If you follow our biweekly feature Your Shopping Cart, you know that we have some eerily good intel on what things you all are buying. It led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strat editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it (it’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs). Below, what we all bought in April.
Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor
I have a tiny bathroom with a medicine cabinet that’s about the size of a phone book, with the depth of a Tic Tac box. Needless to say, there is not much room for storage. So we put a square basket on top of our toilet, and on top of that we’ve put our various everyday essentials: contact solution, deodorants, my various face creams, my makeup bag, my husband’s electric toothbrush — and it’s gotten crowded. And my makeup brush accidentally falls into the toilet approximately once a month. I investigated getting one of those over-the-toilet shelf thingies to solve our storage problem, but they all looked a little rickety, and a lot of them required drilling into the wall, which seemed like a lot of work. Then I stumbled onto this little Yamazaki cart, and it is a game changer! It lives right underneath our towel rack, and despite being insanely narrow and not too tall, it holds quite a bit of stuff. We’ve pretty much cleared off the top of our toilet — plus, it was a breeze to put together.
Rarely do I get makeup from the office giveaway table that I actually purchase for myself when it runs out: This BareMinerals BareSkin concealer is the exception. I am not really a concealer connoisseur, but I do know that it feels a little more “wet” than most concealers (which sometimes feel a little chalky and dry to me); it goes on easy, and is incredibly easy to blend in.
They haven’t arrived yet, but I just bought a pair of these woven ballet flats from J. Crew. I am going to Portugal on vacation in a few weeks, and they feel very “wandering the narrow cobblestone streets of Lisbon.” I like that they’re breathable — kind of a cross between a flat and a sandal. If I like how they fit, I might get them in red, too!
Jason Chen, deputy editor
So Zayn’s antics drive me a little bit crazy, but I do think he has some enviable style. I saw a few photos of him in these gold aviator sunglasses that I became determined to track down, but even Instagram DM’ing his stylist yielded nothing. I eventually gave up and just bought the cheap sunglasses he wore in the “Dusk Till Dawn” video, but then one night when I was searching every combination of “gold” and “round” and “brow bar” sunglasses, I finally found them. The lenses are blacker than they look in this backlit photo, and they are just the right amount of normal, but not.
I find expensive “healthy” places annoying on principle, and also annoyingly full of delightful stuff. At Clover Grocery the other day, I bought some Casa Bosques chocolate, which I remembered reading was the favorite hostess gift of Dimes co-owner Sabrina de Sousa. $11 for a bar of chocolate is absurd, but $22 or $33 for a nice weekend thank-you isn’t so terrible.
Margaret Rhodes, senior editor
I’ve been going back and forth on what to do about the current sunglasses fad (cat-eye, small, futuristic). It feels too late in the game to spend my money on Le Specs, but most low-commitment, cheap sunglasses are just that — cheap. I started clicking around and landed on ASOS, where I fell hard for the gray-and-brown color scheme on these Karen Walker–esque pointy cat-eyes. They look much more expensive than they are, something I know because I asked my friend how much she thought they cost, and she guessed $200. They were $20! Mine are sold out, unfortunately, but I bet these cat-eyes would also look deceptively expensive.
This isn’t the exact rug we bought, but I can’t show you that one because these are all one of a kind and my “Sari” rug is no longer on the site. Lauren tipped me off to this company after they pitched her: It’s the same people behind Brooklinen, running a modern, direct-to-consumer vintage rug shop. I went way down a rug rabbit hole, so I’ll give the CliffsNotes here: These guys go to Turkey and take old, beat-up rugs that don’t have collector value (but are still expertly knotted, handmade, and beautiful), clean them or do a new dye wash, and then sell them at a price far below what you’d find at any vintage shop in New York. My boyfriend and I bought a big orangey-red one, and the quality of it is superb. We then realized that our red bedding and red accent wall made our apartment look like Rajneeshpuram, so we bought a second, white rug from Revival, to make us look less insane.
I am very excited about this. I bought the Strat-approved TubShroom a few months ago, and it works, and generally I was happy to have it. But after about six weeks, the TubShroom itself became really hard to clean — I think because the rubber material is so porous. It looked like it was covered in mold. After some Amazon sleuthing, I found this device, which has an identical design to the TubShroom, but is made out of steel and comes with some replaceable rubber rings. It’s already exponentially easier to clean. Plus, the top (the “mushroom cap,” I guess) comes with little claws, so the Uxoz sits above the drain and never slips down and plugs it mid-shower, like the TubShroom often would.
Simone Kitchens, senior editor
We ran this lamp in this week’s Best Bets, but I had actually seen the brass version at my best friend’s house a few weeks earlier. I’m obsessed with warm yellow light, and I’m very impressed with its dim-ability: The light gets both very low and very bright in a way that is still warm and inviting and cozy.
I’m not actually anti–tap water, I drink it most of the time, but if I’m going to have some filter situation sitting around on the counter, I would rather have some elegant glass carafe-y thing than a hunk of blue plastic. The somewhat delicate-ish glass made me a little nervous, but it has so far proven itself to be sturdy and shatterproof.
I like a full, bushy, sprout-y brow as much as the next gal, but I’m not so great at filling them in. For me, the product invariably travels to other parts of my face, which just defeats trying to fool people into thinking that I have these naturally thick brows in the first place. My preferred approach is RevitaBrow. But you have to put in the time with this stuff, and honestly it might not be until you re-up your second tube that things start to really reveal themselves; you’ve got to sit tight till around the two-to-three-month mark. People say good stuff about castor oil, but it just never did anything for me; this stuff, however, has helped me approximate what I had going on pre–ninth grade before I tweezed it all away. It’s just not cheap, and it’s not fast.
I picked up a box of this Japanese incense from Dream Collective in L.A. as a thank-you gift for a friend. When she lit up a cone, I knew I needed to get a box for myself at some point, which I ended up finding last week. The particular scent identifies itself as “weathered, sandalwood, and quiet,” which after a few burns honestly starts to make sense. I’ve tried some of the floral-inflected versions from this brand, and they veer a little sweet, a little overpowering for my taste, but this one is warm and woodsy and linger-y in a perfectly subtle, non-shout-y way.
Lauren Levy, senior writer
I spent most of my money on food and travel this month, and it was also my birthday, so I’m light on the purchases, but one thing I can tell you about is this bag I got in Mexico City. I was there for a bachelorette party and literally all ten of us ended up leaving with one of these. They’re woven out of recycled plastic, perfect for the beach, and while Truss sells them for about $300, they’re literally $12 at every street market in Mexico. Lucky for you, you can also find them on Amazon and Etsy.
Katy Schneider, associate editor
I wore my James Rowland linen sandals into the ground last summer, so in preparation for this summer, I decided to buy them in all-black. [Editor’s note: These are extremely similar to the Charleston shoe we’ve written about before.] They’ll look less dirty after three months of wearing them every day straight, I hope, and I already know that they are the most comfortable, versatile shoe in the world. Plus, they’re only $130, and all the other sandals I wanted were at least $10 million billion (or $495, or whatever).
I preordered The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner’s new novel about a woman serving two life sentences in a California prison. The preorder price is only $13 for a hardcover, and once it comes out, it’ll be $27, and since it’ll likely be your next book-club book, you might as well order it now when it’s cheaper.
Lori Keong, writer
It pains me that this Perricone MD moisturizer is so expensive, but it’s one of my favorites (and anti-aging), so I’m reluctantly going to re-up since I’m out. It’s very light and smooth and makes my skin feel soft and supple. It’s great as a primer for that reason. My boyfriend loves to use it when he’s over, too (because he thinks it’s the Aesop one, funnily enough), so it doesn’t last very long.
Tommy John is anecdotally known among my friends as the underwear brand that every guy we’re dating owns and worships. The brand was kind enough to send me a pair or two before the launch of their women’s line this month because I talk about buying underwear here a lot, and I really get the hype now. This Second Skin brief is (chef’s kiss) the softest pair of underwear I’ve ever worn, hands down — my bottom has never felt so spoiled.
I’ve been tinkering around with an old Olympus Pen EE2 lately, since I’m tired of being an iPhone-photo person, but I just had the film developed recently and the white balance was all off, so I’m upgrading to this Olympus Infinity Stylus that I bought on eBay. It’s a cute little point-and-shoot film camera with great reviews, and I’m excited to get touristy with it this summer.
Maxine Builder, writer
I had been on the hunt for high-top sneakers to replace my well-loved Vans for a couple weeks when I saw this roundup of on-sale Nike sneakers at the end of March. I couldn’t resist the dove gray-and-bright-red women’s skateboarding shoes that were 46 percent off, and since these sneakers arrived the first week of April, they’ve become my new favorite high-tops. If you’d like to match me, there are a few sizes still on sale for $46. There’s also a monochromatic colorway of the same style available in all sizes, though at full price, but considering how much I’ve been wearing mine, I think you’d still get your money’s worth.
I always keep a water bottle on me, and though I’ve long relied on a Nalgene, mine was looking a little worse for wear. So I replaced it with a 32-ounce HydroFlask because they were on sale at my local Whole Foods a couple of weekends ago. This guy is made of stainless steel, so it is noticeably heavier than my Nalgene, but it keeps water ice-cold for hours. It’s also neon pink, so I can’t lose track of it.
Kacey Musgraves’s Golden Hour has been my go-to album all month. (“High Horse” is the bop of the summer, and I refuse to acknowledge any other contenders.) After listening to it over and over again on headphones, I ponied up for the vinyl, so I could listen to it on my boyfriend’s fancyish turntable and speakers while cooking — and I’m so glad I did. The actual object is gorgeous; the vinyl itself is clear; and the packaging is just lovely. It sounds great, too, even at high volumes while I’m singing along.
Karen Iorio Adelson, writer
Since Madewell has sales pretty frequently, I try not to buy anything there at full price. I’m usually not that patient, but I was able to hold off on this skirt until the price dropped earlier this month. The green color is perfect for spring, but since spring doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon, I’m planning on leaning into its ’60s vibe — button front, patch pockets — and wearing it with black tights and a slim black turtleneck. The skirt is sold out in most sizes, but this white button-front style is a great pick for summer, too.
I’m loving these tie-waist T-shirts that are popping up everywhere. This J.Crew Factory version is reasonably priced, and the subtle details — like the pocket and variegated stripe — give it some extra character. I predict getting a lot of use out of this top on lazy summer weekends.
Ordering anything “box-cut” online scares me; what looks casually chic on the model can end up making me look sloppy. So I was happy to see this shirt at Everlane’s NYC store to try on in person. The fit is more relaxed than oversize, so it doesn’t look shapeless, and it hits right at the hip, so it’ll be perfect to pair with high-waist bottoms. Like the J.Crew T-shirt above, I see this becoming a go-to in my summer outfits.
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