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 Hasan Minhaj’s favorite hair pomade, a fuzzy fleece weighted blanket, and a cheese board for dramatic displays.
Sculpting hair clay
Hasan Minhaj can’t live without this Baxter’s clay pomade, which he uses to help style his “thick, straight black hair.” He likes it because the formula’s “not super-shiny or greasy; it has a pretty clean finish. And I don’t have to put a lot in my hair because a little bit really does do the job.” He was first introduced to the product by the makeup team for The Daily Show, and admits he’s “notoriously the guy who steals products from them.”
A multifunctional bento box
Strategist contributor John Jodzio initially bought this bento box as inspiration to start meal-prepping. Alas, his resolve did not last, but in a stroke of serendipity, he discovered another (even better) utility for the box: weed storage. “This off-label use of my bento box has worked incredibly well. It is wonderful for storing and organizing everything I need to get high,” Jodzio writes. “It has multiple compartments that are great for separating my flower from my edibles and my shatter from my dab.” It’s also airtight to prevent odors from leaking, and it’s spacious enough to “hold a couple months’ worth of supply for future lockdowns or other random apocalyptic events.”
If you’re looking for some easy, last-minute Halloween decorations before the trick-or-treaters come knocking, these black gauze cloths come recommended by Leonard Pickel, a seasoned haunted-house architect. They’re made of loosely woven, cheeseclothlike material that you can easily drape over lamps, doorways, and furniture, perfect for creating an instant Edward Gorey vibe.
A weighted blanket for getting warm …
There’s no better feeling than snuggling under a big blanket — and this weighted blanket is crafted from a soft sherpa fleece material for extra coziness. “This is the BEST blanket I have ever bought,” one insomniac Amazon reviewer writes. “I have used this blanket for a week and slept 8–9 hours a night, falling asleep faster, tossing and turning less, and feeling better in the morning.” And another 77-year-old reviewer got into bed with this blanket and immediately “curled up and slept like a baby without any chemical help. First time in years I slept 7 hours straight.”
… and thermal underwear for staying warm
Strategist writer Erin Schwartz runs perpetually cold in the wintertime, so they couldn’t believe it when this set of children’s thermals “trapped heat well enough to stave off that bone-deep winter chill.” They write that these Only Boys thermals are “comfortable enough to wear around the apartment, and they don’t trap so much heat that it feels like peeling off a Dune-style moisture-retention suit at the end of the day.” They’ve bought four sets so far and keep them “on constant rotation in the colder months.”
The best display for your cheese spread
In our guide to the best gifts for cheese enthusiasts, multiple cheesemakers gushed over this rustic cheese board from Brooklyn Slate. Crafted from stone sourced from a third-generation family quarry in Vermont, the dark color provides “a sharp visual contrast with cheese, and these boards come with chalk that makes it easy to label the cheese,” says Mateo Kehler, co-owner of cheesemaker Jasper Hill Farm. Jessica Little, co-owner of Georgia-based cheesemaker Sweet Grass Dairy, is also a fan of the striking display: “I love presenting cheeses on a darker background for a more dramatic look,” she says.
An easy wardrobe staple
We polled some cool folks about their favorite black blazers, and this oversize one from ASOS was mentioned the most, due to it being both wardrobe- and wallet-friendly. Fashion influencer Itzy Canales says “it truly feels like your dad or your boyfriend’s oversize suit jacket.” She adds that this classic, versatile blazer works with anything from sweatpants to dresses, “mak[ing] it look pretty edgy or a bit more sophisticated.”
A very fall lip balm
Glossier just launched its latest Balm Dotcom flavor: cookie butter. It features a slightly warm tint and a mouth-watering scent of speculoos cookies and melted caramel — and for every order of $50 or more, you’ll receive a free Glossier G-shaped cookie cutter, perfect for some autumnal baking. If you want to add this limited-edition fall flavor to your Balm Dotcom collection, we suggest you don’t dillydally.
Gains-inducing protein powder
Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw spoke to a panel of fitness experts about the best protein powders, and all agreed that a whey-based one was the easiest to digest and the fastest in terms of muscle growth. This unflavored Now Sports powder is a favorite of personal trainer Kern Alexander because it “isn’t loaded with artificial sweeteners.” That means he can add “berries and a banana and just taste those.”
Ban.do’s fall flash sale is full of deals on stationery, T-shirts, and home décor, but we’re especially fond of these Bala Bangles. They strap to your wrists or ankles for a comfortable one-pound resistance, adding a little extra oomph to your workout — and with the code FALLSAVINGS, you can get 25 percent off, bringing them from $49 to $37.
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.