This past weekend in Rosemary Beach, Florida, I gathered with five of my best college friends to relax, reconnect and reminisce. As usual (we’ve been meeting annually for years), much of our conversation related to the things — products, recipes, services, companies — that are improving our lives in big and small ways. We always do a “favorite things” gift exchange, where we buy each other a product or two that we can’t live without. I've walked away from these weekends with body lotions, eyebrow pencils, cheese knives, concealers, room sprays, breath mints, cuticle balms, and more — all of which my friends have road-tested and value enough to share with the group.
Oh, the power of this sharing! I think we're all starting to realize that bloggers, Amazon reviewers and Pinterest posts aren’t always “pure” — they can’t necessarily be trusted. Too often their content is sponsored (bloggers), companies post fake reviews (Amazon), and posts are often saturated with either overt or covert marketing pushes (Pinterest). Women are savvy consumers, and all of these five-star reviews, over-the-top testimonials and sly little product endorsements are no longer passing our collective sniff test.
So how do we know what’s true? Our friends are the best resource we have for determining what to spend our money on. We trust them. We believe their stories. We aspire to similar things (for example, discovering the most comfortable underwear EVER).
Here's what we giddily shared with each other while wearing our PJs and drinking coffee. Everything listed below has earned the Tumble + Swoon #swearbuyit hashtag, which is my tribe's version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Going forward, I'll be adding #swearbuyit to my content whenever I mention anything that has gotten on my radar thanks to a first-person endorsement from one of my trusted pals. Thanks, friends!
(Clockwise from left; click on links for easy shopping)
Travel Candles. Loved because they come in multiple delicious scents, boast sweet sayings, and have lids that make them easy to toss in a carry-on to create a nice mood in hotel rooms.
Hand-sewn drawstring pouch. My friend Linda made one of these for everyone because she fell in love with one she bought on a recent work trip. So handy! So cute! If you're not fortunate to have a crafty and creative friend, similar bags can be found on Etsy.
Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend. Trader Joe's. Thanks to its savory sea salty, oniony, garlicky blend of flavors, this magical stuff is soooooo good on eggs, avocado slices, wraps, buttered noodles, you name it. The next time you're at TJ's, buy a few bottles. They tend to sell out. (The seasoning is also sold on Amazon, natch, but you'll spend three times as much.)
How to Get Away. My friend Jen is has a great new gig at Getaway, an incredibly cool company that offers "simple escapes to tiny cabins nestled in nature." (Go, Jen!) She gave us each this book, which makes a captivating argument for ditching our crazy lives --- and our cell phones -- to unplug and embrace life off the grid, even if it's just for a day or two.
Tinkle razors. This little gizmo is all about saving face through shaving face. Yes, shaving. It's like dermaplaning at home. And for one follicle-sized fraction of the price. Shave off those baby-fine hairs that capture makeup. Tidy up your eyebrows. Razor off that stubborn horsehair on your chinny-chin-chin. Someone will ask you, "What's your skin secret?" Your reply will be, "I Tinkle regularly."
SiO Skinpad Overnight Décolleté Wrinkle Smoother. Crepe-y skin be gone! This thing works. One of us tested it out that very night, and the before and after was stupefying. A treasure for your chest? We say, YES! (Kari, you always win the prize for bringing the best do-it-now DIY transformational products!)
Dry Body Brush with 100% natural bristles. Are you dry brushing? No? Well hop-to, ladies! This bad boy will increase blood circulation, promote lymph flow, unclog pores, stimulate your nervous system, exfoliate dry skin (take that, winter flakiness!), and make you feel invigorated. I hang it on the handle of my shower door so that I remember to give myself a quick brushing daily. Don't just take my word for it — here's a great article from the Cleveland Clinic about the benefits of dry-brushing.
Sleepy lotion from Lush. I got this from my friend Kathy and have used it religiously at night ever since. The scent is so good, with a touch of lavender, and the quality of the cream is perfection. It's bedtime magic in a little black pot. Get ready for some blissful zzzs.....
K•Ferrara nail polish. Linda has worked with famed makeup artist Kathy Ferrara and was eager to get her new nail polish line on our radar -- and on our nails. The line offers curated colors that are vegan friendly and made with a safer, more non-toxic formula than other polishes. The colors are sophisticated and gorgeous! (And there's also a sweet little collection for kids!)
Chantelle Intimates soft stretch seamless thongs and hipsters. My friend Cari says they're simply the most comfortable undies you'll ever wear. She's right. Buy them. Now.
GalPal microfiber hair turban. Comfy, easy to twist and secure, and decreases drying time. Winner! (Check your local TJMaxx to find these cheaper than on Amazon.)
Lancôme CILS Booster XL Super-enhancing Mascara Base. This primer conditions and plumps up lashes -- it goes on white and dries clear. Once it's clear, it's time to add your favorite mascara. My friend Molly has va-va-voom lashes, so the endorsement is legit. After trying it just a few times, I see a difference too!
Burt's Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment. I'm not an expert in much, but I do consider myself a lip balm connoisseur. There's lots of crap on the market that does nothing for our ability to prettily pucker up. But when a friend gives a product a #swearbuyit, I give it a try. I must say, it's lovely. Good smell, perfect consistency, and it works -- even on lips that have been roughed up by Minnesota's polar winter air.
Rx Bars. Jen swears by these whole food protein bars, which never have more than eight ingredients. Lots of protein in these puppies, too. I'm nibbling one right now, as a matter of fact, and it's a yummy, guilt-free way to satisfy the peanut butter and/or chocolate cravings that hit me every single afternoon. Available everywhere.