Straws have had a tough year. They joined the axis of evil after that one turtle video. We should cut down on all plastics and consumables, but disposable straws are necessary tools for many people with disabilities, and they’re awesome (🥤). Let’s fight disposable plastics through water bottles takeout containers, plastic bags, and commercial fishing regulations first.
But, I concede. Straw use can go down for sure. And there are plenty of solutions for using fewer plastic straws. At home, at the office, and whenever I have a large bag, I carry one of these suckers.
I find metal straws far superior to glass and silicone straws for many reasons, including durability and ease of cleaning.In good company, Oprah had metal straws on her Favorite Things list this year too. Just don’t use them on the dance floor or you could stab the roof of your mouth (who would even do this 😬).Nancy from Virginia now has a set of metal straws to enhance her drinking experience and cut down on plastic use at the same time.
TIP: A friend recently informed me that sequins and glitter are terrible micro-plastics and a hazard for wildlife, and my little queer heart weeps. But I am hopeful for BioGlitter and Sustainable Sequins.
So, I am a vegetarian. And I am busy. And sometimes a girl just needs protein on the go. Enter my very favorite emergency food product: the Think Thin High Protein Bar. Here at Abbey’s Favorite Things, we are all about body positivity, so I prefer to call these Think Thicc bars. But with so much protein, no sugar, and a taste that you can actually deal with, they are my go to. I tend to buy the bars at Trader Joe’s or Target. I find that you can also reliably buy the bites at CVS and Target.
I’ve never been wowed by the brand’s High Protein/Fiber combo bars, oatmeal, smoothies, or other products. For me (individual results may vary), the high protein bars are the bees knees. Brownie Crunch, both peanut butter varieties, and Chocolate Fudge are my preferred flavors. Pam in Florida will soon be protein boosted, and hopefully find her favorite too.
TIP: There are so many good vegetarian/vegan holiday recipes out there. My favorite guide is here.
Well, we’re back to skincare! Everything you try to do to get nice skin is worthless unless you protect it. You have two options. 1) Never, ever go outside. 2) Never, ever go outside without sunscreen.
I would choose #2. Sunscreen is soooo important, especially if you are doing anti-aging or exfoliating routines. You are basically telling your skin “give me the pretty baby skin cells” constantly and you MUST protect the baby cells. Your daily moisturizer with SPF 15 is not a solution. Ok, it is a solution, and if you are truly only going from vehicle to building and it is not a highly sunny day and you live far from the equator, fine. But for everything else, you need to up that a lot. Especially if you are white.
So what is one to do?! Well, add a sunscreen! For days where I am doing exactly what I described above, I typically wear a BB cream with SPF 42. But if I am doing *anything* else, including one happy hour on a shady patio, or biking to work, or walking the mile from the metro stop instead of taking the bus, I use Supergoop. I start off with their Everyday Sunscreen on my face, neck, and hands (for my body, I typically use this).
But today’s Thing is what I use to reapply…because y’all…you need to reapply. You cannot just put on sunscreen at 8 am and expect to go out at 6 pm all protected. But what if you already have a full face on? What if you can’t wash your hands? What if you’re in a rush? Come at me, SuperGoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist. Though the description champions the setting powers, what it is actually perfect for is allowing you to refresh your sunscreen coverage at all times. There are also a variety of friendly sizes, as Lauren in Maryland will soon discover with her travel size bottle.
TIP: You’re not wearing enough sunscreen. Please buy more and apply it often.
Local Art…buy it, love it, gift it, share it. I am full of bias here as my career is all about this very thing, but really that just makes me an expert you should listen to. We just had Shop Local Artists Week, and maybe I should have posted this then, but you don’t have to limit your support to just one week!
Buy original art, buy reproductions, promote your artist friends on social media, and do all that you can to value what artists provide to your community. Georgia in NYC will be receiving a framed piece of work by Beverly Ryan that I purchased in a fundraiser earlier this year. If your art budget isn’t much, get on the mailing lists of local artists and arts organizations because they can provide great opportunities to get unique pieces at amazing discounts.
Don’t forget that there are local artists making ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and more. Art: it’s not just for your walls!
TIP: Many independent artists are willing to work with you on a payment plan. It never hurts to ask when making a large purchase.
CORSX is one of the most important brands of my skincare routine. Thing 23 is their Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser. This is the face wash I use every morning. It is super mild and doesn’t strip your skin of anything you worked hard to pump into it with a nighttime routine. Hopefully Grant in NYC agrees!
My other face washes are the Face Shop Natural Rice Water Light Cleansing Oil, Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser, and the GLYTONE Acne Self-Foaming Cleanser (Pharrell recommended this to me and I cannot champion it enough). I rarely double cleanse at night (only if I was wearing a lot of make-up), but I do rotate out these cleansers based on what else I am doing to my skin that day.
My other Corsx must-have products are:
Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion
Acne Pimple Master Patch
Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
TIP: Just put the snail mucus on your face. It is so good.
So after yesterday’s booze, we must hydrate. I mentioned in Thing 7 that I am a double California almond. My thirst is not just limited to my skin, but also my actual hydration. I drink so much…and you should too. Not only is it good for your skin, sleep, and organs, it also helps your brain!
Water in the United States is completely safe to drink (almost everywhere), and yet, bottled water consumption is still off the charts. While I do buy a bottle sometimes when there are no other options, I try to be prepared with my watersac- the HydraPak Seeker 2L. This thing is almost weightless (empty lol), and can be condensed into something that fits anywhere. It also has never leaked and is easy to clean. Sid in San Francisco will see soon.
What I use my sac for the most is air travel. Even if I am in a premium cabin, if the flight is over 4 hours, I make sure to fill this up at the airport (from a water fountain, dispenser in the lounge, or even a larger bottle if I am in a place with unsafe tap water). If you have to ask for every 6-8 oz of water, you just won’t drink enough. There is no specific answer on how much water you should drink, but for myself, I try and consume a liter of water for every 4 hours of flight.
TIP: For long flights, there are almost always drinks and snacks you can grab from the gallery, and if there are not, just ask! It’s also a good excuse to get up and avoid that DVT.
We’re drinking thing legal, y’all…and so we’re here to talk about alcohol. (Let’s pretend the delay on this was due to excessive celebrations?) Most of you know that I love a fermented or distilled beverage. I have a very broad range of favorites, from bourbon (I tend to favor less wheat-y selections with vanilla notes) to beer (sour, dark, crisp, usually anything but super malty brews, but anything can change my mind) to gin (the more herbal the better) and beyond. But today we’re talking about wine, specifically sparkling wine.
I’m always down for bubbles. But sometimes, you don’t want to drink a full 750 ml bottle…or maybe you just want something more portable. Enter the Sofia Blanc de Blacs Minis. These adorable cans are perfect for drinking on the go, or when you just need a glass (or two…and not four). Now also available in a brut rosé, these cans have been a favorite of mine for years.
On the pricier side of what I normally pay for wine, they are definitely worth it for the mix of taste and convenience. But, if you want to go with something anyone can drink at any occasion and budget, Trader Joe’s recently debuted a similar canned wine product. Definitely lower quality, but at 1/6th the price, what can you expect…they are still fun and delicious. Canned wine is now everywhere, and some is worth your time, some is not. But I hope that Aimee in Queens will agree with me on the Sofia.
TIP: A little sparkling wine explainer: traditional sparkling wines are carbonated from secondary fermentation in the bottle. Wine is bottled, often with additional yeast and sugar. As the yeast cells consume the sugar, carbon dioxide is produced, giving you those fun and delicious bubbles. There are a few other processes used to produce sparkling wine, which you can read about here. A brief overview of some common varieties is below:
Blanc de Blancs– used to designate sparkling wines made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes
Cava– white or rosé sparkling wines from the Catalonian region of Spain*
Champagne– from the Champagne region of France
Cap Classique (MCC)-traditionally produced South African sparkling wines
Lambrusco- Italian sparkling red wines, secondarily fermented in stainless steel tanks
Prosecco- Italian wines (usually sparkling) secondarily fermented in stainless steel tanks
I love sweaters. And cardigans. And wearing bags on my body. And sometimes all of these things lead to pilling and bobbling. Suddenly, something nice is covered in fuzz nuggets. Which suuuuucks. But, that is where Beautural Portable Fabric Shaver comes in. This lil’ workhorse keeps your clothing, throw pillows, carpet AND drapes, and other things looking like new. Keep the cash in cashmere: shave your fabrics. Go slow, take your time…it’s worth it.
I keep one at home and one at my desk at work. You just never know! Andrew in Oakland will soon be in the Sweater Shavers Club.
TIP: Dr. Bronner’s is an excellent travel product. While I am not sure there are even 19 different ways to use soap, I frequently use it to sink wash garments, and also as a body and face wash. The containers the travel size soap comes in are also excellent. When empty, I use the bottles for other liquid personal care travel toiletries because they are better (and cheaper; plus free soap) than most other 2-3 oz bottles out there. Find the travel Bronner at Target, REI, and many other retailers.
Exfoliation…we’ve discussed it before, and will probably discuss it again! It’s super important for keeping your skin looking excellent. I don’t remember how I learned about Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine cloths, but I am grateful for whatever that was.
This is my go-to on-the-go exfoliant product. You can toss a few in a Ziploc and be ready to go anywhere…WITHOUT using room in your liquids bag! I do also use them at home because they are awesome.
Each cloth is a little pocket, with one side being slightly textured, while the other is smooth. You should use the textured side first, and follow-up with the smooth side after. If you know the fine fortified wine product Manischewitz Concord Grape, then you will be ready for the smell of these. And smell like Passover all year round. Congrats to Erin, who will be a wino face in no time.
TIP: There are a lot of wines out there, but finding the right ones for your palate can be fairly easy: just take notes about the grape varietal, region, and flavor profiles of wines you enjoy, and then use these to buy bottles in your price range. The notes app on your phone is your best friend here. Cost isn’t always an indicator of quality.
These cookies will change your life. I really can’t overstate how delicious they are. I make them for every fall/winter party, but they can really serve you well all year round.
I carried this recipe around on a sheet of butter-greased notebook paper for years before I finally scanned it in and tossed it in the cloud. Now it is yours forever. And an anonymous friend will be enjoying some shortly.
1.5 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cups molasses
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 teaspoons ginger
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and molasses and blend. Mix all dry ingredients together and add into butter mixture. Roll rounded scoops in white sugar and place onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for around 8 minutes. Watch carefully as all ovens differ.
TIP: Cookies continue to bake after you take them out of the oven. If you think about it, a cookie sheet removed from the oven is just a sheet of very hot metal. If you like chewy cookies, always remove them 1-2 minutes before you think they are done.