back to top
Shopping

10 Life-Changing Things To Try In November

Because we tried them for you in October!

Posted on
Zoe 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.

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 out 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. Care/of, a service that makes taking daily vitamins easy, customizable, worry-free (and kinda fun?).

Emmy Favilla / Via BuzzFeed

Vitamins and I identify best as fair-weather friends. I typically have a stash of multivitamins at home that I forget about until I feel a cold coming on, and I pop a B-complex (I'm tired a lot) and some biotin (I'm vain and like shiny hair and nails) from time to time. But I guess I could be more on top of figuring out what vitamins and supplements I need for my specific health concerns — and, you know, actually taking them. So last month I decided to try Care/of, a service that does all the legwork for you and provides a personalized vitamin regimen based on your lifestyle.

When you first sign up on Care/of's website, you'll be asked some basic questions (age, gender, etc.), as well as what goals you have in mind (e.g., I chose brain, energy, digestion, and skin). Then you'll answer between three to five questions for each "goal" — everything from your sleeping, eating, and drinking habits to questions about your mood and energy levels — and a list of recommended vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, and/or probiotics will appear before your very eyes. Once ordered, they’re sent to you monthly as a box with 30 packs each containing your daily dosages (and each printed with a fun challenge, inspirational quote, fact, or question — which, cute).

After doing the math and comparing my order to the price of the cheapest similar vitamins I could find on Amazon, Care/of's price tag wound up being about $10 more a month — but for me, the convenience factor more than makes up for that difference. I don't eat a full meal until I'm at work, and I have dinner at home maybe half the time; quite frankly, I don't have the patience or dedication to plan out my weekly vitamins in a pill box or plastic baggie. More importantly, I trust the high production standards that Care/of is committed to: Its products are made ethically, sustainably, and without harsh solvents or processing materials. Have I felt a difference with respect to all my aforementioned goals? It’s only been a month, but my brain, energy levels, digestion, and skin all seem to be faring quite well. I’m not saying that’s all thanks to my new comprehensive vitamin regimen, but I’m not saying it’s not, either. —Emmy Favilla

Get Care/of products from Takecareof.com starting at $5/month (and free shipping over $20).

2. A Ban.do agenda for keeping your shit together in style.

Katy Herman / Via BuzzFeed

I really like to do things old-school. I bought CDs up until a couple of years ago because I liked looking at the liner notes. I think Kindles are the enemy. And I just started using Google Calendar literally three days ago. Even as I begin to integrate more ~fancy tech~ into my life, I will continue to swear by my Ban.do agenda. Mine is the place where my life lives, where everything I can/need to/might do is jotted down in a way that seems haphazard to others but makes perfect sense to me.

There are several things that make this the Best. Planner. Ever. First of all, each day of the week has a lot of space for writing. I’m so not about little calendars that have just two lines for you to jot things down. C’mon, who has a to-do list that short?! (I would like to meet them.) Ban.do also makes an effort to make planning fun — their agendas come with cute and quirky stickers and feature bright, motivational artwork at the start of each month. Some days are even marked with funny to-dos or inspirational quotes. Plus, there’s a lot of extra space to write notes that don’t fit on a specific date, there's a pocket for storing important papers, and it includes an elastic band to keep it all together.

The Ban.do agenda comes in three sizes: a cute, travel-ready small option, a big guy perfect for your desk, and my drug of choice, an all-purpose medium-sized one. You can also pick from lots of cute designs, including denim to sassy slogans and pretty florals like mine. Because no task is stressful if it’s surrounded by pink and glitter, right? That’s my philosophy, anyway. —Katy Herman

Get it from Amazon for $20.

3. A Hamilton Beach slow cooker, which will transform you into a meal prepper with the most minimal effort.

Samantha Wieder / Via BuzzFeed

Lately I've been getting into meal prepping on Sundays, so my dinner is basically ready to eat when I get home during the week. Let's be real: The last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day of work and commuting is cook, so having something I can easily reheat is handy and saves me the money I'd probably spend on going out for dinner instead.

My mom bought a Hamilton Beach slow cooker years ago, and only recently have I started using it myself to meal-prep. Now I'm addicted to finding healthy, low-cal recipes to cook in it. I love the fact that I can throw the ingredients for the recipe into the cooker in the morning and then run errands or do laundry (or do literally anything else), all while my dinner for the week is busy cooking. And there are SO many recipes you can make in this thing — so you're pretty much guaranteed to get really great use out of it once you find meals that you're excited about. My favorite thing to make is an easy, four-ingredient buffalo chicken recipe. And there are plenty of other incredible slow-cooker recipes you can find all over the internet. (Including right here on BuzzFeed. You're welcome.) —Samantha Wieder

Get it from Amazon or Jet for $34.99.

Advertisement

4. Calphalon 10-Piece Space-Saving Cookware Set, a godsend for anyone with limited cabinet space.

Elena Garcia / Via BuzzFeed

A few things are guaranteed when you live in New York: You will get trapped in the subway and convince yourself that you are going to die in the fiery pits of MTA hell, you’ll probably start wearing a lot of black, and you’ll live in a tiny-ass apartment where you’ll probably use your bathtub and oven as storage. I know I won’t be able to do much about the first two, but I refuse to give up on my ever-increasing lack of space. I’ve had the most trouble with my kitchen cabinets: I don’t have many of them and space is VERY limited, since the few I do have are used for other things — like shoes! For the most part I’ve managed to master the Tetris game that is my kitchen, but recently I started to notice that the nonstick coating on my pots and pans was getting scuffed because of all the stacking. Which *sucks*. Especially as the holidays approach and I begin to actually need all my pots and pans! Then I came across Calphalon Premier’s Space-Saving Cookware Set.

It’s a set of 10 pots, pans, and lids (and an 8" fry pan, 10" fry pan, 2.5-quart saucepan with lid, 3.5-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart. sauté pan with lid, and a 6-quart stock pot with lid) that stack perfectly on top of one another and stay securely in place with a little metal tongue groove attachment. The ingenious latch guarantees they stack but don’t touch, which protects their surface. They’re made of hard-anodized aluminum that evenly heats up, so cooking isn’t a total guessing game. They also have a three-layer nonstick finish that’s metal-utensil-safe, which is huge because a good chunk of the time I’m mixing things with whatever is handy — like a fork.

The caveat: They aren’t cheap! The full set comes in at about $380. But after investigating how much quality pots and pans typically cost, it’s actually not that expensive comparatively — a solid set can often run into the thousands. And so far they’ve been awesome! Super durable, nice-looking, and they stack great. Now I've just gotta learn how to cook and I’ll be all set. —Elena Garcia

Get it from Macy's for $379.99.

5. The Midwest iCrate, a convenient folding dog crate that will make even anxious doggos feel at home.

Francine Hendrickson / Via BuzzFeed

I recently left my Chihuahua, Lily, free to roam in my apartment while I went to work, and she graciously repaid me by chewing up the front doorframe. So, I decided, the time had come: I bought Lily a Midwest iCrate folding crate to keep her from destroying the place. I had once tried to crate-train Lily when she was a puppy and she *hated* it. All of the “your dog will stop barking in the crate eventually!” advice was A LIE. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about leaving her in there during the day, for fear she would wail the entire time.

I bought a 30-inch long crate, one size up from the recommended size for her weight (11 pounds). I assembled it in minutes — it just folds right up — and was glad I ordered the larger option. It was smaller than expected, but has room for her bed and water dish. The crate came with a leakproof tray and handle, and it moves around on the floor really easily; no heavy lifting needed. The one downside is that the front door is ridiculously difficult to open and close, so I just leave it closed. There's a less-expensive option with only one door, which I would recommend.

On day one of the crate, Lily was skeptical and upset. She cried as soon as I put her in, and barked as she listened to me leave for work (I put some blankets over the crate to try to soothe her). However, this story about a sad doggo in a crate has a happy ending! The dog walker reported there were no issues getting her to go back in the crate after her stroll around the neighborhood that afternoon, and when I came home I heard no barking from the angel. She even ate her dinner in the crate (she won’t eat when she is upset so this is a v good sign). Today when I left for work, she was panting and anxious, but not crying and shaking. She seemed to accept her fate and went into the crate with no problem (and no barking at all!). She's seemed to have adjusted in no time, and what they say about crates (the routine of it makes them feel safer than being left out, discipline is good for doggos, blah blah blah) is indeed true, even for my anxious little woofer. Plus, this crate costs much less than what I would’ve paid for it at a pet store. —Francine Hendrickson

Get a single- or double-door crate from Amazon or Jet for $13.47+ (available in seven sizes).

6. A CB2 felt hamper that'll turn your dirty laundry into a ~home accent~.

Jessie Gaynor / Via BuzzFeed

If you live in a small space without a washing machine, you have two options when it comes to laundry: 1) Cram it in the corner of your closet and hope the smell doesn't infect your clean clothes, or 2) Turn your hamper into part of your decor. Because much of my laundry is sweaty running clothes and that shit lingers, I have opted for the latter and bought this seriously good-looking hamper from CB2. Did I want to spend $90 on a hamper? HELL no. But it's one of the best home purchases I've ever made.

From the outside, the hamper looks like it might be a cool, modern bench, or a toy chest for little corporate lawyers in training. Its sleek appearance belies the smells lurking within, and its thick sides and top prevent those smells from escaping (watch out when you open the lid, though, yikes). The best part, though, is the snap-in drawstring bag. When it's time to haul your shame to the laundromat, you don't even have to touch it! Just unsnap that back and off you go.

The hamper is nice and roomy — I usually do laundry every week, though I've found it can easily hold two to three weeks' worth — but still fits perfectly in the corner of my room. Of course I still dream of having my own laundry nook, but until then, this hamper is working out famously. —Jessie Gaynor

Get it from CB2 for $89.95.

7. The GermGuardian Air Purifier, to rid your living space of unpleasant odors and squicky mystery particles.

Yi Yang / Via BuzzFeed

I live in a tiny and poorly ventilated NYC apartment. My building is really old, so there are no exhaust fans in the bathroom or kitchen — meaning every time I cook, the whole apartment smells like food. The apartment itself also has a weird, lingering musty odor...again, probably because it's so old. After a while, the smells really started to get to me, so I did some research online and discovered that an air purifier could be the answer to help to rid my space of these unpleasant aromas.

The GermGuardian AC4825 seemed to be the most reasonably priced choice (and also had excellent reviews). In addition to a charcoal filter, which helps to eliminate odors and large particles, it has a True HEPA filter, which catches 99% of smaller particles such as dust mites, debris, mold spores, plant pollens, and pet dander. It also has a UV-C light that’s supposed to help kill airborne viruses and bacteria. I was sold.

I turned the air purifier on full blast while cooking dinner, and it worked SO WELL. My living room is around 250 square feet, and I barely smelled a thing. So I left it running after dinner was finished, and it successfully eliminated all traces of food-related odors. The next day, I put it on the medium setting before work. When I got home, my apartment smelled like NOTHING. No more musty smell! Amazing! To top it all off, this thing is super quiet. On the highest setting, it kind of sounds like a fan running, but otherwise, you can't really tell it’s on at all. In addition to my new odor-free living space, I now sleep better knowing my trusty air purifier is catching all the nasty stuff in the air. It's an investment, and you'll need to replace the filters from time to time (depending on how frequently you use it), but for me, it's 100% worth it — and I can’t believe I survived six years of living in tiny New York City apartments without one of these. SMH. —Yi Yang

Get it from Amazon for $85.99.

Advertisement

8. The Whirly Board, a surprisingly fun way to improve coordination and stability (and ~sk8r boi~ cred).

Whitney Jefferson / Via BuzzFeed

You’re probably thinking, What the heck is a Whirly Board? Well, I’ll tell you: It’s a balance board that rotates 360 degrees and looks a lot like a skateboard. The Whirly Board promises to develop your balance in all directions, build coordination, engage your core, and be fun to play with.

So far, this clumsy person can attest to all of the above. It’s been a game changer in terms of my recovery from a broken ankle — you can only do the same leg lifts and exercises with elastic bands so many times before the boredom sinks in (sorry to my physical therapist if she happens to be reading this!). I started by just standing on the board and trying to keep it balanced (which is challenging already) and eventually found that using it to stretch was a huge help in reducing any lingering pain resulting from my injury. As I’ve already stated, I’m generally pretty clumsy, but with a few weeks of using the Whirly Board every day under my belt, I’ve noticed that my ankles are stronger than they were before and that I’m catching myself before I fall much more — which is, for me, more than enough reason to keep using it! —Whitney Jefferson

Get it from Amazon for $119 (available in three colors).

9. The LectroFan High-Fidelity White-Noise Machine, which will drown out even the most obnoxious noises to give you the beauty sleep you deserve.

Sarah Han / Via BuzzFeed

My home is my safe space: a cozy, quiet place where I can hide from the world and lie in bed to give myself as much of a break as I need. Or, at least, it used to be. When I moved into my current apartment, I found myself waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. because of the sheer noise of trucks...trucking along. For the first few weeks, I seriously considered moving out. I tried earplugs. Then I tried asking building management about alleviating the noise — and they were like, shrug, it’d be hella expensive (like in the thousands) to install special noise-blocking windows. I cried a few times. Finally I decided to try out a white-noise machine because I'd seen them in countless product roundups for ~achieving better sleep~ — including in one of my own, lol. I ended up settling on the LectroFan High-Fidelity White-Noise Machine because an average rating of 4.6 stars across a whopping 6,600 customer reviews sure. is. convincing.

I'll be honest — it wasn't love at first sight. The noise that it generates does take some getting used to. After all, it's not silence (that's only an option in my wildest dreams now). But once I got used to it, oh boy, DOES IT WORK. Way better than I ever imagined. Every time I turn it on, I magically fall asleep and STAY asleep until morning. Like, I still wake up surprised that I don't actually remember falling asleep...because it was just that seamless and struggle-free.

The machine is also really fucking straightforward to use, which is very important for someone whose eyes quickly glaze over when reading operation manuals. There are two options, fan and white noise, and each have 10 volume settings ranging from mild to loud AF. I like the white-noise-machine option better — it really does mask all outside noises. And if you only need white noise to fall asleep, you can set a timer and it'll shut off automatically. But I just keep the machine on all night. Better safe than sorry, ya feel? Especially when (just mumbling here) there happens to be construction that starts at an ungodly hour. *screams* I can truly say that this white noise machine has been a lifesaver, and that's a term I've rarely assigned to a product of any sort. Here's to quieter neighborhoods in the future! But if not, I've got this machine to make things alright. —Sarah Han

Get it from Amazon or Jet for $49.95 (available in black and white).

10. An Aroma Housewares 3-in-1 Superpot, perfect for boiling, grilling, stewing, and general culinary heroism.

Yi Yang / Via BuzzFeed

A couple of weeks ago, I had Japanese shabu-shabu (basically thinly sliced meat and vegetables cooked in water, then dipped in sauce) for dinner, and while it was delicious, when the bill came, I was shocked at how expensive it was. I decided then and there that I would try to re-create the meal at home, so I began an extensive search for the best at-home shabu pot on Amazon. I quickly discovered that most of the pots made for shabu-shabu were very expensive (or of poor quality), and if I had that much money to spend on a pot, I’d just eat out all the time! Finally, I found the Aroma Housewares 3-in-1 Super Pot. It was $50 cheaper than the other option I was looking at AND it had a 4.5-star rating. The affordable price tag is what initially drew me, but then I discovered that this pot can do more than just boil water — it can also grill and stew as well. I ordered it without hesitation.

Too excited to wait, I threw a shabu party the day it came to celebrate its arrival. And it was awesome. The aluminum cooking pot/grill is held in place by a plastic frame, and comes with a temperature dial, a plug, and a glass lid. The pot heated up in five minutes or so, and the plastic frame remained cool to the touch so I was able to move it if needed. The temperature dial (which goes up to 450°F) was very easy to adjust from a simmer to a full, rolling boil. There were no issues with sticking, burning, or odors of any sort. After the meal, I just unplugged the pot, waited for it to cool, removed the aluminum part and washed it in the sink. Everything just slid right off — no scrubbing required! I don’t have a dishwasher, but I read that the non-electric parts are dishwasher-safe.

I was so pleased with the results that I now keep this out on my dining table and use it two to three times a week. So far, I’ve had zero issues with it. In addition to shabu or stews, I found it’s also great for grilling fish. It’s perfect when I have guests over since it makes so much so quickly. Even if you need only one of the three functions this pot offers, it’s worth the buy. —Yi Yang

Get it from Amazon or Jet for $29.90 (available in black or white).