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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in February

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 February.

Okay, so I know that last month I recommended the Agent Nateur deodorant. Well, after a few weeks of use … I realized I wasn’t smelling so great. So, I listened to two of my best friends, who both LOVE Aubrey Plaza’s (via Judy Greer) favorite nat-deo, the Real Purity Roll-On, and it is leaps and bounds better. I am not not a sweater, and my underarms have been as dry as a bone since I started using it about a week ago!

Maxine wrote about the Ninja Professional Blender as a deal of the day in early February, and her headline, calling it an “affordable Vitamix alternative” sold me. I love it; this thing is powerful, it’s super easy to use and to clean, and I’ve been very much enjoying my banana, blueberry, peach, coconut, and soy milk morning smoothies!

From $29

My husband got a terrible, terrible case of the flu earlier this month. I very much did not want to catch it, so for a few nights, I slept on the pull-out in our living room. I used our “guest” duvet, and in the process, realized it was on its last legs, and that we needed a new one. Since our comforter is a twin, I realized I could do something fun: buy a cheapie from a kids’ department! I settled on this lovely lady from PB Teen, and it was the best $29.99 I’ve spent in a while.

I found this shearling-lined Levi’s jacket at a thrift store, and I’ve been impressed with just how warm it is! On these is-it-spring-or-is-it-winter days, I’ve been wearing it and have found it to be just right for these weird-weather times.

I was immediately intrigued by a Facebook ad for these floating shelves and bought them in each of the three colors for my bathroom. They’re made of plastic, so they’re not the world’s sturdiest things (I’ve been using them to hold hair stuff and toothpaste rather than a candle), but they look just great, especially with that staggered stacking effect.

If you buy $75 worth of stuff on Of a Kind, it’s free shipping, so I added this Golda Hiba mist to my cart (they got me!). It’s the same mist that Aubrey Plaza recommends, and the soap form is what we’re calling the next Aesop. The smell is not what I expected. It’s not sweet or fragrant, necessarily, but super resinous, which makes sense because the only ingredients are Hiba essential oil (from centuries-old trees in Aomori, Japan) and distilled water. I’ve been spraying it judiciously on my pillowcases before bed to start associating it with sleep.

A few weeks ago, a friend came over to watch The Bachelor, and after washing his hands at the kitchen sink asked, “Where’s your towel?” I told him to grab a paper towel, which, even as the words were coming out of my mouth sounded so wasteful and dumb. I remembered a Slack conversation I had with Grub Street editor Alan Sytsma, who recommended cheap tea towels (“I will ALWAYS advocate for simple kitchen towels over oven mitts. Watch any cooking vid and the chef always goes for a towel to grab anything hot”). I bought a dozen the next day, and they’re great.

I am not a mask person, but this is bomb. I never want to put anything else on my face again. Stop what you’re doing, buy them and thank me with gifts in the mail.

I love my tripod floor lamp, but turning it on in the dark is a pain (it has one of those switches you step on). I got a Clapper as a lo-fi solution, and while I love it in theory, I’d say it probably works only about 60 percent of the time. It’s still easier than getting up though.

I labored over this decision for a few weeks — it’s been a rainy, wet winter in New York, so how could white leather boots be a reasonable purchase? — before finally caving and nabbing one of the last few pairs available in white. And I’m delighted I did: They’ve got a great Chelsea-meets-combat-boot shape, and the platform gives just enough of a boost to make these work for nights out. The white is sold out, but I actually think the black ones look great. Or there are these new & Other Stories white boots, which have a mod twist to them.

Puka shells are dangerously linked, at least in my mind, to bleached tips and Female Body Inspector T-shirts sold on beach boardwalks. But these dangly seashell earrings from a small Barcelona brand charmed my pants off. And a shout-out to the Spanish sisters who run the e-shop: I sent them an Instagram message asking if they could lower their (previously too high) international shipping rate, and they did. My loyalty has been won.

I believe firmly in throwing out dish sponges after one week, and recently was at Whole Foods when I realized that it was time to re-up. Not wanting to make a second stop at a Duane Reade, I picked up some hemp-cellulose, all-natural sponges at Whole Foods, figuring they’d be fine, at best. But they’re actually lovely, feel soft and cushy in your hand, and look a lot nicer sitting by the sink. They don’t clean any better than a Scotch-Brite sponge, but they also don’t cost more. And I don’t know — they’re kind of pretty? And I guess I care about what my sponges look like now?

This has been a particularly bad winter for, I think, everyone’s immune systems, and in an aggressive effort to keep the flu at bay, I stocked up on a few all-natural remedies. This one is the best: You mix a few dropper’s worth of the herbal liquid in water, chug it, and then feel immediately lifted. The pick-me-up is a side effect of the echinacea, and it’s a fantastic little rush — especially if you’re feeling that midwinter drag getting to you in the middle of the workday.

Nike is doing this thing now where it’s coming out with a ton of cool sneakerhead sneakers for women, more than ever before. I’m very down with this new direction. So earlier this month, I saw that they designed a collection called the “1 Reimagined,” which was ten reimagined versions of the Air Force 1. I put the release date in my cal and walked over to the store during lunch that day, along with all the other Soho working-girl sneaker lovers — an underserved community slowly getting the time of day. Anyway, I tried on a couple versions from the collection, but decided on these platform low-tops. I like the semi-hidden swoosh.

From $124

I didn’t buy many things besides sneakers this month, but I’m going to Copenhagen to visit my sister who’s studying abroad there and I booked this very Danish-looking Airbnb that has a shower in the kitchen, so I think maybe this should count as part of my haul, too.

I haven’t gotten these yet, but before I leave, I plan on buying some of these travel shampoo containers so that I can bring my beloved Devachan with me abroad.

I finally gave into the siren song of not one but two strange trends this month. First, the Ugly Sneaker: I purchased orthopedic-looking, all-black Air Force 1s. I was too afraid to wear them at first, but now I really love them — there’s something freeing about wearing something so intentionally unpretty.

I also bought (relatively) tiny sunglasses. I’ve had the same sunglasses for years — they’re giant and thick-rimmed and have recently started feeling really dated. My new pair is from R.T.CO, a German skate brand — they’re slim, but not too Matrix-y, they feel current without being too obvious or trendy, and they’re tortoiseshell, which is my favorite “color” for sunglasses. Unfortunately, they seem to have sold out, but I think this chartreuse pair is pretty cool, too.

I recently took home a free sleeping mask from work and, with it, slept better than I had in weeks. My boyfriend was jealous that he didn’t have a one, and since I’m a bad sharer, I decided to purchase him a Strat-approved eye mask that Maureen O’Connor described as “looking like a bra” for Valentine’s Day. A functional gift is a romantic gift, people!

Photo: Kabir Fernandez/Kabir Fernandez

I like to keep a reusable Baggu in my purse, in case I make an unexpected trip to the grocery store or need to haul something home from the office. However, sometime this month, I lost the little pouch that keeps the bag neatly folded up, so I went to the Baggu store in Williamsburg to get a replacement — and I was instantly charmed by their new line of nylon bags made from recycled boat sails, made in partnership with California bag-makers Mafia. This upcycled bag has the same compact style as Baggu’s traditional nylon bag, yet somehow feels even lighter, probably because the material is so thin that it’s translucent. But since it’s made of ripstop nylon, I know it’s actually quite strong and will withstand my everyday wear and tear.

Photo: © OkayDesigns - http://www.redbubble.com/people/okaydesign

I had the pleasure of interviewing the New York City–based drag queen Aja this month for our series What I Can’t Live Without (in which she taught me so much about the different types of glue and lube that she uses to get into drag), and when I spotted her wearing this T-shirt on a recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, I knew I needed it in my closet. This rant is stuff of legend, and the emoji make it iconic.

In an attempt to keep the gray weather at bay (if only in my mind), I’ve been making a lot of margaritas and tiki-inspired drinks, and though I own a few different cocktail shakers for just this purpose, this stainless-steel one from OXO has become my go-to in February. I like it because it’s got all the tools I need to make a shaken drink; the strainer’s built-in; and the top cap is also a jigger, with lines marking three-quarter-ounce, one-ounce, and one-and-a-half-ounce measurements. That means fewer objects to wash and dry, which is always a win (especially after a drink or two).

I was visiting a friend in Park Slope recently when he introduced me to an amazing gift and home-goods store called Lucky Rubber Ducky. I feel compelled to say right off the bat that walking in there really is like playing eye spy with all of these houseware items that we’ve written about before, like this Yamazaki soap dish and some catch-alls and these blue and red coasters (so perhaps worth checking them all out in person). I picked up this Yamazaki door hook, which already is stopping me from flinging my coats and jackets all over my bedroom, plus a blush-pink paper tray from Poppin.

At a Carleen sample sale last year, I hemmed and hawed over a sleeveless red linen dress forever before buying it, and it ended up becoming my favorite summer dress — it’s really light and beautifully made. So when I saw that the brand was having a sale on Garmentory, I didn’t really think twice about it before putting this pretty silk skirt in my cart. It has a nice print that looks like patchwork, and it’s a special kind of piece that I feel like I’ll want to hang onto for years.

I’ve wanted to pick up a copy of The Perfect Nanny ever since I read the New Yorker profile on Leila, and after I bought it one weekend, I devoured the entire thing in a day or two. I read it pretty much the same way I did the Worst Roommate story: horrified and anxious, yet unable to put it down. It’s a gripping read if you get really invested in grisly crime stories (this one’s based on the true story of a nanny on the Upper West Side who murdered the kids she was watching): a little window into a person’s brain as they unravel into the unthinkable.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in February