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 microneedle pimple patches, cult-y toddler shoes, and a stylish standing desk made in Finland.
Some bobby pins that actually do their job
Have you ever wondered why bobby pins weren’t … better? Strategist writer Lauren Ro, who relies on them to keep her bangs out of her face, grew frustrated that they “just didn’t do the job they were supposed to,” and did a quick search online to find a better option. Though “it felt a little silly to pay $14 for a pack of 300,” Ro splurged on these MetaGrip pins, deemed the best bobby pin by much of the internet. “I have no regrets,” she writes. “They’re just superior to every bobby pin I’ve ever tried. They’re your standard size and shape, but the metal feels really substantial and the grip is supertight. They don’t ever have to be adjusted once they’re in my hair. I love them so much that I keep track of every single one, though I don’t really need to since there are literally hundreds of them at my disposal.”
A do-it-all hand truck that just might replace professional movers
Strategist writer Kayla Levy recently moved into a new apartment and furnished the whole thing without the help of a professional — unless you count her trusty Magna Cart Personal Hand Truck. “At first glance, the collapsible hand truck didn’t seem sufficient for transporting a clunky-looking sleeper sofa even for a couple of blocks; the hand truck folds up to about the size of a backpack and only weighs seven pounds,” she writes. “But the Magna Cart is a sleeper (pun intended).” With the help of some bungee cords (and her partner who helped push), she was able to move the sofa three whole avenues.
A boot fit for an “attitude day”
Considering many of us are still working from home — and doing everything else at home, too — thigh-length, high-heel boots likely aren’t topping your shopping list at the moment. But leave it to Erin Brockovich to make a convincing case for these Stuart Weitzmans, nonetheless. She told us, “My love affair with these boots began in New York City. When I’m in New York for work, at some point I’ll ditch everyone and go shopping. I love window-shopping, I don’t have to talk on the phone and I don’t have to think about anything. When I saw them I thought, Those are sexy boots. I didn’t want to try them on, but I did, and I just felt like they said something, like, Don’t mess with me. You get that feeling from them.” Brockovich says they’re sleek, and because the heel’s a little chunky, they’re also stable and comfortable. “I can dress them up or down for lectures, events, dinners, or nighttime,” she adds. “If I’m wearing them, it’s usually an attitude day.”
A boot fit for, well, any day
And as for men’s boots, we were particularly taken with this pair of Danner’s, as highlighted in our investigation of the best work boots according to cool craftsmen. Strategist contributor and outdoorsman James Lynch likes that these function as both a dress boot and a work boot. He raved about the comfortable OrthoLite footbed to reporter Louis Cheslaw, and noted that the “brass eyelets have an awesome baby-blue patina that contrasts beautifully with the trademark red Danner laces. The nubuck leather is soft, comfortable, and gorgeous, and the little American flag stitched into the side lets you know they’re made in America.”
A standing desk that’s both handy and handsome
In her sweep of the best standing desks that you can order online, Strategist writer Liza Corsillo managed to locate the impossible: an actually attractive standing desk. Corsillo first spotted the aesthetically pleasing find, made by Finnish design house Made by Choice, on small-space expert (and Strategist contributor) Laura Fenton’s Instagram Stories. And Fenton, coincidentally, first spotted it in writer (and fellow Strategist contributor) Claire Mazur’s newsletter A Thing or Two. Corsillo points out that the unfinished wood desk can be used both sitting or standing and even works as a practical sideboard or entranceway console. (If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative, Corillo also included a very handsome Ikea option.)
A hand-painted pair of jeans that’s long on style and length
What are the best jeans for tall women? Strategist writer Chloe Anello — who is five-foot-nine — asked 13 tall women (“between the heights of five-foot-eight and six-foot-six”) to find the answer. Anello unearthed 26 pairs of worthy denim, but Still Here’s hand-painted jeans are especially special. They came recommended by influencer Lucy Litman, who said she’s “a fan of really anything from Still Here.” Anello says this small, L.A.-based company is turning out unique creations like these, which “have a 30-inch inseam with a loose, vintage-style fit and high-rise cut.” And if you prefer your denim unadorned, you can find non-painted options, too.
A pimple patch with teeny-tiny zit-zapping microneedles
These are no ordinary zit stickers. As our resident beauty expert Rio explains, “These advanced pimple patches from Acropass involve two steps. First, you wipe down the zit with the sanitizer wipe soaked in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid and tea tree oil. Then you apply the patch, which has teeny-tiny microneedles infused with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that deeply hydrates the skin, and niacinamide, which has brightening and soothing effects.” But if the thought of microneedles sounds scary, Rio promises the patches “are so thin you can barely feel them, and they puncture the zit to attack it from the inside out.”
An extra-cozy love seat for the winter ahead
This couch — called the Gwyneth Love Seat — is a collaboration between Goop and CB2, and comes recommended to us by Heather Goerzen, who works in creative and design at Havenly. “It feels simultaneously vintage and timeless,” she says. “The ivory hue makes it an easy complement to any palette, while the bouclé-like fabric adds texture and dimension.” And while we agree that it would be a very stylish addition to any small space, we also think it looks reminiscent of a fuzzy white teddy bear — and what’s cozier than that?
A status toddler shoe with a 10,000-strong fan base
For our latest Ask the Strategist column, a reader inquired about shoes that would actually stay on a squirmy 1-year-old’s feet. Strategist writer (and toddler mom) Lauren Ro found several worthy recommendations, including kids’-shoe brand Plae, which was mentioned by three separate parents Ro spoke to. One of those parents, Vox.com editor Jen Trolio, says, “They seem really, really well made” and are even a little bit “cult-y.” In fact, a Facebook group for buying, selling, and trading Plae shoes has over 10,000 members. And it’s easy to see why. Although they’re a little pricey for kids shoes, they’re extremely functional — and also just really fun.
A set of wearable weights to match your stylish athleisure
Due to the pandemic (and closed gyms), there’s been a run on exercise equipment from kettlebells to Pelotons to, perhaps most surprising, wrist and ankle weights. In Strategist writer (and resident fitness expert) Karen Iorio Adelson’s investigation into the trend, she notes that Bala bangles are “the soft-hued, bracelet-esque weights at the center of the phenomenon.” Bala has caught up with the huge demand following its Shark Tank appearance, Adelson says, but “you’ll want to act fast if you want a specific color like these ‘banana’ yellow ones.”
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.