🎁 One Useful Gift: Lazy Kettle Liquid Smoke

A special holiday issue of One Useful Thing.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.

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There will be no newsletter next week. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. See you in January!


This stuff is the perfect gift for the cook in your life. Yes, they can buy liquid smoke at the grocery store. But Lazy Kettle Brand All Natural Liquid Smoke is so much better, and adds incredible wood-fired flavor to foods.

Lazy Kettle is 100% pure hickory smoke in a highly concentrated liquid form. It smells amazing, like a real wood-fired oven. Unlike grocery store brands, it contains no sugar, no soy sauce and no caramel color.

Tell your favorite cook to throw 1/2 teaspoon (or less, a little goes a long way) into their favorite cheater pulled pork recipe and prepare for rave reviews. Here are some popular recipes they can try.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - Fifteen Spatulas

Instant Pot Pulled Pork - The Salty Marshmallow

Sous Vide BBQ Pulled Pork - Serious Eats

I used Lazy Kettle in the Serious Eats recipe above. My Texas-born relatives refused to believe I hadn’t spent all day smoking a pork shoulder. (They should know better.) It’s even great on grilled vegetables.

Lazy Kettle Brand Liquid Smoke is $8.99 US on Amazon.

See It On Amazon


Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan


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One Useful Thing: How Long to Read ⏰📘

See how long it takes to read your book.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.

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If you are putting off chugging through that book on your nightstand because of the number of hours it will take to read, fear not.

How Long to Read will give you a pretty accurate idea of how long it will take to reach the final page.

Here I’ve searched for Sapiens, a book I’ve already finished. How Long to Read says it would take 8 hours and 16 minutes to read at the average reading speed of 300 words per minute. I’m a slow reader, so it took me a little longer to finish. But How Long to Read’s estimate feels in the ballpark.

For a more accurate idea of how long it will take you to read a book, you can take a reading speed test right on the book’s page. Just click the ‘Test Reading Speed’ button. How Long to Read says at my reading speed it would take almost 10 hours to read Sapiens. That’s about how long it actually took me to finish it.

How Long to Read struggles with more obscure books. It said the book about artificial intelligence I’m currently reading would take 30 seconds to finish. I wish.

Even so, your book is probably one of the 12 million titles How Long to Read retrieves from Amazon’s Good Reads website to estimate reading times.

Now you can decide whether to read your book or give it away. Not to mention clear a little space on your nightstand.

Visit How Long to Read


Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan


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🎁 One Useful Gift: Kamino Paper Card Sleeve

A special holiday issue of One Useful Thing.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.

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A paper wallet? Yes, and it’s amazing. Hear me out.

Now that my kids are grown, I’m recovering from having Dad Pockets. I no longer carry tissues, half-eaten snacks, and that special rock a kid had to take home.

The trick is to be selective about what you do carry. Add a phone to the mix and you’re in danger of ending up right back where you started: Dad Pockets.

The Kamino Card Sleeve solved that problem for me.

Kan Yamamoto designs and hand makes Kamino wallets in his small workshop in Kochi, Japan. Kan’s designs reflect his appreciation of modern materials and love of Origami.

"Kamino" means "made of paper" in Japanese. Kamino wallets are made of a latex-impregnated paper fabric called Córdoba.

Córdoba paper is like the material used for labels on jeans. It is tear-resistant and feels almost like leather. It is washable and dries quickly while maintaining its shape, but it is not water-proof.

Kamino offers Card Sleeves that hold three, five, seven or twelve cards, plus cash and a few coins.

I have the five card sleeve. I’ve had it only one month but it shows no signs of wear and, even fully loaded, takes up very little space in my front pocket. It’s the perfect balance of minimal and useful for my needs.

Kamino offers a variety of wallet designs, including a slim bifold, wrap wallet, cash sleeve and a coin wallet.

You can even try making your own Origami wallet with Kamino’s free DIY templates.

Remarkably, the Kamino Card Sleeve is only $19.90 US with free standard shipping from Japan.

No more Dad Pockets, indeed.

See on Kaminowallet.com


Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan


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One Useful Thing: Gift Wrapping Hacks

Life-changing tips for the gift wrapping impaired.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.

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Gift wrapping is the bane of my holidays every year.

I know. I know. It’s just one of those things. We all have our hang ups. Gift wrapping is one of mine.

This video from But First, Coffee is exactly what the gift wrapping impaired like me need. Quick and hassle-free wrapping tips to make gifts look great.

The first tip is genius. Not to mention, a money saver. Use an undersized piece of wrapping paper on the diagonal to wrap a seemingly too big gift. It's weird but it works.

Another hack shows how to make gift bags for oddly shaped items out of wrapping paper. It’s simple and less expensive than buying pre-made gift bags. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

There’s also a quick tip on how to make bows out of wrapping paper. A few folds and cuts and you’re done.

She even repurposes a toilet paper roll into a pillow box for small gifts. (Pillow box? Never heard of it. But there you go.)

I’ll let you discover the last hack—repurposing a Pringles can—for yourself.

Hat tip to Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales for featuring this video. It’s one of my favorite newsletters. You should check it out if you’re a DIYer of any stripe.


Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan


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🎁 One Useful Gift: Inch/Metric Measuring Tape

A special holiday issue of One Useful Thing.

One Useful Thing is a weekly newsletter of well-designed and helpful things.

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The DIYer in your life will appreciate the Komelon 12-Foot Inch/Metric Measuring Tape this holiday season. They probably already have a measuring tape. Or several, if they’re anything like me. Which is to say, forgetful. But this one is uniquely useful. Here’s why.

I’ve used this inch/metric measuring tape exactly once. But boy, was I glad I had it. It was while working on my old Volvo, a metric minefield for an American. Stopping to wash my greasy hands and Googling conversions on my phone wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t ask Alexa, she’s in our kitchen. So I grabbed this inch/metric measuring tape off my garage workbench. Problem, and measurement conversion, quickly solved.

What do-it-yourselfer wouldn’t love that for the holidays?

The Komelon 12-Foot Inch/Metric Measuring Tape is $5 US with free shipping on Amazon Prime.

See It On Amazon


Keith Monaghan writes the One Useful Thing newsletter and is a researcher who works with creative teams on projects for companies like Nike, The CW Network and Upworthy. Just reply to this email to get in touch or follow him on Twitter @keithmonaghan


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