayPal deposit for buying stuff I was going to buy anyway.
If you want to give it a try, you can earn a bonus $30 when you use my link and spend your first $30.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase I will earn a laughably tiny amount of money.