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, including a gamer-approved alternative to the Nintendo Switch, a NASA-approved cure for seasonal stuffiness, and a nifty kit for beginner fermenters.
A onesie you’ll never want to take off
After noticing that Taylor Swift was “wearing a pink Free People Just Because Onesie while self-isolating from the public” in her documentary Miss Americana, contributor Claire Stern told us she “bought one as soon as it became clear that I, too, would be self-isolating from the public.” The garment, she writes, “has more in common with footie pajamas than a proper jumpsuit,” with a fit that’s “billowy and oversized.” But Stern, who’s worn it “almost every day for the last two months,” assures it’s no sack: “Because it cinches at the ankles and wrists, it’s surprisingly flattering. The deep-V neckline even makes it Zoom-date appropriate.”
Stationery that’s ‘a tip of the hat to the American Southwest’
That’s how professional basketball player Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers describes this notecard-and-envelope set from Pendleton, which he has been using lately to send handwritten letters — a “lost art” he inherited from his grandmother. “She would cut out things and glue them on, and her handwriting was so bubbly and amazing, like the handwriting a popular girl in school would have,” Love said while telling us about the things he can’t live without. “Sending a handwritten letter is so much more personal than sending a text. Sitting down, writing something, and taking the time to put it in an envelope and send it feels like it’s from the past, but it’s still something that’s just really, really nice.”
A reason to revisit Call Me by Your Name
In speaking to authors about their favorite soothing audiobooks to listen to, Marisa Meltzer, the author of This Is Big, made a very compelling case for why listening to Call Me by Your Name is even better than reading or watching it. “The movie is wonderful and James Ivory deserved the Oscar he won for the adaptation, but the book has a completely different ending, including time jumps. And the audiobook has Armie Hammer and his deep, patrician voice doing Italian accents and describing masturbation with a peach. Let him describe the perfect summer none of us will get this year.” The book is free to download from Audible if you sign up for a $15/month subscription; the price shown for Amazon is for an à la carte download.
Face masks for sports fans
From our list of Father’s Day gifts (that do good, too) come these Chicago Bulls–themed face face masks from the NBA, which we noted is selling styles for all of its 30 teams (and 12 WNBA teams, too). But that’s not the only sport whose fans can safely show their pride for in public: Chris Black, who calls face masks “the new flex,” recently recommended his favorites, which include a mask for Yankees fans. “If you want to stay safe but also let people know you are from the greatest city in the world, replace your New Era fitted with this,” he says of the (non-regulation) face mask.
Rio’s favorite dupe for SK-II’s $100 essence
In Before Times, the thought of shelling out $100 for skin care — which is basically the cost of the smallest bottle of SK-II’s universally beloved Facial Treatment Essence — was hard enough to swallow. Now, it may seem downright silly. Thankfully, the hero ingredient in that SK-II essence (galactomyces ferment filtrate) can be found in several products that are far less expensive, like this bottle of Then I Met You’s Giving Essence, which is slightly larger than the small SK-II bottle and costs half the price. What’s more, Rio “would argue that this it is comparable, if not better, than SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence (and I’m not the only one who thinks so — my skin-care-obsessed friend also thinks it’s equally as moisturizing, brightening, and replenishing).” Still, $50 isn’t necessarily cheap, so if you want to spend even less, Rio found four more dupes that cost under $20. And if you want to shop around, don’t miss our curated guides to the Dermstore summer beauty sale and all of the best skin-care and beauty sales happening this Memorial Day weekend.
A great gift for dad at a very good price
Speaking of Memorial Day sales, beauty and skin-care are of course just the tip of the iceberg. This year, the unofficial start of summer has spawned healthy discounts on everything from mattresses to bikes to kitchen gear to patio chairs to clothes and shoes for men, women, and kids. Over at Bloomingdale’s, we found classic Lacoste polos (in a rainbow of colors) for 40 percent off, making them almost a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Which means you don’t have to spend a ton to get dad a gift he might actually want — and that you can treat yourself to your own for being so diligent about your Father’s Day shopping.
A nifty kit for beginner fermenters
Watching more and more people share their forays into at-home fermentation, we decided to contact some experts about the best techniques and supplies for beginners who are interested in extending the life of any perishable produce they’ve bought. The process requires little more than sea salt and a jar to put everything in, but Michael Perrine, the founder of rejuvenation and detox clinic Vitality NYC, says this kit can make the process even more foolproof. “I like to refer people to the kit,” which includes weights, airlocks, and a tamper, and promises to “turn any wide-mouth mason jar into a fermentation crock,” according to its product description.
A gamer-approved alternative to the Nintendo Switch
Whether you blame it on quarantine, the viral popularity of Animal Crossing, or both, anyone who has looked to buy a Nintendo Switch lately has probably found they’re hard, if not impossible, to come by. According to professional gamers, Apple Arcade, which we describe as “a subscription service that offers higher-quality games and a more streamlined gaming experience” may be the next best thing — in large part because you can play it on a gadget you already own (your iPhone). One gaming reporter who’s subscribed to the $5-a-month service since it launched last year says it offers “a great selection of high-quality mobile games that are bright, fun, and colorful — and that’s what you think of when you hear Nintendo.” That same gaming reporter told us he’s been playing Grindstone — which we say is like “Candy Crush turned into a hack-and-slash monster game with 160-plus levels” — nonstop.
And a NASA-approved cure for seasonal stuffiness
“Ponaris was once, the packaging advertised, a NASA staple — included in the agency’s medical space kit on every Apollo mission,” contributor Chantel Tattoli writes of the product that she picked up at her local pharmacy while searching for something to help her “sinus-sore and sniffly” self. “It worked wonders immediately,” she says. “It consists of oils of eucalyptus, pine, peppermint, and cajeput blended with a cottonseed oil base and some iodine. To administer, you tilt back your head and send a little up your nose with a dropper — Flonase, this is not. Good for nasal congestion, dryness, and inflammation due to allergies, colds, and weather (and ‘rebound sinus reaction from drugs and smog,’ as the company puts it), it feels quenching and cooling, and the smell transports me to an herbal forest. It drains gently, even pleasantly, into my throat. The taste is like a spa, in a good way.”
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.