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. For the sake of transparency, items under “Things We Bought” and “Tricks We Learned” were purchased with our own money and/or were not the result of a PR pitch. Those under “Things We Tried” are items 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. Polar Snow Boots, a pair of short boots that are perfect for wading through puddles of wet snow and feel like snuggly slippers.
2. Bananagrams: Party Edition, a game for anyone who loves crosswords or Scrabble — and is down to wear a banana pouch as a hat.
If it were possible for games to mate... and traditional Bananagrams procreated with Kings, you'd get something like Bananagrams: Party Edition.
The big difference = mixed in with all the letter tiles, you'll find "chaos-inducing" rule/challenge/action tiles to add to the excitement. If you pick up the flamingo, you get to force another player to stand on one leg; if you get two bomb tiles, you can BLOW UP someone else's tile assortment; if you get the pouch head dude, you can make someone wear the banana pouch on their head; etc., etc.
It's awesome and if you're anything like me and my word-game-loving friends, you'll end up playing about 17 rounds in a row. —Mallory McInnis
Get it from Target for $14.99 (it's exclusively available there).
4. Princess Character Socks, the perfect accessory for anyone wanting to inject a little ~Disney magic~ into their everyday wardrobe.
I got these Disney princess socks for Christmas from my sister-in-law, but I'd pay my own $15 for a five-pack because they are so stinkin' cute. My sock-princesses are Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, Elsa, and Anna—a pretty solid group, and if I'm feeling particularly dorky one day I could see doing an Anna–Elsa combo.
But beyond being cute, the tops of the socks (aka their dresses! squee!) are tall enough that they cover my ankle, but short enough that they stay hidden in my adult-woman boots. This is a big bonus as someone who loves cute Disney things but prefers them to be my little secret.
After a few washes, the socks are still in great condition, except for Elsa's hair, which is starting to look like moldy bread but I'm letting that gooooooo. And if you're more into super heroes, you're in luck! The same brand makes those, too. —Rachel Christensen
Get a five-pack from Amazon for $14.88.
5. S'well Insulated Water Bottle, a gorgeous and condensation-free bottle that keeps your water super cold — and helps you stay hydrated.
6. Dynaflex Pro Gyro Exerciser, a magical-looking sphere that helps build strength and coordination while reducing carpal tunnel and arthritis symptoms.
Science has delivered to us yet another odd way to work out a very specific part of your body. Have you ever just wanted to have your wrists and forearms get JACKED?! Yeah that probably wasn’t your first ambition in life, but maybe it will be now. Introducing the Dynaflex, a weird gyroscope-y workout tool that will help you build grip strength and fight off those repetitive stress injuries!
I’ve been using one for quite a few years and I still don’t see them around very much. The idea is that you have a weighted spinning rotor that you spin using the momentum from your wrists. The faster the rotor spins, the more resistance it generates (up to 35 pounds, they claim). It’s hard to explain the sensation. I can only imagine that if you could pick up a spinning top without having it stop, that's exactly what it would be. There is a learning curve, and it takes awhile to get the knack for starting it up and keeping the ball spinning, but once you do, it’s incredibly satisfying. As you work up speed you start to feel the burn in your forearms and it starts to get gain more and more resistance. If you sit at a computer all day or if you’re into building strength for rock climbing, you should give this a look. It’s fun to see how long you can keep the ball spinning without tiring out. Plus, people always want to know what it is when they spot it at your desk. —Jeff Barron
Get it from Amazon for $19.82.
8. Amtrak Red Cap Service, a free service that will take all the stress (and lots of schlepping) out of your next train trip.
9. Purely Elizabeth Chocolate Sea Salt Granola, a granola snack that looks like turds but tastes delicious.
Hi, I'm Maitland and I'm a snacker. My desk drawer at work rivals our office snack selection. You can usually count on me to have Ritz crackers in my purse. I watch Netflix with the subtitles on because the crunch of whatever I'm eating is too loud to hear the dialogue. I also enjoy discussing digestion and am (probably too) comfortable talking about poop. This combination of traits is probably why my work wife Mallory pilfered this probiotic granola from the health team and handed it to me.
This stuff is damn tasty. It has big ole chocolate chunks, oats, chia seeds, and flakes of sea salt. I prefer to crunch my keyboard while also crunching a delicious snack, and this really does the trick. It's sweet and salty in that perfect way a chocolate-covered pretzel is. It's made with coconut oil and coconut sugar, which at least ~sound~ healthy. I usually just eat it by the handful, but it would also be delish on some yogurt. I don't know if it's had any kind of probiotic effect, but what I do know is that it's tasty as heck, I can at least pretend it's good for me...and I will absolutely be ordering it again on Amazon. —Maitland Quitmeyer