Whoa, it's… August? How was 2020 the most painstakingly slow year ever, despite its painful chaosity, and yet 2021 is whizzing by at the speed of Motörhead's greatest riffs? Somehow, we're in the third trimester of the summer, and while it's still a sweaty 'stravaganza, we're already starting to think about our old friend fall. Anyway, this summer has felt pretty different than last one, and we've been keeping an eye on you, dear readers, for interesting insights about what you've been up to.
If what you've been buying from Rec Room's reviews and recommendations is any indication, you're slathering yourselves in CBD lube, electrocuting your friends, whitening your teeth after a year of poor quarantine dental hygiene, upgrading your WFH setup, and doing butt stuff. No bad ideas here.
Here's what VICE readers bought the most from our stories in July 2021, from gonzo board games to art books to sex stuff.
An iconic Le Creuset dreamboat
Yeah, we've all wanted a proper Le Creuset Dutch oven forever—not only because they look cool, but also because they're known for their durability, timelessness, and cooking your food super evenly. This sauteuse finally went on sale, and it was time to add it to our cart for real. It's the perfect size for a stew for two, a grip of chicken thighs, or a batch of mac and cheese that you want to finish off in the oven. Just gotta decide if you want "cerise," "indigo," "deep teal," or "sea salt."
Teeth whitening strips that work shockingly well
Last month, our editorial director Hilary Pollack mentioned that she picked up this Crest whitening kit on a whim with zero expectations, figuring that she would have to make a later trip to the dentist for a proper zap, only to discover that her teeth looked very noticeably whiter after using only two of the kit's strips—though, of course, she eventually finished the whole pack, with amazing results. It's all in the included blue light device, which megacharges the strips' whitening power and (in this case) reversed years of stains from drinking tons of iced tea. (Hilary: "I like iced tea, OK???") We know, we know—whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes don't seem to do shit; but this set actually works.
A game that will shock you (like, literally electrocute you)
Our staff writer Mary Frances Knapp took this electrocution-based game of reflexes, Lightning Reaction Reloaded, for a spin with her buds, and gave it two thumbs up on both the zip-zap and deviant-fun scales. Ready to see if your friends really love you? Challenge them to a round.
An affordable air purifier for getting ahead of prime fire season
Yes, we know fire season is already underway and that things are burning in many parts of the country already. But come early fall, when things really get bad, air purifiers often sell out—meaning your home could be a smoky, hazardous mess if you don't plan ahead. We asked an expert what to look for in an air purifier, and ran down some top picks; this Mooka one is a great choice because it's budget-friendly (yep, under $100), quiet, powerful, and meets all the marks on the checklist.
A wall-mounted dispenser for happy butthole care
Our editor Ian Burke tried Fohm, a wall-mounted ass-wipe system hoping to stop us all from clogging our sewer systems with wipes that claim to be "flushable" but actually just create terrifying trash icebergs in our pipes. Anyway, he said using his Fohm dispenser is actually a lovely, pleasant, soothing, hygienic experience—and it looks like y'all's curiosity was piqued.
Speaking of butts, beginner butt toys
From classic anal beads to a "booty boot camp training kit," y'all were all about the peach this month. Feels good, right? (You grabbed some super highly rated condoms, too; smart!)
… And the best CBD lube out there
Foria's game-changing, five-star CBD lube is beloved by users for helping to relax and release tension when you're in ~*~the bedroom~*~, and many fans say it can even improve orgasms during sex and masturbation. “We formulated Awaken with synergistic botanicals plus broad-spectrum CBD from hemp—which has numerous beneficial effects, including decrease in muscular tension, enhanced blood flow and decreased pain signaling,” says the Foria team. And one reviewer even says it made her vagina feel "warm and cozy." Why wouldn't you want this stuff?
A toy that tap-dances on your clit
There's a reason Better Love's cult-fave Tap Dancer toy is such a hit… It pitter-patters on your magic button with such precision that you're pretty much guaranteed to have a fireworks-level 'gasm. The perfect reviews are well-deserved, and it's on sale right now at Ella Paradis.
A cool Vans collab on kitchen shoes
Vans never go out of style (knock on wood… please, let us have this forever, zoomers) and their recent collab with kitchenwear brand Hedley & Bennett has been a huge smash. These Sk8-Hi Tops with colorful soles just got back into stock, so snag them soon before they disappear again.
A compression swim top for anyone and everyone
Are you a non-binary beach bum? A tomboy who doesn't want your tatas out in a triangle top? A masc with a little extra wiggle in the chest area? Our writer Mel Compo offered an awesome rundown on swimsuit options for non-binary folks, and lots of readers picked up this compression top, which suits tons of different body types, comes in lots of neat prints (love a paint splatter), and holds everything in place. It's also available in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to 4XL.
A lap desk, because somehow it just occurred to us that WFH can be less miserable
Many of us are almost a year and a half into working from home, but we've held off from buying simple upgrades that could make the experience way more comfortable than trying to curl up in a decade-old, falling-apart IKEA dining chair or scalding our thighs with our overheated laptop five days a week. We pulled together some easy ideas for making your WFH space actually, like, livable, and one of the best tips is to get a lap desk, so you can still work on your sofa, but a lot more comfortably.
The coffee table book for architecture heads
Is it just us, or did everyone get really into architecture and interior decorating over the last few years? Even our bonehead skater friends are suddenly talking about Brutalism and Eames chairs? The fuck? Anyway, architecture actually is a pretty rad thing to look upon and think about, and when TASCHEN had a huge sale a few weeks back, a bunch of you picked up this Frank Lloyd Wright book, which is [ahem] an "authoritative overview" (it's 504 pages long!) of his body of work. (For those of you more homoerotically inclined, the big Tom of Finland book was also a bestseller.)
A statement mirror that reminds us of ‘Rocko's Modern Life’
One of the easiest ways to give your lil apartment that expensive-candle-scented vibe that murmurs "I have taste" is to get a statement mirror. Our writer Mary Frances Knapp picked this affordable mirror from the funky Croatian mirror shop Unique Cat Mirrors as one of her fave ways to zhuzh up the art energy in your spot (without spending a million bucks), and you picked it up to adorn your walls.
A can't-go-wrong disposable camera
Maybe you wanna make some of your own art; that's cool, too. We love disposable cameras for their unfussy, automatically cinematic results, and as we explain in our rundown of the best disposable cameras, the Fujifilm QuickSnap is foolproof and takes dreamy, color-drenched images. Grab a few and make the most of the last days of summer.
Wanna know what our staff bought (and loved) in July? Here ya go. ‘Til next month… stay freaky, kids.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.