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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).