As LoveToKnow's Commerce Editor, I spend a TON of time looking for awesome products, and while there have definitely been some downers, there are quite a few that have pleasantly surprised me. From bread baskets to upcycled robes to my most treasured face wash, some of these favorites have come into my life in unexpected ways, but geez, I'm awfully glad they did.
I have a crazy-busy schedule on any given week. Between work, online classes, house renovations, and my third-grader's activities, it's a lot. So whatever I bring into my house, especially while working and studying from home, has to work. If an item doesn't function with my life, it's gone, know what I mean? These are some of my absolute must-haves that not only do their job brilliantly, they've made my hectic life so much easier.
Okay, so I am... pale. Pasty. Porcelain, if we want to be polite about it. I have some pretty delicate, white skin, which means that every time I want to spend even ten minutes outside, I have to be careful. Though I absolutely do apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day, it's so handy to have a little patch that reminds me of when I need to! Since my shoulders get the most, ahem... toasted, I put one of these little stickers on the top of one shoulder and take a look periodically to see whether or not it's time for another coat of SPF.
I'm an obsessive "Great British Bake-Off" viewer, and as soon as I found out that the bakers use a great deal of Mason Cash cookware in the inimitable tent, I had to get some for my own kitchen. Down the rabbit hole I fell, because I came out on the other side with an extraordinary number of mixing bowls. This one, though, is my all-time favorite. The sweet little woodland scene on the side. The pouring spout for batter. The handle!
I love a coupe glass. So many cocktails. Such an elegant shape! I struggled for a while, though, to find a set I absolutely loved, and then I stumbled upon this one. The gold stem is thick and weighted for a much more stable hold (that's for me... elbows tend to go flying when the gin is flowing), and it's the perfect size for sipping without getting sloshed. I have four (and their matching rocks glasses).
If you're hunching over right now as you read this, consider this your PSA to roll those shoulders back and down and stretch a little! I found myself slouching forward way too many times over my laptop, went searching for a stand that would hold the screen up a bit higher for me, and here we are. I prefer wood over metal or plastic because I hate the scratchy scraping sound when I move it (this is wonderfully quiet). I love that this stand is adjustable and I can flatten it completely for easy storage if I need to.
How cool is this?! A silky, beautiful robe made from vintage saris? Recycled AND handmade? I'm all over it. As much as I love my plush terrycloth bathrobe (and I do love it), it's not only way too much for the summertime, but it can feel a little... boring. This colorful alternative is nice and light, hits just below knee-length, and is the perfect thing to throw on as I'm putting on coffee in the morning and getting kiddo out of bed.
If you had moved into your new house and the walls were the hideous olive-taupe-whatever that I dealt with, you would cover them up, too. My hallway bathroom was an easy weekend project, and at first, I was nervous about the idea of wallpaper in a room that got so much humidity, but I love an accent wall too much not to give it a shot. This highly-reviewed peel and stick pick in a too-cheery-for-words design caught my eye. I put it up in under an hour, and it has lasted MONTHS without peeling, pulling, or pebbling. Score.
Why, yes. I do make my own sourdough. While I can freely admit that I learned to bake bread pre-COVID, I didn't do so nearly as often as I do now. Also known as "banneton baskets", these proofing baskets are the perfect place to rest your dough before baking, and they leave behind a beautiful spiral pattern in the flour. This kit also comes with a helpful bench scraper for pulling sticky dough off the counter and a handy lame for cutting intricate scores in your loaf!
Speaking of bread, there are few things nicer than breaking into a fresh, warm loaf. This sweet little warmer keeps it nice and toasty without turning it into... well, toast. Just pop the stone into the oven for a few minutes to heat it up, then (carefully!) place it at the bottom of the basket, then set your bread on top. I've used this to keep rolls warm for family dinners and even tortillas hot and soft for taco night.
It's a sad fact I must live with that I bruise like a peach. Seriously. Look at me wrong and within seconds, a new purple mark will appear. While I do take supplements to help keep it under control, I find a topical solution is always a good thing to have handy. This cream is small enough to keep in my gym bag (yes, I've been known to knock an elbow on a weight machine or two...), it glides on nice and smooth, and the fragrance-free formula lends itself perfectly to the rest of my skincare routine.
I live in Virginia. If you've never been, let me just tell you: the weather is manic. I'm serious. One day, it's 78 degrees and beautiful. The next, it's snowing buckets. With all of that chaos, I like keeping humidifiers around the house just in case of a sudden temperature change (it can really mess with your sinuses!), and this is the one I keep in our bedroom. It lasts the whole night and then some, it's adjustable to the level of moisture you want to add to the room, and the best part of all, this thing is SILENT.
I love a good dotted journal. Whether you sketch, write, or plan, a dot grid suits every need, and I should know: I do all three. This one initially caught my eye because it was nice and affordable (I go through way too many journals to spend more than $20 apiece), but I fell in love when I realized how nice and thick each page was. At this point, I've owned every color (I'm on yellow at the moment) and have gifted this to fellow journal lovers over the years.
I bought a full set of four of these last summer in anticipation of pool season, and I'm never EVER going back to regular beach towels again. These are super absorbent - I can wipe down myself AND my kiddo with the same towel and it will be dry again within ten minutes in the sun. Even better, sand doesn't stick to the material, so no more trafficking half the beach into the car via towel.
I have two sets of these hairpin legs, a shorter set on my living room coffee table and a longer set on the desk in my home office, and I have to say, they are exceptional. They're super sturdy, incredibly easy to attach to a tabletop, and well worth the price. Even better, they come with handy little rubber "feet" that keep the legs from sliding around and scratching the floor.
Do you ever have a piece of artwork that's just awkwardly sized enough that a typical frame won't get the job done? I've had that issue more than once, and there's no way I'm shelling out for custom framing unless it's my next diploma. This hanger, though, lets me put up just about anything on the wall by simply snapping a couple of magnetized wooden bars on the top and bottom. Love it.
If there's anything I absolutely cannot stand, it's wearing a brand new pair of pumps only to have them immediately scuff on the sidewalk. Particularly for the shoes you spend a pretty penny on, it's important to keep them from getting damaged, and these stick-on sole protectors are a GODSEND. I've added these to half a dozen pairs of my favorite shoes, and not only have they saved me many scratch marks, the non-slip texture has saved me from more than one stumble.
I had no idea I had sensitive skin until my aesthetician said so, and the first product she recommended was this one. While it may say it's for "normal to dry" skin, this gentle facial cleanser is ideal for all types of skin, especially if you want to simplify your daily routine.
A friend brought this game over once, and we played it for HOURS. Yes, it's certainly irreverent and a little goofy, but you'll kill so much time on game night switching around which members of French nobility you are sending to the "Guillotine"!
I've been taking this powder for over a year on a suggestion from one of my neighbor friends, and I've seen a ridiculous change. Not only does my skin look better, I'm definitely bloating a lot less (and less often) and my energy levels are so much steadier than they once were. I like to mix a scoop with my morning coffee - it dissolves immediately and you can't even taste it!
Listen, I know this looks a little weird, but hear me out. This lovely little pendant helps focus your breath in times of stress. Breathing in and out through the tiny hole ensures that you SLOW DOWN and pull in deeper breaths with greater focus, which comes in remarkably handy when your heart is racing. Great for those of us with some form of generalized anxiety (*raises hand*), and I've recommended it to a few ex-smoker friends over the years.
I have long been an Erin Condren enthusiast, and while I do still adore their line of notebooks and supplies, I reached a point where I just couldn't keep justifying $60 for a planner I knew I would scribble in for twelve months and then toss. But I have such exacting standards for a good paper planner! How could another measure up?! Enter this hardcover Bloom planner. Not only are the weekly spreads organized in a way I like, there is plenty of room for goal-setting and long-term planning, too.
I know this seems like an odd choice, but hear me out... I cannot stand plastic goodie bags. I hate them. Every single birthday party my daughter has attended has sent her home with a crinkly little bag full of bouncy balls and lollipops, and it drives me nuts. So when her own birthday party came around, I got a little crafty. I filled these zippered bags with markers the kids could COLOR the bags with. Not only is it an activity for a lull in the party, kiddos can actually USE them later on - my pipsqueak still has hers as a pencil case. Boom.
If there's one thing I take a ridiculous amount of pride in, it's my bookcase wall. (Because who DOESN'T want to feel like Belle from "Beauty & the Beast" every now and then, huh?) Well, I've had to get a little creative more than once to make sure everything ON said bookcase wall suited the overall aesthetic, and that's where these come in. Spiral-bound notebooks and file folders that NEED space on the shelf just... don't always look so cute on their own. So I pop them in one of these beauties instead!
Again, an elegant, somewhat more stylish solution for my bookcase wall than plain plastic storage bins. These come in a handful of colors, but I'm a purple person so I naturally gravitated toward this deep plum hue. Four of these go along the bottommost shelves to store miscellany like craft supplies, gift bags, and an abundance of Post-Its.
I resisted getting a cork board for an awfully long time. I don't know what it is, but sometimes the giant plain ones make me feel like I'm in some insurance company's regional office, you know? BUT being able to stick things you need to have on hand on a big spot of wall has its value, so I went hunting for a handsomer option. I found this one, and I must say, it's perfect. It suits my home office perfectly, and it has tons of space for everything.
I bought one of these for my daughter's room, and within a few months, I went ahead and bought another. Not only is is short enough that she can reach every shelf on her own, the wider shelf at the bottom fits non-book needs like bins of LEGO bricks. An added bonus? White melamine is magnificently easy to keep clean.
Okay, I impulse bought this one at two in the morning several months ago, and I have to say it was probably one of the better decisions I've made at such an hour. With the look and feel of a vintage brass lamp, it's modern LED bulb and touch button offer three different settings: warm, cool, and neutral. So pretty. So ideal for my cozy little reading nook.
While I may not have many opportunities to soak in a bathtub for an hour or two, I do love to indulge in such a thing when I get the chance. I picked up a bag of Dr. Teal's years ago in an effort to coax me out of a bad cold via home spa, and while I can't be 100% sure epsom salt is what finally cured me, I found I loved the smell and feel regardless! My favorite is the Lavendar, but I do enjoy Eucalyptus for a more invigorating, uplifting bath.
Ah, Pinterest. It strikes again. I was looking for creative ways to decorate for the holidays last December, and I found a photo of someone who had drawn snowflakes on her windows. I'll be doing that every year from now on, thank you very much. It's a great way to get my kiddo involved in the season, and we've discovered other uses for these throughout the year, too. I highly recommend an obnoxious welcome message for when a friend comes to visit. (Don't worry - it's super easy to clean off!)
This was a gift for my husband that was ACTUALLY a gift for the household. I don't know what it is about clocks that have flippy numbers! We love them! This one is large, suits any decor, and pretty quiet except when the hour flips over when it makes a very satisfying "click". Maybe we're just fond of vintage-inspired everything, but I couldn't write this list without mentioning my favorite timepiece.
I adore my dog. Love her. Cuddle her constantly, spoil her rotten with toys and treats, love to walk with her... but every now and then, I will look down at this beautiful fluff and ask her aloud, "what in God's name have you rolled in today?" Bless her, she does tend to smell on occasion. This shampoo eliminates the stink, cleans her coat while still keeping it super soft, and doesn't leave behind any weird chemical fragrance. Check, check, check.
How brilliant is this? On the days I don't need to take a whole bag with me somewhere (which is almost never these days), this just holds my phone and a few cards! There are definitely some simpler versions of this item, but I was really drawn to the chain strap and the attached zipper wallet - everything I need in one place, and it's cuter than some of the bags I have.
Remember the slouching? The awful slump forward over the laptop? Yeah, my old desk chair wasn't helping with that too much. I discovered this one making the round on TikTok and figured there was no harm in giving it a try. After four months, I can officially say that I love it. It's comfortable, it's the perfect height for my desk (and my laptop on its stand), and I definitely sit up much more consistently.
Alright, this one looks a little silly, but trust me, I've never had an easier time keeping my floors clean. Between the dog hair, the kiddo's various messes, and honestly, MY gardening forays tracking soil through the back door, we needed an easy solution, and this works SO much better than a Swiffer. I use one pair to dust up things a broom can't catch, and I use a second to follow along as I spray the floor cleaner. Way more fun than mopping, and they all go right in the washing machine when I'm done!
This is a tried and true favorite that has replaced virtually every bit of plastic wrap in my home. I use it to cover bread dough while it rises, I fold it into little snack bags for my daughter's lunch, I wrap up leftovers with it, you name it. Just imagine one year's worth of single-use plastic that gets eliminated by one of these beauties.
The moment I saw this thing go on sale, I knew I had to grab one. Between my little one's dust allergies, my dog's dander, and my husband trailing in God-knows-what from his job as a firefighter, my house was in need of some serious purification. This little guy has improved the air in our home immeasurably. I leave it on it's low setting 24/7, change the filter once every three months, and I swear, my daughter sneezes and sniffles so much less.