sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Play Tents to Pizza Bites

Photo-Illustration: retailers

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 retro tenth-anniversary gift, the “most elegant” hot sauce LeVar Burton has eaten, and sweatproof sunscreen for melanated skin. (And if you want even more Strategist stories sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter.)

Space-saving storage carts …

Photo: retailer

When writer Hannah Starke moved into her first solo apartment, a 22-square-foot kitchen was part of the deal. “This wouldn’t have given pre-pandemic Hannah, whose dinners primarily came from the frozen-foods section of Trader Joe’s, a moment’s pause,” she writes. “But after a year spent cooking the majority of my meals at home and actually enjoying it, I had no choice but to optimize every square inch of the kitchen.” Starke spent months acquiring not only things that would maximize her space but would “also last for years (if not decades) and look nice enough to distract visitors from the shock of how tiny the area is.” One such item, which is tucked “beneath the sliver of counter space between my oven and sink” is this three-tier rolling cart. “Using it to store pantry staples like spices, salts, and tinned goods helps free up the limited space in my cabinets,” she explains. “Plus, tucked next to the oven, it makes grabbing those items easier while I cook.”

… and spacious play tents

Space World Play Tent

Juggling both a toddler and a baby can be a daunting task. So writer Hannah Howard spoke to 11 discerning moms about the most helpful products and found that “the most impassioned recommendations tended to fall in the ‘transportation’ category.” Along with sit-and-stand strollers, wagons, and totes, this pop-up play tent was recommended. “If we set up a tent and stuff some blankets in there, they are happy,” Danielle Viscuso, a stay-at-home mom in New Jersey, says. “Suddenly, we’re camping, and it’s all good, whether they’re coloring or playing with blocks. It’s like a fort without the mess.” Plus, the tent is lightweight, quick to set up and take down, and spacious enough for her two children and a friend or two.

The “most elegant” hot sauce LeVar Burton has eaten

“I like my food spicy, as does Stephanie, my wife. This is the most elegant hot sauce I’ve ever eaten — it has truffles in it,” LeVar Burton told us when we asked him about the things he can’t live without. He notes that what also sets Truff’s apart is that “it’s also elegant because the flavor it delivers, in conjunction with the heat, has a great balance. Not every brand does that well.”

Sweatproof sunscreen for melanated skin

As we wrote about in our latest Don’t Dillydally, Naomi Osaka is the latest celebrity to launch a beauty brand. Her skin-care line, Kinlò, “focuses on the needs of melanated skin — from hyperpigmentation to avoiding a white cast,” we write. The Golden Rays Sunscreen, one of the four products currently available, is tinted, reef-safe, water-resistant, and sweatproof. The line also offers “a soothing face mist that contains aloe and witch hazel, a hydrating eye cream, and a lip balm.”

Tasty (and actually healthy) pizza bites

“I love pizza bites. They take one of my favorite things (bread) along with another favorite (cheese) and meld them into an easy-to-eat morsel,” writes Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst. The classic Totino’s were what she grew up with, but “as eating well became more important to me, processed snack foods became less appealing.” Luckily, a package of Snow Days pizza bites showed up on her doorstep, claiming to be both tasty and nutritious. Denton-Hurst explains that while the numbers don’t differ drastically from Totinos, “the big point of difference was how few ingredients Snow Days used and that said ingredients were both organic and gluten-free … I couldn’t pinpoint a single vegetable in Totino’s, and now I had seven populating my pizza bite.” And, to her surprise, the pizza bites are delicious, too. “They fit the bill as an easy-to-cook (actually, warm up), quick snack that tastes good and doesn’t make you feel like crap after,” she writes. “They’re perfect for eating while watching bad reality TV on the couch or scarfing down during the precious ten minutes between meetings.”