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 “portable blanket” (that’s actually a faux fur), friendship-bracelet floss for adults, and the black face mask all the cool people wear.
The black face mask all the cool people are wearing
“Over the summer, protective masks–as-fashion reached something of a fever pitch: patterned, fringed, lace-adorned, and silken masks proliferated. But for a certain set, the most appealing mask wasn’t embellished at all — it was simple and pretty cheap: a black surgical mask,” Strategist writer HIlary Reid wrote. She investigated the trend and found many devotees of the “insouciant” and “health goth” style. “It’s simple, safe, and self-explanatory,” said Laura Naparstek, a product marketing manager at Braze who wears the black mask daily. “Wearing it is as if you’re saying, ‘Yes, I’m wearing a mask, it looks chic as hell, now let’s move on.’”
A safer way to savor food from a New York City institution
Every year around this time, we reach out to foodies to tell us about the best new cookbooks to gift. Of the many worthy options in this year’s crop, this cookbook, featuring recipes from New York City’s Xi’an Famous Foods, feels particularly of the moment considering many of its fans probably can’t make it there to eat in person. It comes recommended by Yossy Arefi, the author of Snacking Cakes, who told our writer Nikita Richardson “I have stopped into one of Jason Wang’s family’s restaurants on many, many occasions for a steamy bowl of spicy and sour dumplings in soup or spicy cumin lamb noodles. Their book not only has recipes for XFF’s signature spicy, hot, and sour dishes and lots of other regional recipes from Xi’an, but the storytelling is top-notch too.”
A ‘portable blanket’ (that’s actually a faux fur)
Writer Cat Marnell, a self-proclaimed faux-fur obsessive, told us that a poncho from Donna Salyers Fabulous Furs is the best thing she bought this year and would make for a great gift to anyone looking to bundle up this season. “Fake is better in every way: the price, the colors, the durability,” she promises. “This poncho from Donna Salyers Fabulous Furs is like a portable blanket you can wear over jeans. You can wear it to bum a cigarette outside the new Delancey Street Popeyes or you can wear it to eat the chic caviar at my favorite restaurant, Le Crocodile. You know?
A six-pack of Sesame Street slipper-socks
As our senior editor Peter Martin pointed out in the latest edition of the Strategist haul, kids need house shoes, too — and that’s exactly why he bought this delightful set of socks with grippy bottoms for his daughter. “Now that our daughter is running around the house a lot more, she’s also slipping a lot more. We needed socks with grips on the bottom, and after struggling to find gender-neutral options, I eventually came across these, which she seems to love almost as much as her mom and I do.”
A handmade (in India) runner for your holiday table
Just because our holiday dinners may not be as populous as they were last year doesn’t mean we still can’t get appropriately festive with tablescape décor. While it’s not exactly seasonal, this runner from our latest edition of Don’t Dillydally has the sort of timeless look that makes it appropriate for year-round use, whether you’re buying it for yourself or as a gift for the consummate host or hostess in your life. The “intricately designed, 100-percent-cotton runner was handmade by artisans in Nagaland, India,” we wrote, noting it is part of a new collection of smaller homé decor accents from “Revival Rugs, which we called the Casper of vintage rugs back in 2018.”