A Nonfactual, Very Unscientific Study Of Which Bottled Water Brand Is Best

It all grew from a seed of an idea: What if we did a week’s worth of content revolving around water? It makes up to 60 percent of our bodies, it’s often the first ingredient in whatever beauty product you’re using, drinking more of it can make you healthier, happier, and a more well-rounded person…so without further ado:

Welcome to Water Week.

To push the seed metaphor even further (which we didn’t mean to do, but it seemed like a good way to track progress while also perfectly fitting into the metaphorical mold), we’ve planted some wheatgrass. For the past few days, we’ve been watering nine little pots set up on a sunny ledge in our easternmost conference room with different types of water—because we doubt we’re alone in wondering if one of these bottles is actually superior to the others. And if it can make wheatgrass grow in a conference room better than its competitors, then that should be something of an indicator, right? Totally airtight.

Right now, our little seedlings are still developing, but we’ll update you throughout the week. Expect earth-shattering, mind-bending results for sure.

(And for your records, we’re using Evian, Fiji, LaCroix, Gatorade, Smart Water, Dasani, NYC tap water, filtered water, and Perrier. Our money’s on Smart Water, but we’ll see).

Photographed by Edith Young.

Fill your bathroom with plants. Eleven of the best types of plants to live in your bathroom are right here.

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Fill Your Bathroom With Plants

About a year ago, I was working at a creative agency in a role that wasn’t meant to be. During that time, I questioned a lot of things as one does and started dabbling in other endeavors like ceramics and botany. I ended up interning once a week for a florist where I found being around nature—though it was in a limited capacity—was extremely therapeutic. Tending, caring, and creating something that existed because it was simply beautiful felt more than was expressible. Plants take work and each have individual needs. But within your space, they really do make a house a home. Extrapolating on that, I figured, they must make a bathroom…a better bathroom, as well. So I emailed Erin Marino from The Sill to advise on what could live in the sporadically humid space. Here’s what she sent me:

“When you think of most bathrooms in New York City, you think low light, high humidity, and warm temperatures. So if you’re a houseplant novice, think of this space as a helping hand. Additionally, plants have been shown to boost moods, increase creativity, filter indoor air toxins, and produce oxygen…all are great reasons to invest in some houseplants. Luckily, there are a number of common species that thrive in the typically tropical conditions a bathroom provides. Put a few on the counter, squint a little, and ta-da! You’re at the spa.

The most important thing to consider when browsing tropical plant options at your local plant shop or nursery is how much sunlight your bathroom receives. Because most apartment bathrooms receive minimal light, most of our suggestions are plants that tolerate moderate or low light. The plants with an asterisk next to them are our tried-and-true favorites that somehow thrive in small, dark, city apartments.

If you lucked out and have a bright and sunny bathroom, the low light recommendations will still work for you, as long as they’re not in the direct line of sunlight. If there’s no escaping the sun in your bathroom, opt for some humidity-tolerant succulents like an aloe plant.

Plant Recommendations For The Bathroom 

– Snake Plant*
– Philodendron*
– Spider Plant
– ZZ Plant*
– Orchid
– Pothos*
– Peace Lily
– Bamboo
– Assorted Ferns (Boston, Asparagus, Staghorn, Bird’s Nest)
– Cast Iron Plant
– Air Plants

Plants, like people, are individuals. There’s no general rule of thumb for watering them. We recommend checking on your plant every few days for the first month or two. Get to know it and develop a sense of when it’s thirsty. If when you check on your plant, the soil is moist, wait to water it. If it’s bone dry, give it a good watering.

That being said, overwatering is still the easiest way to kill a plant. If you’re a novice with watering, pick planters with drainage holes and saucers. That way water won’t sit in the bottom of your plant, which could lead to root rot.

If you can, purchase from a reputable source. Your local nursery or plant shop will typically be run by individuals that know a thing or two about plants. Ask them questions. Explain your space to them (i.e. how much light it receives, what your schedule is like, if you have any pets, etc.)—if they’re anything like the team at our shop, they will be thrilled to help you pick the perfect plant or two.

If you’re stuck plant shopping at the grocery store, hardware store, or department store, do some research ahead of time. There’s tons of wonderful sources on the web dedicated to houseplants. We’re partial to our own blog, The Plant Hunter, but also regularly read Houseplant Guru, The Horticult, Urban Jungle Bloggersand Gardenista

But most important of all, be easy on yourself! If you bring a plant home and it dies, it definitely doesn’t mean you are doomed and have a black thumb. Getting comfortable caring for houseplants is a learning experience. Enjoy it.”

—Connie Tsang

Photographed by Tom Newton. Ten apartment-appropriate plants for tiny spaces and those decidedly not green of thumb.

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How-To: Flowers In Your Hair

Now’s the time to wear flowers in your hair, even if you just tuck a rose in somewhere—doesn’t it just feel right? This tutorial is here to inspire you to wear them your way. You don’t have to walk around with a crown on your head (unless you want to). But if you’re going to be a bride or just want to add something special to your favorite outfit, this look is for you. Gothic makeup suggested but also optional.

1. Violet flowers: A semi-crown of small, deep-plum flowers are beautiful and very easy to work with. This color goes well with almost anything you wear and flatters dark-haired girls in particular. Cut the sprigs about 3 to 4 inches long, gather them, and arrange in a cluster. Then, bobby-pin the stems starting right above your ear (about an inch above, if we’re being specific). Start small and tuck in more flowers where you think you need filler. Repeat on the other side. Since the look is broken up, it won’t look too clichéd or dramatic.

2. Daisies: If you’re not a wild-flower girl, a couple of floating daisies are a great option to compliment a summer dress without looking overdone. Cut the daisies’ stems to about an inch and place the flower wherever you desire on your hair, securing with a bobby pin. Minimalists can choose to opt for only only two or three. The key is to place the daisies in such a manner to look like they’re floating on your hair. For that reason, I like to keep them disconnected.

3. Mixed greens: This is a special look for a particular dress or event. Surprisingly, wearing all green (down to the flowers) is a stunning neutral look. At the florist, ask for a mix of greenery like green virburnum, green kermit mums, and moss. It’s nice to get a mix of different kinds for texture. Once you’ve got your assortment, start on the top of your head with a small bunch of flowers, and secure it to your head with a small bobby pin. Then, you’ll build the rest of the crown from this anchoring point. Save the larger clusters for the sides of your head, and use heavy-duty bobby pins. You may need a few to secure these flowers for when you’re running away from the party.

4. Roses: Ugh, my favorite—especially using pink. It’s a particularly good look for blondes or light brunettes. Here, I only use two large buds and place them so they look like they’re floating against my temples. Instead of a bobby pin, you’ll want to use a small barrette or clip. Cut the stem down to 2 inches, and weave the rose onto the the top part of the clip—above the clamp. Keep in mind, these roses are heavy, so make sure your barrette is substantial enough to suit your flower. Wear this look only if you want to looks like an angel with halos illuminating your head once you step into a room.

5. Baby’s Breath: OK—maybe this is my favorite flower to wear (as well as to have around the house). I love to go buck wild and pile on these delicate flowers all over the top of my head. The bigger the better, but keep the flowers concentrated and no further down than the tops of your ears. Bobby pins are good here. Start with a huge clump right on top of your head, about 3 inches back from your forehead. You can cut the stems in different lengths for depth and strategic placement. The goal is to build a pointed crown with smaller pieces of baby’s breath trailing off to the sides. The look is best worn with hair down and wild.

—Stacey Nishimoto

Image of Brigitte Bardot via Getty. All other photos courtesy of the author. Wardrobe provided by Spanish Moss.

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Ingredient To Know: Fern

There are two things that come to mind when I think about ferns: Kate Hudson’s “love fern” with Matthew McConaughey in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and the modern masterpiece FernGully: The Last Rainforest, which taught me the dangers of deforestation at a young age.

So I didn’t know quite what to expect when Dr. Timm Golueke emailed me out of the blue when he was visiting New York (he’s based in Munich with his own dermatology clinic) to introduce his recently debuted line, Royal Fern. Perhaps it was in homage to some little known German-monarchical line. (Probably not, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Not selling an intriguing story of crowns nor conquest, instead Dr. Golueke came by to make sure we were aware of the anti-aging properties locked inside the unassuming fern plant. We were not, so this was useful. The story of his product line goes as such: While reading various medical journals, Golueke noticed that fern and menthol extracts were credited as antioxidant, anticancer, and antibacterial agents, in no small part due to the plant’s superior environmental adaptability. It’s also a combination that’s safe for sensitive skin and resistant to UV rays. Predictably, this all sounded intriguing to Golueke, who screens for skin cancer in his practice, so he and his team got to work developing a line revolving around ferns when looked at through the lens of skincare. On a side note, have you ever noticed that while ferns are more than 400 million years old, they still look pretty good for their age?

After four years of research, Royal Fern was born (it launched at Bergdorf + Goodman in January) and it is genuinely great—beyond the fact that fern skincare is a fun novelty that’s intriguing in and of itself. There are three products—an anti-aging face cream, an eye cream, and a serum—all which promise the phytoactive elements of the fern along with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and Acerola cherry for hydrating products with a firming, lifting kick. The serum, when applied at night, will make you look like your skin’s been having dreams of laying on a sandy beach (even if your real dreams are stress dreams about a project at work, but hey, in this dream Johnny Depp is your boss). It dries quickly and matte—allowing other SPFs and whatnot to be layered on top without feeling greasy. Similarly, the two creams are light enough to use all year ’round and disappear into skin quickly—and you’ll be tempted to continuously reapply, mostly because it feels so good and that matte white packaging is the hardest to resist.

And while one skincare line does not a trend make, we’ve got a feeling about this one. Keep a lookout—fern is about to get big.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton. For other Ingredients To Know like copper, click here.

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Five Shower Upgrades You Don’t Need New Plumbing For

After moving for a job a few years ago, I spent a couple of strange months living in a really nice extended-stay hotel. Apart from the fact that I love hotels, the sheer fact that I was acting out my Up In The Air/George Clooney fantasy was enough for me to die happy.

Part of the deal was that my apartment would be cleaned twice a week, whether or not it was needed. (Not the most environmentally sound amenity, but I digress…) With that service came fluffed pillows and freshly laundered linens to enjoy more often than I have ever accomplished for myself. The constant presence of a stack of stark, white towels can do wonders for your peace of mind. It’s very tabula rasa when you think about it.

These days, I’m out of the hotel and back in my own digs—digs that unfortunately do not come with regular maid service. Thus, I’ve had to construct some of my own rules to bring back that happy, clean feeling one gets from a pristine hotel suite. They are as follows:

When in doubt, go with white
Your subway-map shower curtain doesn’t encourage calm. Buy a stark, white curtain (even just a liner will suffice), machine wash regularly, let dry outside of the tub, and you’ll never go back to graphic patterns again. The same holds true for towels—choose pale and plain if you’re at a loss. Quick drying peshtemals and Khadi cloths have had a run recently in the world of laid-back, bespoke decor, but if they don’t suit your current budget, any monochromatic cotton towel will do. Just be sure to separate your brights from your whites on laundry day.

Stick with simple, stainless accessories
If extra shower storage is a necessity (when is it not?), stick with basic, metal caddies that hang from the shower head. Another sanity (and pipe) saver is a drain protector, especially if you and/or your roommates have anything longer than a pixie cut. Of key importance in the bathroom are wall hooks—you can never have enough. I prefer the wall-mounted variety to the over-the-door type, though whatever works.

Plant life is well-suited to steam
Real talk: Is there anything more luxurious than a bathroom full of thriving plants? I mean, just LOOK at Gucci Westman’s flora-filled bathroom. Perfection. A few minutes in a hot shower is enough to create a mini-rainforest hospitable to hanging plants like ferns and philodendrons. Orchids, similarly, are happiest in humid bathrooms with low light. Try a bundle of eucalyptus branches hung from the shower head for a more ambitious home-spa experience—the heat and steam will release the plant’s therapeutic oils for some thrifty aromatherapy.

Strike a match
If, like me, you prefer to shower at night, consider eschewing electricity for old-fashioned candlelight. While I don’t recommend this when shaving is on the agenda, a low-lit bathroom experience is 100 percent more relaxing. Add a beer on the weekend, and you’re really in business.

Buy a wooden bathmat, and never look back
If I could be an evangelist for wooden bathmats, I would shout this message from my pulpit. After buying one last year, I will never go back to the woven fiber or tufted variety. The benefits are manifold: Wooden mats wipe clean, feel good under feet, dry quickly, and look chic all at a relatively small expense. Trust me on this—it’s worth the investment.

—Lauren Maas

Photographed by ITG.

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