Things we're *actually* wearing, reading, using, gifting, loving
By Grok Nation StaffUpdated on 09/18/2018 at 12:30 PM EDT \ Originally published 09/05/2018 at 12:22 PM EDT
To help you make more informed decisions in your day to day life, we’re launching our Grok Nation Picks. Each week, Mayim and the team will share a product that’s improved her life. It could be a book we recently read that’s made a profound impact, a face wash that helped quell our oily skin, a new kitchen gadget that’s improved dinnertime prep, or a fun splurge item that brings a smile to our face.
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’ve been very vocal in recent years about being stigma free about my mental health struggles. Artist Jen Gotch, who herself lives with mental illness, designed this amazing “Anxiety” necklace and the proceeds go to support mental health services. I plan to petition for her to make one that says OCD, depression, panic disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder. Hopefully she will listen!
Amour Vert is a line of sustainable fashion that I have recently become enamored with. This top is 50 percent organic cotton and 50 percent Modal (carbon neutral beechwood fibers). I first picked one in white, which was on sale, and I liked it so much I ordered a black one. I also appreciated that the items were tightly packed in sustainable packaging. I hate when I order online only to receive over-large boxes and extraneous packing materials. With every tee sold, Amour Vert pledges to plant a tree. So that’s pretty cool.
—Christina Kelly, editor-in-chief
Purchase in four different colors on Amour Vert for $38.
Personalized book stamp
Whether it’s for babies or graduates, one of my favorite gifts is a personalized book stamp. I’ve ordered several from Kelsey Pike on Etsy—and they always turn out so cute! She can customize the stamp however you want, she’ll send you a design mockup, and then she can ship straight to the gift recipient in cute packaging. You could also do address stamps for newlyweds. It does take some planning ahead since the stamps are hand-cut per order, but it’s worth the extra effort!
—Dalene Rovenstine, managing editor
Purchase a variety of size on Etsy, starting at $15.
Bath & Body Works Fresh Balsam 3-Wick Candle
It’s almost time for me to repurchase my favorite seasonal candle. I will burn the Fresh Balsam scent year-round, but it’s lit almost every day during fall and winter in my house. These three-wick candles last a really long time, and I’m usually pretty good about scheduling my re-buy for when it comes back in season. It’s the perfect woody pine scent that isn’t overwhelming.
One of my all-time favorite skincare products is Maracuja Oil. It’s the pressed oil from passion fruit seeds—it has a light, pleasant scent, and leaves my skin feeling moisturized without leaving an oily residue. I started using it when I attempted to do the 10-step Korean skincare routine. My current daily routine no longer includes all 10 steps, but the maracuja oil has remained. It supposedly helps with fine line and wrinkles, but for me, it’s main benefit is how soft and supple my skin is with regular use.
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor and writer
I’m really loving From a Certain Point of View. It presents 40 short stories that reimagine moments from the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, through the eyes of extremely supporting characters. We’re talking characters like one of the Death Star engineers trying to help a colleague get around some paperwork or a Jawa dreaming about his life in the moments before his crew picks up C-3PO and R2-D2 on Tatooine. It’s a genius layer of story on top of this classic, beloved and highly memorized film.
Dwellza Kitchen Olive Oil Dispenser and Oil Mister Set
Next to my stove, I used to keep a bottle of olive oil with a pour spout stuck in it and a can of Pam. They didn’t look nice on the counter, but they were useful for cooking. Recently, I’ve started feeling bad about the constant purchasing (and throwing away) of the Pam aerosol cans, though. Even though I love, love, love the ease of it—I know it’s not great for the environment. I went in search of an oil mister to replace my Pam and found this Dwellza Kitchen set. Not only do the bottles, in glass and stainless steel, look great on my counter, but the olive oil dispenser is amazing. You push the buttons on the side to fill up the dispenser with the amount you want (it’s marked with teaspoon and tablespoon measurements) and pour it out. The mister is not as great as my handy dandy Pam—you constantly have to pump and the spray radius is very small—but I guess saving the world isn’t easy!
As much as I love face masks, I’m always dubious as to how much they’re actually doing for my skin. However, this pomegranate mask seems to have a noticeable anti-fatigue effect—I look less puffy and a little brighter once I remove it. I’m a big fan of the pomegranate eye masks from Sephora, too!
We were going to hire a soft serve company for my son’s Bar Mitzvah, but this Cuisinart at-home maker is so much cheaper (under $70). Plus, this way I can learn to make my own vegan soft serve in the process!
I first heard about the lipstick company Blush & Whimsy in a press release. I thought the color-changing based on your body’s pH sounded neat. But what really appealed to me is that the company employs vets, people with Down Syndrome and ALS, and the elderly. I was intrigued so much that I assigned an article about the founder (watch for that on Grok Nation soon). Their product definitely holds up to their values. It goes on super smooth (it feels almost like a chapstick), adjusts to my body to become a nice, natural-looking shade of red, and nourishes my lips. Plus, it’s vegan and cruelty-free! I know what all my friends are getting for Christmas this year!
My husband pulled a Ralphie from A Christmas Story and kept not-so-subtly dropping hits about how much he wanted a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are supposed to be beneficial for people who have trouble sleeping for any number of reasons: anxiety, ADHD, depression, etc. I finally ordered it for him for our anniversary, spread it out on his side of the bed (which was difficult, because it’s 20 pounds!), and surprised him with it when he got home. He got under it and immediately decided it’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten him. Plus, the fabric keeps you cool by wicking away moisture.
My family had big plans to attend Phish’s Curveball in upstate NY—a weekend-long music and art festival. We love the glow sticks, sparkles, glitter, etc. at these types of events. This year I purchased a bunch of sequin slap bracelets to take with us. When I was in elementary school, slap bracelets were *the* thing. I had so many (and the wrist welts to prove it!). There is something incredibly soothing about the repetitive motion of stroking the sequined fabric. The bag came packed with many bracelets, so the plan was to keep a few and share the rest with other phans. Unfortunately, the festival was canceled, so I now have a bunch of fabulous slap bracelets for the next event!
—Avital Norman Nathman, contributing editor
Purchase a pack of 8 (plus 8 sparkling headbands) on Amazon for $12.99.