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What Our Team Loved in February

A monthly series, corralling the various food, products, and entertainment we're currently enjoying.
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We try to make environmentally friendly choices whenever possible, from installing solar panels and LED lights to changing our garden to drought-resistant plants and using bamboo toilet paper (which is still a bit of an adjustment, tbh). But when it comes to my beauty routine, I had a hard time figuring out ways to improve that wouldn't be a huge inconvenience I'd ultimately ditch over time. Since removing eye makeup is part of my nightly routine, I go through cotton pads with some regularity. I worried that finding a reusable option would feel dirty or unappealing, but it couldn't be further from the truth. I bought a pack of 10 bamboo and cotton pads that comes with its own mesh bag that hold the used ones so when you wash them they don't get lost. I find that having to wash them once every week and a half is more than doable and, as an added bonus, they're not only way softer than normal cotton pads, but also do a much better job.

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I'm not sure what I did to deserve a spot on Violet Grey's PR list, but last week I received a gorgeous box of goodies from Zitsticka and Pursoma, including this Press Refresh Hydrogel Exfoliating Sheet Mask. While most sheet masks I've come across are focused on moisturizing and plumping, this one is targeted at unclogging pores, with Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. I'm already a huge fan of ZitSticka's "Killa Stickas", which are a favorite for targeting the deeper hormonal acne I get on my chin monthly and am thrilled to add this exfoliating sheet mask to my routine, as needed! (Gifted)

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Back in June, Klur was all over my Instagram feed as lists of Black-owned businesses highlighted everything from face masks to chic shoes—and its sophisticated branding and pared-down product assortment caught my eye. Mid-December, a package arrived on my doorstep from them, with a bottle of their Elements of Comfort Body Oil, a holiday gift from Kelly. This stuff is magic. The scent is androgynous (with notes of neroli orange blossom, Bulgarian rose, and French lavender) that most closely resembles the smell of an expensive spa, while the formula is impressively effective. My (notoriously dry) legs stay smooth and moisturized for over a day after application, and I've been using it in tandem with my Kate McLeod Body Stone after every shower (which I'm also obsessed with, but exclusively apply to my arms so I don't go through it too quickly!). (Gifted)

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About a month ago, Matt James posted an Instagram story of him dumping all of the Ithaca Hummus on the grocery store shelf into his shopping basket with one swoop of his arm. At the time, I thought to myself, "Well that's one hell of an endorsement!" and went about my day. The next time I was at Sprouts, I saw Ithaca hummus for the first time and starting laughing right there in the hummus section, fully realizing that I was about to be #influenced. I didn't sweep them all into my cart, but I did get both the Lemon Beet and Lemon Garlic flavors, and WOW. I'm not loving his season of "The Bachelor" (or really anything going on in Bachelor Nation right now), but I fully appreciate Matt's taste in hummus!

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Moving into a new apartment really exposed how many household essentials I lacked, including a good pair of house shoes. I know this varies by household and personal preference but in Filipino culture we always leave our regular shoes by the door. The same goes for our guests. When I'm not barefoot, I usually use a pair of flip flops as my house shoes. L.A.'s cold weather and my hard wood floors left me needing something a little cozier. After a long internet search, I quickly realized there weren't a lot of options that ticked all my boxes. I settled on this pair by Jeffrey Campbell and the real thing actually exceeded my expectations. I've always gravitated toward a slide and love how substantial these feel. The platform provides a cushiony support that seems to mold to your feet the more you wear them. Such a simple purchase feels like a small token of settling in to my new home.

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It’s been about a year since my eyes were first opened to the magical experience of grocery shopping at a Trader Joe’s. I never had the opportunity to go until moving into my apartment on the Atlanta Beltline, just steps from my local TJ’s and its sliding doors that seem to effortlessly draw in hungry shoppers. I’ve popped in from time to time to sniff around for new snacks and cheap wine, but will admit that in 2021 I’ve moved on to the next level as a solid regular. This may or may not have to do with wanting to see the cute cashier I’ve developed a slight crush on... but I digress. If you’ve been to a Trader Joe’s then you probably know how phenomenal their dip selection is, but it wasn’t until this past month that I became hooked on the Buffalo Chicken Dip. Buffalo flavored anything is always top tier in my opinion, but this is on another level. It’s been my go-to snack during the work week and I honestly need to calm down because the obsession’s getting a little out of hand, but if you’re ever craving a creamy and spicy snack, do your taste buds a favor and indulge in this dip.

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For our House Beautiful shoot a few months back, Katie Hodges brought in the most exquisite stools to go alongside the cozy chair in our bedroom (I'll be sharing photos next week!). They were vintage, one small and the other just a bit larger, and were the perfect complement to the fuzzy fabric of the furniture. But they were also very expensive and since we preferred to spend on items that made more of an impact in the house (ie our dining room chandelier, vintage chairs, etc), I decided not to keep/buy them after the shoot. I'd been looking for a similar set ever since and am so happy with the teak stools I found from Serena & Lily. They're affordable, chic, and still have similar imperfections as the vintage pair for a fraction of the price.

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In a perfect world, I'd be able to bring Toast to a puppy training class—but in the meantime, we've been using Puppr to introduce him to simple tricks. The app teaches basic commands, but also new dog basics (like crate training, and grooming), and troubleshooting issues like separation anxiety on their premium membership. We've been slowly making our way through the "New Dog" section, and have successfully taught him "Sit" and "Down," using the app's instructions! #ProudDogMom

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I spend...a lot of time in front of screens. Whether it's my laptop during the workday, my phone on my off hours, or even the Peloton when I'm exercising, I've finally come to realize just how much my eyes deserve a little break from the never-ending blue light. Over the last few years, I've come to accept that I am a puzzle person, and enjoy both the slow pace and the challenge of each one I attempt to tackle. So when my friend Alisha of Girls' Night In launched her passion project and sibling brand, Whiled, a collection of whimsical, art-driven puzzles, I jumped at the chance to try one, and it has both become a refuge for my tired eyes and given Justin and me an activity to work on that doesn't involve Netflix, Hulu, or HBO. (Gifted)

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I gave up caffeine a few years ago, and ever since I've been casually hunting for alternatives to decaf coffee to complete my mornings. Golde is a Black-owned brand that I am pretty sure I discovered somewhere in the depths of Instagram, and I finally decided to test out their turmeric latte blend. I'm still trying to master exactly how I like to prepare it, but so far I'm really enjoying it with hot water and some cream (although it's even better mixed into a glass of oat milk). With the time I get back from forgoing my drip coffee routine, I've been sitting outside in my driveway soaking up some sunshine before I start the work day and loving every minute of it. 

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One of the things I miss most from pre-pandemic life is thrift shopping. My weekends regularly consisted of trips to the flea market or checking out new thrift stores. While things have slowly started to open up, it's exciting to see just how many people are starting online second-hand shops. They're more curated than your average thrift shop which is reflected in the price, but I know the hunt and respect that. Recently, I snagged this lovely basket bag from the account @shopmrkt. The bag is by the french brand Rouje which is owned by Jeanne Damas, whose style is everything to me. I discovered this shop when they were at one of the local flea markets I used to frequent so it was kind of a full circle moment. What sets them apart from other second-hand accounts is their selection of modern brands. If you are looking for something a little trendier but want to support a local female-owned business, I highly recommend giving them a follow. If you also live in L.A., they recently opened up a shopfront in Silverlake!

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I first binged this show when it was released last February and thought it’d only be fitting to rewatch this month in its honor, especially since it was canceled in August, which Cass and I still haven’t fully gotten over. When it first came out my friend immediately texted me that I had to watch because the soundtrack was top notch and that I reminded her of the main character, Rob, played by Zoë Kravitz (which I took as a huge compliment, but also, I’m fully aware that I’m not as cool). Besides the fact that Rob is cool as hell and has the best style, she also owns a record store, has an impeccable taste in music, aaaaand dates some hot people. Oh, and she lives in a pretty sick Brooklyn apartment. Without giving too much away, because I passionately feel that everyone should watch this show, it’s essentially about Rob’s mission to track down her exes in search of closure and understanding of why her relationships failed, all while trying to survive her most recent heartbreak. A Rom-Com to its core, I found myself laughing, crying, and relating way too much to Rob’s tragic love life.

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