sunday circular

10 Things That Delighted Us Last Week: From Cool Couches to Compost Bins

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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 Rachel Bloom’s go-to brew, a space-saving mop and broom, and a kid-friendly advent calendar.

A conscience-soothing (and actually nice-looking) compost bin

When Strategist contributor Ruth Baron noticed a fellow shopper at the farmers’ market “dutifully carrying the exact food scraps that were keeping me up at night and dumping them into giant Department of Sanitation compost bin,” she saw an opportunity to go “full smug ecowarrior.” After trying (and failing) to schlep her orange peels and eggshells using takeout containers and produce bags, she hit upon the Bamboozle compost bin. “[It] has a smaller footprint than my coffee maker, but it can hold a week’s worth of food scraps,” Baron writes. “Because I have to walk several blocks to toss my compost, I need something that’s easy to haul, and with its barely-there weight, this fits the bill.” She’s also happy to report that, even if the Bamboozle gets covered in food stains, it only takes one spin in the dishwasher “to restore the bin to its original state.”

The secret to faking skinny brows

After years of thick, fluffy brows being en vogue, it seems the pendulum has swung back again to favor skinny brows, according to Strategist contributor Monica Corcoran Harel. “It’s an aesthetic pushback against the overgrown brow and microbladed look we have seen for the past decade, just as the skinny arches of the ’90s were a rebellion against the bushy Brooke Shields brows of the ’80s,” Harel writes. To achieve the look, Harel suggests minimizing width by “concealing top and bottom hairs along the natural arch with a flesh-toned pencil.” Makeup artist Rachel Goodwin loves this Make Up For Ever pencil because “you can easily draw on your hairs to disguise them and create that streamlined brow.”

Hardy boots for trudging through rain-slicked streets …

Madewell is currently running a sale-on-sale promotion, offering an additional 20 percent off already on-sale items, and we singled out these handsome rain boots as an especially good deal. Their minimal silhouette is a close dupe of our favorite Merrywells, the durable lug sole can handle anything from slippery city streets to rough natural terrain, and the mossy green is the perfect way to add a pop of color to your fall outfit. The boots are marked down to just $52 (from $88), but if you’d prefer them in a more classic color, the SALEONSALE discount code will net you the all-black pair for $63, which is also a worthy deal.

… and comforting tea to brew when you get home

Actress Rachel Bloom can’t live without this Harney & Sons black tea, which she discovered because her parents “spend a lot of time in Barnes & Noble, and around the holidays they have Harney & Sons gift sets.” She first tried out their peppermint tea, and then her husband started buying their “hot cinnamon flavor, and we were like, ‘Wait, this company is great.’ I went on a big buying binge on their site one day, and it said Paris was their top seller, so I was like, ‘Sure,’ and it was amazing.” Bloom is a self-proclaimed “tea bitch” and even has a whole tea setup in her home office. “It just feels so civilized,” she told us.

A couch that feels like “sitting in a box”

We surveyed 34 cool people, from artists to writers to designers to photographers, who are especially passionate about their couches — which, it should be noted, is a particularly difficult product to buy online. Illustrator Liana Finck owns this Blu Dot sleeper sofa in a punchy rust-orange color; she chose “the single, long-seat-cushion option (which we cover with nice blankets to protect it from dog hair and baby effluvia),” and notes that the mattress is quite comfy, too. She’s especially a fan of the couch’s “thick square armrests that go up as high as the back” because it makes her feel like she’s “sitting inside a box.” She likes to position herself sideways on the couch and rest her “drawing pad or laptop on the arm.”

Glossier’s purple-hued new launch

Members of Gen Z had an especially exciting week, as Olivia Rodrigo unveiled her new collaboration with Glossier. The collection is swathed in Rodrigo’s signature shade of lavender instead of the brand’s infamous pink packaging, and features an Ultralip lipstick in a rosy-mauve color called Pisces and a Monochrome eye-shadow palette that’s available in ten shades. There’s also an adorable makeup bag that’s embellished with butterflies as well as Glossier’s archived sticker designs. We anticipate Livies will go wild over the new release, so if you want to snag the limited-edition goods, don’t dillydally.

A kid-friendly advent calendar

If you love counting down to Christmas with an advent calendar — or just enjoying daily treats all December long — now’s the time to buy your calendar of choice, as their growing popularity in recent years means the best ones tend to go fast. Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio was gifted this KiwiCo advent calendar for her older daughter last year and says the then-6-year-old loved working on a small project every day. The box contains an array of envelopes filled with supplies to make all the elements of a winter village scene, from felt pine trees to wooden buildings. The kit is recommended for ages 5 and up, and Trolio says her daughter was able to complete most of the projects by herself. Plus, she adds, the pieces were sturdy and well-made enough to pull out again to play with this holiday season.

The most recent addition to Nick Offerman’s bookshelf

When we asked Nick Offerman about his favorite things, he told us he’s “so excited that the world has another piece of short fiction from George [Saunders],” describing the author’s works as “utterly terrifying and charmingly hilarious at the same time.” He calls Liberation Day “a hilarious and poignant return to his criticism of corporate industrialism and the parts of us humans that make us susceptible to corporate industrialism, allowing consumerism to thrive.” In fact, Offerman is such a big Saunders fan that he wishes the author’s books were “required reading in our educational system.”

Cheap and convenient cleaning tools

Strategist writer Erin Schwartz became a convert to the Muji cleaning system two years ago, when they bought a telescoping aluminum pole, a broom head, a mophead, and a dustpan. “What distinguishes the Muji system from other cleaning sets is its modularity: There are four poles and seven heads, which are sold separately,” Schwartz writes. “The heads and poles have compatible plastic joints that lock together with a push button, and the heads can be popped out and replaced quickly.” The system’s space-saving properties makes it especially useful for apartment-dwellers, since “every separate cleaning tool doesn’t come with a four-foot-long pole attached.” Schwartz has since swapped out the metal pole for a sturdier wooden one and stocked up on more mop and dust pads.

The best bag to take bikepacking

Strategist writer and outdoor enthusiast Kat Gillespie broke down everything you need to go bikepacking (other than the bike). “Bikepacking is hiking, but on two wheels. A scrappier variation on bike touring that involves strong wilderness skills and equally powerful leg muscles, it allows greater freedom of exploration and distance relative to trekking on foot,” Gillespie writes. She asked a panel of avid bikepackers about the gear they take with them on their trips, and Shannon Rudd, a New York City–based cycling advocate, said she likes this flat, waterproof, roll-top bag that can be strapped atop your handlebar roll and converts to a tote for sightseeing detours. “If we ever leave our bikes, I use it for any important documents I want to keep with me,” says Rudd. “It’s handy to have, versus having to go into the panniers, which are a deep black hole.”

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.

10 Things That Delighted Us: Cool Couches to Compost Bins