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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in August

Photo-Illustration: 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 August.

Kelsie Schrader, managing editor

I’d been considering buying these for at least five months. I thought they’d make a good bike turned work pant, but wasn’t sure I wanted to spend almost $100 on them. So when Outdoor Voices had a surprise sale this month that brought them down to just over $60, I went for it. I haven’t worn them to bike to work yet, but I wore them out and about on some of the cooler nights we had in NYC this month. They fit surprisingly well (I’m shortish, so things are usually long on me) and are very comfortable. I wore them for six hours when I saw The Godfather Part II in Bryant Park and felt as if I was in a cozy pair of sweats, which I basically was, but I looked more put together. Odds are good I’ll get a pair of the thicker Rectrek pants this winter.

Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer

It’s no secret that the Strategist staff loves Baggu, but I recently made my very first purchase from the brand. Before a trip to Maine earlier this month, I snagged this three-piece pouch set to help organize all my stuff before throwing it in bigger bags and throwing those bags in the car. The smallest kept my hair clips (which I’m constantly losing) in one place, the medium-size held my phone and laptop charger, and the largest held my laptop (I didn’t have a proper case and, until now, have always been worried about it getting scratched up).

Despite the fact that my beat is kitchen and dining, and despite the fact that I have a lot of great tools and appliances, there are certain staples I have never owned. This is usually because I can function totally fine without them — but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make my life easier. Such was the case with a salad spinner until I finally caved and bought this Oxo one, sufficiently annoyed one day after handwashing a ton of lettuce with a colander and then laying it out to dry. I had always been nervous I wouldn’t have space for yet another thing (Brooklyn apartment storage problems), but its small size allows it to fit perfectly on the top of my fridge (along with many other kitchen essentials). And even though it can’t clean as much at a time as their bigger version, I don’t mind doing a few rounds as needed. Plus, as the name suggests, it’s perfectly suited for herbs.

Arielle Avila, writer

Earlier this month, I made an impulse buy at my most vulnerable — moments after waking up while scrolling through social media — and somehow do not regret it. A friend posted dupes for the hyped Maryam Nassir Zadeh Olympia heels, and I bought them almost immediately in the silver and clear colorway. They’re the perfect summer going-out shoe: They’re fun, versatile, and comfortable (for heels), and most important, I don’t feel bad if they get a little dirty since they were under $50. I’m even thinking of buying them in a more neutral black or beige since they’re still on sale.

To balance things out, I bought this book by Ruth Ozeki after reading about it in a recent edition of My Week in New York. I haven’t gotten to the part where it critiques consumerism yet, but I felt like this was a much-needed corrective to some recent frivolous shopping.

Tshepo Mokoena, Strategist UK senior editor

In the summer of 2003, I was thrown fully clothed into a pool at a party, my passport in my back pocket. We’d crossed over the Swiss-French border from Geneva to Lyon, and my passport was soaked. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but only now, in 2022, have I invested in a passport cover. This one, by Aspinal of London, was 50 percent off — spotted on sale by our associate director of audience development, Rosie Percy — and comes in a load of colors and fabrics. On my next trip, I’ll try to keep both my passport and my new cover away from bodies of water.

My older sister introduced me to this cleanser more than a decade ago, when it was harder to find in the average pharmacy. I usually use La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane cleanser but decided to switch things up for the end of summer — naturally, as a younger sibling, I’ll still copy my sister after pretending to have my own mind. Cetaphil is one of our best face washes for good reason: It’s soap free and nonirritating, and it works for all skin types. I particularly love its viscosity and the fact that it doesn’t foam. I don’t need suds anywhere near my face.

Maxine Builder, editor

I’m getting married in September, so I spent a lot of time in August collecting the odds and ends I’ll need for the big day. The shortlist includes a bottle of D.S. & Durga’s El Cosmico perfume, a roll of boob tape, a tube of Embryolisse, some Skims shaping shorts, another tube of Briogeo’s hair-protecting cream, and a lobster-shaped pool float for post-wedding lounging. But the thing I’m most excited about, besides my wedding dress, are these white linen pajamas from J.Crew. I’ll wear them while doing my hair and makeup and watching Formula 1 on the day of my wedding. The linen feels luxe, and they’re so nice looking that I’ve been tempted to wear them out and about as a two-piece set (and probably will do just that at breakfast the morning after). And because it’s J.Crew, these PJs are on sale now for even cheaper than when I bought them at the beginning of the month.

Erin Schwartz, writer

I was gifted a small pink marbled notebook several years ago and noticed that I’ve been subconsciously hoarding space in the remaining pages — a good sign of liking a journal enough to buy another. Turns out the manufacturer, the Portuguese company Papelarias Emílio Braga, makes the notebook in a bunch of other colors: a bright canary yellowchocolate brown, and some very trendy Memphis-esque multicolored palettes. To avoid E.U. shipping costs, I bought one from the Portland, Oregon, store Little Otsu in a shade of bright blue I associate with tempera paint and crayons. I’ll be back for another style once I fill this one up.

Photo: Mathew Zucker

Despite being a daily coffee drinker, I’m not a big fan of iced coffee — a plastic cup of cold coffee concentrate with melting ice rattling around in the bottom always feels like a pale imitation, which is why I’ll sometimes order a hot espresso drink in 90-degree weather. Still, sometimes I want a cool afternoon coffee drink, and I recently bought a bottle of deli classic Manhattan Special Coffee Soda on a whim. Everything about this product is conspiring to make me like it. It’s fizzy and sweet but not at all creamy, and it has the fancy coffee taste that predates the era of Intelligentsia and cupping sessions; if I had to list flavor notes, I’d say “cigarettes.” An essential part of the allure is the packaging, which emphasizes that this is an elegantchic, adult sugar soda represented by a suave 1920s couple on the front, who serve as the de facto mascots for what is essentially espresso-flavored cola.

Jeremy Rellosa, writer

I bought two pairs of pants from Uniqlo in August: the smart ankle two-way stretch corduroy pants in black and the smart ankle two-way stretch cotton pants in navy. I rotate through a few pairs of dark chinos, but these might be my new favorites mainly because of their comfort. I love that the tapered cut is a bit looser around the thighs (any extra airflow in summer is a plus) and that the stretchy cotton-spandex-polyester blend allows me to zip around on my bike during the day, then dress them up for dinner afterward.

The only product I rotate through more than dark chinos is men’s hair-styling products. I’m always trying some new gel, cream, clay, or putty to tame my thick straight hair. In August, I tried this V76 molding paste after a recommendation from GQ, and I’m a fan. It lends some movement and a light shine. Since it’s a paste, it doesn’t leave a sticky residue in my hair as a wax might. It works well for a slightly slicked-back look if I apply it to my hair when damp.

Winnie Yang, senior editor

I needed a daypack for a hiking trip in the Dolomites and, after trying several contenders, settled on this one for its external pockets (which capably hold wine bottles, it turns out) and its unique three-zip opening that allows it to be unzipped like a rucksack or a duffel and gives me to easily access the stuff that ends up at the bottom of the bag. My husband liked it so much that he got the Mystery Ranch Scree 32, which has a similar design but more internal organization and external attachment points.

I have never finished a bottle of hot sauce as fast as I polished off Zab’s St. Augustine Style sauce, and we consume a lot of condiments in my house. I got the two-pack with the Original this time, but the St. Augustine is my favorite on everything from BECs to roast chicken to fried rice.

Jungmaven was having one of its occasional sales, and I needed to replace some of my threadbare tees. I’ve worn a Jungmaven tee most days of the week for the past five years, even most of the way through a pregnancy. My T-shirt drawer is filled with Ojai tees in various shades of blue, green, and black, but I’ve lately become a convert to the Silver Lake, with its longer sleeves and closer-fitting neck.

If you know me, you know I love mail-order fruit, but I am very, very picky about the quality. P.F Farm produces excellent passionfruit, and I love supporting an orchard whose chief scientist comes from Taiwan, where my parents also hail from.

Kitty Guo, junior writer

There’s literally no better way to spend a Saturday than by wandering through dinosaur fossils and taxidermy antelopes, so when Kith announced a collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, I knew I had to cop something from the collection. These moth-patterned shorts are available only in kid’s sizes (a real oversight by the Kith designers, in my opinion!), but when I scrutinized the listed measurements, the largest kid’s size seemed to have about the same dimensions as an adult extra small, so I took a gamble and placed the order. They do take a bit of wriggling to get into, but the cut of the shorts is fairly loose, so I managed to make it work. With their drawstring waist and vintage encylopedia-esque print, they give me year-round summer-camp vibes.

I’ve been contemplating hopping on the cowboy-boot craze for a while, but the problem is that most classic cowboy boots are designed with a pointed toe — a nightmare for my wide, bunion-afflicted feet to squeeze into. But then I discovered Ariat, a footwear brand that’s popular in equestrian and riding circles; its Fatbaby boot line features a rounded, chunkier silhouette that’s far more bunion friendly. Fatbabys come in so many pattern, color, and material combinations that choosing a pair can get a little overwhelming — I found mine, a dark-brown-and-rust-red style, on Poshmark, but there are plenty of options floating around on Amazon and Zappos.

Liza Corsillo, senior writer

I already own these jeans in basic indigo, and they are my absolute favorite pants. I’ve been wanting another color, but they tend to sell out very fast. So when Rudy Jude announced it would soon have the jeans available in colorblock sand (off white with beige knees), I hurried to snag a pair. They haven’t arrived yet, and they’re mostly all I think about when I’m not concentrating on work or having an actual conversation. The brand also has the jeans in natural and a lovely red color called rust, which if I didn’t have to buy groceries I would have snagged as well.

In August, I spent a week visiting Strategist newsletter editor Mia Leimkuhler in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. On my drive back to the States, we stopped in Montreal specifically for this ice cream. As Mia’s husband explained, the summers up there are so fleeting that everyone takes seasonal fruit really, really seriously. That means there is an abundance of amazingly delicious seasonal soft serve to be had. Swirl is Mia’s favorite spot. All of its ice cream is coconut based, and on the day we visited, it was serving blueberry yuzu with a vanilla swirl — le paradis, in my opinion.

Jen Trolio, senior editor

I learned about Billy shoes while talking to an especially stylish first-grader for our big back-to-school feature. As soon as I saw the zippers on her snazzy rainbow pair, I might as well have transformed into a walking heart-eye emoji; while lots of kids’ shoes have zippers on the inside of the ankle to make them easier to put on, I’d never seen one like this that extends all the way around the wearer’s foot. It basically allows the entire top of the shoe to flip open so you can step in and close it back up. I immediately ordered a glittery purple-and-black pair for my 7-year-old, who has some sensory issues around socks — and as soon as they arrived, they provided relief from the bunching and shifting often caused by shoving her foot into the top of any given sneaker. Now, after reading more about the Billy brand, I’m even more impressed by both its mission of making shoes whose “universal design” is accessible to everyone and its wide variety of styles for kids and adults.

My household loves an Advent calendar. We have two favorites that we’ve returned to year after year: the annual Lego City release (the 2022 edition comes out September 1) and this Bonne Maman number, which brings us delight all December long with its delicious fruit spread in all sorts of flavors (plus one wee jar of honey). This year’s calendar has already sold out and come back in stock more than once on Amazon, but it’s currently available direct from Bonne Maman if you want the perfect reason to eat more biscuits and toast this holiday season. (The little glass vessels are also handy after the fact for storing small quantities of spices, propagating plant cuttings, and dozens of other uses.)

Brenley Goertzen, Strategist intern

Earlier this month, I visited my boyfriend and extended family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I was in desperate need of a splurge and stumbled upon this vintage store with delicious salmon-colored walls called Chip’s Vintage. If you know downtown Winnipeg, it’s on Sherbrook Street. Chip’s carries a splendidly curated selection of vintage T-shirts, sweaters, denim, dresses, outerwear, hats, and more. I opted for this hilarious cobalt-blue trucker hat and a Bachman Cummings graphic tee. Founded by Andrew Chipman, the store also has a lot of new offerings from brands like Areaware, Crap Eyewear, and Editorial Magazine. I highly recommend stopping by if you live in the area or are just visiting. I could have spent the entire day pouring over each unique piece, but alas, I will be back.

After eyeing the New Balance 550’s all summer long, I finally caved and decided to go for them. I specifically picked the “Sea Salt Yellow” colorway because of its obvious versatility. I mean, look at them. These will pair perfectly with a sporty ensemble for the grocery store or a shimmery, fitted mid-length skirt for a cocktail bar.

Did I find this on my “For You” page? Bingo. But this stuff is legit. My color-treated blonde hair always leans brassy, and since I’ve been traveling a lot this month, I haven’t had time to visit my regular salon for a maintenance bleach and tone. Instead, I resorted to this simple color mask for blondes. After thoroughly shampooing, I apply the mask to towel-dried hair, lather, and set a timer for a maximum of five minutes. No more, no less. Then I usually do my full shaving routine while I’m waiting to rinse out the mask — because multitasking, duh. The results are ridiculous. My hair appears brighter and smells lovely. This mask has officially replaced my blonde shampoo for the time being.

Chelsea Peng, senior editor

Kind of heavy for a beach read (literally and figuratively), but, man, was this book gripping. I picked it up at Molasses Books one random Saturday afternoon because the language on the dust jacket about the main character’s transformation “from a little man to a big one” sold me — it wasn’t until after I crushed all 335 pages that day that I learned the story was based on the real-life Beilis case of 1913, in which a Jewish man was wrongly imprisoned in Czarist Russia. Fun fact: Don Draper reads the novel in season five of Mad Men.

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in August