I love reading everyone’s roundup posts at the end of the year, there are always so many new things to check out! My Best Finds is a bit behind this time, thanks to coming down with covid the week before Christmas. That flu was no joke, even almost a month later, I’m not 100% back to normal.
I didn’t make it home to Sweden (nor anywhere else) in 2022 either, so that was a bit of a downer, but it was a good year in general (at least up until December) and I made some exciting new discoveries! Here are a few of my best finds of the year:
I’ve had back problems off and on for years, as well as super tight calves that would cramp up all night after a long day of walking, even after wearing “normal”, good sneakers. When I travel, I spend most of the daylight hours walking around with my camera and the nightly cramps could be pretty painful, not to mention making it hard to sleep. Last summer, I started hearing about barefoot shoes everywhere, and I thought perhaps they would help, even if they might look a bit “clownish”. I did a ton of research on different brands, and in the end, ordered a pair of Xero HFS shoes. Wow, what a difference!
They do not look weird at all, and are insanely comfortable, so lightweight and super flexible it almost feels like you’re not wearing shoes at all. I started wearing them on my hour-long walks every morning and after just a week, my back felt better than it had in years. No stiffness when getting up in the morning, not feeling like it might “go out” at any moment all day long. I kept raving about the shoes after every walk and finally my husband got a pair too (he got the men’s Prio model), and now he’s hooked as well! XERO SHOES
I also got a pair of Yogabody toe separators to help with the calf tightness which I suspected came from my toes being squished in shoes for so many years that they were pretty much permanently bent. Stretching helped a little bit, but not much, and didn’t hold. I had tried other types of yoga toes before, but they were huge and all they did was create more pain, but these are so small you even forget you’re wearing them. I started wearing them on my walks (they fit great in the Xero shoes) and that has helped tremendously with both my calves and my feet. It’s such a nice, gentle stretch, and just that hour with them every morning makes a huge difference all day long. And no more nightly leg cramps! YOGABODY TOE SEPARATORS
I wrote about this amazing brain training last year as well. At that point, I had been doing it for 4 months and thought I started to see changes happening. This is what I wrote then:
As you may know, a diagnosis of tons of strange allergies and chemical sensitivities about 6 years ago totally changed my life (more in this post: How I Became An Accidental Nomad). For the better it turns out, because that’s what prompted me to take my at the time side-photography business full time, and it was one of the best decisions of my life! Even so, it gets tedious to only eat about 5 different dishes all the time, and never know what you may react to, so when I friend told me about DNRS, I had to check it out. I’ve been doing this brain re-training program for about 4 months now, and am seeing improvement! I’m hopeful I’ll make a full recovery and be able to eat and do what I want again!
Well, a year later, as unbelievable as it sounds, ALL my food allergies are gone! All of them! I was down to eating around 10 foods, the only fruits I could eat were bananas and citrus. I was told I was allergic to cucumber, carrots, celery, all nuts and seeds, eggs, gluten, etc. Today, I’m munching on apples, nuts, all veggies, eggs, wheat, all things that were unthinkable only a year ago, and many I haven’t been able to eat for 20-30 years! I can eat in restaurants again! This program is truly life changing, I never in a million years thought it would actually work, but it did, and I feel like I’ve gotten my life back! It apparently works for a multitude of other chronic conditions as well. https://retrainingthebrain.com/ (not an affiliate link)
Great YouTube channel with cool birding videos as well as fun interviews with really interesting people. I first came across Diego Calderón in the beautiful movie The Birders, A Melodic Journey through Northern Colombia, and he is also one of the co-hosts on The Birders show together with British birder Chris Bell. If you like birds, beautiful scenery, and positive people, definitely check it out! THE BIRDERS (not an affiliate link)
I think I came across Usual on Instagram first, and I loved the idea of the small bottles. Sometimes, I just want a glass of white on a random Tuesday night, but my husband does not drink wine, and if I open a large bottle, I first of all end up drinking several glasses of wine that night, which is not a good idea because I’m a terrible lightweight and more than a glass and a half gives me a headache the day after. Secondly, I then feel like I have to finish that bottle rather than throw it out, so I end up drinking wine every night that week, which I don’t like doing either. These small bottles solve that problem perfectly! Also perfect when you want a glass of white on Friday night, and then red on Saturday and don’t want to end up with 2 open bottles that need to be finished before they go bad.
So far, I’ve tried the Usual Pinot Gris, Rosé, Red and Brut Rosé, and I love the Pinot Gris and the Red and really like the still Rosé even though I’ve never been a huge fan of Rosé before (I tried it in the summer when they were out of the Pinot Gris and was very pleasantly surprised). The only one I didn’t like was the Brut Rosé, it was way too sparkly for me. I like a hint of bubble, but this was too much.
Another huge plus is that the wines are made in small batches from sustainably-farmed grapes with no chemical additives and no sweeteners. It really makes a huge difference; I have noticed that I can drink two of these bottles (so essentially 3 normal-sized glasses of wine) and still feel great the next day. And the bottles are super cute and can be re-used for vinaigrette or as vases. USUAL WINES (not an affiliate link)
I started buying almost exclusively organic cotton and linen clothes several years ago when I was first diagnosed with all those crazy allergies. That’s when I first found Pact, and they are still a favorite. The clothes are cute, so very soft, and crazy comfortable. Plus, organic cotton is better for both you and the environment. I love their t-shirts and sweatshirts especially; I’ve pretty much lived in them the past couple of years. PACT CLOTHING
I fell in love with this reality series from the very first minute of the very first episode. You get to follow along with the Kretz family as they help clients buy and sell amazing luxury real estate across France and abroad, and you also get the know the family members a bit. There are currently 2 seasons available with a third on the way. It’s very hard not to binge watch this series, and if you like House Hunters International, you will love this show! THE PARISIAN AGENCY (not an affiliate link)
So there you have it, all my best finds for a perfect cozy day! Put on your soft sweatshirt and super comfortable shoes and go for a long walk. Then cuddle up in front of the TV with a glass of wine and watch international luxury real estate and birds! 🙂
This post includes a few affiliate links. I may earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links, but please know that I would never, ever, recommend anything that I have not tried and loved myself.