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 the candles the Outer Banks stars have been burning in isolation, an online class for honing green thumbs, and a better way to keep face masks nearby.
The candle Outer Banks star Chase Stokes has burned throughout quarantine
“This scent is a little bit sweet, but it’s also got tartness to it — it’s tropical. It brings your brain to a different place. I’m a big outdoors guy; I love the beach. This kind of brings me back to a time before all this, when we were able to get out and do things,” Stokes told us when we asked him and co-star Madelyn Cline, who spent much of this quarantine holed up together, about the things they used the most while in isolation. “I’m one of those guys that, in the morning, I usually don’t touch my phone. I’ll put on a little playlist and I’ll keep the lights low, turn on this candle, make a pot of coffee, and just give myself a minute and allow my brain to rest.”
A better way to keep your mask close at hand
“Wearing a face mask to cover your nose and mouth whenever you can’t properly social distance from others isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon,” writes contributor Alison Freer, which is why she calls this “eyeglasses leash” an essential accessory for the new normal, because it makes it easy to keep a mask close at hand without stuffing it into a bag or pocket. “Not only does it nostalgically remind me of the beaded eyeglasses chain my grandmother used to wear, having my mask hanging neatly around my neck, ready to pull up and on at a moment’s notice, has made being out in the world a lot less stressful — and it’s made me a more diligent citizen, too.” If you don’t like this style, Freer suggests several more here.
Chris Black’s “go-to” summer house shoe
Now that the time has come to retire warmer slippers, you might be looking for some equally comfortable, but more breathable, footwear to putter around the house in. Helping a reader find just that, Chris recommended these slides from Hoka One One. “The all-black version is PLUSH. Its breathable design features the brand’s rockered midsole, which keeps the legs and feet loose and relaxed. Great for post-workout or just shuffling around the home. Put comfort first. The ones shown are sized for men, but you can get the same pairs for women here and here.”
The Japanese markers Gene Simmons uses to sign everything (including body parts)
“I’ve must have signed well over a million photos and things by now,” the legendary Kiss front man told us when we chatted with him about the stuff he can’t live without. “The Japanese markers — they’re called Poscas — are much better than Sharpies. They can write on anything — they’re also much better for signing body parts. You can imagine women want certain body parts signed all the time, but if you’re greasy or sweating, Sharpies won’t work — a Japanese Posca will, though. Someone once asked me to sign a prosthetic leg. He took it off and handed it to me and I signed it, with a Posca of course.”
The most-purchased desk by Strategist readers last month
In our new series called Something For Everyone, we are surfacing and vetting twists on the same product for people who like to shop around. Our inaugural deep dive, on desks for working from home, includes 17 options, including a dupe for the desk used by a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, a minimal, Donald Judd–esque model we particularly fancy, a chiropractor-approved standing desk, and this other standing desk that happens to be a reader favorite, according to our data. “It has a sleek wood-and-white design and an electric lift system, which one five-star Amazon reviewer says rises and lifts quickly and according to your height,” we wrote. “‘Never knew I needed an electric height adjustable desk until I got this one,’ that reviewer adds.”
A class to hone your green thumb
Speaking of vetting, we recently canvassed a bunch of online-class takers about digital lessons on a variety of topics and platforms that they say are worth your time and money. This one, taught by “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley and offered by MasterClass, teaches students how to create planters from household items and grow their own food, and is helpful whether you’re working “with a windowsill or lots of land,” according to photographer and “notorious plant killer” Paige Gribb, who recommended it to us.
A nifty way to extend summer nights outdoors
With warmer weather (hopefully) here to stay, many folks may be spending their evenings at home outside, and looking to extend that time as long as possible once the sun sets. According to contributor Matt Goulet, this compact, cool-looking lantern from cool-people-approved brand Snow Peak is perfect for extending leisurely evenings once darkness falls. “I’ve been enjoying it on my back patio,” he writes of the roughly four-and-a-half-inch tall lantern that simply screws right onto a fuel canister you’d use for traditional ones. “It casts just enough light to keep me from tripping when I head inside to refill my drink, but not enough to disturb the peace and dark around me. Plus, it seems to be universally flattering.”
Editor’s note: The Mini Flame is available for pre-order at both Amazon and Camp Saver, with each noting it will ship in June.
An elevated tie-dye sweatshirt (that’s on sale)
While we’ve provided a guide for tie-dyeing yourself, maybe you just want to cut to the chase. This tonal sweatshirt, from a recent Micro Sale, is a slightly more sophisticated take on the trend and, we add, is “lightweight and slightly cropped, so you’ll be able to wear it all season long.” Note that the sale price shown includes an extra 25 percent off that is applied at checkout.
And the candle Outer Banks star Madelyn Cline has burned throughout quarantine
We know what you’re thinking, two candles? But we felt it unfair to include Stokes’s without Cline’s, especially given she went so far as to say that “Chase’s candle has more of a feminine smell than my candle. That’s not to say I don’t like it; it’s just that the Volcano has a very lively, present smell.” Cline’s preferred candle to burn in isolation, she explains, “is there, but it’s in the background; calming and light. And it’s earthy, but not in the way that it smells like dirt. It kind of brings you back down. I’ll burn it after I clean up or whatever.”
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.