What I Bought While in the United States

Confession time!

I can’t remember the last time I’ve looked in someone’s medicine cabinet, but I’m sure I have.

I love going for a walk at night and looking in someone’s window to see how they’ve decorated. I promise I’m not standing in their flower beds. It’s all legit slow-walking from the sidewalk, I swear!

To equalize things, even though I will never be in 99.999% of your homes or flowerbeds, I thought you might like to know what I bought during my visit to the U.S. after living in Ireland for a year.

It is juicy, scintillating stuff. Of that I can definitely not promise you.

Here are the highlights.


Just like crisps are chips and chips are fries in Ireland, so are bed sizes.

A queen is a king and a king is NOTHING. American-sized king beds don’t exist.

Are you confused yet? Are you in shock and bewilderment? Me too.

I have ZERO regrets about shipping our king-size bed to Ireland. None.

Plus, my husband’s company paid for it. That really eases the regret levels, I must say.

For the first 5 minutes of our marriage, cuddling on a small bed was great. Now, almost 20 years later, my viewpoint is a little more nuanced. I tend to describe it more in terms of GIVE ME ALL THE SPACE. This is ironic since I regularly wake up to find a child has snuck into our bed and I have a sliver of space and a neck ache.

Since I don’t know when I’ll be back to the U.S. (even though I can have stuff shipped here), I decided to get another set of sheets since we’ve been using the same ones for over a year.

I’ve had great success with the Threshold brand sheets at Target. Even after a year or two of constant use, they don’t pill up. I picked up these sheets in the Blue Diamond pattern. I had plain white sheets, also from Target, so these are jazzing things up a little.

Also, I find it weird that I just showed you a picture of where I cling to the edge at night my bed.


Handy Husband has been on me for a year to buy a “proper” backpack. Whatever that means. He thought it was embarrassing that I had been carrying my son’s gigantic LL Bean backpack. It was too big for my son, which was why I was using it, but man, does it hold A TON of groceries!

It also holds frying pans…as you can see below.

The problem was, I don’t really like the look of most backpacks – especially the ones that will hold a ton of frying pans groceries. So I didn’t see the need to spend money on something that I didn’t really like anyway.

Well, my son needs to use the backpack this year, so I felt pressure to finally purchase one for myself. I found the Women’s Recon Backpack at the NorthFace outlet for $55. It’s $99 on the Northface website right now. Mine might have been last year’s model though. It’s slightly smaller than the LL Bean pack, but it is working okay so far.

Time will tell if it lasts longer than Handy Husband’s Deuter Backpack. I’m feeling competitive about this because he’s a big Deuter fan.


My husband takes a daily allergy pill. The type he was buying in Ireland wasn’t working as great as what he used to take. I saw a year’s supply of a generic Zyrtec allergy pill on Amazon for $15.99. For that price, he couldn’t not try it. That would save us around $150 per year, which is no joke.

When people ask how I stay so youthful (they don’t, but whatever) it’s because my skin still acts like it is youthful and breaks out from time to time. Yes, I know I’m DECADES past my youth, but again, whatever.

Turns out, benzoyl peroxide-based acne creams are not available in the U.K. and Ireland. They are banned until further testing is done. I’m choosing to ignore their science and go with my own interpretation of the facts on this one because I’m too old to mess around with zits. For real.


I’ll try to keep this next one g-rated! And I hope these pictures don’t show up in the Facebook feed.

A friend raved about the Coobie Bra and said I had to try it. I’m a skeptic. It’s no secret that she is more, uh, well-endowed than I am in this particular area. My needs run more in the training bra bralette category – especially after having kids. A little padding is helpful though – especially after having kids. You don’t need me to elaborate do you?


I was even more skeptical when the bra said ‘one size fits most.’ She and I are lightyears apart in body type. This is supposed to fit her and me? But the freaking miracle bra did! Well, I didn’t try hers on – that would be weird. The one I tried on fit me and I’m just taking the label at its word.

I went on the Coobie Bra site to do a bit of research because I am sometimes thorough over here. Their FAQs say the bras fit sizes 32A to 36D. They also have a new full size for 38-42D. There are nursing bras too.

The Coobie Bra is like a prettier, fancier sports bra that doesn’t give you a uni-boob. The best part is the padding insert has held its shape after multiple washings – even though you are supposed to take it out first – oops! I don’t put the bra in the dryer though.

I got mine at a local shop called Felicity’s in Salem, Oregon. Shop local when you can! Otherwise, you can find them online at The Coobie Store. I also found them on Amazon for the same price or less. I’m wishing I would have got more than one now.


We don’t have a TV, but we are a technology family. My husband’s in the biz. Our kids get screen time. It works for us.

We decided to use our trip to the U.S. and our visit to a state without sales tax to switch the kids to iPad minis. Their old devices were limping along, but just barely.

I will caution you though. If you buy an Apple device in the U.S., but you live in a foreign country, your warranty is tied to the U.S. This can be problematic if you are prone to dropping devices.

We usually buy our devices straight from Apple, but the Apple store in our area did not have any iPad minis. What?!?! So, we ordered ours through Best Buy, who was having a sale on them. We ended up saving over $200 by doing this. I’m not sure if they are discontinuing the minis, but they were definitely trying to get rid of remaining inventory.


I finally bit the bullet and bought some linen bath towels. Well, after a friend gifted me one! (I wrote about my bath towel quest here.)

I ordered two of these linen towels made by LinenMe.

If anyone is interested, I might write about my experience with the towels and the two different brands I’ve tried so far. One of the brands has been softer than the other. Suffice it to say, I’m definitely happy with the choice to invest in the linen bath towels – they are the ones we reach for first now.

We bought some food products while we were in the states. I love dried mangoes! We also came home with Goldfish crackers and graham crackers – both of which are not available in Ireland. I did buy some clothes when I was at the outlet mall too.

All in all, though, I’ve let go of most of my brand attachments in the past year. The hard things are the personal items – makeup is a good example. This isn’t because you can’t buy makeup in Ireland – quite the contrary. It’s just the trial and error involved in finding something to replace what you had been using can be time consuming, frustrating and expensive. On the flip side, it can also turn out amazing!

I try to remind myself when I’m shopping for a new brand of jeans, makeup, spaghetti sauce, etc. that this is all part of the adventure. When my attitude is in the right space, everything is just a bit brighter and happier.

But my wallet might end up lighter!

If you want to know more about our experience of moving to and living in Ireland, check out these posts:

Living in Ireland: Surviving a Snowstorm

Living in Ireland: Life Without a Car

Living in Ireland: Inside My Kitchen

Living in Ireland: Christmas in Retail 2017

Living in Ireland: Storm Ophelia

Living in Ireland: That Time a Tree Came Down

Living in Ireland: Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Living in Ireland: Back After A Month in the United States

Living in Ireland: As Seen On My Commute

Living in Ireland: A Trip to the Hardware Store

Living in Ireland: Spring Flowers In Our Yard

Living in Ireland: Grocery Shopping

Living in Ireland: What to See my Hot Press?

Living in Ireland: Merry Christmas 2016

Living in Ireland: Christmas in Retail

Living in Ireland: Exploring Our New Country

Living in Ireland: Groceries

Moving to Ireland: Grocery Item Look Alikes

Moving to Ireland: Primary School 101

Moving to Ireland: First Week of School

Moving to Ireland: A Day Out and About

Moving to Ireland: The Great Purge

Moving to Ireland: Human Kindness is Overflowing 

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #1

Moving to Ireland:  House Viewing #2

Moving to Ireland: House Viewing #3

Moving to Ireland: Temp House First Floor

Moving to Ireland: Temp House Second Floor

Moving Tips to Keep You Sane

My #1 Moving Tip

Thinking about visiting Ireland? Read on!

The Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands with Kids

Galway with Kids

Our Favorite Irish Castle Tour with Kids

Belfast with Kids

Dublin: Talking Statues

Kissing the Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle

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