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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in June

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 June.

Maxine Builder, managing editor

I don’t know what came over me this month, but I went all-in on outdoors gear, starting with this pair of La Sportiva trail running sneakers. You might be asking yourself, “Maxine, you like trail running?” The answer is no, absolutely not. But I like hiking, and have big plans to traipse around Acadia National Park over the Fourth of July holiday, and I wanted footwear that would be more supportive than running sneakers but lighter than hiking boots. The answer was trail running shoes, and these had great reviews on the internet (and gave me some cute-but-ugly sneaker vibes). I’ve yet to hike in them, but I did break them in by walking from my apartment in Williamsburg to our office in Manhattan and had nary a blister, so I think I made the right choice.

I was suckered into getting the Black Hole dopp kit in medium, in part thanks to this micro-sale that went up a couple weeks ago, and because I’ve long been jealous of my boyfriend’s Black Hole dopp kit.

I also bought a new pair of Baggies, which are different from the pair of Patagonia Barely Baggies that I already own and wear all of the time. Mine have a 2-inch inseam, which I’ve finally realized is just a little too short for when I’m trying to do actual outdoor activities. So I caved and bought a pair of these regular-length Baggies, with a 5-inch inseam, for more active situations (and the days I just want a little more thigh coverage), in a kicky violet. It felt like the right mood.

Speaking of the right mood, I bought a pair of Chacos. More specifically, Grateful Dead-themed Chacos. The official color is “Steal Your Face.” I have no regrets.

Alexis Swerdloff, Strategist editor

This month we did something crazy, and took a trip with our nine month old to Paris! (Despite one very sleepless plane ride, it was wonderful and worth it.) To prepare I bought all sorts of nonsense, but a few things stand out, chief among them this stroller. We already had the Official Stroller of Bougie Brooklyn, the Uppababy Cruz It’s great, but a real clunker, and we wanted something lightweight to travel with. It’s a long boring story, but because we already had the Uppababy Mesa carseat, we wanted something that was compatible with it, and therefore landed on the Minu, as opposed to the Official Lightweight Stroller of Bougie Brooklyn, the Babyzen Yoyo. The Minu’s very new (it’s Uppababy’s attempt to compete with the Yoyo) and there hasn’t been a ton written about it, so I was a little apprehensive, but we are so pleased with it. The thing folds incredibly easily (truly with one hand), it’s really lightweight (lugging it up the three flights of stairs to our Airbnb was no problem), and substantive enough to handle wobbly, cobblestoned side streets of Paris as well as bumpy Brooklyn sidewalks. Our baby took many an uninterrupted nap in the Minu, and my husband and I found it was very smooth to “drive.” Plus, the basket underneath can actually hold quite a bit. We pretty much only use this stroller now that we’re back in New York, and are probably going to sell our Cruz.

The other “hero” purchase of our trip was this insanely lightweight Baggu backpack, which I used as both an alternative to my tote bag (for storing my wallet and keys and a cardigan) as well as things for the baby that I wanted easy access to throughout the day (puffs, his bottle, a picnic blanket, a few toys). It truly felt like I was wearing nothing at all.

Finally, for myself and only myself I bought this mustard-colored Madewell dress. It’s comfortable, dress-uppable (and -downable), and machine-washable!

Anthony Rotunno, senior editor

Technically, I did not buy the vaguely threatening one-gallon water jug that writer Caroline Goldfarb, the meme queen behind Instagram’s @OfficialSeanPenn, recently told us about. It was actually my husband, but we share the same bank account, thus we share everything. (My dad and mom each bought their own jugs too; my mom also got the “jurse” to tote hers around in.) Still, I’ve drank enough from my husband’s jug to be able to say it is a perfectly effective water bottle, though he says it can leak a little from the top if not upright. The more appealing thing about the jug, though, is that it genuinely does inspire him to drink more water, kind of like a healthy game. He has lugged it (in a tote bag) to work every day, to the park on weekends, and even to dinner with friends at Pastis the other night, all in his daily quest to finish every drop. And watching him do this has made me more conscious of my water intake, and inspired me to drink more, too. So it’s probably only a matter of time until we’re a two-jug household, because it seems the easiest way to drink more water is to have a gallon of it always by your side.

One day while commuting a few years ago, I shuffled past an underground store called Rag New York inside the 42nd Street-Port Authority subway station, where I noticed a rack of Hawaiian-style shirts in particularly unusual prints. I bought two featuring different aquatic motifs back then — one being this tropical fish number  — and a few weeks ago, went back to see if they’d added any fun new ones to the racks. Sadly, the subway-station store closed since my last visit (the above-ground retail environment is a struggle, so it’s not too surprising a below-ground boutique didn’t survive). Luckily, Rag New York operates an online storefront, where I bought this shirt to add to my collection. The print is fun, colorful, and, dare I say, Gucci-esque? It’s all polyester, so it doesn’t breathe, but I got a medium, which helps because it’s looser (my fish shirts are smalls). Although, at that size, it does hit slightly lower on my waist than I’d like a Hawaiian shirt to, but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it.

When it comes to shorts, for years my summer wardrobe revolved around two khaki pairs I bought at Acne back in 2012 (one tan, one black). To me, they were perfect: they hit an inch or two above the knee (long enough to never look like “short shorts” but short enough that I never needed to cuff or roll them), looked good without commanding attention, and went with pretty much any shirt, sneaker, or sandal. But the tan pair started to fall apart at the end of last summer, and as much as the thrifter in me wanted to eek out another season, I bit the bullet and splurged on this pair, which are the brand’s current equivalent. They’re not exactly identical — the material is a bit thicker, and they’re more of an olive-brown than tan — but the cut and fit are more or less the same, and given how long my prior pair lasted, I’d say worth the price (especially now that they’re on sale).

Dominique Pariso, writer

Katie Kimmel has been my long-time purveyor of paste-themed apparel, but what I’ve really been wanting to buy for ages is one of her dog vases. The problem is that she releases them in small quantities and I’ve been too slow on the draw for the last couple of drops. Obviously, when I saw she was partnering with Urban Outfitters, I jumped on the chance to own one of these little guys. And, because it’s a bud vase, it can hold my makeup brushes or pens just as easily as it can hold a few flowers. The specific bud vase I bought is sadly sold out, but this wall vase is equally adorable.

I’ve been trying to build up a reserve of books to read on the beach this summer. After I read Jia Tolentino’s review of this lyrical novel from literary wunderkind Ocean Vuong, I bought it immediately. I’m happy to report that the hype was correct: This book is indeed a stunner. If you have a complicated relationship with your mom, are a writer by trade, or want to relive your first summer love, pick this one up because it tackles all three themes with grace.

Hilary Reid, writer

Natalia Ginzburg is one of my favorite writers — I love her book of short essays The Little Virtues and her novel Family Lexicon — so I was excited to see that New Directions published two reissues of her books this month. I’m starting with Happiness, as Such (great title), which is apparently Ginzburg’s most popular book in Italy, where she lived, and I’ll pick up The Dry Heart (also a great title) next.

Earlier this spring, I bought a bright red, high-cut, very ’90s bathing suit from J.Crew. I like it, but sometimes it feels a little too ’90s, and I wanted an option that was more Eres than Baywatch. So I went to COS, my go-to for minimalist bathing suits that look more expensive than they are, and picked up this one.

I finally finished an amber-scented Diptyque candle that had somehow lasted me two years, and was ready for a lighter, more summery scent. This Astier de Villate incense smells like fresh lilacs crossed with powdery smoke, and the blue box is lovely enough to leave out on my bureau. And here’s a tip: if you buy it at the Albertine bookstore on the Upper East Side, it’s about $15 less expensive than everywhere else.

I’d been using a very beat-up orange neoprene pouch that I got at Joe Fresh in 2011 as a wallet, and it was getting embarrassing. So, I “upgraded” to this $15 nylon Muji one, which is also a little embarrassing — I should really just buy a leather wallet — but is extremely lightweight and fits in my smallest bags.

Chloe Anello, junior writer

I hate bra shopping. Like, really hate it. I’m a 32DD, so I struggle to find bras that can support a larger cup size but also fit me through the band. I always have to try on and the ones that do fit are typically very expensive. Occasionally, I can find my size in a brand I love at Marshall’s, which happened to me this month, and my excitement was unparalleled. Wacoal understands what full-chested women need. The band is never too loose and the straps can support larger breasts without digging into your shoulders. Plus, these bras are actually cute. I have paid full priced for this brand because they are definitely worth it, but the discount never hurts.

I’m a redhead with pale skin, so I take sun protection very seriously. I mean, can you blame me? Recently, I’ve felt like sunscreen hasn’t been enough coverage for my face when I’m outside. To help, I got this hat also on my very successful Marshall’s trip. The specific one I got is sold out, but this option is similar and just as cute. I might actually buy this one too.

Some friends just had their first child, so my boyfriend and I bought them a bunch of adorable outfits I can’t wait to give them. This one is precious and fits within our gift’s silly “baby shark” theme.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, junior writer

Shopping for jeans is one of my earliest and most frequent nightmares, so when I walked into Aritzia a few weeks ago I didn’t expect to find anything, especially not a life-changing pair of denim pants. I was surprised to find a selection of Levi’s, and I was floored when I tried them on and there was no gap in the waist. I obviously had to buy them. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to love at first sight.

Two days before I started my job at the Strategist I was in search of the perfect first-day outfit, and came across this bag instead. I didn’t really need it, but I talked myself into it anyway and I’m so glad I did. It holds everything I need in an eight-hour workday, but doesn’t fan out wide like a tote, which, to my untrained eye, looks a bit chicer. The bag is also sturdy, but the pleather is surprisingly soft. It also has a magnetic closure that wouldn’t hold up against a robber but makes me feel safe. It wasn’t on sale when I bought it, but now the price makes it a no-brainer.

Lauren Ro, writer

I just got back from maternity leave, and one of my favorite purchases I made for my baby is this sweet little bunny doll. I first saw it on the Instagram of this French mom-fluencer I follow, but it wasn’t tagged. I liked that it vaguely resembled the Beatrix Potter character Peter Rabbit, but when I searched for official Peter Rabbit merchandise, it didn’t come up. One Saturday, while picking up a gift for a 2-year-old’s birthday party at Norman and Jules in Park Slope, I saw it. I was delighted. Turns out it’s from this Danish brand Maileg, which makes whimsical stuffed animals and dollhouses and those cute mice-in-matchbox dolls that I’m now seeing everywhere. Although it’s billed as a child’s first bunny, this is actually my son’s third rabbit doll, which seems to be the unofficial mascot of early childhood.

My husband and I finally bought an actual coffee machine, and it has changed our lives. Our Hario pour over was great, but now that we have a baby, time is a precious commodity, and streamlining is the name of the game. With this, we program it the night before and wake up to a hot pot of joe in the morning. It’s one less thing to worry about as new, sleep-deprived parents.

We moved into a new house in February, but we’re still furnishing it because neither of us is particularly skilled at interior design or decisive when it comes to big purchases like furniture. One thing we did get a jump on was rugs because choosing a couple seemed less daunting than trying to find an armchair, for whatever reason. Just like everybody else, I love Moroccan rugs, as ubiquitous as they are. But I wanted the real thing, not just one that was inspired by the region, and not the price tag that comes with them when you shop at a place like ABC Carpet and Home (no shade; it’s one of my favorite stores and their sales can be get-out-of-here good). I turned to Anou, a community of artisans that sells directly to customers without middle men so that all proceeds go directly to the rug makers, who then invest into their local communities. I had saved a particular style on my Pinterest, but when I finally went to purchase it, it had sold out. But because Anou allows you to interface directly with artisans, I was able to special order the exact same one. After I placed the order, I got periodic updates (with photos!) on its progress. From order date to delivery, it took all of six weeks, and shipping was included. I love our new rug and couldn’t be happier — even though we still haven’t decided where to place it.

I love those oversized Sophie Buhai headbands, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend over $200 on a hair accessory that borders on costumey. So I took to Etsy, where dozens of headband makers abound for a fraction of the price. I found a York, England-based store that makes all kinds, from narrow styles to thick, padded ones that look like matador hats in a range of materials and colors. I chose one of the wide, high ones, but not so high that it looks ridiculous. I got it in a crushed black velvet but in retrospect, I should have gotten a different color, like this pink one, as the black blends into my hair and kind of makes me look I have an ’80s-style blowout. Still, I love it, and want to get more. To be perfectly honest, though, it definitely is a look. The only time I’ve worn it was at Easter. Maybe one of these days I’ll wear it to the office.

Karen Iorio Adelson, writer

I bought my husband a messenger bag for Hanukkah last year, but he ended up not loving it so I returned it. Because it took six months to find one he actually likes, this one doubled as an anniversary present. Our third anniversary was this month which is apparently the “leather” anniversary, so I figure the leather-trim on this handsome bag counts. It’s also similar to the one Chris Black recommended here.

I previously declared myself a non-casual-sneaker-wearer, but my co-workers all looked so cool in their white Vejas that it inspired me to give it a try. Since I wasn’t sure if I’d get a lot of use out of them, I didn’t want to go all in and spend more than $100 on a pair. Instead, I went with these low-profile, white Supergas — and so far I like them! I’ve worn them with dresses, jeans, and shorts and I think they look really cute.

Katy Schneider, associate editor

I’ve been looking for white-but-not-too-white pants for months and months now, and finally found the perfect pair — on sale! — at Eckhaus Latta. I love them so much I’ve been hanging them in my closet instead of folding them in my drawer with the rest of my loser pants.

I have some old acne scars on my chin, and for about the last year Rio and our other skincare-obsessed pal have both been urging me to buy some Shark Sauce, which they both use and love. I finally did, and after a week or so of use, I’m really already noticing some fading.

Liza Corsillo, writer

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to buy a pair of Everlane jeans. For the occasion, I met my friend Margot at the store in Nolita after work one night to try a bunch of stuff. We were most interested in the box-cut tees and the denim. We both walked out of the store with this same pair of high-rise straight leg jeans and a pink cotton crewneck T-shirt. Then we shared fries and some rosé at The Butcher’s Daughter — a very nice evening indeed.

After yet another woman I know recommended HOPP shoes for their superior comfort, I bit the bullet and purchased a pair of HOPP sandals (because I don’t have any nice hot weather shoes I can stand wearing all day), using an Acuvue rebate card of all things. I haven’t gotten them yet, but I am already imagining the first day I will wear them to work.

Full disclosure: This purchase was collateral damage from a time when I was innocently showing my coworker some Zara men’s bathing suits for a story he was writing (they’re really good). It’s a man’s hat which I hope means it will fit my head loosely. I like how it feels like a thing you might find at a suburban Goodwill. I’ll wear it with an all black bathing suit to the beach this summer.

When I am copying over drawings from the sketch phase to a more final cleaned-up phase, I like to use this translucent (rather than fully transparent) tracing paper. It’s thick and erases well without leaving marks or smudges and it gives me crisp lines no matter what pen or pencil I am using — even colored pencils look good on it. I also find that it scans better than traditional tracing paper. I was out, so I ordered more.

Simone Kitchens, senior editor

I am such a fair-weather shaver — summer calls for more diligence — that when I finally do, it’s nice to have something that makes the process less laborious. One pass and you’re good with this thing. The handle makes it easy to keep a firm grip (and when you invariably drop it, the razor head won’t fly off and disappear into a tiled crevice).

For someone with fine, curly, frizz-prone hair, swampy Junes in New York can be rough. Add the blazing sun and occasional ocean swims, and my hair starts feeling like a bale of hay. Which is why I work oil through my ends every night then braid it before going to bed. Most nights I use a gloppy avocado oil. During the day, I go with a couple drops of Playa oil. The brand calls the scent “beachy,” which feels misleading and a little unappealing. It’s actually much more sophisticated than that, with subtle hits of orange blossom and sandalwood. The best part, though, is the lightweight, almost-dry-oil effect — it’s got apricot and sunflower oil — which makes my ends feel so fresh, like I just got a haircut.

I can’t stop buying foldable sun hats, which I keep rolled up in my bag at all times. This linen number will be my third one this summer.

David Notis, writer

It’s finally summer in New York City, and on the first sunny Saturday, I went a little wild at my local plant store. I bought a bunch of terra cotta pots, some soil, and these pruners and then did about two hours of repotting. I didn’t really need the pruners for that, but I’ve been wanting a pair ever since I wrote an article on pruning shears for “Plant Week.” During my research for that article, the Japanese brand ARS came up a lot, and when I saw these pruners in person, with their thick plastic ’80s Miami turquoise handles, I fell hard. I asked the salesperson if they would be good for houseplants, and he said yes, but directed me instead to a totally reasonable-looking pair that was under $10, saying I didn’t need the ARS.

I politely nodded and then ignored his advice after he walked away. I’m sure the other ones would have been completely fine, but I felt like splurging a little, and I like knowing that I have something made by a reputable brand, and that they’re built to last a long time. Also, I like that these are a bypass pruners, so they’re designed to give a clean cut that quickly heals. They might be overkill for trimming the occasional fiddle leaf fig leaf, but whatever, they’re really well-made and fun to use.

Also when I say these are fun to use, I mean it. Proceed with caution. I maybe overdid it a bit when trimming my pothos because I was just happy to have an excuse to use these. It will be fine — I think of it as a “summer haircut” to make myself feel less bad — but just know that having nice pruners might make you want to use them, regardless of whether it’s necessary.

These are available on Amazon too, and for a lower price, but it looks like only in a sort of off-white/beige color. Otherwise, you’ll unfortunately need to pay the cute color premium.

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 June