sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Bike Saddles to a Butt-Shaped Ficus

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked 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 butt-shaped ficus, an electric hot pot (soup base included), and Sarah Hyland’s favorite herbal yoga mat.

A ficus that never misses leg day

From $20

This week was Butt Week at the Strategist, and we leaned into derriere-themed everything. Our selection of the best butt-themed décor featured butt vases, butt wallpaper, and this butt-shaped ficus plant. Even though it’s called a “ficus ginseng,” the name is just a reference to the ginseng-shaped trunk (there’s nothing edible about this plant) that happens to resemble the lower half of a curvy body. You can order this voluptuous tree in a small or medium size and adorn your space with its subtly suggestive greenery.

Dry shampoo that actually feels clean …

Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton has been inducted into the cult of Living Proof’s dry shampoo. While she knew of it from an episode of Fat Macara, it wasn’t until she tried it herself that she fully understood what the hype was about. “I’m pleased to report that this is, without a doubt, the best dry shampoo I’ve ever used,” says Viera-Newton. The key difference between the Living Proof dry shampoo and others is that you can use it “multiple times a week without feeling like the product is collecting on your scalp.” This is thanks to a formula that actually removes oil from the hair, rather than just mattifying and concealing it. The product is especially great for bangs, making them go from “stringy and oily to clean and voluminous within just a few seconds.” Viera-Newton concludes, “I truly feel like this product has cut the time of my daily hair-care routine in half.”

…and vintage jeans to keep you looking fresh

Wrangler Cowboy Cut Slim-Fit Jeans
From $30
From $30

Buying vintage pants that fit your butt is no easy feat, but Strategist writer Erin Schwartz went in-depth in their research to pin down the elusive art of shopping for denim online. A tailor’s measuring tape is a necessary tool, but you must also master determining what constitutes a perfect fit for your body and reading size charts. These Wrangler jeans are a great way to ease into butt-first shopping, according to Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens, because of its 100 percent cotton construction, vintage fit, and all-important return policy.

A bike saddle that won’t chafe …

If you’re a would-be-cyclist who blames their lack of miles logged on an uncomfortable bike seat, you’ll be glad to see the expert-recommended saddles we rounded up. The list includes a 3-D-printed saddle, plus-size friendly options, and this comfortable “noseless” saddle, recommended by Jonathan Oliveras, an instructor at Harlem Cycle. He says this shape may “look funky” but “feels phenomenal” and “alleviates a lot of pressure points.” The lack of nose makes it a great choice if you experience more discomfort in the groin rather than in your butt, while the long-lasting foam cushioning stays soft even when you’re commuting daily.

… and a dog carrier that will meet the MTA’s standards

Strategist writer Arielle Avila moved to New York City and noticed that the adjustment was taking a toll on her dog, Maggie. She spoke to dog experts for their advice on the best techniques and products to help ease pups into city living. Their suggestions included a no-pull harness, a white-noise machine, and this K9 backpack (urban dog owners will be familiar with the struggle of adhering to the MTA rule that requires all dogs to be “bagged”). Annie Grossman, owner and co-founder of School for the Dogs, says this backpack is “very popular” with her clients because it comes in a wide variety of sizes, with the largest fitting a dog 26 to 29 inches long (from collar to tail). “It can take a little bit of training to get a dog used to being in a backpack,” says Grossman, “but it’s definitely worthwhile if you’re going to be riding the subway a lot.”

A hot pot set to spice things up at home

In this week’s Don’t Dillydally, we featured the Jeff Leatham x KKW Fragrance collaboration, Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Concealer, and this Hot Pot Starter Set from Fly by Jing. Fly by Jing is known for its frozen dumplings and delectable sauces, but this starter set is perfect if you’re looking to host a memorable dinner party, perhaps for Lunar New Year. The starter set includes an electric hot pot (which can feed six), two silver chopsticks, two slotted spoons that conveniently interlock with the pot edge, and two packs of hot-pot base — a blend of ginger, star anise, clove, and Szechuan pepper.

The yoga mat that Sarah Hyland impulse-bought

Vintner’s Daughter’s cult-favorite Active Botanical Serum and a tarot card deck were among the things Sarah Hyland can’t live without, but one of the most unique items on her list was this Öko fabric yoga mat. It’s a little pricey, but it’s a great solution if you’re trying to avoid a brightly colored rubber eyesore. Hyland says she loves that “it’s sustainable, because most yoga mats aren’t. I use it while watching TV or for just a nice stretch.” She prefers to unroll it on carpet so it doesn’t slip around and says the ribbed lines on either end of the mat act “like a stopper or gripper … so if I’m doing a plank, I don’t slide.” If you’re wondering why it’s called an herbal yoga mat, embedded in the fabric are 20 skin-soothing herbs including turmeric, neem, and holy basil.

A backpack fit for traveling the world …

Even if you’re not quite as agile as Andy Baraghani and the idea of an impromptu weekend in San Miguel de Allende seems intimidating, you can still gear up for your next meticulously planned trip like him. Baraghani shared his long weekend of spa treatments, shrimp tostadas, cafés, and antiquing, and highlighted his favorite spots at the Mexican destination. The travel essentials that made his trip top-notch included EltaMD sunscreen, John Elliot T-shirts, and this lightweight Battenwear backpack. Baraghani says he searched for the perfect travel backpack for a long time and loves that this one “doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. It’s just a good, lightweight backpack that I can easily tote with me anywhere in the world.”

… and a bar of soap worth writing home about

We curated a list of the best Valentine’s Day gifts for every type of person, and it included color drip candles, pink rolling papers, and this luxe bar soap. American soap company Caswell-Massey created the triple-milled rose-scented bar in collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden. If you’re shopping for yourself, you can buy this chic soap by the bar, but you may prefer the three-pack if you’re in search of the perfect hostess gift. In addition to rose, the soap is available in equally enticing lilac and orchid scents.

Base layers to keep toasty

Whether you live in a subzero climate or you’re just extremely sensitive to cold, what you wear closest to the skin matters when it comes to keeping you cozy this winter. We rounded up a selection of base layers that range from dressy to sporty, including these Ibex wool-and-nylon–blend leggings. Writer and Canada-dweller Mia Leimkuhler says these “have just the right amount of stretch to keep them feeling like a second skin but not like sausage casings.” The serious warmth they provide is ideal for outdoor activities like ice-skating and hiking. “For how warm they are,” Leimkuhler writes, “they’re remarkably lightweight, to the point that I forget I have them on.”

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.

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week