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 a quirky electric kettle, a BO-fighting body spray, and a stylish light bar with a soothing glow.
A compliment-earning cologne
Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa gave himself a few spritzes of this OffCourt body spray right before dinner plans with friends and unexpectedly found himself fielding multiple compliments. “For years, I was looking to smell like something good, beyond just my roll-on deodorant. But I didn’t want to constantly smell like the aggressive scents of my teens or the formal notes that come with a typical cologne,” Rellosa writes. “OffCourt’s low-investment, high-return spray filled that void perfectly.” It comes in four different fresh, long-lasting scents and is formulated with “prebiotics, which supposedly work to fight odor-causing bacteria — not just mask it,” he says.
A workhorse toaster oven
When Strategist contributor Sarah Leon and her husband bought their fixer-upper home, they did not anticipate how long their kitchen renovation would take. Forced to improvise with a makeshift kitchen, they bought this Panasonic toaster oven that became an “unexpected star,” according to Leon. Because it cooks with infrared, it “heats up very quickly and doesn’t have to be on for a long time,” she writes. “It’s very small and compact, so it doesn’t take up much space, which is important when you’re working in tight quarters. It’s also very lightweight, so you can move it easily.”
Low-sugar cereal for healthy eating …
Former Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy can’t live without this keto-friendly cocoa cereal. While he used to go for brands like “Cap’n Crunch or Trix or something with lots of sugar,” he ended up “really liking” this Kashi cereal that contains very little sugar. “I’ve actually switched to just eating this cereal because it tastes good and it’s better for me,” Kenworthy tells us.
… And sugar paste for hair removal
Frustrated by razor bumps and ingrown hairs, Strategist writer Latifah Miles wanted “an alternative way to remove hair from my legs and bikini area that didn’t leave me with red bumps and disappointment.” She came across it in Sugardoh’s at-home sugaring kit, which she found to be a more gentle alternative to waxing. Though Miles was hesitant at first, once she got going, the results were “undeniable”; she had never seen her skin “so hairless and free of irritation,” she writes. “The hair started to grow back after about two and a half weeks, which is a lot slower compared to when I use a razor … I’ve now sugared three times, and the process has become more intuitive, with fewer mess-ups.”
Low-investment sunnies you won’t mind losing
Tyler Bainbridge, one of the editors behind the culture newsletter Perfectly Imperfect, described his crowdsourced San Francisco trip for our latest installment of “Steal My Vacation.” At the recommendation of his subscribers, he browsed a historic downtown bookstore, drank mai tais at a tiki bar, and bought a tourist-trap T-shirt from the gift shop of a tiny botanical garden. He also made a quick stop to pick up a pair of gas-station sunglasses — these X-KD’s from Pacific Coast Sunglasses that are “polarized and come in a wide variety of colors. If they get damaged or you drop them in a puddle near a urinal, it’s not going to break the bank to buy a fresh pair,” Bainbridge advises.
A Naomi Osaka–designed halter top
Tennis star Naomi Osaka has teamed up with Levi’s on a five-piece capsule collection that includes a two-tone denim coat, a zip-up trucker jacket, a pair of flower-embellished jeans, and a mermaid skirt with an asymmetric hem. Our favorite of the bunch is this warm-weather-appropriate corset-esque halter top featuring a zip-up front, smocked back, and 100 percent organic-cotton material.
An electric kettle with Scandinavian flair
Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo had been searching for a good-looking electric kettle for a while. Initially drawn to the widely beloved Fellow Stagg, she soon began to feel “put off by the price and the fact that it was starting to show up as a prop in so many wellness influencers’ and ‘cool’ people’s Instagram posts.” When she came across this quirky Chantal kettle, she instantly fell for its “distinct style inspired by Scandinavian design, with simple, clean lines and a faux-wood-patterned handle.” (Since purchasing it, she has also grown incredibly fond of pressing its “glowing blue button.”)
Nathan Fielder’s laptop harness
When watching the first episode of Nathan Fielder’s new show, The Rehearsal, Strategist writer Katherine Gillespie noticed Fielder wearing “a snug laptop harness that tenderly cradles his MacBook in the style of a baby carrier.” She set out to find the exact model and, after several false alarms, concluded that it was from the Texas-based portable-desk company Connect-a-Desk, which “makes a harness that’s visually identical to Fielder’s and even a little Summit Ice–esque in its branding.”
The high-end booze favored by a high-profile rapper
For our “Assistant Files” series, we recently chatted with “Shannon,” a 23-year-old who has worked as a production assistant on TV shows, commercials, and one very famous parade. She was once hired to help on a commercial shoot starring a Grammy-winning rapper whose rider included two bottles of Don Julio 1942. Unfortunately, on the day of the shoot, the rapper never arrived, so the high-value bottles ended up being passed around the ad agency.
A Dan Flavin–esque neon light tube
Strategist writer Erin Schwartz first bought Hay’s LED light bar “in a warm egg-yolk-yellow color” in an effort to avoid using their kitchen’s overhead light, which “has a greenish, Saw-movie-style cast.” Since then, it has become their “workhorse kitchen light” because of its bright, smooth, and seamless glow, which more closely resembles “restaurant signage than an e-sports setup.” Their evangelizing even convinced fellow Strategist writer Dominique Pariso to buy one and mount it above a countertop in her kitchen, where it lights up her prep space “really nicely for when I’m chopping and mixing.”
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.