I am a sucker for a good Instagram ad, unfortunately, which means I’ve tried a lot of random things out. I also don’t have any desire to write review posts or build a review blog, but I like being able to point people to something when they ask for recommendations. The list below are things I use and would recommend.

For most things, I do actually do research ahead of time, including using sites like Wirecutter, to get started. I know a lot of folks are skeptical of sites like Wirecutter, but I find them a really good way to at least get a chance to understand what’s available, the state of the market for a particular category of device, and some initial sense of durability. Beyond that, I try to understand their criteria and adjust to my tastes. I don’t always go with their top pick.

Many of these will be affiliate links, just FYI. I’ll update this list as time goes on with new categories and items.

A quick key: ✅ = I own it now, ❤️ = can’t live without, 👀 = keeping an eye on it

Clothing

  • ✅❤️ Mack Weldon: I live in Mack Weldon. They started with base layers (underwear & undershirts) and then expanded into shirts, pants, hoodies, jackets, and more. All of my base layers are from them and a big chunk of my remaining casual wardrobe is from them. I find the base layers generous in terms of sizing, but for their other clothing, they tend to run slim. I have had to size up more than I expect as I’ve gotten heavier. I love their sweats and Radius pant, especially for travel.

  • The Perfect Jean: A relatively new purchase (as of Jan ‘23), I’m loving these jeans, especially as I’ve gotten overweight. I’m a 40/30 right now (ugh), and I find the skinny fit works really well for my body. I have a big midsection, but my legs are pretty fit, still, so I hate the baggy cut of most jeans cut for larger waist sizes. This fit has been great. Super super stretchy. The ads are silly, but the jeans are great so far.

Health & Fitness Gear

  • ✅❤️ Oura Ring: Easily my favorite health sensor device. I love the way it works, the sleep score, and the form factor of the device. If you’re like me and struggle with going to bed - I’m a night owl, get more coding done in the late evening than any other time - a sleep tracking device gives me the data I need to recognize choices made and their consequences on how I feel the next day. The biggest insight for me? A late dinner (or snack) has a bigger impact on my sleep quality than I would’ve imagined. Lots of similar devices - Apple Watch, Fitbits, etc all do similar sleep tracking. I find this the best in terms of size/weight/batter life. Generally looks nice, too.

Home Office

  • ✅❤️ Caframo Chinook Cage Free Desk Fan: I set up a desk in a window-filled in my house, where it gets SUPER warm in the summer (no AC in this part of the house, too). I needed a small desk fan to stay cool that wouldn’t get picked up on video calls. This fan is nearly silent, moves a decent amount of air on the low speed - it was exactly what I needed.

3D Printing & DIY Electronics

  • Creality Ender 3 Pro: This is the printer that got me started with 3D printing. I’ve upgraded the absolute crap out of it at this point, and I’m starting to outgrow it. It’s not that I’m printing things it can’t print, but I’m getting less joy out of tinkering with it and just want to use it. These inexpensive Ender printers are very capable, but they are cheap because they require parts, maintenance, and upgrades. In fact, here’s a list of the key upgrades - these are the exact items I used, but they may have newer/better versions, especially the controller boards:
    • BIGTREETECH SKR Mini E3 v2.0: more efficient, a touch screen, and silent stepper upgrade all in one. Well supported in Marlin firmware, which is what I’m still using.
    • Creality 3D Print Tent: Maintaining a consistent temperature environment while printing is essential for consistent printing. I found this relatively inexpensive enclosure was worth it. Lots of DIY options out there, if you want to go that route, too.
    • Creality MK-8 Metal Extruder: This part takes a lot of stress, so upgrading from the included plastic part to this metal one is worth it. Lots of buying options on Amazon and elsewhere. I did have to buy a second because the collar on my first one failed.
    • Capricorn Bowden Tube: Simple upgrade, worth doing.

It’s also worth noting that there are Ender 3 kits that include all of those printer upgrades, except maybe the tent/enclosure. Do the math.

  • 👀 Voron 3D Kit: I’m thinking about upgrading, once the startup settles a tiny bit more. These kits look tempting. There are several different sites offering kits, so consider this just one mainstream source for it. The other option is getting a Prusa, which have great reputations as no-fuss/light-maintenance machines.