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 an updated version of a ’90s throwback sneaker, seasoning that can transform any dish, and some cocktail picks to enhance your home bar.
Special seasoning beloved by Scousers
When Strategist writer Rachael Griffiths moved from the northwest to the northeast of England for university, she experienced an unexpected culture shock: Her local Chinese takeaway didn’t sell her “absolutely favorite dish,” salt-and-pepper chicken. The dish is a lot more flavorful than it sounds: “The salt-and-pepper seasoning I was looking for is actually a Cantonese blend of nine spices: sea salt, sugar, garlic, crushed chili, white pepper, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, aniseed, and cloves,” Griffiths writes. The unique blend “has the power to make even the most mundane dishes taste special,” and thankfully she was able to get her hands on it when her mom sent her a care package containing a whole tub of the blend from the brand KMC. Even more thankfully, it’s conveniently available on Amazon for Stateside shipping.
Rich moisturizer to heal overexfoliated skin
If you’ve accidentally managed to overexfoliate your skin, don’t panic: We’ve consulted several dermatologists to put together a guide on how to repair the damage in about a week. “Stop applying skin-care products with AHAs and BHAs, retinols, and scrubs,” says Dr. Marie Hayag, a board-certified dermatologist, and just stick to the basics. You should start with a mild cleanser, then apply a strengthening serum before layering on a calming moisturizer such as the tried-and-true Weleda Skin Food. Dr. Georgina Ferzli advises her patients to “put a layer on Mrs. Doubtfire–style like they have cupcake icing on their face, let it soak in while watching TV, have a glass of wine, or sleep in in it.”
The helpful sick bags Hua Hsu keeps on hand
When we asked writer Hua Hsu what he can’t live without, he told us these disposable barf bags are a lifesaver whenever his kid suffers a bout of motion sickness. A friend of his “who’s very good at finding the perfect product for a random need” discovered these Cloudberg ones, and “they’re great. You do the deed, you tie it up. There’s a little notch … where it sort of cinches off, so you can seal it pretty easily,” Hsu explains. Plus they don’t necessarily look like barf bags; they almost resemble “cones for soccer drills or something,” he notes. “But they’re just always ready for us.”
A cheerful kettle covered in cherries …
As you complete the transition into fall cozy mode, this adorable Kate Spade kettle would be perfect for making a steaming hot mug of tea to curl up with on the couch. (And beyond just brewing the perfect cup of chamomile, recipe developer and content creator Sohla El-Waylly points out that you can also use boiling water to deglaze a pan, finish off undercooked rice, or give a head start to potatoes and pasta.) The charming cherry pattern makes for a statement piece that’s pretty enough to leave on your stove all year long, and if you’re the type to plan ahead, it would also make a lovely holiday gift. Best of all? It’s 37 percent off right now, marked down to just $38 from $60.
… And daisy decals for decorating your tumbler
While struck down with the flu, Strategist writer Kat Gillespie decided to stream Netflix’s Do Revenge, which stars Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke as two Miami prep-school outcasts. Gillespie was intrigued by a pastel daisy-print tumbler that Mendes’s character, Drea, often keeps on hand, and after some sleuthing, she managed to find the cup’s original seller, a small-scale brand called Fun Time Studios run by Samantha Spellman. Unfortunately, they sold out almost immediately and there isn’t a plan to restock, but Spellman is offering customers “a DIY solution” by selling sheets of her original daisy decals, which can be applied “to whatever drinking vessel you already own.”
A waxing kit to silence the haters
Strategist contributor Nick Norcia found himself disturbed by a troll-ish comment on one of his TikTok videos: “When are you going to do something about those nose hairs?” Determined to nip the resulting insecurity in the bud, Norcia acquired a Charmonic nose hair waxing kit. “Everything was provided in the box; all I had to do was heat up the wax in the microwave and dip the provided Q-Tip-like waxing sticks into it,” Norcia says. “From unboxing to ready-to-go wax, the process took less than five minutes.” As a content creator, he of course decided to film the experience, and though “the wax did feel a little hot once I stuck it up my nostrils, it wasn’t too painful.” Besides, beauty — “and in my case, silenced trolls” — made the whole ordeal worth it.
A baby Halloween costume with all the fixins
In our roundup of the best baby Halloween costumes, this hot dog costume came recommended by cool person Gena Kaufman, the director of global social strategy at Condé Nast. It features little grill marks and a dollop of mustard, but it was the removable hat — “in case [her 17-month-old] was being fussy about having something on her head (spoiler: She was)” — that sold Kaufman on the costume. “I cannot fully do justice to just how hilarious and cute it was to watch a tiny little hot dog toddle down the street,” she says. To match, she and her husband wore coordinating condiment sweatshirts.
Snazzy cocktail picks to make any drink look top-shelf
Strategist contributor Margaret Eby can’t stop buying cocktail picks, which she strongly believes are “the perfect bar accoutrements.” They “come in all kinds of shapes and colors and add a little pizzazz to any drink you’re making at home.” She loves these fun, retro-looking diver ones and has even given them out “as presents on multiple occasions — for a work friend who’d gotten a promotion and as a housewarming gift to a new neighbor.” The divers’ different-colored caps “are an easy way to tell whose drink is whose,” she says, “and they look great balanced on top of a coupe glass.”
Flowers for keeping the boss in good spirits
In our latest installment of Assistant Files, we sat down with “Sukie,” a career executive assistant who served as the right hand to a New York City hedge-fund managing director. Sukie came up with the idea of ordering bimonthly floral arrangements from Élan Flowers for the director’s office. She mostly looked for monochromatic arrangements — “a lot of white and pink” — with “exquisite” combinations of peonies, tea roses, tulips, lilies, and irises. “I’d spend a couple hundred dollars on a huge bouquet every couple of weeks,” she says. “Everyone loved seeing the flowers on her desk. It made people happy when they were in her office, and … it made the boss cheerier.”
“Ugly-cool” sneakers that stand the test of time
Strategist contributor Yara Flynn has been wearing her beloved Nike Air Rifts since 1998, when she was still just a teen discovering her own personal style. “The Nike Air Rifts debuted in 1996, and to many people, they were a monstrosity,” Flynn writes. “With a separated toe like a cloven hoof and chunky rubber soles, they were neither feminine nor ‘cool.’ That’s exactly why I loved them.” These days, she’s no longer alone in her Rift adoration, as she sees “more and more pairs on NYC streets, either on people reaching for ’90s nostalgia or on those discovering them for the first time.” She just has one word of advice for those interested in joining the Rift fan club: “Buy some toe socks, especially if you go hunting for a vintage pair, because these puppies are neoprene and do not breathe well.”
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.