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 — a screen-free audio player for kids, the dental tool Steve-O can’t live without, and an editor-approved infrared sauna blanket.
A planner one Strategist writer calls “calming”
We’re passionate about stationery around these parts, so we identified the notebooks and planners that are keeping our editors organized as they enter 2023. Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa owns two copies of the BestSelf Planner, one for organizing work-related tasks and another for his personal life. He says “the prompts aren’t stressful,” plus the undated pages don’t make him feel as if he’s missed out (or wasted the journal) if he stops using it for a week.
An $8 bra you can sleep in
When Strategist contributor Tamara MC gave birth to her first son 27 years ago, the hospital’s lactation consultant recommended this Fruit of the Loom bra. She liked that it was affordable, comfortable enough to sleep in, and not irritating to her sensitive skin. Later, after a breast reduction, a lift, and implants, MC stuck with this bra during recovery. Now that she’s 50 and experiencing signs of perimenopause, she still returns to this bra for comfort. “Even though I no longer use the snaps to nurse, as always, it offers the right amount of suppleness and support to help me sleep through the night,” she says.
The dental tool beloved by Steve-O
When we asked Steve-O about the things he can’t live without, he told us that this tool cured his biggest regret: not diligently flossing when he was younger. To properly clean his mouth, he starts with this Waterpik to “blast out the remnants of food that could potentially turn into bacteria” before launching into a multistep routine.
Winter boots inspired by vintage hiking gear
As seen in our guide to shopping at J.Crew, these Scandinavian-ish shoes are our favorite vintage-style winter boots. Camilla Cho, senior vice-president of e-commerce at Vox Media, wore these shearling-lined, cuffed lace-ups in 20-degree weather on a trip to Wyoming. “My feet always felt super-toasty and warm,” she says.
The Odette Williams–approved pasta machine
To find out how to host an elegant dinner party where guests help make (and, of course, eat) lasagna, we spoke to Brooklyn-based cookbook author Odette Williams. After friends mix and shape the dough, they can use this pasta machine to roll out thinner-than-store-bought sheets. “They’re delicate and tender, and when you bake the whole thing, the layers just kind of melt into each other,” she says.
An itty-bitty cutting board
In our list of teeny-tiny gifts, Strategist contributor Caroline Weaver found 50 options that cost less than $40. “Tiny Doll House is a shop with an unbelievable selection of exquisitely detailed dollhouse miniatures,” Weaver says. She recommends picking something specific, like a favorite food, for the person you’re gifting.
Stassie Karanikolaou’s favorite Squishmallow
After visiting a Squishmallow store with a friend, YouTube influencer Stassie Karanikolaou found this stuffed animal, which became one of her favorite things. “I immediately fell in love. I was like, I completely understand why you need this pillow,” Karanikolaou says, adding that she now has three total. “It’s so squishy and comfortable, and my pig is now my best friend. I can’t sleep without it,” she says.
A windup companion for the friend who misses New York
To get gift inspiration straight from the shopping experts, we asked our editors about the things they plan to give friends and family, like this windup toy pigeon mentioned by Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla. “It’ll be an easy stocking stuffer — either for a little cousin or the friend who dreams about owning the campy J.W. Anderson pigeon clutch,” she says.
The audio player a Vulture critic would instantly repurchase for her kids
Strategist contributor and Vulture critic Kathryn VanArendonk owns two of these screen-free audio players — one for each of her children, who are 5 and 8 — that are designed for kids to use on their own. “The Yoto has exactly the right balance of parental oversight and kid freedom,” she says, adding that it’s portable enough to bring on car rides or walks and has 20 hours of battery life. The brand’s library of content allows users to buy all kinds of audiobooks, music, and educational cards, which are inserted into a slot to be played. “I just want every parent to be as happy as I am when my kindergartener wakes up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday and then just … stays in her room for an hour, listening to Terrestrials,” she says.
A sauna blanket for envisioning your best 2023 life
When we asked our staff about the gifts they want to receive this holiday season, Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell picked this sauna blanket designed for muscle recovery, boosting circulation, and deep relaxation. “This is the very thing standing in between me and my best self,” she says.
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.