sunday circular

10 Products That Delighted Us Last Week: From Skin Peels to Trompe L’Oeil Kale

Photo: Retailer

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 peels SuChin Pak uses for Korean-spa scrubs at home, a “slightly gaudy” Smeg toaster, and the Hadestown creator’s favorite grocery-store bag.

The peels SuChin Pak uses for Korean-spa scrubs at home

Journalist SuChin Pak, the co-host of the Add to Cart podcast, told us that “between being cooped up at home and having recently moved somewhere that lacks any semblance of a Koreatown, I’ve been missing Korean spas a lot.” She says that “being scrubbed and hosed down at one of these spas” is nothing less than a “life-altering experience.” The next best thing, she adds, are these peels. “You spray the delicious-smelling, naturally derived product on the skin, let it soak for a few seconds, then lightly push the product around with your fingers and watch as a layer of dead skin rolls off of your body. Fewer things gives me as much satisfaction.”

A chef’s favorite candle for meditating …

When we asked chef Kwame Onwuachi about the stuff he can’t live without, he told us he begins every day by lighting this inexpensive candle. “This one is the signature scent of my home; I light it when I meditate each morning.” He describes the scent as “kind of masculine and a little musky” and adds that, in addition to being affordable, you can find it pretty much anywhere. “I originally found it at CB2, but I see the brand everywhere: vintage shops, candle shops, all over.”

… And a “meditative” kit for repairing broken ceramics

In case you missed it, we covered everything from ecofriendly kitchen supplies to natural deodorants to sustainable plus-size fashion during our recent Green Week. As part of the five-day exploration of how to live more sustainably, Strategist writer Liza Corsillo wrote about how Japanese kintsugi repair kits can “transform broken tea cups and bowls you might otherwise throw away into something beautiful and useful again.” Japanese kintsugi artist Nao Shaneyfelt explains the centuries-old practice as “repairing ceramics with urushi lacquer (made from the sap of a tree) and gold powder,” and Corsillo says the resulting “spiderweb of gold lines” makes anything you might repair during the “slow and meditative” process even “more of a keepsake than it was before.” While kits can run the gamut in price, she notes this one, from Marie Kondo’s store, is good for beginners because it “comes with two small bowls you get to break and repair so that you can practice your skill on things that don’t mean anything to you before moving on to the ones that do.”

Chewable (but inedible) kale for babies

In our latest installment of “Now That I Know Better” (our series in which parents share the baby items they wished they’d registered for), food writer Hannah Howard told us about this toy for young ones, like her daughter, who “put anything and everything in their mouth.” She explains the trompe l’oeil piece of kale is actually “made from 100 percent natural rubber from Malaysian Hevea trees and hand-painted with natural food-grade dyes.” So while it’s not necessarily nutritious, it’s totally safe to nibble on. Howard adds that her daughter “enjoys chewing on it as much as anything” and that “it also works as a bath toy.”

An (on-sale) speaker to take on picnics, hikes, and bike rides

Perhaps the only thing more convenient than a portable Bluetooth speaker is a portable bluetooth speaker that can clip on to a bag or bike frame for hands-free listening. In poking around the internet’s sales bins, we found this kicky option on sale for just $30 at Nordstrom, noting the “delightfully neon portable speaker is the perfect accessory to bring on hikes, bike rides, and picnics this spring.”

A high-neck tank to wear as temperatures get higher

Speaking of spring, as temperatures warm, you may be looking for new basics that are more breathable. In the latest installment of Don’t Dillydally, we noted that Everlane just released “this ’90s-looking tank top with high, racerback-style neck” (perhaps to pair with its Strategist-approved ’90s Cheeky Straight Jeans). “Made from organic cotton,” we write that it “would look nice tucked into jeans or underneath a light jacket.”

A “slightly gaudy” Smeg toaster

From $200

In putting together their wedding registry, Blk Mkt Vintage’s owner-curators Kiyanna Stewart and Jannah Handy told us they asked themselves, “What interests us? What are the things we can enjoy together? What are things that are going to complement our home?” These questions, they say, resulted in a registry that mixed mid-century and modern items with pieces by Black artisans and artists. Among the things that made their list is this Smeg toaster: “It’s slightly gaudy, but I love the aesthetic,” Stewart says.

The Hadestown creator’s favorite grocery-shopping bag …

For Green Week, former Strategist writer Kayla Levy asked members of the Park Slope Food Co-op which reusable bags they carry themselves. Co-op member and Hadestown creator Anaïs Mitchell told Levy about this “squarish grocery backpack” she uses to tote heavy groceries for long distances. It’s plenty practical: The bag has “a fortified plastic bottom, a top flap, and adjustable shoulder straps,” according to Mitchell, who adds it “folds flat for storage and then opens wide” for loading in bigger groceries. Though it’s sold as a tote, it can easily (and inexpensively) be turned into a backpack or pannier with straps or bike attachments that are sold separately.

… And classic tote bag for our biggest fans

As vaccinations continue apace, you might be looking to pick up a few things to show off as you start leaving the house more and more. While it can’t fit as much as the bag above, our friends at New York Magazine just released this classic canvas number featuring a logo created by New York co-founder Milton Glaser, which you can get for free by signing up for a new annual print and digital subscription. Glaser’s yellow bubble-letter logo has appeared on hats, hoodies, and mugs before — but never a tote, making this one a lot less ubiquitous than other totes from publications named for our great city (ahem, The New Yorker). Should you want to show it off when it arrives, we noted you can “take a picture and send it to for a chance to be featured on New York’s social accounts.”

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.

10 Products That Delighted Us Last Week: From Totes to Tanks