Caffeinated water and the apocalypse: 5 new 'needs' I was mailed during quarantine

Paws off my canned sunshine!

Paws off my canned sunshine! Sarah Brumble

In COVID-19’s early days, I could be caught staring, jaw agape, at my inbox… a lot. Marketing has that effect on a person—especially to those of us who lose sight of whether we’re genuinely optimistic, or among the most cynical humans roaming Planet Earth. 

Within the first week of Governor Walz’s stay-at-home order, born of chaotic panic mixed with a masochistic sense of curiosity, I began saying yes to (almost) anything (legal) and free offered to me.

“How will I know if these products might improve my quarantine experience unless I give them a fair shake?” I reasoned. In my head, continuing to talk to myself, I was all like, “When ‘quarantine’ ends, you can tell the people about the stuff that was actually pretty awesome!” 

But joke’s on all of us because we might just live like this now for a while, and this list will get too long if I keep this shit up. 

So, without further ado, please enjoy just the highlights from nearly two months spent romping through food and beverage samples, shipped to my “bunker” via the United States Postal Service. Without exception, they are extra, in the most internetty sense of the word. That’s not to say they haven’t also sparked joy through this pea soupy time we’re enduring—and that you might not consider splurging on a little bit of…

H2rOse Water?

The makers of H2rOse claim it’s more hydrating than regular water, and packs anxiety- and stress-relieving benefits—all while promoting better sleep. Also, the rose water is supposed to make your skin look better. The tagline emblazoned on its packaging? “Drink and Be Beautiful.” Beyond the sheer concept of drinking roses simply seeming dreamier than reality, each bottle contains saffron and a fruit such as peach, mango, or apple. Are these Snapple for people who want to reminisce about their trip to Turkey? Yes. Am I that person? Absolutely. Between its gorgeous packaging (from box to bottle), the apple variety claims top prize for most escapist product of the past few months. 

Sadly, I didn’t catch that ultra-hydrating and beautifying promise, probably because I was still dehydrated from the good folks at…

Prairie Organic Spirits’ Canned Sparkling Craft Cocktails?

In this bunker, we make decent cocktails—once upon a time, professionally! And, like true environmentally conscious/bougie assholes, we also possess a Soda Stream because buying LaCroix was bleeding us dry.… But both parties in this household agree: We’re ashamed to admit how much better Prairie’s Minnesota Bootleg—a gin-based, aluminum-bound rendition of the classic cocktail—is compared to the one we manage. Prairie also has two other sparkling cocktails in cans, both organic and vodka-based, that we recommend just as highly: a crisp, grapefruit ditty that White Claw wishes it were, and a cucumber-lemonade number we’ll take 95 of, preferably followed by several cases of…

Sunshine Sparkling Energy Water?

“Caffeinated water” might be the password for the end of the world. But frankly, since we’re already halfway there? …I could use the energy, and the hydration to cover these last gasps. Sunshine’s fizzy lifting drinks even come in really great flavors, like Lotus Pear, that don’t taste like kiddie cocktails laced with meth. The company also makes straight-up energy drinks. The Blueberry Lemonade version is perfect for those of us who enjoy reminiscing about those good old days when she’d sneak into the pantry and empty the Flintstone vitamin container of all its purples, because they were the best flavor, when her parents weren’t looking, and how it’s kind of a miracle she’s not dead yet. 

Those were the days before she’d graduated to other purple things, which may or may not be improved upon thanks to…

The Wand?

Everyone knows swizzle sticks are the province of gamblers, flight attendants, and Vegas lounge singers, not wine enthusiasts with allergy problems. Enter: The Wand, from PureWine. A double filtration system that looks like a tea bag perched at the end of a looping stick theoretically filters out headaches (*cough* histamines and sulfites) from your glass. Does it work? I don’t know (n≠1, folks!), but they say so and my migraine-prone ass didn’t suffer from one after a couple tests. It gets our star of approval because there’s something particularly delightful and silly about the idea of rolling into Bar Brava, selecting from their nice n’ natty offerings, then producing one of these bad boys, which you’ll swiz’ around in your glass for upwards of five minutes then drink that fine wine. 

To mark the time of the wine’s deheadification, we used the microwave…


Because during EndTimes, the occasional Veestro may actually keep you and yours from killing each over mounting stacks of dishes. This meal delivery service offers flexible ordering options, all of which are 100 percent plant-based, preservative-free, and ready to toss in the microwave or actual oven (if you’re fancy). Crucially, they remove chopping, cooking, and, most importantly, the cleanup to give your household a gd break. We also need fiber in our diets, which is another whole dance-and-a-half when securing the garden-fresh stuff often requires going to the grocery store. Pictured above is Veestro’s rich red curry, packed with tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and brown rice. Their whole menu is available online, but we highly recommend tossing this number into your online, touchless shopping cart.


In between hosting Quarantine Games and following horrible New York Times “easy paella” recipes (don’t be fooled, there’s no such thing), this is how we’ve been living. No, it is not large; it’s just weird. And before you call us out, there was just one, actual food involved in this experiment—let alone to make the highlights reel. Thankfully it was delicious. The offers placed in front of us are always out of our control! Next round we’re sincerely hoping for more solids.

All photos by Sarah Brumble