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 vibrating disc that puts babies to sleep, a bunch of grapes that are actually soap, and the tinned fish Kiernan Shipka eats nearly every day.
A robe so luxurious you’ll think you’re on vacation
For those who relate to Nice Paper co-founder Charlotte Palermino’s complaint that putting on a robe post-shower can feel like you’re wearing a damp housecoat, you should consider this eye-catching, fast-drying one she recommends in our review of the best bathrobes. Palermino says the cotton material feels soft but not flimsy, and “the stripes make me feel like I’m about to walk out onto my private veranda somewhere in the Riviera.”
A rash guard that could be mistaken for designer …
With beach days and pool parties right around the corner, we sifted through swim sales to find the chic-est on-sale suits including a neon monokini, a reversible bikini, and this designer-looking rash guard. If you’ve ever admired Proenza Schouler’s tropical-leaf print, this rash guard’s similar palm pattern may cause you to double take. Luckily for the budget conscious, this protective sun shirt is under $50.
… and a mascara that will get mistaken for lash extensions
Finding a mascara that doesn’t smudge, clump, or dry out can feel like searching for El Dorado, so we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and reviewed the best volumizing, sensitive-eye-friendly, and “clean” (but affordable) mascaras. Makeup artist Kornelija Slunjsk says this $6 tube is “the closest you’ll get to lash extensions without the actual extensions.” Bonus: The formula is free of parabens, sulfates, talc, and mineral oil.
Athlete-approved swim trunks …
Our guide to the best men’s swimming trunks was designed to help shoppers who are overwhelmed by the number of options for inseam length, fabric, and cut make an informed decision. We suggest options for taller people, a tailored pair for a neater look, and these performance trunks, which are suited for in- and out-of-water workouts alike. Kevin Ng, a former collegiate swimmer at the University of Rhode Island, says the fit of these shorts is streamlined, and the “minimal waistband ensures the best hydrodynamic swim without feeling too restrictive or limiting your range of motion.”
… and a jarred pesto so good your pasta intake will rival an athlete’s
We’re always excited to see pistachios in new forms, and this jarred pesto impressed Grub Street diner-at-large Tammie Teclemariam with its intense, fresh flavor — so much so that she uses it to whip up a quick pasta dish on a rare night off from eating her way through New York’s restaurant scene. After purchasing this sauce during a recent drunk-shopping trip at Eataly, Teclemariam notes that the “pistachio flavor does a lot of work; it brings a lot of richness.” Follow her lead and doctor it up with a clove of grated garlic and a pinch of Parmesan.
A device to relax your baby when sleeping away from home
Your first Mother’s Day is an occasion to remember, so we’ve put together a gift guide for new moms with presents that range from self-care (think: alcohol-free spirits and a sitz bath soak) to this hyperfunctional vibrating disc that slides under any mattress to help baby fall asleep. For fans of the Snoo rocking bassinet, this pad is a portable alternative that can turn an unfamiliar travel crib into something that reminds them of home.
Kiernan Shipka’s just-add-salt meal
When asked what she can’t live without, actress Kiernan Shipka was quick to reel off snack recommendations such as French Squirrel Chocolate Berets, “life-changing” gum, and this three-pack of canned trout. “I’ve been eating a tin of fish a day for maybe the past two weeks,” says Shipka, who often finds herself so hungry (and impatient) that she’ll throw together a simple meal of trout topped with some Maldon sea salt and pepper.
Grapes you can wash your hands with
In our most recent “Saw Something, Said Something,” we observed that Audrey Gelman (formerly of the Wing) has pivoted to homewares and opened a “country store” called the Six Bells. The shop has a bucolic charm (and an in-depth backstory) that can be seen in person at the Cobble Hill brick-and-mortar store, where you can browse spooky wooden bookends, crackling-wick candles, and this soap shaped like a bunch of grapes. Crafted in Lebanon, they’re available in five colors (including green, purple, and pink), so you can match them to your tastefully distressed vanity.
A dress appropriate for attending a wedding (or two)
If you’ve got a busy wedding season ahead, we’ve assembled a list of guest-appropriate dresses under $100 in a range of styles from silky slips and body-con maxis to this floral midi dress. Perfect for a late-spring or summer ceremony, this Eloquii dress’s flirty cutout gives it a little personality without straying into too-casual territory.
The Australian ointment Alison Brie (and other celebrities) can’t stop talking about
We spoke to actress Alison Brie about her favorite things, which include blemish bandages she wants more people to talk about and this lip balm — which also happens to be the favorite of Aubrey Plaza, Lucy Hale, and Michael Bublé (who prefers the 200-gram tub version). Brie’s such a fan of the papaya-based formula that she recommends it to makeup artists on set and always has one in her purse. And while she uses it as a lip moisturizer, the ointment can also be applied on burns, bug bites, and eczema.
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.