Man, WTF happened in March? No, literally, can you tell us? We don’t remember. Uh… Everything Everywhere All at Once won every film award on the planet, and John Wick 4 finally came out, putting an end to next spring’s Oscars race. There was some kind of basketball tournament—is that still going on? Anyway, the month is behind us now, so let's dig in to the March edition of Backed Hard, where VICE’s product-obsessed editors and writers share their fave personal scores from the past month. Naturally, it’s full of dope tunes, killer kitchen gear, relaxing pillows—oh, just remembered that Sleep Week happened—and a perfect doormat.
Some of us whittled away March snorkeling in bathtubs full of Kewpie mayonnaise, while others were just listening to “Mayonaise” and making dishes out of Ina Garten cookbooks. We were mainlining espresso from Breville’s gorgeous Nespresso Creatista Pro, stompin’ through town in a cozy sweater drinking prebiotic banana cream soda, having sex to Sade vinyls, and zoning out with fidget spinners. All things considered, it was a pretty good month (what we remember of it, at least). Read on, and find out how we got through it.
I love this mayonnaise more than I love my grandmother
We don’t get to pick our blood relatives, but we do get to pick the mayonnaise that makes it into our sandwiches, on our fries, and drizzled over our poke bowls. Kewpie is to mayo what Maldon is to salt; a gateway into Flavortown that makes you realize how great a staple can be when it’s done right (and how hard it is to go back to anything else). Kewpie’s Japanese mayo is made from egg yolk instead of whole egg, which is why it has the kind of rich, umami taste I can only describe as mayo in high def. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp
These affordable ceramic plates that have Heath shaking in its boots
As someone in my [mumbles] mid-thirties, I recently decided that I needed to adultify my kitchen objets, including upgrading my plate situation (previously a visionless mishmash of various white and patterned dishware accumulated from the last six or so places I’ve lived). Yes, a unified ceramic aesthetic seemed like just the ticket to curing my existentialist ennui. Anyway, it turns out that the really nice stuff is pretty pricey—like, $50 per plate for the fancy brands like Heath. But this is capitalism, baby; we’ve got options. These suuuper handsome ceramic Mora plates from Amazon are only $54.99 for a set of six, and have that covetable shape (flat with a perpendicular rim) that opera-sings “garnished with microgreens” and elevates every meal you enjoy on them, even if it’s just a microwaved quesadilla. The very first night I unboxed them and served them to a visitor, I got a compliment. —Hilary Pollack
Do ostriches get good sleep? Because I sure did.
I constantly have an achy neck, whether it be from hunching over my laptop or accidentally sleeping in a strange position all night. This means any products that can tackle my neck pain are warmly welcomed. Needless to say, I hit a goldmine with this memory foam pillow. Not only was I able to fall asleep faster with my comfortable head position literally… well, memorized in the memory foam, but I was also able to go through my day with no neck pain. To be sure it was not a fluke, I went back to sleeping with my normal pillows, and, much to my chagrin, the neck pain resumed. Buy this, and don’t go back. —Becca Sax
A super inexpensive pack of fidget spinners
When the fidget spinner craze happened, I had exactly zero interest in it. Why would I play with a toy when I feel anxious or bored? I thought. I’ll just drink wine like everybody else. Not too long ago, though, I heard that a friend of mine (who I deeply respect) used fidget spinners to focus during meetings and conversations at work. I recalled how, during meetings and phone calls at my desk, I’m usually just touching everything and opening and closing a wine key that’s sitting in front of me. So, I decided to check out this package of fidget spinners that’s literally $10. Now, I use this MF thing every goddamn day. —Adam Rothbarth
The best condoms (that feel like you’re wearing nothing)
LELO is the luxury Swedish sexual wellness brand that makes some of VICE editors’ favorite vibrators, and its ultra-strong, ultra-smooth condoms 1) don’t smell like balloons 2) are super comfortable (so I hear from partners) and thin. A must for the nightstand/Jansport. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp
The Carhartt stays on
My furry bundle of joy just grew out of his puppy collar (weeps thinking about the thought of him ever dying), but I cheered
us me up by procuring the swaggiest new accessory for him to flaunt on the streets of Brooklyn— a Carhartt RealTree camo dog collar, natch. It’s a breeze to clip on and off, not to mention it’s available on Amazon so it will only take a day or two to land in your mailbox. —Becca Blasdel
The best record for making out
I stopped collecting records when I moved to [rips some Gauloises] Europe in my twenties, so my LP collection is a 2013 time capsule—which would be fine if giving a decent blow job to Neutral Milk Hotel was possible. That’s why I made a promise to myself to start bringing more classic, sultry records into the mix, such as this (double LP) The Best of Sade vinyl. Not only is it wildly affordable and extensive, but it’s a guaranteed ~smooth operator~ for your evenings of easy listening, making out, or hosting friends for drinks. —Mary Frances “Francky” Knapp
This Nespresso machine makes me feel like a pro barista
I’m just not meant for complicated coffee setups that require measuring, grinding, and knowing, like, ratios of water and stuff, but I am meant for enjoying oat milk lattes at home. As a result, I’ve been reveling in the wonder of the Breville Nespresso Creatista Pro, a magical appliance that combines the ease of use of Nespresso machines with the many beverage options that an automated espresso machine provides, from flat whites to lattes. Surprisingly simple to use and clean, it has provided me with a never-ending supply of perfect cappuccinos for the last couple of months all at the press of a button and wipe of a milk-frothing wand. I’ve been meaning to write a full and proper review of this machine for a while—and I will—but it has so many incredible features that it’s taking time to properly document each and every one. This espresso machine is truly straight out of The Jetsons. —Hilary Pollack
I (and my mug) are ti-ta-ni-um
After wrapping an homage to cult-fave Japanese outerwear label Snow Peak, I realized I was lacking one of the brand’s smallest (and most affordable) investment pieces: a Ti-Single 450 mug. For those unfamiliar, Snow Peak is well-known for its use of Titanium in a suite of products; the metal is incredibly lightweight and durable, making it the perfect medium to craft camping gear, cookware and tools. The Ti-Single 450 is, at its core, just a supremely lightweight mug with a handle that can fold into its body. That said, given that the mug can handle high temps and even be placed directly over an open flame, it’s quickly becoming my mug for just about anything. Whether it’s holding my fourth cup of coffee or that day’s ramen noodles for lunch, the TI-Single 450 now holds permanent real estate on my desk (right next to my lucky block of wood; it’s a long story—don’t ask). —Gregory Babcock
This toothpaste that tastes like a creamsicle
Don’t ask me about toothpaste chemistry, but do ask me about flavors, because I’m really tired of mint. I’m a huge proponent of fancy toothpaste (shoutout to Marvis, my primary) but recently have been enjoying the creamsicle-like taste of Boka’s Orange Cream Space Paste, which, yes, is for children, but so what? If it’s good enough for baby Avalon or Ryder, it’s good enough for me. Plus, it’s a natural toothpaste made with nano-hydroxyapatite, a popular ingredient in Japanese toothpastes that restores enamel, reduces sensitivity, and is 100% non-toxic. But hey, did I mention that this stuff tastes good? —Angel Kilmister
A lost art
Nowadays, no one writes handwritten letters, but they should. I remember my mother forcing me to write thank-you notes to each one of the guests who attended my bat mitzvah at my coming of age. There was unbearable hand cramping, but I learned the value in a thoughtful, handwritten note. Now that I’m older and wiser, I write thank you notes for all occasions, including finishing things off with a fancy wax seal to spice things up. Everyone deserves the excitement that comes with seeing a letter addressed to them in the mail. —Becca Sax
This washable silk weighted eye mask
Falling asleep is easy for me; staying asleep is trickier. It took me an embarrassingly long time to get proper curtains in my bedroom, but some light still sneaks in, often at the time when you least want it to (an hour and a half before your alarm goes off; can the birds please shut up?). A silk sleep mask can totally change the game, providing not just an air of luxury, but a genuinely practical solution to reminding your body that it’s snooze time. Lunya makes an array of amazing sleep and loungewear products (my beau practically lives in the Cotton Silk Joggers), but the new weighted washable silk eye mask is truly a revelation—it’s filled with tiny glass beads that gently cradle and massage your face and keep the mask in place. And yes, you can put it in the fridge and wear it when you have a hangover for a refreshing, spa-like recovery session. —Angel Kilmister
Soda that tastes like bananas???
I love diet soda, but have been trying to find healthier alternatives to fulfill my guilty pleasure. I was in the bodega one day and found soda that tastes like a literal banana cream pie from Olipop. This isn’t just any ordinary soda though—it a) was originally concocted to promote the last Minions movie, but was so popular the brand decided to keep it and b) supports digestive health with prebiotics and a whopping nine grams of fiber. Who said soda couldn’t be good for your health? —Nicolette Accardi
A glass rinser, like the one they have in bars—but in your kitchen sink
As a person who enjoys drinking at bars, I’ve often marveled at those little spray gadgets they have built into the well that allows bartenders to clean glasses in just a couple of seconds. So when my kitchen was recently being remodeled, I was like… I wonder if you can just put one of those in your house, and folks, the answer is yes. For just $57 ($42 if you use the currently available coupon), you, too, can simply press your glass down on one of these suckers and have it sprayed to sparkling perfection in less time than it takes to say “I’ll have another Negroni.” —Hilary Pollack
Fattening up my pooch the healthy way
Contrary to popular belief, there are picky dogs out there, and I happen to own one. In addition to being allergic to chicken, which is in practically everything they make for pets, my rescue mutt is also fairly discerning. I have wasted plenty of money on food and treats that he turns his nose up at, but much to my surprise, the dude absolutely loves Petaluma’s sweet potato jerky and dog food. Which is truly a blessing, because I can spoil him with as many treats I deem “reasonable” without worrying about his health. —Becca Blasdel
The simple doormat of my dreams
I swear to you: It was a challenge finding a simple jute doormat that satisfied my picky taste. This option from Revival Rugs is sub-$50, high-quality, works for indoor or outdoor use, and honestly just makes me happy when I come home each day. —Kate Spencer
Enter the Ina-verse
I recently bought a bunch of Ina Garten cookbooks and tried to figure out what people love so much about her. I reported my findings here, but the spell these books have over me lingers. All I want to do is make truffled mac and cheese and Campari orange spritzers. If you want a good entry point, start with Modern Comfort Food; but the romantic Cooking for Jeffrey, which honors Ina’s relationship with her husband, might be my favorite. —Adam Rothbarth
Get a load of this garbage
T-minus one day until Earth Month, people—hurry up and look responsible. One incredibly easy step you can take to a happier planet is making the switch to these sustainable plant-based trash, recycling, and zip-top storage bags. Not only are they much cuter than your regular-degular black Hefty’s, they also break down cleanly, without producing microplastics or toxic residue. —Becca Blasdel
See you next month.
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