We did it, buddy. We made it through one of the weirdest summers in recent history, and rounded out the last of AC season with some shopping finds that feel like a hug in a box, or else a jolt of ingenuity. This month, our editors bought some real life-wrangling stuff, in true Virgo season fashion, from fancy French steak knives to solid shelving; even more KN95s (have you seen the latest?), to a multi-cup coffee pot to stay hot and juiced. We also sought out comfort items, like the all-time greatest cinnamon-raisin peanut butter and an essential oil that eases nausea and descongestion, because fall is here [drop kicks pumpkin] and it's time to prep that honker for crisp, cool eves (and flu season).
Here’s all the stuff we bought and won’t shut-up about this September. It’s a whole lot of deliciousness, a bit psychedelic, and even, we dare say, life-changing.
The one true best peanut butter
I hate—let me reiterate—hate crunchy peanut butter. I don't want to argue about it, but I'm a creamy girl. That being said, I'm cool with extra oomph in my PB; I just don't want it to be in the form of chunks of peanut. That's why this peanut butter is perfect; in addition to its ridiculously addictive cinnamony flavor, it also has a textural sandy grit to it courtesy of the cinnamon sugar and raisins. God, it rocks. Buy a few jars at a time, because it goes fast. —Hilary Pollack
An essential oil that clears your head and soothes your stomach
I used to buy this at the Indian market in Paris, and haven’t been able to find it at a single essential oil/wellness store yet in New York (but I’m a n00b; holler if you know of a joint). If you’re a vommi mami/always blowing your nose (hiiii buddyyy), or if you’re just bracing yourself for cold and flu season, niaouli is your secret weapon. It’s like a lesser-known cousin of tea tree and eucalyptus, and has many of the same decongestive and antiseptic properties, but it feels a little gentler and also calms my stomach when I get the gut flips; I just put a few drops on a tissue and inhale until I calm down. Which sounds really extra, but it’s basically like DIY Vicks. Not that I’m a doctor giving medical advice (I repeat: Not giving medical advice), but Mama gotta have her niaouli. — Mary Frances Knapp
I’M FROM JERSEY, DUDE
WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE MUSIC! NO, NO, I’M FROM NEW JERSEY! NO, IT’S NOT LIKE JERSEY SHORE, THOSE PEOPLE ARE FROM NEW YORK! WELL, ONE IS FROM RHODE ISLAND AND—YOU KNOW WHAT, IT DOESN’T MATTER! LISTEN, I JUST GOT THIS NEW T-SHIRT, YOU LIKE IT? WAIT, WHAT DID YOU SAY YOU WANTED? CUBA LIBRE? THAT’S A RUM AND COKE WITH LIME? WHERE D’YOU THINK Y’ARE, MIAMI FLAH-RIDA? GETTHEFUCKOUTTAHERE! — Ian Burke
The Japanese-style toilet seat of my dreams
I've been obsessed with fancy Japanese toilets and generally bidet-curious for a while, but the thing is, I didn't want to settle for one of those little easy-install nozzles to blast my arse with cold water (although several of my friends have them, and are very happy with them). No—I wanted the full, gazillion-button, many-featured toilet experience, with so many bells and whistles that my tuchus would essentially be getting an all-day package at the spa. For a long while, I was intimidated by the seemingly Byzantine installation process and some of the laughably high prices I saw online for fancy toilets and seats—buddy, I do not have an extra $2,500 to be spent on a commode. But blessedly, I had the fortune of receiving Coway's Bidetmega 150, which is perfect for moi; it has multiple spray modes, customizable water and seat temperature, and even a built-in nightlight. Installation was surprisingly easy (not, like, 30 seconds, but totally done in less than 30 minutes), and it started improving my quality of bathroom experience instantly. After only a few weeks, I can't imagine life without it—and it's still way cheaper than a ticket to Tokyo. (It's also on sale right now.) —Hilary Pollack
A psychedelic, Wild West zine for chili lovers and aspiring cowboys
Do you have a soft spot for cowboy poets, and cooked witticisms like, “today's rainbow is tomorrow's tamale"? Then you probably already know of Terry Allen (to ~whomst~ that quote is attributed), and maybe even Blank Forms, the non-profit art review whose latest edition features both the psychedelic cover artwork and photographs of Allen, who the Los Angeles Times called a “living legend” of the 1970s Texas art scene, and an interview with the artist and songwriter. There’s also a juicy convo between Thulani Davis and Jessica Hagedorn, trippy philosophical musings by René Daumal, and so much more, but Allen steals the show. Only that dirty, clever man from Lubbock could turn an armpit fart into poetry. — Mary Frances Knapp
A smol coffee machine
Coffee, as we all know, is the staff of life. It lets us wake up early, helps keep us regular, and improves pretty much everything we do. Plus, who wants white teeth? We won the Revolutionary War because we made the switch from tea to the hard stuff. (Also, tea?? What are we, monks?) People who don’t drink coffee are missing out on the caffeinated joys of life (and also jitters and anxiety, but don’t worry, we got you). Anyway, I have a roommate that only drinks massive iced coffees from Dunkin’, so I downsized to a more manageable, 5-Cup Mr. Coffee. It’s super easy to use and cranks out drip like a lil’ beast. — Ian Burke
The sexiest steak knives
IDK how I made it this long without steak knives, trying to cut ribeye and duck with my kitschy iridescent flatware for the last however many years (SMH), but recently, I was like, I've gotta cave and just get some—not a full set of a dozen or anything crazy like that, but a few to have around for myself and a few guests. I snagged this classic Laguiole set of 4 in "neutral tones" and they are goddamn gorgeous, and slice through filet mignon like it's their job. Cuz, well, it is. I got mine from Nordstrom Rack, but they must be in high demand (or maybe this color combo is getting discontinued) because they're currently out of stock everywhere but Amazon, but luckily they are on sale. —Hilary Pollack
Tie dye for toddlers (and adults)
If you have a sister who lives in California with a beautiful Californian toddler, you must send the Golden State baby a sick tie dye ‘fit. Y’know, just to keep it crunchy. This indie tie dye operation out of North Carolina has $4.50 flat rate shipping, and patterns that include a psychedelic kayak, tripped-out pumpkin, and more. Given that my nephew’s current interests are corn dogs and the color red, this one was perfect. He’ll feel like a hippie Power Ranger. — Mary Frances Knapp
A shelf fit for a king-sized pile of junk
I’m a semi-closeted homebrewer, and 90% of the things I buy online are ingredients and supplies that I can’t get at my local homebrew shop. The problem is, most of the things I buy are useless for the average person, which is why you don’t see packets of yeast and hops on this column every week. There are, however, beautiful times when I get to shill for homebrewing while also recommending a product that I bought for brewing—in this case, these easy-to-install utility shelves. You’ve definitely seen these in a retail store, restaurant, or bodega before, and for good reason: They slap. I use them to house a ton of brewing shit, but you can use them for extra storage space in a pantry or closet. Plus, then you won’t have to explain to your boss why your Zoom background looks like a meth lab. — Ian Burke
Giant tweezers for any and all purposes
I have too many magnets on my fridge, holding various photobooth strips and random memorabilia, and occasionally one of the magnets fails and a photo will fall into the crack between my fridge and the countertop. I was looking for a tool to help me retrieve my lost materials, and came upon these giant tweezers that are made for feeding crickets to lizards but are also helpful for a billion other tasks??? In addition to grabbing stuff that's fallen into nooks, they can also be used for plating food, or any number of delicate tasks around the house (i.e. grabbing pills out of a bottle, getting jewelry that's fallen into the sink again, taking spiders outside). Like, why don't we all have giant tweezers? According to reviewers, they are actually great for feeding reptiles and frogs, if that's your thing. Love this note from a happy buyer: "Strong. Easy clean up. Dragon not intimidated by them. Turned out I didn't need them so long. I was a sissy when I ordered them for feeding purpose." —Hilary Pollack
The only makeup remover I will buy, ever
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I learned how bad it is to take your makeup off with hot water and a cleanser simultaneously (staaaaaahp, you’ll just froth it deeper into your skin). Instead, a French dermatologist once scolded me, one should remove, then cleanse–so I have been using this non-clogging, non-scented oil by the Japanese skincare brand DHC to gently take off my Face™ ever since. I use one pump with cold water, lightly rub, rinse, and then cleanse with a facial soap (specifically: the brand’s five-star rated face soap, which is under $15) and warm water before finally slapping on whatever toner and lotions I need. I know everyone’s skin is different, but this regimen is damn near perfect. No colorants, no perfumes, just a job well did for oily and dry skin alike. It’s so good, it feels almost... stealthy? Give it to the mortician for me. That’s how much I need it in this life, and the next. — Mary Frances Knapp
Cool masks that actually work
If you’re not into the construction worker look (how?), these blacked-out KN95s are a great alternative to the sterile-looking white masks you’ve been rocking. Plus, if you’re trying to match your outfits to your mask—honestly, who isn’t—they come in a variety of fun colors. If you’re not into these, we have options, options, options, dude. — Ian Burke
See you next month, goblin babes.
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