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Kevin's Happy List/The Umbrella Academy/Cervical pillow



December 13 · Issue #231 · View online
A weekly newsletter that gives you 6 brief personal recommendations of cool stuff. Check out our new book Recomendo: The Expanded Edition @

My 2020 happy list
I was not in the mood for assembling our annual Gift Guide for Cool Tools this year. Instead I felt moved to simply make a list of any purchases that made me happy in this past year. I call it my Happy List. None of these things may be of any interest to anyone else, but I get persistent joy from them. (Mark shared his list last week and Claudia will share her list next week.) — KK
Compelling fantasy series
Our 17-year-old daughter introduced my wife and me to The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and we’ve been watching one or two episodes a night. There are two seasons so far, with a third on the way. Set in an Earth-like alternate universe where computers and mobile phones don’t exist, the story is centered around seven adopted siblings, born 30 years ago on the same day in different places around the world. Each person has a special ability, and while they dislike one another for the most part, they’re forced to band together in an attempt to stop an apocalypse that’s set to happen in a week. I’m not a fan of superhero shows, but the twisty plot, compelling characters, and astounding sets have me glued to this one. — MF
Best pillow for better sleep
I recently went down a late-night internet rabbit hole and was surprised to discover that tree-dwelling apes began using wooden pillows to improve their sleep sometime between 5 and 23 million years ago. Thankfully we’ve come a long way from wooden pillows and I think the best I can do for my sleep is to stick with my memory foam cervical pillow. My husband started using one a couple years back and it took a while for me to get on board, because I’m a side sleeper, but I definitely notice a difference in my quality of sleep when I use it versus nights when I don’t. I wake up less and feel more rested. — CD
Ear Hair Trimmer
My ear-hair trimmer was at least 10 years old, maybe even 20, and the blades were getting dull. I found a cheap and highly rated ear-hair trimmer on Amazon. The sharp blades make a big difference. It’s much quieter and quicker than my old one. The best reason for owning it is that my Apple AirPods Pro stay snug in my shaved ears now. — MF
Voice controlled smart plug
A tiny smart plug allows me to control any plugged in device from a voice command given to Alexa. I say, “Alexa, christmas tree lights on” and bingo, they’re on. I use Gosund Smart Plugs, the size of a small adaptor that plugs into the wall. They come in a pack of 4 for $29, which is about the same price as one official Amazon brand smart plug. All are pretty easy to pair to your home’s wifi and Alexa or Google. Or you can also control devices from your phone from far away. You can control anything that you can leave in the “on” state. This is the simplest, cheapest version of a smart home. — KK
Different types of self-care
Practicing self-care doesn’t just involve meditation or pampering yourself or journaling. This is a great visual that breaks down the different types of self-care for each aspect of your life (physical, emotional, social, financial, etc.). — CD
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