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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in July

Photo: The Strategist

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 July.

Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer

When Material released these kitchen scissors a while back, they kept popping up on my Instagram feed and I kept thinking to myself how much I liked the look of them. Finally, I bought them (in golden) and am here to report what a good decision that was. The blades are supersharp, the sides come apart easily enough to clean — but not so easily that they detach when you don’t want them to (a problem I’ve had with kitchen shears in the past), and the grip is super-comfortable thanks to the yellow silicone handles.

This was a tiny, offhand purchase that has honestly made me happier than anything else I’ve added to cart recently. I hate it when my sponge sits on the floor of the sink (it always ends up getting dirty). I also hate it when it sits on the counter (the counter always ends up getting wet, plus it doesn’t look very nice). And, yes, I’ve also put it out on sinkside trays and caddies before, but those just end up getting gross, too. Anyway, this solves all those problems and I love it and I don’t know why it took me so long to buy one.

Latifah Miles, writer

Flowy, lightweight, and just cute enough to dress up or down, this linen dress from Target is an easy wardrobe win that I can throw on with minimal styling required. I collect tons of compliments every time I wear it.

I’ve been on the hunt for traditional Black culture recipes to try and stumbled upon this cookbook. With recipes that remind me of my grandmother and interesting historical anecdotes throughout, I plan on cooking and eating my way through the whole book.

Maxine Builder, editor

There are four pieces to my summer uniform this year: a white men’s Baird McNutt Irish linen button-up from J.Crew, my candy-colored Salomon XT-4s, a trucker hat from my bachelorette party, and a series of matching bicycle-short-and-sports bra sets from Girlfriend Collective. I own them in black, navy, and plum, and this month, I added the bike unitard to the rotation in (now sold-out) moon gray. It is very supportive, super-comfortable, and suited just as well for sweating on the streets of Brooklyn as going on a day hike in Maine, both things I did this month. I like it so much, I’m thinking of grabbing it in this dark green, too.

Jen Trolio, senior editor

I bought these innovative swim goggles as a gift for my daughter’s birthday, and we both love them. She is thrilled with the rainbow tie-dye pattern (one of dozens Splash offers) and how easy they are to adjust, and I appreciate that the fabric strap is so much more gentle on her hair than goggles with rubber straps. They are definitely on the pricey side for kids’ swim goggles, but they work great and I think they are well worth the cost.

I’ve been using two of these brass key rings on different sets of keys for at least five years, and they are so perfect I just picked up another one. Solidly made, beautifully designed, not too bulky in a pocket, and they won’t destroy your nails when you need to add or remove a key.

I noticed this T-shirt in-store when I stopped into Gap to return something else, and because it was on sale, I walked out with two. It’s a great basic with a nice texture, an on-trend cropped (but not too cropped) length, and what I consider to be the perfect neckline: a Goldilocksian crew that doesn’t scoop too low or sit uncomfortably high. It comes in six colors including black and white (I went with “plum purple pudding” and “rusty brown”), as well as tall, regular, and petite sizing so that you can find the crop that works best for your height, torso length, and style preferences.

Kat Gillespie, writer

I finally picked up the (Pulitzer Prize–winning!) Frank from poetry GOAT Diane Seuss, who writes reinvented sonnets that I highly recommend if your only experience with the form is college Shakespeare. It has everything you could want from a collection of contemporary verse: love, death, Frank O’Hara references.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, associate editor

I lost a toenail this month. It’s so gross and I can’t believe I’m sharing this on the internet, but it is my truth. It happened the morning of a friend’s birthday dinner that I would not be able to wear sneakers to, so I had to act fast. My first thought was to try and paint the skin and see if that was passable, but then I googled “toenail press-ons” and was delighted to find that they exist. I found these at my local beauty supply in the signature white the rest of my toes were already painted in and in no time had ten toenails again. Thankfully it didn’t pop off during the night, and I am happy to say that five days later, it is still holding on.

Ambar Pardilla, writer

From $209

I’ve been thinking about this bracelet ever since it made an appearance in Strategist junior writer Kitty Guo’s newsletter. (If you’re not subscribed, do yourself the favor now.) It’s just so fun — the most sculptural of scrunchies. Make sure to double-check your wrist measurements for the right fit (there’s a handy how-to guide in the description). I did, and the cuff stays firmly on my wrist even when I’m gesturing wildly.

I couldn’t control myself this month and ordered not one, but two pairs of Suzanne Rae’s smoking loafers. The only justification I can offer is that they were super-discounted. I bought the (almost sold-out) plaid pair, featuring a trompe l’oeil horse bit, first, and the (still in stock) velvety Boulevardiers second. They’re snazzier than Weejuns and slightly mod-esque if worn with the right knee-high socks, which is how I plan to style them once the weather cools down.

Erin Schwartz, writer

I’ve been looking for a pair of medium-blue non-jeans pants and finally made my way to the Dickies website this month to buy these, a version of the brand’s 874 work pants redesigned “specifically for the skateboarder.” I am sorry to steal skateboarder valor, but they have quickly become my favorite everyday pants, plausibly nice enough to wear out but comfortable and broken-in enough for running errands. I wore them to a Mets game in 90-degree weather and didn’t die. They do run a bit small — I bought both a 26, my normal size, and a 28, and ended up keeping the 28 for its wider hip measurement, which proved wise when they shrunk about a half-size in the wash. I also had to shorten them; the weave is dense enough that you can get away with a raw hem, so I just chopped off a few inches with fabric scissors.

Speaking of alterations, one of my goals for this summer is to get good at sewing, a hobby in which I have a decent amount of experience and below-average skill. I’ve gotten my machine serviced, reorganized my sewing box, and started hanging the clothes I need to repair on my living-room bookshelf, where they stare at me while I work. One component of this push is paying more attention to how I’m finishing a garment, so I bought this top-stitch thread to match the stitching on a pair of vintage Levi’s jeans I needed to hem. It’s pretty close! Hopefully they look like true vintage, not true vintage with a bad home hem job.

Kelsie Schrader, managing editor

I talked to Sam Sanders earlier this month about his favorite things and asked him to sell me on all the items. I’m already very susceptible to ice cream marketing, but he hyped up this flavor so much I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So a few days later, I stopped into a Whole Foods “just to use the bathroom” and walked out with this ice cream. I don’t regret it. It’s as good as he says.

From $27

I was gifted the plastic version of this bottle a few Christmases back, but I failed to ever clean it, so the straw had very unappealing permanent stains. I like the bottle, though, especially the built-in straw and the carrying handle, so I rebought it, but in stainless steel this time because I want ice-cold water all day long. And I’ve already cleaned this one twice, so I’m feeling really good about myself.

Brenley Goertzen, intern

$11

A lovely friend of mine recently reviewed this book — Nada Alić’s debut collection of short stories — and immediately recommended it to me. I ordered a copy as soon as it was available and haven’t been able to put it down. I’ve almost devoured it completely, but also, I’m desperate to savor each and every line of Alić’s writing. Bad Thoughts brings light to the chummy horrors of everyday life that are both wickedly funny and at times very glum.

I’ve been looking for a kitten heel for the fall that can be dressed up or worn more casually with jeans. These fit the bill, especially in the neutral “vanilla bean” color. I also purchased them during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, but even at the before-sale price, I think they are a steal. They remind me of the Camper Kobarah Sandals, but at a more affordable price point.

Winnie Yang, senior editor

My household just added a Steam Deck to our collection of gaming devices, and the resident gamer has been enjoying PowerWash Simulator (available on many platforms, including Xbox), which is exactly what it sounds like and almost as satisfying as actual power washing. Especially if you don’t have access to the real thing.

I’m working on replacing as many products as I can with plastic-free or large-format alternatives to minimize my plastic use at home, and while I’ve been a loyal Aveeno user for probably 15 years now, I decided to wean myself off of it with this solid (Strat-favorite) moisturizer. It will also be much more convenient for some upcoming travel.

Ed Yong’s science writing is always a delight to read (well, “delight” is probably not the best way to describe his pandemic coverage, but that’s more about the pandemic and not his writing) because of the curiosity, wonder, and sense of humor he trains upon his subjects. I’ve been looking forward to Yong’s new book on animal senses and what they reveal about the world around us. I plan to follow it up with Harold McGee’s book on human olfaction, Nose Dive.

$14

I came across this clever add-on, which turns a lighter into a multi-tool, in Ali Slagle’s list of camper-van cooking essentials, and thought it would come in handy for car-camping trips. My husband is very picky about multi-tools, and he liked this one immediately.

Kitty Guo, junior writer

I went to visit my friend in Boston for July 4, and realized that meant I needed to buy a weekend bag. The profusion of options was a little overwhelming, and I spent several days reading Strategist roundups, sifting through Nordstrom and Herschel and Patagonia, and feeling generally indecisive. Eventually, though, I went secondhand and settled on this vintage Morton Salt–branded duffel bag, and I’m very happy with my decision. It’s made from thick, sturdy navy-blue canvas, comes with both handle straps and a detachable shoulder strap, and has multiple pockets and hidden compartments for organizing toiletries, charger cords, and other sundries. It seems like there’s at least one more floating around on eBay, so if you’re in the market, I highly recommend.

I also picked up a refill pack of Starface pimple patches, which I seem to go through like water — probably because I use them wantonly and with abandon, slapping one on the moment I sense the slightest flare-up. One time I was wearing a couple stars out and about and someone asked if it was a face tattoo, and I was very flattered that she thought I was cool enough for that.

Jeremy Rellosa, writer

I bought a two-pound bag of this coffee I used to drink every morning when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its sweet, nutty flavor satiates my homesickness.

My off-season summer-sale purchase was this chunky-knit polo from Corridor. I recently bought the brand’s Slouchy Polo and was looking for a long-sleeve version that would serve as a fall and winter staple. I love how it drapes over the shoulders, and the fit is loose but not too baggy. I might have to purchase it in navy, too.

Chelsea Peng, senior editor

I’ve been feeling “boring” sunglasses this summer, because when you’re known as “Jelly Bean” in some circles for the way you dress, it can be a lot to do big, tinted frames on top of tons of color/prints/having masses of hair (currently coral). These, which I bought from Toward with a press discount, are unobtrusive, petite lunettes de soleil that feel a bit like wearing tablespoons suspended in front of your eyes. And while they aren’t designed specifically for low nose bridges, mine stay up well enough — but even when they do slip down due to schvitzing, it just looks like when a love interest has sidled up to your pool chair and you tip your Foster Grants down to get a better look.

These have been flying off the shelves at Foster Sundry, with mint being the top seller, according to … me being there all the time. I didn’t expect to like these when my boyfriend, who used to live in San Francisco, introduced me to them last summer, but they are probably the most noble application for oatmeal cookies. (Everybody knows oatmeal cookies are the most suspicious of biscuits.) It’s-It also makes a cheekily named Big Daddy, which is next on my list to try in the wake of the Choco Tacos being discontinued, RIP.

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 July