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8 Life-Changing Things To Try In February

Because we tried them for you in January!

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We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.The BuzzFeed staff is always trying new products, apps, hacks, and DIY projects, and we decided it was time to start sharing the best of them with you. Each month, we post our recommendations for what’s actually worth it. 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.)Let us know in the comments what sorts of things you’d like us to review next month!
Zoë Burnett / Via BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

The BuzzFeed staff is always trying new products, apps, hacks, and DIY projects, and we decided it was time to start sharing the best of them with you. Each month, we post our recommendations for what’s actually worth it. 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.)

Let us know in the comments what sorts of things you’d like us to review next month!

1. Navy Penguin's Combination Whiteboard and Bulletin Board Set, an easy way to organize your life (even if you suffer from goldfish memory syndrome).

I like to be organized but my memory is horrible, so I always keep a to-do list on my phone. Of course, I always forget to check my phone, so nothing on the to-do list really gets done (until it's too late). Enter this whiteboard and bulletin board combo set. I had always wanted one of these, but I never found one that I liked for a reasonable price. So when I saw this product on Amazon, I ordered it ASAP. I have it hanging above my workstation, which is right next to the entryway in my apartment, so I can see everything at a glance. It's also easy for me to check it before walking out the door. On the whiteboard side, I usually just have a to-do/to-buy list, and maybe a personal note. It's really satisfying to wipe things off after completing them. On the bulletin board side, I keep important receipts, tickets to events, checks, mementos, and coupons. This way, I remember to use everything before it expires. I've become a lot more organized since getting this combo board because I'm constantly reminded of what I need to do. I'm also motivated to finish all the tasks so I can start with a clean board for the next week! It's a lot more effective than just keeping a list on my phone. The board is a really great size — big enough to jot down a lot of info, but small enough that it doesn't overwhelm my wall. There are two hanging hooks attached to it, which makes it very easy to install, and it comes with two magnets, two markers, and a bag of tacks, so you can use it right away without making an extra trip to Staples. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this board has helped me get my life together! My combo board and I are gonna kill it in 2018. —Yi YangGet it from Amazon for $29.89.
Yi Yang / Via BuzzFeed

I like to be organized but my memory is horrible, so I always keep a to-do list on my phone. Of course, I always forget to check my phone, so nothing on the to-do list really gets done (until it's too late). Enter this whiteboard and bulletin board combo set. I had always wanted one of these, but I never found one that I liked for a reasonable price. So when I saw this product on Amazon, I ordered it ASAP.

I have it hanging above my workstation, which is right next to the entryway in my apartment, so I can see everything at a glance. It's also easy for me to check it before walking out the door. On the whiteboard side, I usually just have a to-do/to-buy list, and maybe a personal note. It's really satisfying to wipe things off after completing them. On the bulletin board side, I keep important receipts, tickets to events, checks, mementos, and coupons. This way, I remember to use everything before it expires. I've become a lot more organized since getting this combo board because I'm constantly reminded of what I need to do. I'm also motivated to finish all the tasks so I can start with a clean board for the next week! It's a lot more effective than just keeping a list on my phone.

The board is a really great size — big enough to jot down a lot of info, but small enough that it doesn't overwhelm my wall. There are two hanging hooks attached to it, which makes it very easy to install, and it comes with two magnets, two markers, and a bag of tacks, so you can use it right away without making an extra trip to Staples. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this board has helped me get my life together! My combo board and I are gonna kill it in 2018. —Yi Yang

Get it from Amazon for $29.89.

2. Bee's Wrap, a reusable, sustainable, natural way to wrap up your leftovers.

Francine Hendrickson / Via BuzzFeed

I tried Bee’s Wrap after seeing some of it for sale (and in-use) in a honey store, because I was curious. It's a reusable wax- and cotton-based alternative to plastic wrap. I was unsure of what sizes I would use the most, and it was a little pricey – so I decided to buy two and test them out, instead of a full-fledged variety pack. I bought a sandwich wrap and a small single wrap, and gave them a whirl.

I use the small wrap all the time for apples, lemons, onions, banana halves, and avocados. The wrap is very moldable, especially if you let it warm up in your hands a bit first. Once it cools, it holds its shape. It is also super easy to wash – but only wash it in cool water, since it becomes pliable with heat. So far I’ve used the sandwich wrap for peanut butter and jellies, and a hunk of cake, and it held up well for both. It comes with a cute little button and string to hold everything together.

I plan on buying more of these in other sizes, but for anyone who is looking to replace plastic wrap outright, I recommend getting at least three small wraps. They are the perfect size for fruit/veggie halves, and small snacks. The only downside of these is the price tag, but considering the use you’ll get out of them, and how much better they are for the environment, I’d say they are well worth it. —Francine Hendrickson

Get them from Amazon for $20 for a pack of two sandwich wraps (available in three colors) and $18 for a pack of three wraps of assorted sizes.

3. A Coopsion Mini USB Fan, which plugs into your phone to keep you cool in every sense of the word.

Katy Hermann / Via BuzzFeed

I am always hot. In the winter, my constantly overheated state is especially challenging, because as soon as I step outside, it’s freezing. Yet the second I get back indoors, or walk around for a bit in my heavy coat, I’m sweating bullets. My body temperature fluctuates more frequently than the public’s opinion of the Kardashians. The moment I get to work is often the peak of my heat-related frustrations. I’m schvitzing from the subway commute, and my desk is conveniently situated right next to a heater. Woohoo.

That’s why I was so excited when my dad put a couple of these little fans in my Christmas stocking. I had never seen one before, and now I wonder where they’ve been all my life. Whenever I’m overheating, I just plug one into my iPhone’s USB port and it starts to spin, providing me with a refreshing-but-not-overpowering stream of cool air. I usually only need to use it for about 30 seconds before I'm feeling better. I’m sure if I kept it plugged in for an extended period it would start to drain my phone battery, but I haven’t had any issues when using it in short spurts. I can’t wait to take it along to outdoor events this summer, where I’m sure it will be even more of a lifesaver.

As an added bonus, it's adorable! I keep a mint-green one at work and a pink one at home. They’re like little candy-colored personal air conditioners. And so what if fanning myself in public looks a little extra? I’m a queen and deserve to treat myself as such. —Katy Herman

Get them from Amazon: an iPhone-compatible one (available in three colors) or an Android-compatible one (available in four colors) for $6.99.

4. Comrad socks, which give you all the benefits of compression socks without that signature "medical supply store" look.

Jessie Gaynor / Via BuzzFeed, comradsocks.com

I loooooove compression socks. For the unacquainted, compression socks compress your legs to increase circulation and reduce swelling, so they're a game-changer for pregnant women, people who are on their feet all day, athletes, and anyone on a long-haul flight. I've been wearing compression socks for years, mostly after long runs and when flying (I'm diabetic, and before I jumped on the CS train my feet would swell like mad on flights longer than two hours). The thing about most compression socks, though, is that they really look like compression socks. You know, sort of "medical sporty," if that's a thing. So I was extra excited when I learned about Comrad, a company that makes compression socks that actually look good. Like, I'd wear them even if they didn't stimulate blood flow at all.

In fact, they were so cute that I was a little dubious about their ability; I've been tricked by vanity products before (I'm looking at you, artisanal ketchup). Luckily, I had a seven-hour flight coming up, which was the perfect opportunity to test them out. It was an overnighter, so I wasn't as vigilant as I usually am about pacing the aisles every hour to get the blood flowing, but! Even after an unusually sedentary seven-hour flight, the Comrad socks had prevented all but the most minor ankle swelling. Not only did they work, they worked better than any compression socks I have ever worn.

I also gave a pair to my sister, who initially introduced me to the magic of compression socks (and who exercises more than anyone I know) and she gave them her seal of approval, too. So if you're trying to increase that leg circulation AND you love stylish socks, I strongly suggest you get yourself a pair of these bad girls. —Jessie Gaynor

Get them from Comrad for $18+ (available in two sizes and 13 patterns).

5. Studio Tone It Up, a fitness app that turns your phone into a personal trainer so you can get a great workout in anywhere (seriously, anywhere).

Ciera Velarde / Via BuzzFeed

I prefer to work out in the morning, but in the winter, there is no way in hell I'm dragging my butt out of bed at 6:45 a.m. when it's 20 degrees outside to walk to the gym. The Studio Tone It Up app, which gives me access to virtual workout classes that I can do in my living room, has been my savior this winter for keeping my fitness goals. Every day, you can take a different, brand-new virtual workout class through the app, and they do a good job of making sure you're not doing the same kind of workouts over and over again. One day you'll be doing a cardio-based HIIT class, the next you'll be focused on arms, and the next you could be doing a yoga class. Don't like the scheduled workout for the day? You can pick from dozens of on-demand videos in 10 different fitness categories (that are constantly updated) to take at any time.

The videos are usually only about 25 minutes long, but you get a GREAT workout every time. (Trust me, I'm usually dripping sweat by the end.) You will sometimes need dumbbells, kettlebells, an exercise ball, or booty bands for your workout, but many workouts require just your body or can be modified to be done without equipment. My roommate and I usually do these workouts at 7 a.m. in our tiny NYC apartment's living room while casting the videos to our TV, so trust us: They can be done anywhere, any time! The app also tracks how many days a week you work out, and you can use the app's messaging feature to connect with other members of the Tone It Up community.

For $12.99 a month, the Studio Tone It Up app is essentially a gym membership, personal trainer, and a catalog of boutique fitness classes all in your pocket. It's helped me feel stronger, more confident, and more energized, and having a community encouraging you during your fitness journey is honestly invaluable. If you're struggling to find a workout plan that is fun, challenging, and easy to use, the Studio Tone It Up app will become your best fitness friend. —Ciera Velarde

Get it for iOS from the iTunes store. The app is free to download and includes a seven-day trial of the premium app. After that, you can get unlimited access for $12.99/month or $83.99/year.

6. Musher's Secret wax, a quick and easy way to protect your pup's paws from the elements.

Francine Hendrickson / Via BuzzFeed

Before winter really settled in, I took my dog Lily to the pet store, where she tried on many pairs of boots. Lily is an 11-pound Chihuahua, and of course she despised this excursion. Aside from her hatred of boots, we faced a bigger problem: None of the boots designed for Lily’s size actually fit her. The part for her paws would fit, but over and over again, the boots would not stay up on her ankles. I had little faith I would find boots for her online, since there seems to be a common misconception that small dogs have small paws and giant ankles. In my internet search for a paw-protection solution, I discovered Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax, a product of sorcery that promised to protect doggie feet by coating them in wax — no boots needed. Oh boi, was I skeptical. But the snow and salt and ice of terror were approaching.

I first tested out this wax during the Bomb Cyclone, a very fun and exciting time. Lily refuses to go to the bathroom on wee-wee pads, so I bundled her up until she was a waddling ball of coats, and I used my fingers to make sure her paws were fully covered in wax, since it was extra vicious out there (usually I just dip her little paws in before a walk and she's good to go). I couldn't really tell if the wax made a difference based on Lily’s behavior; a lot was going on (i.e., we were attacked from wind and snow on all sides). However, I’ve been using this wax on a regular basis since then, and her paws tell the difference. They are not cracked and dry, she doesn't lick her them after a walk — a sign that they hurt — plus it’s so much easier to get salt off her paws with the wax protecting her (I just wipe her paws with a baby wipe). This is my new go-to for helping Lily's paws survive the winter times. —Francine Hendrickson

Get it from Amazon for $12.25+ (available in five sizes) or from Jet for $17.83 (200 grams).

7. Peel, the unbranded, semi-transparent phone case that’s so thin it’ll make your phone look like it’s naked.

Colin Gorenstein / Via BuzzFeed

Generally speaking, there are two types of phone-case owners: Those who treat them as accessories and those who own them out of necessity. Whichever camp you may belong to, you can probably agree on one thing that does not belong on your phone: prominent branding! This is why it baffles me to see that, in the year 2018, basically no manufacturers offer clean, simple, unbranded options. I say "basically" because I made a major breakthrough recently while scrolling through my Instagram feed. Like an offering from the #SponCon gods (a much lower tier of deity), there it was: Peel.

Peel is a company that specializes in brandless, so-thin-you’ll-forget-there’s-anything-on-your-phone cases. Part of what gives these cases the illusion of being naked is that they’re semi-transparent, allowing your original Apple or Android branding to shine through (but, lucky for you, not get dirty). No additional bulk or fuss. Just a good ol’ phone case, staying in its lane and doing what a phone case is supposed to do. Two months into owning a Peel for my iPhone 8, I can confirm that not only does this case give my phone that sleek, fresh-out-of-the-box look, but it protects it, and its camera, from even the slightest scratch.

Peel is available for 10 iPhone models and nine Android models. There are also an abundance of colors to pick from, ranging from “jet white” to “rose gold.” Again: This is a company all about subtlety, which means you should also be prepared to do some heavy squinting as you attempt to distinguish shades like “black” from “blackout.” —Colin Gorenstein

Get it from Peel for $24.99 (available in seven colors and 19 sizes).


*The pictured screensaver features the work of Bristol-based illustrator George Greaves (of Printed Goods) and is titled “Last Light of the Day.”

8. An Oster Belgian Waffle Maker, which might finally convince you to l'eggo your Eggos.

amazon.com, Cheryl H. / Via amazon.com

Like Eleven from Stranger Things, I love waffles. And I love frozen Eggo waffles because, let’s be honest, WHO HAS TIME TO MAKE WAFFLES FROM SCRATCH? That’s so hard! Right! Right? Wrong. I recently bought this inexpensive Oster Waffle Maker on Amazon, and it has changed my entire perspective on breakfast foods. I genuinely can’t believe how easy it is to make homemade waffles with this thing.

This waffle maker doesn’t come with any fancy functions or buttons; you just plug it in, it’ll heat up super quickly, you pour the waffle mix inside, close it, and BAM! Within minutes, you have a fresh, fluffy waffle that will melt in your mouth. The plates are nonstick, which makes them super easy to clean, and the size of this thing is perfect: Picture a waffle that almost fills an entire plate. It also has cool-touch handles, so you can check on your waffles every so open (just open the lid) without fear of burning yourself.

I can’t recommend this nifty waffle maker enough. It really is so, so easy to use. And you know what? This thing makes me actually want to sit down at my kitchen table for breakfast. Which is a pretty big deal. —AnaMaria Glavan

Get it from Amazon for $19.99 or Walmart for $17.88.

Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides here!

Ryan Pattie / Via BuzzFeed