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8 Life-Changing Things To Try In May

Because we tried them for you in April!

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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. Chef'n Garlic Zoom Garlic Chopper, a chopping wheel that transforms whole cloves into perfectly minced garlic for all your cooking needs.

Adam Davis / BuzzFeed

As someone who's trying to get more into cooking but still lacks quite a few of the basic skills required to be a ~true chef~, I consider the GarlicZoom chopper to be a lifesaver. Do you know how many recipes call for minced garlic? A lot of recipes, that's how many. What was I doing before I got the chopper? Not making those recipes.

With this chopper, I don't have to worry about whether or not my knife skills are up to par — I can simply insert cloves of garlic and roll the contraption back and forth on the counter. It's as exhilarating as when you used to play with toy cars as a child, but with an added level of utility. You just keep rolling until the garlic is at its optimal size. Sometimes I roll for a few extra seconds because I am, apparently, that easily entertained.

The one negative of this product is that actually getting the minced garlic out of the GarlicZoom can be a bit difficult. Some pieces stick to the removable blades, making them difficult to get at without cutting yourself, and other bits get caught up in various small nooks and crannies of the chopper itself. I usually take a knife to try to pry my garlic out of those random areas, but I've mostly accepted that I'll never get it all. If you're trying to be extremely careful in following a recipe, just know that you might not be able to get the full clove(s) out of the chopper once you've used it and adjust accordingly.

Still, despite its drawbacks, trying the GarlicZoom has completely upgraded my culinary abilities without requiring tons of effort. Now I just need to learn how to dice some onions properly. —Adam Davis

Get it from Amazon for $16.70.

2. Threshold Memory Foam Topper, a 1.5-inch-thick mattress topper that sounds too good to be true...but is actually that good!

AnaMaria Glavan / BuzzFeed

In a perfect world, I would live in a mansion of a bedroom that was large enough to accommodate a king-sized bed. The mattress on said bed would be made from magical feathers and cloud particles that would produce no back pain. At all. Whatsoever. Alas, I live in a small dungeon that can comfortably fit a twin. BUT! This year, I decided to invest in a new mattress because the one I currently have is lumpy, hard, and I can just feel the springs.

Cue disappointing research! Who knew mattresses were so expensive? *nervous giggle* While I’m willing to invest in quality products, I also realize that I won’t be sleeping in a twin bed forever. Buying an expensive mattress seemed like a waste of money considering that, in my near future, I would like a bed that could comfortably fit me and a couple of dogs. Perhaps my boyfriend, too.

Here’s what I needed: an inexpensive memory foam mattress topper that would make my bed more comfortable and help me get a good night’s rest. I proceeded to do what any normal person would do AKA I headed to Target and browsed. The product that seemed most promising and budget-friendly was the 1.5-inch memory foam mattress topper by Threshold, which cost $40.99 for the twin size and promised “body-cradling support and comfort.” Let’s try this one out, I thought.

I was initially wary of my purchase because of the reviews. While an overwhelming majority of people claimed that it was unbelievably comfortable, there were a few voices yelling that the topper had an overwhelming minty smell. I took the topper out of the box and noticed said scent, but it was so subtle that I could hardly notice it. I placed the topper directly on top of my mattress and put a fitted bed sheet over it: I let it “air out” for about an hour prior so that it could settle into its original form, since it had to be rolled up to fit inside the box. I noticed right away that it’s thick enough to really feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud (about the width of six issues of Nylon, for reference), but not too thick that your sheets won’t be able to cover it.

Overall, this is probably the best $40 I’ve ever spent, and I don’t say that lightly. The first night I slept on this bad boy, I woke up feeling like a new woman. I’ve had this for about two months and I fall asleep 10 times better, wake up feeling refreshed, and my back is not in pain. Try it out, people! You won’t be disappointed. —AnaMaria Glavan

Get this mattress topper from Target for $36.89 (on sale). Available in sizes twin, full, queen, king, California king, and twin extra long.

3. Conair 3-in-1 Ionic Styler, a hair dryer with comb attachments to give you the perfect blowout in no time flat.

Morgan Steffes / BuzzFeed

I have this Conair hair dryer that I am obsessed with. My best friend's mom used it for 20 years, and we used to make fun of her for it because it looked so weird...until I tried it. I immediately bought it on Amazon. It comes with three brush attachments: a large brush and two combs of different sizes. You literally brush your hair while you are drying it, so once you're finished your hair is already combed through and looks good to go. I absolutely love this hair dryer.

The only issue I have had with it is the large brush attachment. It ended up becoming loose after a few months and I was no longer able to use it. Regardless of that, I have used the comb attachments for two years now and they have not become loose and work perfectly! This is the only hair dryer I use. —Morgan Steffes

Get it from Amazon for $18.19.

4. PopSocket, a device you can add to the back of your phone to help your grip and improve your selfies.

Ciera Velarde / BuzzFeed

I'll admit: the first time I saw a PopSocket on the back of my roommate's phone, I thought it was super unnecessary. But then I held her phone with the help of it, and my mind (and my life) were completely changed. You don't realize it, but most people awkwardly hold their phone with their pinky supporting the bottom, and I discovered that I have a permanent indention in my pinky from it! The PopSocket gives your hardworking pinky a rest, and it keeps your phone extremely secure in your hand while you maintain a relaxed position. Hey, it's even good enough for Serena Williams!

The best part about PopSocket is that you'll never accidentally drop your phone on your face while lying in bed again!!! And when you're taking selfies, the PopSocket helps you extend your hand further and get more people in the shot. It also acts as a phone stand for the times you're watching Netflix on the go or need to multitask. If you buy two PopSockets, it can transform the back of your phone into a makeshift headphone organizer so you'll never have tangled headphones again.

It comes in so many designs and colors, and you can even design your own. Pro tip: When placing it on the back of your phone, I'd recommend placing it a little lower than the middle of your phone for the best grip. —Ciera Velarde

Get one from Amazon for $9.99 in tons of colors and patterns.

5. Frank + Oak, a styling service subscription that delivers comfy clothes and trends to your door at less-than-retail prices.

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

I’ve always been curious about clothing services/subscriptions…mainly because fashion is hard and I’m not at the point in my life (yet!!!) where I can buy whatever the hell I want and not have to frantically print out return labels 95% of the time. Frank + Oak intrigued me because the style is so simple, clean-cut, and built around classic wardrobe staples that I should already own if I wasn’t so easily swayed by cheap “trendy” pieces.

The general gist of Frank + Oak’s Style Plan is:

1. You pay $79 ($49 for your first month!) and get five tokens to “buy” up to four items with from a curated selection of up to 30 pieces — it switches up every month based on what you buy and your ~style preferences~. Individual items have different token values ranging from one to seven with some higher-end items like shoes and leather accessories that cost more.

2. You can always buy extra tokens for $15.80 each.

3. You can choose to pick out clothes every month or every two months, but you have no obligation to use your tokens in any given month. You can also skip a month altogether and you won't be charged.

4. You get any and all items shipped for free, and if you don't end up liking a particular item, you can return it for free and get the tokens you spent on it back for something new!

With my five tokens I got three items, which is pretty decent. Mind you, I did go for the lower-priced items — a pair of pants can go for four or five tokens right off the bat, but I’m not huge into pants, so here we are.

In addition to members-only prices (up to 25% off retail prices), every month there’s an “insider trade” item at a special price, which happened to be the denim pinafore dress I snatched up — it was only three tokens, so duh, I had to. First of all, POCKETS. Sturdy pockets I can actually fit things in without them sagging. Second of all, the dress cuts really low on both sides so you need to wear something underneath, which is the fun kind of layering I almost never do (picking out ONE item per body area is already hard enough). All in all, I’m starting to embrace the denim trend more and slowly expanding beyond my heavily rotated jeggings.

I wasn’t planning on being blown away by the next two pieces because of their simple designs, but I ended up liking them a lot more than I thought. For example, the black muscle-y tank top (you can still buy it separately in khaki and grape) feels like butter, I’m not joking — it’s so freaking soft. I’ve already worn the striped three-quarter-sleeve boxy tee a bunch of times because it’s super lightweight and perfect for transitional weather. It looks nice as is, but I like giving it a little more shape by tying it up on the side (see below).

Overall I was really impressed by Frank + Oak because the clothes themselves feel extremely well-made (I've become much too accustomed to crappy fast-fashion quality) and are both classic/versatile in design, so there are endless opportunities for mixing and matching. And the curated selection helps ease my perpetually and hopelessly indecisive state of being. I'm excited to see how the service and selection evolves (it's still quite new) and try it out again in months to come!" —Sarah Han

Get a monthly or bimonthly style plan from Frank + Oak for $49 for your first month and $79 for additional months — women's plan here and men's plan here. Free shipping both ways is included for all items.

6. Scrawl, a fun party game that's basically like Telephone meets Pictionary.

Mallory McInnis

If you're looking for a fun game that'll show off your devastatingly advanced drawing skills — try Scrawl!

If you're completely incapable of drawing even a simple stick figure — still try Scrawl! It's that fun.

You can watch a cute little video that details how to play the game at the Target website, but basically: Everyone playing gets a (hilarious) drawing prompt and sketches it out on a little card. After finishing, you pass your card to the person beside you. They look at the drawing, grab another card, write down what they think your prompt was, and then pass it to the person on their other side. Then *they* have to draw whatever that person wrote on the card. This keeps going and going (alternating drawing and describing) until you get back your original card (with all the ~translations~ stacked on top of it). Then everyone watches (and laughs) as you see how prompts like "eels eels and more eels" or "playing the drums with bananas" were translated. A winner is assigned for each stack (whoever drew or wrote the card you enjoy most and/or think is funniest) and whoever scores the most wins....actually wins the whole game.

That's totally convoluted! But you only really need to know one thing: It's a really fun game and you should add it to your collection. —Mallory McInnis

Get it from Target for $18.79.

7. Kenu Stance, a phone tripod that'll take your Instagrams to the next level (and collapses to the size of a keychain!).

Jeff Barron / BuzzFeed

I never thought I would need or want a tiny tripod for my phone. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where it would be the “lifesaver” in some sort of photo emergency. Well it turns out that this little thing turned out to have more utility than I initially gave it credit for. It’s a small, keychain-sized tripod that plugs into the Lightning, USB Type-C, or Micro-USB port on your phone and props it up. While I have my reservations about putting any sort of weight on the seemingly fragile charging port of my phone, I can say that so far in my few weeks of using it, there hasn’t been an issue.

I found myself using it to prop up my phone while at my desk — to glance at messages as they came in. Later in the day, I would use it to hold my phone up when I’m doing video-conferencing stuff. And then, in a pinch, I actually used it take pictures while using a remote trigger.

It’s pretty nice to have a little useful tool that doesn’t take up much more space than a key. I always had it on me when the opportunity came around to use it. I didn’t have to go digging for it, because it’s always on my keyring. —Jeff Barron

Get it from Amazon for $24.95 (iPhone here, Android here, and USB Type-C here).

8. Putting pumpkin spice — or any spice — in your coffee grinds to make an at-home cup that tastes better than a coffee shop.

Augusta Falletta / BuzzFeed

It all began when Rook, a small coffee chain in New Jersey, had a holiday gingerbread brew at their stores. I've been addicted to their particular coffee flavors for months, going as far as to have bags of freshly ground coffee shipped from NJ to my Manhattan apartment. But this gingerbread brew was, if I do say so myself, life-changing. Then, January came, the holidays ended, and the special flavor disappeared from the menu.

Convinced I could re-create the taste at home, I began experimenting with adding spices to my Mr. Coffee drip pot. First cinnamon, then nutmeg, then a mixture. It definitely tasted amazing, but not quite as good as that Gingerbread brew. Until one day I threw caution to the wind and added pumpkin pie spice. I have no idea why pumpkin would taste like gingerbread, but I felt like I had unlocked one of Earth's coffee secrets. It was amazing.

Now, I use 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice in my coffee every day. It's a small change, but if you cherish your morning coffee as much as I do, it's worth the extra pinch of effort. —Augusta Falletta

Get pumpkin pie spice from Amazon for $4.59.

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