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 very cute way to cocoon young kiddos, a surprisingly stylish laptop table from Amazon, and the phone stand that helped our writer master floor workouts.
A very cute way to cocoon young kiddos
Perhaps the only thing cuter than a baby (or toddler) is a baby (or toddler) dressed in Hanna Andersson’s cheerful clothes. The brand’s just-released Cozy Collection, we write in Don’t Dillydally, is “a line of fleecy, marshmallow-inspired jackets, onesies, and sweats for kids and babies that will almost certainly sell out. This plush onesie has an angled front zipper for easy diaper changes and features an all-over graphic flower print,” but it also comes in a primary-colored Kindercore–esque pattern.
A perfume for you (and your mom, too)
“It definitely has a youthfulness to it, but it’s sophisticated enough for my mom,” is what one trusted beauty source told our Rio Viera-Newton about Ariana Grande’s Cloud perfume. When Rio probed that source about why the pop star’s scent stands apart from other pop stars’ scents, “she explained that it smelled similar to, if not better than, Bond No. 9’s $400 Greenwich Village (a perfume once described as ‘more iconic than Chanel No. 5.’ by Racked).” Like any curious-but-not-convinced shopper, Rio sought a second opinion from another esteemed beauty guru, who told her “Cloud’s formula avoids using red berries and white florals, two scent profiles that most perfumes — especially celebrity perfumes — tend to rely on.” Fresh out of her Le Labo, Rio decided to buy some and reports she’s worn it every day since it arrived. “When you first apply the scent, you get a burst of lavender, pear, and bergamot, but as it settles into your skin, it smells like a warm, cozy orchid musk. You don’t smell like you’re obviously wearing perfume — you just sort of smell like a cleaner version of yourself, like you’ve just stepped out of a really nice shower.”
A surprisingly stylish laptop table from Amazon
“I bought this as a gift for my husband to replace the ugly plastic one he uses,” one reviewer writes of this sleek piece from our list of the best-reviewed laptop tables on Amazon. “We’re redecorating and needed something that wasn’t an eyesore. This looks nice, and is narrow enough to tuck aside when not in use,” they add. A second customer promises that “this is not fake wood or cheap-looking,” and a third rounds out the praise, noting “it scoots nicely up to a sofa and your feet go smoothly underneath.”
The multi-purpose ointment Zooey Deschanel swears by
“This acts like a petroleum product, but it’s all-natural. It’s made of beeswax and other oils and stuff. It is just so multipurpose,” the actress says of this jelly that she can’t live without. “Basically, if you have really dry skin, you can put it on over your moisturizer. You can also use it as a lip balm and with kids, like if your baby has a rash you could use this. You can put it on a little cut or a burn. I usually have a small tube of it with me all the time.”
A sustainable way to support Black lives
Not only is hanging a Black Lives Matter sign sustainable in the sense that it is an ever-present reminder of allyship, but, as our writer Nikita Richardson points out, hanging one that directly supports the BLM movement or Black-owned businesses is also an investment that will allow Black activists and creators to continue their work. Still, as Richardson says, “Yard signs aren’t exactly the most creative medium, which is why I really love these illustrated ones from New York–based costume designer and illustrator Rayneese Primrose (a.k.a. Mosaic Pop Art).” The signs also come in garden-flag form, and no matter which style you choose, shipping is free for both items.
The affordable bra that got one survivor through radiation
After an embarrassing moment when her “post-lumpectomy bra was poking out in front of my boss, proclaiming to everyone: ‘She’s wearing a cancer bra,’” Strategist contributor and breast-cancer survivor Jill Hilbrenner took to some online support groups in search of a better solution. “A few led me to the Hanes Get Cozy bra, which sells for a fraction of the price of my most expensive cancer bra (which was $54) and comes in sizes up to 3XL. Many a support-group member promised that it combines all the best parts of ‘regular’ and ‘radiation time’ bras, describing how its more traditional cut, gentle V-neck, and bit of cinching in the center make the Hanes bra feel less clinical to wear. Because it’s a seamless, wireless pull-on bra, you can also peel it off gently during treatment, they added.” So Hilbrenner bought one — and then quickly scooped up three more. “On top of matching the support-group members’ descriptions, the bra is the softest one I’ve ever owned,” she promises, “which was especially important during my last days of radiation, when the zaps can scorch your skin like a sunburn from hell and you do not want anything itchy, stiff, or irritating near your flesh.”
The only knitting needles you need (according to a 25-year knitter)
Contributor Alanna Okun, the author of two books on knitting, told us that one hurdle presented by the hobby “is that you really do need many types and sizes of needles in order to make much of anything. This can all be wickedly overwhelming for beginners (or even seasoned crafters): Do you like the feeling of warm wood or sleek metal? Are you looking for versatility or a tool that does one thing really well? Would it be preferable to have a zip-able binder full of all the components you would need to make virtually any project?” Okun says she’s “that last type of person, and that’s why I would trade all of the needles currently scattered around my home for a single set of ChiaoGoo Twist Tip interchangeable needles.” She admits that the kit is “definitely an investment, but you get a range of needle tips you can simply swap in and out depending on whatever you’re working on,” adding that “the cloth binder does an excellent job of nestling all the little bits and bobs so you have them when you need them.” Perhaps most importantly, she is not alone in her praise for it. “Many knitters I know swear by this set,” Okun promises.
Cosplay shoes that could pass for old Celine
“A portmanteau of ‘costume’ and ‘play,’ cosplay by definition is the act of dressing up as a fictional character, with many of the costumes you find inspired by video games, film, or TV,” writes contributor Stephanie LaCava. “I’ve never received more DMs about something I wore than I did about my Halloween costume last year: a shiny black bodysuit for cosplay; while definitely a look, that bodysuit is one of a handful of cosplay costumes or clothes I’ve found that can be worn in everyday life.” Another: these flats “apparently worn by the anime character Natsu Dragneel from the manga series Fairy Tail,” which LaCava says “are basically old Celine, like a hybrid of some of Phoebe Philo’s best shoes from the 2010s.”
And the phone stand that helped one writer master his floor workouts
“It was three months into the pandemic that I hired a virtual personal trainer,” says our writer Louis Cheslaw, who adds that his instructor gave him a regimen of cardio, circuit workouts with weights, and floor workouts, such as yoga and ab work. “The floor workouts were the most challenging from the get-go, because when your phone is on the floor, you’re always craning your neck to see if you’re positioned correctly.” Keeping eyes on his phone grew to be so cumbersome that Cheslaw started to give up on the workouts — that is until he spotted this stand next to a yoga mat at his family friend’s home. “Looking at it, I could not possibly see why anyone would pay as much as she did. She must have sensed my skepticism because she then launched into why it’s worth every penny. She told me that not only is the stand’s main pole adjustable (it can rise to between 11 and 18 inches), but so is the grippy part where you put your phone — it can expand to grasp an iPad Pro or similarly sized tablet and contract to snugly embrace any mobile phone larger than an iPhone 4. She stressed that it also has tilt capabilities, explaining that she can simply re-angle the stand as she rises from a floor to a standing pose while doing yoga. Its weighted base, she added, means it doesn’t budge even when she does more vigorous movements like jumping jacks and mountain climbers.” Convinced, Cheslaw bought one, and “after using it three times a week since early August, I can say it is everything my family friend promised it to be. And just as your phone can be used for more than working out, so too can the stand — I’ve found it to be a great tool for longer video calls with family and faraway friends, whom I can now position in a way that’s more like they’re actually sitting across from me as we eat or drink or watch sports together.”
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.