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What tiny purchases have disproportionately improved your life?

I bought some silicone spatulas recently. It has made me realise that trying to cook everything with that one slightly janky fishslice I has was suboptimal. What small things have you recently bought that have unexpectedly made your life unexpectedly easier? (Please do not limit your responses to kitchen things, these were just examples that came to mind). [more inside]
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Grab Bag at 4:11 AM on Nov 1, 2020 - 111 answers [156 favorites]

the most fun PAPER mail-order catalogs for browsing (not buying!)

I used to enjoy leafing through the various full color mail order catalogs that would show up in the mail like a force of nature. i haven't received any catalogs in years and years, but I'm tempted to sign up for some just so I can leaf through them and marvel at this brave world that has such things in it. What catalogs might I want to order? [more inside]
posted by moonmilk to Grab Bag at 3:04 PM on Nov 10, 2020 - 41 answers [68 favorites]

Songs for "just coasting"

Like Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" in a recent viral video, what other songs embody that certain feeling of wistful tranquility? Melancholic but in a happy untroubled way, not somber. Of "comin' home from work, feelin' free", to quote a mefite.
posted by Freelance Demiurge to Media & Arts at 11:05 PM on Nov 5, 2020 - 44 answers [60 favorites]

Page turner about the modern logistics industry

Does such a book exist? If so, I want to read it. Ideally with significant content about logistics on the domestic level. How does the crap get from the shipping container to the warehouse to my house?
posted by latkes to Society & Culture at 6:42 PM on Nov 2, 2020 - 12 answers [57 favorites]

Can you help me build...anything?

I want to become more handy - and I especially want to feel confident building basic things out of wood (like this, for example). However, I have no experience with most tools or techniques, and I don't really have a mentor available to teach me such things. What are some beginner- (and budget-) friendly ways to work up to those projects? [more inside]
posted by mosst to Home & Garden at 9:56 AM on Nov 13, 2020 - 26 answers [56 favorites]

Looking for gifts that are flat and thin, useful/consumable, but special

I’m starting to plan my Christmas gifts. We will not be travelling to see family and friends this year, so I’ll be mailing them out. This can get pricy in Canada—paying $20 to mail each package really adds up. I’d like ideas of some smallish, non-fragile, thin flat items that could be easily mailed in a 9”x11” padded envelope. They should be useful or consumable but also special or attractive enough to be a nice gift. Ideas I have so far: Swedish dishcloths and reusable mesh produce bags.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl to Shopping at 2:07 PM on Nov 4, 2020 - 35 answers [52 favorites]

Forever war, pantry edition - what spices and sauces to buy?

After cooking a lot over the past eight months, I've run through most of my basic spices, etc, and have realized that I'd like to restock slightly differently. What do you recommend? [more inside]
posted by Frowner to Food & Drink at 9:55 AM on Nov 9, 2020 - 38 answers [50 favorites]

Kitchen gadget excellence

What is your favourite kitchen tool or accessory? [more inside]
posted by orange and yellow to Food & Drink at 3:21 PM on Oct 25, 2020 - 68 answers [49 favorites]

How do I feel less disappointed and ashamed about my life?

I'm in my mid-30s and am ashamed about how poorly my life is turning out, despite having education and other advantages. How does cope with the embarrassment and disappointment, especially if one seems to be unable to change? [more inside]
posted by greatalleycat to Human Relations at 6:22 PM on Nov 9, 2020 - 29 answers [41 favorites]

Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, who else?

I was raised on Lyle Lovett and Bonnie Raitt. I love that they tell emotionally real stories about individual characters that aren't just battle-of-the-sexes caricatures (on either the macho side or the down-with-men side). And I love that their musical style mixes in blues, soul, maybe a tiny bit of Laurel Canyon, etc. Who else should I be listening to? [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone to Media & Arts at 8:09 AM on Oct 31, 2020 - 61 answers [37 favorites]

I'd like to help obsolete the Republican Party. What can I do?

The Republican Party delights in obstruction and cruelty and stands opposed to US national and global well-being. They've lost the presidency but retain an immense structural advantage --- and they'll extend it with redistricting. For the good of everyone, the GOP needs to be consigned to the history books like the Whigs. Is anyone working to promote this vision? [more inside]
posted by Chef Flamboyardee to Law & Government at 7:26 AM on Nov 8, 2020 - 13 answers [37 favorites]

Learning knots

I’d like to learn some knots. I have two use cases: - camping; so things like setting up tarps - transporting stuff on the roof of my car. For the latter one, I learned truckers hitch which works wonders. The issue is I forget it, cause I only use it three times a year. For camping there seem to be a million videos so I’m basically overwhelmed. How do I build an inventory of useful knots and don’t forget them?
posted by aeighty to Home & Garden at 1:14 PM on Nov 11, 2020 - 14 answers [36 favorites]

Delicious, consumable small business X of the Month gifts

I’d like to give some small monthly X of the month style gifts to family for this holiday. I’d really like to support small businesses while I do it, and prefer consumable items (cookie of the month, interesting vinegar with an easy recipe, etc). I’d like to support artists and crafters and small businesses. I don’t really have room on my walls for more art/etc so would prefer ephemeral gifts. Would appreciate your suggestions! [more inside]
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag at 5:33 PM on Nov 14, 2020 - 14 answers [36 favorites]

Swiss Colony for more refined palates?

Growing up my family placed an annual holiday order from Swiss Colony and I have many fond memories of tables covered with Incredible Spreadable cheese, petit-fours, assorted sausages, and a Forest Friends cake. I want to recapture that, but have grown up to be a snobby foodie type and prefer better chocolate, charcuterie instead of a Beef Log, etc.. Where can I get Swiss Colony-esque stuff but for snobby foodies? :) [more inside]
posted by rhiannonstone to Food & Drink at 2:12 PM on Nov 19, 2020 - 18 answers [35 favorites]

Home Workouts in the Time of Overcommitment

What can I do indoors in a small space for cardio? [more inside]
posted by ASlackerPestersMums to Health at 6:36 PM on Nov 15, 2020 - 18 answers [34 favorites]

Ornately illustrated children’s books

I am looking for a collection of stories or a chapter book with ornate, gorgeous illustrations for every page. When I was a child I read fairy tales that seemed to be illustrated with beautifully detailed paintings that brought to mind golden thread woven into each page. I’d like to get something like that for my kid this year. [more inside]
posted by CMcG to Media & Arts at 5:53 PM on Nov 19, 2020 - 30 answers [34 favorites]

Organizing Information

I want to learn how to organize information better. What book(s) do you recommend? [more inside]
posted by aniola to Education at 7:51 PM on Nov 20, 2020 - 7 answers [33 favorites]

Sources for legit N95/KN95 masks

I'm in a blazing hot COVID state and have to go to physical therapy 4x/week so I am now in the market for genuine N95/KN95 masks. Amazingly I am unable to find a list of reputable vendors online. Plenty of guides to identifying counterfeits, but I just want someone to say "buy from this place." Can you?
posted by HotToddy to Health at 1:13 PM on Oct 27, 2020 - 14 answers [32 favorites]

Non-initiators, how do you express interest/desire?

And people on the receiving end of this dynamic, what do you do when a person you care about never reaches out? [more inside]
posted by danceswithlight to Human Relations at 11:18 AM on Oct 31, 2020 - 25 answers [32 favorites]

Digital Picture Frame

My parents want a digital picture frame for Christmas, and we'd like to get them one that all their children can send pictures to from our phones, so my parents don't have to do anything to get new pictures of their grandkids in rotation! Do you have one? Do you recommend it? Is there one that stands out from the rest? Features I should look for or avoid?
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Technology at 6:25 PM on Nov 13, 2020 - 14 answers [32 favorites]

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