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 the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including Jenny Han’s secret seasoning for at-home movie-theater popcorn, a Goldilocksian notebook for every type of journaler, and 11 items to support organizations supporting the AAPI community.
An affordable space heater for an at-home hot-yoga studio …
Though there’s lots of different ways to work out at home, “if you’re a hot-yoga devotee, you’ve probably found it a bit more difficult to duplicate the feel of your sweltering studio,” writes Karen Iorio Adelson. And though there have been accounts of yogis taking extreme measures to achieve the studio heat, Karen spoke to four experts for “more affordable (and sustainable) ways to sweat it out at home,” like space heaters, humidifiers, and yoga towels. Bethany Lyons, founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, recommended this budget-friendly, highly effective Vornado space heater that’s “longer-lasting, quieter, and even more aesthetically pleasing” than other ones she’s tried. And instead of having to use several small heaters at once, “this one is powerful enough to heat up your whole room.”
… and Jenny Han’s secret seasoning for at-home movie-theater popcorn
The pre-pandemic pleasure that Jenny Han, author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and executive producer of its Netflix adaptations, misses the most is going to the movies — and eating movie-theater popcorn. “I was on a hunt to replicate that movie-theater taste,” she told us, until she discovered Flavacol popcorn seasoning, which has since become one of the things she can’t live without. “If you use a three-quarter teaspoon of this, you’ll swear that you’re at the movies.”
A sturdy — and stylish — OtterBox
After investing a good amount of money on the iPhone 12 Mini, writer Louis Cheslaw was ready to sacrifice aesthetics for the safety of his new phone. He started his search for a phone case at OtterBox, makers of some of the most protective cases on the market, but, as Louis writes, “I’m also very familiar with its biggest flaw: Nobody, not even people who recommend them, thinks its cases are particularly nice-looking.” After much trial and error, he discovered the Aneu, which is slimmer than other protective models but slightly more stylish, available “in a handful of simple, solid colors, and some styles have a bit more visual interest in the form of different colored sides and side buttons.” Best of all, “it still functions like an OtterBox where it counts: I’ve dropped my phone a few times since getting the Aneu case, and there’s not a scratch — on it or the phone — to be found.”
The sewing machine that Jessie Randall keeps at her dining table
If anyone knows a good sewing machine, it’s Jessie Randall, co-founder of Loeffler Randall. And though it’s “neither the quietest nor the fanciest,” this Singer is so beloved that it “sits right at my dining table, like a sixth member of my family.” Randall has made everything from “a quilt from all the old bathing suits my sons grew out of” to “the prototypes of some Loeffler Randall slippers that sold out right away after we released them mid-pandemic.” And as of late, she’s used it to sew reusable face masks — “some 1,200, at last count.”
The soothing salad bowl on Harling Ross’s wedding registry
Though she had to delay her wedding because of the pandemic, writer-slash-creative consultant Harling Ross took the opportunity to revisit her registry, which she says was “an unexpected outcome from having to postpone — but ultimately kind of helpful.” After nearly a year in self-isolation, she now knows all of the gadgets she needs as well as the home décor she really wants — things that “not only seem useful and have longevity but also feel unique and personal,” like this salad bowl from Dinosaur Designs that reminds Ross of “a frothy ocean.” And she’s already excited to use it: “I imagine using it as a fruit bowl from day to day and then, when we can have dinner parties again, serving big salads in it.”
… and truly soothing CBD gummies
If any mention of edibles “conjures images of pot brownies gone horribly wrong, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear how the people we talked with describe them,” writes Dominique Pariso of the new guard of CBD gummies. Cannabis retailer Miss Grass told her that gummies are actually the “most mellow and predictable effect of all” CBD products, making them a “great starting point for beginner users,” so Dominique talked with thirteen regular users about their favorites for those looking for an entry point. With just 20 milligrams of CBD each, Lord Jones’s old-fashioned gumdrops are popular and not too potent. In fact, Boronia Fallshaw, who founded her own brand of CBD products, says her “only wish is that they sold more in one pack, as I eat them way too quickly.”
A Goldilocksian notebook for every type of journaler
By her rough count, writer Lauren Ro was juggling four different notebooks and a planner, to keep track of “everything from tasks, to movies I watch, to family meal-planning.” She tried bullet journaling as a way to simplify, but she found it daunting, and she realized what she really wanted was something that “would allow me to keep separate notebooks, but package them together — ideally, between the same two covers.” The answer was at Traveler’s Company, which uses inserts in a leather cover to do just that. Lauren describes it as having “a genuine Goldilocksian appeal because you can really use them to create a single product that serves the many — and exact — functions you want it to.”
Limited-edition “traditionware” from Our Place
Our Place has launched a couple different types of “traditionware,” pegged to specific holidays, like the red pan for Lunar New Year, and now they’re tackling Nowruz, or Persian New Year. It helps you make tahdig, the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot that’s the heart of Iranian cuisine (though you already need an Always Pan for full effect). And if you order now, it should arrive by Nowruz on March 21. But as we said in our column, don’t dillydally because traditionware collabs don’t last forever.
The terry romper given to one mom at the American Hospital of Paris
Strategist contributor Chantel Tattoli has acquired an arsenal of new products and tips as a first-time mother living in Paris. After thirteen months, she realizes that “some of the hardest-working baby items were not things I even knew to ask for until we were at that stage, in that moment.” One useful find: Terrycloth onesies, which were recommended to Tattoli by a former boss who was given one in the maternity unit at the American Hospital of Paris. “She was right,” Tattoli writes, and that’s because the terry is “super absorbent” for the constant baby spit up and “the looped cotton is so soft and thick and warm.” She recalls that her baby “spent much of her first three months snapped into jumpsuits fashioned out of beach-towel material, especially at night.”
Non-fussy niacinamide (that’s now on-sale)
Dermastore is having a very good sale right now, with 20 percent off on a lot of things we’ve written about before, so our resident beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton pulled together a selection of her favorites, including this Paula’s Choice Niacinamide booster, which can be mixed right into moisturizers. That means, “no need to layer a ton of serums or essences, just mix a few drops of this into your night cream and voilà, skin care done,” Rio writes. Its star ingredient niacinamide has healing and barrier protecting capabilities which “help fade away hyperpigmentation, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, hydrate the skin, reduce redness and blotchiness, and even help control oil production.”
11 items giving proceeds to organizations supporting the AAPI community
To show support for Asian communities around the country who’ve been affected by racist and violent attacks as of late, we rounded up a list of organizations you can donate directly to here — and though direct donations are one of the best ways to immediately help Asian communities, if you’re looking to give more, we also put together a list of brands donating most of (if not all) their proceeds from specific products to AAPI organizations. This list includes everything from face masks to this t-shirt from Asian American Girl Club, which is giving 100 percent of the net proceeds to Apex for Youth.
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.