A new week reveals a new round of favorites, hooray! Today I want to share my love of the IKEA Restaurant, Waze (the navigation app), non-wifi white noise machines, ultrasonic humidifiers, and programmable smart bulbs.
“Odd collection” you may think – but it’s not so odd if you were with me…specifically making a quick trip to IKEA before driving 400 miles to see family. So today’s five things have been recently appreciated and well used. Enjoy!
Reminder about the title – Week № 1 is the first every year, then the year will always end on week № 52 (or № 53 if it’s a Leap Year). Expect future duplicate № weeks.
Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links; I may earn a tiny commission from purchases.
Here are my five favorites this week:
- IKEA Restaurant
- White noise machine
- Ultrasonic humidifier
- Programmable smart bulbs
— IKEA RESTAURANT
Yes – you read that right. IKEA has a restaurant.
Honestly it always amazes me how many IKEA shoppers don’t know about the restaurant. There’s plenty of signage…it’s not a secret, but it sure seems like one at times (especially in two story IKEAs where it’s easy to bypass the restaurant if you don’t look up; some single level stores place the restaurant between the showroom and the warehouse so you must walk through it).
“or pie with cake, but…”
Last week I popped to my nearest IKEA (two hours away) to buy some cabinets. I strolled the showroom quickly like usual -mostly just looking for styling ideas- before getting in line at the cafeteria to buy my plate of Swedish meatballs. I could have had salmon and salad, or pie with cake, but I am a traditionalist and always get the meatballs. The meatball plate perfectly fills me up, plus the coffee is warm and keeps me going. If they didn’t have a restaurant (between showroom and warehouse) or bistro (between cashiers and exit) I would be double grumpy. One layer of grumpy for needing the nearest drive thru, and second layer grumpy for my car smelling like Burger King.
To be overly specific, I am talking about the navigation app pronounced “ways.” It should be easy to find in your phone’s app store.
A friend turned Mister Jupiter on to this app years ago when Mister and I were driving back home from a surprisingly cold & snowy Mardi Gras celebration on the Gulf Coast. He insisted that we use it, and hours later we knew why. The highway we were driving on was iced over and closed…but full of cars. We didn’t know this, but Waze did. It suddenly urged us to exit and take the snowy access roads. With four-wheel drive at the ready we did – and we dodged the entire highway closing traffic jam.
Ever since then I have loved Wazing across the nation. I usually leave it up when I am driving so I can flag potholes and traffic jams; I don’t use the navigation feature daily. We definitely use it for road trips though. Even when we can’t avoid a particular jam, at least we know that one is coming up and we can be ready for it. Otherwise, it’s accurate, free, you can customize your icon (that other Wazers can see), you can gain points, and virtually honk at your friends within the app.
— WHITE NOISE MACHINE
Technically this belongs to Baby Jupiter, but it’s not just a daily favorite item, it’s also the perfect travel accessory whether kids are in your mix or not.
When searching for a white noise machine for the Baby Jup, many internet people recommended Hatch Baby, and other devices that use wifi and are otherwise smart devices with phone components. BUT! Read the fine print…specifically what information the app sends back to developers. Like location information?! No thank you!
“no hotel wifi passwords”
Mister Jupiter and I agreed on this white noise machine instead. It’s simple compared to others, but had the travel-friendly features that we wanted. It works without wifi, has a few sound options, and gets loud enough for us. Before we had this we played a white noise track on Spotify all night – which is great if you can sacrifice a phone to be a dedicated music-streaming device all night – not ideal if both parents are needed in Clash of Clans. The best part of this simple white noise machine is that its basic memory recalls the last mode after power cuts. So when I plug the machine into a hotel outlet, I just turn it on for noise – no hotel wifi passwords, no needing to scroll though the sound options to get to the one I want. Easy.
— ULTRASONIC HUMIDIFIER
I love humidity, especially my eczema-prone skin and easily-itchy throat.
Once we lived in a home with a whole house humidifier, it was great for the entire 11 months we lived there! Regardless of location I keep this ultrasonic (or cool mist) humidifier on my bedside table. I like to diffuse lavender oil when Mister Jupiter is away, and when he’s home in the winter I diffuse a Thieves-inspired oil because he likes the clove.
“use it with dim red light”
I always use filtered water in the humidifier to keep it cleaner longer. Every few weeks I wipe it entirely dry, then wipe the interior basin with an alcohol prep pad, then let dry for a few hours before using again. The built-in LEDs are fun to add color to a room. Models vary a tiny bit, but it’s easy to pick a color in the loop to stay on for the duration of the mist -OR- you can leave the color loop on by not selecting a color. The humidifier still works if you deny all colors, and prefer near-darkness instead. If I’m home alone I may use it with dim red light as a nightlight, but often I use the humidifier without light. After being away from it for a few nights I was missing the diffused oils!
- Related: D.I.Y. Winter Humidifier
— SMART BULBS
I just love all kinds of smart home technology, always have.
A few years ago Mister Jupiter and I had a huge house, and I didn’t like the house to look deserted when we were downstairs. We agreed to burden our wifi with a Philips Hue Bridge and bulbs – both color and whites. I loved programming them for their locations, and genuinely enjoy setting up new routines each time we move.
“makes me feel safe”
The Philips app lets you make zones, assign lights to rooms, and tweak small settings. It’s nice, but not very robust. I use an app called IFTTT to actually program my lights into different routines. For instance right now I have six bulbs plugged in and programmed independently. The result is that my lights turn on, or change colors, or turn off through the evening. What I like most is that the programming operates independent of me. Not home? Lamp still turns on at sunset and off at 11pm. The bulb on the mantle dims to nigh light mode, the dining room is well-lit at dinner time. All this to say that it looks like I am home when I am not, and that makes me feel safe. All you need (besides the bulbs of course) is good steady wifi for the Hue Bridge (it’s a hub for the lights). Luckily there are other hub-less smart bulb options, but we like picking one brand and enjoying the native compatibility with each other.
- Related: Affordable Modern Lighting
Curious about more picks? Here’s an index. Or you can try these on.