Things we're *actually* wearing, reading, using, gifting, loving
Updated on 11/14/2018 at 11:11 AM 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.
I have a difficult time finding jeans that are flattering and comfortable. If they fit my waist, they are too big in the hips; if they fit my hips, they are too tight in the waist. I have no tolerance for any kind of squeezing (I would not wear Spanx for anything). I used to get around this fit issue by wearing hip huggers when they were fashionable; that was pre-childbirth and I was younger and fitter. Now I prefer a high waist to keep all my stuff tucked in. Thankfully, that style is all the rage and I finally found a brand that fits, tractr. They are partially made from recycled plastic bottles, which is good for the environment, or at least it seems so. Maybe it’s a little weird to wear pants partially made from someone’s Gatorade bottle, but these are super comfortable and stylish, and even my 15-year-old daughter thought so.
This isn’t the most “sexy” pick, but I get so much use out of mesh laundry bags I think everyone should know about them. I first started using them when I lived in Korea without a dryer. To make up for it, the washing machines would do an extra duty spin cycle at the end to get out as much water as possible. It was great for drying—hard on clothes. A fellow teacher recommended putting items in mesh bags like these, and I’ve used them ever since—regardless of the intensity of the washing machine I use. It’s great for delicates, such as panties and blouses, but if you have a favorite vintage tee, I’d probably pop it in one of these, too.
OPI’s Nail Lacquer in Lincoln Park After Dark is my go-to polish—year round! This dark color isn’t pure black, but has subtle hints of red and blue if you’re looking carefully enough. A powerful pop of color on fingers and toes, Lincoln Park After Dark gets all the thumbs up from me!
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor and writer
The Annabelle & Aiden books are not only stunning (shoutout to the illustrator!), but they also cover complex topics—such as the Big Bang (!!) and life forms on the planet—with such elegance, joy and wonder. There are four books: The Story of Life, Oh, the Things We Believed!, Worlds Within Us, and What Happens When We Die?This is the way to get boys and girls interested in science and the wondrous world we all inhabit. The author, J.R. Becker, transports us to the world of discovery through a child’s eyes and we go on that journey right along with them. What a stunning and refreshing set of books for children and adults alike. So many “children’s books” talk down to kids; Becker has found the exact words and tone to reach into a child’s heart and brain and to bring out such bliss and beauty. It’s such a wonderful addition to our family library.
—Mayim Bialik, founder
Purchase individual books from Amazon for $10.95 each or a set of four from Annabelle & Aiden for $37 (softcover) or $54 (hardcover).
Plus, Grok Nation readers have a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of The Story of Life along with three Anabelle & Aiden bookmarks. Enter here.
Dropps Laundry and Dishwasher pods
Dropps is a more earth-friendly option for the dishwashing and laundry detergent pod user. I recently tried out the Fragrance Free bundle, which came with 32 unscented sensitive skin laundry detergent pods and 32 unscented dishwasher detergent pods. My skin is totes sensitive so I avoid scented detergents like the plague! Dropps are blissfully free of fragrances and artificial colors and dyes—and they work well. I also like that they come in cardboard compostable boxes. Less plastic all around!
—Christina Kelly, editor-in-chief
Purchase starter packs from Dropps starting at $20.
Kiehl’s Limited Edition Smooth Skin Delights
Even though we’re still a couple weeks away from Thanksgiving, I’m already thinking about holiday gifts. I’m determined to get organized, really think through what I’ll be purchasing for people, shop early and save money in the process. No more last minute buys this year! Which is why I’m definitely going to be stocking up on a few of these hand cream sets from Kiehl’s. The brand’s hand cream and hand salve is a lifesaver in winter months. The way this set is packaged, I can gift all three to someone or split them up. And best of all, 100 percent of the profits Kiehl’s makes from this set goes to Feeding America. One of these gift sets will provide 282 meals to people in need. That’s a gift I will truly be happy to give.
Although they’re amazing all year round, our small collection of Le Creuset dutch ovens, doufeu, braiser, and roasting pan get used weekly throughout the fall and winter. Quick soups, curries, roasted veggies, slow-cooked stews, and big feasts for entertaining (my husband recently decided to tackle homemade breads in the dutch oven, too)—I absolutely love cooking in Le Creuset products. If I had to pick one for someone just starting out, I’d go with the round or oval dutch oven (7.25 qt is a great size); it’s versatile for everyday cooking and for dinner parties, too. And I always look for new recipe inspiration from favorite sites like Food52, too (here’s a delicious and simple curried lentils recipe to get you started). Enjoy!
I have tried dozens and dozens of different moisturizers at different price points, but this one from Clinique continues to be the best for my skin. I have combination skin that gets pretty darn dry in the winter and is prone to breakouts. The Moisture Surge line is a lightweight gel formula, so it doesn’t leave a weird film on my skin and feels like it actually sinks in. Winter is coming, so you better believe I’m ordering a jumbo size!
We all know we need to drink more water, but how many of us get the recommended daily amount in? I know I’m pretty bad at it, despite best intentions. However, I’ve found myself drinking a lot more than usual with the Bevgo Infuser Water Bottle. It has helpful markers on the bottle (and its insulated holder if you need one). The amounts are manageable, and I get a small feeling of pride when I hit the hourly goal. Plus, the water bottle comes with an insertable infuser so you could add fruit or mint, which definitely helps keep things interesting if you (like me) dread the idea of plain water all day long.
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor and writer
My mother loves to mail me random things like mini spatulas, fall decorations or candy. (I have more knickknacks and useless kitchen items than any one person should have.) Recently, she sent me two packages of the Limited Edition Celebrate Mickey Oreos, which are birthday cake flavored. I’ve had the birthday cake Oreos before and thought they were OK—but these are something special. I don’t know what makes these taste better. I think they might technically be double-stuffed? Or maybe it’s Mickey’s face adding a little sweetness? Or it’s the fact that you can only get them for a short time? Either way, I enjoy them a lot. With Mickey’s 90th birthday on the horizon, you’re going to see his mug on lots of items, and this is one I can definitely recommend.