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. A pair of bike shorts so perfect for lounging at home *or* running errands. Soft ribbed material will keep you comfy all day and a high-rise fit works great with a sports bra or cropped tee. You'll probably want to swap your go-to pair of leggings with these instead, especially through spring and summer!
These bike shorts are made with organic cotton and manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified factory. Read more about Pact's sustainability initiatives and supply chain from sourcing to final product.
"I was sent ribbed bike shorts from the brand Pact and am absolutely obsessed with them — so much so that I have since bought multiple pieces on my own. I have been trying to be more conscious with my shopping habits and look for brands that are more sustainable; Pact's mission is that they only use sustainable crops, organic farms, and chemical-free dyes to 'ensure their fibers are supporting Mother Earth from seed to tee.'
I was already excited about this based on their whole premise and promise of being better for the earth, but I was still slightly skeptical because I live with severe pelvic pain and 75% of bike shorts bother my abdomen and pelvic area and agitate it further.
So I was pleasantly surprised by just how soft and stretchy Pact's fabric was. I wear them all the time now, and it took about a week before I succumbed to my desire to purchase more pieces from the brand. I haven't been disappointed yet! For reference, I am a size 27/28 waist and got a small and it fit perfectly, and still left room for me to breathe comfortably. Big fan!" —Lara Parker
Get them from Pact for $40 (available in women's sizes XS–XXL and four colors).
2. A Daily Work Journal for anyone who would like to level up their career and work on professional goals. You'll feel like you're working with a one-on-one coach, because you can map out your weeks, keep track of important meeting notes, and write about your progress with monthly reflections.
Daily Work Journal was founded by executive coach and entrepreneur Jessica Yen. It's a diary, organizer, planner, and tracker designed with your career goals in mind, so you can take notes, visualize plans, and write reflections.
“Daily Work Journal is an Asian and woman-created all-in-one planner, diary, and organizer to help you take control of your career. I recently tried this in order to get ready for my new job and it was hands down so helpful! The daily notes helped me keep all my thoughts and meeting notes all in one place, and the daily lookback helped me prioritize how much I got done and celebrate how much I was able to get done. The weekly planning helped me visualize what my week looked like and because of the graph-grid layout, I’m able to easily and aesthetically check off my tasks, especially when I need to do the task multiple times a day.
I’m very much a memory planner and love how it feels to reflect on my life, so the monthly reflection pages give me the opportunity to take some time for myself, be proud of my accomplishments, and figure out how to grow. The setting intentions page helped me focus on what exactly I want to grow in in both my career and personal health. If you’re looking for a journal to help track you and your career, this is the one for you!” —Brittney Trinh
Get it from Daily Work Journal for $35.
3. A vegan tinted foundation that'll get your skin glowing and lightly conceal breakouts. If you're looking for a little coverage, this liquid formula is easy to apply and helps brighten areas around your cheeks, chin, and forehead without leaving a cakey residue.
"I just started using this skin tint earlier this month and all I could think when I first applied it was 'where has this been all my life?' It is an absolute game changer for me. I used to think more makeup (aka, fuller coverage) would be best for covering up my rosacea and breakouts but in reality, it just made my skin feel heavy and look cakey.
This has a great amount of coverage, but not too much. It also feels incredibly lightweight and makes my skin look glowy and natural. I feel healthy, naturally pretty, and not like I'm trying to cover up my skin. It really just ends up enhancing it and I LOVE that. It blends super well with my cream contour and blush, and I've only been wearing this non-stop since I got it." —Ali Faccenda
Get it from Sephora for $37 (available in 13 shades).
4. A David-inspired vase so you'll finally have a cool storage spot for pens, paint brushes, or that cute bouquet you bought on a Trader Joe's grocery run. Display this small masterpiece on a desk, dresser, or kitchen table.
"My aesthetic very much is overly cute things and classical art, so when someone sent me a link to this vase of Michelangelo's David, I knew I had to have it. While it is technically a vase, I personally kill every plant that enters my place, so instead I use it as a paintbrush holder, and it is perfect! Since it is made out of resin, it is substantial enough to hold the paint brushes without tipping over while not being overly heavy. It is a good height and just fun to look at while I'm painting.
I think it could also be great at holding makeup brushes and could neatly fit in the corner of a bathroom counter without taking up too much room. The detailing is amazing. I am definitely going to get a second one to be a pen holder." —Tasia Bass
Get it from Amazon for $16.97.
5. A pizza sampler pack that'll take your taste buds straight to Italy. Each pie is handmade in Naples and shipped directly to your home. Just pop them in the oven, slice 'em up, and buon appetito! Customer faves include the Margherita pie and Tartufina — a delicious 'za with porcini mushrooms, truffles, and Fior Di Latte Mozzarella. 🍕
"I think I've found the best of the best frozen pizza out there in Talia di Napoli pizza. It is, my god, just soooooo delicious. The company makes the pizzas in Naples (Italy, not Florida) with, well, real Italian ingredients and ships them to you.
Each pizza only takes 9–10 minutes to heat in your oven and comes out just perfectly crusty. I've had the Tartufina and a limited-edition Artichoke (that'll likely just be around spring and summer) pies and can vouch that they are oh-so delicious, and you can easily polish one off solo.
Now, I realize that these pizza shipments are quite an investment in comparison to picking up a few DiGiornos at your local grocery stores. (You have to order at least a "discovery" two-pack for $48 to ship but there are plentiful eight-packs that total out to $13+ per pizza. Still not the cheapest but these are *legit.*) But these are truly a different experience and feel like an actual treat...unlike frozen pizzas of yore." —Elizabeth Lilly
Check out the combination options on Talia di Napoli here.
6. A pretty scrunchy set to add to your hair care lineup. These beauties are made with bamboo silk and comfortably hold strands up (goodbye, pulling and tangling). 'Tis time to try these stylish accessories for buns and ponytails.
Faceé is a small business that sells beauty tools and hair accessories!
"I'm so glad that scrunchies are 'back in' now — not that I ever stopped using them! I have really thick and unruly hair, so I've always been partial to a scrunchie because it's not as painful as a regular hair tie and almost never rips the hair off of my head.
I was recently given a scrunchie from a company that shall remain nameless that touted being really easy on your hair. I loved how it made my hair feel while I was wearing it and enjoyed the ease of taking it on and off. But then I looked into the brand and the scrunchie's materials and saw that it was made from silk. Silk is probably not a big deal to most, but as a guilt-ridden vegan and someone who tries to make sustainable purchases that align with my values, I knew I had to find an alternative. I washed and donated the scrunchie and set out on a search.
That's when I came across this set of scrunchies made from bamboo silk. Bamboo, in case you didn't know, is a really great sustainable alternative that's used to make fabric, paper, and other sustainable alternatives. It's very easy to grow, requires very little water, and products made with them are biodegradable over time. They make for really soft sheets, comfortable socks, and great toilet paper — but those are just a few of the ways I use bamboo alternatives in my home.
So with all of that in mind, I decided to try them out after Faceé offered to send them for review. I was really pleased that the same benefits I had seen in the non-bamboo silk scrunchie were there: smooth hair, no tangles, feeling great while using it to style my hair. I'm also glad that they came in four different colors so that I can have one to match whatever I'm wearing and I can always find one when necessary. I think they're definitely worth looking into if you're looking for an eco-friendly hair accessory!" —Whitney Jefferson
Get a 4-pack from Faceé for $24.
7. A Revive CBD Balm you'll love to use after lifting weights or running on the treadmill: It's designed to help alleviate sore muscles and joints, so you can rest and stretch sans cramping. Rub this soothing formula on your arms, legs, shoulders, and back whenever you need a little relief.
"Before revisiting my workout routine, I knew I would experience muscle soreness until I got back into my pre-pandemic rhythm. In an attempt to prepare for that, I made sure I had Leef Organics Revive CBD Balm handy.
I’m so glad they sent me a sample to try, because ~wow~. The balm is specifically made to restore and relieve sore muscles and joints. Made of six ingredients: cacao butter, grapeseed oil, CBD hemp plant (no THC — the stuff that gets you high), calendula, peony, and lavender — together forming a union that soothed my leg soreness and left my skin feeling incredibly soft.
I applied a decent amount (a little goes a long way) and my skin soaked it in. There was no greasy buildup nor a strong scent. The pain was essentially gone within the hour of my first use. I’m not looking forward to future pain, but I am confident that when it comes, I’ll be ready to reduce it with this salve." —Christina Baez
Get it from Nordstrom for $30.
8. A Wood and Leather Conditioner to restore your wood cutting boards, spoons, and knife handles back to their former glory. If these kitchen essentials are dry or faded, rub this handmade balm on with a clean cloth and let it sit overnight. They'll feel smoother and look less worn without much elbow grease.
Humble Suds is a small business based in Denver, Colorado that sells plant-based cleaning essentials.
"Approximately two minutes into rubbing this citrusy-scented balm on my clean cutting board and knife handle, I sprinted into the living room because I just HAD to show my boyfriend what a difference it made!! I've always known that I was 'supposed' to oil my wooden kitchen tools, but I never made it happen....until I got my hands on this wood and leather balm from Humble Suds.
The photos really speak for themselves here! With very little effort (I spent maybe 10 minutes max fully oiling up the board and the two knives in the pic), you can prevent the risk that your treasured board or spoons will crack one day, *and* bring out the beauty of the wood. Just remember to rub it in with the grain! Let them all sit and soak up the balm's goodness overnight, then simply use a clean part of the cloth to rub off any excess that remains. It's a little sticky at first, but after wiping off the extra, all the wood becomes perfectly smooth and ready to help you prep your next meal." —Natalie Brown
9. A halter sports bra that'll keep you comfy and supported while you're working up a sweat indoors or outdoors. Made with super soft material, this piece of activewear is great for yoga practice or a relaxing nature walk. It has a seamless shape, a double lined interior that gently hugs your chest, and wicks away sweat.
"I’m a longtime fan of Girlfriend Collective’s buttery-soft fabric and assortment of earthy colors, and the brand was kind enough to send me a Cleo Halter Bra to test out (and add to my overbrewing athleisure collection). I’m obsessed. First of all, it’s beyond comfortable, so I’ve formed an 'all-day-every-day' sort of attachment to it for WFH purposes, running errands, lounging around — you name it! But what surprised me most is how supportive it is!
It wouldn’t be my first pick for high-impact workouts, but it has supported me through lower-impact activities like yoga and hiking, which makes it a step above any ol’ bralette or brami. The halter neckline, longline design, and sustainably-made material are just added bonuses." —Clara McMahon
Get it from Girlfriend Collective for $46 (available in women's sizes XXS–6XL and eight colors).
10. A faux heart-shaped cake box so ~sweet~ for jewelry storage. Four compartments fit anything from tiny hoops to rings to choker necklaces. The best part? This can totally pass as real dessert — everyone will think this is edible, thanks to the pink frosting and customizable letters.
Mary's Cakes LV is a small business based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I saw my good friend Esther post that she recently ordered one of these and my pink, dessert-loving heart could not pass up ordering one for myself. It looks absolutely adorable on my TV stand as a decor piece but comes in handy as a fun place to store my jewelry. Something tells me Marie Antoinette would love this trinket box and the best part is you can customize the writing on the top!" —Ali Faccenda
11. A Maybelline Lip Lifter Gloss that'll add a subtle pop of color to your lips and make them look fuller. Packed with hyaluronic acid, this beauty essential helps minimize dryness and leaves a shiny finish.
"This was a spur-of-the-moment purchase for me the other day when I was looking for a cute gloss and I'm seriously obsessed. I usually never buy the 'it makes your lips plumper' gimmick, but this gloss literally DOES make my lips appear plumper! Every time I wear it I don't even know how to act because I feel so powerful *flips hair*. BTW, I'm wearing Stone in the photo!" —Stephanie Hope
Get it from Amazon for $6.99 (available in 20 shades).
12. A Hungryroot grocery delivery so you don't have to think, "what am I having for dinner!" for the millionth time. You can shop by recipe *or* choose your own groceries for your cooking needs. It's so convenient because you won't have to make a trip to the store and it takes the guesswork out of planning meals.
Confession: I love to cook and try new dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's fun to make meals, but preparing them in advance can be draining, especially when you have to travel to multiple grocery stores to find ingredients for recipes (cue the time I wanted to bake homemade vegan snack bars and couldn't find flaxseed meal anywhere). 😒
I kept seeing online ads for Hungryroot (thank you, TikTok) and decided to try it — I'm so happy I did! It was so refreshing to have an algorithm figure out a week's worth of meals and the groceries that went along with them. All I had to do was note dietary preferences (no shellfish and some vegan and vegetarian options), share how many servings I needed, and buy a subscription.
Within a few days, my grocery delivery arrived and I tried new recipes (see the zucchini pizzas above!). It took minutes to set everything up and I enjoyed making all the dishes, which on average, took less than 15 minutes to prepare on weeknights. Plus, it's very flexible — you can set your own delivery day and skip a shipment if you'll be traveling.
Get a subscription from Hungryroot for $70+ per week.
13. A fun smartphone case, because apparently the '00s are back and pretty sure Regina George would approve of this tech accessory choice. This would be a great gift to yourself or a friend who would rather be carrying a pink Nokia.
"Sometimes it's the small material things that can bring you joy in life, and this phone case is one that makes me happy every time I see it. I have a well-documented love of silicone phone cases because they're fun but weirdly practical and protect your phone from drops. I've used this almost all the time since I bought it from Amazon last summer. It's super easy to clean with some rubbing alcohol and, yes, has protected my phone from constant drops.
Nary a day passes (when I actually leave my apartment — WFH life!) when someone compliments me on this case. Sometimes people think that it's a graphing calculator. Which, why the hell would I have that out in public? I digress. But IYKYK it looks like an OG Nokia phone that I wanted because they were the cool thing back in the Stone Age when I was in school, but alas my parents got me a fish-shaped Nokia phone that was free on their phone plan. (No, I don't hold a grudge.)" —Elizabeth Lilly
Get it from Amazon for $10.99+ (available for several phone types/sizes).
14. A mesh body exfoliator set that'll upgrade your self care routine. It comes with a mesh scrubber to help buff away dry skin and a hydrating handmade soap bar. Use this soothing duo if you'd like to have a spa day at home.
Ensō Apothecary is a Black woman-owned business based in Fort Worth, Texas.
"Exfoliating is one of those steps I used to skip. Loofahs and body brushes made my sensitive skin rough and red, while jars of scrub left my shower floor messier than when I first hopped in. But this mesh body exfoliator set I bought online after meeting Ensō's founder Tamara at a local event is a game changer.
Made with nylon mesh imported from Ghana, the sapō is perfect for scraping off dry skin and dries quickly without harboring any bacteria. Plus, unlike your typical wash cloth, it’s nearly 4 feet long, so I wrap it around to scrub those hard-to-reach areas like my entire back without having to twist my arm. The set even comes with a handmade bar of soap formulated with coconut oil, giving super soft, just exfoliated skin a boost of hydration. If that’s not enough, it’s totally eco-friendly and definitely worth it — a sapō is meant to last 3–5 years!" —Andrea Ordonez
Get it from Ensō Apothecary for $30.