Look at baby me modeling!
For many years, I made a living, in part, by writing about products and integrating them into this website. These were literally called “integration posts,” and they were what gave me the leeway to do the writing I loved, both here and elsewhere. But they weren’t exactly a hardship – I always really enjoyed the challenge of being presented with a new product or brand, seeing how it worked in my life, and then creating a story around it.
It was also, honestly, just super fun to get to try out new stuff all the time, from makeup to washing machines to married-people dating services. Which is all to say that, of the bazillions of things that I’ve written about over the years, there are a few that may have started out as brand partnerships, but then quickly evolved from a novelty to a must-have – products that I ended up loving and religiously keeping stocked in my house, long after my formal relationships with the brands ended.
Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting CC Cream with SPF 15
I was so excited about this partnership – you have to understand, a year earlier I’d been crying under my law firm desk, and then there I was, cheesing it up in a full-page ad for a major beauty brand (this is when magazines still more or less existed). WHAT.
The product we were supposed to use for the shoot was Olay’s new CC cream – remember when everyone freaked out about BB creams and CC creams for a minute back then? – and here’s what I said about it in the ad copy: “What’s great about Olay’s CC cream is that it moisturizes, fights wrinkles, protects skin from the sun, AND evens out tone…in one easy step.” Which, yes – while also being lovely and weightless. Nearly ten years after I (and subsequently my mom) first discovered this product, we both use it daily – it’s a phenomenal dupe for wayyyy more expensive products.
Me, dressed as a garden sprite (or something) at a 2014 party for Caldrea
I first discovered this room spray while searching for a nursery freshener (because, if you recall, our nursery was actually just…our hallway). A couple of years later I started working with Caldrea, and this was my favorite product of theirs to promote – it just smells fresh and light and non-cloying, and I adore it. (Their Basil Blue Sage candles are another favorite.)
Anyway, the baby I originally bought this stuff for is now a preteen, and yet still: I have not one, but two bottles of Sweet Pea within my direct line of sight as I sit here today.
Remember this DIY plumbing-pipe table?!
I’m not a person who gives a ton of thought to things like additives; my assumption is that we’re all basically walking around in a cloud of chemicals and hormones, so one little product change probably won’t make a massive difference (even though of course even the smallest changes are valuable, I am also very stubborn). Milk, eggs and meat are where I take exception: I always buy the fanciest possible brands in hopes that any animals involved were lovingly massaged to death.
When I discovered Fairlife ultra-filtered (high-protein, low-sugar, lactose-free) milk via our partnership, my attitude was along the lines of “sure, why not?” And now it’s the only brand of milk I buy. Both for the “sure, why not” reasons, but also because it’s delicious (omg their chocolate milk is so good) and because it lasts a million times longer than traditional milk brands. This one is a no-brainer.
Aaaand a few more recent discoveries, just for fun (none of the below are brands I’ve worked with, but all are highly recommended based on personal experience):
I wanted the Lulu and Georgia version of this light, but went hunting for a more affordable version…and this one completely transformed my dining room for a fraction of the price. (If you’re even a tiny bit handy and have an existing junction box, you can totally handle installing it yourself.)
Lavido Vanilla, Patchouli & Jojoba Body Lotion
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a free sample of something and then actually gone and immediately purchased the product…until now. The owner of Shine Beauty (you have to check out her IG; she has great recs) gave me a little pod of this stuff, and that night my daughter and I put it on before bed – and both immediately got all weird and obsessive about it. Don’t let the patchouli part fool you: It’s not overpowering at all, just delicious.
Plate & Pattern Seagrass Plates with Liners
When I have a bunch of kids over, sorry, but I’m not passing out my beloved Noritake Cher Blanc. Paper plates are wonderful and I so enjoy the ease of cleanup when you’re dealing with a crowd, but they make me feel guilty. Enter this set of four deep plates (really more like bowls) and adorable liners – when you’re done, you just dump the liner in the trash, ta da. I’ve been giving these as gifts to people who do a lot of outdoor entertaining, and they do a great job of toeing that line between cute, functional, and good for the planet, hooray.