We write about hundreds of products each week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked some of our recent favorites: expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and very good deals we uncovered while trawling through the vast online-shopping universe — including Brenda Song’s favorite chocolate, padded socks perfect for tennis, and a vibrator that can help treat breast infections.
Cameron Diaz’s favorite eco-friendly cutting boards
When we asked Cameron Diaz what she can’t live without, she said she owns several of these Epicurean paper-composite cutting boards: “They’re made from wood pulp, so they’re ecofriendly and super-durable … They’re super-lightweight, unlike those heavy, solid-wood boards. I keep multiples in a drawer without having to worry about the weight.” Plus they’re good-looking enough to double as serving boards for charcuterie and cheese.
Bunny ears for your ears
One of Strategist’s favorite jewelry brands, Studs recently teamed up with Playboy to release a limited-edition collaboration of cheeky earrings and charms. Dress up your earscape with designs featuring the iconic Playboy-bunny logo (in gold, silver, or pavé), dollar sign, locket heart, or cell-phone charm. You can get it as a standalone stud or dangling from a huggie or safety-pin hoop for all the Y2K-throwback vibes.
A sustainable alternative to sponges and paper towels
Writer Ashlea Halpern was the first person to tell us about these DII Swedish dishcloths, which allowed her to break up with Brawny. Halpern says she used to go through “half a roll in one cleaning session,” but switching to these dishcloths has helped her cut down massively on paper-towel consumption. “I now use Swedish dishcloths to do nearly everything I once did with a paper towel: wipe down our granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and streak-prone cooktop,” Halpern writes. They’re the perfect substitute for disposable sponges and championed by several sustainability experts. Because they’re made from cotton and cellulose, “they are biodegradable and compostable at the end of their lifespan,” says sustainable-living advocate Addie Fisher.
Comfy socks to wear on the court …
Strategist contributor Chris Black has returned with a new installment of his column with advice for all of your super-specific style predicaments. One reader asked about Black’s go-to tennis gear, and he responded that “socks are essential and often overlooked.” He calls these Thorlos crew socks a “lifesaver,” because their cushiony interior “keeps your feet feeling good, and they have a nice substantial feel that I cannot find in another sock.” The design is specifically engineered to reduce blisters, pain, pressure, and moisture for maximum comfort on the court.
… and sleek slides to wear to the coast
These unfussy leather slides from J.Crew will have you feeling like you’re vacationing on the Riviera (even if you’re just trying to find a spot for your towel at Rockaway). With a cushy footbed and padded straps, they can take you from the farmer’s market to fancy date nights without breaking a sweat. J.Crew is currently running an end-of-season sale, which means these sandals are an extra 70 percent off of their already discounted price with code BIGGERSALE — so if you’re thinking of snagging a pair, definitely don’t dillydally.
A vibrator that doubles as a handy breastfeeding hack
Strategist contributor Jo Zasloff, who works as a certified nurse-midwife, often gets panicky texts from her clients about mastitis — a breast infection caused by a buildup of milk in the breast ducts leading to inflammation of the tissue. This Aer suction vibrator from Dame, however, can help clear out clogged ducts and prevent the infection from worsening. Although it’s meant for clitorial stimulation, it works wonderfully as a breast massager. “It’s waterproof, easy to hold, vibrates to help break up the clog, has soft edges, and creates a perfect suction that gently pulls the breast tissue to loosen up those hard-to-reach ducts,” Zasloff writes.
Leggings with the look of leather (but the feeling of athleisure)
When we asked cool people to recommend their favorite faux-leather leggings, many name-checked this Spanx pair. Stylist Rasheena Liberté thinks they’re “the perfect starter legging” because of how comfortable they are — you can just slide into them rather than struggling and shimmying the way you would into real leather. Fashion writer Belle Bakst likes to layer hers “with a band tee” or “an oversize sweater in a bright color.” They’re currently more than 30 percent off as part of Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, so snag some now to start building your fall wardrobe.
The chocolate Brenda Song eats for a burst of energy
Brenda Song counts this almond-butter-and-quinoa-infused dark chocolate among her very favorite things. “I feel like such an L.A. girl talking about my almond-butter dark chocolate, but it gives me a burst of energy and some protein, and it’s that little kick when I need it,” she says. She began eating more mindfully after giving birth to her son, because she wanted to have the energy to keep up with him. “I really was like, Okay, everything I put on my body from now on should be something that does something for it because otherwise I feel like crap. Hu never makes me feel that way,” Song told us.
A muscle-zapping, anti-aging gadget
Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell went on a hunt for the best high-tech skin-care devices, and multiple dermatologists and estheticians recommended the NuFace. It works by sending waves of energy through the skin and to the muscles in the face, which encourages muscle contraction and relaxation to help tone them over time. This compact model is a favorite of actress Lana Condor, who uses hers in the morning to help “wake up” her skin. Although it’s mainly marketed as for mature skin, it’s never too early to start: “If you think you need Botox, you can start using this gadget instead,” advises celebrity aesthetician Taylor Worden.
Nourishing cream for travel-weary skin
Creative director and photographer Diana Bartlett has traveled to Milan eight times, so we asked her to recount her Italian itinerary. “The architecture and materiality of this city are always inspiring,” says Bartlett. After months of nonstop jet setting for work, she settled into slower mornings with espresso in bed, leisurely strolls through scenic neighborhoods and art galleries, and lots of delicious ravioli dinners. When traveling, she makes sure to bring along this Augustinus Bader face cream to keep her skin calm and nourished. “Nothing soothes dry skin and gives an instant glow like this cream,” Bartlett claims.
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.