What if you had $1,000 to spend on your health?
Welcome to Wellness Diaries. In this series, we send readers $1,000 to splurge on any product, service, or experience—as long as it’s something that can enhance health. (Any leftover cash is donated to a charity of the diarist’s choice.)
In this diary, we have writer and consultant Casey Lewis. She spent her money on lightweight running shoes, plant-based natural digestive solutions, and a highly coveted sunscreen, among other things.
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Casey Lewis is a brand strategist and trend researcher who writes After School, a daily youth culture newsletter.
“My favorite wellness ritual is, without a doubt, running. I’m not a competitive runner and I’ve never done a marathon. I’m very much just a hobbyist, but even though my relationship with running is casual, running (mostly) every day keeps me sane and happy and feeling 100%.”
Her charity of choice: Leftover funds were donated to Social Tees Animal Rescue.
$120 Running Shoes
I’ve been running about five times a week for 10 or 15 years. Running has obvious benefits to my physical health, but the real reason I run is for my mental health. When I lace up and head out, I almost literally feel the stress melting from my shoulders. Earlier this year, I started to have knee pain while running, which was devastating. So, after consulting with my neighborhood running store, I traded my usual lightweight Nike running shoes for a pair of super cushioned Hokas, and it’s really changed everything for me. Now that I’m on the mend, though, I think it’s time to rotate them with a pair of slightly less cushioned (but still well-engineered) Hokas.
$88 Non-Alcoholic Nightcap
I like to sip something that feels a little bit special in the evenings, whether it’s a good natural wine or a non-alcoholic, hemp-infused liquor like Aplós. I actually heard about Aplós from professional cool person Laurel Pantin (a former Teen Vogue colleague of mine from a million years ago), and she made such a compelling case that I’ve been thinking about buying some since 2021.
$199 Massage Gun
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to face the fact that I don’t recover as easily. I hit up my neighborhood massage spot when I have the time (Wendy Spa on Grand Street in Williamsburg), but more often than not, I rely on at-home gadgets to work the kinks out. I have a deep love for a weird massage pillow from Amazon. While it’s excellent for large flat areas, like my back, it’s hard to really get specific muscles—like my hamstrings or the arch of my foot. I’ve heard the Theragun is a real life-changer for targeting specific aches and pains, and after pulling a few muscles in my thigh (who knows how!), I think it’s time to upgrade.
I’m highly suspicious of supplements and multivitamins, but I am always looking for things that might make my digestive system a little happier, because like most millennial women with anxiety, my gut is often not pleased for one reason or another. I’ve heard good things about Hilma from influencer Kate Glavan, one half of the Sea Moss Girlies, and I trust her.
$45 Chocolate Bars
How I feel about supplements is also how I feel about protein bars, meal replacements, those weird Goop-y detox meal plans—anything that could be best described as “food,” I don’t want it. However! These things are insane. They’re high in protein, they have a massive amount of fiber, they don’t have any terribly weird ingredients, and they are impossibly delicious. I mean, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is… but I’ve been eating these for months and I’m kind of addicted. I’ve only had the Peanut Butta (With Chocolate) flavor, and it’s the only flavor I’m interested in trying—the peanut butter tastes to me like Reese’s peanut butter cups (the holiday ones; the superior ones). It’s deeply peanut butter-y, not at all artificial tasting. I don’t know how they do it.
I spend pretty much every weekend during the summer (and a few weekday afternoons, if I’m able to sneak away) at Rockaway Beach. I am far from diligent about sunscreen, which is terrible, but I’d like to be better at it this year. My problem is that sunscreen is usually so messy and unpleasant to apply. It smells bad. It leaves a white cast. But I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Unseen, and I think a nice facial sunscreen that I can just slap on, in autopilot mode, every single morning after I wash my face and brush my teeth, is the only way I can get into a healthy sunscreen routine.
$88 Vegan Energizing CBD Drops
$44 Food Nutrition Bites
Mollie Chen, a co-founder of Birchbox, is one of my favorite follows on Instagram. She’s always recommending really interesting restaurants, stores, and new products, and I trust her opinion implicitly. She’s been talking about Rootless for ages, and every time she posts about this brand, I become even more curious about introducing seaweed into my diet. I love to eat, so I’m really into the idea of functional food rather than just adding another supplement to get the benefits.
$139 Eye Massager
I’ve been wearing contact lenses since I was a kid, but only recently have I noticed eye fatigue. I think it must be from staring at my laptop all day–and then staring at my phone and/or TV many evenings. I’ve been doing self-massage around my eyes when I think of it, but to be honest, I very rarely remember. I love a good massage tool (see my previous mention of my beloved massage pillow), and I think if I had an electric tool for this particular task, I’d enjoy it more—and therefore remember to actually do it. I don’t necessarily buy that this tool will reduce wrinkles and fine lines, but I do think it’ll be a nice feel-good indulgence that’s cheaper than getting a facial.
$35 Hair Wrap
Is a hair towel really self-care? When the hair towel cuts drying time in half for my thick curly hair—and has a handy button to keep the turban neatly in place while I’m stooped over my laptop cranking out some last minute work—then, yeah, I’d say it’s self-care.
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