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What We ACTUALLY Bought This January To Start Our Year Off Right


OK, gang. Here’s the deal: there is a lot of hardcore design content on the books this week. Ryann analyzed how recent world events shifted the design world, Jess revealed 2021’s biggest kitchen trends, Emily taught you how to find and vet an architect or contractor, and tomorrow, we’re FINALLY unveiling our next huge project. It’s a big week on the blog!

But you know what??? It’s hump day and my brain is slowly turning to mush this week and sometimes A GAL JUST WANTS TO GAB WITH HER PALS ABOUT STUFF. (Yes, I do also talk like this in real life, and yes, I too am amazed that I still have both friends and a job.) We’re about halfway into the first month of the new year and while some of my resolutions are a total wash (LOL DRY JANUARY WHO??), I started poking around to see if anyone else on the team had picked up anything interesting to aid them on their quests for self-betterment.

Turns out, we have all scooped up some things – running the gamut from skincare to ornament organization to composting bins to toilet brushes to underwear – that we’re feeling excited about, so I pulled them all together into one neat little post so we could ALL GAB about stuff. If you haven’t caught up on all the good posts this week, scroll up and read those first…but then come and chat with me, okay???

From Emily

UGG Short Boot: It’s a lot like buying the new Jordans. When the navy blue Uggs launched this year, I NEEDED them. If myself and 95 million tween girls from 2002 haven’t convinced you yet of the pleasure of the Ugg, I’d love to show you my new ones that I got for Christmas (my old ones were 3 years old, being worn almost every day). I don’t know. Maybe I’ve fully lost it, but I do think these are more flattering and when I wear them with my black athleisure (DEAR GOD WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN), it lengthens my legs more than my brown classic ones did. Listen, I don’t have stock in Uggs, but the support they give my feet while keeping my ankles and shins warm is beyond the abilities of other slippers, it just is.

Round Glass Storage Bowls: My tupperware situation, like my sock drawer, is a baffling mess where we were down to 1 normal sized dish with a matching lid (lots of tiny ones but what do people actually use those for? Homemade aioli?). With JanSTEWary in full production, I needed some new glass tupperware (good for reheating so I don’t have to transfer into an additional bowl to warm up). These were out of stock in December and are back (and mostly well-reviewed). I just bought 2 sets of them to redo my whole drawer. Also, I felt personally connected to this tweet that both shamed me and has made me LOL in the middle of the day.

Ornament Box & Figurine Container: It’s a level of ‘mom-hood’ I didn’t know I could reach and yet based on my passion towards ornaments it feels long overdue. If you are behind in putting things away, no shame here, but if you want help not only for this year but next year unpacking, Birdie and I had a BALL carefully wrapping up our family tree ornaments. Now all of my favorite ones are secure in one bin (and we are leaving it in the garage, not the attic in case of fire we can grab). One must protect ones sentimental things and this case held a lot, is super solid and made it very easy (even though it’s an investment).

From Jess

Looped Bath Rug: Fun Fact: I was temporarily using my small Moroccan wool rug as my bath mat for the past two months. Naturally, I would avoid getting it wet thus making it completely pointless to keep in there. So I finally ordered this proper bath mat and it’s great! It’s the perfect rich navy and is just the right amount of cushy. Small change, BIG difference. 

Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum with Champaca Essence: So I took the plunge and started at-home micro-needling. I’ve only done it twice but so far it’s great (I’ll keep you updated). I was extremely nervous to try it and mess up my face so I did a lot of research. Aside from needing a good rubbing alcohol to disinfect your tool, hyaluronic acid is recommended to use before and if you’d like, after (and twice daily for optimal skin hydration). Kerry Benjamin, owner of Stacked Skincare, is very into micro-needling so I decided to go for her hyaluronic acid and so far it makes my skin feel so good and so soft. It’s expensive (I got mine on sale) but I know there are a lot on the market so it’s something everyone can try. 

Vanity Fair Illumination String Bikini Underwear: I finally gave in and ordered like 10 of these the other week. I’ve had a pair forever and always grab it first because it’s so comfortable. I originally held off from buying more because the seam is real. But at this point who cares. I’m at home 99% of the time so why not just be comfortable?? And despite the panty line issue, the “string” part on the sides gives a dash of sexy (well as sexy as full coverage bottoms can be:)). They are also apparently the #1 selling panty in America. Who knew??

Indian Kala Namak Mineral Salt: Since last July I’ve been nearly 100% plant-based. FYI not standing on a soapbox because everyone should do what makes them feel best when it comes to their food. Anyway, it’s been pretty fun diving into recipes I would have never considered before like Tabitha Brown’s Vegan Deviled Eggs. Now I haven’t made them yet but I honestly can’t wait. But to make then I needed to buy this salt (Tabitha says it’s what gives it its egg taste). Any vegan recipes you love and I should try next? Let me know!

Kitchen Cabinet Lid Organizer: For Christmas I got a new set of pots and pans (YAY) and of course want to treat them very well. I have a pegboard to hang all of the pot and pans but the lids were just fending for themselves in my cabinet and taking up too much space. So I ordered this organizer and love it. It’s simple, affordable, and makes me feel like I have it a little more together. 

Pumice Stone Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Extra Long Handle: I’m not sure if it’s because my toilet is really old but it stains SO FREAKING QUICK. So I decided to try a pumice stone wand and it worked great. Plus it’s a natural way to clean your toilet (or tub, or sink, whatever)… not that I’m against using chemicals. Sometimes you need them. Anyway, 10/10 and I so happy to have a nice-looking toilet again. Sorry, this was gross but hopefully helpful.

From Mallory

OUAI Spray: I’ve never used heat protectant on my hair before (that was a mistake) and now it’s breaking off and looks bad…so “get your life together” means start wearing more sunscreen and actually protect your hair before you crimp it at a ripping 400 degrees. It’s the little things this year.

Fast and Free Tight: The one thing I’ve needed for SO LONG but have just never invested in is a good pair of high waisted black leggings. I had some very specific requirements…they NEEDED to have pockets and they NEEDED to not fall down at the waist (is that too much to ask?). Lululemon gave me all this and THEN SOME. These leggings are snug at the waist and have a drawstring to tighten them even more if you want to, so the stay up factor is at an all-time high. In the pocket department, they have two side pockets (that aren’t bulky) and 5 – yes 5 – pockets around the waist. Plus they pass the squat test which slaps. These are the best ever.

Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer: I’ve been needing a good, light, but effective sanitizer that doesn’t smell like straight rubbing alcohol. This is my ABSOLUTE FAV. It really made me ready to go into another pandemic-y year. I feel on top of it when I spray this baddie.

Coola Sunscreen: I talk about this sunscreen a lot but it’s TRULY the best. So light plus every time I wear it people say I smell good. It’s like taking a shower while also protecting your face. 2021 I’m gonna wear sunscreen DAILY, LET’S GOOOO!

From Ryann

Composting Bin: One of my biggest, most shameful secrets is that I don’t compost despite having the resources to do so. I’ve talked about doing it for years but have chickened out because I worry I won’t keep up with it. I know myself enough to know that I need a system that is pretty self-sufficient, so when my friend suggested this worm factory compost system I was super intrigued. Turns out it is the type of thing that is extremely easy to use and manage so I purchased it immediately and can’t wait to try it out. Any tips for a new composter would be greatly appreciated!! 

Small Monthly Planner: I am not a big resolution person per se, but I always always love a new planner, notebook, or journal. Last year I bought myself this journal with the intention to bullet journal like the influencers who have their lives together do (HA). It lasted about a month so this year I tried to stick with something a little more suited to me and my personality. I got this monthly planner via Jess’s recommendation and love how minimal and simple it is. It’s basically a block calendar in notebook form and I love it and have used it every day so far! 

Vanity Mirror with Lights: In an unexpected turn of events, towards the end of last year I got really good at doing my makeup and I am super into it??? It’s still a new revelation for me but I decided to lean into it so I bought this makeup mirror. I am sort of terrified of it and am not sure if this means I am becoming a beauty blogger now, but I am also very excited to use it. That said, send me all your makeup/skincare recs!! I am a new born baby trying to learn! 

Chemex Coffee Maker: I tend to think of myself as a big coffee drinker but in reality, I only drink 1 cup in the morning and 1 in the afternoon which ends up leaving half of my coffee mate untouched. In an effort to reduce that waste, I purchased this pour over coffee maker so in the mornings I can make myself a cup as needed. And as an added bonus, it looks very pretty on my kitchen counter and I actually enjoy the process of making coffee now. 

From Caitlin

Massaging Shampoo Brush: I asked my mom to buy me this for Christmas in a link up before the holidays (because what is the site for, if not writing extremely specific gift requests to your family?) and I LOVE IT. Sometimes I feel like my hair can get kind of gunky underneath – even when it’s newly washed – and it’s a real hit to the self-confidence to be like “oh, yeah, I’m almost 30 and still haven’t learned how to get all my conditioner out, cool” but this SOLVES THE PROBLEM. It feels awesome (it’s battery-powered so it actually vibrates on your noggin!) and it makes my hair cleaner for longer. 10/10.

Night Moisturizer: Not sure what it is about mid-Atlantic climates, but I’ve been in Delaware for almost 11 weeks and my dry skin has been a wreck THE. WHOLE. TIME. I’ve been spoiled by the perfect blend of LA warmth and ideal humidity! Fresh has historically been one of the only moisturizer brands that doesn’t make me feel like my face is falling off (anyone else turn bright red with 99% of moisturizers? Just me?) but it’s kind of pricy for every day wear so I like breaking this out a little bit at night when my cheeks are getting extra lizard-y.

Seat Cushion: OH BABY. Nothing says “design editor” like a bedpan-shaped cushion! Can’t wait to highlight this in a MOTO. But really – I love this thing. I kinda sorta maybe broke my back about 6 weeks ago (my first-ever ambulance ride AND a mid-pandemic emergency room stay? I’m a lucky gal!) and have been literally laying flat ever since. I still cry when I have to sit up straight, but this cushion is a game changer – I was able to do 3 hours in a car for Christmas while sitting on it and I use it in a recliner for a couple of hours every day so I don’t turn into one of the grandparents from Willy Wonka. If you have ANY kind of back pain, please know that someone with a literal broken back supports this cushion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

But what about y’all – any exciting purchases lately? Are you finally organizing your cabinets or tackling your tupperware problem? Diving into making your house more eco-friendly? Finally cleaning that grimy space you’ve been putting off for months? Treating yourself to a little bit of self-care or organization? Please talk to me, everyone else on the team is very busy cooking up EVEN MORE really great design content for the rest of the month and I’m kinda lonely. xx

Fin Mark


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You forgot to include that house you bought ;). VERY excited.


Geeeeeezzz, wishing you the speediest recovery Caitlin!


Yes omg!! Back pain is the worst, I hope you feel better soon and work out a fantastic long term plan to keep the pain from lingering/coming back <3

Nancy LaCoursiere

Hey Jess, any suggestions on where you got the best information for doing at-home micro-needling? youtube site? I am going to try your hyaluronic acid suggestion!


We use these daily. We have the 2 cup round (perfect portion for soup) and the 3 cup rectangular which is great for leftovers. Winners!


Jess, if you are interested in any plant based cookbooks, check out the Oh She Glows series (there’s 3) by (Canadian!! – whoot!) Angela Liddon. I have all three of her books and seriously, EVERYTHING I have made is FANTASTIC! Especially the granola recipes. And, I’m not even vegetarian or vegan! My kids are allergic to dairy so I find it helpful to use vegan recipes.


Yes! Check out her website as well. Just made her Next Level Vegan Enchiladas tonight- a family favorite!


Was going to comment this! I got the Oh She Glows For Dinner cookbook for Christmas and everything has been amazing (even my non-plant-based husband likes the recipes)!


I do love hyaluronic acid—it works by taking moisture from the air to moisturize your skin. HOWEVER, you do need to do research about which one you’re buying because some hyaluronic acids are incomplete and they will take moisture from the depths of your skin and bring it to the front. This will make your skin appear more hydrated but it will, in fact, actually be less hydrated and it can have longer term negative benefits. The Ordinary sells one for around 5$ that’s complete. It is a bit sticky though and a bit more prone to pilling when you layer other products. There is another one by deceim sister company that costs a bit more—I haven’t tried it but loads of people swear by it. I generally use a vitamin c serum that’s based in hyaluronic acid (Mad Hippy—100% recommend, shelf stable and wonderfully light) during the day. And at nights I usually use a lactic acid serum with hyaluronic acid (the ordinary, dirt cheep and absolutely the ideal form of AHA for sensitive skin) at night under my ordinary retinol (based in squalene and comes in .2%,.5% &1% — dirt cheep and the options plus squalene make it… Read more »


Applying multiple actives as the same time (acids like AHA, Lactic Acid, and Glycolic Acid, retinol, and Vitamin C) is a no no, I think. I think I’ve heard that they sometimes cancel out the effects of each other or can cause skin damage (depending on how theyre mixed). Grace Atwood (yes, Rebecca Atwood’s sister) has some really helpful guides to all of that on her blog, The Stripe!


Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion is great and inexpensive.


A vibrating shower tool sounds…. very nice. But seriously, I have one of these (doesn’t vibrate, sadly) and I definitely haven’t mastered it yet. I think it’s my fear of just knotting my hair like crazy.


I have a non electronic one and just make sure I rub in zig zags instead of circles. Granted my hair doesn’t tangle easily, but it’s been totally fine. And it really helps me get through my annoyingly thick hair to actually clean my scalp

hmm that scalp brush is intriguing. i’ve always had buildup but since switching to baking soda as shampoo it has vastly improved. i throw in some sea salt whenever my scalp feels like it could use it. my low waste hair care here (it’s never looked shinier):

best thing i’ve bought this year – secondhand knitting needles! learning something new is an integral part of my self care kit and knitting has always seemed intimidating / hard. it’s not and i can finally use the yarn i’ve found free/collected! during the capitol riot i wove soft, bright yarn over and over to relieve my anxiety – so grateful for it and the end result is pretty too.

ps. the small planner link goes to your bullet journal link. i love bullet journaling! it’s flexible enough that i dont feel bad when i dont use it which has happened with other planners. also, making it is a weekly ritual / love gettting creative with it.

pps. feel better caitlin! that sounds terrible

i love your low-waste hair care! i haven’t used conditioner in probably 15 years. i only shampoo ever other day, and i use the most basic no fragrance no toxin kind of shampoo. i eventually want to just move to baking soda. my hair always looks healthy and shiny. i’ve been reading about how bad shampoo and especially conditioner is for your hair and your health.


I work for a private chef company who does a lot of meal prep and we tested every glass container in the world and these are the #1 absolute BEST! Chef approved!


Wishing you a super speedy recovery, Caitlin! I broke my back a few years ago and while it’s something I’ll always have to give gentle care to, I promise it does get better. Hang in there!


I treated myself to a set of Crate & Barrel’s Mercer 8” Low Bowls in white and I am IN LOVE! I might as well donate all my dinner plates, salad plates and soup bowls because I’ll never use them again. I have them sitting on my open shelving and their wonky shape makes them look so interesting up there! They also look so cool on my long dining table place settings. Buy these now as they’re on sale! I just ordered my second set of 8 in case I break any and they get discontinued!


We have the whole Mercer collection and love it! Food just looks better in those bowls 🙂

The Pick Up Limes YouTube channel has incredible plant based recipes (the one pot pastas are incredible and the tofu and herb cream cheese is so so good).

Sadia is a dietitian but the recipes, whilst being healthy, are super accessible and don’t have too many weird ingredients.

yes to composting!

Cris S.

Normally I just glance at the “we bought this” posts while rolling my eyes a teensy bit. But I put 4 things in my cart from this one!

The composting kit links aren’t working. I’d like to add that too (and make Rusty proud of me) if you don’t mind relinking? Thank you!


For the new composter: yay!!!!! You got this! Also, don’t get discouraged. It can be hard at first to figure out the right ratio of food/other stuff. Also, google “black soldier fly larvae” so you aren’t totally shocked & grossed out by them when they appear in your bin. They’re a good sign, so definitely celebrate when you see them 🙂

Ryann! I would love to see your makeup routine. I’m 32 and still don’t have it down.


I want to know more about your pegboard, Jess! I have tried a pegboard in so many places and I can *never* figure out the best way to store cookware on it. It’s so heavy? Juts out into the room?! How to keep it clean when it’s out in the grease-filled air?


PSA: if anyone has Uggs that are a little old and not as fluffy inside as they used to be, they sell insoles for around $20 and it is truly life changing! They fit in most boots or slippers even if they aren’t Ugg brand 🙂

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