Align is a movement bringing Americans together to restore the country we love. We curate products, companies, and services working to build a better way of life.

Five Small Purchases to Improve Your Daily Life

We all buy too much junk. Fast fashion, disposable novelties, useless kitchen items. And plastic tubs to store them all in until we summon the will to throw it out. So it makes sense to ask yourself if what you really want is the product in question, or just the dopamine rush of clicking that final button.

“I don’t need that,” we tell ourselves, which isn’t a bad way to check our spending. But things we don’t need can still be things that we use; sometimes an unessential purchase can provide the kind of modest, long-lasting pleasure that is truly life-enhancing. Here are a few high-quality, made-in-America items we recommend.

Kennedy Luxe Athletic Socks from American Trench

I got sick of wearing those little no-show booties everyone seems to wear to the gym, so I took a chance and went mid-calf with some of American Trench’s Kennedy socks. I’m never going back. These are knit in North Carolina from comfortable and durable supima cotton, spun and grown in the US. They bring back memories of the tube socks I wore every day as a kid, while adding a little Take Ivy style. Men: you can wear these with penny loafers. You think anyone wants to see your ankles?

Arugula Frosted Jar Candle from Archipelago

With two dogs and two cats in the house, every day is a game of “Do you smell poop/pee/vomit?” My go-to cleaner for these messes is very good indeed, but I must have the unscented version. For some reason, the kind of scents used to cover pet excreta always have a sickly sweet quality that ends up reminding me of the stench they’re masking, which is almost worse. I just want to smell nothing. But recently I’ve discovered the concept of aromas you want to invite into your house. Just one little scented candle can light up parts of your brain you forget you had. Archipelago puts a lot of care into their candles, which they make in Santa Monica. I like the Arugula’s notes of Arugula, Wild Eucalyptis, and Cyclamen Leaf.

Key Holder – Pocket from Mr. Lentz

Keys are something we handle every day: our car, our house, our office. So why settle for some ugly, plastic keychain? Mr. Lentz proprietor Evan Lentz will make you a leather keychain so good it comes with a 100-year guarantee. Keep it all locked down in the Key Holder – Pocket, or let them dangle with a Leather Wrist Keychain or a Jailers Key Ring. How nice to be reminded of good American craftsmanship each time you go to open a door!

Tallow & Honey Balm from VanMan

Purchasing from the enigmatic VanMan enlists you in his war against Big Pharma and their chemical assaults on our skin, hair, and teeth. But this is no charitable donation you’re making. VanMan’s all-natural, extremely simple products work, as evidenced by the many glowing testimonials on his Instagram page. Instead of slathering your parched, cracked, itchy, or even burnt skin with God knows what, try a dab of VanMan’s Tallow & Honey Balm.

Chrome Bullet Space Pen from Fisher Space Pen

Your typical ballpoint pen doesn’t function in zero-gravity, so astronauts were stuck with pencils. Until inventor Paul C. Fisher invented his Space Pen, with a sealed, pressurized ink cartridge that performed impeccably in orbit, underwater, and in extreme temperatures. The crew of the Apollo 7 used them in 1968; a year later the Soviets gave in and ordered 100 for themselves. Of the family-owned company’s many designs, perhaps none is as iconic as the Chrome Bullet Space Pen, which even featured in an episode of Seinfeld. It’s probably more pen than you need, but it’s a reasonably priced, beautifully-designed reminder of a vanishing era.