20 Random-but-Useful November Purchases PureWow Staffers Are Obsessed With

Including a genius yoga mat hack

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Random but Useful Things We Bought: collage of home and wellness items
Dasha Burobina

If you're anything like us, online shopping is second nature at this point. Just hearing the doorbell ring, knowing FedEx is there with our package, has the power to lift our mood, any day of the week. (Bonus points if they happen to be the kind of magical products that are totally game-changing.)

In the spirit of helping you find a few more of those kinds of incredible discoveries, we've rounded up a selection of our favorite random-but-useful products that we've been using constantly since we purchased them in the last month. From a nifty pot strainer for all those delectable mac and cheese meals to a magnetic phone stand, here are the items PureWow staffers loved in November.

Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.

"I am newly OBSESSED with this cold brew," says commerce director Nicole Briese. "It's better than any other I've ever tried: I mix it with Oatly and it no joke tastes just like a brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso." Each 32-ounce bottle makes 20 eight-ounce glasses of cold brew, because you mix it one part cold brew to four parts water. Explorer comes in four caffeine levels: standard, extra caffeine, half caffeine and decaffeinated—all formulated by an international team of coffee experts.

"After hearing David Beckham talk about cleaning all the candles in his home every night in the Beckham documentary, I found myself with so many questions about proper candle care," says fashion editor Abby Hepworth. "He inspired me to pick up a sleek candle care kit so that I might have just one thing in common with the Beckhams—impeccably clean candles." The kit includes three black-painted stainless steel candle accessories: a snuffer, trimmer and a wick dipper used to position wicks correctly. In a lovely gift box, this is also great to have on hand as a spare gift.

"I highly recommend this electronics cord organizer I got on Amazon to streamline the unsightly tangle of cords from lamps, speakers and the whole couch-as-office WFH situation," says senior editor Dana Dickey. ""It’s made my living room look so much better! The large size fits an entire power strip and it has one end for the main power cord and the other side lets me access charging cables." The 16-inch-long box comes with ten Velcro cable ties that help keep coiled cables bundled. Made of matte fluted plastic in sage green or white, it looks like a decorative design element.

"I realize this is marketed for sweaters, but we actually bought it for an upholstered chair we have to remove any pilling and it works like a DREAM," says Rachel Bowie, senior director of special Projects and royals. "It's on my mind as I spent about ten minutes using it on said chair this weekend and the result was so satisfying—low effort, big results." A few swipes of this 4-inch little comb made of cedar and mesh across any woven fabric that gets a bit ratty and voila—it looks tidy again, without harming the fabric.

Editor-in-chief Jillian Quint's suggestion? "Life hack: Store your yoga mats in an umbrella stand (this one fits two) and it will make you feel like you live in a wellness studio," she says. "Seriously, I cannot tell you happy it makes me to have mine in here instead of tucked under the couch were I used to keep them." The ventilated sides keep air circulating, and there's a removable tray at the base in case you actually need to catch drips from wet umbrellas in it.

"I’m hoping to get one of these organizers for my room! " says associate editor Delia Curtis. "I have a TON of art supplies that are taking up space in my drawers to the point where I don’t always know what I have in my arsenal, so I think a cart like this would be ideal for maintaining organization while letting me see what I have—so I think this will also curb my art spending habits. I also love that it’s on wheels so that I can roll it to a convenient spot when not in use so it’s out of the way." Available in four colors, the 31-inch tall unit has three mesh shelves and a slender 13-by-17-inch profile that can zip right under a desk or into a closet.

"Honestly, one of the best things I've ever bought," says associate SEO editor Marissa Wu. "Living in a tiny space means I'm always trying to maximize storage, so a lamp that's lovely and also has shelving is a win-win-win." This 63-inch tall etagere-style piece has three bulb color settings and the LED bulb remembers the last hue you chose.

"The strips brightened my smile a full shade, which was noticeable," says associate editor of news and entertainment Nakeisa Campbell. "They are easy to use and much cheaper than a visit to the dentist. And they deliver on their promise to make teeth whiter in just a week."

Developed by world-famous dog trainer Cesar Millan and tech innovator Ken Ehrman, the Halo collar is a shockless invisible fence that's a great dog training aid; PureWow rated it the best boundary training collar for dogs. "I like that the collar is less bulky than other collars, and you can set it to various prompts—a sound, a vibration or a small shock—to go off when the dog is about to cross the area boundary you've walked off," Dickey says. "Also, you can mark off up to 20 areas with their own boundaries all through your one app, so that means my dog Gus learns where he's allowed to go both in the front yard and in our neighborhood park."

random but0useful things we bought weighted pillow

"As a longtime weighted blanket fan, I was enthusiastic about trying this new weighted pillow," says Dickey. "It's only six pounds, but it gives me a calming feeling when I put it on my chest when I'm napping or going to sleep, without the claustrophobic feeling I sometimes get when the heat's way up and I'm under my usual twin-sized weighted blanket." The pillow is filled with tiny glass beads and has a washable zip-off cover and comes in four colors as well as three weights (six, nine and 12 pounds, corresponding with your body weight). Best of all there's a 30-day money-back return policy.

pot strainer

11. Killer's Instinct Outdoors Pot Strainer

Bowie is obsessed with this new kitchen tool."This has changed my life—from all the mac and cheese I make for my son, but also pasta in general. No colander required," she raves. It fits up to a 10-inch diameter pan or pot and it's dishwasher safe.

12. Bagsmart Weekender Bag

"I really wanted a bag that had a slide pocked to attach to the handles of a rolling suitcase," says director of affiliate strategy Pamela Masin. "This felt essential to have as someone who was going on their first flight in over three years and wanted to upgrade from using a backpack as my personal item. It features so many pockets and compartments for easy organization, including a separate padded section for a laptop and a zippered exterior pocket to store a boarding pass and headphones. I packed it to the brim and never felt like it was going to tear and had zero issues with it considered as my personal item." OK, we're sold.

13. Eurow Store Makeup Removal Cleaning Cloth

Commerce editor Olivia Dubyak has left her makeup wipes in the past with these mini cloths. "I love using these little pads with my micellar water to remove my makeup and to apply my glycolic acid. They're incredibly soft, which I love, because I have very sensitive skin so my regular washcloths can irritate my face. They're also a more sustainable alternative to makeup wipes and more affordable." You can purchase these in a four- or ten-pack.

14. AG1 by Athletic Greens

Assistant editor Stephanie Meraz is loving the boost of energy she gets from starting her day off with this foundational nutrition greens powder. "I love drinking it every morning on an empty stomach before my coffee. It makes me feel like I’m giving my body the vitamins and minerals it needs for the day right off the bat, while also knowing I need to continue to feed my body healthy, nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. And what I love about it is how clean it is. You’re getting the real and raw ingredients and giving your gut, immunity, energy and recovery a big boost."

15. Hiccapop Portable Baby Booster Seat

We love a savvy parent hack, and this mini folding chair is too cute. "Most places near me don’t have any baby accommodations (jerks) and this little thing can strap to a normal chair or you can plant it on the ground and for the price, it’s surprisingly really sturdy and well made," says executive editor Dara Katz. "You can also take it to the park or in the car with you and pull it out whenever you need to feed the bebe."

16. Evelots Cat Draft Stopper

This kitty draft stopper is a functional and adorable item to add to your home, according to Briese. "Not only will this baby help keep heat in in the winter (and AC in the summer), it keeps odors from apartment living situations OUT. Your neighbor who's always cooking with too much garlic? Yeah, this will stop that. The, ahem, mid-day 'herb' smoker in 2C? Not your problem. Beyond all of that, this is just plain old cute."

magnetic phone stand

17. Mophie Portable Magnetic Stand

Managing editor Catrina Yohay has loved the ease of this nifty phone holder after a wrist surgery. "This little phone stand has been a lifesaver for FaceTiming and social scrolling! I can just pop it on and chat with my mom over FaceTime or watch Instagram stories hands-free while sipping coffee or multitasking (love that I'm not hunching or craning my neck anymore as well). It also folds up to about the size of an iPhone, so it's perfect for travel–it's my husband's go-to for movie watching while flying." Heads up: You need a MagSafe compatible phone for this one.

crayola clay

18. Crayola Model Magic Deluxe Variety Pack

In need of a life-changing product to distract your child when she's feeling bored? Executive editor Candace Davison says her daughter loves this pack of clay. "It's great for flights and road trips, or just waiting for dinner at a restaurant with an antsy kid. It's amazing how much time my daughter and her friends will spend molding things out of clay," she says.

shower foot stand

19. Elevease Shower Step

"I’m obsessed with this thing," says home commerce editor Sydney Meister. "It’s saved me from rolling up to dates with bloody legs from shaving (and it doesn’t take up too much corner space in my tiny shower)." This little plastic step pops right into the corner of your shower and you can place your legs on it to get better shaving or self-tanning angles.

20. Pulidiki Car Cleaning Gel

Dickey says this lump of gel keeps her car nice and clean without paying for a professional cleaning. "It’s an easy, quick little device that gets the gunk out of my car air vents and the crumbs out of cracks in my car console. Like a profesh car detailing job, but I don’t have to be away from my car that long." Once the gel turns black after several uses, you'll know it's time to get a new one.

Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.

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Commerce Editor

Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...

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PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.