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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in May

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 May.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

After featuring these sneakers — a collaboration between Keds and Ace & Jig — in a Don’t Dillydally, I went and bought them. I’d been in the market for a summer slip-on sneaker that didn’t look like everyone else’s summer slip-on sneaker, and so far I’ve been very happy with them. For a patterned shoe, they go with pretty much anything, and I’ve been surprised by how comfortable they are. And I like that they have a Japanese patchwork vibe to them.

Like his mother, my son has a hard time falling asleep without his trusty white-noise machine. But we have no plans to lug that thing around with us while away for the weekend, so I bought Dohm’s portable baby-specific noise machine for shhhhh-shhhing on the go. It’s chargeable and extremely lightweight, and we plan on taking it with us on all our various summer trips.

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

This past May, I got married in a patch of woods on my husband’s parents’ property. The week before we said “I do,” we spent a muggy afternoon clearing brush from the area, after which I was covered in bug bites. Not wanting to spend my wedding day scratching myself, I consulted Maureen O’Connor’s list of non-smelly mosquito repellents for the Strategist and ordered her “backup bug lotion” because she wrote that it’s more consistently odor-free than her go-to repellent. And I am happy to report that O’Conner’s assessment holds up: When I squirted the lotion into my hands, not a trace of chemical smell wafted from it (and neither my neck nor my hands smelled like chemicals after applying). More importantly: I made it through our ceremony in the woods without a getting a single bug bite.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but every so often a Strategist contributor will tell us about a product that almost seems too unbelievable to be real. That was my initial reaction to these antimicrobial sponges, which writer Sam Todd praised as actually odorless (I’m sensing a theme in my purchases of late). But truer words were never published — I wash a sinkload of dishes four or five days a week, and since I started using the sponges, my hands have not once smelled funky afterward. They dry quickly, too, and their patterned surfaces really do fade, so it’s easy to tell when it’s time to replace one (my first lasted me for about six days before the pattern deteriorated to the point where it needed to be replaced). To quote Todd, they truly are “the best (and best-looking) kitchen improvement I’ve made for under $20.”

Dominique Pariso, writer

I was in desperate need of a new weekender, and this canvas bag from Baggu fit the bill: It’s sturdy, can handle my overpacking habit, and is super-inexpensive.

While my snuggly velvet duvet cover kept me warm all through the winter, this month it came time to retire it until September. I figured if I didn’t want to swelter this summer, linen was my best bet (and Strategist-approved brand Parachute’s cover was on sale).

I’d been stealing some of this hand cream from a colleague (hi, David!) for far too long and finally invested in a tube of my own. The cream has a bright, citrusy scent that perks me up after my 3 p.m. crash.

I bought a pair of these eyeglasses when the Warby Parker x Chloë Sevigny collaboration first debuted a few months ago and fell for them. Hard. As a person who’s worn glasses for 15 years, I can say with some certainty that finding a pair with this particular look that fits my wide face is a rare and precious thing. So when I saw that they were back in stock, I quickly scooped up a second pair for when (not if) I break my first one. And in the event that they’re added to the permanent Warby Parker collection, I’ll just have them turned into sunglasses instead.

Hilary Reid, writer

I’ve long coveted a pair of red Gammarelli socks — the ones worn by the Pope — but, out of fear of losing one or both, have never been able to justify spending $25 on them. With the Gammarelli ones in mind, I picked up these bright-red Entireworld socks, and they’ve turned out to be a good alternative for a little less money. They’re a bright tomato color, mostly cotton, and hit a nice spot just above the ankle, making them perfect for warmer weather.

And I bought one of Entireworld’s ribbed cotton tank tops in bright yellow (which they call “orange” on the website but is definitely more of a ripe-mango shade). I love the high cut of the neck and will wear it with my red socks when I want a full-on ketchup-and-mustard look.

Most of my spending this month happened in Portugal, where I went for a vacation with friends. Between all of us we bought enough beautifully packaged bar soap to last a few years, and this Madrigal Water Lily one from Claus Porto is my favorite. Though the lovely packaging tempts me to hoard it away, the water-lily scent — which smells like a freshly cut bouquet — makes the soap too nice to not use it regularly.

Before my trip, I was on the hunt for a compact travel toothbrush. I found this one on the Strategist, and it did not disappoint. It folds up to be about two inches long, and the best part is the roomy bristle chamber, which keeps the toothbrush head clean and dry between uses.

Jason Chen, deputy editor

This short-sleeved sweater (shirt? Swirt?) makes no sense, but I LOVE it. It kind of makes me sick how much it costs, but I couldn’t wait for it to go on sale, and I feel validated now that I see it’s almost sold out. Plus, it feels expensive, so I mind a little less. My favorite part is how the bottom is ribbed so it hugs a bit right around the waist, and it’s nifty that the stripe at the sleeve turns green right under the baby blue, too.

I cannot believe I did this, but I did this. As much as I love wearing white sneakers all the time, they are not that easy to get on when you’re bleary-eyed and trying to walk the dog in the morning. I’d been skeptical about Birkenstocks, but Chris Black convinced me. They also just look really good with jeans!

Dude, I am drinking the Chris Black Kool-Aid, because I finally threw out my old ratty J.Crew tees and bought his favorite Gildan T-shirts. BEWARE: They really shrink in the wash. I’m usually a small/medium (I got Ms) and almost wish I’d gone for a large because they’re kind of trim post-laundry! The fabric is thick enough that they pass for much more expensive shirts, though, and I like that they’re slightly boxy and hit right at the belt line. 8/10 would buy again.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

I’m realizing now that I did a somewhat embarrassing amount of shopping this month. Big Memorial Day sales — like the one at REI — didn’t help. I’m already a fan of Janji’s soft and breezy long-sleeve running shirts, so I picked up a short-sleeve one for summer in “mauve,” which is actually a very pretty dusty rose color.

I’ve been getting more into spandex-y running shorts lately, so I thought I’d give this pair from Oiselle a try. And I love them! They stay put while you’re running (which isn’t always the case with this style of shorts), and they have more pockets than I have things to fill them with. I’m thinking of getting another pair in green.

I heard about these “recovery sandals” (meant to soothe your feet after a long run) a while back but dismissed them as a marketing gimmick. However, when I ran a half-marathon in Vermont earlier this month, my friend brought these along and let me try them, and they’re incredible. The foam is smushy yet supportive, and there’s a wedge right under the arch that feels so good on tired feet. I don’t know if they actually help you recover faster, but I do know they beat slipping on a pair of flat flip-flops post-race.

After getting suckered in to Bed Bath & Beyond’s “Beyond+” loyalty program (it’s actually not a bad deal — you pay $29 annually for 20 percent off everything you buy), I thought I’d make it worth my while and upgrade my bedding. I’ve yet to figure out how to put on a duvet cover, so I stick to comforters, and this one is just right. The subtle texture feels sophisticated and it’s very comfy.

And then I couldn’t resist this little metal caddy that ended up being only $5 with my discount. I’ve already put it to use corralling all the cleaning supplies under my kitchen sink.

Katy Schneider, associate editor

I committed a massive shopping faux pas this month. I went to Tuza, a jewelry shop on the Lower East Side that’s filled with very special, pretty things, to find a birthday present for my little sister. I decided on this very lovely beaded red necklace with a freshwater-pearl heart, got it wrapped in the store, brought it home, started getting dressed for dinner, peered at the bag, unwrapped the gift, put on the necklace, and didn’t take it off for four days straight. Now it is my necklace, and you all know I’m a monster.

But don’t worry: I went back and bought her a different necklace, which I ultimately think is more “her.” It’s very pretty too.

And I also got her this fun fish jug, which makes a delightful gurgling noise when you pour out water from it!

And lastly, I bought myself an extremely work-inappropriate top from Sincerely Tommy in Bed-Stuy. It makes me feel like a mermaid.

Liza Corsillo, writer

I bought my last bike used (or, more specifically, built it out of used parts). It cost me around $300 and only has one gear, but I like how light and uncomplicated it is. Still, long rides of more than a few miles weren’t that comfortable, and I always struggled up hills because I couldn’t change gears. So when REI had its big anniversary sale, I decided it was time for an upgrade. This bike, which I got for 15 percent off, feels sturdier, more cushy, and just slightly zippier.

I have been eyeing a set of YogaToes for months now (I’m pretty sure I am starting to inherit my grandmother’s bunions and knobby toes). So I finally caved and bought a pair on Amazon, along with some black colored pencils and a tub drain stopper. I can’t say that I have noticed any lasting effects yet, but they definitely stretch my toes, and that’s something. Plus, it’s hard to stand and wear them, so they double as an excuse to watch TV or read in bed.

I used to own a navy pair of Chuck’s high-tops that I wore everywhere and with everything (jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses). When they conked out from overwear, I replaced them with a salmon-pink pair that is great but not as universal. The black ones (and a pair in off-white) have been on my list for years; I felt extremely accomplished when I finally bought this pair.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

On May 7, my former colleague Lori forwarded me a press release from Outdoor Voices announcing its collaboration with Teva; by May 8, due to some freakishly fast shipping, I had a pair on my feet. I went for the men’s Tevas, in bright primary colors (because yes, I wear a men’s 8 or a women’s 10), and I feel like I have not taken them off since. They’re as sturdy and comfortable as my regular Tevas but way more stylish, and I’ve gotten compliments on them everywhere I go. Even my dad, a longtime Teva enthusiast, was wowed by these and commented on how sturdy they were, despite the fashion-y colors. My color-blocked Tevas even made the lede of that New York Times piece on how Tevas got cute, so I feel vindicated.

While checking out at Outdoor Voices, I also threw in an Athena crop top in charcoal, and yes, I am now that girl who goes to hot yoga wearing a full OV kit with OV Tevas.

I live not too far from the Baggu store in Williamsburg, so on one sunny Saturday, I popped in and picked up this market-bag-inspired Baggu bag, which we featured as a Don’t Dillydally pick pretty recently. I don’t have much to say about it except that I love how fun the print is.

That same day, I got suckered into stopping at the J.Crew on Wythe Avenue and picked up a couple of these colorful (and very on sale) scrunchies made with Liberty London print.

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 May