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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in March

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 you all are buying. Which 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 Strategist 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 March.

David Notis, writer

I love wearing my Darn Tough socks with boots, but if I’m wearing a low-cut shoe or desert boot, I like having something a little more interesting. I bought a few pairs of Anonymous Ism socks earlier in the winter, and they’ve become my favorite socks. I recently did a Marie Kondo–fueled sock-drawer purge — starting with the easiest things, this was hard enough — and my general guiding principle is to get more socks like those Anonymous Ism ones. That means doing a lot more laundry because these aren’t cheap, but I’m okay with that. These are made from really thick cotton, so they’re warm enough for a mild winter day, and they’ll probably work in the spring too because the weave is pretty loose. I like that they’re a little wild, but still subtle. (I also bought them in green which they call “khaki” but I think it’s more of a yellowy-green.)

I am sort of growing a beard. I don’t know. It’s only been about two weeks, but I’m a wimp and get really uncomfortable and itchy after like five days of not shaving, so I’m already babying my little stubbly beard more than most people who have long, actual beards. Still, even if the beard oil isn’t strictly necessary, I think it’s helped a lot with dryness, and it gives the hair a nice healthy sheen. It’s super-lightweight, has a kind of citrusy, barely noticeable scent, and it absorbs quickly so it doesn’t make a mess. Also, the pump-style bottle is a lot easier to use than those ones with the glass droppers.

I’m not sure if this is actually healthy. I think it is. I hope so, because otherwise I’m just drinking a really weird dark-green thing every morning for no reason. It was on sale and I bought it on a whim because it’s never on sale. I mix it in water every morning and it’s become a fun routine. The taste is intense — not the most pleasant — but it’s bracing in a nice way when you’re still waking up. I’m hesitant to say, “I feel way healthier since drinking this,” because I’m obviously not a medical professional, but I really do think I’ve had more energy lately, and it has all the ingredients everyone is always telling me are important, so there must be something to it?

Jason Chen, deputy editor

Our dog got too big for his puppy bed, so I upgraded — this one looked lofty and well-padded (it’s got a regular layer and then an egg crate foam layer) and the dog LOVES it.

Photo: ©Mario Simon

I wanted a slightly oversized T-shirt for the summer, and this on-sale Carne Bollente white tee fit the bill (I like that the sleeves almost hit my elbows). Some of the CB graphics are too much, but this one’s just the right amount of perverted.

I’d actually gotten Rebecca Makkai’s book in December but didn’t feel right about including it in my haul until I actually finished it. Yes, it’s as great as everyone says. Buy if you’re interested in getting misty on the train.

Oh, MAN. This is probably my favorite thing I’ve bought in a long time. I get the dog’s food in these giant 33-pound bags, and could not find any storage container to keep it in until I discovered this guy. It’s a bin that holds 80 cups — about ten two-liter bottles’ worth — of stuff, and I can easily get about a third of my giant bag of kibble in there. What’s nifty is that it has two wheels for easy carting, and a clever little window lid so you know just how much is left. Great for bath salts, too.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

I certainly did not need another striped long-sleeved T-shirt, but I couldn’t resist this little number from H&M. It was the blue and yellow cuffs that did it for me. And the fact that it was $10. So I got two of them.

Uniqlo had a site-wide free shipping promo earlier in the month, so I got a few things: a pair of extremely cute and soft train-adorned pajamas for my 6-month-old son (the snaps have the most pleasant snap to them), this sweet little romper set (stripes!), and this crisp gingham blouse for myself that works really well, I think, with high-waisted pants.

I’ve been in the market for a good tinted moisturizer with SPF protection, and since I generally like how lightweight my BareMinerals under-eye concealer is, I thought I would give BareMinerals’ very well-reviewed Complexion Rescue gel cream a shot. As I had hoped, it literally feels like wearing nothing, and blends right in.

Not the most exciting purchase, but my son’s cradle cap wasn’t getting better (we’ve affectionately been calling him oatmeal-head), and I had heard good things about Mustela’s cradle-cap-specific foam shampoo, so we ordered it. And it works! He has a few little bits of “oatmeal” here and there, but it’s mostly gone.

But my biggest purchase of the month was an “exersaucer.” An exersaucer is basically a little activity station that we can plop him in and he can occupy himself with a zillion doodads and gizmos. I put him in one at my friend’s house and he legitimately was almost hyperventilating from happiness — I felt I couldn’t deny him one. Most are full-on hideous and take up a ton of space, but I found one that can fold up (almost none of the ones out there can fold) and is not so offensive if we keep it out. It may not be as “fun” as some of the others on the market that sing and bounce, but, truly, he has no idea and is happy as a clam noodling about in this.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

They’re not the most sophisticated bedding around, but I swear by jersey sheets. You can have your starched cotton and crinkly linen, I’ll be nestled in my T-shirt soft bed. My old ones needed replacing so I bought these in the heathered-oatmeal shade. They’re just as soft as I expected and they look nice, too.

I’m realizing now that softness was a trend in my purchases this month. I wandered into Gap Body and everything was on sale for 40 percent (it looks like the sale is still going on online). I already have this comfortable, no-underwire bra in gray so I got another one in beige, plus a pair of their supersoft Breathe underwear, and these pajama shorts that just felt very cozy and ended up costing $15 with the discount.

Will Tavlin, intern

My apartment has a critter problem. My roommate and I determined our 60-liter trash can — which is piled high with waste by the end of each week — was working like a honeypot. I wanted a smaller trash can that would force me to take out the trash more often, and this handsome 20-liter “Dust Box” from Muji was the perfect solution. It’s compact enough to fit into the cabinet under my sink, and didn’t break the bank. Now, I take out my trash twice a week. Whether the rodents will disappear remains to be seen. (Note: You must buy the bin and the lid separately)

I’ve been really into going to the movies lately. Film Forum is right by our office so most evenings I’ll catch a 7 p.m. revival screening after work. I was looking for some film writing to supplement my new habit, and was delighted to stumble upon The Earth Dies Streaming, the first compendium of published writing by A. S. Hamrah, film critic at the Brooklyn-based literary magazine n+1. Hamrah’s book of funny, acerbic capsule reviews is the best guide to our cinematic landscape. The book contains everything from a treatise on the state of internet-era film criticism to an essential guide to Iraq War movies. One reviewer said, “Reading Hamrah on movies is almost always better than seeing the actual movies themselves.” I won’t stop going to the movies, but I wholeheartedly agree.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

I bought this waffle crew neck from Uniqlo less than a week ago, and it already is the most comfortable long-sleeve shirt I own. The fabric is vintage soft, even straight off the rack, but unlike actually old waffle shirts, which often have little holes where they’ve worn out, this one is thick and cushiony, so I’m hoping it’ll last for a long time. Plus, I got mine on sale for just $10, and I have every intention of picking up one in every color.

I went to San Francisco this month, my first time out there since writing this story on the best chocolate bars for gifting, and since we were hanging out in the Mission, I dragged my boyfriend over to Dandelion Chocolate. The company’s been making bean-to-bar chocolate there since 2010, and from the café, you can catch a peek at the production process, which I loved seeing, especially after writing about the brand and their bars. After I had my fill of free samples, I picked up a couple of bars to bring back to New York, including one of these Maya Mountain Belize bars, which somehow tastes super-strongly of honey.

Katy Schneider, associate editor

I was in Mexico City this month, which is where most of my spending took place. I went to an incredible, 60-year-old candle shop where I bought nine flowery candles. (You can buy them in the city at a shop called Tuza.)

$45 for 30

I also bought a bevy of colorful market bags.

And, for my chocolate-loving mother, pink-peppercorn chocolate from the amazing Casa Bosques.

And I found (and purchased) a pair of amazing bright-orange pants at new store in Roma called Hi Bye, which doesn’t have a shoppable website. But they reminded me a lot of another pair of orange pants I have my eye on, from my friend Lili’s clothing company, Liana. I think I’ll also buy a pair of those, once my bank account recovers from my trip.

Dominique Pariso, writer

This stuff is seriously sticky so you’ll want to heed the instructions and only use it as a nightly mask. That being said, I find that waking up with super-moisturized lips gets the day started on the right foot.

I’ve had my eye on these for ages and ages. As luck would have it, I hit the equivalent of the shopping lottery when I found them seriously discounted at a sample sale. I do think that if you’re looking to get in on the mule craze, Suzanne Rae is the perfect place to go. They aim to outfit the “modern gentlewoman” (which I’ve already decided is my new aesthetic goal). The pair I scored are actually a neutral navy, but I think this marigold color is just the thing to put a spring in your step come spring.

Lori Keong, writer

I’ve gotten big into Poshmark lately, because I’m discovering that you can find crazy deals on things from hip brands like Paloma Wool and LOQ. My first purchase on there — a discontinued, stupidly impractical Frankie Shop bucket bag with a faux-fur handle — happened so fast that it gave me some sort of gambler’s rush where I ended up buying three more things in rapid succession (schedule me an intervention). One of them was this pair of Carleen jeans I bought on discount which perfectly adhere to your bottom, are super-high-waisted with a button fly, and have these amazing denim panels.

Another were these pink velvet Sam Edelman shoes I impulse bought for a wedding (that are now discontinued, though you can still still find them in suede on Amazon). I’ve been buying more block-heeled pumps with ankle straps lately because they give you a lot of height without any hobbling involved. They were cushy enough to survive a few hours of dancing, so mission accomplished.

I’ve also been taking some cues from my colleagues. In the great Tape-a-Call fallout, I’ve followed Maxine’s lead on getting one of these Olympus attachments for recording phone calls.

And scooped up David’s down cleaner for the Uniqlo micro puffer I wear all the time and have no clue how to wash.

Liza Corsillo, writer

I’m an Aries born in mid-March and I usually end up buying myself a lot of birthday presents around this time of year. I’m a twin so I have to shop for my brother as well (I’m getting to it!). This year I spent my birthday weekend visiting friends in Austin, Texas, which is also home to one of my favorite stores of all time, Stag Provisions. There were plenty of things at Stag to tempt me (hello, perfect white Wrangler jeans and vintage jewelry), but these Mexican black-suede mules stood out. I like the low heel and the pointy toe. I’ll wear them to work with bright socks until it gets warm enough to go barefoot.

Speaking of suede birthday gifts to myself, I just impulse bought this sweet dusty green cropped suede jacket on sale at Anthropologie. I am constantly stumped by what to wear over dresses and jumpsuits — a cardigan? a blazer? This will take the place of a blazer (not really my style) and isn’t as heavy as my leather moto jacket so I’ll be able to layer a coat on top if necessary.

Dry shampoo is a must-have in both my bathroom at home and my desk drawer at work. I have really fine straight hair and bangs that get super-oily after 24 hours of not washing them. Not only does this mask the greasiness, but it also gives me more volume and makes me feel generally cleaner. I go through about one of the big cans and one of the travel size cans every two months.

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.

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in March