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What Strategist Readers Are Buying: Planners and Weighted Blankets

Photo: courtesy of the Retailers

Welcome back to Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top ten products that you, devoted Strategist readers, bought in droves lately. Think of this as the tl;dr of the Strategist: If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to, too.

In this week’s list, the first of 2019, we see a mix of old favorites returning and new products making their debuts. Our top three items are all new additions — a weighted blanket designed to ease anxiety, the top-rated pen in our ranking of 100 pens, and a guided planner for tackling a new year of goals. A fancy lube last seen on the list back in October returns to take the fourth-place spot, while a Strategist editor-beloved natural deodorant appears for the first time at number five. Sixth and seventh place go to two products designed to help you sleep — blue-light blocking glasses and an airplane footrest, respectively. Next up, there’s an affordable, professional-grade blender (perhaps you’re starting the year with some healthy smoothies and green juices), and a baby swaddle new parents swear by. Finally, closing out the list at number ten — right where it was on the last list of 2018 — is one of Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton’s holy grail serums.

Designed to relieve anxiety and improve sleep quality, weighted blankets were a runaway-hit gift this holiday season, and retailers could barely keep them in stock. When Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson went in search of the best one to give, she tested a handful out and concluded, “Baloo’s thoughtful design makes it the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing one of the bunch.”

Unfortunately the Baloo blanket is currently sold out, but you can pick up a similar bamboo weighted blanket from YnM on Amazon. Joe Auer, founder of sleep product review site Mattress Clarity, told us it “conforms well to the curves of your body, so you really feel like you are getting hugged.”

While the results of our ranking of 100 pens were debated on Twitter and in the comments section, our number one pen ended up being a best seller among readers. Two pens got perfect scores based on our criteria, but the elegant Baron Fig rollerball ultimately came out on top in a final, head-to-head showdown. In his review, Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen said, “It practically dances across the page, and the ink comes through with command and a real presence.”

This undated planner (one of our favorites of 2019) is divided into easily digestible, 90-day chunks — which productivity pros say makes it easier to track your progress — and includes guided prompts to get you started. Life coach Penny Zenker told us, “I use this now because it is a comprehensive goal-setting-and-tracking system with reflection all in one. It helps me align my goals and my daily tasks, which makes me more productive.”

Samantha Bard, co-owner of the sex-positive shop Shag in Williamsburg, raved about this very elegant-looking lube: “Uberlube is THE BEST. Not joking — it is one the highest-quality silicone lubes out there. Plus, it comes in the classiest bottle you’ve ever seen. Aside from being a staff favorite, it is also a customer favorite!” It had a good run on the best seller list for a few weeks last fall, and is now back in the top four.

This natural deodorant came to our attention when we found out it was Aubrey Plaza’s favorite. Then a few Strategist editors picked up tubes of their own and found it be surprisingly effective. In fact, senior editor Simone Kitchens said it was one of her favorite discoveries of 2018 because it’s “under $20 and actually life-changing.” Strategist writer Lori Keong asked dermatologists how the natural deodorant actually works, and they credited its sweat-drying effects to ingredients like aloe, vegetable glycerin, and organic apricot oil.

Since most of us spend hours each day looking at screens, we’ve been curious about blue-light-blocking glasses, which are designed to filter out the active blue light that causes eyestrain and disrupts sleep. Strategist writer Maxine Builder did a deep dive on the subject and found that these affordable, orange-hued glasses are the ones used in scientific studies and have been shown to improve sleep.

Writer Alyse Whitney usually has trouble sleeping on planes, so she decided to try out this $20 footrest for her 20-hour flight to Singapore and Hong Kong, and it turned out to be a huge success. “I had zero pain, pressure, or swelling, and was able to sleep for four to six hours at a time,” she wrote. “It was the closest thing to a first-class experience that I could get in economy.” The footrest first hit number one on our best seller list last summer, after Whitney’s story came out.

While this is the Ninja blender’s first appearance on a top-ten best seller list, the affordable blender has gathered a big enough following to rank as one of our readers’ favorite products of 2018. Much cheaper than the Vitamix loved by professional chefs, home cooks — including a few Strategist editors and more than 2,000 Amazon reviewers — think it’s perfect for their needs.

From the baby expert behind the Snoo — the white noise and motion-enabled bassinet that sleep-deprived new parents swear is worth the $1,295 price tag — this velcro swaddle (no origami skills needed) is a favorite of writer Julia McVeigh’s. She says that after receiving the Sleepea as a gift, she’s “enjoyed regular stints of over six hours of uninterrupted sleep,” which is quite the achievement for someone with a newborn.

Last summer, on its first anniversary, Rio blessed us once again with an updated version of her famous skincare Google doc, full of the products she had discovered over the previous 12 months. Some things truly stand the test of time, though, and this snail mucin essence still has a place in her daily routine. “If you’re struggling with dryness, acne, fine lines, or dull skin, definitely consider trying this product,” she wrote, and lots of you took her advice.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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What Strategist Readers Are Buying: Weighted Blankets, Pens