sunday circular

9 Products That Delighted Us Last Week: From Tiny Planetariums to Western Shirts

Photo: Retailers

We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trolling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week.

The second coming of Connect 4

“Talk about charming: This company is the brainchild of the man who invented Connect 4 and his son,” our favorite former store owners, Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur of the now-shuttered Of a Kind, write in their latest piece: a roundup of the crafts and games they’d stock in their (nonexistent) shop. “All of their creations come in cute packaging (without a million pieces), and they’re priced right to ship to a friend as a little ‘I’m thinking of you but don’t want to FaceTime again this week, thanks’ treat.”

Rio’s new favorite (affordable) mask to nourish dehydrated skin

$25 for 10

“Lately, I’ve really been loving these masks from Papa Recipe, which use propolis to hydrate, replenish, and heal the skin,” says our columnist, who included them on her list of the best under-$30 products to perk up dull skin. “When I take a mask off, my skin looks brighter, dewier, less red or irritated, and generally healthier-looking.”

A rare deal on the best in enamel cookware …

Lately, the word “unprecedented” seems to always have a negative connotation. But here’s a positive spin: For the first time ever, all Le Creuset cookware at Williams Sonoma is on sale. We rounded up the best of the best deals in a recent micro-sale, which include this hefty Dutch oven at almost 40 percent off (“Anything under $350 is a pretty good deal,” as we put it).

… and on a giant, (basically) new TV

According to Brian Westover, a Tom’s Guide editor who covers TVs, “you can essentially get last year’s top models for Black Friday prices” right now. If the time has come to upgrade your set (or stream to something a bigger than a laptop), Mark Steinberg, a senior technologist at B&H Photo Video, told us that this giant model from TCL is both the best and the biggest TV you can get for under $500. “There’s almost nothing that compares at this size and price,” he promises. Should you want to shop around, the experts recommend seven more of the best TVs under $500 here.

The lipstick Betsey Johnson wears to ‘feel alive’

“The best red on the planet,” the fashion designer says of this drugstore tube that she can’t live without. “I need it to feel alive. As soon as I get up in the morning, I put my lipstick on. I’ve been wearing this basic, strong blue-red shade for 40 years. That’s my No. 1.”

A cool-sock-brand founder’s favorite slippers

Even though warmer days are returning, all this time at home has seemingly extended cozy-slipper season, well, for the foreseeable future. When we spoke to cool people about the pairs they’re wearing now, we got picks ranging from tried-and-true (Ugg) to novel-and-new (Inabo’s suede Sloafer). One “great, approachable option” on the list is this pair from Uniqlo that Jenni Lee, the founder of hip sock brand Comme Si, swears by for their grippy soles and layered insoles.

Joe Exotic’s pink Western wedding shirt

“After finishing Tiger King, I quickly decided I had to have the exact hot-pink Western shirt Joe, John, and Travis were married in,” begins style documentarian Mordechai Rubenstein’s (a.k.a. Mr. Mort) piece on his hunt for the unforgettable garment. His search — which involved Oprah, a store called Steppin’ Out, and the New York Times — uncovered that “the brand is White Horse Apparel, a generic, wholesale Western-wear label, established, per the website, ‘in 1984 by Richard Baker, Gary Roe, and Bob Goughnour.’” The company, alas, “doesn’t seem to currently produce the shirt in the exact bright-pink color the fellas wore to their wedding,” concludes Rubenstein. But you can get the exact same shirt in this dustier-pink shade.

A personal-trainer-recommended treadmill

“My advice for someone just starting to run is to not spend much more” than the cost of this NordicTrack model, says trainer Ava Fagin, which is one reason why we named this the best overall at-home treadmill after speaking to her and three other fitness coaches about their favorites. More reasons to like it: “Good cushioning and built-in workouts,” Fagin explains. And Amanda Tress (of FASTer Way to Fat Loss) adds: “It’s a trusted brand that many people know and love —my mom has used her NordicTrack for years!”

And a gadget that’ll turn your ceiling into a soothing, starry sky

“At home, on lockdown, my infant would no longer nap — not in her wrap carrier, bassinet, Moses basket, or bouncer,” begins contributor Chantel Tattoli’s ode to this unusual orb-shaped projector that promises to re-create “a faithful Northern Hemisphere of ‘60,000 twinkling stars.’” While pricey, Tattoli notes that this is actually “the economy model by Takayuki Ohira, the planetarium designer who also created the best (most accurate, most starry) home planetarium on the market — which sells for $20,000.” As for its efficacy: “The Homestar Pro produces a surprisingly affecting theater in our apartment that lulls the kid and her anxious parents. We may not be under a night sky, but the projection is so soothing we might as well be. It even has a shooting-star function, upon which, I’ve definitely made a wish.”

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.

9 Products That Delighted Us Last Week on the Strategist