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 trawling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week, including a cleanser for fighting maskne, a dainty pair of ceramic earrings, and a carrier that’s comfy enough for cats to nap in.
Kyle Kuzma’s chic decanter
When we asked Washington Wizards player Kyle Kuzma what he can’t live without, he described his habit of drinking wine “maybe every two days off-season” and stressed the importance of letting 20 or 30 year old wines “breathe after being in the bottle for that long.” He’s a fan of this artistic-looking black Tom Dixon decanter, calling it “sleek and sexy — it looks beautiful just sitting out on my table” and reports that he gets “a lot of compliments… and it sparks conversation.”
An on-the-go vibrator
All six experts we spoke to about the best travel-friendly sex toys mentioned Crave’s Vesper bullet vibrator, which is so discreetly-designed it can be worn as a necklace. The toy combines form and function with an “easy to transport” design that also “packs a lot of punch.” Certified clinical sexologist Gigi Engle says that the vibrator “offers intense pinpoint clitoral stimulation” but she’s also managed to successfully wear it through airport security with no one the wiser.
Cleanser for zapping zits
When Strategist writer Chloe Anello found herself struggling with mask-induced acne, she decided to give this Peace Out Blemish Balm a try. She reports that the balm “felt gritty, but in a good, gets-deep-in-your-pores kind of way” and that after six days of continuous use, “there was no trace of my maskne.” She even got her boyfriend to try the cleanser, and even though he has sensitive, eczema-prone skin, the cleanser didn’t break him out and in fact gave him “a brighter complexion and cleared up a few zits he had around his T-zone.”
A standing desk converter for your Zoom meetings…
Chiropractors and other experts have told us that a mix of sitting and standing is ideal for most people who work at a desk. But if you don’t want to commit to a full-on standing desk for your at-home workstation, a cheaper standing-desk converter might be just what you’re looking for. This one from Flexispot is currently on sale for 41 percent off. It tops our list of the best standing-desk converters, with more than 7,500 happy shoppers reporting that it’s extremely easy to set up and that the multi-level design is capable of accommodating a monitor, laptop, keyboard, and mouse.
…and shorts to wear during your call
Sweat shorts sometimes make Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw feel “a little schlubby, like I’d chosen to take the day off,” but he says this Paper Project pair “feels a little more put together, like a deliberate fashion choice.” The shorts are crafted from a blend of cotton and Japanese paper yarn, which, according to Cheslaw, results in a “crisper, drier, and more breathable texture” than you get with full cotton or cotton-polyester fabrics.
A puzzle and pillow set
Grown-up puzzle-maker Ordinary Habit has teamed up with graphic designer and rug-tufter Alex Proba to release a throw pillow-and-puzzle bundle. The pillow’s fun, abstract pattern takes inspiration from the Quotidian puzzle (also designed by Proba.) This aesthetically pleasing set is sure to fly off the shelves, so if you want to show off this matching display in an Instagram post, don’t dillydally.
Sweet ceramic studs
In our roundup of the best ceramic pieces from Black-owned businesses, we were totally charmed by these “delicate and dreamy” earrings from Sio Ceramics. According to the brand, the earrings are handcrafted from white stoneware clay, then finished in glaze and 22k gold luster. If you’re looking for home decor, the brand also sells pins, small bowls, and incense burners.
The file backup gadget for ensuring peace of mind
A tumble over a loose curbstone and a cracked phone screen scared Strategist contributor Chris Schalkx enough that he decided to stop procrastinating on backing up all his photos. After researching a few options, he stumbled across the Qubii, a file-storage gadget “roughly the size of the adapter you plug in to a wall outlet to charge an iPhone.” It has a USB plug on one side and a USB socket on the other, as well as a slot for a MicroSD memory card, and all Schalkx has to do is “sandwich the Qubii between my iPhone’s wall-outlet adapter and power cord and plug it in to my phone.” Every time you charge your phone, your files are synced up, and you can even customize which folders to pull photos from and back up your iTunes library and contacts while you’re at it.
Sheet pans with style
Four baking experts fell in love with Great Jones’ Holy Sheet pan, in part due to its eye-catching cobalt color, but were pleasantly surprised by how well it held up. Erin Jeanne McDowell, recipe developer and author of The Fearless Baker, has used the sheet for a year and says the pan isn’t just style over substance. “I actually bake with it, not just use it for photographs. Its beautiful appearance hasn’t caused its capabilities to suffer in any way. It hasn’t warped, scratched, or chipped,” she says. Molly Yeh, cookbook author and host of Girl Meets Farm on the Food Network, also calls it “the prettiest pan” and uses it for roasting “specifically sturdy vegetables,” like potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots. It’s so strong and durable, she’s even used it as a pizza stone.
A convenient cat carrier
With over 18,000 five-star reviews, Amazon reviewers rate this soft-sided cat carrier the best on the market. The carrier’s various zippered openings are “great for nervous cats going to the vet because simple tasks (temperatures or vaccines) can be done without even having to take the cat out of the carrier,” according to one reviewer. Another liked that its zippered top opening allowed them to lower their injured cat down into the bag, even going so far as to call it a “God-send.” Plus, it’s so comfortable that multiple reviewers’ kitties decided to take a nap in it.
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.