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 an easy-to-use (and budget-friendly) streaming device, mineral sunscreen for mature skin, and the park cart that’s fit for a party.
A one-size-fits-all streaming device
As more streaming services are launched, it’s become increasingly difficult to choose the right streaming device for you. Last week, Strategist contributor Angela Lashbrook talked to nine entertainment journalists, streaming professionals, and movie directors about their favorite streaming devices — and three out of those nine recommend the Roku Ultra. “The Roku Ultra provides the best bang for your buck. At less than half the cost of the Apple TV, it offers most of the same functionality and supports mirroring technology for both PCs and Apple devices,” writes Lashbrook. According to Mark Feinberg, founder and CEO of Home Theater Advisors, the Ultra “is the most stable and reliable, requiring the fewest reboots, in our experience.” It also integrates the best with multiple remotes and stays connected to Wi-Fi better than other models.
A climbing-ropes-inspired camping chair
REI and West Elm, two of our favorite retailers for sturdy outdoor gear and stylish home décor, have teamed up for an outdoor-furniture collection designed to withstand the elements. “Offerings include an outdoor stool, a dining table, a ground cloth, a shelter, and this foldable, climbing-ropes-inspired chair,” we write on our latest Don’t Dillydally. “It’s light and easy to tote around, making it an ideal accessory for park hangs and beach days alike.” (And, might we add, highly likely to sell out.)
Semi-matte lipstick formulated for women of color
In 2007, Tonya Lewis Lee became the national spokesperson for “A Healthy Baby Begins With You,” a campaign initiated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health to raise awareness about infant mortality in the Black community. Through her work, she’s spoken with “thousands of women across the country and become a women’s-health advocate — especially for Black women, who are left out of wellness conversations despite carrying so much burden in our country,” Lee writes. This week, she told us the Black-owned wellness products she’s been using to prioritize her own health and well-being, like this semi-matte lipstick from Mented. “I was introduced to founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson through their Mented line, which is specifically designed for women of color,” Lee writes. “The nude lipsticks are great natural shades — they add a little color to my look, which helps me feel great while attending virtual meetings from home.”
A gift for Dad (that gives back)
If you’d rather give Dad a little something that has the added benefit of being charitable this Father’s Day, Strategist writer Liza Corsillo searched high and low for gifts that substantially give back to any number of causes. For the dad who’s a regular at his local spots, Merch 4 Relief offers well-designed merch for a handful of restaurants in cities like L.A., Chicago, Boston, and New York, including this graphic T-shirt for Brooklyn’s own Win Son. “Ninety-five percent of profits will go straight to the restaurant,” writes Corsillo, and “5 percent will benefit a restaurant-worker relief fund.”
The park cart that’s fit for a party
With most children not yet old enough to be vaccinated, outdoor parties are still the safest option this summer, and running around outside is a welcome contrast to a school year that’s been dominated by screen time. To help you figure out what you need for an outdoor birthday party for kids under 12, Corsillo talked to five parents and educators with lots of party-throwing experience. Several led her to Mac Sports carts, which are “foldable, heavy-duty wagons” that have earned half of the spots on our list of the best beach carts and took the top two spots in a similar article. “They’re also the cart you’ll see most often while strolling through Prospect Park on a sunny weekend day,” says Corsillo. “Strategist writer and mom Lauren Ro has one and loves that it folds up easily, packs a ton, isn’t hard to wheel, and has a tray for drinks.”
A buildable, blendable blush (that’s also on sale)
Glossier sales are few and far between, which is why we’re pleased to report that now through Monday, the brand is offering 20 percent off everything on its site as part of its Friends of Glossier sale. You can browse all the Glossier products that we’ve written about before here, but we recommend starting with the brand’s Cloud Paint blush — a favorite of our own beauty columnist, Rio Viera-Newton. It’s one of those multitasking beauty products that works for just about everyone, because there are very few ways to mess it up. “It has a near-endless amount of placement options (cheeks! eyes! lips!), and best of all, can be easily applied with your fingers,” we write. “The gel-cream consistency makes it easy to achieve a soft, diffused wash of color, and unlike lots of other cream formulas, it actually stays on.” The blush comes in eight sunset-inspired shades, which range from peachy pink to bright raspberry.
A cooler for the dad who could always go for a cold one
“As is also true of moms, there is not just one type of dad. There are golf dads and tech dads and dads who drink beer,” we wrote in our updated guide to the best gifts for every type of dad last week. With 86 different gifts to choose from, there really is something for every type of dad — including the dad who likes to crack open a cold one from time to time. “This would be the ultimate accessory for a dad whose ideal day consists of nothing more than tossing back a few beers in the sun,” we write. “Even if he’s just doing that in his own backyard, the cooler means fewer trips to the fridge (and it will last long enough that he can take it further afield when the time comes).”
Mineral sunscreen for mature skin
According to the experts Strategist senior editor Crystal Martin and writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell spoke to last week, your 40s are a facial-aging tipping point. “Aging seems to appear rather dramatically and suddenly in your 40s due to the onset of the hormonal changes,” said Dr. Zenovia Gabriel, a Newport Beach–based dermatologist who specializes in hormonal skin aging. Estrogen production declines slowly during perimenopause, which typically starts in the mid- to late-40s, then drops precipitously as menopause begins. Plus, much of the aging we experience — fine lines, dark spots, texture changes — is due to sun damage. “Though we start to see those effects in our 40s, we can’t give up on preventing future damage. Most of the experts we spoke to recommend a mineral-based sunscreen to avoid the potential irritation that can come with chemical-based sunscreens,” write Martin and Milliner-Waddell. Dr. Michelle Henry, the founder of Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan, likes this one from SkinMedica because it combats blue light and contains antioxidants. She echoes what we’ve heard time and time again: Wear a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
The best cooling linen sheets on Amazon (according to hyperenthusaistic reviewers)
According to thousands of satisfied customers (and linen-sheet aficionados), these linen sheets from Bedsure are one of the best sets on Amazon. “I have multiple linen sheet sets, as well as a ton of linen clothing (lived in Phoenix for five years, linen was a necessity in that heat),” writes one reviewer. “This is a softer version of linen on a par with much of my linen clothing. It appears to be comparatively sturdy, well-made, and OEKO-TEX Standard certified.” Another, who runs hot during the night, reports back that these “regulate my temperature so much it made a difference in my sleeping experience.” They refer to the lightweight set as “the nicest sheets I’ve ever owned.”
Flaky sea salt for a seaside road trip
In a new series called Steal My Vacation, we apply our signature obsessive approach to service journalism to the tangled world of trip planning. We invited food stylist, recipe developer, and author of A Simple Feast Diana Yen to tell us about her trip to (and packing list for) Sea Ranch, a ten-mile stretch of private homes along Sonoma County’s coast. She’s particular about cooking in rentals, she told us, which is why she always packs her own chef’s knife and other pantry staples — like a box of this flaky sea salt. “Salt is really crucial for cooking and finishing your meals. If you’re really not sure what kind of salt there might be when traveling, it’s best to bring your own,” writes Yen. “I always pack a box of flaky Maldon salt and use this both for cooking and finishing my dishes.”
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.