This post features a mix of items that we purchased with our own money and those that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review. (But! We’re under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.)
1. Some Folex Instant Spot Remover that'll come to the rescue if you spill coffee on your carpet or smudge chocolate on your bedding 😑. This water-based formula quickly gets to work on tough stains from beverages, grease, and dirt. Spray the stain you'd like to clean, gently massage it with your fingers, and grab a paper towel to absorb the mess...that's it!
"I first discovered Folex thanks to this job — the dozens of amazing before and after photos on Amazon really sold me on it! — and have used it dozens of times with great success: on both blueberry smoothie and dog poop on rugs, when I dropped hummus on my sweater, for multiple drink spills on the couch, and, as illustrated above, when I accidentally melted a chocolate chip into my favorite fuzzy pillow and discovered it like, three days later.
To succeed with Folex, it's important to know how it works. Technically it's a surfactant, which basically means it stirs up the little particles that are causing the stain and grabs onto them, so you can then soak it up with a paper towel to pull them off whatever surface they were staining. The directions ask you to spray it on liberally, gently massage the stain with your fingers to help the liquid grab a bunch of the stain particles, then use a paper towel to soak it up. For the pillow example, I repeated the spray-and-soak process about three times, and now you can't even find where the stain was in the first place! That's why I have two after pics here — when I came back after it had dried to take a pic a few days later, I literally couldn't find the spot the pillow had been stained again, so wanted to show y'all both sides for proof.
I will say it's not the best for pet accidents, because those tend to need an enzyme to help really get rid of the smell (like the popular Rocco & Roxie cleaner), but it definitely works in a pinch. And I still — luckily! — haven't needed to try it out on red wine, nonfood grease, ink, or makeup stains, all of which it claims to clean. But I couldn't recommend it more for all the random food and drink spills that are bound to happen in life!" —Natalie Brown
Get it from Amazon for $12.08+ (also available in multi-packs).
2. Urban Decay Mascara to take your lashes to new heights: Packed with plant-based ingredients (avocado oil, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil), this makeup staple boosts volume and provides a falsies effect. Plus, it'll actually stay in place without flaking or smudging, according to one BuzzFeeder who received it as a sample and loved it. See the mascara in action below.
"Not only does this mascara lengthen — but it lasts without annoyingly smudging! I never noticed any flaking, and I didn’t have to curl my lashes before adding any product. It’s also semi-easy to remove, as long as you're gentle when doing so.
It has been my go to mascara for the last two months, and I kind of wish they had this in fun spring colors. What I like about the product is that it doesn’t really clump, unless you continuously add a few coats, which I am guilty of doing. Not sure how to describe it, but this product is very pigmented. I like to use this whether I’m wearing a full-face or no makeup." —Celina De Jesus
Get it from Urban Decay for $26.
3. A portable mini speaker so you can have a spontaneous dance party whenever you want. Even though it's small, it delivers powerful sound and gives you up to 10 hours of playtime. Oh, and it has an adorable retro design that'll make everyone say "aww!" when you bring it to your next BBQ or picnic.
It also comes with a USB charger, in case you need to power it up on the go.
"I got this little speaker as a sample and just thought it was the cutest thing. This mini wonder is coveted by many of my family members and friends. I love showing it off when people come over to visit.
I'll start playing a song, and everyone will start dancing and singing along. Then, I'll show them the mini speaker that's responsible for the dance party. They marvel at it every single time.
It's definitely worth the price because, plot twist, I just ordered one as a gift for my dad's 75th birthday!! He's gonna flip! Whether you need a unique gift (like I did) or just want something fresh and new, this speaker is it. Oh, and — brace yourself — they have carrying cases, too!" —Kit Stone
4. A pair of gorgeous drop earrings you'll want to wear on repeat: Made with gold plated brass and colorful stones, these beauties will look so good with any outfit and score you tons of compliments. They also come with two types of posts, so you'll always be prepared if one accidentally gets lost!
"Hyperbole Accessories is an Indian-owned, California and India-based shop that handcrafts jewelry using recycled metal and semi-precious stones. I received a sample of these Pastel Gracie earrings and wore them to a party right after I received them.
I got so many compliments on them!! They’re extremely cute and pretty lightweight in my opinion. I was pleasantly surprised I was able to wear them all night comfortably! I also liked how the shop gave me different types of backings. These earrings include a combination of stones such as moonstone, peridot, pink tourmaline, and citrine with 18k gold on brass.
I also received this Gold Shell Necklace and these Love Lock Hoop Earrings; I haven't worn them out yet but they're so beautiful and cute, and I can't wait to pair my outfits with them!" —Brittney Trinh
Get them from Hyperbole Accessories for $39.
5. A Dockatot Deluxe so your little one can have a comfy lounge spot for diaper changes, napping, and playtime. It has a cozy shape, comes with a removable machine-washable cover, and is portable in case you're both traveling.
"I had a baby boy in April and have finally been putting all of my baby and parenting products to the test! One we absolutely adore? The Dockatot Deluxe.
My son Noah is very easy going and hasn’t been amused by swings with all the soothing bells and whistles — he’s forever happiest in his Dockatot.
It’s super cozy, comes in SO many cover patterns, and is easy to clean (essential since babies are forever peeing and spitting up on everything). Toss the cover in the wash and let it air dry — simple enough. I actually ordered a cheaper cover on Amazon (Valsonix Baby Nest Cover) to swap with the brand’s cover when it’s being washed. It’s not as high quality texture-wise but ensures Noah’s favorite place to snuggle is always available (and, honestly, he doesn’t know the difference)." —Heather Braga
Get it from Dockatot for $150+ (available in 33 colors).
6. A Tucky Belt that'll turn any tee, crewneck sweatshirt, or hoodie into a cool crop top. Here's how it works: clip it around your waist, gently fold the bottom of a shirt around it, and you're done. This genius item will spare you from grabbing scissors or dealing with an uncomfortable outfit.
Tucky Belt is a small business that sells styling solutions, including the belt above, to help you create a cropped look with minimal effort.
"I think this is the most genius idea. I have tried tucking my crewnecks into my bra (which is uncomfortable) and also into my jeans which always results either in an utter failure, or a weird bump in the front of my jeans. This Tucky Belt makes it easy to style my favorite crewnecks and hoodies as a cropped option without ever having to take a pair of scissors to it. You need it." —Ali Faccenda
Get it from Tucky Belt for $30.
7. A cute USB humidifier for your home or office that feels dry. This baby delivers a soothing mist for up to eight hours, easily fits on a desk or side table, and has LED color-changing lights. Stay comfortable while you type at a computer, read a book, or sleep in bed.
"This small humidifier comes with two misting options: an intermittent mode (three seconds on/three seconds off) and a continuous mode. It will also automatically turn off when the water level gets too low and can be charged with any device that has a USB port.
"If I could describe my place it is DRY. I'd get so many bloody noses because I couldn't breathe in here. So I had to get a humidifier but I didn't want a big one. Then I happened to stumble across this one. Not only is it CUTE, it 100% works. I use it mostly while I'm working, so it sits on my desk. Plus it's quiet. I fill the tank in the morning and it lasts until I get off work, so about nine hours. If you're looking for a small desk humidifier, this is definitely it." —Tasia Bass
Get it from Amazon for $11.99 (available in four colors).
8. A Charlotte Tilbury primer that'll be the perf canvas for makeup and provide SPF 50 sun protection. It goes on clear (no streaks or white cast), hydrates with hyaluronic acid, and nourishes your complexion with aloe vera and camellia oil. Apply it before the concealer and foundation step of your beauty routine.
"I was recently sent the Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer and I am obsessed. I am someone who requires a very low-effort routine in the mornings to make myself both feel and look presentable. I want basically two things: low effort and sun protection. If it makes my skin look slightly better while we're at it, even better!
Given the price point of this relatively small bottle, I was skeptical. But I ended up taking it with me on a trip to Mexico for something to wear as a protectant when walking around shops, and upon applying the cream I was pleasantly surprised. I wore it daily with just some moisturizer and concealer and felt like my skin both looked better and felt better. A little bit goes a long way so I haven't had to repurchase yet, but I will as soon as it's time because I love it. Also great under a light coat of foundation." —Lara Parker
Get it from Charlotte Tilbury for $55.
9. A Kosas semi-matte lipstick for anyone who would like to add a pop of color to their kissers. Unlike other semi-matte lipsticks, this one feels lightweight, lasts for a long time, and contains plant oils that help boost moisture. There are so many pretty pink, red, and berry shades to choose from as well.
Lipsticks aren't really in my beauty collection — I don't like how most matte ones feel on my lips and they're sometimes a pain to remove. I'm definitely more of a balm and gloss fan, however, I was ready to try something new that wasn't a sheer or barely-there color. I was sent this Kosas semi-matte lipstick and it definitely lives up to the hype.
For starters, it goes on so smooth and it's super pigmented (I'm wearing the Darkroom shade above). This red color was so cool and it didn't dry out my lips, plus it STAYS ON. I wore it on a warm day and it didn't budge while I drank water and ate meals.
Get it from Naked Poppy for $28 (available in eight shades).
10. Retold Recycling bags that'll help solve your "I don't know where to donate or upcycle my clothes" dilemma. This company will collect them for you: they mail a biodegradable, pre-labeled bag to you, you fill it up with garments, and then ship it back to them — it's so easy! You'll spare your clothes from the trash *and* give them a sustainable destination if you can't wear them anymore.
"Like probably a lot of other folks, I hold onto some stuff that I know I should recycle or donate somewhere but I'm not sure how or where. I got a PR email from Retold Recycling, a company that will ship a biodegradable, *compostable* pre-labeled bags made of corn starch that you can ship back full of your household textiles (clean and dry, of course), and they figure out where best to donate or upcycle them.
They sent me two bags, one of which I filled with an Anthropologie maxi dress that had a big sorta-obvious stain at the waist which meant I couldn't gift it to a friend, some older pajama T-shirts, and a pair of leggings that were pilling so badly between the thighs that it was truly any day now that they would rip. In the other bag I stuffed an old blanket I've been holding onto for reasons only known to past Elizabeth, a tote bag well past its prime, and some socks that have lost their mates.
Upon arrival, the company works with partners to sort through your stuff and figure out the appropriate destinations like charities, thrift stores, reuse partners, up-cyclers, and rag companies so your stuff is put to use outside of a landfill. You aren't told where each part goes, but I personally feel like my used stuff is in good (even better) hands now." —Elizabeth Lilly
11. A laptop stand so you can type at eye-level and avoid annoying neck cramps. If you spend most of your day at a desk, this gem will be so helpful during work hours. You can adjust the height and it works with multiple-sized laptops (10 inches to 17.3 inches wide).
"This laptop stand is so helpful! I work from home and spend hours on my laptop every day. To help with my neck pains, I got this laptop stand and it I am a big fan! This was actually the fourth one I bought, because I didn't like the others. The best thing for me is that it's Z-shaped and you can move all the sides to whatever position you need. Sometimes I'll stand and work so I'm not sitting all day and you can raise this stand up so high. Plus there's a little ledge to catch your laptop so it never falls off, no matter how high you raise it." —Tasia Bass
Get it from Amazon for $39.99 (available in four colors).
12. A Modern Sprout nutrient set that'll help your indoor plant babies grow and get the minerals they need. You'll get two formulas: Bloom for flowering botanicals and Grow for vegetative sprouting. Mix a dropper full for each one cup of water and your leafy buddies will appreciate the pick-me-up!
"I picked this plant food up at my local zero waste store earlier this year, and just like the nice person there promised, my houseplants have LOVED it. All of them — a pothos, a prayer plant, a fern, and a mini monstera — have shown significant new growth since I started using it, but my Birkin Philodendron has embraced it the most. To use, you simply add a dropper full per each 1 cup of water that you're watering with; I tend to bottom-water my potted plants, so I just let 'em sit in it until their soil is saturated. It seems like every week or two, a few days after watering with this stuff, it sends at least one brand new little leaf stretching its way up to the sun.
It's also pretty much rescuing the fern by helping it sprout new bright green fronds that unfurl equally verdant pinnules (aka the little leaves on a fern), which I hope will one day all replace the dried-out lime-green-ness of the rest of the plant that I only have myself (and an under-watering stint over the end-of-year holidays) to thank for. If you love your houseplants and wish they'd grow a little faster, I can't recommend this stuff more!" —Natalie Brown
13. A training toy you'll def want to have on hand if you're a new puppy parent. Coat it with your furry friend's favorite treats and then attach it to the side of their crate, so they can get used to their new environment and feel a little less stressed.
"When I first got my puppy he we went ballistic any time I had to put him in his crate. I started filling this toy with peanut butter and freezing it so the next time I had to leave the house (and he sadly had to go in his crate), I'd be prepared for when it was time to place him in. This keeps them very occupied for a while and really eases them into getting familiar with their crate." —Ali Faccenda
Get it from Amazon for $34 (available in four colors).
14. And stylish sunglasses that'll take you back to the '00s. In addition to protecting your peepers from the sun, they have cool design details like silver hardware and fade lenses. Plus, they're an affordable dupe for the expensive frames spotted on many celebs.
"I’m someone who looks all over for style inspiration. I personally love nothing more than seeing a celebrity wear an outfit out and then spending the time (maybe too much time) tracking down how I can find a similar handbag or pair of jeans at an affordable price.
Let’s face it: I’m balling on a budget over here! I learned of this brand, Banebe Eyewear, and not only are their sunglasses affordable — compared to more high-end, designer sunglass brands — BUT they have so many celeb lookalike styles, my dream! On their site they have almost identical pairs to sunglasses that Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, and Hailey Bieber have been seen out and about wearing.
The specific pair I received a sample of are the Banbe x Molly - Silver Fade, which cost $75. I’m not going to lie, I do feel very chic and a little like Kim K. when wearing them. They’re also the type of sunglasses that instantly elevate any outfit I’m wearing them with." —Fabiana Buontempo
Get them from Banbe for $75.