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12 Life-Changing Things To Try In July

Because we tried them for you in June!

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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. Trtl Neck Support Pillow, a travel pillow to ensure you doze off on your transatlantic flight WITHOUT waking up with a massive mount of neck pain.

Kristin Harris / BuzzFeed

Just like nearly every other human on this planet, I love to travel. But a love for travel means a hell of a lot of time spent on extremely uncomfortable airplanes, where a three-hour nap means practically breaking your neck as it bounces around from side to side. After my last six-hour flight, in which I had neck pain for approximately 3.5 days after (#ImOld), I desperately hunted online for some sort of neck-pillow situation that might make me feel like a normal human after a long-haul flight.

When I discovered the Trtl neck wrap, I was slightly skeptical because A) it kinda looks like a strange neck brace, and B) it didn't really seem like it would be comfortable. But after using it on a recent eight-hour flight, I am now, in one word, obsessed. The pillow has an internal "support system" that you cradle your chin/jaw/shoulder on, and the fleece wrap allows you to stretch and adjust it to whatever is most comfortable for you. So instead of a normal round neck pillow, where you have to basically bend your neck all the way over to rest it, the Trtl keeps your neck up right in a ~scientifically proven~ ergonomic position. Which means I woke up in Switzerland neck-pain-free, and will pretty much never travel without this little guy ever again. If you like taking flights, sleeping for a lot of hours, and not having neck pain, then you will probably like Trtl too. —Kristin Harris

Get it from Amazon for $29.99.

2. Q&A a Day Five-Year Journal, a diary that asks you a different daily question. The twist? It asks you the same question once a year to see how your answers change over the course of five years.

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

I'm terrible at journaling but I've always wanted to be the kind of person who kept it up, and in theory, be ~more in-touch~ with myself or some shit like that. Though I've struggled with clinical depression since high school, I wasn't officially "diagnosed" until sophomore year of college when I started spending entire days sleeping and generally not being functional. I bought this Q a Day Five-Year Journal around that time, but truthfully it didn't serve me too well back then. Fast-forward a few years and now that I'm in a ~slightly better~ stage in my life (read: I have a great job that forces me to somewhat stick to a routine) I've started it up again and tbh, I really look forward to it every day.

Some questions are more thoughtful ("When is the last time you had an inspiring conversation?") while others are more silly ("How many times did you curse today?"), but either way it only takes at most a minute out of your day. So, no "I'm too busy" excuses! And best of all, it's almost impossible for anxiety-ridden me to stress out over answering one quick question — an actual miracle. It's a great jumping-off point if you find journaling to be too intimidating, or if you want to work your way up to longer-form journaling. But best of all, it's a super simple way to inject a little bit of self-care into your daily routine, which we could all use a little more of. —Sarah Han

Get it from Amazon for $7.35.

3. Chuckit Floppy Dog Tug Toy, a durable rubber chew toy with a coiled shape that stays fun (and most importantly, intact) for even the most playful of puppers.

Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

My 2-year-old dog Lea is a *serious* chewer. When we first brought her home as a puppy, she ate everything (plush toys, throw pills, and sticks were her faves). We purchased a ton of toys but she destroyed all the cute plushes in under 30 seconds, and toys labeled for serious chewers couldn't stand up to her strong puppy teeth.

This slinky-shaped dog toy is the ONLY toy that's sustained puppyhood and beyond. This toy is literally indestructible–even for Lea, who's not kidding around when it comes to chewing. It's a great fetch toy and is perfect for a game of tug-o-war (yes, Lea always wins). The toy is also amazing because it bends and stretches in so many directions that it tends to keep her occupied on her own for long periods of time. And because one toy is not enough, Lea has two of them! We keep one outside in the backyard for outdoor playtime and one inside the house. I've learned that durable dog toys are pretty hard to find, but this one is the real deal, especially for dogs who loooove to chew. —Allison Krausman

Get it from Amazon for $14.03.

4. 3D Gem Silicone Tray, a flexible mold to help you make diamond-shaped ice cubes, gummies, or even soap.

Rebecca O'Connell / BuzzFeed

It suddenly occurred to me that I’m not living life as glamorously as I could be. That’s why I hopped online and got this super-cheap silicone mold that makes diamonds. Now I can make tiny little ice diamonds and sip on drinks like a snow princess.

The flexible mold makes large and small gems. Large is a relative word, since the big ones are about an inch long and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Despite the size, the molds make really well-defined shapes with crisp edges; if you squint, it almost looks like the real thing. Because the mold is silicone, it’s easy to just push the bottom of the tray and pop them out, one at a time. Along with little ice diamonds, I’ve been making gummies using this recipe. It takes a little patience, but then you get to eat sugary diamonds and feel like a dragon, or whatever else eats precious gems. If you’re planning to get the mold for ice, just remember to boil the water first, or you’ll get a lot of bubbles in your ice gems, and people will see through the fake-diamonds scheme right away.

It only costs $5.24, which is pretty cheap for such luxury. If you need more than a handful of edible stones, you can also get this three-pack for $8.99, or this mold for jumbo diamonds for $8.49. —Rebecca O'Connell

Get it from Amazon for $5.24.


5. Zero Grid Travel Electronics Organizer, a travel-friendly case to finally store all of your cables and gadget accessories with no tangled cords, lost USBs, or damaged camera gear.

Jeff Barron / BuzzFeed

Are you a gadget junkie like me? Do you carry an absurd amount of cables? Do you hate how much you are unwilling to carry less in your bag? Welcome to my life! Carrying shit from point A to point B is something I’m very good at. I’m a dude who loves to carry everything with him, and what makes it easier is this bag. It holds EVERY cable I use on the daily, and it zips up into this nice toiletry-sized bag. The straps inside can secure my cables and larger adapters when I need it. If I swap from my larger travel bag to my daily commuter, I can always be sure that my essentials stay with me if I just move my organizer over. I don’t have to go hunting for cables in every pocket in my backpack — I just throw this into my small messenger and I’m good to go. It has simplified my life and taken the headache out of commuting with all my little bibs and bobs. —Jeff Barron

Get it from Amazon for $24.97.

6. DHP Cambridge Upholstered Bed with Storage, a stylish bed that makes the most of your tiny space so you can rest easier.

I live in a tiny-ass New York City apartment (like, I’m sure there are elevators bigger than my apartment), and so all the furniture I bring into my space has to serve two functions: its intended purpose and added storage. I just have too many shoes for anything else. When I decided to get a new bed frame, I immediately started looking at the different options that provided me plenty of added space. I scoured Amazon and found this upholstered bed with storage. I loved the gray linen material, the price, and especially the way it opened up. I ordered this giant piece of furniture from the internet with barely any reviews. To state the obvious, I was nervous. The bed came, and as I counted all the pieces, I realized one of the side panels was missing. I called the company and they sent a replacement in less than a few days. They were very apologetic about the entire situation and made the replacement process a total breeze. When the missing piece finally arrived, I somehow convinced a friend to help me put it together. This process was hard. There are just so many pieces, and so many steps. You need so many hands, to screw in so many parts. That said, we were able to do it, so I am sure anyone could too!

It’s been nearly a year now and to say I am obsessed with this bed is an understatement. Every time I have a friend over I show them how magical my treasure box of a bed is. It fits so. much. stuff. SO MUCH!! It’s super easy to pull up and down, and its just a pretty bed! It’s really the best bed frame I’ve ever had. —Elena Garcia

Get it from Amazon for $299 (for full size). Also available in queen size. Available in grey and black.

7. Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer, a battery-operated device to remove any unwanted hair with just the push of a button.

Morgan Steffes / BuzzFeed

Whether or not we want to admit it, everyone has facial hair, and it can be really annoying to get rid of! I tried laser hair removal on my upper lip when I was in high school and to my didn't work. I was wandering through the grocery store a few years ago and found this amazing little device: the Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer. It trims the hairs off your face so easily and literally takes me five seconds to use. I have never cut myself once, and it still has yet to run out of battery. I was always too concerned to shave the area because I had no idea how the hair would grow back, and this trims the hair just enough to where you don't see it anymore. I am obsessed! —Morgan Steffes

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.


8. Luna Protein Bars, granola bars with plenty of protein and not too much sugar, and that actually *don't* taste like CHALK.

Samantha Wieder / BuzzFeed

Over the last couple of weeks I was on the lookout for a good protein bar. I wanted something that was relatively low in sugar and high in protein but didn't compromise taste — and honestly, it was way harder than I expected it to be. I tried Quest Bars, and I loved them for about a week before I realized every flavor except cookie dough made me gag. I tried ThinkThin bars, which are good, but again, I find I can only eat in one flavor that doesn't make me feel like I'm eating chocolate-coated chalk.

I've had plain Luna Bars before, and liked them, but I recently came across the Luna Protein Bars, and figured I'd give them a shot. They sell them at my local grocery store at 10 for $10, but you can get a box of 12 cookie dough–flavored bars for even less on Amazon. As far as taste goes, they are so, so good! They have 12 grams of protein, which isn't crazy high, but it's enough to hold me over in the afternoon at work. I tried the cookie dough and peanut butter chocolate flavors and loved both. If you're looking for something that's close to a protein bar but doesn't compromise on taste, Luna Protein Bars are my recommendation. —Samantha Wieder

Get a box of 12 from Amazon for $10.92.

9. TBBSC Instant Read Meat Thermometer, a cooking tool with a digital readout to easily ensure your meat is perfectly cooked — aka it won't make you incredibly sick.

Adam Davis / BuzzFeed

As I've tried to get more and more into cooking, I've started coming across recipes that require more and more tools I've never actually utilized before. One of those is a meat thermometer. Yes, I know it's a pretty basic kitchen tool — but I'm still just getting up to speed here, okay?

On the recommendation of a friend of my mom, I decided to give this meat thermometer a try. I found a recipe that called for its usage, prepped my ingredients, and got the thermometer ready to go. At the recommended time, I popped the thermometer into my chicken and gave it a check. The design makes it easy to insert the metal probe, and the digital display is simple to read, meaning that in only a few seconds, I had ascertained that somehow, I hadn't totally screwed up the food!

While this meat thermometer isn't fancy, it certainly does the trick for any home chef who wants to be able to serve a full piece of meat that hasn't been cut into multiple pieces while checking doneness. —Adam Davis

Get it from Amazon for $10.95.

10. Sunbasket, a recipe kit with organic and non-GMO ingredients so you can make delicious recipes for the whole family. You can even choose paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian options.

Melissa Harrison / BuzzFeed

I never really got into whole the ~meal-kit craze~ when it hit a few years ago — mostly because I actually loved hunting down fun recipes and planning dinners. BUT THEN: I had a baby, saw all my free time fly out the window, and now, TBH? I just want dinner to make itself, LOL. That's why when the crew at Sunbasket announced they were launching a family meal plan, it caught my eye. (A while back, we tested + ranked the most popular meal kits on the market, and Sunbasket came in first.)

Each family recipe serves four people, but since my kiddo is still too young to chow down on carne asada, my husband and I used the leftovers to last us through the week — which was the BEST, and saved us a ton of time and cooking. (Side note: If you do order for your kids, the instructions come with cute, kid-friendly touches — like calling out which steps little chefs can help with.)

Food-wise, all of the recipes were easy, well-written, fairly healthy, and — most importantly — delicious. The downside: There was a ton of packaging. And the price per serving is higher than what I'd spend at the grocery store (or, lets be real, on Thai take-out). But ultimately, you're paying for the extra convenience of having everything pre-prepped and shipped to your door. And on nights when the baby goes to sleep early, and Netflix is calling my name? I'll take it. —Melissa Harrison

Try Sunbasket for $9.99 per serving.

11. Philips Wake-Up Light, an alarm clock and night-light that wakes you up with gradually increasing natural light so you start the day cheerful and refreshed.

Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

I've been using this alarm + bedside lamp combo since last October, and I can't understate how wonderful it is to wake up ~peacefully~ every morning...and fall asleep more easily every night.

The biggest doubt I had about this clock is whether it could actually, well, wake me up. There are only two alarm sound options: a radio station of your choice and a set of "gentle wake-up sounds" that seemed a little too peaceful to actually get me out of bed. I tried the radio station for a while, but got tired of waking up to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" every damn day. So I switched to the "bird song" nature sound and set a backup alarm on my phone juuuuust in case.

I've never needed that backup alarm. Here's why: No matter what the sun is doing that day, I get a sunrise in my room, perfectly timed to my schedule. The sounds help a little, but the light does most of the work. It starts getting brighter, slowly, before the alarm goes off, which my body reads as the beginnings of the sunrise. By the time the birds start singing, I'm already most of the way awake, and the light's bright enough that (after a few minutes scrolling through my phone) I just...get out of bed.

My next-favorite feature is the same, but in reverse: the night time sunset. I tap the little sleeping face on the side, and the light does a gradual fade-out over the course of 30 to 45 minutes (or however long I set). And it's not just a dimming effect — it goes through the calming deep oranges and reds that the sunset does, which tells my body that it's time to get some rest and helps me relax. I'm not always completely asleep by the time the room gets dark, but it never takes too long after that!

Of course, all of this works best when you go to bed at the same time every night, but, well, I'm working on that part. —Natalie Brown

Get it from Amazon for $112.09.

12. PreHeels, a friction-preventing spray you can spritz on your feet before wearing the most treacherous shoes to prevent blisters all night long.

Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

Two of my very favorite things are constantly at war with each other: walking and cute (heeled!) shoes. If it's not raining or freezing, I would always rather walk than get from point A to point B any other way. I regularly trot on home from work, which is just under 4 miles. And I am very careful when I buy shoes — there is lots of hemming and hawing and bending my foot in many unnatural ways to make sure that I only buy comfy shoes. But summer and her strappy sandals usually get in my way. The seams on the straps rub the wrong way, and shoes that were comfortable all day in my overly air-conditioned office just aren't the same on the 95-degree city streets.

Enter PreHeels. It's a mysterious mist that creates a barrier between your delicate skin and your favorite shoes. Once it dries, you can immediately tell the difference; there's a dry residue (that won't rub off) protecting your skin from rubbing or scratchy straps or seams. I sprayed it on my heels and my pinky toe area immediately before going out walking and dancing all night (the shoes I wore are on the right). Despite the intense heat (and my phone pedometer saying I walked/danced several miles), there was no rubbing or blistering at all. If there's ever a question whether my shoes will stay comfortable and kind to me all day, I'm gonna spray this baby on just in case. —Maitland Quitmeyer

Get it from Amazon for $14.24.