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For most of us, it's impossible to imagine The O.C. without Summer Roberts. If the character had been written off after only a few episodes, how different would the series have been? Would we have still gotten the iconic "Mmm whatcha say" shooting of Trey? Would George Lucas still have wanted to adapt Atomic County? And what would have happened to Pancakes the rabbit?!?
Thankfully, Rachel Bilson's star-making performance turned her first-ever multi-episode arc into her first-ever lead role, when series creator Josh Schwartz recognized that Bilson's Summer, and her chemistry with Adam Brody's Seth Cohen, was crucial to the show's success. That decision led to four Teen Choice Awards for Bilson for The O.C., another for her role in the 2008 underrated sci-fi thriller Jumper, a lead role on The CW's Hart of Dixie, and a social media following in the millions.
Nowadays, Bilson is finding ways to keep busy during the times she's not on camera, from making tasty treats to waxing nostalgic on a new podcast looking back on the classic teen drama that started it all. Here are some of her favorite finds:
Rachel Bilson made headlines for leading a movement to protect the children of celebrities from the invasive eye of the paparazzi, so it's no surprise that this dedicated mom's first pick would be a fun activity for her and her daughter.
"My daughter and I have so much fun reusing them and making different popsicles," Bilson says of the ecozoi Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold. Designed as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, this set offers steel molds, bamboo sticks, silicone rings, and even recycled packaging to offer a zero waste product. Ecozoi's blog offers recipes for everything from sorbets to yogurt pops. It's a perfect simple way to add a little fun to your day.
Shop it: ecozoi Stainless Steel Popsicle Molds, $35, amazon.com
Welcome to The OC, Bitches podcast
It's hard to believe it's been 18 years since the charmingly troubled Ryan Atwood first moved in with the Cohens. Now, many Chrismukkahs later, Rachel Bilson has re-teamed with former co-star Melinda Clarke for a look back at every episode of the show that dominated every study hall conversation from 2003 to 2007.
"We're having so much fun doing it, we're catching up with everybody from the show," Bilson says of her new podcast. "It's super fun, super entertaining, and I get to do it from home." Taking its title from the oft-quoted line bully Luke shouts to Ryan after a beach party brawl, this show offers new insight into the landmark teen drama, and instantly transports the listener to those halcyon days of their millennial youth. And lest you think you've now outgrown The O.C., remember what Summer once said: "Even grown up, we are all 15 at heart."
Find it wherever you get your podcast
Anyone who's listened to a few podcasts can tell you that proper audio quality is clutch. Especially now, with the prevalence of home recording, it's crucial to be able to tune out household sounds. Nobody wants to hear a conversation constantly disrupted by alarm clocks and ringing phones. So when Bilson launched her own show, she knew she needed some top quality noise cancellation.
"You can literally just cancel out any noise," she says of the Tribit XFree Go Bluetooth Headphones. "They're super, super comfortable, so they have been great." These bluetooth headphones feature an ergonomic design to fit any head, and can offer up to 24 hours of high-quality sound on just a two-hour charge. So whether you're starting a podcast of your own or just want to chill out to some tunes like, let's say, "California" by Phantom Planet, these are the headphones for you.
Shop it: Tribit XFree Go Bluetooth Headphones, $30, amazon.com
"I look forward to, every morning, having my coffee," Bilson says of her cherished morning brew. "I set it up the night before. It's my favorite thing." But since we all know even the best coffee can be ruined by a bad cup, Bilson is quick to note, "I get so excited to have it in this mug."
So if you really want to savor your sips, set aside the styrofoam or cardboard, and settle in with a classic ceramic mug. This particular model offers a unique glaze, large handle, and an 18 oz. capacity to ensure you have enough coffee to power you through even the foggiest of days. Perfect for drinks hot or cold, for the morning java or the evening calming tea, this is the ideal mug — hands down.
Shop it: Bosmarlin Ceramic Coffee Mug, $14, amazon.com
From the jump, sustainability has been a key factor in Rachel Bilson's New in the Q picks, as well as in her broader personal interests. A passion for the environment and ethical, eco-friendly consumption is something she clearly shares with Summer Roberts. So it's no surprise that Bilson would be the spokesperson for Planet Oat, the new vegan-friendly dairy alternative.
As an avid coffee fan, Bilson has embraced the oat milk movement, which offers a tasty substitute for dairy with a production method that saps far fewer environmental resources. Her go-to is the Planet Oat Coffee Creamer, which she says "...makes [her coffee] super sweet. I like sugar in my coffee, so it's the perfect pair." So if you're health-conscious, environmentally-conscious or just looking to switch up your coffee routine, chart a course for Planet Oat.
Shop it: Planet Oat Caramel Coffee Creamer, $4, instacart.com
Video Produced by Nurys Castillo
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