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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in August

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 August.

Lauren Ro, writer

Up until this weekend, I hadn’t submerged myself in a body of water — natural or otherwise — all summer because, I don’t know, life got in the way. Still, for whatever reason, I felt the need to buy a new swimsuit. This time, I wanted a simple one-piece to hold it all in that also didn’t cost over $100. So I turned to Andie, a direct-to-consumer brand that launched last year, for its reasonably priced options. Because I have a short torso and am insecure about my back, I went with the Amalfi (which the website’s handy Fit Finder tool also recommended) for its cami-style straps, low neckline, high-cut back, and elegant silhouette. I was between sizes, so I ordered two (Andie offers free shipping and returns) and went with the larger one, which fit like a dream. The other day I took it for a swim at my local pool and felt sleek and secure, like a sexy water mammal.

I first learned about the Nashville-based made-to-order clothing company Elizabeth Suzann from my husband, of all people, who had heard an econ podcast about its sustainable and ethical business model. With a focus on natural fibers, Elizabeth Suzann offers timeless pieces for women, like swingy linen tees, tunics, jackets, wool sweaters, and breezy bottoms, each made to order in-house, which means lead times are currently at six to seven weeks. I ordered the staple Georgia Tee in navy, a boxy linen top, and the Josephine Vented Shell in ivory, which has cap sleeves and a box pleat in the back, in June and received my order this month. I love the structure of the Georgia tee and how I can pair it with a voluminous skirt without looking too precious. Although the pieces aren’t cheap, I’m confident that they’ll be with me for the long haul.

Maxine Builder, writer

There’s something about the return of fall that really gets me going on a self-improvement kick, probably some vestige of back-to-school nostalgia. I usually buy a bunch of new pens or a new planner to scratch the itch, but this year, I went big and bought a guided gratitude journal called the Five-Minute Journal. Every morning, it directs you to write down three things you’re grateful for, three goals for the day, and a daily affirmation, and yes, it’s absolutely as cheesy as it sounds. But I’ve been liking the practice so far, as an easy way to collect my thoughts and be more mindful that’s less boring to me than ten minutes of meditation. My boyfriend says I seem happier and less stressed-out since doing it, but it’s still unclear if I’m a better person or not.

I am, however, officially a hat person! This $90 felt Stetson hat that I found in the hunting section of L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine, is the fedora I never knew I needed. The brim’s wide enough to give me enough coverage, but not too big as to make me feel totally goofy, and the gorgeous, neutral tan matches almost any outfit. I’ve been referring to it, lovingly, as my dumb starter hat because now that I know how good I feel (and maybe even look?) while wearing it, it’s only a matter of time before I amass a whole collection.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

After reading rave reviews of R.O. Kwon’s debut novel, I bought The Incendiaries thinking it would last me through Labor Day weekend, but I ended up finishing it in two days. The novel centers around a charismatic cult leader who sets up shop on a college campus, luring in emotionally and spiritually vulnerable students. When two young lovers become enmeshed in his inner circle, Kwon’s writing takes on a mounting sense of dread that kept me, as a reader, similarly bewitched.

Photo: Courtesy of Tracksmith

I’m trying to limit my running clothes purchases (since I already have a dresser full of technical gear), but when Tracksmith released this gorgeous new color in its soft and breathable merino-wool Harrier top, I couldn’t resist. I also picked up another pair of its silky-smooth and stretchy Session shorts because I was placing an order anyway … And I’m already dreaming of wearing them together on a crisp fall run.

The first time you swipe toner or another liquid skin-care product across your face using one of these feather-soft, yet structurally sound, cotton pads, you will never be able to go back to regular old cotton balls. These don’t shed and leave linty residue all over the place, nor do they get oversaturated and dissolve on you. I use these with my Biologique Recherche P50 twice a day, and when my first pack was running out, I didn’t hesitate to order more.

Margaret Rhodes, senior editor

I wanted in on the chunky-ugly sneaker wave, but didn’t want anything that even remotely resembled a Triple S knockoff. After many, many weeks of deliberating, I went for these 98s in a neutral but not plain “Sail/Fossil/Reflect Silver/Igloo” color scheme. I love them, especially with wide-leg pants.

I am both blessed and cursed with a home with several big windows, a few of which are next to my bed. This makes it nearly impossible to sleep in past 7 a.m. on the weekends, so a year ago, I had to buy a sleep mask. It had to be a silk one that didn’t have any pink, any winky-eye decals, and was super slim (I sleep on my stomach, and therefore on my face). This one is perfect. And it’s $8. I left mine on a flight recently and reordered my replacement as soon as I logged back on to Amazon.

Full disclosure: The press person for this new leather shoe line sent me a pair of slip-ons back in April. They have a nice huarache-meets-loafer vibe. They’re made in India, and they’re buttery soft. I mention them now because somehow, to my total surprise, these became my go-to shoes for the summer. New York is a cruel place for sandals, especially leather ones. (Some leather espadrilles from a well-known brand practically disintegrated on me last summer; other leather sandals have gone from giving me blisters to stretching out so much that they didn’t fit, in just one month.) But these have held up. I wore them almost every day, almost everywhere: to work, on long concrete walks around the city, at a lake house, on a boat. And they’re still good. A hint stretched out, but good. So I’m buying another pair, as a thank-you gift to a recent hostess who said she liked mine.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

I’ve been buying a ton of incredibly boring baby stuff that’s not worthy of being included in this roundup (for instance: a diaper changer, water wipes, bottles), but of all the things I’ve gotten in anticipation of this baby (who is ostensibly arriving next week), there is one thing I am actually quite excited about: It’s the long-awaited follow-up to my favorite kids’ book, But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton, and it’s called But Not the Armadillo. Not to give too much away, but the original is about a whole slew of animals who are hanging out and having fun together … but not the hippopotamus. (e.g., “a moose and a goose together have juice … but not the hippopotamus.”) After much buildup, at the end of the book, the hippopotamus finally decides to join in on the fun … but not the armadillo. And that’s where this sequel comes in. As the blurb reads: “For more than thirty-five years, readers have wondered what happens to the mystery armadillo on the last page of Sandra Boynton’s classic board book, But Not the Hippopotamus. Now, at last, comes the long-awaited sequel.” It’s actually out next week, and you bet I preordered it.

It was time for a new duvet cover, and after a lot of hemming and hawing, I settled on this guy from Pottery Barn. I am drawn to any kind of white duvet with a colorful border, but thought the usuals (navy, red, black) were a little too humdrum. The bright-green really pops and feels elegant and playful at the same time.

Photo: Julia Robbs Photography

I just ordered this (it’s featured in our Labor Day sales roundup) because I thought it would make for a good nursing dress. It’s made with “breathable Japanese cotton,” which sounds soft and lovely.

In an attempt to clear out our house and make way for bebe, we asked our landlord if we could store our shoes in the hallway on a shoe rack and she (surprisingly) said yes. I liked the looks of this one from Urban Outfitters, but realized I could get basically the exact one from Amazon for a bit cheaper. It’s totally unremarkable (it isn’t going to win any design awards), but will get the job done in a nice, tasteful way.

Photo: Kabir Fernandez/Kabir Fernandez

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with this stripy Baggu weekender — it’s just so cheerful and practical. I finally bit the bullet when the price went down to $37 over at Shopbop. That deal’s since ended, but these bags are still available on sale for $50 at Baggu proper.

Jason Chen, deputy editor


Would you believe that the glass pitcher I bought last month BROKE after three days? I may have (lightly) tapped it against the sink, and the crack in the glass left a pool in my fridge that I didn’t notice till hours later. Luckily, I used my Amazon refund to get this plastic pitcher, and it’s so much better than the one I originally bought, with a grippy silicone handle, an airtight lid, and a cleaner profile. I should’ve just gotten it in the first place — it’s four bucks cheaper, too.

My boyfriend and I also adopted a puppy this month and bought two of these dog beds that Ariel Kanter recommended — one for the living room and one for the bedroom. He can’t get enough.

A few months ago, before seeing Lobby Hero, my friend and I grabbed dinner at Legacy Records and became obsessed with the thin-lipped, rounded-edge glasses they used for water. I emailed around and found out that the restaurant designer Ken Fulk used Finesse Nude whiskey glasses and finally bought them this month to gift my pal on his birthday.

The bedroom in my apartment faces a busy street, and every time I wipe the windowsill of grime, I shudder to think what we’re inhaling. Now that we have a DOG, I figured it was time to get an air purifier. (I’m still waiting to feel different.)

Katy Schneider, associate editor

Since moving in with my boyfriend, he’s become very attached to two products I introduced him to: Palo Santo incense sticks and snail-mucin under-eye patches. We ran out of both, which made him very morose (“Where are the eye things? Where are the nice sticks?”). So I restocked on both. He was pleased.

I also purchased two new books on the opioid epidemic: Dopesick, which is nonfiction, and Cherry, which our very own Christian Lorentzen called “the first great novel of the opioid epidemic.” I read Cherry, my boyfriend read Dopesick, and now all we can do is trade distressing facts about heroin addiction.

Simone Kitchens, senior editor

I resisted these for so long, years actually, not because I thought they were so deeply uncool, but rather because I didn’t consider myself cool enough to pull them off. To me, the hideousness of a very exposed foot strapped onto a foamy platform base in a zigzaggy fashion was the definition of just not caring what other people thought. They’re Teva-adjacent, but they’re still very specific in their own way. Anyway, on a recent trip home to Oklahoma, I went for it, but was still sort of sheepish about wearing them outside the house. Until I spent a week camping in Colorado. They are sort of the official shoe of Colorado; half the state is in a pair. They are also an ideal thing to be wearing when you want to pull the car over on the side of the road and jump into a creek.

Okay, this is the gorpiest haul of all time, but the thrift stores in Colorado are insane, just stocked with every early 2000s (now cool again) normcore brand — Patagonia fleeces, North Face jackets, Nike hiking boots. Basically, things that people in Colorado never stopped wearing. Actual heaven. I got this oversize men’s puffer in a medium-blue for the haggled-down price of $45. [Note: The men’s version of the jacket is not available online.]

Again, another very-functional-in-Colorado item that is enjoying a bit of a moment. I got this at one of the zillion outdoors store there, every town has, like, five. Great for hikes. I wear it the normal way.

Say what you want about Moon Juice, but I have seen Amanda Chantal Bacon’s skin in person. Very glowy. This exfoliating acid toner is like the all-natural P50. There’s a slight burning feeling, which goes away in a couple of seconds. Then there’s a slight sticky feeling, which goes away in about 20 minutes. Then everything gets super soft, super clear, tighter, and firmer. I’ve used the real P50 and my skin could never adjust, it just made it awful-looking and inflamed. This stuff takes no time to acclimate to. Have been using for a couple of weeks now, and my normally very dehydrated skin feels balanced, and there’s a new evenness.

Lori Keong, writer

My work wardrobe is full of varying shades of navy blue (it is the most flattering color on me, okay) and after a successful Facebook targeted ad campaign on my News Feed, I am now the owner of a very classy pair of paper-bag trousers from Mango that are a high-waist style. I am very taken with the way they cinch my waist. I can’t exactly wear them right now since it’s blazing hot out, but fall is not too far away.

The massive Dermstore anniversary sale this month was a doozy. I spent hours thumbing through pages, puttered around the Sachajuan page for a while (they didn’t have my favorite texturing spray, womp womp), and ended up leaving with just one thing: my favorite ten-minute hair mask from Briogeo. My ends have been especially dry lately, so it was very necessary that I re-up.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in August