It occurred to me the other day that Mr. Magpie and I have spent quite a lot of time curating a home full of products we absolutely love. Mr. Magpie has taught me to be a much more patient and mindful shopper — I now read dozens of reviews and put hours of research into even the most inane of purchases (ahem, this baby mirror and these reusable coffee mugs were the targets of more recon than I care to admit…). It pays off, though, when you’re using something for the umpeenth time and you’re still delighting in its utility and design. I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite finds — many of them unsexy and quotidian — that make my life a little happier, brighter, easier.
Pick No. 1: Aerolatte
I froth soy milk every day for coffee. This aerolatte frother ($20) has been my steady companion for the last five years running. It was a stocking stuffer one Christmas, and man has it been put to work.
Pick No. 2: Tocca Candles
I nearly always have a candle burning in our home, and while I love Diptyque’s Feu de Bois for winter and Fresh’s Life candle for spring (so fresh and clean!), Tocca candles are my bread and butter. They give off a lovely scent without being overly cloying, they burn long, and the packaging is elegant. I like almost all of the scents, but am currently using the floral Tocca Florence ($38). You can also get this sampler of mini candles to test out a few different scents ($42) — it includes two of my favorites, Grace and Cleopatra!
Pick No. 3: Nars Roman Holiday Lipstick
I pretty much wear this lip color every day. It is so soft and pretty — it adds just enough sheen and color for a girly but natural look. The formula is also easy to apply — I can put it on without a mirror! — and moisturizing.
Pick No. 4: Prada Card Holder
My mom gave me this beautiful Prada credit card holder ($240) in pink for my birthday last year, and I have gotten so much mileage out of it! I often carry this and my keys (attached to this monogrammed, tasseled key ring) on our morning walks around the neighborhood, with nothing else. It’s also small enough to throw into a clutch in the evenings or even the pocket of a dress/pair of jeans.
Pick No. 5: Natori Feathers Bra
This is hands down the best bra out there (depending on color, $25+). Comfortable, beautiful, and with just the right amount of lift. If I weren’t still breastfeeding, I’d be living in these. (For breastfeeding, after months of trying different ones, I have to say that the Bravado nursing bra is probably the best all-around. It’s super comfortable and well-made, and the flaps actually fold down all the way — I know this is random and TMI, but does anyone else hate when nursing bra flaps don’t really go down all the way and they’re in the way/in mini’s face? Yuck. I also love these — super soft and unpadded and prettty. And P.S. — more nursing gear.)
For sports bras, I still think Target’s Champion C9 sports bras are the best. Inexpensive, great colors, and comfortable — the material is nice and stretchy. I’ve worn other brands (including Lululemon) and feel like I’m being smooshed into place. These are breathable and elastic.
Pick No. 6: Drybar Money Maker Hair Spray
This stuff is the jam — it keeps hair in place, but without crispiness. And is it weird to say that I like the smell? Mr. Magpie also uses it (shhh don’t tell).
As an aside, I recently took a break from some of the more expensive shampoos I was using — I LOVE Oribe’s Bright Blond shampoo and conditioner — and picked up ginormous vats of Pantene Pro V Classic Clean shampoo and conditioner at Costco, and, I have to say, my hair has never looked better! My mom has always been a proponent of switching up your hair and skin routines to keep things fresh, and I’m glad I followed suit on a whim (#Costcoimpulsebuy). I’ll probably switch back to something different…in 23 years when we finish these monstrous vats.
Pick No. 7: Crate + Barrel Peak Glasses
These inexpensive juice glasses ($3.95 each) are in heavy, heavy rotation chez Magpie. We drink juice out of them in the mornings, smoothies out of them in the afternoon, and wine out of them in the evenings. I love them for wine in particular because they are at much less of a risk of being knocked over by the thrashy tail of a certain puppy and can be thrown in the dishwasher before bed, no delicate hand-washing needing. (And, if they are to break — at under $4/pop, it’s nothing to cry over.) Whenever it’s wine o’clock, Mr. Magpie asks: “Wine glass or stub?” Sometimes I’m in the mood for a proper wine glass, but most of the time, I request “a stub” (aka Crate and Barrel juice glass) for my evening vino. P.S. — In a similar vein, my mother in law gifted me a set of 12 appetizer plates from C+B similar to these ($24 for entire set of 12!). I use them CONSTANTLY. Perfect for an English muffin in the morning, a little snack in the afternoon, bread plates at a dinner table, etc, etc. They are inexpensive, simple, and chic. Highly recommend you snag yourself a set — or consider it as a gift for a bride to be or friend who loves to entertain.
Pick No. 8: Philips Hue Lightbulbs + Bridge
This one surprises me a bit, but when I thought about products I use and love every day, this one HAD to make the list. I bought Mr. Magpie a Hue starter kit ($69) a few Christmases ago as a sort of novelty gift. Basically, you use it to control your lightbulbs from your smartphone. But over time this kit has become such a beloved part of our home — we now have Hue lightbulbs in many of the rooms in our house, and I love that Mr. Magpie has them programmed to turn on at a certain time of day with just the right brightness to set the right kind of mood (you can set them to things like “reading mode” or “relaxation mode” or “energy mode” — brighter in the mornings, more soft and yellow in the afternoons). He even set my bedside table lightbulb to a special setting for middle-of-the-night nursing; all I need to do is tap a button on my phone and it turns on to JUST the right level of dimness so I can change and feed mini without blinding anyone. Any good event planner will tell you that lighting is a big part of the equation when setting out to achieve the right ambiance — I totally agree, and why not apply the same logic at home, whether you want to have a romantic dinner by the fire or a productive morning on the laptop?
Pick No. 9: Plantronics Bluetooth Earbuds
OK, I don’t use these everyday, but whenever I go for a run (currently, I aim for 2-3x a week), I think about how much I absolutely love my bluetooth earbuds ($80). SO much better than running with corded earbuds — they always fall out / get tangled / get in the way. The sound quality on these puppies is also incredible. I wear them with my Garmin running watch and feel totally tech-ed out.
Pick No. 10: Makeup Removing Wipes
I don’t know what I did before makeup removing wipes were a thing. I remember messing around with bottles and cotton balls and everything was oily and horrible. Now, I use these Almay pads for eye makeup and Arcona cleansing pads for my face ($10+ depending on size).
What are your must-haves?! Your unsung heroes??
P.S. — In the snap of my breakfast nook coffee table above, the shades are Wildfox, the coasters are Canvas Home (on sale for $27), the vase is the bottom part of a ginger jar from Williams-Sonoma ($65), and the tray is West Elm ($44). All atop this x-bench in navy velvet (on sale for $83). Rug is vintage.