Things we're *actually* wearing, reading, using, gifting, loving
Updated on 01/15/2019 at 12:55 PM EST \ Originally published 09/05/2018 at 3:19 PM EST
Each week in Grok Nation Picks, Mayim and the team will share some favorite products. We will include all kinds of things, from books we’ve recently read, to face washes, kitchen gadgets, and fun splurge items.
Click through the gallery below and come back: We’ll be adding new picks each week. And be sure to let us know in the comments what items help you get through—and enjoy—your everyday lives.
Safety Pin earrings from Adina’s Jewels
You may already know this if you read my recap of the Critics’ Choice Awards, but if you didn’t: I got to wear some pretty awesome safety pin earrings in rose gold. The version I had on were made by jewelry designer Brooke Rayn, but I found a similar (more budget-friendly) version. I love how quirky and fun they are, and the best thing about these earrings is you can rock them any time—not just on a red carpet!
I love a tinted lip balm, but sometimes these products tend to bleed to the area adjacent to the lips, which is not a good look. Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment keeps my lips from chapping and adds just a hint of color. I use Simply Rose, a pretty shade of muted dark pink. It also doesn’t have any taste or scent, which I like.
I’ve seen the Korean skin care brand Oh K! popping up at various retailers: Paper Source, World Market, even CVS. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit hesitant to try random, drugstore-type brands. I have sensitive skin and I’d rather save my money for products I know will work. But when I was stocking up on candles at Bath & Body Works (gotta love those 50 percent off sales!), I needed another item to meet my coupon minimum (also gotta love coupons!). I saw this three-piece charcoal face mask kit near the register and went for it. I’m so happy I did. The mask is practically dripping with product, which means it was ultra-moisturizing and easily stayed on for the full 20 minutes. And the best part was there was quite a bit of cleanser and serum, so I was able to stretch it over multiple uses.
The city I live in recently got a grant to provide all residents with a compost bin. I was very excited to start composting in my home, but found out I needed a couple things to get started. First, I needed some sort of receptacle in which to collect my food scraps in my kitchen—this bin looks nice sitting on my counter, and has a charcoal filter so it doesn’t get stinky. So far I’m pretty pleased with the whole system! Also, composting! Yay! (Learn how to do it in your own home—no matter where you live—here.)
I discovered the Expectful app during my third trimester of pregnancy—around this time last year! It’s an app with guided meditations for fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood (and they’re in the process of adding fatherhood, too). It makes practicing meditation each day feel a lot more manageable. You take just 10 minutes to focus on a topic that is fitting for the day, whether it be releasing expectations or trusting myself as a new mama, or just helping to focus better, do some good breathing exercises, or get some sleep. I highly recommend this app!
—Jossie Auerbach, integrated marketing manager
Download on the App Store or Google Play for free. Pay $9.99 per month for a subscription after your free trial.
Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Color Cream
I just re-dyed my hair, and like usual, went for my trusty brand: Manic Panic. All vegan and not tested on animals, Manic Panic provides a powerful punch of color while moisturizing your hair at the same time. While I love many of the brand’s color offerings, I went with Cotton Candy this time. The pink turned out perfectly—a light bubblegum with some darker highlights. And bonus (which I didn’t realize at the time) it also glows under black light!
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor and writer
I have been working with the same knife set for years. It was a set from Paula Deen that my mom found at Big Lots. They were not the best knives by any means, but they got the job done… or so I thought! This year for Christmas my mom gave me a Calphalon 15-piece set from TJ Maxx (my mother never buys anything full price). These knives—and my favorite, the Santoku—work so well that I find myself wanting to chop everything in the kitchen. Sorry Paula Deen, but you got nothing on Calphalon.
—Dalene Rovenstine, managing editor
Purchase the Santoku knife from Calphalon for $27.49.
‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ book
Bestselling author and mental health advocate Matt Haig wrote this autobiographical book, Reasons to Stay Alive, after experiencing crippling depression for the very first time. Penning the nonfiction book gave him a way to finally cope but to also help others a way through their own personal darkness. He somehow manages to find moments of levity while describing very personal, yet relatable, descriptions of his mental health struggles. It’s a quick read and well worth the time for anyone living with, or supporting someone with, depression and/or anxiety.
My husband and I are frequent travelers, and transitioning to travel life with baby gear in tow has been quite the adjustment! My cousin says, the smaller the baby, the more stuff you bring. Little travel hacks like this gate check bag have been a game changer—get to the airport, throw car seat and base (or umbrella stroller) into the enormous bag, and check it at the counter…done! It’s one less thing to worry about on trips.
I will try a lot of weird products in the name of skin care. I hopped right on (and still do most of) the Korean 10-step face care program, love gold under-eye patches, and am continuously on the hunt for new products to fall in love with. Enter: the magnetic face mask. It goes on like a regular mud mask, but then you take the mini magnet (I placed mine in a plastic bag for easy cleaning), and remove the dark (metallic, I’m guessing!) parts of the mask, leaving behind a clear serum that you rub in. It felt like those old-fashioned Wooly Willy kids’ toys. It was pretty darn cool. I washed my face the next morning, and my skin was glowing and super soft. This is definitely going into the weekly rotation, especially with its decent price-point.
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor and writer