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The 19 Best Things I Discovered in 2020

From an improved nighttime routine to affordable, brilliant gadgets.
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1. Ooler Sleep System: G and I got this as an anniversary gift for ourselves and it was worth every penny. We used to swear by our mattress heater that made cold nights so much lovelier when we'd climb into a toasty bed. It broke after years of use and when we went to replace it, we came across the Ooler, which not only lets you toggle between hot temperatures for the winter but also cool in the summer. As someone who's always struggled with temperature management (I'm either freezing or so hot I can barely sleep), it's been a game changer and made an enormous difference in how I sleep. Bonus: you can schedule the temperature throughout the night via the app based on your preference, so I have mine start warm and then gradually cool the later it gets. The only con (beyond the hefty price tag) is the rather large units that need to be placed under each side of the bed.


2. GE SleepLite LED Night Lights: When Eva Chen raved about this pack of night lights, I bought them on the spot. I'd been aware of just how dark our staircase is at night and that the hallway by Sloan's room can be hard to navigate in the dark without turning on the overhead lights, but hadn't done the research to find a good option. I love that these come as a pack of four, are small enough that they don't draw any attention during the day, and automatically illuminate to offer just the right amount of golden light when it's dark.


3. Shark Vacuum: I'm down to do pretty much any chore around the house except vacuum, but given the amount of time we're spending at home (and the fact that we have three cats), it's not something we can just skip altogether. This vacuum somehow makes the job much more palatable—it's light, suctions things up immediately (no more going back-and-forth a million times over certain areas), and tucks away to a relatively small size.


4. Dehiya Lip + Cheek Tint in 'Nymph': I discovered this poppy-colored cheek and lip tint this past summer and loved it so much that it was one of the products that launched our 'Beauty' section within the Shop. It's the prettiest shade of neon pink that first appears as a subtle wash of color but can be gradually built to make an impact. Plus, I'm all about simplifying my beauty routine whenever possible, so a cheek/lip hybrid is always something I'm looking for.


5. Mini Cuisinart: My dad sent this to me as a "just because" gift and it's one of my favorite things we own. Its compact size means I reach for it on a daily basis (cleaning is also a breeze) and it has single-handedly changed the amount of salads we make, since whipping up homemade dressings takes seconds. 


6. GGET Coffee Subscription: We used to buy new bags of coffee from one of the several Go Get Em Tiger locations around LA, but since quarantine, we switched over to their subscription service, which is delivered to our door. It's such a fun package to receive each month that I even got one for my dad for Father's Day.


7. Traeger grill (#gifted): When I shared G's decision-making process this past summer for the kind of grill to get, support came flooding in for Traeger and the brand subsequently (and generously) sent him the smoker of his dreams. It makes everything taste woodsy and delicious (we even did our Thanksgiving turkey on it!) and has an app that makes the whole process easy to manage, even from inside the house.


8. USB wall charger (similar here): Such a small purchase that makes a big difference... If you also find that you're constantly moving and losing USB plugs, this night-light-meets-USB-wall-charger will be as big of a life changer for you as it has been for us. We now keep one downstairs and one in our room and I don't know how we went this long without them in our lives.


9. NY Times Crossword: I will splurge on major things in my life, but then balk at the price of a monthly crossword puzzle subscription. After several years of sticking to the NY Times mini crosswords, I finally upped my game and G got me the subscription to the full size, which also lets me access the archives. 


10. Ice cape: I've written about my chronic neck pain several times and one of the simplest solutions to managing headaches is this ice cape. It's brutal at first—the iced cape drapes over my shoulders, neck, and up into the base of my skull—but hits all of the spots that need it most. It's become part of my nightly routine when G and I watch TV and the first thing I reach for anytime I've tweaked my neck.


11. R+Co Zig Zag Root Teasing and Texture Spray: I haven't done anything to my hair in nearly a year—both in terms of color and heat styling—so it's all the more important that the products I use pull their weight. R+Co's Zig Zag spray smells as luxurious as a high-end perfume and adds just enough grit to my hair to offer lived-in volume.


12. SkyGenius Clip On Fan: G found this miniature fan for his Peloton and, for such a small size, it makes a big difference. It can be charged ahead of time so you don't have to mess with any wires and he uses his so much that nearly everyone on our team bought one as well at his recommendation.


13. Philips Pasta Maker: My mom has made pasta by hand on and off for the majority of my life, and the process is anything but simple. It takes an entire afternoon, uses every surface of the kitchen (including the handles of brooms balanced on chairs for the drying portion), and makes a huge mess. So when Leslie first started showing her pasta maker on Instagram (and singing its praises in the office), I knew we had to get one. I've admittedly never used it, but benefit from fresh pasta at least three times a week made by G, and it's made dinners a lot more exciting.


14. Caudalie Instant Detox and Moisturizing Masks: These aren't technically a new buy, as I've used and loved both of these masks for years, but I've been getting more use out of them than ever before. I alternate between the two, depending on whether my skin is feeling dull and drab (Instant Detox) or parched and irritated (Moisturizing) and find that putting one on before a bath is as close to a spa appointment as I'll have for the time being. 


15. Philips alarm clock (#gifted): I got this early in the fall, when it's dark and cold in the mornings and infinitely harder to get out of bed. This clock slowly goes from black to a glowing peach, that mimics the sun, and offers customizable alarm sounds that are truly stunning. The Nepalese bells are so enchanting, as is the pretty light that gently wakes me up, that I've recommended this to pretty much everyone I know.


16. Oster wine bottle opener: G bought this for us after our last bottle opener broke. When I went to grab it the first time and found it so easy to use, I just assumed it was really expensive. I had no idea it's such a bargain at under $20. For those of you who've also been known to either break the cork or jam it into the bottle of wine, this is for you.


17. Artis brushes (#gifted): These are the most luxurious makeup brushes I've ever used—they literally feel like bunny fur that's caressing your face every time you apply foundation (don't worry, they're vegan). I worked with the brand for the first time earlier this year and haven't applied makeup without using one of their brushes ever since. Not only do they elevate the process, but they distribute products evenly, so they're blended perfectly and requires less makeup. It's a win-win.


18. Opal ice maker: G got this for my birthday this year, and while it's entirely unnecessary, I can't believe how much I adore it. It's a splurge for sure, but if you're as passionate about pebble ice (the kind they have at old-school pizza parlors) as me, you'll understand. I use it for everything from iced lattes and sun tea to gin and tonics and bubbly water and, based on the amount of people who have bought it and thanked me, it's one of the most random and brilliant things in our kitchen.


19. HyperChiller: Clearly temperature is a bit of a thing for me and, if you fall into that same camp, you should consider this gadget. It's a tumbler that you store in the freezer and then when you want to make any beverage cold—whether it's scalding coffee or room temperature wine—you pour it in, swirl it around, and within a minute you have a frigid beverage.

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