9 Things We’re Super Into Right Now

What the APW staff thinks about when we’re not thinking about weddings

Photo via Death to Stock

While a lot of our time at the APW offices is spent with our heads down at the computer, hammering away on deadlines (I mean, glamorous #InsideAPW Instagram tags aside, this is true), the most fun part of our offices is the all-girl vibe. On good days, that means we’re just sharing shopping tips and political articles a mile a minute. And I’m not bringing you much today on political articles (though if you haven’t done a recent re-read of Ta-Nehisi Coates Atlantic article about the Civil War, you probably should, in light of recent events). But I am gonna bring you some shopping.

And for once (in time for the holidays), I’m bringing you non-wedding shopping. In fact, this is just a list of the stuff the APW team is loving the most right now, for your pre-holiday shopping pleasure. In exchange, I hope you share what you’re loving the most right now in the comments, and we’ll… pretend it’s the holidays and we’re not shopping for ourselves. JK JK, obviously we totally are.

Confession: Link is almost six months old and we still don’t have a nursery set up for him. WHOOPS. I mean, there’s a room, with a crib in it, but it also has exposed wires coming out of the wall, so I should PROBABLY get on fixing that before he can…walk. Anyway, after Meg and I went to an event at Anthropologie last year, I’ve been obsessed with wallpaper. (Who me? Obsessed with bright obnoxious patterns? Never.) Anyway, after much research and great debate with Michael, I found this awesome Etsy store that sells removable wallpaper, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting this one for Link’s bedroom. And I’m trying to convince Meg we need this for the office.

Maddie, Chief Revenue Officer

The reason you’ve heard a lot about Rent the Runway on APW of late (and the reason we hosted an event there the other weekend) is just because I signed up for their Unlimited plan a few months ago, and I LOVE it. I mean, it’s changed the way I shop, I get compliments on what I wear all the time, LOVE it. And it just so happens that this month they changed up their subscription plans and are offering a much cheaper option. While I ended up grandfathered-at-a-cheaper-price into the plan that gives you four items at a time on a rotating basis (now $159/month), they’re now offering something called Rent the Runway Update, where you get four items a month for $89.

Because of RTR, I’ve stopped buying cheap fast fashion (something I’ve been trying to break myself of), and I’ve stopped giving away piles of clothes every six months. Instead, I pretty much only buy quality basics, and occasionally buy something I really love from RTR, generally for 60 percent off, because it’s been in the rotation for a while.

Recent favorite rentals include this (super on trend for fall) pink knit pleated skirt, this polka dot maxi that I got wall-to-wall compliments on, and these floral culottes (I know they sound unwearable, but check them out IRL here).

In short, you’ll have to pry this membership from my hands.

Meg, CEO & EIC

My new favorite step one (or step only…) in my makeup routine: this product. A totally clear, non-yuck SPF 30 primer? Yes please. I never thought I’d use a primer on a daily basis until I tried this. The SPF 30 was the main attraction, but it makes my skin look smoother, even without foundation or my usual CC cream. Before Invisiblur, I’d had a come-to-primer moment after needing to conceal the amount of sunscreen I was wearing at an outdoor wedding early this summer—and trying to avoid the dreaded melting face look that comes with triple-digit heat. (The pore-minimizing primer from Smashbox did that perfectly, btw.) When I put on the primer, I looked like I wasn’t wearing any sunscreen, and my makeup still looked fresh at the end of the night. Magic.

Kate B., Copy Editor

We’re in the middle of some renovations, and since I work from home, having my office feel like an oasis from the chaos seemed wise, so I decided to jump on the essential oils bandwagon. I picked up this cute mini diffuser (so I could also use it in the bath!) and a set of oils (it was a much better deal to pick up a set of six different scents for around $20, than just one oil for around $10) from Amazon, and so far I’m loving it. Even my husband, who enthusiastically hates candles/things-that-smell, said it made the house smell like a spa.

Keriann, Advertising Manager

As the climate darkens (politically and environmentally) I’m always looking for ways to find joy. Turns out vitamin D drops help me easily make up for shorter days and office work, while a mermaid color-changing sequin throw pillow never fails to delight my eyes (and remind me to be a tad bit less doom and gloom as a human).

Najva, Brand Director

I decided to take my manicures literally into my own hands. I love having a gel manicure but honestly don’t love having to go get them done on a regular basis, plus 💸💸💸. I started out by getting this UV/LED light and found a great gel polish starter set (which includes four colors plus base and top coats) for only $12! But my new obsession has been holographic manicures by using this powder. I’m trying this color-changing chrome powder next! You can get all of these supplies for just about the same price as ONE gel manicure.

Kate L., Marketing Manager

I work with my hands all the time and as the weather starts to cool down, my hands tend to get super dry. One small dab of this and my skin is fully hydrated again. You can use it on your face and lips, too! Plus, the price can’t be beat: you can totally keep one at home, at work, and in your bag. Also, I am living for this shirt. I just bought it in gold and don’t ever want to take it off. A perfect layering piece for Bay Area fall weather.

Chelsea, Studio Coordinator

I’m regularly traveling with short notice so need I products that make me look brilliant with minimal effort that I can throw into a bag and take with me. Anything that helps me last through a day or two when I might have to work eighteen hours straight while still looking shiny and new is a big plus. With this polish, my nails start out noticeably flawless, but easily transition to “not trying too hard” when the polish eventually starts to perfectly chip and fade away. (Current favorite shade right here.) When it comes to my hair, I can spread this gunk throughout and shape my Mohawk up sky high. It doesn’t move, and if it gets bent I can just use my hands to adjust its form. No comb needed.

Mark, Editorial Associate

I love Shea Moisture products! Their curl shampoo and conditioner give my curls the bounce and shine they need. I recently just tried this facial mask and was instantly a fan. My skin felt so soft and had a great glow. The day after I used it, I got a lot of compliments about how dewey my skin looked!

Sarah, Social Media Assistant

What are you super loving right now that we should buy for ourselves (or add to our holiday wish list)?

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  • sofar

    While we’re on the topic of essential oils … I’ve added various ones to all my cleaning solutions, and OMG. My house smells amaaaaazing.

    • Sarah E

      We almost exclusively use homemade cleaners (save $$, save the planet, etc), and our all-purpose spray is scented with peppermint (which had anti-gross-stuff properties too). Basically a huge game changer for cleaning the bathroom. I mean, I don’t celebrate when it’s my turn to do it, but it’s waaaayy better smelling minty fresh than scrubbing a small room while slowly suffocating on bleach-y fumes

      • Eenie

        I love the lavender Meyers cleaning products 😁

        • Lisa

          The Iowa Pine Mrs. Meyers only comes out at Christmas, and I stock up for the entire year. It is the best.

  • Angela’s Back

    I was talking to someone on the skin care article about my desire/need to start using Ponds cold cream–I finally did it and I love it and it’s just satisfaction in a jar in my bathroom, basically. That, and I finally reordered my favorite Korean face wash, so I feel like my skincare game is way up there right now.

    • Jess

      It was me! I’m so glad you ended up loving it too!

      Pro travel tip: if you have a leftover flat contact case, you can put it into one or both of the chambers and travel with it. It does not leak out. :)

  • penguin

    Thanks so much for the gel nail polish recommendations! At-home gel manicures are my jam – it’s the only way I can get nail polish to stay on for more than like, two days. I’m still using the Sally Hansen kit I got at CVS a couple years ago, this one is way cheaper. I also hadn’t heard of the holographic nail thing – it looks cool!

    • Kate Levy

      OMG so obsessed with the holographic powder. Just did a fresh holo mani over the weekend! Soooo shiny!

    • Lisa

      I am seriously considering buying the gel polish kit to try–it would be cheaper than going back for another manicure. My major issue is that it seems like gels destroy my already thin nails. (I got them for my birthday, had them taken off after a month or so, and now nearly all of my nails have ripped off. :/ )

      • penguin

        How did they remove it? Soak or something else? I’ve heard from a few people that getting it removed at the salon can be really rough on your nails.

        • Lisa

          They did a method similar to what you described below (cotton pads+remover+foil), but they did do some buffing on top to get rid of remaining polish. I got gels once many years ago for our engagement photos and didn’t get them again until September (~4 years later) because I had a similar experience with weakened nails, and I took the first set off by myself.

          • Rose_C

            I swore off gel after a super traumatic buffing (ripping really) removal at a salon. My nails felt thinner for months after. But I tried again several years later and took it off myself (used a home kit that basically has built-in foil and cotton swab finger covers) and it was much much better! I left on the foils for a bit longer than instructed- probably about the 44 minute run time of a show on Netflix tbh- and my nails were totally fine! Used a lot of vitamin e to moisturize for the next week but none of the breaking and weakness I’d experienced before.

      • Jan

        I got my first gel manicure the day of my wedding and LOVED it (I’m, uh, not careful with my nails and my polish ordinarily chips immediately). But, MAN, that stuff did a number on my nails after it came off. I tried to take it off super carefully as directed by my friends who’ve used gel before, and my nails still looked super jacked up.

        • Lisa

          My right thumb nail is ripped 1/8-1/4″ on each side right now, and it is so sad. The salon put a solution on my nails after they took the polish off that seemed to make them shinier/smoother though they’re still a bit rough to the touch in some places.

        • Angela’s Back

          I had the powder version of gel nails done just for fun back in like April–the powder is supposed to be better for your nails, basically it’s a layer of polish, layer of powder, and so on until it’s built up properly–and it definitely looked amazing and I loved it but I agree, taking it off was just horrendous. I’m a little bit pathological about my nails anyway and they were just all ridged and weak and horrible for months afterwards while it was growing out. I hated it so much, oh my goodness.

          • penguin

            I’ve never heard of the powder version before, that’s interesting! Did it take a while to apply?

          • Angela’s Back

            I hadn’t either until I got it, it’s called SNS I think. And it didn’t really take that long! I mean, that was the first time I’d had my nails done since I was 15 so it’s not like I have a lot of nail salon experience, but in my mind I was like it will be this luxurious hour-long hand pampering experience when really it was a brisk and efficient 20 minutes and done.

  • BSM

    99% of my current recs are baby-related, so not super thrilling for most people, but I did snag this super cozy blanket from Target for snuggling on the sofa. It’s a great size, weight, and price, and so far we love it:


    I also picked up a couple new makeup products for our newborn shoot. This Dr. Jart cream that does MAGIC for redness/blotchiness, and this Bobbi Brown foundation, which is a really nice lightweight, blendable formula. Bonus: it was designed to be applied with your fingers!


    Lastly, just ordered new stockings for the whole family! I’ve had these saved on Etsy for literally years and am way too excited to have finally pulled the trigger:


    ETA: I love these posts!

    • Yael

      OMG those stockings are so cute! Christmas is the one time of year I get a little sad about being Jewish – there something just so festive about it.

  • Rachel

    Gel polish questions! I pretty much stopped painting my nails when I started playing guitar at 14 and only got them done in September for my wedding. The lady asked if I wanted gel instead and said it lasted longer, so I said yes. I had no idea it was basically bullet-proof! Game changer for me. I’d like to be able to do it at home, but I have questions. Does it last as long as salon when you do it at home? How do you take it off yourself? How do you keep your nails healthy? Cuz I just got my manicure taken off (I had two in a row, one for wedding, one for after-party last month) and my nails are feeling flimsy and looking pretty sad.

    • Jess

      Flimsy nails is basically why I only get gel if I’m traveling. (Well that and the fact that I can’t wear polish at work)

      • Rachel

        The flimsiness genuinely freaked me out at first. So crazy!

        • Jess

          Penguin’s comment is probably right on – I never get all of the polish to come off doing that method so I always end up peeling/scraping some off… which is why I always end up with flimsy nails.

          But! It doesn’t take long for my nails to grow back nice and strong.

    • Eenie

      Gel nail polish ruins my nails, which is why I don’t do it anymore (except my toes). I’d rather have strong well buffed nails that I occasionally paint, instead of nails that are frail and fragile which need polish to look decent.

      The trick with doing it yourself is you only have two hands. So you have to do nothing while you put your hand under the light. Which means it takes at least twice as long as in a salon. You have to be very careful to not get any on your skin or cuticle otherwise it peels off really easy. It won’t break away like normal nail polish does.

      • Rachel

        I totally agree with you on the strong nails. Like I said, I hadn’t painted mine in years and my nails have always been super strong, so I was surprised by how quickly they seemed to deteriorate. Kinda concerning, ha. Thank you for the tips!

      • BSM

        I’ve actually sworn off polish for the winter and am just just getting the occasional polish-free mani/pedi and buffing my nails. My nails (fingers and toes) are so much stronger and better-looking when they haven’t been covered up with polish for the better part of a year, and I’m starting to really like the naked look.

        • Eenie

          I have a buffing block at home but I can never quite file the shape of my nails as well as a salon. It’s really easy to do while watching TV! I also have the cuticle remover which seems to help with hangnails too. It makes me feel extra fancy to do all that even if I don’t end up painting my nails.

    • Kate Levy

      Hey Rachel! So there’s definitely a learning curve – you have to be a little more meticulous and careful than you would when applying regular polish. If it’s too thick it’ll easily peel up at the edges around the cuticles. Thin coats work best and try to clean up where you can with an orange stick (or tooth pick tbh!) You do need to buff your nails a little beforehand to get it to stick, otherwise again, it’ll just peel right off. You do need to buy a gel polish remover to soak it off, regular acetone or polish remover isn’t strong enough. Just buff the shiny top coat off a little before soaking. I use this remover: http://rstyle.me/~aaJVd. In general mine lasts a couple weeks! By the two week point it’s definitely grown out and starting to chip a tiny bit, but mostly around the cuticle and not at the finger tips. I take a hair/nail/skin supplement to help keep everything strong but also use a nail strengthener between manis like this one http://rstyle.me/~aaJVM

      • Rachel

        This is awesome, thanks, Kate! It’s all a little daunting, but I really want to try it!

    • penguin

      I’ve never had a salon one, but an at-home gel manicure can last me a couple weeks if I did a good job applying it.

      Removal – soak a cotton ball or cotton pad in nail polish remover, place it on the nail, wrap the whole deal in aluminum foil and then leave it on for like 15 minutes. Then take it off and most of the polish should be removed – anything that is left just rub with cotton and polish remover like you normally would. DO NOT chip or peel at it – this removes a little bit of nail along with the polish, which isn’t great for your nails.

      My nails aren’t ever flimsy even after using gel, I think because I remove it correctly (or maybe I just have good nails, idk). Although they do tend to break easily.

      Keeping nails healthy – gel nail polish tends to dry out my nails/cuticles, so I apply cuticle oil once a day when I remember it.

      Agree on gel nails – they are bulletproof I swear. And dry to the touch immediately!!

      • Lisa

        I loved how indestructible the gels felt! Also the click-y sound they made when I drummed my fingers was very satisfying.

        • Rachel

          Omg yes the clicking! And I was constantly running my thumb on the smooth tips of my other four fingernails. Satisfying, indeed.

        • penguin

          Haha I do this constantly, it’s so satisfying.

      • Rachel

        Yes, the drying is amazing! When I first got mine done, I couldn’t believe it when she told me to get up and wash my hands right after they came out of the light. Then for a few days, I was very gingerly touching things like I would with a normal manicure. It took me a while to realize how durable it was. It felt nice to have my nails done but not feel high maintenance! I think the salon where I got the last one removed didn’t remove it properly. There was about 30 seconds of soaking and then she just grinded (ground?) it all off with the tool. So my nails are super scratched up right now, it’s bad.

        • penguin

          Oh no! That does sound bad. I’d remove it with a longer soaking – that way it’s not taking off your nail along with the polish.

    • suchbrightlights

      The Sally Hansen stuff is a boost over regular home polish. I’ve never gotten a professional gel manicure but my sister says hers last her 2-3 weeks (and she’s constantly outside, working with her hands, scrubbing her hands, etc.) The Sally Hansen lasts me about a week to a week and a half before it looks unfortunate. I get a few days out of regular polish, if that.

    • penguin

      I happened to see your update asking about the Miracle Gel polish – unfortunately for me, it wasn’t really anything like a gel. It wasn’t long lasting like gel (mine started chipping in a couple days), didn’t have that smooth look that gel has (mine looked really thin? like you could see the texture of my nail surface), and overall I just really wasn’t impressed. Other people swear by it though, so who knows. I might give it another go at some point just because I already purchased a bottle and the top coat.

  • Her Lindsayship

    I’m in a bit of a consumer-y mood lately myself! I’m actually really excited about getting people gifts for the holidays but unfortunately it stops there. Excitement, but no actual ideas for gifts. Plenty of ideas for things people could buy me though: Instant Pot, burgundy or blush colored leather tech-touch gloves, basically anything from Sephora.

    Recent purchase that I’m really excited about: sphere ice molds and a marinade injector for the purpose of putting cocktails inside ice spheres!!

    • Yael

      My go-to for people, especially now that I live overseas, is either books shipped directly from Amazon or ornaments/magnets bought in whatever city/country I’ve managed to travel to.

  • Eenie

    We just bought a heated mattress pad, and I’m so excited for it to arrive!

    • Kat

      That sounds amazing, my favorite thing about cold weather is the excuse to use the heated seats in my SO’s car.

    • Jess

      We brought out our electric blanket last week and it’s the best thing in the world.

  • Kat

    I’ve been wanting to buy Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty highlighter in “Trophy Wife” (https://www.sephora.com/product/killawatt-freestyle-highlighter-P64879845?skuId=1925874) but can’t bring myself to pull the trigger, but this NYX “Golden Hour” liquid highlighter (https://www.nyxcosmetics.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-nyxcosmetics-us-Site/default/Product-Variation?pid=NYX_414&dwvar_NYX__414_color=Golden%20Hour) is a pretty decent dupe, and puts some gold tones back into my skin so I don’t feel so pale and blah-y now that the weather has gotten dark and grey.

    Also I got the new Pixel 2 phone the day it came out and I LOVE it, especially because my whole work life is in Google Drive/Docs/Sheets and this makes the connection between my phone and laptop totally seamless.

    • penguin

      The Fenty Beauty highlighter looks like it blends out like a dream. I’m always hesitant to pick colors for myself and usually end up asking the Sephora people to help me.

  • Sonnie

    I’ve started (not-pretty) dot journaling and I looove these journals: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06X9H9R7J/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I had such a hard time finding a hard cover spiral bound notebook and this one is standing up to all the abuse it gets in my bag.

    • Sonnie

      Oh! and anything from Social Print Studio but especially this calendar: https://www.socialprintstudio.com/calendar/

      I made one with our wedding pictures for my desk and one with childhood pictures for my mom’s desk. Grandparents are def getting one for Christmas.

  • emilyg25

    I am also obsessed with wallpaper! It’s come a long way since the 90s. I’m planning to redo my downstairs bathroom with this on one wall: https://www.grahamsandersoninteriors.com/wallpapers/clarke-and-clarke/artbook-by-kim-parker/ariadnes-dream-jumbo-multi

    • Lisa

      Oh, that’s beautiful!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I love that! I love that bathrooms are a fun not-huge-commitment way to experiment with gorgeous, bold things like that.

    • Colleen

      That paper is stunning!

  • JC

    I just made the horrible mistake of suggesting that someone get me the gel nail polish dryer for Christmas, and now I can’t just go buy it for myself…

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  • Yael

    Ugh I miss US shopping. It is just not the same in Germany. For one thing, even if I can get something from one of my favorite stores (C&B, Anthro, West Elm, Container Store) here, I have to pay more than the item is worth in shipping (except Anthro, because they are awesome). Even some IKEA products are not available in Germany, despite the fact that Sweden is RIGHT THERE! But, it turns out H&M now sells home goods and they’re super cute, which is great because as I’ve mentioned before, we have nothing. We just placed an order for a bunch of candles and throw cushions since we’ll be hosting a Chanukah party for all our non-Jewish friends (i.e., basically everyone we know in Germany). We also just bought this couch: https://www.home24.de/produkt/sofa-nistra-2-sitzer-webstoff-beige (link is in German). It arrives on Thanksgiving! (also known as next Thursday here).

  • BD

    This is off topic but is The Compact still in the works? It’s just that I haven’t heard anything about it lately and 2017 is winding down…

    • Angela’s Back

      There was some info from Meg in happy hour a couple of weeks ago, if I remember correctly they’re doing a complete code overhaul on the site so the Compact release got pushed back, now it’s sometime next year.

  • Hope

    Zero drop shoes. My faves are SoftStar shoes, but there are a bunch of brands out there. I am done abusing my feet and body. Also, relatedly, I’m way deep into reading the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman who teaches us how to live in and move our bodies like we’re meant to, in a hilarious, lay-reader-friendly way.

  • Eh

    My go to gift last year was a tea steeper from David’s Tea. I think I bought four or five of them for friends and family. Over lunch I was at David’s Tea buying tea (for people who got steepers last year) and picked one up for myself.

    I’m not too obsessed with anything right now, but a lot of women (including my SIL) in my husband’s family like Charmed Aroma candles. I bought my SIL one of the necklace ones for Christmas.

    • Colleen

      I love Davids Tea! Their packaging is so cute, you can gift stuff without even worrying about wrapping half the time!

  • My family’s not doing gifts this year (my mom and dad lost their home in Harvey, my siblings have big life changes on the horizon), and it surprises me how sad it makes me. I LOVE buying gifts for people – I think I’m going to wrap a giant puzzle, Lego, and game for us to open Christmas Day and enjoy together.

    So, of course, I’ve had shopping on the brain.

    We’re in the midst of a half bath install, and I’m wallpapering from chair rail up. I’m so excited. http://www.bellacor.com/productdetail/york-wallcoverings-ct0828-callaway-cottage-black-magnolia-branch-wallpaper-1604641.htm

    And I’ve been on a clean, green beauty kick this year and have slowly worked my way up to some of the more expensive brands – Josh Rosebrook, Mahalo, etc. Nothing more luxurious for me than these exotic-scented products. Integrity Botanicals also offers three free samples when you purchase, and while it’s fantastic to try these out for free, it’s also tough on the wallet. Right now, I’m loving the Josh Rosebrook Complete Moisture Cleanse and Vital Balm and ADORing the Mahalo Unveil. It’s probably a great thing I didn’t discover good skincare products until now…

    Other than that, I’m so happy I finally bought stainless steel straws. I use straws nearly every day and was feeling so much guilt. The stainless steel makes my drinks even colder, and they come in such fun colors with pipe cleaners to make sure they stay nice and clean. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074M6BG3P/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • Lisa

      I’m so sorry to hear about your parents’ home, Jenn. I hope they’re doing okay. I love the idea of starting a new tradition of putting together a puzzle or playing a game instead of opening presents. Also, if you love buying gifts for people, you could either redirect that into gifts to friends or put some thought into what gifts or experiences your family members would really love over the coming year. Nothing says you can’t buy something now and hang on to it for an out-of-the-blue, thinking-of-you gift or a birthday.

      • Thanks, Lisa, and you’re right – random presents can be so fun too! We missed the Giving Tree deadline for local children this year, but I’m hoping I can still find an organization accepting gifts. Though receiving gifts isn’t as big a deal to me, I do love picking out the perfect thing.

  • Lisa

    A little late to the party, but my favorites right now are:

    This ten year journal, which I started when we got legalled. I’m almost at year 2 and can’t wait for that milestone. http://www.journal10.com/

    OPI Squeaker of the House nail polish (I feel obligated to note that the DC collection started before last year’s election): http://tinyurl.com/y8ncm29r

    Getting fresh flowers every week from Trader Joes.

    Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen, because I’m successfully adulting at least in this regard: http://tinyurl.com/y77e9u6u

    Establishing a breakfast routine (smoked trout, dates, and one extra like fruit or yogurt).

    Covergirl Outlast Lip Color in Canyon: http://tinyurl.com/ybq5vk55

    & Lingerie, which I’ve gotten really interested in just recently, but I haven’t quite figured out.