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Rec RoomHearty recommendations from The Takeout staff.  

This is what my mornings are like, and infer about me what you will: I wake up, feed the cat, wash my face, brush my teeth, throw a piece of bread in the toaster oven, put on my work-from-home pants (like PJs, but not, because I’m awake, okay?), and pour myself a cup of coffee, hot and waiting for me, thanks to the magic of a coffee maker with a timer in it. It’s the little things. Then I sit down, open my computer, and start work. Until recently, there was a final step in this sequence: I’d look away from my screen 40 minutes later, reach for my nearly full mug of coffee, and take a sip of lukewarm-to-room temperature coffee with a grimace. But no more.

The Shoemaker household has been forever changed by a $10 gizmo I impulse-purchased on a cold-as-hell Wednesday. Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer, I salute you! With your help, I have survived the two busiest months of the year for people who write about film, television, and food; your small heated circle has enabled me to drink more coffee, which may be bad for the lining of my stomach, but has been instrumental in improving my mood and keeping me alert.

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As an easily distracted and often anxious person, gadgets like this one make my life easier in simple, stupid ways. I’ve already written about my love for the egg cooker, which makes what should be a mindless task actually unfuckupable. This isn’t quite at that level, but it really has helped me enormously.

When I’m on a roll, it’s not easy for me to walk away and easily jump right back into what I was doing. I’ve got to stick with it. So when a cold cup of coffee presents itself, I’m far more likely to just drink it cold—or, more likely, not drink it at all—than get up and give myself a warming jolt. Then I’m tired by noon, up to my eyes in holiday cookie recipes, blurbs about great performances, entries on lists of best and worst films, and so on, and desperate for a nap and a sandwich and an appointment with my therapist and a decent cup of coffee.

My mug warmer can’t help with most of that. But it ensures that I get a cup when I need a cup, and that warmth has made me feel downright cheery at times. It was $10 well spent. Many of you will not need such assistance, but if you, like me, are a mess, I highly recommend it. Tomorrow morning, I’ll try pre-warming my mug, too. Things are looking up for ol’ Allison Shoemaker.