Since March 13, my weekly Screen Time report has increased by roughly infinity percent. This is mostly due to doom-scrolling, of course, as well as watching TikToks on Twitter but not on TikTok because I am a woman in my late 30s and I am trying to maintain some dignity, thank you very much. But I can also attribute this eight-month digital deluge to a new, even more destructive habit: online shopping.
It started innocently enough. We’ve been spending a lot more time at home, so I started buying little things to make the place a little more...homey. A scented oil diffuser. New, four-year-old friendlier bar stools. A storage unit for the hallway. A butt-load of scented candles. Indoor plants that thrive in environments of low light and neglect.
But the longer this whole thing dragged on, the more I noticed all the things in my apartment that needed zhuzhing. And the more minutes I log on video calls, the more I notice all the things on my face that need zhuzhing, too. (Fine lines and wrinkles, anyone?)
I have a tendency to talk about all this needed zhuzhing, which wouldn’t be a problem except my phone listens and reports back to its robot overlords, by which I mean Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. And then the next thing I know, I’m buying an ear wax removal tool from an Instagram ad. Six million years of human existence and they have yet to give us something better than the cotton swab. Six. Million. Years. (Yes, I know cotton swabs are not supposed to go in the ear, thanks MOM. Why do you think I bought the tool?!) Either my ear canals are already clean enough to eat out of (doubtful), or this thing is garbage. Do not recommend. One star, but only because my kid thinks it’s a screwdriver.
There is good news, though. My spotty judgement and lack of self-restraint is your Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday advantage because here is a non-exhaustive list of the good things I’ve purchased as part of an ongoing, unsuccessful effort to fill the expansive void where my will to live used to be. (None of these companies are giving me money, I just really like all these things and I think you will, too.)
The “Extra” Collection
SodaStream Fizzi. If you ever come to my house, I will offer you water and I will ask you “sparkling or still?” And you’ll think I’m messing with you and you will be wrong. Because I have a SodaStream. There came a point in Quar when the recycling bin could no longer hold crushed Diet Coke cans and my partner and the planet said, “Enough!” So, instead of quitting, I bought this sparkling water maker. It is far and away the yuppiest thing I’ve ever had and it has changed my life. Buy it this weekend for half of what I paid.
Cotton Kimono Bathrobe. Spending a lot of time in stretchy pants? Are the boundaries between morning and evening blurring now that you’re working from home? Maybe time of day has simply lost all meaning? Throwing a robe over your all-day pajamas will make you feel both cozy and fancy. This one I bought is cheap, which means it was probably not ethically made. My bad.
The Bathroom Bundle
Brondell Inc. Bidet Seat. Last year, I asked for a bidet for Christmas. And then not three months later, all the toilet paper disappeared from all the shelves. We had to buy a roll from the liquor store. It gave us all a rash. Our Brondell Bidet seat is coming on Friday, but that’s not the point. The point is this: always listen to your wife. (Here’s a cuter, cheaper option that’s 15% off for “Brown” Friday. That’s gross, I’m sorry.)
Flo Vitamins. PMS sucks. It sucks even more when the cramps, migraines, and mood swings conspire with your face to produce the most epic of adult acne situations. I bought a 60-day supply of these vitamins and I can honestly say that my period snuck up on me this time and the Biblical boils on my jawline are gone. Take from that what you will.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. And speaking of adult acne...if you’re looking for more coverage on those video calls now that your skin tone is blotchy and uneven, may I interest you in this vegan, oil-free, gluten-free, less-than-seven-dollar foundation from one of my favorite skincare brands? (Someday I will write about the serums.) The NARS concealer is a little pricier, but worth every penny for those high-def Zoom calls. Remember, a little goes a long way.
Society6 Shower Curtain and Bath Mat. Now that you’re spending so much time in the bathroom--wrapped up in your robe, examining your face, enjoying your bidet--you probably want to church up the decor a bit. Society6 sells cool home stuffs designed by independent artists and pays them in real Earth dollars. You’ll spend a lot less than I did if you buy this weekend.
For the Face
Winky Lux Rainbow Tinted Balm. I’m a sucker for science...and Instagram promotions, apparently. This rainbow tinted lip balm has both pigment and also, apparently, magic that will make your lips a “perfect for you” pink with the pineapple-flavored power of pH. I keep it in a cup with my pens and put it on before meetings to make it look like I tried.
Zimba Premium Whitening Strips. If you give a gal a lipstick, she’s going to want something to make her teeth look less like corn off the cob. I was pleasantly surprised that these strips did not result in the feeling of being stabbed in the teeth by a thousand knives when you breathe in cold air. And they work! Although, sadly, if you give a gal some teeth whitening strips, she’s going to want...more teeth whitening strips. Someone stop me before I start resembling 2007 Ryan Seacrest.
Glossier Lidstar in Herb.I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I am not some Kardashian heading to a private island for a pandemic soiree. I’m a responsible citizen and I will be attending zero galas this season. I do not need your sparkly cream eye shadow.” But I’m telling you, this goes on looking extremely chill, and also a little bit under the lid does the work of a very mellow liner. Also, it’s cruelty-free, vegan, and safe for sensitive eyes. You can be a Kardashian heading to the couch for a holiday binge.
I wish I could tell you this was everything. I’ve been doing quite a bit of retail therapy since the world shut down. It’s why I’m doing so well!!! If you need me, I definitely won’t be taking antidepressants and googling “do CBD gummies really work?”
But if you come across a good ear cleaner, let me know.