Julie’s favorite gear


Updated on 7/30/21

Hello friends, here’s my ever-evolving listing of the gear (and other favorite things) that I use on a daily basis. Each category has been sorted in order of usage. The most used item is at the top of the list. I also try to post regular gadget diary posts and EDC updates where I talk about the gadgets I’m using and adventures I’m having on any particular day.

Smartphone and related accessories:

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – I bought a iPhone 11 Pro Max back in May of this year and have given that one to Jeanne and splurged on an iPhone 12 Pro Max for myself. The upgrade from the iPhone 11 to 12 definiltey wasn’t necessary, but Jeanne had been using a Google Pixel 2 XL for way too long and I wanted us both to be on the same platform. She’s not used to iOS yet, but I am and enjoying it quite a lot. My favorite feature of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the flat sides. Ha! Not sure if/when I’ll go back to Android at this point.
  • Pitaka Air iPhone case – I love Pitaka’s products and this case is a must have for my super slippy iPhone. It’s not bulky and the matte texture adds just the right amount of grip.
  • Apple Watch Series 6 – Yes, I’m even wearing an Apple Watch these days and am enjoying it quite a bit. I started wearing the Apple Watch that was included with the Delta Trainer service that I reviewed earlier this year and then when the series 6 watches came out, I bought one mainly for the always-on display. I am really surprised by how much I love this watch!
  • Kikr wireless charger – I was using the CHOETECH 2-in-1 MagSafe fast wireless charger because it looks cool but I went back to the Kikr because it works better. The CHOETECH had trouble holding my iPhone in the Pitaka case even though the Pitaka case has a steel plate to make it Magsafe compatible.  [UPDATED]
  • Moshi 3-in-1 Universal USB Cable – Since switching to the iPhone from Android, I have been using this braided cable. I like it because it easily transforms from micro USB to USB-C to Lightning.

Computers and accessories:

  • TMobile Home Internet – After paying almost $400/mo. for over 10yrs, I finally found an alternative broadband solution with TMobile Home Internet. I’ve now been using this wireless internet router for over a year now and it’s great. For only $50/mo. I have unlimited internet. I get around 30mbps which might not sound crazy fast, but compared to the T1’s 1.5mbps, it’s a screecher! I can surf and stream, so I’ve been beyond happy.
  • Apple 13″ MacBook Pro M1 (2020) – I finally replaced my little 12″ MacBook with a brand new Apple silicon 13in MacBook Pro and love it. It’s so much faster than my previous laptop that I feel like I’m flying when I work and the battery life is amazing. Zero buyer’s regret.
  • Logitech MX Keys keyboard – This Logitech keyboard is nice and comfortable to type on. I also like that it has a dedicated delete key that works like a delete key on Windows but on my Mac.
  • Logitech MX Master 3– I use this wireless mouse at home with my 12inch MacBook when it’s docked to my BenQ monitor which has a built-in USB-C dock. I like that I can pair it with 3 different devices and I also like that the scroll wheel is super smooth.
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 2S – (not pictured). I use this wireless mouse paired with a Dell laptop (for my day job). It has a very long battery life and is a small mouse that’s comfortable to use.
  • Dell XPS 13″ laptop – I use this small Windows 10 laptop when I need to use Windows software which doesn’t happen very often.
  • iPad Pro 11in (2021) – Yeah, I did it again. I bought another iPad Pro. I’m obviously insane because I keep buying one, try to find a way to fit it into my workflow, get frustrated, and sell it. This time, I’m just using it for fun stuff. Reading ebooks and comics and not pressuring myself to make it a laptop replacement. [NEW]

Other office equipment:

  • Dell Ultrasharp curved 49in monitor –  This was one of my recent work from home upgrades. I had been using two BenQ monitors, one for my MacBook Pro and one for my Cummins day job Dell laptop. I decided to simply with this crazy huge monitor that can display both computers in side by side windows. It’s pretty awesome!
  • Brother HL-3170CDW laser printer – This is my first laser printer and so far I’m very happy with it. The print quality / speed are both excellent.
  • Coalesse Power Pod – This power “strip” is cool enough to put on your desk instead of hiding it underneath.

Photography gear:

  • Manfrotto tripod (not pictured) – I’m not sure if they still sell the one I have, but I’ve been happy with Manfrotto products.
  • SHOTBOX portable photography light box – This light box is GREAT. I love it and all the backdrops that make my review images look excellent.
  • MeFoto Sidekick360 Smartphone Tripod Adapter – I bought this tripod because I like to use my phone to record video clips demonstrating things for reviews. This small holder works great with my Manfrotto tripod and holds my phone securely.
  • MeFoto Backpacker Air tripod – I really like this tripod because it comes with everything I need to use it for my smartphone. It can even be converted into a selfie stick.
  • Joby GorillaPod tripod – I like using this bendable tripod on my desk for Marco Polo sessions with my sister and niece.

Audio / video / home theater gear:

  • VIZIO V705x-H1 4K HDR Smart TV – I recently upgraded from a M65-F0 65in Vizio TV to a 70 inch because bigger is always better when it comes to TVs! The new one feels familiar as the interface for the smart features are the same, but the updated remote is an improvement.
  • Apple AirPods Pro earbuds – These are my first Apple AirPods and I am really loving them. They aren’t the most comfortable earbuds that I’ve used, but the noise-canceling feature and the fact that they pair perfectly with my iPhone and MacBook Pro make them so convenient to use.

Car gear:

I’ve pared down my car gear/gadgets to pretty much nothing lately but have plans to work on a new smartphone powered media setup as I did a few years ago.

Miscellaneous gear:

  • Homemade leather Field Notes cover – I made this myself. It can hold 3 Field Notes notebooks without needing elastic bands like Midori covers. I’m thinking about making a larger version soon.
  • LeCow Travelers Notebook Cover – I love leather and I love notebooks so having a custom cover made for me was a no-brainer. If you want the perfect leather cover for your journal, you have to check out LeCow.
  • Uniball Signo 207 – This is my favorite inexpensive gel ink pen. I have collected almost every color that they make and use them to write and draw in my journal every day.
  • Polaroid Hi-Print photo printer – I’m using this portable printer to print peel and stick pics for my journal. I like to take it with me when I travel to help me remember my adventures. The photo paper/stickers are more expensive than the HP Sprocket portable photo printer I was using before (and gave to my sister), but the quality is noticeably better!


Gear bags, pouches, cases, wallets, and other items of holding:

  • Tom Bihn Maker’s bag – I’ve been reducing my EDC to just the essentials so I have been able to also reduce the size of my everyday gear bag. Right now the Maker’s bag is perfect for me.
  • Timbuk2 X-Small Classic Messenger Bag – (not shown above) I use this one while on vacation or a day of shopping.
  • Pakt One Carry On Travel bag – My travel bag for road trips.
  • Bolstr Aux Pocket – I like this super minimal shoulder bag because it doesn’t get in the way while holding my bare essentials. It’s great for using while on vacation. [NEW]
  • Waterfield Finn Wallet – I’ve been using a Waterfield zippered wallet every day since 2005, but now it lives in my Tom Bihn Maker’s bag with cash and extra cards that I don’t use very often.
  • AKEENi XSTO wallet – This is my new favorite minimalist wallet because it’s small, lightweight, and it’s easy to remove and reinsert cards. It also can hold several folded bills under the cards
  • Bellroy Flip Case wallet – I go back and forth between this one and the AKEENi XSTO wallet. I like the Bellroy Flip Case because it’s so smooth and cool feeling.  [NEW]

Outdoor gear:

  • OROS Discovery Jacket – I like this jacket because it’s comfortable and has a special lining that keeps you warm while still remaining lightweight.
  • Mujjo Touchscreen Gloves – I just upgraded to their 2018 gloves and love them because they are lightweight but still keep my hands warm while letting me interact with my phone.
  • RoboReel Power Cord System – Power driven retractable extension cord holder.

Home and kitchen:

  • Neato Botvac D7 robot vacuum – I’ve been using Neato Botvacs for years now. I use this one downstairs and manually run them 3 times a week. I can’t remember the last time I ran one of our other manual vacuums on the carpets and I hope to keep it that way!
  • Roborock S7 Max robot vacuum – I use this one upstairs and like the Neato, I run them manually instead of on a schedule because my older cat sometimes barfs on the floor in the middle of the night and I would not want the vac to run into that mess. [NEW]
  • ChefWave Milkmade – This is my most used kitchen gadget right now. It can quickly and easily make almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and more with absolutely no mess and only the ingredients that I want in it. [NEW]
  • Snap Power SnapRays Guidelight – I have one of these outlet covers in my kitchen and one in the bathroom which provides just enough light to see to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to turn on the ceiling light. I like them so much that I kept it and put it back in the bathroom after we completely gutted it and remodeled it last fall.
  • SnapPower ConnectLight – I like these motion detection lights because they are incredibly easy to install and they are connected without using Bluetooth or WiFi. They are great for lighting a path to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Airdog X5 air purifier – I like this air purifier because it’s quiet and it doesn’t require that you buy special filters. You can wash the collecting plates by hand or even in the dishwasher.

My most used Apple apps:

  • Marco Polo – I’ve been using this app every single day to video chat with my sister and niece. It’s been an awesome way to stay in touch during the quarantine.
  • Gmail – Duh!
  • Amazon Prime Music – I’ve gotten tired of the ads on Spotify, so I’ve been using Amazon a lot more to listen to music.
  • Netflix – I mainly use Netflix built into my smart TV, but every so often I watch some content on my phone.
  • Words with Friends – This is pretty much the only game I play. I’m not that good at it, but I still enjoy it.
  • Google Keep – Great little basic note and list making app that syncs across devices and allows for real-time collaboration. Jeanne and I use to collaborate on grocery lists.
  • LastPass Password Manager – I finally started using a password manager after the whole Equifax hack several weeks ago. I have it installed on all my devices and I’m wondering now what took me so long. I don’t even know my passwords anymore, but LastPass does. 🙂
  • OpenSignal – 4G and WiFi signal finder and speed test app.
  • Google Play Books – This is the app that I use to read all my eBooks.
  • Libby – I use Libby to check out eBooks and audiobooks from my local library.