What you should and shouldn’t buy on Amazon
It’s prime day and everyone is excited about the idea of finding a sought-after item on sale, or discovering a new must-have for their home. This summer during quarantine, we spent a lot of time updating our home and outdoor recreation swag. A lot of our items came from Amazon.
I remember wishing that I could support small business more, then I realized that *DING* many small businesses moved part of their inventories to Amazon in order to increase revenues and provide shipping. So, strategic shopping at Amazon did in fact ways help these smaller businesses, who did not have the shipping abilities that Amazon could provide. I remember when I first released my book Lucy Libido Says… There’s an oil for THAT and within the first week I had sold 8,000 copies. I had no way to ship this much volume and turned to Amazon for help. To this day, I still have two stores. The Lucy Shoppe for those who already follow me, and the Amazon store which attracts new readers. They work hand in hand and I am thankful for both.
So what SHOULD you buy on Amazon?
Here are my top picks.
I choose electronics not because these come from small businesses (Hello airpods) but because Amazon has a great return policy. If something goes wrong, you can print a prepaid label and send it back by dropping at a local Kohls, UPS, or schedule with your mail and return without leaving your house.
Here are some of my top picks.
Organization and Home improvement
Here are a handful of knick knacks that I’ve put in my home over the summer. Each project is EASY, inexpensive, and results in less stress around the house.
Retractable clothes line
Place this invisible retractable line in your shower and pull it out for wet swimsuits, towels, or to hang-dry items. We put one of these in our downstairs bathroom after visiting a Hawaiian beach resort and using it everyday in our guest suite. We now have one in our pretty laundry room, as well as in our downstairs bath.
A Clutter-free Shower
Tired of cluttered bottles? Adhere this corner unit into your shower wall bath and never deal with falling bottles again. Our kid’s bathroom looks so much cleaner because all bottles are on two racks that are hidden behind a curtain even while it’s open. This bad boy does NOT budge.
A bathroom curtain divider
All moms rejoice after installing this ceiling mounted curtain divider. We use it to separate the bathroom sinks from the toilet and shower. No more “BUT SO AND SO IS IN THE BATHROOM”. Multiple kids can use a sink and a toilet at the same time. This has reduced bathroom quarrels by 90% in our home. I installed it myself with a cordless drill after cutting to size with a dull hand saw. It took a half hour and I only wish I had thought of this sooner.
When I figured out that I could take snacks out of bulky boxes and fit more in my pantry using long deep clear bins – I finally got on my lunch-packing A game. Prior to this, I would call it my D game. My school lunch packing / grab a snack dilemma is now solved. We have one pantry shelf and one fridge drawer dedicated to lunches or snacks. These bins are long and deep and hold a LOT. We load up all our perishable snacks like apple slices, carrot sticks, cheese bars, sliced cucumbers into the fridge bins. We load up all our non-perishable snacks into the pantry shelf. My kids pack their own lunches by grabbing 2 pantry items, 2 fridge items, and they make a sandwich or wrap. I load the bins once or twice a month, and they can self pack meals or snacks in 1-2 minutes. Mornings are SO much better with this system because you can see it all and choose quick. No more boxes hiding behind boxes. I like the 14” deep containers that aren’t very wide because that is the depth of my pantry. You can get clear pantry organizers at the Container Store or here.
Pan lid holder – if you don’t have one of these yet, get one now and in one week you will ask “why did I not have this before?” It keeps all your pan lids organized and easy to find.
Top Mount Stemware holder – We doubled the space in our cup cupboard by having wine glasses hanging upside down from the top of the cupboard with short tumblers below. It’s a quick 3 minute install with a screwdriver too.
Instapot – if you like to set it and forget it – grab your self an Instapot and a recipe book!
If you work online at all, these are some must-haves for your office.
Blue Light Glasses. Protect your eyes by wearing blue light glasses when you are in front of screens for hours on end. Also, take the YL supplement Illuminize to strengthen your eyes against deterioration caused by blue light.
Tripod: There are a couple of tripods that I use. For me to like a tripod- it has to be sturdy but break down small. It has to be able to hold a phone vertically and horizontally and not topple over. It need to have a bag for a travel and a remote to start and end video. This one does it all. I use this tripod and love it. And that is saying a lot because I have trashed a lot of tripods… The low price is almost deceptive. It’s a good one. It even has a built-in level to makes sure your images are straight!
If you are looking for an IPAD tripod… here’s your winner. This Ipad Holder securely holds our large IPAD pro without fear of loosing a significant investment to a toppling tripod. Technically a “dock” because it has one leg and a stable base, this has proved useful for all the kid’s ZOOMS we’ve been doing during Covid. It takes a little muscle to adjust it up and down when you first get it, because the adjustment rod is fitted pretty tight to prevent accidents. After we used it a few times, we were able to easily adjust it. NO TOPPLING IPADS.
Webcam. There are a lot of webcams out there….. and I’m going to share a secret with you. I have tried and returned a LOT of them. The absolute BEST webcam for picture and video quality is a Logitech brio with 4k picture. The sound and picture are a step above 1080 models and deliver crystal clear images. My favorite part is that it has a white balance feature that brightens and lightens your picture so your stream looks good even at night. No more grainy, blurry, yellow, laggy, pixel-ey images. This is the gold standard that I use for interviews and summits. It’s not the cheapest. It’s the best quality. Don’t need your webcam to record top notch interviews? This everyday webcam is a fantastic bang for your buck if you just need a simple webcam with good reviews.
Backlighting. Looking for backlighting? There are a few light kits that I use for photos ops, book signings, and to brighten my room when filming.
Light ring. This is your basic lighting that you put in front to brighten your face. The 18” ring brightens your face and the space around it. You can put a phone or a camera in the center with the tripod attachment. I bought one of the very first models that is no longer in production, but above is a similar one.
Side light – Side lighting gets rid of shadows that are created with a single front light. I prefer a light wand for this purpose because it’s small and packs well. I also travel with my light wand more often than with a light ring, because it folds down small and fits into a suitcase. I use this light wand when I travel because it can be handheld, or it fits onto a tripod. It is also cordless which means I can take it anywhere. The battery fits in the bag and it’s easy to charge with an outlet. We use it all the time for photos during rallies.
Phone light: A desk light is a small light that attaches to your phone or desk that lights 2-3 feet for selfies or lives. This is an easy, inexpensive and quick solution to lightening stories. For stories on the go, you can use a phone clip light that snaps on your phone. While not as effective as a larger light, it helps with grainy texture in low light selfies.
Since Covid hit – Outdoor activities have been the ONLY activities. We discovered some amazing businesses on Amazon, and have to toot the horns of these outdoor products that we’ve been using and love.
Beach Shade Canopy. If you go to the beach, like EVER – stop what you are doing and get yourself this beach canopy now. Oh my goodness. It opens and closes in a minute like an umbrella and weighs only 7 lbs. It packs down like a camping chair, but when open can accommodate 4 beach chairs and all your stuff. Use it for shade at the beach or the soccer field, camping, anywhere.
Portable camping or beach side table. We got this side table with our Canopy. We have one child that wants to be in the water non-stop, and two others that dip their toes in then prefer to play card games. This little jewel packs tight and light at 2 lbs, and unrolls to hold a couple of drinks and a card game. I love it because I want to be able to bring gear that we can carry in one easy trip. This does it. While at the beach we realized how much we put our phones on it too … instead of the ground. Brilliant.
Bike Hitch – Allen Sports is a small business that focuses on amazing and easy to use bike racks at competitive prices. We grabbed their affordable 5 bike rack after a nightmarish experience trying to haul 5 bikes in a trailer. It attaches easily to a hitch, is easy to load 5 bikes, has the option to lock the hitch to the car to prevent theft, swivels down when unloaded so you can access your car’s hatch/trunk, and holds your bikes securely. Driving with it on is business as usual and it’s made family bike excursions a breeze. They come in multiple sizes, for example the 3 bike rack here the 4 bike rack here and a child carrier attachment here.
Collapsible Beach Tote – This CleverMade Snap Basket folds down in your garage gear, but pops open with reinforced sides to hold beach gear and towels. It comes in lots of cute patterns too! We have the Navy stripe.
This list would not be complete without items to support your oily lifestyle. Here are some items that I use and love!
Essential Oil organizers for drawers. I keep my daily oils on shelves so that I can grab them and use each day. But my unopened bottles are housed in a drawer with these awesome organizers. I can easily see what I have when my shelved bottles are getting low. I try to always have a new unopened bottle on hand before my daily bottle runs dry. There are 3 packs or 9 packs to fit your space.
Aloe Vera. This is the aloe vera I use in all my non-toxic recipes in my book Lucy Libido Says.. I send everyone to this aloe brand! It is the perfect consistency – not gummy and full of artificial colors/preservatives, and not runny like water.
Emulsifier: In order to emulsify water and oils, you need a substance that equally distributes the oil in water so that the oils don’t float to the top. You can achieve this with either Tween polysorbate 20 here or soy/sunflower lecithin. The advantage to polysorbate is that it is generally considered safe for cosmetics and is use often in natural and organic products. (Including Young Living creams) Though not 100% natural due to processing, it is derived naturally from soy and is then processed to provide beautiful water+ oil emulsions. It is generally used in higher quality cosmetic and anti-aging products. It is clear and has no odor or color. I use it often in EO linen sprays, air freshener, and natural lubes. The disadvantage to polysorbate is that some brands are not food grade or appropriate for edible applications and choosing the right one can get confusing. Choose a high quality food grade Tween Emulsifier here. Also, do not get tween / Polysorbate 20 confused with Polysorbate 60 or Polysorbate 80. These are different products and I do not recommend them if you are striving for a more natural product.
Soy or sunflower lecithin is 100% natural, edible, and is used to emulsify foods. It’s very commonly found in bread. Sunflower lecithin can be used in the case of a soy allergy. The disadvantage however it is that it is dark and will add a brown / yellow color to your creams, lubes, or sprays.
RECIPE PRO TIP: How to Emulsify essential oils and water
Add 1 drop Tween / Polysorbate 20 to every 5 drops essential oil.
Add 1/8 tsp Soy / Sunflower lecithin to every 10 drops essential oil.
Books – Amazon is a GREAT place to buy books. Authors such as myself have started small and have been able to have their work viewed all over the world due to Amazon’s amazing bookshelf. You can find The Lucy Book and the Betsy book on Amazon. Thank you for your kind reviews that help them to be seen by more people.
What you Shouldn’t buy on Amazon:
Clothing or shoes. There are a dozen boutique stores in your hometown that sell clothing and fashion. Shopping locally for clothing provides jobs in your area. Being able to try clothing on means less back and forth when items don’t fit. Or if you prefer to shop online, consider shopping at stores that you could return to locally, or choose a smaller startup online company like Stichfix that pairs you with working designers to curate your wardrobe or ThreadUp which focuses on sustainability.
Anything on the above list that can be purchased from a small supplier in your local town. I’m not talking your local Target, Best Buy or Walmart. I mean an independently owned shop. If you can purchase a webcam from an independent tech supplier or a Bike Rack from a local bike shop – do that first.
Essential Oils. Never and I repeat NEVER buy essential oils on Amazon. The only oil offerings from Amazon are either
- Low quality / Adulterated with fillers or Ethanol – 99% of what’s on there
- Opened / re-labeled seconds / Used and refilled then recapped
Reputable Oil companies like Young Living do not sell or resell on Amazon because they are already an established worldwide company with a direct to consumer model. Each member has access to a website where they can order direct from the farms, and have their oils sent direct to their home while receiving a member discount. If you don’t already have a Young Living membership they are free with an oil kit and have no monthly requirements for membership. Get your membership HERE.
Happy Prime Day everyone!