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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

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 July.

I had some fun in the Urban Outfitters shoe-sale section … and got these Minnetonka for Urban Outfitters all-white moccasins that I’ve had my eye on for these final days of summer, and then these yellow Vans that seem like a good fall shoe. They are sold out at UO, but you can pick them up at Zappos. I think they’d look fun with some high-waisted, cropped, slightly flared jeans.

The one thing I bought on Prime Day is this Halo sleep sack — I’m due in September, and my friend with a newborn swears by it, so I thought, what the heck! I liked the one adorned with hedgehogs.

I tried to clean the cover of one of my favorite throw pillows, and upon removing the case, the pillow underneath ripped in half and the fluff inside went everywhere! I bought this replacement throw pillow from Anthropologie because I like how graphic it is without being overpoweringly so.

So my mother actually found this for me at a yard sale. I must admit, at first, when she lifted it up out of a cardboard box on the ground and showed it to me from afar, I was a little skeptical, but when she told me it was $2 and new with the tag, I changed my tune. Now, having worn it around the house for the past few weeks, I am fully obsessed — it’s just the perfect soft, lightweight waffle knit robe (my beloved monogrammed flannel L.L. Bean hibernates from April to September pretty much), and I would have definitely paid $28 for it!

I never really cared for how my water-filtration pitcher (that Brita disrupter) was too tall for any of the shelves in my fridge, so I got the apartment a new one with one of the charcoal filters we’ve written about before. I love its little spout and handle, but mostly how it fits neatly into the refrigerator door.

When these hot-dog trays went on sale, I snatched a pink one up immediately (the better to pop against the black console in my apartment). It’s even better than I imagined it would be, made of a weighty metal in a matte shade. It’s where the remote control lives in the guest bedroom now.

Another season, another pair of 511s. Despite my wandering eye, I have just come to accept that these are my jeans, so I got another pair in this pale blue that I’ve been wearing almost every day now that it’s 85 degrees and humid out. I don’t know if light denim is actually cooler than dark, but it certainly feels that way.

Simone’s haul from last month reminded me that I’ve been meaning to replace my old, too big microfiber hair turban with a new one. My hair is very fine, but there’s a ton of it, so these towels make a huge difference in keeping broken flyaways to a minimum. I also opted for an Aquis one — they seem to be the best — but went for a plain-white waffle version. I only buy white towels because it comforts me to know that I can bleach away anything that might happen to them.

Yet another purchase inspired by a fellow Strategist: After our audience-engagement editor Mia wrote an ode to her Japanese-style linen smock apron, I started thinking that maybe I, too, would like a linen apron. I have linen fever right now, after working on two longer posts on linen (clothing and homewares and sheets) this month. And I cook often enough that an apron is necessary, but every time I see the nice ones at Whole Foods or Whisk, I can’t deal with the idea of spending upwards of $40 on one. After some tripping around on Amazon, I landed on this one that’s cut like a classic waiter apron — adjustable, cinches at the waist, and with a front pocket. I put it on and my mom, who was staying with me last week, goes, “Well, aren’t you cute in an apron!” So the apron is a hit.

There’s a really lovely shop near my apartment in Greenpoint that sells stuff like Ganni dresses, Baserange tees, architectural linen (!!!) pieces, and so on. The other day they were burning this candle, from a brand I had not yet heard of, and immediately I decided that I needed to bring the earthy, sensual smells home with me. The Brasilia candle from Wary Meyers is one of my all-time favorites, so if you’re familiar with that line, this St. Al has a similar woodsy scent. True to the name, it’s slightly on the masculine side. The packaging describes it as “a holy and exotic experience,” and I would have to agree that it is.

I knew that Margaret and Lauren had a linen-sheets story in the works, and my thinking was that I’d wait for their full rundown on the linen-sheet landscape and then make a decision, but I had kind of made up my mind on these a while ago. I studied the color swatches online, I visited the New York store to get a feel for things, and then I finally went for it. The whole thing — the sheets, the duvet cover, the pillowcases. And it has changed everything. They are so soft and breathable, but also so substantial — they drape and bunch and move in this completely luxurious way (while still looking totally wrinkled). They are deceptively fancy. And everyone says this, so I’m not adding much here, but after sleeping on linen, I don’t know how you go back to not sleeping on linen.

These were a Strat-suggested Prime Day purchase. They arrived almost two weeks ago and I have barely taken them off. The noise-canceling is so satisfying that I have found myself wearing them everywhere — around my apartment, walking outside, at my desk at work — plugged into absolutely nothing. I know people like the upgraded wireless version, but I sort of prefer these for their non-Bluetooth-ness, which, right near my head, I’m trying to cut back on.

I have tried many natural deodorants — grain-alcohol spray versions, baking-soda-infused stick ones, salt crystals — and they all work about 40 percent of the time. Not great. ​So when Alexis praised this natural deodorant in her haul a couple of months ago, I wondered how different could it be. When my last (not really effective) one ran out, I decided I’d give this one a go. It is a roll-on and has a slightly musklike smell, but on your skin it doesn’t smell like anything. And then it makes you not smell like anything. For the entire day. I have remained dry on some of the swampiest days. It is remarkable and confusing. It does a better job than any deodorant I have ever used, including scary prescription-strength Certain-Dri, which indicates just how much of a sweater I am (was).

I actually end up scrubbing my face way more in the summer. Between the sunscreen gunk, humidity-style breakouts, occasional dehydrating beach trip or weekends away where I just forget to pack face wash, my face just gets more bumpy when it’s hot out. This stuff is super creamy and has just a hint of scrubbiness, so it doesn’t make me look all insane and splotchy afterward.

I was nearby Dover Street Market one Sunday, and when I popped in they happened to be having a crazy sale. Like seriously insane 70 percent off every designer. So I treated myself to these Marine Serre pants for around $200, down from like $900.

I’d had a tab open on these Camper x Eckhaus Latta boots for a month and a half, debating on when and if I should buy them. Eventually, they went on sale for 30 percent and I still decided to wait. And then one lucky day, they went down by 50 percent and I bought them immediately.

Editor’s Note: While these Camper boots are sold out, there are other Camper boots at Zappos.

It was a big shoe month for me. I had been in the mood for white slides, so I decided to buy these from Everlane. They’ve been giving me some pretty bad blisters, though, so a friend recommended this foot balm that you rub on the sensitive spots before wearing the shoes, and apparently it prevents any irritation. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to.

None of my clothes have felt remotely comfortable in this summer’s stifling, thick heat. But it’s nearly August, and I’m not particularly interested in investing in new summer clothing. I wanted, in an ideal world, some free linen that I could wear like a uniform every day until temperatures dropped. Happily, some shopping ingenuity brought me (almost) just that! I found a perfect vintage Eileen Fisher pants-and-jacket set on eBay in a pretty olive-y-green color. The whole thing, including shipping, cost $27, and I’ve worn the pants nearly every day since, and the whole thing together once. Here it is in purple, though it’s a bajillion times more expensive than mine was and I don’t know why.

I’ve never liked mascara. The ones I’ve tried have made my lashes spindly and clumpy and strange, plus more liable to fall out when I vigorously rub my eyes (which I do more or less all day long). But then Rio wrote her piece on the Glossier mascara, and I decided to give it a try. This is a remarkable product. It really, really, really doesn’t fleck off or smudge or generally make you feel like you’ve dipped your lashes in a tin of black paint. It simply makes your eyelashes look like better eyelashes. When I wore it the other day, Alexis told me that she thought to herself — before knowing that I was wearing it — Katy has nice eyelashes. Wow!

This month’s haul is a little sparse for me, mostly because I’m trying to lay low after making some spendy furniture investments this month. Craigslist is my favorite place to browse for furniture online (I find it therapeutic, really), which is where I chanced upon this nearly new, very beautiful pink lounger — that I’m still trying to figure out how to keep clean. It’s also conveniently on sale now at West Elm if you’re in the market for one, too.

When I told the clerk at my local bookstore that I’d been reading a lot of David Sedaris lately, and was looking for comedy, she immediately pointed me to Ottessa Moshfegh’s first novel, Eileen. It’s definitely a bit darker than Sedaris, but I appreciated the morbid, neurotic humor. Maxine and I just did a book swap, too, so now I’m ready to dive in on her latest, My Year of Rest and Relaxation.

It’s not a revelation that Levi’s Wedgie jeans are great. But I finally bought a pair, and now, I get it. They’re comfortable even though they’re not stretchy, with a high waist and a straight leg. They also keep their shape after days of wear, which is great because I’ve refused to take them off my body.

I’ve long coveted a Joan Didion–style pair of oversize Céline sunglasses, but considering that I’ve already lost one pair of Ray-Bans and scratched another beyond recognition in the last two months, I’ve finally accepted the fact that I just shouldn’t own expensive eyewear. Enter these Quay sunglasses, which have the oversize style I wanted at a reasonable price.

Even though I spent 48 hours writing about dozens of the best Amazon Prime Day deals, I only bought one thing: a Kindle Paperwhite. It arrived in two days, setup was a breeze, and it’s slim and cute and easy to slip into any bag, making it an ideal commute companion. The backlight and matte finish also don’t make me feel like I’m staring at a computer screen, which I appreciate from my “books.”

For the past few months, I’d been using the “new” formula of this cult exfoliator with decent results, so I decided to step it up and try out the original version, which includes phenol. Phenol, a chemical exfoliant and antibacterial agent, is banned in cosmetics in Europe (hence the invention of the new version) due to safety concerns. But this is America, where we’re free to dabble in potentially dangerous chemicals in the name of good skin. So far, I’ve noticed fewer pimples popping up, and my skin feels smoother and more even textured.

Like most acne-prone folk, I have a love-hate relationship with moisturizer. Since I’m a fan of the scorched-earth approach to getting rid of zits (see dangerous chemicals above), I need something to rehydrate my skin after drying acne treatments. But anything thicker than a lightweight gel tends to clog my pores, leading to more acne. I had the opportunity last week to get a facial at the new La Suite spa at Union Square Laser Dermatology, and I explained this conundrum to my aesthetician. She suggested this moisturizer, and although I’ve only been using it for about a week, my skin looks brighter and isn’t feeling congested.

The narrator of Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest dark comedy is rich, pretty, and thin (as she’ll frequently remind you), but all she wants to do is medicate herself into a deep, yearlong sleep. Her escapist mentality feels especially relevant now when there are lots of reality worth escaping, but what really stood out to me was the book’s colorful cast of supporting characters — like a loony, pill-pushing psychiatrist and Oprah-mantra-spouting best friend.

Big linen dresses are kind of my thing, and I recently added another one to my collection: the Rhys dress in a black silk-linen blend from Creatures of Comfort’s summer sale. It’s boxy and oversize, but the fact that it’s above the knee makes it more flirty than farm girl. I love that I can throw it on with a cute pair of sandals or sneakers and still look put-together without much effort at all.

Editor’s Note: This particular Creatures of Comfort Linen Dress is sold out, but there are similar dresses on Creatures of Comfort.

I’m on the final book of Rachel Cusk’s brilliant Outline trilogy, and I’m going through it slowly in an effort to savor every word. I rushed through the first two books because I was so intrigued with the author that I couldn’t wait to read all about her life in the numerous interviews and profiles that have been written about her. This time, I don’t want the words to end.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July