My journey into adulthood began one balmy morning in late-90s Florida when I started eating cookie dough for breakfast. But I didn’t stop there—I also decided to wash it down with a can of Coke, making a self-satisfied “ah” noise as I slammed it onto the counter like a townie draining his final beer.
Adulthood was about creative autonomy, I decided that first day, as sugar coursed through my body on my bus ride to school. It was about having the power to make my own choices, and opting not to make the lame ones. I would “grow up” by freeing myself from the tyranny of routine. Of milk. Of cereal. Of fruits and vegetables. Of doing what I was “supposed” to do without searching for something more fun I could do instead.
This was not sustainable. I think I got about a week into my “cookie dough and Coke” diet before my dad caught wind and shut down the operation. But I’d already settled on something important: If I was going to embark upon adulthood, I was going to make sure I retained the memory of what it felt like to not be an adult, and memorize the possibilities I saw for adulthood before life made me Boring.
This is all to say that when I caught my first glimpse of the “Grown-Ass Woman” Repeller bundle, and that glimpse brought me immense joy, I knew exactly why. At this point in life, I’ve reached a more measured approach to balancing responsibility and resisting dronehood. And the contents of the bundle — Sailor Tote, Repeller Flagpole and Sir Scarf-a-Lot — make occasionally embracing my more dutiful side sound fun! I mean, just look at them!
So in honor of growing up without growing bored, I’ve asked the Man Repeller team about the little things in life that make them feel they’ve got it together. I found their suggestions charmingly straightforward and intend to try them all as soon as possible. (Right after I finish this breakfast brownie.)
Elizabeth, Market Strategist
Le Creuset Enamel Cast Iron Pot
In my view, you become an adult the day you invest in cookware. (That also means ditching the assortment of random cheap stuff you cobbled together during college.) I bought this pot at age 26 after moving to a new apartment, and not only does it make cooking easier (this one has glorious, even heating all over), but it’s also so pretty that I display it on my stove even when I’m not using it. If you’re not ready to shell out for a Le Creuset, check out this also-cute cheaper option.
My grown woman icon: Any working mother
Haley, Deputy Editor
Stationery and Paper from Paper Source
The number of times I’ve ripped out a piece of notebook paper to make a homemade card is shameful. It’s true that I prefer homemade cards to store-bought ones, but my custom cards have historically sucked, which is why I felt so good buying a pack of 25 folded white cards and matching envelopes in a heavy matte white last winter. I love to doodle on the fronts and write long messages inside and not worry about whatever some Hallmark copywriter has in mind. It makes me feel grown up not because stationery is “so adult,” but because buying it in bulk required foresight and an understanding of who I am.
My grown woman icon: Ursula Le Guin
Dasha, Director of Product Development
Zalto Wine Glasses
These are just so elegant and such a tactile experience because of the hand-blown stem. Drinking wine still makes me feel so adult, but drinking it out of these glasses is another level of sophistication.
My grown woman icon: Alma Har’el
Hillary, Product Manager
A few years ago, I realized I had somehow acquired all of those really important documents your parents tend to be in charge of (social security card, etc.)… and then we had a fire in our building! Luckily, my apartment was fine, but I immediately bought two things: renters insurance and a safe. The safe lives in a little nook in my closet and it houses all my important documents, including old family photos and even my baby blanket. Yeah, real adults fire-protect their childhood blankets!
My grown woman icon: Amy Poehler, always
Gyan, Managing Editor
Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bag
I cut a bunch of single-use plastic out of my life last year, but my favorite swap was trading out Zip-lock bags and Saran wrap for these silicone food bags. I have them in every size and use them for myriad things, like packing snacks for picnics or storing half-used avocados in the fridge. They’re easy to clean and I get to feel a little virtuous every time I use them.
My grown woman icon: My former editor and current friend, Rachel Miller.
Jean, Operations Intern
A Mid-Century Bar Cart
Having a fully stocked bar cart in my apartment makes me feel like two of my favorite iconic adult tropes: the perfectly poised hostess and the savvy businessman. I get to live out my Mad Men fantasy by being Don and Betty at once! Need to talk about something serious? Let me pour you a bourbon. Just stopping by? Allow me to whip up a minty mojito. I bought this cart on a whim, but once it was fully stocked, it made my home feel so much more welcoming.
My grown woman icon: Jameela Jamil
Emily, Visual Manager
2 Piece Wick Trimmer and Candle Snuffer Set
According to Google (and my mom, who has always reminded me to trim my candle wicks over the years), it is important to trim your candle wicks to help control the amount of “fuel” or wax that is present—therefore less soot is created while the candle is burning. This also helps your candles last longer. Have you tried shoving scissors into a narrow candle jar to trim the wick? It’s incredibly annoying! A wick trimmer makes it a cinch.
My grown woman icon: Lizzo
Andrea, Director of Client Services & Production
Stick-on Anywhere Portable Little Light
I have a small closet that I share with my boyfriend, which means every last inch of it is precious real estate. These lights make it much easier to see deep into the back and sides of the closet, which would otherwise be a visual dead zone. They’re motion-activated and turn on when I open the doors (feels fancy), and the battery is rechargeable!
My grown woman icon: My mama
Patty, Head of Partnerships
Ellevest Investment Portfolio
The best way for me to save is to set it and forget it, and Ellevest is designed to do that with manageable targets against specific life goals. Highly recommend. Also found this book very simple and helpful!
My grown woman icon: Ava DuVernay
Portable Bento Box
As a new college grad fresh on the scene, bringing my lunch to work every day is a new and money-saving enterprise, but rarely a pretty-looking setup. This adorable bento box kit has lots of room for all my lunching needs and looks cute while doing its thing, which makes me feel m a t u r e. It also easily fits into a commuter bag, which makes toting it around very low stress.
My grown woman icon: My mom, who gave me a fully stocked emergency bag that can fit in any purse.
Amalie, Social Medium (still)
Zojirushi Thermos and Reusable Mug
This reusable mug makes me feel like a grown-ass woman and a responsible citizen of the world. I’ve reached the point where the waste of paper cups and plastic lids from my morning coffee habit feels irresponsible. Cutting down my waste/single-use plastic in this small way has been important to me, and the beautiful thing about this reusable mug (whose praises I will sing until I’m hoarse), is that your liquids will stay hot or cold forever. I’ve woken up to scalding hot coffee left over from a previous day, to cubes of ice still intact after 28 hours. It is the most incredible mug.
My grown woman icon: Terry Gross
What simple little things make you feel like an adult?
Collage by Madeline Montoya.