If you follow our monthly feature “Your Shopping Cart,” you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying, which led us to think that, as Strategist editors, we could turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Strategist editor; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we bought in March.
Maxine Builder, editor
This month, I went to Montana to visit a friend from college and go skiing. He was a great guide, showing us the best runs at his local mountain and taking us backcountry skiing. (He even didn’t make fun of me when I had to quit early one day because of some gnarly blisters that I got from buckling my boots wrong.) But the best thing he introduced us to was Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, a Bozeman-based chain that carries power tools, every color of Yeti tumbler, gas-powered bikes, wooden wall signs with phrases like “I love you a bushel and a peck,” live chicks, and lots of workwear. Swept up by the excitement, I picked up this Carhartt vest — and though I sort of bought it as a joke, it has quickly become my most-worn piece of outerwear, especially in this weird winter-to-spring weather we’ve been having in New York. It’s easy to throw on over a hoodie but keeps me plenty warm. It’s also incredibly practical for walking the dog since the pockets are big enough to hold everything I need.
Emma Wartzman, writer
Many of the spices in my pantry come from the Spice House; it makes the good stuff. So when I was perusing its site a while back, I was immediately intrigued by this white-cheddar powder. I’m a sucker for Cheez-Its and Goldfish, and I never say no to Doritos or Cheetos, so I figured this little packet of fancy cheese powder was worth a taste. I finally pulled it out a couple of weeks ago when some friends came over and we wanted a snack. We popped a Dutch oven full of popcorn and ripped open the half-cup flat-pack. “Can I put all of it in?” one of them asked me. Reader, we did, and it was the best popcorn I’ve ever made. Now I just need to reup, this time with the eight-ounce bag.
My dad has a lot of Buck Mason T-shirts, and I always try to steal them when I’m home because they’re so comfortable to sleep and lounge in but are also nice enough to wear out and about. I finally bought some of my own and was drawn to the muscle tank instead of the short-sleeve. They don’t disappoint. They’re slouchy but still look great, and the material feels superhigh-quality even though they’re priced at what I think is a reasonable $38. I got black and white but might have to invest in a couple more as I envision these being go-to pieces all summer long.
Leah Muncy, writer
I stopped by the North Face just to browse last week — and walked out with one of their Mini Borealis backpacks. (I got the sling version, however, which doesn’t appear to be online yet.) I’d been looking for a mini-bag that was roomy enough to hold both a 32-ounce HydroFlask and a book, and this one does so with room to spare. And because it’s outfitted with an adjustable bungee cord and lots of zippers, it has ample hanging space for all my keys and key chains.
My Glossier Lash Slick mysteriously disappeared one day, and I was too lazy to order another tube, so I went without mascara for most of this month. On a recent errand run, I finally picked up this conditioning mascara from L’Oreal, and while it’s not as good as Lash Slick, it’s certainly the best drugstore mascara I’ve tried. It stays all day as though it’s waterproof, and it doesn’t clump, flake, or irritate my eyes. I went with brown instead of black, which I think looks more natural (though still plenty dark) for my usual no-makeup-makeup look.
Jen Trolio, senior editor
My niece is turning 4 years old this month, and like so many kids that age, she really loves things that are “gross.” This oversize zombie plush from Greg the Zombie is going to blow her mind when she opens her birthday present — the giant purple stuffy is nearly two feet tall, and if you reach into its throat, you’ll find a cuddly removable heart and a cushion-y intestine hanging out in a squishy internal cavity (which would totally fit a few more small treasures if the kids in your life have magpie tendencies). The brain is also removable if you pop the eyes out of their sockets, which I find disgustingly delightful.
[Editors’ note: While many Greg the Zombie characters are currently sold out, the brand is expecting a restock in April.]
Lauren Ro, writer
My husband and I have operated with five forks for close to a decade. (For context, we mostly use chopsticks.) But I was tired of fishing dirty forks out of the dishwasher and embarrassed when we had guests over, so I did the sensible thing and bought … just the dinner forks and knives from Alessi’s Dry collection, which Kelsey Keith, the editorial director at Herman Miller, told me about when I reported a whole compendium on silverware. Instead of shelling out $460 for 24 pieces, I got a set of six forks and six knives, because spending $276 on 12 utensils — with a 10 percent discount — felt a bit more manageable. (We already have a bunch of Korean spoons, whose design, I think, is superior to western-style spoons.) Now that I’ve had them for just under a month, I can’t believe I waited so long. They’re elegant and modern and feel so good in the hand, as Keith promised. Now I’m tempted to complete the set by getting the dinner spoons, tea spoons, and dessert forks. I can buy them separately, and no one would know the difference. A note: Stock goes in and out at Alessi, so be sure to check frequently if at first you don’t see the set you want.
Being the stationery nerd that I am, I am very particular about the pens and planners I use. This year, I got the Hobonichi Techo Cousin, which has monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, something that’s rare in the world of paper agendas. I’ve been a longtime fan of Muji’s 0.38 gel ballpoint pens, but they just didn’t work well on the planner’s fine Tomoe River paper. The ink would leave an imprint on the adjacent page when I wrote on a new page, so I chucked the Mujis and bought two sets of Le Pens (a set of “brights” and a set of more standard hues), which I’ve used on and off over the years. As the product copy says, the pens are quick-drying, smear resistant, and come in vivid colors. I love that they have a micro-fine tip with a flat top — it gives me more control, as my handwriting is notoriously unreadable, even to myself. And even though they’re more like markers, they don’t bleed through or imprint onto the preceding pages of the planner. After some trial and error, I think I’ve finally settled on the perfect planner-and-pen combination.
Jordan Bowman, writer
Ricoh is known for their great pocket cameras. It has a fixed 28-mm. lens, so no zooming in — I have to move my feet and get closer to my subject. It’s lightweight, so I don’t have any excuses about not carrying it everywhere. The Ricoh GR is known as a street camera, something you can use to document everything around you with relative ease. The photos are tack-sharp, and most people will be pleasantly surprised by the great images this tiny camera can produce. The only drawback is Ricoh cameras are known to be sensitive, so if a speck of dust gets anywhere near the lens, you better hit your local church and pray it still works. So far I’ve been lucky enough to avoid any breakdowns.
Eight years ago, most men wouldn’t want to get caught dead in high-waisted trousers. But time has passed, and we’ve embraced them with open arms — well, at least I have. Casatlantic is a small brand that makes classic high-waisted trousers based on World War II military uniforms. The El Jadida is one of the narrower fits, but it still takes some work to style. I suggest you take cues from Nathaniel Asseraf (the founder of the brand) — his Instagram is a treasure trove of high-waisted style inspiration.
Chelsea Peng, senior editor
Until I learn how to dunk, LeBron James and I have two things in common: We grew up in the same town, and as of this writing, we’ve both now publicly claimed that our favorite chip flavor is cheddar and sour cream. Earlier this year, he partnered with Ruffles, the “official chip of the NBA,” to create a flamin’-hot take on the milk-powdery original, which is very good, especially if you buy them from the 24-hour grocery store after downing an undisclosed number of mezcal shots served in tiny footed glasses from Biarritz. As with most American snacks, the payoff on the advertised spice is laughably low, probably so as to not incur legal action from the “pepper gives it a kick” crowd, but overall, 10/10 crushability, 12/10 crunch.
My pal Megan O’Cain makes floofy, stuffed-animal-embedded editorial dresses that I’ve been lucky enough to wear to frighten skaters who work at Vice, but her more everyday stuff is just as joyfully and frillily off-kilter. Minutes after she posted a drop of printed bags (she tells me more are coming), I hoofed it to GG’s Social Trade & Treasure Club to see if one of them could be a new, less floppy home for my laptop. (The rat mercado bag I wrote about has since been rebranded as a beach tote.) With a closer-to-the-computer cut, this new acquisition (in a wavy green print that matches my hair) lets me switch between a pair of top handles and a strap, while the sides can expand to accommodate a grain bowl horizontally so the turmeric dressing doesn’t leak out. And to the reader who asked why I’d carry liquid-y foods in the same receptacle as my laptop: I simply know no other way than to live on the edge.
Louis Cheslaw, associate editor
For two weeks before I pulled the trigger on this purchase, I carried a sample of the scent with me so I could see what my friends thought of it. Without fail, almost all of the people I spritzed would text me a few hours afterward either to say they couldn’t stop smelling themselves or their partner had asked them what it was so they could buy it for themselves. The scent — a mix of berries, leather, and wood — is warm but not sweet and just subtle enough for the office. Plus it’s 15 percent off at Ssense with the code “SS2022.”
This month I hosted two visitors from London (where I grew up). Despite seeing plenty of New York’s latest sights, both seemed most delighted by the fancy ice-cream sandwiches sold at my bodega. They have a point: The cookies on each side are chewy straight out of the freezer, and the ice cream is always just the right amount of melted. Along with S’mores, it has Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Birthday Cake, Mint Choc Chip, and Cookies & Cream flavors.
Sanibel Chai, junior writer
When I hear the word visor, I think of two things: a standard tennis visor (which I feel neutral-to-positive about), and the huge-brimmed monstrosities my grandma never leaves home without. As much as I love my grandma, I grew up mortified by her choice of headwear, so I couldn’t have anticipated falling in love with this paper straw visor from Gigi Pip. When I roll it up and tuck it in my bag, it doesn’t lose its shape, and the adjustable band means you don’t have to worry about size (and it makes for easy gifting). The large brim keeps the sun off my whole face (I have so many almost-large-enough hats that lack chin and neck coverage), and the shape is elegant without being too “garden party formal.” I love that I can keep my hair up in a claw clip as the open top eliminates the scourge of hat hair. Now that I’ve been enlightened, I won’t hold my grandma’s unsightly visors against her — but I will try to convert her to this particular style.
I recently treated a friend to an extremely small tattoo from a gifted young artist, Christy Nguyen (a.k.a. Glumpey). The simple design doesn’t do her talent justice, so pictured here is one of Nguyen’s more elaborate masterpieces, a soft-serve-stuffed taiyaki. (While I’d trust her to do any sort of design, she’s carving out a niche for herself in the confectionary realm.) If you’re in Oakland and considering getting some fresh ink, find her at the AAPI-owned O Tattoo Studio. (And if you’re scared of needles like I am, check out her Etsy store.)
Ambar Pardilla, writer
You can always count on a Strategist writer to be persistent. I’ve been obsessed with finding a button-down with a vegetable print for months. I’ve seen them all over — one with beaded beets on Instagram, another on TikTok with sequined radishes, and one from Berriez (which sold out and was too oversize for me) — but I could never find the one. Then this appeared. Besides being adorable (the tasseled “roots” really make it for me), it fits really well (especially since the buttons of most button-downs don’t close over my bust). It’s light enough that I know it’ll feel barely there when spring starts picking up.
Dominique Pariso, writer
This month, I finally wore through the inner thighs of my favorite pair of jeans. After retiring them from my wardrobe, I did a pants audit and realized I was seriously lacking replacement options, so I picked up a pair of flares from Big Bud Press (maker of my favorite jumpsuits). They’re made from a very sturdy cotton twill, so I’m hoping they’ll be more tear resistant than regular denim. And with the wider leg and pintuck detailing, they are both yeehaw and ’70s-inspired, which I couldn’t resist.
During Tyler McGillivary’s online sample sale, I scooped up a pair of Eli pants. I love the snaps up the side and the wavy pattern. While I got a pair of all-white ones on sale, they currently have this black-and-white option in stock as well as a very excellent pair of orange-and-red pants.
Erin Schwartz, writer
I made plans to play Elden Ring with a friend and offered to bring something I had not fully conceptualized when I said it, which is a “gamer charcuterie board.” I have since bought some cursed food items, including this verdant, Mountain Dew–flavored popcorn, which tastes pretty good with a bit of extra salt. (If you’re the kind of degenerate who is into this, there is also a Mountain Dew–flavored jelly.) I am excited to travel to my local cheese shop and ask for the cheese that pairs best with Battle Juice G Fuel.
I’d been on a monthslong quest to find a heavyweight rugby shirt when I stumbled across a recommendation for Portland, Oregon–based manufacturer Columbiaknit in a fairly acerbic thread on the prep-style subreddit NavyBlazer (per their description, “the country club of Reddit!”). I am so glad I took a snobby Redditor’s advice — the Columbiaknit rugby shirt is incredible, substantial enough to wear out but comfortable enough that I reach for it on a Saturday morning. I got a practice jersey, which is a style pieced together from leftovers in different colors and patterns. A kids’ size ten fits me perfectly at five feet tall — rugby shirts run big, so size down if you want a true-to-size fit — and it also has men’s and women’s sizes.
Brenley Goertzen, intern
I was gifted these jeans for Christmas in the printed style, and I seriously wear them all the time. They easily passed my comfort test — and they are incredibly flattering — so I decided to invest in a different, more practical pair this month. I went for the color Pitch Black. Free People says they are low-rise, but mine sit just above my hips, so they really pass as a mid-rise jean in my book. Oh, and the zipper detailing is chef’s kiss.
Kitty Guo, junior writer
ILYSM’s Tabis have been featured in two Strat hauls before, but that’s not how I came across the brand. Instead, I discovered them because I was searching for shoes that wouldn’t aggravate my ballet-induced bunions (I’m too young to be scheduling podiatrist appointments). These are made from a stretchy, knitted, socklike material that allows for full mobility and doesn’t place any pressure on my joints. The split design keeps my toes in alignment, the insoles are super-bouncy and cushiony, and the overall silhouette is just plain cool — I’ve definitely garnered a few double takes walking down the street.
I stopped by Judi Rosen’s Nolita store to check out her curated collection of jewelry from artist Bonnie Robbins. I fell in love at first sight with Robbins’s delicate and ethereal hand-strung creations featuring a pastel rainbow of pearls, gemstones, and vintage beads — so much so that I walked out with this Mini Moons bracelet on my wrist.
Arielle Avila, writer
I finally replaced my fussy reading lamp with this one that was recommended in a gift guide for bookworms. Thanks to this, I can read comfortably in bed without constantly adjusting or getting tangled in cords. It weighs less than my old light, the adjustable neck doesn’t droop, and it’s rechargeable. Maybe the best feature, though, is that the light itself is an amber hue instead of bright white, so it doesn’t wake my boyfriend or contribute to my own sleeplessness.
On a trip to Ikea, my boyfriend and I picked up new sheets, picture frames, and a bunch of plants. In the plant section, I made it my mission to find this vase / watering can. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo, who owns the light-green steel version of it, mentioned it in a Slack group chat, and it’s been on my mind since. I ended up buying the glass one, and it’s a delight to look at even without flowers 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.