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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in April

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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 April.

Leah Muncy, deals writer

I’d had my eye on this linen skirt since last year, but the reviews on sizing were mixed, and I wasn’t about to take a risk on something I couldn’t return. Luckily, I found an older colorway at a deep discount on Poshmark, and my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner. It can be worn either high, mid, or low rise depending on how you tighten the drawstring, and I’ve found the length to be just right for sneakers or sandals. (For reference, I’m five-foot-two, wear a size 25 in jeans, and bought a size 4.) Madewell reintroduced the style in red this spring — now an extra 30 percent off with code REFRESH — so if the color speaks to you, you don’t have to wait to buy it secondhand like I did.

I put this wire-drawer organizer in a sales post earlier this month, then completely forgot to buy the on-sale option for myself. It sold out in a matter of hours, but I’d already made up my mind to use it as a replacement for the plastic bin I’d been storing my clothes in, so I purchased it in black at full price. It looks even better in person — nicer, even, than the Container Store’s splurge-y Elfa system — and took under ten minutes to assemble. I like it so much, in fact, that I already have another on the way.

Dominique Pariso, writer

This mug, designed by artist Peter Shire, is made by hand using a splatter-paint pattern, so no two are exactly alike (though you do get to choose from a pointed or round handle). I’d wanted one for quite a while, but they were always a little hard to find. Luckily, Canyon Coffee now has them in stock, and you can throw in a bag of its coffee to brew with your new mug when it all arrives together.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s leather pants got me through the winter, so I decided to trust its Curve Love line once more and pick up a pair of its high-rise dad shorts to kick-start my summer wardrobe. Denim shorts have always been a very difficult purchase for me — I’ve got thick thighs and my hips are much wider than my waist — but I opted to size down, and they’re perfect. (They also have a long enough inseam to prevent dreaded summer chafing.)

Kelsie Schrader, managing editor

This is self-diagnosed, but I think I’ve got a pinched nerve in my butt. Or it’s sciatica. Or my piriformis. Regardless, most forms of movement are quite painful right now. After a week with no improvement, I called my mom, a physical therapist, and asked what I should do. She is perpetually critiquing my posture (for good reason; I slouch) and said I should get a seat cushion for my work chair. So I searched “seat cushions” on Google and lo and behold, the Strategist’s roundup was the first result. I scrolled through while FaceTiming my mom, and she recommended this one, which is indeed called “the best seat cushion for bad posture” in our post. I’ve only been using it for a few days, and while the nerve does not seem to be unpinched yet, I’m hopeful. Either way, I do think this cushion was a wise (and physical-therapist-approved) long-term investment for my back. Please put out good short-term vibes for my butt, though.

Lauren Ro, writer

This April, I fell for the fisherman-sandal trend and found these beauties on Alder & Co.’s Instagram. I’d initially bought another pair from a different brand on Zappos and returned them because these were slightly cheaper, way cuter, and more comfortable. They come in black and brown, too, are made in Spain, and are just really, really nice. They’re a little snug at first but within an hour or two of wearing them, the leather stretched and now feels good on my feet.

Arielle Avila, writer

I can’t believe I went through so many awful ice trays before finally buying this one, which makes perfect little ice cubes that pop out without any struggle. I’m so happy that I’ve already convinced myself our three-person household needs a second.

Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer

$22

My friend, the writer and editor Aliza Abarbanel, spent the last many months working with Tanya Bush on a zine they describe as “a hedonistic exploration of history, pop culture, literature, and art through dessert.” If “zine” makes you think of something disposable, think again — this substantial compilation of essays, poems, illustrations, photographs, and recipes forced me to think about cake in a way I hadn’t ever before. It’s very beautiful, very fun, and I’m stoked to have it on my bookshelf. The first printing sold out already, but the second round will ship in mid-late May.

I moved into my apartment in late December and have spent the last four months staring at the backyard, waiting for the weather to warm up so that I can spend every possible moment of the day outside. Finally, we’re getting there, and I bought a grill to mark the occasion. I went with the classic charcoal Weber (along with a chimneycharcoal holders, and a cover) and used it for the first time last weekend. It went well! There’s still room for honing my skills, but I have a summer full of hot dogs and burgers to do that.

Maxine Builder, editor

From $122

I recently wrapped up a course of Accutane, which means that I can finally develop a skin-care routine that’s focused on something besides calming my zits. And highest on my list of concerns is uneven texture. So during Sephora’s Spring Sale, I picked up Sunday Riley’s cult-y Good Genes (with a paltry 10 percent discount, because I’m only a regular old Insider, but it was still enough to convince me that it’s a good idea). I’ve been using it nightly for about three weeks, and, to be honest, I haven’t seen any amazing results. But as with Accutane, I think this is a situation where patience — and keeping to a routine — is a virtue.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s 1972 European tour, and because that series of live albums is my absolute top-tier favorite in their vast discography, I ordered a commemorative tie-dyed T-shirt. Who needs Online Ceramics when you can shop straight from the source?

Katherine Gillespie, writer

I went to Chilean Patagonia on vacation earlier this month, where I met an elegant French family on a ferry ride through Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. We formed enough of a bond that they offered me half an apple at one point, sliced with a tiny hinged knife from heritage brand Opinel that the mom nonchalantly produced from her backpack. Her knife’s wooden handle had taken on a lovely patina after decades of use; the copycat one I ordered shortly afterward from Opinel’s online store still has its bright-red paint, but is just as cute. I much prefer it to a bulky key-chain multi-tool … so American.

Sanibel Chai, junior writer

I’m always searching for a ring that looks good both on its own and stacked, and this twist ring from designer Eileen Chu (veteran of The Row and Marc Jacobs) is the ideal width to style however you want. The shape is so much more interesting than a standard band, and it’s comfortable, which isn’t always the case with other sculptural pieces. Chu offers sizes from 4–12 so you’ll get the perfect fit, and you can also choose between a high polish or brushed finish. She also makes a heart signet ring that I have my eye on, and a slightly chunkier, asymmetric band that’s similar to this one.

These are my brother’s favorite warm-weather pants. He wore them to Easter brunch, and was lamenting that he hadn’t packed them for his trip to Rome earlier this month. He already has this seersucker-looking pair, but I got him another in white for summer. We love that they’re lightweight without looking sloppy, and how the rumpled-chic look makes the wearer look perpetually on vacation (especially when paired with a matching linen shirt).

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, associate editor

I took advantage of a lot of good deals during Nordstrom Rack’s clearance sale earlier this month, but I’m most excited about these sandals. The lime-green color pops but is still subtle, and the mini-heel means I won’t need to bring commuter shoes with me when I wear them (or search the room for a seat at the function because my feet hurt). I wore them for the first time this weekend, and can confirm I was able to dance all night without complaint.

I woke up on Saturday to my monstera plant completely betraying me. The day before it was proud and standing tall, but it had completely flopped into a horizontal mess. I already had plans to repot her, but I purchased this fake moss stick to see if it’ll help any, too. (Instead of moss, it’s made out of “natural and biodegradable coconut husk.”) While I’m no plant expert, I’m hoping it helps my plant stand straight and promotes more mature leaf growth just like moss sticks are supposed to. It’s also way cheaper than the moss versions I could find, so I had to take a chance.

Jordan Bowman, technology writer

After writing about jeans for a recent story and hearing about the wonders of vintage Made in the USA Levi’s from various stylish experts, I went on an eBay hunt. After coming up empty-handed, I decided to leave the hunting to vintage experts like Wooden Sleepers’ Brian Davis, who happened to have my size in a beautiful, naturally faded wash and still has plenty more in stock.

Erin Schwartz, writer

I’ve been trying to eliminate unmatched glasses from my cabinets, either by pairing them up or donating them. I got a Neal Drobnis Face Vessel as a birthday gift two years ago and love it, so when I saw a restock at Coming Soon, I decided to buy another. These are a great glass for that mead of Valhalla, night water: The glass is very thick and thus stays cool, and the blobby shape makes them easy to grasp, like a sippy cup. They’re also great for people who trail half-empty water glasses behind them from room to room — they look more intentional left hanging out on a table or a bookshelf than a standard drinking glass, more evidence of the theory that you can eliminate clutter by just making your clutter cute.

Industrial-supply stores are great for deals, whether that’s cheap mixing bowls and sheet trays or the sadly discontinued painter’s pants I shared with my men’s-style group chat. Recently, while searching for a good 12-ounce cotton jacket for short kings (if you have tips, DM me!), I stumbled across Magid’s website and ended up buying a ton of useful things, including a box of 50 surgical masks for $5.80 and this great denim apron. It has zero bells and whistles, but is thick, sturdy, easily adjustable, and machine washable.

Chelsea Peng, senior editor

As far as workwear brands go, Dave’s isn’t the flashiest (though it did do an 032c collab in 2018). But IYKYK — and it’s mostly cool people like Georgia Tal and random bartenders who give you an approving nod if you’re accidentally twinning with them who know. I’ve been wearing Señor Dave’s T-shirts (and giving them as gifts) for ages now, but I’d never thought about acquiring one of his half-zips until I recently saw a pic of Stella von Senger in an enormous ’fit consisting of a similar navy-blue sweatshirt over a striped polo. The shop’s hours are notoriously truncated, but because I was in the neighborhood last week to have a few layers of skin lasered off my face at Ever/Body, I swung by and picked one up. The stitching and weight are solid in a way that makes me feel guilty I don’t actually do manual labor (as with all of Monsieur Davide’s goods), and I think it’s a really funny preppyish contrast against my neon-green lamé disco pants — and my equally neon-green hair.

Rice cakes don’t have a diet-food connotation to me because I grew up eating them as a vehicle for seafood, the puffed rice crackling when hot prawns or fish in gravy were ladled over the top. Conversely, all the white-lady dietitians on my Explore page keep going, “It’s okay to stop pretending you like rice cakes now,” so I wanted to see what the deal was with the sad, non-sauced American version that’s allegedly keeping ’90s kids from achieving food freedom. (I was also influenced by our quarantine-snacks roundup.) The verdict: These are … good? I like how the grains barely hold together, which makes these highly crushable — so crushable that I haven’t gotten a chance to try them with any toppings yet, oops.

Ambar Pardilla, writer

I’ve been slowly (and accidentally) amassing a fruit-themed vase collection, which includes one modeled after an orange-juice carton and another that’s strawberry-shaped. This citrus version is my latest addition, and makes me ridiculously happy. Since flowers wilt on me quickly despite my best efforts, I filled it with two wooden tulip stems. All together, it’s had quite a nice effect on my desk, if I do say so myself.

This moisturizer has become such an essential part of my skin-care routine that I forget I’ve only had it for a few weeks. It was somewhat of a Sephora sale impulse buy — I’d heard good things about Eadem’s dark-spot serum and wondered what this new cream would be like. It’s heavenly. Since I have oily skin, moisturizers with a thicker texture are a no-go. But this one only looks rich, melting right into my face. My skin has never felt softer, and it comes with a gold spoon to heighten the experience.

Kitty Guo, junior writer

Is checkerboard print passé yet? I hope not, because I just bought these Stussy trousers and they’re all I want to wear. The wobbly check pattern is certainly on-trend, but I feel the timeless corduroy fabric will keep them from ever looking dated. Now, I’m one step closer to achieving my ideal form: emotionally constipated skater boy who listens to Yung Lean, sucks down Juul pods, and doesn’t text you back.

Struck by a hankering for jelly beans, last month I wandered into my nearest candy shop and picked out a variety pack that included a handful of different flavored “mixes,” like Smoothie Blend and Soda Pop Shoppe. Of all the collections, there was one clear winner: the Ice Cream Parlor mix, a collaboration between Jelly Belly and Cold Stone Creamery, which replicated the brand’s iconic ice cream flavors like strawberry blonde, birthday cake, and apple pie with startling accuracy. (One week later, I went back for another taste of the mint chocolate chip.)

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.

The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in April