If your summer has looked anything like mine, you’ve ordered more products online than you’d care to admit. Some might have been critical to sheltering in place (hi, toilet paper — p.s. this is my hands-down favorite, when it’s available) — and some were more…frivolous.
So I took a look at my Amazon order history for the past six months and did a little audit: out of everything we hastily “added to cart” over the past half-year, which items would I consider to be the best? Which items would I truly, well, buy again. And these, friends. These are them.
A little fashion. A little beauty. Some surprisingly handy crafting kitsch. A couple of things for making the most of our outdoor living spaces during a summer when countless vacations have been indefinitely postponed. And one really not-at-all glamorous commode accessory that is actually quite glamorous in that it prevents you from ever having to scrub the potty. An essential, really. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Retail Therapy #StayAtHome Edition: Recent Best Buys From Amazon
This jumpsuit has been in my “saved for later” section for more than a year, and I finally pulled the trigger. It’s soft jersey material, and it’s actually designed to intentionally drape off one shoulder, so there’s no tugging or slipping — easy, low-maintenance and chic. Plus I love the jogger hem, the contrasting drawstring, and the pockets! I’m typically between an XS and a S, and the S fits perfectly, so I would say size up if between — otherwise it’s TTS.
You’ve seen me wax poetic about this dress off and on for months now. I wear it multiple times a week. It’s effortless, extremely comfortable, easy, chic, washes well — I could go on and on. For more than you ever wanted to know about fit and styling, see this post.
Pacifica is my go-to for sustainable, affordable beauty products, and this specific palette is made for summer. Everything in it feels sunkissed and perfectly peachy-pink. It’s very decently pigmented, especially for the price point.
4. Elta MD Sunscreen (also at Dermstore)
Another favorite I’ve talked about before, I use this as my daily moisturizer and my sunscreen. It’s rich and creamy but not greasy for my normal skin — it leaves just enough of a dewy finish to keep skin feeling just a bit luminous. Dermatologist recommended for post-procedure skin (think facelifts and peels) so you know it must be good. I’ve bought it at least 10 consecutive times and can’t see buying anything else.
(Update: The item I featured is not technically chemical-free — the active ingredients are octinoxate and transparent zinc — but if you’re specifically seeking that, Elta does make a chemical-free option that’s more intended as a sunscreen only. I haven’t tried using it alone as a moisturizer, but like all Elta products it’s highly rated.)
Another Pacifica favorite, this is the only stick lip balm I see myself buying from here on out. It smells delightful, and it feels truly like a balm (unlike some natural balms, it doesn’t feel like you just slicked coconut oil all over your lips). The Vanilla Hibiscus doesn’t add color, but the very subtle shimmer adds a healthy looking little glow. I just ordered the Guava Berry, too.
I’m no Scotti when it comes to beauty, but I’ve had quite a few people ask me about my hair care routine post-chemo, so here it is: I wash my hair once weekly, and from about Day 3-4 on, I spray a few bursts of this stuff on greasy roots. Let it hang out for maybe 5 mins, and then flip your head over and vigorously rub it into your scalp. (I alternate between buns and braids for last couple of days, but honestly, once you train your hair to go a week without washing, it balances itself out.) For that weekly wash, I use Pacifica’s Salty Waves Shampoo + Conditioner. It’s sulfate-free and faaaabulous.
OK, I didn’t technically buy mine on Amazon, but Amazon continues to be one of the few places that consistently stocks this style and at a great price. (Oh wait, I just found them restocked on Adidas, too!) Unlike most Adidas street sneakers, these fit TTS. I can’t say enough about how comfy they are. Surprisingly lightweight, and the black is a nice change from the rest of my white sneaker wardrobe.
This case feels just like the Apple silicone cases with the added benefit of a rotating ring loop on the back that you can use to hold your phone securely for selfies and the like OR as a kickstand for viewing your phone horizontally. For $14ish, I can’t believe how luxe and robust this product feels. There are also similar models available for loads more phone models here — and honestly, I imagine they’re all made in the same place and about the same quality.
9. Roxy Oceanside Linen Pants (also on Zappos)
I’ve been wearing these pants since college, and they’re just easy and timeless and perfect for summer. S has talked about them before, too, and even though you can get them elsewhere, they’re almost always in stock on Amazon — and right now they’re even on sale! I’m between an XS and a S, and wear the S in these since they’re more of a junior’s fit — perfect. The low rise is such a nice change from all the high-waisted snugness happening at the moment.
I’ve raved about these before for lunch packing — they nestle together better than other brands in bento lunchboxes — but they’ve been so handy for doling out allllll the snackssss during shelter in place that we picked up a second set. We also actually use them for — gasp! — baking, too (which lord knows we’ve been doing plenty of over the past few months). Remember these Starbucks Egg Bite Knock-offs? Perfection. And for sorting craft materials and painting, too. Just a tip for these and any silicone products: beware of washing them in overly fragranced dish soaps or your next batch of muffins might be infused with a distinct soapiness.
We keep this in what is becoming our “homeschooling” area upstairs, and it’s perfect for practicing letters and displaying the flash cards we use with Lana’s reading program. The handle makes it easy to pick up and take outside, too, and Lana loves doodling on it when we’re not using it for lessons. Not too big, not too small, and it folds flat for storage. (Follow the advice of the reviews and cut the protective film off using an exacto knife so you don’t end up using tweezers — up, ahem, like me — to get at the tiny bits that remain stuck under the frame.)
12. Hot Glue Gun
A glue gun is a glue gun is a glue gun — right? Well, after running through half a dozen dollar store glue guns and having them all break down on me, I can tell you it’s worth a few more dollars to get something a bit more robust. This has held up through MANY a craft these past six months, and it actually has an on/off switch. It’s still on the smaller side, so it’s not overkill, and the little kickstand keeps it upright. Our craft game has seriously been upped since adding this to our arsenal.
Another super-fun activity that is actually really easy to clean-up if you do it over a rimmed baking sheet (over a tablecloth, for back-up, of course). This kit comes with plenty of dyes, so you can just shake up what you need for one coloring session and keep the rest for another time. We ditched the clunky gloves and just lived with blue fingernails for a week. (The dress Lana is wearing is this one — so cute!)
Have you guys seen Alone? It’s this wilderness show where people are dropped in remote locations and they have to do their best to survive with just the 10 essentials they choose to bring, and the last man standing wins $500k. It’s entertaining, fascinating and surprisingly educational. ANYWAY, if I were on Alone, this would be one of my items. After researching the heck out of survival shovels, this one kept coming up tops, and it’s so frickin’ cool, friends. Perhaps a bit overkill for suburban living, but it would be invaluable camping, and I gifted one to my dad who lives on some property and often takes jaunts into the wilderness, and it never leaves his side. He calls it his “Smokey The Bear Rambo Shovel,” and I can’t possibly think of a better name.
15. S’mores Sticks
Another item I never thought I would find myself tirelessly researching, and these turned out to be an excellent buy. They come with a handy (and surprisingly well-made) storage bag, and the best part is the little black swivel at the top of each handle that allows you to rotate the stick with just your thumb. So clever. They wash up really easily, too, and they’re long enough and light enough for littles to use on their own.
OK friends — bear with me. This is far from glamorous, but this toilet cleaning system has prevented me from scrubbing a single toilet over the past 6 months, so I can’t recommend it enough. The “system” is actually integrated into the fresh water intake — it’s easy, takes about a minute to set up — so the fresh water passes through it with every flush, which means the cleaning tablets do their thing without hanging out in your tank, which could potentially corrode or damage your tank or flushing hardware. Then, once the system is installed, you just unscrew the cap and add new tablets as needed, about once every three months. Perfectly clean potty, ZERO effort. And Amazon has the best price on the system I’ve seen.
If you follow me on Instagram (@thepigandquill), you’ve seen me raving about this as of late. We spent months trying to figure out which fire pit to buy for our new yard, and after comparing the (rather limited) selection of smokeless wood burning fire pit models available, this one shot to the top of the list. It can burn either packs of wood pellets, which ignite instantly and produce a super impressive, super-hot fire for about 30 mins, or actual wood (which can also burn smokeless with a little trial and error — DM me or shoot me a comment if you want tips!) — and for the price, the features, and the visual aesthetics, it can’t be beat. It’s even got an easy ash cleanout tray (think of a crumb tray on a toaster) that makes clean up a breeze. And since the fire burns so efficiently, there’s very little ash anyway. We’re enjoying fires more than ever before, and with way less effort. (NOTE: even with a “smokeless” fire, you’ll still smell a tad bit like a campfire at the end of the night, but it’s drastically less than with a traditional fire.)
How ’bout you, friends? Any recent Amazon purchases you can’t possibly live without? (As if I need more enabling…)
Guys! Follow me on Instagram for more peeks into our life on the Northern California coast. And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my personal food + lifestyle blog, The Pig & Quill, where I share salty scribblings from my kitchen and home life. Byeeeeee!