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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in April

Photo-Illustration: retailers

If you follow our monthly feature “Your Shopping Cart,” you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying. Which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we all bought in April.

Maxine Builder, editor

This month, I learned that my wonderful, one-eyed dog, Harmony, can only open her jaw about a centimeter. (Our hunch is that it’s a complication from the emergency surgery they did to remove her eye.) Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to cause her any pain or slow her down much. Harmony eats full meals and takes treats out of our hands and runs around on the beach like a maniac. But it does explain why she has never liked chewing on bones or picking up toys or playing fetch. So in a final attempt to find something to keep her entertained, I bought a two-pack of lick mats, something I didn’t know existed until our junior writer Arielle told us about it — and like Maggie, Harmony loves it. It’s the first toy I’ve ever seen her “get.” I spread a couple tablespoons of peanut butter on it and put it down in front of her, and over 30 minutes later, Harmony will still be happily licking away, with no signs of slowing down.

Arielle Avila, junior writer

I’ve been testing a new mattress for our guide to mattresses that you can buy online, and after a few mornings waking up with a sore neck, I was about ready to give up. But after realizing that my pillows were extremely deflated, I figured they were more likely the culprit. Since these Beckham pillows are raved about by nearly all types of sleepers, a favorite among Strategist readers, and don’t cost a fortune, I gave them a chance. I have to say, they really do live up to all the hype, and I’ve been waking up more comfortable and refreshed as ever.

Photo: Courtesy of the Inkey List

Incorporating a retinol into my skin-care routine has been on my to-do list for a while, but I was finally convinced to take the plunge after seeing this Inkey List one in a roundup of effective serums under $20. As beauty writer Rio points out, it uses a slow-release retinol and squalene to help prevent any redness or flakiness, which was a major selling point for me (along with the super-low price). After using it every other night for the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed the texture of my skin is better, my maskne scars are lighter, and there are no signs of irritation.

Karen Iorio Adelson, senior writer

During the pandemic, my hair has grown from a pixie cut to solidly shoulder length. I thought I’d be eager to get it cut once I was fully vaccinated, but I’m starting to actually like having it a little longer. Since I’m not very skilled at styling my hair (especially since I’ve kept it short for about seven years), I was intrigued by this hair dryer–brush combo that stylists recommend for thick and coarse hair like mine. It’s pretty easy to use — even if you’re someone like me who really has no idea what they’re doing. After watching most of a YouTube tutorial, I was able to achieve a smooth, frizz-free style that almost looks like it could’ve been done by a pro. I’m looking forward to playing around with it some more and perfecting my technique.

Leah Muncy, junior writer

When I adopted my cat a couple of months ago, I went to PetSmart and just picked up whatever litter box it had in stock. It did its job, but it was absolutely massive, and the hood had these clips that never seemed to snap on correctly. When I saw this one on Amazon, I was like, Oh my God, this is the cutest litter box I’ve ever seen. It looks more like an igloo or cat hut rather than a litter box, and because it’s white, it blends in really well with my décor. It’s the perfect size for my small space, and my cat even seems to prefer it to her old one.