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10 Life-Changing Things To Try In August

Because we tried them for you in July!

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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. This post features a mix of items that we purchased with our own money ("things we bought") and those that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review ("things we tried"). (But! We’re under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.)
Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

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 ("things we bought") and those that were provided to us at no cost for the sake of review ("things we tried"). (But! We’re under no obligation to write a review of those things, let alone a positive review.)

Rachel Miller / BuzzFeed

This year, as I've been think about ways to make summer (and *gestures around tiredly* life in 2018) more bearable and pleasant, I keep returning to the idea of connecting with nature more. I've been sort of haphazardly going about this, but have been on the lookout for a practical guide that would tell me where to start and/or exactly what to do to really feel the power of nature. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams is just what I was looking for.

Williams shares the science behind how nature affects our brains and bodies, which is both fascinating and useful. She includes a lot of cool tidbits (for example: the quietest place in the US is a spot in the Hoh Rainforest at Olympic National Park) and things that'll inspire you and fill you with awe (FRACTALS, y'all!!!!). And I really liked how personal and voicey the book is — Williams has some Mary Roach vibes, but with a thoughtful service journalism bent.

Since reading it, I've been actively putting the "prescriptions" for how much nature we need into practice, and it's been wonderful! Just making a point to observe nature more on my walk to and from the subway has made me feel considerably calmer and happier, and the chapter on nature sounds inspired me to start listening to nature audio on YouTube. (I like listening to this one at night in my apartment with the lights off, some candles burning, my string lights twinkling, and a diffuser with eucalyptus essential oil going. I *legitimately* cannot believe that it so effectively makes my brain think I'm in a forest.) If you've been in a kind of meh place (physically or mentally) and/or need a little push to see more magic and wonder in the world around you, it's really worth a read.

Get it from Amazon for $10.34, Barnes & Noble for $14.34, or your favorite local bookseller through IndieBound.

2. A sleek and beautiful pillbox that will low-key change how you feel about taking your meds.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

Anyone who takes medication knows that the pillbox market isn’t exactly overflowing with options. The functional ones are mostly ugly and clinical, and the cute ones are usually pretty low-quality or weirdly designed. Enter this pillbox from Port and Polish, which I’m pretty obsessed with. Mostly because...look at it! It’s clearly lovely and comes in five different colors (I’ve got black and blush pink). It’s about the size of my iPhone and discreet enough that people probably won’t think twice about what it is if you’d rather keep the fact you take meds to yourself. Even though it’s on the small side, its individual compartments are shockingly big. I take six pills a day, including two big vitamins, and there’s plenty of room to spare. And on a more feelsy note, having a nice case for my medication makes the ritual of taking it a little nicer. Somehow, it helps ground me in the knowledge that by keeping up on my meds, I’m taking care of myself.

Only downside is that it doesn’t have AM/PM compartments, but *whispers* a slightly bigger version with AM/PM dividers is in the works and will hopefully be out later this year. In the meantime, you can do like me and order an extra in a different color and have one for morning and one for night. —Anna Borges

Get it from Port and Polish for $15.

3. A pack of face masks that'll work on sensitive skin.

Samantha Wieder / BuzzFeed

I really love face masks, but I have extremely sensitive skin that makes it difficult to find ones that won't leave my face red, itchy, or covered with a breakout the next morning. I've tried clay, charcoal, peel-off, basically everything! I had heard about these masks that have over 3K amazing reviews on Amazon and are reasonably priced, so I decided to take one final plunge and try them out, and I'm SO glad I did. They're so gentle on my sensitive skin, and make it feel smoother and more firm. They're also so easy to use, and not messy like many other face masks tend to be.

I'd definitely recommend these face masks for anyone who deals with ultra-sensitive skin like I do. You get 16 of them in a pack, and I usually use them once to twice a week, so they last me, personally, at least two months. If you're not completely sold from my experience with them, then let the over 3K positive reviews try and sell you, too! Reading through those gave me the final push to buy these, and I'm so happy I gave in. —Samantha Wieder

Get a 16-pack from Amazon for $9.57.

4. A smart way to secure your ring.

As someone training for the NYC marathon, I'm consistently running upwards of 18 miles a week. During these runs I get extremely sweaty. Like drench-your-shirt-and-wring-it-out sweaty. Last week I got engaged (yay!) and although I had my grandmother's ring fitted to my size, I was still paranoid about my precious heirloom potentially falling off. That paranoia was exponentially higher during my daily runs when my slippery, sweaty hands threatened my ring's safety. I had to act fast, so I bought a silicone ring from Amazon and hoped it would do the trick. Besides looking cute (which is honestly more than I expected from a piece of plastic that served a functional purpose), the silicone ring fits snuggly on my finger and makes it so that I have zero ring related worries during my run. I can vigorously shake my hand, run 5+ miles, do weight training and completely relax knowing my priceless jewelry isn't going to go flying into a gutter somewhere. $7.90 is well worth the price of peace of mind! —Augusta FallettaGet it from Amazon for $7.90.
Augusta Falletta / BuzzFeed

As someone training for the NYC marathon, I'm consistently running upwards of 18 miles a week. During these runs I get extremely sweaty. Like drench-your-shirt-and-wring-it-out sweaty. Last week I got engaged (yay!) and although I had my grandmother's ring fitted to my size, I was still paranoid about my precious heirloom potentially falling off. That paranoia was exponentially higher during my daily runs when my slippery, sweaty hands threatened my ring's safety. I had to act fast, so I bought a silicone ring from Amazon and hoped it would do the trick.

Besides looking cute (which is honestly more than I expected from a piece of plastic that served a functional purpose), the silicone ring fits snuggly on my finger and makes it so that I have zero ring related worries during my run. I can vigorously shake my hand, run 5+ miles, do weight training and completely relax knowing my priceless jewelry isn't going to go flying into a gutter somewhere. $7.90 is well worth the price of peace of mind! —Augusta Falletta

Get it from Amazon for $7.90.

5. A healing ointment that's a classic for a reason.

Erin Phraner / BuzzFeed

I was vaguely aware of Aquaphor before having a baby but I had no idea how 👏🏻 many 👏🏻 magical 👏🏻 things 👏🏻 it can do until I packed a giant tub ($10, Amazon) in my hospital bag. I use this as my daughter’s diaper cream (which was my initial intention) approximately five-million times per day & she hasn’t gotten a rash yet 🤞🏻🍑 Her butt is *literally* as smooth as a baby’s bottom. But that’s not all! I lazily smeared some Baby Aquaphor on my peeling cuticles after changing her diaper one night (I had some leftover on my hands, anyway #newmomhack) and by morning, the peeling skin was totally gone! Since then, I’ve rubbed a teeny bit between my hands and used it to smooth flyaways. I’ve used a dollop to hold my eyebrows in place. I even use it as chapstick — after washing my hands, of course. The fact that I can do a little self-care on my hands, lips, brows AND hair while changing dirty diapers makes this new mom’s life 100x easier! —Erin Phraner

Get it from Amazon for $10.16.

6. A bra you can wear post-surgery.

I recently had a (voluntary!) breast reduction, and while the recovery process has been challenging and exhausting, one of the most trying experiences was shopping for a bra. My doctor gave me a surgical bra to wear after the procedure, but because my skin is maybe the most sensitive ever created, the elastic band made me itchy and rashy. So I went looking for a comfortable, front-closure sports bra with a soft seam, and let me tell ya: a lot of big brands make nothing of the sort!!! So I was so, so happy when the saleswoman at Athleta showed me the Empower bra and gently said, "It's made for women who've just had surgery." Even though it was designed for people recovering from breast cancer surgeries, I was having many of the same post-operation needs.Once I tried it on, I realized everything about it was so...thoughtful. The front zipper is so much easier to close than the usual latches and hooks, and it has a stretchy piece of fabric that covers the bottom part of the zipper so it doesn't irritate the skin. The fabric is soft, and the seams are, well, seamless. Plus, the bra is sturdy and supportive without being too tight, which has been perfect for my sore chest. I immediately bought one and teared up with gratitude that so many women coming to terms with their new bodies can walk into a store and find exactly what they need in a time when feeling supported — both literally and figuratively — is more important than ever. —Terri PousGet it from Athleta for $54.
Terri Pous / BuzzFeed

I recently had a (voluntary!) breast reduction, and while the recovery process has been challenging and exhausting, one of the most trying experiences was shopping for a bra. My doctor gave me a surgical bra to wear after the procedure, but because my skin is maybe the most sensitive ever created, the elastic band made me itchy and rashy. So I went looking for a comfortable, front-closure sports bra with a soft seam, and let me tell ya: a lot of big brands make nothing of the sort!!! So I was so, so happy when the saleswoman at Athleta showed me the Empower bra and gently said, "It's made for women who've just had surgery." Even though it was designed for people recovering from breast cancer surgeries, I was having many of the same post-operation needs.

Once I tried it on, I realized everything about it was so...thoughtful. The front zipper is so much easier to close than the usual latches and hooks, and it has a stretchy piece of fabric that covers the bottom part of the zipper so it doesn't irritate the skin. The fabric is soft, and the seams are, well, seamless. Plus, the bra is sturdy and supportive without being too tight, which has been perfect for my sore chest. I immediately bought one and teared up with gratitude that so many women coming to terms with their new bodies can walk into a store and find exactly what they need in a time when feeling supported — both literally and figuratively — is more important than ever. —Terri Pous

Get it from Athleta for $54.

7. Some comfy-as-hell high-rise underwear.

Universal Pictures / Via giphy.com

When it comes to jeans, shorts, and skirts, give me a high-waist or give me death. Having a body with big boobs and relatively proportioned hips, clothes that sit on my waist are by far the most comfortable. The thought of a tight pair of jeans or elastic-waist skirt sitting on my hips is enough to give me night terrors. A high-rise makes me feel good about my body, so there's no going back.

Over the years I've transitioned out every single piece of low-rise clothing I owned for a high-rise version and a few weeks ago, I overcame the final hurdle in my journey: replacing my underwear. Though my underwear drawer was filled to capacity, I had about five pairs of undies that I actually felt comfortable wearing — naturally, the oldest most stretched out pairs — and so I dreaded days my faves were in the wash. But one morning it dawned on me: Why didn't I just make the switch to high-rise briefs too? After all, what I hated most about basically all of my undies was how they cut into my hips.

And so, I did it. First, I ordered two pairs off Lively as a trial. And I was OBSESSED. High-waist underwear under high-waist everything else felt GOOD. Next, I decided try Everlane's new underwear range, which gave me the exact same sense of satisfaction (though maybe a tiny bit less because I also sized up in the Lively pairs, which is another new hot tip of mine!). Now, pay day by pay day I'm slowly replacing the underwear that make me feel downright shitty in my skin. —Gyan Yankovich

Get a pair from Everlane for $12. Available in three colors.

8. A drink to perk you up.

My relationship with coffee is one part can’t-function-without-it, and another part it-just-tastes-so-good. But, in my long history with coffee, I’ve never been obsessed with a single drink as much as the La Colombe Draft Latte — I love all the flavors, but Mocha is 100% my fave (note: I never take my coffee black and I love chocolate, OK). I first found them stocked in the lil’ bodega across the street from my old apartment, and was immediately hooked! Here's why:1) IDK why drinks in cans are so appealing, but they just are. And this one uses a fancy airtight design with nitrous oxide to create an unbelievably silky texture — yesssss, microfoam!! (Pro tip: Don't shake the can.)2) There’s no added sugar, so while it’s sweet, it’s not overbearingly so, which is a pet peeve of mine. (For reference, I find most Starbucks Frappuccinos way, way too sweet.)3) It contains the equivalent of 2.25 cups of espresso, which I appreciate — I often feel like blended drinks/lattes are a little skimpy on the actual caffeine content.4) It's the perfect portion size, and at $3 (at the bodega) or $2.50 (Amazon) a can, it's definitely a little cheaper than the lattes/mochas I normally get at Starbucks or any other local café. I first bought my cans IRL, but since I just moved apartments, I've been so relieved to see they are sold on Amazon. Here’s to staying caffeine-buzzed forever! —Sarah HanGet a four-pack from Amazon for $9.49.
Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

My relationship with coffee is one part can’t-function-without-it, and another part it-just-tastes-so-good. But, in my long history with coffee, I’ve never been obsessed with a single drink as much as the La Colombe Draft Latte — I love all the flavors, but Mocha is 100% my fave (note: I never take my coffee black and I love chocolate, OK). I first found them stocked in the lil’ bodega across the street from my old apartment, and was immediately hooked! Here's why:

1) IDK why drinks in cans are so appealing, but they just are. And this one uses a fancy airtight design with nitrous oxide to create an unbelievably silky texture — yesssss, microfoam!! (Pro tip: Don't shake the can.)

2) There’s no added sugar, so while it’s sweet, it’s not overbearingly so, which is a pet peeve of mine. (For reference, I find most Starbucks Frappuccinos way, way too sweet.)

3) It contains the equivalent of 2.25 cups of espresso, which I appreciate — I often feel like blended drinks/lattes are a little skimpy on the actual caffeine content.

4) It's the perfect portion size, and at $3 (at the bodega) or $2.50 (Amazon) a can, it's definitely a little cheaper than the lattes/mochas I normally get at Starbucks or any other local café.

I first bought my cans IRL, but since I just moved apartments, I've been so relieved to see they are sold on Amazon. Here’s to staying caffeine-buzzed forever! —Sarah Han

Get a four-pack from Amazon for $9.49.

9. A vinegar cleaning spray that will make your bathroom smell lovely and fresh.

I've been curious about cleaning with vinegar for a while now, after seeing it mentioned in a ton of zero-waste/natural living Facebook groups I'm a member of. Chemical-free and just as good at cleaning? I honestly thought it sounded too good to be true. But still, I was excited when I was sent a range of Aunt Fannie's products — the vinegar spray being the first I took home to try out, after being totally sold by the fact it's lavender scented. Since I have marble countertops in my kitchen, and marble and vinegar do not mix well, I've only tested this in my bathroom but it truly cleans just as well, if not better, than the chemical cleaners I was using before. It also smells great?! Yes, there is a vaguely vinegar scent but the added essential oils (lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, orange, and peppermint!) make all the difference. I'm never going back! —Gyan YankovichGet it from Amazon for $11.74. Available in four scents.
Gyan Yankovich / BuzzFeed

I've been curious about cleaning with vinegar for a while now, after seeing it mentioned in a ton of zero-waste/natural living Facebook groups I'm a member of. Chemical-free and just as good at cleaning? I honestly thought it sounded too good to be true. But still, I was excited when I was sent a range of Aunt Fannie's products — the vinegar spray being the first I took home to try out, after being totally sold by the fact it's lavender scented.

Since I have marble countertops in my kitchen, and marble and vinegar do not mix well, I've only tested this in my bathroom but it truly cleans just as well, if not better, than the chemical cleaners I was using before. It also smells great?! Yes, there is a vaguely vinegar scent but the added essential oils (lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, orange, and peppermint!) make all the difference. I'm never going back! —Gyan Yankovich

Get it from Amazon for $11.74. Available in four scents.

10. And a chair that will lovingly cradle you at the beach.

Rebecca OConnell

This is one of those products where I see the commercial, and I'm like "YEAH RIGHT!" These inflatable chairs just seem too easy. You just spin in a circle with them and suddenly you have a magically inflated chair? Seems unlikely. But now that I've tried them, I can confirm that they're (almost) that easy. It does take a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but pretty much anyone can figure it out in five to 10 minutes. Basically, it comes with two compartments that you need to fill with air by twirling in a tight circle. You switch compartments while spinning and then quickly roll the it up before the air escapes. Once you master the technique, you're in squishy, inflatable heaven.

Seriously, these things are comfortable. Like being cradled in a waterbed taco. Everyone at the beach who tried them felt very relaxed and some people even took a little nap. It's also worth mentioning that they're pretty durable. Some of my friends took turns catapulting each other off it (we're adults) and it didn't burst. It folds up easily when you're done and comes with a carrying case. If you're a frequent beach lounger, these things are key! —Rebecca O'Connell

Get it from Amazon for $30.95 (available in four colors).

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